Astra Militarum go 5-0 at the London GT Part 2

Hey everyone, Reecius here to wrap up my LGT report!

If you missed part 1 explaining how my list works you can read it, here.

Game 1: Adpetus Custodes

Opponent’s list from memory:

  • PLAYER NAME: David Cole
  • ARMY FACTIONS: Adeptus Custodies and Space Marines
  • TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 11 cp – 1 cp for Relic: 10cp
  • TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 1971 pts
  • Battalion Detachment, [1574] +5 CP
  • HQ1: Shield-Captain In Allarus Terminator Armour (130) – Balistus grenade launcher (0), Castallan Axe (14) – [144]
  • HQ2: Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike (150) – Interceptor Lance (0), Hurricane Bolters (10),  Relic Auric Aquilas (-1 CP) -[160]
  • Troop1: 4 Custodian Guard (160)- 2x Guardian spear (24), 2x Sentinel Blade (18), 2x Storm Shield (20)- [222]
  • Troop2: 3 Custodian Guard (120) – 2x Guardian spear (24), 1x Sentinel Blade (9), 1x Storm Shield (10)- [163]
  • Troop3: 3 Custodian Guard (120) – 2x Guardian spear (24), 1x Sentinel Blade (9), 1x Storm Shield (10)- [163]
  • Elite1: 5 Custodian Wardens (245) – 5x Castallan Axe (70), 5x Misericordia (20)- [335]
  • Elite2: Vexillus Praetor (80)- Vexilla Magnifica (30), Misericodia (4) – [114]
  • FA1: 3 Vertus Praetors (240) – 3x Interceptor Lance (0), 3x Hurricane Bolters (30) -[270]
  • Super Heavy A [400 Points] +0 CP
  • LoW1: Roboute Guilliman (400) – WARLORD (+3 CP) – [400]

An interesting list. I have not played against largely foot Custodes before, and he had some seriously scary melee units that I knew were going to be coming right at me. This game would come down to whether or not my Bullgryn would be able to handle the oncoming Custodes and Bobby G who with his Mortal Wound dealing sword, could chop them up into bits. I knew if I could take this punch and survive, with his low model count, winning the board control game would be fairly easy for my much larger army.

I deployed in a phalanx style formation with the Conscripts in the front and the Bullgryn behind them, supported by the Vexilor. And as you can see, the Scout Sentinels were lurking up in a corner to go for objectives later in the game.

My opponent bum rushed me and I advanced to meet his charge. The key actions of the game were on the turn we met in combat. I was able to focus fire his Jetbikes down with massed firepower and most importantly, I stopped the Wardens from making their charge with a Tanglefoot Grenade (that stratagem is so good it’s stupid) from my Vexilor who was right behind the Conscripts (who ate a TON of firepower as my opponent cleared them out of the way to charge my good units, which is exactly what you want them to do) and Bobby G failed his long charge into the Bullgryn. This allowed me to charge them, and the Bullgryn obliterated Bobby G and piled into the Wardens where they got into a grinding combat and eventually won but took quite a few casualties on the way. Those Wardens are MEAN in combat, holy cow. When the dust settled it was a bit of a Pyrrhic victory as the Bullgryn were down to just a few left but my opponent’s best units had failed to break through them.

With the back of my opponent’s army broken, I was in control of the flow of the game and was establishing board control as my opponent tried to get all the points he could. However, the game started to swing back my opponent’s way when a resurrected Bobby G went absolutely ham and started picking off my units seemingly unable to fail a save, and I started to draw really poor Maelstrom cards. By the end of the game I had a hand of cards I could not score and my opponent drew a great hand and narrowed my lead down to just a few points, leaving me with a narrow victory in what was a very fun game. Also good to note: my Custodian Guard were able to drop onto an objective and between they and some support from Rough Riders took it from my opponent’s Custodian Guard, although Bobby G came back and killed all of them, lol. Custodes vs. Custodes is some seriously bloody combat.

I was impressed with my opponent’s ability to come back and make a game of it from what was initially a really vicious blow to his army early game.

Best moments:

  • The Rough Riders came in from Outflank and had a chance to finish off Bobby G who had only 2 wounds left but missed with every attack in melee….doh!
  • The Jetbike Captain waited for my opponent’s Jetbike Captain to commit to battle and then counter-charged with Stooping dive and took him out.
  • Bobby G coming back with 2 wounds and killing at least 1/3 of my army on a solo mission for glory!

Great game with a super nice and fun opponent.

Result: Catachans win!

