Astra Militarum go 5-0 at the London GT Part 1

Hey everyone, Reecius here to share how my AM list works and to recount some bat reps from my experience at the London GT.

Back from the London GT and ready to share how my list performed at the event. First off, the list itself and a bit of explanation as a number of folks didn’t see how it all worked.

  • PLAYER NAME: Reece Robbins
  • FACTIONS: Astra Militarum (Catachan), Adeptus Custodes
  • TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 2,000pts

BRIGADE DETACHMENT: Astra Militarum (Catachan) [1,572pts] + 12CP

  • HQ1: Straken = [75]
  • HQ2: Company Commander (30) Laspistol (0) Frag Grenade (0) = WARLORD – [30] Kurov’s Aquila
  • HQ3: Primaris Psyker (38) Force Stave (8) Laspistol (0) = [46]
  • Troop1: Conscripts x 27 (108), Lasguns x 27 (0) = [108]
  • Troop2: Infantry Squad x 10 (40) Lasguns x 7 (0) Laspistol (0) Chainsword (0) Frag Grenades (0) Grenade Launcher (5) Mortar (5) = [50]
  • Troop3: Infantry Squad x 10 (40) Lasguns x 7 (0) Laspistol (0) Chainsword (0) Frag Grenades (0) Grenade Launcher (5) Mortar (5) = [50]
  • Troop4: Infantry Squad x 10 (40) Lasguns x 7 (0) Laspistol (0) Chainsword (0) Frag Grenades (0) Grenade Launcher (5) Mortar (5) = [50]
  • Troop5: Infantry Squad x 10 (40) Lasguns x 7 (0) Laspistol (0) Chainsword (0) Frag Grenades (0) Grenade Launcher (5) Mortar (5) = [50]
  • Troop6: Infantry Squad x 10 (40) Lasguns x 7 (0) Laspistol (0) Chainsword (0) Frag Grenades (0) Grenade Launcher (5) Mortar (5) = [50]
  • Elite1: Harker = [50]
  • Elite2: Astropath (30) Laspistol (0) = [30]
  • Elite3: Bullgryn x 9 (315) Bullgryn Maul x 9 (63) Slab Shield x  6 (0) Brute Shield x 3 (0) Frag Bombs (0) = [378]
  • Elite4: Ministorum Priest (35) Chainsword (0) Autogun (0) Frag Grenades (0) Krak Grenades (0) = [35]
  • FA1: Rough Riders x 5 (40) Hunting Lances (10) = [50]
  • FA2: Rough Riders x 5 (40) Hunting Lances (10) = [50]
  • FA3: Scout Sentinels x 2 (70) Heavy Flamer x 2 (34) = [104]
  • HS1: Leman Russ Conqueror (122) Heavy Bolter (8) Conqueror Battle Cannon (25) = [155]
  • HS2: Wyvern (95) Heavy Bolter (8) Stormshard Mortar (0) = [103]
  • HS3: Basilisk (100) Heavy Bolter (8) Earthshaker Cannon (0) = [108]

PATROL DETACHMENT:                 Adeptus Custodes [428pts] + 0CP

  • HQ1: Shield-Captain on Dawneagle (150) Hurricane Bolters (10) Interceptor Lance (0) = [160]
  • TROOP1: Custodian Guard x 3 (120) Guardian Spears x 3 (36) = [156]
  • ELITE1: Vexilus Praetor (80) Guardian Spear (12) Vexilus Defensor (20) = [112]

How it Works

So, not your normal Astra Militarum list for sure, but one I have been playing quite a bit lately (minus the Adeptus Custodes), have really been enjoying and doing quite well with. I added in the Custodes at the last minute due to the fact that they have a 1CP stratagem that lets you redraw a Maelstrom Card which is mega important in these missions. To do so, I had to drop quite a few of the units I normally take such as my Hellhounds, a third Scout Sentinel and some Ratlings. While the redraw of a card was indeed awesome, and the Custodian Guard and the Shield-Captain were quite good, I found myself wishing I had the Hellhounds specifically every single game! The Vexilus Praetor though, was solid gold as I will explain.

