Astra Militarum – Valkyrie

Posted: May 1, 2014 by The Master of the Adeptus Administratum in Forgeworld, 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.

ValkRP2

 

Next Up: Valkyrie

History: The Valkyrie dates back to the very first Imperial Armour book over a decade ago. Back at that time it was a flyer and had an front and side armour of 11 and had the ability to hover. It remained a Forgeworld exclusive model up until the previous Imperial Guard codex where it was reintroduced as a Fast Skimmer with the ability to scout and deep strike. It had its armour raised to 12 from its original 11 likely due to the fact that as a skimmer it needed a bit more survivability. Much of the unit’s more recent history is shared with the Vendetta in that with the release of sixth edition, the Valkyrie once again became a flyer while retaining its armour 12 and its original cost of 100 points.

The original model for the Valkyrie was a complete resin kit released by Forgeworld.  With the arrival of the GW plastic kit, the old Forgeworld resin Valkyrie was discontinued.  Forgeworld also produced a very nice crashed Valkyrie terrain piece which looks to also have been discontinued.

With the new Codex: Astra Militarum the Valkyrie has been brought up to date and while the points have changed, the way the unit operates is largely the same.

Points: The Valkyrie base cost is now 125 points.   This is an increase of 25 points from the previous codex. This moderate increase was needed as the previous incarnation was not a flyer at the time the old codex was written.

Statline: The statline for the Valkyrie is unchanged. It retains its BS3 and the now familiar 12-12-10 armour values. It has a 12-model transport capacity. Its unit type Vehicle (Flyer, Hover, Transport) is what it had been with the GW FAQ update as part of sixth edition.

Wargear: The Valkyrie comes equipped with a multi-laser, two hellstrike missiles, extra armour, and a searchlight.

Special Rules: The Valkyrie and Vendetta both share the Grave Chute Insertion rules which have been cleaned up removing any of the old skimmer and fifth edition references. The rule however is effectively unchanged.

Options: The Valkyrie can be fielded in squadrons of up to three models. They can upgrade their multi-laser to a lascannon for a modest 10 points, which is a reduction of 5 points from the previous book. They can replace both of their hellstrike missiles with two multiple rocket pods for 10 points. This makes the Rocket Pods half the points they were as an upgrade in the old Codex: Imperial Guard.   Finally, the Valkyrie can take a pair of sponsons armed with Heavy Bolters for 20 points.   The definition of these as Sponsons helps clear up some odd line of sight quirks with the previous codex entry so should do away with any rules and line of sight questions with how these heavy bolters work. Note that the points for the Heavy Bolters effectively doubled in this book, but curiously in the Militarum Tempestus book the same Heavy Bolters remained 10 points. This may be something that a FAQ update addresses to bring the two unit entries into line.

ValkHellstrikes

Builds: There are a couple of builds to the Valkyrie platform which I’ll go over and compare the points between the old and new codex.

The first build is the Valkyrie with multi-laser, heavy bolter sponsons and multiple rocket pods. This flyer can generate a lot of anti-infantry firepower each turn. It is best suited to taking on larger units of lightly armoured troops, but can also be effective against smaller units of tougher units if you can catch them in close formation to generate a lot of hits with the multiple rocket pods. When in a squadron these flyers can saturate a point on the battlefield with their rocket pods and raking an infantry unit with their heavy bolters and multi-lasers. Another bonus from the rocket pods is that they can cause wounds to models outside of line of sight and have the potential of scattering blasts onto other nearby units when the scatter dice go awry. Rocket pods have an advantage of the hellstrike missiles since the hellstrikes are one-use weapons. The downsides of the multiple rocket pods are that it is limited to a 24” range and that if the Valkyrie chooses to evade incoming fire, the multiple rocket pods cannot be fired as per the Snap Shots rule.

In the previous codex this configuration clocked in at 100+10+30=140 points. In Codex: Astra Militarum this unit now 125+20+10=155 points. Not a big change thanks to the discounted rocket pods, but the increased cost of the heavy bolters may now not be an optimal upgrade as only four weapons can be fired at normal ballistic skill, leaving one of the heavy bolters or the multi-laser on the Valkyrie to be fired as snap shots. Leaving out the heavy bolters leaves the Valkyrie at a tidy 135 points, but the additional flexibility of the heavy bolters may be worth the 20 points. Should they update the unit entry via FAQ to have the heavy bolters a 10 point upgrade, then I would say they are definitely worthwhile as an upgrade.

ValkyrieSqn

 

The second build is the Valkyrie with multi-laser, heavy bolter sponsons and its standard hellstrike missiles. This is more of a multi-role configuration, with the ability to go after vehicles with the hellstrike missiles or gun down infantry with the multi-laser and heavy bolters. When fielded in a squadron a volley of hellstrike missiles can be devastating to lightly armoured vehicles. The advantages of the hellstrike is its long 72” range and that it is an ordnance weapon. There are downsides to the hellstrike missile however. First and foremost it is a one-use only weapon. The fact that they are ordnance weapons is a double-edged sword in that they have a better chance of generating a penetrating hit on a vehicle, but due to the fact they are ordnance weapons all other weapons fired at the same time must be fired as snap shots.

In the old Codex: Imperial Guard this configuration was 100+10=110 points. In Codex: Astra Militarum this configuration is 125+20=145 points. A pretty steep upgrade thanks to the increased costs for the heavy bolters.

An important aspect of the Valkyrie that seems to be downplayed is the fact that is also capable of being a perfectly good skimmer. This flexibility is what makes the Valkyrie a very dangerous unit on the battlefield. Keeping a flyer on the table for multiple turns with quality targets for it to shoot at is more difficult than most would expect. Flying off the table sacrifices an entire turn’s worth of shooting, and when you consider that flyers aren’t on the table for the first turn this is a significant reduction in damage output for the unit. Going into hover mode presents more opportunities for targeting but at a higher risk of taking damage from both shooting and also assault. Planning a flight route that keeps it well away from assault should be a consideration. That way once the major threats have been addressed it can transition to a skimmer for mop-up.

The lack of outflank available to the Astra Militarum makes getting units to the opponent’s deployment zone or other distant locations of the battlefield for capturing objectives more difficult. The Valkyrie and its ability to transport units of up to 12 models combined with its speed and survivability make it the ideal transport for getting units from one side of the battlefield to another.

They have similar synergies with other units from the Astra Militarum which I’ve covered in the previous Astra Militarum – Vendetta article, so I’ll direct you there for those insights. Veteran squads will look to the Valkyrie as a replacement for the Vendetta to deliver them to the front lines. Scion squads similarly can make use of the Valkyrie be it for delivering them to a point on the battlefield or to extract them from one hotspot to another during a game by deep striking the Scions where they can do damage, backed up by the Valkyries arriving from reserve. The Valkyries can fly over to where the scions are and be in a position where they can hover and have the scions embark then fly off to another point on the battlefield before they get bogged down.

Kurov’s Aquila is an Heirloom of Conquest available to the company commander. This gives the officer and all friendly units within 6” the Preferred Enemy special rule. When embarked in or near a squadron of Valkyries this can be a significant boost to their firepower allowing the re-roll of 1’s for to-hit and to-wound rolls.

Valkyries continue to be a nice flexible unit for the Astra Militarum. Its ability to take on light infantry and vehicles combined with its transport capacity and flying ability will make it a go-to unit for many players. Careful use of hover mode will allow it to stay on station and continue to provide fire support for the rest of the army.

 

 

 

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