Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Codex: Astra Militarum - HQ units

Over the next couple of weeks I will be going through all of the verious units within the new Codex, looking at what has changed from the Index and also my thoughts on the various units and how they work in 8th. I will be starting with the HQ units and then working through all the others in turn. Finally I will look at all of the doctrines, warlord traits, orders and stratagems at the end. All in all, this will no doubt take quite a bit of time to go through everything in the new book and I will try to post things up as quickly as I can so that were not still talking about the box next year! When I do finish going through the book, there will be quite a back log of posts, as there is still things going on in the background, namely batreps and the Eagle Knights, which have been progressing slowly in the background.

Anyway, on to the HQ units:

Lord Castellan Creed
A nice and simple one to start, as nothing has changed from the Index to the Codex. Creed is still a strong character, carrying over a lot of the usefulness he had in 7th. As a character he is purely a buffing character, able to issue multiple orders and also granting the bonus Command Points, which is very useful. The only downside to him is that he sufferers from the standard guard flaw, he is relatively easy to kill. As a character he has some built in survivability, but once the enemy get close, he is still a soft target. For me, I usually take him in my Hjaltland list, however, I'm going to have to rethink this as being Cadian I would have to use the Cadian Doctrine and to be honest, I'm not sure its the best one for the army. If you are taking a Cadian Detachment though, then you should definatly be looking at taking Creed.

Company Commander
There have been a few changes here. Two of them are fairly common across a number of units and will get repeated several times during these reviews. The Power points value has been altered, dropping a point and the character no longer comes with a Chain sword as standard. Now, power points are not really something I bother with as I don't really like the imbalance in the system but if you do then the drop in points is a good thing. On the whole most units have dropped points, which more than makes up for the few that have risen in price. The fact that the model no longer comes with a chain sword is both a modelling thing and a cost thing. With most models that now have a chain sword did not use to have one and as such most are not modelled with one. Most of my Sergeants and officers are armed with plain old CCW's and not chain swords, but in reality it isn't much of a problem, as its easy to just pretend or glue on to the back of someone. The other change to Company Commanders is that they have lost their shotguns. This is a minor issue as I don't know anyone who actually armed a Company Commander with shotguns. I haven't used shotguns and don't ever intend to either, so not a problem for me. Company commanders are very useful units and you should always be taking these guys, especially if your not taking Creed, as their orders are invaluable.

Tank Commander
The first of the Leman Russ tanks and one that hasn't benefitted from the points drop. It has benefitted from a drop in power points, just one point, but its still a drop. The price drop of the general LRBT's does however have an impact on the command tank. Previously, the point difference meant that it made sense to just spam command tanks for the extra BS, now the point are different enough that you actually need to think about whether its worth taking lots of command tanks or if you can take one with a couple of normal LRBT's. The main change though is to the Emergency Plasma Vents and its a big one. In the past, overcharging the plasma was a sure-fire way of destroying your tanks, with the risk of taking multiple mortal wounds per 1 rolled. Now you only take one mortal wound per 1 rolled and you still get to use your weapon again. This means that you can chance those overcharged shots and not worry that two 1's and you tank is removed from the board, or even that one 1 would stop it shooting for the rest of the battle. I think that this is a really good change and will result in lots more Executioners being fielded. If your running tanks, then this guy should be the first one on the table, that is unless your playing as Cadian, then you should be taking Pask.

