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Astra Militarum Tactics
Posted By Jake

Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry Lists

What should we consider with Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry lists - let us take a look...


Approximate Reading Time: 16 minutes

This article comes to you off the back of the Getting Started series. It was suggested that the Getting Started series should contain a section about Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry – but I felt that was a little in-depth for such a series. So here it is now as it’s own stand-alone article.

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All points are pre Chapter Approved 2018.

That being said, note that Chimeras will be 20 points cheaper when Chapter Approved 2018 arrives. So if you’re taking a mechanised list with say 3 Chimeras, you will save 60 points now!

What is Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry?

For me, the simplest way to define Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry is “Infantry that uses a transport as their primary method of movement”. So, essentially they’re infantry units which are not footslogging it across the board.

That definition excludes infantry that Deep Strike onto the battlefield. Which wasn’t my intention? Therefore I’ll settle on this broader definition which includes Deep Striking units;

Infantry that don’t use their feet for getting to be where they need to be.

That, therefore, includes infantry that are;

If none of this makes sense and you’re new here, check out my Astra Militarum Getting Started series.

Strengths

There, of course, several strengths associated with these modes of transportation and I’ll look at each of those individually. Note that each of these can also form a weakness. Something I’ll look at later in this article.

Mobility

Being in a transport or Deep Striking gives your infantry a greater range of movement or the ability to appear on the other side of the battlefield.

This can be very handy for;

  • Grabbing Objectives
  • Moving away from a threatening enemy unit
  • Getting short range weaponry into range – Rapid Fire Plasma for example
  • Covering ground quickly and grabbing large areas of the battlefield

Survivability

This doesn’t apply to Deep Strike. By placing your infantry inside a transport they are more survivable. The enemy has to get through the transport before they can shoot the infantry inside.

This can mean they are safe for the whole of the first turn while the enemy chews through the wounds on the transport.

If your whole infantry force is inside transports then the enemy’s anti-infantry weaponry will be ineffective for a while turn.

We can survive this - Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry

We can survive this – Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry

Increased Firepower

While the Astra Militarum transports are no Leman Russ they do carry additional weapons and open you up to some extra weapon options.

Placing Heavy Flamers on the hull and turret can make your enemy think twice about that charge. Also if you’re using your transports to get up and into the enemy (and you should) then Heavy Flamers can be really handy at close range once you reach the table centre.

Don’t forget the Hunter Killer Missile too. It’s a handy piece of kit that may just do a decent job of taking out the last few wounds on a key enemy unit.

The Taurox also comes with its Autocannons which can pack a punch. And the Valkyrie can also dish out some damage again both infantry and armoured targets.

Orders

For a single Command Point, you can turn a Chimera into a Mobile Command Vehicle. This allows Officers inside the Chimera to still issue orders and is treated as being within 3″ of a Vox-Caster.

The Officer can remain safe inside while still dishing out orders to your Guardsmen. This becomes particularly handy when your infantry have Vox-Casters because now your Officer can issue orders to units with a Vox up to 18″ away. Now when your transports speed off you can still get orders out to the occupants when they disembark.

Quicker Deployment

By bundling up your squads and characters into a transport they now take up one deployment. Allowing you to deploy more quickly. It might be the difference between getting that +1 and not. Especially against other horde style forces.

Disembarking Range

When you disembark your infantry they must do so within 3″ of the transport. But they can still move. This gives them a movement range of about 9″. Which is pretty far. And they can still charge.

This can be highly effective for getting melee units into combat such as;

  • Bullgryns
  • Yarrick
  • Straken
  • Catachan Jungle Fighters
  • Priests
  • Crusaders

Turn 1, move the transports up and into position. Pray to the Emperor they aren’t all destroyed with ease. Turn 2, disembark, move and then charge.

Cheap

While transports are not free they are pretty cheap. A stock Chimera is around 90 points and means your Guardsmen can move 12″ in a turn, or up to 18″ of the Chimera Advances.

The Taurox can move even further and costs around 70 points.

