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Astra Militarum – The Conventional Wisdom – Pt. 2

7 Minute Read
Apr 24 2014
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I love the smell of promethium in the morning.  It’s time to wrap up our run through this codex and seperate the men from the boys!

a codex synopsis by Katharon

OK folks, so here is an opening disclaimer, statement, or what-have-you regarding this article. It’s as comprehensive and objective as I can make it in reviewing a codex that I’ve been looking forward to for about two years now. I will say in advance that I am heavily disappointed in Games Workshop for discontinuing the practice of telling us who wrote the rules. If, as some have speculated, they’ve moved towards crowd-sourcing to brainstorm their codices, then I can only fear for some and be happy for others. The format and style of this review will be in accordance to the unit description pages that give you the background details and special rules for models, if any are given.  Read Part 1 Here

Leman Russ Tanks

  • The favorite part of any tread-headed IG player, the Leman Russ Battle Tanks. Things for this section are a bit of a mixed bag. There were a lot of point decreases and some increases, as was to be expected.

    The cheapest tank is, as always, the one that no one ever likes because of its rather weak gun: the Eradicator. Good if you’re going to fight in a city, but weak on pretty much all other fronts.

    The Demolisher is now the most expensive tank – surprisingly to a certain degree.

    The most sad part about the entire section however is the Executioner. Due undoubtedly to the codex writer’s constant death in the face of plasma pie plates from the Executioner, it’s main gun is now susceptible to the Gets Hot! rule. This is such a blow to anyone that was a fan of this tank. Not only do the plasma cannon side sponsons get hot, but no so too does the main gun – you know, that thing that’s suppose to have a giant heat sink attached to it. Apparently the Adeptus Mechanicus is too busy making shiny new Grav-weaponry to maintain a few relatively simple heat sinks in a friggen’ tank.

    Overall, a good improvement on certain point costs. No real problems except as noted above.




Vendettas & Valkyries

  • Still one of the most powerful flyers in the game, the Vendetta naturally took a few hits from the nerf bat to the chin. The expected points increase came, but so too did some other nerfs. Biggest example is the transport capacity which has been reduced from 12 to 6. No more putting Veterans in a Vendetta folks – you’re reduced to Special Weapon Squads, Tempestus Scions, and maybe a command squad.

    Even Valkyries got a point increase – but at least they’re still cheaper than the new Vendetta; a whole fifty points cheaper in fact!

    Both the Valkyries and Vendettas took a hit by the loss of Scout and Deep Strike USRs.

    You’ll still see these things flying in the air, but you’re not as likely to see as many of them.




Hydras

  • The plastic kit that people have been waiting for since the original release of the Leman Russ and Chimera and Basilisk: the Hydra. Now, as shiny and new and nice as this kit is, don’t be fooled!

    Five points cheaper than the older 5th edition Hydra…that’s about the only real improvement. In fact there is a greater loss for Hydra lovers than before. This is due to the fact that Hydra’s have lost their auto-targeting system.

    When 6th edition first came out and GW released its FAQs to update older codex units (until they received their own update), Hydras were simply given the Skyfire rule in addition to their older rules. That was great because the ‘auto-targeting system’ meant that Hydra’s – due to being the best anti-air tank in the game – could ignore cover; which meant that all those nasty Helldrakes and Stormravens don’t get any Jink saves against a Hydras firepower – well, didn’t. Past tense.

    Now we’ve got Skyfire written into the codex but auto-targeting systems have been removed. Interceptor USR would have been nice as a replacement, but then people would start spamming Hydras – and we can’t have that. So the hydras took a bit of a nerf, but hey, at least we got a plastic kit.




Basilisk Battery

  • Old Reliable in the artillery department, the Basilisk has remained entirely unchanged. Which is sad really when you consider what else is no longer present within the new codex…




Wyverns

  • The new kit to fill in the shoes of the Medusa, Colossus, and Griffons…*headdesk*

    Seriously, though, the Wyvern is a decent light artillery piece for use against hordes. I think whoever wrote the codex designed the Wyvern to be used specifically against ork boyz, ‘nid gaunts, and traitor IG blobs. People that are a fan of the old Quad Gun/Thudd Guns will see a lot of similarities, but will not likely be swayed from continuing to use their Thudd Guns.

