40K: Chasing The Astra Militarum Order Waterfall

The Astra Militarum’s Orders need a little TLC and it’s all Cadia’s fault.

When it comes to the Orders of the Astra Militarum, things can get pretty silly. But we’ve been doing some more digging and playing and we’ve come across an interesting situation that, unsurprisingly, involves Cadia and their unique relationships with Orders. We’ve already talked about one issue that is going to pop-up with Conscripts. Now we’re going to take a closer look at some of the OTHER interactions that will have you scratching your head.

Cadia: Your Major Malfunction

The first things we need to establish are the relevant rules interactions. That means we need to start with Voice of Command:

This is the ability that allows a model to issue an order. We’ll get back to it….

Next, we need to pull out the Warlord Trait that will help trigger the Order Waterfall to start – Superior Tactical Training:

Every time your Warlord issues an order, the order can affect an additional Cadian unit on a 4+. I’m summarizing here – but you get the idea. Oh, and not the wording is that the order affects a unit – it’s not issuing another order. Just keep that in mind, we’ll get back to it.

The third thing we need to bring up is the Company Commander – this is probably going to be your most likely candidate for triggering this, so we might as well look at his abilities too:

Just note that he can issue two orders a turn. And just incase you need to issue yet another order, there is a stratagem for that:

The final piece to this is the Heirloom that we think is the bee’s knees of the Relics the AM can take – The Laurels of Command:

Let’s walk through this really quick.

  • The Company Commander with The Laurels of Command issues an order to a unit within range.
    • On a 4+, the Laurels of Command activate.
    • On a 4+, Superior Tactical Training activates.

(These can be resolved in any order, decided by the active player as per the BRB.)

  • You may choose to use Inspired Tactics now (this can only be done once per turn)

If you choose Laurels and it is successful:

  • Issue another order to that unit.
    • On a 4+, Superior Tactical Training activates.
    • On a 4+, The Laurels of Command activates – Note the wording of the Relic: “Roll a dice each time the bearer issues an order to a friendly Regiment unit within 6″. On a 4+, the bearer can immediately issue another order to the same unit…”

These Orders can be resolved in any order. Again. And you can choose to drop in Inspired Tactics as well if you need to. Repeat until you don’t roll a 4+.

As you’re doing this, don’t forget you have Superior Tactical Trainings to use as well. Now, I know there were some folks out there that were trying to make the case that “an order affecting a unit is the same as issuing an order to that unit.” I think they are wrong. But if they want to play that game, then sure – that means on a 4+ The Laurels of Command ALSO triggers on those. Now that’s just silly, right?

Oh and this is off of just ONE Order. You’ve still got the option for up to two more (thanks to Inspired Tactics) if you’re a Cadian Company Commander.


Now, a lot of this hinges on the fact that these different abilities use the same terminology. The key phrase is “issues an order” and it’s used in each one of these abilities. This needs to be clarified…and fast. Otherwise it’s a race to see which thing will run out first: the Company Commander’s order pool, available orders to issue, legal units to target, or your luck (these do require a 4+ after all).

Counter Points – Hey, You Can’t Do That!

An easy fix is to take a look at the wording of Laurels of Command. It’s a problem that it’s self referencing for sure. Much like attacks that trigger additional attacks. Most of those abilities have a caveat that confirms one way or another that they do or do not trigger additional attacks. Laurels of Command, at least currently, does not have a caveat that makes that clear – and if you’re looking at it RAW, that means the Laurel’s extra orders trigger on themselves.

Another issue is the last sentence in Voice of Command which simply says:

“A unit may only be affected by one order a turn.”

I think this is a very important sentence! But now the case can be made that Warlord Trait and the Laurels of Command supersede that sentence. And we’re back at square one.


Guardsmen, I don’t have a good answer for you at this time. All I have are the facts:

  • Company Commanders will be able to issue 3 Orders a turn.
  • If the Company Commander is Cadia and has the Laurels of Command, then things are going to get weird – and quick.

Those 3 orders have the potential to become a waterfall of multiple orders that are going to result in either a LOT of wasted time or an handful of Uber Units that are going to be able to:

  • Re-roll 1’s to hit (or ALL misses if they didn’t move – thanks Cadia Regimental Doctrine!)
  • Have Rapid Fire 2 Lasguns
  • Re-roll 1’s to wound
  • Shoot even if they Advanced
  • Shoot even if they Fell Back
  • Fight as if it was the Fight Phase


  • Move again

Remember, all the shooting orders last until the end of the phase as well. So were they designed to stack? Is it really that big a deal? It’s only Lasguns, right? …yeah. Keep telling yourself that.

