Astra Militarum Deathstar
Posted By Jake

Guardsmen Melee Blob – My New Preferred Blob Configuration

A breakdown of my new favourite Guardsmen Melee Blob


Approximate Reading Time: 13 minutes

You can’t call the Guardsmen Melee Blob a Deathstar because its capacity to inflict death is not that great. Or is it? So it can be reduced to a simple star. Because it can become the star of a game for sure. This post on Reddit prompted me to write the Guardsmen Melee Blob because I think its worth writing about. Its fun, its effectiveness is unexpected and its fluffy.

Guardsmen Melee Blob Composition

Well lets get right into it. My most recent success with set up was using the Empyric Storm Cards and here is the Guardsmen Melee Blob was made;

  • A maxed out Platoon with 5 Infantry Squads – blobbed together to make a 50 man squad for 280 points
  • Each Sergeant from each Infantry Squad took a Power Axe for 15 points
  • 2 Ministorum Priests joined the blob for 25 points each Pysker
  • A Master Level 2 Primaris Psyker also joined the blob for 75 points with Force Axe (which costs no extra points)
  • Do what you want with the Platoon Command Squad’s load out
Guardsmen Melee Blob

Guardsmen Melee Blob in action

Some Things to Remember

Special Melee Weapons

Remember that the Psykers come with a Force Stave that is Strength +2, AP4 and is Concussive. So if you don’t take the Force Axe replacement, remember to roll their attacks separately because they have a decent weapon. Plus a Psykers Weapon Skill is 4 – which is better than a regular Guardsman’s.

Unfortunately the Priests have no such luxuries when it comes to weaponry.

Additional Attacks

Both the Priest and the Psykers have 2 Close Combat weapons though, giving them an additional attack each even when they are not charging. Psykers and Priests therefore have 4 Attacks on the Charge and 3 in normal combat.

Invulnerable Saves

The Priests do have a 4+Invulnerable Save though and the Psykers have a 5+ Invulnerable Save. This is really handy as both are Toughness 3 – although the Psyker does have 2 Wounds.

Two Priests

Do not forget you have two Priests to get the War Hymns working for you. Remember that you do not declare which War Hymn you use until after you have made the successful Leadership roll. So if you really want to re-roll Hits in the Assault and fail the first Leadership roll – just get it on the second roll.

And when you get both rolls off – wow. You have a 50 man blob who are re-rolling to wound and re-rolling their saves. Plus in the first round of combat they are re-rolling to Hit because of Zealot.

Psychic Powers

The three powers that are worth it for your Mastery Level 2 Psyker are as follows and I have detailed the most effective powers for each, plus the Primaris. Remember that all of these powers will also last into the enemy’s turn, so if the combat lasts into your enemy’s turn you will still have any successful powers to use.

Divination

The Primaris power is Prescience which is always going to be useful, although a little less so in the blobs case. Presciences lets you re-roll failed Hits for both shooting and melee. But Zealot lets you re-roll failed hits in melee for the first round of combat. So while its still useful, Zealot makes it meaningless for the first round of combat.

Forewarning gives a friendly unit a 4+ Invulnerable Save. This is so useful and is only Warp Charge 1. Your chances of getting it off are therefore pretty high. Coupled with The Emperor Protects War Hymn which lets you re-roll failed Armour and Invulnerable saves your whole blob will have a re-rollable 4+ Invulnerable Save. That is extremely unexpected and annoying. Watch your Guardsmen survive multiple attacks from Lightening Claws!

Misfortune makes all attacks that hit against a specific enemy unit have the Rending special rule. Note that the rule is attacks that hit, it does not state shooting or melee attacks. Just attacks. With power and The Righteousness of the Emperor War Hymn you can re-roll failed To Wound rolls and those that are a six become AP2. Which is pretty impressive.

Biomancy

The Smite Primaris Power is OK – 18″, Assault 4, S4 and AP2. Might whack a Terminator.

Enfeeable reduces an enemy unit’s Strength and Toughness by 1. While not that impressive it could make a huge difference. Charging down Space Marines that are S3 and T3 is is going to make killing those Space Marines a lot easier. It also means that assaulting Bikes and other T5 models becomes more effective.

Endurance gives a friendly unit your blob Feel No Pain (4+), Relentless and Eternal Warrior. The Eternal Warrior is OK, handy for your 2 Wound Psyker. Feel No Pain on a 4+ for the whole 50 man squad is huge – makes them a lot more survivable. Relentless is interesting too, it will allow your 50 man blob to Rapid Fire its Lasguns into an enemy and then charge that enemy. This really maximises the blob’s killing power. According to MathHammer a Fire Rank Fire Second Rank Fire Volley from a 50 man blob will kill around 3.7 Terminators. That leaves just 2 to kill in the Assault. Easily done!