    On a purely kit-based scrutiny objection – I must say that it was incredibly lazy for them to simply take the Hydra, cut off it’s autocannon barrrels, and then go “yup, this is a totally different tank.” I’m sure it’s saving GW money in producing them, but boy would I have a few words to say with whoever made that design decision.




Manticore

  • One of the more feared pieces of artillery in the IG codex, and sadly not available in squadrons, is the Manticore. It is entirely unchanged in its design or stats with only a small ten points bump in point cost.




Deathstrike Missile Launcher

  • The real winner in the artillery department this time around is the Deathstrike. The exact same point cost and stat line, it functions pretty much the same as it did in 5th edition but with one minor detail…

    …it’s main weapon, the Deathstrike missile, is now an Apocolyse blast. No more piddling D3+3” for its blast radius – this baby is a full ten inches. It is also slightly easier to fire than before, on a 4+ instead of a 6+.

    It remains S10 AP1, Ordnance 1, apoc blast, barrage, and ignores cover. This baby is going to hurt and hurt big time wherever it hits. Worth the points.




Hellhounds, Devil Dogs, & Banewolves

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  • These three standard forms of the flame-thrower tank are all pretty much the same with only a few minor changes in the point costs. They can still be taken in squadrons, which is nice. The hellhound went down in points and the Devil Dog went up in points. The Banewolf stayed the same.




Commissar Yarrick

  • If the galaxy ever explodes and wipes out all life as the Emperor knows it, there’ll still be Commissar Yarrick left alive in the aftermath. The old cantankerous hero of Armageddon is still a strong and powerful character to take.

    He is pretty much unchanged from the last edition. Only a few differences with the change of wording in how a commissar executes people. His Bale Eye is a bit changed, but not overly so. He also took a significant reduction in points, which makes him more viable as a primary HQ and Warlord choice. He is also the only commissar character that has the “Senior Officer” special rule – which means he can give orders just like a Company Commander can. Worth it if you like your Warlord to be an Eternal Warrior.




Lord Castellan Creed

  • ”Creeeeeed!” 

    The man who use to be able to bestow the Scout USR upon any given unit in your army (but no longer) is still awesome. Apparently the writer(s) of the codex felt that the IG orders were pretty strong, because they reduced his old ability of giving out 4 orders a turn to only 3 now. But you can re-roll any failed order given by Creed, so that’s nice.

    He can now take two Warlord Traits instead of bestowing Scout upon any unit. But he did lose his special order “For the Honor of Cadia.” His point cost was reduced by ten points. Thanks to the new gunslinger rules in the Big Rule Book, Creed can fire both of his hot-shot laspistols together – but they are not twin-linked as they were before.

    Color Sergeant Kell is still the same by and large, with his own point reduction.




Colonel “Iron Hand” Straken

  • Speaking of guys that don’t die, Straken is back and looking for business. The man who use to be able to punch Land Raiders to death still can.

    He’s been given a few updates and USRs, such as Smash (which is like how he use to ignore armor saves regardless) and he has Monster Hunter, which makes him an interesting choice against any big bug.

    His one downside is a giant increase of 50 points in cost as opposed to his old cost.




Nork Deddog

  • The only bodyguard available for anyone apparently, but he does the job well. Deddog is pretty much identical to his old profile, except that he is 25 points cheaper, got Very Bulky, and his ‘Loyal to the End’ special rule changed to allow him to intercede and replace a character in a challenge. He also received a new attack that is pretty hilarious: Thunderous Headbutt. Gives him a single +3 Strength AP3 close-combat attack in exchange for his normal attacks.

    Not a bad investment if you’re depending on keeping your commander alive.




Knight Commander Pask

  • Every tread-head’s favorite upgrade from the old days, if we could fit him in, was Pask. Now? He’s even better. Not only can you take Pask as your warlord, upgrading your Tank Commander with him, but his stock warlord trait gives you Preferred enemy against your codex of choice and his Crack Shot special rule has changed to fit with all the different variants of the Leman Russ. Basically the idea was that if Pask decides to shoot something at something, that something is going to be red bloody paste by the time its over.

    Well worth the investment in points.


Cadets – dismissed!

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  • My Homey, Commissar Yarrick