Monday, February 20, 2017

Astra Militarum Tactics: Returning to the Cadian Battle Group


I have been re-looking at the Mont'ka book and the Cadian battle group and the formations.  It is definitely the case of the usual GW, so close to getting it right but so far away from getting it right.  It certainly has a few applications for working, but overall the detachment itself misses the mark.


For those not familiar, the Detachment is composed of a Command Group Choice, Core, and Auxiliary.  The command is technically the only compulsory choice, so you could just do that, but eh, not really great option.  For each command, you can take up to 3 core, and for each core 3 auxiliary.  For the Battle Group Command, you must take either a company command squad or tank commander, and can take 0-1 lord commissars with this, which is one of the few places to get them in this detachment.  You can upgrade to the Cadian special characters in the command group (Creed, kell, Pask)  and note you cannot do this in the other formations in this detachment. There are two Core choices, the Infantry Company and the Armored company.

Here is where this detachment breaks down.  You can certainly make the armored regiment work here though, but that is really the only good way to run this as the infantry company is just way too expensive pts wise and money to build and leaves you with very few options unless you are playing Apoc games or really large pts values.  Lets face it, most of us play in the 1600-2000 pt range, simply for the sake of time, and as its the common pt values for competition.  I don't know about you, but I don't have 12 hrs to play a game, and a 1850 can easily run 3+hrs so going big to make this detachment work with the infantry company is not going to be an easy option.

So lets break this down why this is so.  The company is composed of Three Emp Shield Infantry platoons.  These must have 5 infantry squads (thats 55 guardsmen with the Platoon command squad) and either a scout or armored sentinel squadron.  There are some special rules which I can go into later.  But lets break this down.  So minimum 150 standard guardsmen, 15 in the PL squads, and 5 in the CCS, plus another CCS in the Battle Group Command.  With nothing added, thats 1,065pts.  a 1000 pts of lasguns.  This when kitted out to actually be useful, will easily go to 1850pts.  And as interesting this army might sound, it just is so inflexible and really is not going to be able to really do a lot.  And it really takes out of the picture some of the really good auxiliary choices, like the artillery company, to support it.  You certainly can take it in its cheapest incarnation, but then you are losing a lot of potential that the artillery company has.  Also if you go the armored route, you are losing a lot of the command benefits of this detachment.  You are damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

All the command benefits for the detachment benefit infantry.  The Company commander from the Battle group command(but only him) can issue 3 orders instead of 2, and up 24" rather than 12".  Again this is only the CCS taken as your command choice, so all your other CCS will not benefit from this specifically.  The next benefit is that whenever any officer in this detachment issues an order, roll an additional dice for the leadership check (3 total) and discard the highest.  The last benefit lets you reroll all to hits of 1 for lasguns and hot-shot lasguns.  As you can see, no real direct benefits for going full tank mode, though the formation itself has quite good benefits.

I have thought and thought about this, looked at list building, but I just cannot come up with a really good army using the infantry company.  And lets be clear, you can make an army out of the infantry company and not be terrible, but not being terrible and being good are two different things.  It will certainly work well against a few armies, but bear in mind you are leaving behind priests, primaris psykers and tech priests, besides a few formations but the crux of this is that you'll have to be able to have enough pts to take these formations.  Commissars, per the codex and detachment rules and FAQ, are still able to be taken.  But again you are limited in your options for moral control and support.

Also, no fortifications.  You'd have to take a CAD as well in order to get a fortification, which is a big deal for infantry armies.  What really could have made this detachment be a real option, outside tanks, is if one of the auxiliary choices was moved to core, that being the Emp Blade assault company.  Which is a CCS, 3 Vet squads, and a Hellhound squadron.  All the infantry have to take dedicated transports and the formation has preferred enemy when attacking units within 6" of objectives and the infantry units have Obsec.  This is a solid formation.  And if it was a core choice, you could absolutely use this detachment and actually be able to take many of the other formations and unit choices in the auxiliary section and build a really good army out of it.  Suddenly you have enough pts for the artillery company, a recon company, the psyker division, not to mention a normal infantry platoon and tempestus platoon which are also auxiliary choices.