Game 2: Blood Angels

Opponent’s list from memory:

  • Player Name: Steve Tiencken
  • Army Faction: Blood Angels
  • Total Command Points: 9
  • Total Army Points: 2000
  • Battalion detachment: 1070 Pts + 5 CP
  • HQ1: Captain Tycho [95] – [95pts]
  • HQ2: Chief Librarian Mephiston [145]– WARLORD – [145pts]
  • Troops1: 5 man Scout Squad [55], 5x sniper rifles [4, 1 on sergeant] 5x camo cloaks [3, 1 on sergeant] – [90pts]
  • Troops2: 5 man Tactical Squad [65] 5x bolt pistols[0,1 on sergeant], 3x bolters [0], 1x meltagun [17], 1x combi melta [sergeant, 19] [101 pts]
  • Troops3: 5 man Tactical Squad [65], 4x bolt pistols[0], 3x bolters [0], 1x heavy flamer [17], 1x combi-flamer [sergeant, 11] 1x power sword [sergeant, 4] 1x melta bombs [sergeant, 5] – [102 pts]
  • FA1: Attack bike [35] 1x twin boltgun [2], 1x multimelta [27] 2x bolt pistols [0] – [64pts]
  • FA2: 5 man Scout Bike Squad [115] 5x twin boltgun [10, 1 on sergeant] 5x Astartes combat shotguns [0, 1 on sergeant], 5 x combat knives [0, 1 on sergeant] 5 x bolt pistols [0, 1 on sergeant]
  • Dedicated Transport1: Razorback [70], twin assault cannons [44], storm bolter [2] – [116 pts]
  • Dedicated Transport2: Razorback [70], twin assault cannons [44], storm bolter [2] – [116 pts]
  • Dedicated Transport3: Razorback [70], twin assault cannons [44], storm bolter [2] – [116 pts]
  • Vanguard Detachment 930 Pts + 1CP
  • HQ1: Chaplain [72], Inferno pistol [9], crozius arcanum [0], jump pack [18], Angel’s Wing [Relic] – [99pts]
  • Elite1: Relic Sicaran Battle Tank [155], heavy bolter [10], 2x lascannons [50] twin accelerator cannon [0] – [215 pts]
  • Elite2: Death Company [85], 4x inferno pistols [36], 4x chainswords [0], 1x bolt pistol [0] 1 x ]power sword [4] 5x jump packs [15] – [140 pts]
  • Elite3: Death Company [85], 5x boltguns [0], 5x chainswords [0] – [85 pts]
  • HS1: Land Raider [239], 2x twin lascannons [100], 1x twin heavy bolter [17], 1x storm bolter [2], 1x multimelta [27], 1x hunter killer missile [6] – [391 pts]

So, a list with a bit of everything in it and one that at a glance I didn’t think I’d have a lot of trouble with but I had to respect the fact that my opponent had already won a game and didn’t want to underestimate him or his list.

I got first turn which I took (in the LGT format you went first pretty much every time if you won the roll due to the scoring structure) and managed to deal a fair bit of damage right away plus was able to move the Conscripts and Bullgryn into position for a turn 2 assault in addition to getting psychic buffs up. My opponent countered by sending Mephiston and Lemartes after my flank held by my tanks and Harker. My opponent unfortunately failed the charge for both models and I managed to intercept them with my Jetbike Captain and some Rough Riders who made short work of them. That was a tough break for him.

The Bullgryn and Conscripts went into the Land Raider and used it to get extra movement and pile into my opponent’s backfield where they touched tanks in melee to stop them from shooting and generally bash things up in combat. Once the Custodian Guard got in there to add their considerable melee punch there wasn’t a lot he could do to stop it. The game was largely going my way but I have to credit my opponent for a really slick play. I totally brain-farted on the fact that Jump Pack troops could ride in a Land Raider and my opponent disembarked them from his, then jumped over the Bullgry and Conscripts and right into three of my support characters whom they minced in combat, lol! Oops. Unfortunately for my opponent, he didn’t realize how good Catachans are in melee and they pummeled the Death Company right afterwards but I totally did not see that play coming and it got him quite a few points for killing characters.

In all, a game that was very tough for my opponent to win as his list had a lot of cool elements in it with mobility, firepower and some solid melee but it wasn’t good enough at any of them to take me down and the Catachans were able to win the day.

Result: Catachans win!

Game 3: T’au

Opponent’s list form memory:

