Massive Battlereport: ASTRA MILITARUM vs GENESTEALER CULT

Today we have a treat for the many people who have been asking for an Imperial Guard battle report, as the Astra Militarum battle the Genestealer Cult across the surface of an ice planet.

This was the first tabletop playtest for both me and my opponent (I’ve had 3 vassal games of 8th prior to this), and a terrific chance to try out the new rules in what would prove to be a fast-paced, hyper violent game of 40k.

Infantry, Monstrous Creatures, Tanks, Artillery, Mutants, Psykers, Heroes and Cavalry – this game has got it all.

Dean (No One) Langford’s  Genestealer Cult

HQ
Flyrant (2x Deathspitter, MRC, Pincer) 191
Flyrant (2x Deathspitter, MRC, Pincer) 191
TROOPS
10 Termagants 40
10 Termagants 40
10 Termagants 40
FAST
10 Gargoyles 60
10 Gargoyles 60
10 Gargoyles 60

HQ
Patty 150
Primus 76
TROOPS
14 Acolytes 154
14 Acolytes 154
13 Acolytes 143
13 Acolytes 143

 

Matt-Shadowlord’s Imperial Guard

HQ
Straken (Skywalker)
Primaris Psyker (Obi Wan) Smite, Psykic Barrier
Company Commander (Vader)

ELITE
Veterans Autocannon 3 Plasma
Astropath (Astromech, downgraded to laspistol), Gaze
Harker
Commissar Bolter

TROOP
5 Militarum Tempestus Scions 2x Plasma
5 Militarum Tempestus Scions 2x Plasma
30x Conscripts
30x Conscripts
FAST
6 Rough Riders  Hunting Lances
6 Rough Riders Hunting Lances

HEAVY
Leman Russ Punisher 3 HB SB 2
Manticore HB
Manticore HB
Wyvern HB
Heavy Weapons – Mortars
Wyvern HB

A brief look at the armies

  • Detachments: This is only 1,500 points, but both armies are battleforged with 2 Detachments; the Guard have a Battalion and a Spearhead, while the GSC have two Battalions.
  • Command Points: That gives the GSC 9 Command Points to play with, and Guard 7.
  • Deployment Drops: GCS 14 (inc 6 reserve). Guard 19 (inc 2 reserve).
  • There will be a ridiculous amount of models on the table for 1500pts – well over 200. Both feature a lot of expendable models; for the Guard this is in the form of screens of 60 conscripts, and for the GCS it is hordes of offensive chaff units.
  • Yes, you did see two units of Rough Riders! It’s 8th Edition, baby!

 

HAMMER AND ANVIL

The calm before the storm. Four objectives placed (marked in 3+pink), and deployment will be Hammer and Anvil. Unlike most Tyrannid forces, acolyte-heavy GSC like this deployment because of their Acolytes’ unique deployment rules. On a poor roll their opponent may pick 2 edges for them to come on from, but with H&A there should only ever be 1 bad edge.

Deployment

The Guard deploy to thwart the acolytes; the conscripts spreading out and trailing backwards may look odd, but he point is that there is no where in their deployment area that will allow a unit to come on and be more than 9″ from a enemy model.

Notes: The Leman Russ is subbing for a Punisher until my new cannon arrives, and the two upper tanks are filling in for Wyverns. The only other thing to explain is the snowtroopers and CCS Vader – I had to mix my two Hoth Themed armies together just to get enough models for this game!

Straken and the Astropath droid just behind a huge line of conscripts, with Rough Riders prepared to counter-charge.

The other end of the line is held by a Primaris Psyker and another unit of Rough Riders.

GSC deployment is almost all right on the front line, with a couple of units holding their objectives. The large force of Acolytes are kept in reserve.

Flyrants start back from the front line. Powers chosen include Mass Hypnosis and Horror (now negative 1 to hit)

Drone view of deployment, the moment before battle begins. Keep in mind about 70 models are coming in from reserve.

GSC have a clear advantage in deployment drops, so get to choose to go first. The Guard decide not to attempt to seize, as it will be a better test of the force if they don’t get to shoot first.

TURN 1

All but the two rearguard GSC units hurl themselves forward at full speed.

The Acolytes come on from reserve with remarkably lucky rolls – three of the four units score a 6, meaning they can come in where-ever they want, and move to make it to 3″ away from the Guard units.

That is a game-changer, because it means the front lines will be thrown together in combat before they get to even fire once.

Note the small gap between the ends of these Conscript units. I left the gap on purpose to make it easier to tell one set of 30 men apart from the other, but will change that to a better method in future. My wily opponent Dean noticed it left just enough space for him to declare a multiple charge on the right Conscripts and units behind them, without having to declare one on the left conscripts who were itching for some Overwatching.

This is how we learn 😀

GSC psykic powers were all successful, but the Primaris Psyker and Astropath managed to block Mass Hypnosis and Horror.

