I waited before going over the codex. I could have read the preview copy, but I resisted. I could have bought it the week it was out, but we were low on stock and I let others get theirs first. Really, I was kind of afraid to see what Games Workshop did to the army. The last codex was impenetrable. It took me a long time and a lot of help to make any sense of it. It was like reading early Dungeons & Dragons, with lots of ambiguity and agreed upon rulings. What people would tell me is that GW is a company about the models, and that books are a necessary evil, and that Americans overstress themselves about rules since these games were designed to be played with buddies with a beer and pretzels. So I was relieved and surprised when I finally got a chance to read the new Imperial Guard codex.
The awful doctrine system went away. Phew! Instead, for flavor, we have special characters. There are not a lot of special characters, but there is probably one that will give your army the flavor you're looking for. Mine was Captain Al-Raheim of the Tallarns. I always kind of had an Al-Raheim character, and I used doctrines to make the army feel more like desert raiders. Still, it wasn't as fluffy as I had liked. This new character gives me the feel I was always looking for, and new advisers, especially the Astropath, help to boost his sneakiness. Goodbye doctrines, may you always be a distant memory.
Equipment, like doctrines always seemed to have dogs that nobody wanted, making armies more generic with obvious choices. This has changed quite a bit too. A lot of junk equipment is now included in the cost of units, like smoke launchers, grenades, and searchlights. This stuff had its specific uses, but they were rarely worth the points in a random mission game. For example, my Al-Raheim comes equipped with a plasma pistol, something I normally wouldn't have purchased, but comes with the model. Some equipment is also cheaper, such as the chimeras, which were useful before but overpriced.
The best thing about the new codex is the flexibility. I've got my Al-Raheim with his Desert Raider and Stalk the Enemy ability that allows me to sneak up behind my enemy and fry their armor with meltaguns. I've also got another, more traditional force, platoon mounted entirely in four chimeras. They can rush across the board to take objectives or they can stay put as mobile pill boxes (although the special and heavy weapons are less useful that way).
Adding more flavor to my basilisks is a new character, the Master of Ordinance. This command squad character can call in artillery barrages, albeit with poor accuracy, but he's also a cheap model (3o points). This guy brings my army back how I originally envisioned it last year, as a kind of WWII US Army Rangers. In my Flames of War army, I used Colonel Darby as the commander. He was ex-artillery and could act as an artillery spotter. This one model adds more excitement to my army than most of the rest of the book. Go figure.
I'm going shopping! Of course I am. The Valkyrie doesn't fit the flavor of my army, although I'm seeing a lot of lists with them on Dakka Dakka. I want one, but I can't use it right now. What I'm mostly buying is bread and butter stuff. First, there are now platoon command squads (junior officers) for each platoon and there are no cheats, like armored fists. This means I need a new officer model. I'll also need four additional melta gunners for Captain Al-Raheim's group. An Astropath will keep him on target as he sneaks up. The armored cav platoon will need a fourth chimera. The Company Command Group will need my artillery spotter (Master of Ordinance). In all, probably about $100 retail in new models. I think my War of the Rings project may be on hold for a litle while.
Here's my new list, and as always, I'm interested in feedback about it:
Company Command Squad (165 Points)
-- 1 upgraded to Plasma Gun
Advisor: Master of Ordinance
TROOP 1 (Desert Raiders) (290 Points)
Platoon Command Squad
Platoon Commander: Captain Al-Raheim
Upgrade: Meltaguns (4)
TROOP 2 (Armored Cav) (385 points)
Platoon Command Squad
Upgrade: Flamer (4)
Upgrade: Plasma Gun
Fast Attack 1 Hellhound Squadron (1) (130 Points)
Fast Attack 2 Hellhound Squadron (1) (130 Points)
Fast Attack 3 Hellhound Squadron (1) (130 Points)
Heavy Support 1 Ordinance Battery: Basilisk (125 Points)
Heavy Support 2 Ordinance Battery: Basilisk (125 Points)
Total Points: 1495