Valkyries cost more but can do more and come in around 140 points.

Weaknesses

Transport Destruction

Being enclosed within the vehicles means that when it’s destroyed your models can be killed if you roll a 1 for them. A 16.666% chance

This isn’t such an issue for 4 point Guardsmen. They’re collateral damage. It becomes more of an issue when you take 3 Bullgryns inside a Chimera and a Priest. Rolling a 1 here is awful as you’ll lose a valuable model. A Priest or a Bullgryns. Get unlucky and roll two ones and oh no!

Explodes

Of course, a transport can explode. It’s a low chance, but it’s a chance. If you’ve rightly packed in your units then this can be devastating – especially against Characters that you thought were safe.

An explodes result here would be handy - Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry

An explodes result here would be handy – Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry

Death Trap

While the transport can explode and the occupants can be killed via the transports destruction – you can also be trapped inside.

If the transport is destroyed and the transport is also surrounded and the occupants cannot be placed then they are destroyed. This removes them from the battle instantly.

This can be pretty hard to actually do because of the disembarking rules. You must setup disembarking models within 3″ of the transport. That gives you a lot of space because it’s within and not wholly within. Also, the disembarkation rules make no reference about moving through enemy models. So the transport can be surrounded but as long as a toe is within 3″ of the transport and you’re more than 1″ away from enemy models, that’s OK.

So while you can be trapped and killed, it’s unlikely.

Trapped... - Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry

Trapped… – Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry

Costly

As stated previously, transports costs. They are not vastly expensive but they do cost. For the cost of a  Chimera, you can bring a Command Squad of Plasma or a while new Guardsmen unit with a Vox, a Special Weapon and. Heavy Weapon – and have change left over.

Regiments for Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry

Tallarn

The Tallarn Doctrine means you can zoom around the board and still fire your transport’s Weapons at their full BS. Plus your infantry can disembark, Move 6″, Advance and then still Fire their Rapid Fire weapons and Assault weapons with no negative effects.

This gives you huge manoeuvrability without having to sacrifice shooting. So often with Cadians, I don’t move because I lose my re-roll of ones. Or don’t move heavy weapons because of gaining minus one to hit.

But with Tallarn it’s no problem to move and shoot. Allowing you to gain board control more quickly and more easily.

The Tallarn Ambush Stratagem is also handy here as you can use this to get a transport and some infantry to the other side of the board. Granted it’s only one vehicle. It has its uses though to again grab ground and objectives. You can place 30 Guardsmen and a Chimera onto the enemy’s side of the battlefield!

Catachan

Guardsmen shouldn’t really be charging into combat because they suck at it. Catachan infantry gain 1 to their Strength so they suck less at it.

An unsuspecting enemy may not expect your Guardsmen to pile out of the transport and charge them. The Catachan order can also be used to remove the benefit of cover when using Flamer weapons.

This doesn’t just apply to Catachans, but in general, using transports just feels very cool and very fluffy. Having multiple Chimeras or Taurox barrelling up the battlefield and then having scores of Guardsmen disembark seems very much like something the Imperial Guard would do.

Steel Legion

The Steel Legion Stratagem lets you re-roll ones for units that just disembarked. Because its Stratagem can only be used once per turn (in Matched Play) so it’s fairly limited in its use. Although for Plasma it could be really great.

The effects of the Steel Legion Doctrine for Infantry and Vehicles is different. Infantry can Rapid Fire at 18″ and vehicles treat AP-1 attacks as AP0 attacks. This doesn’t scream out as something to be exploited with transports. But I can see it working well in number.

Having four transport vehicles that are slightly more survivable with 10 Guardsmen in each (40 total) plus someone to give out orders will be able to threaten hordes and elite infantry. Move the transports up just enough to make use of that 18″ Rapid Fire, wait a turn and then disembark and use First Rank Fire Second Rank Fire to have 144 Lasgun shots at a range of 18″.