The Flyrants murdered 9 Conscripts with shooting attacks, and total GSC shooting left 18 Conscripts and one Rough Rider dead, thinning the ranks before the charge.

And what a charge it was! Overwatch fire of 36 shots left 1 Acolyte dead (flashlights for the win!). Straken had been positioned for a Heroic Intervention, so leapt in to combat to help turn the tide of battle.

In the north, the Acolyte charge came in without the inconvenience of overwatch, pulling the Primaris Psyker into the same combat.

Striking first on the charge, the GSC killed the entire Southern conscript unit. Every single man was slain, fulfilling my prediction that they wouldn’t be required to make a leadership test.

Rather than contributing one attack to each man, Straken was left standing alone, but did managed to scalp 3 enemies in return.

The GSC Consolidation move of 3″ got them into combat with the central rough riders. Combat was over, so they couldn’t strike them, but this would rob the RRs of their Lance charge bonus. If the GSC hadn’t managed to bring 3 units in on 6s the conscripts wouldn’t have been wiped out, but one shouldn’t leave these things to luck: the lesson there is that counter-charge units need to be more than 4″ behind the unit in front.

Guard Turn 1

Strategic Withdrawal: The Rough Riders abandoned combat, meaning they’d not be able to do anything useful this turn. The northern Conscripts did so too, but with an officer rushing in to range would at least be able to be ordered to shoot this turn.

Straken left the combat, and head backwards while a veteran squad went forward to provide him with a screen; the idea here being that if they were charged he could do another Heroic Intervention.

 

 

Psykers both failed (I had wanted to put Protection +1 armour on the rough riders and to cast Smite. The astropath is unusually bad at casting smite, but you get what you pay for).

The Wyverns and Mortars thinned the weaker bugs somewhat, but the Punisher’s 33 shots (20PC+9HB+4SB) did the most work there. The two manticores underperformed but did manage to put some damage onto Warlord Flyrant.

Veterans fired supercharged plasma using Harker for to reroll 1s and still managed to cook one of the squad. They also had an Order allowing them to reroll 1s to wound, and between this and the autocannon, the Warlord Flyrant was now getting degraded, and with only 2 wounds remaining was slowing down dramatically.

Combat was restricted to just the northern Rough Riders, who put their chainswords to good use.

With gratifying results.

TURN 2

Enraged by the lasguns and explosions,  the GSC forces leapt forward.

The GSC lines are bolstered by Gargoyles and more acolytes, as the Flyrants also make it in to combat range.

Shooting attacks killed some more guardsmen and a Rough Rider, and took 1 Hull off the Punisher after it made some lucky saves.

One of the Manticores was hit with Horror (-1 BS).

CHARGE! In come the forces of the GSC. 42 lasgun overwatch shots from the north Conscripts reduced another Acoloyte to a sunburned husk, but everything else made it in safely. The Punisher was chosen by the Flyrant as its target. It managed to cause another 7 wounds on the tank, reducing it to 4 Hull points in the blink of an eye.

I burned 2 CP to give the rough riders a chance to strike first, letting them get the jump on the Gargoyles and keeping them in the game.

Meanwhile in the north, the Conscripts would lose about 20 models, although the Rough Riders did get to do a little damage in return, cutting down 5 models.

Guard Turn 2

A lot of Guard infantry models are now dead, but the same can be said for the GSC. The Punisher withdraws from combat (and with no orders available, will basically have to sit the turn out). The Rough Riders and surviving Conscripts do stay in combat however, so they will get to swing at the enemy this turn.

Guard shooting starts with the Veterans and a Manticore finishing off the wounded Flyrant. Mortars and Wyverns deplete some of the enemy’s small bugs, but the BS5 manticore can only manage to put one wound in the other Flyrant.

Guard make just one new charge – the Commissar throws himself into combat, judging that there will soon be no men for him to keep on the table anyway! Combat in the north sees the Commissar and Rough riders take some enemy out, but Acolytes murder all the remaining conscripts.

TURN 3

GSC shooting was badly depleted by now, but the models still in the fight. The remaining flyrant moved up to charge into a Manticore, and soon afterwards cast Horror on its comrade to reduce its BS. Combat saw this Manticore very badly damaged but not destroyed, while in the north all Rough Riders were slain.

Guard turn 3

Straken moved back to prepare to charge the Flyrant (desperate times – but he does also have a Monster hunter reroll-rule). The surviving central Rough Riders moved north – this would be their finest hour, they would finally get a proper charge off and use their Power Lances!

At the end of the Guard movement phase, 2 squads of Storm troopers dropped in to the GSC backfield, and lit up the defenders with overcharged plasma and hotshot lasguns, taking them out. With artillery raining down on the nearby units, this would end the GSC’s hold on one of their two obectives.

At the same time, the Flyrant in the south was killed by Veterans and a BS5 Manticore, thus bringing to an end the GSC’s most serious threat to the Guard objectives. The combats in the centre left several Acolytes dead, but they cut down all the remaining Rough Riders in return.

