40k 8th Edition First Impressions: Astra Militarum Part 1

8th Edition has finally come, and here’s some first impressions of the Astra Militarum in this great new edition of ours! Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!

Check out our 40k 8th editon archive for more great 8th edition related content! 

Hey guys, Big Vik here with my initial thoughts on how the Astra Militarum will function in this new edition.

I’ll first be looking at who the Astra Militarum are, and the math behind some of my perceptions. In the future I’ll continue by looking into some packages I’ve put together to take advantage of what I’ve found in how this army functions.

First let’s look at who the Astra Militarum are.

The Astra Militarum is the Imperium’s quantity over quality faction. Why have one dude with a gun when you can have 100? Why have one battle tank when you can have a company? Furthermore, Guard uses quantity of shots to get the job done, meaning that almost every unit predominantly shoots, rather than being tough or good in melee.

Playstyles of the Guard are often going to be one of three builds. Infantry spam puts so many bodies on the table that your opponent doesn’t have enough shots through the game to kill your infantry off of the objectives. Artillery spam aims at having enough firepower to table your opponent before the game ends. Tank spam is a quality of quantity where rather than having maximum guns, or maximum numbers, each tank is so tough that it becomes difficult remove enough of them, and they carry powerful guns to ensure the most relevant pieces are taken out of the equation before this ever becomes a problem.

I’ve used a set of quality metrics to determine how I moved forward with unit selection for my armies. Admittedly I’m an alpha strike prone player, so all of my metrics are around maximizing number of wounds per turn per point spent in the model. This means my optimum units may not be yours, especially if you like to use non obvious combos in order to take the day.

Now onto the mathematically optimum damage output!

I primarily looked at points per wound of MEQ (wounds of Space Marine equivalent models), and Knight titans, as I believe they will be a very common heavy unit selection among new players, making them the primary kingmaker of the new edition.


Taurox Prime–  with Taurox Gatling gun, 2 hot shot volley guns, and a storm bolter. This is the go to spam for many an armchair general and I can’t blame them, 32 shots at 12”, 30 at 24”, especially with the extreme cheapness of AM units, you’ll probably go second, meaning the opponent will probably be in range without moving. The weakness is of course they have no mitigation for moving and firing penalty, and they are only T6, making them easier to kill than its primary competitor, the twin assault cannon Razorback.

Rough Riders– Yep, they’re good now, with an average threat range of 17” with no support they hit pretty dang hard with their explosive lances, Str 5, AP -1, 2 damage is nothing to sneeze at for a 10 point model! Though there is not a great way to increase threat range on the turn it charges, they are still fast when they advance if you need to set up for the following turn. Though this doesn’t allow them to alpha strike particularly well, they can definitely beta strike, meaning once your conscript wall is hit, Rough Riders can charge in and take out whoever just incinerated your blob of 3 point dudes-men.

Heavy weapon teams with a heavy bolter– a surprising result, but at 12 points for a heavy weapon crew with heavy bolter you have one of the most efficient gun platforms in the game. The catch is they fold like a wet paper bag and come in units of max size 3, meaning trying to buff them becomes very inefficient, as you run out of orders and buffing character auras with the sheer number of small units.

Hellhound w/ Chem Cannon– Though not a very long ranged solution, the chem cannon that the Bane Wolf brings to bear is a very deadly weapon, auto hitting, heavy D6, ap -3, auto wound 2+ on a  T7 11 wound 3+ chassis for less than 100 points, it won’t kill the world, but it’s still a very scary gun once it gets in range.

Anything with a flamer– Yep that’s right, a guardsman with a flamer, its so cheap its good, d6 auto hitting str 4 shots on one of the cheapest models in the game? Who knew that could be a thing!


Manticores– Yep, what everybody is saying is the death of tanks the world over, the Manticore. They do a lot of damage with 2d6 shots, str 10, ap -2 and d3 damage, keeping in mind their price and they are a pretty good anti-tank unit. Keep in mind that it takes 2-3 of them to kill a rhino. What does this mean? 6 Manticores with Harker or Yarrick to re-roll 1’s to hit will do about 22 wounds to a knight, so they won’t kill a knight in one turn. That being said they are still a very good solution to crippling mechanized lists, so go wild!

Rough Riders again– Yep, they’re good at killing knights too. They don’t quite out threat it for melee, but between their large bases and high damage output, with proper support they can put a good dent into just about anything.

Ratlings– 7 point BS 3+ snipers, no wonder these guys are pretty good, not only do they eat characters for lunch and run away before they can be pinned down, they’re also the cheapest source of mortal wounds in AM (about 1 every shooting phase for a 10 man unit). Though they don’t really put a lot of wounds on large targets, it’s the fact that they are 7 points that makes them so efficient.

