Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday #3: Veterans: You’re Running Them WRONG!

Hey everyone,
So the daemons have been shipped out, and the Imperial Fists are in varying states of work on my desk. However, I wanted to devote the third Tutorial Tuesday to a tactica I’ve wanted to write for quite some time.
Everybody knows the main way people are running their troops choices in an Imperial Guard army these days. Veterans with Meltaguns or Plasmaguns in a Chimera. Yes, its 150 or so points of  BS 4 madness rolling around the board causing mayhem. But why take such a good choice and either:

A. Spam the HELL outta it, or
B. Run it the same freaking way in the entire army.

Lets approach this like my other Tactica articles.


  • At 70 points, they’re easily the strongest choice in the IG Codex.
  • BS 4 on the only unit in the codex (Special Weapons Teams don't count) that can take up to 3 Special Weapons?! Yes please!
  • Doctrines allow for a nice upgrade to your standard guardsmen.
  • Additional upgrades for the Sergeant means you can get a Powerfist nice and close.
  • Harker and Bastonne add both a heroic feel and some nice tricks to the squad.
  • Repetition is boring.
  • Its kind of a copout from painting a ton of models.
  • They’re undercosted. They and Penal Legion should swap pricing.
  • In the end, they’re still Guardsmen…
Yes, I know, the Cons are all personal problems with the unit. I’ve had the argument many times with my friends about how Veterans should still be Elites. I totally disagree with him. The Imperial Guard Codex needed a 2nd troops choice that didn’t require at least 50 models to play a game. However, I feel Veterans should be a 0-1 choice, similar to Death Company. An entire regiment isn’t going to be Veterans. If you do want Veterans though, have Straken (or Colonel Greiss!) as a character that removes the limit.
Anyways, enough blather, lets get to the good stuff. I’ve got a couple of Veteran loadouts, some decent, some awesome, some crappy, all using Doctrines. First off, my favorite.

Ultimate Demolitions Team
Veteran Squad with Shotguns. The Sergeant is armed with a Powerfist. 3 Veterans get Meltaguns, and the squad receives the Demolitions Doctrine. The squad is transported in a Vendetta and accompanied by a Priest with a shotgun and eviscerator.
TOTAL: 335 Points

This team works especially nice against Deathstar units, MC, and AV13+ tanks. The Vendetta provides both outflank and a mobile Las-Platform. The Veterans get 14 Shotgun shots, 3 Melta shots, and a Demolition Charge, before charging into the unit. That much high AP weaponry, couple with the mass shotguns, usually causes a lot of problems to most units. I’ve seen this squad drop a Warboss, Painboy, and 10 Meganobz in one player turn. I actually charged and killed the Warboss. 

Catachan Devil Harassment Team

Veteran Squad with Lasguns, accompanied by Sgt. Harker. 2 Veterans get Flamers, and 1 gets a Heavy Flamer. 2 Veterans get a Missile Launcher. The squad receives the Forward Sentries Doctrine.

TOTAL: 200 Points

This is your Objective Camping unit. Pop these guys on an objective between the middle and back of your table, and let them squat there for the game. Harker’s Heavy Bolter and the Missile Launcher provides some heavier weaponry, while the Flamers and Heavy Flamer ensures that anyone stupid enough to get close regrets the action. The Camo Cloaks confers that nice 3+ cover, and if going to ground, they get a Terminator save!
Bastonne’s Heroic Cadians

Veteran Squad with Shotguns, accompanied by Sgt. Bastonne. 3 Veterans are armed with Plasma guns. 1 Veteran has a Vox-caster. The Squad receives the Grenadiers Doctrine. The Squad is transported in a Valkyrie with Multiple Rocket Pods.

TOTAL:  340 Points

This squad is very true to the fluff regarding Bastonne. An elite, well armoured squad rushes in and fights up close. The Vox allows for a rerolled LD in case you fail your order. I have plasma in here because of the 4+ save; I don’t usually advocate for them unless you can take a Medic, but for this, it should work. The Valkyrie drops them off and provides some Blast Templates in the area in case of a horde army. Obviously the weakest of the 3, I think it could be fun in an Apocalypse Game or a themed game.
This is just 3 ways of many to run your Veterans. My biggest problem with all Veteran armies is the fact you remove one of the best factors of the Guard: the Order System. By using Orders, you increase the abilities of your units a lot. In order to ensure you can get plenty of Orders out, though, you need to run a Platoon. During the Second game of the Team Tournament at WAR Games CON, my Vendettas should have been blown out of the sky by turn 2. He was running plenty of anti-tank, namely Autocannons. However, he never used his orders from his Platoon or his Company Command, and I was able to wreak havoc with the Lascannons.

I’ll close by saying this. YOU’RE RUNNING YOUR VETERANS WRONG! They have so much potential, why waste both them and the Orders system?


  1. I like your combos there!

    I have to say that im a guilty Guard player, with both my Vostroyans and my Elysians based around 4 tooled up Vet squads! Like you say, its one of (if not the best) competitive options in the list, especially for the points.

    HOWEVER, im trying to change my ways, as im near to completing 2 Death Korps armies with tones of guardsmen in!

    Totally see where your comming from though!

  2. With Harker you don't need to take the forward sentries doctrine. His special ability confers stealth to his entire unit. He is one of my favorite upgrades in the entire Codex as he is pretty points efficient for what he does. I run an Air Cav list and the one upgrade I cannot live with out is Creed. I really don't run him for anything other than his orders and his order range. Getting those orders in really is key to victory I find.

