Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Steel Host

I'm still awaiting my Knights because the mail is slow these days...but I did pick up Sanctus Reach: The Red WAAAAAAAAGH! (had to be done.) I can't help but feel that between meh fluff and the Adamantine Lance that a hidden jewel has gone unnoticed within this tome: The Steel Host.
Its just an iconic thing
The Steel Host, for those that don't know, is an Imperial Guard formation that includes a tank commander, three Russ squadrons, and a Hyrda. Where I see most IG players go wrong with this formation is worrying about how they're going to fit that many points into their list. What they should be doing is making the Steel Host their list.

Ok, now follow me here because we're going a bit into the rabbit hole. Many IG players, myself included, got into this faction because of a love of armored warfare. While 7th edition has rebalanced vehicles a bit, many armies are still flooded with infantry based deathstars while IG seems restricted to Pask and fearless conscript blobs if we want a faction specific 'deathstar.' Well, the Steel Host is our answer by making it our primary detachment.

Start with a Steel Host (yes, formations are both Battleforged and can be your primary.) Add in the Russ and Hydras to taste. At lower points this can even be your entire army since five Russ and a Hydra (the minimum) are a fair bit of points. If you have more room, consider adding other formations (a few Space Wolf ones are cheapish and nice *void claws*cough*void claws*) and detachments such as an allied detachment or assassins.

This allows the IG player to field something similar to an armored formation without having to have all of those pesky infantry mucking about and the formation bonus (12" bubble of Preferred Enemy from the Command Tank) is a great equalizer, especially for those tankers sick and tired of rolling ones to wound with their demolisher or battle cannons.

Also, don't forget that the formation's required Tank Commander can be upgraded to Knight-Commander Pask if that is what you're wanting.

An example list for 1850 points.

Steel Host Formation:
Tank Commander Executioner - Hull Lascannon and Sponson Plasma Cannons
 Leman Russ Executioner - Hull/Sponson Heavy Bolters

Leman Russ Demolisher x2 - Hull Heavy Bolters

Leman Russ Exterminator x2 - Hull/Sponson Heavy Bolters and a Heavy Stubber

Leman Russ Vanquisher - Hull Lascannon

Hydra Flak Tank x2

Officio Assassinorum Detachment:
Callidus Assassin

Imperial Knight Detachment:
Knight Paladin

Battle Plan:
Cover and fire. The tanks pick their best targets and cut loose. Demolishers will take the forward position of a circle based on the commander, granting their to wound rolls the PE bonus. The Vanquisher will be in the back, taking a sniper roll and hoping that PE helps with accuracy. Exterminators pop light armor and make sure hordes are shredded. Hydras go where they're needed but might be in reserves to get the drop on some flyers.

The Knight can add its firepower but also acts as a counter charge unit, moving where the enemy might intercept or deep strike into your armored line and hitting them back until their a red pulpy mess. If the enemy is a conventional army, the Knight will advance and delay the enemy so that your tanks can get more turns of unmolested firing away.

The Callidus Assassin serves to hurt and will probably die doing so. It can alpha strike a unit with its flamer, force the enemy to waste a turn and a unit or two dealing with it, and helps to delay their reserves and increase your chances of first turn. It can also sit on an objective you need that is in the enemies deployment area if you're playing maelstrom.

This list captures the feel of both 7th edition and Armored Company in my mind. The tanks are the clear focus of the list but I've added allies and detachments to assist them in their battles.


1 comment:

  1. I believe you can only have 1 Hydra for the Steel Host, and not 2 Hydras. It says 1 Hydra, not 1 Hydra battery. I could be mistaken, though, and if I am I will be pretty glad. However, as of right now most people on the Internet are saying it's only 1 Hydra