|The Imperial fucking Guard!|
While I don't typically include named characters in my reviews, I would love to talk about a couple in an out of game sense starting with Nork Deddog. Nork is an Ogryn bodyguard who takes his job VERY seriously. He has no sense of personal aspiration, no opinions, no ideas, only orders. Most of which are "Keep this guy alive." One particular story really got to me, in which his charge was swallowed by a burrowed Mawlock. Now while this particular commander happened to be a snivelling piece of human waste who caused the needless death of countless souls and spent his men's lives without a second thought, Nork grabbed the Mawlock by the jaws, ripped them open and proceeded to cut his way down the gullet of the beast to grab the commander and drag him out of the literal jaws of death. The best part is when you actually look at the stats of Nork and a Mawlock, it is actually possible that he could kill it over a couple turns while surviving the ordeal.
The other character I wanted to mention is "Stonetooth" Harker, who has guts for brains. This isn't to say that he is stupid, but if he has the choice to fight or think his way out of a situation, he reaches for his heavy bolter "Payback". He is quoted in the codex as having said "Back home, I once fancied me a pair of Catachan Devil boots. Killed me half a dozen of the great ugly critters but never found a single one that wore any!" Sure this maybe sounds like ridiculous bravado as the Devils obviously don't wear boots, they are wild creatures of the jungles, but he seems to be just dense enough to think that maybe all those other pairs of boots other guys were wearing were found being worn by Catachan Devils, and not made from their hide. Of course he is also the type of character who would tell that story to a poor gullible Munitorum staffer and laugh as he watches him try and convince the others of this "true" story.
Now in previous editions of the codex, they would use these characters to give the army character. If you took Al'Rahem as the leader of a Tallarn army would grant the army special bonuses, giving the actual army theme and character on the table top. This edition, they got rid of many many characters, but use the Regimental Doctrines in place of them to give the army a particular feel.
First up is Cadia, any unit that remains stationary in the movement phase can re-roll 1's to hit in the shooting phase. If an infantry unit also receives the "Take Aim" order (more on orders later), they can re-roll all failed hit rolls. This one is pretty good because we all know how powerful re-rolls are, Guilliman is one of the most popular characters in the game with all the re-rolls he gives. Just the ability to re-roll ones is great for all those plasma guns you're gonna be taking. The drawback is that once you start to rely on those re-rolls, you can get into trouble with that lack of mobility so make sure that there are mobile elements in your army to grab and contest objectives.
Now we have all see the models and the Catachan jungle fighters, in every depiction, look like they are smuggling a dozen melons under their shirts. Muscles on top of muscles, which has never really translated to the table top until now. All infantry unit get +1S, and if they are within 6" of a Catachan character they get +1Ld. On top of that, vehicles that shoot a weapon with a random number of shots can re-roll one of the dice. The extra strength is a pretty big deal, with the way combat works getting the charge off means you can use all that extra muscle before getting hit back. Getting to re-roll the number of shots you get is REALLY good. There is nothing worse than rolling a 1 on a heavy flamer or battle cannon when you really need that tank to get some work done. If I read it correctly, this is not limited to a single weapon per tank. So that scouting Sentinel unit can really make good use of its scout move and not flub those heavy flamer attacks, or that Hellhound can recover a little from rolling a 1,3 for it's 2D6 hits.
The Valhallans are a special kind of crazy and will march headlong into a hail of gunfire unflinching of the carnage. They halve the number of casualties(rounding up) they take when a morale check is failed. Now you might already know the nerf to the Commissar, which I will talk about, but this rule really gives some use back to conscripts. Vehicles that have damage tables use the characteristic level of double their remaining wounds. So if your tank only has 4 wounds left, it uses the characteristics as if it had 8 wound left. This is quite powerful as the main setback from the AM army is their rather average BS.
Vostroyan's have really fancy weapons, so they can add 6" to all of their Heavy and Rapid Fire weapons of 24" or more. This one might seem good, more range is always a good thing right? Except that unless you are playing against another static fire base army whose weapons have the same range as yours, this will not really benefit you at all. Most of the good heavy weapons have a big enough range anyway to hit just about anywhere on the table, and with so many units being so much more mobile than they were before, that extra 6" is going to go to waste. You could make a case of doing a double castle and splitting your army up in opposite corners, this will force combat armies to split their forces or commit to one side. With this little extra range you could use it to support the other castle while otherwise being out of range, particularly with plasma guns. I could also see taking a bunch of sniper squads in a Vanguard Detachment, giving them a little extra range to snipe out those army buffing characters.
Armageddon ripped a page out of the Death Guard book allowing them to "double tap" their rapid fire weapons at 18" instead of half the range. Vehicles treat enemy weapons with an AP of -1 as 0 instead. This is pretty good as there are quite a few weapons out there that are getting spammed that have an AP of -1. Heavy flamers, auto cannons, and heavy bolters all losing that little extra punch will keep your Chimera's running that much longer.
