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Analysis: Astra Militarum in 8th Ed, HQ Units

Let's analyse the HQ options available to Astra Militarum . Like all my reviews, this will be from a competitive play perspective, ...

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Army List: Astra Militarum 2000 pts Mech


Here is an update on the list I'm working towards as I build and paint my Astra Militarum army.

Combined Arms Detachment: Astra Militarum
HQ
Company Command Squad, Company Commander, Officer of the Fleet, three Veterans with Plasma Gun, Veteran with Regimental Standard, Chimera [210]
Troops
Veteran Squad, three Veterans with Plasma Gun, Chimera [175]
Veteran Squad, three Veterans with Plasma Gun, Chimera [175]
Veteran Squad, three Veterans with Meltagun, Taurox [140]
Veteran Squad, three Veterans with Meltagun, Taurox [140]
Veteran Squad, three Veterans with Meltagun, Taurox [140]
Formation: Steel Host
Tank Commander Squadron, two Exterminators with Lascannon, Dozer Blade [320]
Tank Squadron, one Executioner with Lascannon, Plasma Cannon, Dozer Blade [200]
Tank Squadron, one Executioner with Lascannon, Plasma Cannon, Dozer Blade [200]
Tank Squadron, one Executioner with Lascannon, Plasma Cannon, Dozer Blade [200]
Hydra [70]
1970 pts
* All the Chimera have Multi-Laser, Heavy Bolter and Dozer Blade.

One really important thing I've learned in my Astra games so far has been the value of rerolls. Astra have very average stats (especially BS and Ld) and playing with unreliable models can be challenging; I often find myself positioning to overkill a target just in case one unit fluffs all its rolls. I really wanted to use Creed in this army list—for rerolling Orders—but points did not allow for that luxury. But at least I do have a Regimental Standard to keep my squads from getting Pinned if their transports are destroyed.

The other important thing I've learned is the significance of terrain to non-Skimmer vehicles—without Jink, I need obscuration from terrain to get cover, but that terrain can also inhibit my mobility. And so I have decided that Dozer Blades are a worthwhile investment on any vehicle that needs to do more than just sit in backfield and shoot. That said, in my last three games, I have still immobilised three vehicles even with rerolls!

I'm using a Steel Host with three Executioners for a few reasons:

  • Mass AV14 to hamper Eldar and Tau
  • Mass AP2 to gank Wraiththings and new Space Marines
  • Preferred Enemy for rerolls
And from a practical perspective, it's nearly half the army list (in points) for only six tank models to build and paint.

On that note, here is a progress update on my Astra Militarum project:

  • Company Command Squad built, painting in progress
  • Three Veteran Squads built, painting in progress
  • Two Chimera built, painting in progress
  • One Taurox complete
  • One Executioner build in progress
My current priority is getting the first lot of infantry (35 models) completed. Next will be building the remaining tanks (8 models), followed by building the second lot of infantry (20 models). I honestly can't think far enough ahead to contemplate getting the tanks and infantry second wave all painted!

I am considering using the services of a commission painter to just put the base colours on all my infantry models, so I can just spend time on the more interesting tasks of detailing and finishing. Plus it will be nice to have some models that at least look good from a distance... squinting!

Until then, it will be more low-points games with primed models...

14 comments:

  1. Greggor Bloodsing21 June 2015 at 17:31

    The Taurox has four fire points, 2 on each side, it might be worth finding the points for a heavy weapon for them. You got enough for a few extra auto cannon shots, at a higher BS to boot.

    Conversely, the chimera only has two, which I still don't think is cool, so the third plasma guy isn't shooting out of the truck. He will probably replace one guy who inevitably gets fried, which will happen alot though.


    One idea that just popped into my head was turning a vet squad into a second HQ squad. get a few more orders options. Since you don't have voxes or commies or platoon squads and such. those command squads are always the first to be targeted. Maybe in a tarox prime? good fluff reason to have two. I guess he can't do orders out of it though.


    But yeah, looks like a fun list. I'd game with it a bit to find out who exactly able to shoot, or just end up sitting around.

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  2. Hi Greggor, those are some good points, but the Vets normally disembark if they need to maximise their firepower so I'm not too worried about fire points. After all, they have to disembark to take Orders and get Ignores Cover or Tank Hunters.

    Melta Vets take Taurox so they get an extra 3-4" of disembark range, Plasma Vets take Chimera for the extra firepower since they don't need the extra range.

    A second Command Squad is an option, but I'd rather have more Objective Secured bodies and tanks. I wouldn't put a Command Squad in a Taurox since they can't issue Orders from inside.

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  3. One question from me - i think you wrote previously that PE doesn't help with the to-hit rolls for Plasma blast templates, and exterminator auto-cannons (as they are twin linked already).

    So is the PE bonus you're aiming for (excuse the pun) restricted to just improving the chances of hitting with the hull mounted las-cannons? Or is the potential wound re-rolls the reason you are keen on it?

