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Astra Militarum & Cadia Stands! | Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition New Codex Review & Army Box Unboxing

LISTEN UP SOLDIER! Do you want to get your hands on the army box which contains this Codex among other goodies? Preorder via this link to Element Games and you’ll save some cash based on the RRP and also help us do what we do here at Sprues & Brews. Whilst not an order…we would greatly appreciate it!

We’ve had 9th Edition Codexes for every army apart from the Guard, UNTIL NOW. Finally, the Hammer of the Emperor is having the time in the spotlight. And boy, are they seeing out this edition of Warhammer 40k in style, as the army is getting a bit of a refresh too with a number of new and updated kits, including the Sentinel, Heavy Weapons teams and Command Squads.

At the bottom of this Codex Review I will be including some information on the Cadia Stands box itself.

This is an army book I’ve been increasing looking forward to, especially since the release of the Kasrkin, which I was lucky enough to paint for our Kill Team: Shadowvaults review. The Guard have been an army I’ve always fancied, and with the introduction of contrast, it’s finally an army I’m going to collect. Spoiler alert, this new codex only increases my want for the army.

Enough chatter, it’s time to delve into the book.

Our thanks to Games Workshop for sending us the Cadia Stands Army Box to review for Sprues & Brews.

Introduction

First and foremost, this is a glorious looking tome. In keeping with this edition’s other army boxes, the copy of the codex in this book is a limited edition. It’s beautiful. The artwork, the framing…everything about the physical book is amazing. You may want to hug it (or not, it could just be a me thing).

The book comprises of 152 pages of goodness which includes everything you would expect in a Codex, lots of lore, stratagems, datasheets, special rules etc. The book still contains rules for the Tempestus Scions, to either include in your Guard lists or as a standalone force.

Lore

As with all my reviews, I don’t tend to delve too much into the Lore aspects of the book. If you are interested in reading through the lore of the Guard, details about the units available for the army and stories from different Warzones then you’ll want to read through it yourself.

In short however, the Codex does a great job of inspiring you to create, paint and play the army. Current players have some new lore to look forward to, however most of it does cover stuff we already know.

Before we move onto the tasty rules bit of the book, we do have a page which offers an example Combat Patrol, which in most Codexes is a nod to what we will expect in the Combat Patrol box we will get for the Astra Militarum. In this example the Combat Patrol is actually the contents of the Cadia Stand box.

Detachment Abilities

This is what you are all here for, rules!

Kicking things off is the Detachment Abilities which reward you for selecting a pure Astra Militarum army (aside from anything with the Agents of the Imperium or Unaligned keywords).

First of all, all Astra Militarum keyword Troop units have the Objective Secured rule.

Secondly, you obtain Regimental Doctrine: Born Soldiers, which is the old Hammer of the Emperor rule from the dataslate. Any 6s to hit auto wound from ranged attacks. Also, any Platoon models within 6″ of an Officer can use the Officer’s Leadership value. This can be swapped for two other doctrines, which we will come to shortly.

Thirdly, if your army purely contains any of the following keywords, then Tempestus Scions gain the Troops role instead of Elites (basically allowing you to form a Militarum Tempestus army:

  • Militarum Tempestus
  • Officio Prefectus
  • Militarum Auxilla

You also unlock the Chain of Command rule, which is less of a rule and more of a strict guideline on how to build your army. Your Warlord must be an Officer if you have any in your list. If you have a Commandant keyworded model, they must be your Warlord, unless you have Lord Solar Leontus, because if you do, he must be your Warlord. A rule to keep things fluffy.

Regimental Doctines

Instead of taking the Born Survivors Doctrine (see above) you can instead swap this for two other Doctrines, picked from a list of 15 different Doctrines.

You could choose Doctrines that reflect the regiments your army is pulled from. For example, should you be playing as purely Death Korps of Krieg you may wish to pick two Doctrines that reflect their style of war, for example ‘Expert Bombardiers‘. This rule allows your Artillery units to gain +1 to hit so long as a Vox Castor or Sentinel is within 12″ of the target and has line of sight.