That’ll put the fear into horde armies and using MathHammer it’s 2.33 dead Terminators on average – if we include Multi-Lasers and Heavy Bolters from the Chimeras. 2.33 isn’t loads but it’s probably half a squad of elite enemy infantry. Plus you have now gained ground.

Valhallan

Like the Steel Legion, the Valhallans also have differing doctrines for infantry and vehicles. Infantry half the number of models used when doing Morale checks. That’s handy but not specific to transports.

Vehicles double the number of wounds remaining when determining their characteristics. This does play into transports pretty well. Your transports can move their full distance for longer. A Chimera will need to be reduced to two wounds before it starts to degrade in movement distance.

Militarum Tempestus

Obviously. the Deep Striking ability of the Tempestus Scions via Aerial Drop is a big plus for an Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry army. You could go with only Scions for your infantry portion and have them drop down onto objectives and into key positions. Or you can use them to compliment your other Astra Militarum forces.

Being able to pound several Chimera into the table centre and then on turn two bring in Scion support is pretty awesome!

The Scion Doctrine plays into being close to the enemy pretty well. You gain an extra shot on a To Hit roll of 6+ if you’re within half range. So dropping in or gaining ground in a Taurox feels very right. Then start blasting away with some extra shots.

Cadian

I don’t see much synergy between the Cadians and taking transports. Re-rolls of one to hit when you don’t move won’t be very useful because you’ll be moving around so much.

And Overlapping Fields of Fire has no advantage here either.

Other Regiments

The same goes for the other regiments. There isn’t anything specific about them that makes transports more attractive. Therefore m skipping them.

Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry Lists

So I thought it would be fun for me to look at what is viable in terms of lists when creating an Astra Militarum Mechanised List.

Detachments

But first, let us consider the detachments we should and shouldn’t be using in such a list.

Battalion and Brigade are the most obvious choices and give us the most Command Points. Troops and transports can be taken on nearly every detachment, however.

The Airwing detachment is also a good option for Valkyries!

A Patrol detachment is also a viable option too. If your Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry army is only small, is perhaps complementing a larger army of a different regiment or faction. Eg a Tallarn Patrol Detachment would be pretty cool running alongside a Cadian Superhead Detachment of Leman Russ.

Militarum Tempestus Patrol – Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry

This is the type of thing I’ll be starting with once I start my Tempestus. I have some but I haven’t even built them yet.

It’s a Patrol detachment that comes in at 241 points;

  • Tempestus Prime with Tactical Auto-Reliquary of Tyberius
  • 2x Tempestus Scion Squads, each with 2x Hot-Shot Volley Guns
  • Tempestus Command Squad with 4x Plasma Guns

All will arrive via Deep Strike.

We’ve three units that can be ordered here. The Prime has one order, the Relic gives him another on a 2+ and we can obtain another by using Inspired Tactics for 1CP.

Now have access to three orders for our troops. The Command Squad should use Take Aim to re-roll ones.

The other two squads should probably use First Rank Fire Second Rank Fire. One issue here I’ve noticed with the Scions is that their guns are range 18″. So when they arrive they can’t Rapid Fire because they will be more than 9″ away from the enemy. Hmmm.

Am I being daft here – or do Scions lose their Rapid Fire when Deep Striking because they are too far away?

The Hot-Shot Volley Guns will be within firing range of course. So we have;

  • 8 Hot-Shot Lasgun shots
  • 16 Hot-Shot Volley shots
  • 8 Plasma shots – overcharged

MathHammer says we get 2.77 dead Terminators from this setup.

I only have 5 Scions at present so I am ways off of fielding this type of Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry list.

Tallarn Battalion – Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry

The Battalion means we need three troops and two HQs. I don’t think this means we stick to that because Mechanised Infantry should be supported by other assets.

  • 2x Company Commanders
  • 3x Infantry Squads with Grenade Launchers
  • 3x Chimeras
  • 3x Scout Sentinels

This comes in at 630 points and nets you 5CP for the Battalion Detachment. We’ve got a force here that is highly manoeuvrable for an Astra Militarum force.

