Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Codex: Astra Militarum Review - Part 2: Elite and Fast Attack



“The Imperial Guard, also known as the Astra Militarum, is the primary fighting force of the Imperium, so numerous in size that even the Departmento Munitorum cannot place a figure on the number of Guardsmen under arms at any one time; the lists of new recruits and toll of casualties can run into the millions in a single day. It would be unfeasible trying to put any exact number on the strength of the Guard; however, it is believed that there must be many billions of Imperial Guardsmen, divided into millions of regiments. This absolute numeracy provides the Guard with its main power; their ability to deploy in numbers that, eventually, result in victory. Attacking in seemingly endless influxes across battle-zones, charging forth under the cover of massive barrages and delivering massed lasgun volleys, in the Guard the individual Human soldier may appear a lost thing, almost forgotten. Yet the actions of these anonymous soldiers daily decide the fate of worlds.

The Guard forms the very backbone of the Imperium; without it, Mankind would surely perish. Whilst Guardsmen are hardly the equals of Space Marines, fighting neither with the advantages of genetic enhancement or the most powerful personal weaponry, the Guard possesses the courage and the manpower to face and annihilate the enemies of the Emperor across the galaxy” (sic).

 [Lexicanum]

In my previous post I reviewed the SRs, Troops and Dedicate Transports of the Codex: Astra Militarum. I did a brief analysis of the troops, which are the main Scoring units of the Astra Militarum. For my second post I will review the units that the Imperial Guards can add to their lists. There are good, bad and vapid units; we will point out the units that can make a difference in the field with their speed and Special abilities.

Elite choice:

  • Ogryns (130): The unit is composed of 2 Ogryns and 1 Ogryn Bone’ead.  They have the Hammer of Wraith, Stubborn and Very Bulky SR. The wargear of the unit is Flakk armour, Ripper Gun and Frag Grenades.  You can take up to seven more Ogryns for 40 P/mdl. The squad may take a Chimera or a Taurox as a Dedicated Transport.
  • Bullgryns (145): The unit is composed of 2 Bullgryns and 1 Bullgryn Bone’ead.  They have the Hammer of Wraith, Stubborn and Very Bulky SR. The wargear of the unit is Carapace armour, Grenadier gauntlet, Frag Grenades and Sladshield (whenever models with Sladshield are in base contact with each other, they gain +1 SV, in addition  any model that gets cover from them gets +1 to its cover). You can take up to seven more Bullgryns for 45 P/mdl. Any model may replace his Grenadier gauntlet and Sladshield with a Power Maul and Brute Shield (5+ inv and re-rolls failed to wound rolls of Hammer of Wraith) for 15P. The squad may take a Chimera or a Taurox as a Dedicated Transport.
  • Ratlings (30): The unit is composed of 3 Ratlings. They have Stealth, Infiltrate and Shoot Sharp and Scarper (they can shoot and then run) SR. The wargear of the unit is Flakk armour, Laspistol and Sniper rifle.  You can take up to seven more Ratlings for 10 P/mdl.
  • Wyrdvane Psykers (60): The unit is composed of 5 Wyrdvane Psykers.  They have Brotherhood of Psykers (Master lvl 1 and generate their powers from Biomancy, Divination, Pyromancy and Telekinesis) SR. The wargear of the unit is Flakk armour, Laspistol and CCW.  You can take up to five more Wyrdvane Psykers for 12 P/mdl. The squad may take a Chimera or a Taurox as a Dedicated Transport.
  • Militarum Tempestus Platoon: Composted of 1-3 Militarum Tempestus Scions and may include 1 Militarum Tempestus Command Squad.
1.       Militarum Tempestus Command Squad (85P): The unit is composed of four Tempestus Scions and one Tempestor Prime. They have Clarion Vox-net, Deep Strike, Move through Cover and the Primer Voice of Command SR. The wargear of the unit is Carapace armour, Hot-shot Lasgun, Frag and Krak Grenades for the Scions and CCW with Hot-shot Pistol for the Prime. The Scion can take either  a Vox-caster (5P), a Medi-pack (15P), and a Platoon Standard (10P), once an item is assigned it is no longer available for the squad in question. Any Scion that hasn’t taken any Special Gear, can take one Special Weapon. The Prime can take items from the Melee Weapon List and exchange his Hot-shot Pistol for a Bolt Pistol or Plasma Pistol. Also the unit can take a Chimera or a Taurox Prime as a dedicated transport.
2.       Militarum Tempestus Scions (70P): Are composed of four Tempestus Scions and one Tempestor (sergeant). You can take up to five more Scions for 12 P/mdl. The unit has the Deep Strike and Move through Cover SR. The wargear of the unit is Carapace armour, Hot-shot Lasgun, Frag and Krak Grenades for the Scions and CCW with Hot-shot Pistol for the Tempestor. The Tempestor can take items from the Melee Weapon List and exchange his Hot-shot Pistol for a Bolt Pistol or a Plasma Pistol. The scions can take a Vox-caster (5P) and up to two can exchange their Hot-shot Lasguns with a Special Weapon. Also the unit can take a Taurox Prime as a Dedicated Transport.