Knight Commander Pask
If your taking tanks and playing as Cadians, then this man should be first on the list. While I think he has lost something over the 7th edition version, with loosing the special abilities of the weapons, there is no doubt that he is still a very powerful addition to the force. Along side the reduction in power points, by the almost obligatory one point, the only other thing of note is that the wording of the Tank Orders/Knight Commander ability has changed. It now mentions nothing about other characters, just that they have to be other Cadian Leman Russ tanks. So by this I assume that Pask can order another command tank and visa versa. It does still appear that the loophole about Pask ordering himself my arise again, as it doesn't mention anything about not ordering himself and we don't have a FAQ for the Codex, just Index 2, which no longer applies. I think that if anyone tries to do this again, then they are trying to break the system, as it is clear that he is not supposed to order himself. Also worth noting that the Plasma Vent rule for Pask has also changed in line with all LRBT's. Pask is a great addition to any armoured force and with the new Grinding Advance rules allowing you to fire twice at half speed or less, he is even better. There are really no bad weapons options for him, with a 2+ BS and if he stays still, re-rolls to 1's your going to be hitting with pretty much everything, even Vanquisher Battle Cannons. My personal favourite still has to be the Punisher Gatling Cannon, just for the fact that you can pour in 40 shots, hitting on twos, with the possibility of re-rolling 1's. That is going to ruin pretty much any ones day.

Commissar Yarrick
The old man of Hades Hive is still alive and kicking. Although there is no change from the Index entry, he is still an absolute beat stick. With the standard Commissar buffs to leadership and moral, your troops wont be going many places you don't want them to. Plus with the re-rolls to 1's as well, your troops will be performing a bit better on the shooting front too. This goes even further with re-roll to all failed hit rolls when fighting Orks, which is very good but quite situational, as the number of Ork players seems to have diminished over the last couple of editions. The big bonus Yarrick has over a regular Lord Commissar is his ability to regenerate when he dies. He has a good chance of returning, especially if you keep your command re-roll, and if you keep a medic close to hand you have a chance of making him really difficult to remove from the table, as its is not a one time ability. While Yarrick is a great character, I feel he is still quite situational. Against Orks he is a really good addition, but against normal opponents, I feel that if you want a Commissar in the HQ section, then a standard Lord Commissar is a better bet.

Lord Commissar
While not a resilient as Yarrick, he offers pretty much all of the same buffs, everything except the re-rolls. With all the orders and regimental doctrines available, losing this re-roll is not a big issue, Cadians for example have a re-roll of there own. The Lord Commissar's profile has remained unchanged from the Index, as do all the buffs but again, I still find it hard to justify taking a Lord Commissar. A normal commissar will give you the buffs you need at a reduced cost. The only reason to take the Lord version is the invulnerable save and the fact it sits as a HQ choice rather than using one of the overcrowded elite slots.

Colonel 'Iron Hand' Straken
The final named character in the HQ section has had quite a few changes from the Index. The biggest change is the change in the cost of the unit, both in terms of power points, dropping a point but also dropping 15 "normal" points. This is the only HQ to drop actual points, as opposed to power points. He has also gained frag grenades along side his krak grenades, which I assume was a mistake in the Index. Straken is a strange one, as he really is trying to be a combat monster, yet to me, doesn't really seem to achieve this. Yes he can issue orders and also gives extra attacks to Catachan infantry, which melds well with their extra strength buff, but at T4 he is still not going to take much to strike down, especially when his other rules are aimed at him hunting down monsters, i.e. his re-roll to wound against monsters. Going up against a Tyranid monster will likely see him destroyed in one turn of combat, probably without dealing much in return, as his bionic arm is only S user, even if this is twice the normal guardsmen's strength. While I think this means that he want to be in combat and is wasted sitting in the backfield, meaning he doesn't really have a defined role, I would take him in any of my lists in a second, just because he's definitely one of the coolest characters in the Codex.

Tempestor Prime
Apart from the change to the power points, a change of 1 point upwards for a change. Its not surprising that it has gone up in price, as the scions have proved themselves to be a big threat on the field, especially when loader with plasma guns. If you running any sort of MT force, even just a single squad, then you should seriously consider this unit, as it really is a massive force multiplier.

Primaris Psyker
The last HQ choice remains unchanged from the Index and remains a cheap but useful HQ choice. While there are other psykers available to the guard player, this is by far the best option. The others do have there place in the army but this is the most versatile of them. The psychic power avaliable, which I will go through later, offer a number of buffs to your army and are all useful, unlike some of the previous powers. I think that if you want a Psyker in your army, then this is the best choice.