The Tallarn doctrine keep with the idea of hit and run allowing Infantry to advance and shoot with non-heavy weapons and ignoring the penalty for advancing and firing assault weapons. Vehicles ignore the penalty for moving and shooting heavy weapons which is huge, again due to their mediocre BS, because movement is almost as important as killing stuff.
The neatly ordered rank and file of the Mordian makes for a good defence against charging enemy units. Gaining a +1Ld and +1 to hit while firing overwatch while in base contact with another model from the same unit. Vehicles gain the +1 to hit for overwatch when within 3" of another vehicle with this doctrine. This pairs well with a stratagem that allows vehicles to overwatch on a 5 or 6. Meaning that a punisher cannon is hitting in overwatch just as often as it is in the shooting phase.
Last, but certainly not least, the Militarum Tempestus gain an extra shot when shooting at a target at half range or less when a hit roll of 6+ is rolled. This does not specify that it only applies in the shooting phase, so it seems to work in overwatch as well. It also doesn't specify that it only applies to infantry, so will apply to all those shots from the auto cannon Taurox.
Now there are quite a few units that don't have the Regiment key word such as Orgyn, Ratlings, and Commissars. While these units will never benefit from the Doctrines of that detachment, they will also not prevent the other units in the detachment from gaining the Doctrine benefits.
Grinding advance is a new rule, and it's real good. Basically, if your Leman Russ moves at half it's current speed (account for current damage level) or stays still it can shoot it's turret weapon TWICE. It must shoot it at the same target, but still really good. Oh, and turret weapons do not suffer the penalty for moving and shooting heavy weapons. So yeah, shoot 2 times just cause.
You will notice that instead of the typical army buffs that most characters get, characters in the AM army have an ability called Voice of Command. The Voice of Command ability is something that characters, with the Officer key word, have and it allows them to give an "order" to an infantry unit at the start of the shooting phase, and these typically last for the that phase. The Officer must be within 6" of the unit receiving the order, and each unit may only be affected by one order per turn. Now, there is a slightly complicated way to increase that range, if a unit within 3" of the Officer has a vox-caster, the Officer can issue an order to another unit up to 18" away if that unit also contains a vox-caster. After having read through multiple rules multiple times, I have come to the conclusion that many of the battle reports may be doing the orders incorrectly. Time and again I have seen people issue out all their orders at once then apply them through the shooting phase as they shoot with the ordered units. However, if you look at characters that can issue 2 orders, it specifically states that you should resolve the first order before you move on to the second. This gives me reason to believe that an order should be resolved before you move on to the next one. This is actually a benefit to you because you get to see what the result is of your order before issuing the next one.
"So what are these orders you speak of?" you might be asking. Well, lets take a look...
Take Aim gives a unit re-rolls of 1 to hit.
First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire changes all lasguns and hot-shot lasguns to Rapid Fire 2
Bring it Down gives a unit re-rolls of 1 to wound.
Forwards, for the Emperor allows a unit to shoot even if it advanced.
Get Back in the Fight allows a unit to shoot if it Fell Back.
Move Move Move allows a unit to move again instead of shooting, it must advance but it cannot charge.
Fix Bayonets makes a unit immediately fight as if it was the fight phase.
Those are the generic ones, and they are pretty good. Take Aim and Bring it Down are probably the winners, but the others definitely have their uses. A strong strategy used by assault armies is to get as many units in combat as possible, not necessarily to kill them, but to prevent them from shooting. Not only do they charge multiple units, but they will use the holes opened up by dead models to consolidate into additional units tying them up as well. In comes Get Back in the Fight, step back and open up, and make way for those Orgryn to charge in.
Got a Platoon commander with a power fist who really needs to get some work done or he is gonna get smoked? Fix Bayonets will help with that. We all know how deadly Berserkers are being able to attack twice, well for one turn that Platoon commander turns into a Berserker.
But we are not done with the order yet, because each Regiment has it's own unique order.
Cadians get a Tank Order, we will get a little more into those in a bit, but basically it's an Order that a Tank Commander can give to another tank. It lets a Leman Russ re-roll the number of shots it makes with it's turret weapon if it has a random number of shots. For example the battle cannon is D6 shots, you would get to re-roll the result if you wanted, both times if you're using grinding advance.
Catachans can re-roll the random number of hits from flamers and heavy flamers, plus those weapons ignore the bonus for cover. This is great for a counter hitting unit. Bury that unit deep in your lines so they can't get to it with all the pile in and consolidation moves then fall back with everything and have at 'er. This works great with a command squad, 4 flamers and a heavy flamer.
