Imperial Guard Doctrines

Mr. Cruddace's Imperial Guard Codex is one of my favorite to date. With good choices in every FOC slot the current IG rulebook is a stellar example of the progress Games Workshop has made with respect to Codex writing. Despite this there are portions of the codex that warrant the attention of meddling rules designers such as myself - today we're going to cover Doctrines.

In the last codex Doctrines were a system through which each Imperial Guard player's force could be made unique and characterful. Doctrines still serve this purpose to an extent but have become a sideshow attraction and hardly change the aspect of any army at all.

Of course, it's almost impossible to represent all the armies we read about in novels and other background sources with just one codex - or is it?

Imperial Guard Doctrines and Equipment

The following Doctrines and Equipment may be taken at +30 points for the entire unit:

  • Drop Troops: The squad may be equipped with Grav Chutes, Tunneling Equipment, Teleportation Device etc. They gain the Deep Strike Special Rule and may take Valkyries as dedicated Transports. Available to Company Command Squads, Veterans and Sentinels (both types). 
  • PDF: The squad defensive preparations grant it +1 to its cover save (or a 5+ cover save if in the open) until the first time it moves. Available to Company Command Squads, Veterans, Platoon Command Squads, Infantry Squads and Heavy Weapons Squads.
  • Active Camouflage: The squad's armor's light bending quality means that any enemy unit wishing to target them must roll for Night Fighting halving the distance if the Night Fighting rules are in effect. If the roll is failed the enemy unit may choose another target but may not roll for Night Fighting twice in one turn. Available to Company Command Squads, Veterans, Storm Troopers, Valkyries and Vendettas
  • Guerrillas: The squad gains the Infiltrate USR but may not Outflank. Available to Company Command Squads, and Veterans. 
  • First and Only: The squad is split into 5 Heavy Weapons Teams each armed with one Sniper Rifle. They retain their BS and gain the Infiltrate and Acute Senses Special Rules. Available to Veterans only.
  • Honor Guard: The squad gains + 1 to their Attacks characteristic and one member replaces his Close Combat Weapon with a Power Weapon. Available to Company Command Squads, Veterans, Storm Troopers, Sentinel Squadrons and Rough Riders. Sentinels that are part of squadrons with this upgrade count as having Power Weapons.
  • Marksmen: The squad's lasguns (or hot-shot lasguns) gain the Rending Special Rule: Available to Company Command Squads, Storm Troopers and Veterans.
  • Commandos: The squad gains +1 to their WS and all their close combat attacks count as Rending. Available to Company Command Squads, Veterans and Storm Troopers. 
  • Primitives/Abhumans: The squad may replace their lasguns with laspistols. In close combat this unit may re-roll any failed 'to hit' rolls in any turn in which they have assaulted or if they have won combat in the previous turn. Available to Platoon Infantry Squads and Veterans.
  • Heavy Infantry: The squad gains the Slow and Purposeful USR. In addition every model in the squad may re-roll failed armor and Invulnerable saves. Available to Company Command Squads and Veterans.
  • Urban Warfare: The squad gains the Move Through Cover Special Rule and count as having Flash Grenades. They may carry a Shotgun with Manstopper rounds in addition to any other equipment. Flash Grenades add +1 to the user's initiative on the charge and may be used in addition t Frag Grenades. Available to Company Command Squads, Veterans and Storm Troopers.
  • Skitarii: The squad's augmentations grant them a 5+ Invulnerable save. In addition the squad's sergeant or Officer may take a Signum at no extra cost. Available to Company Command Squads, Veterans, Ogryn squads of five or less, Rough Riders, Tech Priests and Storm Troopers. 
  • Tech Guard: The squad's augmentations add +1 to their Ballistic Skill. Available to Company Command Squads, Veterans, Storm Troopers, Rough Riders, Tech Priests and Ogryn squads of five or less.
  • Chem-Inhalers: The squad gains the Feel No Pain Special Rule. Available to Company Command Squads, Veterans, Storm Troopers, Rough Riders and Ogryn squads of five or less.
  • Commissar Cadets: The squad's sergeant is replaced with a Commissar at no extra cost. The Commissar has the 'Junior Officer' special rule and may give Orders to his own squad only. He may take any wargear normally available. Available to Veteran squads only. 

