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.