Monday, September 9, 2013

Imperial Guard Tactics: Air Support

My first Tactics post and what I want to cover is the air support staple of the Imperial Guard, the Valkyrie and Vendetta.  One is most definitely favored over the other, that being the vendetta.  However I disagree with some that like to talk down about the valkyrie.  I like both, however they each work well with different tactics and for different reasons.  Another part of why some hate on the valkyrie has more to do with the army list entries for each and not just because one has 3 twin linked lascannons, they are awesome though :).  One that confounds me and I hope is changed in the next codex is the option for the vendetta to swap two of its LCs for Hell Fury Missiles.  It is a great missile in my opinion, S4 AP5 large blast, ignores cover.  No its no baleflamer, but still could be very useful.  Here is the hitch though, only the vendetta can take them, why you would turn an excellent tank hunter into an ok infantry killer is beyond me but the option is there.  Having this weapon on the valkyrie instead of the Hellstrike missiles makes far more sense.  If the valkyrie started with the HF base and the vendetta started with the HS base then that would be more sensible.  Each would start out with basic one shot weapons that fitted their roles, and then could be upgraded if desires i.e. TW LC for the vendetta and MRP for the valkyrie (plus this would make some happy by making the vendetta pay a little more for its LCs).  But this isn't the case.  One more gripe before moving on, why the hell is the HS ordnance, that makes it so worthless its not even funny.  This is another reason I think some hate on the valk, you have to upgrade it to make it useful, whereas the ven is good to go.

So first there is the vendetta, the crowd favorite, and it is not hard to see why.  It has three twin linked Lascannons, can transport 12 models, drop them even if it is zooming,  hover, and all for a measly 130 points.  Whats not to like.  It is however a flyer that has a specialized role, which it excels at, and that is tank, monstrous creature, and flyer hunting.  You can give it heavy bolter sponsons, but at that point you might as well spend the points somewhere else in your army.  You don't need to spend points on your vendetta, don't.  Now how you use them is just as important as the points you spend.  Everything in your army fulfills a purpose and does a job that you need doing.  If your army is already loaded out with tank hunters and anti-air, then what are you bringing them for.  If its for redundancy and the maneuverability and transport that is fine.  Simply bringing them because they are awesome is not reason enough.  Nine vendettas would be sweet and so cheese, but then you are sacrificing a huge portion of your army just for some mobile lascannons.  If you can do the same job cheaper and just as well, then that is your answer.

When it comes to employing my vendettas, I have found quite a few tactics that work very well, depending on army size.  Pairs of vendettas are the most effective I have found, because it allows them to arrive en mass instead of piece meal and with enough fire power to knock out most targets in one go and not be over kill and wasting shots.  It also allows flexibility to move your troops without forcing too many into one location.  Two pairs of vendettas are just plain mean and are brutally effective at knocking out your opponents lovely tanks, MCs, and flyers.  When coming in have each squadron start in opposite corners moving across the board diagonally, this will ensure that you will have targets on their side or rear most of the time.  Have them crisscross across the board and you will force your opponent to split is fire trying to deal with multiple flyers from different directions or leave one alone unmolested.  Again this also maximizes your chances of getting non frontal arc shots on vehicles.  Note that if you don't have the models for this or think its too cheese, two separate vendettas can accomplish this nicely, while being more fragile however.   Whether you take troops is dependent on your tactics and play style.  I have two veteran squads inside, allowing me maneuverable scoring and enough bodies to hold part of the board, especially being support by the vendettas themselves.  This works very well when hunting transports, the vendettas pop the trans, and the guardsmen finish off whats inside.  The choice to go to hover mode is yours, and if you are using them with troops inside can be effective, just make sure the opponents  anti-tank and flyer is knocked out before you do so.  And sometimes you must risk all to gain all, if you need to score objectives then in the end the vendettas are expendable, if you don't have that mindset you are wrong.  It will hurt when they die, but winning definitely makes up for it.  Another tactic that I use with my army is Creed's tactical genius to gain outflank for them.  This works extremely well combined with troops inside, as well as allowing you to get your vendettas into your opponents rear where they can do the most damage.  In the end the vendetta is great at what it does, but only at that.  As long as you don't forget that, you will have little trouble succeeding with it.

Now for the Valkyrie.  It may not get as much love, but I do like it and it works well in a few specfic roles.  Namely as a transport.  Kitted out with Multiple Rocket Pods and Heavy Bolters it packs quite an anti-infantry punch.  These work best in pairs, with infantry inside to take objectives or accomplish a critical mission during the game.  While the strength and ap of the MRPs are nothing too spectacular, four large blasts are nothing to sneeze at either and as the saying goes, nice 2+ armor save, make that 20 more times.  The sheer number of wounds the valkyrie can cause is where its strength lies.  And the valkyries are the bait, not the troops.  They zoom to the objective or critical point you need, next turn drop into hover and disembark their squads and make a big ruckas blasting the biggest threat to your infantry.  The key is to support the infantry you dropped off, either by prepping the objective you want them to take, or causing as much wounds on the target you want them to kill/unit that will prevent your infantry from killing said target.  And you have to be ok with letting the valkyries die, they are there to be big and noisy and attract as much shots so your infantry can complete their objective as unmolested as possible.  This tactic plays to the valkyrie's strength of being an excellent transport with lots of shooty.  However they have nothing really special when it comes to shooting so losing them is not so critical, they are there to get your guys into the fight and support them with as many pie plates as possible.  They may not be as favored as vendettas but they still have a role and are very good at that when used correctly.  The aforementioned outflank with creed can be just as effective as with vendettas.  When choosing it comes down to what you want to use them for.

In the end, both are excellent fliers.  each provides a role and is good when they do not stray from their strengths.  With valkyries being more suited as a transport, it is important to ensure that you plan not only how you are going to use the valkyrie, but the squad that is inside it as well and how they can support each other.  Vendettas make great hunter killers and one of the best air killers, and used properly will own the skies.  When deciding which, if any, to take, make sure you know what your army needs and how each unit will meet your needs in balance with your whole army.  Or just get them cause they're fluffy, thats always good too.  I hope that if you are reading this you find some information useful and feel free to ask me a question on more specific tactics for each unit.


No comments:

Post a Comment