It’s fair to say, diplomatically, that I’m “jaded” about modern 40k. Call it nostalgia, call it “being a stick in the mud”, but try as I might, I cannot enjoy what the Imperial Guard(I could call it Astra Militarum….but why?) has become.
It feels like an army meant for the larger 6×4 table, at minimum, leveraging its massive amount of units and vast firepower to deal with its often incredibly lethal opponents, has been forced to play a different game. Artillery, aircraft, and vast arrays of tanks, backed up by hordes of cheap infantry made up our most viable options.
All of these things have taken hits. On the new smaller tables, we get tied up in melee faster. Artillery across the board is now functionally useless. Aircraft similarly are far less useful now. And while our tanks remain great, the “cheap” infantry bubble wrap is now just as pricey as most other infantry.
Of course, there are ways around these problems. But they feel like “gamey” solutions, solutions that play up to current 40k’s very “video game” feel.
I played 40k for the more advanced simulation style rules of 7th or prior, with armour values, blast templates, etc. Certain strategies I employed back then, such as leading the assault with tanks to cover my infantry, are now considered the height of stupidity, by getting them into close combat faster. Long story short, while I could adapt, I’d rather quit.
I’m in love with the lore of 40k, not the rules. And in these trying times, the clarion call of the Horus Heresy comes through loud and clear.
I’ve made no bones about my preference for the new 2.0 edition of Horus Heresy, a fantastic glow-up and clean-up of 7th edition 40k, and very balanced and fun. I have a sizeable amount of Iron Warriors and Solar Auxilia for that system already, but the Cults and Militia list(now known as the Imperialis Militia list) offers my guard a new home.
A lot of the new list has cleaned up the options that are no longer sold by Forge World, but replaced them with new options both from FW and GW. The new field guns, the Cargo 8 truck, and more besides can now be taken.
And conveniently enough, while I was going to use my Vostroyans exclusively for the Heresy, new art depicting Imperial Army troops at the Siege of Terra has definitely made my unbuilt Cadian army looking very viable as well!
I have 80(don’t ask, please, I know it’s excessive!) of the new Cadians, 70 of which are unbuilt. I have a few command squads too! I have 6 unbuilt Field Guns, as two more are built as Heavy Lascannons already. And I have 9(!) unbuilt old sentinels, and 4 of the new ones. Really, once built and the alterations made to suit the Heresy, I have the core of a flavourful and interesting Heresy Era Imperial Army list!
The Vostroyan models can serve as my Grenadiers; they have the bulky armour and relic lasguns that can easily serve as lasrifles(these have the same profile as the Solar Auxilia basic weapon). They are also damn close to the original Heresy art of the Imperial Army. Indeed, the Vostroyan Firstborn models were developed off that art.
So, what does this mean for my impressions of the Army List? Honestly, it feels great. We do have some pretty serious drawbacks. Our tanks take a serious hit with being “third line”, meaning they are easily penetrated(any hit, even glancing, rolls on the penetration table) and our infantry are easily routed and cannot regroup.
In return, we receive some serious upsides. Our “provenences of war”, unlocked by our Force Commander, offer the same amazing customization of the army as before. One, Industrial Might, allows for Leman Russes to be squadroned, taking several per slot. This is huge, as given our debuff we also got a points reduction. We can easily spend more on tanks! And these tanks are still AV14, and packing serious firepower. Third Line offers another bonus…their destruction doesn’t grant victory points.
Another, Endless Hordes, allows Levies and Infantry Squads to “recycle”, allowing a duplicate unit to be placed into reserve for free, and entering play just like reserves would. This triggers on the unit no longer being on the table, due to either morale or casualties. And if they are Levy Infantry….they don’t grant victory points.
Both of these options are mutually exclusive, so you can’t double dip. But both band-aid over a crucial flaw in your army.
Now, did I do anything…useful with this knowledge and inspiration? I did! I built a few models, and whilst I have many to go, I can quickly show you a “teaser”. I say teaser, as I’m away from my lightbox and unfortunately I get tired more easily now, so I was working from bed. Correspondingly, the pictures kinda suck.
That is all I have for now, but I feel…ambitious enough to say I’ll “try” to post tomorrow. But time makes liars of us all…so let’s see if I hold to it!
For now, Happy Wargaming wherever you are! And Ave Imperator! Glory to Him on Terra!
8 thoughts on “Humanity Divided: A Return to my Imperialis Militia!”
A great post. I think you have captured the sentiments of most of us “old school” Impy Guard players!
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I’ve learned to mostly keep it to myself offline, as I don’t want to be a jerk to those enjoying the 40k hobby itself still.
But it’s definitely different then the Army I started back in the day! Horus Heresy offers a lot of us “Grognards” a chance to play something pretty damned close to our original experience, and for that alone, the game is great.
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Well, I’m pleased you’ve shared this! 🙂 I’m not much of a WH40K follower but I can see where you’re coming from and I like what you’ve done with the minis. It’s your hobby and I can see you’re enjoying it and that’s what counts! 🙂
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Exactly! It’s more fun to stay positive. Sticking around 40k expecting it to return to what I’m used to is folly, not when Horus Heresy offers what I want there.
I do need to get some paint on these!
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Excited to see this project progress. And agreed with the sentiments… definitely a bigger fan of the lore than the game. I may have to give Heresy a try.
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It’s definitely a different game than current 40k, and it has a lot of the conversion and kitbash potential that has slowly been pruned away from 40k itself. It’s also, essentially, the genesis story of 40k, and the weight of the era seems to hit harder.
There was hope still, there was possibility of a bright future for humanity, despite the Great Crusades many barbarisms. I find the “grimdark” hits harder when the brightness of the setting is being ripped away as the Heresy progresses, and not as some distant, halcyon era of myth.
As a game…it is fairly complex and suitably grand in scope. The average points size is 3000 points, even by old 40k 7th edition standards(and the closest in how the game works), that is a full 1000 points more. Sure, primarchs are expensive, but certainly they aren’t in every game!
Case in point; as a militia player, I think someone crunched the math…I can field 900 infantry models. Not points. Models. It’s crazy!
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Well said. The tragedy of the Heresy hits hard.
I do enjoy the larger-scale games, though 900 models is incredible! The kitbashing was what got me into 40K to begin with, so you’ve only got me more intrigued. I’m going to look into it. Thanks!