Friday, 15 December 2017

Hobby update

I had 5 minutes to sit down at the hobby table the other day and realised that I have got only 2 more Death Company Marines to paint before the whole of the Eagle Knights Space Marine chapter is complete, all 2000+ points of it. This lead me to look at all the posts sitting in my draft folder and see that most of them are hobby updates as I have completed the various units of Knights but haven't posted as I have been busy on the Astra Militarum Codex review. At this point I went back and had a look at the review posts and I was shocked to find that I have basically been doing nothing but the review post since the end of September! The 25th to be precise. That's basically two and a half months of bombarding you with all my nonsense on the new codex! Well, its time to catch up with the rest of the hobby I think. As such I will be posting up a couple of battle reports, one from way back in September, which was a practice match for the Northern Invasion tournament that I did not end up attending (next year!) and something that I haven't even do a review post on. I will also post all the updates to the Knights, running through all the various squads and models that I have painted up for the army, which with the new BA codex, may well have to change again. I don't have the new codex yet, I maybe lucky to get it for Christmas or I may have to buy it in the new year, I'll have to see but I am really excited to get the knights on to the table top now that there all painted.

Now that the Knights are all painted the plan is to go back and redo any thing I need to do to the Hjaltland LI to bring it in line with the new codex, which I am hoping will include painting up a new model, namely an Ogryn Bodyguard for my Warlord. I may well have to paint up a few new models to cover the removal of priest and possibly commissars, although I still need to go through the list properly. I also intend on updating the Valkyrie paint scheme to add in some more camouflage to the green on the top, as suggested by a number of readers, probably by using a darker green or two to add some stripes or splodges, mostly to break up the solid colour that it currently is. After this I will start on the next project. This is where i'm a little torn, as I have two or three projects that I'm pretty keen on getting stuck in to.

The first option is to finish painting up the Dagr Ormr Militarum Tempestus force including the Hildasay PDF units. I have got a number of the Dagr Ormr painted up and the colour scheme is well established. The Hildasay PDF have, after a couple of test models, also received there colours, in there case it will be dark grey trousers and top, with a lighter grey vest and weapon, with black boots, pouches and other highlights, combines with a very pale looking skin tone, probably Pallid Wych Flesh as the final tone. This will tie into the fact that these are supposed to be a local PDF force from an overcrowed, totalitarian hive world, where there main operating environment is the inner and under hive, which are both urban (for the grey) and enclosed (pale flesh). The troops may now be attached to the Dagr Ormr and operation out of there normal environment, but they have retained there kit and look for the moment.

The second option is the Hrossey Yeomanry, with all of its armoured units. With the changes to 8th edition, LRBT's are now a very viable unit on the table top and I have been using them in quite a few games so far. So i'm thinking that it would be nice to get them all painted up properly and get them on to the table top in there entirety. I have a colour scheme in mind for the tanks and also for the various troop units as well, although there will have to be a fair bit of rejigging for the list before I can fully paint everything, as with the disappearance of the platoon structure, there will need to be a few changes to the list. This maybe by the inclusion of addition chimera, of which I still need to purchase one more anyway, or maybe by the addition of a new units or two. I am, as yet, undecided and will probably remain so until I decide to make these my main priority.

The final project that is on the list is a different sort of project as it will probably not see the battlefield much but is quite important to the fluff. The final idea is to get some of my Inquisition painted up, as its these guys that are driving the whole narrative forward and are the reason for my forces existing as they do. This is going to be the smallest of all the projects, as it consists of just a handful of models for each of the three inquisitors and I plan on just painting up one Inquisitor and there retinue for the moment. The biggest issue that I have though, is that in the new edition, Inquisitors, as far as I am aware, have lost the ability to take any form of armour apart from Flak armour, which is annoying, as both of my modelled Inquisitors are wearing power armour. The war band will also have to have some modifications, as they unit sizes and compositions have changed as well, but that should be fairly easy to deal with.

At the moment I am leaning towards doing the Inquisitor and his war band, mostly for the fluff and narrative perspective, as this is lacking somewhat on the table top, plus it will be something different from what I have been painting as there will be little uniformity to the units, with each model being a slightly different pattern and scheme to the others, although they will all follow a basic colour scheme in order to tie them all together. Each Inquisitor will have a primary colour that is shared by all their war band, so that the different war bands are not confused, but the secondary colours will be varied on all the models. One thing I'm confused about at the moment though, is how do you take an inquisitorial detachment as there are no troops?

Talking of the fluff, i really need to update my fluff for the 8th edition setting. Although my little war is set out in the segmentum Pacificus, an area that is on the fringes of the galaxy and also one that seems to be so what removed from the crisis, seeing as the great rift doesn't seem to extend far in to it, there will obviously be repercussions for the men and women of the Hamnavoe System.

The big issue at the moment is how to write in the Eagle Knights to the Baal conflict, as they are a BA successor and all but the Lamenters answered the call from Baal. I guess that the current company that is in my narrative will have been to far away to answer, but the rest of the chapter did. This will lead to a number of reinforcements arriving, as the remains of the chapter join the company, the last major fighting force of the Eagle Knights. How this occurs in game i don't know, as a lot will depend on the new codex. One thing is for sure though, for the moment, they will not be accepting the Primaris marines into there ranks, as they have a similar mentality to Gabriel Seth on the matter of the new marines.

I intended to write up a narrative for each battle i fought and forge it in to a grand narrative for the whole campaign and fluff but as yet i haven't done anything. I really need to find some time to update and catch up with everything, maybe I'll get some time in the New Year when the young lady starts nursery!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

chapter approved

So Chapter Approved 2017 is out and while i haven't purchased it, i have been gathering what info i can on it online. My initial assessment of CA17 is that it's pretty much a waste of money. Ok, so there are 6 new Eternal war missions and 6 new Maelstrom of war mission, which could be fun, i still haven't played half of the ones in the rule book yet. There are also some rules changes, 6 by the looks of it, which equates to about a page in the book and not worth buying the whole book for.

We have already seen a preview of two of the new rules. One, that all troops in battle forged detachments now get objective secured, which brings them inline with the various codices available. The second rule is that to determine first turn you both roll, but the person who finished setting up first gets a +1 to there roll. Both are fairly basic and not game changing. The other two rules are that you cannot use your command re-roll to affect "mission dice". Basically, you can't use a command point before the beginning of the very first turn, so no using it for stealing the initiative or for seeing if the game ends on turn 5. Finally, there is the fact that the restrictions for targeting a character have been tightened up. This is probably the biggest change and is designed to stop some of the line of sight nonsense that people have been using. Now, you cannot target a character unless they are the closest, regardless of whether you can see other units or not. The last "new" is that understrength units can now only be taken in an Auxiliary Support Detachment. I don't know anyone who takes  understrength units and don't know why you would want to, but the option is still there, just more  restricted now. In addition to these rules, there is also the "boots on the ground" rule, but this isn't really a new rule, its just put into a proper book now.

The meat of the new book is taken up with updates for the various armies that don't have a codex yet, giving each a warlord trait, stratagem and relic. In addition there are also points updates for pretty much all the armies, including the Guard. So, the majority of the book is new missions or updates to armies i don't have. All I would be buying the book for is a page of rules and half a page of points updates. Even for the price it is, it still doesn't make sense to me, especially as i have found the points changes other places.

Having decided not to buy the book and getting the points cost changes elsewhere, what are the changes?

astropath - 15 to 30
A big price hike for a unit that I don't think is very good to begin with. At 15 points it could be worth taking one or two, at this price i don't think it is.

conscripts - 3 to 4
I get the feeling that GW do not like conscripts. With the previous changes and now this points change, conscripts are basically dead. When you can now combine two infantry squads to do the same thing better for the same price, it makes conscripts pretty useless.

manticore - 125 - 135
Not a massive change and won't cause to much of an issue for most people and is also the kind of points adjustment i would have expected. It gained power points with the codex, so not surprised to see it gain points as well.

Primaris Psyker - 28 to 38
The power of smite is being felt somewhat here. These payments were cheap for what they could do and a points increase is not surprising. Still a useful unit, even with the price hike.

Ratlings - 5 to 7
Now this is more of a problem. This price rise now means that a basic unit is 10 point more expensive, that's two ratlings. That's a big difference in terms of men and output. I guess that this shows the damage that sniper's can do and how effective this unit can be.

Taurox - 40 to 50
They are obviously struggling to find the right points balance for the taurox. It started as 55, dropped to 40 and now is back up to 50. Hopefully this will be the final points change. I'm not sure if this is a good points value for them or not as i don't have any or run any.

Taurox Prime - 65 to 80
Again, this has had a few points changes, unfortunately they have all been upwards. This is units a points jump though and when you put on the various weapon loads, the point keep going up. I feel that this may see more points changes in the future, although probably not anytime soon.

