Astra Militarum Guide
A sol-, a sol-, a soldier I will be
Two pis-, two pis-, two pistols on my knee
Each hit, each hit, each hit will find its mark
As we fight for the old count-, fight for the old count-,
Fight for the old country!
- Marching song of the Cadian 8th
Special Abilities, Relics, Pyskery, and Warlord Traits
SpoilerVoice Of Command: Arguably one of the best abilities in the game. Instead of providing a fixed buff to every unit nearby, you can pick any <Regiment Infantry> unit and just choose a bonus for it. It's very flexible, and comes on cheap units - thereís almost no reason not to take lots and lots of models with this rule. Your standards should be Take Aim or Bring It Down and Get Back In The Fight, though all are situationally useful. Iíd suggest that Falling Back and shooting is very likely to be more effective than Fixing Bayonets and making an extra attack, but hey, maybe you want to stay in and pin someone down (or they Always Strike First and you think you can finish them off, in which case you can probably be chosen to shoot as well). Regimental Orders will be covered in their own section.
Defenders of Humanity: Your Troops and some <Leman Russ>es are objective secured. You need lots of troops to get the most out of this, though it can be a nice little extra for your opponent to need to either get a Troops over to an objective or kill the Tank Commander sat on it.
A note on Astra Militarum and close combat: Throughout this guide, I'm repeatedly very skeptical of the prospect of the guard in close-quarters combat, and I couldn't think of a better place to lay down some clarification. There are a few units in the book which CAN do it - Crusaders and Bullgryns, both sort of can, and you can always blob up a ton of squads and hope that having a kapillion attacks will do some damage. The trouble is, only the last of those is a <Regiment> unit, which means that all the various <Regiment> buffs - orders, warlord traits, stratagems - do precisely bugger-all. The only other thing that works is Catachan units charging in, accompanied by Straken.
- Rarely useful: so many things will be circumventing morale. Useful if you have another ability which relies on Leadership, though.
- If youíre very lucky, it might be as good as smite.
- Excellent: remember it works with Invulnerable saves (2++ Crusaders?).
- Also very good: you canít stack it as effectively as some armies, but can be a useful boost to survivability.
- Excellent, especially for only warp charge 4. Trouble is, thereís few units in the book that your opponent canít just straight-up kill.
- Average damage of 1.7 mortal wounds, and your chances of doing better than 2 is only about ⅓. Considering that Smite is easier to cast and can Critical Hit, I would suggest ignoring this. It can snipe enemy characters, though, which is useful but probably not worth taking over the buffs above. Though, maybe you can spam Astropaths doing it?
- This is still one of the best in the game, though a little less so now that it only works a few times. Donít forget that first bit: itís a free Command Re-Roll you can use in the same turn. This requires your warlord to be on the board, but listen. Your warlord is either a main battle tank or behind fifty meatshields. Theyíll be good for a few turns.
- If anything worth this is that close to your warlord, youíve probably made a tactical error. Only useful if youíre expecting to be Alpha Struck, I think.
- If you want to Advance, just use the Move Move Move order. Why is your warlord Advancing?
- Re-roll morale. Useful, I guess.
- RAW this makes your Tank Commanders explode bigger, which is fun. Other than that, Iím not sure itís a problem: guard characters are cheap, just take more of them so you're not spread so thin.
- Bonus orders are always fun. It's hard to go wrong with them. Now Grand Strategist has been nerfed, this is much more worth considering, especially on Tank Commanders.
The Emperorís Benediction: Being able to pick out characters is always fun, but AP-1 D2 probably isnít going to do much once it gets there. Also, you need to take a Commissar to use it and Commissars aren't great.
Laurels of Command: More orders, always fun. This is also the only way to stack multiple orders on the same unit, which is nice to be able to do sometimes - fall back from combat and fire overcharged plasma, say.
Deathmask of Ollianus: Yup. Boosting your Warlordís invuln is always good.
Dagger of TuíSakh: You donít have much that can really get a lot out of this, to be honest. Perhaps send in some Crusaders? Or Hellhounds.
Kurovís Aquila: Another chance to regain command points: it's useful to have at least one of these around. (Or take two to be a bit of a cheesemonger and almost guarantee an extra point every turn.) Note that Tank Commanders are officers and can take these.
Blade of Conquest: Not bad, but thereís so many other good things in this list that I canít see why youíd use this as your first or even second choice. Also, as usual, why are you going into close combat?
