Requizen here with a Militarum Tempestus tactics and review article! Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles.
Welcome to the first article in a series about one of the smallest Codices in the 40k universe: Militarum Tempestus! For those of you who don’t know, this is a codex that encompasses the forces of the Schola Progenium – that is, the organization that turns regular people into Scions (aka Stormtroopers) and Commissars. And it is small – it consists of only 5 unit Dataslates and 2 Formations (3 now with the Get Started! box set formation), so this series will be relatively short compared to a “main” codex.
Scions are, therefore, a limited force. They excel in precision scalpel strikes at important targets, but don’t have much else going for them. They definitely don’t play the same as Guard, so the tactics are a bit different. You may see them played by themselves in smaller games (in fact, they’re a pretty good force for things like Combat Patrol), but in tournament-sized games, they’ll often be a component to an army, assisted by or assisting another Imperial force.
Let’s take a look at the gear you can kit out your Specialists with:
The first thing to talk about is the fact that every dude in your book either comes stock with or has access to Hot Shot weaponry. These are AP3 guns, which is enough to capture the attention of most enemies – you’ll be ignoring the armor of everything but TEQs and some Characters. The basic gun is the Hot Shot Lasgun (also available in Laspistol form, for the Scion on the go), which weighs in at 18″ range Rapid Fire, Strength 3. Now, that’s a bit of a tradeoff – you wound Marines on 5s, but you ignore their armor.
They also have access to an array of Special Weapons similar to the ones in most Imperial armies – Meltaguns, Plasma Guns, Flamers, and Grenade Launchers. No heavy weapons – these guys like to be light and fast, so nothing with the word Cannon in it unless it’s on a vehicle. You know these guns if you’ve played 40k for any amount of time – Melta kills vehicles, Plasma kills heavy units, Flamers kill blobs, Grenade Launchers give some flexibility but are generally not as useful as other choices. These are available to your infantry squads, the specific uses of which we’ll talk about later.
The only “special” Special Weapon in their book is the Hot Shot Volley Gun, which is basically a suped-up version of the standard weapon. +1 Strength and a longer range, with Salvo 2/4, making it pretty solid at killing all sorts of Infantry and Bikes (or at least, forcing them to Jink). While it is outclassed in vehicle killing compared to Meltas and doesn’t kill big units as well as Flamers, it does fill a nice role of having good rate of fire and a solid profile that makes it threatening against lots of units.
As far as melee weapons go, you can give your squad leaders Power Axes, Swords, Mauls, Lances, and Fists. They might be worth considering if you have points left over – after all, there are some things in the game (like Tactical Marines or Tau) that won’t completely slaughter you in Assault, but in the long run you’re probably better off leaving these at home and focusing on shooting things with those points.
Vox Casters are a neat item – they increase the radius of Orders and let you reroll the LD test to get them off. Unfortunately, you need both the Command Squad and the unit they’re Ordering to have it, and it doesn’t work if the Command Squad uses Orders on itself. A lot of times you’ll be so spread out that Command Squads will Order themselves as a matter of positioning, lessening the use, and the Command Squad guy that carries it can’t use another Special Weapon. Overall, not super useful, but if you’re rolling around as a unit or playing gunline, it can help.
The Command Squad also gets access to some items that I’ll go over in their article, since they’re not exactly army-wide.
Vehicles get the standard Imperial wargear – Smoke Launchers, Searchlights, Extra Armor, Stormbolters, and HK Missiles. Smoke Launchers are solid enough, and Searchlights can be good if you want to fill out your points, but again, MT lists like to be trim, and the rest are a bit point-heavy.
They also have some special upgrades that are worth a look:
- Tauroxes already reroll DT, but Recovery Gear can save you from being Immobilized from other sources. Occasionally useful, but often you’ll just get blown up instead of being immobilized, so maybe save the points.
- Relic Plating gives Adamantium Will to the vehicle. Not super useful, but occasionally good if you know you’re going to see a lot of Witchfires.
- Fire Barrels deal damage to the first unit that charges your vehicle. While kind of cool, it’s expensive and not that powerful, and honestly it’s not going to stop the Taurox from blowing up. Pass.
- Augur Array gives no-scatter to friendly units in a radius. That’s the first one that’s pretty good. If you’re playing DS heavy and are going to have a couple Tauroxes running around, you could do a lot worse than preventing mishaps. It works with your Scions, but it also helps out Terminators, Drop Pods, and Grey Knights.
- Camo-netting gives you +1 Cover at all times. This is a very, very solid upgrade, and at a reasonable price. If it’s Night Fight, you have a 5+ on turn 1. If you also bring Smoke Launchers, that’s a 4+, better if you get intervening cover saves. Suddenly, those flimsy Tauroxes aren’t getting blown up Turn 1 as easily!
While it’s easy to make a Taurox or Valkyrie expensive with these upgrades, one or two don’t hurt. Especially the cover saves, if you have some points at the end of your list building, Camo-netting starts to look really attractive.
I’ll talk about the weaponry in the specific Vehicle articles later, as they pertain to their respective vehicles.
Special Rules – Orders
MT don’t have army special rules in the way that Eldar all have Fleet or Marines have Chapter Tactics, but, much like their parent codex, they have these nice little things called Orders. A Command Squad can issue an Order to a nearby unit (or itself) and gain a bonus upon passing a Leadership test. You choose from one of the following:
- Directed Firestorm Sanctioned! – Twin Linked. This is solid for obvious reasons – even though your Infantry is BS4, sometimes you just want to hit more!
- Autonomous Fire Sanctioned! – Preferred Enemy. You need a bit of math to decide between this and DFS!, since this doesn’t help your hitting as much but helps your wounding. For high strength weaponry like Plasma or Meltas, you might want to reroll those 1s to guarantee wounds. Otherwise, you might just want the rate of fire that DFS! gives.
