Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Hjaltland in 8th edition - astra Militarum

So, 8th is here and I've had a week to get my head around everything. Things have changed quite a lot, not just in terms of game mechanics and army selection, for the guard, there have been a large number of unit changes. Gone is the good old infantry platoons, the mainstay of the imperial guard commanders forces for several editions of the game. Now, with the new structure, many builds are no longer possible, sadly this includes mine. Until the guard codex is released, blob squads are gone and so fearless priests, both of which were fundamental to my built.

But rather than launch randomly in to the list, lets look through the list from top to bottom and see what the differences actually are and how to go about correcting them or rather altering them until the codex drops and we cam get a proper look at the "new" guard.

So lets start with the HQ's. First up is the main command squad, containing Creed, a medic, the standard and a missile heavy weapons team, all accompanied by a Master of Ordinance. In order to use Creed in the new army I will have to use the regiment keyword Cadian, so in effect I would have to call all the regiment Cadian rather than Hjaltland but realistically this is just a paperwork issue and doesn't effect the game. The real issue is whether Creed is now worth it. Creed gave an extra order and a reroll if you failed the order, now orders pass automatically and you can pick up 2 company commanders for less points, and thus have 4 orders instead of 3. The only extras your still getting is the 4+ save, the hotshot laspistols and power sword. Oh, and 2 extra command points. The save could be useful, but hopefully carapace will reappear with the codex and the pistols and sword are not overly useful and with the spare points you could actually arm the company commanders with a hotshot pistol and powersword each. So really its down to the command points and how valuable they will become.


The rest of the command squad also needs looking at. We'll start with the missile squad, as this is the most obvious change, with the massive increase in cost it really doesn't make sense as a single team making up the numbers, so its going, mostly to make way for the vox caster, who has become very much more important. The medic is the other obvious choice, with his new abilities he's in, and will be kept very close to my warlord. This standard on the other hand is still up in the air. He has lost a lot of the abilities I took him for but the leadership bonus seems like it will be useful in the new addition, a reroll ability would have been goodbut a +1 is still good, plus he's still cheap. So chances are the missile team will be dropped for a vox and a special weapon of some sort.

The last member of the squads the Master of Ordinance. This is a difficult choice, as even though he was very hit or miss inthe last edition, he was cheap enough just to chuck in for the fun of it. Now he's twice the cost and not as good, at least not for me. His artillery barrage is one shot, but is wasted if he doesn't hit, at least previously he could scatter and still hit something and his other ability is wasted on wyverns as it will only work between 36 and 48 inches and most of the time the target will be within that 36 inches. Chances are that the MoO will be reassigned somewhere else.


The second command squad, the plasma squad, is an altogether different prospect. The commander will pretty much remain unchanged, although the plasma pistol will probably be dropped, as it was only there to compliment the plasma guns in the squad. The others will stay as they are, as plasma is now cheaper and the only alternative is to turn them in to a special weapons squad. This however doesn't make much sense as for about the same points you get one less plasma gun, but 3 lasguns. I'd rather have the extra plasma thanks.

So that's the HQ's, one will change a bit and one will remain pretty much as it is. Next up will be heavy support or the wyverns, seeing as that's all there is here. Despite the changes, these will be staying as is, as there is not a lot that needs to change. Points wise, they stay the same for me, as after upgrades, mainly enclosed crew compartment,  they were stirring around the same mark. While the weapon has got slightly weaker, with the loss of ignores cover, it still has the shred rules, so wounding will still be good and forcing saves is the name of the game. I will just need to figure a way of maximizing hits though.

