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the potential to really pile on the damage, however, if you take out the unit in the first round of combat, then its no longer applicable for the rest of the game.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.

Friday 10 November 2017

Codex: Astra militarum - Orders

This time around we are going to take a look at the orders. While this may be slightly out of order with the book, it feels like a good place to put them, having just gone through the regimental doctrines. As with the last few editions of the guard, there are a number of orders that are available to all regiments and then there are the regimental specific orders, which are listed at the end.

First up are the general Orders

Take aim!
The first order listed in the book is Take Aim! and will probably one of the more commonly issues orders, especially to heavy weapons teams and anything wielding plasma, thus is due to it allowing the ordered unit to re-roll 1's to hit. This means that it will cut down the number of misses from those heavy weapons teams but more importantly it means that overcharged plasma weapons have a lot better chance of not only hitting but more importantly, not exploding! This order won't be the most common used overall, but for plasma and heavy weapons it will be. One other thing to note, if you are playing a Cadian regiment, and you remained stationary, this order means that you will be re-rolling all your misses, not just 1's.

Front Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire (aka FRFSRF)
Now this is going to be the most commonly used order in the majority of guard armies, regardless of regiment, as it turns all your lasguns in to rapid 2 weapons. That's a lot of shots from even a basic guard squad and tied in with some of the doctrines like the Armageddon or Vostroyan, it will mean that you have a very potent threat. For the majority of cases where you will be issuing orders, this is going to be better than any of the more specific ones and if your not sure what order you should use, use this one. Oh, and lets not forget it also works with hotshot lasgun too.

bring it down
This is the other side of the Take Aim coin and enables you to re-roll 1's to wound. Now in most cases this isn't going to be very effective, unless you shooting g at something very weak or using a powerful gun, your only going to be re-rolling a third of your misses which isn't very much. However, if you are shooting a lascannon against a space marine or even a normal t8 vehicle, then yes, this will be an effective order, provided you actually hit in the first place. I see this order being useful for Cadians more than most, as they already get there re-rolls to hit, but for everyone else, its more important to get hits, than you worry about wounding, afterall if you don't hit in the first place, you can't do any wounds.

Forward for the emperor
The order for when you need a little bit more movement to get in to rapid range or even just in range, as the ordered unit van both advance and shoot. This is one of the orders that is very situational and won't get used a lot. There will be times when it will be required but if you want to shoot, something like FRFSRF would be better and if you need to move, then Move Move Move would be better. An order worth keeping in mind but not one that you'll go to very often.

Get back in the fight
Again, a very situational order, as it enables you to shoot after falling back from combat. Now, most of the time if a unit is falling back, its going to be mangled and not really worth putting an order on to but there will be times when it will, such as with conscripts, who will generally have enough numbers to survive combat, fall back and still be able to do damage in shooting. You may also want tonuse this on a units with special weapons, such as flamers or plasma, even if there are only a few models left, just to get the benefits of the weapons. Overall though, your better off just falling back and ignoring the unit, putting your orders on to other, stronger units.

Move! move! move!
This is another of the good units and if your playing a maelstrom game or entering your last turn of an eternal war mission, can be vital. The unit receiving this order must move and advance instead of shooting. If you already have moved and advanced, this could result in 24 inches of movement, although 18 is more likely. This really increases the movement of a guardsmen, meaning that those objectives rant quite as far away as you thought. It can also cause you opponent a few problems as well when your guardsmen suddenly sprint across the table. While the downside is that you cannot charge, oh wait, not that's not much of a downside is it? So while this won't be one of the first orders you go to, its definatly a very useful order.

Fix bayonets - only if within 1", fight as per fight phase
Another one of the situational orders, as although it can only be order to a unit within 1 inch of the enemy and effectively gives you a free round of combat, most of the time your not going to want to be in combat, unless your sure you can survive until the enemies combat phase. If your in combat and have an excess of orders, you"d be better off falling back and issuing Get Back in the Fight. The only time this order could be useful is when you are locked in combat with a unit you cannot fall back from, such as wytches, then there is little other choice for orders, except if your playing Vostroyan. All in all this is probably going to be the least used order, as there several other better options and orders.

That's all of the general orders, and as always there are some good ones, and some not quite so good, situational ones but they all have there uses and will at some point it another be used.

The next set of orders are tank orders and can only be given by tank commanders and received by Lehman Russ battle tanks.