Guard can find it pretty easy to rack up a lot of command points. They can take cheap detachments, and have both a warlord trait and a relic for getting command points back. This means that all these stratagems are better than they might seem because you can be very frivolous with them. Don't forget to spam command point re-rolls.
SpoilerVortex Missile (3CP): Honestly, if youíre taking a Deathstrike Missile, you really really donít want it to whiff.
Fire On My Position (3CP): Are there any of these ďnovaĒ stratagems that are anywhere near worthwhile? Any? In the entire game?
Crush Them: A useful clutch stratagem in the right situation, but hardly worth building for. It's good on a super-heavy, though, or if you combine it with Tallarn doctrine to move-advance-shoot-charge at once
Aerial Spotter (2CP): Neither Basilisks nor Wyverns hits terribly hard, but being Catachan and using this can help a lot.
Jury Rigging: When youíre one wound below an important threshold, this is very worthwhile. And hey, you have so many points, why not just use it every turn? Not like you were planning on moving anyway.
Consolidate Squads: If you're using your infantry squads for anything other than taxes, then combining them to get more bang from your orders is good. Make sure you have morale-boosting things around though, or what would be nine casualties and one man running becomes nine casualties and another half-squad gone.
Imperial Commanderís Armory (1CP/3CP): You have a few good relics, so if you have a specific plan for them, this is worthwhile.
Officio Prefectus Command Tank (2CP): Pretty useful, actually.
Mobile Command Vehicle: Very good. You want your order-givers protected. This is great to combine with the various relics and traits that let you spam orders.
Preliminary Bombardment: Hahah, nope.
Inspired Tactics: Sure. Remember each unit can only benefit from one order.
Defensive Gunners: Very useful, because you really donít enjoy being in combat.
Take Cover: Sure, this is nice. Combine with psychic powers and suddenly your guardsmen are taking saves the same as Space Marines.
Grenadiers: Against the right target this is fantastic.
Fight To The Death: Excellent.
Go! Recon!: If you need some sentinels to be somewhere - and Iím not sure why you would? Then sure?
Vengeance For Cadia: Again, if youíre fighting Chaos? Itís fantastic.
Doctrine: Re-rolling ones is brilliant. This makes Plasma worthwhile. Letís face it, you were barely going to move anyway.
Order: This is useful, but you know Catachans get it for free? Not that you shouldn't use it, but if you have more than a few Leman Russes, find a way to make them Catachan.
Warlord Trait: Keep stacking orders! ďYour order goes onto another unitĒ is more often more useful than "Your unit gets another order" but hey, use both.
Stratagem: This is very useful because quite often youíll need something very dead very fast. I usually use it more than once per game.
Relic: Very good: I would suggest this over any of the basic relics, especially if you're running around with
Creed: Bonus command points. Bonus orders. Costs less than two commanders. If youíre cadian and you have the points, heís great: heís handing out four or five orders per turn and can hide in a chimera to do it. If you're not Cadian, consider taking him anyway. The only issue is that he canít take Warlord Trait #1 (which is more useful over time) or any relics. Someone else can have the relic, though.
Knight Commander Pask: Pask is way better than a tank commander (2+ to hit, extra order), but costs like 35pts more. It probably won't hurt you to take him instead of one, but equally he's an easy saving to make. Unless you want to take a relic or specific warlord trait (and you can't just put them on someone else?), heís pretty much an auto-include. Take him in an Executioner, don't move much, and laugh all the way to the bank.
Colour Sargeant Kell: For ten points over a company commander (or less once you include the weapons), a Cadian officer nearby gets a bonus order, and you get one of the better Warlord Traits for free. He can also save Creed from mortal wounds. Pretty good, but guard get a lot out of spamming their HQs.
Doctrine: Terrible for infantry. Great for tanks. I hate to say it, but take Catachan Leman Russes in a spearhead and do something else with your infantry. Fluff is dead. The imperial guard combines regiments into battlegroups all the time.
Order: I donít think this is worth including lots of flamers over.
Warlord Trait: Sure, send your Warlord into combat. See how that goes. Although, your Leman Russ commander hitting on 2+rr is kind of funny if you use the stratagem.
Stratagem: Well, at least its only 1CP, so you might as well use it if you're in position? Kind of funny if you get charged by a weak character, I suppose.
Relic: Take the Blade Of Conquest instead. Or better yet don't take either.
Sargeant Harker: Hands out the ever-useful re-rolls of one. Plonk him down between your Leman Russes/Basilisks and hope your opponent forgets about him.