You are probably wondering why I keep mentioning the artillery company, well thats because it is quite good.  It is a CCS in a transport (chimera really so you can issue orders inside)  2 units of either Basilisk batteries, Wyvern batteries, Hydra batteries, 1 of either a manticore or deathstrike, and 1-3 enginseers.  The benefits though are what make up for it.  The CCS can issue orders to all vehicles in this formation, but it only can issue three of the available orders.  Those are smite at will (split fire), suppressive fire (pinning), and fire on my target (ignores cover).  All vehicles count as Ld 8 for passing orders.  Also note he can still issue all his available orders to infantry units as well, but yeah this is all about amping up the artillery.  The last benefit is that once a turn any friendly model in your army (not just detachment) that has a vox caster and is within 18" of an enemy unit can call in its coordinates giving every unit in this formation twin-linked against it.

While this doesn't do much for Wyverns, as they already have twin-linked and ignores cover, it really helps out Hydras, Basilisks and Manticores.  Like not just a little, but a lot.  Basilisks have taken a back seat for the most part, but S9 AP3 large blast that can now ignore cover, is damned good.  Plus the same for hydras, shooting down wave serpents and flying deamons, no more jink for you asshole.  I really like the synergy of this formation.  Best loadout for me is 2 Basilisks, 2 Hydras, Manticore, and enginseer with 2 servitors for repairs.  Now here is the problem with this fitting in to this detachment.  If you take the infantry company and even upgrade it a little, the best you can do is 1 hydra, 1 wyvern, 1 manticore, the CCS and enginseer.  Its not terrible, but your not maximizing its uses.  And I would rather take a CAD for the rest of my army and then take this formation, you can do a lot more with your army that way.

The infantry platoon, and company, is not terrible in a vacuum.  As stated its 5 infantry squad, 1 PCS, 1-3 sentinel squadrons(either type).  All infantry units get move through cover if within 9" of a sentinel from the formation.  eh.  The platoon commander can issue a special order, fire and advance, which allows a unit that moved to fire as if it was stationary.  Thats not bad for a blob squad with a lot of heavy weapons.  Note this is not relentless so no assaulting unless you only fire assault weapons.  Restrictions, you can't take dedicated transports, and as stated must have 5 infantry squads.  The ability to move and shoot heavy weapons is not bad at all, but not really game changing.  The full company is three of these platoons and additionally the company commander can issue first rank fire to any number of units in this formation at the same time, but it counts as one order and all those ordered units must shoot at the same target.  I mean its not bad, but if you are blobbing up, not much of an issue really.

I'm going to continue going over this detachment and the formations throughout this week.  And you know what, I'll take another crack at the detachment with the infantry company and see what I can come up with.

Tanks will get their own post so have no worries, they will get their time.

Cadia Stands!
GG

16 comments:

  1. As you observed the detachment is *this* close to being good but it just misses the mark. The Emperor's Shield Company is absolutely unplayable. It's just too many points, unwieldy, and not offensively cost effective (equal points of Knights, Riptides, Battle Co., etc. will totally butcher/outmaneuver and objective grab it).

    If only they'd made the Emperor's Blade a core choice!

    The Emperor's Fist armoured company is pretty good, but if that's your core the command abilities of your HQ aren't put to good use.

    And as good as the Emperor's Blade veteran platoon might be, it's really no better than a CAD with Veteran squads taken as your compulsory Troops. In fact a CAD is *better* since their Dedicated Transport Rhinox/Chimera will get ObSec too, which they don't in the formation. Also, you aren't obligated to take Hellhounds if you don't want to.

    I really think the answer is just take a regular Cadian CAD and the Emperor's Wrath artillery formation as an additional source. That is if you're following the 3 source ITC guideline many clubs adopt.

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    1. Definitely agree, was going to touch on this in a day or two. The transports is not a huge deal, and I like the hellhounds and variants. Preferred enemy is a nice little bonus especially if you kit for plasma. Its by no means auto take, but if it was a core choice in the detachment, this is suddenly useable and you get to really make use of the detachment bonuses.

      As it is, just take a CAD and the formation or two you want.

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  2. Glad to see you back posting.
    This issue I see with the artillery company is the ld8. That's pretty unreliable w/o a voxcaster reroll. If you fail the order on turn 1 or 2 (or both), you've lost your window to do overwhelming damage. The decurion is trash. Artillery company with a CAD containing an infantry platoons to bubble wrap the big guns and voxcasters to get twin linked is a workable strategy. Not tournament winning, but decent.

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    1. The Ld issue isn't as bad as it seems. The Commander can take volkovs cane (cadia heirlooms) which causes all his orders issued within 6" to only fail on a double six. He'll be in a chimera which means you measure from the hull, so thats not as small of a bubble as it seems. Its only 10pts.