Load up the Chimeras with the infantry and the Company Commanders, speed into the middle of the battlefield. The on the next turn disembark and take the table centre. Use the Sentinels to screen your units from Deep Strikers and other charging units.

Because this force can move and shoot without penalty you should use that to your advantage and move all over the place. Allow the Tallarn to run interference and gather objectives while your main force (not detailed here) pounds the enemy to dust.

I have used Battle Chronicler for the first time to give an idea of how such a force can move up and onto the enemy and take over the battlefield in just 2 turns.

The unit prefixes denote the following;

  • C is Chimera
  • IS is Infantry Squad
  • CC is Company Commander
  • SS is Scout Sentinel
  • U is an enemy unit
  • V is an enemy vehicle

I would be interested to hear what you think of these maps?

Deployment

Deployment – the Sentinels have moved up pre-first turn

 

Tallarn Turn 1

Tallarn Turn 1 – note the massive movement from the Chimeras because of Advancing

 

Enemy Turn 1

Enemy Turn 1- the enemy hits us and the Chimeras/Sentinels take the brunt of it

 

Tallarn Turn 2

Tallarn Turn 2 – the infantry disembarks and engages the enemy as the remaining Chimeras pull away

 

Start of Enemy Turn 2

Start of Enemy Turn 2 – we have table control, but we have to now survive the enemy’s turn…

Valhallan Brigade – Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry

This is going to be a mammoth force. It’s focused on Mechanised Infantry and the advantages they bring to your force. Mainly these three;

  • Mobility
  • Disembark Range
  • Survivability

I chose Valhallan for this force because of their Send in the Next Wave Stratagem. This allows destroyed infantry units that are Valhallan to come back onto the battlefield on your board edge. You need to pay the points for them though – in Matched Play.

I thought this is a fun and fluffy take on an Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry force. This comes in at around 1,270 points.

I think it would be wise to leave 120 points spare (3 squads worth) for Send in the Next Wave. The 3 Chimeras can race into the middle of the board and start to get in the way and generally be annoying by doing one or all of the following;

  • Slowing the enemy as they advance and charge
  • Charging the enemy and interfering with their gun line
  • Taking objectives and gaining Victory Points

Once these troops come to a bloody end you can bring one back per turn for 2CP using Send in the Next Wave. You now have fresh recruits to take objectives in your own deployment zone or replace units that have since moved up the battlefield.

Since this is a fun list – why not sprinkle in all the relics we can;

  • With Pietrov’s MK 45 we cannot lose more than one model from a failed morale test. Useful for keeping squads in check once the bodies start dropping. It also gives us a 2 Damage Bolt Pistol.
  • Laurels of Command gives one of our Platoon Commanders the ability to dish out a second order. And this order can be given to a unit that already has had an order. So we can issue First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire and then Move, Move, Move to get a squad up and into an annoying position.
  • And the Emperor’s Benediction will allow out Lord Commissar to snipe Wounds from enemy Characters as you close upon the enemy with his comrades.

Impeccable Determination allows one nearby friendly Infantry unit and the Warlord to always Advance 6″ rather than D6″. The use of the Move, Move, Move order and also the use of Impeccable Determination allows our squads to move huge distances. There will be so many infantry units all over the enemy that they won’t have a chance to do the things they wanted to do. You shall ensure that their plan of action does not survive the first turn.

This really does sound like a fun Astra Militarum Mechanised Infantry list!

Maybe one day, if I ever put in an order with Reptilian Overlords.

Airwing

An airwing of Astra Militarum does sound like the pinnacle of mechanised infantry. Not only is it mechanised, but its mechanised into the air.

Tempestus Scions seem like the most obvious choice for this type of list. This approach is very elite as you won’t have a lot of models – your ability to take hard-hitting, armoured units, such as Leman Russ will be limited. Mainly because your infantry will be off being dropped out of Valkyries. And not being left with your tanks to screen them.

Having never used this type of list – has anyone else tried a list that is focused on flyers and dropping troops from those flyers?

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