So overall, most of the HQ choices are good choices. Pask and Creed are really auto includes in Cadian armies and Straken is a good candidate in a Catachan army. Company Commanders and Tank Commanders are also required choices for any infantry or tank armies, as is the Prime in a Scion force. The Psyker is a decent support choice and can perform any number of rolls, depending upon which psychic powers you choose. The only two choices that I struggle with are both the Commissars, Yarrick and the Lord, as I don't see that they really offer anything over the standard Commisars.

Next up will be the Troop choices and also the Dedicated transports.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Codex: Astra Militarum - First Thought

So, I received my codex on Monday and I have had a good look through. Firstly, I think the codex is excellent, I really like the way it is laid out, especially all the unit entries. Its something that I have always thought was odd about the Index, why was everything all over the place. I haven't read through all the fluff yet, there is a lot of it. What I have read, its really good.

Now, I know that there have been a number of points reductions and some other rules alterations but I will go into them in more detail when I go through the various entries over the next few posts. What I will go into quickly is the changes that have jumped out at me as I went through the book. Now these are in no particular order, just as I noticed as I jumped around the book.

First up, is the alteration to power weapons. Now, this is annoying as I had armed a few of my models with power mauls, which are really my weapon of choice for guard characters. What am I going on about? Well, power axes and power mauls are no longer part of the Melee weapons list. I remember a time when it was pretty much a must have to arm your Sgts with power axes. Personally, I've always preferred the power maul for the extra strength, up to strength 5, meaning its a 3+ to wound marines, which is always useful. Alas, you can no longer take either an axe or maul, only fists and swords. I'm not sure why they have been removed, I would have at least though that the mauls would have remained, but then I guess that they don't actually do a power maul model. Oh well, power swords it is then.

Tempestor Primes, Sword on the left and Maul on the right.

One other thing I noticed on the war gear list was the vehicle list, a new addition and the stand out item on the list was the Track Guards. This means that even when you take damage, your movement characteristics don't degrade as well, just your ballistic skill. This is great, unless your taking the Valhallan doctrine, then its useless. This is definatly something I will be looking at taking on a couple of vehicles.

Next up, I checked out a couple of units. The first one I had to check out was the Ogryrn Bodyguard. Now this is a unit that I am really interested in adding to my army list, well, actually I am thinking of adding a couple. I was planning to add just the Bullgryn variants, but then I noticed that they have changed the profile for the ripper gun. I was quite excited by the fact that it now has a melee profile. Its not the best weapons profile but it does have a -1 ap which is always useful. However, as good as this is, the bodyguard come with a Huge Knife, which is still -1 ap but is 2 damage, which is great. So, the Ripper armed Ogryn bodyguard with Huge Knife is actually not a bad option. I'll have to check, but if you can take multiple bodyguards for each character, then one shooty one and one with maul and shield would fit the bill perfectly. I think that a box of Ogryns are definitely on the Christmas list.

The next unit to mention is not one that's in the codex. Rough Riders. These have been something that I wanted to get for a while but now, they no longer exist and so they will never form part of the Hrossey Yeomanry. Its a shame, I was really hoping that they would get some buffs in this codex and be reinvigorated for the new edition.

Now comes the Conscripts and there well published alterations. There isn't a lot to say here, yes they have been hit a bit, but is it good enough? I don't know and I don't really care, I don't run conscripts or play in high level tournaments. I can see why people don't like them but we'll see what the changes actually do to there effectiveness on the table.

One thing that I didn't notice, but was brought to my attention on the Xeno Vids YouTube channel. He was putting together a list from the new codex and he mentioned Valkyries and the MRP's being Assault D6. Assault? Now that was interesting, as they were heavy. This now means that they don't suffer a negative hit modifier when they move, which I very useful. Hitting on a 5 rather than a 4 makes quite a difference. This means that they will definitely a be featuring on the table top during my games. A good change as far as i'm concerned.

