Thursday, 20 June 2013

Imperial Guard Artillery: A.K.A. That's a lot of templates.

Artillery. What a sweet word. Conjuring images of bouncing bunnies, flowering fields and bubbling brooks all exploding into showers of mulicoloured debris. Today I'd like to talk about some of the artillery pieces available to you as an Imperial Guard player, and why you can always find room to fit one in.

While the Imperial Guard has access to a plethora of armoured vehicles it's really the artillery that tends to make it's mark in most games. The assortment of barrage weapons available means that there's almost always an artillery piece for every occasion, without having to spend hundreds of points you could be using elsewhere.

In this post I'll run through the artillery vehicles from lowest points to highest and explain where their weapons might best be used. I'll also try and list some useful common upgrades and finish with a small paragraph about why allying in a Divnation Psyker can help you perform just that little bit better.

But first things first, a word on using artillery. There are a couple of things to remember when using IG artillery, the first of which is that 4/6 of the available vehicles are open-topped. While this is undoubtedly extremely annoying considering they're mounted on a 12 10 10 Chimera chassis it is easily resolved by remembering the second point: 5/6 of the artillery weapons are Barrage. This means that you can comfortably sit your fragile artillery behind a large terrain piece and lob shells at your enemy without fear of retaliation. And while firing directly is nice, you really don't want to expose your potentially game-changing cannon to a volley of enemy fire for 3" of reduction from your scatter roll. That sort of thing is both pointless and stupid.

If you're worried about not being able to place your artillery out of sight then there's a simple 15 point upgrade to render them normal vehicles again, and if you pay a further 30 points you can improve your cover save by a point with Camo Netting. While it's an expensive combo, it can often be worth it when you're running the risk of being destroyed by fire warriors or boltguns. Another useful upgrade for your artillery pieces is just the simple heavy flamer. Useful as a deterrent for Outflanking or Deep Striking units, it also bears consideration that since 5/6 of the artillery weapons are ordnance, there'd be very few occasions in which you wouldn't be firing the damn thing as snap shots. IF you had line of sight at all. As far as upgrades go this one will do you more good than harm, and it's totally free.

Don't go forgetting that ALL Barrage weapons count as Pinning too. It may not happen very often with the array of high Leadership armies that are most commonly used, but when it does it can change a game.

Also just quickly on the ranges that are to follow. Most of these artillery pieces have both a 'minimum' and a 'maximum' range on their weapons. The rules used to mean you could not fire within what's called the 'minimum range', so the first range value displayed below. However the barrage rules as they stand now mean that you CAN fire within that range, but you MUST fire indirectly, so no BS point reduction on the scatter roll. The maximum range is treated exactly as you would the range on any other weapon, you cannot fire further than that.

Oh also keep in mind the first FOUR of these vehicles can be taken in squadrons of up to three of any combination.

Now on to the Vehicles themselves:

Griffon 75

 Griffon Heavy Mortar: 12"-48"

The first and cheapest of the artillery options, the Griffon really makes it's prescence felt in smaller points games. Having much more mobile armies at 1000 points backed up by 3 of these bad boys means you have some very decent killing power for only 225 points. S6 AP4 Ordnance means light vehicles and most troops will have a hard time, and the large blast gives you plenty of coverage. The other consideration with this vehicle is that it has the special rule 'Accurate Bombardment', giving you automatic rerolls on the scatter dice should you wish, which isn't a bad thing at all. All in all it's not the best option you can take, but if you have the points and need something cheap and effective the Griffon is for you.



Basilisk 125

Earthshaker Cannon: 36"-240"

The quitessential field artillery piece, the Basilisk is a gun to make any commander proud. While designed for much larger games (hence the obscene range) these guys are a very decent option for only 125 points. S9 AP3 means no Marine is safe, and Ordnance leaves you in a very good position to pen even those pesky Land Raiders. It's a pretty generic large blast gun, useful for filling a number of roles, however that is both it's strength and weakness, there are better options for more specific situations.



Medusa 135

Medusa Siege Cannon: 36"

Bastion Breacher Shells: 48"

The Medusa is the only vehicle in this section that actually needs a direct line of sight, and in this instance an Enclosed Crew Compartment comes in handy. Basically a 36" Demolisher cannon, the Medusa can be very handy indeed against armour lists, where that penetrating power helps. You may have noticed the separate profile for 'Bastion Breacher Shells'; this is not an automatic option. For 5 points you may replace the normal fire mode for what's arguably the most ridiculously OP vehicle killer in the game. S10 AP1 48" Blast, with 2D6 armour penetration means that Land Raider army you're trying to avoid, or that Fortress of Redemption list is positively screwed. While not ideal for all situations the Medusa really comes into it's own if you can keep it alive long enough to clear the board of enemy hardpoints. And considering its VERY low points for destructive potential it's my opinion that the Medusa is worth giving a chance at the very least.



Colossus 140

Colossus Siege Mortar: 24"-240"

My personal favourite artillery vehicle, the Colossus is possibly the most hated unit I own, only outshined occasionally by Marbo. It's very unassuming profile means unprepared opponents tend to ignore it, but it's a very capable unit regardless. S6 AP3 Ignores Cover large blast means you can drop a shell on that irritating 250 point unit of Sternguard and need 2+ to KILL.

