The 25 Astra Militarum Strategems Reviewed

This is a quick-fire review of the 25 Stratagems that the Imperial Guard / Astra Militarum gained with their new 8th Edition Codex. It might also be the first chance some players have to see them, so take a look and find out what cunning trickery, explosive bombardments and off-table firepower those wily guardsmen have ready to activate at the punch of a button.

I’m going to grade them quickly from 1 to 5 stars based on a simple scale: to be 5 stars, it has to be as good as the amazing Reroll a Dice per phase that all armies and races have access to. That one is often under-rated, and frequently squandered, but used right it is $Money$.

Mobile Command Vehicle 1 CP

Issue an order from inside a Chimera. If it was permanent change to give a Chimera the classic Command Vehicle rule, maybe it would be well worth it. But 1 CP each time? I can think of a fringe case where I must get an officer into a chimera that then blazes across the field and issues an order to a distant squad, but it’s slightly more likely most of us will go through the entire 8th edition without ever using this Stratagem.

★✰✰✰✰

Preliminary Bombardment 2 CP


Hit the enemy with MORTAL WOUNDS from invisible guns! Before the game even begins! AWESOME.
However, those of us who can do maths might want to pause for a moment before hitting the big red button. If the enemy has 12 units on the table for example, you’re going to cause 1 Mortal Wound to an average of 2 of them, for 2CP.
★★✰✰✰

Inspired Tactics 1 CP

An extra order or tank order. Now in general, if you think you need more orders you should probably buy more officers (infantry orders appear to be priced at around 10pts + model profile).

However, there are cases where this can be worth it; the one that comes to mind first is a Stormtrooper drop of 3 squads, where the more expensive Tempestus Commander has already discarded ranged weapons to be able to do 2 orders, and you really want a 3rd order way behind enemy lines.
★★★✰✰

After Kadeton’s comment on tank commanders, I think it’s worth more if using TCs as the cost of obtaining each Order is much higher:

★★★★✰

Defensive Gunners 1CP


A Vehicle overwatches on 5+. This isn’t always going to be terrific, but it gets a good rating because when it is useful it will be very useful. It may be overpriced when used on a Manticore or a Battle Cannon, but when you whirr up those Punisher Gatling Cannons or your Baneblade guns before receiving a charge, doubling the amount of expected hits can be extremely powerful. Even just the chance you might use the CP might cause some charges to pause.
★★★★✰

 

Jury Rigging

Spend 1 CP to fix 1 wound on a Vehicle. 1 wound isn’t a lot, but I have been finding this more useful than it sounds because it is ideal for a vehicle that JUST dropped down by 1 level.
★★★½

Consolidate Squads 1CP

Everybody wanted to be able to merge Infantry Squads into a single unit. Nobody wanted to pay for it.

This is of limited usefulness, only works on the troop infantry squads and costs 1 CP each time. The most common reasons people give for wanting to use it are to reduce Kill Points (fair enough), make orders more efficient (bring more officers), to increase ablative wounds before losing valuable guns, and to create a better screen (erm… conscripts).
½✰✰✰

Imperial Commanders Armoury 1 / 3CP

This one is fun; you can get more access to the officer’s Candy Store if you pay 1 CP for a bonus relic or 3 CP for 2. There are some great treats in there, so if you have a legitimate reason to use more than 1, this is a great stratagem.

https://i0.wp.com/i.pinimg.com/736x/d3/20/4c/d3204c4c3c2448101e5ab13a4efaad2b--motor-sport-epic-movie.jpg?resize=299%2C221&ssl=1

Don’t over use it though.
★★★★½

Officio Prefectus Command Tank 2CP

All friendly AM units within 6″ of this tank have a Leadership of 9 (unless higher). This is a cool, thematic way to run a commissar tank, but as there are real ‘Character’ class commissars available for 31pts and since it doesn’t have the key ‘BLAM! Squad’s Happy Again!” rule, it is hard to justify spending 2 points on it.
½✰✰✰

Take Cover 1CP

https://i2.wp.com/iv1.lisimg.com/image/4029813/728full-tropic-thunder-screenshot.jpg?resize=246%2C138

Take Cover to add 1 to saves of a nominated unit in the enemy’s shoot phase. How useful this is depends on your army build. If you have 6 Leman Russes, protecting one is not going to do much for you (although note, you know it’s being shot at before you spend the CP, so it is rarely a waste).

However if your army contains an irresistible target (a warmed-up deathstrike? lol, more likely your new Super Heavy) that is likely to take several volleys, this is just pure gold.
★★★★★

Grenadiers 1CP

10 models can throw grenades instead of using normal weapons, in Shooting or Overwatch. A lot of people love this, but IMHO it’s over-rated. AM models have Krak or Frag grenades, and a lot less have Krak than in previous editions. For the frag armed units, they will do more damage with this than lasguns (D6 S3 AP- shots each for an average of 3.5, as opposed to 2 S3 AP- shots from rapidfire lasguns) BUT they would do more damaged with a simple FRFSRF order (4 S3 AP- shots) and to use Grenadiers each individual model will need to be in very short range of 6″.
It could be useful for an Bullgryn unit that only has grenades and doesn’t carry ranged weapons, but if you’re rocking a lot of Bullgryns is this really where you want to spend CP?
½✰✰✰