Note: You can still pull this off if you’re NOT a Cadian Officer, btw. Laurels of Command is available to all AM Regiments. Cadian just gets the added benefit of Superior Tactical Training.


So what do you think of the Astra Militarum’s Order Waterfall? Let us know in the comments below!


  • Fraser1191

    Is this real? I don’t have the codex or friends that play guard but to me this seems a little absurd

    • Unimpressed

      it is absurd, the VoC rule prohibits such things

      • Drew_Da_Destroya

        It should, but as the article points out, the Laurels of Command specifically supersede that. The Cadian Warlord trait is a bit murkier, since it isn’t issuing orders to units, just having additional units affected by orders given.

        • Iggynous

          Laurels doesn’t specifically supersede VoC’s restriction though, it only implies it that the restriction is removed.
          Specifically superseding would be the addition of a sentence like: “This does not count towards the maximum numbers of orders that can affect the unit this turn”.

        • Unimpressed

          RAW is not RAI and no where is written that laurels counter the affection limit.

          • King Renegado

            Straight from codex pg 138
            “On a 4+ the bearer can immediately issue another order to the same unit.”
            Written and indicated crystal clear.
            Keyphrase: “ANOTHER order to the SAME unit.”

          • Deilingar

            For me it is pretty obvious that both the relic and warlord trait don’t count towards the limit for each officer

            Warlord trait:
            why would it exist if it counted toward your maximum orders per turn since it is on a 4+ not autamatic like the character would do otherwise

            On a 4+ the bearer can immediately issue another order to the same unit. This does not count towards the maximum number of orders this model may issue each turn.

          • Unimpressed

            same as before:

            ISSUE != AFFECT

            please read the rules!

          • Unimpressed

            once again:
            yes, on 4+ the bearer can … ISSUE another order to the SAME unit.


            VoC last sentence:
            one unit only can be AFFECTED by one order per turn.

            so IMHO the word ISSUE and AFFECT have a slightly different meaning besides the fact that they are written completely different.

            so have fun!

      • Marco Marantz

        Not as its written.

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      More like…surreal?

  • euansmith

    The Laurels of Command might be impressive, but they are nothing without the support of the Hardys.


  • YetAnotherFacelessMan

    An interesting interaction of relics and stratagems that causes a HQ unit to become a powerful buffing figure and not just a potent beatstick? Please, do tell me more.

    Are we going to do this with every codex release, BoLS? This is the new norm. It used to be characters had thunderhammers and 0+/1++/3+++ rerollable saves… now they give orders.

    • Charon

      yes, now they give orders and create dirt cheap units of the same garbage.

      • YetAnotherFacelessMan

        “Create dirt cheap units of the same garbage”…

        There were years and years where people kept telling me “There’s no reason to take basic troops”. It always made me kind of sad. I always liked Tactical Marines and Infantry Squads, and Termagants… I always wanted them to be viable, but it was always Sternguard or Wraithknights or some other way of getting around the basic troops.

        You know… I’m fine with this. This is infinitely preferable to the mechanized guard leafblower lists of 5th edition. People joke that if you lose the roll to see who goes first you lose the game NOW… heaven help them back in the old days when each of your manticores had a decent chance to take out any tank or any unit of infantry in one shot…

        • Charon

          Except that it is worse than the 5th edition leafblower now.
          Also “There’s no reason to take basic troops” was only true for certain armies. And it is true for most of the same armies now. SM tacticals were not good before and are not good now.
          This is a specific IG phaenomenon as you can boost your 3 point units for free to a level where they can compete with 14 points models or even more disturbing: get pretty damn close to Orcs when it comes to melee.

          • YetAnotherFacelessMan

            Oh, 3-point units? We are talking about conscripts now? In that case, the orders will only apply 50% of the time, and if the order fails, no further orders may be applied to the unit. That kills this combo dead 50% of the time, or 25% of the time if you’re willing to apply another command point.

            And even if it goes off, and you order FRFSRF and Take Aim on a unit of 30 conscripts, the unit you are describing has a 24″ range, a 5+ BS, and S3 guns. Assuming every single conscript survives to shoot, assuming you manage to get every conscript within 12″ of a unit space marines, and assuming you get the orders off successfully, you will manage to do 7.4 unsaved wounds on average.

