Monday, 11 August 2014

Stratagems- Astra Militarum 7th Edition Codex Overview

With a few more games of 7th under my belt, it is time for me to start working my way through the latest Astra Militarum codex. Hopefully I will get through all the units this time around (didn't expect 6th edition to last only 2 years). 

Generally I really like the new re-branded Astra Militarum book. OK, vendettas aren't quite as amazingly cheap as they used to be, but we got a few shiny new toys, and some excellent new orders. Here are a few bullet points of the pros and cons of the new book-

Pros
  • Order range for all voice of command orders is now 12". This makes it a little easier to keep you platoon command squad in order range.
  • We now have 3 extra orders, giving us 9 in total, 6 of which can be used by the platoon commander. 
  • Wyverns- These things are probably the most point efficient infantry killing machines in the game. Even against Marines they force so many saves that they will kill a decent amount of troops. 
  • Conscripts are 3 pts a model- A point reduction per model, and the ability to make them fearless with priests makes these guys the ultimate blob. 
  • Leman Russ Tanks- Many of the Leman Russ tank variants got considerably cheaper, making them a lot more viable a choice. Many of the sponson options also got cheaper.
  • Command Tanks- Want an armour 14 warlord, you got it!
  • Armoured Sentinels- These guys got a massive point reduction. With the Vendetta no longer an auto take, we now have some spare fast attack slots too (not that this is that much of a restriction these days. :))
  • New Toys- The re-branded storm trooper, ogryn/bullgryn and Taurox plastic kits all expand our plastic range, aswell as giving us some more in game flexibility. OK, Ogryns are still over costed, but its always nice to have a moving wall of 3+ cover saves. :)
  • Sniper rifles are very cheap
  • Ratlings are now able to run after they shoot.
  • Ministorum priests- these guys really make blobs scary, all for 25 points. 
  • Warlord traits- We generally have quite a good warlord trait table, which is a small but helpful bonus. 


Cons
  • Vendettas- As mentioned above the price for the vendetta has sky rocketed. It also has had its transport capacity slashed to 6 models. Well, we all new it couldn't last forever. :)
  • Manticores- Manticores have seen a price increase. They are still an effective weapon, but with the price drop of the Leman Russ and the Wyverns, they are fighting off some tough competition for the heavy support of choice. 
  • Hydras- They are now open topped and also suffer from a lack of interceptor allowing them to shoot ground targets at full BS.
  • Rough Riders- Its a Pro that they are still in the codex, but I wish they had been given a little bit of rules love. Maybe next time. :)
  • Unit Cull- Well we lost a few units: Penal troops, Sly Marbo, Artillery choices (Griffon, colossus, Medusa). Although most artillery choices are still available through Forge world. Marbo was brilliant, but I don't feel he has left a gaping hole. Personally I miss the penal troops, but with a bit of luck, we will see them return with a data-slate/formation. 
  • Chimeras- Took a points increase and now have lasgun arrays and 2 fire points, instead of 5 fire points. This reduces their effectiveness with veterans, but with objective secured they are still a viable choice. 

These are all the changes that have initially stood out to me. Next time, I will start looking into each choice and mechanic in more detail. 



Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Astra Militarum and 7th Edition- The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

With the Dawn of 7th Edition happening so soon after the release of the New Astra Militarum book, it has taken me a while to get my head around both books. Real life has been crazy, as is so often the case, and hobby time over the last few months really has got crushed. But it is looking up and hopefully I have a long summer of gaming ahead. :)

 I have spent this week doing a little bit of research into the new rulebook and tried to find out any handy or play changing rules.


So first up the Big (Obvious) Changes-

1. The Psykic Phase- So this is altogether probably the largest change from 6th to 7th edition. Surprisingly, I think it means that things like prescience will have a harder time being cast, without throwing a huge amount of dice (and points) at them. With a warp charge of 2, prescience requires 4 dice to get a 50% chance of going off. Most guard armies run 2 Primaris Psykers these days, but that means they only get 2 dice, with only D6 extra from the roll off. For me this means that reliance on Psykic powers has actually been lessened for the guard, as before the chances of casting 2 Prescience was quite high, but now you will have to throw down over half your dice to give you better odds for one casting.
However-
This Psykic system makes the Astropath a lot better as he no longer needs to rely on his leadership to cast. Getting extra Warp charge can be quite cheap for the guard, with Primaris Psykers being upgraded to a level 2 for only 25 points (only 5 more points than the old level 1 Primaris Psyker). And also with our awesome Imperial Battle-brothers, we can get inquisitors/rune priests/Tigirius with no downsides. :)


2. Battle Brothers are now like Martin Lawrence and Will Smith!- Bad Boys Ride Together and Die Together!

That's right Battle brothers can now share Transports. Ever wanted your Ogryns to ride in a Land Raider? OK, not exactly game winning, but I'm sure it would be fun! I see this ruling as an opportunity to bring Allied Independent characters fully into your Astra Militarum force.