GO! Recon! 1CP

A Sentinel moves 2D6 in shoot phase, but cannon shoot or charge. This is not great. It’s the sort of thing that appears to justify itself for that last turn objective grab (that you aren’t doing with MOVE orders on troops for some reason?) and only applies to Sentinels (at the end of the game? they are not known for their longevity) but fails hard due to it being 2D6 instead of 6+D6 or something with some level of reliability.
When I am spending CP and missing out on shots, I’d like to know I am getting to where I want to be.
½✰✰✰

Fight to the Death 1CP

https://i0.wp.com/www.wearethemighty.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Tropic-Thunder.gif?resize=422%2C264&ssl=1Fight to the Death! Take a Leadership check on D3 instead of D6. It’s not as useless as it might sound to players who form static gunlines with Commissars, because it has a real use for squads behind enemy lines (esp Stormtroopers and Tallarn). The most this can do for you is save 3 models, and the least is make no difference when you roll a 1 anyway.

★★✰✰✰

 

Vengeance for Cadia! 1CP

It’s purely an anti-Chaos stratagem, but in that match up it could help make up at least somewhat for their anti-imperial rules. 1 unit rerolls fails to hit and wound for shooting or overwatch. You’ll usually want to use this on the single nastiest unit in your army, and let it rip.
Note – despite the name this is not a Cadian Stratagem, and can be used by all AM.
★★★★★

Vortex Missile 3CP

Just No.
★✰✰✰✰

Crush Them 1CP

A vehicle hits on 2+, and can charge even if it advanced. This is frankly amazing when used on something big and nasty; Bane Blade level, or perhaps a much less impressive Macharius. Leman russes can use it (3 attacks, S6) but believe it or not, the humble Griffon mortar is S7 for some unknown reason so could make use of it.
Note that I expect many people to want this to get a full 5 stars, but I give it just below that for two reasons: First it is at the start of the charge phase which is great (you can use it in the enemy’s too!), but it also means when it’s not your turn you can spend the CP and not get charged. Not the end of the world, but a cunning opponent might help you waste CP by feinting an assault.
Second, it will tempt you to do stupid things. You will charge things you shouldn’t, leaving cover, and putting valuable units at risk. I know, I did this myself in a game last night lol.
But when you use this right, it can be a game-changer.
★★★★½

Fire on My Position! 3CP

 

This is one of the most thematic of all the stratagems! When the last man in a Vox-Caster equipped unit dies, he uses his final breath to call in a massive artillery strike on his own location. LOVE IT!
Unfortunately hardly anyone uses Vox Casters, this is expensive, the 3″ radius is small and only hits half of the units it covers.
½✰✰✰

 

 

Aerial Spotter 2CP

Reroll to hit for 1 Basilisk or Wyvern model. It sounds like a 1CP stratagem, but costs 2, and must be used BEFORE you find out if you even missed.
½✰✰✰

 

==REGIMENTAL STRATAGEMS==

Mordian:
Volley Fire 1CP

 

Each time a Mordian infantry unit shoots in the shooting phase, a roll of 6 causes it to shoot again with the same weapon at the same target. This is similar to the Militarum Tempestus trait, and not at all bad, especially if you can boost accuracy in some way to make 6s more likely such as orders or something special like a Sabre Search Light.
★★★★✰

Cadian
Overlapping fields of Fire 2 CP

With overlapping fields of fire, after a Cadian wounds you can use this to add 1 to hit for any other Cadians targeting the same enemy this shoot phase. This is terrific, and if used at the right time (early) agains the right target (something hard to kill that is in range of most of your guns) it will boost your damage output dramatically.
★★★★★

Valhallan 2CP
Send in the next wave!

Bring back from the dead a non-combined Valhallan infantry squad, and place it within 6″ of the table edge of your own deployment zone, at least 9″ from enemy. How much value you get from this depends on the nature of your army.

Best part is, you can bring them back from the dead again. And again.


The problem is that while the fact its a Regiment’s special bonus rule, and it costs 2 CP, and it has restrictions on placement and what can be revived, it feels like it should be free and just cost the Command Points. However, unless it is FAQed otherwise later, it will cost both CP and require points to be set aside. Since the positioning options are very limited why not just buy the unit to start the game on the table?

If this is later FAQed to be done  without spending reserve points on top of the CP: ★★★★

If this continues to require reserve points on top of the CP  ★½✰✰✰

Vostroyan
Firstborn Pride

One Vostroyan unit gains +1 to shoot this phase. This only affects 1, unlike the Cadian ‘Overlapping fields of Fire’ stratagem, but it is automatic to trigger and cheaper to use. Getting full value means having something really powerful to shoot with, which could be a Manticore or Baneblade or tooled-up Leman Russ, but having used it a few times I can confirm that +1 to hit on demand is really useful.
★★★★½

 

Militarum Tempestus:
Superior Intelligence 1CP

Fire at -1 BS on a unit arriving from reserve that appears within 12″ of a MT Infantry unit. The range band is narrow; enemies will appear a minimum of 9″ away, and they have to be a maximum of 12″ away to trigger it. Shooting at -1 will mean you aren’t triggering the MT signature ‘exploding 6s’, and that overcharged plasma will be risky. This is almost worth as much for its threat as its real chance of killing enemies.
★★★✰✰

Tallarn
Ambush! 3CP

https://i2.wp.com/i.pinimg.com/736x/19/e9/a2/19e9a270d70b101a43e236741fdf0da6--robert-downey-jr-black-man.jpg?resize=190%2C219&ssl=1This is an expensive stratagem, but well worth it. Up to three Tallarn units can come in from any reserve within 7″ of any edge; that can be tanks, infantry, hellhounds, baneblades (if they fit) etc.