Those crazy Russkie wannabes the Valhallans can shoot into combat, but not if they themselves are in combat. If you roll a 1 to hit it hits a friendly unit, of your choice, within 1" of the target unit. Funnily enough, this also works really well with a command squad loaded with flamers.
On the other hand, Vostroyans can fire their weapons when they are within 1" of enemy models. Now since guardsman fall to a stiff breeze, you likely won't have much left in combat unless some funny pile in and consolidations moves happen. Guess what? Works good on a command squad full of flamers. Combine this with Fix Bayonets and you can fight and shoot in the shooting phase, then fight again in the fight phase.
Ok, this one takes me back to some OLD school Ork speed freaks rules. Armageddon units can shoot, then immediately embark on a vehicle as long as they are within 3" of it and did not disembark that same turn. This one works with just about anything and is really pretty damn good. As I have said, guardsmen are pussies, but if they can shoot you then jump into a vehicle, that not only takes them out of danger, it pulls their lines further away possibly negating a chance of a charge.
The Tallarn also get a tank order which allows a tank to move 6" before or after shooting. This movement does not affect the grinding advance rule which is pretty huge. It essentially negates the negative for the grinding advance allowing a tank to move up to 11" and still shoot it's turret weapon twice. It can also be used to take a play out of the Tau playbook and pull the old jump-shoot-jump.
|Yes, Kobe would play Tau.|
Finally Mordians, oh man does this one have some real power in the right circumstance. When firing rapid fire weapons, the ordered unit can shoot at characters even if they are not the closest unit. Holy hell does that have some pop to it. Characters now a days are basically just army buffs, just look at my Death Guard review. They have a half a dozen elites characters that don't do much of anything but make units close to them better. Scared of that Blight bombardment buffed by the Biologus Putrifier? Or how bout all those re-rolled 1's on Disgusting Resilience from the Plague Surgeon? Or that damn Daemon Prince who somehow manages to hide behind some cultists. Now it's just 3 little words away from being able to level plasma gun death at them despite their wall of cannon fodder. Say it with me..."Form Firing Squad!"
There, we have all those fancy rules and such, lets get into the units starting of course with the HQs.
The Company Commander is your bread and butter HQ. Being able to give 2 orders per turn, he can sit amongst the central hub of your army and toss out buffs like candy. Don't be surprised if you see multiples of these guys, 30 points is a good deal, and orders are a critical part of your army. He isn't exactly a slouch in combat either (for a human) and a power fist is only 10 points.
The tank commander is pretty much the same thing, but in a Leman Russ tank. He can also issue orders, but has a much smaller list of orders. He can issue a tank to Move Move Move, Take Aim, and to shoot and pop it's smoke launchers. There are also the couple regiment specific tank orders I mentioned above. You can't give him a power fist though...probably for the best. I'll go into more on the Leman Russ when it comes around in the heavy section.
The Lord Commissar, and every Commissar for that fact, have been the centre of a big controversy. Their original rule, which made them and conscripts a must have, allowed unit within 6" to lot lose more than a single model if they failed a morale check. Yeah, over the top good. Now they simply give a mortal wound to the unit and that unit can re-roll it's morale check, and it now only works on the first failed check per Morale phase. Still pretty good for your run of the mill unit, but not so great to a conscript unit who has lost 15 models. That's not all he does though cause he also lends out his Ld to nearby units which is good cause 9 is better than 6.
Tempestor Prime is a really cool name, but he is basically the Stormtrooper version of the Commander. He only gets one order, but he can take a magic wand that lets him give an second, but it costs him a weapon.
Last of the HQs is the Primaris Psyker. No he is not a 10ft tall super space marine, he is Charles Xavier. Maybe he isn't in a wheel/hover chair, or bald, but he is just a magic dude. He can cast and deny one power, and with that, I suppose I'll run quickly through the powers.
Terrifying Visions (WC7) reduces the enemies Ld by 2. Gaze of the Emperor (WC6) sends a beam 2D6", roll a D6 for each model that is touched by the beam and on a 4+ it's unit suffers a mortal wound. Psychic Barrier (WC6) adds one to the units saving throw. Nightshroud (WC6) gives an ally unit a -1 to hit when shooting at it. Mental Fortitude (WC4) lets a unit auto pass morale checks. Psychic Maelstrom (WC7) is interesting, pick an enemy unit and on a 2+ it suffers a mortal wound, then on a 3+ is suffers a mortal wound, then a 4+ and so on, you stop rolling once you fail to cause a mortal wound or the unit is destroyed, or you get to 7+ I guess.
So, some of those are pretty good, Psychic Barrier and Nightshroud are both really good defencive powers while Gaze of the Emperor and Maelstrom are pretty reliable for at least a couple mortal wounds.
