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Caledonian Deathwatch Network

Top 10 8th Edition Stratagems

If the new FAQ’s got you down and you’re seeking a new way to spend your command points now that the Dead Walk No More? Suddenly found yourself with 4 command points more and 7 Tyrants down?

Stratagems have been one of the biggest changes to 40k we’ve seen since wargear cards in second edition, and have managed to capture a lot of the spirit of the Formations of 7th edition, with many bearing the same names such as empyric channeling of Librarius Conclave fame, sadly brought low by the ravages of time.

With that in mind, there can be a lot for a player to think about now, with around 15 books and a couple of hundred stratagems, we felt that it was about time that we separated the wheat from the chaff, the best of the best and the ones you’ll probably come to rue in games to come.

 

10) Concordance of Power (Craftworlds)

Allowing Warlock Conclaves to double the range of their powers from 18” to 36” has a lot of upside. Casting powers such as quicken, jinx and restrain at ranges where they not only don’t put the caster in any threat, but also where they can’t be denied is unquestionably powerful.

Hell Ahriman is working his ass off for a 9” Warptime and some Eldar chinwagger is tossing them out at 4 times that no bother! Even with the newly raised points cost, it’s hard to argue with the power these guys can throw down.

 

9) Descent of Angels (Blood Angels)

Throwing down a 3D6 charge on a unit which has arrived from reserve can be a devastating blow to any unprepared army. Combined with fly on units like Death Company or Sanguinary Guard, it’s very possible to leapfrog entire screens and get into the juicy bits, even if it’s on turn 2 now.

This stratagem has a potential to absolutely blow you out if you don’t come prepared for it, and in the new post FAQ world where deep striking is noticeably weaker, you might be tempted to forego your screens, and a bunch of rocket maniacs might make you regret that.

 

8) Lightning Fast Reactions (Craftworlds and Drukhari)

Everything dies was the tagline for 8th edition, or at least the one I paid attention to. So imagine my surprise when eldar could suddenly be -3 to hit without issue. A reactive power like this can be a complete blowout if you haven’t split your fire correctly, and poor dice can result in you plinking off of a crucial wave serpent, venom or squad of shining spears. Combined with the ability to hit Ynnari units with this, and Dark Reapers become near unshiftable in cover for the average army.

It’s not easy to avoid being caught out by Lightning Fast Reactions. Splitting firepower to reduce its bonuses could always result in you failing to kill either target, or pour way too much into one and lose sight of other goals. A very strong stratagem that informs the way you play against any pointy ears.

 

7) Wrath of Mars (Adeptus Mechanicus)

Do you like making sure your opponent doesn’t get to roll dice? Do you like rolling functionally criminal numbers of them? Do you like slow play warnings as you pick out rerolls like it’s your dayjob? Kastelan Robots with Wrath of Mars are your new best friend.

Being able to have any 6 to wound inflict a mortal in addition to normal damage turns these 110 point monsters into absolute gatling gun machines, and the number of command points available to AdMech has gone up too, expect to see these bad boys holding up the midfield on a table near you.

 

6) Meticulous Uprising (Genestealer Cults)

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The only chapter approved stratagem to make the list does so as a result of the new Tactical Reserves FAQ, making Genestealer Cults the near undisputed king of the Alpha Strike. Rolling 3 dice (with a reroll) for an ambushing unit and their primus is over a 95% chance to deliver your choice of payload directly to the opponents deployment zone, on turn 1.

It’s a playstyle that the meta has adapted for over the past year, but in one fell swoop its fallen by the wayside and the Genestealer Cults are primed to pick it up and throw down in a less alpha heavy meta. Look for this stratagem and army to only improve in the future as they look towards a codex of their own.

 

5) Stooping Dive (Adeptus Custodes)

3 command points. Declare a charge in your opponent’s turn. Not only is it a complete sequence break for the way that 40k normally works, it forces your opponent to play so differently.

