Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Review Forge World Escalation: The Other Imperial Guard Super Heavies
By request I will be going over the other super heavies of the Imperial Guard. These are the so called "pocket" super heavies as they are cheaper, smaller, and less powerful versions of their bigger baneblade brothers. Key note here if you have the books, structure points are worth 3 HPs apiece. I actually like a lot of these and think if you are going the super heavy route, this is a great place to look. FW isn't cheap but they make some awesome models and make great centerpieces. The other thing is that since most of these have about 6 HPs compared to the standard 9 for Baneblades, they are easier to kill and will be an easier pill for your friends to swallow and you won't feel as bad bringing one.
Macharius Omega: Thats the one pictured above. If you haven't figured out by now, I like big plasma guns that spit miniature suns at things and melt them :). I may like fire. So this guy comes in at 355, has 6 HPs, AV14, 13, 12, and is Open Topped. Unusual for a super heavy so you do need to be careful with him. The Omega Plasma Blastgun is its main weapon with 2 firing modes. The first is 60" S7 AP2 Ordnance 3, Large Blast, primary weapon. So this is the big brother of the LR Executioner. The second is 72" S9 AP2 Ordnance, Massive Blast, Primary weapon, Overheat. Overheat is that after resolving the shot, roll a D6 and on a 1 you take a glancing hit. Note its after everything is done for the shooting, not before you fire. The Omega can take Pintle mounted storm bolter or H stubber, a HK missile. For side sponsons it can take H Bolters or Flamers for 10, and autocannons for 20. Note there is no upgrade to make it not open topped. This is your in between for the LR Executioner and Stormblade. I really like shooting AP 2 and I would take this bad boy in an instant. The sponsons are cheap, but don't mesh well with the main gun, I would say just stick with the blastgun, 3 large blasts of S7 AP2 will kill alot of things, and if you have a real hard target, the S9 Massive blast will do the trick. Yeah you could roll a one, but the risk is worth using the heavy mode from time to time. Put this guy in the back behind cover, or on a skyshield for 4+ invul if you are a dick, and hit large portions of your opponents army at range. This will only struggle putting down multi wound monstrous creatures like riptides and wraithknights that have enough wounds to survive three large AP2 blasts, but its a good way to finish them off. This will murder broadsides and terminators so stick to infantry targets or clumps of light vehicles. All in all a good vehicle for the price.
Gorgon: Skipping around but the Gorgon is the large transport that carries DKK to the front lines. Its 400 and has 9 HPs, is AV 14, 14, 10, and is armed with 2 TL heavy stubbers and a gorgon mortar. It is open topped and can carry 50 troops. Note passengers may not fire from the gorgon. It can have up to 2 units disembark or embark a turn, so you do not need to have a giant blob in there, they can be separate squads. The gorgon mortar is one use and is four mortar shots, same profile as the normal IG mortar. It has a heavy armored prow which ignores glancing and pen hits made on the front armor on a 4+ and it is amphibious (Fuck if I know how). It can take the normal pintle weapons and HK missile, it can also replace the mortar with forward and rearward sponsons with heavy stubbers for free and Heavy Bolters/Flamers for 5 pts apiece (20pts if you go all in). Here is what I think, if you are looking for a transport to get your guys across the field and thats all, go with this, and don't bother with upgrades. If you are not necessarily looking this then go with the storm lord, for 80 more points you get a lot more firepower in the guns it has and also in the troops that can fire out of it. That last part is huge, plus it is not open topped when taking damage. The gorgon isn't bad, its just niche. It does one thing really well, it goes across the board and vomits guardsmen, thats really it, at BS3 the weapon upgrades are minimal, you will get way more damage tank shocking with this thing than any of its weapons will do so thats a good food for thought. Tank shock and roll people over, breaking their lines and then vomit guardsmen squads to finish them off.
Macharius: Ok so the standard Macharius, the medium super heavy tank if you will. It clocks in at 325, with AV 14, 13 ,12 and 6 HPs. It is armed with a hull mounted TL Heavy Stubber and side sponson heavy stubbers, its main gun is the Macharius Battle cannon, same profile as a normal battle cannon except it is a massive blast instead of a large blast. It can upgrade the sponson weapons to Heavy Bolters/Flamers for 10pts. This is a pretty darn good tank, it can put out a large amount of damage with the massive blast and give it heavy bolters to add to the fire power. Its well priced and really nothing wrong with it. Only thing I will say is that it does lack a certain super powered feel that super heavies seem to have, but don't fret its still more than capable of dishinig it out, its only weakness will be other heavy armor, since it can't get a hull lascannon the main gun S8 will mean you will struggle against other AV14. I like this tank, but I really like its other brother.
