Saturday, 30 December 2017


So the year has come to an end and we have seen all kinds of things in many different tournament settings.  I have done a little digging around and have found 20 different tournaments over the last year and I have looked at the winning list.  There are some serious similarities that lie in many of the lists, some of which are issues that we will not see again due to rules changes.  Now I will not go over the tournaments, the mission pack that was used, or even the specific lists used to win.  No, what I am going to be focusing on is trends.  What mechanic made the lists strong, and what the list exploited to make it even stronger.  Make no mistake, there were some serious exploitation.

Lets start with an easy one to talk about, something that we actually don't have to worry about as much any more.  That would be fliers.
No, not them...well, maybe them too.
In the earlier tournaments the winning lists were dominated by Stormravens.  Now it's not really hard to see why, the amount of guns it can take and the firepower it can dish out is astonishing.  Not to mention that they are also harder to hit, have 2 movement modes, and can carry and keep safe other units.  Several of the armies had over half their points dedicated to fliers and all of them were Astartes in nature.

As I said, that is not something we really have to worry about any more as the "Boots on the Ground" rule has made it so that fliers cannot hold objectives.

Our next common thread, found in nearly half of the lists, is Celestine.

So this is not exactly a theme, its not like a bunch of lists had other characters or units that operated just like her, 8 of the 20 lists actually had her in them.  Of course why the fuck would you not take her.  For 250 points you get 11 wounds, 12 attacks, a 2+/4++, with the ability to (essentially) regenerate 2 wounds per turn, and once she dies comes back to life and it all happens again.  Now Chapter approved did increase her point cost by 50 points, but it decreased the cost of the Geminae by 25 each.  I did not see a list in which she showed up alone, so the cost of the unit did not actually change at all and she would still be a solid choice at a higher points cost.
How do you deal with her?  Well I have seen her die twice in the same game to an Alpha Legion Lord on a Juggernaught with the Hydra Blade.  So a shit load of multi wound attacks, twice.  Not much help I'm afraid but she is scary as hell.

On to an actual theme that you will encounter in your upcoming games.  Re-rolls.  Half of the lists that used actual shooting as it's main focus for damage uses re-rolls to great effect.  3 of them feature Guilliman, who gives all the re-rolls, and while he is paired with a bunch of fliers in those particular lists, he can be teamed up with any huge firepower oriented army to great effect.  Yarrick shows up in a couple lists as Astra Militarum is really strong in the artillery game.  Chapter masters in general are another good choice for re-rolls, Shrike showing up once, and although Azreal doesn't show up in any of these lists I have no doubt that we will see him in the future.
It's not just these big important characters that are handing out all the re-rolls as there are several Astra Militarum lists that focus on Scions dropping in with plasma, they are accompanied by a Tempestor Prime who's handing out re-roll orders like they are Tic-Tacs so the suckers with the guns don't blow themselves up.
In most cases, there isn't really a way to stop the re-rolls from happening.  In the case of the normal characters like the Chaos Lord and Chapter Master you can potentially snipe them out, although that method is fairly unreliable.  You can rush them and get a charge off and hope to assassinate them but you will need to get past all kinds of bubble wrap and counter charge units and then you will still have to deal with the character himself, who in most cases is not going to be a pussy.

Sorry, but that's all I really got for you on that topic.  Best bet is to kill at the stuff that benefits from the re-rolling.

However, that topic did bring about 2 other top tactics found in first place lists, Alpha Strike and bubble wrap.

This is a very versatile theory that generally consists of things that can kill other things very well very quickly.  They don't have to be durable, mobile, or good at anything else because the premise is that there is nothing left once the alpha strike has struck.  There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle and they each perform a slightly different way of killing shit.
The fliers, mentioned above, can deploy at the very back edge of the table, in relative safety, and move long distances to show up where they need to be on the table and hit what ever needs to be hit.  However because they have a large footprint, and they do still need LOS to hit you, it is possible to hide from them and mitigate their landing spots.
Massed Taurox Primes also seem to be pretty popular, a vehicle that can put out an incredible amount of firepower for it's relatively low cost.  This is a potentially mobile vehicle, but because of the shooting penalty when it moves, it's much more effective when it stays still.  Again LOS issues plague this rather static firepower and if you can get close and force them to move then they loose their effectiveness.
Solving that LOS problem, several of the lists had artillery.  Big guns that don't need to see what it shoots at.  Mortars and Wyverns were the most popular as infantry can hide much easier than larger vehicles or monsters, but Manticores made a decent showing as well.
Another solution to getting around LOS blocking terrain is Scions with plasma guns.  They put out very potent damage and with them starting in "deep strike reserves" they are both safe and able to arrive nearly anywhere.

So how do we protect ourselves from these?  Abilities that increase the hit requirement help a lot and, as was mentioned, LOS blocking terrain.  Really any kind of terrain that can give you a boost to your armour is a huge boon.  Even mortars and Wyverns have a hard time punching through a decent armour save and if they can't hit you they can't hurt you.  However, you can't really hide from drop plasma, which bring us to another very common theme found in 2/3 of the lists...

Bubble wrap is a tricky thing to do just right, but the theory is simple.  Use cheap ass units as cannon fodder and protection.  How do these units protect you you ask?  By creating a bubble of "no drop zone, keeping those pesky scions on your front lawn instead of smashing in your back door.  The last tournament I played in I was able to use 3 units of 10 cultists to completely protect my back field preventing anyone from dropping anything behind me.  Keep in mind that you can actually have an 18" gap in between your units and enemy units can't drop in that space as it's 9" from each of your units.  The rule of 9" is not not fool proof because there are a few unlikely units that don't abide by the 9" rule like the Mawlock and a Warptimed Magnus/Mortarion so you will have to plan accordingly.
Another method is against an assault heavy army, you layer the large units of bubble wrap so that charging units have to kill one at a time, giving you time to fall back and shoot the crap only before they crash into the next line of chumps ready to die in droves.  Keep in mind that you need to keep at least enough distance between units so that the enemy cannot pile in or consolidate into the next layer of wrap.
There is another dirty trick that Alpha Legion Traitor Astartes can pull, kind of a reverse bubble wrap where instead of wrapping their own units in a layer of cultists, they can spend 2 CP and place a unit of cultists on the table before the first turn starts.  This mean that they can take a 40 man unit and completely surround your army preventing you from being able to move out of your deployment zone.
Conscripts are the most common, due to their super cheap cost and large numbers they are ideal, at least until the Chapter Approved adjusted their cost and unit size.  Time will tell whether or not they are still worth taking as they are now the same cost as a regular guardsman.  So the thought now is to take 2 units of 10 guardsmen instead of 1 unit of 20 conscripts.  However cultists and brimstone horrors are used in the few cultist units and the couple ork armies just use more orks.
Dealing with them is pretty straight forward, kill them.  Kill the fuck out of them.  They are typically pretty damn squishy so they should fall like wheat to a scythe.  Now you just need a scythe...

Our last common thread that shows up in half the armies is...

...and when they use Smite they go fucking hog wild on that shit.  The biggest offenders are the few Chaos lists which include Magnus, Horrors, and the Forge World Malefic Lord.  However the Imperial version includes a bunch of Astropaths and Primaris psykers, and we can't leave out the mass of Wierdboys the orks use.  The use of this "tactic" is fairly simple, place your models where they will do damage and have them Smite til they die.  Mortal wounds are becoming more and more prevalent in the game and are nearly guaranteed to hurt something.
So how do we stop them?  Well you can either have an ass load of your own psykers to counter some of the casting attempts AND smite them back.  You can also use bubble wrap units to eat the smites and take all the damage just as they are meant to do.  As a third option, you can use "chaff" units to draw the smite powers.  Those of you who played old school Warhammer Fantasy will understand the idea of this unit and it works similar to bubble wrap.  Since the psychic phase takes place before shooting, and because smite automatically targets the closest enemy unit, you can rush out a couple swift moving and cheap units that can take a couple smites before dying.  As a Traitor Astartes player I find that spawn work well for this, but anything that's fairly cheap and able to get out front of your other units and take the hits will work.  Even things that are not that cheap, but expendable when it comes to losing something else to the power of smite, a Necron destroyer, an Ork kopta, Space Marine attack bike, a crisis suit, all of these could be an acceptable sacrifice.
The biggest problem is that most of the things that cast smite are characters, so killing them is tricky as you can't target them unless they are the closest target.  Of course unless you have access to snipers.  Most people pooh-pooh sniper scouts and ratlings, but I have to say that if you can pick off a couple casters (who tend to be rather weak) over the course of a game then that makes them worth it.

Well, that's it in a nutshell.  Alpha strike, bubble wrap, smite, and re-rolls.  If you can find a way to deal with ALL of those while not taking all of them, (cause that's what your opponent it thinking) then you might stand a chance at winning a game or two.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

Now for the mandatory plugging...

So that escalation league they got going is up to 40 players.  Even if they get half the games each month that is pretty damn awesome.  This weekend they had a mega battle ice breaker event for the first month of the league and decent showing turned out.

He also sells stuff!  Comics, action figures, card games, pick a table top miniatures game he's got it, and loads of other geeky shit.  Check out the web page and Facebook page, I've got them both linked in the sponsor's section on my front page.  There are other leagues going on too, Magic the Gathering, Shadespire, Necromunda plus the monthly hobby seminars that always draw a crowd.  People that don't even play table top war-games find themselves in there with a free mini they can paint and take home, all supplies are supplied.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017


Emperor's Children VS Catachan
My local gaming store, and sponsor of this blog, is putting an escalation league.  Games start at 500 points and I got my opening game in last week against Karl.  I had never met Karl before, which is a big reason why I love playing in leagues/tournaments, the new people you meet.  And guess what, Karl is a really nice guy!

