Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Astra Militarum Codex Review: Part 2- Stratagems

Part 2 of my Astra Militarum codex review will look at the new Stratagems available for the army in 8th edition. 

Vortex Missile (3CP)- Allows you to re-roll failed to hit rolls for a Deathstrike missile and gives you +1 to hitting nearby units (so hitting them on a 3+). In addition, if a model is wounded, but not slain, it does a further D6 mortal wounds on a 6+. A pricey Stratagem, but really makes the most of your one-shot Deathstrike missile. May be worth it if you get to fire the missile early, but you are unlikely to have too many command points left as the game goes on, and may not be saving them for this.

Fire on my Position (3CP)- Used when the last model is slain from a unit with a vox-caster. Roll for each enemy unit within 3" of the last model, on a 4+ they suffer D3 mortal wounds. Decent enough, but quite expensive at 3CP. You are probably only going to be in range of a unit or two most of the time, so two 50% chances at mortal wounds for 3 command points seems a bit expensive to me.

Crush Them! (1CP)- A vehicle can charge even if it advances and hits on a 2+ in the fight phase. This is a really good stratagem for your Astra Militarum vehicles. On a Leman Russ, you will be getting three S7 attacks hitting on a 2+, which can be useful for taking out tough enemy units. This becomes an amazing stratagem on Superheavy vehicles. A Baneblade will be getting 9 attacks at S9, -2AP and D3 damage each, all hitting on a 2+ with this stratagem. This will be awesome on a superheavy, and a bargain at one command point.

Arial Spotter (2CP)- Allows you to re-roll failed hits for a Basilisk or Wyvern. Must be used at the start of the shooting phase, so no waiting to see how many attacks you roll on these tanks, but will be useful for giving you some extra hits from your artillery tanks. A bit pricey at 2CP, I feel, but could be very useful in the right situation.

Jury Rigging (1CP)- Heals a wound on a vehicle, but it cannot move, charge or pile in. Could be useful to bring you back up a tier in the damage table to cause a bit more damage for one of the tanks. I can see this being used every once in a while.

Consolidate Squads (1CP)- Allows you to combine two infantry squads in close proximity to form a single unit. This will be useful if you start to run out of orders or want to provide additional protection for special or heavy weapons in the squad. However, given how punishing morale can be for larger squads, this will have limited tactical utility. It occurs during the game, so won't even save you on deployment drops.

Imperial Commander's Armoury (1CP/3CP)- Allows you to take an extra relic for 1CP or two relics for 3CP. This is great, as the Guard have access to a couple of really useful Relics to help them out.

Officio Prefectus Command Tank (2CP)- Used at the start of the first battle round. A single Leman Russ of your choice gives each unit within 6" a Ld of 9. With the new changes to the Commissar rules, I think this stratagem is a lot more useful now, allowing you to pass morale tests more frequently and not lose members of your squad as easily.

Mobile Command Vehicle (1CP)- Allows an Officer to issue orders from inside a Chimera for a turn. This is quite nice for helping you to keep your HQ units safe in a vehicle and still be able to use the very useful orders. This will be useful for your warlord (assuming infantry) if they suffer a few wounds and you want to keep them safe to not give up Slay the Warlord.

Preliminary Bombardment (2CP)- Used after deployment, roll a D6 for each enemy unit. On a roll of a 6, the unit suffers a mortal wound. Can only be used once. Decent enough, but a lot for the chance of doing a single mortal wound. In some instances this may hit a lot of units, in others you may not do any damage at all. Ironically, might be useful against other Guard armies with lots of deployment drops or armies running multiple single models, such as Malefic Lord spam.

Inspired Tactics (1CP)- Allows an officer to issue an additional order. Very nice for one command point, allowing you to issue a vital order to another unit.

Defensive Gunners (1CP)- Used on a vehicle that is charged, makes their overwatch shots hit on a 5 or 6. This could be great on a Punisher Russ. Even more effective when combined with the Mordian Doctrine, allowing you to hit on a 4+ on overwatch.

Take Cover! (1CP)- You get +1 save for a unit targeted by the enemy in the enemy shooting phase. Could be very useful for trying to keep a unit alive that is holding an objective in cover. Getting a 3+ save on Guardsmen could be very effective!

Grenadiers (1CP)- Used in the shooting phase or in overwatch. Up to 10 models can fire a grenade (if armed with them). Could be useful on a unit armed with Krak grenades to take on an enemy vehicle. In overwatch, you are probably better off with the rapid fire Lasgun, for the consistent two shots each, rather than variable D3 each.

Fight to the Death (1CP)- Allow you to take a morale test on a D3 rather than a D6 for an infantry unit. Quite good for keeping a key unit alive for longer and don't have the command points to spare for automatically passing the test.

