Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Codex: Astra militarum - Doctrines

Now that we have covered the various unit data cards from the codex we shall move further through the codex. The first page we cone to after the various units entries is the doctrines page, so that is where we shall continue.

Like most armies, the guard have access to objective secured units, Unlike most armies, its not just the troops that benefit. While all troops within any battle forged detachment gain the Defenders of Humanity rule, aka Objective Secured, but also if you are taking a Spearhead detachment then any Leman Russ Battle Tanks that you take are also Objective Secured. This means that an all armoured list can still compete on the battle field, although it can be swamped by a troop based list. This means that there is no disadvantage to taking a fluffy list, as all armoured regiments are common amongst the imperium, just as much as infantry regiments.

As with all the new codice, there are many different ways to run the new Astra Militarum. Now, in most of the other codices in order to get the benefits of the doctrines you have to have an army formed completely of that faction. However, with the Astra Militarum that is a little bit harder, as there are so many factions within the Departmento Munitorum and more specifically within this book there are the Auxilla units, Officio Perfectus and Scholastica Psykana unit. The solution is that you can include these units and Militarum Tempestus, within your detachment with out any penalty. There is also no limit to the amount you can bring, the only limiting factor is that these units do not benefit from the Regimental Doctrines, that includes the Tempestus units as well.

So what are the various new Doctrines? I covered a few of them in various previous posts, as they were previewed, but I will go through all of them again, now we have all the other information from the codex to hand.

Cadian - Born Soldiers
The Cadian Detachment benefits from re-rolls to hit but only if they stay still in the preceding movement phase. This applies to all infantry and vehicles. The obvious drawback to this is that you can not move if you want to benefit from the doctrine. This there for lends itself to gunline style armies, loaded with heavy weapons and artillery pieces. Once you take in to account that if an infantry unit also receives the order "Take Aim" it will not only re-roll 1's but all misses. This can be huge for those important must hit shots.

As I said, this suits static gunline armies and so for may Maelstron missions it will either mean giving up points or loosing the benefits of the doctrine. If you are running large numbers of heavy weapons squads or lost of artillery, then this is a good Doctrine but not one of the best.

Catachan - Brutal Strength
The Catachan doctrine plays to the fluff of the catachans more than most of the doctrines, with the Catachans gaining +1 strength and also +1 leadership if they are within 6" of an Catachan character. This means that the infantry doctrine is quite situational. Yes, you are going to gain the leadership bonus a lot of the time, as you are going to be close to a character quite a lot of the time for orders. The +1 strength however is less useful. This is because it only applies when in combat and that's not somewhere you really want to be with a guard army, unless your facing another guard army or a Tau infantry based army. Most of the time your going to want to shoot the enemy before you get in to combat but with this doctrine it encourages you to charge rather than be charged, even though it will apply in both circumstances. The reason you want to charge is because you want to get maximum hits in, and if you are charged then you are going to take casualties, therefore damaging your ability to reply. The second part of the doctrine applies to vehicles and enables you to re-roll on of the dice when determining the number of shots for weapons with a random number of shots. This means that you can rely on getting a decent number of shots off every turn. This does benefit some weapons more than others, such a the LRBT battle cannon, which is a heavy d6 and there for your can re-roll all the dice, but for something like a Wyvern, with its 4d6 mortar, means that your only able to re-roll a quarter of the dice. This still means that your going to get to improve the number of shots you get, just not quite as much as with other weapons.

On the whole this is a good doctrine, but is does have some obvious draw backs, namely the fact that you have to get up close and personal with the enemy, not something you really want to do with guard.

Valhallan - Grim Demeanour
When I first looked at this doctrine hen it was previewed, I though that it was not great, as at the time you could deal with moral quite easily with commissars. However, with the changes to commissar's rules, this doctrine has become a lot better. The doctrine itself means that you always half the number of models that flee as a result of a failed moral test. This means that you can sustain a large number of casualties before having to worry about the squad being completely wiped out. With the changes to the commissars, this doctrine may well be very beneficial to large conscript blobs, meaning that they will stick around longer even with the changes. The other half of the doctrine is for vehicles and means that the vehicle double the number of wounds that it has remaining for the purposes of the damage table. This is great for vehicles, as it mean that for many vehicle, it will need to be down to its last couple of wounds before it drops a level. This is great for things like Leman Russ Battle Tanks, who will be able to continue firing at full strength right until the end.

This doctrine has got better with the recent changes, however, I think that this will work best with bigger squads, either those that have be combined or for large conscript blobs. Where this doctrine really shines is with the vehicles. If your taking a vehicle heavy list, then this is definitely one of the strongest doctrines that you could take, as an army of vehicle that don't degrade is a very dangerous thing.

Vostroyan - Heirloom Weapons
The Vostroyan doctrine is simple, any weapon with a range of 24 inches or more can add 6 inches to the total range. this means that things like lasguns and plasma guns become 30 inch weapons with 15 inch rapid fire ranges and weapons such as lascannons become 54 inch weapons. In general, this means that you will be able to out range most other similar weapons from other armies and even puts the guard on a more equal footing with the likes of the tau, although they still lack the strength. This doctrine also applies equally to infantry and vehicles, as its all based on weapons profiles and not on unit types. While this is good for many units, there are some weapons that miss out on the bonus range, the two that spring to mind more than any others are the melta gun and flamers. These have relatively short ranges and are now left even further behind. If the extra range had been across the board then it would have meant that these weapons would have become a lot stronger and very good options for a Vostroyan army. As it stands they have fallen further to the wayside.