Iron Arm while not ideal might be OK if you get it, I say OK but its going to usefulness will be circumstantial. It targets the Pysker only and gives him +3 Strength and +3 Toughness. With the Power Axe the lowly Pysker will have 4 Attacks that are AP2, Strength of 7,  at Initiative 1 on the Charge. That is not something to ignore. Its so unexpected for the Astra Militarum too. You expect that sort of stat line from a Chaos Beast. Not a man of the Imperium.

Warp Speed, like Iron Arm is circumstantial, it targets the Pysker and gives him +3 Initiative and +3 Attacks.

If we combine all the above with the War Hymns too then we have ourselves some serious killing power from our blob. That hard hitting Psyker with Iron Arm will be re-rolling to Hit during the first round of combat and possibly re-rolling to wound due to a War Hymn. Final thought – the Iron Arm Psyker could also get Force on its Power Axe which really brings the hurt for Monstrous Creatures and Demons.

Telepathy

Psychic Shriek I have limited success with and it does not directly buff the idea of this blob. But it can have its moments.

Terrify reduces an enemy unit’s Leadership by -1 and that unit also treats all enemy models has having the Fear special rule. Plus the enemy unit must take a Morale check at the end of the Psychic Phase. This is an OK power and given that so many units now have a high Leadership and Fearless is fairly common its a little meaningless. But if the Fear test works then your Guardsmen will be hitting on a 3+ with Zealot they will be re-rolling those in the first round too. Thats a lot of hits potentially.

Invisibility is a big deal. In the Empyric Storm Cards battle last week I got this off onto my Company Command Squad (with Creed) and my 50 man blob. It happened just before multiple units charged me on the next turn. So all the Chaos Spawn, Possessed, Bloodthirster and Bikes were hitting me on sixes in shooting and melee. My Guardsmen just would not die! PlusI had Forewarning on them on that turn too!

It is a risk going for Telepathy I feel as it has the least to offer with only 1 really good power, one OK power and the Primaris is meh.

Deployment & Movement

The position of the models within the Guardsmen Melee Blob will make a big difference to its performance. We need to consider a few things when deploying the blob.

  • Protect our Priests and Psykers
  • Protect our Sergeants
  • Enable Psykers to get into combat
  • Enable Sergeants to get into combat

To this end I deploy my blob like the below diagram. For the following reasons;

  • The front row of Guardsmen mean the Sergeants are not shot off the board right away
  • The front row also mean the Sergeants are not first into combat and immediately taking wounds in the assault
  • The front row of Guardsmen dies first in combat allow the Sergeants to survive until Initiative Step 1 to use their Power Axes
  • The Psyker and Priests are way back as their melee effectiveness is not as important as their ability to buff the blob
Guardsmen Melee Blob Deployment

Guardsmen Melee Blob Deployment

Once some deaths have occurred and you need to start repositioning models within the blob. After a volley of fire from the enemy you might find your blob like this.

Blob After Deaths

Move your Guardsmen up and around your characters being sure to pad them out again.

Movement to Protect Characters

I have a lot of Guardsmen at the back of the unit too, this is mainly to deter Deep Striking units trying to open up against characters from behind. It would be horrid to find all your characters dead from Terminator Storm Bolters because they got lucky with a drop you and you got unlucky with invulnerable saves.

As you move into assault enemies you will stop losing Guardsmen from the front from gunfire and begin losing them from melee. This does pose a slight issue as you are then some what limited to how your models move as they must Pile In using the specific Pile In rules. So your characters may end up in melee. This is fine for the Sergeants as thats where they want to be. But just be aware of where the characters are all the time and use consolidation moves to further pad out your characters and reposition all the models after a successful assault.

Guardsmen Melee Blob - Red Power Axe Sergeants, Green are Priests, Blue is Yarrick, Orange are the Masterly Level 2 Pysker

Guardsmen Melee Blob – “Real World” example – Red are Power Axe Sergeants, Green are Priests, Blue is Commissar Yarrick, Orange is a Masterly Level 2 Primaris Psyker

Points Cost

The first time I ran the Guardsmen Melee Blob was in a 2,500 point game. So I had a lot of points to play with. Thats the game in the photos above.

A Cheap Guardsmen Melee Blob

More recently I took a smaller version of the Guardsmen Melee Blob in a 750 point game where I was allied with Eldar against Tyranids and Necrons. And the blob was amazing. The blob was 345 points out of my 750 points. It consisted of;

  • Lord Commissar with Power Fist – 90 points
  • A Level 2 Pysker with Biomancy – 75 points
  • 2x Priests – 25 points each
  • 20 man Blob with both Sergeants carrying Power Axes – 65 points each

And the blob wrecked everything they touched! During the course of the game the blob’s total kills were;

  • Three Necron Wraiths
  • A Flying Hive Tyrant
  • A Broodlord
Guardsmen Melee Blob before the charge into the 3 Necron Wraiths

Guardsmen Melee Blob before the charge into the 3 Necron Wraiths

By the end all the characters were still left plus a couple of Guardsmen. They had done their job, perhaps they had not made their points back. But you do not expect them to go into a fight with those creatures and come out alive and winning. Medals all round after that game!