The overview just before the end of turn 3:

The GSC now had a depleted unit of acolytes (top) and a hiding unit of Termagants on an objective (top right), while the Guard had all their tanks, the Veterans, Straken, Stormtroopers and some other characters remaining on the board.

As the club was about to close and the result now a forgone conclusion we decided to call it there.

The anticipated result was:

  • GSC: First Blood + One Objective = 4
  • Guard: Warlord + Three Objectives + Line breaker = 11

Some MVPs

Acolytes are great value for the points, and their deployment rules will make them excellent vs backfield units. Most Elite armies will be able to fend them off better than this battle report demonstrated, but then most elite armies won’t be able to clog up their deployment options nearly as well.

Rough Riders are awesome. They’re not to be taken too seriously as they remain T3 5+ but they do have 2 wounds and by Guard standards are decent in a fight. The new lance rules that make them work in every combat as long as they charge weren’t shown to full effect here (blame Dean for that), but they really are a fun unit to use.

The Flyrants are excellent. Fast moving combat casters with good ranged weapons, they offer a lot for their points

Manticores and Wyverns share credit in providing Guard with reasonably consistent long ranged damage output. they fill different roles, but both do the job well.

Stormtroopers may come at a higher price (more three times more per model than conscripts, before adding toys) but they offer something different to Guard; a way to get to get behind enemy lines when needed.

Conclusions

I added some notes on things that could have been done better while doing the battle report, but this was very much a learning game for both of us.

We had to look a few things up and probably made  a few mistakes even so, but the most important thing I can say is that I had more fun playing this game of 8th than I have had playing 40k for years.

Looking forward to the new rules on Saturday!

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

58 Responses to “Massive Battlereport: ASTRA MILITARUM vs GENESTEALER CULT”

  1. TomEX says:

    beautiful, just beautiful.

  2. Justin S says:

    MOAR PLS!!

    no seriously, I love you guys' battle reports.

  3. Manu says:

    Thanks for this BR!

    Did the vehicles managed to put any wounds on the atackers with overwatch or combat? I believe you didn’t mention it, and I’m curious about those new rules.

    • Matt-Shadowlord says:

      One wound from overwatch, no wounds from combat.

      There were two charges made against vehicles, and both were by the Flyrant. The Punisher blasted off it's 33 shots against it without getting a wound through.

      When the Flyrant charged the Manticore I decided to fire a missile – this is a terrible way to have to use the vehicle's limited ammo, but I thought the chance of it being destroyed or reduced to shooting at 6+ was high enough to justify it. This managed to make one wound stick; not a lot, but it all adds up.

      These are two very high damage-output vehicles, so Monstrous Creatures should be pretty safe charging most targets.

  4. Track says:

    How did the astromech/astropath do, was the ignore cover significant ?

    • Matt-Shadowlord says:

      No, not in this game anyway.

      Ignore cover is great for Guard, but the Astropathis a little tricky to use. It can remove cover saves from an enemy unit with 18″, when fired on by AM units within 6″ of the Astropath. That means you've got to be reasonably close to the enemy, and very close to his friends.

      The distant units that were using cover were out of range of the ability, and the close ones were either out of cover anyway or in combat.

      This is just one example game, and I can't complain since he's cheap, but it's not like some sort of free markerlight ability.

  5. ColKi says:

    Thanks for the battle report! Have you tired a Master of Ordnance? He seems like a good fit with all that artillery.

    Also, can you talk a bit about 2×30 conscripts vs 4×10 infantry? Was it mainly about Skywalker's buffing ability?

    • Matt-Shadowlord says:

      Yes I tried the Master of Ordnance, and have downgraded him from the expected 5 star rating to more of a 4.

      He sounds awesome, but there is a problem; he only works when firing at targets 36" or more from the firing unit. Now the artillery has longer range than that, sure, but if you combine the speed things move at with the fact that the rules seem designed to make sure Guard-style MSU builds go second in most games, and you're often going to need to be firing at things much closer.

      I am not saying he isn't good, but he isn't the must-have I expected. IMHO.

      So for this army, the commander was the Catachan Straken so I had quite a few of the units' shots buffed by Harker instead. Similar effect, larger aura, no minimum range requirement. A simple substitution.

    • Matt-Shadowlord says:

      2×30 conscripts vs 4×10 infantry:
      I expected most shooting to be overwatch, which they are equally (in)effective at.
      The conscripts need less Commissars to cover.
      FRFSRF orders are very efficient when affecting 30+ men at a time. Shame they all got killed before using it 😀
      I had wanted to boost huge mobs Conscripts with Straken – everyone near him was dead before they got to swing, but the intentions were good 😀

      I will be trying the troop approach too – I expect we're all going to be in an experimental phase.

      • Other than the Scions who get a bit expensive if you take a bunch, I expect it will be a close call between Infantry and conscripts. Not because I think the infantry is good, but because it's slightly cheaper due to model count.

