Sunday, June 24, 2012

6th Edition: The IG Light Infantry Platoon Part 1

Thanks to Natfka for a great post on the actual changes on the rules from 5th to 6th Edition: Rules From The Rulebook Are Here: Hull Pts, Focus Fire, Assaults, No Psychic Phase and More.

In this post I've attempted to relay my thoughts on how the changes will effect Light Infantry Imperial Guard platoons.

Rule change: Rapid Fire: "Rapid Fire weapons can now fire [I'm assuming one shot] at target 24" away irregardless of moving or not. (or choose to fire twice at target 12" away)

Analysis: Increases the effective range and (rate of fire) for standard line-infantry. This is both a boon and a curse to the Imperial Guard, especially light infantry armies. The advantage of move-and-fire lasguns means that your infantry hordes (MSU or BLOB) can move 6" and fire 24", increasing the effective range of the lasgun from 18" in all previous editions to 30". How this all works with the FRF-SRF order remains to be seen. Ideally we'd be able to get 1 more shot @ 24" even if the squad moved.

As a disadvantage, nearly every other army (MEQ TAU especially, etc) now has greater effective range with THEIR basic infantry, most of which possess the deadly AP 5 characteristic.

With the rapid fire rules changes, the plasma gun becomes a much more attractive option for MSU infantry squads. The main reason I advocated the grenade launcher was the effective range of 30". Now, with the changes to Rapid Fire, the plasma gun has a leg-up over the grenade launcher, with S7 vs S6, a much higher AP score, better anti-vehicle results (AP 2 weapons have a +1 bonus on the vehicle damage chart in 6th edition), and a higher rate-of-fire.

On BLOBS: With the rumored demise of Killpoints, MSU guard armies will be more compeditive in 6th Edition. This is because a guard player can sequentially split fire offensively and force opponents to waste firepower on depleted squads defensively. Of course, by taking MSU infantry squads you open yourself up to morale issues and less-efficient orders. BLOB strengths in 5th Edition were that with one officer, you could give multiple squads of guardsmen FRF-SRF and Ld 9 Stubborn with a Commissar, not to mention the reduced killpoints compared to MSU infantry squads. My prediction: more foot guard players going run to MSU platoons, and relying on IC Lord Commissars and Warlords for Morale purposes. Straken remains competitive without blobs, because he can FURIOUS CHARGE all MSU infantry units in his radius, and CREEEEEEEED! becomes a marginally more attractive option (however, his orders should still be directed at HWTs with Autocannons as a priority).

Rule Change: Overwatch: "Unit can elect to "Overwatch" if being assaulted. Simply a "Stand and Shoot 40K version" - resolved at BS1, Template does D3 hit instead."

Analysis: Another (marginal) boost for MSU infantry squads. Combined with the rapid fire changes (which essentially gives an infantry squad another turn of lasgun fire per game before being eliminated), FRF-SRF, we get a THIRD shooting phase (all-be it at BS 1). Not entirely reliable, but remember that MSU infantry squads are expendable. Note that plasma guns can be fired in Overwatch. I'm not sure if grenade launchers can or cannot be used in Overwatch if firing in frag Blast mode.

Rule Change: Snap Fire: 
"'Snap Fire' allows certain weapon types to shoot even if moving, but with a BS of 1 (ie. 6 to hit)"
"Blast Weapons cannot "snap fire"
"Vehicles movement and weapons. Defensive and Primary Weapons are gone. You can fire all of your weapons at most of the time. But moving faster will result in less weapon fired at basic BS, the rest will be fired at BS1 (Snap Fire)"

Analysis: Now, contrary to what the latest White Dwarf said about the coolest change for Imperial Guard was move-and-shoot lascannons in infantry squads, the actual best part of this is that HB Sponsons and Heavy Stubbers are going to be making a comeback in my armies. But that is for another post. Infantry Squads should be advancing, rapid firing their lasguns and plasma guns, and wasting 25 points on a lascannon which only hits 16.667% of the time is a poor strategic decision. Yeah its cool, but overall I think it will have little effect on army selection.

Just to summarize Snap Fire and Overwatch: these rules are nice, but not something to base your strategy on. BS 1  is just too unreliable to get too excited about.

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