Reecius here to give first impressions on the new IG codex, now called Astra Miltarum. Check the Tactics Corner for more reviews!
OK, so standard caveats apply: This is not a comprehensive review. This is after my first reading of the book. My opinions can and probably will change. I also probably get a few details wrong. Enjoy!
I like this book a lot! Some of the changes are bad, some are benign, a lot good, but in general this is a book that is going to hit the scene with a big impact. I give it two thumbs up.
A lot of the units that were out of whack on points have been corrected. For example, the Vendetta was WAY under priced. It has been adjusted up to a fair price point. Leman Russes were WAY overpriced for many variants, and they have been adjusted down to much more fair cost…perhaps in some cases even a bit too low.
Orders are absolutely brutal. The IG version of psychic powers and wow, they are damn good. You always know which ones your’re getting, there is little downside to them and the enemy has few if any options for shutting them down. You can ignore cover, grant Split Fire to a unit, grant Precision Strike (holy crap!!) to a unit, First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire, Shoot and then Run, get Pinning! shots, run with 3d6″, gain Tank Hunter and Monster Hunter, and auto-recover from being pinned or falling back. Not bad at all.
These orders are pretty savage. Giving a blob squad Precision Strike or Ignores Cover can be devastating. You can snipe ALL of the good models out of a unit. That’s crazy. You can do the old “hide behind the aegis for a 2+ and then get back up” trick, etc. The utility in these is pretty incredible. I see a lot of IG lists with 2 Command Squads, particularly considering some of the wargear you can take.
The Regimental Advisers and out of FoC HQ choices are really solid, too. Priests are fantastic. For a measly 25pts, you get an IC that grants Zealot to its unit as well as War Hymns which can let you reroll failed saves in combat or to wound rolls in combat. As it appears you can do this to ANY unit the priest joins, this gets bananas, fast. Hammernators with rerolls on armor and invul saves? Or a Blob Squad with Azrael or Forewarning on it with rerolls? Holy crap. But, considering he is only Ld7, he will only get this ability off roughly half the time. Still, Zealot and a 4++ on an IC for 25pts is worth it alone. I see many a priest spreading the good word of the Emperor in the near future!
There are a lot more of these little goodies in there, too. Primaris Psykers are a 0-3 choice, all ICs that can join a unit and have access to Divination for only double the priest. That is nuts. For half again that cost, you can bump up to a level 2 psyker. Enginseers are better than they were still not great, though. You can grant Power of the Machine Spirit to a vehicle which immediately made me think of the Manticore, but unfortunately you can’t fire more than one of its missiles a turn.
The Master of the Ordnance is pretty hot now at a low point cost, and can now subtract his BS from his shot. For that points cost vs. potential damage output, I see him in many, many lists. The Astropath and Officer of the Fleet are good and cheap, but at Ld7 with a leadership check to activate their abilities both of them are less likely to get their powers off (+1/-1 to reserves or Telepathy powers).
Yarrick is improved. With a points reduction and a 4++, still with EW and getting up on a 3+ if killed, he is a solid choice for a Warlord that can deny points to the enemy by getting back up and he packs a wallop in a fight for a reasonable price. Lord Commissars are still solid, too at a low price point and granting a leadership bubble. He can also give orders!
The troops are all rock solid, too. You still have platoon squads as they were with minor changes. You can blob up, access lots of units, and you can get really, really cheap conscripts. At 3pts a pop, will make fantastic meat shields for beat-sick characters. Everything you remember about these guys kicking ass, still holds true in this edition.
Veterans got a boost. Veterans have always been the hawtness, but with a 10pt reduction in cost (at the cost of Krak Grenades which you can get back at the cost of 10pts) they get all the same options, but at a lower price point in general. Heavy Flamers are only half the cost they were, which rocks, and the upgrades for doctrines are generally much cheaper in cost. You can get essentially defensive grenades and Stealth for a measly 10pts, Carapace Armor for not much more, and Melta Bombs and a Demo Charge for three times the first. Not bad at all. I think a lot of folks are going to be using Vets and they are a really solid alternate to the beefy Platoon Squads.
Wyrdvane Psykers, aka, Psyker Battle Squads are pretty solid, At a reasonable price point 10pts over a Platoon Squad, you get a Brotherhood of Psykers unit with access to Divination. Not bad at all. They are only Ld8, but, between they and the Primaris Psykers you can get a whopping 6 Divination psykers on the board! WOW. Between that and the IG wargear and orders, you can reroll damn near everything. And, that many chances at Misfortune is a great answer to many deathstar units.
Armored Sentinels got better. Still not a competitive choice, but hey, at least now they are something to consider. The models are cool.
Leman Russ tanks went BEEFCAKE! Holy crap. They dropped in points in a huge way. You can get these beastly tanks at a bargain price. Some as low as 120pts! For an AV14 vehicle, that is really fantastic. You still have the issue of Ordnance forcing snap fire which precludes firing template or blast weapons. But, for the points reduction, that is something I can live with. Yes, Plasmacutioners now Gets Hot! but with access to so much Divination, it shouldn’t be an issue. Punishers and Eradicators I see being very popular. As a tank lover with 8 Leman Russes, I can’t wait to get them on the table!