Fast Attack choice:

  • Scout Sentinel Squadron (35): Scout Sentinel is a Vehicle (Walker, Open-topped) with the Move through Cover and Scout SR. You may take up to two more for 35 P/mdl to make a Vehicle Squadron.  It has a Multi-laser and can exchange it with a Heavy Flamer (free), Autocannon (5), Missile Launcher (5) or a Lascannon (10).
  • Armoured Sentinel Squadron (40): Armoured Sentinel is a Vehicle (Walker) with no Special Rules. You may take up to two more for 40 P/mdl to make a Vehicle Squadron.  It has a Multi-laser and can exchange it with a Heavy Flamer (free), Autocannon (5), Missile Launcher (5) or a Lascannon (10).



  • Rough Riders (55): The unit is composed of 4 Rough Riders and 1 Rough Riders Sergeant. They are a Cavalry unit type. The wargear of the unit is Flakk armour, Laspistol, CCW, Frag and Krak Grenades and Hunting Lance.  You can take up to five more Rough Riders for 11 P/mdl. The Sergeant may replace his Laspistol and/or CCW with a Plasma Pistol or a Power Weapon and he may take a Melta bomb. Up to two Rough Riders may replace their Hunting Lance with an item from the Special Weapon list.

  • Hellhound Squadron: It’s a Vehicle (Tank, fast) with a Heavy Bolter as a secondary weapon and may exchange it with a Heavy Flamer (free) or a Multi-melta (10). It has 3 types depending on his Primary weapon the:
1.       Hellhound (125): It has an Inferno Cannon
2.       Devil Dog (135): It has an Melta Cannon
3.       Bane Wolf (130): It has an Chem Cannon

  • Valkyrie Squadron (125P):  It’s a Vehicle (Flyer, Hover, and Transport) with the Grav Chute Insertion SR and a capacity of 12 models. For wargear it has a Multi-laser, two Hellstrike Missiles, Extra Armour and Searchlight.  It may include up to two more Valkyries for 125 P/mdl. Any Valkyrie may replace its Multi-laser with a Lascannon (10) and its two Hellstrike Missiles for two Multiple rocket pods (10). Any Valkyrie may take a pair of Heavy Bolter sponsons (20).

  • Vendetta Squadron (170P):  It’s a Vehicle (Flyer, Hover, and Transport) with the Grav Chute Insertion SR and a capacity of 6 models. For wargear it has Three Twin-linked Lascannons, Extra Armour and Searchlight.  It may include up to two more Vendettas for 170 P/mdl. Any Vendetta may replace two Twin-linked Lascannons with two Multiple rocket pods (free). Any Vendetta may take a pair of Heavy Bolter sponsons (20).

The Elite section of the Codex does not differ significantly from the previous Codex. The Ogryns, Rattling and the Wyrdvane Psykers retained their point cost; the Storm Troopers became the Militarum Tempestus Platoon; and there is also a new unit, the Bullgryns. Ogryns replaced their Furious charge with Hammer of Wraith. The Ratlings got the Shoot Sharp and Scarper SR. The old Psyker Battle Squad has change its name to Wyrdvane Psykers, lost the Overseer that was their “sergeant”, and got -1 to their LD (which is a big deal for psychic tests), but got access to Divination (which now makes them a good choice). The Storm Troopers got a new name, Militarum Tempestus Scions, and got a redaction of 15P. Also now you can take up to three squads for the same slot and a Command squad (for an extra order). The Elite section’s new toy is the Bullgryns and in my opinion their best build is with the Sladshields, as they get 3+ SV with T5 and give 4+ cover to units behind them. Lastly and sadly, with the Codex: Astra Militarum players lost the coolest Special Character in the game, Guardsman Marbo (Rambo). Only time will tell if we are going to see him again.