I was playing Traitor Astartes, and with such a small number of points my list was pretty small.  I wanted to try out bikes on a larger scale, so I had a unit of 5 with 2 meltaguns and a combi-melta on the champ.  I wanted to combo that with them shooting twice(spoiler, I never did) so I needed to take the Mark of Slaanesh.  I decided that I would just give it to everything so I might as well play Emperor's children.  My Lord had the Slaanesh elixir relic, giving him +1S and A, with a power axe, a combi-melta and the Warlord trait that gives him an extra attack.  To break that down he has 6A at 6S, hitting on 2's re-rolling 1's, -2AP, and with DthFE I'm getting extra attacks on hit rolls of 6 in combat.  I had a unit of 5 marines in a rhino and rounded out the Outrider detachment with 2 single units of spawn.  I was kind of slip flopping on what legion I wanted to use and had originally though about just taking a renegade chapter so I could advance the bikes and still charge.  I'm glad I didn't though because bikes are not really all that deadly in combat, it's their mobile fire base that makes them so dangerous.

Karl was trying something very new compared to his typical play style also.  He had a Vanguard detachment with 2 units of Vets with flamers in Chimeras with Harker and Strakken.  His idea was to rush me, jump out turn 2, burn me, and smash what was left.

We played one of the new missions in the Chapter Approved, Ascension, which was pretty well balanced and simple.  One objective in the middle of the table, and each player places one on the table for a total of 3.  At the end of your turn you score a point for each objective you hold.

Karl gets to deploy first, finishes first, and gets the first turn which he spent rushing his 2 Chimeras full of promethium spraying goodness straight up the middle.  He advanced so he didn't have anything else to do but sit on an objective.  Chaos - 0, IG - 1

I had lots to do.  My bikes moved up, my Lord jumps out and joins the bikes looking to take out the Chimera on my right.  My marines got out and moved over to the left a bit to start work on the Chimera on the left.  Both spawn moved up to hopefully get to his back objective...eventually.

The bikes and Lord managed to wreck their Chimera, they needed all the bolters and VotlW to pull it off, which is a little disheartening but they pulled it off.  They then failed the charge to wipe out the juicy bits that got out, losing a bike to overwatch.  The marines did nothing in the shooting phase, but managed to make their charge into the Chimera and deal a total of 2 wounds, which was actually done by the spawn.  Chaos - 2, IG - 1

Things went a little south for me as the Chimera drove it's ass out of there leaving behind the aforementioned flamey goodness of the Catachan jungle fighters and Strakken, who wiped out the Marines and spawn.  I made a bit of a mistake as I could have used my pile in move to get the spawn around to the front of the tank which may have been able to prevent it from leaving combat.  I did pile in the marines accordingly, which is how I got that one so close to the objective.  On the other side there was a little more trouble taking out the bikers as their 5T and 2W went a long way.  Chaos - 2, IG - 2

Before shooting
After shooting
Pile in

My second turn and things are not looking particularly great.  The right side is a meat grinder, with a bunch of guardsmen engaged with the bikes.  I decide to leave the bikers in combat since I probably have the edge with my higher T and S.  He does have a power fist in there, but he isn't doing much damage as he only hits on 5' least he doesn't this turn.  My left flank has completely fallen apart and it's up to the Lord to go and straighten shit out, and he does so in spectacular fashion jumping into the unit of guardsmen and cutting down 8 of them, then Karl pulls the power fist to Morale.  Things start looking up for me.  Chaos - 2, IG - 2

Karl is in a bit of trouble now and needs some magic to happen.  He charges his Chimera into the Lord, hoping to at least hold him in place so he can't go over and punch Strakken in the face.  I split my attacks and fail to kill the last guardsman but manage to take a couple wounds off the chimera.  The Bikes loose a man, they are down to 2, but they manage to chop up a couple more Rambos.  Chaos - 2, IG - 3

My turn see's some pretty cool shit happen.  His power fist, on the right side, manages to take out the last 2 bikes and the last 3 guys from that side of the table are finally free.  I put another couple wounds on the Chimera, bringing it down to 2, and finally kill the last vet, who happens to have a Vox Caster.  Well, if you happen to remember from my Astra Militarum review, there is a stratagem that costs 3CP and when the last model removed from a unit is one with a Vox caster you can roll a D6 for each unit within 3" of him.  On a 4+ he deals D3 mortal wounds to the unit, that's why he pulled the power fist off from the morale check if you were wondering, cause I was.  Well, he manages to hit both the Lord, taking off 2 wounds, and the Chimera, taking off it's final wounds.  It would have been amazing if the Chimera then blew up, but it didn't.

Turn 5 ends up being the last turn, and we are both down to our last legs.  I have my Lord and a Rhino left, and he has Strakken, Harker, and 2 guardsmen left.  Harker and the 2 guardsmen move to the right side hoping to get to the objective next turn, and Strakken takes some cover and lines up a supercharged plasma pistol shot at the Lord, who would have died had he not made his 4+ Sigil of Corruption invulnerable save.

I wrap up the game by charging Strakken with the Lord and dealing 7 wounds to him.

Poor Strakken
I charge my Rhino into both Harker and the Guardsmen which will prevent them from making it to the objective next turn as they needed to be able to advance to get there.  Chaos - 4, IG - 3.

This was a real nail biter of a game and it came right down to the end.  Thanks a lot for the super fun game Karl, I look forward to a re-match when our armies are a little bigger and there is more stuff to die.

After the game we chatted about a couple things, some changes he could make to his army, some ideas for mine, and how you can't rely on dice.  That last one I already knew.
With a big focus on flamers, he would have probably been better off swapping out one of the veteran squads for 2 squads of special weapons teams with 3 flamers each.  The only difference is their BS and flamers auto hit so taking 2 units that end up costing about the same with twice as many flamers is probably the better way to go.  We also discussed giving the vets actual special weapons to benefit from their 3+BS.  Yes those guns are more expensive on 3+BS models (at least they are in the AM book), but it makes up for the need to take multiples for similar damage output.

Bikes are pretty good.  They are among the fastest units in the game with a move of 14", and the chaos ones can auto advance 6" (not sure about others).  After that they can still shoot meltaguns or flamers, giving them a pretty huge threat range.  However I learned that they are really a mobile fire platform instead of a combat unit, unless of course they are definitely going to win the combat.  Against 10 guardsmen they need a little more punch to wade through the bodies so they can use their guns again.  Paired up with a combat Lord on a bike will keep them from getting bogged down.  I had considered taking Renegade Chapter traits to let them advance and assault, but changed my mind last minute as I was hoping to have them shoot more than they did.  I feel that maybe plasma might be better on them, with a larger range it will keep them out of combat more, but losing one to an overheat would hurt more.  I'm thinking I'll keep them with the meltaguns and keep a Lord nearby to help with getting bogged down.  My marines ate it hardcore, so I'm thinking I either need a bigger unit, or don't bother with them.  I'm trying to figure out if an equal number of points worth of Cultists would be better than the marines and rhino, which would be about 30 cultists.  I'm thinking the cultists would be the better choice.

Thanks for reading and hope you learned something.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017


Boy ooh boy is it ever essential.  There are a handful of things in here that are absolutely necessary in order to continue to play in any sort of competitive setting, even if that setting is of a more relaxed nature.
However, before we get into that I want to take a minute to get into the "Wayback" machine and have a real brief look at the last Chapter Approved, release in 2001.  Yes, I may be dating myself, but I had this book and played Warhammer when it was relevant.

The very first thing I want to point out for you is under the Miscellaneous Rules heading, there is an article named Crux Terminatus.  This is a full page article, written by Andy Chambers, discussing some of the fundamental issues with Terminators at that time, being that they only had a 2+ armour save.  Power weapons simply ignored armour saves, ork choppas turned any save better than 3+ in to a 4+, and AP2 was becoming more prevalent.  So basically from this point on they would gain a 5+ Invulnerable save.
Doesn't that kind of feel good?  Seeing that a company, that you have a solid investment in, show some sort of acknowledgement to their product not working as it should, and them making changes to rectify it.  There is also an article that adds Chaos Cultists to the Chaos Space Marines roster, and changes the Daemon Prince entry in the Codex.  There are so many fundamental changes in this book that it completely changes the game

Now, as they made the terrible joke several times that this was going to be an annual thing, they promptly fell flat on their face and the 2004 edition will be the last one we see until now.

Once again this book is full of new armies, rules, erratas, Q&As whether they be trial or official changes.  This is the spored place of the Feral Ork army list, the Kroot Mercenaries, and a set of Trial Assault Rules.  These trial rules clarified some things and made some changes to others, but were not official until the 4th edition of the rules were released.
As the years went by, several of the rules, FAQ's, and errata would remain the same as this was a compilation of all the changes before the internet was a widely accessible thing.  Many articles would be repeated with possibly slight revisions to the Q&A or errata section.

You may be asking yourself "Why is this old todderring fart taking about ancient times when this is the 21st century?  Get with the times grandpa."

Well, I mentioned the previous editions of the Chapter Approved because these were my keystones of comparison for what I am about dive into, and it will give you some insight into my thoughts and feelings.  Ugh, feelings...

