Hey everyone, Reecius here with a tournament report with my Astra Militarum from an event I recently went to at SoCal Games and Hobbies.
You can see the full event results over at BCP.
Taking Astra Militarum
So, I took a new list this time, going pure Astra Militarum. I am continuously impressed with how strong the faction is. They have everything you need to win games: strong shooting, melee, board control, good psychic powers, tricks and strong strats. The addition of Vigilus specialist detachments just ups the anty and provides more tools. Here’s the list I took:
|Supreme Command||Tallarn||CP||0||Tank Company||478|
|Leman Russ Tank Commander||HQ||142||1||142||H.Bolter||8||3||24|
|Leman Russ Tank Commander||HQ||142||1||142||Punisher Cannon||20||1||20|
Welcome to Catachan
I took 3 of the specialist detachments and a regiment I felt worked with each of the detachments to best effect. The Infantry Company with Catachan is great, giving you really strong melee options in the cheap and efficient Catachan infantry. The relic in it is awesome, allowing you to make a unit fearless and +1 attack if the bearer dies, which with Catachans already getting a lot of attacks just adds to their power. The ability to swing when you die is also super strong, giving you even more mileage out of each infantryman. The Bullgryn need no explanation as they’re an all-star unit as are the very efficient mortar teams. Sentinels are so good in the ITC format (or any progressive scoring format) as they’re tough enough to require a fair amount of attention to take out and are great for running around and grabbing objectives, getting Recon, Behind Enemy lines and also Engineers. The Hellhound with Catachan is really the only way to run them, IMO, as it makes them so much more efficient and an actual threat. They’re also excellent for overcoming a lot of the units in the game at present that really on negatives to hit to avoid being hurt.
Cadian strengths hardly need mentioning as they’re the most commonly taken detachment in the game at present. But, for completeness sake, their ability to hold the backfield with very accurate shooting through their regimental doctrines and the awesome Overlapping Fields of Fire strat make them excellent for the artillery company. Double shooting Wyverns are just savage against light infantry and the Basilisk provides the ability to deal with multi wound or high save infantry and for taking out other vehicles. The ignores cover Warlord Trait and obviously, the ability to double shoot are amazing, as is the strat to halve an enemy unit’s movement. Just an all around excellent detachment and one that is very popular in the meta at this time.
Into the Desert
Tallarn provides the best Tank Commanders for Guard, IMO. Moving and shooting without penalty and the ridiculously good tank order available to them, allowing them to move before or after shooting, is just incredibly good. Combined with the ability to outflank if needs be, the mighty relic Battle Cannon giving you flat 3 damage and the detachment strat allowing you to move full speed and still double tap the turret weapons creates a potent combo and is easily my favorite part of playing my list.
Game 1 – VS T’au
- ITC Mission 1
- Vanguard Deployment
My first game was against a nasty T’au list. His list from memory:
- Commander with Cyclic Ion Blasters
- Cadre Fireblade
- Firesight Marksmen x 3
- 6 Fire Warriors with Marker Light x 6
- 3 Broadsides with High Yield and Smart Missiles
- Riptide with Smart Missiles and Burst Cannon x 2
- 4 Crisis Suit Bodyguards with Burst Cannons
- 8 Shield Drones x 3
A heavy hitting list and one that has a lot of durability in the Shield Drones, plus mobility with the Commander, Crisis Suits and unit of Shield Drones that all come down together from deep strike to light up a flank. T’au are always a challenge for me so I knew this would be tough. Plus, we drew Vanguard deployment which put a lot of distance between us and he got first turn which is always brutal vs. T’au.
His opening volley was savage, and he killed 8 of the 9 Bullgryn…yikes! To exacerbate this, my counter fire was very poor, I rolled 5 shots on my Wyvern and Snake Eyes on my Tank Commander which with a CP reroll bumped up to a measly 3 shots, lol. I just couldn’t punch through the Drones and was unable to do any damage to his Broadsides which meant taking another full strength volley of T’au firepower to the face plus the incoming Suits. I also made a dumb mission choice, taking Engineers which I am usually quite good at getting but T’au have the ability to blast those units to bits and that is exactly what hapenned, lol. I was only able to get 1 point on that mission which is bad news. I was in a tough spot.