  • PLAYER NAME: Andrew Gonyo
  • TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 1996 pt
  • Brigade Detachment, T’au Sept [995 Pts] +12 CP
  • HQ1: Cadre Fireblade (39): Markerlight (3) – [42 Pts]
  • HQ2: Darkstrider (45) – [45 pts]
  • HQ3: Commander in XV8 Crisis Battle Suit (72): Drone Controller (5), 3 Cyclic Ion Blaster (3x 18=54) – {WARLORD} – RELIC: Vectored Maneuvering Thrusters [131 Pts]
  • Troop1:  5 Strike Team (35): Fire Warrior Shas’ui (0) Markerlight on Shas’ui (3), 5 Pulse Rifle (0) – [38 pts]
  • Troop2:  5 Strike Team (35): Fire Warrior Shas’ui (0) Markerlight on Shas’ui (3), 5 Pulse Rifle (0) – [38 pts]
  • Troop3:  5 Strike Team (35): Fire Warrior Shas’ui (0) Markerlight on Shas’ui (3), 5 Pulse Rifle (0) – [38 pts]
  • Troop4:  5 Strike Team (35): Fire Warrior Shas’ui (0) Markerlight on Shas’ui (3), 5 Pulse Rifle (0) – [38 pts]
  • Troop5:  5 Strike Team (35): Fire Warrior Shas’ui (0) Markerlight on Shas’ui (3), 5 Pulse Rifle (0) – [38 pts]
  • Troop6:  5 Strike Team (35): Fire Warrior Shas’ui (0) Markerlight on Shas’ui (3), 5 Pulse Rifle (0) – [38 pts]
  • Elite1: Firesight Marksmen (21): Pulse Pistol (1), Markerlight (3) – [25 pts]
  • Elite2: Firesight Marksmen (21): Pulse Pistol (1), Markerlight (3) – [25 pts]
  • Elite3: Firesight Marksmen (21): Pulse Pistol (1), Markerlight (3) – [25 pts]
  • FA1: 4 Kroot Hounds (16) – [16 Pts]
  • FA2: 4 Tactical Drones – MV4 Shield Drone (40) – [40 pts]
  • FA3: 4 Tactical Drones – MV4 Shield Drone (40) – [40 pts]
  • HS1: 7 MV71 Sniper Drones (126) – [126 pts]
  • HS2: 7 MV71 Sniper Drones (126) – [126 pts]
  • HS3: 7 MV71 Sniper Drones (126) – [126 pts]
  • Battalion Detachment, T’au Sept [1001 Pts] +5 CP
  • HQ4: Ethereal (45): Honor Blade (0) – [45 Pts]
  • HQ5: Longstrike (137): Ion Cannon (35), 2 Smart Missile System (2×15=30), 2 Seeker Missiles (2×5=10) – [212 pts]
  • Troop7:  5 Strike Team (35): Fire Warrior Shas’ui (0) Markerlight on Shas’ui (3), 5 Pulse Rifle (0) – [38 pts]
  • Troop8:  5 Strike Team (35): Fire Warrior Shas’ui (0) Markerlight on Shas’ui (3), 5 Pulse Rifle (0) – [38 pts]
  • Troop9:  5 Strike Team (35): Fire Warrior Shas’ui (0) Markerlight on Shas’ui (3), 5 Pulse Rifle (0) – [38 pts]
  • Elite4: XV104 Riptide Battlesuit (185): Heavy Burst Cannon (35), 2 Smart Missile Systems (2×15=30), Advanced Targeting System (18), Target Lock (12) – [280 pts]
  • HS4: TX7 Hammerhead Gunship (100): Ion Cannon (35), 2 Smart Missile System (2×15=30), 2 Seeker Missiles (2×5=10) – [175 pts]
  • HS5: TX7 Hammerhead Gunship (100): Ion Cannon (35), 2 Smart Missile System (2×15=30), 2 Seeker Missiles (2×5=10) – [175 pts]

Big thanks to Mike for taking all the pictures for this game!

I fly all the way to London to play 40k and my next opponent is none other than Mr. Andrew Gonyo! Lol, that was pretty funny but it was cool as he and I, despite being at tons of the same events together, had never actually played one another. And as Andrew had recently won both the NOVA Open and Invitational in the same year and was a prominent member of the USA ETC team, I knew I was in for a very challenging game. Plus T’au, regardless of what some loud voices may say on the interwebs, are a damn good army and were in the finals of the Invitational at the same event.

Andrew had a list similar to that which I was planning on running with loads of Sniper Drones. And I have to say, seeing them in action they are brutally effective as I will explain.

I knew this game would come down to if I could keep the T’au pinned in their deployment zone or not, and a lot of that was dependent on going first. As I got the +1 to go first, it was likely I would and as it turned out, I did. That was really important as it allowed me to take out a unit of Sniper Drones with all of my Artillery turn 1 and to get up-field and buff up the Conscripts and Bullgryn. On Andrew’s turn, he proceeded to light me up with his T’au doing a ton of damage but the fact that I could get the Conscripts up to a 4++ and the Bulgryn to a 2++ made them very difficult to hurt and I rolled hot on my Conscript saves, keeping them alive in the face of that withering firepower. That was two lucky breaks for me and put me in a very good position as I was covering most of the objectives on the table at this point.

I was playing ultra aggressively for the mission objectives and was sacrificing units left and right to win maelstrom cards and to keep the T’au in their deployment zone. The strategy was paying off as I started to pull ahead on the scoreboard quite a bit. However, in turn 2 something I have never seen happen, did so. I had the Bullgryn in range for an assured turn 3 charge (I would have attempted the long turn 2 charge with with T’au overwatch being what it is, it was too risky to attempt), and the Conscripts ate quite a bit more fire before finally evaporating but then Andrew popped his re-roll aura on his Commander and shot his entire army into the Bullgryn.