Wyvern - 85 to 95
I can't say I'm surprised by a point hike here, the wyvern is still a great unit. It still excels at taking out low toughness units and is still useful for other infantry units, although i think it still needs an ap modifier. This 10 point hike does nothing to the usefulness or effectiveness of the unit. Still a good price for what it does.

Tempest Command Rod - 0 to 5
This surprises me, as although you get an extra order from this, you have to give up shooting. 5 points isn't much but i do still deal that its a little bit too much of a price hike, especially as the other options are mostly cheaper.

Force stave - 12 to 8
This is one of the few drops in points and means that the primaris psyker's price hike isn't quite as bad as it was. It means that in reality it's only a 6 point hike overall, which is easier to handle.  I'm not sure why they have done this as there are no other options for the primaris psyker's and none of the other psychic units use it either. Why they didn't just raise the primaris by 6 point and call it done, i don't know.

Power Fist - 10 to 8
Personally i don't think this goes far enough. Even with the extra strength granted by a fist, it's still not a good choice for a guard character. I think that if it was dropped inline with the other power weapons then it might become a good option but until then i don't think it is.

Autocannon - 15 to 12
Another of the points reductions and one i do like, mostly as i use a lot of autocannons. These are my go to heavy weapon and so i will benefit from this reduction as it will offset some of the other points rises. I don't know why they have decided to reduce this weapon but it does have some benefits. It will benefit the taurox's, as if you take this option it will lessen the points rises there, especially considering the next item on this list.

Hot-shot Volley gun - 6 to 7
a slight points rise for these weapons. Given the rise in points to both plasma guns and meltas, I'm a little surprised that they raised this too. I didn't think that scions were underpriced enough to have to have all their special weapons marked up in price, but it seems to be going that way. I still think that the volley gun is a good choice for the points, but it is a shame that it's still a heavy type weapon.

Melta gun - bs4+ 12 / other 17
So it happened to plasma guns, now it's happened to meltas to. Why? Not to sure, you are after all paying more for the greater BS in the first place, so i don't get why you need to pay so.much more for the weapon. Anyway, this is going to hurt vets and scions but this still remains one of the best anti vehicle\monster guns in the guards armoury.

Taurox Gatling cannon - 18 to 20
Not only did the taurox prime get a price hike but so to did it's cheapest weapon option. These things are getting expensive now. Granted they are still a very effective vehicle with good amounts of firepower but your definitely having to pay for it. I expect more points changes for the prime in the future, how much or when is anybody's guess, but probably CA18

Vanquisher Battle Cannon - 25 to 20
This adjustment makes sense to me. It's a one shot a turn weapon, not including grinding advance, and is at the bottom of the pile of LRBT weapons options. It's a good weapon but it's pricey for its low output. I would like to see another 5 points drop but I'm happy that it's got a drop. A good weapon, now at a more reasonable price.

There are a few changes here, not as many as some got, but still quite a few. Most of them are reasonable changes, addressing some of the basic teething problems that come with a new edition, so however seem a little over the top. Conscripts for example, with all the other changes was a points increase really necessary? The points for both taurox versions seem to be a problem. Hopefully this will be the last major change there for a while, although i think the prime is now over priced but i don't have any, so i don't really know. The other big looser i think is the lowly ratlings. Although it's only a couple of points, it's a big price hike for them. I didn't hear much about them before and i think will her even less now but I'll still try them out and see how they play. Overall, i don't think the changes are anything we need to worry about and will not change the game or the way guard are played, with the exception of conscripts maybe but i have a feeling that won't upset many people!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Codex: Astra militarum - my armies

Hjaltland LI.
The Hjaltland LI have been  my go to army for the last two editions, since I got back in to the game. In this time they have evolved but overall they have remained along a similar structure, that of an infantry based army. The latest incarnation on the force and the one that has been used for the longest period consists of numerous infantry models, two flyers and 2 wyverns. This is a pretty short list of units but it still means that choosing what doctrine to use is not as easy as it first appears. When we look through the list, there is only one that can be discounted straight away, that of the Militarum Tempestus, as it only applies to the Scions and would give nothing to a force of Guard. So that leaves us with 7 choices. The Catachan doctrine is probably the next to get dismissed, as although this does give the benefit of +1 leadership and also the option to re-roll the number of attacks for the vehicles, the rest of the doctrine and the stratagem and order are not going to be very useful to the force, neither is the relic. So that leaves 6. The Armageddon doctrine is on the face of it a good one, as it give a greater range for the rapid fire lasguns, of which there are quite a lot, however, with no transports in the force, both the order and stratagem are useless. The relic and warlord trait are not as bad, but I don't see much of a place for either in the force. The Tallarn doctrine is also not really suited to the force, with the order being a tank order and having no tanks, and the doctrine itself being more geared towards vehicles and the wyvens wont be moving, so wont gain any advantages from it.. The Stratagem could be useful but it doesn't really fit in with the play style of the force.

This leaves 4 options; Cadian, Vostroyans, Mordian and Valhallans. While all of these would work for the force, some are better than others. The Cadian doctrine would work well, as the force has a large number of static elements, which would benefit from the bonus to "Take Aim", but as i'm not bringing tanks, the order will be redundant. However, the stratagem and the relic would work well with the army. The added bonus to using Cadian is that I could use Creed as my warlord, something that I have done a lot in the past, to great success. So Cadian in an option. The Vostroyan doctrine is also a good choice, as the added range to most weapon systems is useful, giving the ability to out renage most other armies on the board. The stratagem, relic and order are also good and would be very useful for the army, especially the relic to keep the warlord alive longer. After initially discounting the Vostroyan doctrine, I am now quite a fan of it. The Mordian doctrine is another option, although I think it is one of the weaker options on the final list, as it really only affects overwatch, although the leadership bonus is good. Athough the stratagem and relic are good, I think there are better ones out there and the order is quite situational and cant be used on the best weapons, such as the heavy weapons. So although the Mordian doctrine is good, i think that i will not be using if for the Hjaltland LI. The last doctrine to look at is the Valhallan doctrine. With the Valhallans doctrine, it affects moral and damage to vehicles, both of which are useful traits. The stratagem however is completely useless, but at least the relic and order are pretty good. So what do I do? Caidan for more reliable shooting, Vostroyan for longer range or Valhallan for better moral? Not sure really, I think I may have to have a few games with each to really get an idea of what I want to use but at the moment I am leaning towards the Cadian doctrine, the Vostroyan Doctrine a close second.

Hrossey Yeomanry
The Hrossey Yeomanry is split in to two distinct parts, the infantry based part and the armoured based part. I'll start with the infantry based part of the list, mostly due to the fact that which doctrine to take is pretty clear. The doctrine in question is the Armageddon doctrine. The reasons why are clear, the infantry units are all based in chimera's, and while the doctrine itself does not do anything specific for mechanised infantry, although both the extra rapid fire range and reduced damage to vehicles do help, the order "Mount Up" and stratagem 'Armoured Fist" both help a lot. With all of these elements taken into account, the Armageddon doctrine is the best one for a mechanised infantry unit and therefore the best for the Hrossey Yeomanry.

But what about the armoured part of the list? Well, this is a little bit harder to pin down. There really are only 3 doctrines that help out an armoured list, these being Tallarn, Valhallan and Cadian. I'll start with the Cadian doctrine, as there are only two main reason for including this in the list. Firstly, Pask. Now Pask is a big force multiplier and a 2+ to hit is always going to be a good thing on a LRBT. The Cadian order is also a very good tank order. In addition the relic and stratagem are also useful, as is the doctrine itself. However, the doctrine does not do anything specifically for the tanks themselves and this is where I think that the other two doctrines come in to there own. The Tallarn Doctrine and order give a significant boost to the LRBT's, giving extra movement and greater fire power/efficiency and the stratagem allows for a good option for deployment. This means that that over all the tanks are faster and hit harder, something that you want from you tanks. With the extra movement on the order being key as it enables you to use the full grinding advance rule and still get your full movement. On the other side of the coin you have the Valhallan doctrine. Now this does not do anything for movement and does not give an additional tank order, but what it does do is keep your tanks firing at full efficiency for the majority of the time they will be on the table. For a LRBT, this means dropping 9 wounds off the vehicle before it starts to degrade its BS and movement, not an easy task with a T8 12 wound model with a good 3+ save. So the real issue is whether to take the Vahallan doctrine for extra resilience or Tallarn doctrine for extra movement. Personally as the tanks are going to be supporting the infantry and not out on there own, I am leaning towards the extra resilience to keep them firing better for longer.

Dagr Ormr MT with Hildasey PDF
Well this is going to be two detachments straight from the off, as there are units of both Militarum Tempestus and also Imperial Guard. The choices for which doctrines to run for each is very different. For the Dagr Ormr is obvious and easy, they will be run using the Militarum Tempestus doctrine. I'll not go to deeply into​ the reasons, as they should be fairly obvious, they are after all a Militarum Tempestus force.