Add in Tallarn’s Relic if you want to have 2 units if infantry do almost the same (coming in within 6″ of any edge), and you can pull off a massive surprise attack from any angle, hitting where your opponent least expects it.

This can also help you keep fragile/valuable units off the table and away from enemy alphastrikes, which in some cases will be just as useful.
★★★★½

Armageddon
Armoured Fist 1CP

An infantry unit that disembarked from a SL transport can reroll 1s to hit. Not terrible, as it frees your order for FRFSRF or Bring it down, but this would be more exciting if there weren’t so many easier ways to get reroll of 1.
★★✰✰✰

Catachan
Vicious Traps 1CP

When an enemy successfully charges a Catachan unit that is wholly in terrain, roll a dice and on a 4+ they suffer D3 wounds. Thematic and cool sounding, but D3 will average you 2 wounds, every second time. If spending a CP to cause an average of 1 wound sounds worthwhile due to special circumstances, go for it.
★★½✰✰

And that’s the end of the list!

It’s an impressive array that may vary in power, but GW have done a great job of supplying gamers with a wide range of thematic, fun stratagems likely that will help players forge a narrative.

All of the above is IMHO and viewed from the perspective of more competitive gaming, and I am well aware that no two people are likely to judge them the same. They are all brand new, so feel free to share your own experiences. If you’ve tried any of these out and discovered ways to get more out of them, join the chat below.

-Matt

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

81 Responses to “The 25 Astra Militarum Strategems Reviewed”

  1. TimSutton says:

    Hey, good info.
    also is this from a vientam movie with ben Stiller?

  2. Kadeton says:

    I feel like Inspired Tactics could perhaps be a little higher-rated in the context of Tank Commanders – it's definitely the case that infantry orders are cheap as chips, but given you'll usually be paying 200+ points for an additional Tank Order, 1CP seems much more reasonable.

    For Crush Them!, Leman Russes are S7, no?

    Mobile Command Vehicle seems like a terrible missed opportunity for an actual vehicle upgrade. Why can't I just equip every Chimera with a vox-caster and use them as command relays? Putting a radio on a tank seems like it would be a useful thing to do… but no, my Officers have to use their command prowess to rewire the tank's electronics into a temporary radio on the fly. Ugh.

  3. SomeCallMeTim says:

    As far as I can tell, nothing stops you from using Take Cover on any imperial unit in your army as long as you have an Astra Militarum detachment.

    • Matt-Shadowlord says:

      That appears to be correct.

      • No One says:

        Or nids…hmm…now, how soon is this going to be FAQed (could I get away with this for Masters 😀 ?)

      • Coyote81 says:

        So at the beginning of each Codex special rules in the back section it specifically calls out the rules in this section only applying to armies from that codex. This is why C:SM strategems don't work for Blood Angel units. AstraMilitarium has that section as well, preventing these shenanigans your talking about. pg 132 top paragraph under Bulwark of Humanity. Those bolded paragraphs aren't just book fluff, those are rules that prevent you from sharing the special rules from the codex with non-codex units.

        • No One says:

          While I can't comment with certainty about the exact wording of AM (don't have access to Codex), I'm looking at SM, and can see no such thing.

          SM gets the stuff listed if you have a Battle-Forged Detachment of Space Marine Units (defined) in your army. That's the only restriction in the 'big paragraph at the top'. Space Marine dets get Defenders of Humanity and Chapter Tactics. While Stratagems is a separate section to the 'detachment abilities' section. None of them are, in general, noted to only apply to SM units.

          As far as I can tell, the only restriction on having SM is having to take a det of only SM to get access to the Stratagems. But, it does not say anything about who they affect other than the wording itself on the Stratagem (which is often just Adeptus Astartes).

          If they only affected IG (or SM), why does every Stratagem specify Astra Militarum (or Adeptus Astartes)?

          In fact, if you look at the Death Guard FAQ, it's basically noted that the only restriction is on the unit that it affects on the Stratagem (can use CSM Stratagem on Death Guard unit, as Death Guard can take a permitted unit. Similarly, SM Stratagems could be used on other Adeptus Astartes units if you wanted, or this could be used on a unit in your army).

          • ColKi says:

            The exact wording is:
            "In this section you will find rules for Battle-forged armies that include ASTRA MILITARUM Detachments – that is, and Detachment which includes only ASTRA MILITARUM units. These rules include the abilities below and a series of Stratagems that can only be used by the Astra Militarum."

            • ColKi says:

              Note that the equivalent line in the SM codex (under "Sons of the Primarch") is less restrictive: "These rules include the abilities below and a series of Stratagems."

            • highwind says:

              "can be used BY the Astra Militarium" does not mean "can be used ONLY ON UNITS FROM the Astra Militarium"…
              The Death Guard FAQ already explained that it is perfectly viable to use Stratagems from one faction on units of another faction as long as the rule of the Stratagem itself doesnt permit it.

