Monday, January 20, 2014

Imperial Guard Tactics: Artillery PT 2

For part II I will be finishing off the IG artillery.  This will be about the Manticore and the Deathstrike missile launchers.  These were the new kits that were added when the codex came out, and one definitely has seen more use than the other.  While the deathstrike is cool from a fluffy sense, its far too unreliable to be relied upon in regular games and expensive for a one shot weapon.  That being said it is fun to use and great for Apoc or large 40k games where there is enough that it can reliably be used and isn't such a screaming target.  The manticore has made its way into one of the mainstay's of the IG artillery and it's not hard to see why.  It can have up to 3 large blasts a shot and it has high strength and is decently priced.  I really like the manticore and its a great unit if you are looking to add cost effective fire power and don't want to go all in with an ordnance battery.

The manticore is 20 pts more than a colossus, so it isn't cheap but it also is not expensive since one is usually all you need.  It is not open-topped, has AV 12 10 10, heavy bolter, searchlight, and smoke launchers.  Its main weapon is the Storm Eagle rockets, of which you only have four.  This seems like a weakness but really isn't.  This is a high priority target and will be targeted early, so chances of it surviving a long game is unlikely.  Also you may be moving to get into better position a turn or two to get away form flankers or other units and/or get into cover.  So yes there will be times when you run out of ammo but at that point you have something that has a heavy bolter and can still tank shock, or you can take the flamer and go the same route both are  the same cost so it comes down to your choice and what you like best.   It can take all the normal upgrades for vehicles, none really jump out but if you want to take them go ahead. 

The rockets are 24"-120" S10 AP4 Ordnance Barrage D3 large blast.  This is a great all rounder artillery piece.  It can have a possible 3 large blasts per shot and is a great way to have the firepower of an artillery battery for cheap.  If you are not looking at dumping money on basilisks or other artillery and want to spend points on an other part of your army, this is the way to go.  Its a great tank that can threaten just about anything on the board.  Yes its only AP4, but when you are causing that many wounds, it really doesn't matter.  Where this tank can really shine is stopping an armored advance.  You get 3 large blasts and you can stop a rush of armor heading across the board.  If they cluster up their vehicles this is the perfect way to hit multiple ones and really hurt their vehicles. 

As far as tactics go, this tank is great for throwing in a corner and aiming at the largest concentration of your enemy and then just blast a way. That is mostly all there is too it.  This really isn't a subtle tank, it fires big bombs and make stuff goes boom.  The reason you are taking this over the other artillery is cost effectiveness.  It is hands down the most potentially destructive of all the artillery for the price you pay for it.  You can't take a squadron of them, but you really don't need to.  If you are looking for some firepower to plug some holes in your army, this is the guy to take.  If you have points to spend, some of the other artillery may be better and more specialized, but its really hard to argue with a potential of 3 S10 large blasts.  Now you will have games where you are not lucky and only get one blast off each time, but on average you are getting two blasts for most of your shots.  I really like the manticore and would only leave them behind if I wanted more artillery and reliability.

Ok so this is the scud missile of 40k.  In the fluff section it talks about annihilating entire armies with massive explosions and titan felling missiles.  Alas this is not really the case, but it is still a cool tank and it is still nice when the big bomb goes off and takes a bunch of things out.  It is the same cost as the manticore and has the same upgrades.  It has unlimited range because fuck it why not.  It has side armor 12 but is other wise identical to the manticore.  It has its one shot missile which is S10 AP1 with a D3+3" blast, is ordnance and barrage and ignores cover.  Its actually pretty decent weapon, its just one use and only fire based off a random roll.

The missile fires based off its own special table.  It cannot fire turn one, or if it has moved that turn. Starting turn 2 you roll a dice and apply modifiers.  It gets +1 for every turn it has been on the table, -1 for each weapon destroyed result allocated to the missile while preparing to fire, and -1 for if it suffered any crew stunned or shaken the previous turn.  On a 6 the weapon fires, note a natural 6 always results in the weapon firing.  Also note the missile itself can never be destroyed.