The Hildasey PDF on the other hand do not present such an obvious choice. There role will be to sit back and give supporting fire, mostly from heavy weapons teams, So that in itself limits the number of doctrines they are going to  a be useful and  I when we look through all the options, were are really only left with Cadian, Valhallan, vostroyan and Mordian. While the Valhallan doctrine could be useful, there is one drawback to it. Most of the units will be heavy weapons teams, consisting of 3 models and Ld6. Now this means that loosing a model forces a moral test but it will only fail on a 6. Most of the time you'll not need any moral boosts, as you'll either be fine or you'll be destroyed. Therefore the Valhallan doctrine is not a good option for the force. The Mordian doctrine is also one that on closer inspection is not a great option, as although it does offer some good bonuses, it does have one big drawback​for heavy weapons squads and that is placing them in base to base. With infantry units, you can string them out but still be in base to base, with 3 60mm bases this is not quite so easy, especially when your in ruins. This means that you could be severely restricting you deployment options for a bonus that you may not use. So that leaves use with Cadian and Vostroyan doctrines. Both of these are going to be good options, with the extra range of the Vostroyans being very useful to the likes of mortars and heavy bolters but the re-rolls from the Cadians will be useful to all units. When you consider all the other bits and pieces, the Cadians seem to edge ahead, with a better stratagem and more useful relic, but i think that the Vostroyan doctrine will actually be the better doctrine. I will however try running both of them over time and see which is best.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Codex: Astra militarum - closing thought

So, we come to the end of a (very) long review of the new Astra Militarum codex. While I have given my thoughts on the various bits and pieces as I have been through them, but I have not given my overall thoughts on the whole thing. Now I have been through it all, I have a very different impression of the codex.

When i first started writing this post, i thought that it would be simple, just a case of sticking down a few opinions and then moving on, but in reality there is so much to this book, that it's actually quite hard to sum it all up. The book has some really powerful combinations, as evident by tournament results and also the big need bat that GW keep swinging. Then there is Chapter Approved to add in to the mix as well. I real do like this book, it has finally added in the extra flavour that i remember from 2nd and 3rd editions of the codex, although i do wish they had brought back some of the special characters. However, there are a few things that aren't so great as well but I'll get to them in due course.

First up though are the good things and there really is only one place to start, Regimental Doctrines. I have been wishing for these since i got back in to 40k at the very end of 5th. To return and find that there was but one choice of guard was a little disappointing. Granted since my time playing 2nd and a bit of 3rd, i had watched models disappear, save Catachans and Cadians but realising that there was no difference in play style was a let down. With the introduction of chapter tactics, hope grew and now we have the reality and it's everything i hoped for, apart from the models. They really have put some effort in to getting the fluff to match up with the tabletop as well, with the benefits of the doctrines roughly matching up with the stories. There are a couple that are a little odd but on the whole i think its a job well done.

Of all the doctrines, whilst there is choice, there also isn't any. Bare with me on this and I'll explain. Look at it this way, if you want to run a MechVet style list, then the only real option is the Armageddon doctrine, if you want to run a gun line, then it's Cadian or Mordian. tank heavy Valhallan, scions? Well Militarum Tempestus. Combat? Catachan. You get the picture. Each doctrine is geared towards a specific type of warfare and there is no one size fits all doctrine. Yes, each doctrine does have something for both vehicles and infantry, but some are clearly better than others, is this a bad thing? No, not at all. It just means that your going to have to run multiple detachments to get the most out of things. I think this is how things should be, the guard after all are not a true combined arms force, everything is split up and segregated.

Of all the doctrines my favourite has to be so far is, rather surprisingly, the Vostroyan doctrine. At first, i didn't really think that this would be any good at all, but having thought about it and played around with the numbers in my head, i have come to this rather surprising conclusion. The while regiment works, from the extra range you get, through to the order, Repel the Enemy, and the stratagem, First Born Pride. Ok, so the warlord trait, Honoured Duelist, isn't great but the relic is awesome. The Armour of Graf Tuschenko is an excellent relic and will make quite a difference to your warlords survivability. I really didn't think that the Vostroyans would be something i would look towards but it really is.

The other regiment that i think works well is the Mordians. Again, a surprise, as it's not one of the first regiments i would have thought off but with the doctrines bonus and the abilities of the orders and stratagems, plus the relic's abilities means that they are a very good option for most armies. Having said that, the other regiments are still good and i do like the Armageddon and Cadian regiments as well, both of which have good options for orders, stratagems and relics. Although the Armageddon warlord trait is not one of my favourites.

However, i have to say that despite the book getting a great big thumbs up from me, there are some glaringly obvious issues. There are two really big ones that stick out, the first being the nerf to commissars. It seems like a massive knee jerk reaction and a poorly thought out one at that but it's not the end of the world. There are other options that can do the same thing, so we'll just have to try them for the moment. The real big one though is "Send in the Next Wave". Wow, what a cock up that is. I don't think anyone at GW really thought this through properly. I can understand having to pay for this ability, but paying twice, if not three times for it is just stupid. You have to spend command points for the ability and reinforcement points for the respawned unit, which means your at a disadvantage to start with. I mean, what if you enemy never actually finished off a unit? No, it was a stupid way to run it. It should have been a 3cp stratagem or a one use army rule, not a combination. I don't think it will stop people playing Valhallan's, simply because the rest of the doctrine is so good, but it definitely leaves a taste in the mouth.

Now, one thing i have to mention is that of all the regiments, there is one regiment that i think really got the short straw in almost every respect and it's not the Militarum Tempestus, no it's the Catachans. Now, i can complain to much as they really are true to the fluff but on the table top I think that they have taken a bit of a hit. Now, Catachans are my favourite guard models and pretty much all my models are Catachans, mostly as pretty much everyone seems to have Cadians. Unfortunately the Catachans have drawn the short straw in terms of doctrines, orders, stratagems and relics. The doctrine grants an extra point of strength, not a bad bonus for combat. The order gives a bonus to flamers, with there 8 inch range. The stratagem inflicts mortal wounds if your charged in terrain, and the relic is a power sword, but useful if your charged or in combat. Sensing a theme here? To make the most of the catachan regiment you need to be in charge range or in combat. They do get re-rolls for randon / Xd6 shot weapons and a +1 leadership bonus as well, but these are secondary to the other traits really. I get that there needs to be a close combat orientated army and it makes a lot of sense that the Catachans are that army, but, as they are my army of choice, I feel that it will push them further to the margins of the guard and we will see even less of them on the table than we did before. I well probably not be using the Catachan regiment at all, as I don't run a combat orientated army and I don't know anyone who really does and I haven't seen any on any of the YouTube batreps that I occasionally watch. Its a shame that they have gone this way, but I do understand why they have, but I still don't like it.

Overall, I have to say that I think they this codex is great, it has all the options we need to really put together both strong and fluffy forces. We have seen that the Guard are not a top table army, something they haven't been for years, not since the Leaf Blower lists of early 5th edition. There has been a lot of take about Conscripts and Commissars, but there are a whole lot of other really good units in the book and pretty much everything is playable these days. I am really looking forward to getting some games under my belt and really getting to grips with all the new doctrines and stratagems. Next up, I will be looking at they various guard armies that I currently own and seeing how the new book is going to change the way they are formed and fight.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Codex: Astra militarum - Psykana Discipline and Tactical Objectives

Today we are rounding off our look at the main parts of the codex, finishing up with the Psykana Psychic Discipline and also the Astra Militarum Tactical Objectives. Following on from this will be a couple of posts, a round up of my final thoughst on the codex as a whole, looking at the best parts and the weakest parts of the codex and also the various combinations that can be created. After this I will do a post on my three Guard armies, the Hjaltland Light Infantry, the Hrossey Yeomanry and the Dagr Ormr/Hildasay PDF and what the changes in the new codex will mean to these armies. However, first we will go through the Psykana Discipline psychic powers.

Technically not part of the Psykana discipline, our psykers, like all other psykers, have access to this power. It is a fairly basic psychic power with a low (5) warp charge level and while it does have a good range, it is limited to targeting the closest visible unit. Now, while there are various shenanigans that can be used to get around this issue, like the strategic placement of chimeras, it does limit the power. While it is also not the strongest of power, only doing between 1 and 3 mortal wounds, it can do up to 6, which is pretty good, you just need some good dice rolling to achieve it. As all psykers know this power its not surprising its super powerful, but it is a good power and is probably the one I see being used most, apart from in Eldar armies.

Terrifing visions
One of the more expensive powers for the guard, this is the first of three "offensive" powers, designed to target enemy units. This power can target an enemy unit up to 18 inches away and if it is successful, will reduce their leadership by two. This can be a huge problem for some armies, but for other it will be next to useless, so check what you using it on first, otherwise it might be a waste of a power. One thing to remember though is that you will still have to case a casualty to a unit to force it to take a moral test, otherwise this doesn't come in to effect (unless I've missed something in the rule book). I do think that this is probably the best offensive power in the group, but its a close run thing.