Looking back at the choices we have, this army is a great candidate for the Supreme Command Detachment considering all the HQ choices are 50 points or under and you can get a LoW added in there.
Call them what you will, bubble wrap, speed bumps, cannon fodder, meat shield. They basically serve the same purpose, protect your workhorses and maybe accomplish something themselves. We are of course taking about the Troops choices. Infantry squads and Conscripts are both equally good at protecting your flanks and backfield from deep strikers, and your front line from the charging Berserkers. While Conscripts are simply meat for the grinder of war, the Infantry squad can get some work done with the availability of weapon upgrades and orders and such. There is nothing fancy about them, there are no tricks to be pulled. Issue them orders and hope they live. Its your fault if they don't, and Stevens was just 2 weeks from retirement. He has kids you know, and you threw him into that Carnifex like he was some sort of toy for your amusement. You sick bastard!
The Scions of course are that premium bubble wrap. Bigger tougher bubbles that are fewer in number, but are far more satisfying to pop. These guys are meaner and will get loads more accomplished, on the first turn they arrive. Then they will get torn apart like a restless homeless man's cardboard box on a rainy night.
The Astra Militarum Elites section is like the junk drawer of every house. There is tons of shit in there, you don't know what most of it does, where you got it, or when you need it. But there will come a time when you have a situation when you'll need a left handed hole punch that punches hole in the shape of a star, and on that day you will be glad you hung onto that thing.
I'm not going to spend a lot of time on some of these guys, but it's the who's who of mediocre characters. The Master of Ordinance brings his own one shot barrage, and gives the artillery tanks re-rolls of 1 to hit when they are within 6" of him and the target is more than 36" away, so not often. The Platoon Commander is a dude who can issue one order. The Ministorum Priest gives nearby infantry units +1A, great for putting him next to Catachan, Bullgryns, or Ogryns. Tech-Priest Enginseers fix stuff. Commissar stops dudes from running away, he's not bad but unless you're going for massed infantry and need that Ld boost spread out, a Lord Commissar is probably the way to go. Officer of the Fleet can try to hand out mortal wounds once per game and helps fliers shoot at a thing. Astropaths are psykers that can cast and deny one power, can only use 1D6 when casting Smite, and has an ability that removes the cover bonus from an enemy unit. They are really pretty darn good for 15 points, you can almost take 3 for the price of a Primaris. The last character is the Ogryn bodyguard, his main purpose is to stand within 3" of another character, and when that character loses a wound it can be ignored on a 3+ and the Ogryn will suffer a mortal wound. I'm not really sure if this guys is worth taking unless you happen to be playing someone with a bunch of snipers or ways of picking out characters. The fact that you can take almost 3 Platoon commanders for the cost of one body guard, you must have a very critical character you need to keep alive to take a bodyguard.
That was the characters in the Elites section, now for the units.
The Command squad can be kitted out with an load of special weapons, but probably more importantly, it can take a medic who restores wounds or 1W models on a 4+, a standard that gives a +1Ld buff to nearby units, and a Vox caster. The medic is awesome for restoring that damn plasma gunner who killed himself earlier. Now on page 132 there is a note that states that you can take one Command squad for each Officer of the same Regiment. Thank goodness there are quite a few officers. Now there are only 4 models in this unit but it's pretty good for a small little special weapon squad as each model can choose a special weapon. I kind of like the idea of taking a few of them, giving them all sniper rifles, and let them hunt enemy characters. Or you could take a single heavy weapon crew to make user of that 3+BS
The Militarum Tempestus have a version of this as well with all the same options plus the Scion fancy weapons.
The discount special weapon squad is the...special weapon squad. A unit of 6 models and 3 of them can take special weapons. I guess the other guys have to carry their ammo or something? Dirt cheap, can take orders, perfect for flooding the field with plasma gun fire for next to no points. And if the plasma gunners all kill themselves then the rest can pull speed bump duty.
Veterans are similar to the command squad except they have 10 models and only 3 of them can take special weapons. They all have options of taking shotguns and 2 of them can form a heavy weapons team. Mainly it's the 3+BS you're after. Be aware that plasma guns for models with a BS of 3+, or better, are more expensive than models with a worse BS.
Crusaders are in this book too, although I'm not entirely sure why. I guess to accompany the Priest, but they have long been part of the Ordo Hereticus. They are here, and you can take them in units of 2-10. They have power swords and storm shields, but are otherwise a Vet.Sarge. They have some fancy abilities like Acts of Faith and re-rolling hits in their first round of combat. I could see some use if you want a deterrent to getting assaulted. Back them up with a Priest and they will be getting 3 attacks each.
Servitors...I just don't know. I saw no use for them in the AdMech book, and they are even less useful in this one. Everything else in this book can do everything better than servitors. If they boosted the Tech-Priest's Master of Machines ability, they might have a use, but only barely because it would be better to just get another Tech-Priest.
