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Sunday, 4 June 2017

Army List: Astra Militarum 1500 pts 8th Ed


Before diving into any detailed analyses of the new Faction rules, let's start simple with a translation of my 1500 pts 7th Ed army list into the new 8th Ed rules.

Unit Translation

You can find my late-7th Ed, semi-competitive 1500 pts list is here. In summary, it included:

  • A Company Command Squad in Chimera
  • Three Veteran Squads in Taurox
  • A Hellhound
  • A Tank Commander Punisher with one other Punisher
  • Three Exterminators
  • A Tech-Priest
These units were organised into two Formations that no longer exist. Now let's take a look at how this list translates into the new 8th Ed rules.

Company Command Squad in Chimera

Company Command Squads no longer exist; instead, we can buy individual Company Commanders and leader-less Command Squads. A bare-bones Company Commander cost 30 pts and can issue two Orders per turn. Note that we're now only issuing Orders at 6" range, instead of 12" range.

A Command Squad with three Plasma Guns and a Regimental Standard costs 50 pts, with the Standard providing a flat +1 Ld buff within 6". Note that characteristic buffs are cumulative in 8th Ed, so it's possible to stack multiple Standards and push Guardsmen Ld to 10 or even more.

These two units cost 80 pts, and previously cost 130 pts (including Volkov's Cane for more reliable Orders), so we're at -50 pts difference at this point.

Orders could be issued from within the safety of the old Chimera, and a couple of Plasma Guns could be fired from its hatch; this utility is gone in 8th Ed.

An old Chimera with Dozer Blade cost 70 pts, while a new Chimera with a Multi-Laser, Heavy Bolter and Heavy Stubber (why not?) costs 97 pts. That makes our cumulative points difference -23 pts.

The Company Commander still uses a HQ slot, but the new Command Squad uses an Elites slot.

Veteran Squad in Taurox

Veteran Squads lost access to their defensive wargear options, but can now take a Heavy Flamer in addition to their special and heavy weapons. A squad with Meltaguns now costs 96 pts compared to 90 pts; a squad with Plasma Guns now costs 81 pts compared to 105 pts.

There were two Melta squads and one Plasma squad in the old list, so our cumulative points difference is now -35 pts.

A Taurox used to cost 50 pts with a single Autocannon that re-rolled to hit; a new Taurox costs 85 pts with two Autocannon. With three Taurox in the old list, our cumulative points difference is up to +70 pts.

Of particular note is that Veteran Squads now use Elites slots instead of Troops slots.

Hellhound

An old Hellhound with Heavy Bolter and Dozer Blade cost 130 pts; a new Hellhound costs 101 pts, and no longer worries at all about immobilising in terrain. It does have a slightly reduced threat range, and its Inferno Cannon is probably much weaker (like all old template weapons) now that it only inflicts D6 hits—very RNG dependant! It's also no faster than any other Astra vehicle.

Our cumulative points difference is +41 pts.

Tank Commander

The Tank Commander no longer needs to take a buddy Russ, it's now just a single vehicle. It also now only issues Tank Orders to other vehicles instead of only to itself, which makes more sense really.

A new Tank Commander in Punisher costs 195 pts, up from 170 pts, and that takes our cumulative points difference to +66 pts.

Leman Russes

A new Punisher with Heavy Bolter costs 160 pts, up from 140 pts; a new Exterminator with Heavy Bolter costs 165 pts, up from 130 pts. That big extra cost on the Exterminator really hurts, since it got worse in 8th Ed, while the Punisher didn't really change.

With one Punisher and three Exterminators in the old list, our cumulative points difference is up to 191 pts. Tanks really have become a lot more expensive in the new edition!

Tech-Priest

The old Astra Militarum Enginseer can now be found in the Ad Mech Faction, but it still has the Astra Faction too. It now costs an Elites slot too. It now costs 52 pts, up from 40 pts.

