Friday, July 17, 2009

Chimeras, or What a Real Man's APC Looks Like

Put your Rhinos down, kids. It's time to analyze the chimera.

It's a tank, comes with two heavy weapons, front armor of 12, ignores water, has five fire points out the top hatch while not becoming open-topped, and is overall a fairly awesome vehicle. It looks nice, too.

The tactics are a bit different from a rhino - the rhino is a dash-and-drop transport, while the chimera is more a mobile fire base. Having your rhinos destroyed at the end of a game is almost expected, but the chimera should still be shooting at stuff. Whereas the rhino should rush forward with reckless abandon and tank shock if appropriate, the chimera should hang back a touch, keeping it's AV10 side armor away from enemy LOS.

There are four ideas I have regarding the use of chimeras: Line Breaker APC, Objective Grabber, Objective Holder, and Command Range Extender.

Weapons load-out - Unless you plan on getting very close to the enemy, always keep the multi-laser. Otherwise use the heavy flamer. There's no tactical advantage the heavy bolter has over the multi-laser, except for specific conditions half of which will be better served by a S6 weapon than a AP4 weapon. For the hull mount, the heavy bolter should serve all around better than a heavy flamer, due to the limtations on its firing angle. For a pintle, it depends on who you're fighting - I just glued the heavy stubber on my chimeras... 36" range over 24" equates to better in my book. Your milage may vary.

Options - Extra armor is never a bad choice. Being able to move away from whatever just shot you is usually wise... Dozer blades would depend entirely on what kind of terrain you usually see. HKs are trash for IG unless you take a boatload of them. Even then, I don't think that they're worth the points. I definately will never take them on chimeras. Camo netting is nice for an Objective Holder, but it's so expensive. I leave it behind.

Line Breaker APC
This is a lot like a rhino's shock transport, only the emphasis is on staying ~10 inches away from everything, unless the targets are marines/anything with krak. Then you stay ~16 inches away. Why? Assault phase - if the enemy does not have S4(or more) and/or krak grenades, then the chimera should be safe even if it doesn't cause a fall back from the shooting phase. The idea here, is to shoot the ever-loving crap out of your foe before he can shoot the sides of your armored box full of squishy guys. Hugging buildings on one side helps with the difficulty of positioning your chimera. Staying under 12" away from the target is ideal, so that you can add the firepower of five passengers to the hail of death coming from the chimera. If you've got a heavy weapon in there, great!

An alternate/combo of Line Breaker and Enemy-held Objective Grabber is the hellhound wannabe chimera. Slap a heavy flamer turret on there and tank shock/drive up to the contesting units. If you tank shocked, wait to see if you manage to make them run away in fear of your angry treads. If they didn't run, or you didn't want to waste time/risk a tank shock, unload that heavy flamer of doom. You did disembark the occupants, right? They can shoot too. Now you have two units contesting that the enemy has to shoot. If he didn't turn tail. If this objective is near his board edge, chase him with your infantry by extending your coherency to it's limit. You just have to keep one guy w/in 6" of the falling back unit, and he'll be unable to regroup. Dirty trick, but you're playing Guard...

A second alternate/combo: Mechanized platoon led by Al'Rahem. Support this idea with an astropath. I think that it's use is fairly obvious - your forces already on the table are the anvil, and here comes one or two hammers from the sides to catch everything off-guard. If you can master the use of one isolated chimera with minimal support, this is a major game winning tactic.

Third alternate: A squad of vets with three melta guns, led by Bastonne in a chimera to do drive bys on side/rear AV. If you distract the opponent enough, this becomes an option. Even if your chimera is destroyed, once you're in the enemy lines with that squad, you can do damage. At the very least it will relieve pressure on the rest of your army.

Objective Grabber
Much like the Line Breaker, the Objective Grabber is there to be on the offensive. These need a bit more support, though - you're getting unsafely close to the enemy, and it's likely that your chimera will not survive the experience. This is the finnese application of chimera movement - you want to get close to the objective while moving at combat speed. If the objective is already held, hang back and fire lots 'o guns at the enemy. Use a supporting unit to add some fire. Maybe even a shiny bait unit to get enemy to divide his fire, and give you an extra turn of shooting. Once you're w/in 12" of the objective, it's time to consider if you want to disembark your guys inside. It's a very situational thing, although if the chimera has been immobilized, you may as well...

Objective Holder
Basically in this role, the chimera is an added set of armor for a HWS. Stick some heavy bolter/ML guys in a chimera, and park them on an objective. Adding a multi-laser, a heavy stubber, and a heavy bolter from the chimera means that anything stepping into 36" radius will get a stern talking-to. This really won't hold against a concentrated effort, so be sure to occupy the enemy elsewhere. Preferably in the 24-36" range form the chimera, so that all that firepower isn't sitting there doing nothing...

Command Range Extender
Another slightly cheap trick, the Command Range Extender makes use of measuring from the hull for ability ranges. Stick a CCS in a chimera and let the orders fly at ~2-3" further than the poor sap who has to yell at the top of his lungs. It's not limited to orders - 'aura' abilities like Aura of Discipline and Cold Steel and Courage will become more effective.

Alternate for CRE: Take Straken with a medic and three plasma guns. Stick them in a chimera and advance into the enemy's face. MEQs fear this plan. Once you're all up ons, have them hop out and use the chimera as a LOS blocker that can also shoot. Unload much plasma pain onto enemy squads. It's expensive, but very much worth the cost.

If anyone has any more ideas on chimera useage, put it in a comment, and I'll add it here.


  1. I don't think that I'm that good at writing tacticas, to the point of everyone else being robbed of their own contribution. I'm sure that there are other ideas for chimera usage that could be added...

  2. Good tactica - I'll digest and have a think if there is anything that might be added :)


  3. Just wondering, if I have a basic line squad with a flamer (mounted in a chimera), would it be worth replacing the hull heavy bolter with a heavy flamer, seeing im getting close anyway?