Colonel Straken: Straken makes your Catachan infantry decent in close combat, and then you take lots and lots of them and suddenly quantity has a quality all of its own. Creed and Yarrick both laugh at him individually, but if you want a fluffy-yet-powerful imperial guard army, a massed Catachan force lead by Straken is actually probably your best bet. He hits monsters pretty hard too - (remember heís <Catachan> for strength 7).
Doctrine: Really really good. You get a lot out of boosting morale, and your tanks stay active longer. Trouble is, if your tanks are sitting still, Catachan is better, and if they're moving Tallarn is better.
Order: You can shoot into combat, possibly hitting your own troops. This is actually pretty useful if you have cheap bubble-wrap squads (or even just nice tough things like bullgryns, or allies). Fun with flamers, which as we all know have no collateral damage
Warlord Trait: Always useful.
Stratagem: Costs reinforcement points and can only be in your own deployment zone. Garbage.
Relic: This hasnít been errataíed so RAW still gives the old proper Commissar effect. If you play that as deliberate, not an oversight, you can build around it and make it the best effect in the game.
Doctrine: Not fantastic, in my opinion. Within a turn or so, youíll be in range and wonít notice the benefit of this anyway. Helpful for short-range high-power weapons like Demolisher Cannons and Multi-Meltas.
Order: Shoot in close combat. I guess if you donít want to fall back itís neat, but not a patch on the others.
Warlord Trait: Terrible.
Stratagem: Itís nice to have a stratagem like this to pull out of your back pocket.
Relic: In any other army this would be distinctly duff, but itís a very significant boost in survivability for your warlord. Trouble isÖ T4, W5, 2+/5++ is still pretty easy to kill?
Doctrine: Not bad actually, extending rapid fire ranges. Still not as good as Valhalla or Cadia though.
Order: Since you canít ďhit and runĒ with this, itís of limited use: the best you can really do is hop in a vehicle after shooting just before an enemy arrives.
Warlord Trait: Also trash. Why do so many of these warlord traits expect you to go into close combat?
Stratagem: Re-roll ones after disembarking. This is useful if youíre racing around in chimeras, but only one squad gets it per turn. And itís only like thirty points to babysit each squad with an order-giver. You can use it with your super-heavies but to be frank you can probably find better ways to build around them.
Relic: Orks take -2 leadership? So what, theyíre at leadership 18 now?
Doctrine: Itís very nice on paper but practically I think Imperial Guard prefer to sit still and gunline than race around. Nice for Maelstrom though. And your Vehicles can shoot and move without penaltyÖ like leman russes do already?
Order: Sure. You can kiinda jump-shoot-jump with this, but finding enough cover to actually hide a Leman Russ is hard.
Warlord Trait: Stop trying to make me go into close combat!
Stratagem: This is a fantastic stratagem. If youíre playing Tallarn, Iíd consider building your list around this ability. One possible combo is to use a Deathstrike and keep it off the board until it can fire but that requires taking and using a deathstrike.
Relic: Stop trying to make me go into close combat!
Doctrine: Hey, this is pretty good. Leadership is a real weakness for you, as is getting charged - it wonít revolutionise how you play but covers a couple of your bases.
Order: The best order, in my opinion. Take Plasma Guns. Use the Laurel Of Command to do this and not die from overcharge.
Warlord Trait: Not bad - especially since it stacks and interacts really well with all the other morale abilities. Not top-tier though.
Stratagem: Not terrible, but you canít get any +1s to hit so it wonít ever be fantastic. Fun to combine with First Rank Fire Second Rank Fire though.
Relic: This is better than either of the other ďmake your warlord tougherĒ relics, since the leading cause of death is sniping with mortal wounds.
Doctrine: You only get this if your entire detachment is MT. Which isnít entirely worthwhile, since itís not super impressive.
Stratagem: Fantastic. Seriously consider deploying your scions to take advantage of this instead of Deep Striking them.
Order: Neat. Helps your S3 weapons support your special shots.
Relic: Great. Keep stacking useful orders. You might want to consider The Laurels Of Command though - itís less reliable, but you can stack them on the same unit for re-rolls to hit and wound in the same turn.
Warlord Trait: Not like itís not useful, but why not just take psykers?
The only reason you don't have two is because you have three. They're dirt cheap. Spam them, spam orders. Giving the occasional plasma pistol isnt a totally stupid idea but for gods sake don't overcharge without a re-roll in the bag.
