Does everyone remember when GW released Stronghold Assault and Escalation? A lot of people on the Internet shot them down immediately. Mostly, this was because of how terrified people were of D weapons. Either way, Stronghold Assault wasn’t used very much in tournament play. However, that has changed a lot in 7th edition, as Stronghold Assault is now the only way to take Fortifications. Something that surprised me though is that I noticed a lot of people (at least in my area) weren’t aware of what the various fortifications did besides those that were in the old 6th edition rulebook.
So, for this article, I’ll be covering some of the things people may not realize if they don’t own the Stronghold Assault book. Note that I will not be covering Fortification in this segment (that’s for next time), just the individual options available to them.
Changes to Fortification Rules:
This isn’t technically part of Stronghold, but I want to start with the largest rules changes in 7th edition.
1. You may now assault out of Fortifications.
2. Fortifications now have Hull Points if they’re buildings, as determined by their size.
3. Fortifications now are deployed at the same time as the rest of your army, and must start in your deployment zone.
This is the section that people seem to be the least familiar. Everyone knows about Comm Relays, Lascannon and Quad-Guns, but there are plenty of options for fortifications:
1. Ammo-Store: The unit inside this building re-rolls 1s to hit when shooting out of Fire points.
If you’re buying a Bastion and putting units inside, this is an amazing option for 15 points. I see a lot of people use Bastions and only take the old upgrades. For Devastators with Lascannons, for example, this increases their firepower greatly, especially if they use Gets Hot weapons.
2. Booby Traps: The first unit to occupy this building immediately takes 2d6 hits.
This one is actually quite bad in a list, but it’s very fun for a special mission or for neutral terrain.
3. Escape Hatch: Place a marker within 12″ of the building, this counts as an additional access point.
For 25 points this is an amazing upgrade. This is great for jumping a unit out to grab an objective or deliver some mean firepower. You are guaranteed an 18″ move if no one gets in the way, which after a run move can grab objectives ridiculously far away. It also means you can jump out and shoot a good target with flamers or meltas, whatever is inside. Another fun idea is to jump an assault unit out to get a boost to your movement, but you can’t assault from the Escape Hatch. It does help get in your opponents face however.
4. Magos Machine Spirit: Automated Fire uses BS 3 to fire.
The benefits of this are obvious. Put it on a Fortification with heavy firepower and reap the benefits of hitting better. This is best used with Vengeance Weapon Batteries or Firestorm Redoubts.
We all know what these do, but it’s a handy upgrade occasionally.
6. Void Shields: An AV 12 shield that covers the Building and anyone on top of it. Note that blasts only hit it once.
This is a great upgrade to protect your Building from getting killed with one shot, and also helps the unit on top a lot. It basically lets you take a single building, and have two units protected by AV before you can shoot them.
7. Tanglewire: A 6″ strip of dangerous terrain that gives a 6++ cover save.
This is a fun and fluffy upgrade but I would say Dangerous terrain isn’t a big enough deal to spend points on.
8. Barricades: A 6″ Barricade that provides a 4+ cover save.
Now were talking! For 10 points a Barricade, you can easily erect a poor mans Aegis Line around another Fortification without having to take two Fortifications or a Fortification Network.
9. Tank Traps: A 6″ Obstacle that is impassible to non skimmer vehicles (including Walkers!) and gives a 4+ cover save to units behind it.
Again, this is a very good upgrade for 15 points. It can protect Objectives near a Fort from having a Rhino fly in and take it, and is also good cover for anyone who wants to sit behind it.
10. Ammunition Dump: Models within 2″ reroll 1s to hit on shooting attacks.
This isn’t great for big infantry units, as it is a model by model bonus, but this does apply to vehicles. For 20 points, this can be awesome for units like a Squadron of Leman Russ Punishers. If you have a tough model sitting on this it’s worth it’s weight in gold!
Obviously there are also the three upgrades we remember from 6th edition (Comms, Lascannon, and Quadgun) but I am surprised at the number of people bringing Fortifications and not using some of the options above. If you have a Bastion with a shooty unit inside, why not shell out a few points to increase their odds of hitting? Understandably, a lot of people don’t want to have to buy yet another book to run their army, but Stronghold Assault is a huge boost for many armies.
Coming up next! Part II will focus on the various Fortifications, and how to get the most out of them for your army.
What upgrades do you like to include with your Fortifications, and why? How do you feel about the inclusion of Stronghold Assault in everyday 40k?