  6. Kadeton says:

    Good read, thanks!

    Man, that Cult Ambush rule is fucking nuts, though. Half the time it's better than a Callidus Assassin's infiltration, and she's supposed to be literally walking amongst the enemy troops, pretending to be one of them. Is there anything else in the game that lets you set up closer than 9", or move closer in the same turn, after deploying from reserves?

    Also, Matt's army list is pretty hard to read until you work it out. I'm guessing it was copy-pasted from a spreadsheet or something.

    I'm a little saddened to see the "Pick a unit, triple it up" school of army design persist into this edition. I understand it, but I can't help but feel the battles aren't as interesting as they could be.

  7. Kadeton says:

    Good read, thanks!

    Man, that Cult Ambush rule is fucking nuts, though. Half the time it's better than a Callidus Assassin's infiltration, and she's supposed to be literally walking amongst the enemy troops, pretending to be one of them. Is there anything else in the game that lets you set up closer than 9", or move closer in the same turn, after deploying from reserves?

    Also, Matt's army list is pretty hard to read until you work it out. I'm guessing it was copy-pasted from a spreadsheet or something.

    I'm a little saddened to see the "Pick a unit, triple it up" school of army design persist into this edition. I understand it, but I can't help but feel the battles aren't as interesting as they could be.

    Edit: I hate to laugh, and the rest of Matt's army is beautifully painted, but the guy with the semi-flaccid lance cracks me up.

    • Matt-Shadowlord says:

      I removed points from the army list, and it should now be much easier to read.

      As for the Rough Rider, do you have any idea how many years he's been in storage? Amd you expect his lance to be up immediately? Give a guy a break!

    • abusepuppy says:

      The reality of just about any game is that some units will be more efficient at tasks than others, and those units are going to be taken in multiples to do that job because redundancy is always critical. You'll see 2x or 3x of several different units taken in pretty much every army in every edition because that's just how the math works out- certain jobs need doing, and certain units are going to do those jobs well.

      The real test of whether things are a problem is if you're seeing 6x or more of _one_ unit, or if the units people are taking multiples of are the same in every army or different in many of them. If you see excessive duplication of one unit (to the exclusion of all others) or you see the same couple of units in list after list, that's where the indications of Bad Stuff start coming up.

      • Kadeton says:

        As I said, I do get it… I just don't like it. I think it displays a lack of imagination, of sorts.

        Rather than going "This unit does this role, this one does this role, and this one does this… take three of each!" we could be thinking about the ways that different units can provide redundancy across multiple roles, each with situational advantages. You get the same amount of role-redundancy but increased variety, which in turn makes it harder for your opponent to dismantle your plan and your army synergies. (As a nice side-effect, armies are more visually interesting and battles have more going on!)

        This edition, of all the variations of 40k, seems to offer the most scope for fielding units with flexible roles and a variety of wargear. The general trend away from extreme specialisation opens up so many possibilities… and I feel like right now (or, like, in the early stages after the game is actually released) is when we should be experimenting with *everything* to get a feel for how it all works before assuming that any single unit is "the best" at a particular task.

        But I'm not a particularly "competitive" player – I'm mostly looking for fun experiences, and variety increases my enjoyment of the game. I recognise that not everyone shares that view. 😉

      • Ideally, every unit should bring something to the table and unit selection should be more about style than efficiency. The rumored app might help with this. If GW can mine the data on what's being played competitively, they can identify over-costed or inefficient units and correct them. I hope that's their plan, because right now some options just look flat out bad.

  8. guard daddy says:

    I've been using this to help with list building for AM. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1BJi1mdc7h

    Some observations:
    the AM 'killer AP' is orders. – if possible have enough commanders to ensure all units can get them each turn (they are automatic)

    Command squad (4 models) is same points as special weapons squad (6 models) but has +1 BS. Both take 3 special weapons.

    Fallback seemed to be used well in this battle. Be interested to know what people think about using this + 'get back in the fight'

    Due to orders applying to infantry and the fact that you can choose which models to remove + the buffs that chars bring I feel that guard have swung towards infantry as their strength. I love this, but tread heads may be disappointed!!

    • Matt-Shadowlord says:

      Orders are great. The absolutely reliability of auto-passing is such a big improvement that it makes planning much easier – and makes falling back from combats more palatable.

      For the tread heads, there is still Pask and the Tank Commander, which have their own pretty good orders available.

    • Kadeton says:

      Tread heads may take some solace in the fact they can replace any standard Leman Russes with Command Tanks. 35 points for +1 BS and the ability to order other tanks to re-roll 1s goes a long way toward bridging the gap!

    • guard daddy says:

      Guard deployment ponderings https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OB1BoKqEZjvw6

      • Matt-Shadowlord says:

        In addition to what you have written in your document, I'd like to add that screening inside and behind your lines requires less models than might be expected.

