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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, 6 September 2015

Battle Report: Astra Militarum vs. Astra Militarum



The second game of last weekend's tournament saw my Astra Militarum pitted against enemy Astra Militarum, Inquisition and Officio Assassinorum—not a filthy xenos in sight!

Mission

The second round was Tactical Escalation with Dawn of War deployment, and the tournament special rule of 3VP per Objective held at the end of game.

Army Lists

Here is a summarised version of my Astra Militarum and Imperial Knights army list:
Company Command Squad, Regimental Standard, 3x Plasma, Chimera
Veteran Squad, 3x Plasma, Chimera
Veteran Squad, 3x Melta, Chimera
Veteran Squad, 3x Melta, Taurox
Devil Dog, Multi-Melta
Vendetta
Exterminator, Lascannon
Knight Warden

Here is my opponent's Imperial army list:
Inquisitor with Servo-Skulls
Steel Host
Commander Vanquisher + Vanquisher
Battle Tank
Eradicator
Executioner
Hydra
Officio Assassinorum Strike Force
Callidus
Culexus
Eversor
Vindicare
That's literally an eleven-model-army! As interesting as the list concept was, it was pretty clear from the outset that dropping my Knight was going to be a real challenge for my opponent.

Deployment

Objectives and cover were fairly well spread across the table. I won the roll-off to deploy and go first.


I deployed my Knight left-of-centre supported by a melta squad and plasma squad. The rest of my forces anchored my right flank.


Yes, that's a Callidus Assassin infiltrated behind my Commander's Chimera. Sad face.


My opponent strung out his armour along his deployment zone; not what I would have done, since it wastes the Preferred Enemy advantage of the Steel Host Formation. The Inquisitor hid out-of-sight in a ruin, the Vindicare deployed up high with good line-of-sight, and the Culexus and Eversor both deployed out-of-sight in threatening positions.

My opponent proceeded to Seize the Initiative on his first attempt, not even needing the Callidus reroll...

Turn One

The Culexus advanced towards my right flank, and the rest of my opponent's army opened fire. The two Vanquishers and the Vindicare exploded my Commander's Chimera, and only the Company Commander emerged from the flames. The Callidus then blasted my poor old Warlord with her Neural Shredder, but failed to wound. I breathed a sigh of relief; my Commander had survived the onslaught, and would next turn hijack the nearest Chimera and speed away to safety.

Then the Executioner shot a couple of plasma bolts at said nearest Chimera, scattered wildly, and vaporised my Commander. Very sad face.


That Chimera promptly sped away from the Callidus Assassin, advancing on the nearest Objective (none of my opponent's models were Objective Secured).


At the other end of the table, my Knight and supporting units advanced towards the other half of my opponent's army. All available weapons blazed away at the Vindicare lurking in the ruins ahead, but the Assassin survived on his last wound.

I scored 1VP from an Objective.

Turn Two

The Callidus applied her -3 modifier to my Reserve roll and the Vendetta unsurprisingly stayed off-table.

My opponent moved to halt the Knight by swinging the Eradicator (with Lascannon and Multi-Meltas) into one of its side arcs and the pair of Vanquishers into the other—the Vindicare was still in its front arc, and the Eversor moved up as well.

My Knight positioned its Ion Shield against the Eradicator, and this prevented any damage from that tank. The Vanquishers whiffed all their rolls, but the Vindicare took a couple of HP off the titan with a well-placed turbo-penetrator shot. My opponent then declared a charge against my Knight with his Eversor; while the frenzied killer waited until the I1 step to place a melta-bomb, the Knight rolled a 6 on the Destroyer chart and splattered the Assassin over half the battlefield.

(This result was a surprise to my opponent—he had neither realised that the Knight's D weapon could bypass all the Eversor's defences, nor remembered that melta-bombs are Unwieldy)

The consolidate move got my Knight even closer to the enemy...

...and it pressed on towards the Tank Commander Squadron in my turn. The melta squad on my left flank disembarked to nuke the Eradicator, and the plasma squad stayed embarked to shoot at the wounded Vindicare.

A blaze of lasgun and plasma fire finally slew the Vindicare, but three melta shots at point-blank range spectacularly failed to even dent the Eradicator. Oh dear.


The Knight easily made the short charge into the Tank Commander Squadron and shredded the non-Warlord tank.


The only thing of note to occur on the right flank this turn was the wrecking of the Hydra by my Exterminator, while the Callidus and Culexus continued to grind away at my Chimera's HP.

We both scored 1VP from our respective Objectives.

Turn Three

Things were looking really bad for my poor opponent at this point. While I believed that concentrated firepower from his four remaining tanks could still drop my Knight, I think he had already mentally conceded at this point.


The Eradicator took the opportunity of easy kills and blitzed the dismounted melta squad. The Vanquisher and Battle Tank shot ineffectually at my Knight—my opponent continued to roll terribly.

On the other side of the table, the Executioner finally wrecked my Chimera and the Culexus charged in to tie up the melta squad. In response, my Devil Dog finished off the Executioner—the plasma tank was responsible for the loss of two of its own three HP, an avoidable loss had my opponent positioned his tanks to take better advantage of Preferred Enemy.


My Vendetta flew on and shot the Eradicator, along with my plasma squad; however, the tough little bastard continued to survive unscathed. The Knight carved apart the Tank Commander.

We both scored another 1-2VP from our respective Tactical Objectives, but it looked like my opponent was in real danger of being tabled...

Turn Four

The Eradicator killed half the plasma squad that had dismounted to shoot it the previous turn. The Culexus ground his way through enough of the other plasma squad to break their morale and run them down.


But it was all too little, too late, as my Vendetta, Taurox and surviving plasma squad kept chipping away at the HP of the Eradicator, whilst stealing the Objective out from beneath it thanks to Objective Secured.


The Knight loomed over the Inquisitor hiding in the backfield ruins, and pasted him with its Avenger Gatling Cannon. It went on to assault and destroy the Battle Tank.

We called the game at this point.

Conclusion

This game was a very difficult matchup for my opponent, since his Assassins were blunted against my mechanised infantry, and his Russes lacked the firepower to both demech my infantry and kill the Knight. Conversely, the Knight shined against an army completely helpless to stop it in melee.

From a list-building perspective, my opponent would have been much better off with either the Steel Host or Officio Assassinorum Strike Force supporting infantry, because the two specialised Formations together just did not provide a solid 'backbone' force. From a gameplay perspective, I don't think my opponent could have done much different to change the outcome; making better use of Preferred Enemy would have been good, as would have been using the Assassins to run around grabbing Objectives instead of fighting. But ultimately, some bad rolling cost him the chance to drop the Knight early, and then it was all over.

The best thing about this game was my opponent—he was a great player who I would happily play against again.

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