I have some units and wargear choices in my list a lot of folks were asking why I took, so I figured I’d explain it. The Rough Riders especially drew a lot of attention and why I take them is because they’re cheap as chips (50pts per unit), fill a Fast Attack slot to unlock the brigade, and they Outflank! A cheap, fast unit that hits reasonably hard in melee, has 2 wounds a pop and can keep itself off of the board with no further resources while getting me that sweet, sweet Brigade detachment is solid. Plus, it’s hard not to love the idea of crazy bastards going into combat in the 41st millennium on horses armed with sharp sticks that have a bomb on them! Lastly, I really like the conversions I made for them using Catachan bits on Maurader Horsemen.

I also got a lot of quizzical looks at my Conscripts unit. They’ve largely fallen out of favor after the nerf they got in Chapter Approved 2017, but I find them to be absolutely invaluable. Why? Because they start in a unit of up to 30 and that is so incredible useful. Are normal Guardsmen better? Yes, as they should be. But, they only come in 10 strong units and when used as a screen, 10 doesn’t cut it. In a unit of 30 though, the Conscripts get 3 times the mileage out of any buff and with the stud-muffin Praetor giving them a 5++ which can be boosted up to a 4++ with the Take Cover stratagem, and a 3++ with the Psychic Barrier psychic power which can be even further buffed up with a -1 to hit from Nightshroud. That turns these humble 4pt models into ultra efficient meat shields. Plus, I play them very aggressively, bum rushing my opponent in most cases forcing them to deal with them or have the unit charge into their lines, gunking up their ability to move and shoot. And, despite their WS 5+, being Catachan they’re strength 4 and with Straken and the priest nearby, they have 3 attacks each so they’re no slouches in melee. With the Fix Bayonets! order in a prolonged combat they can really do some damage. Lastly, they also eat overwatch and Smites for the Bullgryn.

Speaking of which, the Bullgryn are absolute all-stars. Just an amazing unit, really. Durable, hard hitting, and great for board control. Their only real weakness is their speed which to be frank, isn’t much of a weakness. It was funny how many people didn’t even know what the models were, lol. I’ve been banging the Bullgryn drum all edition but this tournament really hit it home for me. In a full unit of 9, they’re just deadly. With CP and Warlord trait re-rolls and all of the defensive buffs you can put on them, plus the Ministorum Priest giving them an extra attack, they are just devastating.

As stated, Straken and the priest turn my regular Guardsmen into fairly fearsome melee units. Straken himself is also just a beast, with a solid statline and packing a wallop in melee in addition to handing out orders. Beyond them, the Astropath is a common site in AM lists as is the Primaris Psyker and they’re there for the amazing psychic powers and to open up that Brigade. I also take a generic Company Commander for the extra orders and to be the Warlord waaaaaaaay back in the ranks, haha. Straken gets to charge up the table like a boss while his number 2 does the actual commanding in the rear with the gear. He’s great for this as he keeps the incredible Grand Stratagist Warlord Trait and Kurov’s Aquilla Relic and Warlord points safely hidden from enemy attention. Lastly, Harker gives a significant buff to my infantry and artillery with his re-roll 1’s to hit arua and he puts out decent firepower himself.

My basic Infantry Squads also got quite a few questions with their load out. I outfitted each with a Mortar and Grenade Launcher. While the Mortar probably needs no explanation beyond the fact that having them in an Infantry Squad helps a ton to keep them alive and shooting, the Grenade Launchers raised quite a few eyebrows. I was previously using Plasma Guns in this role but with all the negatives to hit floating around in the game at present, I found they really weren’t that effective. So, I started experimenting with Grenade Launchers and was pleasantly surprised! With all the T3 infantry out there, the Frag round is very useful, and against tougher targets the Krak round is great. The 24″ range is the real kicker though and I found that with Harker giving them re-roll 1’s to hit, and an order for re-rolls of 1’s to wound, between the Las Guns, Mortar and Grenade Launcher the unit could put a hurtin’ on light infantry or split their shots and lob Kraks at tougher targets.