Vendetta and Valkyrie (or is that two Valkyries now?)

The one thing that i'm not happy about is that there is still no choice for Carapace armour. I always took this option on my command squads and on my veterans, as that change to a 4+ save made a huge difference and still would. Why it has been removed, I'm not sure, as it doesn't require any extra models or options. Its a shame as it was a good option. The other thing I don't understand, why have they removed the options for veterans? I didn't think that these were overpowered or anything and they added a flavour to the unit. Ok so the doctrines and stratagems now do some of this, but the options added something to the individual units.

Lastly, Defenders of Humanity, or objective secured as it was known before. This was not unexpected and wasn't what caught my eye, all troops in all detachments as objective secured, but in a Spearhead detachment, Leman Russ tanks are also a objective secured. This is great, as it means that you can still run a full armoured company and have objective secured.

These are just my initial thoughts and i'm going to go through all the entries over the next couple weeks, so will be in more detail than others and I may split up some of the various battlefield roles in to multiply posts, as some of them are quite big. I'll look into any changes that may have occurred between the index entries and the codex entries and give you thoughts on the units.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Chapter symbols part 2

This is a bit of a double post, as first i want to mention this:

It arrived on Monday afternoon and I have started reading through everything. It is possibly the best codex I have read in a while and I will be looking at starting my reviews shortly. In the meantime, here is something slightly different.

A few weeks ago, I posted my thoughts and (rather bad) designs for my chapter icons, well, I think I've pretty much got the Emperors Disciples icon sorted.

I was cleaning the other day and I came across this badge;

I have no idea what its for or even where its come from, although I suspect that it is from something that the kids have been doing. Anyway, it got me thinking and while the young lady was making a mess in the bathroom the other day, I came up with these;

Yes, they are the same picture, ones upside down, don't ask me which, I don't know yet. Also ignore the squiggle thing in the center, it was supposed to be a lightning bolt but I do t like it. By that I mean, I don't like it as part of the design, not just because its rubbish. As things stand I'm leaning to the one of the right and think that it needs more detail below. I'm currently thinking of a line with a solid triangle, sitting inside the lines of the other triangle, maybe with some other details on there too.

I'm not entirely sure how the icon will interact with the name of the chapter or its history, as there is no link to the Imperial Fists. The lightning bolt was supposed to link back to the Emperor, but I didn't like it, so it will not be part of the final design. I will have to have a little play around and try it on a model and see what my final thoughts are and let you all know.

Friday, 6 October 2017


Another milestone has been reached by the blog recently, on Tuesday, to be exact. The bog has now had over 20,000 views since I started posting, about 3 years ago. Ok, so compared to some blogs this is nothing special but for me, I think it is. Now, I've said it quite a few times, i'm not in this to make my fortune or become famous, I do this for the love of it and to share my thoughts, ideas and models with the other like minded people but I do feel a certain sense of pride that people are spending the time to read and comment on my blog. I'm not going to go in to great depth with the numbers on this occasion, as I have do in the past, mostly as I don't really have the time to either write the posts or the space/time to post them, especially not with the new Guard codex coming out this weekend! Mine is ordered and hopefully should be here Saturday or Monday, more likely Monday. Either way, I plan on getting up various posts over the following weeks, reviewing the codex and the various units and changes. With that review and also the fact that I haven't posted anything about the Eagle Knights, who have been quietly coming together in the background and are moving towards complete fairly rapidly. Anyway, let have a look at some of the numbers shall we.

With the blog hitting 20,000 views I had a look back at when I hit some of the other milestones and was quite surprised. It took 10 months to go from 2500 views to 10,000 views, but only 5 months to go from the 10 to 20 thousand mark. The reason for this is quite obvious really and that is joining the Natfka Blog Exchange. When I went on to Google+, my views jumped from the 10's to the 100's a month, but when I went on to the blog exchange, it jumped from a couple of hundred a month to holding around 2000 a month. One of the things that people have said in the past, is that if I put things up on the more specific Google+ groups, rather than just on the basic public pages and if I join up with reddit and the likes, I could push the views up even further. However, being as lazy as I am, I haven't bothered and probably wont. Google+ and Natfka are easy and require no effort on my part, which I like. In the future I may push things further or if anyone knows of any systems that will do all this for me, then i'll look at them but for the moment, I think i'll just stick with the easy stuff.

