I’ve played quite a few battles with the Astra Militarum since the new codex came out, testing the interactions between several of its core units, feeling out their strengths and weaknesses. In this post I’ll review the HQ choices I’ve used in my builds so far.
Knight Commander Pask (in a Leman Russ Punisher):
Strengths: The ability to utterly and totally wipe out one unit per turn. Rending on a Heavy 20 Strength 5 weapon is absolutely brutal. Having Tank-Hunter only doubles the pain, particularly if you were to take Multi-Melta sponsons.
Best used at the vanguard of your formations, AV 14 is a tough thing to handle, even S10 AP1 isn’t a sure thing.
Weaknesses: Pask costs a metric crap-ton of points. This is exacerbated by being forced to take a second Leman Russ in the squadron.
One could argue that his mobility is his other big weakness. The punisher cannon simply didn’t have the reach to be of any real threat to the Eldar, who tip-toed around his range limit. If he gets immobilized, he’s out of the game. Similarly, if he wipes out everything, it’ll take some time to get back into a good firing position.
Keep Pask and his unit away from assaulters, or perhaps put target priority on those units before they get into the Danger Zone. One power klaw can really wreck your day, in the same way a tactical squad full of Krak grenades can wreck your day.
Synopsis: There is nothing that Pask and his unit cannot kill. The attention that is typically directed in his direction can often release some of the pressure on softer units in transports, as they go about their work capturing objectives.
Pask’s Leman Russ is basically the centre of all my army lists. He typically lasts into Turn 3, and is brought down via Assault. By that time, he has already made up his point cost.
If I were to go foot / infantry heavy, I might consider using a different HQ combination for the points savings. But I don’t. And so Pask stays.
Company Command Squad:
Strengths: Providing some significant utility to on-field infantry units. Being able to strip coversaves (goodbye, jink saves), provide Tank Hunter (goodbye, tanks), and order units that have gone-to-ground back into the fight (hello, 2+ cover save behind Aegis Lines).
Another good quality of the CCS is to include advisors. A cheap Mastery Level 1 psyker with access to telekinesis (meh), a cheap super-innacurate basilisk round (who needed accuracy anyways?) and a method to bring that Vendetta in on 2+ (woot!)
Weaknesses: Longevity is a concern. With only 7 wounds in the squad at toughness 3, an assault cannon is going to wreck your day and instant kill your Commander. For this reason a Chimera is almost obligatory.
This unit also requires other units around them to do the heavy lifting, which can sometimes be problematic…
Synopsis: In most of the lists I run that include a Company Command Squad, their sole purpose is to buff the ever-loving crap out of a squad of Plasma Veterans with +1 to their cover save. This unit is resultantly very difficult to dislodge by shooting, but is vulnerable to units that ignore cover or assault.
My issue with this approach is that the Plasma Veterans and Company Command Squad can pretty well be considered a single unit in combination with the Aegis Defense Line, which weighs in at 315 points (not including any advisors, weaponry), and are effectively static emplacements. Problem being, this static play-style doesn’t do it for me.
The CCS might be better applied when surrounded by regular guardsmen, heavy weapon teams, and other fun toys. In this manner, he has a lot more tools at his disposal. But in the Mechanized lists I have planned, these points may be better spent elsewhere.
I might consider mounting the Plasma Veterans in a Chimera to increase mobility, and using the points saved on an Aegis towards artillery support.
Grade: B. Solid unit, but doesn’t exactly fit my playing style.
Ulmar the Incompetent (Primaris Psyker):
Strengths: Providing some significant utility to your on-field
infantry units. Prescience provides the most useful Primaris power for the Imperial Guard, but the other abilities aren’t shabby either. Best positioned lodged in a blob squad to increase his own longevity and provide a leadership bonus to the soldiers around him.
Weaknesses: Reliability. Ulmar has proven again and again that his powers are by no means a sure thing. D6+1 Warp Charge make getting Prescience off every turn very difficult, and not without risks caused by Perils of the Warp.
Synopsis: In 6th Edition, he was much more reliable, but with the advent of the Pyschic Phasey psychic powers (universally!) got a lot more difficult to get off, unless you spam psykers on the battlefield. Frankly, as a guard player, I’d rather spam guns than spam Psykers. There is a certain reliability in quantity, and the 50 points could be better used for that purpose.
Grade: D. Student tries his best, but can’t seem to put 2 warpcharge together consistently. See me after class.
Fast Attack is coming up next.