Cadian Battle Group Tactics Part 1: Detachment Overview


Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to talk tactics with the new Astra Militarum detachment: the Cadian Battle Group from the Mont’Ka campaign book!

Cadia is a martial planet. Positioned by chance near the Eye of Terror, Cadians were destined (or doomed, depending on your perspective) to either stand up and fight or be crushed. They chose to fight. With a record of accolades dating back millennia, the regiments of Cadia are regarded as some of the greatest warriors the Imperium has to call upon.

As a looong time Imperial Guard er, Astra Militarum player, I was so excited to see them get new material! The Cadian Battle Group gives you tools to represent these bold warriors in your games of Warhammer 40k!



The Cadian Battle Group is a “Decurion Detachment” in that it is a detachment comprised of component formations and auxiliary units, all of which benefit from an overall set of Command Benefits. We’ve been seeing these popping up everywhere and in general terms, I am a huge fan of them! They bring a unique play-style that is often quite good and true to the fluff, which is awesome. The Cadian Battle Group is no exception to this although it does have one, glaring issue: the Core Formations are really expensive and in the case of the Emperor’s Shield Infantry Company, require a TON of models to field.


This detachment is comprised of the following:

Command: 1+

  • Battle Group Command
    • 1 Company Command Squad: May include Creed and Kell
    • or, 1 Tank Commander: May include Knight Commander Pask
    • 0-1 Lord Commissar

Core: 0-3 per Command

  • Emperor’s Shield Infantry Company
  • Emperor’s Fist Armoured Company

Auxiliary: 0-3 per Core

  • Emperor’s Shield Infantry Platoon
  • Infantry Platoon
  • Super-Heavy Support Element
  • Emperor’s Blade Assault Company
  • Emperor’s Spear Aerial Company
  • Ogryn Auxilia
  • Emperor’s Wrath Artillery Company
  • Emperor’s Talon Recon Company
  • Psykana Division
  • Militarum Tempestus Platoon


So for starters, a lot of people mistakenly thought you did not have to take any Core formations to take this Detachment, which is true, but you do have to take 1 to take any Auxiliary choices. Normally this wouldn’t be so bad apart from the fact that the Cadian Battle Group core choices are VERY expensive. They don’t leave much room for anything of the very appealing Auxiliary choices.

Interestingly, there appears to be no limit on the number of Command choices you can take though, which means a humorous (and potentially very powerful) army you could play would be made of nothing but Company Command Squads (CCS). That would be a min/maxers dream come true! Almost every model in your army would be packing a special weapon, lol. As funny as it sounds, a mechanized army of CCSs would be quite powerful as each squad comes with the ability to grant itself and another nearby unit (in case a unit fails it’s Order check) any number of useful abilities such as Ignores Cover, Split Fire, shoot and then run, recovering from morale issues, etc. Alternatively, you could take these with the Flesh Tearers Strike Force (aka, the Motor Pool) to grab each CCS their very own Drop Pod and have quite a devastating force.

This also means you could take a detachment consisting of nothing but Tank Commander units, which would give you the ability to plop a few Russes (possibly with Pask) into your army, easy peasy.

You could take a lord Commissar per above choice to increase morale or provide a light melee buff.

Joking aside, this does present some really interesting choices for both army composition and ally options.

The Problem:


The real issue with this Detachment is that the Core choices are mega expensive. The cheaper option is the Emperor’s Fist Armoured Company, which consists of a Tank Commander unit (minimum 2 Leman Russ tanks), 3 Leman Russ Squadrons, and 1-3 Enginseers. We’ll go into further depth on that formation in due time, but let’s just say that even running them cheap, you’re looking at an investment of around 800 points. Add to that the mandatory command choice, you’re looking at roughly 1,000pts just to get the basics covered. It doesn’t leave you a ton of options for the tastey Auxiliary choices.

