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How To Play Astra Militarum In Warhammer 40K

8 Minute Read
Nov 30 2023
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Today take a look at some basics of how to play Astra Militarum, aka the Imperial Guard in Warhammer 40,000 10th Edition.

The Astra Militarum is one of the largest and most popular factions in Warhammer 40K. They are an army with a massive amount of variety and a huge number of units, boasting an impressive array of tanks. They are a somewhat complex army, that relies on using a lot of low-quality troops and their support, to good effect. Playing them is no easy task, and getting into 40K at all can be a daunting task. So below we will offer some tips on how to play Astra Miliatrum and get started with them.

What Is The Astra Militarum?


The Astra Militarum, also known as the Imperial Guard, the IG or the Guard, is Humanity’s’ shield. They represent the bulk of the military forces used by the human Imperium. Unlike the Space Marines, the Astra Militarum is in the main made up of baseline humans, average men and women sent out face the unimaginable horrors of the galaxy. Commanded by noble officers and watched over by stern Commissars the Guard is the largest fighting force in the galaxy, made up of not just countless ground forces, but super heavy vehicles, aircraft, and a massive logistics structure.

At the heart of the Guard is the humble Guardsman, armed with a lasgun and clad in flak armor. They are supported by iconic tanks like the Leman Russ and the Baneblade. While Space Marines may get all the glory, true fans know that without the Astra Militarum the Imperium would have long since fallen.

Why Play Astra Militarum

Do you like tanks? Not just one or two, but massive forces of tanks of all sizes? How about WWI or WWII-style armies and looks? Do you want to field something close to the real-life military? Does the idea of ordinary women and men, armed with a basic gun and guts, going off into space to fight superhumans, aliens, and unimaginable horrors from the pits of hell, and winning excite you? Then Astra Militarium is the army for you.

Strengths of an Astra Militarium Army

  • Massive roster of units, amongst the largest in the game.
  • Able to field hordes of cheap infantry for board control and holding ground.
  • A large number of powerful and deadly tanks.
  • One of the best shooting armies in the game.

Weakness of an Astra Militarum Army

  • Limited number of truly elite units.
  • Generally poor in close combat.
  • Important characters are weak and vulnerable to being killed.


Astra Militarum Army Rule

  • Voice of Command– Officers in your army can give Orders to your units, improving various statistics.

Astra Militarum Detachment Rules-

  • RulesBorn Soldiers mean Guard units are much stronger when they Remain Stationary.
  • EnhancementsGrand Strategist leans into Voice of Command, by allowing the bearer to issue additional orders.
  • StratagemsReinforcements! is an incredible recursion Stratagem, bring any Regiment unit back at full strength.

Key Units of Astra Militarum

Astra Militarum has a massive unit roster (0ver 50 Dataslates!), and knowing what units to take can be very hard. Here are some key ones to get you on your way.


Lord Solar Leontus

Lord Solar is a prestigious title, and this is a prestigious model. Leontus has a number of army manipulation rules, such as The Collegaite Astrolex, can issue three Orders, and join a wide variety of units.

Cadian Castellan

Characters, and Officers, in particular, are an important part of most Guard armies. On their own, they are not particularly deadly, especially when compared to characters from other factions. It is possible to give them good weapons, so they can contribute, but it’s not their main role.

Primaris Psyker

Primaris Psykers join your units and give them buffs from the gift of foresight. This means a strong Feel No Pain from Malign Wardings.

Cadian Command Squad

Beyond the Castellan, you can also get an Officer in a Command squad unit, who also brings the standard and enhanced comms, which allow for long-range Orders.

‘Iron Hand’ Straken


This unique Catachan character can lead Jungle Fighter units and is one of the most fearsome individual close combat models the Militarum can field, thanks to his bionic arm. He also makes any squad he joins an ace combat units thanks to his excellently named Been There, Seen it, Killed it rule.


Infantry Squad

At the heart of most Astra Militarium armies are the Infantry Squads. These troops are cheap and versatile. While individually, they are poor troops, in mass numbers, and with the right support from characters and rules, they can become quite deadly. They can be fielded with just their basic lasguns, or be given a wide variety of special and heavy weapons. They are more resilient when holding Objectives, thanks to Defenders of Humanity.

Cadian Shock Troops

These chaps do everything an Infantry Squad does, but they also tag objectives with their Shock Troops ability.

Death Korps of Krieg

Another versatile Battleline unit, the Death Korps pack a lot of specialists and can get better as they die thanks to Grim Demeanor.

Catachan Jungle Fighters

These are Guardsmen who are, at the very least, capable on the charge. This is entirely due to their Jungle Fighters rule.

Other Units

Leman Russ  Tank

The Russ is the quintessential Guard tank. It is slow, but tough and very deadly. There are a large number of variants of this tank, reflected in a massive number of weapon options. It can pick a deadly turret weapon, with both the Battle and Demolisher Cannons being excellent choices. It can also take a slew of secondary weapons, including multi-meltas, heavy bolters, and plasma cannons. They are deadly vehicles. For an extra powerful option,  you can take an order issuing Tank Commander as a Leader choice.

Rogal Dorn Battle Tank

The Rogal Dorn is the Leman Russ’ big brother, and the new kid on the block.  This new kit is everything the Russ is on steroids. Even tougher, packing more firepower, but with a higher point cost. You will have fewer of these in your army, but they will keep your enemies worried and on their toes. Shrug off a nasty hit with your Ablative Plating.


One of the largest weapons available, the Deathstrike lays waste to a small area, hitting every unit within 6″ of a point with its Deathstrike Missle.

Ogryn Squad

Ogryn are actually a surprisingly effective if short-ranged, threat due to their Ripper Guns. These are sure to surprise an opponent at least once with their volume of fire and decent damage.


Rough Riders

Men on horseback may seem like an odd choice in the 41st Millennium, and they are. But armed with bravery and explosive lances, Rough Riders make the best of it.

Militarum Tempestus Scions

Scions are elite troopers who provide pinpoint support in the form of withering special weapon fire, which is even more reliable with the Storm Troopers ability.

Sly Marbo

A one-man Catachan army- Marbo is the man. He is a major annoyance popping in and out with his Like Fighting a Shadow rule.

Sample Starter Army for Astra Militarum (1K)

Army: Astra Militarum (1K)


Cadian Castellan . One Model. They are armed with a laspistol and a powerfist

Cadian Command Squad . Five Models. They are armed with a lasgun(and various wargear)


Cadian Shock Troops. Ten Models. They are armed with lasguns.


Cadian Shock Troops. Ten Models. They are armed with lasguns.

Cadian Shock Troops. Ten Models. They are armed with lasguns.

Other Units

Armoured Sentinel. One Model. They are armed with a lascannon.

Field Ordnance Battery. Two Models. They are each armed with a two lasguns, heavy lascannon.

How To Play Astra Militarium

The Astra Militarium are a complex army that favors a methodical playstyle. Individually their units are weak. They rely on teamwork, over-lapping buffs, and good support to work. Concentration of firepower is a must. They are primarily a ranged army, and will want to allow their heavy units, such as tanks, to be the primary damage dealers. The army should use their hordes of infantry to screen the more important units, while also controlling the table and grabbing objectives.

They can also be used to tarpit enemy units. Enough basic infantry with the right support can be deadly. At the same time, they can use more esoteric support units to carry out needed roles, such as Bullgryns for counter attacks or Sentinels for fast objective grabbing. They are a hard-to-play, but rewarding army.

Author: Allen Campbell
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