It’s a difficult decision, because 6s auto wounding is still a seriously powerful ability to have, in particular when most of your army is firing low strength lasguns. However, you could be swayed by some of the options are on offer here, which include the following as well as Expert Bombardiers:

  • Armoured Superiority – Ideal for those that want to take a vehicle heavy list. Sentinels count as 3 models for securing objectives, none-Titanic vehicles count as 5 whilst Titantic count as 10
  • Mechanised Infantry – Love running your Guard with lots of transports? This is the Doctrine for you. This allows any models embarked on Transports to disembark after a Transport has moved (albeit they cannot move again, however they can perform other actions, such as shooting, without any issues)
  • Brutal Strength – Looking to field Catachans and want a Doctrine that reflects how much stronger a Catachan is over, say, a Cadian? Then how about this one. Any Infantry models don’t suffer a penalty for moving and firing a heavy weapon and anytime an Infantry unit fights, so long as they charged, were charged or Heroical Intervened, they are adding +1 to Strength.

Choosing your Doctrines is certainly going to be a tough decision, but there are plenty of ways here to tailor your army style. Especially narrative players or those who are very keen on a specific Regiment and want to retain the flavour of them.

Stratagems

Love them or hate them, this book contains 4 pages of stratagems.

We have the usual extra relic/extra warlord trait options, among a few gems. I’ve picked out a couple which are worth a mention:

  • Armoured Fist – Re-roll wound rolls if this 1CP strat is used on a unit that has disembarked from a transport this turn. Can only be used if unit is shooting closest eligible target. Very powerful.
  • Cadia Stands! – Another 1 CP strat that can only be used on a Cadian Infantry unit (because, of course). Transhuman physiology basically, any wound roll of a 1-3 on the selected unit fails to wound.
  • Overcharged Las-Cells – Only useable on a Kasrkin or Scions units. Costs 1 CP, but every time you wound a enemy unit with hot-shot las, you cause a mortal wound to the enemy unit in addition to normal damage. It does however say that you can only cause a maximum of 6 mortal wounds per usage of this strat.

A couple of these can actually only be used on certain units, that must have a keyword generated by choosing a specific doctrine. See the next two as examples. Worth watching out for:

  • Experienced Eye – 1CP, but allows you to improve AP by 1. Only usable by Kasrkin & Elite Sharpshooters Core.
  • Mount Up! – For 2CP a Miliatarum Tempestus or Mechanised unit can jump back into a transport as long as within 3” at the end of the combat phases.

Tank Aces

Yup, tank ace upgrades are back, and now they won’t cost you your Warlord Trait to take them!

They are just straight up upgrades for your tanks and super heavies (albeit super heavies come with a heavier cost) which makes much more sense. It also follows a trend in this edition’s codex where most armies can pay a cost to upgrade something, whether it be characters or army traits.

Some good options here, but no Full Payload sadly for those Manticore fans:

  • Knight of Piety – Model first of all gains a 5+ invulnerable save, and secondly a 5+ FNP. Tasty, and all for 25pts on a Battle Tank (35pts for a super heavy)
  • Mechanical Pack-Rat – 20pts (30pts on a heavy) gives your tank transhuman, basically (1-3s always fail to wound)

Psychic Powers

A few tweaks here from memory, but a relatively solid quality of psychic powers for your Primaris Psykers.

Nightshroud gives a unit transhuman, Psychic Barrier dishes out a 5+ invulnerable save to any Guard units whilst Psychic Maelstrom allows you to roll a number of D6 equal to the casting value (so, if you cast the psychic power on a combined score of 9, you’d roll 9 dice) and for evey 5+ you deal a mortal wound to the enemy unit, to a cap of 6.

Warlord Traits

Over the past few months, since Psychic Awakening gave us Tank Aces, a lot of Guard fans would have skipped this as they’d almost always trade it in for a Tank Ace upgrade. Well, as previously discussed this is no longer the case, so stick around on this page.

Some interesting choices…including Front-Line Combatant, which gives your Warlord +1 to the wound roll in melee and exploding 6s in combat. I mean, if you have an Officer wanting to duke it out in combat, then fair play, this could be the trait for you!

