Adeptus Mechanicus and Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard "Wiki"

Ave Omnissiah!


My blog is primarily my own personal fluff in the Warhammer 40,000 universe regarding the Draconis system such as the Knight House Yato in Draconis III, the Imperial Guard...I mean, Astra Militarum regiment trained there, the Draconian Armored Force, and the Forge World of Draconis IV with its Adeptus Mechanicus priesthood and Skitarii legions, and perhaps the Titan Legion, Legio Gojira (which will never happen because I don't have money for Forge World Titans).

Oh, and I'll throw in the Thousand Sons from time to time because they're my favorite Space Marine Legion. I refuse to believe that they are Traitors! They're just...ahem...secretly loyal to the Imperium!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Command Points dilemma

Apparently I have been hearing a lot of complaints, especially from Bell of Lost Souls, regarding Command Points. Specifically, there are a lot of people complaining about win at all costs players or competitive players min-maxing by taking minimal Imperial Guard Battalion detachments just for the 5 Command Points. See that 2 company commanders and 3 infantry squads standing in the corner of your opponent's deployment zone? They're there to serve a Command Point battery. For just 180 points, you get 5 Command Points. Woohoo. So every Imperial Knight list, every Adeptus Custodes list or basically every elite-styled list that has very few models and limited number of Command Points will always squeeze in a minimal Battalion Detachment of Astra Militarum (2 company commanders and 3 infantry squads) for that much-needed 5 Command Points.

Personally, I think it's working as intended. Come on, don't tell me it's unthematic and not fluffy to have an Imperial Guard regiment following your three Knights. That's ridiculous. If I bring three Knights to the table, I would want a household retinue of infantry (and tanks, but I don't have enough points for tanks, sadly enough) to accompany them. Complaining that I brought a Battalion of Imperial Guardsmen to accompany my Knights is sort of unfair - what are my Knight supposed to do without infantry support? Am I supposed to table my opponent since I obviously don't have enough models to hold objectives?

On the other hand, I can see this making the meta stale. When every Tom, Dick and Harry brings the same 2 Company Commanders and 3 infantry squads just to unlock 5 Command Points for their Imperial Knights or Adeptus Custodes or Blood Angels or whatever list, there begins to be a problem. This was one of the problems I ran into when constructing a fluffy Imperial Guard and Deathwatch list. If you refer back to my posts yesterday, I was complaining about not having enough tanks or infantry. Over half of my army in terms of points was devoted to Deathwatch, and I was kind of annoyed when I stared at my list and see that I don't have as many Guardsmen as I would have liked. The Deathwatch is supposed to be the elite infantry here! Why the heck do I have more Space Marines than Guardsmen?! An earlier iteration of my list had 33 Space Marines and 22 or 23 Guardsmen. Granted, I was using Militarum Tempestus Scions, but even then...why the hell are there more Space Marines than Storm Trooopers in my list?! That annoyed the heck out of me. If I really wanted to min-max and grab Command Points, I could have gone the route of just doing a Deathwatch Battalion with 2 minimal Astra Militarum Battalions, and that would unlock me 15 Command Points off the bat, to a total of 18. Hell, one version of my list did exactly just that. a Deathwatch Battalion, a Draconian infantry Battalion and a Kamikaze Storm Troopers Battalion. It had no tanks, no vehicles, nothing. That annoyed the hell out of me. Yeah, plenty of Command Points, but I'm not a min-maxing player, and I want my Leman Russ tanks. It made no sense for my Guardsmen to be milling around without tanks when they are the freaking Draconian ARMORED Defenders. I like my Kamikaze Storm Troopers and they're fluffy, but come on...it's nonsensical to play 3 Battalions and 18 Command Points with nothing but infantry.