              • ColKi says:

                The wording is "can only be used by the Astra Militarum". I'm not sure how much clearer they could be.

                • Matt-Shadowlord says:

                  I am not saying you're wrong, but the wording could be clearer if it said something like
                  'can only be used by the Astra Militarum to affect units with the Astra Militarum keyword'.

                  The reason why this level of specificity would be helpful is because GW put out an FAQ saying:

                  Q: Is it possible to use a Stratagem from Codex: Chaos Space Marines to target a unit from Codex: Death Guard? …
                  A: Yes

                  • Kadeton says:

                    God, did they really say that? I mean, the Chaos Space Marines "Lost and the Damned" section specifically says "Note that the Death Guard… cannot make use of any of the rules or abilities listed in this section" – that should cover everything, including the Strategies. I can't imagine how that could have been clearer either, so that FAQ answer completely fucks everything up.

                    • Matt-Shadowlord says:

                      That's how you know it's genuine 😀

                    • No One says:

                      At a guess (unless they actually completely stuffed everything up and it shouldn't be worded like that, rather than normal GW 'wording everything as clear as mud'):

                      DG cannot make use of them – so, if you only had a DG detachment, you wouldn't be able to use them, despite being a Heretic Astartes detachment or whatever. But, they can be affected by them – so if you have some other detachment that allows you to use them (Chaos Space Marines), then you can use them on any valid target, as specified on the Stratagem itself.

                      Will totally agree that this is all a terribly worded mess. Keywords only help clarity if they're actually used consistently and fully.

                  • ColKi says:

                    I had a look through the rulebook hoping that it would explicitly state that the parts of the strategems like "Attacker Stratagem" or "Astra Militarum Stratagem" limit which unit the stratagem can effect.. but sadly not. They probably though it was too obvious to specifically note?

                    • No One says:

                      Except again, DG FAQ disproves that actually being the case intentionally (unless I'm massively missing something, without having Codex access at the moment).

                      DG can use CSM (which presumably say 'Chaos Space Marine Stratagem'), despite not being CSM.

                    • TimSutton says:

                      That's pretty mental.

                    • abusepuppy says:

                      But all Death Guard units are, by definition, CSM units. However, not all Imperium units are Astra Militarum units, so the analogy doesn't really hold.

                    • No One says:

                      Except no, I'm pretty sure they're not? Like, they're Heretic Astartes, and are also technical Chaos space marines, but they're not mechanically Chaos Space Marines (in the same way as Blood Angel units are Adeptus Astartes and technicaly space marines, but are not Space Marines units).

                      Assuming it's worded the same/similar as SM, they're not Chaos Space Marine units, because Chaos Space Marine units are defined specifically to exclude Death Guard/Thousand Sons.

        • highwind says:

          This is just not true…

          From Codex Chaos Space Marines pg. 156:
          Note that the Death Guard and Thousand Sons Legions deviate significantly in terms of organisation and therefore cannot make use of any of the rules or abilities listed in this section; instead they have bespoke rules and abilities detailed in their own codexes.
          (This is basically the exact same wording which you also find in the Codex Space Marine with regards to Blood Angels, Dark Angels and Space Wolves)

          Nevertheless from the official Death Guard FAQ:
          Q: Is it possible to use a Stratagem from Codex: Chaos Space Marines to target a unit from Codex: Death Guard? For example, can I use the Tide of Traitors Stratagem on a unit of Cultists from a Death Guard Detachment if I have an Alpha Legion Detachment and a Death Guard Detachment in a single Battle-forged army?
          A: Yes – if you have access to a Stratagem because you have an appropriate Detachment, it can be used on any permitted target: they do not need to be from that Detachment. In your example, the Alpha Legion Detachment gives access to the Chaos Space Marine Stratagems, and Tide of Traitors can be used on any Chaos Cultists – this would include any Chaos Cultists from the Death Guard Detachment.

          So Codex Space Marine Stratagems DO work on Blood Angel units as long as the Stratagems rule itself doesnt specifically say otherwise – which most of them do NOT… they are usually restricted to ADEPTUS ASTRATES units and pretty much every Blood Angel unit qualifies for that!
          Blood Angels cannot use the Stratagem themselves (because only Codex Space Marines detachments have access to them) but they can be selected as a target!

          • WestRider says:

            Also, the Adeptus Mechanicus Codex has Stratagems that require an AdMech Detachment to unlock, but can only be used on Units with the Questoris Imperialis Keyword, none of which have the Adeptus Mechanicus Keyword.

            Hopefully Take Cover gets Errataed, because otherwise, it's broken as hell.

    • highwind says:

      Yes, it needs an Errata asap…

      With the cheapest AM detachment being far less than a hundret points and with the fact that "Take Cover" does not only improve armor saves but also invul saves it has very very very high abuse potential

      Leviathan Dreadnoughts with 2+/3++
      Imperial Knights with 2+/4++
      or that "characters only"-list with a 3++ Culex being the only viable target

      • Matt-Shadowlord says:

        Absolutely. It would be much better if this and all rules like it were restricted to the army they come with.

