Tuesday, 26 September 2017

8th edition Catachan

Just as I finished typing my last post I checked back on to the Warhammer Community page to find that the first of the new regiments had been previewed and it was none other than my favourite, the men of steel and blood, the Catachan Jungle Fighters

These boys are the very essence of brawn over brains in many cases, bred on one of the most inhospitable planets in the universe, yet they survive, even thrive, especially on the battlefield. But what is there role in this edition? Lets have a look;

The main Regimental Doctrine is this:

As you can see, there are two parts to this, a +1 strength bonus and also a +1 leadership bonus but also a bonus to vehicles', in this case the ability to reroll one dice when determining the number of attacks a weapon has.

We'll look at them individually, starting with the second one, the one for the vehicles. Now, it mentions that the doctrines will apply to both vehicles and infantry, so expect most of the doctrines to have two parts, one for infantry and one for vehicles. it would be nice if both applied to both types but that might be a bit strong, after all it would put Leman Russ's to T9 and 12 Wounds. as for the doctrine itself, it enable you to reroll a single dice when determining how many shots a ranged weapon has when it has to roll for the number of shots it can fire. Now the main ones that spring to mind are the Leman Russ Battle Cannon along side its Demolisher brother and also the Wyverns but the likes of the Valkyries MRP's and Hell Hounds flamers will also benefit. For some of these weapons, this could be a huge bonus, in one game when I took a Hell Hound, I was really disappointed with the amount of shots that the flamers gave me. With this doctrine I would have been able to reroll those dice to get a better number of shots without using up precious command points. For the likes of a twin flamer armed Hell Hound this could be a huge bonus, enabling both weapons to be rerolled, where as the likes of the Wyvern, this is less of a bonus, as its a 4d6 roll. now if it was 4x d6 rolls, it would be huge but as a single 4d6 roll, it means that 3 dice are fixed, although I suppose a CP could be used to reroll one of the other dice. For me personally, running the Hjaltland LI as a Catachan regiment just got better, as it will mean that all my vehicles will be getting a free reroll, with the Vyverns both having MRP's and the Wyverns having their mortars, it also makes the heavy flamer armed one a bit better, as those heavy flamer points start to look a bit better value for money. My only issue with this is that it only effects vehicles and not d3/d6 infantry weapons, which is a bit odd as the two weapons that the Catachan fighter love most is the flamer and mortar, both of which are d6 weapons.

The second part (or first, depending upon how you look at it) applies to the infantry and is itself a two parter. The bonus to leadership is always useful ad it wasn't until the last game that I played, which i'm still trying to type up the battle report, that I had serious issues with moral. Granted this only applies if your close to a friendly officer, but if your running guard you should be running plenty of officers, even running a platoon commander with a vet squad is a really good idea. This means that pretty much all your army should be benefiting from the +1, making most squads Ld8 or more. Some units will benefit more than other, mostly things like Ratlings and Conscripts, but even vets and command squads will find this useful. I'm assuming that you wont be able to apply this to commissars as that would mean that you'd be almost immune to moral. Now, the second half of this part is a +1 to strength and when I first read this I almost jump out of my chair in excitement, then I realised its +1 to strength and NOT toughness! So I got comfy on my chair again and continued reading. The +1 to strength is good, don't get me wrong, but its nothing compared to a +1 to toughness. As it is we have a +1 to strength and with the fact that you can only take power weapons on sgts it really does help out in combat. Against marines and the like it will help as its hitting on 4's now and against the likes of Tau we'll be hitting on 3's, which does actually make a difference when were talking about the small numbers of attacks that guardsmen get, any extra wounds you can do, really do make a difference. For those armed with power weapons, this is even better, as swords are user strength, it increases the change of wounding from 33 to 50% and with the likes of mauls, it can drop a wound roll from 3 to 2 when going against the likes of Tau warriors and tyranid guants. Its situational though, as guard are not a combat army and there won't be many times when you'll be charging across the battlefield to take the enemy in hand to hand combat, but this does mean that, if its a charge or be charged situation, you've got to charge and make the most of that extra strength before your wiped out.

