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Thursday, 27 August 2015

Army List: Astra Militarum 1500 pts Semi-Competitive


Wow, it's been a while between posts! But a change of career, moving house, and the general lull in 40k-related internet activity of the last couple of months will do that. While I haven't had time to post recently, I've still managed to sneak in a few small games with my Astra Militarum, and I've signed up for a local store tournament this weekend. It's a 1500 pts event running modified Maelstrom missions, that is thankfully free of arbitrary list restrictions but comes with an expectation of moderate armies—I respect this expectation, so I've put together what I think is a suitably 'semi-competitive' Astra list.

Building Blocks

My Astra army is still very much a work-in-progress, so the primary limiting factor on my list construction is model availability—what I have assembled and painted (or at least semi-painted) will form the core of my list, and the rest of my list will be constrained by what models I can borrow for the event.

Here is an update on the models I have available right now:

  • 1x Officer
  • 1x Regimental Standard
  • 3x Sergeant
  • 18x Guardsmen with Lasgun
  • 6x Guardsmen with Meltagun
  • 6x Guardsmen with Plasma Gun
  • 3x Chimera
  • 1x Taurox
  • 1x Vulture (broken)
  • 2x Devil Dog (one missing turret)
  • 1x Leman Russ Executioner/Punisher (missing sponsons)
  • 1x Void Shield Generator
Those infantry allow me to build a Company Command Squad and three Veteran Squads, with two squads armed with Melta and two with Plasma—the only real configuration flexibility is in whether the Command Squad brings Melta or Plasma.

I have enough transports for my four infantry units, and a trio of tanks, but no artillery or flyers (the Vulture need a lot of repair work). I can potentially borrow a number of different vehicles from a friend, but I would prefer to use as many of my own models as possible.

Tournament Missions

This event is using Maelstrom of War missions, modified by awarding 3VP for each Objective controlled at the end of the game (like Eternal War). I am quite comfortable with this approach, since I have had great success with my high-mobility Astra army in many Maelstrom games—albeit in a non-competitive context. But I am confident that I can replicate this success in a semi-competitive environment.

The List

Here is what I could field with just my own models:
Combined Arms Detachment: Astra Militarum
HQ
Company Command Squad, Company Commander, three Veterans with Plasma Gun, Veteran with Regimental Standard, Chimera with Dozer Blade [190]
Troops
Veteran Squad, three Veterans with Plasma Gun, Chimera with Dozer Blade [175]
Veteran Squad, three Veterans with Meltagun, Chimera with Dozer Blade [160]
Veteran Squad, three Veterans with Meltagun, Taurox [140]
Fast Attack
Devil Dog with Multi-Melta and Dozer Blade [150]
Heavy Support
Leman Russ Executioner with Lascannon [165]
980 pts
With a touch over 500 pts to spare, I can bring four mechanised infantry units and two tanks to the table. These six units bring plenty of Plasma and Melta between them, so I'm happy I have coverage against (non-Invisible) elite infantry, Monsters, and armour. The Fire On My Target Order confers Ignores Cover which—combined with Plasma—gives me great coverage against bikes too.


The main gaps in this 1000 pts list are anti-air and assault; Astra have great options to address the former—Sabre Batteries, Vendettas, and Hydras to a lesser extent—but their vulnerability to assault can really only be covered using Fearless Conscripts, mega-Platoons or allies. I can borrow a Vendetta, so first I'll drop that into my list, bringing my total cost up to 1150 pts and leaving 350 pts to spare.


At this point I could try to repair my Vulture or build a turret for my second Devil Dog—but with my hobby time so scarce, I really won't have the opportunity to do so prior to the event. And while I could easily fill another 100 pts just by adding my Void Shield Generator, that is an inclusion likely to make the weak players cry "OP" (protip: if you can't drop 3HP of AV12 then the problem is you, not your opponent). So I'll just have to borrow more models to fill out my remaining points.


I think that the easiest way I could blow 350+ pts without borrowing too many models is to add a Knight—and that would also nicely cover my assault weakness, and give me another highly-mobile unit for Maelstrom missions. Ideally I would take an all-rounder Knight Warden, but a Knight Errant would suit my list too.


Of course, the addition of a Knight would put me 20-25 pts over the 1500 pts limit, so I'll have to cut something from my list. As much as I would prefer to use my own models, I think the best option is to borrow a cheaper Leman Russ variant to use in place of my own Executioner—an Exterminator with Lascannon costs 25 pts less and lets me neatly drop in a Knight Warden to round out my 1500 pts list:
Combined Arms Detachment: Astra Militarum
HQ
Company Command Squad, Company Commander, three Veterans with Plasma Gun, Veteran with Regimental Standard, Chimera with Dozer Blade [190]
Troops
Veteran Squad, three Veterans with Plasma Gun, Chimera with Dozer Blade [175]
Veteran Squad, three Veterans with Meltagun, Chimera with Dozer Blade [160]
Veteran Squad, three Veterans with Meltagun, Taurox [140]
Fast Attack
Devil Dog with Multi-Melta and Dozer Blade [150]
Vendetta Gunship [170]
Heavy Support
Leman Russ Exterminator with Lascannon [140]
Oathsworn Detachment: Imperial Knights
Lord of War
Knight Warden [375]
1500 pts
Four mech-infantry units, two tanks, a flyer and a Knight—a well-balanced combined arms force for 1500 pts.

Conclusion

I am happy that this list has both the mobility to succeed in Maelstrom missions and the balance to cover all the threats I would expect to face in a 1500 pts semi-competitive event. My only concern is that weak players and cry babies will throw tantrums over the Knight; while any competent 40k player would rightly judge this Astra list as moderate in power, the sad reality is that a lot of players are somewhat less-than-competent and tend to cry about all their perceived imbalances in the game—and of course, everything that beats an incompetently played, poorly designed lists is obviously "OP".

We'll see how this goes on the weekend. Hopefully I'll have some good games against decent players, and a few wins would be nice too. Stand by for the batreps!

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