More general advice on Leman Russes below in their own section. Not as good as spamming Company Commanders, but for only thirty points over a Leman Russ, bonus BS and orders are good, plus the ability to take Relics.
Trouble is, you should be able to get your morale-boosting from elsewhere (like only rolling a D3 for 1cp, or upgrading one of your tanks for 2cp). Make sure you check Chapter Approved for his new cost, which makes him "eenh maaaybe?" rather than "no".
If you go ham on Militarum Tempestus units, taking one of these to give them re-rolls is worthwhile. He also unlocks the command squads, which means more of the special weapons. The command rod is useful - if nothing else, he can order himself.
The Imperial Guard powers aren't half bad. The trouble with the Primaris Psyker is that the Astropath is a good chunk of points less, and casts Astral Divination for free every turn. But Smite is good, and knowing two powers is very useful.
SpoilerInfantry Squad: Cheap as chips. Take them nude as taxes or bubblewrap and scoop them off the board by their handful, or throw on a heavy and special weapon and expect them to do almost nothing. Grenade Launchers and Mortars are the best weapons, and nice and cheap, but you'd better have something in your list that can take out super-heavies because you're not going to do it with S4. Missile Launchers are the best heavy weapon if you're willing to splash out, but Heavy Bolters, Autocannons, and Plasma Guns are all worth looking at. (I'm personally of the opinion that Melta and Lascannons aren't enough better than Plasma and Missiles respectively for the extra points, but your mileage may vary. Lascannons are better in Heavy Weapon Squads where you can buff several at once, though.) Either way, you don't really need more from these than as taxes.
Conscripts: The only possible tiny reason to take these is if you want your infantry squads to achieve nothing at all except die slowly, and you don't want to spend Command Points (and time) on Combining Squads. I can't recommend that, though.
Tempestus Scions: Aerial Drop is very much less useful than it was, but there is still a certain (much reduced) amount of value in setting down mid-game anywhere on the board. These guys do it well, given the budget, and you can alternatively deploy them in place and catch anyone else trying the same trick. They're by no means the power unit they once were, but taking a squad or two probably won't lose you the game, and gives you a useful ace in the hole. Best guns: Volley guns, grenade launchers. If you use plasma, be aware it's more likely to explode if you're intercepting.
SpoilerMaster of Ordnance
He shoots a battle cannon, once, and allows you to re-roll 1s for certain vehicles. He's cheaper than Harker, but if you're going all-in on artillery you should be catachan anyway, and Harker gives you re-rolls to other things as well.
Once you have three Company Commanders, these guys are the cut-price version. You should take them "as well", not "instead", though.
So, you can take three or four special weapons at BS4 which is fun but probably not terribly effective - Scions do that kind of thing so much better.
- The regimental standard isn't great but is only five points - the main problem is the opportunity cost of something else on the model.
- The medi-pack is only worthwhile if you go all-in on a few specific order-givers rather than spreading it out through your whole army. (Alternatively if you go all-in on plasma and want to bring back people who supercharge themselves to death.) Three sniper rifles and a medi-pack keeps the guy with Kurov's Aquila alive while having a good stab at enemy <Characters>.
- Voxes are generally a waste of points - once you've equipped your whole army, you might as well have bought more order-givers. The alternative is if you're sending some squads off on their own for some reason (riding in a superheavy?) and not giving them an Officer for... some reason. But you should just give them a pet officer.
- They can take a heavy flamer, but heavy flamers are so expensive as to be a waste unless you're constantly getting charged by, idk, MSU orks or something.
Special Weapon Squad
Guard can do better for special weapons - like the options they have for heavy weapons squads, or Combining Squads on infantry squads, or tanks - but if what you need is to put orders on a bunch of plasma guns at once, these are your guys I guess. They're very easy targets for First Blood, though. I like to run Special Weapon Squads with sniper rifles - they're dirt cheap, and bring the ability to pick out Characters at range. Trouble is, Ratlings get you more sniper rifles with fewer taxes.
Now the price of veterans has dropped, they're more worthwhile. Three special weapons in a chimera isn't bad, but you can put two special weapons on a handful of Scions for the same price, and they can intercept deep striking enemies.
Militarum Tempestus Command Squad
So... yeah, they're better than ordinary Scions (more special weapons) and ordinary command squads (4+ save) but... deep striking with lots of special weapons isn't as good as it was. I described ordinary scions as an ace in the sleeve: how many points do you want to spend on that ace? Remember you need a forty-point Tempestor as well, and "four scions, four guns, Tempestor" starts coming to a similar price as "ten scions, four guns". If you're making your entire army out of Scions and Tempestors already then sure, go nuts... but you shouldnt be doing that.
