Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Astra Militarum Codex Review: Part 3- Relics and Psykana Discipline

Part 3 of my Astra Militarum Codex Review will focus on the new Relics and Psykana Discipline psychic powers that are available for the army. 

Heirlooms of Conquest
As with all Relics, if your army is battle forged, one of your Characters may take one for free (only replacing an existing weapon type you may have to purchase). 

The Emperor's Benediction- A Bolt Pistol with three shots at AP-1 and 2 damage, that can target characters even if they are not the closest. This is a weapon for Commissars or Lord Commissars, and could be useful for causing a few wounds on weaker characters. 

The Laurels of Command- For an officer with the Voice of Command. When they issue an order, on a 4+ the bearer can immediately issue a different order to the same unit. This is a great Relic, potentially doubling the number of orders your officer can use in a single turn. This will be most useful on a Company Commander to maximise the use, especially when combined with Master of Command. 

The Deathmask of Ollanius- Gives the infantry bearer a 4+ invulnerable, and once per game allows you to heal D3 wounds at the start of your turn. This would be very good for your army warlord, giving him added protection over his regular invulnerable save, along with some nice healing potential once per game. 

The Dagger of Tu'sakh- Allows the bearer and one Infantry unit to be held in reserve and deploy at the end of a movement phase within 3" of one another, 6" of the board edge and 9" away from an enemy unit. This Relic gives you some nice deployment options, especially if you cannot use the Ambush Stratagem, allowing you to put a character and selected unit to disrupt the enemy lines. This could be useful on a Commissar and unit of Conscripts, or on a special weapons team/Veteran squad with Meltaguns for targeting the enemy armour in their deployment zone. 

Kurov's Aquila- Each time your opponent uses a Stratagem, you gain a command point on a 5+. This can be great for giving you some extra bonus command points during the game. When combined with Grand Strategist warlord trait, this becomes even better. Unfortunately, it is not for every command point your opponent uses, but each stratagem, so will sometimes be less effective if they are using a lot of the big points stratagems. 

The Blade of Conquest- A power sword that is +2S, -4AP and D3 damage. A potent combat weapon, but most Guard characters are not really all that good in combat, performing better in a force multiplication role. It could be useful on a Catachan character, taking them up to S6 in combat. It is pretty decent, but there are much better Relics available. 

Relic of Lost Cadia- One use only, for one turn you can re-roll to hit and to wound rolls of 1 for all Cadian units within 12" of the bearer. If targeting a Chaos unit, you get to re-roll all to hit and to wound rolls. This will be very potent when facing Chaos units, and quite useful against other armies. Maybe not as useful in a tournament setting, as you don't always know what armies you will be facing. A pretty good relic that can really boost your damage output for a single turn. Not all that necessary, as you can recreate the effect each turn with the right use of orders (though only one on each squad). 

Mamorph Tuskblade- A Catachan power sword that is +2S, -3AP and 2 damage. I think this is a better option for a Catachan character than the Blade of Conquest. Going up to S6 and guaranteed 2 damage are a better bonus than the variable D3 damage. 

Petrov's MK 45- A Valhallan Bolt Pistol that is AP-1 and 2 damage. In addition, friendly Valhallan units within 6" can never lose more than one model as a result of a single failed morale test. With the new changes to Commissars, I can see this Relic becoming a lot more popular! I think this is a really good choice for a Valhallan army and will help stop enemy shooting and attacks from devastating your units. 

The Armour of Graf Toschenko- A Vostroyan infantry model gets T4 and a 2+ save. This is actually a nice boost for a character model, giving access to one of the few 2+ armour saves in the Guard army. This will help them a lot when combined with the Stratagem or psychic powers that give you +1 to your save, making your character very durable. 

Skull Mask of Acheron- Armageddon character only. Enemy units within 3" of the bearer suffer -1 Ld (-2 Ld if they are Orks). A nice penalty to enemy morale, but you will obviously need to get close to use it. Would be useful for punishing enemy units that get close to your lines, allowing you to maximise morale casualties against them. 

Claw of the Desert Tigers- A Tallarn power swrod that is AP-3 and 2 damage, as well as giving the bearer 2 additional attacks in combat. The extra attacks are nice, but Guard characters will need the strength boost of other weapons against most opponents in combat, so I think some of the other Relics will be more useful. 

The Tactical Auto-reliquary of Tyberius- Allows a Militarum Tempestus character to issue an extra order on a roll of a 2+. This allows the Tempestor Prime to issue up to three orders per turn and should really help maximise the damage output of your Tempestor Squads. Given how good these squads can be with their hotshot Lasguns and dual Special Weapons, this is a pretty good Relic.

Order of the Iron Star of Mordian- For a Mordian infantry character. Give them a 4+ Feel no Pain ignoring wounds and mortal wounds. This is great for your keeping your warlord alive for longer, even better than just an invulnerable save. This should help them shrug off a lot of damage and will be very useful against Smite attacks.

Overall, the Astra Militarum have access to some great Relics. I can see the Laurel's of Command and Kurov's Aquila being very useful for a generic Guard army, while some of the Regiment specific ones are really good too, especially the Valhallan and Mordian ones. I can see a use in spending a command point to take at least one additional relic in many games.

Psykana Discipline
Terrifying Visions (WC7)- An enemy unit within 18" suffers -2Ld until the start of your next turn. A nice bonus and useful for potentially causing more morale casualties on an enemy unit.

Gaze of the Emperor (WC6)- Draw a line 2D6" from the psyker, roll a D6 for each model the line passes over, on a 4+ the unit suffers a mortal wound. This could be quite potent, especially if you can hit multiple models in the same unit. The variable distance stops it being too overpowered, but every once in a while you may excel Smite for damage.

Psychic Barrier (WC6)- A single unit within 12" gets +1 to their saving throws. This is a great bonus, as it applies to both armour saves and invulnerable saves. This can give you some really potent combinations and is a nice boost for your defensive units.

Nightshroud (WC6)- Makes a friendly unit within 12" to harder to hit, giving enemy units -1 to hit when shooting them. Again, a nice bonus, applying to any unit, so able to affect vehicles, so can really boost the durability of some of your units.

Mental Fortitude (WC4)- A friendly unit within 12" automatically passes morale tests to the start of your next turn. A really good psychic power, allowing you to save on command points to pass morale tests. Especially useful with the changes to the rules for Commissars.

Psychic Maelstrom (WC7)- Targets an enemy unit within 18" of the psyker. On a 2+ they suffer a mortal wound. If passed, they suffer another on a 3+, etc, until you fail the test. This could be a very potent ability in many cases, with the potential to do up to 5 mortal wounds on a unit (rare though). On average, you should be able to cause 2 or 3 mortal wounds on casting.

Some really good psychic powers in teh Psykana discipline. I can see a use for all of them in a Guard army list, so which ones you choose will most likely come down to personal preference or battle plans.

With most of the special rules now covered, the next parts of the reviews will take a look at the units available in the army. 


  1. Around here at least, a lot of Tournaments are allowing people to pick Relics, Warlord Traits, etc. before each Game, so the utility of the more specific ones can be a bit higher, since you can take them just for that Game. For Relics specifically, you can always choose to use the "take an extra Relic" Stratagem at the start of the Game to pick up one of those, even if your events don't normally allow that flexibility.

    1. That is a really nice bonus in a tournament, getting to choose Relics before game rather than have them in your list. Makes them much more effective and flexible as you said.
      I would like to see other go this way, as you no longer have to pay points for them, it would be a nice change and allow for more tactical flexibility.