So I got the book set (it comes in two-Fluff/Rules) and got a chance to look over the rules for the imperial guard formations and detachments. There is a lot of good stuff in here and first I will go over the formations separately, then next post I will go over the detachment and Cadian special rules. The actual detachment is ok, its hampered by a few things that I will go over in that post but there is a lot of good in there too.
The book has the rules for all the baneblade variants minus the plasma, which is nice but since they are already in a lot of different places, you might already have them and nothing has changed for them. The first two play in to each other. To be clear all of the following are formations and can be used like any other, when it comes to the detachment later, other rules come into play.
The Emperor's Shield Infantry Platoon is the first formation. You get one infantry platoon, it must take 5 infantry squads. Some are trying to say that since the boxed set has other squads in it, you should be able to take other squads in a platoon to fill your max 5 instead of only infantry squads. Sorry the rule is clearly written, unlike normal gw, and a boxed set is just that, a boxed set. If it comes with rules in the box then sure, use it. But otherwise don't make rules up just because its convenient. The platoon also must take 1 scout or armored sentinel squadron and can take up to three. Special rules wise they have Forward Recon giving move through cover to infantry squads within 9" of a sentinel. Marching Drill gives the Platoon Leader a special order Forward and Advance, this allows the unit to fire and count as stationary even if it moved. This formation works best as a blob with heavy weapons advancing forward through cover, using sentinels to give supporting fire. Here scout sentinels are best as you want cheap support and not spend too many pts on the unit. Its solid, not amazing. Having to take 5 infantry squads though is a steep restriction as you will see with the next formation. Also, the squads cannot take dedicated transports(though nothing stops them from embarking once a game starts).
The Emperor's Shield Infantry Company is the above platoon rinse and repeat. You take one Company Command Squad and 3 Emperor's Shield Platoons, so you got 150+ guardsmen and 3+ sentinels. It is clunky, but not bad in and of itself. The CCS has the punishing fusillade which allows it to issues the First rank fire order to any number of units in the company at the same time, it counts as a single order and one test is made on the highest leadership. They must all shoot at the same target. So if a unit is in close range thats up to 450 lasgun shots, yes 450. Good luck rolling that. Plus the CCS can still issue another order (or more depending). So this really isn't meant for firing all the squads or blobs at one target, but if you got a green tide in front of you, its quite perfect for that. The issue is one of pts here, and models I guess (you don't have 150+ guardsmen?!!). So the bare bones no upgrades version is going to cost you 1005pts, yikes. Again, this is all on its lonesome with no upgrades. So a 1850 army is going to add up quick once you start upgrading. I would keep the sentinels stock scout sentinels for pts sake, spend upgrades on heavy weapons and leadership buffing items. Later I will go over the Cadia specific items that make this a very usable formation.
Tactics for this is board control, bodies hold objectives. Screen with the sentinels to keep units from approaching too close too early to your platoons. Objective placement is absolutely critical for this formation, you need to have enough that you can get on em and lock them down. Then hold on for dear life and tarpit weak cc units with sentinels. Also don't completely blob up, this formation doesn't have commissars or priests to hold you fast, so keep somewhere around 4-5 squads separate (one platoon or divide it amongst the platoons) to keep it flexible and prevent a mass route situation. Use them to also charge forward and act as road bumps to keep the blobs alive longer on objectives. You will still have room for other units, in your army so complement it with either fast units or tough armor or artillery to support it.
