24 Jun 20

Faction Focus: Astra Militarum

The Astra Militarum are on parade today, as it’s time for their Faction Focus to tell us how they will fight in the new edition of Warhammer 40,000. What’s more, we’re joined by playtester Reece Robbins, who’ll be giving us a rundown of what the Imperial Guard armies of the future may look like. Let’s take a look…

Who Are They?

The Astra Militarum are the unsung heroes of the Imperium, without whose inexhaustible armies the God-Emperor’s realm would have succumbed to the endless cycle of war and death millennia ago. Almost every world in the Imperium is tasked with raising an Imperial Guard regiment, not only to protect their home world but to travel to war zones across the breadth of the galaxy fighting all manner of alien horrors and dread heretics.

Against such terrible foes, courage and faith is their only shield, yet they march dauntlessly from one battle to the next without complaint – lest they receive a bullet from their Regimental Commissar! Yet the Astra Militarum have one distinct advantage over every foe they face – numbers. Be it rank after rank of disciplined soldiery or mighty armoured columns of battle tanks and heavy artillery, there is little that the Imperial Guard cannot grind down through the relentless application of attritional warfare.

The Morale Phase

While we’re on the topic of Commissars, we thought we’d take a closer look at the new rules for the Morale phase before we go any further. Morale affects every warring faction, from the most stalwart Space Marine to the most cowardly grot. In the new edition, the Morale phase has undergone a subtle change with a big impact…

Combat Attrition

The process of a Morale test works the same way as before…

The difference is what happens when you fail your Morale test – you make a separate Combat Attrition roll for each model in the unit, meaning that any number of them (or if you’re lucky, none of them!), may also flee. What’s more, the morale of a heavily depleted squad will already be wavering due to the losses they’ve suffered, so units that are below half-strength suffer a penalty to their Combat Attrition rolls.

With this change to Morale tests, any abilities that help mitigate further losses from Combat Attrition can be incredibly valuable. For example, a Commissar’s Summary Execution rule means that a nearby Astra Militarum unit that fails a Morale test has a much better chance of avoiding this eventuality.

 

How They Play in the New Edition

The Regiments of the Astra Militarum are as varied as the million worlds in the Imperium, so for this bit, we needed an expert – someone with the strategic genius of Ursarkar E. Creed and the oratory skills of Jarran Kell. We needed Reece Robbins! Thankfully, Frontline Gaming guru and official playtester Reece was more than willing to help out, so over to the man himself…

Reece: The Astra Militarum are set to crush the new edition of Warhammer 40,000. The changes to Vehicles via the Big Guns Never Tire rule make our iconic battle tanks more dependable than ever and able to peel those pesky infantry units off (via the medium of point-blank firepower) to let the cannons sing! Remember to use the amazing Hail of Fire Stratagem from Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good to maximize the firepower of your Leman Russ.

Likewise, one of my favourite units to use for grabbing objectives – Scout Sentinels with heavy flamers – can (literally) fire away even if it Advances or is engaged in melee. Their pre-game movement and Stratagems like Go! Recon! make them fantastic for scooping up victory points in missions in which points are scored at the end of each player’s turn.

If you prefer Armored Sentinels, remember that you can use the Deft Manoeuvering Stratagem from the Greater Good to halve the Damage the unit takes to ensure they hold on to those key objectives.

Hopefully, some of these ideas will inspire you to roll out your Guard and join the good fight against the enemies of the Imperium!

Key Units

Reece isn’t done yet – he’s also got some thoughts on three units that he suspects will really come into their own in the new edition, as well as some combinations you can use to make them even more effective!

Hellhound

Reece: The Hellhound (one of my all-time favourite tanks) is now a lot easier to use effectively, as the ability to fire into combat is very useful for them – particularly against large units of Infantry. With the Splash Damage Stratagem, they can easily overcome units in cover taking advantage of the new Terrain Traits too!

Bullgryns

Reece: The mighty Bullgryns, easily one of my top units in the game, are still just as meaty as they were and able to plaster enemy units with their mauls while also taking a beating. Making use of the Take Cover Stratagem (for +1 to their saving throws) and, if you have an Astra Militarum Psyker in your army, the Psychic Barrier power can make them absolute beefcakes.

Wyvern

Reece: The Wyvern will be even more of a menace to hordes of light infantry. With the new rule for Blast weapons, you can get a whopping 24 shots! With the Direct Onslaught Stratagem for a +1 bonus to its hit rolls, a Wyvern can cause absolute devastation in short order. 

Thanks, Reece! Are you looking to grind your foes into the dirt beneath the treads of your mighty battle tanks, or overwhelm them with unstoppable volleys of lasgun and heavy weapons fire? Maybe both! In any case, let us know how you plan to use your Astra Militarum in the new edition on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page, Instagram and on Twitter using #New40K.