IGS Armored Fist Squad

Rating: Good


Although the Guard are a heck of a shooty army, quite a few missions become much easier to win if you have a few mobile units -- like Armored Fist. Notice that there is a crucial distinction here between an "assault unit" and a "mobile unit"!

This makes the Armored Fist a very useful choice for a Guard army, and the only reason they aren't rated higher is because they're not the only mobile option available to the Imperial Guard -- there are quite a few, all of which can do similar or better things. But the Armored Fist is one of the cheaper options, and a squad doesn't cost you a Doctrine Point. True, you do have to buy an Infantry Platoon for each AF you field, but that's okay -- you needed the infantry screen anyway.

The Armored Fist is basically an Infantry Squad in a Chimera, but the Chimera changes some of the unit's upgrade priorities. For one, it's good to have a heavy weapon in the squad: you won't always want to move right away, and you can shoot from the top hatch of the chimera sitting still -- adding to the firepower of the Chimera itself.

But because an Armored Fist squad is far more mobile than an Infantry Squad, the flamer and meltagun will be your two special weapon choices! Because you can only fire one weapon out the top hatch, the plasmagun is not very useful: if you're sitting still, you'd rather fire the Heavy Weapon, and if you're disembarking moving, the meltagun is a better choice (higher strength, won't overheat). And because you can get close, you want a weapon that's effective up close -- which discounts the Grenade Launcher. I'm still mostly a flamer fan, but the meltagun is a solid choice, too, as you will then legitimately be able to threaten vehicles with it.

The Veteran Sergeant is a heck of a choice, because his Leadership of 8 will be handy when you're away from officers -- plus, you can give a Veteran Sergeant useful wargear like Meltabombs. Definitely give the Sergeant the Pistol-and-Close-Combat-Weapon option, by far the best option for a unit like this (the shotgun is a distant second choice, and the lasgun the least useful). If you add a Commissar Advisor -- an excellent idea -- you will have even better Leadership (Ld9) and the Commissar himself will execute the sergeant and take over (Ld10) if a Morale Check is failed. And hopefully the Commissar will be equipped with something useful like a 'hidden' powerfist as well.

Because of all this, the Vox-Caster (as noted earlier under Command Squads) is only useful if you have a Heroic Senior Officer with a Commissar standing next to him (Ld10) at the other end of the line. Save some points and don't bother with one.

Grenades also aren't a terribly useful upgrade. Frag grenades are only worth it if you're planning on actually assaulting with your Armored Fist squads -- and that usually means that your entire army is designed around an "assault" philosophy. Armored Fist squads don't assault very well -- they're just Guardsmen in a transport, after all (they can't even be given a laspistol/close-combat-weapon upgrade short of a very, very pricey Doctrine selection) -- so don't be tempted to have them do things they aren't designed for.

In fact, Armored Fist squads should avoid assaults unless they're very one-sided (like Tau Fire Warriors, or Gretchin) -- which is why a Priest may not be a good choice here. There's no point in re-rolling failed hits if you're still not hitting very hard (only S3) or very often (only one attack each). Plus, you're giving up the use of a Heavy Weapon if you do this.

Marginal Doctrine Combos

One way to make your Armored Fist squads a bit 'punchier' in combat is to make them Hardened Fighters, but this is a relatively expensive doctrine at +15 points per squad.

Another is to make a unit Xeno-Fighters, but this is hard to use in a tournament-style situation (where you can't switch your army list around before a game), and plus will not be useful against Necrons, Kroot or Tau, Chaos, or Imperials -- which makes up the majority of armies that players field. Still, if you know in advance that you'll be facing Eldar, Orks, or Tyranids, this could give your Armored Fist a bit of an edge. Note that the probable reason there's no Xeno-Fighters doctrine to fight Tau is because even Imperial Guard will hit most Tau units on a 3+ already.

In general, however, few of these doctrines will be terribly useful to your Armored Fist squads, except in very limited circumstances.

Created by: system. Last Modification: Sunday 25 of January, 2009 12:01:53 PM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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