Buffing Astra Militarum Infantry – The Complete Guide
Today we take an in-depth looking at buffing and boosting Astra Militarum Infantry as much as possible! Including Astra Militarum Infantry Helper mini app!
I’ve just written the title of this article and now I’ve immediately regretted it. But it’s there now so let’s stick with it. Onto Buffing Astra Militarum Infantry.
If you have an addition or an idea please do let me know! Either in the comments, on Twitter or Facebook. If I’ve made a mistake please do let me know also!
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The reasons for writing this article are two-fold…
Firstly I’m fed up with losing my games. And losing badly. I believe this boils down to a single issue with my gameplay style: lack of movement. Before a game everything is set out in my mind and perfect. But as soon as the game starts I become scared of losing any unit. Infantry Squads stand still, tanks shoot from my back line and elite characters remain firmly stuck in my deployment zone.
I hope that including some other units in my lists and trying various buffs I will change this play style and either make it safer to venture out from my castle and/or enforce/encourage another style of play.
Secondly, the new Custodes Codex just appeared and there was a specific addition to their rules that made me think…
Yeah, that will work with Buffing Astra Militarum Infantry – let’s try it!
It was the new Custodes Standard that gives all Imperial Infantry wholly within 9″ a 5+ Invulnerable save. What!?
So often my Guardsmen die to massed AP-or AP -1 fire even when I’m castled up and trying to hide. Cover doesn’t help much these days.
I may as well take this Standard, wrap it with Guardsman, a Character or two and march them all into the centre of the table. That sure would be a change in play style, for me!
This is going to be a long article, covering a lot of models, rules, and extras such as Heirlooms of Conquest, Doctrines, Stratagems and Warlord Traits. To help with this endeavour I’ve created a digital aid. Its embedded into this page below. You can also view it stand alone here (easier for mobile I expect) – Astra Militarum Infantry Helper. It is a simple search/filter form; select the buff type and/or Regiment and easily view the models/rules that help with your selected buff type. Neat hey?
Astra Militarum Infantry Helper
If I had a penny for every left and right arrow key pressed in iBooks while writing this, I would own a Warlord Titan! :-)
Astra Militarum Infantry – what’s that?
Anything that has the Astra Militarum keyword and the Infantry keyword, but not Characters and not Tempestus Scions. So this includes:
Those are the units I’ll be trying to buff.
A Buff for Astra Militarum Infantry – what’s that?
A rule that benefits any unit as described above. Note this doesn’t mean the rule needs to stipulate the keywords Astra Militarum and Infantry or just Astra Militarum. It could say Imperial and Infantry of just Imperium. Because by default Astra Militarum units are also Imperium units.
Basic Astra Militarum Infantry Units
These are the units we will be aiming to buff mostly. We will throw in the odd reference to Ratlings and Bullgryns later on.
Your basic ten men Infantry Squad that can take a Heavy Weapon, a Special Weapon and the Sergeant can take a few extra toys too. A Vox-caster is also available.
Heavy Weapons Team
Takes three Heavy Weapons and can be used to perform a variety of tasks; anti-tank, anti-heavy infantry and anti-light infantry.
Taken in squads of between 20 and 30, Conscripts can be a fantastic melee unit and speed bump unit. Morale is your enemy, however, especially after the change to the Commissar in the FAQ.
At BS 3+ these boys can shoot and shoot better than your other infantry. Load them up with Plasma or Melta and start making their points back twice over.
Orders go without saying really in this article. They are powerful and really boost your Astra Militarum past being mere humans. Orders can’t be used on units like Bullgryns and Ratlings though. Which is a shame, but makes perfect sense.
I won’t cover each order here specifically but will reference them in the article and they are also included in the Astra Militarum Infantry Helper.
Again these go without saying as all of them will affect your infantry. Again I will reference them specifically in the article and they are included in the Astra Militarum Infantry Helper.
Astra Militarum Models
War Hymns give you an extra Attack in the Fight Phase within 6″ of the Priest.
Command Squad (Medi-pack)
Allows you to regain a wound (or a one wound model that died) from an infantry unit within 3″ on a 4+.
Command Squad (Regimental Standard)
Astra Militarum units within 6″ add 1 to their Leadership.
Pick an enemy unit within 18″, the target gets no bonus to their saving throw from cover when shot at by Astra Militarum units within 6″ of the Astropath. A little bit niche but could be very handy for killing very well dug in troops that gain a 2+ bonus from cover.
