Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Codex Militarum Tempestus: A Second Look
So having picked up the book last night, read it and slept on it, I am going to go over few thoughts and note some issues with the codex. There is a rules issue regarding the Hot Shot Volley gun and I'll go over that later. Despite some minor issues though this is a very solid codex for those that want lots of storm troopers and little else.
First off lets go over the badish. To make it clear and upfront, there are no Scion platoons in Tempestus. Command squads are an HQ choice and Scion Squads are your troop choice. For whatever reason there is no normal force org chart, just a key for each symbol that states the units "battlefield role". Based off of BRB that means you can take two command squads and 6 scion squads before getting into allies and formations. Now that is still a lot of bodies that have a good save and good weapons. However you will not be able to do an all infantry army on its own with no vehicles without bringing allies to plus up points. With vehicles you can meet numbers easily and this allows you to really not worry about spending upgrades on your troops which you should, these guys can make the best use of them with their shooting and orders.
Now the hotshot volley gun has an issue, in the wargear section it has the Gets Hot special rule, but in the reference section it does not have this. So does it get hot or not? Well GW have had this issue before and I believe in the last case they went with what was in the reference section. Hopefully this will be clarified either in FAQ or with the upcoming Astra release. I'll wait to see what it's profile will be in Astra Militarum, if it has gets hot in there as well, then that will clear it up. Its disappointing to still see these mistakes that could easily have been fixed with editing.
That being said, thats really all that is "bad" about this codex. The orders are very good with Scions and do a great job of boosting hotshots to have them threaten most things with either sniper or rending on vehicles and MCs. The new vehicle equipment is great and having access to relic plating to help counter the psychic attacks that are out there. Fire barrels help defend against assaults and at least give you a chance to fight back. The augur array is awesome, I have always wanted something like it to help with deep striking, this will be great with an army that uses a ground based strike force with deepstriking scions coming in for the knockout punch.
Commissars are great now. They are all ICs and have stubborn. A points drop was needed and standard commissars will see great use. Summary execution is an option now, not automatic, so you can stick them in with command squads and not have to worry about him axing your commander if you fail a test. The lord has the same stats with WS BS 5 and 3 Wounds and Attacks and has a refractor field. Unless you are planning on fighting in close combat though, I would stick with the normal commissar, as much as Aura of Discipline may help. It depends how you want to run them and you will have enough points to certainly take one if you desire.
Things to glean from orders. No longer are the rigid command structure, you choose which officer goes first and resolve each order one at a time. If this is the same in AM then this will be a great change. You can start with your lowest officer first if you desire to get the first rank shots out of the way first and save your critical orders for higher officers later to target what survives the initial volleys. Hopefully this remains true and will add great flexibility to issuing orders.
The formations are looking much better after I have thought about them more, and I am really liking the Air Cav one more and more. Having split fire and twin linked coming out of a valkyrie is a very good boost. The way I see this working is having a ground based forced, mostly mounted up in Taurox's moving up to hit a flank of your opponent in mass. Then when your opponent moves in to try and surround you, the valkyries come in and rain death from the sky. Load up squads to maximize the split fire rule, I see having a melta gun and hot shot volley or plasma gun in each, allowing you to target both infantry and vehicles, using split fire to have the melta guns target tanks and the rest of the squad going after infantry. Combined with a few orders this will guarantee a hard hitting strike when they all drop in and be very hard for an opponent to return from. Note as it reads the valkyries are not squadroned but are individual. A few augur arrays on your tauroxes will guarantee a near perfect drop.
The ground formation also looks very good. If creed stays similar to what he is now, he could be used to outflank this formation. It will really depend if his scouts rule(if it stays) allows him to affect the army or only Astra Militarum units. A possible use if the rules turn out to allow it, but I would not get hopes too high on this one. Otherwise this is a good way to plus up your army and add a "platoon" to it and is also a good choice for upgrading the commissar to lord as he will not become warlord automatically due to his leadership 10 because he is in a formation and not your main army. This also may be a way to add scoring scions to an Astra Militarum army. Since they are troops choices and if I read the formation rules correctly, they should maintain that status, but that will have to be looked into and may not be the case.
What this codex is, is a fast moving and hard hitting army that brings air power and a lot of flexibility. The tauroxes bring firepower and mobility but can be taken out with focused fire. They get you to the fight but won't rolling over everything and you'll have to use them carefully or plan on their destruction in the same way you would with rhinos and razorbacks. Valkyrie air support adds even more mobility and firepower and gives more survivability with being a flyer. If you feel you are hurting on anti tank, a vulture gunship kitted out for tank hunting is a great choice to add and gives you a cool themed air assault formation. Or you can ally in guard to bring vendettas.
On the fluff side, it does not disappoint. There is tons of great artwork showing the scions in action and doing what they do. It expands the background of the Scholia Progenum to a great degree and gives a much more solid explanation on how Storm Troopers and commissars are raised. There is plenty of wonderful grim dark, with the explanation of how commissars are ordered to execute another class mate, sometimes close friends, before graduating.
What I really liked was the short stories on multiple engagements with scions and commissars. They expand on the battle excerpts and give both short point of view stories as well as detailed accounts of the battle. I am a lover of fluff so this was a big plus for me and enjoyed reading the differences between Scion regiments and their battles. There is a plethora of regiments shown, giving you many choices in color schemes and backgrounds to choose from. There are notable daemon hunters as well as eldar hunters. As always you can make your own regiment and color scheme, creating your own history and background.
This army will work great with many, IG being the obvious one. The other will definitely be inquisition. I'm not talking about token inquisitors here, this is going heavy with them as well. Bring an inquisitor or two and two or three warbands with crusaders, death cults, and priests in land raiders and you'll have a very powerful army that has needed heavy armor and anti tank and hard hitting assault units. You'll be able to move up the field quickly and have multiple land raiders to soak the heavy anti tank fire and act as shields to your tauroxes getting into position for a close quarters battle where both scions and the warbands will excell.
This army is a great addition to those that want storm troopers. If you are not looking to field a large portion of them, then stick with the Astra Militarum and you can pass on this. This is for those that love the history of storm troopers and want a way to take an army of them. There are a few nit picky issues but other than that it has great flexibilty and use. If you are just looking for an ally, the formations are the way to go.