Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gue'Vesa, Imperial Guard as Allies: Background and Tactica

Although some of you might be wondering why I started with the IG instead of one of the two battle brothers, i'm still working out some strategies with Eldar (Battle Brothers allows for a greater range of possibilities).  As far as Space Marines go, I refuse to encourage the purchasing of anymore 3+ armor saves that drive around in boxes (we saw enough of that in 5th edition).  I also chose the Imperial Guard because I was wishlisting this army the most for Tau when the allies rules entered the rumor mill.  Although we can use them, I am heartbroken (to say the least) that Space Marines took priority over the IG.  So let's give a hearty hello to the army we can now field as Gue'Vesa or desperate Gue'la.
I also found that with the numerous conversion ideas out there, the Imperial Guard would be the easiest army to visually blend with the Tau.

The use of Imperial Guardsman within the Tau ranks can be seen fluffing around in codices and books found within the black library.  There were also two releases of rules to use humans within the ranks of the Tau.  These can be found in Imperial Armour 3: The Taros Campaign and White Dwarf (For a short while the White Dwarf Gue'Vesa rules could be downloaded from the Games Workshop website.  If you still want to see them they can be found here).  Though I never saw the Gue'Vesa appear in anyone else's army list, I was personally guilty of modeling a few of my brother's guardsmen and playing them in a narrative game against his Elysians.  Though the Gue'Vesa didn't see too much table time, I was always up for having a multiple species army.  In 5th edition I had created an entire auxiliary army to count as Imperial Guard.  But with the release of the allies rules, it looks like we will be able to allow the Gue'Vesa to fight for the Third sphere expansion.

Though there are many things I will miss in this section, as the Imperial Guard have so many different advantages and disadvantages.  I hope to mostly help you decide on what to take with your Tau, and hopefully show you some really cool tactics that have been introduced to the Imperial Guard with 6th edition.
When you field your Imperial Guard you need to ask yourself  "How do I hope use the IG with my army?". 
Do you want the IG to fill the role as meat shields for your more expensive Tau units?
Do you want the IG to be shooty just like the Tau?
Do you want to take advantage of the IG armor?
No matter how you take them the IG can fill a tactical niche.  The Imperial Guard are flexible even with the Force Organization Chart being smaller for your ally.  They can take multiple squads that take up only 1 troop slot allowing you to contest or take multiple objectives, they also allow you to take the space Marine killing Leman Russ Battle Tank.

PsykersThe Psyker Battle Squad has two abilities. A shooting attack that uses the Large Blast has a strength equal to the number of Sanctioned Psykers in the squad and an AP value equal to D6.  Then the Psyker Battle squad has another ability called weaken resolve, that can be used with much Greater effect.  Weaken Resolve, targets any enemy unit temporarily reducing the leadership of that unit by the number of sanctioned psykers in the squad.  This can be used in combination with the pinning weapons of the Tau army.  Pinning with the new rules does not resolve at the end  of the shooting phase but rather each time a squad inflicts at least one successful wound on another unit.  This means you can almost always autopin a unit that isn't fearless.  This can also be used with a Primaris Psyker with the Psychic power Psychic shriek.  Psychic Shriek causes the casting player to select a unit roll 3d6 and then subtract the units leadership value, the result is the number of wounds inflicted on the targeted unit (no armor saves are allowed against this kind of attack).

The IG have Snipers, something the  Tau don't have.  These squads come in the form of Ratlings and veteran squads with Sniper Rifles.  This allows the Tau player to infiltrate snipers in the hopes of getting precision (and if your extremely lucky, rending) shots.  Ratlings and Veterans also can add +1 to their cover save adding to survivability.

You are free to take this in one of two ways.  The most obvious that doesn't need support is flyers.  The second option is The Rough Riders.  If you find yourself facing medium armor troops attacking your gunline, this is a cheap option to countercharge as these guys count as having power weapons when they first charge. 

The IG arguably have the best Tank options in the game.  With the option of taking 3 Artillery pieces in one choice or 3 Battle Tanks, the option of just blasting away your enemies has become much more viable with the Tau.

Conversion Ideas
When I first took a look at the rules for Imperial Guard, a few things hit me.  Firstly, units that are considered abhuman were rare within the Imperium.  This would make those same units considerably more so if at all existent withing the ranks of the Tau.  So how would I remedy this situation while staying consistent with the Tau theme?  Easy, the Tau have a number of races that have been subsumed into the Tau Empire.  Unfortunately for you Tau Players, with the introduction to fatherhood a few years ago, The Tau took low priority in my life, and many of my conversions were lost to the warp.  So I will simply dig up and show you the inspiration for many of my conversions.

The first idea that came to mind when thinking about ratlings was in the name.  What models to represent rats better than the Skaven found within the Fantasy range.

Rough Riders
My original Idea for Rough Riders was to create a centaur like species that was reptilian, but with the inclusion of numerous Kroot and Kroot Hounds I had enough reptile like bird people.  Then I thought about using some of my Bretonians, but the idea of using horses didn't feel alien enough to me.  Then I found an new High Elf Player that had purchased a lot of chariots but, didn't want to use the Lion  models, that combined with another conversion online using beastmen gave me a spark.  After visiting the Smithsonian Museums in Washington D.C. I was inspired to apply an Afro/Nordic Plains dwellers that ride on the backs of lions (literally).  Here are the pictures similar to the ones that inspired my conversion hopefully they can inspire you too.

When I was first thinking of Ogryn Stand ins, I was pushed towards using Lizardmen (because that's my fantasy army) and was inspired by some of the Tarellian Dog Soldier pictures from the third edition Rule Book.  Unfortunately the conversions I made didn't seem bulky enough.  Then I was watching an episode of South Park featuring Crab People, and Google yielded another Tau auxiliary conversion.

To make the model a little bigger than the one shown I opted to use a Tyranid Warrior head as the torso, the thighs from the Warrior with some green stuff to make pincers and the legs from spiders in the orcs & goblins range from fantasy to make legs.

Psyker  Battle Squad
Just because I think the sanctioned psyker models look anything but intimidating, I had to redo my own.  My idea came from a Black Library book where they described an Umbra.  Because I didn't want to model a plain black ball hovering around I decided to model a threatened Umbra.  After looking through some ranges I figured the Umbra were without shape when frightened, extending shadowy limbs that ended in teeth, claws and blades and figured that to represent random limbs seemingly coming out of nowhere I would use Dryad's from the Wood Elves ranges green stuffed with left over tyranid bits.  Replacing the head with a sphere of green stuff,I inked a white basecoat with purple, followed by watered down black and highlighted with codex grey/chaos black.  It looked chaotic, but that was the point.

I have an idea to model a Death Strike Missile Launcher into a Warp Based One shot Cannon using the Fantasy Empire Celestial Hurricanum as a base model and more Skaven as the Crew.  And After watching Star Wars a little too many times I have a mental outline of how I want my Primaris Psyker (and Farseers) to be modeled.  The rest was just a lot of things combining Imperial Guard and Tau Empire Range.  For example Sentinels, that were modeled over a Tau Battle Suit, using Necron Warrior Shoulders as shin Guards, Grey Knight Terminator hands as extensions to the arms, The dreadnought power plant in place of the Jetpack.  For a Leman Russ I used the Devilfish with two sets of tracks from the Death Korps of Kriegs miniature tank and a normal Leman Russ Turret.  The rest pretty much went like this

Thought  for the Day
There was a fake 6th edition rulebook that was circulating the web, it was wrong. It was several hundred pages long. Someone had put a lot of effort into making a whole bunch of people going bonkers.

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