        • No One says:

          They've basically confirmed with the Death Guard FAQ that this is 'working as intended', provided they didn't just forget to include the Astra Militarum Keyword (likely). i.e. Stratagems are not intended to be inherently army specific, but are almost unilaterally designed as such.

      • Andy says:

        It seems broken as hell for sure, then you check out it's interaction with the Sokar, 3++ Void Shield save that is impossible to deny and applies to all units in 9" of the Sokar (which is a lot the thing is massive). It was bad enough with just Tiggy making it T10 and -1/-2 to hit, now it is truly beyond reasonable, whilst it was dominating 3k games, its now pushed to the level of OP that it can very much cruise around a 2k game assured there is nothing that can stop it.

        Second place goes to the already ludicrous firepower coming out of a Primaris Redoubt (many times greater than a knight or a super heavy tank) it had a somewhat suspect vulnerability to being alpha struck, now at 2+/4++ T8 and 20 wounds (not degrading) it massively limits the options as to what can actually try to trade into it, anything that does and fails, is almost certainly dead, 4D6 lascannons on 5's is nuts, without considering it's primary weapon and the fact it gets +1 to hit vs titanic and +2 to hit flyers with the las cannons, its only 432pts. Whilst before it had to be run in multiples to prevent the alpha strike, causing huge issues at deployment, now it can safely run as a 1 of and should be turning up all around tournaments making staff have nightmares as it moves terrain to deploy.

        Lets not forget the Ad Mech, How do you feel about those electro priests now? Good becomes mental, with a 4++(2++ if they manage to kill anything) and a 5+ FNP dropping 9" from your face.

        Titans of all varieties. Whilst at 2k they are just outclassed in every way by the sokar, as the points ramp up, suddenly those 2++ void shields become an option, and wow, is it impossible to kill something with a 2++ that's T9+

        Finally we get to the best Astra Militarum option, Bullgryns, (super heavy tanks are just outclassed by astartes equivalents with higher T and the sokar) able to get to an impressive 2++ -1 to hit, and already good in melee, gives you assault troops that allow you to get aggressive. This is what the thing is meant to be used on~

        • Alastores says:

          The concept of a fortification taking cover is….well..nearly as absurd as the effect.

          • Andy says:

            …I had not even considered this, I was so busy working out the most dumb things I could do (add just buffing Celestine btw, crazy hard to kill with a 0+).

            Sandbags. Sandbags are clearly the answer, emergency ones, that they deploy very very quickly, then they take down again.

            Or they close the door. That makes sense too. I mean if they left it open a stray shell could get in right? they close it and +1 to armour saves!

            Makes much more sense for the Sokar, hiding behind passing flocks of geese.

            • No One says:

              "Makes much more sense for the Sokar, hiding behind passing flocks of geese. "
              I'm reminded of 7ths Jink+GtG drones.

              Also, even if they clear it up so it's AM only…you could still have a Supersonic Valkyrie hitting the dirt 😀 . (Not necessarily a great use of it, but amusing).

              Also, 0+ Celestine? Wouldn't it just be 1+/3++? Where's the other +1 coming from?
              And the Sokar would still only give a 4++ (the stratagem doesn't improve the save – it still only has a 4++. The Sokar just adds 1, so a 3 becomes a 4 – but that wouldn't extend, it's just that unit. Unless the Sokar is really funky and it literally rolls saves for other units I guess, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case).

              • Andy says:

                Cover, she is infantry so just being in any terrain piece pretty much gives her a +1.

                And yup, the Sokar specifically and uniquely allows other units to use it's void shield save, it is really funky. Fun thing is, the Sokar is Super Heavy not flier too, so it cares not one whit if there are no boots on the ground either, it really does it's best to break every rule it can at once. It doesn't exactly lack firepower either, with similar firepower to 3 predators.

                • No One says:

                  It adds 1 to its save rolls, it doesn't add 1 to its saves. So it'd still have a 4+, which other units could use. Just when it used its 4+, a 3 would get +1 and pass. But that wouldn't be the case for anyone else, because they don't get the benefits of Take Cover.

        • No One says:

          Just as a general comment on the stratagem, I'm not sure why they thought a +1 for an army that already had a +1 was a good idea…3+/4++ conscripts (Celestine) makes complete sense…

    • The Forgemaster says:

      It also doesn't specify Armout saves… therefore if you have a ++ save it also adds 1 to that save as well…

  4. Alastores says:

    I'm getting the distinct feeling GW somehow hasn't realised that people cannot afford to just casually spend multiple command points on one off, minor effects that are sort of thematic.

    • highwind says:

      Very true!
      Any besides the common misconception on a proper cost-to-strength-ratio which GW is notorious for, I think the problem lies in the rather suboptimal scaling they chose for CPs / Stratagems in first place…
      If players had about 10 times their command points (like battleforged+battalion+vanguard = 70 CPs instead of 7) the Stratagem costs could be finetuned to much better degree.
      The "good" 1 CP Stratagems (like Crush Them or Take Cover) would then just cost 10 CPs but the "bad" ones (like Consolidate Squads, Go Recon or Fight to Death) could be like 5, 3 or even 2 CPs.