But, you may be asking: why spend the points to upgrade your infantry at all? Because I ALWAYS blob up the units using the Consolidate Squads strat. Because of the way my army works, I find the Infantry Squads don’t get shot much and killing 10 Guardsmen with an invul save is tougher than you think it would be. If any of them survive (which of course will be the special models) you link them into a bigger unit and now they have meat shields again. And as explained with the Conscripts, the bigger the unit the most mileage you get out of every order/psychic buff/stratagem/etc. In most games, by turn 4 I have a big unit of 30+ Guardsmen with 5 Mortars and Grenade Launchers in it blasting away, holding objectives. And again, if the enemy does make it into my lines these guys fight like devils, packing in a crazy number of strength 4 attacks, possibly fighting twice in one turn with the Fix Bayonets! order. In all, I am extremely happy with these units and find them to do a lot of the winning of the mission while the rest of my army does the attacking.

My Heavy Support choices were also getting a lot of questions as you don’t see these guys all that much in tournament play. I took these specific tanks for a reason though: they can all re-roll to hit rolls if I need them to. That’s huge because when firing at a unit that is -1 to hit, without a re-roll mechanic you just don’t connect enough. The Basilisk and the Wyvern get it through the Aerial Spotter stratagem (although of course, that means only one of them per turn can use it) and the Leman Russ Conqueror has a special rule that allows it’s Conqueror Cannon (basically a shorter range Battle Cannon) to re-roll misses if it’s coaxial Storm Bolter fires at the same target (please note, the model pictured is not the actual Conqueror Cannon as that is now OOP). The Wyvern is great for blasting screen units and light infantry, the Basilisk is quite good for taking out other tanks and heavier infantry, and the Russ puts out a ton of reliable shots. I have found all of them to be very good in every game I’ve played. The only downside is that they tend to shoot once and then my opponent realizes they have to die and starts to pick them apart, haha.

Also, as a long, long time Guard player, it just doesn’t feel right to play without some of these iconic tanks!

I absolutely love Scout Sentinels! I usually take a full unit of 3 but cut them down to 2 to take the Custodes. I used to run 3 units of 1 to fill out the Fast slots in my Brigade but found that they were too easy to pick off for a Kill Point. First Blood/Strike, etc. I started running bigger units of them and man, they rock. I deploy them very aggressively so that if I go first, I scout move them up, then move them normally and that is 18″ of the table covered. In most cases, that puts you safely in Heavy Flamer range (which with Catachan, you get to re-roll the number of shots) and only 6″ away for a relatively easy charge. I can’t tell you how many times these little bad asses have caused absolute havoc with my opponent’s plans when they fly up the table, blast a screen unit then charge an important unit to prevent it from shooting the next turn, or just charge into their screen and slow down their entire army. Even just popping smoke and simply to standing in front of your opponent and forcing them to deal with them or go around them is incredibly useful.

If I go second, I have them Scout move into cover, or preferably out of line of sight. In these instances they go from banzai pilots to playing cagey, jumping on objectives and using the Go Recon! stratagem to look for ways to pick up points. They’re surprisingly tough little boogers and require considerable attention to remove from the table in most cases.

The much lauded Shield-Captain on Jet Bike was fun to use, and with Victors of the Blood Games and relic support is pretty dang tough. He’s quick, hits hard, and shoots well, too. Stooping Dive is also an all-start stratagem, letting you charge into combat on your opponent’s turn and swing first. However, I found often the best use for him was often jumping on objectives and tanking a round or two of enemy fire while earning me a few VP. I found mine didn’t actually kill that much in practice as he tended to die once exposed. Now, I am in no way saying he was bad–he wasn’t–but having other units in my army would have served me better in almost every game such as the aforementioned Hellhounds. That said, I in no way regret taking him but he may be taking a backseat in my current list.

This guy right here though, makes my heart go pitter-pat! He’s so amazingly good in an Astra Militarum army, my goodness. His Vexilla Defensor is magic for Guard. A 5++ for units wholly within 9″ helps so much to keep your squishy guys alive, but it also gives you a re-roll for failed Morale tests! That by itself is so good, but additionally he gives you access to some amazing stratagems, too. Tanglefoot Grenade is borderline broken, lol, reducing the charge distance of an enemy unit by D6″. I used that one so many times and it had game changing impact every time. Standing right behind the Conscripts it was easy to put it in place to use, too. Plant the Vexila was likewise incredibly good to increase the aura of his banner. I found this to be most useful in turns 2 and 3 when he was in mid-table and my army needed to spread out a bit. Also, the Avatars of the Emperor strat was mega useful (granting a big morale buff to nearby Imperium units) as was the Vexila Teleport Homer (allows a Custodes unit deep-striking in to do so within 6″ of the banner and up to 3″ from enemy units) which I used frequently to bring in the Custodian Guard unit directly from reserves into melee. Shoulder the Mantle is also great to keep a Warlord on the table and deny your opponent points, as well as Spark of Divinity to try and Deny the Witch against key powers your opponent is trying to use. There’s more to say but in all, the utility this guy brings to an Astra Militarum army just cannot be understated.