Macharius Vanquisher: So you know how the other one has issues against heavy armor, yeah this guy doesn't. So for 50 more points you get the same profile and initial loadout, except that you have the MV battle cannon. It has the same profile as the Macharius Battle Cannon, but it can also fire anti tank shells, if it does it becomes 72" S8 AP2 Heavy1, Twin Linked, +D6 Penetration, Primary weapon. Note it can choose to fire in either mode. So what you have is a souped up version of the Vanquisher battle cannon. Because its a primary weapon, you roll 2D6 for armor pen twice. IE you roll one set of 2D6 and another set of 2D6, choose the highest result. So you roll one set and get a 7 and roll the other and get a 5. You discard the 5 and take the 7. It means you have a very high probability of crushing armor. I really like this tank a lot and since it can fire normal shells and the anti tank ones (fuck you Tau), there is really no reason to take the regular Macharius. It 50 pts more that is well worth it and you can threaten any vehicle on the board with it as well as any heavy infantry minus 2+ saves.
Macharius Vulcan: the next one is the most expensive so far and is 405. It mounts a vulcan mega bolter, note there is a minor difference from the one the storm lord has. It can fire it twice, BUT it must fire at the same target. So not bad. It can take the same upgrades as the other Macharius's. Honestly I would keep it as is and go with the heavy stubbers, two heavy bolters aren't really going to increase your firepower that much. Its up to you, its not an expensive upgrade so you won't be sacrificing to bring them, but I personally wouldn't. If you really like the Vulcan MB then this isn't a bad platform to bring it on, I personally would just spend the extra points and bring a stormlord. I think the MV above has more damage potential and can hurt far more targets. Its by no means bad and if you like it then bring it and it will excel a wiping anything with a 3+ save or worse, notable a good MC hunter this could be, as even 2+ save riptides will struggle surviving 30 S6 shots. If wraithknights bother you, yeah this will end their days. Though I really don't like that it can't split its shots at different targets like the storm lord. A good but not great choice.
Crassus Armored Transport: The little brother to the gorgon, this guy comes in at a cheap 250 and has 6 HPs with AV 14, `13, 12. One access point in the rear and it can hold 35 models and can have 2 units embark/disembark a turn. Note it is not an assault vehicle or open topped, so no assaulting when getting out. It has 4 heavy bolter sponsons, two up front and two side sponsons. It can upgrade each to autocannons for 5 apiece or lascannons for 10 apiece. Heavy Flamers are free. It can drop its side sponsons to bring the side armor up to 14 for free. Honestly I really like this tank, its a dirt cheap super heavy and can have 4 lascannons and be under 300pts still. You can increase the side armor to 14 at no extra cost making it extremely durable. Yeah you can't assault out of it, but its so god damned big that you can block most shots with its huge bulk. I would take this all day, if you are looking for something that can be comparable to a land raider. You have found it here, its the same price and has more HPs and importantly can't be one shotted by normal weapons, minus the D. It has the special rule overdrive, but that only counts for the old superheavy rules as they can move more than 6" now. I really like this and it can be a cheap upgrade to give it some decent anti tank firepower as well, the auto cannons are a great choice for this as well.
Praetor Armored Assualt Launcher: So for 50 more points than the Crassus you have the super missile launcher tank, same stat line as the Crassus. It only has two front heavy bolters and can't get side ones, the front ones can get the same upgrades as the Crassus. Its main weapon is the Praetor Launcher, which has three warheads it can fire. Note it says to pick which at the beginning of the game. Not when writing your list, but before the deployment. So you can play this very flexible and depending on your opponent you can use the different warheads. They are all Twin linked so that is another great thing about this tank. You have the Foehammer 12"-120" S8 AP3 Ordnance Barrage 2, Large Blast, Primary Weapon. The Firestorm 12"-120" S6 AP4 Ordnance Barrage 2, Massive Blast, Primary Weapon, Ignores Cover. The Pilum 72" S8 AP3 Heavy 2, Primary weapon, Skyfire. Note again all of these are twin linked. This is a really versatile tank and you can really do alot with it. Since you choose the warhead before the game, it makes this an extremely useful tank. Facing Necron air force, no prob you have the pilum. Since its a primary you roll 2D6 and pick the highest, improves your odds quite a bit and since its twin linked you are going to be hitting pretty often. The other warheads are great. I highly recommend this tank and you should really consider using it.