If there’s one key aspect that you might have noticed from the previous Stratagems, it’s that making your opponents play differently, punishing them for mistakes and denying them options is amazing in 8th edition. You can block off entire regions of the board with a big enough unit of Vertus Praetors and your opponent can’t go near them for fear of getting run down by some golden dudes on bikes.

 

4) – Counter Offensive (Universal) & Indomitable Guardians (Adeptus Custodes)

These Stratagems allow you to fight in your opponent’s turn, potentially saving units, stealing objectives or points from under their nose. These Stratagems allow you to punish opponents for multi-charging or trying to lock up units, and steal back momentum at the low cost of 2 CP (or a more restrictive 1 if you’re Custodes on an Objective, bonus points if you use both).

With clever use of this stratagem, you can dissuade chargers, protect your lines, or even abuse heroic intervention to smack with a beatstick character before your opponent even gets a chance. 10/10 Stratagem, will be one you’ll see almost any game that involves multiple combat units.

 

3 – Agents of Vect (Drukhari – Kabal of the Black Heart)

The new hotness in the room, and the ultimate in disruptive power in 40k at the moment. 3 Command Points to roll a dice when your opponent uses a stratagem to either do nothing, refund it for your opponent and  stop it for the turn, or ⅙ of the time just say fuck you you’ve wasted your command points.

Nothing in the game compares to how much benefit you can get from shutting down everything from other powers in this list to situational powers that are amazing in the moment.

Playing around this power is possible, but it warps the game around it. Situational powers jump in priority as you try to draw it out, or make lose lose situations for your opponent, but the raw power of shutting down your opponent’s game plan gets it a podium spot here. It loses out on the top 2 spots due to being inherently reactive. You can only win the game off of this if your opponent puts you in a situation where they can lose if you use this, which I think would be a mistake on their part.

 

2) Strike from the Shadows (Space Marines – Raven Guard) & Forward Operatives (Chaos Space Marines – Alpha Legion) & Clandestine Infiltration (Adeptus Mechanicus – Stygies VIII)

So you remember how the Genestealer Cults were awesome because they could drop the hammer turn 1? What’s better than paying 1 command point, as many times as you’d like to be able to dump a lethal alpha on your opponent if you’re going first (place these guys after the seize remember) or in a safe spot for later use going second.

The flexibility and power on show here for units like Dragoons, Khorne Berzerkers, Cultists and Aggressors means that you can potentially cripple an army on turn one with smart play, and you won’t even suffer too many consequences playing it right if you do go second. This is a proactive stratagem that warps the game around it completely and has only gone up in power after the FAQ.

 

Honourable Mentions) The Deepest Shadow (Tyranids – Kronos) & Vengeance for Cadia (Astra Militarum)

Both of these Stratagems have amazing effects. Forcing a psyker to cast on one dice or rerolling to hit and wound on a unit like a shadowsword are potentially devastating to opposing armies, one reactively and one proactively, but the issue comes in their inflexibility. In the right matchups these Stratagems can put you massively ahead and are easy contenders for top 5 spots but will often be completely dead just based on your opponent’s army choice. Keep them in mind at all times when playing their respective nemeses at all times.

 

1) Command Reroll (Universal)

 

If this is a surprise to you, you really need to get out more. The flexibility and power of an unrestricted reroll means that in every game you play you’re going to see a few of these. Unless every command point you have is carefully attributed to your game plan, having a pool of these to go around will never be a bad thing. They can assist in damage, defense, scoring or anything else you can imagine with a dice.

No matter their propensity to Reroll a 1 into a 1, this stratagem is by far the best thing going right now. Just ask 7th ed Daemon players how they feel about everyone having Fateweaver

 

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So that’s my breakdown of the 10 best Stratagems going in the game at the moment, but we’d love to hear your thoughts either on twitter, or on Facebook at Caledonian Deathwatch Network

 

Innes

@InnesAWilson

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