This guide will cover how I use IG-100 MagnaGuard units in my games, with pros and cons of the unit.
- Free tokens from Retinue
- Vulnerable to ranged pierce
Let’s first look at the unit card and start looking at what a basic unit contains.
72 Points: They are a special forces unit that comes with three models for 72 points.
Defense: Why such a high cost and low model count? Unlike most other droid units, they have red saves and come with two health per a model. That’s actually a six-health unit! When we consider average dice rolls for our saves this is an effective health value of twelve wounds before this unit would die (how many saves you would have to force on average to wipe the unit).
What else are we getting for this base cost? Let’s continue with the positives.
Courage 2, droid trooper. This means we need four suppression to make them panic and will not lose any actions while you are trying to panic them due to being droid troopers.
Offense: Two black per a model in melee with surge to hit gives the base unit an average of 3.75 hits, which is an average of one per a model which is not bad with zero upgrades. The ranged attack is range 1-2 and is one black and one white per model. This attack gets an average of three hits, while with our free aim gets us to an average of four with the surge to hit helping on them white attack dice. Both the melee attack and range attack are the same profile as Wookiees.
Charge is a great keyword, especially when our base unit is hitting with the above melee attack.
Guardian 2, but only for commander units. Guardian is a great way to help get that key piece of your army up the field by allocating that damage to a less important unit. Normally I would be upset that I can’t help keep my core units alive like I would with Imperial Royal Guard in an Empire army or Chewie in a Rebel army, but when my core units are cheaper and have worse saves, and the units I care about in CIS are the expensive commanders, there is some great synergy.
Immune : Melee Pierce is a great key word, since this turns this unit into a great Jedi counter unit. Magnas can tie them up while also hitting them with charge without the fear of being killed quickly in response.
Retinue: Commander is the keyword that amps this unit with all the above keywords from a 9 to an 11. While they stay at range two of a commander at the start of the turn, they get a free aim or a dodge token. If you want to increase that survivability to get closer, they can take a free dodge. If they are already in range or want to charge and turn that average up to five hits, then take a free aim token.
Unhindered allows us to charge over difficult terrain and barriers without having to slow down, allowing us to close them gaps quicker.
The keyword I’ve left till last is the first on the card: AI :Dodge, Move. The reason for this is in my eyes it’s not really a negative for the unit, since if they are far from the enemy they can take a move to help get closer either to melee or to get in range to use the pistols. Worst case they must take a dodge which increases their survivability again. If you need to take an aim, then make sure to trigger Retinue or give them a face up for a second aim, if you need to take make sure something is dead.
Heavy Weapon Upgrades
Both the melee and range attack by themselves are not mega scary, but you have to remember this is all for a naked unit with out a single upgrade or heavy option. Let’s have a look at our options for upgrades.
The first heavy weapon option at a cheap 22 points is to add just an extra MagnaGuard model. Now this is not a bad option if you are wanting to have some extra health in the unit, or you are just using the unit for Guardian on your commander.
For six more points we can turn that extra guy into an Electro-Whip MagnaGuard instead. This upgrades his melee attack into two red. This increases the damage output of their melee attack, making it more consistent. The actual scary part of the Electro-Whip is the immobilize token it gives the defender if they fail a save. This can really help tie up those Jedi or Sith and stop them from running away. The Electro-Whip can also be used as a ranged attack at Range 1. While it has Versatile it is worth knowing that you can only use the whip as a range attack when taking the attack action and not from a charge attack.
For 12 points more then the extra guy, we can add an RPS-6 MagnaGuard to the squad. This adds a Range 2-4, Impact 2, Critical 1 rainbow to the unit’s attack pool. This provides a good solid option at range to attack armour, along with a devastating range two shot. If you’re at Range 1 of a unit then, you are better off charging into melee with the extra two black dice for melee the model adds.
For upgrades we have two training slots, one comms slot and a grenade option available. The most important are the training slots and with recent points changes there are a few to choose from, all at the same price point. I won’t cover every available upgrade for each of these slots, just the ones that are worth considering.
Hunter is a possible upgrade but not one I have ever seen taken. Most of the time you will be charging Jedi which could trigger Hunter, but it would be a wasted upgrade for them games you charge into single health units. The Magnas can also just get aims from Retinue.
Into the Fray is a great upgrade for these once they have got into melee, since any attacks back or units activating nearby turns this unit’s saves into red surging, making them even harder to kill.