I want to start my review by saying that this book is necessary, or at least a couple pages of it are necessary, to just about every player in the game.  Except for Blood Angels and Dark Angels players whose books came out shortly after this one.  This is not really an uplifting thought because only 2 or 3 pages will be necessary per player per army.  I will only need to reference about 2-3 pages in this book in order to play my Chaos Space Marines and Death Guard armies.  Not exactly a great return on investment.  If it was not for my love of missions and narrative play, I would not buy this book and just get the required rules in a less savoury way.

Thanks to my wonderful sponsor, I didn't have to buy the book at all!
As with most of my other posts, I try to keep the conversation to a somewhat competitive nature, so I will not be talking about the missions, except to say there over 1/4 of the book is dedicated to them.  From Planetstrike to Apocalypse, every play style got a boost in how you play the game.  The 2 big things that have added actual value to the game, and some of the codex less players are the new faction specific rules and the points adjustments.

In the errata department there is very little they actually changed.  They have a paragraph about targeting characters, understrength units, boots on the ground, and the limits of the re-roll stratagem.  Which can now no longer be used on anything "mission specific", this includes rolling for first turn, when the game ends, choosing deployment zones etc etc.  I assume that this would include rolling to seize the initiative which is something that several you tubers are missing as I still see re-rolls on seizing.  With the exception of the last item, none of these are all that surprising.  We all knew about them well in advance and no one likes the 5 Stormraven bullshit anyway.
There was one thing that I noticed that was introduced in a very different way.  Everyone has known that the Chapter Approved was going to introduce a +1 to your roll when rolling for first turn if you finished deploying first instead of automatically getting the first turn.  This is not a general rule that they implemented for matched play, but something they added to the 12 matched play missions that are in the Chapter Approved.

All right, all you guys without codexes now have a couple extra rules to throw around, so lets take a closer look at that.

Nuns with guns and boob armour.  I can't believe that is still a thing...
Adepta Sororitas get a kick-ass blade, the Blade of Admonition, a +2S, -3AP, and 3D.  It replaces a power sword, and I would say it's nearly as good as Celestine's blade.  Their warlord trait is very underwhelming though, re-rolling failed morale tests.  This is sort of pointless since you can take a Dialogus for the same results.  Plus, you may want to take a bunch of extra characters because when one dies, you can use a CP to activate the new Martyrdom stratagem that will let a unit in your army preform an act of faith at the end of the phase in which the character died.  Keep in mind each unit can only use an act of faith once per turn.  This look pretty good with a large brigade army fully loaded with heavy/special weapon toting Retributors/Dominions, tons of elite characters and tons of CPs.  Finally, their Shield of Faith just wasn't cutting it when it came to psychic power defence, so they got a stratagem that lets them deny a power on a 4+.

Soo angry
The Deathwatch warlord trait really depicts their hatred for big baddies, giving him a re-roll on failed wound rolls against vehicles and monsters which is not limited to any particular phase.  They also get a stratagem that deals D3 mortal wounds to  a vehicle within 1 of the watch master, on a 2+, at the start of the fight phase.  Their second stratagem gives them an extra attack on a hit roll of 6+ against vehicles that don't have Chaos, Imperium, or unaligned keywords.  This could make your Watch Master an absolute vehicle slayer.  Watch out killer kans.  Their relic is a fancy teleport that can move a unit from anywhere on the table to a spot wholly within 6" of the bearer, but still 9" away from enemy models.

Pointy poisoned pokers probing private places
The Drukhari find themselves with 3 new warlord traits.  Wych cults get 3 hits for each hit roll of 6+ in the fight phase which makes them absolutely deadly in combat with a fancy combat weapon, Haemonculus regain D3 wounds at the start of each turn, and the rest get to re-roll hit and wound rolls of 1 in the fight phase.  The stratagem they get is to put 1 unit (1CP), or 2 units (3CP), of infantry, bikes, or beasts, in reserve and "deep strike" in.  Pretty good for keeping certain units alive while getting close to assault, and great for peekaboo mass-blaster Trueborn units.  Their relic replaces a splinter pistol with a 2 shot pistol that wounds on a 2+, has -2AP, 2D, and gives a wound back to the wielder when it kills a model.  Not bad when wading through chumps and staying alive.

An extra arm?  Now I can play video games AND jerk off!
The warlord trait for the Genestealer cults is an interesting one, very flavourful though.  All infantry units within 6" of the Warlord can perform a heroic intervention.  This can really come in handy if you happen to get pulled out of position and get your warlord assaulted while there are still some nearby chumps.  They can fling their bodies into the fray and hopefully eat up some of the attacks that were intended for your warlord.  Return to the Shadows is pretty much like it was except it now costs a CP, and for another CP you can roll 2D6 when rolling for that Cult Ambush.  Then to top it all off, you can give an Iconward a fancy icon that gives friendly genestealer cult infantry within 6" +1S, which could work pretty well when combined with heroically intervening infantry.  All in all, a pretty good set up of abilities added to the cult's roster.

Cool guys don't look at explosions
The Harlequin warlord can re-roll all to hit rolls of 1, while they also get the webway stratagem that the Drukhari got.  They can also get a 3+ invulnerable save for 1CP on a unit that advanced that turn. Their relic is sort of garbage though, boosting their Ld by one while handing out a -1Ld penalty to enemies with in 6".  While the relic might be a little meh, the rest are a pretty welcome set of abilities.  Anything that can get these guys in your face is a scary prospect as they will absolutely tear you a new one once they hit your lines.  They are already really fast, being able to put 2 units in deep strike and get them right in your face with our having to buy transports for them will save you a couple hundred points.

Say hello to my little friend!
Well, I guess these guys are a faction too.  For a warlord trait, they can get an extra attack.  That's good I guess, but really Knights don't really hurt from being able to kill stuff so an extra attack is not really going to break the bank.  Their stratagem gives them a plus 1 to invulnerable saving throws for the phase.  If it was for the turn, or for all saving throws it would be better, but as a knight army already has limited command points, this doesn't do enough for knights.  As for their relic, they can re-roll hit rolls of 1 with their giant ass chain sword, which no one takes, and this with titanic feet a thing, this does not really do enough to make it a must.  Not that knights are much of a stand alone army anyway.

beep boop beep beep boop
The Necron warlord trait is a bit of a double edged sword.  On one hand, it reduces the damage that a weapon deals to him by 1, but on the other hand, no one is going to supercharge their plasma at you again.  I always liked watching enemy models die to their own weapons 01101000 01100001 01101000 01100001 (HAHA).  Both of the new stratagems cost 2CP, one lets you give reanimation protocol to a Canoptek unit, the other lets you re-roll ALL reanimation rolls of 1.  Those are pretty good, especially if you happen to have a handful of beaten up units.  Of course if that the case you're playing a moron, you need to target Necron units till they are dead.  No offence.  Lastly, their relic is the good old Veil of Darkness which lets you pick up your non-C'Tan character and a unit within 3" and "deep strike" them as per normal means, with the second unit fully within 6" of the character.  You can only do it once per game, but damn is that some serious sneaky shit right there.  A pretty good set of rules making them more mobile and even more durable.

Orks got a bit of love, their warlord trait give them +1S, which I believe will put them at S7, meaning S14 with a Klaw.  This is awesome for smashing down some of the bigger monsters and the majority of vehicles.  But in all honesty, you don't want a Klaw, you want Headwoppa's Killchoppa at +2S, -2AP, and d3D this thing is wrecking face.  It replaces a big choppa and in addition to it's souped up stats, it changes it's damage to D3 mortal wounds on a wound roll of 6+ and does not incur a -1 to hit rolls like the Klaw.  Now for the stratagems, and I love these.  First off, for a single command point you can "mob up" and join 2 units of infantry together, as long as they are chosen from the same data sheet and one unit has 10 or more models and the other has 10 or fewer.  These 2 restrictions are super smart keeping units simple and from getting to be 60 boys large then jumping them across the table.  The other stratagem is also 1CP and the infantry or biker unit of your choice can make an extra attack for each hit roll of 6+.  Now this one isn't going to break the game, but if you have a big unit that is going to pump out a shit ton of shots, it's worth using the 1CP.  Orks doing what Orks do best, roll buckets of dice.

Love that old artwork
Space wolves get the Emperor's Children treatment and their warlord can always go first in combat, unless there are other "firsters" in which case you take turns starting with the player whose turn it is.  At least you'll get to swing your cool sword that's +1S, -4AP, and 1D.  Yeah, 1 damage.  I sincerely feel that unless you deal mortal wounds or something, a relic needs to be a weapon that does multiple damage, you can re-roll failed wounds, so that helps I guess.  Back in the day Space Wolves had a rule called True Grit that let them use their bolters as an extra close combat weapon giving them an extra attack, now you can pay a CP and your bolter (and various other bolt type weapons) become pistol 2 for that phase.  That is pretty damn awesome, especially if you happened to get tar pitted in some cultists or orks.  For another CP you can set up an infantry unit in "outflank" and it can join the battle at the end of the movement phase holy within 6" of a table edge and more than 9" from the enemy.  Cunning but brutal... or is it brutal but cunning?  Space Wolf players hate it when I say that.