Let me know if I missed any!

Stay tuned for IG Doctrines Part 2: Forces of Chaos. 


Master Bryss said…
Woops, I meant to say only Veterans can take that one.
Master Bryss said…
Here's a thought:

Commissar Cadets: The squad becomes Stubborn, and the Sergeant is replaced with a Commissar for no additional cost.

Also, some site comments:
No Hervald Strom link in the Units section?

I preferred the old colour scheme.
Menzies Tank said…
No xeno fighters, hardened fighters, cyber enhancement, or warrior weapons? :P
Atrotos said…
Sorry about the Hervald Strom link. I spelled 'Strom' as 'Storm' so the label gadget didn't pick it up.

I think I like the old scheme more too. I wanted to break away from the standard template (blue, white and orange) but finding a nice, user-friendly color scheme is harder than you might think.

Commisar Cadets is a cool idea. What made you think of it?
Atrotos said…
@Menzies: Hardened Fighters, Cyber enhancement, and warrior weapons are all in there, they just have different names now.

I'm saving the preferred enemy goodness for the Inquisitorial Doctrines I have planned.
Master Bryss said…
I saw an article on Lexicanum that mentioned they existed, and I liked the idea.
Natalie said…
The shotguns for heavy infantry are superfluous, aren't they? They're already Relentless, so when would they ever use a shotgun? Maybe ... missile launcher or lascannon teams? I guess?

For First and Only ... does that turn the squad into a squad that consists of five heavy weapons teams? Or does it turn the squad into five separate units, each of which consists of a single heavy weapon team?
Atrotos said…
The shotguns are meant to be used by those models with special weapons. A Company Command Squad could take 4 Sniper rifles but switch to shotguns at close range for example. Not a huge boost but it's cheap. Any ideas that would be more fitting to Heavy Infantry?

The First and Only Doctrine turns the squad into one unit consisting of 5 HW Teams each with one sniper rifle.
sonsoftaurus said…

*Presumably one can only take one doctrine per unit?

*Vets - can already take doctrines. Can they take both their innate doctrines and these? If so, should do some restrictions, as some don't fit well (while some fit very well) in combination.

*Should there be a restriction for Platoon Infantry squads (and in some cases the Platoon HQ as well) that if you take the doctrine it must be applied to all squads in that platoon?

*Why the restriction for Ogryns up to 5? Why not just make them pay double or +6pts/model if go above 5?

Specific Doctrines:

*Drop Troops - Sentinels can take Valks as dedicated transports? May want to reword that one.

*PDF - Veterans? Seem out of place for PDF. I'd swap Veterans for Conscripts. Also might be good to specify that the max is 2+ and that attached characters get the benefit as well.

*Active Camo - seems a bit much. Maybe if fail the spotting roll can still shoot, but target counts as having Stealth (or 6+ cover if in the open).

*Honor Guard - seems pretty powerful for Rough Riders. For Sentinel Squadrons, do all get PW or only one?

*Marksmen - STs don't have lasguns per se, maybe clarify to include hot-shot lasguns.

*Commandos - overlaps in intent with Honor Guard a good bit - pick one or the other.

*Primitives - again, Conscripts seems more likely than Veterans.

*Heavy - seems odd. Why are they S&P? Maybe make it a requirement to have Carapace?

*Urban Warfare - doubling seems a bit much. I6, 7 with the various Furious Charge options available? A simple +1 seems more reasonable, and clarify that can be used at same time as frags.

*Skitarii - Tech Priests can come two to a slot - if buy two does this only affect one? Can you buy it twice to affect both? Does the 5++ carry over to their servitors?