    • Toast says:

      Alternatively, they know that they're designing for multiple audiences, and they've made the decision to keep the carefully-balanced but boring strategems separate from the cool and fluffy strategems by making the latter deliberately under-tuned, so they can focus their balance work where it matters more 🙂

      • Alastores says:

        But it's still frustrating for the fluffy players, because they STILL can't have their mechanised infantry officer issue orders from inside his Command Chimera, like officers in every Imperial Guard piece of fiction ever. (Ok, I don't think the Tanith do it, but Macharius does, Sulla does, Cain does…)

        • TimSutton says:

          But you can have the officer issue orders from inside the chimera, you just have to pay command points for it every turn like it is some sort of miracle.

          • No One says:

            Sort of the point of his comment: 1 CP per turn for it is likely too much every turn, even for fluff players. Also, it's a Stratagem: you can only use it on one officer per turn.

    • abusepuppy says:

      GW seems to think that most armies have 10-15 command points sitting around, given how they balance most of the stratagem costs. But my experience has been that while _some_ codex armies will go that high, most armies tend to sit in the 5-8 range, which makes any 3CP stratagem extremely unpalatable.

      • Matt-Shadowlord says:

        That sounds about right. My Eldar for example very rarely get past 6, and are often below it. My Sisters are usually around 7.

        The difference might be simply that their GW internal 'Metagame' features a lot more troop units than people who attempt to optimise armies run, and thus access to more CP.

        • Alastores says:

          Actually, I don't think the problem is optimisation, I think the problem is that GW's internal metagame features more troops units than people actually want to buy.

          They are really, really trying to push people towards infantry swarms (by whatever definition of swarm a codex uses) this edition, with removal of non-infantry characters from Chaos and Space Marines, rules that focus solely on infantry, and a damage system that massively buffs basic weapons.

          Ignoring the conspiracy theory about GW trying to force us to buy infantry – we can easily see that the design studio has access to far more basic infantry than most people do (The White Dwarf battle reports show it, and there's a fair amount of common sense – they really don't have costs associated with them. They don't need to buy OR paint 50 space marines or 200 conscripts, they are already there to be used)

          So the question becomes – do they test to what THEY have access to, or what the average person wants to spend money on?

          • No One says:

            Not wanting to buy stuff is optimisation, just of a different sort. Either maximising 'bang for your buck' – pts per $ or effectiveness, or only buying effective stuff because that's what you'd use (I would say I didn't buy many troops, but my 7th/8th troops are actually good/decent depending – but in general I don't buy stuff I'm not going to use).
            Both are optimisations to spending that would result in less troops.

            • Alastores says:

              I mean…I guess, but it's sort of odd to think of "I really can't be assed painting another 20 conscripts, even though they'd be better" as optimisation.

              The point I was trying to make was that many people simply don't want to buy and paint huge numbers of the same handful of basic troops units. (Does any army have more than 3 options for these troops?). It's not really about 'optimising' the army to be better, or stronger, or whatever. It's just that the fourteenth unit of Tactical Marines is boring,

          • AngryPanda says:

            I would agree with you, except that I still think all that talk about them testing stuff out extensively is a load of nonsense they sell.

            • I think there was some, but they appear to have leaned hard on a very small group. When you need as many solid data points as possible, having a few people do something extensively is going to lead to flaws.

              What they really need to do is get an army builder and tournament system up and running so they can start getting first hand data. Corvus Belli's system is amazing and provides them with tons of data to help them balance their game.

              • No One says:

                Yeah, rigorous testing to the point of getting anything more than broad ideas of the state of things is basically impossible without a large number of people and time.

                That said, they could almost certainly have done something better than what they've got at the moment.

                Also, would it be too much to ask for them to do some actual matthammer on stuff? I mean, most stuff it can't fully account for stuff, but even so it's useful. And for those things that can be 100% matthammered…there's some that very obviously haven't been.

                • Yeah, when the info on the Vanquisher came out and it was flat out bad at the thing it was supposed to be the best at, I began doubting the play testing claims.

        • Andy says:

          There is no incentive at the moment to get CP's as Eldar or Sisters, I just don't bother trying favouring min maxing points. But I think as soon as you start to consider CP usage in your armies you quickly find that you are looking for viable ways to get more. Example would be a list I was working on earlier today:

          Celestine + Seraphim are going in the list, no matter what, they are too strong not to. The canoness is much easier to get into the list, but the seraphim power level is many times higher, so I have to find a way to include them, my choices are to go patrol detachment (45pts-0cp) Aux detachment (-1cp) Outrider (90pts, 1cp) or Vanguard (45pts-1cp).

          Obviously I evaluate the use of 5 battle sisters vs 3 astropaths, but I have a ton of infantry already in my brigade and only 2 psykers so far, astropaths are quality units they will allow me to buff things, and deny a huge area in my deployment zone to deep strike, so I will happily pay the 45pts for 2 CP

          In the same list I am trying to include the Raven Guard Aggressors, again a ludicrously powerful unit that I need to evaluate against Punishers and Taurox Prime (both of which are easy includes especially now they reduced the Taurox cost). Are they powerful enough that they warrant the inclusion and if so how many CP is it costing? Vs punishers easily, that 4+ and forced to fire at the same unit repeatedly just hurts, vs Taurox? Difficult to judge, its likely going to be instead of 4 Taurox. (120 shots vs the aggressors 114) but I get a captain and a scout squad too with the aggressors, so it comes down to whether I want reliable firepower from the taurox or to blow games open with the aggressors T1 mayhem.