Coming in hot!
Tau get 2 warlord traits that are pretty good but seriously depend on how you build your whole army. You want static firepower, your warlord can re-roll all failed hit rolls as long as you have not moved this turn,  if you moved you lose it until the start of your next turn.  That's so that you can't use it during overwatch if you moved in your turn, cause you don't move during your opponent's turn, pretty smart GW.  The other allows you to advance and shoot as though you have not moved.  Staying away from that guy with the shiny sword is a good thing, being able to shoot while doing it is a great thing.  They only get a single stratagem, but if you hit with a marker light you can spend 1CP and it counts as D3+1 marker light hits.  Their relic is ok, giving the bearer a re-roll on a few specific rolls once per battle, but it also allows you to regain a CP on a 6+ each time any player uses a stratagem.  These items can be huge in a game as both players will likely use several stratagems throughout a game.  Getting back 1 or 2 CPs can make a big difference at the right time.

Walk like an Egyptian
So the Thousand sons get some goodies too, first being able to re-roll failed deny the witch tests.  That is a pretty good one with how prevalent smite spam is becoming.  Speaking of psychic powers, something they seem to be pretty good at, they get a new one.  Tzeench's firestorm has an 18" range and a casting cost of 7, roll 9 dice and the target suffers a mortal wound for each 6+ rolled.  Now, if you're worried about getting denied, just take the new relic.  If you roll any doubles, your enemy cannot deny that power.  Top off the psychic power bonanza with a 1CP stratagem that give the caster +2 to psychic tests if he is within 6" of 2 other Thousand Sons psykers.  There seems to be a theme here, but I just can't figure out what it might be...

Finally there are the points changes.  Things went up, things went down, I'm not going to go over everything but I will talk about a couple big changes and some particular ones that affect me personally.

First up, just about every Primaris unit got cheaper, Inceptors dropping by 20 points each.  Robute and Celestine each increased in points which everyone seems to be so proud of GW for, but both of these are a joke increase and let me explain.  While Celestine went from 150 to 200, her min-me's that follow her around dropped from 50 -25.  So a unit of the 3 did not change in points cost overall, and I have NEVER seen Celestine without the 2 sidekicks.  And Guilliman's increase of 25 points is completely negated more than twice over by taking a minimum sized unit of Inceptors.  Even a couple units of intercessors will make up the point increase.  With the amount of army boosting goodness that Guilliman does, combined with the fact that you can't target him unless he is the closest enemy, and his bitch'n ass sword, he should be closer to 425 and you would still see him all over the place.
While somewhat pointless, as it turns out, none of those changes are big surprises, but I am surprised that the Primaris Psyker in AM only increased to 38 points while the Malefic Lord is now 80 points.    They are fairly identical in their ability to spam Smite, and with the proper arrangements are not a danger if they die from perils, which is not as prevalent as you would believe.  I don't really see what makes up that 32 point difference.
Some of the big things like Tzeench's super chicken and the Tau supremacy suit doubled in points, but again, not really shocking.  These things were wiping out armies single handed.
Defilers dropped nearly 50 points, and a Helbrute's second fist now only costs 10 points.  Making both of these much more viable.  Vindicators also dropped in points to 125, and Deathshroud terminators to 35 points each.  I know that will make my buddy Donny happy to see.

I'm gonna to leave it here, have a look at the book.  It's definitely worth the investment if you love to run campaigns and have a variety of missions you would like to choose from without writing your own.  There is a ton of content in here, but I feel for the competitive player, it's mostly just the last couple pages you will be interested in.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

I already mentioned it above but I gotta plug dat sponsor!
Maxx Collectible is currently running one of those leagues that increases in points as it goes along.  ESCALATION!  That's what it's called!  Players are required to play games once a month in the shop and hand in the results.  There are also some bonus points to be earned for painting stuff and taking part in some of the hobby events that the shop hosts.
Most of you probably won't ever set foot in the shop but if, for some god forsaken reason, you find yourself in Winnipeg this winter...
God have mercy on your frozen ass! should just lay down and die.  It will only take 20 minutes or so.  But do that AFTER you stop in a say hi to Garth, owner of Maxx Collectibles.

Thursday, 23 November 2017


The Imperial fucking Guard!
This army has got to be one of my favourites, at least it's the one that is the most relatable.  The characters, while heroic, are portrayed as Joe Everyday, they have flaws, quirks, a history, and often times a sudden realisation they don't have a future.  The characters of the Imperial Guard are quite easily my favourites in the entire 40K universe from "Mad Eye" Larkin, to Commissar Ciaphas Cain.  The stories told of them are amazing, unbelievable, and inspiring and it is these stories that drive the average Joe Everyday guardsman to be more than he can be.
While I don't typically include named characters in my reviews, I would love to talk about a couple in an out of game sense starting with Nork Deddog.  Nork is an Ogryn bodyguard who takes his job VERY seriously.  He has no sense of personal aspiration, no opinions, no ideas, only orders.  Most of which are "Keep this guy alive."  One particular story really got to me, in which his charge was swallowed by a burrowed Mawlock.  Now while this particular commander happened to be a snivelling piece of human waste who caused the needless death of countless souls and spent his men's lives without a second thought, Nork grabbed the Mawlock by the jaws, ripped them open and proceeded to cut his way down the gullet of the beast to grab the commander and drag him out of the literal jaws of death.  The best part is when you actually look at the stats of Nork and a Mawlock, it is actually possible that he could kill it over a couple turns while surviving the ordeal.
The other character I wanted to mention is "Stonetooth" Harker, who has guts for brains.  This isn't to say that he is stupid, but if he has the choice to fight or think his way out of a situation, he reaches for his heavy bolter "Payback".  He is quoted in the codex as having said "Back home, I once fancied me a pair of Catachan Devil boots.  Killed me half a dozen of the great ugly critters but never found a single one that wore any!"  Sure this maybe sounds like ridiculous bravado as the Devils obviously don't wear boots, they are wild creatures of the jungles, but he seems to be just dense enough to think that maybe all those other pairs of boots other guys were wearing were found being worn by Catachan Devils, and not made from their hide.  Of course he is also the type of character who would tell that story to a poor gullible Munitorum staffer and laugh as he watches him try and convince the others of this "true" story.

Now in previous editions of the codex, they would use these characters to give the army character.  If you took Al'Rahem as the leader of a Tallarn army would grant the army special bonuses, giving the actual army theme and character on the table top.  This edition, they got rid of many many characters, but use the Regimental Doctrines in place of them to give the army a particular feel.
First up is Cadia, any unit that remains stationary in the movement phase can re-roll 1's to hit in the shooting phase.  If an infantry unit also receives the "Take Aim" order (more on orders later), they can re-roll all failed hit rolls.  This one is pretty good because we all know how powerful re-rolls are, Guilliman is one of the most popular characters in the game with all the re-rolls he gives.  Just the ability to re-roll ones is great for all those plasma guns you're gonna be taking.  The drawback is that once you start to rely on those re-rolls, you can get into trouble with that lack of mobility so make sure that there are mobile elements in your army to grab and contest objectives.
Now we have all see the models and the Catachan jungle fighters, in every depiction, look like they are smuggling a dozen melons under their shirts.  Muscles on top of muscles, which has never really translated to the table top until now.  All infantry unit get +1S, and if they are within 6" of a Catachan character they get +1Ld.  On top of that, vehicles that shoot a weapon with a random number of shots can re-roll one of the dice.  The extra strength is a pretty big deal, with the way combat works getting the charge off means you can use all that extra muscle before getting hit back.  Getting to re-roll the number of shots you get is REALLY good.  There is nothing worse than rolling a 1 on a heavy flamer or battle cannon when you really need that tank to get some work done. If I read it correctly, this is not limited to a single weapon per tank.  So that scouting Sentinel unit can really make good use of its scout move and not flub those heavy flamer attacks, or that Hellhound can recover a little from rolling a 1,3 for it's 2D6 hits.
The Valhallans are a special kind of crazy and will march headlong into a hail of gunfire unflinching of the carnage.  They halve the number of casualties(rounding up) they take when a morale check is failed.  Now you might already know the nerf to the Commissar, which I will talk about, but this rule really gives some use back to conscripts.  Vehicles that have damage tables use the characteristic level of double their remaining wounds.  So if your tank only has 4 wounds left, it uses the characteristics as if it had 8 wound left.  This is quite powerful as the main setback from the AM army is their rather average BS.
Vostroyan's have really fancy weapons, so they can add 6" to all of their Heavy and Rapid Fire weapons of 24" or more.  This one might seem good, more range is always a good thing right?  Except that unless you are playing against another static fire base army whose weapons have the same range as yours, this will not really benefit you at all.  Most of the good heavy weapons have a big enough range anyway to hit just about anywhere on the table, and with so many units being so much more mobile than they were before, that extra 6" is going to go to waste.  You could make a case of doing a double castle and splitting your army up in opposite corners, this will force combat armies to split their forces or commit to one side.  With this little extra range you could use it to support the other castle while otherwise being out of range, particularly with plasma guns.  I could also see taking a bunch of sniper squads in a Vanguard Detachment, giving them a little extra range to snipe out those army buffing characters.
Armageddon ripped a page out of the Death Guard book allowing them to "double tap" their rapid fire weapons at 18" instead of half the range.  Vehicles treat enemy weapons with an AP of -1 as 0 instead.  This is pretty good as there are quite a few weapons out there that are getting spammed that have an AP of -1.  Heavy flamers, auto cannons, and heavy bolters all losing that little extra punch will keep your Chimera's running that much longer.
The Tallarn doctrine keep with the idea of hit and run allowing Infantry to advance and shoot with non-heavy weapons and ignoring the penalty for advancing and firing assault weapons.  Vehicles ignore the penalty for moving and shooting heavy weapons which is huge, again due to their mediocre BS, because movement is almost as important as killing stuff.
The neatly ordered rank and file of the Mordian makes for a good defence against charging enemy units.  Gaining a +1Ld and +1 to hit while firing overwatch while in base contact with another model from the same unit.  Vehicles gain the +1 to hit for overwatch when within 3" of another vehicle with this doctrine.  This pairs well with a stratagem that allows vehicles to overwatch on a 5 or 6.  Meaning that a punisher cannon is hitting in overwatch just as often as it is in the shooting phase.
Last, but certainly not least, the Militarum Tempestus gain an extra shot when shooting at a target at half range or less when a hit roll of 6+ is rolled.  This does not specify that it only applies in the shooting phase, so it seems to work in overwatch as well.  It also doesn't specify that it only applies to infantry, so will apply to all those shots from the auto cannon Taurox.