The fast attack section will be just as quick, although there will be one major change for the moment. The valkyrie will still be flying around the table, doing its thing, rocket pods and all. In case you haven't guessed, it will remain completely unchanged, as its still doing its thing, exactly the same as before. The vendetta however is another story. This is basically because it no longer exists. Que the grumpy face. Ok, so it should reappear in a forge world book at some point, but I'm not planning on getting a book for one model, so i will either get a copy of the datasheet or i will run it as a valkyrie. This however leads to a problem. Do i run it as a rocket pod gunship, the same as the otherone or do I take the hellstrike missiles and a lascannon and go tank hunting still? Personally, I think that MRP'S are the way forward, yes there less powerful but i can fire 2 every turn rather than just 2 a game and I reckon that 10 MRP shots will do more damage than 2 hellstrike will. So it will be two valks with MRP'S cruising around the tables from now on.

Air Support

There aren't any elite choices currently, so this will be a very short section! There done, and on to troops and the main changes and issues!

The troop section has had the biggest shake up in the IG book, gone is the good old platoon and in comes separate units and teams.  Over all this doesn't have a massive impact as i haven't been running anything other than infantry squads, it will change how I run things. I have been running two platoons of two squads and the platoon command squad.  Now I will have to run 4 separate squads, two command squads and two platoon commanders. This is bad as my tactic was to blob the squads up for both firepower and survivability, now that tactic has gone out the window. So, what will the platoon look like now? If I try to follow the old pattern, I'd end up with 2 platoon commanders, 2 command squads and 4 separate squads, but there are some bigger questions. At this level, ie 1500 points, I would have 8 units I can issue orders to and I currently have 4 orders from the company commanders and 2 from the platoon commanders, so 6 in total. So do i need more orders or not? Platoon commanders are cheap, but not as cost effective as company commanders. So do I bin the platoon commanders for more company commanders or grab a couple of extra platoon commanders? Or do I even need more? How many orders will I actually need and will blob squads be a thing again with the codex? The other big question is with the command squads, and specifically, are they better than a special weapons squad. Now above, with the remnants of the company command squad, it made sense to keep them, firstly one of the squads had a medic and standard and the second squad had plasma and the extra shot and higher BS skill was useful, here however, its a different story. The Flamer squad doesn't rely on BS, so the extra BS skill is useless. Granted to you loose a Flamer, but when the flamers are in range your getting 6 shots from the lasguns, which makes up for the loss of the Flamer. So, the Flamer squad will get turned into a SWS. The grenade launcher squad on the other hand is not so simple, as it does rely on BS, however at S3 Ap0 and D1, it shares the same profile as lasguns in frag mode, and at assault D6, will do on average 3 hits, the same as a lasguns. Its only in krak mode that things are not equal, but in a game where everything can wound everything, I don't believe that extra shot is worth it. So this squad will probably get converted in to a SWS as well

The squads themselves are going to remain pretty much unchanged, just with the addition of a vox caster for orders. So from 2 platoon command squads and 4 squads were probably going to end up with 2 (company?) commanders, 2 SWS and 4 squads. This surprises me as when I first looked at the new guard setup I dismissed the SWS as a waste of time over the command squads, who could take the same weapons and a vox for the same price at the expense of 2 lasguns. However, for certain builds, such as flamers, the SWS make more sense, even of i wish they could take vox casters.

The last things to talk about are the priests and psykers. Now the priests are still a little up in the air. The two reasons to take them are not as good, as they are no longer fearless and they don't have the leadership values to make up for  this and their war hymns are not a good, although +1A is not bad, in a blob squad it would be even better. They still have the zealot rule, but I'm still not sure what that's about. In many respects the new commissioner is a better bet, higher leadership and special ability that means you only loose one model for a failed test. The psykers on the other  hand are nowhere near as good, mostly due to the loss of prescience. I really have to say that at present, I don't think that the psykers are useful to my army, at mostsmite might be useful, as might terrifying visions and psykic barrier, but overall there main reason for being there no longer exists.

Priest and Psykers

So, there are going to be a lot of changes to the list, I will have to sit down and figure out the new points total, after I have adjusted the list for 8th that is. Ill post up the new list and further thoughts later, possibly after I have been through the two other main armies of mine, the Dagr Ormr and Eagle Knights.