Go! Recon! (1CP)- Allows a unit of Scout Sentinels to move 2D6" in the shooting phase, but cannot shoot or charge. Could be useful for getting into position to grab an objective if you don't have any order left to use Move! Move! Move! or any infantry squads in range.

Vengeance for Cadia! (1CP)- Used when an infantry unit shoots or fires overwatch. You can re-roll all failed to hit and to wound rolls when targeting a Chaos unit. A very powerful stratagem for many units if you are fighting a Chaos army. I can see this being used a lot in those games to really boost your damage output.

Volley Fire (1CP)- Each time a chosen Mordian infantry unit fires, on a 6+ to hit, they may fire an additional shot with the same weapon. Would be very useful in large squads, such as conscripts or in a combined squad, giving you extra shots on occasion.

Overlapping Fields of Fire (2CP)- Use when a Cadian unit inflicts an unsaved wound on an enemy unit in the shooting phase. Other Cadian units firing at the same target gain +1 to hit. This is a really useful stratagem for concentrating fire on a single enemy target. This works on all Cadian units, so will really boost the firepower of your Tanks and heavy weapons. There is potential to use this for multiple of your units and will be great against big targets like enemy vehicles or superheavies. This also means that it will be impossible to lose models from overcharging Plasma Guns in most cases, as you will only ever roll a 2 to hit.

Send in the Next Wave! (2CP)- At the end of one of your movement phases, a single Valhallan Infantry unit that was destroyed earlier in the battle may be set up within 6" of your deployment zone and at least 9" from any enemy models. In matched play, you will need spare points in your army list in order to bring back a unit. This will be very powerful for bringing back a large squad or heavy weapons squad that has been slain in a previous turn.

Firstborn Pride (1CP)- Can be used on a Vostroyan unit, giving them +1 to hit until the end of the phase. This is a great bonus for any Vostroyan unit. It will be especially potent when combined with other abilities, such as sniper weapons to cause mortal wounds on a 5 or 6.

Superior Intelligence (1CP)- Allows a Militarum Tempestus unit to fire on an enemy unit that arrives from reserve within 12" at -1 to hit. I think this ability is becoming common in many of the new codices to give players some way to deal with reserve units. Just a pity it is only available to Militarum Tempestus units. They will be generally hitting on a 4+ with this Stratagem and should be able to cause a fair bit of damage with their Hot-shot lasguns.

Ambush (3CP)- Allows up to three Tallarn units (up to one vehicle unit) to be kept in reserve and deployed at the end of one of your movement phases within 7" of a board edge and at least 9" from enemy units. A nice reserves manipulation trick to put some potent firepower in your opponent's table edge. I can see this being popular with units such as the Hellhound, to get them close to enemy units to use their weaponry without having to go all the way across the battlefield. Could also be brutal for sending a big squad of conscripts to tie up an enemy gunline.

Armoured Fist (1CP)- Gives an Armageddon Infantry unit that disembarked from an Armageddon transport vehicle re-rolls of 1's to hit in the shooting phase. A nice stratagem to use if the unit is not in range to use Orders and you want some additional accuracy.

Vicious Traps (1CP)- When an enemy unit charges a Catachan unit that is wholly in cover, they suffer D3 mortal wounds on a 4+. This is a nice bonus for potentially taking out a few enemy chargers before they get to strike in combat. Pretty good for only one command point.

As you can see, some really useful Stratagems available to the Astra Militarum. I can see Take Cover! and Overlapping fields of fire to be very useful with my Guard army. If I ever take my Baneblade in games, Crush Them! will be awesome for devastating enemy squads in combat. 


  1. I don't have my codex to hand, but I'm pretty sure that the consolidate squads can only be used on actual infantry squads from the troop section and not on SWS or HWS.

    1. It can only be used on Infantry squad. I more meant protecting Heavy and Special weapons in an infantry squad with some ablative wounds, as opposed to Special and Heavy weapon squads.

  2. *reads in horror at the damage that would all do to my precious Thousand Sons*

    1. I've played Thousand Sons in 8th edition. They could do with taking some damage! ;)

  3. Firstborn Pride doesn't actually help with Sniper Rifles, since it boosts the to Hit roll, and they do Mortal Wounds on a 6 to Wound.

    Note that, unlike being in Cover, the Take Cover Order will boost Invul Saves as well as Armour Saves. Stacks with Psychic Barrier, too, for potential 2+ Sv Guardsmen.

    1. Gah, you are right of course! It seems so obvious when someone points it out.

      Yeah, an Infantry squad can get pretty damn durable with the right buffs activated.