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.

4 comments:

  1. As someone who's been too broke and too cautious to invest in 7th (and who was a wee bit confused and nonplussed by the AM codex) this post is super-super-useful: thanks, AJ!

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  2. I agree. My budget is a bit too tight to go buying all the new bells and whistles needed. At the moment, I am looking as some cheaper ways to field all the new hotness for the guard. Starting with some Eradicator turrets for my leman russ (In the style of a Rocket turret from WW2 Sherman or similar), I will be converting up to 7th rather than dropping a tonne of cash at it.

    I really like 7th, the guard codex was...ok. I was hoping for awesome ogryns, but whilst I think they have decent utility, I think they are still over priced. Compared to the support the Ork release recieved, I feel a bit let down with the Codex AM, but its not all bad. I quite like the Scion and taurox kit (although it should have been wheels!). The tank commander rules are brilliant, and its good to have the Leman russ back on form (demolisher is waay too pointy though!).

    I hope to look at each of the units like I tried to do for 6th (Ran out of time with that one. given the short time between editions).

    All in all I think AM will become a widely used ally codex on the competative scene, but guard stalwarts will always love it. :)

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  3. There is so much to get your head around with 7th. Maybe I just feel that way because the last edition only had 2 years of play under its belt. Still, all the small tweaks everywhere add up to a vastly different playing game.
    Cheers for the recap.
    Other things to keep in mind: Individual weapon types are fired separately, Units that have Gone to Ground cannot fire Overwatch, Sententials no longer pivot when shooting, Multiple Barrages and wound allocation is now from the centre of the first blast marker.... ohh so much stuff to re-learn!

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  4. (on the sentinels note- it means you can shoot at a target on your left while keeping your front facing the other threat! -handy)

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