Gaze of the emperor
A warp charge cheaper than Terrifing Visions, this is the second of the "offensive" powers and is also the most random. If you pass the test, you draw a line 2d6 long away from the psyker, which instantly drops the usefulness of this down for me. 2d6 can mean you could only be shooting 2 inches or you could be shooting 12 inches, meaning its hard to actually plan. Even if you pass, this might become useless as you won't be able to reach anything, but even if you do, you still have to roll again to see if you actually do damage, which is only a 50/50 chance itself. At least if you do manage to reach your target and hit then the mortal wound you deal out will actually do something. With this you could actually inflict multiple mortal wound on a unit, as you roll for every model the centre of the line passes over, so target through the centre of a unit and with a good 2d6 roll you could get several models. While its got a lot of potential, its to random for my liking and I think that the other "offensive" power is a much better use of the psykers roll.

Psychic barrier
The first of the three "defensive" powers, this power grants a unit within 12 inches of the psyker a +1 bonus to there save. This could be useful on several different occasions, either if you plan on pushing a unit forward out of cover and still want to give them a chance of surviving or if you know that a unit will be the target of a significant portion of the enemies firepower. Giving a guardsman in cover a 3+ save is not to be sniffed at. I like this power, as it affects one of the weakest areas of the guard, their save and with no other way of increasing armour saves these days, this is a useful power to have.

The second "defensive" power, this power is cast on to a friendly guard unit but effects the ability of the enemy to hit the unit. This is done by way of a -1 to hit modifier for any units targeting the effected unit with ranged weapons. So, although it only has an effect on shooting, I assume that it will still effect pistol shots in combat, although it wont affect close combat attacks. This is another good power, but will have more of an impact on some units than others. Marines for example will not be to disrupted by this, as they will still be hitting on a 4+, but most Ork units will be hitting on a 6+, meaning that there shooting will be a lot more disrupted. Its a shame that Primaris Psykers can only cast one power per turn, as combining this power with Psychic Barrier would be a very viable strategy for keeping a unit alive. Whether this power or Psychic Barrier is a better power depens upon who your facing, if your facing a high BS (3+) army, then Psychic Barrier would be better, a low BS (5+) then this would be better.

Mental fortitude
This is the last of the "defensive" powers and one that I would recommend taking as the third power, behind one of the others here and smite. This power has a very low (4) warp charge cost and when cast on to a nearby guard unit, means that it will automatically pass its moral test. Now, this can work very well or it can go very badly. If you cast this on a unit, you will have to gamble that that unit will be the target of a enemy and sustain numerous casualties, before it actually happens. Doing so can result in a couple of things happening, firstly, the enemy completely ignore the unit, figuring its not going to break and therefore go after other targets that will or secondly they will throw everything they need to at it in order to destroy it. Either way it can be counted as a win, as they will either leave that unit intact, or they will dedicate fire to it instead of other units, meaning that these other unit will survive more intact than they would have. The only time it doesn't work is if they treat the unit as normal, reduce it down to a level where it is no longer effective and then move on. To me this is a power to be used late on in the game when your starting to run out of command points and need a unit holding an objective to stay put or die trying. Like I said at the beginning, I would take this as the third power on a least 1 psyker, as it is useful, but not as much as the other two "defensive" powers.

Psychic maelstrom
7, 18", D6, 2+ mortal wound, then 3, 4 ,5 6, continue until fail to wound/destroyed
The final power in the discipline and in some respect the most powerful of the "offensive" powers. It has a higher (7) warp charge value but a decent 18 inch range and the potential to do 5 mortal wounds. In reality your probably looking at 2 or 3, which is the same as Smite, but without the restrictions, being able to target any model in range. The power works by rolling a dice and starting on a 2 and increasing by 1 every roll, you inflict a mortal wound until you fail the roll or the mortal wound is negated, by something like Disgusting Resilience. Ok, so it is a bit random, but with a similar warp charge value to smite, the same range and potential damage, but with free reign to pick a target, this is my go to "offensive" power instead of smite.

So that's it, the 6 powers of the Psykana Discipline. While we have lost a lot of the old powers we relied on, Prescience mostly, and we have lost a lot of the choices we had before, I think that the powers are a lot more in keeping with the guard theme and I hope that they don't try and expand the powers too much.

Next up are the unique guard tactical objectives, which as standard replace cards number 11 to 16. At some point I will have to go through all the other cards, with a view towards the guard interaction with the cards, but for now, here are the 6 in the codex.

11 - Overkill - 1vp/d3vp
A simple one point card for most of us but if your using a Titanic vehicle you could get up to 3vp with a good d3 roll. All that is required is to kill a unit using a vehicle. It should be fairly easy, pick on a unit with other stuff to reduce it down to a model or two and then finish it off with the vehicle, in combat if you need to, as its not restricted to the shooting phase. This should be an easy point to score for most guard armies, as there are very few armies that I have seen that don't include at least one vehicle.

12 - Regimental Pride - 1vp
This is a little bit of a harder objective to complete, as it requires a guard character to kill another character. Now this doesn't have to be in the fight phase but in any phase, so if your running that tank commander, then this will be a little bit easier. If your running a infantry character, then this will prove a little harder, as most guard character don't have to fire power to kill an enemy character outright or the combat prowess to defeat one in combat. If you can achieve this in a turn, then go for it, otherwise I would bin it at the end of the turn.

13 - Chain of command - 1vp/d3vp
Ok, most guard armies should be able to comfortably get this objective card. It might prove harder later in the game, but issuing 3 orders in a turn should be doable to get 1 point. Issuing 6 orders a turn my not be so easy for the d3 points, but some armies maybe able to do this. If you cant achieve this in the turn you draw it, bin it, as chances are you wont be able to do it in the following turns, unless you can manoeuver in to a position to issue the 6 orders.

14 - Troops on the Ground - d3vp/3+d3vp
This is the big money card, giving out up to 6 points. This card has two levels, the first level gets you D3 points for controlling between 3 and 5 objectives. This should be fairly easy for most guard armies, especially infantry based armies. The next level is 3 plus D3 points for controlling all 6 objectives. This will be hard for most armies, even infantry guard armies, but if you do it will be worth it, with a minimum of 4 point up for the taking. If you can do this card go for it, i think that even if you have to sacrifice a unit to do it, it would be worth it.

15 - Hammer of the Emperor - 1vp
This card could be either an easy point or impossible, as it relies on the enemy holding an objective. To gain the point all you have to do is destroy the unit holding the objective, which sounds simple, but it will depend on the unit holding the objective to start with. A unit of cultists will be a lot easier to clear off than a unit of battle suits. If you can get this in a turn easily, great, if not bin it at the end of the turn.

16 - Death from a Far - 1vp
This is probably the hardest card to achieve out of all of them and at only 1 point, it may not be worth even attempting. It has a very strict criteria, being that in order to scrape the point a friendly guard unit that started your turn within your deployment zone must destroy an enemy unit that is within the enemy deployment zone. So, if you draw this turn 1 and you have a couple of artillery pieces or similar, then this could be quite easy, if it's turn 5 then it might be very difficult. For 1 point i would not try to hard for this one, especially if it turns up late in the game.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Codex: Astra militarum - Warlord traits

Today we will be looking at the Warlord Traits, starting with the generic traits, which are open to all and then going on to the Regimental specific warlord traits. While there are quite a few traits to choose from some of them are a more useful then others.

Grand Strategist
This trait has two parts to it. the first part gives you a single re-roll per battle, that can be spent on either a re-roll to hit, to wound or a save. The second part gives you the ability to roll for every command point you spend and on a 5+ that command point is refunded. This is a good trait, as you are effectively getting an extra command point with your re-roll and also the opportunity to get cp's back after spending them. Combine this with the Aquila relic and you could be getting cp's back all over the place. While this is a good trait, its not the best.

Old Grudges
I'm not sure about this trait yet, it has the potential to be very good, but also to be very short lived. The trait give you the option to pick an enemy unit at the start of the battle and then for the rest of the game you get to re-roll wounds against them for any unit within range of your warlord. Now, this can be powerful, as it gives you re-rolls, which are always useful and combined with order has the potential to really pile on the damage, however, if you take out the unit in the first round of combat, then its no longer applicable for the rest of the game. So do you pick a really tough unit that will hang around all game and potentially soak up all your fire power for nothing, or do you pick a weak unit in order to get the maximum effect out of it, even if its only in the short term? It will depend on what your facing, but I'd probably go with the latter and make the most of it while I know my warlord is still around. A trait to consider, but I think there are better ones.

Implacable determination
This is not one of the better ones however, at least not for me. This is mainly because why is your warlord advancing up the table? If he is, then he need to be in a transport, which wont be effected by this trait. If your commander is a LRBT commander then this won't be much use either, as you'll be wanting to cruise around at half speed,along the most of those 3+ to hit rolls with grinding advance. The only time i can see this being useful is if you need to get out of trouble fast, apart from that i don't see much use for this trait.

