Strength in Numbers

Preview the Astra Militarum Faction from Warhammer 40,000: Conquest


“A good soldier obeys without question. A good officer commands without doubt.” 
   –Tactica Imperialis

Amidst the darkness and terrors of the 41st millennium, Mankind has had no choice but to band together, arming themselves and keeping watch against the next horror to emerge. The Imperium of Man has grown strong under the glorious rule of the Emperor, and in Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, you can lead the massed armies of humanity in a battle for the planets of the Traxis sector!

In past previews, we’ve given a detailed overview of different aspects of gameplay, beginning with the deployment of units to planets, continuing into the command struggle that takes place at every planet, rewarding the victor with additional resources and card draw. Next, we looked at the combat phase and gave a detailed example of a battle at one planet. Most recently, we began to delve into the factions of Warhammer 40,000: Conquest with a look at the Space Marines faction. Today, we continue to look at the new factions by looking at the Astra Militarum, the bulk of the armed forces of the Imperium.

Uncountable Armies

The greatest strength of the Astra Militarum faction has always been its massive armies, filled with uncountable numbers of men and women eager to die for the glory of the Emperor. In Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, the first warlord of the Astra Militarum is Colonel Straken (Core Set, 2), a native of the jungle Death World of Catachan. No matter how large your army grows, Straken’s presence is large enough to inspire them. Colonel Straken grants a raised attack value to every friendly Soldier and Warrior at his planet, transforming even the lowliest guardsman into a stronger fighting force.

The Astra Militarum has access to limitless resources and manpower from across the galaxy, and so in Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, they may summon Guardsman token units into combat. These Guardsmen help bolster the ranks of your forces, and the strength of numbers cannot be underestimated. In addition, every Guardsman is also a Soldier, meaning that they get the bonus of Colonel Straken’s special ability.

Some of the ways you can get these Guardsmen token units into play come from Straken’s signature squad. There are four copies of the Straken’s Command Squad (Core Set, 31) unit in the signature squad, and whenever one of them leaves play from a planet, a Guardsman token unit is put into play at the same planet. With this ability, even after the Command Squad is destroyed, the fight isn’t over.

You’ll also be able to order your Guardsmen into combat from the iron bastion of Omega Zero Command (Core Set, 32). While you have this support card in play, you can put a Guardsman token unit into play at any planet where you win a command struggle! Normally, most of your units will be amassed during the deployment phase, but if you can successfully win the command struggle at key planets, you could see the Guardsmen of the Astra Militarum flocking to your aid.

With massive armies at your disposal, some strategic losses are essential to gaining a greater advantage. Whenever one of your units is attacked and dealt damage, you may play Glorious Intervention (Core Set, 33) and sacrifice a Soldier or Warrior unit to prevent all damage. In addition, you can then deal damage back to the attacker equal to the attack value of the sacrificed unit! Although you have to sacrifice an army unit to gain the effect, playing one of the two copies of Glorious Intervention at the right time can save a key unit and potentially eliminate the attacker.

The final card in Colonel Straken’s signature squad is Straken’s Cunning (Core Set, 34). This attachment can be attached to any army unit, granting it a raised attack value, and bearing the text, “Interrupt: When attached unit leaves play, draw 3 cards.” Additional card draw might just give you the extra units you need to overwhelm your opponent, and with Glorious Intervention, you can sacrifice the attached unit and gain your added card draw whenever you choose.

The Price of Victory

Since the loss of some troops is inevitable, the Astra Militarum faction has plenty of ways to benefit from their units leaving play, and we’ll look at a few of them today. One army that can grant the Astra Militarum the upper hand is the Cadian Mortar Squad (Core Set, 36). This unit bears the Ranged keyword, meaning that it has the opportunity to strike during the ranged skirmish, before non-Ranged units can strike. In addition, this card has a Reaction that allows you to ready this unit whenever another friendly unit leaves play. As your units fall to the vagaries of battle, you can rely on the Cadian Mortar Squad to rain fiery destruction on your enemies.

Captain Markis (Core Set, 42) offers you more options for making the most of hosts of Guardsmen. With Captain Markis, you may sacrifice any Astra Militarum unit at the planet to exhaust a non-warlord unit at the planet. By exhausting your opponent’s heavy-hitters, you leave him vulnerable to your own attacks, enabling your own armies to attack unmolested.

Of course, the Astra Militarum faction includes a slew of units who offer you benefits for leaving play themselves. In similar fashion to Straken’s Command Squad, when an Enginseer Augur (Core Set, 43) leaves play you may search the top six cards of your deck for an Astra Militarum support card with cost two or lower and immediately put it into play at your headquarters. The Astra Militarum is known for the strength of its supports, and whether they increase your economy or offer you other advantages, you’re sure to reap the benefits of the Enginseer Augur’s ability.

One support you might find aiding the armies of the Astra Militarum is the Rockcrete Bunker (Core Set, 52). When damage is assigned to one of your units, you can exhaust this support to redirect one point of that damage to this support. When this support has four damage on it, it must be sacrificed, but until then, it grants you an added level of protection against your foes. As the battle-hardened armies of the Astra Militarum march to war in countless numbers, you’re sure to find the benefits of unlimited bodies.

Soldiers of the Emperor

The Astra Militarum’s forces stride ahead to glorious triumph over any obstacle to the Imperium of Man. Take your place as their general and forge a new era among the stars of the 41st millennium. Join us next time as we examine the brutality of the Ork faction, and preorder Warhammer 40,000: Conquest at your local retailer today!

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