Astra Militarum Tips – Astra Militarum Getting Started – Part 9
The final article in the series, Astra Militarum Tips...
This is the final in the Astra Militarum Getting Started series! It’s been a long trip but sadly it’s time to draw it to a close. This final article will be general Astra Militarum tips and hints for fighting with the Astra Militarum and will try and cover all the little requests that people made via my Facebook page, the Astra Militarum Facebook group and Twitter.
The Facebook group mentioned above is well worth joining. Lots of great people and content there.
There is an Astra Militarum Glossary to accompany this series.
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With the new Big FAQ 2 potentially limiting the number of CPs we can generate, it’s now more important than ever to use them wisely. You’re probably only going to get 5 back over the course of the whole game now.
I usually go hard on the Command Point usage from the very start. Use them while your units are at their most effective. No point saving 2CP for Aerial Spotter on a Wyvern only to have it destroyed on turn 2.
I tend not to save CP for the late game for things like Defensive Gunners and Fire On My Position. If I’m relying on those to win, something has gone badly wrong. I spend away on Aerial Spotter and Overlapping Fields of Fire.
Orders – Astra Militarum Tips
Some good old MathHammer will help you get the most from your orders. Is it better to use Take Aim or First Rank Fire Second Rank Fire? The former will let you re-roll ones to hit (or all misses if you’re Cadian) but the latter will double the number of shots you can fire with Lasguns.
Don’t forget Forwards for the Emperor and Move, Move, Move to get your Guardsmen into the fight quickly or onto an objective. The latter can see your Guardsmen move a maximum of 24″ in a single turn. That’s impressive for those little legs.
Get Back in the Fight can be very handy. Perhaps you’ve charged into an enemy tank to stop it shooting for a turn. Use this order to pull back and open up with your guns on it or a nearby foe.
Finally, Fix Bayonets is circumstantial but a nice fluffy Order. If you’ve equipped a Sergeant with a Power Weapon it’ll allow you to fight with him (and his squad) immediately – perhaps taking off a vital wound or two from an enemy.
The Consolidate Squads Stratagem lets you take two regular infantry squads and merge them together. This is handy because now you only need one order to order 20 Guardsmen. Your Platoon Commander is now super effective.
But, beware! A big squad will be ripe for a Morale failure so ensure you can back up their Leadership or some other Morale boost. Such Fight to the Death Stratagem that lets you take a Morale Check on a D3 rather than a D6.
By now you’re probably aware there are a few various regiments you can use for your Astra Militarum army;
- Militarum Tempestus
However, some of the models for these regiments are no longer available from Games Workshop and therefore are rare on eBay. And because they are rare they are expensive.
Maybe Games Workshop will bring them back? Maybe they’ll be brought back in plastic? Who knows. But as of now, they’re only available second hand. The ones to watch out for are;
Cadian, Catachan and Militarum Tempestus are the only models currently available from Games Workshop.
You’ll often outnumber your opponent. Sometimes three to one. That is of course if you use the Brigade or Battalion Detachments – you’ll end up with a lot of infantry. At least 60 with a Brigade. Cheap characters also mean your list of units to deploy can rise easily; Company Commanders, Commissars, Master of Ordnance, Officer of the Fleet, Platoon Commanders, Astropaths, etc.
While there are disadvantages to this; not getting a plus one on the roll for the first turn because you’ve finished setting up last and not first. You should play to the advantages of having a force that is so numerous on the battlefield.
Being Troops, Guardsmen are great at securing objectives. Being Toughness 3 means they die easily. Remember the Take Cover Stratagem to give them a +1 to their armour save. Get them into cover too to give them another +1 to their armour save. That gives you one squad with a 3+ armour save.
Also, remember the Fight to the Death Stratagem that lets you take a Morale Check on a D3 rather than a D6. That can save you three Guardsmen and could be the difference between a squad being wiped out or not.
Padding Out Armour, Anti-Fly
This is an effective way of stopping enemies from charging your tanks. Set up your numerous Guardsmen around your tanks so the enemy cannot charge them.
Also, use Guardsmen to stop the enemy from Deep Striking in behind your lines. Fill the empty spaces with men.
As of the Big FAQ 2, flying units cannot fly on the charge. So they can move up and over things when they move. But cannot move up and over things when they charge. This means you can push your Guardsmen up slightly. For the enemy to fly over you in the Movement Phase they need to land more than 1″ away from your units. Before they could fly over and charge allowing an easy multi-charge.
Bog Down & Surround
Similar to padding out your Armoured units, you can use this padding plus a charge to delay potential threats.
If you have five Chaos Terminators en route to your Leman Russ then throw your Guardsmen into the Terminators. Surround them and force them to chew through your Guardsmen for a turn. This gives you some extra time to withdraw the Leman Russ and put something else in the way.