    Apologies if missing something obvious.

    B

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  4. Hi Bluey, PE allows Blast weapons to reroll Gets Hot. If you don't have this reroll then you are likely to lose 2-3 HP per Executioner per game due to Gets Hot; with PE you should lose <1 HP per game.

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  5. Ah thanks, understood - of course. Thanks for clearing that up.

    I'm sure you've considered it, but I've found camo netting to be a huge boost for tanks in cover.

    I guess it's situational on the terrain available but if you're investing so heavily in dozer blades to allow your tanks to be behind cover it may be worth trying to add it in - may make for interesting paint / conversion work too! (I don't have my book hadn't but I think it will work with strike and shroud order too).

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  6. No problem :-)


    Camo Netting is nice to have, but it's too expensive to use on lots of tanks. It is certainly something I would consider on the Hydra, or any Wyverns/Manticores in a list, that can just hide in backfield terrain all game. But the Russes will just have to count on their AV14/13 to keep them alive.

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  7. This might be a dumb question, but... power spear? Can't find that anywhere (power maul, power sword, power axe, power lance but no power spear). Is it just a different word for power lance?

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  8. Not a dumb question at all! Yes, I do mean Power Lance, my mistake—I was just thinking 'the pointy one' ;-)

    I prefer Lance over Sword because S3 is not very good, and the mobility of the Winged Autarch allows him to typically get the charge.

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  9. Yeah it looks like a really great loadout!

    Semi on topic: A while back (iirc the harlie/cwe list with all the death jesters) you mentioned you had some cool de/harlie lists you were gonna post, still a thing or did it get buried underneath the like 3 codecii Gw unleashed since then :p?

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  10. Yes and yes :-) Thank you for reminding me! I have some ideas to post about DE/Harlie/CWE hybrid lists...

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  11. Just got back into 40k, last time I played was early 6th. This is now my favorite 40k blog. It is SO NICE to see someone posting lists that make sense for once.

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  12. Crimson Hunters appear to be a critical part of your list, especially for anti-air and anti-tank. Against a squadron of 3 Stalkers, they are quite vulnerable... consider the following:
    -SM Librarian with Divination
    -3 x Stalkers
    -Skyshield Landing Pad
    Everything goes on the Skyshield for 4++ protection. Librarian casts Prescience on Stalkers, then they split fire at 2 Crimson Hunters (with Interceptor they can hit them before they even get to shoot back).
    *9 shots, fire at BS4 with re-rolls to Hit yields an average of 8 hits
    *8 x S7 hits versus AV10 yields an average of 4 HPs destroyed
    *Squadrons of 3 Stalker ignore cover saves, so Crimson Hunter get not protection from their formation special rule or Jink saves.
    *Net result = 2 dead Crimson Hunters before they even get on the battlefield (and likely the third one dead shortly thereafter, unless you can kill the Stalkers).
    This AA battle group comes in at signficantly lower cost than the Crimson Death formation. Also, the Stalker can also chip away at your Lynx (since it is a Skimmer with only AV11) before/after the Crimson Hunters come in and can, in a pinch, add volume of S7 fire against your Jetbikes (not the best, but 9 x S9 shots at two separate Bike squads hitting on 6+s with re-rolls is better than nothing).
    Importantly, with AV12/12/10 and a 4++, if all 80 of your scatter laser shots were fired at this unit, they would strip an average of 4-5 HPs... even if this reduces their threat to your Crimson Hunters, that's 80 shots that are not being fire at the remaining 1400 points worth of your opponent's army. That means that basically all you have left is the Pulsar shooting, which can do significant damage, but only to one unit per turn.

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  13. Hi Rudd. I agree that a dedicated anti-air unit like that would hurt the Crimson Death, but I am not really worried about it for a couple of reasons.

    The first is very simple: I would never expect to face such a unit in a competitive context. It may be cheaper than a Crimson Death, but what you propose is still a lot of points to spend on a very niche capability, especially when mass Flyers are still not common in the competitive game. It also requires a Combined Arms Detachment, and I see most Space Marine armies leaning more towards their new Formations instead.


    Secondly, this Eldar list is quite capable of killing those Stalkers before the Crimson Death arrives. A Lynx on Skyshield is unlikely to die first turn against non-D shooting (which Marines do not have), and in return it can D slap those Stalkers (and Librarian) off their own Skyshield very effectively. That Pulsar is firing two 5" blasts (at the same target) which is very effective against units clumped up on top of a Skyshield, and against squadroned vehicles. And if you don't kill them on your first turn, you -1 your Reserve rolls with your Autarch and buy more time to clear enemy air defence.

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  14. Welcome back to 40k, and to the blog! I'm glad you're enjoying it ;-)


    All three Falcons do have to shoot the same target, while three independent BS5 Serpents are a lot more flexible. The real benefit of the Falcons is the precision Deep Strike for Dragons; if you wanted gunships, then I would take a Dire Avenger Shrine with Serpents instead.

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