            You know what else does 7.4 unsaved wounds on average to a unit of space marines? A wyvern. It needs no buffing, can shoot them from 48″ away, doesn’t need line of sight, and costs 35 points less than 30 conscripts and a commander. It doesn’t need a commissar to babysit it either.

            The most egregious abuse of this rule you’ve presented me is less effective than a basic option without any buffs. This is a non-issue.

          • LankTank

            Daaayuuummmm! Thank you!

          • Charon

            You know what is also the same price as these 30 conscripts? The 7,5 SM they just killed in a single volley.
            Wyvern (or Basilisks) are in ADDITION to the mandatory conscripts to max out on precious command points.
            If you dont see the issue you must have been under a rock for the better half of 8th edition where every imperial soup army gets those “worthless” conscripts instead of wyvern.

          • YetAnotherFacelessMan

            You put quotes around worthless, like you think I said it. I didn’t. Conscripts are great. There are a number of reasons why people have been enjoying the use of conscripts through 8th so far.

            However, that has nothing to do with what we are discussing currently. Also, those were pre-nerf conscripts, usually taken in units of 40 or 50. These are post-nerf conscripts, takable in units of 30 max and with a 50% chance of shrugging off orders (25% if you’re willing to spend an order). Yes, they are still good. Yes, they are still worth it (the opposite of worthless. Note that I do not believe them to be worthless).

            However, if you want to get the most out of the rules exploit discussed in the above article, you’d be better served with a combined unit of infantry squads or a unit of veterans.

            Whenever people discuss conscripts, there are a number of assumptions they are willing to make. Whenever people talk about conscript damage, they talk about full mobs of conscripts each firing two shots. Outside of an overwatch, that’s a ludicrous notion. Even when firing overwatch, if your enemy is assaulting from 6″ away, unless you have the entire squad of conscripts crammed into a semicircle, as closely packed into base-to-base as possible, you’re probably going to lose shots.

            What I presented to you, the 7.4 space marines?That is the average of the ideal scenario, which requires an additional stratagem and relic, and requires a specific non-spammable HQ choice (non-spammable on account of it requiring a relic). Conscripts are ludicrously weak to morale, to the point where every conscript slain is almost another conscript fleeing. To counter for that, every conscript squad (or every other conscript squad, if you run them side-by-side) seems to require a mandatory 30 points of elite choice to reduce morale casualties. At that point, you’re entering into tank price costs with less toughness, less armor, less offensive power, but more wounds. And that’s fine.

            If you want to beat horde, bring a tank. If you want to beat a tank, bring elites. If you want to beat elites, bring a horde. Returning to the space marines, for only 10 more than the conscripts, but 20 less than the conscripts with commissar support, you could get a whirlwind. A whirlwind will kill around 3 conscripts a turn if they have a commissar and 6 a turn if they don’t. The conscripts will do maybe 1 wound if they’re lucky and at full strength. Those numbers get even worse for the conscripts if you use a stormtalon gunship instead.

            Really, I don’t see a single unit of 30 conscripts as an issue. I don’t even think two units of 30 conscripts is that much of a problem. If you have a guy in your local gaming community that has 60 conscripts all painted up, let the guy play with them. If you don’t have the resources to fight the conscripts, then don’t. Ask your friend if you can proxy a model you have as a model that would be more useful, ask if you can get some bonus points, or ask if you can play a scenario that makes it a little more fair for you.

            If you’re at a tournament, your options are the same 3 options as always: Play the meta, break the meta, or wait until the meta changes. Everything beyond that is complaining about hypotheticals.

          • Dennis J. Pechavar

            Pretty much. I’ve played conscripts since they first gave us the option and now is the only time I’ve been told they are worthwhile. One of my friends has been using stormtroopers for years but now that they are good… We had to adapt to Grey knights, Eldar bike spam, Tau Riptide wing but apparently IG being strong is something no one can adapt to.

    • adamharry

      Short Answer: Yes.
      Long Answer: Are we going to talk about relevant things in current codexes? Are we going to point out silly combos and things we feel probably need to get looked at? Are we actively invested and interested in playing/writing/enjoying 40k?
      Yes. We’re going to continue to do all those things.

  • Heinz Fiction

    One could argue that laurels of command are disfunctional at the moment. While they allow you to issue an order to a unit that has already received an order this unit cannot be affect by the second order, so it’s just a waste of time (I would not recommend to do this however).