That's absolutely BS. I want Storm Troopers. I want tanks. I want fluffy and thematic. I don't want my Guardsmen to be outnumbered by freaking Space Marines!!! And it can easily be abused. People running 1-2 Imperial Guard battalions that run around unlocking 10 Command Points for a mere 360 points to accompany their main detachment. And to add insult to injury, they decide to make one of their company commanders the Warlord (with Grand Strategist) and give him Kurov's Aquila. I mean, I do that, but Imperial Guard is my main army, and I play either mono-Imperial Guard or Imperial Guard with Space Marine/Imperial Knight support. So it makes sense for me. And I don't play 2 minimal infantry battalions either. I play either a gigantic Brigade with a Spearhead Detachment of Leman Russ tanks, or a Battalion with a Spearhead Detachment of Leman Russ tanks and a Supreme Command detachment that includes my Shadowsword for a fluffy, thematic armored regiment. Plus the Battalion isn't a minimal 180-point infantry squad - it's a fully fledged Kamikaze Storm Trooper Battalion with all the upgrades, plasma guns, deep-striking infantry, command squads and stuff. Just look at my lists. I never take Imperial Guard without my Leman Russ tanks, because that's how I like to play Imperial Guard. Armored Leman Russ tanks. Maybe I'm forced to throw in some infantry support (I've tried playing all-tanks, and no, it doesn't work - I need infantry) but that's fine. I need infantry to hold objectives and protect my tanks (meatshields!). That's why I play a Brigade sometimes, fill out the troops slot with Kamikaze Storm Troopers, a bunch of Armored Sentinels to protect my flanks, and my Leman Russ tanks. Plus a Shadowsword if I have the points. In that case, it makes sense for my Warlord to be an Imperial Guard commander (Tempestor Prime or Tank Commander or Company Commander), and Grand Strategist seems the most useful for me as an armored regiment player (what am I supposed to do with Draconian Disciplinarian or Bellowing Voice or Master of Command? An extra Tank Order won't help me).

When experimenting with my list to add Deathwatch support, I didn't make my Company Commander or any of my Imperial Guard Characters the Warlord. I made my Deathwatch Master the Warlord instead - okay, probably so that I can use the Stratagem to switch Mission Tactics - and if I want Kurov's Aquila, I spend a Command Point to get it. Not ideal, but I'm not a min-max player and I honestly don't care that I'm wasting a Command Point (which would potentially pay back for itself and get me more) instead of just making my Company Commander the Warlord straight-up. That's not fluffy. And it's kind of funny to see the Chapter Master or Deathwatch Watch Master deferring to a Company Commander of a battered tank regiment...like, seriously? Just...no.

But that really isn't a problem. As I pointed out, if I force my Company Commander to be the Warlord, then I can't get access to the Deathwatch Stratagem that requires my Watch Master to switch Mission Tactics (granted, you still can, but it costs 1 Command Point more). And if you're that bothered about Imperial Guard characters getting Grand Strategist and being the Warlord in other lists, think about it. Imperial Knight Warlord Traits are very powerful. If he's using his Imperial Guard commander as the Warlord, then he either has to spend Command Points on Exalted Court for the Warlord Trait for his Knights, or he's not getting that ion shield's 4++ invulnerable save or extra attack. Or House Vulker's Adamantine Armor or House Krast's re-rolling of ones. Sure, they get the potential to refund 1/3 of their Command Points, but they miss out on a lot of other powerful options.

So what exactly is the problem? When people abuse and exploit the system by throwing in the 180-point Imperial Guard battalion to unlock 5 Command Points. I think encouraging the use of Stratagems is good, and having more Command Points is better, but it's not good if it opens up the system to exploitation where people abuse it by taking 180-point minimal Imperial Guard battalions to grab 5 Command Points, which puts them at an unfair advantage over people who choose to be fluffy and play more elite lists like pure Imperial Knights or whatever. Of course, there's something I disagree about that - if you're spending 180 points on a cheap Imperial Guard battalion, that's less one detachment you have for your army (especially since you're limited to 2 or 3 per 1,000 or 2,000 points respectively). Plus those 3 random infantry squads and their 2 commanders might not have good synergy with the rest of your army. It does annoy me that the Guardsmen are outnumbered by their Space Marines compatriots, for example, or Adeptus Custodes, who are supposed to be the elite armies. No, I would rather they encourage a variety of playstyles where you spend those 180 points on Space Marine units or whatever units instead of setting them aside for an Imperial Guard Command Point battery.