That is usually a big mistake, but in this instance he was able to chew through my Bullgryn’s tough saves–even with CP and Warlord re-rolls–and land a wound on them from Firewarriors. He then used his +1 to wound strat on them and the Sniper Drones with a +1 to hit form Marker Lights (he had tons of Marker Lights and always got the +1 to hit wherever he needed it) and re-rolls to hit then proceeded to put 14 Mortal Wound on the poor Bullgryn, lol! This in addition to the Ionheads and Riptide left them nothing more than smoking boots. I have NEVER had the entire unit get killed like that, ever. Even with an entire army shooting them. To be fair, I rolled a lot of 1’s to make it happen but still, holy crap those Sniper Drones are lethal when buffed up in this manner.

So, all of a sudden I was out of steam on the assault, lol. I only had a few units left that were viable to apply pressure and keep him pinned in. I had the Jetbike Captain take out a Hammerhead and jump on an objective and the Custodian Guard drop down on another to continue to increase my lead on the scoreboard, but both units got shot down over the next turn. Again, the Sniper Drones waxed the Captain fairly easily with the various buffs they had. When those two units got popped I had nothing left to apply pressure and was forced to switch to a defensive posture and hope my lead would hold.

Andrew being a good player, saw his opportunity and went on the offensive hard. He managed to obliterate my remaining infantry in one turn of shooting, again with the Sniper Drones doing the majority of the damage. They were just wrecking me, the increases to accuracy and damage with the +1 to wound strat were just savage. I was definitely on my back foot at this point as I was just hiding what units I had left and the Riptide was coming up a flank with me having nothing left to stop him. Basically all I had left was Rough Riders to go for objective points and my tanks to keep shooting until they ultimately would get destroyed.

Unfortunately, time came up here at the end of turn 4. This was the only game I didn’t have go the distance in the LGT Open. Every other game finished naturally and it was a bummer as Andrew was in a good position to come back and possibly win it if he drew good Maelstrom cards turn 5 and 6. I had a big lead but at this point I had very few assets to score with and the Riptide would have probably taken out at least 2 of my tanks (who had been doing work all game, taking out a Hammerhead and loads of infantry) and taking an objective, too. So that was disappointing as it never feels good to win that way when there is a question as to if the other player may have won had you finished. However, Andrew and I were playing a mega fun game, drinking some beers and really enjoying ourselves and when we realized we were running out of time we played as fast as possible to try and finish so it’s all good. Definitely the most enjoyable game of the entire event for me and all of my games were fun so that is saying something.

Things I learned:

  • The Sniper Drones when in a list that can support them the way this one did, must be target priority number 1. The Marker Lights were too hard to take out being buried in squads or on Characters. I should have leveraged more assets to focus on them instead of trying to take out the Hammerheads who were less of a threat.
  • I can’t overestimate how tough my units are, even with the strong invul saves as they still die in droves to volume of fire.

Result: Catachans win!

Game 4: Cadians

  • PLAYER: Michal Ruminski
  • ARMY FACTIONS USED: Astra Militarum, Adeptus Custodes
  • TOTAL KP: 11
  • STEPS: 11
  • == Batallion Detachment – Astra Militarum, Cadia == [980] +5 CP
  • HQ1: Knight Commander Pask, Battle Cannon (22), Sponson Heavy Bolters (16), Hull Lascannon (20), Hunter Killer Missile (6), Storm Bolter (2), Cadian – [243pts]
  • HQ2: Tank Commander, Battle Cannon (22), Sponson Heavy Bolters (16), Hull Lascannon (20), Cadian – [225pts]
  • HQ3: Tank Commander, Battle Cannon (22), Sponson Heavy Bolters (16), Hull Lascannon (20), Cadian – [225pts]
  • TROOPS1: 9 Infantry Squad, Heavy Weapons Team Mortar (5), Cadian – [45pts]
  • TROOPS2: 9 Infantry Squad, Heavy Weapons Team Mortar (5), Cadian – [45pts]
  • TROOPS3: 9 Infantry Squad, Heavy Weapons Team Mortar (5), Cadian – [45pts]
  • HS1: 1 Leman Russ Battle Tank, Battle Cannon (22), Hull Heavy Bolter (8), Cadian – [152pts]
  • == Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment – Astra Militarum, Cadia == [540] +0 CP
  • LoW: Shadowsword, Twin Heavy Bolter (14), 2×2 Lascannon (80) & 2×2 Twin Heavy Bolter Sponsons (56), Cadian – [540pts]
  • == Supreme Command Detachment – Adeptus Custodes == [480pts] +1 CP
  • HQ1: Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike, Hurricane Bolter (10), Warlord, Auric Aquilas – [160pts]
  • HQ2: Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike, Hurricane Bolter (10) – [160pts]
  • HQ3: Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike, Hurricane Bolter (10) – [160pts]

A tough list! Shadowswords are a bear to deal with but the really surprising aspect to this army was how incredibly potent the tank commanders ended up being! They did the most damage in this game by a mile as I will explain.