- Close Assault Doctrine Sanctioned! – Crusader. If you need to run, might as well try to run as far as possible? You’ll often pass on this in lieu of choosing something that helps you shoot, but occasionally you just need to get to that objective or get out of line of sight.
- Advance on Target! – Fleet. Similar to CADS!, but helps you charge things, I guess. If you want to send your dudes to their choppy deaths, might as well guarantee they get there!
- Suppression Doctrine Sanctioned! – Hot Shot weapons only shoot once, but gain Pinning and Sniper. This can be quite good at taking down a MC or forcing a low LD unit to snap-shoot next turn. Tau infantry can get pinned pretty easily, so if you need to shoot them, you can get some extra oomph out of your guns. Losing the extra shot on Volley Guns is painful, but not as bad for the regular Lasguns since Rapid Fire is only 9″ away, and therefore pretty hard to get off with your squishy bodies.
- Elimination Protocol Sanctioned! – Gain Rending as long as you shoot at a MC or Vehicle. This makes your basic Hot Shot Lasguns able to glance AV12 if you’re really lucky, but it also allows them to hurt Wraithknights (though technically you get the same result from SDS!). It can also be good if you’re shooting at a 2+ unit and you don’t have Melta or Plasma in the unit – sometimes, you just don’t have any other targets than the Dreadknight or Riptide.
Most times, I wager you’ll be using either DFS! or AFS! on your target squad. As a shooting army, you’ll want to boost your shooting output, and few things do that better than rerolls. The math between the two depends very much on the weapons in the unit you’re ordering and the To Wound roll that you’ll make agianst the given target. If you’re wounding on 2s, they’re very similar with Preferred Enemy being slightly better. If you’re shooting Melta into a Vehicle, obviously Twin Linked is better. And of course, both help in negating Gets Hot! from those Plasma Guns.
Against harder targets, you may consider SDS! or EPS!, especially if the unit only has Hot Shot weapons and not Melta or Plasma. Sniper is better against MCs, but GCs either is the same. Rending is also better against Vehicles.
Against high toughness units like Bikes or Wraithguard, which you wound on 6s anyway with Hot Shot weapons, you may consider using SDS! to get more wounds through. While DFS! or AFS! gets you more hits, wounding on 4+ (and Rending, because Sniper) can get you more damage that they have to try and shrug off. And AP3 guns that wound on 4+ against Wraithguard will make them feel not quite as scary in the long run.
CADS! and SDS! are very situational. Really, the only time you’ll pick these is when you’re going for Objectives and use CADS! to get to a point or into cover after your Deep Strike.
Special Rules – Warlord Traits
Using the Tempestor Prime or Lord Commissar as your Warlord means you get a trait. The ones from MT are as follows:
- Fearless. Never a bad thing, especially if you’re facing certain armies.
- Any grenade that the Warlord throws has Twin Linked. That’s… not bad, I guess, but is super situational at best.
- MT units in a 12″ bubble are Stubborn. If you’re not Deep Striking and instead moving them up the field as a force, this might be very useful. Still, it requires your squishy units to clump up and is a moderate bonus at best. Do note, however, that any units within 18″ of a Tempestor Prime use his Leadership, so Stubborn LD9 is neat.
- All MT units in Deep Strike reserve can reroll reserves, and only scatter d6″ when they come in. If you play DS heavy, this is the best result you can get.
- MT units within 6″ of the Warlord get an extra 6″ on all Hot Shot guns. Pretty much hot garbage imo. If you’re clumped up that much, you’re doing something wrong. The only time this is useful is if a Commissar gets this and he ends up in a full unit of Scions that purchased Hot Shot Volley Guns as their special weaponry. Is that what happened? No? Reroll this.
- Warlord gets +1 LD. That’s ok. Fearless is better. If you use a Lord Commissar, this does literally nothing.
#4 is the best Trait you can get if you’re playing Deep Strike Scions. #3 is alright if you’re playing more of a hunting squad rolling around in Tauroxes or a gunline. The rest are… certainly good in some situations, but not what you want in most games. You will probably end up rolling on Command or Strategic more often than this table.
Special Rules – Other
With the exception of the Commissar, your Infantry all have Deep Strike and Move Through Cover. This lends itself to the Deep Strike heavy army I mention earlier – as long as you don’t go off the board or into another unit, you can Deep Strike basically with impunity. If there’s a nice piece of terrain (maybe with an Objective) and a nearby enemy, you can DS into it and then lay down strong fire while also gaining a bit of safety.
This lends to MT as a Faction itself – when played alongside another Imperial army, Scions can play a reserve-heavy MSU force. While the rest of your army waits – usually something hard to kill or long ranged and hunkered in a corner – your Scions DS on down the table and make themselves known at locations of importance: objectives, back lines, midfield, wherever you need the boots on the ground. And all this at relatively cheap prices for the sort of weaponry they’re carrying.
Militarum Tempestus is a book with limited options that only does a couple things – but it does them very well. It has access to an array of strong tools and upgrades, and even has a few nice tricks up its sleeve in the way of Orders and Deep Strike prowess. In small games, you’ll find that these guys can be a force to reckon with all on their own, and in larger games, they’ll be the scalpel that supports the hammer that the rest of the Imperium swings.
I’m currently working on my force of Scions, but I’ve very much enjoyed what I’ve played of it so far, and I’m excited to get them into a tabletop fighting force and shake up my Tournament scene with something different! This tactica will continue in the near future, so look out for more articles here on Frontline Gaming.
Speaking of this wonderful site, remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, everyday!