Tuesday, 15 April 2014

431 - Codex: Astra Militarum - Drax's First Thoughts

Well now, an interesting and evidently fairly contentious read. Here are my thoughts on the new Codex: IG, but please bear in mind that although many online commentators have thought  already about how to get the most fighty lists out of certain combinations of units and characters etc., my reflections are purely from a Draxian perspective.

In no particular order then - feel free to respond by numbers if you've anything to add:
  1. Why is the Devil Dog so much more expensive? Everyone knows its the worst and most inconsistent anti-tank choice in the imperium - why punish those of us who still persist in fielding it?!
  2. Orders: these are pretty sweet, actually, although I still find the system something of a time-drain in a game. Still, it appears that there is no longer a requirement for the senior officers to issue their orders first, so that's something.The 12" range for all orders is also A Good Thing.
  3. I like Techpriests even more now, although it's weird that it's taken sooooo verrrrry loooong for the IG to finally be blessed with any sort of machine spirit!
  4. That said, the cost of the Company Command Squad has increased a little.
  5. Snipers are now only 2pts each! That's great news! In fact, I think I worked out that a nice little stationary BS4 anti-personnel squad with 3 snipers and a heavy bolter would cost only 76pts! Someone else has pointed out that you can now field a Special Weapon Squad with three snipers (BS3) for just 36pts - nice!
  6. I think that G/Sgt Harker is a bit better now, although maybe without infiltrate. Whyever wouldn't GW give veterans - VETERANS - the chance to infiltrate for a price?
  7. Why why why why why can't Heavy Weapon and Special Weapon Squads have access to transports? Surely they have a decent claim on a set of wheels - have you seen the size of an IG autocannon + tripod compared to its two-man crew?!
  8. It's good to see that every normal guardsman (incl. HWSs and SWSs) now have access to Frag and Krak grenades. [In case you're unaware, in the old IG codex special squads couldn't take them but heavy squads could! Bonkers!]
  9. Medipacks are now only 15pts - not before bloomin' time. I might start taking medics again!
  10. Advisors are cheaper now - and seemingly better, although I'm conscious that many pundits seem to be pinning competitive hopes on buffing squads - especially 'blob' squads - with characters and advisors, and for me that's not really how it ought to work.
  11. Similarly, Priests seem to be better now, although as pretty much all of my gameplay revolves around not letting my Guardsmen get into bayonet range, I don't know if Priests will make much of a difference to me. See also point 10, above.
  12. Why get rid of so much? I get the ridiculously cynical approach of making the Taurox cheaper than the Chimera, but seriously, who exactly is meant to benefit from getting rid of so many of the heavy support choices? The company and the game can only do better out of offering a wider variety of units. Bonkers. I may yet be using my lovely Griffon battery as 'Wyverns' (but see this [link])
  13. I don't own any flyers, but thank God that GW has finally remembered their old line that the power generation for multiple lascannon has a deleterious effect on transport capacity,but I'm interested: does it only apply to the Vendetta, or will the bloody Adeptus bloody Astartes also be sent the same memo? I'm fairly sure I've seen landraiders *spit!* THREE OR MORE LASCANNON ON EACH SIDE, and I'll wager they still have room for some power armoured goodnes inside! Harrumph. Good to see their points cost go up too. By the way, am I right in thinking that the only squads who can now actually ride in Vendettas at starting strength are the Glory Boy 'Scions', Command Squads, Weapons Squads...and Ratlings?! Odd.
  14. Special Weapons Squads can now take 3 demo charges (for 90pts all-in). Suicide Squads, anyone? Mind you, there still aren't normal Guard models for it...
  15. WHY DOES A LEMAN RUSS STILL HAVE ONLY THREE HULL POINTS? It's an absolute bloody travesty. Strewth - a bloomin' Sentinel has TWO. 
  16. On that note, why are some Hellhound variants more expensive than Leman Russes? - Bonkers.
  17. This doesn't affect me at all, and I'm not even sure  without looking that it's a change, but Conscripts can't have special weapons any more.
  18. I have to say, the Storm Troopers (Scions) really do seem to have improved. Reckon I might need to expand my painting of these chaps and their mates?
  19. The models pages seem a little uninspired. That sid, on p87 of the Codex, there is a standard bearer painted up with what appears to be a non-white flesh tone - go GW!
  20. No Marbo...but just have a look at what Menzies Tank over at 512th Cadian has had to say about this [here] - it's just bloody brilliant!
Thoughts, Ladies and Gents?

- Drax.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

430 - 'After the Storm' Batrep Part II - (Drax's Side, cont.)

Sitrep:
Forward elements have been engaged - enemy has also located targets. Am sending forward whole strength to counter; request urgent support from mobile elements. The Emperor Protects; we shall prevail. Out.

Hullo!

This post is monstrously picture-heavy, so to keep it manageable I'll restrain myelf to captions. Here's Col. Gravis's (far more concise) version of events: [link].
A shot from turn three to give you a sense of scale in this game!
TURN 1 - Gravis
The footsloggers' view of the encroaching thin red line. All that was left of 1Pl's 1Section at the end of some grenade and 'Front Rank Fire' lasgun shooting.
Gravis deploys his first random half
Note the mortars joining the heavy bolters in the ruin. They gave me a real headache throughout.
 TURN 1 - Drax
Cadian reinforcements! Thank the Emperor!
The other half of my infantry force would've been prefereable, but 'twas still a lot of Guardsmen.
Some made a dash for the right flank objective
The rather thicker green line (the first  half of it!)
Some gaps slowly start to appear in the Praetorian line
1Pl Command move up to the top floor of my central 'castle'. This was more useul than I thought as Gravis was dead keen to put the kybosh on those three grenade launchers.
The Good Colonel plans his next move as the poor bloody Cadians lug those huge autocannon into position.
 Ultimately, not too much slaughter in Turn 1. Turn 2, though, would see what must have been about 250 Guardsmen slogging itout on the table.