In the Fast Attack section we don’t have any new units and only slight changes. The Scout Sentinel stayed exactly the same. The Armoured Sentinel got 15 P cheaper, but lost Extra armour from its starting gear, which you can take for 15P; if you have some spare points it’s a good choice. Next, the Rough Riders got more expensive (and I can’t see why, as none ever used them) and lost the Mogul Kamir, a Special Character that they could get previously. The Hellhounds squad kept the Fast tank type that made them as good as they are, with a slight increase in their point cost. For the Valkyrie, I refer you inone of my previous posts. The Vendetta as was expected went from 130 to 170 P and lost half of its model capacity; even with their new point cost it is, if not the Best, one of the best Flyers in the game.

From these two sections the squads that in my opinion can be part in a competitive list are:
  1. Vendetta
  2. Hellhound Squad
  3. Wyrdvane Psykers
  4. Militarum Tempestus Platoon

Unit’s valuation and performance in my opinion:
Unit
Better / Worse
P
Would I use them?
Ogryns
-
IG is a Shooting army and Ogryns aren’t, so no.
Bullgryns
-
-
Yes, to cover my tanks.
Ratlings
-
Not really.
Wyrdvane Psykers
-
-
Yes, but only for the Divination.
Militarum Tempestus
If I had points and I wanted more units and an extra order then, yes. 
Scout Sentinel
-
-
I prefer his brother.
Armoured Sentinel
For only 40P it is a good choice to draw fire from other units
Rough Riders
-
As with Ogryns they don’t provide any obvious advantage
Hellhound
-
Occasionally
Valkyrie
Only as a transport, but I prefer  the shooting power of its brother
Vendetta
It is a must. If I had to pick three Fast Attack choices I would pick Vendettas. The easy and smart choice.



Da Sergeant Major asked me what my job was an' I said it was to, uh, do what I was told. He said I was a genius and gave me another medal. I likes da Imperial Guard!

+++ Nork Deddog, Ogryn Bodyguard +++


Of course I would like to hear your opinion on this and all my previous posts, as well as suggestions for what you would like me to write about.


Next Post: Astra Militarum Review - Part 3: HQ, Heavy Support and Overview.


Until next time remember Prospero and…


VLKA FENRIKA

Friday, April 18, 2014

Codex: Astra Militarum Review - Part 1: Rules, Transports and Troops


Astra Militarum or Imperial Guards are the backbone of the Imperium, without them the Imperium wouldn’t be alive in the 40K Millennia. There is no denying that the Adeptus Astartes are the finest warriors, but they were always few and the Wolves even fewer. Don’t get me wrong they can do their work more than just fine, but they can’t be everywhere. This is where the Astra Militarum and the Imperial Navy come in to protect the Imperium of Mankind.

Millions of Guardsmen fight and die each day in the name of the Imperium. They stand guard over planets and sectors till death finds them. They fight against all odds the filthy Xenos and the Arch-enemy, the Heretics. The adeptus administratum and the High Lords of Terra decided that it is wise not to know their enemy, they are only informed about what exactly they are going to encounter before they fight it.

Ignorance is a blessing in the Imperium.

The Astra Militarum Codex is in my hands. In the next few weeks I will make a review of it and seehow the Wolves can exploit them as allies and enemies, but first we have to know them better.

The Codex main SR is the Voice of Command. It’s the same as the Tempestus Militarum regarding rules, but has other orders.

Voice of Command: Orders are issued by officers. The rules state that there are units that can issue more than one order, but none of the models in the supplement is capable of doing so.  Your officer can issue orders only if his unit isn’t embarked on a vehicle or Building, in C&C, Falling Back or Gone to Ground and within 12” of an issued unit that isn’t a Vehicle. Also the issued unit mustn’t be embarked, in C&C, Falling Back, Gone to Ground or already been issued a command. Furthermore, the Officers’ squads and the issued squad can act normally, except if the order states otherwise. The ordered unit must then pass an LD test for the order to pass and to gain its bonus.

Incompetent Command: If the roll is a double 6 then the order isn’t in effect and no further orders can be issued until the end of the turn.
Inspired Tactics: If the roll is a double 1 the order has passed and all subsequent orders can be issued without the need of an LD test.
The Astra Militarum Orders are:

Militarum Tempestus Orders
Take Aim!
The ordered unit must shoot. The unit gains the Precision Shot SR.
Smite At Will!
The ordered unit must shoot. The unit gains Split Fire SR.
First Rank, Fire! Second Rank, Fire!
The ordered unit must shoot. All models firing with Lasguns or Hot-Shot Lasguns, fire one additional shot.
Forwards, for the Emperor!
The ordered unit must shoot. After the Shooting is resolved the unit must run, even if the rules don’t allow it.
Move! Move! Move!
The ordered unit must run. To determining the distance, roll three dice and use the highest.
Suppressive Fire!
The ordered unit must shoot. The unit’s shooting attacks gain the Pinning SR.
Bring it Down!
Can only be issued by models with Senior Officer SR. The ordered unit must shoot. The unit’s shooting attacks gain the Tank Hunter and Monster Hunter SR.
Fire on my Target!
Can only be issued by models with Senior Officer SR. The ordered unit must shoot. The unit’s shooting attacks gain the Ignore Cover SR.
Get Back in the Fight!
Can only be issued by models with Senior Officer SR and to units that are Falling Back or have gone to Ground. The ordered unit immediately regroups and acts normally.