My opponent unsurprisingly got first turn and then I waited to see which vehicle he would vaporize with the Shadowsword, lol. He wisely aced my Basilisk as that is the most dangerous ranged unit I have for hurting his tanks, and then pummeled quite a few other units with his considerable firepower. However, he made one big mistake that ultimately cost him the game: he deployed the Shadowsword on the line to hit me with maximum firepower turn 1. This unfortunately left him in range of the Bullgryn who pulp big vehicles like this in melee. So, what would have been a really tough game for me ended up boiling down to him desperately trying to take out the Bullgryn before they smashed the Shadowsword and then went into his backfield. Seeing this, it allowed me to counter-punch and hit him in melee on my terms with Straken, the Jetbike Captain, the Custodian Guard out of deeps-trike using the Vexilor, and of course, the Bullgryn.

The game turned into a scrum mid-table where I was able to let him hit the Bullgry with everything and then counter. Again, the Conscript screen were absolutely clutch as they took the Shadowsword over-watch for the Bullgryn and were also to absorb charges from the Jetbike Captains, too. By turn 3, the Jetbike Captains and the Shadowsword were dead and my opponent–while having done a lot of damage to me–was on his back foot without much ability to score mission points. I focused on taking out his remaining infantry and then applying pressure to his Leman Russ tanks, sacrificing units where needed to stop them from shooting or advancing. My opponent did his best to score points where he could and kept me from running away with the game but it was a rearguard action. This left me in position to earn a narrow win when the dust settled on turn 5.

Had my opponent simply deployed further back, it would have allowed him to shoot the Shadowsword most of the game as he could have jammed me up with the Shield Captains one after the other, keeping my from getting to him. He would have sacrificed board position to do this and allowed me to get up on the scoreboard early but could have planned to come back in the later turns to make up that early deficit. That said, it was still a tough game and my opponent was extremely nice with a beautiful army. Best looking army I played at the event by a mile.

Special mention must go to the Command Tanks. As Cadian they re-roll 1’s to hit if they don’t move, and have a re-roll order for the number of shots they fire on their Battle Cannons. So they were very efficient, and hitting on a 3+ or 2+ with Pask was solid. As I had my hands full dealing with the Jetbike Captains they were free to fire most of the game and had they not been forced to try and deal with the Bullgryn (who could tank a lot of that firepower) they would have been really smashing me up. I certainly have a newfound respect for those tanks and am considering seeing if I can work one in to my list as Catachans get the re-roll on the number of shots and can get a re-roll 1’s to hit via Harker or a Tank Order for a very similar result.

Result: Catachans win!

Game 5: Drukhari

  • PLAYER NAME: Nathan Brooks
  • ARMY FACTIONS: Aeldari (Drukhari and Alaitoc)
  • TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 2000 pts
  • Spearhead Detachment; Aeldari, Drukhari: Kabal of the Black Heart [1080 Points] + 1 CP
  • HQ1: Archon (70), Splinter Pistol (0), Huskblade (6) – WARLORD – RELIC: WRIT OF THE LIVING MUSE – [76pts]
  • Troop 1: 5 Kabalite Warriors (30), 4 Splinter Rifles (0, 1 on Sybarite), 1 Blaster (17) – [47pts]
  • Troop 2: 5 Kabalite Warriors (30), 4 Splinter Rifles (0, 1 on Sybarite), 1 Blaster (17) – [47pts]
  • Heavy Support 1: Ravager (80), Bladevanes (0), 3 Disintegrator Cannons (45) – [125pts]
  • Heavy Support 2: Ravager (80), Bladevanes (0), 3 Disintegrator Cannons (45) – [125pts]
  • Heavy Support 3: Ravager (80), Bladevanes (0), 3 Disintegrator Cannons (45) – [125pts]
  • Flyer 1: Razorwing Jetfighter (105), 2 Disintegrator Cannons (30), Splinter Cannon (10), Razorwing Missiles (0) – [145pts]
  • Flyer 2: Razorwing Jetfighter (105), 2 Dark Lances (40), Splinter Cannon (10), Razorwing Missiles (0) – [155pts]
  • Dedicated Transport1: Raider (65), Dark Lance (20), Bladevanes (0) – [85pts]
  • Dedicated Transport2: Venom (55), 2 Splinter Cannons (20), Bladevanes (0) – [75pts]
  • Dedicated Transport3: Venom (55), 2 Splinter Cannons (20), Bladevanes (0) – [75pts]
  • Outrider Detachment; Aeldari, Drukhari: Cult of the Red Grief [405 Points] + 1 CP
  • HQ1: Succubus (50), Splinter Pistol (0), Archite Glaive (0) – [50pts]
  • Troop1: 6 Wyches (48), 5 Splinter Pistols (0, 1 on Hekatrix), 5 Hekatarii blade (0, 1 on Hekatrix), 6 Plasma grenades (0, 1 on Hekatrix), 1 Shardnet and impaler (5) – [53pts]
  • Fast Attack1: 6 Reavers (114), 6 Bladevanes (0, 1 on Arena Champion), 6 Splinter Pistol (0, 1 on Arena Champion), 4 Splinter Rifles (0), 2 Blasters (34, 1 on Arena Champion), 2 Grav-talons (6) – [154pts]
  • Fast Attack2: 3 Reavers (57), 3 Bladevanes (0, 1 on Arena Champion), 3 Splinter Pistol (0, 1 on Arena Champion), 2 Splinter Rifles (0), 1 Blaster (17, 1 on Arena Champion) – [74pts]
  • Fast Attack3: 3 Reavers (57), 3 Bladevanes (0, 1 on Arena Champion), 3 Splinter Pistol (0, 1 on Arena Champion), 2 Splinter Rifles (0), 1 Blaster (17, 1 on Arena Champion) – [74pts]
  • Battalion Detachment; Aeldari, Asuryani: Alaitoc [515 Points] + 5 CP
  • HQ1: Farseer Skyrunner (130), Shuriken Pistol (0), Witchblade (0), Twin Shuriken Catapult (5) – [135pts]
  • HQ2: Warlock Skyrunner (65), Shuriken Pistol (0), Witchblade (0), Twin Shuriken Catapult (5) – [70pts]
  • Troop1: 20 Guardian Defenders (160), 20 Shuriken Catapults (0), 20 Plasma Grenades (0),
  • 2 Heavy Weapon Platforms (10), 2 Shuriken Cannons (20) – [190pts]
  • Troop2: 5 Rangers (60), 5 Shuriken Pistols (0), 5 Ranger Long Rifle (0) – [60pts]
  • Troop3: 5 Rangers (60), 5 Shuriken Pistols (0), 5 Ranger Long Rifle (0) – [60pts]

