Saturday, June 7, 2014

Militarum Tempestus Tactics: Basic List Building

With my local shop under renovation and waiting for it to be done, as most of the table will be in the new space, I prob won't be getting too many games over the next few weeks.  Which is fine as I have more models to build and paint and need to refine my lists.  On the subject of lists I want to go over the basic principles of building a Militarum Tempestus army list.  For sake of argument going to limit the discussion to a single CAD with a little bit on allies.

Tempestus is a limited codex in terms of units and so this makes list building easier and harder at the same time.  Its easier in that you don't really have to worry about choosing between units, you only have a few, and harder because you have to get a lot of utility out of these choices.

My experience has taught me a few things and the first of which is take advantage of free bolt pistols.  Hot shots only have a 6" range and that means you will be very often out of range.  Take bolt pistols, on everyone that can.  The extra 6" range makes a significant difference over the course of a game and instead of only one or two tempestor's getting a shot off a whole game, you will be able to get a lot more use out of them.  The second is on power weapons, take power mauls.  Swords just don't cut the snuff and axe's hurt your I.  Yeah its great you can go through 3+ armor, but if you never get a wound in it doesn't matter.  You want number of wounds here, they are never going to be combat beasts and the AP4 on a maul is more than enough with all the xenos out there.  If you really want ap2, a power fist is a much better choice.  That being said, its not worth it on your commander/prime, he is I4 and that small little boost should be taken advantage of.

Command squads are going to be the lynch pin of your force.  You should take two, no matter what, if you can.  The orders Tempestus has are just plain great and you need to make use of their limited availability.  When building them, you want weapons first and foremost.  They can only get a platoon standard, not a regimental, and you should pass on this, it only grants an additional wound in CC, these guys rarely lose by only one wound.  A 5 man squad is going to either win or die, and that one extra wound for resolution is not going to save you.  The medi pack is something to consider, it adds some toughness to the squad with FnP, you lose a weapon slot but those 5 guys need to keep on kicking for as long as possible.  Consider it but it is not a must take.

Where it is really going to matter is in your special weapons.  Your bread and butter are going to be plasma guns and hot shot volley.  The volley guns can put out a tremendous amount of firepower and should be considered for a more static squad.  Plasma guns are very useful and let you touch a lot of threats, you can hurt up to AV13 and wound a lot of MCs better than 50/50.  And at rapid fire range its 8 AP2 shots, with orders you can almost ensure no gets hot.  Melta guns are great on a fast moving or deep striking command squad, but also consider that a 5 man scion squad with 2 can usually get the job done.  A command squad in a valk with meltas is good as a rapid response force to destroy key targets.  Grenade launchers and flamers are ok, most time GLs will be better and really you are only taking this option if you are running low on pts.

For your commander, a power weapon is not a bad choice, preferably a maul as stated already.  A bolt pistol will usually be enough, though a plasma pistol is good in a plasma command squad to add that additional shot.  Other than that you really don't have much else to give him.  You can take a vox in the squad, I have found that usually you will pass your orders and since you have to have a vox in both squads, the tax can add up.

Now for scion squads you want to have around 4-6 to be really effective at larger games.  It really isn't hard to have that many and since you have little else to bring, they need to be the focus of your points.  You want at least two generalist squads.  The best loadouts are usually two plasma guns or a plasma and volley gun, this lets them deal with most threats and have decent ranged shooting out to 24".  These squads should also be fully manned, they are going to be your line holders and objective takers and need the bodies to survive casualties.  As already stated a bolt pistol on the sgt is recommended (its free).

The rest of your squads should be looking to take on specific threats.  A few melta squads for tank hunting are good, these do not need to be fully manned as they are going to be in a transport in order to be useful.  Between tank hunters and the generalists these will fulfill most of your needs but a couple other squads can help you out in certain areas.  A assaulting squad or two are useful for when you really need to close with and destroy certain targets.  Assault weapons are the key for them, flamers being your best bet, with grenade launchers good as well to have more range but less overall damage.  A power weapon on the tempestor/sgt is needed and then a decent sized squad, it does not need to be fully manned but 5 is too small.  They will not be combat monsters but are there to finish a critical enemy unit off if shooting is unable to do the trick.  No more than two of these squads are needed.

For your vehicles you need to be bringing a solid number of them, enough to transport most of your army.  As their main guns are short ranged, mobility is key to keeping them effective and hurting targets.  Tauroxes are your bread and butter here and the most effective one is the missile launcher variant with autocannons.  It can shoot out blasts at hordes and can hurt just about every vehicle and MC in the game.  The gatling variant is good as well, with volley guns, but only one or two are needed to deal with larger squads.  Take a heavy stubber to increase fire power, its a lot of S4 shots coming from that vehicle (17).  The battle cannon version is great as well, it sits right in the middle and can hurt vehicles and infantry, the S7 blast is very useful in wounding a lot of infantry on 2s.  Take autocannons on it and a heavy stubber is another good choice, again though only a few are needed and missile launcher tauroxes should be your main stay.