Full throttle
This order is for when you want to move, in the same vain as the infantry Move, Move, Move, order. This means that instead of shooting you can move as if it was the movement phase but again you must advance. This means that you could potentially have a movement of 32 inches, which is a long movement for a vehicle like the LRBT. This wont be you first choice for the tanks, but can give to a lot of extra movement when you really need it, either to get to an objective, remember LRBT's are objective secured in spearhead detachments, or to get in to cover/out of LOS. Its going to be rare that you are going to want to forgo your shooting phase, but there may be occasions when you need to and in those circumstances, this is the order you'll need.

Gunner, kill on sight
This is going to be the most used order for most tanks, Re-rolling 1's to hit. This will mean that you might get an extra hit or maybe 2, depending upon what your shooting. Weapons like the Vanquisher will not benefit much from this, where as a Punisher will probably benefit a lot.

Strike and shroud
This is an unusual order and one that will be situational and also its a one shot job. The order can only be placed on a unit that hasn't used its smoke launchers during the game, an ability I usually forget all about! I think that this order gets forgotten about a lot of the time but is actually a really useful order and can add a lot of survivability to a tank. Being able to use your smoke as well as shooing, means that you can push up your tanks in to areas where they would usually be exposed or to give you extra protection when sitting in cover. This is definitely an order you should keep handy, but be careful not to waste it, as it is a one shot only order.

The next set of orders are regiment specific and as such only available to detachments using the named regimental doctrine

Cadian - Pound them to dust
The Cadian order is a tank order and so can only be issued by tank commanders or by Pask. This order allows you to re-roll the dice for the number of attacks you can make for those turret weapons that use a random number of attacks, such as the battle cannons d6 roll. This means that on most occasions you will end up with 4 or more attacks, which is always better than rolling a 1. Combine this with both the doctrine for re-rolls of 1 to hit and the grinding advance rules and you have a formidable firepower output. granted there are some tanks that are not going to be able to use this order, such as punishers and vanquishers, but you have other orders you can use there. If your running Cadians then I can see this order being used quite a bit to get you some extra shots.

Catachan - Burn them out
The Catachan order again runs very close to the fluff of the unit and also relies on you being very close to the enemy to use it, where that +1 strength will also come in handy! With this order, flamers and heavy flamers get to re-roll the dice for the number of attacks that they make and those attacks also ignore any save bonus' given by cover or terrain. Now, as usual this order only applies to infantry, so no using this on your hell hounds but it can be very useful for upping the number of hits a unit gets. It will work best on things like command squads or vets loaded up with a heavy flamer and 3 flamers. On a standard infantry squad with one flamer, this is going to be wasted, as at that range you'll be a lot better of with FRFSRF, where you'll be generating a lot of extra hits, far more than a flamer could every get. Used wisely, this is a great order, but its very situational and chances are, who every you issue it to will be dead next turn.

Valhallan - fire on my command
Life is cheap and meaningless to a Valhallan, and its shows in there order. With this order a unit can shoot INTO combat, usually something that is a big no no. the only downside is that any to hit rolls of 1 are worked out against the friendly units that are in the combat. While this order is great for being able to help out a unit locked in combat, even with the downside, its situational, as I think most of the time you'll be better of falling the units in combat back and shooting at the enemy units with other orders. However, for those times a unit is locked in combat and cannot leave, then this is going to be very useful. A good order, but you'll need to think carefully about how you use it.

Vostroyan - Repel the enemy
This is the other side of the Valhallans order, as with this one you can shoot while locked in combat. Of the two orders this is by far the better order, as chances are your guard squad are going to be a lot stronger at shooting that they are at combat. Just look at the average guardsman, with 1 S3 attack in combat vs 2 S3 attacks in shooting. If you don't want to fall back out of combat, then this is going to be the order for you, especially for those plasma armed vets.

Armageddon - Mount up
This is another great order and can be very useful, especially for those would be suicide squads. The order allows a unit that is within range of a transport to embark at the end of there shooting, although you cant use it on a unit that disembarked during the movement phase. So no getting out shooting and jumping back in. Still this is a good order, you'll just need to be good with your measurements. Move a unit out in to range and run a transport up behind them, once they've shot, they can jump in and shelter from the return fire in relative safety. Again this is probably best used on your valuable heavy hitting units, like command squads and vets, but is equally useful for infantry squads as well and would be useful for relocating heavy weapon squads mid battle as you would only loose a round of shooting rather than 2.