3. In 6th Edition there was a roll to decide who chose to deploy first or second. Then the person who deployed first went first, unless the opponent stole the initiative. However it works slightly different now. Now the players roll off and the winner decides to deploy first or second. Then the opponent deploys. Then the person who deployed first decides whether to go first or second (although the opposition can still attempt to seize). Not a huge change, but still potentially very useful. If your enemy out deploys you defensively, they can now be wrong footed by giving them the first turn, a very flexible manoeuvre in objective based games, especially progressive objectives.

Roll Out!

4. You now need a roll a 7 to explode a vehicle on the damage chart. This means that whilst Autocannons are as effective a weapon at glancing vehicles to death, high strength, low AP weaponry could see a come back. Armour 14 is becoming common again. Time to dig out the meltas and lascannons, both of which the guard can field en mass and cheaply.

This change to the damage chart also increase the survivability of the already tough Leman Russ. With most of the variants being cheaper to field than ever, it is a double win for the Stalwart tank, just avoid those melta. :)

5. Non troops Scoring and Objective secured- This has been discussed at length HERE. Pretty Important, particularly for guard. this will definitely impact on the decision to blob up. Do you want MSU or Large survivable troop squads?!

Now for some of the smaller stuff...
At least I can still use these as scatter terrain.

6. Exploded vehicles no longer leave craters- Well I guess I wont be getting much use out of the above templates. :) Still I think this is actually quite a good move as it does not bog your troopers down in difficult terrain. It does leave them very exposed to enemy fire, but clever placement of vehicles should stop too much of a massacre.

7. Ramming- Previously a guard gun line had little utility for this rule, however, with vehicles on the increase again and the change to the ramming rules, it has become a rather good defensive strategy. The distance travelled by the vehicle is no longer taken into account, so a Leman Russ is not penalised for being slow. Give the Leman Russ a Dozer Blade (a worthy upgrade for a mere 5 points) and all of a sudden you have a very powerful ramming vehicle. Lets do the Maths- Starting with a basic strength 7 for a ram (half the armour value, rounding up), then adding 1 for being a tanks, and then adds a further 2 for being a heavy tank. A Dozer blade then adds a further one to that, bringing the strength to 11 (please correct me if I'm wrong, but I cant find anywhere that says it cant go above 10, as I would usually assume with strength).

The Dozer blade is one of my favourite vehicle upgrades, especially as it has a dual use for added protection moving through dangerous ground. Also very handy for giving chimeras that extra punch in a ram (strength 6+1 (for being a tank) +1 (for Dozer blade) gives a solid Strength 8 attack.

8. A small note, but worth keeping in mind, Walkers have the Hammer of Wrath special rule, just encase you want to throw your sentinels into combat. Always nice to have extra tactical options.

"Truce?!?"

9. Challenges- Challenges have never been that good for guard, except when we could feed nasty characters lowly sergeants, in a bid to keep the wound count down. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. On the flip side, we can now support a character locked in a dual with a single enemy model, provided there is no-one else to fight, so we can hopefully use our weight of numbers to drag down enemy characters that are attempting to Tar pit our blob squads.


I'm sure there is still lots of new little twists and turns that I have yet to touch upon, particularly the whole lord of war/ Combined Arms Detachment/ foramations/ dataslate thing, but still have a lot to learn. Looking forward to getting a bit of a game in this week.

Please, if there is anything I've missed or got wrong please let me know. I'm keen to learn as much about 7th as possible. Its a bit of a mine field, but it really is quite a positive edition in my own opinion.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Orks V Astra Militarum- Our first Game of 7th Edition

Tom and I finally managed to squeeze in our first 7th Edition game. I was just busting to try out my new wyverns and Pask, so I wrote a list built around these units. Tom played his highlander list from our 6th edition 1000 point tournaments. I will note that this was more about pushing toy soldiers around the board than an indepth study of 7th, but we had fun and picked up the general concepts of the new books.