        For example, in this photo at the end of deployment, there are large open spaces that the enemy couldn't deploy reserves in to: http://www.3plusplus.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/
        (note that the Wampa model between the tanks and the top conscripts is just an objective)

        The gap between the models was 18", sufficient to ensure no enemy could be 9" from either side. The gap between models and the top edge was also about 9", for the same reason. A lot of space can be covered by a relatively small amount of models if careful placement is used.

        (I've played a lot of Epic Armageddon in which teleporting Terminators have never scattered; you learn to take screens seriously!)

  9. Jack says:

    I was waiting for a Battle Report just like this and I was not disappointed. I am mulling over whether to run Orks, Tyranids or Imperial Guard so it was great to see two of those in the flesh.

    I had some questions:

    How did the mortars do? Was it useful having 3d6 worth of indirect bolters? And how do you think other Heavy Weapon teams are too vulnerable as direct fire?

    Having used the Punisher can you see a role for the other Russ variants?

    Finally do you reckon Guard can be run effectively without ordering every unit? I was interested in Infantry Sections supported by counter chargers (bullgryns/rough riders) and tanks/artillery.

    It was great to see the Stormtroopers drop in and do the Emperor’s work. Thanks again for the report!

    • Matt-Shadowlord says:

      The mortars' performance was fine – yes, they're just 3D6 indirect bolters, but they are inexpensive and the option for indirect fire is great.
      The other HWTs get very expensive, so basically I've only been running Lascannons in larger groups (eg 1 in a vet or infantry squad), and I wouldn't put anything more expensive than AC in HWTs.

      I like the Punisher and the Leman Russ Battle Cannon version. I might rate the whole lot in an article soon.

      Guard can definitely run without orders for every unit, but I think that having 2 officers is justified even at this point's size. If you have any decent number of infantry the orders are too good to ignore.

      Note that I haven't been using orders for the Stormtroopers. I did one playtest with a Stormtrooper (tempestus) officer dropping in with them, but since it's usually later in the game and he's going to be in a very vulnerable position, it's not my favourite way to spend 40+ points. If the army is mainly stormtroopers then it's a different story.

  10. Kafka says:

    Man, I had hoped the new edition would really let the nids and orks shine… seems like it’s going to be just like thelast, with shootier armies like Tau and Guard still holding the edge.

    • Kadeton says:

      I think (or perhaps hope) that's the wrong message to get from this report… to me, the standout difference between the lists is that the Guard have a broad mix of unit types covered – some shooting, some melee, some chaff, some armour, some massed units, some small units, some static, some fast – while the Tyranids have a very MSU close-combat focus with a lot of eggs in the Flyrant basket and basically nothing else.

      The Guard list is very flexible, while the Nid list is very rigid. They've got one trick – and it's a really powerful trick, don't get me wrong – but if it doesn't quite come off, then they're screwed. By comparison, the Guard are able to respond effectively to changes in the battle state as needed.

      If my assumption is correct, and this edition actually encourages people to bring flexible lists over hyper-focused one-trick-ponies, that's a huge win for the game (in my opinion). If it's just that shooting rules and melee sucks then, well, poop… but the other reports I've seen haven't borne that out. It's generally come down to who was better able to respond to their opponent's tactics rather than who brought the most guns.

      • No One says:

        ^That (ish). My list was quite rigid – partly dictated by models. Partly points – the 2k version had a decent chunk of anti-infantry shooting added in on the nids side. But, I don't think the comment is wrong in all aspects – mono cc is still looking a lot worse off than mono shooting (at least based on a sample size of 1…).

        "while the Tyranids have a very MSU close-combat focus with a lot of eggs in the Flyrant basket and basically nothing else. "
        No – it was a lot of eggs in the Cult basket. Flyrants were 400 pts total. Cult was the dominant force in the list – I just had no way of dealing with screens, outside of tactics I didn't even realise were things until later (I could've taken the first 6, killed the screens, and had the rest come on next turn. I didn't need to declare what's coming on before rolling). So my cult force was 'wasted' – if I'd had another flyrant, I might've been able to start moping up the tanks.

        The melee rules as a whole…well. Pile in/consolidate are looking to be very powerful – but, so is the ability to just up and leave. Charge 'bonus' into striking first hits output, but offers trade offs.

        My biggest gripe with it was just how clunky it was – pile in this unit (got to check what's closest to what, be careful with what can move so they're not bringing in a unit I don't want in), strike (2 attacks each, some AP-1, some AP-4. Then 1 attack, AP0). Then next unit. Then consolidate, with similar issues to pile in. I think it'll become a lot smoother as people get used to it – but having to roll all of my attacks twice (and then have my opponent make 3 different 'levels' of save) is still very annoying.

        • Kadeton says:

          Yeah, sorry, that was a bit of a misleading way of putting it on my part. It wasn't a comment on points value – what I meant by you having all the eggs in the Flyrant basket was that the rest of your list was ten units of light infantry and two characters. For any task that the light infantry couldn't handle, you were relying on the Flyrants to pick up the slack.