How do we do that? How do we stop people from spamming Battalion Detachments? How do we encourage more diverse armies that make use of all the different battlefield roles instead of just spamming HQs and Troops for those 5 Command Points? Now, the thing is that Imperial Guard is so easily exploitable because how cheap they are, the perhaps the solution is not to penalize Battalions in general (can you imagine how hard it is for Thousand Sons players to play if they don't get 5 Command Points for their Battalions, and must spam Cultists instead?), but to look at Imperial Guard itself. Now, we have the Imperial Knight codex that prevents people from spamming Armigers to get 3 Command Points from multiple super-heavy detachments. Just look at the wording:

KNIGHT LANCES

On the battlefield, Knights gather in formations called lances, earth-shaking spearheads of towering war engines led by the highest ranking amongst them.

If your army is Battle-forged, select one model in each IMPERIAL KNIGHTS Super-heavy Detachment in your army. Each model you selected gains the CHARACTER keyword. However, the Command Benefit of each Imperial Knights Super-heavy Detachment is changed to ‘None’ unless it contains any combination of at least three QUESTORIS CLASS and/or DOMINUS CLASS units.

Now this might be the right idea. Of course, I am bothered by this because min-maxing people will just ditch the Armigers altogether, which makes for unfluffy and unthematic lists. No one would bother with Armigers if taking one penalizes you for your Command Points. People would just take three Questoris and/or Dominus class Knights and then fill out the rest of the points with Imperial Guardsmen (180-point battery!). At the same time, we can't dismiss this totally because people will just grab 9 Armigers for 9 Command Points (or 8 Armigers and 1 Questoris and/or Dominus Knight). Like...uh...okay...nope.

It would be much better to change it to "the Command Benefit of each Imperial Knights Super-heavy Detachment is changed to ‘None’ unless it contains any combination of at least two QUESTORIS CLASS and/or DOMINUS CLASS units." Yeah. Instead of three, make it two. That way, you don't get penalized for filling out the third slot of your super-heavy detachment with an Armiger or two. So a Dominus, a Questoris and an Armiger for 3 Command Points. Fair, right? Makes no sense to penalize us for taking even one Armiger.

So how does this apply to Imperial Guard? I was thinking that we can have something like this.

DEFENDERS OF HUMANITY

The Astra Militarum is the shield of Mankind. Only by its sacrifice and heroism are the worlds of the Imperium kept safe.

The Command Benefit of each ASTRA MILITARUM Battalion Detachment is changed to '3 Command Points' (or 2...) unless it contains any combination of at least three units possessing the Elites, Fast Attack, Heavy Support or Flyers Battlefield Role in addition to the minimum requirements (two units that have the HQ Battlefield Role and three units that have the Troops Battlefield Role).

No longer can you just take a minimal battalion of 2 company commanders and 3 infantry squads for the full 5 Command Points. I think changing it to 'None' is too harsh, so 2 or 3 Command Points for the minimal number of HQ and Troops should be fine, and there's better way to spend the 180 points for a measly 2 Command Points (maybe it's worth it for 3). Oh, and I think <REGIMENT> and <HOUSEHOLD> units in a Super-heavy Auxiliary Detachment should gain a Regimental Doctrine or Hosuehold Tradition as long as they are accompanied by another Detachment that has the same <REGIMENT> and <HOUSEHOLD>. Otherwise it makes no sense. It's a little stupid that I have to pay the 3 HQ tax for a Supreme Command Detachment just for my Shadowsword to get the Cadian Regimental Doctrine, and obviously I want to build my Draconian Armored regiment around a single Shadowsword, not be forced to build around three Shadowswords (or a Baneblade, a Stormlord and a Shadowsword) just to give them the Regimental Doctrine. For Knights, it's not as bad, since you'll never fill out 5 slots for your Super-heavy Detachment and if you do add a Super-heavy Auxiliary, you might as well split them into two Super-heavy Detachments. But it's aggravating for Imperial Guard players who just want to add a Baneblade or Shadowsword, and need to pay 3 HQ tax or take 3 super-heavy tanks (which is not realistic or practical).