Draconian discipline
Now we get in to the good traits, at least in my opinion anyway. This is a name that will be recognised by many long time guard players and has remained the same in idea even if the details have changed. This time around it gets you a re-roll to your moral if your within 6 inches of the warlord. Re-roll moral is a great bonus for guard infantry units. With the general low moral, any help is good and with the changes to commissars, this trait is now even better. This will benefit gun line armies more than most others, as there will be more units within the 6 inch bubble than other style of armies. There are various other ways of getting around moral these days, from stratagems to doctrines, but this is still one of the more reliable ones and doesn't use up any CP's either. If your running something like valhallan's or Mordians, then this may not be the best trait as they have some built-in​ resilience anyway, but for Cadian, Vostroyan and Armageddon units, this could be useful. In the end it's an old trait but it's still a good one.

Bellowing Voice
This is another good trait but it is quite limited in its application. The trait adds 3 inches to the  abilities of your warlord. This means that abilities such as Voice of Command, Aura of Discipline, Tank Orders and Summary Execution will all get a bonus to there range, as will, Its for you own good. This is why I say that it is quite limited, as it only effects a small number of abilities and with things like VoC, the range can be extended very easily with Vox Casters, and Summary Execution now only has a very limited application anyway, so will not benefit very much from the extra 3 inches. In general though, most of the time you will be seeing the benefit to the VoC ability and Tank Orders, as your warlord will most likely be a Commander, either of the Company or Tank variety. However, if you did decide to use a Lord Commissar, then his abilities would be increased, and would enable you to cover a greater area with his aura abilities, although, I'm less sure about this due to the changes to Summary Execution. I would tend to go with this for gun line armies, as it enables you to cover a greater area with VoC than normal, meaning that you could save a few points here and there on Vox Casters, although this wont affect the Vox Caster rules, as they are linked to the Vox and not the Officer. With Tank Commanders the trait is even better, as it means that you can spread your tanks out a bit more, reducing the chances of multi-charges and also opening up better cover and LoS options for the various tanks, without having to sacrifice your orders. In my opinion, this is a trait best suited to the Tank Commander, but is also very useful on a Company Commander.

Master of Command
This is probably my choice for the traits. Yes, most of the time your warlord will already have the VoC ability, but occasionally your warlord wont. If you decided to take Commissar Yarrick as your warlord, then you have to take this trait for him, giving him the ability to issue an order. Now, the ability to issue an extra order a turn is not something to turn down, as the guard really do live and die by the issuing of orders. Being able to issue an extra order means that you can effectively save points in both an armoured list and also a infantry list, as a Tank Commander could issue two orders per turn and a Company Commander 3. Combined with some of the relics this could lead to a very powerful command structure, with the ability to issue orders all over the place. It should also be noted that with this trait a Tempestor Prime gets to issue two orders without the need to take the Command Rod upgrade and thus retain his pistol, again combine this with the MT relic and you can issue even more orders. Of the main traits, this is usually my first choice for my warlord, as it is a boost to there command abilities.

Alongside the six standard traits are Regiment specific traits, which can only be taken by characters with the same regiment keyword. Its also worth pointing out that if a named character has a specific keyword then it must take the regimental command trait, so Creed must take the Cadian trait and Straken must take the Catachan Trait.

Cadian - Superior tactical training
The Cadians get one of the best warlord traits in the book as far a I can see. This is because when you order a unit, on a dice roll of 4+ another unit within 6 inches of the warlord also get to take advantage of that same order. For infantry this means that if you use a vox caster to issue order to units further away, you have a 50/50 chance of one of the closer units getting to follow the order as well. This means that there is the chance to issue up to 4 orders. This is a great buff to the surrounding troops and as most of the time you are going to be sitting still in a gun line with the Cadians, to make the most of there Doctrine, you are going to have plenty of choices for issuing order. Knight Commander Pask and also Lord Castellan Creed both have to take this trait as they are Cadian Characters. being forced to take this trait is not a issue for either of these characters, as the trait enhances there abilities. If you are taking Creed as your warlord, then I would suggest taking Colour Sergeant Kell, giving Creed an extra order, giving him the potential to issue 8 orders a turn! Chances are you'll get 6 off, but this is still a big buff for the troops around him. If your taking a Cadian army, then I would definitely look at taking this trait.

Catachan - Leading from the front
This trait continues the theory that Catachans are supposed to be a close combat orientated army, as it grants your warlord a 6 inch Heroic Intervention, rather than the standard 3 inches, and in addition, if the warlord charges, was charged or makes an Heroic Intervention, he gets a re-roll to hit in combat. This is a difficult trait to really classify, as most of the time I would not recommend getting in to combat with any guardsmen, let alone a warlord, but in order to make the most of the Catachans doctrines then you need to get in to combat, or more specifically, you need to charge in to combat, which I still think is a bad idea. As was mentioned above, if you want to take Straken as your warlord then you have to take this trait. This would mean that he would be getting re-rolls to hit and to wound in combat against monsters. To be honest, if I was taking Straken, I would not be taking him as my warlord, because as much as I like Straken and his abilities would be good, he is still a squishy T4 human. If you take a Company commander as your warlord, I would look towards the generic traits.

Valhallan - Tenacious
This is one of the better regimental warlord traits, granting the warlord a 5+ "feel no pain" roll, which turns in to a 6+ if your warlord is a vehicle. In modern, 8th edition game terms, then this means that for every wound that the warlord suffers, he gets to ignore it on a 5+, or 6+ as a vehicle, meaning that he becomes that little bit more resilient. While this trait doesn't effect any of the units around the warlord, it should mean that he will be around that little bit longer and as such be able to continue to issue orders to the surrounding units, buffing them for more turns. I would definitely consider this trait, however, I would also look at some of the general traits, as I think that under many circumstances the other traits could be better.

Vostroyan - Honoured duellist
This trait is focused towards the combat and as such instantly drops this down the list of useful traits for me. The trait itself grants re-rolls to hit and wound when in combat and as such this is one of the few occasions that I might recommend taking a relic power sword on a character. The only downside is that this trait does force you to charge rather than be charged, as its likely that most of the time you will not survive to fight back if your charged, useless its by some Tau fire warriors. I would not take this trait as it does nothing for any of the units around the warlord and there are very few occasion that I would be looking at throwing my warlord in to combat to take advantage of this trait. Personally I would take one of the other generic traits.

Armageddon - Ex-gang leader
Another combat orientated warlord trait, this time however you gain +1 attack and also +1 to wound for your warlord. Again this is probably the only other occasion I would suggest taking a relic power sword, as with the extra attack and the +1 to wound means that you have a good chance of doing damage. Again, the only downside is that you need to make sure you actually get to attack, so charging is really the best option and as I've said quite a few times, I really don't think that charging your warlord in to combat is a good idea. I would take one of the generic traits for my Armageddon Warlord, either Master of Command or Draconian Discipline.

Tallarn - Swift attacker
Now, the Tallarn have got some really good stuff in the codex but the trait is not quite so good. The Tallarn warlord traits grants units within 6 inches of your warlord the ability to charge after falling back. This is not a great trait, it will have its uses but overall, there are very few occasions that I can think of where you will be wanting to charge a unit after they have fallen back from combat. Granted, with the application of various orders, you could fall back, fire and then charge again, but I really don't think that this is a good use of guardsmen most of the time. This also means that your warlord is going to be very close to the enemy, which would probably be combat orientated unit and as such a bad place for your warlord to be. If something drops in to your deployment zone and needs to be taken out, then this trait could be useful, but on the whole, I would be looking at one of the other traits.

Militarum Tempestus - Faithful servant of the throne
This is a bit of a hit or miss command. While the Scions themselves are proving to be a very versatile and powerful force on the table top, they have got the poor end of the stick with most of the other bits in the codex and the trait is no different. Being able to deny a psychic power a turn is not a bad trait, it is just not the best. If your facing something like an Eldar or Tyranid army, then there is little point in trying to deny one power, then if your fighting Tau, well, then its pointless. Most times denying a single power is not going to be very useful. I would be far more tempted to take the Master of Command trait and get the second order. Overall, there are a lot better options for your MT warlord trait.

Mordian - Iron discipline
Going along with the fluff of the Mordians, as staunch disciplinarians, this trait means than if any unit fails its moral within 6 inches of the warlord, then they have a 50/50 chance of not fleeing, with each model getting a dice roll and on a 4+, that model doesn't flee. Combined with the Doctrine's +1 to leadership, this means that there is a good chance that even if you do fail a moral test, you models may not flee at all. This is always good, as loosing models to moral is never a good thing. This trait will be best in a gun line army, where models tend to be bunched up more, as thus there will be more units within the 6 inches that will benefit from the trait. If you are running a Mordian list, then I think that this is a great trait to have and I think it would be a tough choice between taking this trait and Mater of Command.  I think that this trait will also go well with the Laurels of Command Relic.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Codex: Astra militarum - Heirlooms of conquest

Right, were getting back on track and closing on the end of our little series of reviews on the new Guard codex, this time we are looking at the Heirlooms of Conquest, or to us old school gamers, Relics. The first lot relics are general relics and are open to all types of guard armies.