Overall this doctrine sits in the middle ground, its a good doctrine but is very limited in its effect, as there are no buff to units or characters, purely the weapons. If your running a gunline army, then this is definitely a good option, in some respects better than the Cadian one as it does allow you to move and still benefit. However, I think that there are better overall options out there, but its still worth serious consideration.

Armagedon - Industrial Efficiency
Now, this is one of the best options, especially for a mobile aggressive infantry army, which basically sums up the Steel Legion. All rapid fire weapons increase the range of rapid fire up to 18 inches, rather than the standard 12 inches. This means that your probably going to be able to get another turn of rapid fire in before the enemy charges or gets within rapid fire range themselves. This really is good, especially when combine with orders, meaning things like FRFSRF are going to do a lot of damage to the enemy. Combined with the other half of the doctrine, that vehicles treat all ap-1 weapons as ap0, means that they will be sticking around quite a bit longer as well. Truly anti-armour weapons are not going to be effected by this but there are lots of ap-1 weapons other there and this will make a difference. This means that you can get up close and personal to the enemy quickly in transports and when the troops get out they can get out further away and still get to shoot at maximum effectiveness while still having a measure of protection from reprisals.

This is one of the best doctrines here, especially if your running something like a MechVets list with lots of chimera's or taurox's and veteran squads. 18 inch rapid fire plasma guns? This doctrine will also work well with an infantry list supported by armoured elements, such as LRBT's or artillery but definitely works best with an armoured infantry list.

Tallarn - Swift as the Wind
This is another great doctrine for an aggressive guard list, both infantry and vehicle based. With infantry being able to advance and fire, except for heavy weapons, and in addition there is no penalty for assault weapons. This encourages you to move, which for things like maelstrom missions is great, although this will mean that your shots are going to be less accurate. In many ways this is an acceptable compromise, as you don't have to advance if you don't need to but when you do you can and not worry about the loss of shooting. The benefits to vehicles is also good, with vehicle being able to move and shoot with out penalty. This means that your transports are free to move around at will and your LRBT's can really become a mobile death machine. One thing that I can see being used a lot in Tallarn detachments are Executioner tanks, with plasma sponsons, as there is no penalty to moving, overcharging the plasma weapons means that its only 1's you need to worry about and not 1's and 2's, and 1's can be taken care of, to a certain extent, with orders. The final part of this is unusual, as it specifies titanic vehicles, something none of the others do. If a Tallarn superheavy advances then all the heavy weapons become assault weapons, meaning that they can shoot after advancing, with the usual penalties though.

This whole doctrine is geared towards moving and being aggressive, and is a great doctrine for armoured lists. The main issue is whether you would take this doctrine or the Valhallan doctrine for an armoured list, as one gives you extra firepower and one gives you extra survivability.

Militarum Tempestus - Storm Troopers
The Scions doctrine is a bit of a let down in many ways, as it only grants an extra shot for every 6+ rolled at half range or less and given the short range of many of the scions weapons, namely the Hotshot lasgun, this is not great. This means that it will not come in to play the turn that you deepstrike in even, as you will always be at more than half range with all but a couple of weapons. I understand why this have been done though, as the scions are very powerful already and to give them a powerful doctrine will tip the scale even more, as such this is a bit of a balancing act and in those terms it works well. The only real downside to this is that they can only take this doctrine, as when they are part of another detachment they do not gain any benefits from the doctrine.

Despite the weakness to the doctrine, I would still recommend taking the scions in there own detachment rather than as part of a bigger detachment, even if that means taking a patrol detachment.

Mordian - Parade Drill
Lastly we come to the Mordians and there Parade Drill. This means that if an infantry unit is in base to base contact with each other then they gain a +1 leadership bonus and also a +1 to hit overwatch bonus, which has been FAQ'd to mean that overwatch still works on a 7. While this may seem like a bad idea, and with the mechanics of previous edition, it would have been suicidal to bunch up like this, in 8th its present no real issues. Placing all of you models in base to base with each other may well be a pain and time consuming but it makes no difference to there ability to move around the battle field, as moving has no effect. This means that you can gain the bonus' from the doctrine and not be stuck forming a gun line. This is where the doctrine pulls ahead of the likes of the Cadian and Vostroyan doctrines. In addition to the infantry bonus, the overwatch bonus also applies to vehicles, although only those within 3 inches of another Mordian vehicle. This can restrictive for many units, such as hell hounds and transports, but on the whole it will come into effect. Things like LRBT's will benefit from this more often than not, as most of the time you'll be running more than one of them and keepingthem together is not going to be much of a problem.

This doctrine may be the last on the page but is by no means the least. It is another strong doctrine, giving good buffs to both infantry and vehicles. If your want a good resilient army then this is definitely a good option.

So there we have it, all of the Regimental Doctrines. These are some really good ones in there, the best of the bunch in my view are the Cadian for gunlines, Vahallan Doctrine for large blob squads and conscripts and also vehicle heavy lists, the Armageddon Doctrine for MechVets, Tallarn Doctrine for tank armies and finally the Mordian Doctrine for mobile infantry armies. The rest are still good in there own way, but less useful, the Militarium Tempestus is only available to Scions and is not the best, Vostroyan is also good for gunline armies and also mobile infantry, but is in my opinion out classed by the other Doctrines, and finally the Catachan is great for a close combat and tank/artillery army, but a close combat guard army is, in general, not really a great idea.

Following on from the Doctrine, I though it was a good idea to jump back through the book a bit and go through the Orders, both the standard and the Regimental orders.