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Warhammer 40K: The Imperial Guard Should Dominate 9th Edition, Instead They Suck

4 Minute Read
Dec 7 2021
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Let’s take a look at why Imperial Guard suck so hard in 9th Edition.

9th Edition offered some major shake ups to the meta. We’ve gotten core rule changes along with a heap of books. By all rights, Astra Militarum should be a powerful army this edition, however they routinely rank towards the bottom of the meta. Let’s take a look at why.

What Makes A 9th Edition Army Good

If we take a look at a lot of the super powerful meta lists over the last year-ish we can see a few things that have really driving a lot of meta armies in 9th.

  • Indirect fire and other ways of ignoring LoS has been a major factor.
  • Cheap units for scoring/taking actions.
  • Cheapish infantry that can be heavily buffed.
  • Loads of hard to kill vehicles that pack a punch
  • Flyers
  • Deep strikers or some other fast option for grabbing objectives

If we look at most major meta lists, like Drukhari, AdMech and Orks, they are are based around these these kinds of things. In particular the indirect fire/loads of vehicles/flyers combo was very hard to beat for several months. Even the more mid-range meta lists like Dreadnought heavy Space Marines and Death Guard rely on these factors to be good. And yet there is one army that seems like it should hit most if not all of these boxes… and yet just sucks.

The Guard Have It All

Back at the start of 9th Edition I predicted, wrongly, that Guard were posed to take over. If you look at what is good now a days it does seem like Guard should be a solid spot.

  • Indirect fire and other ways of ignoring LoS has been a major factor. – Guard are the original king of indirect fire and have a ton of options.
  • Cheap units for scoring/taking actions.- Infantry Squads are cheap and great for this.
  • Cheapish infantry that can be heavily buffed. – Guard were one of the first books to really pile a ton of buffs, with things like auras, orders and doctrines on to a really basic squad to buff them up.
  • Loads of hard to kill vehicles that pack a punch.- Guard are one of THE vehicle heavy armies. Adding in Forge World they likely have more options than any other faction ranging from light to super heavy. Compared to say Orks or Drukhari, their vehicles are supposed to be much tougher.
  • Flyers- Guard were one of the first armies to get a flyer in the Codex and with Forge World have one of the widest selections of flyers around.
  • Deep strikers or some other fast option for grabbing objectives – The biggest Guard weak spot, but Scions provide deep strike options, while Ogryns and a few other options provide faster aggressive CC options.

Based on this they should be doing really well. And yet…


Why Guard Suck

If I had to pin down a single reason why Guard aren’t doing good it’s simply that they are dated. A lot of other armies have gotten major buffs and stat upgrades. They gotten extra layers of rules and better options. In particular the Design Studio has annoyingly given weak vehicles (or vehicle like units) survivability buffs, that have ended up making them harder to kill than the supposedly hard to kill vehicles.

Guard have simply been left behind. The low quality of their troops and the weakness of the basic Lasgun is so bad that no amount of buffs really helps it. Other armies have gotten buffs to help deal with their weaknesses such as Necrons getting CC buffs. But Guard still struggle with movement and combat. These days it’s hard to say what an army like Orks or Drukhari is “bad at”. Guard tanks have gone from being the deadly kings of the tabletop, to easily disposed of jokes. It’s an army that’s just lost a lot of life and feels like its running on fumes right now.

This Should Be Fixed

In a meta that is dominated by vehicle hordes and indirect fire it’s mind boggling and tragic that Guard aren’t doing well. This is what the army was designed to excel at and it should be in a golden age right now. Hopefully a new codex will come out some time and fix them. But for now we live with the injustice that the army that should be doing the best has been forgotten and left to be the worst.


Let us know what you think they should do about the Astra Miliatrium, down in the comments! 


Author: Abe Apfel
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