Used with Ratlings you can more easily strike at Characters in cover.
Lord Commissars and Commissars
Units within 6″ can use the Commissar’s Leadership. Lord Commissars can also become your Warlord and give out an order using Voice of Command.
They got changed in the FAQ though. Now Summary Execution kills a model and gives a Morale re-roll. Even if you were going to fail the re-roll anyway. No more morale immune Conscripts.
Valhallan’s can get around this see the Company Commanders section below.
Yarrick (with example)
While not a vast improvement in your infantry Yarrick has his uses. Units within 6″ can use his Leadership and he has Summary Execution – see above.
Iron Will means he is hard to get rid of and two-thirds of the times he dies, he just won’t die and will remain on one wound. If you’re not playing Cadians then the re-rolling of ones for Astra Miltarum units within 6″ is a nice buff. Even if you’re playing as Cadians then this allows you to move and re-roll ones. A nice buff to counter my current poor play style.
Don’t forget that Yarrick can fight too, he can be used as a threat to vehicles and armoured infantry. His Power Klaw hits relatively hard on a 3+ (-1 to hit for this weapon – thanks, H3BREWH4MMER n Reddit)!
Straken, Yarrick and an infantry squad of Catachans all re-rolling ones to hit in combat and shooting, S4 and 2 attacks each! MathHammer says that’s 5 dead Space Marines in the fight phase. Throw in a Priest? That goes up to 7 dead Space Marines. That is just the fight phase too!
Fix Bayonets Order? OK, now it’s getting silly, with those extra attacks from the infantry squad we now have 10 dead Space Marines. Its 280 points for those Astra Militarum Infantry models to kill 130 points of Space Marines (assuming 13 points a model) per turn. Or 9 wounds on a T7, 3+ save vehicle, that’s a severely crippled enemy vehicle there.
When we take into account shooting we can kill a further 3 Space Marines at 12″ range using all the shooting from Straken, Yarrick, Priest and Infantry Squad. That is using First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire, and Rapid fire!
These lads can dish out two orders a turn with a range of 6″. A little like Creed this can be further boosted. The Master of Command Warlord Trait can get you up to three orders. If you’re Cadian then Kell gives you another order, that is four! It can be boosted to five though using the Inspired Tactics Stratagem. This puts this guy on par with Creed for orders! Although with a shorter range. Vox-casters can fix that though.
The Laurels of Command Heirloom of Conquest can be given you an extra order on a 4+ for a unit that just received an order. Thus allowing you double up on Orders. Eg Take Aim and First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire. More on this below.
By using the Imperial Commander’s Armoury Stratagem you can get an extra one or two more Heirlooms of Conquest. Why not take Kurov’s Aquila for some extra CP during the game on a 5+ whenever your enemy uses a Stratagem.
Valhallan’s can get around the Morale rule change that Commissars got in the FAQ. By using Pietrov’s MK45 (an Heirloom of Conquest) on Company Commanders, this gives your Company Commander the old Commissar rule, kill one model and then auto pass Morale. Thanks to Ian from my Facebook page for this idea!
A handy fella to keep around those expensive Characters, this guy can buff your characters with 6 wounds – probably. On a 3+ the Bodyguard takes a Mortal Wound rather than your Character – within 3″. Useful if you’re worried about sneaky Deep Strikes and/or Snipers.
Thanks to Brian Hull in the comments for this tip, but you can take The Deathmask of Ollanius on the Bodyguard Ogryn and a Slabshield. This gives him a 2+ Save and a 2+ Invulnerable Save. While those saves do not help with the Mortal Wounds he must suffer when defending friendly characters. It does mean he can heal D3 wounds once per game using the Deathmask’s other ability.
Now the Ogyn “Custodian” Bodyguard has a 2+ Save, 2+ Invulnerable Save, 6 wounds and can heal D3 wounds once per game. Throw in a Command Squad with a Medi Pack and this guy will last a long time!
Note the 2+ Invulnerable Save is fine, the Deathmask gives a +2 to saves and an Invulnerable Save is a save. Therefore, wow! Discussion on this in the Imperial Guard (closed) Facebook Group.
Much like the Ogryn Bodyguard but he takes a Mortal Wound on a 2+ and he can fight before he dies if slain in the Fight Phase.