Next is one I like a lot, more for cool than being super good. The Emperors Talon Recon Company. Why hello sentinels. This is 2-4 scout or armored sentinel squads in any combination, but all the squadrons taken must have 3 models. But you should really take armored and here is why, the whole formation has out flank! Yes, get those armored sentinels where they need to be. They have dedicated hunters, pick an enemy unit at the start of the game, all units in the Recon Company have preferred enemy against that unit for the rest of the game. Also one sentinel is nominated as the Command Sentinel, it gains the character type and can issue Take Aim (Precision Shots), Forwards for the Emperor (Shoot then Run) or Move Move Move (3D6 for run, take highest). Units count as Ld8 for passing the order. So its only one order and forwards is the best, as it doesn't hurt your shooting and you get extra movement. Move is good, but why lose shooting when you don't have too, only use it when the run move is absolutely critical like getting on an objective to contest, and precision shots are not bad but situational, so use it when it makes sense. Loadout wise, again remember they are BS3, so single shot weapons are very luck based, go with MLs, Autocannons, or Plasma Cannons. Best part here is outflanking sentinel squadrons. Also you do not roll for the formation at once, so each squadron comes in separately and can come on differently, which has pluses and minuses, but its nice to have flexibility and not have to have them come on all on one flank. Not a must take but really boosts armored sentinels.
Emperors Blade Assualt company, this one is a decent foil to the infantry company, if you can fit it in. It is a CCS, 3 Vet squads, and 1-3 hellhound squadrons. All the infantry units must take dedicated transports. So this adds up fast. The special rules are clear the area, units have preferred enemy against enemy units within 6" of an objective. All the infantry, including CCS, have objective secured. Again at minimum its 515, so with the infantry co its 1730 pts. About a 100 pts of upgrades is not much at all, but you can do it. This is a good formation to take to fill gaps as it gives you a mobile objective taking/clearing force, use the hellhounds - they get preferred enemy too - to clear off objectives and send the vets in to mop up and secure the area. Its a good focused force with no hangers on, it does what it means to do well, and doesn't try anything else. Build it with objective clearing in mind, heavy flamers, meltas etc. Standard hell hounds or bane wolfs will do great. You can also build this for monster or tank hunting by taking it with devil dogs and plasma in the vets. Its more spendy, but it will be effective. Its a mobile task force that brings good firepower with nice buffs.
Now we get to some of the really good formations. The Emperors Wrath Artillery Company. You must take 1 CCS in a dedicated transport (chimera, you'll see why), 2 units chosen from - Basilisk, Hydra, or Wyvern Battery, 1 unit of either Manticore or Deathstrike, and 1-3 Enginseers. Special Rules are artillery command, the company commander can issues Smite at Will (split fire), Suppressive Fire (pinning), and Fire on my Target (ignores cover) to units of vehicles from this formation. Vehicles count as Ld8 for tests. The other rule is target sighted, once per turn in your shooting phase one friendly model equiped with vox can nominate and enemy unit within 18" and in line of sight, all models in the formation have twin linked till end of phase when firing at that unit. Oh my this is good. Welcome back basilisks, I have missed you. Now first off, don't waste this formation with wyverns, they already are twin linked and ignore cover, pinning is nice, but other arty is just as good for this. This makes Basilisks so much better, and helps manticores a ton too. Also, don't forget Power of the Machine spirit with the Enginseer/s. Two basilisk batteries and a manticore can now rain down death on heavy armored foes, ignore cover, possibly twin linked, or split fire, or pin units advancing. Also this makes hydras good as well, giving ignores cover to hydras brings them back to their former glory, and you will swat fighters and skimmers out of the sky. And with the CCS issuing two orders, you have great opportunity to really put hurt on your enemies. This formation is also great as its plug and play. Build the rest of your army as you want and slap the arty on to give extra punch. I hope guard players make good use of this formation.