Wyrdvane psykers...another unit I'm not sure about. Perhaps I'm missing something, perhaps I'm naive or clueless or just not good at this game. Lets break down their uselessness. A unit costs 24 points, there is 3 models in the unit, they cast and deny powers on 1D6+1(if there are 3 in the unit), they have W1 each for a total of 3 wounds. Compare this to an Astropath who is a character, so can be more easily protected, has W3, casts powers on 2D6 (except smite), has an ability that removes cover from an enemy unit, and costs 15 points, and is only a single model for transport reasons. I just don't see why you would take them over an Astropath or Primaris.
What can I say about Ogryn? Well, they have always kind of sucked in the past, and not much has changed. They are so close to being good. They are kind of a combo shooting combat unit. High rate of fire weapon, lots of attacks, high strength. But their AP isn't great, and the range of their weapon is only 12". If their gun was 24", or D2, it would make them worth their 30 points but they just don't do enough damage to offset their poor armour save.
Bullgryns on the other hand, are both dangerous and durable. You won't often see them with a ranged weapon because their maul is S+2, AP-1, D2 and they have 4A when they charge. Lots of damage potential and with their shields that add 2 to their save rolls(4+) or give a 4++, which you can mix and match. Add to this cover, and/or Psychic Barrier and you can have a 3++ or a 2+save with 2 extra points to ignore AP. This makes them a very durable unit that is very scary if you want to get up close and personal.
So I have noticed that Warhammer 40K is slowly becoming more hero-centric. Adding new characters that buff units making them, sometimes, the lynch pin of an army. This is where Ratlings come in. 35 points for 5 sniper rifles that can be placed ANYWHERE on the table more than 18" from the enemy. They can target characters, hit on a 3+, and cause mortal wounds on 6+ to wound. This is a great and inexpensive way to force saves on a key character and force your opponent to react to your actions. Anytime you can do that you are one step closer to winning.
The biggest problem with sentinels are that they are supposed to be a swift moving scouting unit, but all of it's weapons are heavy weapons. They should have either made a weapon specifically for it, or given it the option of taking multiple infantry sized weapons to make user of it's decent speed and scouting ability. With that being said, the most valid option that I have seen being utilised is to take scout sentinels with heavy flamers, use their scout vehicle rule to move them up, then move again and flame the ever living shit out of something. Of course this only works if you have the first turn and if your opponent deploys something close enough. As a fast moving gun platform they kind of suck.
And that's all she wrote for fast units. Kind of disappointing right? I guess Sentinels do have a place, they are pretty damn cheap and you can take 3 of them if you want a battalion and the 9CP it brings with it.
|Time for the big boys|
The next set of tanks I'm going to quickly brush over because they all pretty much work the same way. The Basilisk, Wyvern, Manticore, and Deathstrike are all T7 W11 tanks that you hide as best you can and bomb the shit out of the appropriate target, which is just about anything. The Wyvern is really limited to weaker infantry, or at least targets with a poor save. The Basilisk and Manticore both have similar weapons with similar purposes. High S, decent AP, good damage, decent # of shots. The Deathstrike is an oddball as it does a ton of damage, once, and there is a pretty good chance it will die before it can deliver it's payload. All of them suffer from the same thing, a poor BS, which requires them of have some sort of assistance in order to make any difference in the game whether it's a stratagem or a Master of Ordinance.
The Hydra has found it's niche position as it's pretty damn effective at taking out targets with the Fly keyword. Now you must not forget that that will apply to things like Landspeeders, Jump Pack units, Bloat Drones, Heldrakes, and Wave Serpents among others. It gets a +1 to hit those units, and you can use other stratagems and rules to make them even more accurate. A heavy 8 auto cannon with 72" range isn't anything to ignore either, it can do some real damage. If you're opponent has some critical fly units, keep this guy safe cause he will be a threat.
Finally, the moment we have all been waiting for, the Leman Russ. Much has changed since 7th, it's T8, W12, and a Sv3+, and all versions have the same stat line with the turret weapon, sponsons, and hull weapons are simply swapped out as needed. While the Hellhound variants are the Swiss army knife, the Leman Russ is the multi-purpose trench tool.
So far I have been pretty numbers light in this post, and I usually love to throw around some math to show awesome or terrible something is, so lets do that as we take a closer look at what the Leman Russ can do. For each comparison, I'll assume that the tank is making use of the Grinding advance and the Kill on Sight tank order that lets him re-roll 1's. Remember, these are averages, using math, not actual results using dice. The math has a hard time creating in game achievable results with random shots and random wounds when the BS is so low that, as an average, a fraction of a hit is the result. So it is actually likely, in some cases, that you will either get better than the below results, or nothing.
|This chart represents math happening|
Loaded out with the Punisher cannon and 3 heavy bolters you can put 11 wounds on Marines, or 23 wounds to Guardsmen, 5 wounds to terminators/marines in cover, but 6 wounds on an average vehicle/monster. So clearly, the perfect load out for taking out light armour infantry, but we knew that. The punisher cannon itself does 5, 10, 3, and 3 wounds to the targets in the respective order above. That 2+ save really hurts its effectiveness, so lets look at what we can do about that.