More sensible options include:

  • Grand Strategist – Spend a command point, roll a D6, get a 5 or 6 on the roll, get CP refunded. Simples.
  • Old Grudges – PIck an enemy unit at the start of the first battle round. You now have beef with that unit. Anytime a unit within 6″ of the Warlord shoots your chosen ‘beef’ you add 1 to the wound roll (my favourite I think..)
  • Master Tactician – Redploy up to 3 units prior to turn one kicks off, including into Strategic Reserve should your heart (and mission rules) allow.

To note, the above are for Astra Militarum Officers. Any Scions played get a table of 3 to choose from if you decide to run full on Scions, including:

  • Precision Targeting – Any Scion Infantry within 6″ of the Warlord, the Scion unit gets to ignore benefits of cover.

Relics

Again, some returning names among new arrivals. These Relics tend to spread themselves OK across the wide variety of weapons they have found themselves holding:

  • Kurov’s Aquila – This has changed a lot. Now it is only once per battle and is usable as your opponent uses a strat. For that strat and any following uses of the same one costs 1 additional CP. Brilliant against armies that rely on one or two strats that get used every turn.
  • Order of the Bastium Stellaris – ANOTHER way to gain transhuman. This relic affects the bearer’s unit. Very handy.
  • Legacy of Kalladius – A mental chainsword that is +1 Strength. AP -2 and flat damage 2. Oh, and gives the bearer 3 additional attacks too. For full on bonkers add the Front-Line Commander Warlord Trait for an Officer who wants to live on the edge and go a little crazy.

Orders

Previously we just had the two tables of Orders we could use, one for your Warlord and one for your Tank Commander. Well…now your Commissars are wanting in!

Each one gets 6 commands they can issue to nearby troopers. These include:

Regimental Orders:

  • Take Aim! – +1 to hit and improve AP by 1.
  • First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire! – Lasguns on the selected unit become Heavy 3

Prefectus Orders:

  • Get Back in the Fight! -The chosen unit can either shoot or charge (not both), even if they fell back
  • Duty & Honour! – Can still perform actions even if they fell back.

Mechanised Orders:

  • Pound Them to Dust! – A Blast weapon the tank is armed with can double the amount of shots they are firing.
  • Gunners, Kill on Sight! – Re-roll hits 1 when shooting,

Datasheets

This is it, the big one. Datasheets!

Before we really get stuck into datasheets, this section does start off with a few key rules, including how orders are distributed, and also confirms that should an Officer disembark from a transport they can still issue orders.

Another key set of rules concentrate on Turret Weapons (the main weapon on your tanks). Turret Weapons gain +1 to hit, which is amazing, and can be fired out of combat into a different unit than the one you are fighting.

A fair few datasheets have been tweaked and changed. If I don’t mention your favorite then apologies, check out my video at the top of the page to see a full run through of the Codex, so you should be able to spot your unit there!

  • Lord Solar Leontus – The new Solar Commander. This guy has a fantastic new mini and has a great set of rules to boot. He can grant a unit (either Core, Character or Battle Tank) full re-rolls to hit and has an aura to re-roll hits and wounds of 1 for Core units within 6″.
  • Ursula Creed – Taking over from her dad, she also has an amazing new model. She has a very rule which grants a unit she has issued a direct order to that increases the strength of the ranged weapons in the unit by 1. Whilst she is on the battlefield you can use the re-roll strat twice per phase, which is also ace.
  • Tank Commander – No longer hits on 3s, unfortunately (but don’t forget at least your Turret weapon is hitting on a 3). Now hits on 4s like the normal Leman Russes. No option to take a Rogal Dorn.
  • Platoon Command Squad/ Cadian Command Squad – Two options for taking command squads, reflecting the generic command squad and specifically Cadian one.
  • ‘Iron Hand’ Straken is back, as well as Harker, but no Yarrick (there is a bit in the lore section for him…)
  • Gaunt’s Ghosts – Datasheet now in the Codex.
  • Regimental Attaches – These can be added to Command Squads. List contains Master of Ordnance, Officer of the Fleet, Astropath, Ogryn Bodyguard and of course Nork Deddog.
  • Infantry Squad / Cadian Shock Troops – Again two similar datasheets, each reflecing the squads you can buy now. Infantry Squad can take Heavy Weapons teams, whilst the Shock Troops score an additional hit on a 6 to hit.
  • Death Korps of Krieg – They get there own datasheet in here, which reflects most of the upgrades that come on the Kill Team sprue.
  • Catachan Jungle Fighters – These are back with a profile in the book. No additional pip of strength anymore, however there is a doctrine to help with that!
  • Commissar – Can now be taken without taking up a force organisation slot, so long as you have a Commadant/Commnd Squad.
  • Rogal Dorn – Phwoar, what a tank! 17 wounds…toughness 9! Some killer firepower on this thing, including the Oppressor Cannon which has a 90″ range, Heavy D6 + 3 shots, at strength 10. AP -3 and flat 4 damage!
  • Deathstrike – Rules have been previewed on Warcom, however safe to say it is more reliable.
  • Shadowsword – Now does flat 12 damage with the Volcano Cannon!
  • Militarum Tempestus – These are located at the back of the rest of the datasheets, keeping all your Scion sheets altogether.

