Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Impressions of the Astra Militarum

So I've been getting in a few games with the new Astra Militarum using this list:

Company command with bolt pistol for the commander, grenade launcher, lascannon and officer of the fleet in a Chimera
Tank commander in a Leman Russ Exterminator with heavy bolter sponsons and a Leman Russ Battletank
Veteran squad with 3 plasmaguns and krak grenades in a Chimera
Veteran squad with 3 meltaguns and krak grenades in a Chimera
Veteran squad with 2 sniper rifles and autocannon
Veteran squad with grenade launcher and autocannon
2 Vendetta gunships
Leman Russ Battletank
Leman Russ Demolisher

All squads have a voxcaster and carapace armour.

I tried a version of this list with Kurov's Aquila on the company commander but found was just too costly and made the company commander a very enticing target. I'd agonized at length over whether to put the company command in a Chimera and advance with the armoured fist veterans, or in a bunker to help direct fire. In the end I figured the Chimera would be best, and it hasn't disappointed. What *has* disappointed is the Officer of the Fleet who, in 3 games, has maintained a perfect record of NEVER passing his leadership roll on turn 2. Quite vexing. Suffice it to say, when things get hot for the command squad, it's the officer's raggedy ass that first up for bullet catching duty.

The new Veteran squads are simply awesome! Where else are you going to get 10 men with BS4 and a 4+ armour save for 75 pts? Since 5th edition I've always rolled with at least 1 squad of vets with plasmaguns and another with meltaguns, both in Chimeras and they have never disappointed. In this edition, they've gotten even more lethal, thanks to the new orders, most notably the one which confers the Ignores Cover USR.

The tank commander is another piece of pure win for the AM. In the past, the only way to get BS 4 on a tank was Pask. Now with the new tank commander, I can have my BS 4 Exterminator and split fire to make the best use of my guns. That having been said though...

Orders are hard!
Maybe it's just me not getting enough practice with them, but man, I have a hell of a time remembering my orders! Of all my armies, the Astra Militarum puts the most models on the table, and I'm not quite used to that just yet. In my most recent game, I was forgetting orders and reserve rolls all over the place. I daresay I could quite conceivably have won if not for such carelessness. But you know what? I consider that part of the joy of the Astra Militarum.

What's on the table
In the grim darkness of the far future, there's a lot of pointing to do...

I'm putting more heavy weapons teams on the board, so I figured it was a good time to catch up on putting together some spotters (i.e. the 2nd crewman).

Also had to get myself a commissar. Now, I know some of the most efficient models to put on the board are the Primaris Psyker and the Ministorum Priest, but I decided to hell with them. Nothing embodies the Imperial Guard/Astra Militarum like the man in the cap and greatcoat. I was pleased to see his face, while gaunt and uncompromising as you'd expect of a commissar, was not as decrepit as the one up on the GW site. It's a beautiful model, and I've every intention of sending him to battle with lots of conscripts to inspire. And by inspire I mean shoot in the head.

Are you ready to DIE for me??

Another expression of my refusal to jump on bandwagons, I've put together 3 mortars. Yes, I know the Wyvern is by far the better choice. The thing is I'm not willing to blow nearly RM 200 on a 65 pt model just yet, not when I've got enough leftover bits to put these guys together. They're not that bad, you know. Just plonk them in a corner near an objective and fire away. Their range means there's almost nowhere to hide. The fact that it's a blast weapon mitigates their rubbish BS. A perfectly reasonable unit, I think.

In other news, in a push to put even more boots on the ground, I've decided to respray these guardsmen I did some years back.

On the one hand, they're a pretty quick and easy to paint approximation of Cadians as you'd see in White Dwarf or a codex, but on the other hand... they're not quite MY Cadians. In those colours, they can't be part of the Red Thunder, marching alongside my dark red war machines or the scarlet of House Raven or my Blood Angels. So, soddit, another 10 red Guardsmen have joined the ranks of the Red Thunder!

So, what next? Well, more boots on the ground, for a start. I'm thinking 88 Guardsmen would be a good start...

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