Friday, February 14, 2014

Imperial Guard Tactics: Chimera

Back to some tactics.  There have been some more Knight rumors and IG rumors, check them out here and here.  I will wait a little as I have already put my thoughts in and want to see what comes out the next few days.  I will say I am happy, I actually made it onto BoLS, they referenced me in an article, so I am feeling a little happy about that, not really expecting it.  Guess I am going more mainstream, who knows trolls may start appearing.  So today, before I head off to valentines stuff, I am going to do a quick run through on the Chimera.  I talked about them in relation to infantry squads earlier so check out the tactica on the right.   This will be focused on the Chimera itself and less on the troops they carry.

So the Chimera, the humble transport of the imperial guard.  In terms of dedicated transports, its middle of the road.  Its not the cheapest, its not the toughest, its not the fastest, its not the most shooty.  Its just a nice, decently armored, decently shooty, transport.   It cost 5 more points than an infantry squad, thats 20 more than a rhino.  For that you have a BS3 3HP AV12 10 10 vehicle with a multi laser, heavy bolter, searchlight, and smoke launchers.  It is amphibious which is pretty self explanatory, it can float.  It also is a mobile command vehicle meaning a command squad inside can issue orders and measures from the base of the hull.  The other big thing is that it can have 5 models fire from the top hatch.  This is what made the ole melta vets so deadly in 5th.

The Chimera can replace its ML with a heavy bolter or heavy flamer for free and can exchange its hull heavy bolter for heavy flamer for free as well.  It can take a pintle storm bolter or H Stubber, HK missile, dozer blade, extra armor and camo netting.  Of these, the dozer is going to generally be the most useful as when you do fail that dangerous terrain test, that re-roll matters a lot.  Granted you are paying for that one time, but it can be the time that makes the difference.  Camo netting can work well, but only if you are building your army to hide behind cover most of the game before moving out to grab objectives.  Its not bad but gets expensive fast and against some armies it will get little use.  HK missiles can work, but only in mass quantity.  But here is the thing, you only have 50/50 chance of even hitting.  So you have to spend 20pts to get a single hit, so of those HKs, half are wasted right off the bat.  I would stay away, HKs work in squadrons that you can prescience to give you TL.  But on individual chimeras it doesn't quite fit.

Now for the main weapons.  This really depends on what you are looking to have your chimera do.  I like the standard load out, the ML S6 means you can threaten MCs, Medium to light vehicles and the HB gives you AP4 to hurt the filthy xenos.  I do also like symmetry, so two HBs are a good choice, its certainly more focused.  This lessens what you can hurt but does mean you are going to do more damage to medium infantry with 6 S5 AP4 shots.  You are less capable of hurting vehicles but the damage to you do to infantry is more likely to kill them.  So if you are looking for anti-infantry grab two HBs and sit back and blast away.  You will be surprised how much three chimeras can take out.  Now if you are going to be running up at your opponent or getting close, the heavy flamers are a great choice.  Its a way to get a cheap mans hellhound.  Two heavy flamers are not bad at all. Don't forget that one is on a turret so use maneuver wisely to maximize the hull HF and then turn the turret to get another part of the unit.  This will work best against large units and in combination with tank shock.

So when it comes to weapons, really think about how you are going to be using your Chimeras and what role the infantry they are carrying are going to be doing.  If you are getting close, a HF is a good choice.  If not the standard load out or double HBs is a good choice.  Now if you are going full mech, then it is a good idea to have so different load outs so you can deal with different threats.  Chimeras are effective tanks but you really have to watch your movement as your side armor is 10 so it can be really easy to get a kill shot one them.  A couple of the heavy flamer ones can keep your flanks secure.

It is always key to make sure that the chimera supplements/supports the squad it is carrying.  It really isn't helpful to have close range weapons when the squad inside has a lot of long rand shooting.  It also is not effective to have long range shooting on the chimera with close range weapons on the squad.  There are exceptions so don't think this is a set in stone rule, more of a rule of thumb you should follow, and if you are departing from it, know your reason why.

