Well, with the release of Mont'ka, there is a new way to play Guard, the Cadian Formation.
As with my other reviews, I'm not going to be going in to details, but if you do there are severl reviews out there. Two that I would recommend are Elite 40k and Cadia's Creed, both have good reviews and slightly different takes on the subject. Personally, I am more inclined towards GG's view on Cadia's Creed.
So, what's my take on this all? In a nut shell, useless. Mostly as I cannot field anything but the Emperors Shield Infantry Company or the smaller Emperors Shield Infantry Platoon, not both though, only one or the other. So in theory I can field a Battle Group Command and the Shield Company, but that's it. Not that I want to, for several reasons; 1) its 170 troops min and 3 Sentinals, I find running the 119 or so in my Hjaltland list more than enough and depending upon deployment type, it can even be too much. 2) It means they will be unsupported unless I bring more troops to field a CAD in support! 3) I cant imagine painting up that many troops!
I could in theory bring another Battle Group Command with the Tank Commander for some support, but that would leave out my fliers and arty.
So, I'll run through the various elements, and I will just sum up my views/ability to field them.
Battle Group Command: I can field either of these options. The rules are pretty good as well, the bonus to the orders is also very useful, its like having a mini version of Creed everywhere. And the rerolls to hits on the lasguns is good, as any extra hits are always a bonus, as the more hits you get, the more saves you force and the more chances to fail. The Tank Command squad is a bit less useful as it doesn't benefit from many of the rules.
Emperors Shield Infantry Company: Er, sorry, how many troops? and how much does it cost? 170 troops and 1005pts base! Er, maybe not. I could, but I'm not going to.
Emperors Fist Armoured Company: This seems good, but you need at least 5 tanks, Command + buddy and 3 squads of single tanks, you can field up to 12 if you wanted. You need some Enginseers, but if your running tanks, you probably want some around anyway. The bonus' of better BS is pretty good if your running dakka tanks, i.e. Punishers/Exterminators, but really not something that interests me, as I only have 3 tanks and don't plan on getting any more, even though I like the dakka tanks.
Emperors Shield Infantry Platoon: Not to bad if you want lots of troops, but not really anything special. I don't mind the Sentinel tax, as I like sentinels, and the Move Through Cover is not a bad bonus. I just wish that you could take Heavy Weapon Squads or Special Weapon Squads as part of the 5 squads. The Command Squad special order is also useful, its a bit like Forward For The Emperor, but enabling you to move before shooting, rather than after, it could be useful once in a while. If I'm running the Company, I wont be adding this one and seeing as I cant run the tank formation, I will be running the company formation, hence, I wont be running this one.
Super-Heavy Support Element: Well, if you like Super-Heavies, then its good, but as I don't even have one super-heavy its a bit useless. The Bonus' are pretty good though if you have the models, but you need at least 2 vehicles.
Emperors Blade Assault Company: Er, I kinda forgot about this one, I can almost field this, and when I get the last Chimera that I need/want for my Mech list, I will be able to! It will only have one Hellhound as that's all I have, but with 4 Chimeras, I think one will be fine. The bonus of Prefered Enemy on objectives is good, as that's were these boys are gonna be heading. I would run these guys with my Shield Company for some armoured support.
Emperors Spear Aerial Company: Well, if you like fliers, its all good. I've got 2, one Vendetta and one Valkyrie, and that's enough for me, so needing 3 to field this isn't great. If I could swap one out for a Punisher equipped Vulture, then that would be all good and really get me excited. The bonus' are not great though, unless you don't really care about the flier and want that last minute objective grab.
Ogryn Auxilla: Er, don't have any, don't really want any, well, maybe a unit of Bullgryns for a little CCS protection, but 4 units (2 of each type)? No not really, although if you could get this lot in to combat, then they would do pretty well.
Emperors Wrath Artillery Company: Now I like this formation, but I really don't have that many units, nor do I really want them. I have a unit of 2 Wyverns and a third would be good, but I don't really like Basilisks nor do I really have a use for Hydras, although this formation gives then the abilities they really needs, with the ability to get Ignores Cover. As for those orders, split fire could be useful, ignores cover is useful and pinning can be very useful against the right target. The other special rule that gives twin-linked can also be useful but my Wyverns are already twin-linked and have ignores cover, and the weapon works so well due to the amount of hits, so split fire is not great for them. Only pinning could be useful, as I very rarely don't cause a wound. The other unit, either Manticores or Deathstrike, is not really models I want. Yes, manitcores are good, but I still like my Wyverns. So all in all, a good formation, but it would not gain anything over what I have already.
Emperors Talon Recon Company: I like this, but then I like Sentinels. The bonus' are not to bad, orders for running, shoot and run and precision shot are not bad, nor is the ability to outflank with them, but having to take at least 6 walkers is a little steep. I own 3 and I think that fielding more would be a little excessive as you would have to loose better units or weapons from other areas. Sentinels are good disposable one hit wonder unit.
Psykana Division: Yeah, great is you like deamons, ok if you don't. The extra warp charges are handy, as is the ability for the Primaris to know lots of powers, but its the Wyrdvanes that will be doing the casting (2+ with Commissar). It can be a pretty reliable way of getting Prescience (@85pts a pop, total 305pts), but I'll probably not invest, unless I decide to convert up some of my spare troops for a laugh. Although, I'll need to convert 15 of 'em!
Militarum Tempestus Platoon: Can field these boys too, and in some numbers, 2 almost full platoons to be precise, and I probably would. They don't have any addition special rules, which is a bit of a shame as they need a few fixes and some extra bonus' would be great, re-roll deep strike anyone?
So what could/would I field? Either command squad, Tank CS or CCS, the Emperors Shield Infantry Company, the Emperors Blade Assault Company and the Militarum Tempestus Platoon. Not sure how many points that would be, but its not really a set-up I would like to play. So, I'll stick with the CAD for the moment.
The other side of the Battle Group is the Warlord traits, and while there are some new ones, I'll be sticking with the standard Guard ones, which have served me well up until now. And then there are the Relics, most of which are ok. Kake's Herald, which a lot of people are shouting about, is good as it gives you the ability to give orders to all tanks not just command tanks, but it is useless to me as I will either be running a command squad or normal squad, not both, at least not close enough to make use of this. Other relic that is not great in my opinion is the "Iron Left" a sword/mace/CCW thing that's +2s and Ap3. The other relics are not to bad. The Standard of the Lost, normal regimental standard until you plant it (no more moving) and then it gives a 18" fearless bubble, just what you need towards the end of a game when you just have to hold. I like it and I'll have to see if it can find its way in to my Hjaltland Company.
Volkov's Cane could be useful to the Hrossey MechVets, as orders only fail on a double 6, plus its a S user AP4 Concussive CCW, not that you'll get to use it much. Celeritas is also a CCW, but at S User, Ap- Master crafted and Deadly Riposte, which is good as it means that you get auto hits, with rending, back for every successful 4+ invun save, which means that when you die in CC challenge before you get a chance to strike back, you at least get to do something! (and its cheap, which helps) The last, Wrath of Cadia, ties in well with the Celeritas, as a very cheap laspistol upgrade (S3 Ap-), always wounds on a 4 and armour saves are modified to 4+, very useful for that last minute over-watch before you get squatted and the Celeritas kicks in.