Perhaps the new Codex has the best Warlord traits than any other. In my opinion all of them can be useful and actually help you in the game:

 
D6
Warlord traits
1
Nominate D3 units from the Codex. These units gain Outflank SR. 
2
Your Warlord’s unit has the Preferred Enemy SR against a codex of your selection.
3
Units from the Codex within 12” of the Warlord don’t take LD test for suffering 25% or more loses.
4
Your Warlord unit has the Relentless SR.
5
Your Warlord has the Voice of Command SR; if he already has it, he can issue it within 18”.
6
Your Warlord has the Voice of Command SR; if he already has it, he can issue one additional order each turn.

The Codex main wargear are listed below, with the exception of the Heirlooms of Conquest. These actually are Relics of the Astra Militarum, which I will review in another post. As for point cost in the wargear, some got up and others got down, with the exception of the Special and Heavy weapons that stayed the same.
Astra Militarum Wargear List:

Ranged Weapons
P
Special Weapons
P
Heavy Weapons
P
Bolt Pistol
1
Sniper Rifle
1
Mortal
5
Boltgun
1
Flamer
5
Autocannon
10
Plasma Pistol
15
Grenade  Launcher
5
Heavy Bolter
10
Special Issue Wargear

Hot-Shot Volley Gun
10
Missile Launcher 
15
Meltagun
10
 (for Flakk)
25
Krak Grenade
2
Plasma Gun
15
Lascannon
20
Melta Bomb
5
Melee Weapons



Carapace Armour
5
Power Weapon
15


Demolition Charge
10
Power Fist
25



5 out of 6 missions of the Rulebook have objectives and you will need your Troops to go and capture them. So I think that the best way to start the Astra Militarum choices review is the Troop and Dedicated Transport section of the Codex.

Troop choices:

  • Infantry Platoon: composed of 1 Platoon Command Squad, 2-5 Infantry Squads, 0-5 Heavy Weapon Squads, 0-3 Special Weapon Squads and 0-1 Conscripts. The Infantry Platoon counts as a single Troop slot on the FOC. At the beginning of the game the player can decide whether the Infantry Platoon units having the Combine Squad SR will be deployed as one big squad.
1. Platoon Command Squad (30): composed of 4 Guardsmen and 1 Platoon Commander. The Commander has the Voice of Command SR. The wargear of the unit is Frag grenades and Lasguns for the Guardsmen and CCW with Pistol for the Commander. The Commander can take items from the Melee and Ranged Weapons List. A Guardsman can take either a Vox-caster (5), a Heavy Flamer (10), a Medi-pack (15), or a Platoon Standard (10) (gives +1 to C&C results); once an item is assigned it is no longer available for the squad in question. Or you can dedicate two Guardsmen to form a Heavy Weapon team that takes one weapon from the [Heavy Weapon] list. Any remaining Guardsmen that haven’t taken anything can choose a weapon from the Special Weapon List. The squad may take a Chimera or a Taurox as a Dedicated Transport.


2 Infantry Squads (50): Composed of 9 Guardsmen and 1 Sergeant. The Unit has the Combine Squad SR. The wargear of the unit is Frag grenades and Lasguns for the Guardsmen and CCW with Pistol for the Sergeant. The Sergeant can take items from the Ranged Weapons List, it can also exchange his CCW for a Power Weapon. One Guardsman can take a Vox-caster(5), two other Guardsmen may form a Heavy Weapon team, which takes one weapon from the [Heavy Weapon] list, and another Guardsman that hasn’t taken anything yet can take weapons from the Special Weapon List. The squad may take a Chimera or a Taurox as a Dedicated Transport.

3. Heavy Weapon Squads (45): Composed of three Heavy Weapon teams equipped with Lasguns and Frag Grenades. Each of them has to take one item from the Heavy Weapon List.

4.       Special Weapon Squads (30): Composed of six Guardsmen equipped with Lasguns and Frag Grenades. Three of them have to take one item from the Special Weapon List.