As for upgrades, camo netting is a solid choice, your tauroxes love cover and getting a +1 to them is an important boon.  Even having a 6+ in the open is better than nothing.  They put out damage but cannot stomach a whole lot, so keeping them in cover with a bonus is no small thing.  Other upgrades besides weapons are minor and are up to player choice.  Extra armor is something else to consider as it will allow you to keep on moving, when a taurox is stuck in the open it doesn't last long.  Searchlights are not as useful with night fighting granting only stealth now, so as cheap as it is, you can pass on it. Recovery gear is another that really isn't needed, they have a low probability of getting stuck by terrain, and most times that pens start coming through, enough are there to wreck them.  Its cheap though and if you want the chance of fixing an immobilized result, it can be useful.  Relic plating is good, but depends how much psychic attacks you face.  Smoke launchers are not as useful, camo netting will do better over a whole game vs a single use 5+ cover, plus camo netting does not affect your shooting.  Fire barrels are ok, it really depends how often your vehicles get assaulted, in my experience its not as much and usually the tauroxes speed is better at getting them out of sticky situations.  If you plan on deep striking, an augur array is very useful, have a few out there as insurance if one gets popped.

Valkyries are also a very important include in your army.  I would always recommend rocket pods and heavy bolters, they are cheap upgrades and give you more choice when shooting, sometimes the multilaser is better for high T targets, sometimes the AP4 on heavy bolters is better.  I have rarely found the lascannon to be useful, its subject to to much chance, unless you are bringing a lot of valks it is too hit or miss.  If you have valks you should be bringing them, they have great mobility and firepower for dealing with infantry and even light vehicles.

That is the basics for building a tempestus army.  When it comes to allies, thats where it really is in your court to decide what you want.  Psychic support can be very useful, and I will touch a little on that.  If you are a ML2 primaris psyker is good, the reason being is you want two rolls on the divination table.  You really want the ignores cover power.  Prescience is good, but you can order twin linked.  Having ignores cover is good and even scriers gaze is useful for tempestus. 

Otherwise you want to fill in the weak spots, bringing a heavy hitting CC unit, heavy armor, cheap mass troops, long range artillery, really the things that scions lack.  You want it to support their mobility and close range firepower and give them a good base or mobile heavy armor to support them.

Fortifications is also important, mainly for bringing some good AA into the fight, and also as a good fire base for you to punch out from.  Aegis is always solid and even the firestorm redoubt is good if for simply being large enough to hide tauroxes behind when they need to.  That about covers it, I'll go through more detailed tactics but that gives you a good place to start when building a scion army



  1. I came to some very similar conclusions. I really think that with the Taurox Prime, the Scions can be very successful in the new Tactical Objective mission types. Given that most of the Scions have low strength or short ranged weapons, the Missile Launcher/Autocannon Taurox is probably the best (and most expensive) option.
    I am really confused about the Heavy Bolter options on Valkyries this edition. The price in the Scion Codex is half the price in the MT codex. What gives, GW?
    I really like the 4 plasma command squad, because it is very very good with the preferred enemy order. It’s just very expensive once you take a transport. Always take the Bolt Pistol. 
    A 5 man troops squad with 2 flamers receiving the twin linked order will be necessary for digging enemy units out of cover: standard flamers don’t cut it against even marine scouts. Such a unit would be a good take in Zone Mortalis.
    I’ve had a hard time liking the hotshot volley gun: this is an army that is supposed to move, not stay still and shoot. It’s strength is anemic against its intended target. I’d rather just bring a plasma for 5 more points, no move penalty, higher STR and lower AP.

    1. Yeah the heavy bolters are interesting difference, but till FAQ'd there is no reason to not take advantage of it. Bolt pistols are free for MT scions but not AM, so it could just be a small advantage gw trying to give to the MT codex.

      I like it, it can just shoot a lot and the orders help it out, rending makes it lethal against a lot of targets and preferred enemy works well too. It still gets 2 shots when it moves at 12, so even then its better than hot shots with 9" rapid fire. Its good on a command squad that you want to anchor your line and won't move too much, but at the same time they can still move around when needed.

      I roll a lot of 1s, and don't have enough orders to prevent the number of gets hot when I bring lots of plasma and end up losing quite a few guys. That is just my experience though.

    2. I really like the volley guns, I've found them to be really useful as I tend to keep my command squad static and move my two troop units around them, keeping within orders range though.

    3. Bolt pistols are also free for Astra Militarum Tempestors and Tempestors Prime (just checked it).
      So don't hesitate to take them with any codex (AM or MT) you field your Scions.
      Only when you are taking Plasma rifles with the squad it might be a better option to take the Plasma pistol, if points permit.