Tallarn - Get around behind them
The Tallarn order is another tank order. The order allows a tank to move up to 6 inches in the shooting phase, either before or after it fires. However, the main thing is that this extra movement does not count towards you total movement for determining whether you can use the grinding advance rule to fire twice. So, you can still move half distance and then move the extra movement, effectively giving you your full movement value and still being able to fire twice or allowing you to move in to a fire position and then back out of LOS. This is a really good order and one that I think will see a lot of use in a Tallarn based tank army. If I could use this in any tank army, I think I would be using this more than I used all the other orders combined.

Militarum Tempestus - Elimination protocol sanctioned
The scions got a better deal with there order than they did with there doctrine, being granted re-rolls to wound against monsters and vehicles. This order will benefit the two most commonly used scions squads, plasma and melta squads, the former against monsters and the  against vehicles. With the greater BS  skill, re-rolling to wound rather than hit is not a major issue, although its no help with overcharged plasma weapons, something you might want against monsters. This order is a good order to have and will be useful in a lot of cases to conver those hits to wounds, and with plasma and melta up values, there's not a lot that is going to survive being wounded.

Mordian - Form firing squad
Again, the poor old mordians are last on the list but there order is far from being the worst, in many respects its one of the best. With this order the unit can target characters with there rapid fire weapons, regardless of whether they are the closest model or not. Granted its only for rapid fire weapons, so only out to 24 inches in most cases, but it means that you have a chance of taking out those buffing units or there combat monster before they can do there thing. This is really going to be good with  armed with plasma and has the potential to completely mess with the enemies plans. Having characters removed is a big deal in 8th. This is a good , one that will be used a  but only if your enemy is helpful enough to put there characters in  position for you to shoot at.

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.

Friday 3 November 2017

Club Open day 2017

In a short break from the new guard codex, I thought I would report on the club open day we had last weekend. The open day is actually a joint venture between 2 or maybe 3 clubs (not sure if the magic club still exists) and takes place in the local community center, where we also happen to have our weekly meetings as well. Every year we put on a display in the various display cabinets around the center and then on the Saturday have an open door club. Although the place is never what I would call busy, there is usually a steady stream of people coming in and out and usually 1 or 2 people wondering around the hall at anyone time. The main aim of the club is not really to recruit new members but to raise the awareness of table top games and as such the is quite a variety on offer. This year there was a zombie game, a gladiator game, dead zone, flames of war and a Viking game, along side the main game, which this year was a star wars games including both x-wing and a custom ground based game. Oh and a bit of magic going on in the corner. If you do want to see some more shots of the general games, go to my other blog; https://northernlandsgaming.blogspot.co.uk/. You'll find lots of pictures and info, all none 40k related there. Meanwhile, here is the lowdown on the 40k stuff we put on at the open day.

The display cases are usually up for a few weeks before the event but this year for various reasons they only went up a 2 weeks before and while my contribution ended up in a good location, just as you come out the lift and in the main seating area upstairs, I haven't yet made it to the foyer or the display sections of the rotating entry doors.

My two display cases were split up in to the guard in one and marines in the other. I also snuck in my copy of Conquest, if anyone remembers that game? Its a game I quite liked and played a few games at my old club but no-one plays it up here.

The main display level, with some Scions on the left and guard on the right. I also put a priest and psyker in there to add some variety and interest to the scene. And yes, its the 7th ed codex, I needed the new one so want going to stick it in the cabinet where I couldn't access it. You can also just see the Conquest cards in the back ground.

Also in the cabinet were some more guard, a command section with chimera and half squad, also with chimera.

The other cabinet contained the marines and some books and box set for some variety. The books might be out of date but they looked good and the BaC box art is also visually interesting.

This was the first public outing for the Eagle Knights and this display sets my ocd going. I didn't set these guys up and they are all looking in different directions. I would have set them all up facing at 45 to the glass, with them all looking in the same direction, giving the viewer different sides of the model to see, but they were all set up with their bodies in the same direction. Its a minor thing but it annoys me, not enough to actually do something about it but still.

Overall I was pretty pleased with the displays and there positions, how many people actually looked at them i don't know but I hope they were impressed with the painting!

On the actual day I ran both a small skirmish game, very loosely based on the kill team idea, between 7 marines, 5 tactical, a heavy bolter armed devastator and a company champion and a guard infantry squad with autocannon, command squad with plasma and a platoon commander. The forces were about 150 points each, and as it turned out over the couple of games I played, surprisingly well balanced.

