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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, 8 May 2016

Army List: 1850 pts Four Faction Fast Firepower


In response to the new FAQ, and a reader request for the best multi-Faction list I could write for the current state of the game, I present Four Faction Fast Firepower.

Codex Cherry-Picking

40k has changed a lot over the years, but the holy trinity of firepower, mobility and resilience has always been the formula for powerful lists. In the current ruleset, bikes and Flying Monsters represent that ideal.

With the Detachments and Formations currently published, bikes are far easier to spam than Flying Monsters—and spamming is exactly what we need to do to maximise the benefits of the MSU strategy.

Even with the freedom to cherry-pick all our units from across the entire ruleset, the best bikes are clearly in only two Factions: Eldar Craftworlds and Dark Angels. So with those two Factions in mind, let's see what we can build.

Bikes

Everyone knows that Scatter Laser Windriders are powerful. Take them with Objective Secured and they are not only super fast and super shooty, but give you the tools to win all sorts of progressive and endgame Objective missions.

Combined Arms Detachment: Eldar Craftworlds
HQ
Autarch, Wings, Fusion Gun (95)
Troops
Windriders, 3x Scatter Laser (81)
Windriders, 3x Scatter Laser (81)
Windriders, 3x Scatter Laser (81)
Windriders, 3x Scatter Laser (81)
Windriders, 3x Scatter Laser (81)
Windriders, 3x Scatter Laser (81)

We'll start with the full six squads and pare them back if we run short of points. The Autarch is a nice cheap HQ that can Deep Strike and melta something, plus gives us Reserve manipulation in case we want to exploit that elsewhere in the army. And all this costs only 581 pts.

The Ravenwing are the cream of Space Marine bikes; all the firepower, mobility and resilience of their vanilla counteparts with the added benefits of Fearless, Scout and Hit and Run. And they can bring multiple Grav guns, which now kill absolutely everything in the game thanks to the new FAQ.

Ravenwing Strike Force
Librarian, ML2, Bike, Combi-Grav, Force Axe (120)
Ravenwing Bike Squad, 2x Grav Gun, Sergeant with Melta Bomb (110)
Ravenwing Bike Squad, 2x Grav Gun, Sergeant with Melta Bomb (110)
Ravenwing Bike Squad, 2x Grav Gun, Sergeant with Melta Bomb (110)
Ravenwing Bike Squad, 2x Grav Gun, Sergeant with Melta Bomb (110)

These four squads Scout into midfield and start messing shit up asap. The early pressure they apply helps keep the heat off the softer Windriders shooting from backfield.

Raven Guard Librarius Conclave
Librarian, ML2, Bike, Combi-Grav, Force Axe (120)
Librarian, ML2, Bike, Combi-Grav, Force Axe (120)
Librarian, ML2, Bike, Combi-Grav, Force Axe (120)

We drop in an extra three Librarians so each Ravenwing squad has an attached psyker and triple-Grav. Raven Guard Chapter Tactics gives three of our four squads Shrouded on the first turn, and increase the odds of first turn Night Fighting if you are expecting to get shot hard straight up. Force Staves might be better than Axes so you have an extra S6 guy in each squad given the new changes to grenade rules—but I'll default to the AP2 option for now.

With D6+8 Warp Charge per turn and four Telepathy psykers you have plenty of Psychic Shriek potential for ganking Invisible stuff, especially deathstars with stacked defences (if you missed the new FAQ, Psychic Shriek now hits automagically). Note that we don't want to use Empyric Channeling, we want three Librarians casting individually.

Moar Gunz

We could take even more bikes, but their ideal combination of firepower, mobility and resilience comes at a high per-model price—for our 1501 pts spent so far we have only 34 bikes.

Luckily for us, there is another model with similar firepower and mobility, and fair resilience, that comes at a much cheaper per-model price: the mighty Warp Spider. And to make things even better, we can take three squads of Warp Spiders in an Aspect Host Formation for zero tax and free +1BS as a bonus!

Aspect Host
Warp Spiders (105)
Warp Spiders (105)
Warp Spiders (105)

This takes us up to 1816 pts but increases our model count by about 50%, which is important for overall resilience and board control potential. Warp Spiders are also fantastic at ganking low-Initiative Monsters and Gargantuans, and complement all our Grav and Scatter Lasers quite nicely.

Countermeasures

With the last of our points we will buy an Inquisitor with three Servo-Skulls; for only 34 pts we get a hard counter against midfield being clogged up by Khorne Doggies or other hostile Scouts. Plus you can Deep Strike your Autarch and Spiders in with less scatter, for what that's worth. He just babysits a backfield Objective until he dies, or hides if Kill Points are a liability.

The Finished List

So let's put it all together:

Inquisition Detachment
Ordo Xenos Inquisitor, 3x Servo-Skull (34)

Raven Guard Librarius Conclave
Librarian, ML2, Bike, Combi-Grav, Force Axe (120)
Librarian, ML2, Bike, Combi-Grav, Force Axe (120)
Librarian, ML2, Bike, Combi-Grav, Force Axe (120)

Ravenwing Strike Force
Librarian, ML2, Bike, Combi-Grav, Force Axe (120)
Ravenwing Bike Squad, 2x Grav Gun, Sergeant has Melta Bomb (110)
Ravenwing Bike Squad, 2x Grav Gun, Sergeant has Melta Bomb (110)
Ravenwing Bike Squad, 2x Grav Gun, Sergeant has Melta Bomb (110)
Ravenwing Bike Squad, 2x Grav Gun, Sergeant has Melta Bomb (110)

Eldar Craftworlds Combined Arms Detachment
HQ
Autarch, Wings, Fusion Gun (95)
Troops
3x Windriders, 3x Scatter Laser (81)
3x Windriders, 3x Scatter Laser (81)
3x Windriders, 3x Scatter Laser (81)
3x Windriders, 3x Scatter Laser (81)
3x Windriders, 3x Scatter Laser (81)
3x Windriders, 3x Scatter Laser (81)

Aspect Host
Warp Spider Squad (105)
Warp Spider Squad (105)
Warp Spider Squad (105)

1850 pts

The strategy is pretty straightforward: four bike squads, six jetbike squads and three jet pack squads bounce around the table and shoot the crap out of everything until you either table your opponent or dash for Objectives.

Conclusion

The mix of Shriek, Grav, Scatter and Spiders deals with all the credible threats you will see on a modern 40k table. The multi-Faction mashup is more resilient than pure Eldar, and shootier than pure Marines. It doesn't have a strong assault unit, but you really don't need one if you play mobile MSU with any degree of skill.

So what do you think? Does this list have any fatal flaws? How would you fight against it?

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