First of all, despite the fact that we’ve now been posting again for two weeks, I want to say welcome back!
It’s been at least a year or two since we slowed our interaction with the Warhammer community, but with the recent release of 8th edition of Warhammer 40k we’ve found ourselves drawn back in to a system that seems to lack the overcomplicated rules-lawyer mindset that pervaded so much of the 7th Ed scene.
Instead it looks like we’ve ended up with a relatively simple set of rules that are difficult to misinterpret or exploit, and the layering of complexity as new codexes are released seems to be keeping the community engaged. The new additions of stratagems and command points have lent a bit of fresh air to the game, and you can now expect even the most vanilla list to have elements of unpredictability.
But enough about all that, if you’re reading this you’re probably already playing the game, and you know what you like and what you don’t about this brave new world of Warhammer 40k.
As you may remember I’m the resident Imperial Guardsman in the team, and over the next couple of weeks I’ll be taking some time to share my experiences with the new Astra Militarum codex, as well as highlight a few things any Guard player should know to get the most from their units.
Please note that all of these opinions are my own, and all refer to the state of the Astra Militarum codex following the release of the first Chapter Approved from 2017.
Today’s lecture will be on the new Regiment Focus.
I’ve always played Catachans – I first fell in love with the fluff and the models when I first started collecting more than 10 years ago and they actually had a codex to themselves. While I’ve supplemented my army every now and then with anything from Chaos Space Marines, White Scars bikers, Inquisitors, or most recently Mechanicus, I’ve continued to hold Catachan Jungle Fighters as the core of my collection.
So imagine my glee when regimental doctrines were announced for the new codex, and the Catachan doctrine happened to arguably one of the most powerful augments to both infantry and mechanised units. An additional strength point would have been enough to satisfy me (it turns a Company or Platoon Commander with a power sword into a lightly armoured Space Marine Captain for a fraction of the cost), but additional leadership within 6” of any Catachan officer was a nice fluffy touch.
The big bonus however was the vehicle boost, allowing any vehicle to reroll the dice made when determining the number of attacks for a random attack weapon (e.g. a heavy flamer). This is an enormous boost for any vehicle armed with such a weapon, but seems to be most effective when utilised with flamers – particularly since this ability can be used for one dice on EACH WEAPON that determines its attacks this way. I’ve found Catachan Chimeras armed with double heavy flamers to be an intimidating unit in most games, not to mention dedicated clearance units like Hellhounds or Scout Sentinels. For a little over one hundred points you can roll around with your 12” move on a T7 chassis and dump your objective secured infantry wherever they’re needed, providing formidable close firepower while you’re at it to clean up enemy light infantry or light vehicles.
However, my inner Catachan fanboy aside, I’ve slowly come to understand that this new edition and the new codexes are giving players the chance to diversify within their own faction without having to dip into other races for a range of strategy. In fact most lists are able to achieve a level of efficiency using these new doctrines that would have been unthinkable last edition. That thought brings me to the second faction I’ve been using, whose doctrine is also among the arguably most powerful augments to Astra Militarum units – Cadians.
The Cadian regimental doctrine is flat out amazing, allowing units that haven’t moved to reroll 1s to hit in the shooting phase, and allowing infantry who haven’t moved to be able to reroll all hits if combined with the ‘Take Aim’ order. Guard has always done the stationary gunline well, and has been able to throw silly amounts of dice at an enemy to make sure something sticks. The Cadians can take all those dice and use their rerolls to terrifying effect. Large numbers of multi-shot guns become less affected by their mid-range ballistics skill, leading to a much greater number of hits.
Couple this ability with the unique Cadian tank order ‘Pound Them to Dust’ and the ‘Overlapping Fields of Fire’ Cadian stratagem and your armour and artillery transform from daunting to terrifying. The Cadian relic is another reason to field at least a detachment from this army, but we’ll get to that in a future post.
All of the other regimental doctrines serve to shape the units you would apply them to, with each lending a very unique flavour to how Guard can now be played. From a sheer narrative perspective I love the idea of a Mordian gunline stacked up base-to-base, and having mechanics like the Valhallan vehicle durability trait means that you truly can squeeze every last point of efficiency out of your firing platforms. Since the release of the codex I’ve seen Tallarn tank squadrons and Armageddon Iron Fist platoons back in action after years in dusty cupboards, and it’s wonderful to see these different factions being awarded their own flavour of playstyle.
It’s incredibly exciting to see how GW is treating not just the diversity within IG, but also across all the different races and factions of 40K. Personally, it’s made the game much more enjoyable to now see a motley of factions from within the one codex, purely to see how they’re being used to fulfil the roles that their narrative background says they should.
But what I’ve said of course doesn’t cover everything, and there seems to be one regiment that’s been folded into the codex that should make an appearance in every prepared infantry commander’s army… and I’ll cover that next time!
As always, make good choices.