My opponent made one critical error though, he ran a unit of Fire Warriors onto an objective, putting them in range of my advancing Catachans. A blobbed up unit was able to make a fairly long charge and only had to eat overwatch from it and 1 other units of Fire Warriors in position to supporting fire which allowed most of them to make it in. I was able to surround the unit but not kill it, allowing me to wrap it up to avoid getting shot. Further, critically, his battle line was within 4″ of that unit allowing me to kill it in his turn, then pile in to another unit to avoid overwatch. Subsequently, with Fix Bayonets and the normal fight phase actions, that one units was able to move into and tie up most of his army, saving me from critical turns of shooting and grinding through everything but the Riptides over the course of the game. Critically, it also let me tag the Broadsides to stop them from shooting for several turns. That was what turned the tides as it allowed me to focus on other units as my army was getting blasted to bits. It also kept my opponent’s army jammed up in his deployment zone, allowing me to establish board control and get the Hold More bonus almost every turn.
Highlight of the game for me: my gang of little Astra Militarum characters were able to beat up on a Riptide and kill it in melee! Assisted again by the mighty Old Grudges Warlord Trait, I was able to get a lot of damage through with Straken, Yarrick and the Primaris Psyker. However, it was the weedy Astropath who swung last, actually did a wound and my poor opponent rolled a 1 with no re-roll available to see him finished off! That guy is getting a promotion.
When the dust settled, both our armies got mauled but I was able to focus on killing his mobile units, ensuring that I held more objectives each turn giving me a victory with 26pts. Great game!
Game 2 – VS Chaos
My second game was against a nasty Chaos list, very similar to that which Jim Vesal plays. His list form memory:
- Daemon Prince of Tzeentch x 2
- Ahirman on foot
- Daemon Prince of Khorne with relic axe
- 10 Pinks
- 28 Pinks
- 25 Plaguebearers x 2
- 20 Bloodletters
- 3 Nurglings
- C-beam Contemptor
A strong army with lots of tricks and psychic powers, plus excellent board control, durability and hitting power. I knew this would be a tough game but my army is very good at plowing through infantry armies so I felt pretty confident that so long as I could hold them up and get a little luck with Daemons not coming back too frequently that I’d be OK.
My opponent got first turn and took it, advancing into position to strike hard turn 2. I had taken Old Grudges against one of the Plaguebearer units which helps a ton to blast through their high defenses and between that, mountains of dice from the Mortars, Wyvern, Overlapping Fields of Fire, Vengeance for Cadia, FRF,SRF with the buffs, etc. I was able to really take a bite out of the non-2 to be hit Plaguebearer unit. I went in to melee with blobbed up Catachans who with 3 attacks, re-rolls of 1 to hit and the ability to attack when dying, even hitting on 6’s they did quite a bit of damage and luckily, my opponent didn’t roll a 1 on the morale check so I was confident in the next turn, I’d be able to finish them off.
I made one huge mistake though, as my Bullgryn failed the charge to get in to the Plaguebearers, there was a gap just big enough for the Khorne Smash Prince to jump into, which he did, and then my Bullgryn got Death Hexed…oh boy. The Smash Prince went in and I fully expected him to kill them but my opponent flubbed the wound roll, coming up with three 1’s! The Emperor protects! This meant only 3 Bullgryn died, and they were able to swing back and kill him before he could swing again. Phew! Got lucky there.
With the biggest threat to me largely neutralized, and my massive number of infantry spread out to deny any really good spots to deep strike the Horrors and Bloodletters, my opponent was on his back foot. As I continued to press into the remaining Plaguebearer screen with more and more Catachans and the Bullgryn plus characters they just folded. The Bloodletters came in to reinforce but they were unable to swing the day and Catachans beat the snot out of them if they get to attack first, which they did.