A very nasty Drukhari list for my final game! This was going to be a tough fight but in my many test games with Frankie I knew the Drukhari really struggled to deal with the Bullgryn. The rest of my army though…lol, not so much! They would shred anything else they needed to kill so this was likely to be a very bloody game. This game would come down to the alpha strike and if my opponent had a good plan for dealing with the Bullgryn or not.

My opponent got first turn and lit me up with his mountain of firepower. The Vexilor really helped to keep my infantry alive but my poor tanks didn’t last too long (as to be expected) and the Russ and Basilisk were smoked pretty quickly. The Wyvern did work taking out infantry before he too ultimately got Dark Lanced to death. As my backfield started to fall apart, I have to admit I was sweating bullets!

The first two turns I was fighting for air, again sacrificing units like the Scout Sentinels and the Shield Captain for those all important points. I did get a lucky break when my Shield Captain rolled hot and survived a turn longer than he probably should have to take out another unit and score another objective before ultimately being shot to death. The turning point though, came when the Bullgryn got their steam going. Turn 2 my opponent simply move blocked them by sacrificing two MSU units of infantry which was a smart play but he had to do it because turn 1 he had accidentally deployed some Rangers too close to me and played his 6 strong Reaver unit too aggressively, allowing me to get extra movement up-field by charging them. Turn 3, the Bullgryn were free to pillage and had excellent field position in the middle of the table forcing my opponent to try and stay away from them making it hard to get mission points. This allowed me to spread out and pick units up here and there in melee, killing quite a bit and giving me board control.

My Custodians and Rough Riders came on to the table to grab objectives and by turn 4 I had a fairly dominating position despite having taken serious casualties. My opponent was low on units able to fight back and on turn 5 I pulled ahead quite a bit on the scoreboard, recovering from an early deficit, leaving me with a win in a very fun game with an extremely nice opponent.

Had he simply not given me the ability to get up-field on turn 1 with the Rangers and Reavers, and then used the delay tactic turn 3 and 4 instead of 2 on the Bullgryn, it would have been a much, much closer game but as with my last opponent, that one little mistake left an opening for me to exploit and created a momentum that the Drukhari ultimately couldn’t stop. Often with the Bullgryn, it is best to either stay away from them or just stand a unit in front of them to stop them from moving as far as they would normally. Things like Wyches who normally are great for pinning things down in combat and tying them up simply get beaten to death by Bullgryn unless you get very tricksy with your model positioning.

Result: Catachans win!

In the end, I finished 5 and 0 which was very cool but, I ended up in like 48th place or something like that due to it being a battle point tournament and therefore, winning or losing games was largely irrelevant. It came down to how many points you got and my army doesn’t really smash people, it wins missions through establishing board control. However, it’s no one’s fault but my own that I didn’t fully read or play-test the missions before going. So that is 100% on me.

Ultimately though, I am happy with my performance and most importantly I had 5 super fun games against very cool opponents.

