Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus Shines the Spotlight on the True Heroes of the Imperium

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Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus Shines the Spotlight on the True Heroes of the Imperium

Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus let's the Imperial Guard get the credit that usually the Space Marines recieve, but where would they be without the Guardsmen?

The invasion of the Leviathan Hive Fleet is an immense threat for the entire Imperium, meaning that all of the firepower will be needed to stop the ever-hungry Tyranids – you can find more info about the 10th Edition of Warhammer 40k here. While the Space Marines are extremely strong on an individual level, even they can’t match the strength of ten thousand Guardsmen, all wielding Humanity’s most dangerous weapon – the Lasgun. Games Workshop have finally revealed some of the new rules for the Astra Militarum, or the Imperial Guard, the real heroes of the human race – and they have some interesting shenanigans in store for the 10th Edition of Warhammer 40k.

Faction Rules revealed in the Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus

A bit similar to the hordes of Necrons, the Astra Militarum’s soldiers are at their best when they are led by their Officers. Their revealed Army Rule, Voice of Command is the perfect proof for this, as the Guard have kept the Orders which help them manoeuvre and take control of a battlefield easier. While there are less orders in this role than before, the most important are still there, so your Officers can still shout encouraging words to your army men.

There are six different Orders that Officers can give out to 6” of them, which stays in effect either until your next Command Phase, until a new Order is issued for the unit, or until the unit becomes Battle-shocked:

  • Move! Move! Move! Gives 3” to the Move characteristic of the unit,
  • Fix Bayonets! Improves the Weapon Skill of the unit with melee weapons by 1,
  • Take Aim! Does the same, but with the Ballistic Skill of ranged weapons,
  • First Rank, Fire! Second Rank! Fire! Gives an extra attack to a unit’s Rapid Fire weapons – which will be extra deadly in close range, bumping up the shots by 2,
  • Take Cover! Improves the unit’s save by 1, but in accordance with the new Cover Rules of 10th Edition, this can’t improve a model’s Save to better than a 3+,
  • And finally, Duty and Honour! Increases the Leadership and Objective Control of models by 1, so they can weather the storm of incoming enemies.
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While the Army Rule states that Orders can only be issued one at a time and only 6” from an Officer, Astra Militarum was already capable of increasing the range and the number of orders, or making them bounce from unit to unit with the right wargear and extra equipment.

Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus Voice of Command Army Rule

Unit Spotlight of the Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus

If you’d be an Astra Militarum Officer, who else would you issue orders to rather than a platoon of Cadian Shock Troops? The first unit showcased in the Astra Militarum Faction Focus is the most iconic band of heroes (or fodder, depends on the way you look at them) had their Wargear Options released, which kind of the same as in 9th Edition: they still have their flamers, meltaguns, plasma guns and grenade launchers, they can still take vox-casters, and the Sergeants can still be a bit better at melee or a bit better at shooting than their subordinates. But there’s one significant change on the Wargear sheet: now you can take upwards of 20 Cadian Shock Troops (as well as Catachan Jungle Fighters/Death Korps of Krieg) in a single unit with 2 Sergeants attached, who become independent units once the models around them die, which is a huge change – and gets even better, just keep reading.

Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus Cadian Shock Troopers Datasheet

They also got some changes to their arsenal, for example the Plasma gun’s standard profile gifted a pip of AP to the Grenade launchers Krak profile. The vox-caster model in the unit now also has a use beside the Fire at my Position Stratagem, as you can get back CP spent on Stratagems on a 5+, or a 4+ if you have an officer amongst the ranks. Cadian Shock Troops also received the Shock Troops ability, which let’s them create sticky objectives – meaning an objective remains under your control even if you don’t have units near until your opponent takes it.

However, the Astra Militarum is famous for one thing other than it’s endless troops: it’s tanks. While the Leman Russ are the most iconic tank of the Guard, there’s nothing more frightening for their enemies than the Baneblade. As with every other bigger vehicle, some of the Baneblade’s weapons lost a few pips of AP, but got an overalls increase in strength, and the tank received an interesting new ability as well: Rolling Fortress lets units around the Baneblade use it as mobile cover, as it grants the Benefit of Cover to any units around it that are not fully visible to enemies shooting at it. With it’s devastating Baneblade cannon, the biggest tank of the (non-Forgeworld) Astra Militarum arsenal is a great choice both offensively and defensively.

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Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus Baneblade Datasheet

Weapon Spotlights of the Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus

While the Leman Russ didn’t get the full showcase, Games Workshop couldn’t help themselves (thankfully). We have the parameters of the Leman Russ Battle Tank’s Battle Cannon, which is the perfect example of GW’s philosophy in the coming 10th Edition. The Battle cannon lost 1 AP, but has an increased Strenght of 10, which helps it wound easier, even though the damage can be blocked by more models. Nevertheless, the gun still shoots upwards of 9 shots, and it’s 4+ Ballistic Skill can be buffed in many different ways, such as the Take Aim! Command.

Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus Leman Russ Battlecannon
The Leman Russ will still be a deadly force on the battlefield

Alongside the Baneblade, the Shadowsword also gets a bit of the spotlight, as it’s Volcano Cannon’s new rules have been revealed! While the Volcano Cannon now has less shots, it’s Armour Penetration is unchanged along with it’s Damage, and it’s Strenght got bumped up to a whopping 24, which should mean it wounds most targets on a 2+, bar the extremely armoured vehicles and stompers. This should give the Shadowsword some edge over other super-heavy tanks, so maybe we’ll see more of this monstrosity.

Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus Shadowsword Volcano Cannon Datasheet

Stratagem Spotlight of the Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus

Only one Stratagem was shown by Games Workshop, but it’s a completely new one, that puts even Tyranids to shame. With Reinforcements! You can replenish your forces that were just blown off of the battlefield. You can use this Strat in any phase, and it let’s you put a unit identical of the destroyed one into Strategic Reserves, without the Characters that were destroyed. This means you can really use your Cadian Shock Troops as fodder, as the more models die in one phase, the bigger Regiment you can bring back, which is an invaluable tool on the battlefield. Of course, this Stratagem works with your units such as the Attilan Rough Riders, Sentinel teams or Heavy Weapons Squads, meaning that you can replenish almost any squad for just 2 CP!

Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus Reinforcement! Stratagem
This Stratagem puts Tyranids to shame!

Overall, the Astra Militarum Faction Focus showed us that the Imperial Guard will still have both of it’s current aspects in the upcoming 10th Edition of Warhammer 40k. Tanks will still be very strong, and troops became a lot better with the sticky objective ability and the new Stratagem showed.

Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Faction Focus Shines the Spotlight on the True Heroes of the Imperium
Bence Loksa
Bence "Atreus" Loksa is a freelance journalist and League of Legends shoutcaster, covering all things esports and gaming, also yelling loudly at big plays happening on the Summoner's Rift. While his main focus is Riot Games' hit MOBA, he also dabbles in Call of Duty, VALORANT, and as of recent, the tabletop wargame Warhammer 40,000 - where he looks to make some grudges with his Leagues of Votann army.