Lastly, the Custodian Guard. These guys don’t rate too highly on many people’s lists and while they are most assuredly not bad, compared to some of the other options in the army they do pale a bit and aren’t cheap. However, I found them to be pretty useful. Although much like the Shield-Captain, often the best use of them was to plop them on an objective from deep strike reserves and force my opponent to deal with them as they’re quite sturdy. When they did get into range to open up with their very solid firepower and melee, they performed admirably. As stated, this was typically accomplished by using the Praetor to drop them down 3″ from enemy units and then shoot and charge which while a considerable CP investment to do, worked great. These gents weren’t all-stars but they were quite good and in a few games their very efficient Piercing Strike strat for +1 to wound in melee was awesome.

Whew, a lot to talk about! But, understanding the interactions between units is really the key to understanding how a list functions. Hopefully that info was helpful!

Next up, we’ll go through the games!


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About Reecius

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

50 Responses to “Astra Militarum go 5-0 at the London GT Part 1”

  1. Avatar
    Rob Butcher June 11, 2018 12:36 am #

    Nice to see a “thinking army” based around the rules you were playing. I love the bullgryns and the way you mobbed your infantry squads.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 11, 2018 9:06 am #

      Thanks! Yeah, I 100% prefer to play armies like this that rely on synergistic interactions between units. I find it to be much more gratifying to play the game that way.

  2. Avatar
    abusepuppy June 11, 2018 3:59 am #

    >goes from bonsai pilots to
    >Victors of the Blood Dames

    You so crazy, Reece.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 11, 2018 9:06 am #

      Yeah, what?

      They pilot plants, or won a contest with film noire vampire femme fatales =)

    • Avatar
      TC June 11, 2018 9:28 am #

      Should be “Banzai” (a suicide attack) not “Bonsai” (the tree art form) 🙂

      • Reecius
        Reecius June 11, 2018 10:12 am #

        Yeah, I goofed that one, lol.

      • Avatar
        abusepuppy June 11, 2018 1:23 pm #


  3. Avatar
    Bossanooga June 11, 2018 6:31 am #

    Nice work Reece! I’m glad to see a rounded diverse list that is also competitive. It warms my blackened, chaos playing heart. ;P I haven’t seen any opponents use the combining units strategy to great effect personally, but it looks like you found a nice balance for it with your list. I had never thought about how you can pump more special weapons into a unit turn by turn, multiplying your output with auras and strategems. Nice! I HAVE seen the invul trick with the blob of chaffe though, and you are correct sir, in that it is a SOB to remove. I also don’t see people using the Bullgryns, which baffles me given how Boss they can be when threat saturation is spread so well in a list like yours. Looking forward to your follow up articles on this to learn more.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 11, 2018 9:31 am #

      Thank you. Yeah, Combine Squads is amazingly good in my experience. It’s a rare game I don’t find it to be excellent.

      And yeah, Bullgryn are IMO flirting with the line of being TOO good. They’ve got amazing offense and defense. Many armies struggle to actually deal with them at all if they lack mortal wound output.

  4. Avatar
    Hotsauceman1 June 11, 2018 9:26 am #

    I like the idea for the list. I have kinda grown bored of just the russes for my list.
    Might steal the idea.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 11, 2018 10:11 am #

      Thanks. It works quite well even though it doesn’t look like much at first glance.

      The I really enjoy the artillery tanks. I would take the Manticore, too but wanted to stick with the ability to overcome the -1 to hit mechanic. Although, of course, I ended up not playing against them that much, lol! So the Manticore would have been great. Oh well.

