Saturday, July 5, 2014
Astra Militarum Tactics: The Bloody Infantry PT2 v 2.0
Its time to get back to the infantry and for my second review of Veteran squads! Over all there is little change for these guys at their base, but there are some big improvements and they are even better than before. Veterans are some of my favorite infantry to take and I see them being just as effective in 7th as they were before, and I see chimera vets being extremely popular in 7th edition. Alright on to the changes!
Right off the bat the first change is that they dropped 10 pts in base price to 60, but lost krak grenades as standard wargear, which you can purchase for 10 putting them back up to their old price. Personally I like this as if you are taking demolitions, your getting melta bombs so your not paying for redundant wargear. Other than that their wargear is the same, heavy flamers are cheaper by 10pts, and they clarified that if you take one you can only take two other special weapons, really no change its just clearer. Their biggest change though is doctrines, demo stayed the same price, but grenadiers dropped to 15 and forward sentries dropped to 10! This is an awesome change and you can make some very specialized armies for much less than before.
What does each doctrine do? First you have grenadiers which gives them carapace armor, second you have demolitions which gives everyone melta bombs and one demo charge, and last is forward sentries which gives camo cloaks and defensive grenades. All are really good and useful depending on how you want to play your veterans. I am really happy that sentries and grenadiers got a price reduction as they needed one.
Now what this all means is that you have huge options in how to play these guys and what you can take to fulfill any role you have. One build is to give them all shotguns, two meltas and a heavy flamer with the demolitions doctrine and have a nasty assault/anti armor squad. These guys can get up close and shoot everything and then kill MCs with their melta bombs in cc or do the same to vehicles this is not a cheap unit and your hardest task will be making sure they survive to get into range with their weapons. These guys work well in valkyrie, dropping out to punish an unsuspecting vehicle or MC that got to close. They also work very well in chimeras or even tauroxes.
As they are not a true dedicated assault unit, be wary of units that you can't wear down with your shooting. You can use the demo charge and meltas on tough units like terminators and charge the survivors, which will most likely be only a couple of termies. Not saying you always should but the need arises they are capable.
The doctrines really do bring them up a level and I would recommend taking them if you are going to be bringing veterans. If you are looking for some troops to dig into cover and be great objective campers, take the forward sentries, as you will have +1 to cover. This means if you stick them behind an aegis, you will have a 3+ cover standard, making some weak little guardsmen as hard to remove as terminators and marines. Using bullgryns is another good way to improve your cover. If you are in ruins or behind an aegis with bullgryns in front, you'll have a 2+ save stock, with +1 from the bullgryns and +1 from sentries. Yes the ignores cover weaponry will get around that, but you can get rid of those weapons an abilities through good target priority. And sometimes you just won't get a save, but generally the units that do that (helldrake) do that to almost everyone so the playing field is even in that case. You can kit this squad out to be anti infantry or anti tank and it will do well in this capacity.
Plasma vets are another great way to use them, taking three plasma guns and throwing them in a vehicle. Carapace is pretty good for them to give you a better chance of surviving gets hot rolls, plus it ups the whole squads survivability and its much cheaper to take now. A couple of these squads can scoot across the board to hunt key targets and get close unload their deadly plasma payload.
Carapace is a great basic choice that improves the survivability of the veterans. I have found to be enough of an edge to make it worth it. I have used an army around this and have 5 vet squads with carapace. This is mostly because I like the shock trooper army and its what I like to roll. By having carapace though you now have guardsmen that are going to survive against most of the small arms in the game now. Where before you just die. Now your guardsmen get a save and can move a little more freely on the board.
Yes AP4 is out there and is no rare thing, but many of the weapons that cut down guardsmen are AP5. This also gives you something against the ignores cover shenanigans, as again you will get a save against a lot of the weapons that will be firing at you. You can also force your opponent to waste heavier firepower than it is worth to remove that unit. For example a riptide may be used against that squad to try and remove it, using their markerlight counters to get rid of cover and plus up the BS. But now that Riptide is shooting at 10 guardsmen rather than something more valuable. It allows you to hang in that one more turn, which is often the deciding factor in victory or defeat.
As with much of the IG book, special characters have been lost. Here it is Sgt Bastonne, and I do miss him, he was fun if not amazing, but with orders being much better it would have been nice to still have them. The other, harker, is still in but he has been nerfed hard, losing all the buffs he gave his squad. He still has relentless and his rending heavy bolter, but he costs more than an infantry squad. Not having infiltrate is really what makes him worthless, he is way to expensive for a heavy bolter that you can move and shoot with. The problem is that you are paying 50+ points for a guy that does nothing ot make his squad better and is only slightly better than a standard guardsman. He just isn't worth it anymore.
Now you can go a couple of ways with veterans, either you can take one or two squads that have highly specialized roles or you can base your army around them and max out most of your troop choices on them. As a player that has based my army on veterans, I will say that it is more than doable to take 5 to 6 squads of them and have your army composed primarily of veterans. There are a couple of ways that the veteran heavy force plays well with. The first is mech heavy with chimera's and other armor to support them. This army works well in an in your face way, getting across the table quickly and getting close in and blasting them apart at mid and close range. As such you need to have units to support your advance, hellhound variants work well here to give you that close in punch, vendettas are good as well for their mobility and also giving some anti air and armor to the army. As for doctrines, grenadiers and demolitions are your best bet, giving your guys the needed armor boost or damage out put, and mixing this up is not a bad thing.
