I attended Astronomi-con for the first time in September, and I don’t know why I haven’t been going for years!
It’s definitely a different kind of event in ALL the best ways. I understand why people go to tournaments to WAAC (win at all costs), but I think Warhammer is more fun when it’s narrative and trying to tell a story. And I think that’s the real joy of the hobby that Mike and Christian have been able to distill into this event.
I finished the tournament with 2 ties, 1 win, and 2 losses. No awards for me, but as my first time, I think I’m pretty happy. I expected a narrative event, but people still brought lists that were TOUGH and POWERFUL. I suppose you don’t want people taking it easy on you.
I plan on writing battle reports for many (if not all) of the 5 battles. But this may be a good summary for the whole thing.
I should note that BIG FAQ 2 dropped the day before this tournament, nerfing the FAQ farm that Astra Militarum used to enjoy so much. I quickly switched out my Warlord’s relic, but I definitely felt the lack of CP.
- Company Commander with Boltgun, Grand Strategist, and Relic of Lost Cadia (Warlord)
- Knight Commander Pask in Executioner Leman Russ with Plasma Sponsors, Lascannon, Hunter-Killer Missile, Storm Bolter and track guards
- 2x Infantry Squad with Vox-caster, plasma, Lascannon, and boltgun for sergerant
- 2x Infantry Squad with Vox-caster, plasma, and plasma pistol and power sword for sergeant
- ministorum priest with laspistol and chainword
- 3x bullgryns with Slabshield and bullgryn maul
- 2x hellhounds with heavy bolter, storm bolter, Hunter-Killer Missile and track guards
- 1x hellhound with heavy bolter, storm bolter
- 2x basilisks with heavy bolter, and Hunter-Killer Missile
- wyvern with heavy bolter, and Hunter-Killer Missile
- -Valkyrie with Lascannon, Multiple Rocket Pods, and 2x Heavy bolters
- 2x taurox with 2x autocannons and storm bolter
The Bullgryns and Priest were in the Valkyrie and used the tactic that is apparently called the “Bullgryn bomb.” The Valkyrie can move up to 40″, and then the transported units inside can disembark at any point of the movement path, as long as they are 9″ away from an enemy. Then, it’s a regular disembarkation, so the troops inside can move their usual 6″. So, these 3 big angry bullgryns wind up 3″ away from a priority target on turn 1. They really do hit like an avalanche of muscle, with 3 attacks each (4 on the bone ‘ead), +1 attack each on the charge, +1 attack each from the priest = 16 S7 attacks, hitting on 3+, -1 AP, 2D each!
Many things I learned during this tournament:
Hellhounds are THE BOMB! Literally and figuratively. The 2D6 auto-hits are a wonderful trick. There are so many things that reduce the already pitiful accuracy of guardsmen so having something automatically hit is lovely. Especially with overwatch!
I even took out a flyer, with flamethrowers! Does’t sound right, but given how the hitting mechanics works, this is how to do it.
And then, when they run out of wounds, they explode on a 4+. I think I did more damage with my hellhounds on my opponents turns with overwatch and explosions. I literally used that tactic on purpose in my 4th game, driving a hellhound into the middle of his rush and expecting him to blow it up, only to have the bomb decimate all the nearby units.
I’m going to bring 3 hellhounds with EVERY list I make from now on. Perhaps the only thing is that I would try to use Catachan doctrine to re-roll a random dice; the Cadian doctrine, though nice, didn’t synergize well with the aggressive nature of the hellhounds.
The aforementioned Bullgryn Bomb worked well, but doesn’t last long. Even with a 2+, at T5 they go down a lot faster than my tanks. I may substitute an additional Bullgryn for the priest in future lists; I’d have the same number of attacks. Or do a Crusader bomb instead and buff them with a priest and psyker to give them 2++. Crusaders are only S3, but 30 attacks at AP-3, re-rollable 3+ to hit will make a dent, and probably be more survivable.
The Valkyrie in my bullgryn bomb was a bit of a let-down after it dropped it’s troops. The Multiple Rocket Pod was a big let-down. I should have stuck with the hellfire missiles, which are cheaper. The heavy bolters achieved nothing the entire tournament. Lesson, keep the Valkrie cheap.
Indirect fire artillery is awesome! My two Basilisks were wonderful for beating up on whatever target I wanted, from anywhere on the board, no line-of-sight required. I have a model for a 3rd Basikisk I should built and paint soon. The Wyvern was great at erasing infantry units too, but not as good as hellhounds. The thing I need to continue doing is to keep these artillery protected in the back behind layers and layers of the rest of my army.
The Cadian doctrine was good, but mathhammer says Catachan is slightly better; and MUCH better if I plant Sergeant Harker nearby.
Knight Commander Pask is a MONSTER! I can honestly say that about half the damage I caused through the tournament was from this one model. Some of my opponents knew that right off the bat and aimed to remove him quickly. He’s SUPER expensive, but ridiculously damaging, even on overwatch. If I bring him again, I need to keep layers of bubble wrap to protect him.
The Taurox’s were good… not great. The beauty of the Tauroxes is that they’re cheap; only 4 PL. In points, would I rather have two Tauroxes, or a Leman Russ?
Their autocannons did a whole lot of nothing. Hitting on 5+ when they move doesn’t help. The storm bolters ironically forced more armour saves. It’s nice that they protect my squishy troops from first round massacres. And T6 3+ with 10 wounds is a pretty good bargain for 4 PL.
In power level games, all the upgrades are free, so I should continue to abuse that. Hunter-Killer missiles for everything. Track guards wherever I can find them. A put Augur Arrays on my list, but never used them. I should even include dozer blades to improve the ramming accuracy for my tanks (hits on 5+ instead of 6+).
Now that I have a feel for the zany Astronomi-con scenarios, I would probably want more “shenanigans” that can more around quickly and/or deep strike. I’m thinking Sly Marbo and/or Scions. Many narrative objectives required the Warlord to kill something, sometimes in close combat, but my warlord was equipped for hiding in a corner shouting orders. Maybe I should finish that Celestine model I’ve had for a while. She can easily move 24″ in a turn, and would buff my guard with a 6++.
And, I need to use Command Points (CP’s) more carefully, or generate more, or both. I wasted a lot of CP’s on useless strategems. I may write a blog post about which CP’s are worth it, and which COMBOS work really well.
And it is worthwhile to generate CP’s cheaply. I think a battalion of Scions should be a go-to for every list I do now. A Tempestor prime, Primaris Psyker, and three scion squads is just 14 PL for 5CP!
All in all, I loved ASTRO, and want to register for next year already! I’m even thinking of new ideas for my display board and narrative things to get more points in those categories.