The artillery choices are still solid. The Bassie and Manticore are still awesome. The Deathstrike has stayed roughly the same as before, aka, not competitive, but oh well. They’re fun! The Wyern though, is solid. Basically rerolling everything, ignoring cover, Barrage, and good range, this things will smoke infantry. Xenos particularly, will fear this unit. And at a crazy low price point, these guys will be very popular. The only issue will be competing with Leman Russes.
The transport vehicles are still very good. The Chimera went up 10pts, but hey, who didn’t see that coming? It is still a great value, and still a great offensive transport. The Taurox and Taurox prime are also both solid transport vehicles with good offensive capability. All the transports provide solid, fairly costed options.
Hellhounds and variants are still great tanks. Fast, flexible, and filling a ton of gaps in a list. The Hellhound is still the best option, IMO, and got a points drop, nice! The others remained largely the same, but are still good situationally.
Vendettas and Valks are still good, even with the points increase. They were way under-priced before, but you will still seem them now at these points levels. The vendetta got a transport reduction, but personally the only units I ever saw in them to begin with were PCSs and SWSs. They still fit.
The Relics range from meh, to amazing. The standouts grant the ability to use more orders, choose to pass of fail morale checks in a 6″ radius, and, the AMAZING one, Preferred Enemy to all units in 6″. Holy. Crap. Even at 10pts over the cost of a platoon squad, that is incredible. Just imagine a few blob squads with preferred enemy…Punisher tanks…Ogryns, etc. Anything with lots of attacks will gain exponentially more benefit from this ability. Especially things like Plasma weapons, for example. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Some units kind of hit a dry note with me. Not bad, not great, but kind of in the middle.
Tank Commanders were really exciting at first, but, you have to take 2 tanks to fulfill this HQ choice. Weak. As one of them will be BS4, often with the temptation to take Pask (who is CRAZY good) the others are normal. That means you end up with situations where you don’t want to shoot two tanks at the same target, often because the BS4 tank will be tempted to use high rate of fire weapons. You often don’t need to double down with these types of units, especially not at so many points extra. Pask especially exacerbates this issue as while he grants Rending to a Punisher or Exterminator (which is beastly) but the extra tank kind of gets in the way. Yes, you can split fire with the Tank orders, but at Ld9, it will fail you on occasion. For the huge points investment it takes to field this unit, it is too unreliable for a competitive list, IMO. It’s not bad, but not efficient enough to rate as a top pick for me.
Heavy Weapons Squads are still garbage. There are way, way, way too many things that are strength 6+, Ignores Cover weapons for these units to be taken in a competitive meta.
Ogryns and Bullgryns. I want to badly to like them. They can be good, with support they can do some work, but on their own, they are pretty middling. Ogryns actually got nerfed a bit, losing Furious Charge but gaining Hammer of Wrath. Bullgryns are pricey but with some good abilities such as adding cover saves to units behind them, or being able to get a 5++ and Power maul, for example. With support, these units will be able to make some beastly units, even some cool and reasonable Deathstars (reasonable in that they aren’t invincible).
Ratlings are cool, still provide fun sniper fire and now can shoot, then move, but are still not ultra competitive. Shooting and then moving sounds cool but think about how you actually apply this? If they shoot, then hide, the next turn they have to move out of hiding and then snap fire. Perhaps I don’t see it yet, but a unit with heavy weapons usually finds a solid fire position and then stays there. The shoot and then move will be situationally good, but nothing to plan on. Ratlings are just pricey, honestly, for a T2, Ld6 unit. Space Marine Scout snipers are only a point more and infinitely better, even with lower BS.
Scions look promising, but I have not tried them yet. So, I put them here for now. They have a lot of utility abilities like Deep Strike, and AP3 shooting, but they are expensive in points for a T3 model. We’ll see how they pan out.
Well, obviously, the units that are missing suck. Penal Legionnaires, Marbo, Griffons, etc. Bummer. But, GW probably doesn’t want to have another company come and make the models. Le sigh.
Basic Commissars are crummy, too. Expensive, easily sniped out of a unit, might kill a valuable squad mate if you fail a morale check (really, your opponent can choose who gets executed 1/3 of the time?). I don’t see them getting much use.
Scout Sentinels are still garbage. Damn.
Roughriders didn’t get much of anything but a slight points bump. Lame. Another unit I would love to love, but they still don’t have much to offer, unfortunately.
The Hydra got nerfed, which is a bummer. They went down 5pts, but, are now open topped and don’t ignore jink saves. Lame. Take one look at the Stalker and weep bitter tears. Now, I am being a bit melodramatic, but, it does stink. They were fine before. I think most IG players will simply count on massed twin linked firepower to deal with flyers. Or allies.
We have a lot of play-testing to do, but, this book makes me happy to read. Unlike the Tyranid book which made me so sad, lol! There are a few stinkers in here but in general terms, this is a heavy hitting book that will be top tier. This book has all the tools it needs to win in it’s own codex, but with allies will be a new top contender.
What do you all think?