          Finally the decision between taking Kayvaan and taking a captain and upgrading him, its 4CP for the captain (1 for teeth of terra, 3 for chapter master upgrade)

          Now we look at the strategies I can employ with my 13cp. I've got a bolter set up to smite very turn it's alive, that's 2cp, 2 factions, so 2cp on relics, 1cp to deep strike the aggressors, and 4cp assigned to +1 armour on the aggressors. That's 9 of my 13cp, 1 to reroll seize if needed and i'm down to 3cp for rerolls.

          As soon as you start taking faction armies, with some very good ways to spend CP, you want to be aiming for a brigade if it is viable. Compare that to harlies, I need 1 cp to reroll psychic turn 1, and 1 to reroll charge. That's pretty much it, the rest are for reroll charges and saves, maybe a wound roll on a melta shot. I couldn't care less about 2cp to stop my units fleeing they only come in groups of 5 and have good leadership, I don't really have a big unit to fight first, and so I only need them for rerolls.

          I find imp guard are fantastic, their HQ's are cheap, their troops are good and cheap, and their elites are amazing, heavy supports are super cheap if needed, or fantastic if you take russes, only their fast attack are a bit meh, sentinels do have scout move so deny deep strike really well though. The games basically saying, take a brigade of imp guard so you have 12cp, then sort out what you want to do with them.

  5. highwind says:

    A potent alpha (or beta) strike for Talarns:

    Stormlord with maximum sponsons
    Trojan Support Vehicle
    Leman Russ Punisher/Heavy Bolter or Executioner/Plasma
    Tank Commander with either Punisher/Heavy Bolter or Executioner/Plasma and Dagger of Tusakh
    Primaris Psyker or Astropath
    6 Special Weapon Teams with Plasmaguns (these dont need to be Talarn… Vostroyan or Armageddon would probably be better)

    Put the Special Weapon Squads in the Stormlord. Use the Ambush Stratagem to place the Stormlord, the Trojan Support Vehicle and the Leman Russ on a flank next to the enemy. Use the Dagger to place the Tank Commander and the Psyker right next to them. Cast Nightshroud on the Stormlord and use the Trojan to reroll its hit rolls. Have the Tank Commander order himself and either use Inspired Tactics Stratagem or Master of Command warlord trait to order the Leman Russ aswell so both reroll 1s to hit. After shooting all your guns try to charge with the Stormlord and use the Crush Them Stratagem.

    • Avenger says:

      That does sound like a real punch in the chops. I am pretty sure the dagger is for infantry only though so that tank can't tag along

      • Matt-Shadowlord says:

        Also the order of events is different 'After shooting all your guns try to charge with the Stormlord and use the Crush Them Stratagem. ' You have to declare the Crush them stratagem and spend the CP at the start of the charge phase, ie before you know if you will make it. That's not usually a big deal, but in this case you're going to be at least 9" away.

        So it could be really good and would definitely be fun, but the funny thing is that a lot of that list of units would be about as good when starting in their own home deployment zone, especially if you are player 2 as the enemy tends to come at the Guard lines quite fast.

        You're probably gaining rapid fire plasma, unmodified by orders or most other effects, and presumably safety for some of your units against alpha strike at the cost of being much easier to be counter charged and the expense of a lot of CP.

        • highwind says:

          You are right about the Crush stratagem… I would probably save it up for the following turns then.

          But I have to strongly disagree with this not being any better than deplyong all those units normally in your own deployment zone… besides being able to avoid enemy alpha strikes and getting that Plasma into rapid fire range (I know it is unmodified, but that ok as it is dirt cheap and not targetable) the biggest benefit is being able to counter enemy deployment and line of sight blockers and you could even grab objectives. The units above run a little over 1000pts in total so in a typical 2000pts game you still got plenty of points for units you deploy normally in your zone and thus can effectively built up board dominance and cross-fires situations.

          Also, with the updated rules on AM superheavys and the Crush Stratagem I dont expect enemys (besides really strong close combat units) to voluntary come close anymore. Most enemy units will probably want to stay out of charge range which is much harder when the tank is suddenly placed 9" in front of you.

          On a side note:
          If you take Cadian Special Weapon Teams and have some other Cadian unit which is likely to inflict atleast 1 point of damage anywhere on the table (a Basilisk for example) you could use Overlapping Fields of Fire on that target to fire all you Plasma Guns in overcharged mode without any risk.

          • abusepuppy says:

            While generally I agree with you in that being able to reactively deploy shooting units has a lot more value than people tend to give it cred it for, in this particular case there is an issue with that plan: you're covering a HUGE amount of table space with the Stormlord + Russ, so your ability to put them where you want them is going to be a lot more limited. Doesn't mean it's worthless, and avoiding the enemy alpha strike is golden for vehicles with degrading profiles, but the sheer size of the units is going to be a significant limiter on many tables.

      • Kadeton says:

        The Dagger only lets you bring an Infantry unit with you, but you can give it to any Character.

      • Flametron says:

        Sadly, given the wording, I don’t think you can outflank a stormlord full of squads either as that’s clearly more than three units outflanking then?

