Battle Report: Astra Militarum vs. Daemons (2,000pts)

What the crap?  Blink and a new Codex comes out these days!  This report is of my haphazardly assembled Cadian Combined Arms against a competitive Brimstone Horror List, using the new Astra Militarum Codex.  Dig in and smoke ’em if you got ’em.

No rest for the weary, Pask finds himself a new Hand of Steel; a Punisher fitted with heavy bolters.  While not the most… elegant… vehicle, Pask recognizes the need for versatility in a command vehicle. 

Summoned for an offensive against some entrenched Death Guard at the “Brimstone Bastion”, Pask leads a combined arms detachment including infantry assets, armour, artillery… and Super Heavy assets at regimental level.  The Emprah’s Mighty Flow’ry Meadow – a Baneblade of legend was at his disposal.  Surely this bastion would not stand a chance against this mobile fortress…

No sooner had this thought passed, but a smell of burning stone wafted through the cupula of the Leman Russ Punisher…  The fortress wasn’t called “Brimstone”.  It was a living wall of Brimstone Horrors!  Curse those dogs at the astropathic intelligence!

The air was filled with profanities as Pask wheeled the Hand of Steel amongst the infantry, shouting the men to ready themselves for the terrors of the warp…

The Combatants:

Astra Militarum (Brigade):

  • Knight Commander Pask: Punisher w/ 3x Heavy Bolters
  • Tank Commander: Punisher w/ 3x Heavy Bolters
  • Company Commander (Kurov’s Aquila)
  • 5x Infantry Squads
  • Scions x5 (Plasmagun & HS Volley)
  • 2x Platoon Commanders
  • Commissar
  • 2x Hellhounds w/ Heavy Flamers
  • Scout Sentinel
  • Wyvern
  • Manticore
  • Leman Russ Exterminator w/ Hull Lascannon
  • The Emprah’s Mighty Flow’ry Meadow
    • Baneblade w/ HB Sponsons

Again, another list more designed to feel out the new book in 8th Edition, while taking advantage of as many command points (and therefore stratagems) as possible.  Of particular use to me would be the “Vengeance for Cadia” strategem, for a measly 1CP I re-roll to hit and to wound with a single unit.  Obviously, a unit with a LOT of guns would gain the most benefit from that.  I wonder which unit has the most guns…..

Daemons:

  • 180 Brimstone Horrors
  • 2 Daemon Princes of Tzeentch
  • The Changeling
  • Like… 9? Exalted Flamers of Tzeentch
  • Another Herald?
  • Probably 4x Malefic Lords?
  • Did you see the number of friggin’ Brimstone Horrors?!?!  180!!!!

The Mission: 3 Objectives controlled by the end of the game, one in each deployment zone and the last one in no-man’s land.

Guard win the roll-off for first turn, and we’re off to the races.

Deployment:

The only thing I want to highlight about the deployment here is the way the Daemons set themselves up.  Look at this majesty:

You’ll immediately notice how EVERY SINGLE UNIT in their army is inside of the Changeling’s bubble of -1 to hit.  Well played.  Very well played.

Astra Militarum Turn 1:

55 Brimstone horrors die to the first volley of Guard shooting, ALMOST exposing the ball of characters which is the core of the damage dealing potential of this particular force.  The big issue here is that The Changeling is a massive debuff for Guard shooting, and most things are hitting on a 5, including the Flow’ry Meadow, which is making great use of the “VENGEANCE FOR CADIA” stratagem, which doesn’t feel as OP anymore given the shenanigans the Chaos Daemons are up to.

A noticeably thinner brimstone horde following Turn 1 shooting.

At any rate, nothing of any particular value gets blown up in the Guard shooting phase.  The Daemons wheel back and…

Daemon Turn 1:

…absolutely annihilate Knight Commander Pask.  I underestimated the shooting potential on the Exalted Flamers, and forgot that the Knight Commander isn’t a Character, and can no longer defer wounds onto his Leman Russ bro that he was forced to bring in 7th edition.

RIP Pask 😦

This hurts a lot because Pask was the wood chipper of this force, even with the Changeling on the table was hitting on 3’s re-rolling ones.

Welp, lesson learned on positioning of key assets in the presence of 9 D3 lascannon shots (with D3 damage apiece).  If I had a brain in my head I would have ordered Pask to Strike and Shroud, to get that nice debuff on shooting (the Flamers would have been hitting on 5’s, instead of 4’s).

The Rest of the Damn Game:

Hey look I’m not going to sugar coat this, the outcome of the game was never really in doubt in particular after that catastrophic first turn of shooting from the Daemons.  It wasn’t necessarily the smite-spam that got to me (I’m hardly an ‘elite’ army and everything important was bubble wrapped against that), but the shooting attacks of the Flamers that wore me down consistently.

Screw it, lets just run them over.

The rest of this game turned into a match of: “How many damn horrors can I chew through while my shooting is gimped”.  I think in the end I accounted for about 130 of them, but very little damage was actually done to the core of the army.  A pair of the Daemon princes got frisky, one got vaporized by the Leman Russ Exterminator (HEH!) and the other chewed his way through my artillery park and flankers on the west flank, before finally being brought down in overwatch by the Wyvern.

Not to say the game wasn’t close, enjoyable, or worth the time.  Quite the opposite.  I was sciencing the crap out of the new Imperial Guard book, while learning about the ‘new’ Meta.

Postlude:

Specifically this game, I learned about the importance of Characters.  Each of the exalted flamers is a character.  If my Baneblade Super-Heavy Siegebreaking Battle Tank wanted to kill more than one of them per turn with its shooting attacks, its shit out of luck.  I would only be able to declare the one that is the first in line as a target for whichever guns I want to attempt to blast it into the ether with, and allocate the rest on some non-character.  And this is all assuming that the Exalted Flamer or Malefic Lord or whomever is the first in line to get blasted, and not one of the 180 brimstone horrors on the table.

I CAN ONLY SEE ONE EXALTED FLAMER!!!!

Frankly, this is some bullshit.  Before (in 7th) I would lob a few Manticore missiles into a ball of characters and watch the tears fall as the core of the army is vaporized in glorious high explosive.  Now, that’s not possible.

This is what this Daemon list is designed to exploit.  While its firepower is rather anemic in a ‘first turn’ shooting perspective, it is extremely durable and can typically out-last and have more of it standing at the end of the game, which is typically when this kind of thing is most important.  The Daemons have a great list in the context of the 8th edition game, and it would go on to win 2nd place at a local tournament within the next few weeks (Quel Suprise non? honhonhon).

In terms of Guard units I’m really impressed with, the obvious choices are the Leman Russes.  They can no longer simply be ignored, with double-tapping turret weapons.  Before I had theorized a better use of points was the Basilisk, but I can’t make that argument any longer.  Hellhounds lose 2 Damage flamer attacks but gain 2D6 automatic hits, which is great for horde control.  They can patrol flanks with the best of them, or form a central part of your battle line as an assault deterrant.  I like them a lot.  Baneblades make a very efficient stratagem target, due largely to their QUANITITY of guns.  I recommend taking them if you want to abuse the cheap brigade Guard can take.

Post-Postlude:

 

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