If you're going into close combat then sure. Why are you going into close combat? He's Straken's best friend. Why are you taking Straken?
Okay, well, you have one unit that can do close combat. Strength 3 is still a major weakness, and while a 3++ is nice it's not going to last long against either weight of numbers or mortal wounds, so they're not going to stand up with the big boys of the Fight Phase, but they can do quite a bit of damage if aimed right. They are unexpectedly speedy if you take only one squad and Act Of Faith them across the board, or you can jump them out of a super-heavy and charge. Taking a priest to accompany them is actually pretty worthwhile. There's a Psychic power that can boost their invuln by +1, and sending a unit of 2++ saves 12+2d6 inches across the board in one turn will at least elicit an interesting response from your opponent. Remember Zealot works even if they get charged.
Shame he's so expensive: if you have a lot of tanks, repairing them is really useful.
Trash. Put your heavy weapons on your tanks or Heavy Weapon Squads, not these chumps. Useful for filling your Elites slots, if you want to do that with chaff rather than good things.
As with the lord-commissar, these are now "acceptable" but not stellar. I'd rather have the Lord-Commissar.
Officer of the Fleet
A very small number of mortal wounds once per game isn't much to write home about, but if you take a Valkyrie with Hellstrike Missiles, he's just about the only one that can give it any re-rolls.
You really need six or more to not be completely useless, and at that stage why aren't you taking Primaris Psykers or Astropaths instead?
As long as you don't really want to cast Smite, astropaths are... passable. You don't have many ways of stripping enemy cover, and the Astropath does it for free, no questions asked. If it were longer ranged it would be really useful to combine with mortars: as it is it's very situational.
What should really be protecting your important characters is a wall of guardsmen, a sizeable piece of cover, and possibly a Chimera. However, snipers or similar effects sneaking Mortal Wounds past the goalie is a concern, and he can tank quite a few to keep you alive. Don't bother giving him extra survivability things, he takes Mortal Wounds and nobody's going to shoot conventional weapons at him unless they have to.
They're not anything except tough, and with a 5+ save and no invuln they're not even very much of that.
Much better! With a priest and mauls, they hit very hard indeed, and a Slabshield makes them nearly Terminator toughness. That's at the cost of being nearly Terminator price, though.
+15 points over a standard bodyguard? Nah.
They're half as much again as sniper guardsmen, but you don't need to take taxes so it's swings and roundabouts. Naturally Stealthy looks like a neat ability until you spot that they're only a 6+ save anyway. Take lots or none: even lasguns will slaughter them.
Hellhounds are very good. They're pretty good anti-air, and a pretty hard response to Aeldari lists or things that stack negatives to hit is triple hellhounds sweeping in from a board edge. The Hellhound is the best for this because it has a long enough range: Chem Cannons aren't terrible but can't fire the turn they come on. The Melta cannon is pretty neat but popping tanks isn't a competitive priority, and you have other options for that in your list.
They're cheap, which is good because they're bad. The only thing they're good for is filling detachment slots in Brigades. Multi-lasers are cheap guns that aren't even bad, same with autocannons. Alternatively, Heavy Flamers can get into range relatively quickly so - for a chunk more points - can upgrade them from "nonentity" to "irritant". Your opponent is still killing them with bolters, but now they have to do that, instead of getting to ignore them. One thing they can be useful for is making their move before your opponent's Deep Strikers will come in, and taking board control - but anything good will make it's special move before that.
+1 toughness and save for free, but you lose the scouting ability. An obvious upgrade if you don't plan to scout (and unless you're going for the flamerswarm, you don't need to very much.) If you're thinking about upgrading them, your first choice for upgrading from "minimum brigade" to "actual army" should be sentinels to hellhounds, for only 200ish points for the three.
SpoilerHeavy Weapons Squad
They're good, because they can take Orders and benefit from Doctrines and you can choose super cheap guns for them. You can cover your heavy support needs pretty much just with them. Mortars and Heavy Bolters are best because they're cheap (the choice is: how much do you want to shoot things you can't see compared to how much you actually want to damage them). Autocannons are better than Heavy Bolters and only a little more now. Lascannons make you a very Glass Cannon unit but you can more easily and efficiently apply orders, and missile launchers are only a little less good (plus they bring anti-infantry) for like thirty points less for the squad.
