Hi all, Jwolf here.
The topography of 40K has changed, and the Imperial Guard commanders have to change with it. Let’s consider some of the important problems presented by Dark Eldar and Grey Knights.
Problem #1 – Enemies that can go from Reserve all the way across the board without Deep Strike.
Aethersails and Shunt Moves mean that Dark Eldar and Grey Knights can be in Reserve and move to contest any Seize Ground Objective, without the risk of scatter associated with Deep Strike. A Nemesis Dreadknight can shunt 30” across the board and lay out a heavy Incinerator burst that will melt any Guardsmen unlucky enough to be in the vicinity.
Answer #1 Alas, nothing good here, just vehicle screens. Moving vehicles in between the enemy and the objectives is just more important now than it was. For objectives closer to your board edge, dismounted infantry will work against anything but Dreadknights and Incinerator Interceptors, but remember that the effective charge range out of a Dark Eldar Raider is 24”, even further than Thunderwolves.
Problem #2 – Enemies that add “new” (re)deployment options for themselves.
Dark Eldar Webway Portals provide new entry points, whereas Grey Knight Librarians can use the Summoning to pull units across the board on a whim. Add to this the fact that both armies already have a lot of effective options for taking the game non-linear (Scouting Terminators outflanking, are not just what Castellan Creed ordered, I can assure you) and it is easy to see that we cannot simply build an unassailable box of Chimeras with the rest behind and expect it to hold.
Answer #2 – Castling in a corner just won’t get the job done anymore. Try castling in the center or even not castling at all. Consider reserving Rough Riders as a countercharge unit (I know, Rough Riders, it sounds crazy to me, too). Also consider keeping your vehicles moving – this hurts some of our favorites like Manticores (but remember that you can fire direct with a Manticore on the move) and Hydras, but living to shoot another round beats dying.
Problem #3 – Enemies that can afford to kill screening infantry units.
Dark Eldar have Venoms, Grey Knights have Storm Bolters and Incinerators (the Storm Bolters mean that units away from the immediate action can still pour very effective anti-infantry firepower into our screens). This is another blow to the Imperial Guard defensive doctrines; if the screens can’t hold and can’t force assaulting units to shoot them, what good are they? Consider as well that Commissars in Infantry Platoons stand a good chance of being priority targets for Vindicare, and the viability of our Infantry as screening units is terribly reduced.
Answer #3 – If you can form your screens in terrain and remember to order them to ground, you have 2+ cover saves for them, and they will withstand a fairly absurd amount of anti-infantry shooting. That said, any doctrine that requires a certain configuration of terrain to be useful is a pretty poor strategic decision. Look to use fast vehicles more, especially Hellhounds. Hellhounds are absolute murder on Dark Eldar, and do a lot of wounds to Grey Knights as well. Always move them over 6” and try to time their movements so that they are interfering with the enemy’s arrival near our lines.
Problem #4 – Neither Dark Eldar nor Grey Knights are a Power Armored force.
This means a lot of things that worked well for us are suddenly no longer as cost efficient as they used to be (I’m looking at Battle Cannons in particular). Dark Eldar need us to have more weak shots (s6 or 7) without any really consideration of AP. Grey Knights really call out for more Demolisher Cannons and other AP2 blast weapons, such as Plasma Cannon Sentinels. The problem is that large amounts of Autocannons are not necessarily worth taking against Grey Knights, and pretty much ideal for fighting Dark Eldar and the reverse is true for AP2 weapons.
Answer #4 – Mixing your forces to have more Autocannons, especially relatively cost effective Platoon and Heavy Weapon Team Autocannons is pretty important. Having enough AP2 shooting is also important; Plasmagun toting Veterans and Command squads help a lot here. That said, don’t over correct towards the new threats and ignore the old; you still need some large blasts and Meltaguns.
I think those are enough of the headaches I’ve seen with the new codices for now. As always, I look forward to hearing what issues my fellow IG commanders have seen and how you think we should deal with them.