As Astra Militarum tips go, this is my favourite. Outnumbering the enemy with cheap infantry is what the Guard is all about for me and maximising this advantage is a lot of fun.
There is another option, as noted in the comments from West Rider. Rather than Charge and surround the enemy, instead move and enclose them, but an inch away, using a semi-circle. By doing this you do not risk them getting lucky and killing all the squad and then getting a Pile In move into your tanks.
One Basilisk to kill all the enemy armour is not going to cut it. So take three. You’re now going to ensure that you kill something with all that firepower. If you take one and it dies or misses the enemy goes unscathed. Or take two Basilisks and a Manticore. They are not the same unit but they both overlap in their roles on the battlefield – killing stuff.
If you take three you have room for failure and room for a lucky strike which may destroy one Basilisk on turn one.
The same idea should be applied to other units in the Astra Militarum;
- Leman Russ – take a few to pound the enemy to shreds, plus Pask or a Tank Commander or two
- Wyverns and Manticores
- Infantry – you’ll be taking a lot of infantry usually anyway. But if you have 60+ Guardsmen you have a lot of guys to hold Objectives all over the battlefield
- Bullgryns – I usually take 2 squads of 3 to ensure I can cover my own battle lines with some heavy muscle
- Heavy Weapons Teams – this idea becomes most apparent when you take a single heavy weapon in a squad of ten, that weapon will probably do nothing. Take three instead as a Heavy Weapons Team
Heavy Weapons Thought
I have started to take Heavy Weapons Teams. They comprise of three models each with a heavy weapon. I do this most of the time instead of using single heavy weapons in a squad of Guardsmen.
The reason being that a Team can be deployed on a building, stay back, stay put and blast away as it needs. It won’t ever be at -1 to hit for moving. The ten-man squad though will be moving about to gain objectives, it may also be in a vehicle thus rendering the heavy weapon useless and it may be advancing, again making the heavy weapon useless.
Also, the Team can be ordered with a specific shooty based order. Re-roll ones to wound for example and it’ll take full advantage of that. While a regular squad might be ordered to Move, Move, Move – again wasting the heavy weapon.
My phone autocorrected that last order to Move, Love, Move. Now that’s a Guard Regiment I’d like to see!
I’ve never done this before, but if you have two Leman Russ, why not protect them with two Astropaths. One with Nightshroud (-1 to hit the Russ) and with Psychic Barrier (+1 save) plus two Tech-Priests for healing D3 wounds a turn.
If it doesn’t need glue – don’t glue it!
Thanks to BigBear01 on Reddit for this. If it does not need glue to hold it on and its a gear or weapon option then consider not glueing it. The number of combinations the Astra Militarum can get is pretty good.
- Leman Russ sponson and turret options
- Bullgryn weapon and shield options
- Guardsmen special weapons
- Heavy weapons teams
If you can magnetise even better. But if you can blu-tac or similar then it will save you a lot of money if you want everything to look correct. Because once you glue those Heavy Bolter sponsons on a Leman Russ, they ain’t coming off!
Should I Vox-Cast or Not
It’s a good question. I have started to always Vox up my regular infantry squads now. This is because there have been times when I just need one Move, Move, Move order to get a squad up and onto an objective. But I can’t because they are outside the 6″ order range.
By taking a Vox on each squad I know where I stand.
Oh, has this squad got a Vox? Ermmm
Yes, it has got a Vox, because all squads have one. No need to check a list or look at models. The answer is simple.
It also makes planning simpler. You can move a squad somewhere knowing that it has a Vox. Of course, you still need to ensure that the Officer has a Vox nearby too but that’s easily done by placing him with a squad at all times.
If you decide not to Vox then that’s OK too. It just means having possibly more Platoon Commanders to move around the battlefield with squads rather than relying on Company Commanders it Creed – who can give out th
I’ve mixed experience with the Psychic Phase with the Astra Militarum. Primaris Psykers can dish out the handy Smite. I’ve found this a good way of dealing that final wound to a model before the shooting starts.
Nightshroud and Psychic Barrier are the two powers I’ve used the most. They’re handy on Leman Russ – who tend to be more exposed than my Wyverns or Basilisks.
If you can make your final Leman Russ which is on four wounds survive a little longer you can force your opponent to throw more into it than they intended too. Saving your other units from a turn of shooting.
Psychic Maelstrom has the ability to do six Mortal Wounds – if you roll like a God. That’s more than Smite but it’s harder to cast, it requires a 7+. Its main advantage is that it can target anything within 18″. That’s very handy indeed! Another note here from West Rider from the comments;
Keep in mind that the restrictions on targeting Characters do not apply in the Psychic Phase. For the most part, this is irrelevant, because most Psychic Powers target the nearest Enemy Unit, but for those that don’t, like Psychic Maelstrom, it’s completely legit to use them to slap a few Mortal Wounds on a Character, intervening Units or not.