Offensive Push is a good one off card for that turn you suffer from AI and have to move and shoot, or that turn you want to double move and charge someone with one or two aims due to Retinue.
Protector is a great card for Magnas that are pulling guardian duty on an important commander. It helps them Guardian the rogue crits that get through the heavy cover when shooting at your commander. This increases the life of your most important thing on the board.
Situational Awareness is a great upgrade for Magnas, since they have a way to generate free dodges via Retinue. This for me was an auto upgrade at two points, but now is more dependent on the rest of the list around this unit. Magnas tend to be in heavy cover, so being able to dodge that random crit helps keep them live longer on the approach to your enemy.
Tenacity is one of those auto include upgrades if your plan is to charge this unit as fast as you can at your enemy, giving you an extra red dice as soon you have suffered a wound or lost a model in the squad. When you are left with a single model, having one red and two black in melee against some core units still means you can kill a squad or a Jedi on their last health or two!
Up Close And Personal at eight points is a bit steep, but if you have gone for Situational Awareness is an interesting combo for this unit, since the most effective damage output is at Range 2. Giving a unit a free dodge token after shooting is always good and something not to complain about.
Comms Jammer is a great upgrade for Magnas if your plan is to get buried in your enemy units as fast as you can, leading to disrupting their plans. Also, with a four-man squad you can stretch that Range 1 of a Comms Jammer quite far.
Comms Relay is a situational upgrade depending on your list construction. For example, if you are taking only a single unit of MagnaGuard whose job is to be a line backer, with a cheap commander unit like a T-Series, a relay would then allow you to send an order from your B1 chain to a tank to make sure you always had an order on the big centre piece of your army.
Emergency Transponder is a really great replacement for Offensive Push if you have taken two other training slots instead, but also gives you some extra flexibility on the rare chance you would prefer a dodge, or even to stop the unit from panicking if you don’t want to risk rolling four white dice.
Hacked Comms Unit is in principle a great upgrade, since if your opponent gives the unit you are engaged with or close by to an order, you get a free order as well. I have found most people will choose to not give orders to those units to stop you. In a faction where you have near perfect order control 90% of the time, I also don’t see this as an upgrade for this faction.
For me this entire upgrade section is entirely pointless for Magnaguard. If you are at range one, why did you not just charge? You already have surge to hit and some impact if you have the rocket. The only thing the unit does not have is Ion, and that would be situational at best.
The only grenades I’ve seen take and have had an impact on any game with this unit is smoke grenades to help an army advance and gain some cover, where previously they would have had none.
When adding MagnaGuard, you need to look at the rest of the list and what role the Magnas will have.
Single Magna Linebacker
If you are running a gunline with a Super Tactical Droid or T-Series as your commander, then the MagnaGuard’s job is going to be that of a protector from Jedi or other melee units. In that list I’m probably going to go with the Rocket upgrade and maybe Tenacity. The RPS heavy weapon allows the unit to still shoot and look for that rogue crit damage or help target enemy vehicles with Impact, while if something decides to charge my lines, we can counter charge and hit hard back.
We can take a single unit of MagnaGuard and use them as extra health for a commander as they charge up the field. Keep the unit cheap with just Protector and maybe the extra guy, as in this list the aim is to keep the commander alive as long as possible until they make it to the enemy line with as much health as possible.
My favourite version is when you run multiple MagnaGuard and your aim to run at the enemy as quick and safely as possible and then kill them. By taking multiple units, if they choose to shoot your commander you have guardian six so it is very unlikely any hits are going to get through to him.
The only thing I’ve not covered is how to counter MagnaGuard. The easiest way kill this unit is with long range high velocity pierce weapons. Now this is a lot of keywords, but they do exist on some units such as Rebel and Empire sniper teams. If you can’t stay at long range, just a big hit with lots of pierce like a saber throw fire support, Wookie bowcaster shot, Fleets with a scatter gun or even black suns with a scatter gun are all things that are scary for MagnaGuard. The other issue is Force Choke. Auto wounds on a red saving unit is always something to fear. On the upside, when they Force Choke your heavy, they have to do it twice to kill that model, and unlike Imperial Royal Guard the Magnaguard do not lose their pierce Immunity once they have lost their heavy.
MagnaGuard are a very strong unit, and is not a surprise that most CIS lists these days contains at least one of these units. If you are running CIS and not running MagnaGuard, there has to be a specific reason to be taking any of the other special forces instead of this unit. If you are running up against MagnaGuard, make sure you have an answer or have read this article to expect the damage output of them to help you plan for it over your six turns facing them.