Bonus Game: Invitational Round 1

Opponent’s list from memory:

  • Mike Foulks:
    Army faction: Nurgle
    Total command points: 9
    Total points: 1997
    Faction keyword Nurgle – Spearhead
    HQ1: Epidimius 100
    HS1: Plagueburst Crawler 140
    HS2: Plagueburst Crawler 140
    HS3: Plagueburst Crawler 140
    HS4: Obliterators NURGLE 195
    HS5: Obliterators NURGLE 195
    HS6: Obliterators NURGLE 195
    Faction keywords Nurgle and Daemon – Fortification Network
    Fortification 1: Feculent Gnarlmaw 85
    Fortification 2: Feculent Gnarlmaw 85
    Faction keywords Nurgle and Daemon – Batallion
    HQ2: Poxbringer (smite, heal d3 wounds power – wc5) 70
    HQ3: Poxbringer (smite, -1 to hit power – wc6) 70
    HQ4: Spoilpox Scrivener 75 [warlord trait: +1Ld within 6”]
    Troop1: 30 Plaguebearers instrument 220
    Troop2: 29 Plaguebearers instrument
    Troop3: 4 Nurglings 72

I played in the Invitational against a super cool opponent, Mike. It was the first game of the event, my first time playing the missions and we were both rusty as hell. Mike had recently had a new baby added to his family and I had been mega busy so this was actually my first tournament of the season! So, it was most assuredly a game of knocking the rust off for both of us.

It was a fun game apart from my rather punishing mental errors, lol. Nurgle is a bear for Astra Militarum to deal with in most cases (oh how I wish I had had my Hellhounds in this game!) but Custodes are quite good at dealing with them. I got first turn and made my first of two big mistakes of the game: I scouted the Sentinels up to tag two units of Plague Burst Crawlers in melee and touch a unit of Plague Bearers too, thinking I was a tactical genius and would stop them from charging or shooting on this turn 1 but totally forgot he could just leave combat and act normally due to the Gnarlwam…doh! So that was stupid, haha. He then rushed me but failed a turn 1 charge due to the bonkers good Tanglefoot Grenade off of the Vexilor allowing me to come in and smash up that unit of Plague Bearers with my various melee units.

From my initial blunder I had a chance to win the game when I flew my Shield Captain into a gap in his army just big enough to fit him and right next to his Warlord. I had the cards to give me something like 4 points if I killed the Warlord and I straight up forgot to charge him, lol. I was trying to play quickly as we were low on time and just brain-farted. Mike was nice enough to let me go back and charge him on a 4+ (which he absolutely didn’t have to do as we were well into the fight phase at that point) and of course, I rolled a 2, lol. So yeah, haha, can only laugh at that. Game winning play and I simply forget to execute on it. Now, there is no guarantee I kill the Warlord with the Shield Captain of course but it was very probable with command points, Victor of the Blood Games, etc.

That pretty much eliminated my ability to win the game and then Mike had some really good luck making three 9″ or longer charges to stop me from advancing without chewing through a bunch of units, first. He also, of course, retreated his Warlord to safety once he saw how vulnerable he was. One of these big charges was a lucky 12″ distance which delivered 30 Plague Bearers from out of reserves into my infantry units whom they smashed with a boatload of buffed attacks. Had he failed that charge or even just rolled the minimum 9″, a massed Catachan charge into them would have likely been a wipe out the other way. But, that is not how the dice fell. That put him in a position to come in and totally gunk up my backfield, trapping my assault units between two Nurgly anvils where they’d likely stay for several turns before breaking out.

When the game ended, we tied on points but as the invitational was single elimination we went to the tie breaker which was points destroyed and Mike had quite a few more points destroyed than me thanks to that big charge from the Plague Bearer bomb at the end of the game and so advanced to the next round. It was a bit of a comedy of errors as we both made some mistakes but I was glad to go through the paces before the open as I obviously needed it, lol.

Mike was a great opponent and a very cool dude whom I’d be happy to play again.

Result: Catachans lose on tie-breaker.

Wrapping It Up

As I am sure people will comment on it, you can see in the pictures that the terrain was aesthetically pretty lacking but to be fair, it was very practical and adequately blocked LoS, etc. and was fine to play on. I do have to say though, it was a bit frustrating to fly all the way to London and play with–in some case–completely unpainted or even not fully built terrain. As for the missions, as I said on our podcast, 100% responsibility on me for not having practiced them but I must say, the Maelstrom, while fun, is not really the best choice for competitive play, IMO. In open and narrative play I think they are awesome missions, and a LOT of fun. But for truly competitive play they aren’t optimal for a number of reasons:

  1. It was easy to lose or misplace cards or if you are a shady kind of person, to just stack your deck in a favorable way between games which would be nearly impossible to regulate.
  2. In my first game as noted, I drew a hand of cards I just couldn’t score at end game. Now I say this not because they were actually impossible to score such as drawing “destroy a flyer” when your opponent doesn’t have one or something like that, but because due to the nature of the game at that point they were all out of reach. Now, some folks may think that that is acceptable but I had a dominating board position, was already winning the game but got boned out of a big win due to just bad draws on the cards and my opponent hapenning to draw the few cards he could actually score. It was a bit too random for my tastes. I prefer the players having more agency over the outcome of the game.
  3. These missions massively favor going first. As you score points right away, and the missions include First Blood (although it is relatively few points), etc. if you won the roll to go first, you did. I do not like having so much incentive to make going first an auto-choice in many instances. Apart from certain specific lists, you basically automatically took first turn.