*Tech Guard - does this increase base toughness or is it 3 (4) for guardsmen? Doesn't matter for rank and file, but matters for the officers and would make a huge difference for Ogryn to not be subject to ID for Demolisher shells, etc. For balance would probably be better as ( ).

*Skitarii and Tech Guard and Chem Inhalers - why not available to Platoons?

*Chem inhalers - seems pretty powerful for the cost, especially considering Company Command squads can already get the option through a medic for the same cost but with more restrictions. Especially nasty on Ogryn. Should probably be more expensive, or only work on a 5+ instead of the normal 4+.

*Commissar Cadets - maybe limit his orders to his own squad, like Bastonne. Should probably also prohibit a squad with Commissar from getting Bastonne or Harker.
Atrotos said…
Wow i literally just responded to every point only to have it give me an error and erase my post. piece of sh*t.

I'll type it all up again as soon as I recover.
Atrotos said…
Ok it doesn't look like I'll get enough time to go over these again tonight. I responded to some of the points you made here:
Atrotos said…
Okay some quick things:

1. No you're not limited to one Doctrine per unit.

2.I didn't want to force people to take anything so I didn't instate rules for a entire platoons needing to buy a doctrine is one squad does. This may change.

3. Sentinels have been able to take Valks as a dedicated transport since Imperial Armor 4 (or maybe 3).

4.A lot of the stuff you've said I've already fixed. Thanks for spotting the inconsistencies.

5. Commandos is meant to work well with honor guard for those goofballs like myself that like close combat guard lists.

6. re: Chem inhalers and Ogryn - upgrades for Ogryn are purposefully undercosted because Ogryn suck. I've limited how many you can take though because spamming them unbalances the cost of their upgrades.
abusepuppy said…
Most of these look okay. Some are definitely overcosted, but since you're making all doctrines 30pts it's pretty inevitable.

Drop Troops: Jesus. This... could be a game breaker. Valks and Vendettas are amazing transports, and paying 30pts for the the ability to cram more of them into a list is a really good deal. (Ask an Eldar player how much they'll pay for a 12/12/10 skimmer sometime.)

First and Only is kinda hilarious and wacky. The only issue I see is it being really annoying to keep track of and to kill each individual squad. ("Hey, I've got nineteen units contesting your objective, just FYI.")

Heavy Infantry: Huh. Well, my first thought is that it allows Vets in Chimeras to be mobile while still firing off all their guns. I'm not sure how good that actually is, though.

Skitarii and Tech Guard seem like the same thing; perhaps I'm confusing the fluff, though?

Chem-Inhalers: Well, aside from CCS (who can now have FNP _twice_, for good measure), I think Ogryns would be the only reason to take this. Seems reasonable, though.

Overall, I think I like these- they add some neat options without, in most cases, being overpowered, which is the balance you want to strike with homebrew rules most of the time.
Atrotos said…
Thanks abusepuppy. Out of everything I've written on the site these Doctrines are really my favorite.

I agree that Drop Troops is powerful though I would have said so because of the ability to deep strike a squad with four special weapons behind enemy lines. An all Deep Striking foot army is too awesome to pass up and really should be an option. I didn't want it to be more expensive because you easily end up paying 300 or so points for this doctrine army-wide. Since you can already get 9 Valk/Vendettas in a list (albeit squadroned) I thought having them available individually was a small boost.

First and Only: The squad remains a single unit and the heavy weapons teams do not act independently. It just becomes 5 big bases instead of 10 small ones.

Heavy Infantry will be awesome for all-foot armies I feel as well as Skitarii forces. It may be powerful but again making it more expensive makes it difficult to implement army-wide.

There's various references in books like Titanicus and HH: Mechanicum to several types of Ad Mech soldiers including Skitarrii, Tech Guard, Cataphracts and Praetorians.

Chem-Inhalers: Very powerful in elite guard armies where it's likely to be combined with carapace AND Heavy Infantry.

I'd like to know which ones you feel are "overpowered" as such. Some are more powerful than others for 30 pts but the real challenge here is to try and capture the diversity of the Guard with having broken combinations.