Moving over to some heavier guns, the Executioner plasma(supercharged), with plasma cannon(supercharged) sponsons, and a hull mounted lascannon will see 5 of just about any T4 or lower infantry off the table, but it will put 9 wounds on a monster/vehicle. The executioner plasma killing 3 infantry but doing 5 damage to monsters/vehicles on it's own. Yes, you will take a couple wounds over the course of the game, but as long as you keep those orders up it will totally be worth it.
Those are probably the 2 most effective load outs for their respective roles, but we can't leave it at that, so lets look at some of the other turret weapons versus marines, guardsmen, and T7 3+Sv monsters/vehicles. The battle cannon will only kill 2-3 infantry while putting 4 wounds on a big target. The Vanquisher cannon is worse killing only 1 infantry dude while doing 3 wounds to a big thing. The Eradicator nova cannon, while sounding really cool, is really only as good as the battle cannon at killing infantry, edging it out by a little if the target is in cover, but suffers against bigger things obviously.
Now, those last few numbers look really bad, remember that all those turret weapons are shooting TWICE. Well, that would be because of their terrible BS. If you were to take the above weapons on a tank commander, you can just about increase every result by 33%.
Transports, there are 3 of them, and you will likely only see 2 of them. The Chimera is a decent, durable, reliable tank that has a transport capacity of 12 and some mediocre options for weapons that can take care of light infantry at range or up close. The Armageddon regiment has some neat tricks it can pull off with the use of these guys so you will see a handful there, and a few less in other lists. They are great at adding mobility to your army while bringing along an additional unit that can help claim objectives. You can throw in 2 special weapons units, or some vets with a character for that re-roll goodness. Either way you got a hard shell full of soft chewy death centre.
The Taurox is not as durable, can't carry as many models, doesn't have smoke launchers, and has more weapon options. It is a little faster, and the guns it have are a little better when it comes to ranged fire fights. I see it more as a fast moving unit that skirts the edges of the battle field taking potshots, yet the penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons takes some of the wind out of it's two auto cannons. A similar issue that the Sentinels have.
The Taurox Prime is another story all together. Able to equip itself with a ridiculous about of weaponry and starting with a BS3+, it can put down a punishing amount of fire power for 145 points. Now this sounds like a lot of points of a transport, but we are not using it as a transport. It can only be used as a transport for Tempestus and the like, and since they will likely be deep striking in you can start with them on the table and put the rest of your army in reserve. This is a specific army play style that is very NOT Astra Militarum and feels very much like drop pod marines except everything is way more fragile. I've seen a couple battles where this army has dropped in a completely decimated the opponent's army only to fold like a cheap hooker getting backhanded by her pimp.
Valkyries are basically flying Chimeras. Mediocre everything but movement. The Grav-chute insertion rule is pretty damn cool and, if it has to, it can go into hover mode and still maintain a movement of 20" while picking up a
Consolidate squads, take 2 squads, and make them one squad, only 1CP. This used to be a thing that was free and happened at the start of the game, but it got abused with 50 man units and a shit load of characters making a huge mob of unkillable unfun. So we got this instead. Still useful as you can use orders to essentially affect multiple units. Remember, once you join them you can't split them up again.
Mobile command vehicle lets your characters issue order from within a chimera, and counts as being near a vox-caster. This also used to be a free thing that Chimeras came with, but it's good to have that option if you need to move your commander quickly. Only 1CP.
So you finish deploying you're army, all those units you're pretty used to going second by now, but you're opponent is still deploying. A dozen characters, MSU, light vehicles up the wazoo, nothing in a transport. Time for the Preliminary Bombardment. Before the first battle round begins spend 2CP and roll a D6 for each enemy unit on the table causing a mortal wound on a 6. You can only use this once per battle, but it could score you a couple mortal wounds on those ever present pesky buff characters.
Defencive gunners is pretty good for 1CP, pair it with the Mordian doctrine and your tank becomes just as good at overwatch as it is in the shooting phase.
Hey, do you guys remember going to ground? Well for 1CP you can do that again with none of the drawback of being pinned.
So you may know, I am a Death Guard player at heart, and I love the grenade trick. Grenadiers allows a unit to throw up to 10 grenades for shooting or overwatch, for 1CP. I like when I roll a bunch of dice and my opponent thinks I'm rolling to hit, then I tell him that the number of shots I get.