      • Avatar
        Hotsauceman1 June 11, 2018 10:23 am #

        Your lucky them, -1 to hit is always what I’m facing.

        • Reecius
          Reecius June 11, 2018 12:10 pm #

          It seems that way sometimes, doesn’t it?

  5. Avatar
    TC June 11, 2018 9:30 am #

    Thanks for including the pictures! In particular, a friend was pondering trying make Rough Riders, and I told him to consider using Chaos Marauder horsemen, so I got a preview of what they might look like without having to actually buy them! Yay!

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 11, 2018 10:12 am #

      It’s an easy conversion, too.

    • Avatar
      Alpharius Walks June 11, 2018 10:24 am #

      I personally use Warlord Games historical models. They have several different flavors that could be used. Certainly there are numerous 3rd party options that can work in addition to converting from the fantasy range.

      • Avatar
        Rob Butcher June 12, 2018 1:23 am #

        3rd party options are also banned at Official GW tournaments … so it can be an expensive mistake !

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy June 12, 2018 2:34 am #

          I mean, I guess GW technically does run tournaments again, but they’re such a miniscule part of the tournament scene that it’s essentially an irrelevant concern at this point.

  6. Avatar
    Cavalier June 11, 2018 10:17 am #

    Fantastic article Reece. I love articles like this. Always fascinated to see how/why people’s fave lists are put together. Always been a huge fan of your IG too. The color scheme/paint jobs are just great. These guys look like they just jumped out of the box art for Operation Wolf on the old school NES but with far superior tiger camo. Just love it. Gonna have my brother take a look at this article as his IG are very similar. Totally classic stuff, glad to hear you are prefering the pure IG list a bit more, because the inclusion of those units makes the whole thing ultra fluffy. Love it

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 11, 2018 12:15 pm #

      Yes, that is totally it! Lol, old-school like Contra or something. I went for a crazy scheme which some people don’t like but eh, it’s my army and only I have to like it =) Glad you enjoy it.

      And yeah, I love Astra Militarum. They’ve always really appealed to me whereas Space Marines are literally fearless and as such can’t really be brave as that requires overcoming fear, the Guardsmen is just a dude facing down unimaginable horrors and winning through sheer force of will. It’s awesome.

      • Avatar
        abusepuppy June 11, 2018 3:19 pm #

        Don’t listen to the haters, Reece. That red/black scheme is rad on Catachans and especially on those tanks.

        • Reecius
          Reecius June 11, 2018 3:24 pm #

          Thanks! Yeah, I like it a lot but of all my armies this one gets the most negative comments on the paint job, lol. I appreciate the nice words.

  7. Avatar
    Alpharius Walks June 11, 2018 10:20 am #

    Random bunch of questions and comments since we do not always get to ask specific players about the details of their experiences at a high level of competitive play.

    The stratagem to combine squads is definitely underrated in ITC and other event formats where how many units you will per turn or round matters. Even if you did not have all of the upgrades making it harder to get unit kills (a big IG weakness) Is always welcome.

    Rough Riders are lots of fun and reasonably effective for their points, I am sure they would be more widely used if there was an available “official” model. At some point I do need to try out Straken + officer with dagger to outflank Straken + max Rough Riders (9×3) via a Catachan outrider. Just a shame that the priest and/or Catachan doctrine do not buff them further, although certainly 2 lance attacks base instead of 1 is nothing to laugh at. I imagine you could go really nuts and include a Death Korps outrider for the other flank too.

    With your Sentinels did you ever have issues with them being boxed in by scouts/nurglings/Tau stealth things and losing their scout move? Just out of curiosity, running a full squad have you ever lost any to morale or is it unusual for only 2 of the 3 to be destroyed in the same turn?

    Are there any regiments or list builds that would make you reconsider plasma or you are pretty locked into grenade launchers for the foreseeable future?

    I am surprised that that many people were surprised about your conscripts. While brining multiple big units of them is not that great one 30 model blob (or close to it) is a great target for psychic powers and defensive stratagems while being very difficult to remove. Did you ever have an issue with trying to keep them completely within 9″ of the Vexilla? Or was planting it enough to keep up as needed? I generally favor having the conscripts spread out across the length of the deployment zone to screen everything.