However, it does mean you can run an all Leman Russ army! Not the most competitive choice, but, fun! For fluff first gamers, this could be a rad choice. I wish the formation required just 1 Tank Commander and 1 Leman Russ squadron with the Enginseer, that’d be perfect. 3 Russes I have found is the upper limit for a list that actually wants to win more games than not. There’s just too many things that obliterate Russes in the game at present to invest in 5+ of them as a core choice.

cadia2The alternative choice is the Emperor’s Shield Infantry Company which is actually quite good (and we’ll get into the details on this formation in due time), but it also has one, huge issue: who the hell wants to buy, build and paint a minimum of 175 Guardsmen?!?! Oh, and 3 Sentinels too, for good measure, lol. Now again, with all of the various perks you get, this would be a really good army but the logistics of it! Moving that many models around the table? Just deploying that many? No thanks. Some may relish it, but for me that just sounds like not a ton of fun. Plus, it means you’re investing a minimum of 1,000pts BEFORE the Command choice. With upgrades, that Core choice+Command will be your entire army. It simply leaves no room for much else.

On the flip side, it does let you field a good infantry army which is quite true to the fluff of Cadia, but I doubt we’ll be seeing this one very often.

Command Benefits:

  • High Command: Company Commanders that are a part of the Battle Group Command choice can issue up to three orders each turn, out to 24″.
  • Battle Group Vox-net: When an officer from this detachment issues an order to a unit in this Detachment, roll 3d6 and take the two lowest dice.
  • Sharpshooters: Models from this Detachment can re-roll To Hit rolls of 1 when firing lasguns or hot shot lasguns.

As you can see, this Detachment is geared towards buffing the hell out of your squads with all kinds of awesome order benefits. If you build your army correctly, you can essentially have an entire army of Guardsmen that ignore cover, or run and shoot, or split fire, fire their lasguns with an extra shot, etc. It really force multiplies the hell out of your army, plus, some of the Auxiliary formations in your Detachment can benefit from the orders, such as the Emperor’s Wrath Artillery Company.

In all, these are solid Command Benefits….IF you plan on using the Detachment as it was designed with loads of Infantry.


Warlord Traits:

  1. Master Orator: Warlord has Zealot. Meh?
  2. Dead-eye Shot: Warlord gains +2 BS, and +1 BS for his unit. Awesome for a CCS with special weapons, or a Tank Commander.
  3. Artillery Veteran: Warlord can use Artillery Bombardment as if he were a Master of Ordnance. Meh.
  4. Unflappable Stoicism: Warlord gains Voice of Command, and units within 12″ ignore 25% casualty morale checks. Awesome!
  5. Above the Thundering Guns: Warlord gains Voice of Command, can issue an extra order if the warlord already has Voice of Command. Pretty good.
  6. Staunch Traditionalist: Cadian characters have to issue and accept challenges, re-roll failed to hit and wound rolls in a challenge. Booo!

Herilooms of Cadia

  • Celeritas: 10pts. A Master-crafted, strength as user, ap 1 melee weapon grants a 4++ in a challenge, and for each successful save, can make a free attack with the Rending special rule. Yeah, this item ONLY makes sense if you are playing the campaign in the book and facing Tau. An Astra Militarum with a saber in a challenge is typically a dead man!
  • Kabe’s Herald: 20pts, A Tank Commander’s orders effect his unit and and another unit of Russes within 12″. Solid!
  • The Iron Left: 25pts, a +2 Strength, AP3, melee weapon. Well, it’s good, not bad on a Company Commander who has 3 wounds and a 5++ standard, but for 25pts? Nah.
  • Standard of the Lost 113th: 30pts, Standard that you plant. Once plated, the unit with it can’t move, run, or charge. All friendly Cadian units within 18″ are Fearless. This would be great if you use the wave of Infantry in the Detachment.
  • Volkov’s Cane: 10pts, a super Pimp Cane that is strength as user, AP4, Concussive melee weapon that also means orders issued by the bearer are only failed on box cars. Not bad! The Orders part is the better part, but when you do have to unleash the Pimp Cane, it can be a lot of fun!
  • Wrath of Cadia: 5pts, a total awesome las pistol! Yeah, that wasn’t a typo. It always wounds on a 4+ and armor saves are always failed on a 1-3. I mean, lol, but so cool when you cap a Riptide or Wraithknight with it!