Now there are quite a few units that don't have the Regiment key word such as Orgyn, Ratlings, and Commissars.  While these units will never benefit from the Doctrines of that detachment, they will also not prevent the other units in the detachment from gaining the Doctrine benefits.

Grinding advance is a new rule, and it's real good.  Basically, if your Leman Russ moves at half it's current speed (account for current damage level) or stays still it can shoot it's turret weapon TWICE.  It must shoot it at the same target, but still really good.  Oh, and turret weapons do not suffer the penalty for moving and shooting heavy weapons.  So yeah, shoot 2 times just cause.

You will notice that instead of the typical army buffs that most characters get, characters in the AM army have an ability called Voice of Command.  The Voice of Command ability is something that characters, with the Officer key word, have and it allows them to give an "order" to an infantry unit at the start of the shooting phase, and these typically last for the that phase.  The Officer must be within 6" of the unit receiving the order, and each unit may only be affected by one order per turn.  Now, there is a slightly complicated way to increase that range, if a unit within 3" of the Officer has a vox-caster, the Officer can issue an order to another unit up to 18" away if that unit also contains a vox-caster.  After having read through multiple rules multiple times, I have come to the conclusion that many of the battle reports may be doing the orders incorrectly.  Time and again I have seen people issue out all their orders at once then apply them through the shooting phase as they shoot with the ordered units.  However, if you look at characters that can issue 2 orders, it specifically states that you should resolve the first order before you move on to the second.  This gives me reason to believe that an order should be resolved before you move on to the next one.  This is actually a benefit to you because you get to see what the result is of your order before issuing the next one.

"So what are these orders you speak of?" you might be asking.  Well, lets take a look...

Take Aim gives a unit re-rolls of 1 to hit.
First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire changes all lasguns and hot-shot lasguns to Rapid Fire 2
Bring it Down gives a unit re-rolls of 1 to wound.
Forwards, for the Emperor allows a unit to shoot even if it advanced.
Get Back in the Fight allows a unit to shoot if it Fell Back.
Move Move Move allows a unit to move again instead of shooting, it must advance but it cannot charge.
Fix Bayonets makes a unit immediately fight as if it was the fight phase.

Those are the generic ones, and they are pretty good.  Take Aim and Bring it Down are probably the winners, but the others definitely have their uses.  A strong strategy used by assault armies is to get as many units in combat as possible, not necessarily to kill them, but to prevent them from shooting.  Not only do they charge multiple units, but they will use the holes opened up by dead models to consolidate into additional units tying them up as well.  In comes Get Back in the Fight, step back and open up, and make way for those Orgryn to charge in.
Got a Platoon commander with a power fist who really needs to get some work done or he is gonna get smoked?  Fix Bayonets will help with that.  We all know how deadly Berserkers are being able to attack twice, well for one turn that Platoon commander turns into a Berserker.
But we are not done with the order yet, because each Regiment has it's own unique order.

Cadians get a Tank Order, we will get a little more into those in a bit, but basically it's an Order that a Tank Commander can give to another tank.  It lets a Leman Russ re-roll the number of shots it makes with it's turret weapon if it has a random number of shots.  For example the battle cannon is D6 shots, you would get to re-roll the result if you wanted, both times if you're using grinding advance.

Catachans can re-roll the random number of hits from flamers and heavy flamers, plus those weapons ignore the bonus for cover.  This is great for a counter hitting unit.  Bury that unit deep in your lines so they can't get to it with all the pile in and consolidation moves then fall back with everything and have at 'er.  This works great with a command squad, 4 flamers and a heavy flamer.

Those crazy Russkie wannabes the Valhallans can shoot into combat, but not if they themselves are in combat.  If you roll a 1 to hit it hits a friendly unit, of your choice, within 1" of the target unit.  Funnily enough, this also works really well with a command squad loaded with flamers.

On the other hand, Vostroyans can fire their weapons when they are within 1" of enemy models.  Now since guardsman fall to a stiff breeze, you likely won't have much left in combat unless some funny pile in and consolidations moves happen.  Guess what?  Works good on a command squad full of flamers.  Combine this with Fix Bayonets and you can fight and shoot in the shooting phase, then fight again in the fight phase.

Ok, this one takes me back to some OLD school Ork speed freaks rules.  Armageddon units can shoot, then immediately embark on a vehicle as long as they are within 3" of it and did not disembark that same turn.  This one works with just about anything and is really pretty damn good.  As I have said, guardsmen are pussies, but if they can shoot you then jump into a vehicle, that not only takes them out of danger, it pulls their lines further away possibly negating a chance of a charge.

The Tallarn also get a tank order which allows a tank to move 6" before or after shooting.  This movement does not affect the grinding advance rule which is pretty huge.  It essentially negates the negative for the grinding advance allowing a tank to move up to 11" and still shoot it's turret weapon twice.  It can also be used to take a play out of the Tau playbook and pull the old jump-shoot-jump.
Yes, Kobe would play Tau.
Militarum Tempestus can re-roll all failed to wound rolls vs monsters and vehicles.  Pretty good with all those hot-shot lasguns and volley guns.  Add their extra shots form their Doctrine and you got a mess of AP-2 wounds coming your way.

Finally Mordians, oh man does this one have some real power in the right circumstance.  When firing rapid fire weapons, the ordered unit can shoot at characters even if they are not the closest unit.  Holy hell does that have some pop to it.  Characters now a days are basically just army buffs, just look at my Death Guard review.  They have a half a dozen elites characters that don't do much of anything but make units close to them better.  Scared of that Blight bombardment buffed by the Biologus Putrifier?  Or how bout all those re-rolled 1's on Disgusting Resilience from the Plague Surgeon?  Or that damn Daemon Prince who somehow manages to hide behind some cultists.  Now it's just 3 little words away from being able to level plasma gun death at them despite their wall of cannon fodder.  Say it with me..."Form Firing Squad!"

There, we have all those fancy rules and such, lets get into the units starting of course with the HQs.

The Company Commander is your bread and butter HQ.  Being able to give 2 orders per turn, he can sit amongst the central hub of your army and toss out buffs like candy.  Don't be surprised if you see multiples of these guys, 30 points is a good deal, and orders are a critical part of your army.  He isn't exactly a slouch in combat either (for a human) and a power fist is only 10 points.

The tank commander is pretty much the same thing, but in a Leman Russ tank.  He can also issue orders, but has a much smaller list of orders.  He can issue a tank to Move Move Move, Take Aim, and to shoot and pop it's smoke launchers.  There are also the couple regiment specific tank orders I mentioned above.  You can't give him a power fist though...probably for the best.  I'll go into more on the Leman Russ when it comes around in the heavy section.

The Lord Commissar, and every Commissar for that fact, have been the centre of a big controversy.  Their original rule, which made them and conscripts a must have, allowed unit within 6" to lot lose more than a single model if they failed a morale check.  Yeah, over the top good.  Now they simply give a mortal wound to the unit and that unit can re-roll it's morale check, and it now only works on the first failed check per Morale phase.  Still pretty good for your run of the mill unit, but not so great to a conscript unit who has lost 15 models.  That's not all he does though cause he also lends out his Ld to nearby units which is good cause 9 is better than 6.

Tempestor Prime is a really cool name, but he is basically the Stormtrooper version of the Commander.  He only gets one order, but he can take a magic wand that lets him give an second, but it costs him a weapon.

Last of the HQs is the Primaris Psyker.  No he is not a 10ft tall super space marine, he is Charles Xavier.  Maybe he isn't in a wheel/hover chair, or bald, but he is just a magic dude.  He can cast and deny one power, and with that, I suppose I'll run quickly through the powers.
Terrifying Visions (WC7) reduces the enemies Ld by 2.  Gaze of the Emperor (WC6) sends a beam 2D6", roll a D6 for each model that is touched by the beam and on a 4+ it's unit suffers a mortal wound.  Psychic Barrier (WC6) adds one to the units saving throw.  Nightshroud (WC6) gives an ally unit a -1 to hit when shooting at it.  Mental Fortitude (WC4) lets a unit auto pass morale checks.  Psychic Maelstrom (WC7) is interesting, pick an enemy unit and on a 2+ it suffers a mortal wound, then on a 3+ is suffers a mortal wound, then a 4+ and so on, you stop rolling once you fail to cause a mortal wound or the unit is destroyed, or you get to 7+ I guess.
So, some of those are pretty good, Psychic Barrier and Nightshroud are both really good defencive powers while Gaze of the Emperor and Maelstrom are pretty reliable for at least a couple mortal wounds.