We both left a lot of equipment in reserve. The mission was 'The Emperors Will", so a draw was what we expected.

I deployed Pask's punisher in the centre of my lines and left the Wyverns deep in my central deployment zone. Toms lootas and lobbas held his backfield as the Nob Bikers and Warboss positioned themselves to gun themselves towards Pask.


Initial deployment- Pask and the Wyverns face off against Lootas, Lobbas and Nob Bikers with a Warboss.
 The Wyverns open up for the very first time, as Pask and the Executioner fire upon the rapidly closing Bikers. 
 The first of many blast templates descend on lootas
The now empty hill the lootas had occupied mere moments before. Wyverns are great. 

With the Nobz closing in, Pask fires on the Warboss, killing him with high velocity shells.
 The last remaining biker claims vengeance, taking out first pask, and later the executioner.
Meanwhile Ork and Guard reserves arrive.
 The Stormboyz swiftly wreak havoc on the Wyverns, destroying both. The explosions claim all but the Nob Zazgut's life. 
The Gretchin move in to support the lobbas, holding the Ork objective.
More guard infantry arrive as the dakkajet swoops in to eradicate the plasmagun veteran squad. 
The conscripts drag the remaining biker down, but arrive too late to save the stricken Executioner.


Whilst a clunky game to play, due to the lack of rules knowledge, it was fun never the less to get miniatures on the board. A draw was a fair representation of the battle, with both players suffering from rusty play styles. With the new Ork book due soon, I am sure I am in for some nasty challenges soon. 



Saturday, 31 May 2014

Telekinetic Psyker- Necromunda Wyrd Model

Well, I have been meaning to increase my Psyker count with the dawn of the new Astra Militarum book, and indeed 7th edition. Im looking forward to getting my first game of 7th under my belt. Hopefully next week, Tom (Unite all Action) will finally get the opportunity.


I have had this model lying around for a while. I am quite pleased with the result, although, I had experimented with the new technical colours to try and make the pipes and cables look oxidised. I think I need a little more practise with this technique. It looks good from a slight distance, however it hasn't translated well in the photographs.

Hoping to squeeze in more hobby time soon. :)

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Wyvern Stand in- Rocket Trucks Painted

I finally got around to finishing off the Rocket trucks. Quite a basic paint scheme, with just a little splash of colour. I plan to add some exhaust soot and slight weathering to these pieces, but for now I am looking forward to getting them tried out in battle. Hopefully get a good game in over the next week or so.




Here is a quick snap showing the Wyvern side by side with its Hydra brother. I think they sit quite well together. I may also build a recovery version of the rear truck compartment to mix and match with these vehicles. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

refitting the hydra trucks- Wyveryn stand in.

So with the release of the new Astra Militarum book, the hydras are now looking a little less effective. However the new wyveryns are brilliant. Although eventually i will be getting my grubby mits on the awesome new kit, i wanted a stop gap to allow me to field these artillery pieces. This is what i have so far...

I decided to go with a similar look to the russian rocket trucks- the BM-21 Grad. The only slight change i made was to encase a larger percentage of the tubes in the launch box. I added service hatches to the top and glued them into position, one angled for firing the other for transport.

With the riveting completed. I hope to get these painted up this evening. :)

Monday, 14 April 2014

Ultramarines on the Horizon! Test mini.

For a very long time now I have been threatening to paint up some ultramarines.I have always wanted to do a force based on the Tyrannic War on Macragge. Particularly I wanted to focus on the defence of the northern Polar region, where the first company died to a man before the 3rd company arrived. 

I again wanted this force to utilise NMM and hopefully allow me to explore some source lighting techniques and free hand work. Here is how my test miniature turned out: 
 So Far Im pleased with the progress. I haven't fully worked out what I want to do for the bases, but I have been drawing a lot of Inspiration from James Wappel's Fabulous base work, particularly the marble effect.
This Miniature has long been a favourite of mine, the pose and the facial detail really makes this miniature a joy to paint. Tale of Painters has some excellent tutorials on ultramarines, so a big thank  you to those guys for all their excellent articles. You can find them HERE!
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