Friday, April 11, 2014

Astra Militarum: New name, new book. A first look. Hey that rhymes!

Hey everyone, BeeCee here.

It's codex review time! Due to GW being based in the UK, all of us here at FTGT feel like we are getting away with something when the digital downloads start for the new books on Friday afternoon here in the U.S.
I think the dude on the cover kind of looks like a zombie.
This month we have a reboot of the Emperor's faithful, the nameless, faceless, die by the billions, Imperial Guard, err Astra Militarum.

The first thing that jumps out to me are the orders. The orders are broken out between regular orders and orders that can only be issued by senior officers. The regular orders include the ability to grant a unit split fire, get extra shots with their lasguns/hotshot lasguns, grants precision shot, the ability to shoot and then run, grants pinning to a unit and finally the ability to roll three dice and take the highest when running.

The ability to grant split fire is going to be a huge boon in this codex. Often times in list design we are forced to make decision to get the maximum benefit from a unit. Now you can fire that heavy weapon at a tank and still unleash a volley of flashlight lasgun fire in to another target. I am really excited for this one!

The senior orders get even better! You can grant the tank hunter/monster hunter rule with the 'Bring it Down!' senior order and the always fun Ignores Cover special rule with 'Fire on my Target'. The ability to grant ignores cover to any non-vehicle unit is pretty big and allows for some versatility to deal with almost any situation!

There is a new HQ, the Tank Commander. In order to take him you need to take a Leman russ squadron. He boosts the BS of your tank up to 4 and also has the ability to issue special tank commander orders to his Leman Russ tank squadron. included in the Tank Commander's orders are the ability to move flat out D6+6" even though Leman Russ's are heavy tanks. The Tank Commander can also fire at a different target than his unit. Finally the tanks in his unit have the ability to shoot and then pop smoke. Very cool!

Let's dig in to the army list. One of the cool things about the new codex is the ability to take the specialist HQ models without taking up a force organization slot. Examples include Enginseers, Priests, and Primaris Psykers.  Along with a new codex some point cost changes. Here are some of the more notable changes that jumped out at me right away. 

As expected a multitude of units got cheaper. The biggest winners that I immediately saw were the Leman Russ variants. One of my favorite infantry murdering tanks, the Leman Russ Punisher, checks in 40 points cheaper than it previously was. That is a savings of almost another 10 man infantry squad!

The biggest loser in the codex, from a points increase standpoint, is the Vendetta. It was a hefty increase of 40 points and a reduction in its transport capacity. This is not unexpected, as I felt the Vendetta was definitely underpriced.

As most of us have seen, Storm Troopers got rebranded and are now called Scions and the new models look amazing. There is also the new transport, the Taurox. You can now take them in platoons so you can get up to three Scion squads with a single elites choice.

After just a first glance, I like the book. It doesn't reinvent the wheel even if it changes a bunch of names. The addition of a few new orders and points reductions alone can change how the Hammer of the Emperor plays on the table top. I know I will spend most of the weekend pondering army list ideas!

More to come!

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