      The company is quite good, but at this point the only thing in 40k that is tournament winning is summoning.

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    2. Ah the cane. I'd forgotten about that relic. That makes it viable. Throw in 2 wyeverns in the CAD for a hell of a themed army!

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  3. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the platoon replace the company or the troop requirements dropped from 5 to 2. Having the vets as a core choice would have been good as well.

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    1. agreed, if the platoon on its own was a core choice, this would be a fine detachment.

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  4. I have some success with using the Emperor's Fist Armored Company as my Core. I doubt you'll read my battle reports in my blog, but long story short, I usually field a Company Command Squad equipped with heavy flamer and 3 flamers, an Emperor's Fist Armored Company consisting of a Leman Russ Vanquisher (lascannon) as Tank Commander with a Leman Russ Main Battle Tank squadron buddy, 2 Leman Russ Punishers with heavy bolters and 1 Leman Russ Executioner with plasma cannons, and then take a Militarum Tempestus platoon and an Emperor's Spear Aerial Company as my Auxiliaries. That way I get the strength of the armored company and still get to benefit from the orders, thanks to the Stormtroopers re-rolling ones for their hot-shot lasguns and ignoring cover/move, run, shoot/first rank fire, second rank fire/monster and tank hunter orders.

    I load the Company Command Squad and two of the Stormtrooper squads into the 3 Vendettas from the Emperor's Spear Aerial Company, and make use of grav chute and Move Through Cover (and orders) to capture objectives. The remaining 2 Stormtrooper squads (one of them being the command squad) I load up into Taurox Primes. I have a lot more success wiith this than if I were to take a super-heavy element (Stormsword) instead of the Emperor's Spear Aerial Conpany. My battle report involving this had me win a game against Space Marines.

    Maybe you can try it out.

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    1. Yeah, I'm going to talk about the tank company shortly, as its really the only way this detachment is playable. As fun as a superheavy is, the Scions and other options are far more practical. I'll be trying it out soon, just have to finish a few more tanks.

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    2. Yes, indeed. The games where I took a Stormsword instead of Vendetta gunships had me losing quite a bit, particularly because I was less able to capture objectives and the Stormsword turned out to be a gigantic firemagnet (and get assaulted).

      The Vendetta gunships turned out to be more practical, and Stormtroopers are really, REALLY good at capturing objectives. I remember flushing out a tactical squad of Space Marines with their hot-shot lasguns, and then snatching the objective from under my opponent's noses. They really can't be underestimated even if they aren't wearing power armor or are genengineered superhumans.

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  5. I've used the Emperors shield company. Here is the list I used. https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-MKwsbLbDDRT0lUWnk4Y0FvNUk

    I was an interesting game. My opponent was space wolves, and he had a very anti-tank army, and despite killing many infantry, he did not kill nearly enough to make a difference. Because of the scenario we were playing I needed to keep advancing up the table so the game did take a bit longer than planned, but I got my opponent to help me move the squads and it did not take as long as I feared. As soon as his troops disembarked they were shot off the board, and the vehicles were destroyed one by one.

    Here are some pictures I took of the game. https://goo.gl/photos/oJUjMSPkmjTaxAcY7

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    1. Yeah, this is not far off of the list I just created yesterday. Slight differences. Its not terrible, but it can't do anything against flyers and CC heavy armies can rip through it. It can certainly work though, just not ideal

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    2. Yes, I agree. I am just working through all the formations in that book, so wanted to see how this one went. At the club I play at there are not many flyers used, but I did get lucky with my match-up.

      The next game I played I used the Emperors blade formation and things did not go as well. Tanks are well and good, but I didn't have enough infantry to stop my opponent getting into CC and they got destroyed.

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    3. Yeah, that is really the problem with the detachment. You really are better off taking a CAD and then one of the formations from the book that best suites you.

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  6. A little tidbit of Suck: The move and shoot order has timing issues.
    You have to move your heavy weapon in the movement phase and then roll a check in the shooting phase to see whether it has to take snap shots or not. Other failed orders give you no benefits, this one penalizes you. If it were relentless at least... it would benefit lasguns... no such luck though.

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    1. Yeah, but chances are good you pass that check. In the detachment you roll 3D6 instead of 2 and discard the highest, gives a solid chance of passing. Its by no means an amazing order, but its not bad either.

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