Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oh, crap. I do hear a rumbling noise!

Alright people, it’s time to finish what I’ve started. And that is a breakdown of the heavy support choices in the new codex.

Ordnance battery commonalities:
Well, these are all on a chimera chassis. So you’ll need to watch their sides. And the rear. And the front too, since they’ll be sitting still. All of these can be taken in squads of up to three. Should you give them camo nets? That depends entirely on your table. This is probably the only place I’d use that. The smoke being standard is nice. Oh, the stupid searchlights are standard here, too (you may have guessed I don’t have a high opinion of these). This shouldn’t be as much of a problem, since you should put these indirectly firing beauties behind some ‘obscuration.’ Keep this in mind: just because you see a range given for the weapon’s range doesn’t mean you can’t fire directly. Read pg. 58 of the rulebook. People seem to be freaking-out that they can’t fire directly with Basilisks… They can, indeed. Unless it says so in the weapon entry, you can always fire directly. They’re open-topped, but if you really think that’s a problem, you have the option to upgrade to an enclosed crew compartment.

Imperial Guard. The name is evocative of three things: an inexhaustible supply of infantrymen, the Leman Russ, and the Basilisk. This is the mainstay of Guard artillery. Its main armament is a gun that can put a S9 AP3 ordnance blast anywhere on the table, with barrage to make the squad option very sweet. If you want to lob angry shells at the foe, these are for you.
Basilisk’s score: 8.5/10

This is an interesting one, to be sure: this artillery piece doesn’t fire indirectly. It also doesn’t fire in a barrage, so you can't link it to other members of the battery. However, this can move and fire. Each S10 AP2 shot will roll for accuracy on its own. Here’s where it gets really interesting: for cheap-like-almost-free, you can upgrade to Bastion-breacher shells. Why is that so interesting? Because you increase the range, make it AP1, and you get to roll an extra D6 for armor penetration. With a S10 AP1 blast; imagine the possibilities… Take Creed and outflank? Run up the middle with two separate Medusas and make the other guy sweat? Go for it. Sweat’s always good, when it’s from the other guy. Sweat and blood. And tears…
Medusa’s score: 9/10

You hear the name and you think: that’s gotta be a big gun. Well, it is; the picture in the codex makes this thing look ridiculous. It has a S6 AP3 ordnance barrage cover save denying gun. The drawback is that it can’t fire directly. But for some serious MEQ slaying, that’s not so bad. Personally though, I’d rather take the Eradicator to ferret things out of cover. Maybe this would integrate into your list better, though.
Colossus’ score: 8/10

At first, you think this is under-powered for an artillery piece. But wait: it’s the cheapest by far, and is built for accuracy instead of power. Which is not to say that it can’t pack a punch: S6 AP4 is good enough for a lot of targets. When fired, the controlling player gets to re-roll the scatter die if he so chooses. You can’t fire this directly, but the accurate bombardment rule I just mentioned added to its very close minimum range makes that a non-issue. I can see these becoming a force on the table in the times to come. I forgot to mention this, but the article by Thenoblewolves above reminded me: use these as a 'tracer round' for you larger, angrier ordnance batteries.
Griffon’s score: 8.5/10

That’s it for the ordnance battery choices. These last two are the only Guard tanks that can’t be fielded in squadrons; they’re that good.

Manticore Rocket Launcher:
The MIRV SCUD launcher of the 41st millennium. Oh, these look so cool, it’s not even funny. They can cover the table with a S10 AP4 ordnance barrage… that fires D3 missiles per rocket. The storm eagle rockets have limited ammunition, though, being able to fire only four times per game. Well, that’s usually most turns. If you took three of these, there’d be so much carnage by turn five, you opponent might be on the verge of tears. I can’t wait to try these out.
Manticore’s score: 8.5/10

Deathstrike Missile Launcher:
Oh, baby. This is one controversial unit. Put it (or them) behind a pocket of impassible terrain that blocks LoS. There’s not much to say other than what it does, and then let you figure out if you want to use it. I personally want to try fielding three… Anyway, same armor as a hellhound and it fires the eponymous deathstrike missile. It can’t be fired directly, but you can fire it from 12 inches onward. The range is unlimited. That really doesn’t mean anything on a four by six foot table. What are you going to do, fire it at your friend’s house? It’s a S10 AP1 ordnance barrage with one shot only. What do you do after you fire? Go ram something! It has a blast radius of D3+3 inches. The large blast marker is two and a half inches in radius. So, automatically, you’ve already got a blast almost twice as big. Up to a one foot in diameter blast. The entire circle counts as the ‘center hole’ of normal templates. There are no armor saves and no cover saves. You get to roll two D6 and take the highest and then add one to the result for armor penetration. Here’s where it gets sticky: the ‘T-minus five minutes to launch… and counting’ special rule. I hate it just because I had to type it. Here’s what it does: you can’t fire the deathstrike in turn one. Starting turn two, roll a die to see if you can fire. For every turn the launcher’s been on the table +1, for each weapon destroyed result allocated to the missile -1, each crew shaken or crew stirred, uh, I mean crew stunned result -1. When you get six, or if you roll a natural six, you may fire. This can’t be destroyed by a weapon destroyed result. Crew problems don’t prevent firing if you roll a six. If I ever hear that you put extra armor on your deathstrike, I’ll come find you and hit you on the bridge of the nose with the spine of the codex. You’ve been warned.
Deathstrike’s score: 8.5/10

Okay, that’s a wrap for heavy support. Next article: Elites choices!

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