Astra Militarum Review: The Heirlooms of Conquest

As with the other new codexes, Astra Militarum has a range of rare items available that are limited to one per army.  Before looking at what they are, it is vital to understand where they go: they are only available to be taken on two models in the entire book; the unnamed Company Commander from a Company Command Squad, and an unnamed Lord Commissar.

Those T3 W3 5+ models are the only ones who can take these items, and it's a significant restriction that must be factored in when assessing the utility of the items. Read more »

Farewell – I’ll be back!

Holidays again for me kids – I'll be gone for about three weeks and although I'll have access to the Internet, I probably won't be jumping on much. Matt, Puppy and the gang have assured me they'll have things covered while I'm gone but I've gotten a few battle reports put together for your enjoyment elsewise :). We'll see if they get swamped or not!

I'll be in the US and stopping by Frontline Gaming in San Francisco but otherwise will be off grid getting some quality non-nerd time (wtf is that amirite?).

Until then – have fun :)!

Happy Easter!

For all of those who celebrate the holiday, Happy Easter. For all those who don't – happy chocolate. For all those who are just enjoying the extra days off, happy long weekend!

Either way, fill it with war dollies :).

- 3++ Team

Photo Battle Report: The Battle for Helms Deep

HelmsDeepLotRLast weekend TGA hosted “The Battle for Helms Deep”, a massive 5,000 points game between Steve and Matt (Rohan) and Tony and Aaron (Isengard) on the tremendous Helm's Deep board built brick-by-brick by Steve (Onyx). This was a terrific game, and I invite anyone who loves table-top gaming to have a look at the photos from this epic match whether LotR is one of your favourite systems or not.

As far as I am concerned, in the video-game age, table-top games like this are why we bother in the first place.
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Astra Militarum Review – Review of Named HQ Choices

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Onward with the Astra Militarum / Imperial Guard Review! The next section takes a close look at the named Characters from the HQ slot; who is out, who is in, who is up, who is down, and who is just crazily overpriced.

Before I continue I feel I should add a disclaimer: This review is looking at these models from the point of view of what is competitive for players who attend tournaments. This is not about the characters' backgrounds or histories or story, and if you are just making army lists for fun games at home please feel free to ignore anything and everything written here.

The Imperial Guard's list of named-characters has traditionally not been a source of value-for-points models, most being surprisingly expensive for such vulnerable statlines, with only a few stand out examples (Marbo, Straken) with rules or gear sufficient to buck that trend. Let's take a look at what's changed in the new book. Read more »

Melta is the New… Autocannon?

Thor 1

In the past several book releases, we've seen something of a trend. More and more, we are seeing an increasing viability of many of the tougher targets that were on the out last edition. The most recent example of this would be the large price breaks (and effectiveness increases) of Leman Russ tanks of various sorts in the IG book, but this is hardly the only instance- Knights, despite their real-world price tag, are sure to make an appearance at some tournaments, and other factions have seen some tough contenders as well.

Against these hard targets, the usual fare of S6-7 torrent weapons simply does not suffice- they can sometimes deal some minimal damage, but more often than not they will simply plink off without effect, and many of the units are sufficiently hard-hitting that slowly wearing them down over 3-5 turns just isn't an issue. Hence I think the meta is going to drift in the direction of seeing more and more inclusions of the harder-hitting weapons of days past, melta included.
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Astra Militarum Review – Review of HQ Choices

hqThe Company Command Squad

(60pts, previously 50)

This is the versatile work-horse HQ choice for Guard,  often under-rated but always useful. The price has increased from 50 to 60pts with no stat changes (they didn't even get krak grenades!) but the commander can attempt to issue two orders from a list that has increased to 9 instead of 6 options.

While it's a relatively inexpensive squad with decent balistic skill and lots of weapon options, the orders should be the reason you take the CCS. I covered these in the previous article Warlord Traits and Orders but here's a recap. Read more »

Leviathan Wrap-up

IMG_1577So I was at a tournament this weekend – surprise! It was comped. SURPRISE! (first comp system described in this post). Five games, 1500 points and I ran Tau. I ran Tau with the advent of “breaking the system” – i.e. taking a very good list with a perfect comp score. The gambit succeeded and I had one of only two 10/10 comp lists yet still had what most would consider a strong (but not perfect) list. In terms of what the designer meant for this system to do, that probably worked however; we continued to see Deathstar and other lists considered “too strong” at the tournament. Most people would probably point to the Tau I ran and whine as well.

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Astra Militarum Review – Warlord Traits and Orders

ordersThe new Astra Militarum Warlord chart is an interesting beast. While it doesn't have some of the built in safeguards of the Tau one (“if your warlord can't use this, reroll”), it does constrict Tank Commanders to only rolling a D3 to get one of the first three orders, all of which are relevant to a vehicle unit. Having Tank Commanders as HQ is new and should add some flavour to Astra player's armies, so making the Warlord traits work with this is a good idea.

Note that the decision to form Combined Squads must be made immediately before determining your Warlord Traits, so you can't wait and see if you have outflank, relentless or preferred enemy etc. before deciding whether to “blob up” or stay in small squads.

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First Glance: Imperial Guard

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Astra Whatitarum? Stop making up factions, boy.

Standard caveat: this is just what it says, my first impressions of the book, not a comprehensive review. Feel free to contradict, correct, and condemn me over this stuff if you think it's wrong.
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