Our final points difference is a huge 231 pts—that's over 15% more expensive compared to the old 1500 pts list! My first impression of the new Astra rules is that infantry and artillery got a power boost, while mech and armour have suffered, so this means that our average-power 1500 pts list is now a low-power 1750 pts list... oh dear.

Detachment Translation

With the end of Formations, a whole new set of Detachments to choose from, and Battlefield Role changes for some Astra units, the translation is not yet complete.

Our old two Formation list now comprises:

  • 2 HQ (Company Commander, Tank Commander)
  • 5 Elites (Command Squad, Veteran Squads, Tech-Priest)
  • 0 Troops
  • 1 Fast Attack (Hellhound)
  • 4 Heavy Support (Leman Russes)
  • 4 Dedicated Transports (Chimera, Taurox)
There are enough different new Detachments that this change is not a problem, but the lack of Troops does lock out all the most versatile Detachments, which also have the most bonus CP.

The old list can be translated into one Vanguard Detachment:

  • 1 HQ (Company Commander)
  • 4 Elites (Command Squad, Veteran Squads)
  • 1 Fast Attack (Hellhound)
  • 4 Dedicated Transports (Chimera, Taurox)
And one Spearhead Detachment:
  • 1 HQ (Tank Commander)
  • 1 Elites (Tech-Priest)
  • 4 Heavy Support (Leman Russes)
For a total bonus of +2 CP.

Power Comparison

I'll safe a detailed comparison for after my Faction analysis, but my overall impression is that this list is weaker. It relied on lots of  Autocannon to do most of the heavy lifting, which were fantastic in 7th Ed but are looking like a very sub-optimal choice in 8th Ed. Furthermore, twin-linked rerolls to hit are now gone, and vehicles suffer to hit penalties when they move and take damage, so I would expect this list to do a whole lot less damage now than it used to.

The changes to transport rules (disembark before the vehicle moves) also reduces the threat range of Veterans loaded up with Melta and Plasma; yes, you can now disembark 3" then move 6" and Advance an extra D6" and still shoot your Meltaguns (with a -1 to hit penalty), but in 7th Ed you had a nice reliable 12" transport move plus disembark and shot with BS penalty.

List Changes

If I was to make some straightforward changes to this list just to get into 8th Ed as quickly as possible, without too many model swaps, then I would cut:

  • The Command Squad (-50 pts, another Veteran Squad would be strictly better)
  • A Taurox (-85 pts, a Veteran Squad can take the Chimera, and the Company Commander can ride in it too)
  • The Tech-Priest (-52 pts, it was just a Formation tax)
  • The Hellhound (-101 pts, it was a semi-useful Formation tax, but is now not looking useful at all)
To save a total of 288 pts and bring the total down below 1500 pts again. I would spend the remaining points upgrading the Tank Commander in a Punisher to Pask in a Vanquisher with Lascannon and Heavy Bolters.

Our new 8th Ed list now looks like this:
Vanguard Detachment (+1 CP)
HQ (1-2)
Company Commander [30]
Elites (3-6)
Veteran Squad, three Plasma Guns [81]
Veteran Squad, three Meltaguns [96]
Veteran Squad, three Meltaguns [96]
Dedicated Transports
Chimera, Multi-Laser, Heavy Bolter, Heavy Stubber [97]
Taurox, two Autocannon [85]
Taurox, two Autocannon [85]
Spearhead Detachment (+1 CP)
HQ (1-2)
Pask, Vanquisher Cannon, Lascannon, two Heavy Bolters [238]
Heavy Support (3-6)
Leman Russ, Exterminator Cannon, Lascannon [177]
Leman Russ, Exterminator Cannon, Lascannon [177]
Leman Russ, Punisher Cannon, three Heavy Bolters [176]
Leman Russ, Punisher Cannon, Heavy Bolter [160]
1498 pts
We're down two vehicles and a Plasma squad, and gain some extra Lascannon and Heavy Bolters on the Russes. My instincts tell me that this list is moderately-powered, at best.

Conclusion

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited for 8th Ed, and I think the new rules look great; but the edition change is not looking kind to my old list! We'll see what needs to change after a few games.

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