TURN 2 - Gravis

Here they come!
The Praetorians make a dash towards the small redoubt on [my] right flank.
My sorry-ass veterans were - by this point - effecting a withdrawal...but at least they drew some fire.

 TURN 2 - Drax
"We'll call this tactic 'The Surge'!"
A view (right-to-length) of my whole infantry force. Over 160 models.
What became my central (and potentially very vulnerable) 'castle'. Note the company commander calling in his sitrep.
At this point, Gravis started to worry about just how many boots were on the ground.
TURN 3 - Gravis
...and this is a brilliant combination of lucky reserve rolls and superbly canny positioning by Gravis, on my right flank. No gap was left for my reserves to exploit their weaknesses. Just sheer class.
Above/below: the Praetorian Marbo. Blond, mean, and very much in the most threatening position possible. *gulp!*

Rather inexcusably, this is as close as I got to a pic of the whole table! Let's wait for Gravis's posts, shall we?
On my far left flank; Gravis's side. At first it seemed an unlucky reserve roll for Gravis, but it was two anti-tank units that I just couldn't ignore, damnit! 
The last stand of the ill-fated Cadian vets; defiant until the end.
OC 2Pl and his battle-corgi 'After The War' looking with dismay at the Malcador and Eradicator bearing down on the right flank...
What was left of my right flank after Gravis blew some holes in it. He really didnt like my mortars for some reason!
Sadly (and typically) for Gravis, Marbo's demo charge backfired - literally. Evidently panicked, Marbo fumbled the throw and did FAR more damage to himself than to my closely packed 'castle'.
 TURN 3 - Drax

RESERVES! All but one of my reserves came on, and they almost all rolled really poorly for deployment. Due to Gravis's excellent planning, this hellhound on the left could only target one of the Praetorian reserves. Shortly before this pic was taken, therefore, there was still a squadron of rough riders. Toasty!
The Praetorians' central thrust starts to falter under combined lasgun/grenade launcher fire. That git with the beard, though, was almost bloody impossible to kill, and I only just about managed it in the endgame.
In an act of inglorious but desperately selfless service to the Emperor, the hellhound on the right bimbles onto the board and sits right in front of the 'Russ - toasting the lascannon squad and boxing the Praetorian tank into the corner. A sad role for a fast anti-personnel tank on a board full of slow-moving infantry, but I didn't have much of a choice. Damn your tactical acumen, Gravis! 


TURN 4 - Gravis
Last turn, my LR Annihilator had managed to rumble onto the board, but all it could do was halve the Malcador's movement. This turn, the Malcador exacted some revenge...
Followed by the Rough Riders who earned their money by charging in and wrecking it. I love it when great models shine through!
Another serendipidous reserves roll for Gravis: his anti-tank special weapon squad turned up just where it was needed! That gorgeous little tracked vehicle represented his demo charge...but the thrower of it obviously trained at the same place as Marbo: the charge did indeed destroy the hellhound, but its scatter also wiped out the other five members of his squad. Luckily his shame didn't last long: the vehicle explosion caught and killed him!
"Driver, report: what on Terra just happened to that Hellhound?! - Ach! Who cares? OPEN FIRE! ALL WEAPONS!" 
TURN 4 - Drax
CARNAGE! Drax's turn 4 movement
Two views of Gravis's lines

The remnants of 2Pl's HQ and 1 Section prepare to advance onto my right-hand objective 
TURN 5 (I think) - Gravis
On my right flank, the Malcador and Rough Riders have regrouped - luckily the tank's targeters are off.
At this point, I realise with a panic that Gravis - unlike me - has remembered to have a concerted thrust for the objectives. This, added to the newfound freedom of Gravis's tanks to fly around on my right flank makes me start to panic a little. Gravis, though, fluffs an important round of shooting and comes to the grim realisation that (at almost 2330hrs!) there would inevitably only be one more guaranteed movement turn: the Cadians.
TURN 5(?) - Drax
I finally start to push my beleaguered forces forward. To Gravis's dismay there are still a lot of green uniforms on the table....
My right flank remnants come within a 'run'move of the objctive.
At the start of my shooting phase: everything to play for, but a lot of lasguns and grenade barrels are still pointing downrange.
My lovely, lovely, utterly useless Devil Dog turns back to confront Gravis's equally unimpressive Demolisher. I'd love to say it was a clash of the titans, but it was like two exhasted pugilists floundring at each other with over-ripe bananas.
But on the right: success!
And in the centre: we pushed them back.
We even made it on the left flank - just to the right of thi pic. The Hellhound took the last shot of the game - against the Praetorians' wretched bloody psyker battle squad. It was underwhelming.
Gravis rolled for a next turn but - mirroring his fortunes in the endgame - luck was against him and the game ended with the flimsy green line holding one of the objectives fairly firmly (on my left) and two of them far less firmly.

I hope Gravis might offer a fuller respons to our swift post-match analysis, but essentially it seemed to boil down to the following three points:
  1. For the visual treat/fluffy fun that it was, my weird-ass scenario on so huge a table seemed to just about work;
  2. The points balance between infantry and reserve forces was wrong: they should've been equal - either fewer infantry or more cavalry, and
  3. The table dimensions and reserve randomisation didn't quite work. A little more chance to choose would've been beneficial.
I cannot really express my gratitude to Col. Gravis for driving all the way down to Plymouth to play this scenario and wave farewell to what we've come to know and love: Codex: Imperial Guard.

Until next time, then, thank you for reading this far!

- Drax.