Astra Militarum – Vendetta

Posted: April 23, 2014 by The Master of the Adeptus Administratum in Expansions, Forgeworld, Hobby, Rules, Tactica, Uncategorized
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As Imperial Guard players transition to the new Astra Militarum codex, while much may seem the same, many things have changed.  I’ll be posting a series of articles about some of the units which have seen changes and hopefully provide some insights, tactics, and general information about how the unit has evolved.

2014-04-23 10.02.35

Next up: Vendetta.

History: The Vendetta arrived on the scene with the release of the previous Imperial Guard codex during fifth edition.  At that time it was a fast skimmer, with the ability to scout and deep strike.  With the ability to transport 12 models, players loaded them with veteran squads and combined the ability to scout, move and disembark their passengers right at the enemy, giving them unprecedented first-strike potential.  Going first in a game with these units could see an opponent lose a big part of their army right at the starting line.   This led to one player coining the phrase ‘Leaf Blower’ for this style of play, as after the initial first-turn shattering of an opponent’s army, the remainder of the game was mostly blowing away the left-overs.

The key factors which led to the Vendetta’s popularity in the previous edition and book was twofold.  Twin-linked lascannons and its bargain base cost of 130 points.  The fact that there wasn’t a released lascannon upgrade kit for some time didn’t hold players back from converting their own, and I suspect the majority of the Vendettas out there are converted.  Forgeworld did release a very nice conversion kit for late adopters and models with those are now quite common.

vendettack

 

The reliability and lethality of three twin-linked lascannons on a fast skimmer platform in an army that predominantly featured BS3 units gave players a unit that could threaten anything an opponent could field.  BS4 veterans with their ability to take three special weapons as well as doctrines gave Imperial Guard players more reliable cheap shooting options.  By way of comparison, a platoon heavy weapons team of three BS3 T3 W2 models was 105 points.  For 25 more points, the Vendetta was too easy of a selection.

With the arrival of sixth edition, major changes were afoot for the Vendetta.  It changed into a Flyer and that effectively shut down the scouting and first-turn lethality of the ‘Leaf Blower’ style of play.  Of course this didn’t stop the Vendetta from being effective – in some ways it became even more lethal as it still initially retained the Scout special rule, allowing to now outflank.  Combined with an Astropath, these flyers could reliably arrive on turn 2 on an opponent’s flank and fire three twin-linked lascannons at the sides of vehicles, and opponents would have very little anti-aircraft weapons to reliably shoot them down with.  They still could transport units like veteran squads and drop off scoring units into the opponent’s deployment zone to cause further damage and in Eternal War standard missions go for victory points with via Linebreaker.  Additionally, the nature of the flyer rules meant that Vendettas were also a great option for dealing with opponent’s flyers.  When fighting against other flyers, the ability to respond to an opponent’s flyers by going second became a popular strategy.

Some time after sixth edition, the Vendetta was Amended to remove Deep Strike and Scout, which signalled the beginning of the reining in of the Vendetta.  The new Astra Militarum codex see’s some big changes to this unit.

Points: The Vendetta base cost is now 170 points.  This is an increase of 40 points.  While this may seem like a major increase, people need to keep in mind a couple of factors.  The first is that at its old cost of 130 points it was underpointed – even as a skimmer.  Taking that unit and making it a flyer compounded matters.   Most people will be satisfied with the increase and hopefully the reputation it has earned over the years will begin to soften as more units to address flyers enter the mainstream.

Statline:  The Vendetta’s airframe hasn’t changed and the familiar 12-12-10 armour remains.  It’s unit type Vehicle (Flyer, Hover, Transport) is what would be expected.

Wargear:  The now familiar three twin-linked lascannons are still there, so no changes.

Special Rules: The wording for Grave Chute Insertion has been cleaned up removing any of the old skimmer and fifth edition references.  The rule however is effectively unchanged.

Transport Capacity:  Here is another major change to the Vendetta.  The transport capacity has been reduced to six models.  This stops most full strength infantry units from being able to embark on the Vendetta.  It remains a candidate for Independent Characters, Command Squads, Special Weapons squads, Heavy Weapon teams, and short squads of Ratlings, and Wyrdvane psykers.

Options:  The ability to field Vendettas in squadrons of up to three models is still available.  Sponson Heavy Bolters are available for 20 points.  Hellfury missiles are still a free ‘upgrade’, but I have yet to see any player remove two twin-linked lascannons for two S4 AP5 Large Blast, Ignores cover, one-shot missiles.  As the Vendetta is the only model that can field these missiles, I suspect that there are ammo dumps filled with these things all over the Imperium.

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Other considerations for getting the most out of the Vendetta come down to what kind of synergies are available.   By their very nature, flyers are held in reserve at the start of the game.   That alone means they cannot have any impact to an opponent’s army on the first turn.  So, it is imperative that they arrive on turn two to get the most out of these units.   The changes to the Astropath/Officer of the Fleet means that players can no longer reliably have +1 to their reserve rolls.  So, what other options are available to help get them to the table?

Comm Relays offer a re-roll to all reserve rolls, and can be purchased as a 20 point upgrade to many fortifications when using the Stronghold Assault expansion, or for the Aegis Defence Line and Imperial Bastion from the rulebook.

Divination also opens up an option, thanks to the often ignored Scrier’s Gaze power.  This power can become a great boon to reserves especially when facing opponents which have the ability to reduce the chance of your reserves arriving.    It is worth mentioning that an Astra Militarum force with two Company Command Squads each with an Officer Of The Fleet, that their ability to modifiy reserve rolls is cumulative.

The Skyshield Landing Pad in the Stronghold Assault book has the Ready For Takeoff rule which allows a flyer with the hover type to be deployed on it at the start of the game.

When looking at what other units have some synergy with the Vendetta, the easy choices are Company Command Squads.  The drawback to mounting a Company Command squad in a Vendetta is that it isn’t on the battlefield issuing orders and keeping the troops from breaking.  An often overlooked unit which seems to be a great fit for transport duty is the Special Weapon squad.  Cheap and loaded for bear these units can become great linebreakers and can be equippied for a variety of battlefield roles. Similarly, Platoon Command Squads can fill the same role with a bit more close combat ability and access to orders. Techpriest Enginseers may also be worth looking at as these can offer the Vendetta the ability to split fire with Power of the Machine Spirit, and repair hull points, weapons, and possibly even fix locked velocity damage results.

The Vendetta remains a great unit to have in an Astra Militarum force.  It has the firepower to deal with the big threats to an Imperial Guard force and can still transport scoring units.  The key to getting the most out of these units will always be getting them to the battlefield.  Not investing in some means of improving the chance of their arrival just invites bad luck or an opponent with a strategy to shut down reserves to keep them out of the fight.

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