Tuesday, 2 January 2018

The Best Units in Astra Militarum, 8th Edition

Hi folks,
I've been researching the best units in Astra Militarum (AM) pretty heavily and have come across some incredible resources, plus indulged my love of a good spreadsheet and done a little analysis of my own. What you'll see here is a summary of the most popular units in the top 18 ITC lists of 2017 for AM and some links to the resources I have been digesting. My data on AM comes from the US ITC tournaments which were numerous and diverse in terms of meta to produce some results I think are worth taking some instruction from - these are lovingly compiled by the guys at Frontline Gaming, all credit to them for collating this info.

To begin with, AM have done very well in 8th Edition ITC tournaments in 2017. They are in the top 5 factions across 2017 which also include Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Orcs and Tyranids. This is a big swing from 7th Edition which featured Eldar heavily, alongside Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Tau & Chaos Daemons. No doubt as each faction gets a new codex next year we will see more changes.

My addition to the great work from Frontline is to collate any AM lists that got a top 3 placing at 20 of the ITC 8th Edition tournaments last year and list out the units I found there. I sorted the units into 'buckets' of battlefield roles and then listed the top 3 (or less where there wasn't enough diversity!) to produce the units that people find most optimal and voila....

The # denotes the number of times this Unit appeared in the lists and the % indicates the percentage this unit represents for all the entries for this battlefield role. So what does all this tell us? Well there are some really dominant units:

-Primaris Psyker and Tempestor Prime - joint top in this section and responsible for 60% of all unit entries in this category! So you'd be ok if you selected these I guess! Perhaps now that Smite is getting harder to cast effectively we will see the Psykers fall back a little but I expect not given how useful one or two castings per turn may be and also how useful Nightshroud, Psychic Barrier and Mental Fortitude are in an AM list. The Tempestor Prime I suspect is also linked to the dominance of the Taurox Prime as a cheap gun wagon - the gatling cannon reigned supreme here and also the ability of the Scions to deep strike onto objectives providing an AM force with much needed mobility.

- Conscripts dominate here. They were stronger before the Codex and FAQ came out so I expect that
number would be lower if we were to look at it again six months from now but they still provide heavy numbers and are cheap. I like their singular use and purpose in life although have not yet gotten over my prior edition disdain for them enough to field them on the table. Plenty of others have though and with great success!
- Scions are next with over a quarter of all troop slots in these top 18 lists. I think the BS 3+, mobility and cheap special weapons are what are attracting players to these units - that and the Taurox Prime tie-in which has seen gatling cannons everywhere. See transport unit section below! The Scions P are those armed with 2 plasmaguns at least (25%), and Scions M are Scions with Meltaguns (5%).
- the good old infantry squad isn't dead though and accounts for 20% of selections, this unit may well benefit from the reduction in the strengths of conscripts.
Conscripts and Infantry Squads are essential to the bubble-wrap that is needed of an AM gun line so no surprise to see them in great numbers in these winning lists - conscripts being the single most popular unit of all.

- Astropaths, I had missed how useful these are. They offer to prevent an enemy unit within 18" from gaining the benefit of cover, but most importantly they are a source of Smite, or one of the solid AM psyker powers. At 15 points they are a steal so no wonder they are abundant!
- Scion Command Squad with Plasma - I can only assume that the option to deepstrike plasma at BS 3 is too great to resist. It will be for me! The same goes for the AM Command Squad with Plasma.
- Commissars - these were FAQ'd and that may reduce their appeal in the new year.

- Not many lists had fast slots in them. Only a few went for the full brigade detachment and 9 lovely command points, but the humble sentinel seems to be the unit of choice to fulfil this slot. The load outs seemed to suggest they were a make-weight. My experience of them has indicated that they can boost your deepstrike protection with their pre-game move and also add something to the bubble-wrap you want to put down around an artillery car-park.

- Not much to say here other than Taurox Prime! There was not a single Chimera in sight (much to my dismay as I have always loved them) and the gatling cannon variant was prevalent.

- Heavy Weapon Teams with Mortars are the single biggest player here. I think that is in part to fill out the Heavy Slot with a cheap option, but that belies their usefulness. They put out D6 shots each per turn and do not need line of sight. They can also offer some more bubble wrap for artillery pieces.  I used a few for the first time last week and was amazed at how they would just chip away at wounds each turn. Brilliant!
- Wyvern, Earthshaker and Manticore - I was surprised to see fewer of these than there are. I have always loved their long-range, indirect fire. Especially the Manticore. Together they make up nearly 40% of units in the Heavy slot.

I guess I should point out that these tournament winning (or well placing) lists are boosted by the synchronicity of the units there-in, rather than their individual selection. However, there are some very strong correlations here that can't be ignored by anyone wanting to compete strongly with AM. Also of note is the dominance of pure AM lists, few of the lists had allied in another force in strength, other than those who had Celestine for example. By and large, the lists were fully AM.

I would love to hear your reactions to this all, please post below or in any of the forums where we share this article.



fourdadsoftheapocalypse.blogspot.co.uk – A blog about Warhammer 40k and the Horus Heresy by four Dads

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