Again, primarily as a chaos player, I'm not too fond of the Vengeance for Cadia, for 1CP a unit can re-roll all failed hit and wound rolls if the target has the Chaos keyword.
The Mordian specific stratagem gives an additional shot of every hit roll of a 6+. Great when paired with first rank fire second rank fire. Only 1CP
Cadian's have Overlapping Fire, which means when they inflict an unsaved wound on something, everything else can fire at that same target with +1 to their hit rolls for the rest of the shooting phase. It's 2CP, but if you can get a wound on something with some mediocre firepower, you can unload all your bigger guns on the target with a bonus to hit.
For 2CP the Valhallan's can recycle an infantry unit previously destroyed. No characters and no combined units. This unit must set up wholly in your deployment zone, 6" from the table edge, and 9" from the enemy. This DOES cost reinforcement points, which I'm not entirely sure I agree with. You are already paying command points, which are not exactly flowing like champagne at Paris Hilton's birthday.
Vostroyan get a +1 added to hit rolls in the shooting phase. Any unit, 1CP. Easy, effective, simple.
Ok, we all remember Coteaz, right? That Inquisitor that was in every army for 2 reason, he let you re-roll seize the initiative, AND if you deep struck near him the unit he was in could shoot at you. Well, for 1CP that's what any Militarum Tempestus Infantry unit can do. Show up within 12" and your unit may immediately shoot at them, with a -1 to their hit rolls. That kinda sucks, especially if you want to use plasma.
The Tallarn take a page from the Alpha Legion and for 3CP can put up to 3 units in ambush. At the end of any of you're turns you can deploy them 7" from any table edge and more than 9" from an enemy. Now, if you take a unit of multiple tanks, that counts as a single unit, so that's pretty damn awesome. I'm thinking a bunch of Hellhounds with some infantry backup.
Those tread heads in the Armageddon regiment can re-roll 1's to hit if they disembarked from a transport the previous movement phase. Great if you need to jump forward out of range of your Commander.
Finally, those tricksy Catachan devils. Rambo wannabes set up booby traps, when wholly within a piece of terrain, which cause units that successfully charge them to take D3 mortal wounds on a 4+. Situational, but useful if you are charged by a character and can't overwatch, or combined with overwatch.
The Laurels of Command are not one of those. When the wearer issues an order, roll a D6 and on a 4+ he can issue that same unit a second different order and this one does not count toward his limit of orders. This works each time is issues a command. Really powerful for combo-ing orders like First Rank Fire Second Rank Fire and Take Aim or Bring it Down for some serious damage.
I'm going to make mention of 2 swords, the Blade of Conquest and the Mamorph Tuskblade. The latter being specific to Catachan, but both should really be used solely for Catachan with their bonuses to S and A with Straken around. Both have S+2 and good AP and multiple D, so really pretty deadly in the hand of a Catachan character.
The Relic of Lost Cadia I'm not sure about. It seems way too good to make sense. So, basically you reveal this relic at the start of the turn, and for the rest of the turn you can re-roll 1's to hit and wound for units within 12" of the bearer. This is not limited to the shooting phase and if the enemy unit is Chaos then it's re-rolling all failed hits and wounds. It can only be taken by and affect Cadian units. Now I know that seems really really good, but looking at Cadians, they already re-roll 1's if they stay still, so this only really helps there if they move. The wounding re-rolls can also be done with orders, so a little less good again. Really, this relic is best used if you don't have many Commanders in your army and have very few orders.
So, you dislike the nerf GW put on the Commissar. Well, play Valhallans and take this fancy pistol that employs the same rule the commissar used to have, except any Valhallan character can take this. Rejoice in your conscript meat shield once again.
You know what I hate, when my character dies to small arms fire, especially when IG players can spam sniper rifles and pick off your character from anywhere. The Vostroyans have an answer of that. It's their version of Artificer armour, it gives the wearer a 2+Sv and T4.
Holy god this feels like it's taking forever! We are almost done, but we have the Warlord traits left. I will be brief.
First, you essentially get a free re-roll once per battle, plus you can get back spent CPs on a 5+. Next, pick an enemy unit, your units that are within 6" of your warlord can re-roll failed wound rolls on that unit. Third, your warlord and one unit within 3" of him auto advance 6". Units within 6" can re-roll failed morale checks. Add 3" to aura abilities on his data sheet. Last generic one is gain Voice of Command or give one additional order.