Crusade

First of all, I have to mention that the Crusade section of the book has now been moved. Hooray!

Previously it was smack bang in the middle of Matched Play and our game starting. which was annoying. It can however now find itself after the Datasheets, which is miles better!

We love Crusade here at S&B, and whilst I admit, I have been unable to say every Codex has nailed the additional stuff, I can say this book GETS IT.

First of all, you start your Crusade on a Tour of Duty. First of all you work out how many games make up the tour by rolling up the following:

2D3 + 2

And then roll for the number of dice, this is to work out how many wins you need:

D3 + 2

With that all worked out, to the rest of the content!

You have a Logistics mechanic to keep on top of, which grant different bonuses or negatives to your army.

At the end of a Tour you’ll count up your Commendation Points (gathered during your campaign, and will use these to issue medals to your units. These include:

  • Survivalist Commendation – 2 Commendation Points – Gives a Platoon unit a FNP on a 6.
  • Medallion Resolute – Grants the unit Objective Secure and you add 1 to Combat Attrition Tests too.

You then also have lists of Agendas, Requisitions and Relics you can go through, all very Imperial Guard flavoured.

Will 100% be running a crusade campaign with these, so look out for more Crusade content from this book in the near future.

Other Bits

The book has an extensive name generator for Cadians, Catachans, Krieg, Tallarn, Valhallan and Tanks!

Conclusion

I love this book, I’m not going to lie.

Why I hear you ask? Well, it’s hard to put a finger on. Every element of the book ‘feels right’. This is what playing the Astra Militarum should be like. Nothing encompasses this more than the Crusade section.

Rules have been tweaked for the better (well, I’d still have liked Tank Commanders to hit on 3s with all shooting attacks, but there you go) and the excellent new minis coming with the Cadia Stands box and later separate releases all fit the army brilliantly, including the hefty Rogal Dorn.

I do also really like the flexibility of the Doctrines, allowing you to find your Guard army or simply recreating as much as possible the important ones we know about. Cadia still has the edge when it comes to unit choice, but it’s nice to see Datasheets for the Krieg and Catachans.

There is a fair bit to this army, and I do think they’ll take a little practice to get to grips with it all, but the toys are all here for you to find your play style and start earning some wins.

The book (and therefore the army) works well for 9th, in my opinion, but with just what we believe is just the World Eaters left to get a codex, and with the Arks of Omen on the horizon, will the Guard be in good shape come 10th edition, should that be on the release sheet for next year?

Cadia Stands! Astra Militarum Army Set

So the above codex can only be found this year within this army set, which is up for preorder right now.

It’s a very nice box, with a great selection of units. You can check out the full unboxing in a video which will be live shortly, however here are some shots of the box and sprues themselves:

I’ve so far at the point of writing this article built the Command Squad and one Field Ordnance Battery (went with the rockets, because it looks ace!).

They went together a dream, in particular the Command Squad. Such nice kits to build, with lots of variety. I have a ton of spare parts on the sprues to use across the rest of the models I need to build. Some of which I intend to use on some old Infantry Squads I have to build, as well as tanks and such.

If you have ANY interest in the Guard, this box IMHO is a must. The book is great, and the detail and variety of the kits on offer is fantastic.

Again, our thanks to Games Workshop for sending this box to us to review. Keep an eye on our social media channels as I’ll be painting the contents of this box over the coming couple of weeks.

Cadia Stands! is up for preorder right now via Element Games.

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