While Astra Militarum are one of the many armies that still has not recieved the “Decurion” treatment of the most recent 7the edition armies, they still have plenty of tricks up their sleeve, especially when combined with the Librarius Conclave formation from the new C:SM book.
For those who aren’t familiar, the Librarius Conclave lets you take 3-5 Space Marine Librarians (with the option to swap out one of them for Tigurius). It also allows one Librarian in the formation to “channel” all the abilities of other Librarians in the formation within 12″ of him (i.e. he can use any abiltiies they know, but they cannot cast any abilities that turn). The advantage to doing this, if one other Librarian is within 12″ of the “designated caster” Librarian, then he harnesses Warp Charges on a 3+; of two of more other Librarians are within 12″ of the “designated caster,” then he harnesses Warp Charges on a 2+!
Combine this with Tigurius and his ability to re-roll failed Psychic Tests (thank you, Hood of Hellfire) and the total of between 7-11 Warp Charges generated by this fomation alone (provided you get the PML(2) upgrades for everyone) and you can see why people are saying this is such a Powerful formation.
So, how does this mesh with the Astra Militarum? Well, first off, taking Tigurius and 2-4 other PML(2) Librarians and rolling hard on the Divination table means you are all but certain to get the Misfortune malediction power i.e. target an enemy and all subsequent attacks against it have Rending. Since Tigurius in this formation will basically have a 97% chance to harness each Warp Charge he rolls for (and he only needs two Warp Charges to get Misfortune off), you should be able to Misfortune a selected enemy unit with a VERY high degree of reliability.
This is where the Astra Militarum come in. Perhaps more than any other army in the game, the AM have multiple options to put out a very high volume of shooting, which synergizes very well with the Misfortune power. Say you are targeting the infamous Eldar Wraithknight… here are some options for killing it with relative ease, with Misfortune cast on it:
I – 3 LR Punishers with max Heavy Bolters — Cast Prescience on the Punsiher squadron (should be easy to do with Tigurius and his Conclave buddies) and you get re-rolls to hit for everyone. That’s 87 S5 shots. At BS3 with re-rolls, you get about 65-66 hits and, of these, 10-1 Rending hits on average. Even after FNP saves, that is 7-8 unsaved wounds and one dead Wraithknight!
II – 50 man blob squad, firing at 24″ with “First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire” and Prescience cast on them — That’s 100 shots at 24″, averaging 75 hits, 12-13 Rends, and again, one dead Wraithknight.
III – 10 man Ogryn Squad with Prescience-enhanced shooting and charging — With 30 shots from their Ripper Guns, they average 22-23 hits, 3-4 Rends, and 2-3 unsaved wounds. If they follow the shooting with a successful charge, the Wraithknight will statistically kill 2 of them, meaning the remaining 8 have 32 attacks, 24 hits, 4 Rends, and 2-3 unsaved Wounds, which is potentially enough to kill the Wraithknight outright with the loss of only two Ogryns (or 80 points of models) in exchange).
While this definitely requires some synergy and careful coordination, the Librarius Conclave’s amost guaranteed ability to get the powers it wants (mainly Misfortune and Prescience) and also almost surefire chance of getting the powers off means that these combos have a very respectable ability to take one whatever enemy units they are up against.