Basilisks are decent, on second look. For about fifty points less than a Leman Russ, you can only shoot once (and you lose Grinding Advance so expect to take a -1 to hit if you move) but your range and damage is boosted, and you can reach out and touch anyone on the board. Be Catachans. Take Harker. Roll 3d6b1 for shots and you're averaging only a little less than if you shot twice.
If you want lots of low-power shots, you can take an awful lot of mortars for that price. For everything else, there's basilisks, at only a bit more.
Remember they hit units that <Fly> better, not just actual flyers, and use them to punish your opponent for sending in flying characters or jetbikes. -1 to hit on everything else is really bad, though. Hellhounds autohit flyers, and autohit everything else too. Not that hydras are entirely bad per se (they're a bunch cheaper than Hellhounds too), but they're very metadependent, and there are a ton of other available choices that are always good.
A slightly better gun than the basilisk, but you're 25 points more, can't come in squadrons, and maybe you'll get lucky and survive more than four turns. If you have spare points at the end, you could do worse than to upgrade your basilisks, but they neednt be your original decision.
Hnnng... okay. Spamming to-hit buffs and re-rolls and being Catachan can make this... pretty nasty. But not the utter terror that it could be? 3D6 mortal wounds is an average of eleven, so your single-shot hard-to-shoot terror-weapon will kill... a rhino? Maybe a leman russ? A combat squad of terminators? And that's assuming all those shots hit: apply a more reasonable "4+rr" to it and it starts barely making it's points back. The 1/6 chance of removing a model from the board means that if you're lucky and if the shot goes off and if your opponent has clustered a bunch of four-plus-wound models (not units) together... hey, maybe you'll get lucky and just erase one. But most likely you won't. Better now that it's cheaper, obviously, so I will upgrade it from "probably not" to "maybe" but still suffers in comparison to a russ.
Okay! Leman russes are very good. Toughness 8 makes a really big difference over 7 because its that much harder to nickel-and-dime you to death with bolters, and an extra wound or two is handy. You can move and shoot your turret gun without penalty, which is frankly good enough, and you can also shoot a whole extra time if you move slow enough - and unless you're using them to grab objectives (they can be Objective Secured!) you can always be moving slow enough.
- Battle Cannon: The overall solid choice. Can't go too badly wrong with it.
- Demolisher Cannon: Cheaper than a Battle Cannon. Worse for small elite non-t5 squads, but better against Vehicles. The short range isn't especially fun, though, but it's no longer twice the cost of the others for no reason.
- Eradicator cannon: If cover-busting against T3 models is important to you then cool, it's cheaper! I think that's probably a false economy though.
- Executioner plasma cannon: Probably the best overall, unless you don't have access to re-rolls of one or your opponents regularly are using negatives to hit. If that's not the case, definitely buy one: they're cheaper for some reason.
- Exterminator autocannons: A worse gun for sure, but a little more reliable in its badness, and maybe worth it now it's five points less.
- Punisher Gatling Cannon: Killing hordes is a pretty handy thing to do right now.
- Vanquisher Battle Cannon: It's a lascannon with worse rend and unnecessarily long range. If you want to kill a tank, take a lascannon on any other russ. Demolishers do better damage (because they have more shots and are less likely to miss) but at worse range.
- Sponsons: Sponsons on leman russes aren't actually bad, because they have a nice tough platform for the weapons. Heavy bolters are best, but I regularly run an executioner with Plasma Cannons, and with re-rolls for shots number it does good work. Just remember Grinding Advance only applies to your turret weapons, and if you, say, fire your plasma cannon sponsons when you only have one wound left, you can totally kill your warlord without having any chance to hit at all. I may speak from experience here.
- Armoured Tracks: If you're using a demolisher or punisher, these let your expensive short-ranged tank keep moving at reasonable speed while still shooting.
- Auspex: If you really need to land a hit with your vanquisher cannon or lascannon then maybe, but mostly that's good points after bad.
Chimeras would be cool if they weren't so expensive.Chimeras have taken a massive points drop, and so actually start to be good! Trouble is, there's nothing much in the codex that's really worth driving across the board in a unit of twelve or less. There's some value to capturing objectives, yes, but you can use a leman russ for that, for considerably more firepower and toughness than a chimera and a squad of guardsmen.