The Emperors Fist Armored company is the next awesome one. Now many are familiar with the Steel Host, well it has serious competition now. The company has a tank commander squadron and 3 leman russ squadrons and 1-3 enginseers. Special rules are where this gets good, battlefield doctrines if a tank from this formation is within 6" of an enginseer and suffers a pen hit, your opponent rolls two d6 on the table, and discards the highest roll. So this means one shotting a leman russ is going to be that much harder, as in most cases he will have to roll two 6s to guarantee a kill. Formation leader, any leman russ within 12" of the tank commander has BS4. Oh yes this is good. A leman russ is big, so keeping the tanks within 12" is not hard at all. Steel Phalanx, if a unit is tank shocked or rammed by more than one vehicle(not unit) from this formation in the same turn, subtract 1 from its leadership test or for the ram add 1 to the strength of the ram for each vehicle after the first. Situational but good, especially the ram, and tank shock is a great way to move fearless units off of an objective. Now this formation is not out right better than the Steel Host, steel host is better for the executioner tank, but for punishers and any of the blast tanks, this is better. It also shines really good for using vanquisher tanks, the Anti tank leman russ. Being BS 4 means that even a minimum unit of this with vanquishers will devastate armor and vehicles, and even MCs with the number of lascannon and V-Cannon shots heading their way. Also you still have tank orders and PoTMS from the enginseers. Two enginseers are probably the sweet spot, but 1 is fine as well.
Next is a poo poo formation, the Ogryn Auxilla. 1 Commissar, 2 units of Ogryns, 2 units of Bullgryns, thats 575 pts for only 6 Ogryns and 6 Bullgryns, and commissar, so not a lot of models for the pts, but its not terribly cost prohibitive. They have ground-shaking charge, if a unit is charged by a unit of Og/Bullgryns that has already been charged by one this phase, the hammer of wraths are resolved at S7. Thats kinda nice. Units that are within 12" of the commissar are fearless. So they are at least playable. I am just not feeling it, the Shield Rampart Formation from the red waagh is just plain better, its cheaper for one and they are fearless all the time, no commissar that can die and then they have shit leadership. Yeah you get Ogryns instead of just bullgryns, but thats not really that amazing. I would have to really play this formation and see if its worth it, initial thoughts are meh.
Psykana division is next, and its not bad. 1 Primaris Psyker, 3 units of Wyrdvane Psykers, and 1-3 commissars. Empyric link, the Primaris Psyker knows any power known by the wyrdvane psykers from the same division while within 12" of each other, in addition add 1 to the Primaris Psykers mastery level from every 5 wyrdvane psykers within 12" at the start of the phase, does not grant additional powers, just counts for number of warp charges. Encouraging presence, a unit of wyrdvane psykers joined by a commissar harness warp charges on a 2+. However if they fail a psychic test, one model is removed as a casualty, and if it suffers a perils of the warp, one is also removed and you do not roll on the perils table. So a nice risk and reward, I think this is a solid formation that gives people a reason to take wyrdvane psykers. And they are cheap so this is a formation that won't set you back a whole ton and can add quite a bit of warp charges to your pool.
Next is the Emperors Spear Aerial Company. 3 units of any combination of vendettas or valkyries. They have formation flight, which means if a reserve roll is successful for one of the squadrons, all the remaining that have not rolled can come in. They don't have too though, so you can hold them back if you want to. So basically if the first squadron fails its reserve roll, and the second passes, the second and third squadron come in but the first stays in reserve. If you failed both the first and second, then only the 3rd comes in. Low Altitude Drop, at the start of your movement phase you may declare that a unit (or all) is enacting a low altitude drop. If so, it cannot jink till your next movement phase and must take a difficult terrain test for any terrain they pass over that is taller than 3" (pretty much everything). However units that disembark using grav chute insertion do not scatter. Very nice, especially for not Scion units, though they benefit too. This is another great formation that has tons of uses. Be careful when declaring a drop though, you may need that jink.
Last is the Super Heavy company. 3 Baneblade variants and an Enginseer. Enginseer adds 2 to his repair roll on vehicles in this formation, devastating bombardment if a unit is hit by 3 or more primary weapons from this formation, it takes a morale check on 4D6. Ground Shakes, it is difficult terrain for enemy units within 12" of two or more of the super heavies. Its cool, but since not going to be a common formation, not going to go into details here.
So that covers the formations themselves. Next I will go over how to do a Cadian Detachment and the Cadian Battle Group/decurion style detachment. There are some Heirlooms that make formations like the infantry company really good and also buff tank companies really well. Stay tuned for more.