The Emperors Benediction
This is for commissars and lord commissars only and they must be armed with a bolt pistol. This relic replaces the bolt pistol and turns it in to a serious weapon. It is still a pistol but gets 3 shots at S4, ap-1 and does 2 damage. On top of all that, you can also target a character even if it's not the closest model. This is a great little relic and really ups the power of the bolt pistol. It would not be my first choice for a relic but i think it would be worth spending a cp and sticking it on a lord commissar, along with a power sword and fist.

The Laurels of Command
This is possibly my favourite relic in the new book. This relic enables you to issue a second order to a squad, on the roll of a 4+. This means that you have a 50\50 chance of giving a unit a second order. While it's far from guaranteed, a second free order is nothing to be sniffed at. Now it's been FAQ'd  to say that you have to resolve the first order before you can issue the second order and that it has to be a different order used the second time. This makes sense, but doesn't take anything away from the relic. Definitely one of the best, after all who doesn't like free orders!

The Deathmask of Ollanius
This is for infantry models only and grants a 4+ invun save. In addition, once per game they can heal D3 wounds. This is great for keeping a significant character alive or for creating a very strong tanking unit, like an ogryns body guard. Definitely a good relic but probably one to buy with that extra cost than to take as your free one.

The Dagger of Tu'sakh
This is a good relic, especially if your not playing Tallarns, as this gives you a mini version of there stratagem. It is a one shot relic, in terms that it enables you to do something during deployment and then is useless afterwards. However, what it does is pretty good, enabling you to select an infantry character and an infantry squad of the same regiment to outflank the enemy, appearing at the end of the movement phase on any board edge. It was FAQ'd to clarify that the bearer has to be an infantry character and that you can't give it to a tank commander. It's a good relic that can be used to apply pressure early to the enemies rear lines or to wait and jump on an objective at the end of the game. This wouldn't be a relic o would take often, but with the right build it could be very good. I'd like to add that by right build I mean, I would love to stick it on a rough rider officer and send him off with a squad of rough riders, classic Attilan style.

Kurov's Aquilla
This relic is probably on the lower end of my list as it relies on someone else doing things, namely your opponent. It allows you to roll a dice every time your  opponent uses a stratagem and on a 5+ you gain a cp. Now this has the potential to be huge, if your opponent is using lots of 1cp stratagems and your rolling well, if however he uses lots of big 3cp stratagems and your rolling ice cubes, then it's a waste. Not one i would take as my first choice and I'm not sure it would make it's money back if you bought it.

The Blade of Conquest
This relic is open to all characters who can take a power sword, which is most of them. This is because the relic is a sword that replaces there own. This sword grants +2S, an extra point of ap and D3 damage. This is a good weapon to put on to a character, although it always strikes me as odd to put a combat weapon on to a guard character, which is not one of the toughest characters in the game. Personally I would skip this one and go for a different relic, one that would be more useful.

The next lot of relics are regiment specific.

Relic of lost Cadia
Not surprisingly this relic is restricted to Cadian doctrine models only. This relic can be unveiled at the start of a turn and during that turn any Cadian units within 12 inches can re-roll to hit and to wound of 1. If the enemy is any form of Chaos then the Cadians get to re-roll all hits and misses. The thing is that there is a small loop hole in the relic at the moment, as it doesn't state that it is a one use only item and could therefore be used every turn. I don't think that this is the intent, as I believe that it is supposed to be a one use only relic but, unless I've missed something, then its open to a bit of abuse at the moment. Either way its a good relic if you are running Cadians.

Mamorph Tuskblade
This is the Catachan relic and takes the form of a power sword. As with the other relics, it replaces the models own power sword. It is similar to the other power sword, the Blade of Conquest. This sword has the same strength bonus, but only the standard ap values and does a flat 2 damage. This takes some of the randomness out of the equation, but in many respects the Blade of Conquest is a better relic to take, unless you want two power swords in your army. However, i'm still of the opinion that arming a guard character with a fancy power sword is the wrong thing to do.

Pietrov's Mk45
This is the Valhallan relic and takes the form of a bolt pistol. Again, it replaces the characters own bolt pistol and while the pistol is not an amazing, only getting an extra point of ap and damage. The big thing about this pistol is not the damage it can do but the fact that it means that Valhallan units within 6 inches cannot loose more that 1 model to a moral test. This is a huge bonus for many units and with the changes to commissars it means that sticking this on a platoon commander and sending him off with a unit of conscripts is a viable build. If I ran Valhallans, I would definitely take this.

The Armour of Graf Tuschenko
This is the Vostroyan army relic and is very basic in its form. This is probably one of the best relics and its a shame its restricted to just Vostroyans, an army that I probably wont ever use. The relic itself increase the toughness of the bearer to 4 and boosts the save value to 2+. This is great for sticking on your warlord, making it that much harder to them to be taken out. A 2+ save in itself is a huge boost to a commanders standard 5+, The increase in toughness isn't quite so good, although it does make a difference to all the S4 weapons out there, namely bolt weapons, and will make a difference to all the S6 and S7 weapons, which I think DE and Craftworld have? To me this is a must have for your Vostroyan Warlord.

Skull mask of Acheron
This is the Armageddon relic and is the only relic that effects enemy models rather than the bearer or friendly models. The relic causes any enemy units with 3 inches to suffer a -1 to their leadership value. In the case of Orks its a -2, which is good, as the Armageddon's have a special hatred for Orks. The fact that this has such a short range means that it will only be useful when your in combat, as there are not many times you'll be 3 inches away from an enemy and not be in combat. This is a good thing in many ways, as it means that even if you don't cause a casualty, many armies will be at risk of suffering during their moral tests and seeing as your guardsmen are not going to be combat monsters, its not guaranteed that you will cause a casualty in combat. A useful relic for countering enemy charges, and probably better than one of the power swords.

Claw of the Desert Tiger
This Tallarn relic and the last of the power swords. This sword goes a different way to the other relic swords, as it does not grant any addition points of strength or addition ap value, instead it gives you extra attacks, 2 in total. This means that you could potentially have 5 attacks, with the potential to do 10 damage. Again, you actually have to be in a position to use them and as I've said before, I don't think combat is a place for a guard officer. If you want a sword, I'd go with the Blade of Conquest, for a better chance of actually wounding, but I still think fancy swords are a waste of a relic.

The tactical auto-reliquary of Tyberius
This is the Militarum Tempestus relic and grants the bearer an additional order per turn. The only downside is that you must roll a dice and on the roll of a 1 the order effectively fails. now this is not really a problem, as chances are you'll only roll a 1 once per game, although you could end up rolling one every turn! Even so, this relic means that you can keep hold of your pistol and you offensive capabilities and still give out two orders per turn. For me, if your takin a pure MT list, then this is a good option, one that I would definatly consider taking. The only other relic that might be as good is the Laurels of Command and if your only running a command squad and prime, I would take the Laurels. If your running more than one, such as a small patrol detachment in addition to the main detachement, then I think its worth paying a cp for this.

Order of the Iron Star of Mordian
This is a great relic for your Mordian Warlord, adding a much needed boost to survivability. It is in may respects better that the Armour of Graf Toschenko, as it gives you a 4+ "feel no pain" roll, or whatever that type of roll is called these days. Anyway, for every wound, mortal or otherwise, you roll a dice and on a 4+ it has no effect, which basically means half of every wound you receive will be ignored. This should help your warlord stay alive a lot longer and be able to take a lot more damage. If your running a Mrdian army, then this should be you first choice of relic.

OK, so there are probably two things that you have guessed form my views on relics. One, I don't see the point of fancy power weapons on models. Yes, I arm up many of my officers with swords, although my first choice has always been the power maul but that's more of a case of giving them something to fight with just in case they do get caught up in combat and not because I want them in combat and two, I think that anything that can boost the survivability of your warlord is a good idea. My choice of relics from this book are the Laurels of Command, for its extra orders and the Deathmask, for its invun and healing abilities. With the various regimental specific relics my choices are the Armour of Toschenko which is good for Vostroyans and the Iron Star which is good for Mordians, but I also like the Valhallans Mk45. The rest of the relics are ok, they will be useful to some but for me and the way that I play, they are not going to be used very often, if at all.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Codex: Astra militarum - Stratagems

Next up in the books are the stratagems. This post is a little later than planned, as I've been away on holiday and real life has caught up with me upon our return and as such I haven't had time to sit down and write. However, i hope to get back on track and get the last few review posts out in the next week or so, but right now, here are the stratagems.