    Were there any particular matchups were you were missing the Hellhounds or was it consistent regardless of opponent? In building/testing/playing were there any matchups that were consistently problematic?

    Regarding your heavy support choices, I will say only that it is nice to see someone else eschewing the bring Manticores groupthink.

    The Custodes bike captain is definitely an interesting case. I have played against a few and the advantages are objective secured on a fast Fly model, survivability of the one with 3++ relic and Victor and Stooping Dive. I have been playing around with Blood Angels jump captains and Thunderwolf characters and I personally like the Blood Angels for pushing forward and dealing raw damage (so many attacks with Death Visions/Red Rampage, with additional options via Honour The Chapter/Only In Death) while the higher Toughness/Wounds and multiple types of reroll bubbles (hit and wound) makes blobs of Wolf Lords/Battle Guard leaders very reliable at a lower points cost vs. the bike Custodes. Certainly the Imperium is spoilt for choice right now when one comes looking for herohammer characters to augment Guard.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 11, 2018 12:36 pm #

      Hey, happy to answer:

      Combine Squads is so good, IME. As you noted, in any format that uses KP, it denies them to your opponent. It also means casting a single psychic power on them, or using a stratagem on them impacts a LOT more models. As the game wears on and the conscripts inevitably get hosed, you’re left with a new big unit to aim your buffs on (assuming the Bullgryn aren’t needing them). What I find is that later in the game, when you need the blob squad to hold objectives, it helps a ton.

      Rough Riders are indeed a solid choice. Not outstanding, but good enough that I never feel stupid for bringing them or anything like that. As you noted when you do get the chance to buff them up they can hit surprisingly hard but often I find they’re out on their own where they go for objectives and charge backfield units to gunk up my opponent’s plans.

      No, my Sentinels never really get bogged down, honestly. If I go first, they nuke things like Nugrlings. If I go second they’re nowhere near units like that to get charged. With the unit of 3 if I am worries about morale I can use the D3 morale check strat. Typically though, I just take my chances and if I blow it can use a CP re-roll. It’s not usually an issue.

      I’m sticking with Grenade Launchers for tournaments. In a league format or something where you know who you are playing, that’s when I’d opt for plasma.

      Yeah, there is a trick to getting the Conscripts in Vexilor range. You have the length of his base +9″ to each side and that is a BIG bubble. So when I place the Conscripts I pre-measure that area and make sure to have them all in it. I don’t really struggle to keep them in range until turn 2 and 3 when I tend to plan the banner for increased range. They are so useful, though. I think when people are considering the efficiency of units they forget that your opponent is trying to kill you, too and that in this edition, they will succeed at least partially in doing so. You need units you can feed to the wolves if needs be.

      Almost every game I wish I would have had the Hellhounds. Ignoring the damage table and negative modifiers to hit is golden. As many people have screen units/light infantry as a core part of their strategy for winning missions, Hellhounds are savage against them. Plus being pretty quick and not caring about remaining immobile, they’re great for picking up objectives, too. All but one of my opponents’ armies had ideal targets for the Hellhounds. They only do poorly in certain match-ups IME. When playing someone with loads of high toughness units with invul saves or something similar they can struggle as when they get in to range to shoot, they are typically in ragne to be charged and if they can’t take down what they hit, they are going to at least get shut down from shooting again which is annoying.

      Yeah, Manticores are great but I find they just miss a lot in the current meta. I was using 1 but I have found that the Wyvern and Bassilisk with the twin-link strat are more reliable, particularly if they survive into the later game when a Manticore will be out of ammo. I mean, Manticores aren’t bad by any means but generally speaking I prefer the reliability of these tanks specifically.

      Yeah, the Custodes are quite good. My loadout is one of the cheapest ways to get a Patrol detachment on the table with the Vexilor (who honestly is the only model I actually want). However, their stratagems are so damn good I am waffling on just taking an Aux detachment with the Praetor and losing access to strats or sucking it up and keeping the other Custodes to retain the strats but losing out on the Hellhounds, extra Sentinel, etc. It’s a tough call, but that is cool because it means they’re all good options =)

      But you said it, Imperium Characters are amazing and you get access to so many of them. It really comes down to what you want to do or which models you prefer. They’re all solid options.

