Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Astra Militarum Command Point Battery.. of DOOM!

I played a game of 40k tonight. I started that game with 9 Command Points, and ended with 6. At a rough estimate, I spent 15.

You might think this is due to some sort of cunning trickery or use of obscure or arcane rules, but in fact the effect can be achieved  by taking less than 150 points of AM models. In my case, I was playing my Sisters of Battle, but supplemented the list with a Battalion of my Praetorian Imperial Guard. What makes this so deadly is the simple combination of an Artefact and a Warlord Trait.

My, what a big beak you have...
The Artefact is Kurov's Aquila. It can be taken by any Officer, and gives you a simple ability- every time your opponent uses a Stratagem, you gain a Command Point on the roll of 5+. On its own, this is good, if not exceptional, and should see you gain about 1/3 of your opponents CP total over the course of a game. However, when combined with a particular Warlord Trait things really start to take off..

As cunning as a cunning fox who was recently appointed Chair of Cunning at Cambridge University..
The second half of this blindingly-obvious combo is the Grand Strategist Warlord Trait. This ability comes in two parts- firstly, it allows a single re-roll in the game of a single hit, wound or save roll. Useful, especially if you're playing Matched Play and using the Rule of One, limiting you to one Command Re-roll per phase, but hardly incredible. The second part of the ability, however, is jaw-droppingly potent. If you are Battle-Forged and have your Warlord in play,  then whenever you spend Command Points on a Stratagem each point is refunded on a roll of 5+. This effectively increases your pool of CP by approximately 1/3, and of course for every Command Point you gain through the use of the Aquila there's another 1/3 change it'll get refunded when spent.

Have swagger stick, will travel
What makes this combination so exceptionally powerful is a whole host of factors working in concert. Firstly, since the Aquila only needs to go off once to refund the cost of taking an additional Artefact, it makes it practically an auto-include. Even if you prefer the Laurels of Command or one of the weapons, there's simply no reason not to pay that single Command Point to also take the Aquila assuming you have more than one Officer of some sort. Secondly, as the various Codexes come out more and more exciting Stratagems keep appearing and players will understandably want to use them. The more Command Points the enemy has, however, the happier the proud owner of a AMCPBOD (check the title) will be. The fact that 8th Edition is so horde friendly is another huge bonus- if you take a simple Battalion of three Infantry Squads, a Company Commander and a second HQ of choice you gain a massive strategic bonus, thirty cheap bodies to sit on objectives and three units capable of putting out almost 40 shots each under ideal conditions, all for less than the cost of some Space Marine characters.

Just add salt
The AMCPBOD is incredibly flexible. It's obviously extremely effective when used in a pure AM list, but any Imperial army will benefit hugely from it, especially factions like the Sororitas who don't have their own Codex yet. I've gone on about this before, but to me it seems particularly odd that an army like Marines should suddenly gain a huge amount of tactical flexibility if supported by thirty Guardsmen and commanded by an Officer with fewer years of service under his belt than some of the Scouts. I'll be pretty surprised if we don't see this combination used in quite a few highly placed tournament armies over the next few months.

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