And here we come to the next segment of the discussion. Variety. Diversity. Instead of forcing people to spam Battalions for Command Points, reward them further for taking thematic lists. The Astra Militarum's Leman Russ tanks in Spearhead Detachments getting Objective Secured is one such example - it's excellent and rewards people for taking Spearhead Detachments of Leman Russ tanks. Of course, with the Battalion's 5 Command Points being so much more than the Spearhead Detachment's 1 Command Point, Imperial Guard players are sort of...penalized for taking Spearhead Detachments somewhat, when they should just take a Battalion. If that's the case, why not raise all the specialized Detachments (Outrider, Vanguard and Spearhead) to 3 Command Points? Or 2 if you think that's a bit too little.

Furthermore, you can reward thematic lists. Say, Space Marine bikers in an Outrider Detachment get an extra attack (or extra 6" movement, or can hit and fall back). Sydonian Dragoons in an Outrider Detachment get extra movement, or re-roll charge rolls, or Ironstrider Ballistarii can shoot after Advancing. Terminators and Sicarian Infiltrators and Ruststalkers in a Vanguard Detachment can re-roll failed charge rolls. Biovores in a Spearhead Detachment can shoot twice. Wrydvane Psykers and Astropaths in a Vanguard Detachment roll 2 D6 instead of 1 for psychic tests. Astra Militarum Veterans in a Vanguard Detachment get cover saves even in the open. Flayed Ones in a Vanguard Detachment can re-roll failed wound rolls. Stuff like that. Reward people for taking these different Detachments rather than hamstring them into taking Battalions purely for the sake of farming Command Points. Introducing all these diverse Detachments was a great thing for 8th Edition, but I don't want to be punished for taking a Spearhead Detachment of Leman Russ tanks while my opponent grabs a Battalion Detachment that costs 4 times less but gives 5 times the Command Points. Like, seriously?! Well, Objective Secured is fine and all, but imagine if we get a benefit where Leman Russ tanks in a Spearhead Detachment count as not having moved when firing their weapons, which allows us to move 10" and fire twice with our turrey weapons, and still not suffer the penalty for moving and firing the sponson and hull heavy weapons. That might be better than Objective Secured (would be awesome if we get both!). That would make up for the much less Command Points, don't you think? Furthermore, you can't spam Spearhead Detachments of Leman Russ tanks because of the rule of three. So you're encouraged to take a more diverse force - a Battalion to protect your Leman Russ tanks, or an Outrider Detachment of 3 Hellhounds or Armored Sentinels that have their own bonuses for being taken in an Outrider Detachment (even if they only provide 1 Command Point).

Oh, and one last thing. People are complaining about unfluffy Chaos Space Marines lists, such as Thousand Sons not taking Rubric Marines but only spamming Cultists or Tzaangors for cheap Battalions to farm Command Points. Just like above, make the Thousand Sons or  Chaos Space Marines Detachment require at least one Rubric Marine or Chaos Space Marine unit in the Troop slot for the Battalion (2 units of Cultists or Tzaangors should be fine, since it makes sense that they outnumber the Chaos Space Marines, but it makes no sense if the Chaos Space Marines don't show up at all!). Of course, I don't foresee this being a problem because...let's be real, Cultists aren't that great and there are people who would prefer to field a purely Tzaangor army (though how much of that is "Thousand Sons" remains to be debated, which is what annoys many of the fluffy players). On the other hand, it's kind of arrogant to impose your own playstyle on others - "hey, if you're playing Thousand Sons, you must take Rubric Marines!" Come on, if they want to play Tzaangors, then let them. And despite all the complaints and whining about Thousand Sons becoming Codex: Tzaangor and how Tzaangors are supposedly so much better, I haven't seen Tzaangor lists dominate the meta. When is the last time you saw an almost purely Tzaangor list rank highly in a tournament? So how is taking Tzaangor bombs or what-not doing for you? Eh?

Seems like you're not penalized for taking Rubric Marines and Scarab Occult Terminators over Tzaangors, after all...some people just seem to like hyperbole and jumping into conclusions even before they try out the codex. Yeah, theoryhammering is fine and all, but when you're mistaken, you're mistaken. I guess.

Anyway, that's what I have. I'll see you guys next time!

1 comment:

  1. It is performing as expected, but I think it needs a fix as EVERY Imperium list has it, you are actully handicapping yourself if you try it another way to be fair, and as soon as something become mandatory to be competitive then it needs changing. It would be interesting to do something where your Warlord & Relics can only be taken from your largest detachment... I see it causing comp moving forward.

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