This book is definitely a strong one – and while I don’t think it will completely wreck everyone – it will be a terror versus many on the table top. I want to discuss some of the things you can do depending on the type of army you are playing with. There will be times when the outcome will really just be dependent on you rolling hot saving throws – which is something you can’t rely on. Still there are some strategies you can bring to the table top to help out.
First – make sure you have a good grasp of target priority. Know what makes their army tick and what can cause you the most damage. I usually try to see if I can either sacrifice a unit to hopefully cripple the army enough that the rest of my army can get into place, bring their damage potential to the rest of the army, and hopefully survive any retaliation. So if their army damage potential resides in Leman Russ’s, Artillery spam, etc then you know you need to try and cripple as much of it as you can. This isn’t easy for every army – but it is something to think about. Sure the Conscripts are in the way – are in the way but they are not going to kill you. A lot of the time I will watch a game and see an opponent miss out on what they need to kill. I know I have lost a ton of games the were I didn’t go after the most important thing. You can’t ignore the damage output units – with AM most are not able to be hidden in waves of Conscripts. Most armies don’t have every unit be the type of threat you need to remove asap – so make sure you break down, pick apart, and get kill the right stuff. It is the only way to bring that weight of dice down when playing versus the new AM army.
Next – make sure to study the mission enough to plan out what you need to do turn by turn. That way you know when you can give up on something to push for another “mission” within the game. Lately games are moving away from the random Maelstrom nonsense of last edition – so planning your game out becomes a lot easier. Study the missions before the tournament – figure out what options you need to choose to give you the best chance, and try to stay on target. There are a lot of games you can just win by correctly picking the right secondary missions parameters, following the plan, and not getting lost is killing as many army men as you can. I know a lot of games I have won because I paid attention to the mission. I have also lost a ton because I didn’t read it well enough. Heck I remember a Bad Touch Ben Mohile lost that I had thought I had the game “tied” when in fact I completely lost it due to poor model placement. The ability to pick and choose a lot of your mission types in upcoming events will be a big factor in how you can “win” the unwinable match up a lot of players see with the current AM book. Sometimes you have to just play the boring game of moves, hide, and hope they forget they need to go grab a poker chip instead of pounding you with firepower.
Terrain is very important to the game and any table with a decent amount of it can be a big benefit to keeping your models alive. The AM are not known for tall models so the current stack of shipping containers, big middle structures, and buildings galore will let you stay hidden, survive the non LOS rain of damage, and maybe steal and objective or two. I get the feeling terrain is going to be the big factor to a lot of events moving on and surviving in this edition – with actual GW events showcasing a plethora of shipping boxes. I don’t know how many 3+ stacks of boxes full of DVD players, TV’s, and maybe a secret super villain called the Black Sky. Most TO’s I have talked with are all scrambling to get those table tops covered in terrain that reaches the upper echelons of the playscape. Most of the time I can plan out almost all my turns in my head based on how I need to hop around the ruined buildings, random coffee cans, and stacks upon stacks of consumer goods. I know my own personal table at home needs more of these “boxes” and hopefully in the upcoming weeks I can get some from Frontline to shore up my weak a$$ terrain set up.
These are all things anyone going to an event and wanting to do well has to be prepared for. Most of the time you can get away with a bit more loosey goosey army control because your opponent can’t respond nearly as in kind or you have a ton of characters hidden in waves of cheap troops. The new AM changes things up because they have the weight of fire to burn through all those cheap troops as well as push, control, and dominate the board with bodies, psychic shenanigans, and just straight damage potential. It feels like too much of the book is still too cheap – but will have too see as events shift up missions, push to finish more games, and will hopefully punish slower play so other armies can win. In fact I see a lot of games not finishing and opponents left scratching their heads on why they didn’t push to actually win the mission. Always keep the mission in focus, ignore all the kills, and keep ahold of first place dream.
Right now I feel bad for most of the elite armies as you have a good deal of strong “horde” lists out there. They have the bodies, dice weight, and damage potential to break through your expensive “unkillable” units. If an event is known to not have decent terrain I would say any kind of “low” model count list should second guess coming to the table top. But if you want to play this type of list follow those thoughts above, never look past just trying to win the mission, and for the love of god hug every piece of terrain you see on the table top.
Armies I feel that will give some issues to the AM builds. I think Orks look pretty good as they have a quick movement spell, lots of attacks, and hordes of decent models. Sure they can have some lackluster shooting – but their basic boy comes in so fast and hits so hard they can easily erase units of guys. Plus the amount of attacks leave tanks shacking as they bring the weight of dice to bear. I get the feeling with more Stratagems, decent FW options, and just extra rules the strong Ork player is going to have a field day. Chaos needs to embrace some of the cultists spam out there – usually in the Iron Warriors flavor to help curtail some of the board control AM can bring. Tide of Traitors, teleporting options, and fast redeployment are going to be key for that army to work well. Marines are still looking at the Ultramarine flavors to cause the most damage due to how strong their Primarch is. Target priority will be key as you take out the stuff that can hurt your Ravens, Repulsors, etc. Will see how the other armies start to fare as they come out. It is gonna be an uphill battle as players get used to opponents with so much firepower/model power on the table top.
Next week I talk about what I think about the new Eldar book. It is another book for an army I have no real desire to play – but I know I will be playing against it a lot. I have hopes we see Thousand Sons before the end of the year. And maybe a decent Ork book.
~ How are you seeing the Astra Militarum fare in your area?
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