Flamers again– Yep these guys are SO cheap, and never miss, along with the fact that everything can hurt anything, an army full of guardsmen with flamers (not possible fyi) would never go missed as a viable threat overload army bringing massive numbers of bodies to bear on the opponent (and this time, they’ve go guns that hit!)

Well that’s it for my first look at the ‘best’ units in Imperial Guard… ahem, Astra Militarum, next time I’ll be putting this together into packages to start building a proper army list.

And as always, Frontline Gaming sells gaming goodies at a discount, every day!

Frontline Gaming will buy your used models for cash or store credit!



About BigVik

A gaming magpie, BigVik currently maintains perpetual noob status, playing Menoth and Khador in Warmachine, and Imperial Guard in 40k. He works as a professional coach and process consultant in his professional life, and loves bringing this into his gaming and writing.

20 Responses to “40k 8th Edition First Impressions: Astra Militarum Part 1”

  1. Jmoney1882 July 2, 2017 12:36 am #

    IG are back people. Just got done playing my buddies 9 basilisks,3 blobs of conscripts, and some characters buffing all that and well. IT HURTS. The parking lot of death with meatballs all around. GG

  2. Mike July 2, 2017 2:10 am #

    Agree with almost everything on this list. Standard hellhounds in are pretty great too, D6 S6 Ap-1 D2 deals with most targets pretty efficiently. Basilisks are great too for anti-transport level tank and pask in a Demolisher is no slacker for anti tank.

    • BigVik July 2, 2017 7:38 am #

      I agree they do good work, but they are both a tad overpriced next to the chem cannon (though lack of range is a thing), and the Manticore (which will probably be dead before the 4 shot max is ever a thing).

  3. Mike July 2, 2017 2:10 am #

    Also, Scion plasma nuke is solid anti anything lol.

    • BigVik July 2, 2017 7:38 am #

      Yep I agree, I trimmed down rather than having a 10 page thesis on why AM is the best faction ever lol

  4. h311fi5h July 2, 2017 3:11 am #

    Rough Riders don’t have the INFANTRY keyword, thus they cannot receive orders.

    • BigVik July 2, 2017 7:36 am #

      Whoops, I totally missed that! thanks for the catch!

      • Reecius July 2, 2017 9:32 am #

        You can go in and edit that bit if you want, Vik.

  5. Reecius July 2, 2017 7:26 am #

    Yeah, the Astra Militarum are excellent! So many ways to play them, too.

  6. Beau July 2, 2017 7:53 am #

    Any idea how good baneblades (particularly shadowswords) are this edition?

    • Reecius July 2, 2017 9:44 am #

      They’re excellent. The Stormlord is my favorite, but a lot of folks are drawn to the high damage output of the Shadowsword.

      • Beau July 2, 2017 3:14 pm #

        Alright, so for my traitor guard model count I have 1 shadowsword, 1 knight paladin, 10 company commanders (lol), a commisar, 70 veterans, 5 rough riders, and 200 conscripts…

        am I good to go?

  7. Michael Corr July 3, 2017 12:55 am #

    I played a Astra Militarum army at the tournament at the weekend and they were brutal! The Taurox Prime is a beast, putting out a ton of firepower and he had 3 of them.

    Also very effective was the Scions. They “deep struck” in behind my lines with overcharged plasma guns. Thanks to the orders, they were re-rolling ones, so decimated my entire flank without losing a single man to overheats.

    • John H July 3, 2017 5:23 am #

      Sorry about that Mike 😉

      Congratulations on the best army nomination, and im came 11th which is my best ever result so don’t feel bad about it, your dice were ice cold!

      I have 6 of the tauroxes now but the turrets guns can be swapped out.

      • Michael Corr July 4, 2017 8:58 am #

        No need to apologise John! You had a solid army and played the game great. With 8th ed being only a few weeks old, I am still working out what is really good and what suffers. Now I know that Tauroxes and Scions are good!

    • BigVik July 4, 2017 3:33 pm #

      Yep, I’ve had some good results from them myself, though I’m pushing toward Ratlings, especially since I have a bunch painted up!

  8. David Hayden July 3, 2017 12:39 pm #

    I’m leaning toward the Taurus Prime with the missile launcher and auto cannons. And maybe I’m wrong, but those Basilisks seem so good.

    • Ty July 4, 2017 2:57 pm #

      I’m pretty sure Reese said he liked that configuration better.

      I just think being able to out range the assault cannons is so nice.

    • BigVik July 4, 2017 3:31 pm #

      The taurox Prime I suggest is only for taking down cheap bodies, which I think will end up being quite popular in this stage of the edition. But your configuration is still viable for ant-high toughness, multi wound targets.

      Manticore vs. Earthshaker, Manticores on average produce more wounds on multi-wound targets, but earthshakers are better with regards to risk and drop number mitigation.

      • Ty July 5, 2017 1:12 am #

        Oh that’s a good point. I didn’t even notice Manticores didn’t have the Vehicle Squadron rule.

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