Now Leman russes cannot keep up with chimeras so you lose some of their former protection in using russes to protect side armor.  You can do this if you are keeping them back, but as soon as you move out, you will be exposed.  Hellhounds are a chimera's best friend.  Throwing them on the flanks gives your side some good protection and you have a dedicated fire support unit that can keep up and keep shooting.  When taking them, think of how they can supplement the squads and chimera's themselves, try and make up for a weakness the squads and chimera's have. If you are lacking anti tank then the devil dog is a good choice.

Chimera's do need to be protected early on and use terrain to protect flanks and block LoS and give cover.  First few turns you use them to weather the incoming fire till you have weakened your opponent enough to move out and take the objectives.  Now when you get to objectives you are often going to have to fight over it.  Once your guys are out, tank shock.  Disembark first, then use your chimeras as a sweeper and push your opponent off the objectives.  They are going to have to deal with them and its going to buy your squad another turn of freedom.  If you are lucky you can do some damage and force them to break, worst case you lose an expendable chimera.  Always remember that they are expendable in the end.

Now speaking of tank shock, this is an underutilized tactic and is something to really use to your advantage against tough to kill units.  This works best against smaller units that are really tough to kill.  What you do is use terrain and units to block a unit in.  Use other vehicles and troops to give the enemy unit nowhere to go, as long as they don't have 1" from any of your models, they cannon pass.  Once they are hemmed in, tank shock with your chimera.  If you are lucky they fail their morale and die (as since they cannot escape they are removed as casualties), if you are really unlucky they kill your chimera.  Mitigate this by not tank shocking a unit with a good anti tank weapons.

This is harder to pull off but I have used this to run over SM bike squads and it can be a way to deal with pesky stars with rerollable invul saves but not great anti tank weapons.   Just something to remember and keep in your tool kit.

Overall the chimera is a pretty darn good transport.  Its by no means amazing, but it has some good weapon options and is cheap enough to still take a good number of them.  They give you mobility and work as great disposable battering rams when you need them.  They do need support though with weak rear and side armor so pay attention to your movement and what other units you have to protect their sides and rear.   Fortifications and terrain is the chimera's best friend giving them nice things to hide behind till they are needed.  Its also good to protect their sides and only have the front armor showing.  Don't be afraid to throw them away though, they need protecting early on,but once they have delivered their squads they are expendable to keep those squads alive and taking objectives.

I hope the new codex will allow autcannons like the FW one, prob not but I can hope.   Im not sure if they should be cheaper or not, they are fine as they are in points, but maybe need some rules tweaks.  Don't expect too much love on them though, Melta vets are still in living memory so expect something to nerf that.  Most likely less models being able to shoot or restricting it to lasguns only minus one out the hatch.  Will be interesting to see.

Ok well I hope this is helpful and please feel free to send questions my way or leave comments of tactics that have worked for you.



  1. Well written article, just two small points:
    1. Double flamer doesn't make sense. If you move, one weapon can fire, one can only make snapshots. So unless your opponent comes to you, you can only fire one of 2, making the combo pretty worthless.

    2. Tank shocks are awesome, I agree.
    Fun point though, there's nothing written against tank shocking AND shooting, both the vehicle and the passengers. In 6th ed. it counts as a special movement and has no further shooting restrictions, only ramming reduces the vehicle to snapshots.
    So you don't need to disembark (unless you want to box them in), you can fire anyway unless you shock more than 6".

    As for the boxing in, the RAW state that the opponent has to move those MODELS where the tank will stand, not the ones outside the parking space. In a strict way, the last model should not be run over, as the whole unit would have to move from under the tank to the nearest open space, escaping the box. If one model is left, the others would have to stay in coherency with it or are removed, so they can't escape to the other side of the tank.

    Another fun use is stormtroopers/AlRahem outflanking chimeras.
    A poor man's hellhound, showing up in the opponent's backfield in packs of up to half a dozen, filled with cheap scoring bodies.
    Especially fun against Tau, all those drones, firewarriors and pathfinders getting flamered in one or two rounds. Who cares about one or two interceptor units, as it's your movement phase you decide the armor facing, cover and LOS, and there are no markerlights available, so they waste firepower to potentially save a few bodies.

    1. Blah, forgot about that, I still think of 5th ed rules for vehicles from time to time. So yeah only one HF is really useful unless you don't move.

