Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Strata-Gems 2- Imperial Guard Company Command Squad (part 1)

With the introduction and overview section of this tactics series done HERE, It is now time to begin looking at the individual units held within codex Imperial Guard. 

Where better to start than with the top of the chain of command, the Company Command Squad. As perhaps one of the most popular HQ choices, and certainly the most customisable squad choices in the codex, it is important that I break this essay down into manageable chunks. I have also divided this article into two parts to allow for its immense bulk. So here is a short contents list of the vital headings...

                                   
The company command squad- 5th Company, 32nd Vastadtian
Part 1

1- Unit Role
2- Weapons choices
     2.1 Company Commander’s weapons
3- Upgrades and wargear
     3.1- Wargear
     3.2- Transport options



Part 2


4- Advisors
5- Characters
     5.1 Company commander replacements
     5.2 Advisors/Veterans replacements
6- Orders
7- Summary

And finally before we begin, as always, I am keen to hear what you think. Is there something that I have left out? Do you have a different role that your Company Command Squad fulfils?

                                  
That power dagger aint gonna be much use in a Nuke fight!
1- Unit Role

The Company command squad (herein referred to as the CCS) can adapt itself to many primary roles, whilst maintaining some other usefulness and abilities. Largely this is due to the units’ wide variety of war gear choices, the advisors, the upgrade characters and the Orders special rules.

One of the main uses of the CCS is as an infantry support or Booster unit. Through the use of orders, the CCS can sit back in the field and boost the unit abilities. This is the most common use of the CCS in largely Infantry based armies, where orders can affect large amounts of models at once (through combined infantry squads).

In this style it is fairly common for the CCS to be equipped fairly lightly, with long range weaponry or even highly mobile weaponry, allowing the squad to advance with the infantry line, or redeploy to boost a squad with orders further down the line.

Whilst performing its duty as a support or booster unit, it can also carry light assault weapons to act as a stopgap counter attacking unit, or operate from range with a heavy weapon, taking full advantage of its higher BS (Ballistic Skill).

With a fairly low price tag, its decent BS and its vast array of weapons choices, the CCS can be used as cheaper alternative to a veteran squad. Whilst you lose five bodies, you shave some points, and even get the ability to take an extra special weapon (4 meltas overkill?!).

Whilst this is a valid use for the squad, take into consideration that the CCS is not a scoring unit. This means that there is a temptation to use this squad a little more frivolously, risking it on potentially rewarding but often suicidal strategies. This however should only be the case if this is either a second CCS in the list or a second HQ choice. It is not advisable to throw away your warlords life.

As you can see the CCS can be offensive, defensive and always supportive to other units. Unfortunately this, coupled with the unit containing the warlord and its’ vulnerability, make the CCS a pretty key target for your enemies guns. For this reason I like to keep the squad cheap and cheerful, and/or held in a chimera for some small arms protection.



2. Weapons choices

So as with all units, it is almost always the weapons load out that determines the unit’s role. This is especially true with the versatile CCS. Here are a couple of examples;

The Melta CCS-
This unit generally contains 3 melta weapons. It can take four, however this generally isn't that necessary and only achieves making this unit a massive target. The melta load out is often seen as a suicidal choice for the CCS as it requires getting to close quarters to achieve its goal. 

This unit is effective at tearing through vehicles, and also useful against low armour save opponents. It is useful when combined with a Veterans army, or even supported by a platoon. As with all CCS’s though, it is very vulnerable to enemy fire. A chimera is a good option for this squad as it allows the unit to close range quickly and stave off most rapid fire weapons.

The Plasma CCS- 
A points heavy unit, and one that quickly becomes a high value target. Often equipped with three or four plasma rifles, or sometimes 2 plasma rifles and an auto cannon. I personally very rarely use this load out as it is a massive points sink. If I was going to use it, I would often use three plasmas. Some people have combined this unit with a medic; however, I feel that the 30 points for the medic could better be served in helping to pay for a chimera, as the medic would be the first choice of casualty to go from the unit anyway.

The Stripped out CCS- 
It is quite common for people to use a bog standard, no upgrades CCS. Due to the unit’s vulnerability and high target rating, people often feel that this squad could be a huge point’s sink. I feel that this is completely counter-productive  as essentially you are then paying 50 points for a unit that will probably never achieve any active role. Yes it can still issue orders, but one squirt from a squad with bolters will still take it apart.