The next thing that I wanted to talk about is the highlighted command squad. Ill have to go back and check if its been updated but is mentions that the squad can be armed with a heavy Flamer and FOUR flames. Now, unless the Catachan command squad has been changed from the index command squad, its a model over, as the command squad is only 4 strong, meaning a heavy Flamer and THREE flames. If it has been changed, that's cool, but i suspect the price will reflect this change. The Catachan order is also mentioned, Burn Them Out. This is obviously a Flamer related order only and I can only hazard a guess at its meaning but I suspect that it will either guarantee maximum hits or give you the option to reroll them, of course it may also add strength or increase the ap value as well. Personally, I'd take the hits over an ap modifier, unless it was a -3 or something.

The stratagem "vicious Trap" is also highlighted. It costs 1 CP and is played after an enemy unit successfully charges a unit of Catachans in cover.

Now, its only a 1CP card, so it might be worth a punt on the odd occasion, but I wouldn't be looking at this every time. Its only going to go off half the time and I guess if you wanted you could use your CP reroll to help and even if it does go off, on average you'll do 2 mortal wounds. Against squads of multi-wound models, such as terminators, this wont do a lot, you might be lucky and get it off and roll up a 3, killing a termie and a half, or you might just take 1 wound of a single model, either way its not overly useful. Against squads of single wound models its better, potentially killing off up to three models, but in my opinion its best use is against low wound single model units, or characters. If your getting charged by something like a Space Marine Captain, a 5 wound model, that could potentially do some real damage to a squad of guardsmen, then this could help immensely. With the potential to half the number of wounds before combat begins could be the difference between killing the model or being killed. Personally I will probably only use this if I feel I have points to spend, such as with my 14CP 1000 point list, where I struggle to actually spend all the points in matched play. Pushing this to 2000 points gives the potential for more CP's, anything up to 26! if you have then many, then spending one on this is worth it, if you only have 4 or 5, then I wouldn't bother, I'd save them for something more important and less likely to fail.

This section is going to be brief, mostly as I don't have a death strike and don't plan on getting one. The Deathstrike is a one hit wonder, and was fun in 6/7th and hasn't really changed much in 8th. Why they have decided to try and include it in to the Catachan page is unknown, but I guess they have to put something fun and random in somewhere, which basically sums up the Deathstrike. Yes it would benefit from the rerolls for the random number of shots, but the trouble is that when you read the actual rules, it doesn't benefit as much as they make out. The only roll that is affected is the 3d6 roll, and so you can old reroll a third of the dice, all the other rolls are either what is effectively a to hit roll or a to wound roll, neither of which are effected by the Brutal Strength doctrine. The Vortex Missile Stratagem card is also a fun addition to the Deathstrike and does pair well with the Brutal Strength doctrine, meaning that you can reroll the number of hits and also the to hit rolls, meaning that you should get a significant number of hits. The addition of extra mortal wounds, albeit on a roll of a 6, is also good, but only against multi-would models, against single wound units it wouldn't have any effect. What is also good, is that this appears to apply to not just the initial target by also any units that are within the blast radius, which thanks to the middle part, the +1 to the dice roll, your more likely to hit. So if your going to take a Deathstrike, then you should definitely be looking at this stratagem and doing what you can to get this thing off as early as possible, when the enemy are still bunched up in the deployment zone. In reality though, your probably not going to get the Deathstrike off until turn 3 or 4, by which point the enemy will be scattered and the rocket will not be as useful and the stratagem will be a bit of a waste of 3 CP's. If you manage to get it off turn 2 though, you'll be laughing, as most of the enemy will disappear in a cloud of smoke and fire.

So, all in all, I'm pretty impressed with the Catachan Jungle Fighters Doctrine, it contains lots of elements that are good, with a few great ones and a few not so great but overall I think its going to be the one to go for for the Hjaltland LI, as they are a Catachan style army, with lots of flamers and all the support vehicles are armed with random d6 weapons, all of which are going to be supported by the doctrine and orders and I suspect the warlord trait will also help, if not I can always choose one of the other traits. With this preview I'm really excited for the next ones, which is supposed to be the Mordian Iron Guard, so I'm expecting lots of moral bonus' and a stratagem surrounding fire discipline.

(All the images were taken/nicked from the Warhammer Community page)