Creed (with example)
While not a direct buff, Creed can dish out three orders. This can be boosted to four on a 4+ using the Cadian Warlord Trait Superior Tactical Training – which Creed must take. It can then be boosted to five with Kell. It can be boosted again to six using the Inspired Tactics Stratagem.
You cannot use The Laurels of Command Heirloom of Conquest though because Creed is a named Character.
Creed also has an Order range of 12″. So 5 or 6 orders (depending on the 4+ roll) a turn with a 12″ range. Creed is a smart guy! Plus he grants 2 extra Command Points – but you have to weigh that against not being able to take Kurov’s Aquila or the Grand Strategist Warlord Trait.
Cadian units within 6″ can re-roll failed Morale tests. And he allows an extra order for Cadian Officers.
Catachan units within 6″ gain an extra attack during the Fight phase. The forced Warlord Trait for Catachan allows you to join in on fights within 6″ with ease.
It’s buffs like this I especially like in Astra Militarum Forces because it’s not expected. Catachan hit harder than normal in the Fight Phase. If your opponent forgets this then they may end up losing units to flurries of Catachan fists accompanied by Straken.
Re-roll 1s within 6″ for Catachan units – in the Shooting Phase.
Astra Militarum Infantry within 6″ gain a 6+ Invulnerable Save.
Greyfax, Karamazov, Coteaz, Inquisitors
Astra Militarum Infantry within 6″ can use the Inquisitor’s Leadership.
Greyfax can also take the Mental Fortitude power.
Custodes Standard (Vexilus Praetors)
Imperial Infantry units wholly within 9″ gain a 5+ Invulnerable Save.
Fulminaris Aggressor Relic
The Custodes Fulminaris Aggressor Relic gives a 6″ Fearless bubble. (Thanks, Westrider in the comments!)
Custodes Warlord Traits
A few of the Custodes Warlord Traits allow Imperium units to auto pass Morale tests when within 6″. If you’re running a mainly Astra Militarum army then you’re not likely to have a Custodes Warlord. But it’s worth knowing.
Friendly Adeptus Ministorum and Astra Militarum units within 6″ add 1 to their leadership characteristic (doesn’t stack with Greyfax or Coteaz leadership characteristic but still useful). He also adds 1 to their attacks characteristic with the same rule as a Priest. (Thanks, Cadian Steel for the reminder on this).
With the Master of Battle rules, he allows Imperium units within 12″ to re-roll ones to hit (all phases), add 1 to advance and charge rolls, and re-roll failed morale tests. (Thanks again Cadian Steel for the reminder on this).
There are three powers that can benefit Astra Militarum Infantry. Unfortunately, none are offensive. Nightshroud and Psychic Barrier can be a good way of protecting an all-important unit holding an object or saving Pask for that one last blast of his Punisher Cannon.
Adds 1 to the saving throws for the target unit.
Enemies targeting your Astra Militarum unit must take 1 away from their hit rolls.
The target unit automatically passes Morale tests.
These Traits are good for your Company Commanders or Lord Commissars when they’re your Warlord. Creed, Yarrick and other named characters must take their regiment specific Warlord Trait.
Select an enemy unit before the first battle round. Astra Militarum units firing at that unit can re-roll all failed Wound rolls while they are within 6″ of your Warlord.
If you link this up with re-rolling to wound (Take Aim Order plus being Cadian) then you could have yourself a lovely little wounds festival.
When your Warlord and a single friendly unit within 3″ Advances, both move 6″ rather than D6″.
Possibly something I should just force myself to take, to start me off moving a little more!
Re-roll all failed Morale Tests for Astra Militarum units within 6″ of your Warlord.
Allows your Warlord to re-roll a single hit, wound or save per game. But more importantly, you can refund your CPs on a 5+.
This area of the game is a big weakness for me at the moment, having only used the Codex once. I keep forgetting the Stratagems and without them then I am probably missing out of 50% of my force’s potential. There is a lot here that fit nicely into buffing Astra Militarum Infantry.
Fire on my Position
Its costly at 3CP but this allows you to cause Mortal Wounds to nearby enemies when an Astra Militarum unit is destroyed.
Imperial Commander’s Armoury
Allow you to take an extra Heirloom of Conquest or an extra two. Really handy if you want to take your Regiment’s narrative Heirloom of Conquest and two generic ones.
Officious Prefectus Command Tank
Coverts a Leman Russ into a Commissar of sorts, giving a Leadership 9 buff to Astra Militarum units within 6″.