          Flyrants are incredibly versatile, so they did a decent job of that, but I feel like there were ultimately too many demands for them to handle (and as the obvious lynchpins of your army, they were prime targets for anything that wasn't anti-infantry). I agree that you would have been better off with three, though I also think you could have substituted different Tyranid monsters or Cult vehicles to cover the heavy armour, heavy melee and heavy firepower needs. I'm assuming that's where the "available models" issue constrained your choices a lot.

          I also agree that all the pile in and consolidation rules look to be a tad fiddly, if people choose to play them exactingly. It's the last remaining vestige of all the fiddly model-placement rules from previous editions… to be honest, I think it mostly looks bad because everything else is so streamlined now.

          • No One says:

            "your list was ten units of light infantry and two characters. For any task that the light infantry couldn't handle, you were relying on the Flyrants to pick up the slack. "
            Now, this might just be me not knowing how well durability stacks up in 8th vs 7th – but the 'light infantry' is pretty murderous. If the characters were still around, that would've been 2 attacks, rend (-1 AP base) hitting on 2s with rerolls, and 1 S4. Each, plus the Patriarch has same/better combat stats than the flyrants. With the wound uptick on vehicles, they would've had issues – but if they'd somehow survived double-wyvern, they would've been killing stuff.

            7th, they'd have happily mulched his entire army if not killed. 8th…probably not quite as comprehensive – but, they should've still been able to handle vehicles.

            "(and as the obvious lynchpins of your army, they were prime targets for anything that wasn't anti-infantry)"
            Not really, or not in a mechanical sense. Only in the sense of what offensive output they bring – Synapse doesn't matter to GSC, and the only nid stuff was min chaff for unit count.

            "I'm assuming that's where the "available models" issue constrained your choices a lot. "
            Yes 😛 .

            • Kadeton says:

              "With the wound uptick on vehicles, they would've had issues – but if they'd somehow survived double-wyvern, they would've been killing stuff."

              That's basically summarised the problems with a light-infantry-heavy list, right there. Damage output isn't really the problem, as the Cult troops can do that pretty well. However, they will struggle with heavy-armour, multi-wound units like tanks… and they die.

              The Broodlord and Flyrants are probably enough to do the heavy lifting in terms of the anti-armour punching requirements (supported by the troops' damage output, though it's not really suited to bringing down tanks) at this level, I'm not sure. But resilience, staying power, is an important role all by itself. Pure light infantry just can't meet that requirement because things like Wyverns and Punishers exist, and damage output only goes so far as a substitute. A mix of light, medium and heavy units would have made it much harder for Matt to prioritise targets, I suspect.

              Again, I should probably have been clearer about what I meant by "lynchpins" – Synapse isn't really the issue. It's that they (and the Broodlord, but he's untargetable) are the units called upon to perform all the other roles – they've got the heavy hitting power, the mobility, the resilience, the ranged damage, the ability to inflict mortal wounds on hard targets. If they're gone, the opponent really only has to worry about how to get rid of light infantry, and Wyverns take care of that problem fairly well.

              • No One says:

                "A mix of light, medium and heavy units would have made it much harder for Matt to prioritise targets, I suspect. "
                Not really. Or, a more accurate statement – deal with the stuff that applies pressure (flyrants, acolytes). Then, move onto everything else. I don't think there's really anything else available that applies that pressure that isn't either light infantry or MCs (this isn't just a comment on what I own – there's a handful of nid choices that are maybe viable? But not a lot – at least without getting into ranged support, which is a separate issue).

                The other thing is…quantity has a 'survivability' all of its own. He failed to kill all of my infantry T1 (partly due to not really being concerned about some stuff up the top). If I'd had another 3 units instead of the flyrants, and just focused down the left flank…might've been a different story, as I just had more bodies than he could output wounds before making combat (and even if I can't kill the tanks in 1 turn – they can't shoot next). Matt would've stopped me tying down everything (or maybe even anything bar the punisher), but still.
                He had a 'counter' unit to basically everything I could bring (manticores/plasma for MCs, wyverns/punisher for infantry). So, it was more about overwhelming one of those with more stuff than he could kill, without going into more elaborate/other stuff (reserves shenanigans, shooting).
                (Just rambling a bit at this point…)

                I think part of my issue here, list building as well, is that I wanted (and still want) to get a massed infantry GSC army working. It's what got me into the army, it's what I like about the army, and I've got 70 odd models that I really want to get working as an army.

                "Again, I should probably have been clearer about what I meant by "lynchpins" – Synapse isn't really the issue."
                Yeah, thought that was probably what you meant, but just thought I'd clarify.

                • Kadeton says:

                  "He had a 'counter' unit to basically everything I could bring (manticores/plasma for MCs, wyverns/punisher for infantry). So, it was more about overwhelming one of those with more stuff than he could kill, without going into more elaborate/other stuff (reserves shenanigans, shooting)."

