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 Astra Militarum – Comparing the Old Guard to the New

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Warmonger

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PostSubject: Astra Militarum – Comparing the Old Guard to the New   Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:56 am

by Matt-Shadowlord


I finally got my hands on the new Imperial Guard / Astra Militarum codex today. I'll be at a gaming event this weekend, but thought it worth doing the simplest of first passes through the book to try take a stab at answering four important questions for Astra players:
•Is this going to be a competitive codex?
•Will your old Guard army still work?
•Which of the models you probably already own are winners and losers?
•Has your current army's point cost decreased or increased?

To do a simple comparison I have taken a competitive Imperial Guard list from the old codex and lined it up against its equivalent in the new book. For its credentials as 'competitive', I used variations of the 1,850pt list below to win 3 state masters and 1 national masters, so if it looks like a bit of a 'Best of Guard' list that's for a reason -and precisely what makes it useful for this comparison.


1850 Pts – Imperial Guard Roster

HQ: Company Command Squad
Company Command Squad + Plasma gun x3 45
1 Chimera, 55 pts

HQ Squad cost increased by 10 points. Gained 3 new orders.
Chimera cost increased 10 points. Smoke and Searchlight still included in cost on this tank, contrary to rumours. Only 2 specials or heavies fire from hatch, with a new lasgun array rule that allows other models to fire the lasguns on the side regardless of what they are armed with, and at a different target from the vehicle itself. The result is the Chimera is very slightly worse (lasgun arrays aren't generally going to be as good as firing 3 special/heavy weapons from the hatch) and slightly more expensive.


Elite: Psyker Battle Squad (18#, 200 pts)
8 Psyker Battle Squad, 1 Overseer
8 Psyker Battle Squad, 1 Overseer, 20 pts

Replaced by Wyrdvane Psykers with powers from Bio, Div, Pyro and Telepathy, which is a good range of options, but they no longer fill same role as a shooting army's ultimate force-multiplier. Cost increased to 12pts from 10pts per model, and the unit has no overseer.


Veteran Squad + Plasma gun x3 45
1 Chimera, 65 pts = (base cost 55 + Dozer Blade 10)

Veterans decreased in cost by 10pts, but cost 10pts to get the Krak Grenades they previously had. This is an improvement, because even the most dedicated krak-addict would have to agree it's better to have the option than to be forced to purchase wargear. They can still take 3 specials and a heavy weapon (contrary to rumours), with one special being a Heavy Flamer for 10pts (down from an overpriced 20).
Chimera cost increased, but Dozer Blade decreased from 10. The end result is the chimera costs 5 more but the cost of the entire unit is either decreased by 5 or increased by 5 if you want Krak.

Two Veteran Doctrine options have decreased in price (they were too expensive to often feature in my lists previously, so make of that what you will). Demolitions are still 30, Forward Sentries now 10, Grenadiers (4+ armour) is now competitive at 15.


Platoon Command Squad + Plasma gun x3 45
1 Chimera, 65 pts = (base cost 55 + Dozer Blade 10)

The Platoon Command cost is unchanged, but is actually a winner in the new codex. Firstly, its size fits into a Vendetta unlike new Veterans, and it can take enough special weapons for the ride to compensate for lower ballistic skill. Secondly it has gained access to 3 more orders that are likely to be very useful for it: Precision Shots, Split Fire and Pinning. Four pinning flamers, anyone?


Infantry Squad, + Autocannon 10
Infantry Squad, + Autocannon 10
Infantry Squad, + Flamer x1 5
6 Special Weapons Squad + Flamer x3 15

No changes to cost or equipment of the way I previously ran them. No news is good news. The platoon will make some gains from new options and priests etc, but this is a like-for-like comparison.