So there you have it! We’ll go into more depth on the component formations as we go, but that is the Detachment in broad strokes. As always, share your thoughts in the comments section, and don’t forget about our 25% off pre-order special going right now for the new GW Starter Armies! Send your order to:

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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

28 Responses to “Cadian Battle Group Tactics Part 1: Detachment Overview”

  1. Avatar
    ntdars January 6, 2016 1:25 am #

    Great write up! I’ve been waiting for a review of this depth for a while. Nice Reece!

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 6, 2016 10:41 am #

      Happy to get to it, finally! Haven’t had time to.

  2. Avatar
    eddyqw January 6, 2016 2:22 am #

    You can’t just take a Lord Commissar? Unless I’m reading it wrong, the Battle Group Command is either 1 CCS or 1 Tank Commander, plus an optional Lord Commissar.

    While I’m at it… whats your take on the rules for how commissars join units, versus the Psykana Division? As written in Codex: AM the commissar can’t join wyrdvanes. I think thats pretty clearly not GW’s intent, though.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 6, 2016 7:10 am #

      You cannot just take a commissar, you are correct. I misread it.

  3. Avatar
    AngryPanda January 6, 2016 2:45 am #

    It might be worth mentioning that the thing makes you take 175 guardsmen, and not on of them has objective secured.

    • Avatar
      bolter22 January 6, 2016 5:46 am #

      I think the ITC should lower the infantry necessary for the command benefit. Something like 60-80 models instead of 175. As it is now the formation is to expensive and unwieldy to be played. As it is now I would just take 6 to 8 command squads and play them like Gaunt’s Ghosts commando units

      • Reecius
        Reecius January 6, 2016 10:42 am #

        Yeah, if the requirement were 1 Platoon, not 3, it would be a fantastic Detachment.

        But I agree, if you take a bunch of CCS’ you can make a seriously potent army.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy January 6, 2016 11:06 am #

          I dunno; it’s a cute trick, but like the old GK “nothing but Jokaero” army it really exposes the weakness of just spamming out guns and expecting them to do a job for you. Even assuming you do something to make them useful (buy Drop Pods, or Chimeras, or whatever) you’re still looking at huge numbers of fragile infantry and no ObSec to back them up, not to mention vulnerability to melee.

          It’s an amusing idea, but not a strong one I think.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 6, 2016 10:42 am #

      Very true, and we will cover that in depth in that Formation’s review. However, what you get in exchange is pretty bad ass, honestly (the reroll of 1’s to hit, some awesome custom orders, etc.).

      • Avatar
        abusepuppy January 6, 2016 11:07 am #

        The bonuses to Orders are definitely the strongest thing about the formation (and its various sub-formations), I think.

        • Avatar
          Bogalubov January 6, 2016 12:09 pm #

          I’ve started trying to use my blobs in a way that I avoid shooting lasguns. The time it takes to figure out how many are in range and then rolling all those dice…I have no real desire to re-roll the ones. I mean, if I have no other options I’ll shoot them, but shooting more lasguns is just tedious.

          For next codex I just wish there’d be a way to convert volume of fire into less higher strength shots to keep the dice rolling manageable.

  4. Avatar
    Fleetofclaw January 6, 2016 11:09 am #

    Can’t wait to see the rest of the series! From time to time I have moments of insanity where I stare longingly at AM tanks and Valkyries and scions and….

    I’m just bummed at how decidedly lower tier these formations compared to the Tau and SM stuff. I was hoping GW was hitting a consistent stride, but between how limiting the core detachments are and how middle of the road the command benefits are, I’m worried that armies like my beloved Tyranids could still get “Cruddaced” even in this day and age of the Decurion.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy January 6, 2016 12:10 pm #

      The actual formations themselves are actually pretty solid and compare favorably with the Tau ones in the two books as well as most of the SM ones; the problem is that the Core choices are so amazingly expensive, they prevent you from taking most of the other tools you want.