                  Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm talking about. Unfortunately, you basically managed to hit the perfect ratio of light to heavy armour for the firepower Matt brought to the table – a few more MCs or tanks and he would have run out of anti-armour firepower before you ran out of heavies.

                  Additionally, he had very little in the mid-range, so dealing with mid-range units would require that he expend firepower inefficiently. I'm talking stuff like the GSC Sentinels, for example, or perhaps Tyrant Guard / Hive Guard.

                  "I think part of my issue here, list building as well, is that I wanted (and still want) to get a massed infantry GSC army working."

                  I think you definitely can, but it just might need a bit more than pure infantry… not a lot, necessarily, but just a few elements that will throw an army with strong anti-infantry killing power for a loop. I don't think you'll be able to rely on melee for everything either, though GSC can certainly do that better than most with their BS deployment rule. 😛

                  • Matt-Shadowlord says:

                    You know, all anyone has to do right now is get within an inch of the tanks. It hardly matters if cultists can kill them or not – if they can get within an inch, the tank is locked in virtually unwinnable combat or falls back and misses a turn of the thing it is supposed to do – shooting.

                    Sure, it might be a long shot for units like cultists to kill a Leman Russ, but it's a game of tag -you're out 😀

                    • Kadeton says:

                      That's true… as long as the game of tag is one-on-one, and nobody brings any orders. (Also, no lucky Overwatch rolls.)

                      My prediction is that the combat dynamic as a whole is going to be the thing that takes the most getting used to in this edition. Assault, counter-assault and screening are all going to be very important, for every army, and I think we've barely scratched the surface of those interactions so far.

                    • No One says:

                      "That's true… as long as the game of tag is one-on-one, and nobody brings any orders. (Also, no lucky Overwatch rolls.) "
                      Tanks, so no orders. Overwatch…more of a concern (Mass Hypnosis does deny though, which would've been nice). But with choosing casualties and 10+ man units…that would have to be some very lucky overwatch to kill – which would be what was needed, essentially.

                      "My prediction is that the combat dynamic as a whole is going to be the thing that takes the most getting used to in this edition. Assault, counter-assault and screening are all going to be very important, for every army, and I think we've barely scratched the surface of those interactions so far. "
                      Screenings especially – the conscripts literally won him the game.

    • Matt-Shadowlord says:

      I think it's too early to say how the shooting vs combat balance will work out, but I think it's worth noting that previous versions of my equivalent IG armies would have absolutely zero units dedicated to combat or counter assault. I didn't run blobs or ogryns, and just expected mass losses in combat and for firepower and maneuvering to eventually carry the day.

      This one had a huge amount of models (60 conscripts, commissar, 12 rough riders, armour-buff psyker and Straken) with a primarily CC role. That is a move towards a more balanced force that engages in all phases of the game, and the fact that is seemed to work well is probably a good thing.

  11. Thanks for the report, always great to see Matt's Guard take the field. I am liking the 8th edition so far, not sure how it will effect my armies going forward but over all I like how it flows.

    Plus people seem to be having a lot more fun with it.

  12. Horus says:

    Hey guys how do these multiple weapon guys work? The cults have daggers or something so that means 2 attacks and then a 3rd?
    And rough riders have a base attack and a chainsword and a lance, does that mean they get a base attack, the chainsword bonus, and then a single S5 lance attack?

    • No One says:

      Yep. Each time the bearer fights, it can make an additional attack with this weapon. So, 2 rending claws plus knife. Lance, chainsword, mount (only ended up happening once 😛 ).

    • Kadeton says:

      To perhaps clarify, when you make your attacks, you can choose any weapon the model has to make those attacks with. Some weapons, like lances, can only be chosen under certain circumstances. Some weapons, like Da Vulcha's Klaws, cannot be used for more than a certain number of attacks each time. Some weapons give you multiple rolls to hit for each attack, like the mega-choppa slash (this effectively multiplies your attacks). Some weapons, like chainswords, also give you a bonus attack that must be made with that weapon (this adds to your attacks).

      So Rough Riders, with 1A base, get to make one attack with either their chainsword (or the default close combat weapon profile if you really want) or, in the turn they charge, their lance. In addition, they can make one bonus attack with their chainsword due to its special rule. After their attacks are resolved, their steeds get to attack with their trampling hooves (if there are still targets within melee range).

  13. No One says:

    Something that's just been pointed out to me:
    For Standard Deployment:
    "When playing matched play missions you must randomly select one of these deployment maps. To do so, one of the players simply rolls a D6 – you then use the deployment map that corresponds to the result. The mission will typically say which player makes this roll – if not, it is made by the youngest player."
    The one who places last objective just makes a roll. RIP shenanigans – though could at least use a CP to reroll it I guess…

  14. ColKi says:

    One thing I've noticed that seems important for multi-combats, especially with characters, is that you can take units out of an assault with clever casualty selection. If before a unit activates in the fight phase, all enemy within 1" are dead, it cannot fight, cannot pile-in and cannot consolidate.