      That is true, I guess I have only used it on small units where I can cover the whole unit with the vehicle. I will re read tank shock again too make sure I'm not missing anything. In the age of premeasure you have no reason of not getting everyone under as long as you have movement range and other units to block them in.

    2. cant stormtroop AlRaheim since only his infantry platoon follows him in. just saying.

    3. storm troopers can out flank, just saying

  2. First, thanks muchly for the tactica, I really appreciate having this sort of guidance from someone who knows what they're doing with Guard. I'm still at the point where I can't believe they don't have 3+ saves!

    Second, thanks MajorNese for that info and notion. I'd seriously been considering Al'rahem already, but with an infantry blob.

    Question if I may. Have you found if there's an optimal number of chimeras? I have 3 myself, plus 2 hellhounds and enough leman russ to keep my happy for years. Given they're armour 12 at most, do chimeras need to be fielded in greater numbers than this, do you think?

    1. I do. You need 5+ to really be effective as Chimeras are not that tough and 3 will really not last. Now if you have a lot of LRs then you can use them to hide the chimeras behind, but then you are dangerously low on troops. Better to go with more troops and less russes, until the new rules come and we see what changes there are.

    2. If you consider AlRahem, here's my favorite loadout:
      His PCS gets a chimera, they die too easily without one.
      Additionally the chimera's heavy flamer can clear targets 14" from the board edge (6" movement, 8" template).
      They get 3x plasma gun and a vox, so they can unleash 7 shots plasma at 12" (18" from board side when moving), and "Bring it down" makes them more effective.

      As for who accompanies them, I usually take a 30 man blob, 3x plasma, and another vox.
      That means 27 ablative wounds for the plasma gunners, few people have enough firepower around to down all of them before losing their valuable units.
      The vox ensures they do what they're told, Bring it down and First Rank Second Rank gives enough firepower against tank/infantry.

      If I have spare models and points, I sometimes add 2 squads with chimeras, giving more heavy flamers, a steel wall to protect each other's side armor, and even more scoring bodies on tracks.
      Chimeras on their own are not the hardest, but flanking gives you the area of choice and first strike, reducing the opponent's possibilities to react.

      A must have at such a list is an astropath.
      The whole point of AlRahem is to get his guys to where they can strike the hardest, and arriving too late or at the wrong flank could weaken this approach a lot.

      If done right, this is awesome and a lot of fun.
      Either the opponent castles up in the center, or you can strike wherever you want, and concentrate your forces where you want, giving your units few opponents to handle at a time.
      Even the almighty Tau don't like someone to steamroll through the backside of their castle, as everything (up to single riptides) dies easily to massed, order-augmented flashlights at rapid fire range.

  3. Very informative, I'm more of a painter than a player so I appreciate all the tips I can get. As far as what the new IG codex has in store for the Chimera, I would expect that since the Chimera didn't change in the Inquisition Codex that we can expect the same old Chimera.

    1. Only caveat to that is the Digital editions stated the Inquisition was done in a way that it could be updated and changed as the parent codexs those units came from changed. So don't be suprised if Inq is the one that is changed later on to keep up to date

  4. Hi, im sorta new to 6th edition and was wondering about a tatic a mate of mine suggested to do... his understanding of the rules for heavy weapon team is that they count as one model, so if u put 3 heavy weapon teams in a chimera then they all could fire out the top with their lascannons with relative safety of a chimera. i do understand that if this is possible that the chimera would need to be stationary for the lascannons to shoot which would be bad if any CC units are near by. so soming all this up, can heavy weapon teams use firing points and if so how many can use the firing points?

    1. Yes they can, the rules states that up to 5 MODELS can shoot out the top, heavy weapon teams are a single model and count to this. So you can do this and it is a good way to protect teams. Note they cannot start the game in a Chimera as its a dedicated transport and only the squad that purchased it can start in it. The squad will have to start on the board and embark on the chimera turn 1, so you will have less effectiveness first turn, but they will be safer int he chimera

  5. Try mounting Veterans onboard as a mobile reserve. As for weapons, I love Auto Cannons and TL Heavy Bolters