Everyone Loves DKOK!
For those of you who are into the classic match ups you just can't go wrong with the imperial Gaurd. All those years playing standard 40k as Gaurd and injustice never felt right, Epic is definitely the perfect scale. If you are looking for a nice balanced Gaurd force with access to heaps of grunts and tank support you just can't go past DKOK. In fact you'll hear me say it a few times but when this list was recently approved I found myself asking, why would anyone bother with Steel Legion... There are heaps of solid builds available for DKOK so let's have a look at some of the options.
One of the real strengths of DKOk is that all the core options are great. Whenever I played Steel Legion I always struggled to fit what I wanted because you were forced to take large, expensive and usually sub par core options. No such issues here:
Infantry options - given that no competent general leaves home without a supreme commander you will need to fit at least one block of infantry in. The best news in they are great. Traditional DKOK armies have always been built around fat blocks of infantry using Gorgons to cross the board and engage in FF assaults. The simple tactic being to throw the Gorgons into the front of the assault so they take the first 6 hits in their reinforced armour while your squishy gaurdsmen provide support FF. It's a great tactic and it works well enough. The problem I feel though is that it's horribly predictable and when you run into those armies that do have plenty of TK shooting (e.g Gaurd/ just falls apart completely. Also putting two of these into a 3000pt army is going to limit your activation count significantly.
Alternatively is the bunker infantry option. Yes you could just plan on using the available terrain and thus save the points but I'm my experience the 75pt investment for the trenches is fantastic. Chuck them down somewhere you want to hold objectives and just see how much trouble the enemy has trying to shift those 20 grunts. Obviously with this option you lack the flexibility of the gorgon unit but you do save the points and gain an amazingly resilient strong point to build your plan around.
Rough riders - Another amazing unit for DKOK, don't leave home without at least one... Or ideally 2... You have to be very careful with these guys because they can be surprisingly fragile, no real armour, no capacity to use terrain saves and being infantry does lead enemies to aim every available gun in their direction. Use terrain to screen them as best you can, hold them off till the last activations to advance and get into position for a solid BC engage in the next turn. Using the walker rule allows you to have amazing flexibility which the usual rough riders just don't have and the first strike rule can help you crush the opposition before the solid counter hit. Definitely a unit you will need to practise with to keep them in the right place at the right time but absolutely worth it. Also helps a lot with maximising core choices without spending too many points to open slots for those amazing support choices.
Artillery support - never used it, don't imagine I ever will. It's too soft to ever risk as a BTS and presents a huge soft points eating target.
Deathstrike silo - exactly the opposite - should be an auto include. Deathstrike missiles are pretty awesome in general for their amazing range and the silo is even better because it's harder to break and is just a little tougher. The best bit is that with its speed of 0 you can garrison the silo, that can be an amazing deterrent to those thunderhawk alpha strikes...
Rough rider scout platoon - I love these guys in many Gaurd armies but I've never felt the need in DKOK. The core riders are so great and I reckon that you can scout screen with 12 core rough riders as well as the scout variant. Certainly not a bad unit but there are so many great options to choose from.
Engineer platoon - not one that I've ever fielded but I like the idea of the tunnellers. It presents an interesting tactical option for grabbing that blitz potentially and can cause your opponent some headaches. My squats love the tunnelling option use I'll put it in at some point.
Grenadiers - for Cadians I love the grenadier equivalent and their heavy transports but for DKOK it feels like the core options cover this well enough so I'd keep scrolling.
Heavy support batteries - The Anti aircraft options are essential, at least 2 units in my mind. Personally I prefer the long range options with the fortifications but plenty of others prefer the hydras and lots of people use the transporters as well. Experiment with the options but AA is absolutely compulsory. The artillery options by contrast I just don't rate. 200pts for a single template if it isn't broken which will happen in a strong wind, for Baran siegemasters by contrast these units are amazing but in DKOK it's just not something I've ever missed.
Macharius Tanks - definitely on my worth a look list. Great value fire support unit with good FF support potential. That said I've never managed to include them, only played against them. If you can get some of the originals or the proxies from companies like Gregster's Lab give them a try.
Super heavy tank company - like I mentioned in the Minervan article the only unit I ever run in threes is the Stormswords but they are definitely an excellent unit and well worth including when you can find the points and the models. Again I'd look at what the iconic infantry and Gorgons can do compared to this unit and I'll grab for the stormswords any day. The only downside is that they are a point sink and a BTS you end up building an army around and finding ways to protect from engagements.
Light support guns - The mortars are rubbish in my mind entirely due to their range but the quad gun option by contrast is very interesting. 8 shots at up to 90cm with AP3 with a sustain is fantastic for the points. Note also they are infantry so if you run the trench option like I do it's entirely plausible to garrison them with you forward infantry unit so you can sit them in the spare trenches (you will have some..) whilst taking the Trojan upgrade essentially giving you the best of both worlds.
Bombards - *snort*. No. Just no. Considering I don't rate manticores which are better in every important respect for the same points these guys are just way too expensive IMO. But if you can find someone using them well id love to hear about it.
Super heavy tank platoon - easiest way to slot in the obligatory shadowsword or two. Great options and more compulsory slots.
Tank platoons - another great thing about DKOK is the ability to drop in these 6 man tank units that I've always felt worked better in terms of flexibility and points than the full 10 man tank units. If you can find the points and love treads go for it.
Just the usual suspects here minus the spaceship option so you end up with the usual choices.
Titans - A Warhound or 2 is always good to give you some speed and flexible firepower. I'd run 1 at a minimum every game. Reavers and warlords just aren't great in my mind. In marines a reaver can be great for adding some extra firepower but Gaurd just don't lack for that and I feel that dropping extra big Titans in just puts pressure on your activation count.
Thunderbolts - of course are amazing and an auto include, 1 for some great interception abilities and even an extra if you want to pad the activations.
Marauder bombers - I've got a pair of them but with so many awesome blast weapons and artillery options available to Gaurd I've never felt the need. I've always wished they had a unique ability like the chaos bombers with their ignore cover etc, those are the bombers that I rate much more highly.
Objectives and general strategic thoughts.
If you look at the build that I've listed below and check out the bat reps that I've posted with my Gaurd you will see what I mean with some of these.
Blitz - really easy to hold for Gaurd but tricky to catch due to our lack of fast options. If you are keen on taking the Blitz look at Warhounds and tunnelling engineers. To defend your own Blitz just drop down the silo, maybe some artillery or anything else that isn't planning to move. You might need more if your opponent is heavy assault oriented as in terminators or thundehawks.
General objectives - bearing in mind that you will generally place after your opponent I tend to place mine near what my opponents have done because my Gaurd doesn't generally want to spread out or run too far. Especially important if you run the trenches. Take and hold is definitely a priority got Gaurd as you can just grind forward and bury those objectives in piles of firepower followed up by the amazing engagement options available to DKOK.
Hold the line - one thing Gaurd do very well is hold ground. This should be an easy one for you if you group your objectives close together, potentially gaurding them with a bunker line.
BTS - the enemy BTS can be a challenge for Gaurd to hit because we lack the speed, a typical scenario would have you maul the enemy BTS with big guns only to have them run away faster than you can chase. By the same token the inclusion of fearless commissars can make it very hard for your enemy to finish off your BTS too so it does balance out well.
They shall not pass - just something to be conscious of. Assuming a nice slow grind up the field and things going to plan being in the enemy half shouldn't be an issue. Gaurd do tend to do really well on the win by points option if it comes to that though so it's a shame when you lose the game because you just forgot to move far enough forward... Believe me, I'm speaking from experience!