Cadians can affect an additional unit on a 4+ with the same type as the original unit (Infantry or Leman Russ). Catachan can Heroic Intervention 6", plus on the first turn they are in combat they can re-roll failed hit rolls. I like this one because of the combat prowess the Catachan have, they can benefit the most from this with the relic weapons, and with their +1Ld when within 6" of a character. Valhallans get a 5+FNP. Vostroyans re-roll failed hits and wounds in the fight phase. Armageddon gets +1A and +1 to hit rolls in the fight phase. Tallarn units within 6" can charge if they Fell Back. Tempestus dudes can deny the witch once. And Mordian's roll a die for each model that is lost in the morale phase, on a 4+ they are saved and don't run.
So, what are my overall thoughts? I like this book. It has some serious depth to it, even though the fast attack choices are seriously limited and I do not see Roughriders ANYWHERE! I guess you can still take them from the Index...for now. The real enemy of this army is trying to hit anything. Being able to re-roll misses, increase your hit rolls, and increasing your fire output are all things that you will want to focus on. Another thing to remember is that you will likely have quite a few bodies, DON'T GET BOTTLE NECKED. Leave some room to fall back out of combat and manoeuvre your units to protect your important ones. Remember, you only need 12"(18" for Armageddon) to rapid fire, you don't have to get right up close to them. This will also spread out your force giving you some table control, but make sure you still have range for fire support on the flanks and to your objective grabbing units.
The Cadian's have some serious punch to them, being able to re-roll 1's if they stay still they can spend their orders on other things like FRFSRF and Bring it Down. Add in the relic and warlord trait that adds extra orders and you can decrease the number of characters you need to take which adds points to take stuff that kills stuff. They will shoot and shoot and shoot until you are dead, a
Catachan are actually pretty damn good in combat and in close. Orders that re-roll the number of hits for flamers, re-rolling the number of hits from vehicles and random hit weapons, and extra attacks from Straken make them really strong inside of 8". Even assaulting them can be dangerous with all the flamers they should have. Hellhounds are absolutely deadly, and chimeras with heavy flamers full of vets with flamers and Straken will put the hurt on any kind of infantry unit just through sheer weight of dice you'll be throwing at them.
The Valhallans' can drown you in bodies with that relic pistol I mentioned and with Send in the Next Wave. At that point it's ideally used for a unit of conscripts, they are cheap and plentiful. And this would mainly be to fortify your back field after having run that unit right into the teeth of the enemy to clog up their front lines. Plus you can shoot into combat keeping your firing options open, and your vehicles remain effective longer which is a godsend with BS4+.
The Vostroyans are a tricky one to figure out. All of their weapons have a longer range, so you can deploy deeper giving you more time to shoot, but that likely puts you further away from objectives. You can split your forces and have 2 "castles" forcing your opponent to either split his forces or choose which nut to crack, all the while his ranged weapons will be out of range to one of your groups while your whole army can focus fire. Also, being able to fire while in combat is pretty good, and then you still get to make you're combat attacks.
Armageddon love to play tricks with their tanks. Jumping out and shooting, or shooting then jumping in, either way you will want quite a few chimera on the table. Plus they have increased range of the "double tap" and their vehicles are more durable. All those things are good and play well for taking loads of infantry mounted up in vehicles.
The Tallarn are all about movement. They take fewer penalties for moving and shooting, then can fall back and still charge, they can pop up on the back table edge with 3 units. Being able to fall back and charge is deceivingly awesome. You might think that because you are guard you don't want to begin combat at all, and you're probably right, but its still going to happen whether you like it or not. Being able to back up, have the rest of your army shoot, then charge back in and fight first is really good, and you don't have to charge the unit you just fell back from allowing you to move your units away from a scary one and into a safer position. Board control and fast movement are their strengths and I can seem them actually being effective in game terms.
I've talked about the Tempestus, deep striking death that dies too quickly. I can see taking a couple units for some of that back line sniping of support units and to force your opponent to deploy to keep your guys from doing that. The good thing is you can take a brigade of another Regiment, and still probably fit in a battalion of these guys giving you 15 command points and they can keep their doctrine.
So, if you want to secure home base from guys assaulting you, the Mordian's are where it's at. They're no better at fighting than the average guardsmen, but they are almost as good at firing overwatch as they are shooting normally.
So there we have it. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this whole thing. It was a pained labour of love but I finally got through it. As always feel free to leave a comment, and if there is something you want me to go into more depth on by all means let me know. I'm thinking of doing a general tactics article showing a couple tricks that can be pulled by pretty much any army that can get you out of a tight spot. If you think that might be something you would like to see let me know.
Until next time, keep them dice rollin.
As always, this post was brought to you by the number 3, 5, the words sacrificial deep strike, and...
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Lately the big hit at the shop as been the painting seminars. The last one looked like this
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Finally, The Brandon gaming league will be having their annual Gingerbread Apocalypse game Dec 9th. Entry fees are small, and include one piece of terrain build from gingerbread. Lists are limited to 2500 points with 1 Lord of War maxing out at 750 points.