This is a fun centerpiece and can certainly make a big boom, but realistically its only one shot and with access to D weapons now, you can certainly get access to far more destructive weapons that can also fire multiple times. 

Its a fun unit and looks cool. It certainly isn't worthless, far from it, S10 AP1 ignores cover is no joke.  But it really isn't cost effective and you can get access to that fire power for cheaper and can fire more than once.  If you are bringing this, nothing wrong with it.  It certainly is cool and has its uses.  Personally I think it works well in Apoc where the range it has is great.  If you find some fun players you can be a snarky ass and fire your missile into another groups game just because. I have heard stories of people firing it at games in other stores :). 

So that wraps up the missiles and artillery and they really are the solid fire base you need to build your army from.  We don't have monsters or bio engineered warriors with mini-missile launchers, we have a fuck ton of tanks and artillery and we bomb the crap out of everything and make it dead some more. 

If you are looking for a hole to fill the manticore is great for that, if you are looking for the cool factor, well the deathstrike is pretty darn cool, if only if could fire a nuke (everything on the board dies).  Hope this helps and as always leave your thoughts.



  1. And what about the heavy mortar and thudd gun?

    1. Not in codex :P. I will talk about FW stuff another time. I am more of a codex purist, and believe in only taking what is in an official codex.

      However I know I am a minority on that front. Be patient, another time. Also the heavy mortar is the same profile as griffon's, its just artillery vs vehicle.

  2. I have a Manticore and it has never let me down. It's probably the sole reason our Tau players stopped running the Mark'O builds (T5 2+ Save commander in front of a squad of around 10 marker drones, giving them all BS5), the manticore rolled a hit on both blasts for something like 18 Wounds wiping the unit and leaving the commander to make 8 saves, every single one being ID - he failed 2 :D

    1. very nice. All he has to fail is one. Make enough rolls and you roll bad eventually. That is why it is so great and why the AP4 really isn't a big deal

    2. Indirect fire has been the absolute bane of the TAU lists I have faced too- especially if they are hunkered down behind an Aegis line!

  3. I love the Manticore. . But only recently realised some people don't use the multiple barrage blast rules to resolve the D3 large blasts... have I been doing it wrong?! It never even occurred to me to resolve them any other way!
    I have a tournament this weekend and guess I should clarify that beforehand.

    1. You are doing things right. It is a barrage weapon and per rules if you have multiple blast templates from a barrage weapon they use the rules for multiple barrage.

      If people argue differently then ask them how the thunder fire cannon fires its blasts barrage then, as its another single model that can fire multiple barrage blasts

    2. A lot of the reason people commonly play it wrong (you had it right) was that it was different last edition, where you only used those rules if you had multiple barrage weapons (as opposed to shots.) The language was cleared up this edition so the Manticore is now included.

  4. Thanks! I'm pretty new to Guard (and came back to the game after a gap of about 5 years...) so your blog is a godsend.

    I was, in particular, trying to decide between a Manticore and 1-3 Basilisks, and this article swung it for me so went with the Manticore. No regrets whatsoever, love the model itself and you make a good point on the 4 shots not really being a problem.

    Also is it true the Manticore went through a phase of being able to fire all rockets in one turn? Heard horror stories of people bringing as many of them as legally possible and turning the other side of the board into a moonscape...

    1. There were some loop holes in the last edition, that if you interpreted a certain way could allow you to do it, but I'm not aware of any tournaments or wide spread use of this.

      What you can do is use a techpriest to fire a second shot with power of the machine spirit. Note it does not stack with multiple tech priests as they only give it the special rule.

      So if you had three manticores and three techpriests you can fire 6 shots in one go. The main reason you cannot fire more than one is that ordnance causes you to fire the rest of your shots as snap shots, which blasts weapons cannot fire. PoMS allows you to fire one more than usual.