From there, my opponent didn’t have many options left. The Pinks had dropped down to smoke a Mortar unit and an Infantry unit, but the counter fire from all the massed Guardsmen, Mortars, Wyvern, etc. was just too much for them and they returned to the warp in short order. With the Punisher tank coming in on the other flank to lay in to remaining Daemons with his bucket of shots, the Daemon horde started to fold, leaving only the Characters who once stripped of their screens, went down pretty quickly.
Some bad luck on my opponent’s part and a lot of firepower on mine won the day for the Guard with a 30pt victory. Very fun game against a great opponent.
Game 3 – VS Aeldari
My final game of the day was against fellow teammate Ray’s nasty Eldar army, featuring 5 flyers, the wind rider host and more. I knew this would be a tough game as Ray’s been on a tear lately, going 5-1 at BAO and BSB and 5-0 at the Battle for LA. His list from memory:
- Farseer on Bike
- Autarch on Bike with Missile, Banshee Mask, Lance and sniper Warlord trait.
- 20 Guardians, Weapon Platform x 2
- 5 Rangers x 2
- 5 Swooping Hawks
- 9 Windriders, Scatter Lasers
- Crimson Hunter Exarch, Star Cannons x 3
- Hemlock x 2
I got lucky on my first turn in a big way. First, I got top of the turn which let me Move, Move, Move my infantry all over the place, establishing strong board presence, and denying a lot of area for the flyers to land, and my Tank Commander went ham, rolling box cars for the number of shots and I hit with 7 on a 5+, all of which wounded, dropping a Hemlock right out the gates. Wow, I did not expect that. My opponent bum rushed me with the flyers, and damaged some of my tanks but was unable to pop any of them due to needing 5’s to wound in most cases. To add fuel to the fire, my Tank Commander rolled 12 shots AGAIN on turn 2, dropping the other Hemlock. Wow.
Mid table, I was covering 3 out of 4 objectives and my Catachans and Bullgryn were advancing up the table. The Catachans don’t like Wind Riders with Doom, Guide, etc. at all, and many of them were cut down by turn 2, but by turn three the survivors and the Bullgryn made it into his lines and started pulping Eldar in melee. Many of the Bullgryn got smoked by psychic mortal wounds but it wasn’t enough to blunt their teeth and once they got there the Eldar just couldn’t stop them. By turn 5 they had cleared out the Eldar backfield and were earning me the bonus point. My Hellhound and Punisher Commander were doing work as well, and my hot dice continued with my Hellhound averaging 14-16 hits, it was pretty crazy.
My opponent did his best to make a game of it but I was just rolling fire and Eldar cannot win a war of attrition. The Bassilisk and Hellhound ate up his Scat Bikes and by turn 3 the threat was gone. Ignore cover on the Wyvern and Bassilisk via Vigilus is extremely powerful, FYI. I highly recommend spending the CP to take it in cases like this where the Eldar player really relies on being out of LoS and benefiting from cover to weather the storm. The other big shortcoming with Eldar, and I feel this one all the time with my Footdar, is their weakness to units coming in form reserves. They struggle to get the bodies they need to just occupy space and the Punisher Commander coming on pretty much anywhere he wanted was rough. Now, the Banshee Mask Autarch was able to shut him down for a few turns by tagging him in combat but still, it makes some match-ups against armies like Daemons or GSC pretty dang challenging for Eldar.
End of turn 5, I managed to finish off the last of the Eldar on the ground and that was that, giving me a 36pt victory. Great game, and if not for my red hot dice, would have been much, much closer on the scoreboard than it ended up being. Nuking 2 critical units early game far easier than it should have been was just too much for Ray to bounce back from.
A very fun event and a cool store out there in Temecula. Thanks to Rob and co. for running it!
I ended up in second place, my teammate Junior with his Imperial Knights/Cadian army having also gone 3-0 but amassing a mighty 104 total points to my 96.
I liked my list a lot, it gives you a wide range of tools for each phase of the game which I enjoy. It’s also very durable, which is important and best of all: it is fun to play. For the Gentleman GT next weekend I have tweaked it a bit, adding in even more Guardsmen for even more CP, lol, but also giving me more deployment tricks while giving up only a little bit of punch. Guard just seriously have it all, an extremely good single dex army.
Thanks for reading!
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