There are three different types of stratagem available to the guard now. The first is the three from the BRB and are the ones available to everyone, the next lost, the main ones, are the guard specific stratagems and then finally we come to the regimental specific stratagems, which are determined by which regimental doctrine you have chosen.

Command re-roll - 1cp
The first of the BRB stratagems, and one of the staple stratagems in any army. Re-rolling a dice is always a good thing, the main issue can be which dice to re-roll! Always a stratagem that should be close at hand, as it really can change a battle.

Counter offensive - 2cp
Another of the BRB stratagems and while not as good as the other two, it can be very handy to have in your pocket. At 2cp it's not cheap and can be very situational. It's always worth thinking about using this one after a unit who charged has fought, as it may mean the difference between a unit getting to fight or getting wiped out without the option to reply. The only thing is, if a unit has little chance of doing damage, is there much point in using 2cp to interrupt for no return? A good card but don't overuse it.

Insane bravery - 2cp
A great card, not the cheapest but well worth it. There will be few times when you can really use it properly, but when you really need a unit to hang around, this card can be priceless. Auto passing a morale test is not something to be easily dismissed. Keep this card to one side for those really important times.

Next up are the Astra Militarum specific stratagems.

Vortex Missile - 3cp
A Deathstrike specific stratagem, so if you don't own a deathstrike, you might as well ditch this card. If you do, well, it's worth having around. At 3cp, it's expensive but it is actually quite good. Re-rolling to hit is always useful, especially with a weapon this damaging. The stratagem really comes in to its own when dealing with units within 6 inches. It's a +1 to hit, making it a 3+, meaning your a lot more likely to hit them, and any models that are wounded but not killed, so multi-wound only models, on a dice roll of 6, the unit takes an extra d6 mortal wounds! Ok, so it's not going to happen often but could be devistating when it comes off. If you have a death strike and you manage to get it off early, when there are lots of units around your target, then this is a good stratagem to play. If you dont get it off until turn 5, it's probably not worth keeping CP's for.

Fire on my position - 3cp
Despite being an expensive stratagem, it has the potential to be very devastating. It does rely on a unit getting wiped out, which shouldn't be to uncommon for guard, and also rolling some 4+'s. However, if you do manage to roll well, then any units within the 3 inch bubble are going to take mortal wounds and casualties. This really is intended for close combat, as there are not going to be many situations where units will be within 3 inches in the shooting phase. If you can manouver your unit well and remove models specifically with this stratagem in mind, you might be able to get multiple units within the range, however most of the time it will only be one enemy unit and then your looking at a cost of 1cP per mortal wound at best, provided you can roll the 4+ to start with, and 3cp per mortal wound at worst. Not a great return in my books. Fun if you can get it to work, but over priced and very situational. Not a stratagem i think will be used very often.

Crush Them - 1cp
This on the other hand is something that i think will be used a lot. This stratagem allows a vehicle to charge even after it has advanced, which is great in itself, giving to several valuable extra inches to close the gap to the enemy and reduce your charge range and increase you chances of success. However, the real benefit comes with the 2+ to hit. This means that your likely to hit with all your attacks, which is important when you only have a few of them. LRBT's will benefit from this, as they have only a few attacks but they are strong, meaning that most of the time, hitting is the difficult bit. With this they will hit and have a good chance of wounding. That said, it's superheavies that will really benefit, with lots of strong attacks, this gives them the potential to devastate a unit. A good solid stratagem to keep in your hand when you need to charge with a vehicle.

Aerial spotter - 2cp
This is a better version of the Master of Ordnance, although it only applies to Wyverns and Basilisks. Where as the MoO only allows you to re-roll 1's on targets over 36 inches away, this stratagem allows you to re-roll all your failed hits regardless of range. This is a big boost to both systems, granting more hits on both but is especially useful on the wyvern, which has a significantly greater number of attacks. Combine this with either a command  re-roll or doctrine for the number of attacks and with the wyverns natural re-roll to wound, you have the potential to do a significant amount of damage to a target. I think that at 2cp though, it is a little pricey, however, I can understand why, as it does have a lot of potential. If you have either a wyvern or a basilisk in your army then this is a good stratagem to use, especially on those dangerous, must remove units.

Jury rig - 1cp
This is a nice simple stratagem, that allows you to automatically heal 1 wound on a vehicle. It does mean that the vehicle won't be able to move in any way that turn but can still fire or fight. It is cheap at 1cp but does heal only 1 wound, so not a great return but could be important to keep or return a vehicle at full force. Not something to rely on to keep your vehicles at full fighting force but on occasion it could be useful, so it's worth keeping this one in the deck.

Consolidate squads - 1cp
This is the only way to create blob squads of guardsmen these days, as they days of combining squads for deployment have gone. This happens at the end of your movement, so can occur in your first turn but does limit you to combining just two Infantry Squads. That's the actual Infantry Squads and not just a squad with the infantry keyword, so no combining heavy weapons squads. While i have always combined squads in the past, I'm less sure in 8th, as it leaves you open to moral issues. While i like combined squads, i think that this is a stratagem to use sparingly, combining those squads that are depleted or in need of reinforcements​. The days of forming large infantry try squads and sweeping all before them are gone, along with the moral immune conscript super squads. Definitely keep this stratagem to hand, just don't us it to spam blob squads like the old days.

Imperial Commanders Armoury 1cp/3cp
This is a standard stratagem that can be found in any army book. Pay a couple for an extra relic or 3cp for 2 extra relics. With relics now being free and limited to just one per army, this is a great way of getting extra relics, however, i would caution going all out for 2 extra relics. For 1cp a relic is well prices, but 3cp is a step to far, pushing the price up. It would be easy to take 3 relics, as there are so many good ones in the book, but i think those two extra CP's are better off spent on a different stratagem. Definitely worth looking at this stratagem, but spend wisely.

Officio Perfectus Command Tank - 2cp
This is an odd one if you ask me, as it doesn't tie into anything from previous editions or have an equivalent model either. There has been some forge world versions of the commissar tank, but i believe they were Death Corps only. With this stratagem, at the start of turn 1 you can turn a LRBT in to a commissar tank, giving it a 6 inch Ld9 bubble. This is pretty useful, as it means an increase in the general LD value of all guard units in a very resilient format, without the downsides to a commissar. For many units this will be a great bonus but if you are running a vehicle heavy list, it won't have the same effect. So, if your running a couple of LRBT's with lots of infantry, go for this stratagem and leave the commissars at home.

Mobile command vehicle - 1cp
This stratagem highlights what i was saying in the previous entry, as this, like many of the stratagems, has a direct link to previous editions. This stratagem enables an officer to issues orders while embarked on a chimers, much in the same way that you could previously. It is currently the only way to do so and also has the advantage of counting as being within range of a vox caster. This is really a stratagem for your warlord. Stick him in the back of a chimers and either drive him around to where he's needed or park him at the back but whichever way you play it, he'll be a lot more protected from what ever threats the enemy have, either sniper's or deep striking elements. This is a very useful stratagem and if your running chimers, should be ready to use at all times.

Preliminary bombardment - 2cp
This is one of the few questionable stratagems in the book, as it relies heavily on a good dice roll. Much in the same way as Fire on my Position, you pay for the stratagem and then have to hope for a good dice roll. As you do this at the start of the battle, there will be the maximum number of chances of doing damage, but with only a 1 in 6 chance of "hitting", you'll not be doing much damage overall. It also only causes 1 mortal wound, so it's not even going to cause massive amounts of damage to a unit it does hit. Personally i would bother with this in most games, as 2cp can get a lot more value, the command tank or aerial spotter for example. Fun and fluffy but expensive for what it is.

Inspired tactics - 1cp
This stratagem, while not ground breaking, is a solid stratagem that should be close at hand on all occasions. With this stratagem, you get to issue an extra order with an officer, after all of their other orders have been given. This is great, as I have lost count of the times that I have been in a situation where I have X number of units but am an order short. Trying to choose which units can go without an order is very hard. Now, you can just pay a single command point and get yourself out of a fix. I would not rely on using this card all the time, you should be trying to ensure that you have enough orders for all the troops nearby at all times, but there are times when things don't work out and this is where the stratagem comes in to its own. Keep this card to hand for emergency use, you shouldn't need it much, but it will be invaluable when you do.

Defensive gunners - 1cp
This is one of the great stratagems in the book and used with the right tank could be deadly, as it enables overwatch to hit on both a 5 and  a 6. This stratagem apples to all vehicles, so it has a wide range of applications, but it is going to be certain LRBT's that benefit the most. Bolter boat punisher's will be able to put down a lot of shots with this and so will the likes of the classic LRBT with bolters all round. I'd your taking the Mordian doctrine then it gets even better as you'll be hitting on 4's as well as 5's and 6's. At only 1cp, this will be worth throwing down pretty much every turn that a vehicle gets overwatched, except if it's a hell hound obviously.