At least it's cheaper than a chimera, and better armed. It's weedier though, and Smoke Launchers are really useful for a vehicle thats constantly sticking its neck out, and still has the same problem of having nobody really worth transporting.
Not actually entirely useless, since it carries good guns and is cheapNo longer cheap. More or less entirely useless, since there's really no point in driving Militarum Tempestus units around (they either want to be deep striking or countering others) and if you want good guns a Leman Russ is right there, with +2 T and W and better guns and Grinding Advance.
Lots more wounds and speed than a Chimera and the ability to move and disembark makes a Valkyrie actually a pretty decent transport. It can even give a Leman Russ Vanquisher a run for its money with double Hellstrike missiles. The usual problem is that there's not much worth transporting... drop two units of plasma-gun specialists/command squads out the back to target characters?
Lords Of War
SpoilerFor their Lords Of War, the imperial guard have access to the "Octoblade" tanks. These are all a little different in various ways but have been very eloquently discussed by Cheesegear a little while back, so i'm going to link to that post here and summarise it below.
Basically all these tanks cost as much as, and are about as tough as, three leman russes. Three Leman Russes will throw out more or less the same amount of firepower, but can shoot twice, can capture objectives, can go to three different places, and can't be blown up by super-high damage single-shot weapons. So which of these tanks offer something that three russes (of your preferred type) don't?
These two have transport capacity - arguably the only good transport in the book. If you have something clever planned with crusaders or bullgryns, these are the way to do it. You're paying hundreds of points for them so... your plan had better be very clever. The stormlord also puts out a lovely amount of mid-strength damage.
They don't roll ones for damage. Thats pretty much all.
The shadowsword can break the game a bit, what with its ability to drop a primarch, titan, or knight in one turn. If those are threats you face, it's lovely to have - though some of those can hit back similarly hard. Three leman russes vs a Shadowsword might come out for the russes. Shadowsword vs Shadowsword is rocket tag.
Imperial Guard and Alliances
SpoilerGuard have one easy trick as allies, and you've probably already heard of it.
Batallion Detachment - +5CP
Company Commander - Warlord Trait, recover command points.
Company Commander - Kurov's Aquila, recover enemy command points
180 points, 5CPs, recover
all spent command points in the entire game on a 5+. Thanks to the FAQ, you can now only recover one point per turn. You still get to try multiple times, though, so you can almost guarantee one per turn for an extra six. This is no longer as must-take effective as it used to be, but honestly it's so cheap it's still amongst the best in the game. You can lose the warlord trait and its still great (but hiding a company commander in a bunker made of humans is about as solid a warlord as you'll get your hands on). You can put that in any imperial army in the game and it'll work out - knights, leman russes, blood angels... if it's good, pay 180pts to force multiply it (and put a bunch of Objective Secured in its backline). That's what, one tank? You might prefer/need a Primaris Psyker for Psychic Maelstrom, Deny, and such, instead of one company commander (note that the psyker can't take the Aquila) or hey, get both.
There's so much great stuff available to the Astra Militarum, they kind of don't really need allies, and will quite possibly overshadow whatever they're allied to. Leman Russes are the best tanks in the game, so will support an infantry army well. Infantry Squads are cheap as chips and can do pretty much whatever. The Honorable Thirty-Two are half the cost of girlyman for a whole bunch of free CPs. You're using maybe the best codex in the game and allied to like half the others. It's all good.
Vigilus Defiant & Other Supplementary Material
SpoilerSly Marbo (Rules in box)
He can charge or shoot characters pretty easily from ambush, which almost nothing else in the book can do, and he can do it twice. Wounding on a 2+ is useful, but only having a handful of attacks and no AP means that he needs to pick his target carefully.
The following Formations are from Vigilus Defiant. Paying a single CP allows you to designate a single Detachment as one of the below, and the listed units gain access to the warlord trait, relics, and stratagems for that formation.
Emperor's Blade Assault Company
Company and Platoon Commanders, Command Squads, Special Weapon Squads, Veterans, Infantry Squads, and Chimeras.
Warlord Trait: Issue orders from inside a vehicle. Excellent, great for keeping your warlord safe.
Relic: 3+ invulnerable which vanishes when it fails. Not terrible, but you can do so much better in the guard book (like Kurov's Aquila to steal command points because you've used your warlord trait).
(Stratagem) Mechanised Fire Support: An Emperor's Blade vehicle can fire overwatch when a nearby infantry unit is charged, and always hits on 4+. A nice surprise, and one that almost justifies taking the more heavily gunned Tauroxes or Taurox Primes.