Looking back at the choices we have, this army is a great candidate for the Supreme Command Detachment considering all the HQ choices are 50 points or under and you can get a LoW added in there.

Call them what you will, bubble wrap, speed bumps, cannon fodder, meat shield.  They basically serve the same purpose, protect your workhorses and maybe accomplish something themselves.  We are of course taking about the Troops choices.  Infantry squads and Conscripts are both equally good at protecting your flanks and backfield from deep strikers, and your front line from the charging Berserkers.  While Conscripts are simply meat for the grinder of war, the Infantry squad can get some work done with the availability of weapon upgrades and orders and such.  There is nothing fancy about them, there are no tricks to be pulled.  Issue them orders and hope they live.  Its your fault if they don't, and Stevens was just 2 weeks from retirement.  He has kids you know, and you threw him into that Carnifex like he was some sort of toy for your amusement.  You sick bastard!

The Scions of course are that premium bubble wrap.  Bigger tougher bubbles that are fewer in number, but are far more satisfying to pop.  These guys are meaner and will get loads more accomplished, on the first turn they arrive.  Then they will get torn apart like a restless homeless man's cardboard box on a rainy night.

The Astra Militarum Elites section is like the junk drawer of every house.  There is tons of shit in there, you don't know what most of it does, where you got it, or when you need it.  But there will come a time when you have a situation when you'll need a left handed hole punch that punches hole in the shape of a star, and on that day you will be glad you hung onto that thing.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on some of these guys, but it's the who's who of mediocre characters.  The Master of Ordinance brings his own one shot barrage, and gives the artillery tanks re-rolls of 1 to hit when they are within 6" of him and the target is more than 36" away, so not often.  The Platoon Commander is a dude who can issue one order.  The Ministorum Priest gives nearby infantry units +1A, great for putting him next to Catachan, Bullgryns, or Ogryns.  Tech-Priest Enginseers fix stuff.  Commissar stops dudes from running away, he's not bad but unless you're going for massed infantry and need that Ld boost spread out, a Lord Commissar is probably the way to go.  Officer of the Fleet can try to hand out mortal wounds once per game and helps fliers shoot at a thing.  Astropaths are psykers that can cast and deny one power, can only use 1D6 when casting Smite, and has an ability that removes the cover bonus from an enemy unit.  They are really pretty darn good for 15 points, you can almost take 3 for the price of a Primaris.  The last character is the Ogryn bodyguard, his main purpose is to stand within 3" of another character, and when that character loses a wound it can be ignored on a 3+ and the Ogryn will suffer a mortal wound.  I'm not really sure if this guys is worth taking unless you happen to be playing someone with a bunch of snipers or ways of picking out characters.  The fact that you can take almost 3 Platoon commanders for the cost of one body guard, you must have a very critical character you need to keep alive to take a bodyguard.

That was the characters in the Elites section, now for the units.
The Command squad can be kitted out with an load of special weapons, but probably more importantly, it can take a medic who restores wounds or 1W models on a 4+, a standard that gives a +1Ld buff to nearby units, and a Vox caster.  The medic is awesome for restoring that damn plasma gunner who killed himself earlier.  Now on page 132 there is a note that states that you can take one Command squad for each Officer of the same Regiment.  Thank goodness there are quite a few officers.  Now there are only 4 models in this unit but it's pretty good for a small little special weapon squad as each model can choose a special weapon.  I kind of like the idea of taking a few of them, giving them all sniper rifles, and let them hunt enemy characters.  Or you could take a single heavy weapon crew to make user of that 3+BS
The Militarum Tempestus have a version of this as well with all the same options plus the Scion fancy weapons.

The discount special weapon squad is the...special weapon squad.  A unit of 6 models and 3 of them can take special weapons.  I guess the other guys have to carry their ammo or something?  Dirt cheap, can take orders, perfect for flooding the field with plasma gun fire for next to no points.  And if the plasma gunners all kill themselves then the rest can pull speed bump duty.

Veterans are similar to the command squad except they have 10 models and only 3 of them can take special weapons.  They all have options of taking shotguns and 2 of them can form a heavy weapons team.  Mainly it's the 3+BS you're after.  Be aware that plasma guns for models with a BS of 3+, or better, are more expensive than models with a worse BS.

Crusaders are in this book too, although I'm not entirely sure why.  I guess to accompany the Priest, but they have long been part of the Ordo Hereticus.  They are here, and you can take them in units of 2-10.  They have power swords and storm shields, but are otherwise a Vet.Sarge.  They have some fancy abilities like Acts of Faith and re-rolling hits in their first round of combat.  I could see some use if you want a deterrent to getting assaulted.  Back them up with a Priest and they will be getting 3 attacks each.

Servitors...I just don't know.  I saw no use for them in the AdMech book, and they are even less useful in this one.  Everything else in this book can do everything better than servitors.  If they boosted the Tech-Priest's Master of Machines ability, they might have a use, but only barely because it would be better to just get another Tech-Priest.

Wyrdvane psykers...another unit I'm not sure about.  Perhaps I'm missing something, perhaps I'm naive or clueless or just not good at this game.  Lets break down their uselessness.  A unit costs 24 points, there is 3 models in the unit, they cast and deny powers on 1D6+1(if there are 3 in the unit), they have W1 each for a total of 3 wounds.  Compare this to an Astropath who is a character, so can be more easily protected, has W3, casts powers on 2D6 (except smite), has an ability that removes cover from an enemy unit, and costs 15 points, and is only a single model for transport reasons.  I just don't see why you would take them over an Astropath or Primaris.

What can I say about Ogryn?  Well, they have always kind of sucked in the past, and not much has changed.  They are so close to being good.  They are kind of a combo shooting combat unit.  High rate of fire weapon, lots of attacks, high strength.  But their AP isn't great, and the range of their weapon is only 12".  If their gun was 24", or D2, it would make them worth their 30 points but they just don't do enough damage to offset their poor armour save.

Bullgryns on the other hand, are both dangerous and durable.  You won't often see them with a ranged weapon because their maul is S+2, AP-1, D2 and they have 4A when they charge.  Lots of damage potential and with their shields that add 2 to their save rolls(4+) or give a 4++, which you can mix and match.  Add to this cover, and/or Psychic Barrier and you can have a 3++ or a 2+save with 2 extra points to ignore AP.  This makes them a very durable unit that is very scary if you want to get up close and personal.

So I have noticed that Warhammer 40K is slowly becoming more hero-centric.  Adding new characters that buff units making them, sometimes, the lynch pin of an army.  This is where Ratlings come in.  35 points for 5 sniper rifles that can be placed ANYWHERE on the table more than 18" from the enemy.  They can target characters, hit on a 3+, and cause mortal wounds on 6+ to wound.  This is a great and inexpensive way to force saves on a key character and force your opponent to react to your actions.  Anytime you can do that you are one step closer to winning.

The first of the quick moving units are the Hellhound/Devil Dog/Bane Wolf combo tank.  It really doesn't need the 3 names, it just takes different guns, each of which are designed to kill a specific thing.  The Chem cannon is designed to kill monsters, D6 shots that auto-hit, wounding non-vehicles on 2+, AP-3.  The Inferno cannon is for crowd control with 2D6 shots that auto-hit, S6 AP-1.  The Melta cannon, well we know what this is for.  D3 shots, that are assault so it can move and shoot without penalty, and the rest of the typical Melta rules with 24" range.  It also comes with a heavy bolter, but there is no reason why you would not upgrade it to a heavy flamer.  You will be moving quickly with this thing so the auto-hits are nearly a must.  These are great at filling any kind of weakness that your army has.  Not enough anti tank, Melta cannon.  Not enough infantry killing, Inferno cannon.  Having trouble with tough nuts, Chem cannon.  It's the Swiss army knife, and with a movement of 12" and most of it's weapons being auto-hit or assault, it's 4+ to hit is not that big of a detriment.

The biggest problem with sentinels are that they are supposed to be a swift moving scouting unit, but all of it's weapons are heavy weapons.  They should have either made a weapon specifically for it, or given it the option of taking multiple infantry sized weapons to make user of it's decent speed and scouting ability.    With that being said, the most valid option that I have seen being utilised is to take scout sentinels with heavy flamers, use their scout vehicle rule to move them up, then move again and flame the ever living shit out of something.  Of course this only works if you have the first turn and if your opponent deploys something close enough.  As a fast moving gun platform they kind of suck.

And that's all she wrote for fast units.  Kind of disappointing right?  I guess Sentinels do have a place, they are pretty damn cheap and you can take 3 of them if you want a battalion and the 9CP it brings with it.

Time for the big boys
Here we get to the meat of the army, the heavy support choices, and lets the heavy weapons squad out of the way.  It's a squad of 3 heavy weapons teams.  Done, I'm sure you can figure out how to use them.

The next set of tanks I'm going to quickly brush over because they all pretty much work the same way.  The Basilisk, Wyvern, Manticore, and Deathstrike are all T7 W11 tanks that you hide as best you can and bomb the shit out of the appropriate target, which is just about anything.  The Wyvern is really limited to weaker infantry, or at least targets with a poor save.  The Basilisk and Manticore both have similar weapons with similar purposes.  High S, decent AP, good damage, decent # of shots.  The Deathstrike is an oddball as it does a ton of damage, once, and there is a pretty good chance it will die before it can deliver it's payload.  All of them suffer from the same thing, a poor BS, which requires them of have some sort of assistance in order to make any difference in the game whether it's a stratagem or a Master of Ordinance.