Playing More Quickly
Practice makes perfect when it comes to playing more quickly. Playing quickly with the Astra Militarum can be very hard if you have 100 models to move and plan for.
But there are things you can do to help yourself;
- Plan your next turn during your opponent’s turn
- Play the same units/list a few times to familiarise yourself with stats and how a unit/list works and doesn’t work
- Pay attention to your opponent during their turn so you have the right number of dice to do your saving throws and so you can answer questions – what’s a Bullgryn’s Toughness?
This all saves time and reduces miscommunication.
You can try limiting each player’s turn to 30 or 15 minutes. That’ll force you to plan and think ahead.
As part of the Imperium of Mankind, we can bring a whole host of allies to help us fight on the battlefield. The easiest way to do this is via a Patrol Detachment which requires;
- An HQ
- A Troop
You can have up to two of any unit type – apart from Troops, of which you can have three. It gets you zero additional Command Points but does allow you to bring other factions easily.
This doesn’t always suit your requirements, however. Inquisition only have choices for Heavy Support, Elite and HQ – making a Patrol Detachment impossible. Instead, you can opt for a Vanguard Detachment which requires;
- An HQ
- Three Elites
This is possible and gives you 1CP. You can fulfil this Detachment with an Inquisitor and three Acolytes.
So if you’re wanting to bring some friends; be that Custodians, Space Marines, Assassins or otherwise have a look at the detachments and see how you bring what you need.
Also, ensure you read the rules for the faction you want to bring. For example, a single Assassin can be brought as an Auxiliary Support Detachment. But you lose a CP. However, the Assassin rules state that three Assassins can be brought as a Vanguard Detachment without an HQ. You don’t get the single CP though for the Vanguard. But at least you don’t lose one.
Details of all my Astra Militarum Allies.
Astra Militarum Melee Units
While the Astra Militarum still lacks in variety when it comes to melee, we now have some. In the main Astra Militarum Codex we can bring;
- Catachans – they have a Strength bonus and Straken who can melee well
- Platoon Commanders, Company Commanders and Commissars with some extra tools
- The Super Heavy tanks can also melee well, even if it is rather circumstantial
- Plus you can bring a Priest to give them all +1 Attack on the charge
They are no Vanguard Veterans or Harlequins for sure. But there are some decent fighters in there. The Bullgryns are my favourite; with a Slabshield and a Bullgryn Power Maul.
Command Squad Boxes
Another one from BigBear01 from Reddit here. The Command Squad boxes are a good way of making multiple Platoon or Company Commanders plus a few special weapons guys. Otherwise, your special weapons options from the regular Guardsmen boxes are limited. The Command Squad is a good way of getting special weapons for either Command Squads, Veterans or to swap into your regular infantry squads.
Turn One Deep Strike
With the Big FAQ 2 recently we will start to see no turn one Deep Striking. Which is a good thing? I wrote some thoughts on the Astra Militarum FAQ.
We have ways around that though. The Astra Militarum don’t have masses of close combat units, we have some though, mentioned above. What your opponent won’t expect is having to deal with melee units on turn one.
You can place three Bullgryns into a Valkyrie and have then Grav-Chute right in front of the enemy. You still have to 9″ away from the enemy and you roll a D6 for each model, on a 1 it dies. But you can re-roll one of those using a Command Re-Roll. Yes, you might lose one, and you might not get the charge but you’ve now thrown a spanner into the works for the enemy. Who now have to deal with three Bullgryns on their doorstep. Add in a Priest too for some extra punching power!
This could work well too with Crusaders, their 3+ Invulnerable Save will keep them alive for a while. Frustrating the enemy.
It seems that moving after a Grav-Chute insertion was not changed or FAQ’d. So you can drop out of the Valkyrie and then move, getting you just outside of 3″ from the enemy, which an almost guaranteed charge. Thanks for that tip West Rider in the comments!
When you’re building a list try and think about these standardised units and how your list will counter them;
- MEQ – Marine Equivalents
- TEQ – Terminator Equivalents
- KEQ – Knight
- PEQ – Predator
- GEQ – Guardsmen
That gives you a good range of enemies to think about. You might be able to handle GEQ very well because of all the Lasguns you have. But how well can your list handle a Predator tank or even a Knight?
It’s hard to make a list that can take on everything. Often you can disregard certain types, such as KEQ if you know your opponent doesn’t own a Knight for example.
Astra Militarum Tips – Summary
There are a lot of little things you can do the maximise force’s effectiveness in battle. There are many more too, check out my Astra Militarum Tactics category for more info, tactics and Astra Militarum tips.
If you want something else covered in this Astra Militarum 8th Edition Getting Started series, have a question or just want to say hello then please do. You can do so via the comments below, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or email me at trooper@ the domain of this blog.
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