Despite my reservations, I can see the logic. It is quite easy to throw a melta CCS forward, out of range of making any valuable orders, but a stripped out CCS can always stay where it is needed, focusing solely on providing the valuable morale and orders boosts it needs to. I think in this instance it is worth tacking on a few grenade launchers, flamers, or even a mortar. 5-15 points will not break the bank, and will hardly change the squads target value, but will at least allow the squad to throw out something in the way of offensive fire-power. Seems a shame to waste that improved BS after all.
                                               
Binoculars and a pointer finger, all a good officer needs.

The sit back and shoot CCS- 
This basically includes the gamer’s choice of heavy weapon. The most popular choices are the auto cannon and the lascannon. Personally I like the lascannon. The increased BS and the great range allow this piece to sit back and take pot shots, all the while the commander issues orders. I also like to combine the lascannon with a master of ordnance, and then issue “bring it down” on the CCS, increasing the units’ ability against a vehicle or monstrous creature.

                                   
The lascannon, best given to the men who have had weapons training.

There are other weapons choices of note:

The heavy flamer- a valuable weapon given its ability to fire on the move, however the price for me is just too high, with the squad able to equip itself with 4 regular flamers for the same cost.

The grenade launcher- as mentioned above a useful weapon that keeps the squad at a reasonable cost and with its range and assault characteristics, allows the squad a fair field of fire.

The laspistol- not a special, but every veteran can still swap his lasgun for a laspistol. Combined with the CCW, this gives the squad bonus attacks. Sometimes (and I mean sometimes) this can just tip the edge, however never bank on this tactic. Only to be considered by the bravest and fluffiest of players.

The sniper- hmm, useful, but makes the squad very static without much gain in my own opinion.

2.1 The company commander’s weapons

This is an interesting one. I very rarely equip my company commander with any weapons, as the upgrades are generally expensive. In the olden days I would have included a power weapon (ignoring all armour saves was great), and I often equip my new company commander with a plasma pistol (for WYSIWYG purposes), but beyond that I feel there are always better uses of points.

But let us look at the choices-

Bolt Pistol- if you have two points left over, then it is not a bad punt, particularly in combo with a melta vet or similar close range CCS load out.

Bolt gun- Similar to above. Use for a long range, rapid fire based squad.

Plasma Pistol- OK,  it’s a plasma shot, which is cool, but it is dear, and can cause harm to your warlord. If you have nothing better to spend ten points on then go ahead.

Power weapon- Not the weapon it once was. Convert to a power axe or it probably isn't worth it. Don’t expect much from your Commander, but you never know.

Power fist- Given the way combat goes these days it isn't as good a choice as it was. I would personally leave it at home, but again that’s only a personal opinion, every now and again it is just fun to punch something with a big metal fist.
                                    
The Good Captain could now see the mistake of charging forward.


3. Wargear and Options

3.1 Wargear


The company command squad has perhaps the widest access to wargear in the codex. The only unit that compares is the Veterans.

I will go through these in order...

The medic- A fun addition, but not an efficient way to save your guardsmen for long. The points would be better put towards a chimera, even if you just want to hide the squad behind it. Alternatively you could put the points towards...

Camo cloaks- Now this is slightly more valuable. With +1 to cover this makes the unit very hard to dig out of area terrain or even from behind an Aegis defence line. Buy an Aegis, Nuff Said.

Regimental standard- This is a great way to spend 15 points. The combat bonus is fine, but rarely makes a difference, but the ability to re-roll morale and pinning tests for squads nearby is brilliant.

Vox caster- An OK piece of kit, but generally overpriced for what it does. It’s generally believed that this choice would be a better fit if it extended the range of the orders being issued. This would fit slightly better with the fluff in my mind too. I wouldn't take this unless I really couldn't spend points on anything else.

Carapace Armour- With better armour save this can upgrade can boost a squad’s survivability; however I still think the camo cloaks are a better purchase. Good if you face lots of bolters in open gaming boards.

Krak grenades- These are worth the five points, especially given the changes to combat against a vehicle and the hull points rules.
                                
The Vox- Looks cool, that's it...


3.2 Transport Options

The CCS can take a dedicated transport in the form of a chimera. I would generally include a chimera when taking a more aggressive melta CCS or one that I want to keep pressing forward. The ability to issue orders from within and keep the infantry firing whilst protected from small arms fire is invaluable.