Similarly, the new Wraithguard units lose all advantage against a weapon needing 4+ to kill (not that anyone willingly spends 36 points a model on such a stupid infantry choice). Venom spam getting you down? S6 Ordnance easily clears them away, no Jink saves allowed. Short of Hydra Flak Tanks, this is the next best thing for taking out low armour skimmers. If you get two or three turns of solid hits with this thing you'll have a very pissed off opponent, and a very good chance of winning.



Manticore Rocket Launcher 160

Storm Eagle Rockets: 24"-120"

I've been trying to resist the pull of the Manitcore for some time, and it's only been recently that I've given in to its irresistable lure. After watching Crazy424 lose his Commander, Ethereal and entire Broadside unit to just one shot from this thing it's been something that I've had to try for myself. While it can only fire 4 times in a game the Manticore can provide some very solid fire support against any infantry and even heavy vehicles. The high S10 offsets the relatively low AP4, as only one save needs to be failed to cause Instant Death on any number of special characters and elite units that rely on their 2+ or 3+ save. Adding to this the D3 multiple barrage (rolled for each time the Manticore fires) means that rather than getting just 5 hits on said elite unit, you could get 10, or 15 off a single shot. AV14 even trembles in the face of this weapon. If you score 3 hits with the multiple barrage the Ordnance rule will mean at least one will penetrate on average. All in all a badass artillery vehicle. The only real shame is that it can't be taken in a squadron.



Deathstrike Missile Launcher 160

The Deathstrike Missile: 12"-Unlimited

Now I've left this one until last because it's a funny little thing. The Deathstrike is toted as, and I quote out of the codex here: "... the ultimate Doomsday device in the Warhammer 40,000 game..." It may or may not be this in reality depending on how lucky you are, how stupid your opponent is and whether it even gets off in time. In true Doomsday device form the firing mechanism for the Deathstrike is elaborate and amusing. It's basically a countdown. Every turn the Deathstrike is on the board you roll a dice, if the result is a 6 the missile fires as normal. The following modifiers are applied to the roll however: 1+ for each turn the Deathstrike has been on the board, 1- for each Weapon Destroyed result the Deathstrike has taken, 1- for each Crew Stunned or Shaken result the Deathstrike has taken. As it is the only artillery vehicle with a 12 12 10 modified Chimera chassis this normally isn't too bad, meaning that you'll get it off with any luck by turn 3. Hopefully. Maybe.  Probably not.


Once you've got the shot off you resolve it with a marker, like you would any other barrage weapon. The difference is that once the final position has been determined you roll a D3, then you add 3". The good news is that 160 points buys you a S10 AP1 Ordance Ignores cover blast that has a DIAMETER of at least 8 inches. The maximum diameter you can achieve is 12", so everything within 6" of the marker takes that hit. This could be undoubtedly game winning, IF you managed to get it off, and managed to get it in the right position, and your opponent had left all their units quite close, and blah blah blah. As fun and unpredictable as this vehicle makes games of Apocalypse, it's realistically not worth your time in regular games of 40k.


Taking A Divination Psyker

I never thought this day would come. 

This is something I've only very recently decided to use. While it's a well known tactic, I haven't felt it's been necessary before now, however with the inclusion of the new Tau and Eldar codexes it's become clear that every shot must count. I've lost too many games because of a misplaced round at exactly the wrong time, and now it's time to bow to the inevitable. Since the Imperial Guard psyker cannot take the required discipline a Space Marine Librarian will suit your needs nicely, as most, if not all, of the Marine armies have access to Divination. All you want is the Primaris Power, Prescience that allows one unit rerolls to hit on their attacks. This means you get double the chances to score that much needed hit on the scatter dice. Leave the Librarian with your artillery, cast Prescience on your chosen vehicle (hopefully a Manticore) and watch your enemy slowly degenerate into this:

I hope you've enjoyed this quick tactical rundown of Imperial Guard artillery, I should be back again soon with some tips on running tanks, and some goodies involving the new Imperial Armour books.

Happy templates,


  1. Great article mate. It's actually quite scary how cheap and deadly IG artillery is. You have to donate a kidney to get something like that with SM.

  2. This is why you ally in some guardsmen, get the best of both worlds!

  3. Quad.......launchers........

  4. You're a quad launcher! Besides we'll try and keep these to non-FW, I'll get around to DK and Elysians in good time.

  5. You're wrong with the Deathstrike's blast radius it is D3 not 3x D6. Means the maximum blast radius could only be 6". This makes it even more useless

    1. Haha Chris you need to read the rules man. The roll is for our blast RADIUS, so that D3+3" is the distance from the centre of the 'blast'. That means a maximum DIAMETER (note my fancy math terms) of 12" from one side of the 'blast' to the other, and a minimum of 8".

      Where did I say 3x D6?

  6. Non-mechanized artillery is far more durable and far cheaper. You can also give them orders to make them twin-linked,ignore cover or even allow them to go to ground for 2+ behind an aegis line and if you combine this with DKK rules which mean they never take morale tests from being shot they're so much better that it renders this article completely obsolete. They are easy to proxy or convert with FOW minis, they all have 40,000 stamps and anywhere that has a blanket ban on FW is very out of date. And your maths is wrong.

    1. Remind us of which maths so we can fix it up.

    2. Thanks your your input anon, but like most casual players the general games I play omit FW rules and models, which renders your reply completely obsolete.

      As for everything else, please do feel free to state your opinion as you like, this is the internet after all.

  7. >>The only real shame is that it can't be taken in a squadron.<<

    It can just use the IA Vol I 2nd Edition


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