Take cover - 1cp
This is the new version of going to ground, as it grants a +1 to your save when your being shot by an enemy unit. As you can use this at any time, whether you in the open or hiding in a ruin, the options are endless. Personally, I'd be looking at using this to either protect a valuable unit in cover, such as a heavy weapons squad or command squad, or to add some protection to a squad out in the open, maybe one on an objective or maybe having been caught out after an assault. At 1cp, this should be at hand most of the time ready to use to boost the survivability of a unit and keep it firing efficiently next turn.

Grenadiers - 1cp
I like the sound of this stratagem, it really appeals to my cinematic eye. I can just imagine a squad of desperate guardsmen, lobbing grenades left, right and centre in a last ditched effort to take down a charging monster or battlesuit. Ok, so most of the time this isn't really going to help you as the grenade is basically the same as a lasgun, but it will get you a few extra shots in most cases, as a grenade will average 3 shots, compared to the lasguns flat 2. At least it will up until 6 inches, over that its all pretty academic, as that's the range of the grenades. This really means that the stratagem will be used in your shooting phase to try and get a few extra shots on a unit your going to charge or in overwatch, to try and get a few extra hits on the charging unit. Its a shame that you cannot equip your regular guardsmen or vets with Krak grenades these days, as this would really boost the stratagem and be useful when a vehicle charged into your lines, as it is the only squad that can take advantage of this, are the Scions, who do come armed with both grenades. Unfortunately, the wording means that you'll not be able to use this to turn your conscript squad in to a grenade machine, as only 10 men can take advantage of this stratagem, This is a stratagem to have close by for those times you want a few extra shots, but don't expect miracles from it.

Fight to the death - 1cp
This is another good stratagem. If you have a couple of squads that need to pass morale but you've used up your Insane Bravery stratagem for the turn, this is your next play. Rolling a D3 instead of a D6 means that you can reduce the chances of a unit failing and in some cases, it will mean that the unit will auto pass anyway. This is great for the price and in many ways is better than the Insane Bravery option. This card will be used on a number of occasions to keep your units fighting. Keep close to hand and consider this before jumping to Insane Bravery.

Go! recon! - 1cp
Used for Scout Sentinels only, so if you don't have any just skip ahead. This stratagem enable you to forgo your shooting and charging, but gain extra inches of movement. Enabling you to move up to an extra 2d6, it means that a sentinel can travel up to 27 inches during your turn. This will be great for claiming those last minute objectives or snatching those maelstrom points. The only issue is that you could end up moving just 12 inches, and not getting what you want. For a cp its not going to break the bank, but if you don't own any scout sentinels, I wouldn't bother going out an buying any based on this stratagem. If you do have some scout sentinels, then keep this to one side and you might use it occasionally.

Vengeance for Cadia! - 1cp
If your facing Chaos units, which I believe covers all flavours of CSM and also Daemons, then this is a very useful stratagem. Enabling you to re-roll both failed hits and wounds, this is going to boost up the amount of damage that your going to do. I would think carefully about which unit to apply it to every turn, as some units will benefit more than others. Its important to remember that it also works in overwatch, meaning that you could do a lot of damage when the enemy isn't expecting you to. Definitely worth playing if your facing any flavour of Chaos, if your not, then its worthless.

After all that we finally get to the Regimental Stratagems, those that are restricted for use to only those detachments with the same regimental doctrine.

Mordian - Volley Fire - 1cp
First up this time are the Mordians, which makes a change. Their stratagem allows them to make an extra shot for every 6+ that they get in there shooting phase. While this is not amazing, most cases it will result in a few extra hits. If you use it on a conscript squad or a combined infantry squad it will result in an even greater number of hits, and with guard, the more hits you can get, the better. If you can give a the unit a +1 to hit, this would be even better, unfortuantly, I don't know of any +1 to hit modifiers in the codex, so you would have to look else where, which isn't really worth it for this one stratagem. Its a good stratagem, but I think there are others where that cp would be better spent.

Cadian - Overlapping fields of fire - 2cp
Ok, so after just saying that I didn't know of any +1 to hit modifiers in the guard codex, here is one. Unfortunately it only applies to Cadians. The good point of this stratagem is that you can play it after the criteria has been met, meaning that you don't have to take a chance and waste it. Once a Cadian unit, that's any Cadian unit, wounds an enemy, you can play this card and of the rest of the phase, all other Cadian units get a +1 to hit against this target. Useful for targeting a monster or similar, to get that +1, before unloading with the supercharged plasma guns. A good stratagem, purely for the fact that you don't have to risk wasting the cp's, and the fact that a +1 is always a good thing.

Valhallan - Send in the next wave - 2cp
Well, there is pretty much only one thing to say about this stratagem, in matched play this is useless. in fact its less than useless,  its completely and utterly pointless. Why? Simple, it costs you reinforcement points. So you will have to save some of your points from the game, putting you at a disadvantage at the start of the game, to enable you to have the option of using a stratagem that you'll also have to pay cp's for. That's if you actually use it, which you will, as you've saved points for it, which will mean that you could very well waste 2cp's in the process. Why you just don't bring an extra unit in the first place, I don't know, because its a much better idea. If your playing a narrative game, then its very fluffy. Anyway, what does it actually do? Well, it enable you to recycle a destroyed infantry unit and deploy them in to your deployment zone. You cant use it on a character or a squad that has been combined, but all other infantry units are eligible. Like I said, if your playing a narrative game, then its fun and fluffy, however, if your playing a matched play game, which I pretty much always play, then its useless.

Vostroyan - First born Pride - 1cp
Here is another stratagem to probe I don't know what I'm on about, as this is the second stratagem to offer a +1 to hit. This time however, it is just a blanket +1 to hit for a specific unit. This means that in the shooting phase, for 1cp you can give any Vostroyan unit from your army a boost to there shooting. Most of the time I can see this being used on a heavy, command or special weapons squad, rather than a line infantry unit. Of course you can use it on vehicles as well, and something like a tank commander would benefit quite a bit, turning it in to a mini Pask for a turn. All in all this is a good stratagem and if your playing a Vostroyan army, I can see this being used pretty much every turn.

Militarum Tempestus - Superior intelligence - 1cp
This is both a good stratagem and a poor one at the same time. The stratagem itself enable you to shoot an enemy unit as it deep strikes within 12 inches of a Militarum Tempestus Infantry unit, although it is at a -1 to hit. This is good as it is really the only form of interceptor that you have access to these days, however, most of the time your infantry units are them selves going to be deep striking the enemy and not going to be hanging around waiting for the enemy to appear. Also the short range of most scion weapons, means that you wont be getting many shots for you cp, as the Hot-shot lasguns are only 18" range, meaning that no matter what, everyone will be deepstriking out of rapid fire range. So, it could be good in the right situation, however, most of the time your not going to be in a situation to actually use it.

Tallarn - Ambush - 3cp
This is probably the best stratagem in the codex, granted it did take a little bit of a hit with the FAQ, but it really is only a minor one. The stratagem enable you to place up to three units in to ambush, reserve to us older players, but only one of these can be a vehicle unit. these units can come on to the board at the beginning of the movement phase from any board edge. The nerf from the FAQ was the stating that only 1 of the  units can be vehicles. So if your using transports, then it means only 1 chimera or taurox, or even a Valkyrie of you wanted I guess, but if your not then it still means that you can take a complete squadron of LRBT's or Sentinels, as these are considered a single unit for deployment. So there is nothing stopping you outflanking 3 LRBT's and two Vet squads for a serious threat to the enemy. The only downside to this is that all units are considered to have moved there maximum, so no Grinding Advance for those LRBT's. There still seems to be some debate about using transports though and as yet I haven't see a definitive answer, if there is one, let me know. The issue resolves around what counts towards the three units. If I choose to deploy a squad of vets and a platoon commander in a chimera in to ambush, does that count as three units or 1? is it three units, as it is three separate units or is it just one, because it forms only one deployment drop? Personally, I think it forms three separate units, as it states 3 units and not 3 deployments, but I can see how it could be played the other way. Either way, this is a very powerful deployment option and well worth the 3cp.

Armageddon - Armoured fist - 1cp
Another good stratagem, this enable an infantry unit that has disembarked in the movement phase to re-roll 1's to hit in the shooting phase. This is a good boost to a unit, combine this with an order and you can have a potentially powerful attack. If your running a proper steel legion army though, the only issue is going to be deciding which unit to use this stratagem on.

Catachan - Vicious traps - 1cp
The Catachans seem to have got the short straw with a lot of there special abilities in this book and as far as I can see this continues with the stratagem, although they are probably the most true to the lore. This stratagem is played after the enemy charges a  unit that is completely in terrain and on a dice roll of 4+ they will suffer D3 mortal wounds. Now, this relies on a unit being completely within or on a terrain feature being charged and on a 50/50 dice roll. At only 1cp, it is worth a go but I really don't like that it is so specific and random. If it goes off, then it will be very powerful, but there is a good chance of it not going off or not doing much damage at all. Not one of the best stratagems but at 1cp it could be worth a go.