Mid game, all the models lying down are dead. The tactical marine in the center is struggling to put down the veteran guardsmen but the champion is slicing through the infantrymen with ease. The marines eventually won this round.

The marines won overall, mostly due to the champion and his power sword cutting down everything he touched. They were pretty fast and brutal games but fun. We kept the rules very simple, dropping a lot of stuff like cover, orders and aura abilities for simplicity.

In addition I had a display of models on the next table, which also happened to be the first table you came to when you walked in the door!

Members of the Hjaltland LI. This is is only the majority of Yellow platoon, with a few stand ins. I was thinking of laying out the whole of the Hjaltland LI, but after laying this lot out, i decided against putting all the models as there wouldn't have been room for anything else!

The rest of the painted Eagle Knights, joined by a few of there Blood Angle brothers, who belonged to a friend. There is more points worth of Knights in this picture than there was of guard in the last picture!

I couldn't let the imperium dominate, so I had asked a friend to lend me some of his Nids for the day, to add a bit of flavor to the display. He lent me this little lot (including the Blood Angles above). Can't remember what the big one in the middle is, but the rest are Steelers, rippers and a tyranid warrior.

The overall main table, you can just see some old 'eavy metal books on the right, a terrain, painting and modeling books.

The last picture, my two flyers, valkyrie on the left, vendetta on the right plus the remainder of my painted scions.

On my part, I think the day was a success, we had a number of people through the door and maybe introduced a few people to the wide variety of table top games. Hopefully ill still be around for next years open day.

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Codex: Astra Militarum - Superheavy units

Here is the last section of army units, the super heavies. These giants of the battlefield, monsters of Armoured warfare, are some of the most precious machines in the imperial guard. I have yet to have the pleasure of owning one of these war machines, but I would very much like to. But what has changed since the release of 8th? Quite a bit a it happens.

Steel Behemoth
Ill start by going over this rule as it applies to all the super heavies and doesn't need repeating for every entry. The new rules mean that super heavies never suffer a negative modifier for shooting heavy weapons when they move. This seems like a sensible update, as its practically a mobile fortress, moving a bit shouldn't upset a gunners aim much.

All of the super heavies got a points adjustment, either power points or standard point, in the case of the Baneblade its both, getting a drop on both accounts. The big change, which again is quite common, is that the main gun, the Banebade cannon, has gone from 2d6 to 3d6, mean that the number of shots now available to you goes from 2 to 12 to 3 to 18, and changes the average from 7 to 10. That's quite a change. The Baneblade stiff for fills its role as the basic all round super heavy, a role that it has played for quite a while. While others are better at specific things, such as titan killing or decimating hords, this excels at nothing but it capable of damaging pretty much everything.

The bane hammer, only drop matched play points, to the same as the Baneblade. The main cannon, the Tremor Cannon, has also gone from 2d6 to 3d6. Another good increase in shots and given the weapons special rule, means that it is even more certain to have an effect. The Banehammer itself is a transport, being able to carry a respectable 25 models and with the cannon reducing the enemy movement, this is good for slowing down fast enemy units that might cause you problems. It does however seem to be a bit of a situational tank and not one of the strongest units here. I would personally look towards some of the other tanks here, rather than take this one.

The Banesword is one of the few super heavies that has increased in price, going up a power point. The main cannon, the Quake Cannon, also grew from d6 to 2d6. This doubles the number of shots that your likely to get each turn, which really is a massive increase in firepower for a relatively small price increase. However, while this is a very powerful vehicle with a powerful gun, with a guarantee of doing a decent amout of damage, thanks to its damage special rule, it seems to suffer from being very similar to another vehicle, namely the Shadowsword. While its likely you'll get more shots with this weapon, I still feel that the Shadowsword would be a better choice.

The Doomhammer has also gone up in price, only on power points though, and as with most of the main weapons, the Magma Cannon has gained shots, going from d6 to 2d6. The main change for the weapon however is the loss of the Ignores Cover ability. This to me, meas that the vehicle has lost its niche within the Superheavies, as it now no longer has such a specialisation. It still has the ability to roll two dice and pick the highest when determining damage, which is always useful. Loosing ignores cover isn't going to make much of a difference in most cases, as you'd need a 2+ save in cover not to loose your save completely and most units don't have access to 2+ saves to start with. The vehicle is also a transport, carring 25 models, the same as the Banehammer and out of the two, this is the model that I would take, as I think that the main weapon is better of the two under most circumstances.