      • Avatar
        Nell Byler June 16, 2018 5:39 pm #

        OoOOo I’ve been thinking about the combine squads stratagem a lot recently, but more along the lines of efficiency for dispensing re-roll orders — the idea that it sucks a kill point from your opponent never occurred to me, and it’s brilliant!

  8. Avatar
    Nightman June 11, 2018 12:57 pm #

    How does the combine squad work when merging 20 + 10. ETC has it faq’ed that a 20man squad is no longer elligble to combine, since it’s no longer an infantry squad in regards to datasheet (wording on combine strat). GW has not adresses it in the faq, but i feel the intent is to grow them larger than 20 over several turns.

    I’m not saying one way or right and the other is wrong, but this one seems a bit ambigous imo.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 11, 2018 1:03 pm #

      That’s interesting. I have never it heard it interpreted that way or even heard the question of it come up, actually. Yeah, I have only ever heard of it being used to keep increasing squad size.

      That is a bit of a weird reading of the rule I think, I don’t even see how it would come up? I don’t even see how the verbiage of the strat indicates that, honestly.

      • Avatar
        Nightman June 11, 2018 1:28 pm #

        Their reasoning is it says choose an infantry squad (pg.93), but there are no 20man infantry squads on page 93. When you combine then, they stop being ‘infantry squads’.

        I disagree with that conclusion. Emailed GW back in Janurary, but never heard back. I got more hopeful when i read this article that i might be on the right end of this ruling. Hopefully they will eventuelly address it in an official faq.

        Oh and i love the list, i run something similar without golden boys. It’s a really fun and dynamic list!

        • Reecius
          Reecius June 11, 2018 2:54 pm #

          Huh, interesting. That seems like looking for an issue that isn’t there to me, but hey. Yeah, we don’t play it that way and up until now I had not heard of any other reading of the rule.

          But glad to hear you dig the list =) It is a lot of fun to play.

  9. Avatar
    Smotejob June 11, 2018 3:17 pm #

    Maaan nice.

    Love how almost everything in this codex is useful.

    Would love to see you work in a unit of 10 crusaders sometime into a list. They do good work for me and they always suprise people with their durability and speed. Really benefit well from an astropath and priest nearby as well.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 11, 2018 3:25 pm #

      Crusaders are super underrated. I think the only reason we don’t see more of them is because the models are kind of hard to come by. I have some models I have been thinking of converting into Catachan themed Crusaders, though. They’re quite good.

      • Avatar
        Smotejob June 11, 2018 3:53 pm #

        I used AoS chais warriors with shields. Filed/clipped off all the chaos bits and replaced a helmets with helmetless heads then added powerswords from my stock pile of spare grey Knight/ space Marine bits.

        Look pretty good and an easy conversion

        • Reecius
          Reecius June 12, 2018 8:33 am #

          That does indeed sound like a nice easy conversion.

        • Avatar
          Cheesey B June 13, 2018 9:57 am #

          I did the same thing! But I specifically only filed down the diagonal arrows on the chaos symbol so now it looks like a cross on the crusaders shield. They look badass.

      • Avatar
        Alpharius Walks June 11, 2018 4:08 pm #

        I keep thinking about this but it is sinking points into something very character dependent (need the priest and a psyker who are increasingly vulnerable to the proliferation of Fly close combat monsters and other Character-targeting goodness as codices come out) that folds over in the face of mortal wounds.

        Acts of Faith helps compensate for their speed but S3 also hurts without many sources to improve/reroll to wound. The reliance on a psyker to be at their best also limits taking multiple units.

        It would definitely be interesting to see someone make competitive use of them and what that build looks like.

        • Reecius
          Reecius June 12, 2018 8:33 am #

          I run lots of little squishy characters and I find that they are only really ever vulnerable to snipers. Mine just stand in among the infantry/conscripts/Bullgryn and never get touched apart form Straken who will often charge into combat as he hits very hard. If someone wants to send in a Captain or Daemon Prince or something, lol, bring it on! The Bullgryn will eat them for lunch and baring that the Catachan infantry with 3 strength 4 attacks each will pick up the slack if they need to.

          • Avatar
            Alpharius Walks June 12, 2018 9:55 am

            Gotcha. Usually I get people taking Headhunter and going hard for the squishy characters with anything that has Fly.

