JStove is back and not talking about Chaos in his latest editorial. He, instead, is praising the new Imperial Guard meta and how fluffy it really is.
Jstove here, taking an extended vacation about talking about Chaos. Today I want to editorialize about the fattest list in the game right now: Conscripts and Mortars.
Let’s start by me saying this – I think Conscripts and Mortars is one of the best things that’s ever happened to this game, because it’s the exact opposite of every meta list that has ever existed in the past. We used to see stuff like character deathstars, demonic flying circus, more recently the Storm Raven parking lot, pound puppies, and screamer spam.
Almost every meta list that that has ever dominated competitive 40k, at least that I can think of, abused one of two serious flaws in the rules. These flaws were…
A) Having a unit with extremely strong cost economy and spamming it, even though it was never meant to be spammed.
B) Abusing an obscure or advanced rule that was supposed to only affect a small number of models in the army, like character wound allocation or having a lot of psychic power.
Why Conscripts and Mortars is so great.
The reason I love this hoser list is because it’s one of the first lists in the history of the game to be a top table, consistently winning army and it’s a fluffy list that plays the way the army is written to play. We very rarely see an army that is bought and sold exactly in the way that GW writes it. We almost NEVER see an army perform at the highest competitive level in the way that GW writes it. Conscripts and Mortars does perform at the top table of tournament level 40k and that’s awesome. It’s a unicorn list. We might never see a meta like this again in our lifetimes.
It’s a list that relies upon the foundation of the Imperial Guard codex to bomb your opponent into the Stone Age. Start with a human wall of lasguns and bayonets. We’re talking giant blobs of conscripts, that’s 3 digits of models on the table in bubble wrap alone, the way that good old Commander Chenkov intended. Keeping these human waves on the table is a pack of Commissars with itchy trigger fingers. Safely behind the bubble wrap is a pile of psykers and 15 dice of mortars that can hit anything on the table without even having to see it. After that, with any points left over, it’s your choice of heavy metal. The preferred big guns seem to be Basilisks and maybe, if you’re feeling a little saucy, a Forge World Punisher Vulture for that sweet pile of dice on the gun run.
The end result is the kind of massed battle, guts and glory army that we see in a full two page spread illustration in every edition of the Imperial Guard codex since the dawn of the lasgun. What’s not to love?
How I learned to stop caring and love the Conscript bomb
Now I know what you’re saying: “That doesn’t sound like fun. It’s just an unbreakable wall of bullet-catchers with a buttload of artillery dice and a smite battery behind it.”
Welcome to the Astra Militarum, son. “This kind of crap is why I don’t play competitive 40k, and don’t deal with these whiny, powergaming, tournament players.” This is where you’re wrong.
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to tell you why this list is so great and why I love it so much. Even though I’m not a Guard player and every list I write will probably get ran over by this insane wall of bayonets and mortar spam.
I love this list because it beats GW at it’s own game. Games Workshop has outsmarted itself with the Astra Militarum. Or the Guard. I’m old school, to me they’re the Guard. Thank you, Commander Clint Eastwood.
For the past few years, GW has been pushing big box sales. Giant demons, giant tanks, giant Primarchs, and if your army doesn’t have a giant man leading it, then guess what? Here’s a box full of 3 tiny men with a triple digit price tag to lead it instead.
I love big, new models as much as everyone and I’m getting that sweet new Mortarion. But GW has been going down a road for a while now where they’re pushing big boxes and big toys. They want you to drop the cash to compete.
And that’s okay because they’re a toy company. They make nice toys. It’s their business. But having to buy the next biggest, nicest, most expensive toy just to stay on top makes you feel like the poor kid that can’t play with his friends because you didn’t get the new Game Boy and the new version of Pokemon that came out this Christmas.
What makes Conscripts and Mortars beautiful is that it wins like crazy and it doesn’t use anything new. It’s full of models you already have or can easily get. Guns and bayonets. Guns and bayonets. Guns and bayonets. Hey kid? Want a shiny new Baneblade? No thanks sir, I’ll play with the 300 guardsmen models I’ve owned for the last 15 years. That’s a thing of beauty, man. It’s not Heldrakes. It’s not Primaris Marines replacing old marines. It’s not $140 bucks for one twelve-foot tall giant man in a walking iron lung or winged, nipple armor. It’s just the same box of little plastic men that’s always on the shelf every time you go to the game store.
That’s nice, how do I beat it?
That’s easy. Fight fire with fire. What you need to do is get something that’s going to kill Guardsmen. A lot of Guardsmen. You gotta peel away that bubble wrap quickly. Shouldn’t be that hard, lots of things are fast and Guardsmen aren’t that tough. The only problem is that you do actually have to kill them all because the Commissar says that the ones that live aren’t going anywhere.
But now you’re thinking: What if he just kills it on turn 1 with his smite battery, or his mortars, or his artillery? Well, then you didn’t bring enough of it. Get more. It better be cheap. But what could you possibly get that you need lots of, is cheap, and is numerous enough to smash into that Conscript blob and kill it before it gets blown up?
Sounds to me like you need Orks, Tyranids, and Chaos. And you better start painting all those dirt cheap units that you can get a lot of. Roll some dice and pull some models off the table. It’s gonna get bloody.
“But I don’t want to paint up fifty Ork Boyz or Genestealers or Hormagaunts or daemon beasts!”
That’s why the Guard player wins. He wins because the guy who is willing to paint 150 Conscripts has bigger hobby balls than you. Go watch Kenny B and learn how to speed paint, son.
YOU’RE IN THE GUARD NOW.