The other option is to save your points and not take any doctrines and rely on your chimeras to give you the extra durability. As you are already spending points on the chimeras this is not a bad option to go with and instead spend your points on other units to bring more to the table. Leman russ demolisher work very well as they other units that move forward initially will take the first fire to allow your russ to make if forward and into range and to support your assault. This is also the few armies that I would consider bringing the eradicator variant, as it synergizes well with it. The goal is to have units massing your fire power early and quickly since this army can't really play the attrition game very well, so you need to hit hard and get into position early in the game to stick it out to the end.
The light infantry version of the veteran army is a different beast all together, this one revolves around an aegis defense line or other large fortification. This is to make up for the lack of armor plating and give your guys cover to last much longer. This army is going to be sitting back and drawing the enemy at you early on and then moving out later in the game to grab objectives. Carapace armor is a something you should seriously consider. I use it on all my veterans and find it makes such a big difference, they have just that little bit higher durability that keeps my infantry in the game. This also give so you back up to ignores cover and barrage weapons. The name of the game here is long ranged fire power and with this list you really need one platoon, the reason being to give you some ablative wounds for your veterans in regular guardsmen, and the heavy weapon teams to give a much needed boost to your firepower. The platoon will also all you to bring a decent sized blob that can tarpit an enemy unit and save your vets from being massacred in CC. You also are going to need a CCS, if not two of them, the reason being is that you need the regimental standards for re rolling morale and pinning checks, the regimental advisers to bring needed boost (Master of Ordnance) and most importantly the orders that they bring. The CCS's also act as pseudo Platoon Command Squads for the veterans.
Creed makes this army that much better and I wouldn't leave home without him if you go this route. This is not an easy army to play as it has many vulnerabilities, but it as a very effective army once you get the hang of it and can really suffer brutal casualties and still carry the day. Opponents not used to carapace armored guardsmen will not devote enough firepower to remove them and will spread too much fire around. I have won games with 70% casualties but I still had almost every squad on the board, even if they only had two models left, they were still in the fight and taking objectives. This is why this army is very effective, it is more durable than regular guardsmen and has enough men in it to still play the attrition game. Added to the fact that most of the army is BS4 means you really can put a lot of shots into the enemy effectively. Vendettas and valkyries are great for this army as it brings much needed mobility to it. You don't need them but I like the play that it gives me.
The light infantry version also can work well with forward sentries, just in a different way. It is the cheapest doctrine and as such the easiest to do with a lot of guys. Here though you rely a lot more on cover and taking an aegis is even more crucial. Compared to carapace there are ups and downs to consider. The up is this army will take less damage overall from shooting as your going to generally have 3+ cover and sometimes better. The down side is that ignores cover hurts this army much more and if they can get past your cover save, they will die in droves. Key here is proper target priority and killing as much ignore cover as you can before it is brought to bear on you. They work best playing at range, using long range weapons to hit your opponents key units and stay in cover to survive the attrition game.
As single squads I would say that the sky is the limit when it comes to how you use them. I would pick a specialization and run with it, they work very well as close in tank hunters, and the glory days of melta vet drive bys may come back with damage to vehicles on passengers being much more forgivable. They also make great marine and MC hunters, kitted out with 3 plasma guns, up close you can deliver 6 plasma shots into a target, making them really mean. Yes you will lose some guys to gets hot, I am notorious for rolling ones with plasma, probably why I like meltas over them but that's me. The idea is that you are only taking one or two of these guys for their specialty, so go for it. Don't sink too many points but get them to their effective point. Something I would like to note, you don't have to give them 3 special weapons. Yeah if you have the points you should, but you don't have too, and sometimes the points can be better spent elsewhere, especially if you are putting them in chimeras as they can only shoot two out of the hatch now.
I really see chimera vets making a strong comeback for a couple of reasons. The first is that chimeras are harder to one shot, upping their survivability. The other big reason is that if the vehicle suffers shaken or other damage results, the passengers are only affected if they fail a leadership test. With Ld8 they will occasionally fail but for the most part will still be able to shoot effectively from inside chimeras. Chimera vets are much better now and it adds great mobility and survivability to them.
You can also go air assault with them, but with scions being better in that role, its only really a good choice if you are going for a large mass of drop infantry. Its a fun army, if not the most durable as you can lose a lot of guys when a valkyrie gets shot down, plus you'll lose some if you scatter dropping out of them. The other issue is that once on the ground they can be hard to support. They are great when they work, dropping out and massing on your opponent with a devastating strike, but when things don't go your way they go really bad.
Its really hard to go wrong with these guys, they start off decently cheap and can be as expensive as you want them to be. Remember you don't have to get doctrines if you don't want to but its something that I would encourage in general practice. What you get out of them is a squad that can shoot with some of the best units in the game and given the right gear can out last many of them. If you have a problem, there are very few that a veteran squad cannot answer.