    • Unimpressed

      RAW says NO … the laurels are usless with the current rules, see last sentence of VoC

      • Heinz Fiction

        Thats what I’m saying but I also advise not to press this issue in RAW. Unlike most similar cases it’s perfectly clear how the item in question is intended to work.

      • Iggynous

        Technically it’s only useless to everything except Conscripts. If the first order fails to affect a Conscript unit (due to them being “Raw Recruits”), the second Laurels order could affect them.

        • I_am_Alpharius

          Laurels could not effect conscripts after they failed their Raw Recruits roll. That ability clearly states that if they fail then: “no other orders can be issued to this unit for the rest of this turn.”

          • Iggynous

            True true, I was reading that rule wrong.

  • Unimpressed

    nice article but all wrong. the wording in voice of command says a unit can only be affected by one order a turn.

    so the second order from the laurels is useles. still only one affection per turn.
    the cadian war lord trait is half useless … if you roll a 4+ a second unit will be affected which means that unit can not be affected by another order ….

    this whole waterfall is so wrong …

    no uber units no waterfall … voice of commands says it!

    • adamharry

      Yeah…I guess I should have called that out in the article. I probably should have posted a picture of the actual voice of command rules and mentioned that specific thing. And I probably shouldn’t have set that whole section “Counter Point: Hey, You Can’t Do That!” to in invisible ink mode.

      And btw, it’s still a Waterfall when those 3 Orders become 6, 12, or 24 orders…

      So, agree to disagree?

      • Unimpressed

        neither the laurels nor the war lord trait mention the loophole to AFFECT more than one unit per turn by any number of orders … so disagree!

        RAW (VoC) says NO

        • Heinz Fiction


  • I_am_Alpharius

    Non issue. No matter how much rules get twisted it comes down simple that, as another poster points out (and you in the article),
    Voice of Command clearly restricts units to being affected by and gaining the effect of one order per turn.

  • Jim Cook

    “Herry up! If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’!”
    -Every senior non-commissioned officer ever, probably

    • Jim Cook

      even Cadian SNCOs

  • Thontos PlasticSmith

    Either this is completely wrong or you are going to have
    to explain how you are getting past the final sentence of Voice of Command

    “A unit may only be affected by one order per turn.”

    The important word there is AFFECT, not issue, affect. This sentence will cut off the waterfall.

    -So your Company Commander issues an Order to a squad,
    this triggers The Laurels of Command and Superior Tactical Training.
    -Some people are claiming “A unit may only be affected by one order per turn.” Will also cut off the Laurels but let’s just go with the Laurels working.
    -Superior Tactical Training goes off and you can affect another
    unit, that unit did not have that order ISSUED to it, it was affected by it. That unit has now come under “A unit may only be affected by one order per turn.”
    -The Laurels of Command goes off and the first unit which
    has an order Issued to it gets a second order issued to it. Superior Tactical Training now goes off again but this time it has to affect a unit which is not already under the affects of an existing order. The Laurels of Command does not work on the original second unit because Superior Tactical Training is not causing the order to be Issued, it just makes a second unit affected by an order.
    -you now have one unit with two orders affecting it and two units with one order each.
    -you can now repeat this process however many times you
    can use Voice of Command but “A unit may only be affected by one order per turn.” (with the accepted override that The Laurels of Command allows a unit to be issued two orders)

    • Heinz Fiction

      In the best case this will still be 3 units with 2 orders on them (assuming laurels of command do work as intended) and 12 units with 1 order on them. Quite impressive!

      • Iggynous

        Incorrect, as LoC clearly states “to the same unit”. So the best cases are (from a Company Commander):
        – 3 units with 2 orders each (LoC and InspTac),
        – 3 units with 2 orders each, and 6 other units with 1 order each (LoC, InspTac and SupTacTrng)

        • Heinz Fiction

          True. I corrected my post.

  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

    At most, you’re going to have 6 units with 2 Orders at once, if you roll well. I’m pretty sure GW does not intend for a recursive Order chain to take effect.

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      Also, ST has a positioning clause, so unless you’ve stacked or strung out your units relative to your Commander, you won’t have the units in position to maximize this rules exploit.

    • Iggynous

      Incorrect, as SupTacTrng doesn’t let you overlap orders on a unit like LoC. The true maximum is: 3 units with 2 orders (using LoC and InspTact), and 6 other units with 1 order (overflow of the previous 6 orders using SupTacTrng).

      • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

        Whatever. Not like I plan on playing Cadians anyway.

  • Dusty

    Cawl, Gilliman, and Mortarion buff as many units you can cream near them without having roll so I don’t think the IG/Cadian rules are that far ahead of the other Imperial commanders.

    Plus, I’m in the camp that the VoC only allows a unit to be affected once, even if the commander can keep yelling other at them.

  • In the world of people who don’t believe fun is a zero sum game:

    Superior Tactical Training lets an order effect 2 units on a 4+. VoC says that “a unit can only be affected by one order per turn.” Laurels lets a unit take 2 orders on a 4+. It is explicitly written into the rule. This is enough. Particularly considering that it is ridiculously easy to get more Cadian orders through Warlord Traits, Strategems, Kell, and Creed.

  • Iggynous

    SUMMARY: The current wording of Laurels of Command conflicts Voice of Command (unless you’re ordering Conscripts, and the first order fails to affect them due to their “Raw Recruit”) rule. Hopefully it’ll be FAQ’d.

    • I_am_Alpharius

      Laurels could not effect conscripts after they failed their Raw Recruits roll. That ability clear states that if they fail then: “no other orders can be issued to this unit for the rest of this turn.”

    • BClement

      This guy gets it. Pretty sure that was the entire point of the article – and why the author added that section called “counterpoints”

  • memitchell

    Laurels of Command clearly overrides the more basic Voice of Command restriction. It’s a standard that special rules modify basic rules. On it’s own, LoC is a useful relic. As are each and every other thing that enhances Voice of Command. Combined, they are a bit of a potential mess. I believe the technical term is “rules bloat.”

    • Iggynous

      I think what is being discussed is the “clarity” you mentioned. The override isn’t explicit, only implied.

  • Rob brown

    I think the Superior Tactical Training is being wildly over complicated. It doesn’t create a new type of order that springs into being without being “issued” it just allows an issued order to effect multiple units. If one of those were a conscript unit they’d need to roll a 4+ and if it failed couldn’t accept any more orders.

    The laurels allow unit to have a second comman issued them. Which for conscripts would require a second 4+ roll. So 50% chance of effecting a guard unit, half that chance of effecting conscripts.

    It really is simple. You just have to look at each rule as a separate multiplier and apply them in turn.

  • Simon Chatterley

    So wait…the Laurels of Command, a relic specifically made to allow a unit to have 2 orders (on a 4+) cannot do that because the rule it uses stops it???

    Oh come on…that’s just being stupid beyond stupid. Laurels let’s a unit have 2 orders. End of.

    • King Renegado

      Agreed. The fact that people want to debate it blows my mind. How many different ways are there to get extra orders? Take more company/platoon commanders, take more tempestor primes, prime command rods, Warlord trait, strategem, AND a militarum tempestus relic that will trigger for an extra order on a 2+?
      What are we going to argue next? That Kasrkin models can’t be used as tempestus scions? Smh…

    • Unimpressed

      its only the poor wording of the rule. it may be intended that laurels allow the ordered unit to be affected by a second order but its not written.

      at the moment there is a fundamental conflicht with VoC and no rule or war lord trait or something else clearly overrules VoC. sorry but the game simply does not work with rules as intended!

      • Simon Chatterley

        In the nicest possible way I can express you are the sort of person I couldn’t ever play a game with. What you are saying is GW has made a relic that doesn’t work and the very fact you are arguing against it makes you that guy.

        But you will already know that and clearly enjoy it so fair play to you I guess.

        • Unimpressed

          in fact i’m a very kind player and always rank fun above winning but what i can not stand is the twisting of multiple rules to get an advantage that is clearly not intended nor allowed by basic rules!

          and yes. it is not the first time that the GW rules section did strange and disturbing things … _I really hope that the next FAQ will give us an answere but unitl then i clearly have to sav that the rules prohibit multiple affections per turn.

  • King Renegado

    Laurels supercedes the only 1 order per unit limitation. There is a reason it only triggers on a 4+, and that is so it has a *chance* of stacking orders on one unit without taking potential orders away from another unit.
    The RAW arguments are moot.
    A failed leadership check doesn’t supercede a commissar’s summary execution. Same for laurels in regards to giving multiple orders to one unit.

  • This is completely mad. Even W.A.A.C players won’t be this bad. Surprisingly, it does seem quite fluff-appropriate though…