1 Manticore Rocket Launcher, 160 pts
1 Manticore Rocket Launcher, 160 pts
1 Colossus, 140 pts

The Colossus is gone! What I called 'The Weapon that makes Long Fangs Cry' has been cut from the codex, possibly to make space for the Wyvern.
Manticores have gone up in price by 10 each. This is unfortunate, because while they remain extremely powerful and a mainstay in a competitive guard army, they have also been becoming increasingly vulnerable. The amount of weapons able to hit side armour, ignore cover, smash side armour when flying over, or just move fast enough to flank them and hit their AV10 has increased dramatically.

I doubt many of Guard's opponents would shed a tear over this change, but anything with 3 AV10 sides at 170pts is going to be fighting for inclusion. Speaking of 170pts:


Fast Attack: Vendetta Gunship Squadron (3#, 420 pts)
1 Vendetta, 140 pts = (base cost 130) + Heavy Bolter Sponsons x2 10
1 Vendetta, 140 pts = (base cost 130) + Heavy Bolter Sponsons x2 10
1 Vendetta, 140 pts = (base cost 130) + Heavy Bolter Sponsons x2 10

The default Guard fast attack choice has gone up by 40pts, it's sponson cost increased by 10pts, and its capacity decreased. The impact is an increase of 150pts on what this squad would have cost yesterday.


1 Aegis Defence Lines, 50 pts + Quadgun 50

Unchanged (not from this codex).

Ignoring the items that no longer exist in the codex (eg Colossus) or that will have to be replaced (eg Psyker Battle Squad), the cost of the army above would go up from 1,850pts to 2,045pts. (HQ +10, Chimeras +15, Manticores +20, Vendettas +150pts)

The price increase on the Vendetta wasn't unexpected since it was probably underpriced, but putting it on par with the 'Heldrake which does as it Pleases' does look like overcompensation. The Chimera price increase is probably unnecessary since the glut of metal coffins died out a few months after 6th Edition was released, but it's only a small price bump and there is a new transport option to review instead (the Taurox).

I'd already dropped Hydras from my army lists, but they deserve special mention: Hydras have not been good since the start of 6th due to being forced to snapfire against units on the ground and being unable to fire at aircraft until the aircraft (and their army) have already had a shot at them, and they are now worse (open topped) or more expensive (85pts instead of 75pts) if fielded closed topped. They might be fixed when 7th almost inevitably changes the fact that skyfire units must snapfire against ground targets unless they are also have interceptor (it makes no real sense to have these 3 rules interact in that way or to have “Interceptor” somehow make skyfire weapons better vs ground targets) but until then it was very hard to recommend Hydras even before the price increase.

Clearly this codex doesn't suffer from the standard codex-creep of things getting inexplicably better and cheaper, and in fact the increases have been in areas so vital to Guard armies that up til now they've hardly even been optional for tournament-worth IG armies. In other words, removing Manticores, Vendettas and Psyker Battle Squads was the quickest way to reduced Guard from Competitive to Mediocre.

That's interesting, but not intended as a conclusion on whether this will be a competitive codex but rather whether Guard player's old lists have been improved or degraded by the new release. If your old list was any good, it's probably now worse or more expensive.

The challenge now will be to see if the new additions, rules, units and tweaks can compensate for this, or if the Astra Militarum are destined to be a fluffy, characterful army with a rich tapestry of history and characters that other codexes stomp on their way to the podium.

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PostSubject: Re: Astra Militarum – Comparing the Old Guard to the New   Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:24 pm

Some good stuff to know. I'm getting mine!

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PostSubject: Re: Astra Militarum – Comparing the Old Guard to the New   Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:29 pm

Good deal, I can use yours when I need to then Cool

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PostSubject: Re: Astra Militarum – Comparing the Old Guard to the New   Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:23 pm

My list changed slightly...easy tweak and points shift. Overall I am happy with the codex.

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PostSubject: Re: Astra Militarum – Comparing the Old Guard to the New   Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:33 am

Warmonger wrote:
Good deal, I can use yours when I need to then Cool

Anytime dude

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