We have the option of an additional HQ, 4 more Troops choices, 3 Elites, 3 Fast Attack, 3 Heavy Support and a Fortification (no Lord of War due to tournament restrictions). I feel like the army has enough HQ and Troops, so it's time to add something more to it. I won't be looking at Fortifications as I don't own any and haven't looked at what the available options are.
There are several interesting options for Elites. I considered a unit of Ogryns or Bullgryns as their toughness and wounds make them a really good unit if they can capture the Relic. However, at 40/45 points a model, they aren't cost-effective enough in 1000 points. What I am using is 5 Ratlings. With Infiltrate as a deployment option and Sniper Rifles, they are really good for trying to presumptively take out small, elite units or Precision Shooting characters/weapons. They are really cheap as well at 10 points each.
Guard lack the speed that other armies have, so their Fast Attack options don't always keep pace with opposing ones. Also, as per the tournament restrictions, we aren't allowed flyers, so no Valkyries. So, another cheap and simple choice. A Scout Sentinel, upgraded to have an Autocannon. This can be put into Reserve and come on with Outflank to surprise the opponent and get angles on vehicle rear armour or tackle units camping at the backfield. It can also turn up late enough to score Line Breaker.
Rounding out the army is what the Guard are famed for; Heavy Artillery. We know what the ladies love ;)
Firstly, and famously, the Leman Russ Battle Tank. Armour 14 at the front, armed with a Battle Cannon, this tank is a lynchpin. Hopefully it's firepower can aid taking back the Relic should an opposing unit snatch it. To help with this, I'm upgrading the hull weapon to a Lascannon and adding sponson mounted Heavy Bolters.
To support this, a tank that is good at taking out opposing infantry, the Wyvern. It's Stormshard Mortars should punish any unit that picks up the Relic, or any unit chasing after the Relic if I have it.
So there it is. The army comes out to exactly 1000 points and weighs in at 84 models. How does it stack up against our mission objectives?
Mobility isn't a strong point of Guard, and the points didn't really allow transports, especially for the amount of units we've taken. For resiliency, we've gone for weight of numbers, hoping that our opponents can't kill everything quickly enough. As for killing opposing models, we have a wide range of weapons for different purposes.
The Combined Arms Detachment will need to be mobile, needs to be resilient and needs to be able to kill a wide range of stuff. That's a lot to ask for from 1000 points. Our best option is to do what we can, sacrifice where we need to and see what we come up with.
Goal 4 - Have Fun!
Combined Arms Detachments are less focused in what they do than Formations or other Detachments, so the fun in this list is trying to build the optimal combination of units for the mission. I want a list that can achieve the mission while still feeling like the sort of force a Guard Regiment would send on the mission. My preferred style of Guard Regiment is infantry based rather than tank based. This seems perfect for the outline above. I enjoy having a hoard of Guardsmen on the table, even though they are in many ways inferior to the basic troops of the other races. That's half the challenge.
This army definitely achieves this goal. It's mostly infantry, with some vehicles as support. It ties in the synergy I enjoy with the Orders that officers can give and I like the challenge of seeing if I can bring to bear enough Lasguns to bring down an opposing unit.
Goal 3 - Control the Relic
As I've said a few times, vehicles can't control the Relic. So a core base of infantry is best here. Maybe a couple of platoons to give weight of numbers and bodies to keep between the opposing army and the Relic. A Commissar or Priest to help squads with Leadership issues, and Officers to take advantage of an underrated part of the army - Orders. Essentially, surge forward, grab the Relic and retreat while fending off the enemy.
With Zealot provided by the Priest, even the Conscripts shouldn't be too easy to shift. The Commissar provides similar for the Infantry Platoon. Hopefully I can get one of these to capture the Relic and then retreat while firepower whittles down the enemy. Assaults might be an issue, but there isn't much we can do about that in this army.
Goal 2 - Survive opposing firepower and assault
Our survivability in this list will come from numbers. The idea is too have too many Guardsmen for the opponent to kill in the available turns. An individual Guardsman dies to just about most of the weapons in the game. 100 of them take a lot of killing, if we can overcome weaknesses like leadership. That's going to require Commissars or Priests to give Stubborn or Zealot. Also Conscripts to form a cheap meat shield. The aim is to have a lot of men, and presumably outnumber our opponents.
I've already covered this quite a bit while discussing the merits of some of the unit choices. So there isn't much more I can say. Positioning will be important to try and avoid elite assault troops and also put some cover between Guardsmen and guns.
Goal 1 - Kill opposing models
Weight of numbers means (hopefully) lots of lasgun shots to deal with opposing infantry. For other targets that the guns can't hurt, we should consider maybe a tank or two to support. The big guns should help with killing stuff. Maybe also some Sentinels to hunt opposing tanks could round of the list.
Spoiler alert - the mighty Lasgun (or Flashlight, as some people call it) is not very good at killing things. The lack of AP means that everything that has an Armour Save gets that save, which cuts down how many wounding hits result in kills. Strength 3 means that often at best it needs 4s to wound, and usually 5s, so you don't get many wounding hits. Finally, the BS 3 of Guardsmen means you don't get that many hits to begin with. Veterans get more hits, but are less numerous, and Conscripts actually increase the BS problem by needing 5s to hit. Numbers help make up for this, as do Orders like "First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire" but we have to make every shot count. We also have a variety of weapons on a variety of squads. Hopefully we can get the right gun on the right job.
All in all, I'd be happy fielding this army. To be fair, this core is often how I start build Astra Militarum armies, then adding other stuff dependant on points. Usually expanding the size of the Conscript Squad, adding some more Infantry Squads/Platoons and maybe some number of Valkyries for air support. That's classically how I approach army composition for them.
In a change to what I said at the end of Part One, this Tactica will have 3 more parts. This shows how little planning I'm currently doing. Some might believe I'm making these up as I sit down to type ;)
The next two parts will be similar to this one, looking at building the Formation army and the force containing the Triumvirate. So they will have the same structure of looking at building, how the chosen units fulfil the goals and then an Army List. The final part will be a pre-look at the event itself, my thought processes and ethos behind it and what I hope to achieve.