What remained of the blob

What remained of the blob

The Eldar and Astra Militarum were victorious that day!

Optional Extras

There are a couple of optional extras you might consider for your Guardsmen Melee blob.

Melta Bombs, the Sergeants in your squads can take Melta Bombs for 5 points each. A nice little addition if you have the points as it means the can wade through vehicles a lot more easily than using their Power Axes which will glance on sixes only. Update (Feb 15th 2017) – thanks to Greggles in the comments, it is worth noting that Melta Bombs are a good idea to stop your blob getting tar-pitted against Walkers.

A couple of Flamers, useful for softening up a horde or taking out a Space Marine before a charge. Your Rapid Fire Lasguns will be useless most of the time if you’re moving and running up the board ready for charging. Just be careful not to over cook the enemy and make your charge distance too big. Also really handy in Overwatch for 5xD3 S4 auto-hits.

Bonus Characters

There are some interesting extra characters you can make use of to further enhance your Guardsmen Melee Blob. Some of these and their effects are included below.

Commissar Yarrick

The first time I used this type of blob I took Yarrick. He’s expensive at 145 points but he was really useful. He took all but one wound from a Demon Prince in a challenge. He died, then came back to life as well. He did some orders to make the blobs move further too. He just seems like such a lot of points and is only Strength 3 – so even with his Power Klaw he is Strength 6. Which is just OK.

Lord Commissar

Perhaps as effective as Yarrick but cheaper is a Lord Commissar for 65 points plus a Power Fist for 25 points. That’s 90 points for a kind of Yarrick. But he won’t have Eternal Warrior and won’t come back to life on a 3+. But it does give you a 3 wound Character in your blob with a 5+ Invulnerable Save, a Power Fist, Weapon Skill 5 and a 3 Attacks base.

My deployment of a 20 man Guardsmen Melee Blob

My deployment of a 20 man Guardsmen Melee Blob

Colonel ‘Iron Hand’ Straken

This guy is meaty at 130 points, which is just 15 less than Yarrick. He is worse in many ways because he is not an Independent Character and can only replace a Company Commander in a Company Command Squad. So he has a tax of 60 points too. So just to take him with his 4 Veterans is 190 points. Ouch. But wait for the benefits.

Firstly Straken is Strength 6 which is nice for a human.Update (Feb 15th 2017) – thanks Westrider in the comments for this insight! But he lacks any close combat weapon and does not seem to be able to take any. Although I don’t see  a reason why he cannot take the Blade of Conquest Relic. This gives him +1 Strength, AP3 and its Master-Crafted. It just replaces his ‘Close Combat Weapon’. Its 25 points though! Straken has Smash which makes all his attacks AP2, no need for any melee power weapons on this dude.

The real bonus with Straken is that he gives  Counter-Attack and Furious Charge to all Astra Militarum units within 6″. Including himself, I would presume. Straken is therefore Strength 6 base, plus 1 for Furious Charge and plus 1 for the Blade of Conquest. Straken is now Strength 8, AP3 and Master-Crafted. But unfortunately all that costs 130 + 60 + 25 = 215 points. But the real point of this is to keep him close to the blob to give them all +1 Strength when they charge and Counter-Attack. A blob which is Strength 4 is going to be really unexpected – coupled with War Hymns, Power Axes and Power Fists they will tear through hordes and Monstrous Creatures with ease!

Straken’s Implacable Determination Warlord Trait gives Straken and his unit Relentless. To actually make use of this Relentless rule you might want to slap a Heavy Weapon into the squad so they can move, shoot and charge all in the same turn. Perhaps a Lascannon might be useful as it will be BS4 and can be ordered to Split Fire at something else, allowing everyone else to shoot at a primary target and charge it.

You could even go all in and take a Heavy Flamer too, handy with Relentless plus a Medi-Pack to give everyone in Straken’s command unit Feel No Pain.

Finally he has a 3+ Armour Save and 5+ Invulnerable Save- and the Smash and Monster Hunter special rules.

Astropath

Update (Feb 15th 2017)Charlie notes in the comments that if you’re taking a Company Command Squad then an Astropath is a good idea. If you get Invisibility then your blob will be super duper Emperor be praised amazing! Its 25 points and you are not guaranteed Invisibility but if you get it then wow. I had a blast with Invisibility in a recent game.

Creed

The gritty melee of the front lines is no place for Creed. Keep him away! He has had a rough time as it is recently!