          • Reecius
            Reecius June 12, 2018 10:03 am

            Fair play. I welcome it, lol. If someone bum rushed me with a bunch of Fly characters they’d just be feeding me.

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    TheThievingMick June 11, 2018 3:36 pm #

    Dude! Thanks so much for this article! It’s great to see in depth, post-FAQ tactics for guard!

    Do you think running this as Valhallan could be good too? I have to think that shooting into combat would be super good for a list like this–especially with fearless conscripts and half losses to morale. But…would you lose too much firepower compared to Catachan?

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 12, 2018 8:35 am #

      You got it!

      Yeah, Valhalla works very well with the relic pistol to make the Conscripts near fearless. I’d play them with lots of Leman Russ command tanks and a super heavy tank to take advantage of their ignoring most of the damage table.

      As for the Conscripts, I think you gain as much with defense as you lose on offense making it wash. I only play Catachan because I love them. I’ve had Catachans since 2nd edition. This edition I’d play Tallarn or some other Regiment to mix it up but I don’t feel like painting another AM army! haha

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    Dylan June 12, 2018 11:06 am #

    Nice to see a tournament list that isn’t trying to spam points efficient units.

    Heckhounds are amazing. And I’ve recently incorporated Blood Angels Death Company into my army just for that mobility. But 9 bullgryn are stupidly good with powers and strategems.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 12, 2018 12:32 pm #

      Yeah, I pretty much never take spam lists. I am not against them or anything, i just personally enjoy the game more playing wit ha variety of units.

      And I agree fully, Hellhounds are really good. I just can’t choose between having them and losing the awesome Custodes Strats. It’s a tough choice.

  12. Avatar
    Duz_ June 14, 2018 11:38 am #

    Reece please stop talking up Bullgryns!

    Im blaming you if CA or a FAQ needs them! 😛

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 14, 2018 11:46 am #

      lol, I do think their Slab shield needs to be worded to not buff invul saves though, for reals. It’s not game breaking or anything but cannot have been intent. Otherwise I think they’re 100% on point as just a great unit.

      • Avatar
        Duz_ June 15, 2018 4:11 am #

        Slabshields buff invul saves?
        Or stacking buff on the brute shields 4++?
        Im ok with them changing the latter I like running all Slabshields.
        Giving them a 2++/3++ is obnoxious.

        Nothing worse than having them wiped out by units with D:3 profiles though!

        If they went up a few points I wouldn’t be surprised.

  13. Avatar
    Nell Byler June 16, 2018 5:32 pm #

    I wish more people did list reviews like this! Perfect mix of just-the-highlights unit stats without gorey details (cuz that’s what the codex is for), but lots of details where I want them — your tactics as a commander: how you see the battlefield role of each unit/why you include them, and how they interact with other units as a part of a full 2k list. Plus pretty pictures to ooh and ahh over and break up text. Awesome!

    As evidence from reading the comments above, this kind of presentation really opens up the floor for a more nuanced discussion of tactics beyond the binary “competitive/non-competitive” labels people tend to stick to and, imo, can lead to some bad habits in list building.

    Thanks for the interesting read:)

  14. Avatar
    Fluorescent Alpaca June 19, 2018 9:09 am #


    How do you think your list would change in a meta where Knight armies were predominant?

    or would you just have to practice against those lists more to figure out how you would need to counteract them

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 19, 2018 11:29 am #

      Knights don’t really bother me. Bullgryn/Custodes will smash them in melee if they get close, and unless they have a TON of shots, they can’t shoot me to death, either. If they don’t come close, they will struggle with objectives.

      I mean, you never know what happens in any individual game but going into a game vs. Knights I would feel very confident.

  15. Avatar
    Grantham July 3, 2018 3:57 pm #

    How would you address a knights ability to hammer characters down with shield breaker missiles. That does give them a unique ability when coupled with snipers and some types of assassins to pick apart your buff bubbles.

  16. Avatar
    Imrane April 3, 2019 4:31 am #


    Do you have any update on this list since you posted it 8 months ago?

    What about assassins?

    If you were to make a full catachan list, what would you include?

    Thanks, this article is great job as it explains how to build competitve list

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