    Obviously this is useful defensively to prevent damage, but you can also use it to let you shoot that enemy monster/character next turn.

    Likewise, if you can have enough of your unit die that a 3" consolidation cannot keep the enemy in 1", then there is no need to withdraw, you can just shoot!

    I need to think about that more, but it suggests for guard there will be value in arranging units spread out (put just close enough that chargers cannot penetrate the front rank) and deep – though at the cost of getting your owns hits in during the fight phase.

    • ColKi says:

      So reading the designer's commentary, a unit that charges from out of sight cannot be shot by overwatch because the "normal restrictions" apply. This means you could charge first with a <10W character from the second rank, and no overwatch fire would be allowed as the model was not the closest..

      • Ish says:

        This does, indeed, seem to be the intent of the rules:

        “A Character can only be chosen as a target in the Shooting phase if they are the closest visible enemy unit to the model that is shooting.” –Battle Primer, p. 3

        “Overwatch is resolved like a normal shooting attack (albeit one resolved in the enemy’s Charge phase) and uses all the normal rules except that a 6 is always required for a successful hit roll…” –idem, p. 8

        This matches with the general tone that they seem to want for the game: lots of shooting from the grunts, but with epic mêlées between heroically heroic heroes being the decisive moment.

        • abusepuppy says:

          I believe you can target a character with an Overwatch attack normally even if there is another, closer unit- RAI it would make sense, and RAW the character targeting restriction applies only in the shooting phase.

          • Ish says:

            That’s not how I’m reading things… I mean, I’ve had the book for like three hours at this point, I could be mistaken. But if Overwatch is resolved like a normal shooting attack (p. 8) and a Character can only be chosen as the target if they are the closest visible enemy (p. 3), then I don’t see any way to shoot a hero who charges out of the back ranks…

            • abusepuppy says:

              The character restriction explicitly only applies to the shooting phase. I don't believe that most other effects that affect shooting have that specific prohibition.

              • ColKi says:

                Yep, I think you have that right abusepuppy. I'm relieved! Otherwise overwatch would essentially cease to exist as characters run in and multicharge with no risk.

          • Ish says:

            But Overwatch is treated “normal shooting attack,” right? How much more “normal” can a shooting attack get than one that happens in the Shooting Phase?

            We need some official clarity here. I can see the logic behind Puppy’s reading of the rules, but I hope the logic behind mine makes sense to you all…

            A “Designers’ Commentary” was posted tonight, but this issue isn’t addressed:

            https://www.warhammer-community.com/2017/06/17/new-edition-now-available-read-the-rules-get-the-t-shirtgw-homepage-post-1/

            • Matt-Shadowlord says:

              Well since it is a shooting attack that doesn't happen in the shooting phase, treat it as a normal shooting attack that doesn't happen in the shooting phase.

              Don't overthink it 🙂

          • Ish says:

            But the rules state explicitly that Overwatch “uses all the normal rules except that a 6 is always required for a successful hit roll[.]” (Battle Primer, p. 8) and the restriction on shooting Character models is a normal rule (p. 3). I’m not seeing anything in the text that changes how Overwatch is resolved compared to other Shooting except for the two changes mentioned: the Phase it happens in and the 6’s to hit.

            • ColKi says:

              Ish, the difference is exactly, as you say, that it isn't "in the shooting phase". I think that clause was added to the character rules *specifically* to make characters vulnerable to Overwatch. Probably just after the first playtester completely avoided all Overwatch fire in a game against a layered gunline.

            • abusepuppy says:

              Unlike in 7E, I'm not aware of any other rules that modify shooting which specifically state "in the shooting phase."

              Like I said before, RAW it works just fine. RAI, I think you have a hard sell to people that characters should be completely immune to overwatch just because another unit exists somewhere else on the battlefield.

              • Ish says:

                As I said, I can see the logic behind both your interpretation and mine. GW's continued use of a prose style of rules writing instead of a less flowery more technical style might be more pleasant to read than something like Advanced Squad Leader or Starfleet Battles… But it does cause some avoidable ambiguity.

                As you say, I am also not aware of any other rules that modify shooting which specifically state "in the shooting phase." However, I'm also not aware of any other rules that say "X is resolved like a normal Y, except for Z."

                • Kadeton says:

                  I feel like they're trying to avoid saying "… except for Z" as much as possible.

                  For me, the clincher in this argument is that if the character-targeting restriction worked as if it was the Shooting phase, Overwatch would be almost completely useless (other than as a kind of punishment for players not taking enough melee characters, I suppose).

                  In addition, what other reason is there for the "in the Shooting phase" limitation on that targeting restriction, if not to enable Overwatch fire against characters? All the other out-of-phase shooting I can find (e.g. Acts of Faith) specifically ensure that the models shoot "as if it were the Shooting phase", thus re-asserting the targeting restriction.

  15. Scumlord says:

    Thanks for the report guys. Great to see you back in the game. Your insights are always valuable.