5.       Conscripts (60): Composed of twenty Constripts and you may include up to thirty more for 3 P/mdl.



  • Veterans (60): Composed of 9 Veterans and 1 Veteran Sergeant. The wargear of the unit is Frag grenades and Lasguns for the Veterans and CCW with Pistol for the Sergeant. The Sergeant can take items from the Melee and Ranged Weapons List. A single Veteran can take a Vox-caster (5). Another Veteran can exchange his lasgun with a Shotgun (free) or a Heavy Flamer (10). Two other Veterans may form a Heavy Weapon team, which takes one weapon from the [Heavy Weapon] list. And up to two (or three, if no Heavy Flamer was taken) remaining Veterans that haven’t taken anything yet, can take weapons from the Special Weapon List. The squad may take a Chimera or a Taurox as a Dedicated Transport. The Squad can choose one of three types of Doctrines to specialize to :
1.       Grenadiers (15): The squad replaces its Flakk Armour with Carapace Armour.

2.       Forward Sentries (10): The squad has Camo Gear (+1 to cover) and Snare Mines (any enemy unit that charges at the unit counts as having made a disordered charge).

3.       Demolitions (30): The entire squad has Melta Bombs. One Veteran carries a Demolition charge in addition of his other equipment.

  • Sergeant Harker (55): One squad of Veterans can replace their Sergeant with Harker. The Hacker’s squad can’t take the Grenadiers doctrine. Harker has the Relentless SR and the Heirloom of Conquest named Payback.
Payback
Range
S
AP
Type
36”
5
4
Heavy 3, Rending
Dedicated Transport choice:
  • Chimera (65): The Chimera has as starting wargear a Multi-Laser, Heavy Bolter, Smoke Launcher and Searchlight. For SR it has Amphibious (treats all water terrain as open terrain), Lasgun Arrays (the Chimera has three Lasguns on each side that the passengers can use to fire to different targets, with the BS of the vehicle) and Mobil Command Vehicle (An embarked officer can issue orders from within the Chimera). It has a capacity of twelve models and two Fire Points. It may exchange the Heavy Bolter with a Heavy Flamer and the Multi-Laser with a Heavy Bolter or a Heavy Flamer for free.
  • Taurox Prime (80): The Taurox is the one of the two new Vehicles in the Garage of the Astra Militarum. It has the All-terrain APC (re-roll failed Dangerous terrain tests) SR. It has a capacity of 10 models, access points on the sides and rear, and two fire points on each side. It starts with Taurox Battle Cannon and a Twin-linked Hot-shot Volley Gun. You can exchange the Battle Cannon for a Taurox Gatling Cannon (10) or a Taurox Missile Launcher (20) and the Volley Gun for a Twin-linked Autocannon (free).
 
  • Taurox (50): Has the same stats and SR as the Prime. Equipped only with a Twin-linked Autocannon.
The Troop choices didn’t change point wise, except for the 10 point decrease in the Veterans. Veterans are Troops that can be equipped for special occasions in your army. You can field them with three Meltas and +1 to their armour for 105P.
The Infantry Platoon is perhaps the best shooting Troop choice in the game, as it can have a lot of models all together or distributed. You can place a 150-Conscripts-meat-shield in front of your horde of Lasguns, Plasma Guns and Autocannons and all of that for only 630P (for a total of 255 Models). You can also use them to screen your tanks and give them cover (more expensive) or to field them with Transports (the most expensive option).
[Wolf tip: Remember that you can take a Platoon and use all its units separately and have more scoring units.]
The two Taurox options (Tauroi) are the new light vehicles the Astra Militarum can field to gain more firepower. Regarding the Transports, as I had said in my Militarum Tempestus review, I like the Taurox Prime and consider the Taurox at its little brother that rule-wise looks like a Razorback with Autocannon, but a bit cheaper.Regarding the Chimera, it got up 10 points and now six models can shoot from inside the Chimera with the Lasgun Array and two from the top hatch. That makes the Chimera a lot better than it was.

Surely the Troop choice of the Astra Militarum / Imperial Guard was and is very competitive and we will see them, in the near future, amongst the Top codices.

Heroes of Armageddon! You have withstood the evil savagery of the Orks, and they having nothing left for you to fear. So raise high the black banners of vengeance - now is our time.

+++Sebastian Yarrick during the Third War for Armageddon+++

Of course I would like to hear your opinion on this and all my previous posts, as well as suggestions for what you would like me to write about.

Next Post: Astra Militarum Review - Part 2: Elite and Fast Attack.
Until next time remember Prospero and…

VLKA FENRIKA

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