How Good is Codex Astra Militarum – Maybe the Best

With the Astra Militarum Codex now out lets take a brief look at some of the big picture effects the codex has on the army.

BoLS resident AM General StableAbe here to walk you thought just how good the new codex is.


Strong Shooting Got Stronger

Astra Militarum have always been good at shooting. That they would still be good at is not real surprise. However the codex took what was already arguable the best shooting army in the game and made it better. While many units underwent little to no changes, a few got some big upgrades. In particular the ability for Leman Russes to fire main guns twice a turn (and not take penelites for moving less that half)  is a huge boost to an AM army’s firepower. Since Leman Russes actually ended up a bit cheaper from the indexes this is huge. Add to that new doctrines, orders, and stratagems that increase offensive power.  From re-rolling 1s to hit, to re-rolling number of shots to more, the firepower the AM can deploy is not only greater than before but also more effective.

You won’t kill us all.

A More Survivable Force

While the Guard have always been a force to reckon with in their shooting phase, they’ve tended not to do so well in the other player’s. Outside of tanks, which have varied in surviablity,  the Guard traditionally die easy, with numbers not toughness being the thing to overcome. While this remains true on the whole, the Codex does significantly add to the staying power of the AM. From stratagems like “Take Cover” which adds +1 to armor saves, to commands that allow units to move or embark after shooting, the AM has a lot of ways to last longer.

While Commissars can keep them from running there are a number of other tricks int he Codex that do similar things, so leadership won’t be a big issue. The right combination of things can even net you a unit for conscripts with a 2+ save from shooting, and a -1 to hit them. On top of that if you want numbers you can take more Guardspeople then ever before.

Faster than ever.

Something to Do In Every Phase

Older versions of IG/AM Codices have shone in the shooting phase and not much else. In times past it has not been rare to see Guard lists that only every really did things in the shooting phase. Maybe a big of movement here and there, and not much else. The new Codex gives you an army that wants to take part in every phase. Gone are the big movement restrictions. Some armies, like Tallarn or Steel Legion are down right fast. Lemon Russes can outpace most other tanks with the right commands, and still pour out fire. Access to cheap Pyskers brings that phase to life as well. Lastly you know have access to a couple of good close combat units, and the ability to build some pretty effective close combat lists. The new codex allows you to make good use of the combat phase. This a new well rounded and active Astra Militarum.

There’s a million more behind me – good luck!

No Obvious Weakness

One thing you notice pretty quickly looking at the new Codex, is that there isn’t a very obvious weakness to the book. As I mentioned above it can now act well in every phase of the game. While close combat has traditionally been a guard weakness, they now have a lot of different ways to mitigate that, in addition to simply falling back.  Firepower, survibablity and, mobility are all now core areas the guard can excel out. With a thousand different tools, and numerous ways to build lists the Astra Miliatruma are now versatile and without a glaring weakness.

~ The biggest question is does the new codex make the AM one of the top 2 armies in the game, or the very top themselves.


  • nope none

    Guard from 7th to 8th – Worst to First!
    Can’t wait to see what the game looks like when every major faction has a codex. The balance that was promised may only be apparent then.

    • John Henry III

      HEY! Guard was better than orks in 7th. 😛

    • Charon

      I highly doubt it as there is not even some kind of balance between factions that already have their books. IG was already very strong with “just” the index and only got added on power.

  • Luca Lacchini

    So far the armies that received a full Codex treatment are more powerful than their original translations in the Indexes, but balanced enough in relation to each other.
    The loops are nullified fast enough (Stormraven spam, 200 conscript blobs, let’s see Assassin conga).

    8th edition is not perfect by a far cry, but so far looks less cluttery and unbalanced than the previous one(s).

    • tau4eva

      Looking forward to playing again sometime next year!

      • Luca Lacchini

        Me too, with the Codex for Dark Eldars!

        • Dr.Clock

          The plural of Eldar is Eldar fwiw : P

          • Agent of Change

            Aeldari… 😛

          • YetAnotherFacelessMan

            Drukhari! ^_^

          • Severius_Tolluck

            Drew Carey?

          • YetAnotherFacelessMan

            I know, I also hated and despised Warhammer Fantasy. 😉

          • YetAnotherFacelessMan

            Drukhari! ^_^

    • Heinz Fiction

      Considering how many tries they had, 8th edition gotta be balanced just by chance 😉

    • Marco Marantz

      Ad Mech and Chaos aren’t much better than the indexes. Both codexes received little TBH yet both were among the worst factions available.

  • LordKrungharr

    They have one weakness, their faith in a corpse!

    • LordKrungharr

      Sorry, my Abaddon was staring at me just now.

  • DoctorBored

    Yeah, the big thing will be how Eldar and Tyranids fare when their Codexes drop. Those factions have also been notorious for being either too powerful or too weak.

  • spla5hmummy

    I’d say flyers are a weakness unless you can afford forgeworld or convert. AM have a total of one option?

    • That one option is solid though. It got buffed and a point drop.

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      Lascannons are cheap and so is the FW Index.

  • Heinz Fiction

    Look above – it’s that Genestealer Leman Russ again!

  • Carey_Mahoney

    That traitorous Genestealer tank again!! STOP THAT, BOLS! This ain’t Genestealer Cults, it’s Imperial Guard!

    • ReveredChaplainDrake

      The delicious (and I do mean “delicious) irony is that you’re more likely to see a vanilla Russ in a Tyranid army than a Guard army these days. Guard’s toolbox may not be seriously lacking in tools, which is why actual IG players think it looks weak. Tyranids… not so much.

      • Carey_Mahoney

        Ironic, indeed. A bit of a pity, in my opinion.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    Why do you guys keep using the stock image of the Genestealer Cult’s Leman Russ?

  • 40KstillRulesTheTT

    All units in this codex need a slight point increase, then all will be good and balanced between the Guard and the Rest ! Else the Eldar will be just as OP (Tyranids won’t, they will be bad, we all know that deep down hah hah) Looking forward to their annual point review (was it promised or just alluded to as a possibility ?)

  • Fredddy

    The weakness will come with the codex creep. The spreading of to hit-reduction abilities is already a problem- the 2000pts IG army is reduced into an 1400pts one in the exact moment the words ‘Raven Guard’ comes out of your mouth, and this will only get worse with codex creep. And the traditional bane of IG will return soon in the form of the fast moving CC armies with lots of Attacks.

    • Marco Marantz

      Agreed but RG are just *one* type of marine faction. The odds against playing RG of all factions in 40K is pretty low. Even if you throw in AL its only 2 of what, dozens of factions that will be playable.

  • The bloody Genestealer Cults have infiltrated the pages again!

  • WizardBleach

    I feel like the fall back rule needs to be reworked

  • Marco Marantz

    AM OPness was apparent from even short reviews of the codex when they first hit the net. Anyone who didnt see that is clearly not very bright. AM are king/OP because they get cheap firepower and loads of wounds, much of it, high toughness. They seem even more broken than 7th Ed Eldar. This is terrible for the game as a whole.