(Stratagem) Rapid Redeploy: Disembark at the end of the movement phase. Very good, allowing you to try and take objectives or maximise your shooting.
Now that Chimeras and Veterans are cheaper, this formation is actually worthwhile. One command point and your Warlord trait is a very fair price to pay to give all your orders from a Chimera, and the two stratagems are very useful to have in your back pocket: you could almost run this formation without really building to it aside from a few vehicles.
Emperor's Blade Artillery Company
Company Commanders, Masters of Ordnance, Basilisks, Hydras, Wyverns.
Warlord Trait: Wound rolls of 6+ increase the AP by one for nearby units. Not too shabby but probably not to par with everything else. Useful on Wyverns.
Relic: Each shooting phase, a unit near the bearer ignores Cover. Guard have very few methods of ignoring cover, so this is pretty cool.
(Stratagem) Suppressive Fire: A unit doesn't shoot, instead choosing an enemy infantry unit in range to prevent from shooting Overwatch and half their Move. Great in the right circumstances, but there's relatively few units that rely so heavily on their movement/overwatch that it's better to do this than drop an earthshaker shell on them.
(Stratagem) Pounding Barrage (2CP): Shoot a ranged weapon twice. Always fun.
This isnt a terrible formation, but the units in it are universally only good rather than great, and nothing stands out to me as being worth the opportunity cost.
Emperor's Conclave Infantry Company
Company and Platoon Commanders, Infantry Squads, Conscripts, Ministorum Priests, Crusaders.
Warlord Trait: 6" aura of re-roll To Hit rolls of one... cool! ...in the fight phase. Oh.
Relic: Roll 2d6 and use the lower for nearby units taking morale tests. Then, when the relic bearer dies, a nearby unit gets +1 attack and immunity to morale for the rest of the battle. Both of these are good effects, especially on a huge Combined Squads unit.
(Stratagem) No Quarter Given (2CP): Choose a unit: that unit's models can fight again after dying.
(Stratagem) Sanctimonious Charge: Use this stratagem a lot just for having a really funny name... like "I'm charging, will you be?". If a Priest succeeds in a charge, nearby units add +1 to the charge distance. Useful for reliability on your big melee hordes.
You know what this is really good for? Throwing a Priest (and some Crusaders?) into a Straken's Swarm catachan list. Everything here is fantastic for a huge unit of melee guardsmen: just try and get your relic-bearer killed as soon as possible. Other than that, the usual problems with Guard in melee come up.
Emperor's Fist Tank Company
Leman Russes. And that's it.
Warlord Trait: Re-roll hits when you, and nearby units, fire Overwatch. Hrmm. I'd rather give extra orders or get command points.
Relic: It's a battle cannon that always does 3 damage rather than D3. Hrmm. Not bad, if you're not in a position to take Executioners.
(Stratagem) Unyielding Advance: Shoot your turret weapon twice even if you moved more than half distance. Will, every so often, be handy.
(Stratagem) Steel Phalanx: Every unit that charges a chosen enemy unit might deal Mortal Wounds. Well, if you're planning to charge with three or four Leman Russes, then sure.
If you're going all-out on Leman Russes, then maybe one CP is worth paying for access to the Relic and Unyielding Advance. Maybe.
Tempestus Drop Force
Tempestor Primes, Tempestus Scions, Tempestus Command Squads, Valkyries.
Warlord Trait: Add 1 to hit rolls for nearby units that disembarked from a Valkyrie. I'd suggest just Deep Striking instead.
Relic: Ignore the effects of Psychic Powers on 2+. I guess if you go all-out on tempestus you won't have anything else that does this... it's only for the bearer so useful if your opponent is very Smite-happy.
(Stratagem) Precision Drop: Ignore the chance to die for all units doing a Grav-Chute Insertion out of a chosen Valkyrie. Especially interesting because it allows non Drop Force models to benefit. There's not much in the Imperial Guard that gets much out of going this fast (except killed) but I guess it explains the Warlord Trait.
(Stratagem) Aerial Fire Support: Valkyries can fire Supporting Overwatch like for the Assault Company above. Similarly good (especially for when some smartass charges in with a dreadnought and you get to slap it down with two Hellstrike missiles and a Lascannon.)
This is worthwhile if it's the sort of thing you're doing already - but requires you take a Militarum Tempestus detachment, which is quite an opportunity cost, and so not really worthwhile if you just have a few units in an army of something else.