  3. I've tried a few varieties of Vets but the mech vets just won its way out to the top of the pile.

    Vets in a Vendetta has lost its appeal to me since my mini-Air Cav days. The 'Detta doesn't want to get close while demovets do. I generally pair them up with a Valkyrie these days if I pull of that stunt.

    Bastonne with the plasma squad is actually one that I dream about running at some point. It's so expensive, but for a casual game I'd love to proxy my Stormies as them.

    And a note on Harker's squad: he grants the Stealth USR to his team, so you don't need to buy Forward Sentries unless you really like defensive grenades. I've generally kitted him out either as an infiltrating heavy weapons team or as a way to outflank a Mech Vet squad without springing for Creed.

  4. Ah, beat me to it. Though another note on Harker: same cost as Chimera and helps your foot Vets get where they want to be AND be more survivable. Coincidence? I think not.

  5. @theGunGrave: See I'm alright with special armies like Krieg, Elysians, or Voystroyans running as Veterans. They're expensive. However, when the guy shows up with unmodified Cadians, I'm a little irked. The pictures in the post are just some of my Veterans. I got the FW upgrades, did a lot of modeling, and feel comfortable running them as they have a lot of work into them and look different than my regular guys.

    @Krash: Creed is definitely an excellent way to get the orders out. I'm still trying to find ways to get him in my main list.

    @Max and Krash: I never remember what that Catachan Devils rule does. So technically yeah, unless you want Defensive Grenades, stick the 30 points somewhere else.

  6. only unit in the game that can take 3 special weapons?! u obviously aren't a well rounded imperial player granesh. check out your codex witch/deamonhunters sometime ;D

  7. Why shouldn't you be able to run an army with nothing but Vetrans for troop choices? There are plenty of fluffy reasons for doing so, especially for players fielding Air Cavalry forces or hardened combat veterans.

    Fielding an all-veterans army isn't even a strong way to build Guard- you're basically assuming that the enemy will have no way to kill a bunch of T3/5+ guys, which is basically the worst plan. Even with vehicles to protect them, they're still incredibly fragile.

    I would disagree that Veterans are underpriced- you end up paying 100+pts for ten guys that are still really fragile. Used poorly, they vanish like paper. Used well, they are frighteningly strong. That's how good units tend to work.

    Flamers on Veterans are a waste, in my opinion- you have BS4, use it. Heavy Flamers are stupidly overcosted for IG units, no idea why. Sadly, both Harker and Bastonne are likewise overpriced (Bastonne costs nearly as much as another squad by himself...) Power Fists are likewise not a very good investment because S6 just isn't that terrifying. You don't really want to get into combat, so don't pay extra points to be mediocre at it.

    Obviously you can run whatever you want if you're looking for fluffiness, but in terms of effective builds, I think you're basically looking at Meltavets, Plasmavets, and possibly adding the Demolitions option to either of them. 30pts for Carapace just isn't that great a deal when you're already hanging out in a ride. I'm not really sold on the Autocannon team, but a lot of people seem to swear by it.

  8. @RayjMarks: Witch Hunters and Daemonhunters? Never heard of them ;) Now that you mention it, I did mess up that wording....oops...

    @AbusePuppy: I do agree, there are a lot of fluffy ways of doing all Veteran armies. I think my biggest gripe, though, is that people never spend the time to model them up specially. Plus, and I've had this discussion with my friend, I see Veterans as a cinematic unit. I run two 30 man platoon in my usual army, and as soon as my Vets hit the table, I really don't care what the other guys do.

    Flamers are definitely a waste on a Veteran (H. Flamers are nice though), the Harker squad had them more for Catachan fluff than anything. Once again, I agree on Harker and Bastonne, but I do like Bastonne for the order-issuing. With the Powerfist, it mainly adds an additional anti-tank weapon to my Vets. That first Vet Squad is my standard one that I have modeled and write into most of my lists, and that Fist has actually caused some damage before (ask the guy above your comment how Vet Sgts. with Fists beat up Librarians ;))

    Finally, I agree with you on the effective builds for Vets. The ability to run that many special weapons on a BS 4 squad is too good to pass up. Carapace is definitely a waste, and Demolitions is good depending on your goal for the unit. I'm also not big on the Autocannon Team. Just run a Hydra and keep your Vets moving (or able to move!)

  9. You can't get 3 meltas AND a demo-charge, as it takes up one of the special weapons option.

    Also, the camo cloaks on the devils are pointless, Harker gives you stealth allready.

    I run my two vet squads thusly;

    1. Harker, shotguns, 3 grenade launchers and a heavy bolter team. <- I get to set them up where they can have a nice firing position, on a weak flank or have them anchor a firebase. 2xS5 H.Bolter and 3xS6 Krak grenades work very well together when it comes to taking on both power-armour as well as lesser foes. Shotguns are just bamf, and give me an opportunity to shoot before I get into combat, which is alway fun with guardsmen.

    2. 3 plasmaguns, forward sentries, Inside valk. I usually have them either outflank or it gets shot down a little too early, valk is 'nilla, but with rocket pods. Usually drops in and put its load right in the ass of the enemy terminator squad and promptly overheats. If they work out, I can quickly add some well needed AP2 to my fireline. If I'm feeling a little more subtle, I drop them into a piece of cover (preferably close to an objective late-game) and sit there making rude gestures at whatever feels inclined to move in their general vicinity, they generally don't do too much. But I like them.

    My two cents.