And as to some of the hurdles at the event with crowding and administration and such, I will let the dog lay as it has already been mentioned quite a bit. As said though, I had some very fun games with really cool opponents.

What I learned

I learned that my list is solid against a wide variety of opponents and that it wins through board control more so than destroying everything in site. I prefer that style of play but it turns out it isn’t as good for pure Battle Point style missions which incentivize you to go all out to smash your opponent and win by a mile or get smashed in the attempt.

I am still on the fence as to if I want to keep the Shield Captain and Custodian Guard. In further games I find the Custodian Guard are actually really good when you use the Vexilor to teleport them basically right in to melee and that the Shield Captain is very useful but often seems to under-perform. I would rather have a Space Marine Captain with a Thunder Hammer and Shield Eternal in most cases, honestly. He’s cheaper and with the various strats available can do at least as much if not more damage when you need him to. If I did keep the Custodians I’d actually like to go to a bigger unit of them as the more I play them the more I think they’re the better unit.

While the Custodes strats are excellent, what I am considering doing it just using the Vexilor and putting back in Hellhounds or some Vultures into my list to get more mobility and the ability to deal more damage at range. The Hellhounds particularly do work for me in practice. The ability to hit units regardless of their negative to hit modifiers or how much damage the tank has taken is very useful. As Catachans, you can re-roll the number of shots on 1D6 making them very efficient and running behind the Conscripts keeps them safe from being tagged in melee to stop them from shooting in most cases until at least mid-game.

The Bullgryn, while extremely good, are not invincible. I have had a number of games now where they have been wiped out so relying on them to do everything is going to lose you games. You have to have a strategy to win even if your opponent can deal with them or play around them.

I was very happy with the tanks. Every game and they often ended up doing a lot of damage. The mix between the high strength/high AP Basilisk and low AP and strength but high volume of re-roll wound firepower of the Wyvern gave me a lot of flexibility. The Wyvern was excellent for smoking infantry units that sat on objectives or for T7 or lower multi-wound targets with a 3+ or worse save as the re-rolls to wound and and buckets of dice it fires makes it good for piling damage on things. The ability to re-roll misses on either with Aerial Spotters is the key, as if you have to shoot with a -1 to hit, this gives you dramatically better odds to actually land hits. or, if you just really need to kill a target, hitting with 75% accuracy is great. The Russ was solid for splitting the middle between the two with potentially re-roll misses on his Battle Cannon and just a lot of D3 damage shots. I could see subbing in a Manticore as the 2D6 shots is great, so that is a consideration as well.

As my army is definitively a melee army more than a shooty army I actually felt the need for more long ranged firepower in many games. That is something I will play with to figure out how to get it worked out but in general, really enjoyed playing the army.

Thanks for reading!


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About Reecius

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

6 Responses to “Astra Militarum go 5-0 at the London GT Part 2”

  1. Adolf June 20, 2018 11:08 am #

    Cool to see such an unconventional list doing well!

    • Reecius June 20, 2018 12:03 pm #

      Thanks! Yeah, the army is very fun to play, I really enjoy it. Catachans were my second army in 40k, started playing them back in 2nd ed! It’s cool to have models for that long and still be able to use them, you know? Good investment.

  2. David Alastair Hayden June 20, 2018 6:20 pm #

    Awesome list and results, Reece! I love dynamic armies with varied units.

    I’m building a Custodes tournament list, and I’ve been tempted to take 3 Cadian tank commanders. Or now a Valiant or Castellan.

    • Reecius June 21, 2018 8:50 am #

      Thank you! It worked out well, I enjoyed playing it.

      Yeah, the Tank Commanders were no joke. Lots of firepower. I could see those or a Dominus class Knight complimenting Custodes very well.

  3. Whiskie June 22, 2018 5:44 am #

    Hey Reece, thanks for the cool pair of articles. Your Catachan lists are really interesting, I’m using them as inspiration for some lists of my own who include Deathwatch as allies instead of Custodes for a tournament in November! Have you considered fielding Deathwatch in your lists at all and what stands out as particularly valuable to you?

    • Reecius June 22, 2018 10:11 am #

      Nice to hear it inspired you!

      I think Deathwatch are amazing, personally. If you mixed in some Veteran Squads to drop in and nuke people with their Storm Bolters that would work very well, IMO.

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