Astra Militarum Vs. Chaos Space Marines – Rebel Grots Batrep

Hello all,

I’ve managed to get two games with the new Astra Militarum codex and so far I like what I’m seeing.  While some of the popular units have gone up in price a lot of others have come down or at least been discounted for upgrades that were moved from standard to optional.  With the units I’ve been building for my Rebel Grots I have seen an overall reduction in price so for me the army has kept the same basic feel and function but gained a boost thanks to the additional toys I can fit in.  Here’s a quick batrep of my first game, I’ll post the second one later.

The first game was 1500 points against Thor’s Disciples of Twilight.  He was using the Crimson Slaughter supplement and had (roughly) the following:

  • Chaos Lord Soulgore on Juggernaut.  Blade of the Relentless, 2+, It Will Not Die, etc.  This beatstick was attached to a unit of Spawn.
  • Warpsmith attached to CSM with melta, icon, and rhino.
  • CSM with plasma, icon, rhino.
  • 10 cultists with autoguns
  • 10 cultists with pistol and ccw.
  • Maulerfiend
  • Hellbrute with missile launcher
  • Helldrake with Hades Autocannon

I think that’s everything. I was using this list.

We played “The Relic” with Hammer and Anvil deployment, night fight was in effect and Thor had first turn. He had the Warpsmith and CSM riding toward my left flank, Maulerfiend left of center. Soulgore, spawn, and cultists were in the center with the second CSM squad and Hellbrute coming toward my right.

I had one Leman Russ and the Veterans on my left flank. The Primaris Psyker (Prescience and Forewarning) attached to the two-squad infantry blob on my right flank. Everything else was in the center. Other than the Basilisk I deployed at the front edge of my zone, which was my primary mistake in this game.

He came toward me at full speed with pretty much everything but didn’t do much damage on turn one. I put a hull point on the maulerfiend, cracked the Warpsmith’s rhino, and wounded a spawn. I also had one plasma vet toast himself.

On turn two the Maulerfiend blew up my vet’s chimera, killing several in the process. Soulgore and Spawn blew up the middle russ. The second CSM disembarked and helped the Helbrute wreck my Devil Dog. The shooty cultists took the Relic. In response I gunned down several of the Warpsmith’s CSM, shot down the cultist with the Relic, and tied up Soulgore with my Armored Sentinels. The two remaining plasma gunners in my vet squad toasted themselves.

From that point the Warpsmith’s squad wrecked the nearest Leman Russ while the Maulerfiend made it to the Basilisk and chewed it apart. Soulgore stayed locked with the Sentinels, slowly meltabombing them apart while tanking wounds with his 2+, until finishing them at the bottom of the 4th turn. I charged my Conscripts and Priest into the Maulerfiend to tie it up for the rest of the game. The plasma CSM charged the infantry blob and Psyker and were beat down after three rounds of combat. The shooty cultists reclaimed the relic and were slowly retreating with it. We called the game after 4 turns because my chances of wiping the cultists to deny him the Relic were slim to none so I couldn’t even push a draw.

As expected the Conscripts with Priest are a great tar pit.  They were able to tie up the Maulerfiend pretty much indefinitely. With three attacks and 21 fearless models to chew through it would need a minimum of 7 turns to fight its way out. The priest could gain Smash but still needed sixes to glance so those odds weren’t great either. Ultimately either side could eventually have won but neither was going to do so quickly.

The Armored Sentinels have been performing well for me; now they work the same for 15pts less each. The Missile Launcher, Lascannon, and Plasma Cannon upgrades were all reduced in price so I’m looking forward to trying those out sometime soon.

The Psyker was great – Prescience made the blob much more effective in shooting and close combat plus the Psyker gives the leadership boost to 9. That’s very handy for passing orders and morale. In close combat he brings a force weapon and some extra attacks which is also helpful. The blob soaks up wounds to keep him alive and there are two sergeants to take challenges for him if necessary.  I did manage to combine Prescience with First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire but I wasn’t in the right position to combo it with any of the other orders this game.

As I said my main mistake was deploying too aggressively against an army with fast assaulting units. I also tend to use my tanks as a screen for my infantry but against assaulters I should really do the opposite. The Conscripts (fearless thanks to the Priest) and Sentinels (AV12 front) can take a charge but the tanks really can’t.

Plasma sucks! I managed to smoke all three of my own plasma vets with nothing gained in return.  That’s not new, or restricted to this codex in any way, but it is pretty annoying.  Three guys rapid firing should average one overheat per turn so you really can’t expect them to survive through the game.  If your enemy doesn’t kill them you probably will!  I’m starting to wonder if it’s really worth the extra points over a meltagun, especially in an army that can already pack in so many autocannons and lascannons.

Now that I don’t have a Penal Legion squad to hijack the Commander’s chimera I’m not sure it’s worth having in the list.  The conscript squad is too large to use it so it’s just a bunker for the CCS, and now that orders don’t need line of sight it’s easy enough to hide the CCS somewhere.  At 65 points I could swap it for a Wyvern or a bunch of upgrades elsewhere.  On a similar note I might drop the Lascannon from the CCS.  When he’s bunkered in a chimera the BS4 lascannon is decent but I could give them a pair of grenade launchers to keep them mobile or a mortar to use while hiding and spend the saved points elsewhere.

Overall though I was very happy with how the army functioned.  Other than the Penal Legion all of the units I’ve been using made the transition to a new codex in good shape and there are still plenty of options for me to explore with this new book.  I made some changes to my list before my second game, but I’ll talk about those when I post that battle report.

  • Screening those tanks with the Conscripts will really help out. You often use your Sentinels to tie up scary close combat threats, which works but isn’t ideal obviously. If you can let those Conscripts take the charges then you’re able to utilize those other units for what they are needed for.

    I also think you had the psyker in a poor location. He wasn’t able to affect most of your army with his position. If he had been more central then you could have gotten more use out of prescience and forewarning.

    • I agree completely on the Conscripts. I actually added the Sentinels primarily for counter assault purposes, I could put down another Exterminator for comparable firepower and better durability at 5 points cheaper (30 points cheaper in the last codex.) Still, I also agree that it would be better to use the conscripts first and Sentinels second.

      I should have put the commander closer to the infantry blob so I could stack Prescience with orders. I do need to get used to keeping the psychic bubble in the right place but in this case having the psyker more centrally located would just have given me options I wouldn’t have used. I can’t target the vets or PCS unless they start movement outside of their transport, the Exterminator autocannons are already twin-linked, and it’s just not worth it on a chimera. The infantry lascannons and Sentinel autocannons are the two I’d usually want to buff, maybe the basilisk once in a while. Forewarning might have been good to have closer to center but I failed the psychic test for it on turns two and three so even if it had been in range it wouldn’t have helped.

      • Barring the failure to cast forewarning, getting it up on Sentinels would have probably kept me there the whole game with how that was going. Getting it on the tanks could have helped out as well.

        I often do the same though and position my Sorcerer poorly. You definitely need to get used to having a psyker in there.

        • It is something I’ll need to practice with. In most cases I should be using the blob to anchor the army, with the CCS in order distance and fire support close by enough to benefit from the psyker.

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