Allows Infantry Squads to merge together that are within 2″ of each other.
Used in your opponents shooting phase, you can increase a unit’s saving throw by one.
Instead of Overwatching, a charged Astra Miilitarum Infantry unit can throw up to ten grenades, not just one.
Fight to the Death
Allows a single Astra Militarum Infantry unit to use a D3 for their Morale test, rather than a D6.
Vengeance for Cadia
Re-roll failed hits and wounds when shooting normally or in Overwatch against a Chaos enemy.
Volley Fire (Mordian)
Rolls of sixes allow another shot to be fired.
Overlapping Fields of Fire (Cadian)
Once an unsaved wound has been caused against an enemy you can use this Stratagem to add 1 to the hit rolls of future attacks from other Cadians.
Send in the Next Wave (Valhallan)
Allows destroyed Valhallan Infantry units to come back.
Firstborn Pride (Vostroyan)
One unit can add 1 to their hit rolls.
Three Tallarn units can Deep Strike.
Armoured Fist (Armageddon)
Armageddon Infantry that disembarked can re-roll 1s to hit.
Vicious Traps (Catachan)
Allows charged units to cause Mortal Wounds against their charger’s.
Heirlooms of Conquest
There are a few gems in here that when used right and remembered could help you swing the battle in your favour by getting in close quickly or taking a wound or two extra from an enemy Character.
The Laurels of Command
Allows an Officer to give another Order (on a 4+) to a unit that already received an order, effectively allowing you to double up orders!
Take Aim and First Rank Fire Second Rank Fire are the first two that immediately spring to mind! If you’re Cadian that allows you to fire 4 shots at 12″ and re-roll all failed hits! We, therefore, have 36 shots, re-rolling all misses. That is 2.25 dead Space Marines or 9 dead Guardsmen/Cultists.
Other nice combos could be First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire along with Forwards for the Emperor, which allows you to shoot twice as many Rapid Fire shots from Lasguns even if the unit Advanced in the previous Movement Phase.
The Dagger of Tu’Sakh
Allows your Warlord and one Infantry unit to appear within 6″ of a battlefield edge. This just says your Warlord and an Infantry unit. So that could be a Company Commander with a Plasma Pistol, Power Fist with 5 Bullgryns. Now that is not something you see every day from the Astra Militarum.
The Death Mask of Ollanius
This gives 4+ Invulnerable Save on your Company Commander and allows him to heal D3 wounds, once.
Allows you to gain a CP each time the enemy uses a Stratagem.
A Valhallan Heirloom of Conquest which effectively gives the old Commissar ability. Kill one guy and pass Morale. It also doubles as a rather nice Bolt Pistol!
Relic of Cadia
Thanks to Necron99 in the comments for this remainder. If you’re against Chaos you can use this to great effect. It is a once per battle use and it lets you re-roll hits and wounds vs Chaos!
The Emperor’s Benediction
This I have overlooked but I would like to give it a try and snipe enemy Characters before they make their charge. It allows you to attack enemy Characters even if they not the closest and as long as they are more than 1″ away. It has 3 shots, S4, AP-2, and D2. On a BS2+ Character, you could be shaving a couple of wounds from enemies who did not expect a hail of high damage Bolter fire from a Company Commander or Lord Commissar.
Bonus – Transports
Transports add protection and movement to your Astra Militarum Infantry. I won’t go into all the various types of transport available but there is a good selection of dedicated transports like the Chimera and Taurox to the Super-Heavy tanks that can carry many models. Don’t forget the Valkyrie for dropping in Plasma, Melta or Bullgryns to your enemy’s deployment zone!
Note, you can issue orders from a Chimera. The Mobile Command Vehicle Stratagem for 1CP lets you do this for a turn. It’s measured from the vehicle and the officer counts as having a Vox-caster. Nice. Including the hull of the vehicle increases the range too.
As Fougere mentions in a comment, you can also take the Aegis Defence Line for 75 points which will grant you cover. Giving your Guardsmen with a 5+ a 4+ save. Use that with Take Cover Stratagem and you have Guardsmen with a 3+ save.
Some of the above abilities are meh, some are OK and some are great. Check out the Astra Militarum Infantry Helper mini app too for some pointers for good combos.
I would love to hear from you if you have tried some major Astra Militarum Infantry list and had great success or failure!