Malcodor: Ok so now on to the "light" Super Heavies. These are the smallest and weakest of the superheavies and the cheapest. So he starts at 235, is AV 13, 12, 11, 6 HPs and has a battle cannon, hull heavy bolter, and side sponson heavy stubbers. It can upgrade them to lascannons for 30, autcannnons for 20. The hull one can be upgraded to a lascannon for 15 and autocannon for 5. It has the engine damage special rule, but since this is old I don't believe it applies anymore, Super heavies no longer have their own damage table and as such can never get a drive destroyed result, so my assumption is this is ignored unless someone can point me to the FAQ for it. Its ok, it definitely is a weaker tank, thankfully being a super heavy means an explode result won't destroy it outright so this makes up for it. Its not a bad tank and is certainly cheap enough to be used, but its little more than a trade off between a leman russ, its armor is weaker so easier to get hits on it, but its a super heavy so it has to be killed all the way. I will say that two melta guns will wreck this bad boy pretty easily so something you really have to watch out for.
Malcador Annihilator: For 275 you replace the battle cannon for twin linked lascannons and instead of hull heavy bolter you have a demolisher cannon. It can take the same upgrades as a Malcador. Not a bad upgrade, I would def take side lascannons and keep this guy mid field on one flank, you have a lot of anti tank fire power and the S10 AP2 blast to kill just about anything that gets close. Its a super heavy so be brave with it, don't be scared to move this one forward. Its not heavily armored enough to truly survive long under concentrated firepower so move it up and blast a nice hole in your opponents line and then when it goes big boom, your opponent will take the brunt of it and not you.
Malcador Defender: Its 285 and has no main gun, just has four upper hull mounted heavy bolters instead. It has a hull Demolisher cannon and has side heavy bolters which can be upgraded the same as above. I would recommend on this one going with side lascannons and just going straight at your opponent this one is truly an assault one, just go forward and ram or tank shock whatever is in your way and open up with all its guns. When your opponent blows it up, he will be sealing his own fate when it goes explody.
Malcador Infernus: At 275 its in line with the other Malcador variants. It has the Inferno gun which is S7 AP3 with the hellstorm template. Note like flamer template the hellstorm ignores cover. It has two side heavy stubbers. It has the highly flammable special rule, which is not current with the rules as the catastrophic damage table is different now and does not have the same results anymore, I can't find an FAQ so I guess just ignore it. Or just go with the Chemical ammo upgrade for 10pts and make it a poisoned 2+ AP2. Yeah I would just go with that, that is a lot of guys you can get under the template and honestly if you are looking for anti vehicle, there are far better choices above. I like the chemical upgrade and you can have a real nasty vanguard unit that can punch through most any heavy troopers with little worry.
There are a lot of good choices here. Honestly most of these will out perform most of the baneblades at significantly reduced price. There are a few baneblades that I would still consider taking like the stormlord, but there are a lot here that are really good. No real stinkers either, they each do good in their area and can perform well if used as they are intended. The malcadors are the weakest in armor, but they are still superheavies so they can survive even a couple of explode results if lucky, but beware of meltas they will still end your day quick.
If you have the models then I would say bring them. Nothing really bad here, some are definitely better over the others though. I am a fan of giant guns that spit fire, so there you go. I really like the Macharius Vanquisher and that is prob one of your best all rounders here. The malcador annihilator is another good choice for bring the high S AP2 pain to the table.
Note as I forgot to mention in the last article, when a superheavy loses its last hull point, it explodes big time. Remove the model and center the apocalyptic mega-blast marker and then roll a D6. A one is an explosion and it has the following profile S D/4/2 AP 2/4/6. Note this is the big blast marker with all the rings. Basically the inner zone is the SD AP2, Middle is S4 AP4, Outer S2 AP6. Roll a 2-5 and its S D/8/4 AP 2/3/5. A 6 is S D/10/5 AP 2/3/4. So its not a bad thing to charge your super heavy across and have it blow up in your opponents face. Highly recommend this tactic with the malcadors, Do it right and you will kill far more than the 250ish points you spent on it in its death throws alone, not even counting what it kills before it dies.
So there you guys go, hope this is helpful for you as I know some of you wanted this. I like them all a lot and they are just good fun tanks, nothing too OP or overpriced but will add utility and character to your force.