The pictures seem slightly fuzzy to me, I think it's because I used the phones capture system and then cropped them. It doesn't seem to like this and I may have to try and do it on the laptop next time, although i'm not planning on the next update until I hit 50,000, so it may be a while.

First up, is last weeks viewing figures. it seems that my 8th edition posts are getting most of the attention, which isn't a surprise, 8th is still new and there is lots of stuff floating around and new developments. When I start on the new codex, I expect this to dominate the weekly viewing figures. Oh, and i'm up to 4 followers! that's double the number I had last time I looked!

 The overall figures also show that 8th is popular, with the top two posts having nearly 2500 views between them! I was really excited when one of my posts topped the 100 views mark and I was not expecting any post to hit the 1000 views mark for a long time but it appears that the 8th edition posts have been really popular.

This is the top 10 posts and pages and as you can see, all but one post, the painting - Pre or Post?, is related to 8th. Now, there seems to be something going on with the posts, as last time, my Sternhammer post was sitting on 102 views, but now is nowhere to be found, despite the bottom two entries sitting on only 100 views. The post is still there and still exists and has apparently had 112 views, so why isn't it appearing in the list? How many other older posts are no longer showing in this list? This is supposed to be the all time list but does it only select from a certain period, the last year or so? or is there just a glitch in the system that discounts older posts?

Its also good to see that a number of the pages are getting visits, including the tactics page, which, while not actually holding any tactical information, does direct people to other sites which I feel do hold lots of valuable information. If you haven't visited it, go and have a look, hopefully you might find some of the other sites interesting.

I still struggle with this page, I do get what it means but I couldn't explain any of it to anyone with any confidence. What I can say is that it proves why being on the Natfka blog exchange is such a good idea, as you can see, pretty much all my referrals come from either Google or Natfka, through there various sites. The only other site listed on there is the 40k Addict site.

The search keywords are not surprising, with 8th topping out the list and forming most of the rest of it as well. This time round there are no random search's to explain, which was always fun.

As always, this is the page that I like looking at, not just over the whole history of the blog but also in a weekly and monthly basic, as it shows where people are in the world. It always fascinates me, seeing that there are people on the other side of the world reading my blog and maybe commenting on it, proving that this is a truly global hobby. I always like to look at the numbers of where people are in the world, however, I don't think that the list of top 10 countries will change much these days, especially not the top 5 or so, but for the sake of it lets have a quick look;

USA - 5478 - (2862) (742)
UK - 3220 - (1585) (194)
Russia - 2903 - (1151) (185)
France - 1169 - (786) (89)
Germany - 1041 - (438) (71)
Canada - 687 - (182) (-)
Australia - 540 - (232) (-)
Ireland - 483 - (440) (190)
China - 387 - (343) (114)
Ukraine - 346 - (306) (121)
Previous number in brackets (10000 and 2500)

So that's the numbers and there is both a surprise and no surprises at the same time, which is not what I was expecting. The top 10 are still the top 10, with no new countries in there. However, the order has changed quite a bit and some countries have not been visiting very often in the last few months. Ukraine has had only 40 visits and China has had only 44, with Ireland having 43 but both Canada and Australia seem to be enjoying the blog with 505 and 308 views respectively, when previously they weren't even listed. The top 5 counties have be present on the list for quite a while and i can't see them going anywhere. The US still forms one 25% of my views on its own, with the UK and Russia forming another 25%.

All in all, in really happy with how the blog has been going and I'm looking forward to the future and I have lots of ideas and posts in the pipeline to keep things going.