It is also possible to mount the CCS in a vendetta. I would generally stay away from this as it limits the squad’s ability to influence the game with orders. I would rather save the vendetta for small squads of troop units that can score.

                                    
I was built for fightin' not walkin'!

Well that is it for part 1. As always let e know what you think. Have I missed anything? Is there anything you would do differently? Thanks for reading; I am looking forward to your comments below.

8 comments:

  1. A very good review of the Company Commander. These days I tend to have a basic HQ with a banner and at a push the master of ordinance if the game is large enough that he will actually hit something.

    It sure can be a points sink if you add a few advisors, body guards, special weapons etc and the problem then is frequently the HQ doesn't get stuck in nearly often enough to make it worthwhile.

    I've never considered the Heavy weapon before but you are quite right, could be a good lascannon sniper with the order too. Chuck it all in a chimera with master of ordinance too, give the order fire lascannon out the hatch twin linked and a twin linked ordinance template with a re roll. All for 155pts not bad I reckon...

    I think I might try that out in my next game.

    Alternatively get the squad an autocannon and sit it behind an aegis with a quadgun with camo cloaks and unleash 6 shots with re-rolls per turn!

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  2. Good, thorough insight. Enjoyd reading it, thanks

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  3. How did I miss this?

    I need to dedicate some proper time to reading this now.

    And the whole series.

    This is perfect for getting me into the swing of 6th Ed Guard again when my forcer hiaitus since September eventually ends!

    Thanks, mate.

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  4. Great stuff!

    For 18 months or more I rolled with a CCS packing nothing but 4 sniper rifles...as (a) they tended to stay static and (b) they always needed LoS to targets to make orders work it seemed like a great plan - especially when coupled with the boss's own orders.

    In reality, they were only useful in about 3 games. They were great when they worked, but they were never as static as I needed them to be.

    Especially in the (friendly) tournament wherein I put them all in a chimera. Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    Col Gravis on the other hand? Now THERE's a guy who knows how to use a CCS. I think is normal load-out is banner, commissar, special weapon and heavy weapon...and boy is that an effective combo for his infantry!

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  5. Im thinking about equipping mine with 2 lascannon teams and master of ordinance for their rerolls, and then adding a standard and a vox operator. All within a chimera behind an ADL. The only thing im worried about is that if my metal box explodes, I'll have 2 - 3 unsaved wounds and every one of my models are too important to automatically pick off the board. Im considering adding bodyguards, but they are worse in 6th due to the FAQ, they are expensive, and im haveing a real hard time finding the extra 15 points.

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    Replies
    1. The Company command squad can only field one heavy weapons team at a time, so that would free up two of your men as cannon fodder. The master of ordinance can be handy.

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    2. oh ya. Your right about that. Im new too guard and just starting to put together a list. On page 29 it says that orders cannot be issued to squads that are embarked in a transport vehicle. And the listing on a chimera says that i can issue orders out of a Chimera, but doesn't say anything about receiving orders from inside a chimera. So I assume to mean that it would be illegal for my command squad to issue orders to itself when when inside of a Chimera. Is this correct? I couldn't find anything about it in the FAQs

      What Im Thinking now is to take Sergeant Kell and have my command squad give orders to a pair of Heavy Weapons Squads with lascannons (sense Heavy weapons squads cant take vox casters for some reason.) The heavy weapons squads and chimera will hide behind an ADL for protection with a 10 man infantry squad operating the TL quad gun. Should make for a cheap little fire base. Kell is 55 points more expensive then taking a banner and 3 vox casters, and does the same thing. Additionally, it adds one more model to the squad and gets rid of the need for a vox canster and a standard bearer, giving the squad more derps to absorb wounds when the chimera blows up.

      I could take Creed too, but i don't want to invest that heavily on infantry for it to be worth it.

      I'll still take the master of ordinance and just accept that its not twin linked, and I can still fire a BS4 lascannon and/or snipers down range.

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    3. Hi, Anon.

      Great to see yournascent love for the Guard!

      A couple of things: the rule on p29 takes precedence over the chimera rule simply as the chimera rule *doesn't* specify that occupants can receive orders.

      Also, take care to remember when issuing shooting orders that the Officer and the receiving unit must both have line of sight to the potential target - it's an easy one to forget!

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