Saturday, April 12, 2014

Astra Militarum HQ's

Well you knew it wouldn't take long I imagine!

Some readers may know that I play 8 different armies well.  One of them has been Imperial Guard, although I had only recently taken them off the shelves after quite a hiatus.  Then I learn it was for nought.  A new book was scheduled!  Imagine my surprise...then trepidation...and finally giddiness at the ideas of digging my claws into a new puzzle.  These codex's are just that:  Puzzles.

So I took a look at the army.  There are some very interesting things you notice right away:

1.  HQ's?  Anyone seen the HQ's around here?

They slimmed HQ's way down.  This is not tragic and is certainly addition by subtraction.  Most of the IG characters were simply not worthwhile.  They saved their breathe in this book and just said "okay fine, bad idea, and they're gone".  They kept the ones they should have as well.  So all in all a success, even though there probably IS someone out there willing to admire a win or two using the wonky extrasGW had thrown in previously.

Amongst those they left there are some serious winners.

Commissars giving orders?  That's big.  MANY players saw how good Creed was, or even just his lesser Company command version.  It was hard not to take one of the two when you could combine them with psykers like Coteaz (and you still can do so).  Commissar Yarrick now can give orders using the Voice of Command rule.  Now that the man himself, Commissar Yarrick can do it, it really changes his value upward and makes it far less black and white who to take as the commander.  Further pushing this to be true, Creed no longer automatically outflanks people nor can he give Furious Charge and fearless with his "For the Honor of Cadia" rule.  I was bummed by that but it gives Yarrick yet more chance to shine.  Creed does however have a good shot at the Warlord traits he wants because he gets to re-roll or even use two different charts.  But some of the old abilities he had are there on the chart and then some.  Yarrick can gain them too, just not as assuredly.  I find the battle for supremacy between their two methods of fighting interesting.

They also made Creed a character, which he wasn't before.  Mostly this helps.  He's been stripped down to three orders a turn which is unfortunate, but in practical terms he wasn't needing four orders a round as a matter of course anyways.  His trusty buddies Nork Deddog and also Jarran Kell can take the hits for him in combat and in shooting if needed, as always.  It's an interesting dynamic to see him as a character.  I had run into this non-character oddity a few times recently and am glad they resolved that.

Iron Hand Straken is still the ultimate ass beater he was before.  He can now smash attack and is one rough hombre.  The thing that stands out to me about him is that he is now essentially your "For the Honor of Cadia" piece.  He's a walking talking order, basically with a 6" bubble instead.  So having him is important if you want the army to be charging.  A fearless blob of infantry that furious charges is really and truly a fearsome sight to behold.  Iron Hand Straken gives you that ability.  He makes having two command squads look pretty wise.

Then the bizarre happens.  They include an actual Tank as a HQ.  How many IG players have been waiting for THAT?  Commander Pask is close to what he was before but only 30 points.  He gives your tank a super cool second firing profile it can use for the tank which has some nice synergies right before a charge is imminent.  The extra weapon profile among other things inflicts Blindness!  He's got a few rules to know and you gotta like having a whole squadron of tanks in order to take him (Must have at least 1-2 more tanks in his squadron to field him), but his ability is very cool.

A shocker to me was the Ministorum Priests being ported from the Adepta Sororitas codex.  They apparently are available and they are as awesome for guard as they are for Sisters (Zealots, anyone?).  They don't take up force org slots and so they are pretty low risk high return if you're going to get into a scrap with someone

Primaris Psykers are okay.  They are like before in most ways but lost the specialized powers they used to come with.  Still, big deal.  He went down 20 points if you take him base and he's really only involved to give you Prescience with a higher LD than WyrcVane Psykers can, so  hey, works out well if you had been using him in the past.

So right now my mind is thinking that Straken...for a ton of reasons...and then Creed would be my command choices.

So here's where I'm at personally with my list thus far:

170  Manticore
70  Hydra
70  Hydra

70 PCS (4 Meltas)
70 PCS (4 Meltas)
310 30 Man Blob (3 LasCannons, 3 Greenade Launchers, 3 Poweraxe+Pistol, Commissar w Power Axe+Pistol)
345 40 Man Blob (4 LasCannons, 4 Greenade Launchers, 3 Poweraxe+Pistol)

100  Inquisitor Coteaz
140  Creed Command Squad
65  Chimera
195  Straken Command Squad
170  Vendetta
170  Vendetta

I had Battle PsykerSquads with the rest of those points before but now that they are merely prescience generators for lack of a better way to say it (and I havent had time to explore the alternatives yet), we're kind of free to change that portion of the list up.  Attacking morale was a strong play for the Imperial Guard and now the Astra Militarium must do it through the old fashioned way:  unrelenting force.

Option 1 is to say screw it and take a unit of Wyrdvane Psykers as they are now called anyways.  They're adaptable for a lot of tasks using Pyromancy, Divination, Biomancy and Telekinesis.  Being only Level 1, they are not allowed some of the juicer selections.  But the chance for more prescience in the force isn't a wasted idea.  Keeps allies away from the list as well and that may be its highest and most redeeming quality.

60  5 WyrdVane Psykers

..and voila!  Two units that can twin link my other units who need it (when you count Coteaz).  The synergies possible with IG orders and Psykers are pretty good.

Now this just confirms that I CAN rebuild my current list using the models I already have (save the Hydras, which I planned on getting anyways) and feel competitive.

But should I field it the same way?

Though I feel I would be happy with this mix of units, there could definitely be additional opportunities we are missing.

I will start a second blog to explore more here, especially the new IG toys.  But the lesson here I think is that people can pretty easily still use the accepted IG formula and toys they own almost.  It's still working.