We’ve studied the Astra Militarum codex. And, to be honest, we are a little bit shocked. Instead of the whole review, we could just say: take whatever you want and just play it – it will be competitive. Really. It may be the best Imperial Guard codex ever, and it’s definitely the best codex in 8th edition.
This army is very thoughtful, solid, and all its parts really interact well. Mostly – because of the units and play styles diversity, typical for this army. Mostly – because of the new orders system. Now you don’t need to pass any tests to issue an order – you just pick a unit and issue it. And those orders let you adjust units to almost every situation – close combat or shooting. (more likely, shooting) The fact that now you are not limited in the number of characters able to issue orders, lets you effectively improve all the required parts of the army. And don’t forget about the orders, unique to each regiment.
Yes, now you have regiments! Now Tallarns really differ from Kadians. After the Mechanicus codex we were really afraid that the difference again will be fictions and the real choice will be between the only couple of variants. However, all the doctrines here are not only competitive, but they also don’t correlate with the existing archetypes. For example – all space marines books suggested us «quick», «shooting» «fighting» «sneaky» armies. Here the conditions of the doctrines are not so straight. For example, Cadians re-roll 1-s if they didn’t move (and re-roll everything under the order to re-roll 1-s), Tempestus can get an additional shot at the short range, and Steel Legion has increased rapid fire range. Everything affects shooting but in different ways.
Of course, infantry army concept looks more powerful. It perfectly fits into the 8th edition dominating trend of multiple cheap units. However, there are a lot of ideas to use tanks. Now it’s easier to take super heavy vehicles, and almost all the guns are much more effective. The fact that the tanks are not affected by the orders, is covered by the great stratagems. And you’ll definitely have a lot of command points since it’s really easy to make a lot of detachments with those cheap and useful infantry units.
The main disadvantage of this codex is not in the codex but in the miniatures to it. You have rules for different regiments, but you don’t have proper miniatures for those regiments. It’s quite hard to hunt old and weird-looking upgrade packs and sets. And even they don’t let you completely recreate an appearance of, for example, Tallarn. There’s an example of gene cult hybrids box – GW could solve this issue by using such elegant upgrades combined with the standard cadian squad. And there are a lot of other old ugly and rare miniatures. By the way, now there are no cavalry and vendettas in the codex…
So, now it’s time for those who were collecting the Guard thoughtfully and meticulously to take all the units from our collection and try as many different combinations as possible. Sure, not all of them are equally strong, but the main advantage of this codex is that there’s no dominant archetype. It’s an army, indeed. So, guardsmen, prepare your lasguns and be ready to die for the Emperor!