The Hydra has found it's niche position as it's pretty damn effective at taking out targets with the Fly keyword.  Now you must not forget that that will apply to things like Landspeeders, Jump Pack units, Bloat Drones, Heldrakes, and Wave Serpents among others.  It gets a +1 to hit those units, and you can use other stratagems and rules to make them even more accurate.  A heavy 8 auto cannon with 72" range isn't anything to ignore either, it can do some real damage.  If you're opponent has some critical fly units, keep this guy safe cause he will be a threat.

Finally, the moment we have all been waiting for, the Leman Russ.  Much has changed since 7th, it's T8, W12, and a Sv3+, and all versions have the same stat line with the turret weapon, sponsons, and hull weapons are simply swapped out as needed.  While the Hellhound variants are the Swiss army knife, the Leman Russ is the multi-purpose trench tool.

So far I have been pretty numbers light in this post, and I usually love to throw around some math to show awesome or terrible something is, so lets do that as we take a closer look at what the Leman Russ can do.  For each comparison, I'll assume that the tank is making use of the Grinding advance and the Kill on Sight tank order that lets him re-roll 1's.  Remember, these are averages, using math, not actual results using dice.  The math has a hard time creating in game achievable results with random shots and random wounds when the BS is so low that, as an average, a fraction of a hit is the result.  So it is actually likely, in some cases, that you will either get better than the below results, or nothing.

This chart represents math happening

Loaded out with the Punisher cannon and 3 heavy bolters you can put 11 wounds on Marines, or 23 wounds to Guardsmen, 5 wounds to terminators/marines in cover, but 6 wounds on an average vehicle/monster.  So clearly, the perfect load out for taking out light armour infantry, but we knew that.  The punisher cannon itself does 5, 10, 3, and 3 wounds to the targets in the respective order above.  That 2+ save really hurts its effectiveness, so lets look at what we can do about that.
Moving over to some heavier guns, the Executioner plasma(supercharged), with plasma cannon(supercharged) sponsons, and a hull mounted lascannon will see 5 of just about any T4 or lower infantry off the table, but it will put 9 wounds on a monster/vehicle.  The executioner plasma killing 3 infantry but doing 5 damage to monsters/vehicles on it's own.  Yes, you will take a couple wounds over the course of the game, but as long as you keep those orders up it will totally be worth it.
Those are probably the 2 most effective load outs for their respective roles, but we can't leave it at that, so lets look at some of the other turret weapons versus marines, guardsmen, and T7 3+Sv monsters/vehicles.  The battle cannon will only kill 2-3 infantry while putting 4 wounds on a big target.  The Vanquisher cannon is worse killing only 1 infantry dude while doing 3 wounds to a big thing.  The Eradicator nova cannon, while sounding really cool, is really only as good as the battle cannon at killing infantry, edging it out by a little if the target is in cover, but suffers against bigger things obviously.
Now, those last few numbers look really bad, remember that all those turret weapons are shooting TWICE.  Well, that would be because of their terrible BS.  If you were to take the above weapons on a tank commander, you can just about increase every result by 33%.

Transports, there are 3 of them, and you will likely only see 2 of them.  The Chimera is a decent, durable, reliable tank that has a transport capacity of 12 and some mediocre options for weapons that can take care of light infantry at range or up close.  The Armageddon regiment has some neat tricks it can pull off with the use of these guys so you will see a handful there, and a few less in other lists.  They are great at adding mobility to your army while bringing along an additional unit that can help claim objectives.  You can throw in 2 special weapons units, or some vets with a character for that re-roll goodness.  Either way you got a hard shell full of soft chewy death centre.

The Taurox is not as durable, can't carry as many models, doesn't have smoke launchers, and has more weapon options.  It is a little faster, and the guns it have are a little better when it comes to ranged fire fights.  I see it more as a fast moving unit that skirts the edges of the battle field taking potshots, yet the penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons takes some of the wind out of it's two auto cannons.  A similar issue that the Sentinels have.

The Taurox Prime is another story all together.  Able to equip itself with a ridiculous about of weaponry and starting with a BS3+, it can put down a punishing amount of fire power for 145 points. Now this sounds like a lot of points of a transport, but we are not using it as a transport.  It can only be used as a transport for Tempestus and the like, and since they will likely be deep striking in you can start with them on the table and put the rest of your army in reserve.  This is a specific army play style that is very NOT Astra Militarum and feels very much like drop pod marines except everything is way more fragile.  I've seen a couple battles where this army has dropped in a completely decimated the opponent's army only to fold like a cheap hooker getting backhanded by her pimp.

Valkyries are basically flying Chimeras.  Mediocre everything but movement.  The Grav-chute insertion rule is pretty damn cool and, if it has to, it can go into hover mode and still maintain a movement of 20" while picking up a +1 to hit.  I don't see many of them making the cut but maybe a couple for dropping off suicide squads.   Since you still have to maintain that 9" buffer from the enemy its smarter just to take a Tempestus squad and save a shit load of points.

I am going to gloss over the Lords of War.  This post has gone on long enough and I still have stratagems, warlord traits, and relics to do yet.  Besides there are 8 of those damn big tanks, all of which were named using a random name generator limited to using Bane, Hammer, Sword, and Storm.  These things are like the Leman Russ but bigger.  They all have the same stat line and same sponson options, it's the main gun that really differs from tank to tank, and that some of them can transport models.  They also all come with the Steel Behemoth rule that allows them to shoot while within 1" of enemy models, fall back and still shoot and charge, and they ignore the penalty for moving and shooting heavy weapons.  It can only target units within an inch with it's heavy bolters or heavy flamers, so take a couple heavy flamers.  However you justify taking one, remember, they come with the same drawback that everything else in the army does and that's BS4, and you can't give these things orders so unless you have Yarrick or some magic dice, you can only rely on them for a 50% return on investment.

So, how do we outwit our opponents?  There are a couple goodies in here that I particularly like.
So, do you have a Command squad that you dropped in via Tempestus deep strike, or grav chute from a Valkrie?  Is it surrounded by the enemy?  Is it about to get assaulted by 4-5 characters so your opponent can laugh as he completely overkills your unit?  Get the last laugh as you call in Fire on my Position.  As the last model dies, use this stratagem for 3CP and roll a D6 for each enemy unit within 3" of the last model removed, on a 4+ that unit takes D3 mortal wounds.  Oh, the dying unit must also have a Vox caster.
Now I know that we never like to see our tanks get into combat, and except for the LoWs they have no combat prowess and even then they only hit on 5+.  But with a single CP your big ass tank can hit on a 2+ with those 9 S9 AP-2 DD3 attacks, and then it can still shoot.  With it's combat alone it will likely do 6 damage to a monster/vehicle.  Or if there happens to be that last cultist on an objective after you've already shot everything, change that chimera into him and hope for the best.
Aerial Spotter is perhaps overpriced at 2CP, but it lets a basilisk or wyvern re-roll all failed hit rolls.
Lost your Enginseer?  Maybe you didn't take one but are regretting it cause you really need to heal one point of damage so that Leman Russ can fire at it's full BS.  Just Jury Rig something up for a single CP and repair 1 wound.  You can't move charge or pile in, do you think you can handle that?
Consolidate squads, take 2 squads, and make them one squad, only 1CP.  This used to be a thing that was free and happened at the start of the game, but it got abused with 50 man units and a shit load of characters making a huge mob of unkillable unfun.  So we got this instead.  Still useful as you can use orders to essentially affect multiple units.  Remember, once you join them you can't split them up again.
Mobile command vehicle lets your characters issue order from within a chimera, and counts as being near a vox-caster.  This also used to be a free thing that Chimeras came with, but it's good to have that option if you need to move your commander quickly.  Only 1CP.
So you finish deploying you're army, all those units you're pretty used to going second by now, but you're opponent is still deploying.  A dozen characters, MSU, light vehicles up the wazoo, nothing in a transport.  Time for the Preliminary Bombardment.  Before the first battle round begins spend 2CP and roll a D6 for each enemy unit on the table causing a mortal wound on a 6.  You can only use this once per battle, but it could score you a couple mortal wounds on those ever present pesky buff characters.
Defencive gunners is pretty good for 1CP, pair it with the Mordian doctrine and your tank becomes just as good at overwatch as it is in the shooting phase.
Hey, do you guys remember going to ground?  Well for 1CP you can do that again with none of the drawback of being pinned.
So you may know, I am a Death Guard player at heart, and I love the grenade trick.  Grenadiers allows a unit to throw up to 10 grenades for shooting or overwatch, for 1CP.  I like when I roll a bunch of dice and my opponent thinks I'm rolling to hit, then I tell him that the number of shots I get.
Again, primarily as a chaos player, I'm not too fond of the Vengeance for Cadia, for 1CP a unit can re-roll all failed hit and wound rolls if the target has the Chaos keyword.
The Mordian specific stratagem gives an additional shot of every hit roll of a 6+.  Great when paired with first rank fire second rank fire.  Only 1CP
Cadian's have Overlapping Fire, which means when they inflict an unsaved wound on something, everything else can fire at that same target with +1 to their hit rolls for the rest of the shooting phase.  It's 2CP, but if you can get a wound on something with some mediocre firepower, you can unload all your bigger guns on the target with a bonus to hit.
For 2CP the Valhallan's can recycle an infantry unit previously destroyed.  No characters and no combined units.  This unit must set up wholly in your deployment zone, 6" from the table edge, and 9" from the enemy.  This DOES cost reinforcement points, which I'm not entirely sure I agree with.  You are already paying command points, which are not exactly flowing like champagne at Paris Hilton's birthday.