        • highwind says:

          Any transport is treated as being one single unit for deployment, no matter if it is deployed empty, transports a single squad or 40 "units" of single characters.
          They explain this in the designers commentary.

          • No One says:

            No, it is not. It is a single deployment choice – it is still 1, or 2, or 41 units. (The exact wording from the Designer's Commentary: "When you choose to set up a transport, declare what units (if any) are embarked inside – these are not separate deployment choices.")

            For example, that's still going to be…12 units for the purposes of reserves – they're not deployed on the battlefield.

            Now, not going to 100% say you're wrong (I can't think of any transports that can get 'DS' without explicitly giving it to their occupants, so I would say you need to have permission for each unit in the transport to be able to set them up in Reserves, but I'm not 100% sure on that). But you're not right for the reasons you listed 😛 .

    • Andy says:

      Made a few changes to make it easier to field and get a better range of firepower (it is noticeably short on anti tank). Swapped the Leman Russ to a Tank Commander in a Demolisher with full anti tank (melta's and las) ordering strike and shroud on himself (he will get murdered otherwise). Swapped the Tank Commander to a Primaris Psyker, bringing another Primaris Psyker with it, fulfilling the 3 HQ for a supreme command and making sure the Stormlord gets at least one of the two buffs on average (unlikely both fail/get denied). Added 2 commanders to the special weapons team to make a vanguard, and upgraded 2 squads to command squads to fill the storm lords shooting capacity.

      Total Average hits T1 assuming no -1 to hit:

      3 @ S10 -3 D6
      4 @ S9 -3 D6
      1 @ S8 -4 D6(+melta)
      22 @ S7 -3 1
      15 @ S6 -2 2
      29 @ S5 -1 1
      8 @ S4 0 1

      Total Detachments used 2
      Total CP remaining 1
      Total cost 1441
      Total units deployed from reserves 13

      Then upgraded the Vanguard to a brigade with:

      1 * Commander
      6 * Infantry Squads
      3 * Heavy Weapon Mortar Teams
      3 * Scout Sentinels with Las Cannon

      I think Cadia is the best option for the troops, it is certainly great on the scout sentinels infantry and most of all the mortars. Best yet, it lets my plasma reroll 1's to hit as early as Turn 2, and is the only way I can do it without disembarking.

      • Jamazing1 says:

        The wording for Pask and Tank Commander haven't really changed, I assume you still can't have a unit order itself based on original index FAQ on this topic?

        • SomeCallMeTim says:

          The index version explicitly said that characters can't be picked, whereas the codex entry removed that part.

        • Andy says:

          Not in my mind, if that was the case they would have clarified it in the codex, rules are that codex replaces index, thing I they faq'd it then didn't change the rules in the codex. Clearly they changed their mind, which makes sense, it was really dumb commanders couldn't tell their own crew to do something.

  6. Avenger says:

    Awesome write up!
    I have to see tropic thunder again it has been too long. I almost wet myself in the cinema when it came out

  7. WestRider says:

    Vengeance for Cadia isn't restricted to Cadian Units because that's become a rallying cry for all Astra Militarum against Chaos. Sort of like "Remember the Alamo" during the Mexican-American War in the 19th century.

  8. Dakkite says:

    F-IN A MAN!
    Best stratagem write up. Let's put Tiger Balm on this jungles nuts!!

  9. Andrew Thomas says:

    9 Russes/Hounds/Artillery tanks coming from Reserves, w/o penalties for moving. Chew on that.

  10. nightman72 says:

    With the trait that gives you CP back on 5+ and the relic that gives you CP when your opponent uses CP the cost of AM strategems are not that bad.

    • Dakkath says:

      Not to mention AM have some of the easiest times filling out a brigade with points to spare.

    • Andy says:

      The relic only gives you a 5+ to get a CP when they use a stratagem, not for every CP used, it is still okay, vs some armies, kinda meh vs others.

      • TimSutton says:

        Yeah that is true. if they spend 3 cp on a stratagem, you only get one roll to try and steal one.
        it's still good, but it means if someone shows up with say 5 CP and some expensive strategmes it isn't worth taking this at all.

      • nightman72 says:

        The WL trait lets you get CP back when you spend them yourself, so you would combine this with the relic.

    • No One says:

      It's still an opportunity cost. All it does is make the good but expensive ones more spammable, while the cheap and nasty (as opposed to cheap and good) will still not be used.

      e.g. If you had, say, 15 equivalent (~2 from opponent's 6 – has to be when used, so that limits application. 3 from 9):

      You'd probably be hard pressed to not have a situation where using the +1 hit (or rerolls) is a bad idea. So if you're playing Vostrayan/Cadian, that's 10/15 CP gone over 5 turns. While less generally applicable, Take Cover's the sort of thing that can likely usefully use CP over multiple turns.

      Valhallen could likely use 2-6 CP on send in the next wave (bar Matched Play pts issue anyway 😛 ), Tallarn spend 3 for Ambush etc.

      That's not even considering mixed Regiments, other allies (even if they don't have Stratagems, even just the reroll is good – applying it more generally in, say, the assault phase), vs Chaos etc.

      Basically, a lot of those are just terribly costed relative to your other alternatives, and unless you somehow end up with so many CP that you can't use them all on the good ones (very unlikely), there's no point spending CP on the bad ones.