The Hellhammer has dropped a power point in the codex and has also dropped several standard points as well, reducing its overall cost quite a bit. Again, the main cannon, the Hellhammer cannon, has gained d6 shots up to 3d6. This vehicle is a short ranged weapons platform, with both the demolisher cannon and Hellhammer cannon having very short ranges compared to other superheavies. The only advantage of this vehicle that I can see, is that it does retain the niche role of ignoring cover. That said, I still wouldn't take this vehicle. I feel that the advantages of the cannon are not enough for me to take it over some of the other variants, especially now that firing arcs no longer exist and the fact that the main weapon is turret mounted holds no advantage over some of the other versions with fixed hull weapons. I think you'd be better off taking the standard Baneblade.

The infamous Shadowsword, the big hitter amongst big hitters, the titan killer. Now, this has received both a matched points drop and power points drop. The big news however is the changes to the main cannon, the giant Volcano Cannon, with it moving from d6 to 3d3. This fixes one of the biggest issues with the gun, actually hitting something. It means that at the very minimum your getting 3 attacks, meaning you should hit with at least 1, and unless your very unlucky, you'll kill what you hit. One average you'll get 6, hitting at least 3 times and wounding at least twice and with 2d6 damage each, you should do some serious damage, although you could end up doing just 4 damage, alternatively you could do 24 and effectively 1 shot a knight. Now I love the idea of this gun and its immense killing power, however, unless you regularly play against knights or superheavies, its overkill and one of the other options will be better. If you do face a lot of knights and such, there is very little with the hitting power of the Shadowsword out there.

Now, my personal favorite, the big dakka tank, the Stormlord. It has dropped a power point but otherwise remains unchanged, with the Vulcan Mega-bolter remaining at heavy 20. Its a shame that it lost the ability to fire twice if it stayed still, but that was always a bit overpowered. The Stormlord is you pinnacle anti-infantry superheavy, being able to do serious damage to just about any infantry unit, even terminators. The other advantage of this tank over many others is the fact that you have a fixed number of shots, therefore you always know exactly how many shots you have and can plan accordingly. Add to the fact that it has a massive transport capacity of 40 models and the option for 20 of them to fire at a time, you have a very mobile gun platform. Fill the back with heavy weapons and you can get an additional 10 weapons firing. If you took all heavy bolters you potentially could have 20 heavy bolters firing (for 60 shots), two heavy stubbers (for 6 more shots), 4 lascannons and the Mega-bolter, that's a lot of dakka . If I had both time and money, then I would have several Superheavies, mostly magnetised to swap out the weapons, but I would have a Stormlord fixed with 4 sponsons, two with bolters and two with flamers and it would be my go to tank for pretty much every occasion.

The Stormsword has gained a power point in the codex, and as with most of the old blast weapons, has gained a d6 for the Siege Cannon, putting it up to 2d6. This move to 2d6 has replaced the option for rolling 2 dice and picking the highest result when determining the number of shots the main weapon has. While the main weapon still retains the Ignores cover and the ability to reroll damage results of 1, it still seems like a poor choice in superheavies. Personally, I don't see what the advantage over the Hellhammer, which has a very similar gun, having the same range and profile but with a fixed damage stat, more shots. In theory there is the potential to do more damage with this weapon, with a total of 72 damage compared to only 54 with the Hellhammer, but in reality your more likely to get 12 to 15, plus the Hellhammer has a demolisher cannon as well. Granted if your pushed for points and want a superheavy, then its a good choice, but I would take the Hellhammer over this in pretty much every other case.

So, there it is the Superheavies, an relatively new addition to the Guard codex, but one most people will probably welcome. As with the likes of the Leman Russ's, there are many variants and most have there roles and niches. There are some stand out models, the original Baneblade for its versatility, and the Shadowsword for it titan killing power and the Stromlord for its transport and horde thinning abilities. There are also some models that don't stand out, such as the Banehammer and Stormsword, where other tanks can do similar things, usually better or at least as well but with more versatility. Having said that, there really isn't a bad tank in there. One day I hope that I would have a nice collection of these monsters, containing at least a Stormlord, Shadowsword and a Baneblade.

This also forms the end of the units in the codex. Next we will be moving on to look at the rest of the options in the codex, from warlord traits and orders to stratagems and doctrines. However, I think a quick break is in order to give everyone a bit of time off to relax and think about something else for a short while. So next up will be a bit about the clubs open day we had at the weekend.