Saturday, July 12, 2014
Astra Militarum Tactics: Human Wave
For today I want to talk about an army and tactic that is very effective and even more so with the new codex, the human wave. The hard part about this army is really in buying the number of infantry models. Cause you need a lot. This army is entirely infantry and can be one of the hardest to beat if you build it right, with so many guardsmen and with the board control it provides, there are very few armies that can bring the firepower early enough to deal with it.
The key to this army is to build it literally as a wave attack, meaning you have multiple successive waves hitting your enemy. This provides threat overload and gives you depth to respond to threats on the battle field. This also is extremely effective against fast eldar armies as you cover so much of the board that there are few spaces for them to actually move to with jetbikes and skimmers.
So where do you start? This ties into the building your core article I did earlier, but tangents off from it. You want platoons first and foremost. For me I would start with three of them of 30 man combined squads (3 infantry squads) and give each krak grenades and a melta gun. The PCS takes Gls to start off with, though flamers are also good as well as melta guns if the points allow. Don't get too spendy though, your going for bodies, not quality. The reason for krak and melta is that it lets each squad be able to attack any threat and this is a forward moving force, not a gunline. Then you are taking two conscript squads of about 40. This all totals to just over 1000pts with 185 bodies in it.
Next you are looking at leadership buffers, here you want two commissars for the conscripts, their job is to advance at the front and absorb the initial fire and keep going, which is what a commissar will do. Priest are best for the blobs. Your warlord is up to you, but yarrick is amazing for this army. With two commissars and yarrick you have just shy of 200 giving an army of 1200pts with 650 left for an 1850 army.
Next you want a good tough unit and one that will help your advancing infantry out, and here the bullgryns work very well. A 6 man squad will help out, though you can go up to 8, though it starts to get expensive. The rest is really up to you and you can do a second bullgryn squad but that will only leave you 90 pts for heavy weapons, which you want, and if you really want two, go with two 4 man squads to save pts and leave you with about 270 for weapons. Your primary want is going to be missile launcher teams with flakk to deal with air targets, and still deal with other threats on the ground. You can fit 2-3 in.
How you play this army is very crucial. It is a lot of bodies, but it has to close with the enemy fast in order to get inside the enemies threat range before they can whittle it down. Yarrick is key with his warlord trait, giving units a pass on morale checks and his leadership to nearby units for other non order leadership checks. The conscripts go up front and they need to be running right out of the gate, either use move move move or forwards for the emperor if the enemy has targets in range. The bullgryns go behind them, with the infantry squads behind that and the missile launchers in good positions but not too far back.
The reason this works so well is that you force the conscripts to be dealt with first, and they are 60-80 bodies that cannot be ignored. The bullgryns follow behind to punch anything that gets through and to provide cover to the infantry behind. The missile all the while are targeting vehicles and MCs or other critical threats. Don't worry too much about losing them, you want them to draw fire so your central units will reach yor opponents line. Ideally you want the conscripts to be hit first and the missile launchers next. Then the bullgryns as they can soak up a huge amount of fire in shield wall mode. The infantry platoons lasgun to death infantry and melta and krak tough targets along the way.
It may seem like you have a lot of ground to cover, but a lot of armies you will face will be moving at you as well, cutting the distance you need to cross down. The focus is pressure, apply it early and never let up. You hit and hit and hit till they are broken and isolated and then mass on those targets. Hold objectives that are key and keep the initiative in your court. You have to fore your opponent to react to you with this army, as if you start to lose the initiative you will have a tougher time to regain ground.
This army does have weaknesses to it and is not unbeatable. Artillery and large blasts can hurt it significantly as well as template weapons. These are priority targets. Deathstar units and big hard to kill mcs are not a huge threat as long as you can contain them, these are what the conscripts are for, they hold them down for the turns you need for the rest of your army to do work, if you let them remain free, you will face a tough battle. Other horde armies have to be watched out for, don't get too close and use the close range shooting of lasguns to whittle them down before they can charge with numbers. You can win if they are brought down to a manageable size, but will struggle if you let them charge at full strength.
Tau missileside armies will be one of the toughest this arm can face as the amount of shooting it has can wear you down quickly. Ignore the broadsides at first and target all of their support units and riptides early, use weight of fire to bring them down. If you can isolate the broadsides early enough, you can then get enough troops close enough to eliminate them. Make the bullgryns a threat and force them to be shot at by the missile sides, as they can weather a ton of fire as long as their is no ap3, with T5 they will take a bunch of wounds and keep on move, soaking up a large portion of fire from the broadsides that is aimed at them and saving your infantry.
Depending on deployment type, it can be an issue to fit the models on the board, this is ok as you can use reserves to both make room and save units to feed into the fight. In most cases you will only need to put one combined squad in reserve.
You also do not have to use the exact same units I do, as though they work well, there are others that you can use. Ogryns can save you a few points if the shield wall is not as important to you, though I would still recommend one or the other as they hit hard and can take a lot of hits. A company command squad or straken works well, though yarrick generally does the best at keeping the squad in line. Autocannon squads work well too, you lose AA but are better all rounders. You can also throw heavy weapons into some of the combined squads as well, though it is not as needed, generally one will suffice. You can use deep striking scions with small squads to deal with certain threats. Special weapon squads with demo charges are another great option
And if you are not feeling too fluffy, you can stop with the infantry right at the beginning and have 650-850 to spend on vehicles and other units and still have a lot of bodies and tanks or artillery to throw at your enemy. Valkyries and vendettas can be a good addition to use mobility on some of your squads if you don't combine them. There are a lot of ways to go with this, but threat overload is the main goal with it, providing too many targets and bodies early to bring down. It will struggle against certain armies, but most will find it hard deal with the number of infantry quick enough.
The real down side to this army is the number of infantry models you'll need