      If ObSec weren’t so overwhelmingly present (thanks to Battle Company) or if heavy armor vehicles weren’t far more fragile than their stats suggested (thanks to Grav, Haywire, and Destroyer, none of which give a damn about your stats) then it would be a different matter- AV14 is actually quite hard to remove when you do it the “legit” way. Sadly, that is not the case.

  5. Avatar
    Jason Wolfe January 6, 2016 11:52 am #

    Can we expect to see these guys in a battle report at some point? I keep looking for a video of someone playing 170 infantry in a game.

    //Perhaps certain movements and dice rolls can be played out via averages and shoves to speed up the game.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 6, 2016 12:39 pm #

      I don’t have even close to enough models to field this bad boy, lol. I have the Russes, but not the infantry.

  6. Avatar
    Jural January 6, 2016 12:12 pm #

    Moving around potentially 200+ models just ruins the game for me, and actually makes things like terrain a real pain in the butt. Cool in theory, I guess, but when games already are in the multiple hours…

    That said, I’d rather push 200+ guard around the table than 200+ gaunts. At least the guard have a chance to do something.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 6, 2016 12:40 pm #

      Lol, true. Gants are mostly just space takers.

      • Avatar
        abusepuppy January 6, 2016 8:28 pm #

        When they were buffed (rather than punished) by presence of a Tervigon, that wasn’t so much true. But now…

  7. Avatar
    westrider January 6, 2016 3:57 pm #

    I really wish the Emperor’s Shield had just been “Must include at least 5 Squads”, rather than “Must include at least 5 Infantry Squads”. That would have made the whole thing far more usable.

    The Standard of the 113th seems cool, except that you can only get it in a really squishy CCS. Who cares how good the benefit is when you can just erase the Squad providing it with a couple of SMS or a Wyvern?

    I feel like the Warlord Traits work way better for a Lord Commissar than for a Company Commander. 3 is still meh, and 6 is still utter crap, but 1 and 2 become great, and 4-5 are still just as good.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 6, 2016 4:55 pm #

      Yeah, the huge model requirement for the core choice is just so limiting.

    • Avatar
      khamils January 6, 2016 10:22 pm #

      There is a bundle on GW web page –’s-Shield-Infantry-Platoon – which actualy have the same name as one of core formations and include 5 Squads (2x Infantry, 2x HWS, 1x PCS) and Sentinels. I wish that is not just a mistake but rather a way to go with this formation.

      • Avatar
        westrider January 7, 2016 2:37 pm #

        Yeah, that was what first made me think of that.

  8. Avatar
    Michael Tangney January 6, 2016 3:59 pm #

    I played with this list against Adam Merlic last time I
    was stateside. It was an absolute bloodbath against a tau ghostkeel heavy list with stormsurge support.

    It was more fun than you might expect as the army was pretty mobile with move and shoot. I lost 172 of my 190 models. With some last Ditch tank shocking failing to bring glory to csdia.
    Quite different from playing eldar!

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 6, 2016 4:55 pm #

      Yeah, totally different than Eldar, lol! I am glad you had fun. How long did the game take…well, sounds like you lost most of your models so it probably went fairly quick.

  9. Avatar
    AngryPanda January 6, 2016 7:33 pm #

    It feels like this was another half-thought out formation at best. I wouldn’t be surprised if no one at GW even counted how many plastic dudesmen you actualy need to field this. And/or just plain forgot they don’t have ObSec anymore if fielded this way.

  10. Avatar
    Ming January 6, 2016 8:21 pm #

    The overall detachment was meant for larger games at the scale of the campaign book. I plan to just use the formations in the smaller sub-2000 pt games. It is causing me to buy a few models though…hell hounds, enginseers….wyverns. I thought my collection did not need further expansion….

  11. Avatar
    Hotsauceman1 January 7, 2016 10:03 am #

    Why isnt the Vet one a core formation is what im wondering.
    All the formations are decent, but they require too many models.
    The only one I would consider taking by itself is the Artllary one. and then give the CCS with the Cane.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 7, 2016 5:42 pm #

      I agree, that would fix this thing, 100%!

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