Vostroyan get a +1 added to hit rolls in the shooting phase.  Any unit, 1CP.  Easy, effective, simple.
Ok, we all remember Coteaz, right?  That Inquisitor that was in every army for 2 reason, he let you re-roll seize the initiative, AND if you deep struck near him the unit he was in could shoot at you.  Well, for 1CP that's what any Militarum Tempestus Infantry unit can do.  Show up within 12" and your unit may immediately shoot at them, with a -1 to their hit rolls.  That kinda sucks, especially if you want to use plasma.
The Tallarn take a page from the Alpha Legion and for 3CP can put up to 3 units in ambush.  At the end of any of you're turns you can deploy them 7" from any table edge and more than 9" from an enemy.  Now, if you take a unit of multiple tanks, that counts as a single unit, so that's pretty damn awesome.  I'm thinking a bunch of Hellhounds with some infantry backup.
Those tread heads in the Armageddon regiment can re-roll 1's to hit if they disembarked from a transport the previous movement phase.  Great if you need to jump forward out of range of your Commander.
Finally, those tricksy Catachan devils.  Rambo wannabes set up booby traps, when wholly within a piece of terrain, which cause units that successfully charge them to take D3 mortal wounds on a 4+.  Situational, but useful if you are charged by a character and can't overwatch, or combined with overwatch.

Lets open up that toolbox and take a look at the relics available to the Astra Militarum.  I'm not going to go over them all, because frankly some of them suck.
The Laurels of Command are not one of those.  When the wearer issues an order, roll a D6 and on a 4+ he can issue that same unit a second different order and this one does not count toward his limit of orders.  This works each time is issues a command.  Really powerful for combo-ing orders like First Rank Fire Second Rank Fire and Take Aim or Bring it Down for some serious damage.
I'm going to make mention of 2 swords, the Blade of Conquest and the Mamorph Tuskblade.  The latter being specific to Catachan, but both should really be used solely for Catachan with their bonuses to S and A with Straken around.  Both have S+2 and good AP and multiple D, so really pretty deadly in the hand of a Catachan character.
The Relic of Lost Cadia I'm not sure about.  It seems way too good to make sense.  So, basically you reveal this relic at the start of the turn, and for the rest of the turn you can re-roll 1's to hit and wound for units within 12" of the bearer.  This is not limited to the shooting phase and if the enemy unit is Chaos then it's re-rolling all failed hits and wounds.  It can only be taken by and affect Cadian units.  Now I know that seems really really good, but looking at Cadians, they already re-roll 1's if they stay still, so this only really helps there if they move.  The wounding re-rolls can also be done with orders, so a little less good again.  Really, this relic is best used if you don't have many Commanders in your army and have very few orders.
So, you dislike the nerf GW put on the Commissar.  Well, play Valhallans and take this fancy pistol that employs the same rule the commissar used to have, except any Valhallan character can take this.  Rejoice in your conscript meat shield once again.
You know what I hate, when my character dies to small arms fire, especially when IG players can spam sniper rifles and pick off your character from anywhere.  The Vostroyans have an answer of that.  It's their version of Artificer armour, it gives the wearer a 2+Sv and T4.

Holy god this feels like it's taking forever!  We are almost done, but we have the Warlord traits left.  I will be brief.
First, you essentially get a free re-roll once per battle, plus you can get back spent CPs on a 5+.  Next, pick an enemy unit, your units that are within 6" of your warlord can re-roll failed wound rolls on that unit.  Third, your warlord and one unit within 3" of him auto advance 6".  Units within 6" can re-roll failed morale checks.  Add 3" to aura abilities on his data sheet.  Last generic one is gain Voice of Command or give one additional order.
Cadians can affect an additional unit on a 4+ with the same type as the original unit (Infantry or Leman Russ).  Catachan can Heroic Intervention 6", plus on the first turn they are in combat they can re-roll failed hit rolls.  I like this one because of the combat prowess the Catachan have, they can benefit the most from this with the relic weapons, and with their +1Ld when within 6" of a character.  Valhallans get a 5+FNP.  Vostroyans re-roll failed hits and wounds in the fight phase.  Armageddon gets +1A and +1 to hit rolls in the fight phase.  Tallarn units within 6" can charge if they Fell Back.  Tempestus dudes can deny the witch once.  And Mordian's roll a die for each model that is lost in the morale phase, on a 4+ they are saved and don't run.

So, what are my overall thoughts?  I like this book.  It has some serious depth to it, even though the fast attack choices are seriously limited and I do not see Roughriders ANYWHERE!  I guess you can still take them from the Index...for now.  The real enemy of this army is trying to hit anything.  Being able to re-roll misses, increase your hit rolls, and increasing your fire output are all things that you will want to focus on.  Another thing to remember is that you will likely have quite a few bodies, DON'T GET BOTTLE NECKED.  Leave some room to fall back out of combat and manoeuvre your units to protect your important ones.  Remember, you only need 12"(18" for Armageddon) to rapid fire, you don't have to get right up close to them.  This will also spread out your force giving you some table control, but make sure you still have range for fire support on the flanks and to your objective grabbing units.
The Cadian's have some serious punch to them, being able to re-roll 1's if they stay still they can spend their orders on other things like FRFSRF and Bring it Down.  Add in the relic and warlord trait that adds extra orders and you can decrease the number of characters you need to take which adds points to take stuff that kills stuff.  They will shoot and shoot and shoot until you are dead, a
Catachan are actually pretty damn good in combat and in close.  Orders that re-roll the number of hits for flamers, re-rolling the number of hits from vehicles and random hit weapons, and extra attacks from Straken make them really strong inside of 8".  Even assaulting them can be dangerous with all the flamers they should have.  Hellhounds are absolutely deadly, and chimeras with heavy flamers full of vets with flamers and Straken will put the hurt on any kind of infantry unit just through sheer weight of dice you'll be throwing at them.
The Valhallans' can drown you in bodies with that relic pistol I mentioned and with Send in the Next Wave.  At that point it's ideally used for a unit of conscripts, they are cheap and plentiful.  And this would mainly be to fortify your back field after having run that unit right into the teeth of the enemy to clog up their front lines.  Plus you can shoot into combat keeping your firing options open, and your vehicles remain effective longer which is a godsend with BS4+.
The Vostroyans are a tricky one to figure out.  All of their weapons have a longer range, so you can deploy deeper giving you more time to shoot, but that likely puts you further away from objectives.  You can split your forces and have 2 "castles" forcing your opponent to either split his forces or choose which nut to crack, all the while his ranged weapons will be out of range to one of your groups while your whole army can focus fire.  Also, being able to fire while in combat is pretty good, and then you still get to make you're combat attacks.
Armageddon love to play tricks with their tanks.  Jumping out and shooting, or shooting then jumping in, either way you will want quite a few chimera on the table.  Plus they have increased range of the "double tap" and their vehicles are more durable.  All those things are good and play well for taking loads of infantry mounted up in vehicles.
The Tallarn are all about movement.  They take fewer penalties for moving and shooting, then can fall back and still charge, they can pop up on the back table edge with 3 units.  Being able to fall back and charge is deceivingly awesome.  You might think that because you are guard you don't want to begin combat at all, and you're probably right, but its still going to happen whether you like it or not.  Being able to back up, have the rest of your army shoot, then charge back in and fight first is really good, and you don't have to charge the unit you just fell back from allowing you to move your units away from a scary one and into a safer position.  Board control and fast movement are their strengths and I can seem them actually being effective in game terms.
I've talked about the Tempestus, deep striking death that dies too quickly.  I can see taking a couple units for some of that back line sniping of support units and to force your opponent to deploy to keep your guys from doing that.  The good thing is you can take a brigade of another Regiment, and still probably fit in a battalion of these guys giving you 15 command points and they can keep their doctrine.
So, if you want to secure home base from guys assaulting you, the Mordian's are where it's at.  They're no better at fighting than the average guardsmen, but they are almost as good at firing overwatch as they are shooting normally.

So there we have it.  I really appreciate you taking the time to read this whole thing.  It was a pained labour of love but I finally got through it.  As always feel free to leave a comment, and if there is something you want me to go into more depth on by all means let me know.  I'm thinking of doing a general tactics article showing a couple tricks that can be pulled by pretty much any army that can get you out of a tight spot.  If you think that might be something you would like to see let me know.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

As always, this post was brought to you by the number 3, 5, the words sacrificial deep strike, and...

853 Cavalier Dr, Winnipeg MB
Maxx Collectibles is a great store full of Warhammer goodness.  He also does other games like Malifaux and Infinity.  What are those you ask?  I have no idea, but people tell me that they are fun miniatures games.
Lately the big hit at the shop as been the painting seminars.  The last one looked like this

That there is the future gamers of the next generation.
Those paint seminars have become so popular that December will see 2 of them on the 9th and 30th.  Stop by and paint some of the things you got for Christmas!

Finally, The Brandon gaming league will be having their annual Gingerbread Apocalypse game Dec 9th.  Entry fees are small, and include one piece of terrain build from gingerbread.  Lists are limited to 2500 points with 1 Lord of War maxing out at 750 points.