And on we go,
The quintessential Mechanised army. Cheap Transports, Squadron-able Heavy tanks, Vendettas and Valkyries combined with cheap troops should you feel your tanks need some bubble-wrap* make for a formidable wall of armour to have to wade through. Fortunately for your opponent the guardsmen inside them are (for the most part) crap.
*another concept we'll come back to later sometime after we've completed our codex overviews.
Mech - The obvious one really. Chimera's filled with scoring units backed by various tanks with Vendetta/Valkyrie Squadrons zooming about annoying the fuck out of your opponents. An army that works well is pretty easy to come up with using this aspect of the Imperial Guard codex, an army that will roll over your opponent without feeling the bumps takes a bit more work.
The Flying Circus - Valkyries and Vendettas in various squadrons filled with Veterans with Meltaguns can arguably be considered as one of the best Alpha strike armies there is.....as long as you go first. Armour 12 is not a great defence and once your on foot even Veteran Guardsmen are going to get boned by pretty much everything in assault and pretty much everything else when shot at. I'm not dismissing it completely as a competitive build but it certainly has some issues.
Infantry - Due to the cheapness of Imperial Guard troops it's possible to field hordes of infantry backed up by dozens of Heavy Weapon Teams. Large 'blob' squads of infantry will make a mess of pretty much anything (and I do mean anything) should a correctly configured one get the chance to charge an enemy. Such armies do have a number of weaknesses however the main ones are that Guardsmen will lose in a fight against almost anything that gets stuck into them and that having no vehicles has a major impact on your mobility.
Hybrid - Often the best bet. Lots of armour with infantry to get in the way of anything that tries to destroy them.
The Imperial Guard codex has gained somewhat of a reputation for being overpowered which it doesn't necessarily deserve. It's scary to be sure but is by no means unbeatable...
Another of the older codices that has trouble competing in the mechanised world of 5th edition. Due to the 'phase-out' rule which causes your army to disappear should the number of units with the 'Necron' rule go below a certain percentage you'll find that much of your army will be ignored while the aforementioned 'Necron' units get wiped out causing everything else to die with them.
Tri-Monolith - Monoliths are a bastard to kill, 3 of them are almost impossible to reliably get rid of for most builds. However I've only once lost to Necrons in all the years I've been playing and have also never even fired at a Monolith, I just destroy everything else and go for the Phase-out...
'Balanced' - I'm not sure there is such a thing for Necrons. Take enough Warriors so your army doesn't phase out after losing a unit or two and fill the rest of the army with killy stuff.
My opinion is to wait until they get their new codex (which should be sooner rather than later) when they'll hopefully have been bought up to 5th edition standards.
Another army that many deem to be uncompetitive due to their lack of Melta, crappy vehicles and (somewhat ironically) poor performance in assault if a decent or semi-decent unit assaults them first.
Horde Orks - 180 Orks takes a lot of shooting to kill and a few of these armies did remarkably well in the early days. However a Mechanised opponent will outmanoeuvre you and it doesn't take many Flamers to put a dent in a horde army with saves as rubbish as most Orks have. Other more practical disadvantages are that it will take forever to paint and you'll be lucky to finish a 1500 point game in less than 2 hours, lol.
Battlewagon Spam - A wall of Battlewagons (well 3 could be a wall...admittedly it wouldn't be a very big wall...) filled with scary killy Orks is a common enough concept. Though armour 14 on the front is great, your more likely to be being shot in your side armour of 12 due to how narrow the 'official' Battlewagon model is. As Front, Side and Rear armour facings are decided by drawing an imaginary line across the vehicles corners Battlewagons are only armour 14 in quite a narrow cross section. These sort of builds also require you to use at least one HQ choice on a Big Mek with a Kustom Force Field in order to give your vehicles a 4+ 'obscured' save. There are, however very few armies that are unable to destroy three vehicles in a turn and from that point on your walking...
Kan Spam - Killer Kans can be taken as Squadrons of three and a single Deff Dread can be taken as a troop choice for each big Mek you have as a HQ. This gives you a wall of armour that the rest of your army can hide behind. The Meks (with the obligatory Kustom Force Field) will be giving a good portion (if not all) of this wall a 4+ save with the rest of it getting a save either from the KFF or from the big pile of tin cans in front of them. Two Meks with KFF's, nine Killer Kans and two Deff Dreads can be fielded for less than 800 points which leaves plenty for Troops and Lootas.
Dual Nob Bikers - The army that gave wound allocation such a bad name. Each Warboss enables you to take a Nobz unit as a troop choice. You then give the whole unit Warbikes and each model in the unit a slightly different war-gear load-out so you can spread any non-instant death wounds around the squad. You end up with an extremely mobile unit that takes a 4+ cover save with it wherever it goes and can kill pretty much anything it assaults with brutal efficiency. The downside is that two Biker warbosses and a pair of wound allocation optimised Nob Biker units is going to be the best part of 1500 points of your force and there are plenty of balanced army lists that can still kill them relatively quickly.
Hybrids - Your best bet for a consistently successful Ork army is to create a balanced force using the best bits rather than to opt for a 'Spam' list.
Orks are a fairly forgiving army for the beginner but you'll find them frustrating to use against more experienced opponents.
Okay that's another three covered. Space Marines, Space Wolves and Tau will be coming up next...
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