For my imperial guard force I am contemplating which of the advisors I should add in to help my infantry out. The obvious choices are adding in either a few Commissars OR Ministorum priest but I don’t have the points to add in both. So the question is, which advisor do I go for?
First of all a little background on my force, it will be an infantry heavy list so my guardsmen will need a little boost to moral. I will probably be adding the model to either a large conscript squad or a combined infantry squad both of which will need to stick around to hold objectives and get in the way. Our two contenders for this role are either the humble commissar or a ministorum priest, both of whom cost 25 points, so which do I pick? Let’s go over each of them, and see.
This guy is the old staple of holding the line, in a past edition he was the go to guy. He has above average state lines for a guardsman and comes with leadership 9. The reason you take this guy is for stubborn, and summary execution. Now summary execution allows the commissar to execute a model if his unit fails a moral, fear or pinning test in order for the test to be passed. This is a small price to pay IF you fail a test, which is unlikely with stubborn leadership 9. He also has access to melee weapons, so he can bring a power weapon or fist to the fight if needed. The number of commissars you can take is directly related to the number of command squads you have, and he is not an independent character, he has to join a unit during deployment, and cannot leave that squad, though he is a character still.
A New addition to the codex, this guy has a basic profile, is an independent character and grants zeolot to his unit. Now this is very different as its essentially fearless, you automatically pass any moral tests. It also grants re-rolls to hit in the first round of combat. As standard he comes with a 4+ invulnerable save and can use hymns. His war hymns can be used if he passes a leadership test (on 7) and then he can pick to either let his unit re-roll failed saves, he gains smash, or his unit re-rolls failed to wound rolls. He doesn’t have access to anything worthwhile so is set at 25 points.
Both of these guys are damn near the same when joining a squad; however the priest does have the edge on survivability. As he is an independent character he can look out sir on a 2+ rather than the 4+ of the commissar. The priest comes with a 4+ invulnerable compared to the commissars 5+ armour. However this shouldn’t really be a massive issue if they have joined a large squad.
Interestingly enough something that can come up in games is going to ground and our weapons do nothing. This is where the commissar has an edge, if the unit is about to take a hard pounding, a unit lead by a commissar can go the ground and not execute someone (executing someone is optional) allowing them to get a better cover save. Also if they end up in a combat against someone they can’t hurt they can opt to fail the moral test and again not execute someone. The rules for zealot forbid both of these things from happening so the priest and his pals have to stand there and take it.
In combat the commissar will probably do more damage, especially if he takes a power weapon. The priest probably won’t do anything BUT if a hymn goes off, he can either increase the damage output from his squad, or reduce the damage. Considering I want the unit to soak up as much as possible the priest might have the edge there.
Going over this I will probably end up trying out a priest first, as he just seems to add more to the squad than the commissar does, even though I can’t get any more than 3 of them but if something goes horribly wrong the priest can leave his unit to fight another day with someone else.
What do you guys think? Which would you go for?