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TACTICA: THE BASILISK
Unlike my full-army tactica on Daemonhunters, this tactica is on only one unit: the Imperial Guard Basilisk.
Pros and Cons of the Basilisk
Unfortunately, the Cons of the Basilisk outweigh the Pros. Since it’s based on a Chimera chassis, its side and rear armour values are weak enough to be brought down by bolter-fire. That, and the fact that its open-topped means that a lucky Glancing hit is more then enough to kill a Basilisk. Its Earthshaker Cannon has a minimum range. This makes a large radius of 36” around the Basilisk untouchable by the Basilisk except by its hull-weapon. The last of its cons is the fact that many of the other Heavy Support choices in the IG Codex are better choices than the Basilisk. Its maximum range is one of its few pros, which means the Basilisk can fire from one corner of the table to the very opposite. It can also fire indirectly, which doesn’t require line of sight. This tactica will try and eliminate as many cons as possible.
If you’re using a Basilisk, setting up terrain can be really important for you. I suggest putting a piece of terrain that’s large enough to fit the entire Basilisk, on an edge of the table. (Preferably in a corner). Often times, the opposite player will be smart enough to put a piece of terrain on the other edge. This way, it doesn’t really matter which side of the table you get stuck with, you have a piece of terrain to deploy your Basilisk. By having it against an edge, the Basilisk will have its rear armour completely blocked by deep strikers. By having it in a corner, you also get a side armour blocked by deep strikers (but not outflankers!) In addition to having it in a corner, you’re reducing as much of its minimum range as possible. Example: a Basilisk in the middle of the table has a complete 36” radius that it can’t fire on. In a corner, the Basilisk in a corner has a range of about 20” radius.
There are two upgrades that help the Basilisk survive: Camo Cloaks and Armoured Crew Compartments. Camo Cloaks are unfortunately really expensive. I take them if I need a point filler, but otherwise I’d advise against them. The difference between a 3+ save and a 4+ save isn’t all that much, especially for 30 points. Armoured Crew Compartments on the other hand are also quite expensive, but not nearly that much. It reduces the fact that Glancing Hits can kill the Basilisk.
The Earthshaker Cannon is best used against two targets: medium infantry and light tanks. Since its Strength 9, the Earthshaker Cannon can hit AV14 tanks, but will need a 5 to glance and a 6 to penetrate (and also hoping it won’t scatter). Because f these facts, its unlikely that the Basilisk won’t be able to kill AV14. Because its only AP3, the Earthshaker Cannon can’t kill TEQs reliably, but it does wonders against MEQs. It also causes Pinning and a Leadership modifier, though Pinning isn’t always reliable, since it doesn’t work against Fearless. You can always choose to fire the ES Cannon directly, but because this requires line of sight, and IG has other means of dealing with enemies who come within 36" of them (LRBT's Battle Cannon comes to mind), I'd rather fire indirectly if possible.
The Basilisk has a choice between the Heavy Bolter and Heavy Flamer. Since its minimum range is 36”, neither weapon can hit the target. Should the Basilisk suffer a Weapon Destroyed result and loses its Earthshaker Cannon, it can use the Heavy Bolter and still sit out of range. Against outflankers and units that get too close for comfort, the Heavy Flamer can easily take out 4-5 Kroot or such per hit. In the end, it comes down to which weapon you prefer. As a Heavy Support choice, I think it makes more sense to choose a Heavy Bolter, though since the Heavy Bolter only hits 1-2 units per turn, wounds 1 unit per turn, and if that unit is a MEQ, it’ll most likely survive, I’d rather take a Heavy Flamer, since its more reliable for BS 3.
As previously mentioned, taking a Hull Heavy Flamer is a good choice against outflankers. There are, however, other ways of dealing with them. By always moving the Basilisk (even the slightest amount) will make enemy units in close combat require a 4+ to hit the Basilisk (instead of auto-hitting). Also, after moving the Basilisk in Combat Speed, you can still shoot the Earthshaker Cannon (although you must shoot it directly).
The Basilisk has a small section of upgrades, (two are already previously covered in the section marked Survivability, and I won’t get into them). I’m also going to talk about squadroning the Basilisk, (Rather, not to). By squadroning Basilisks, you gain only one advantage, but several disadvantages. Crew stunned now becomes crew shaken, but really, since the point of the Basilisk is to remain stationary as possible and fire its gun once per turn, this is not really an advantage at all. The disadvantages are as follows: immobilized automatically becomes wrecked (which, in combination with open-topped, if the Basilisk suffers Weapon Destroyed primarily, it becomes bumped to Immobilized, and further bumped to a wreck). In addition to this, both vehicles have almost the same radius of things the Earthshaker Cannon cannot shoot. If you decide to take multiple Basilisks, and are deploying two forces, one on each corner of the board, you can put a Basilisk in each corner, reducing the minimum range radius.
The other upgrades available to the Basilisk are not all that useful. The Heavy Stubber cannot be used together with the Earthshaker Cannon because its max range is 36”. Same goes with the Storm Bolter, whose range is only 24”. As mentioned before, reducing Crew Stunned to Shaken is pretty much of no help at all (although moving does help against Close Combat), the costly Extra Armour should never be taken. Dozer Blades are almost never used in the game, which leaves the Hunter-Killer Missile. At BS 3, you’ll probably miss the shot, but even if you don’t, you need to have LoS of the enemy unit, whereas you don’t need it for the Earthshaker Cannon. Therefore, I’d suggest leaving your Basilisk naked.
The Basilisk, although overshadowed since its okay against everything, but doesn’t have a specific role like the other artillery tanks in the IG Codex, its still fun to use. Against MEQs, the Basilisk can take out a large chunk per turn, and can take out light tanks, including transports, which are a mainstay in 5th edition. Keeping it cheap and alive, the Basilisk will probably make its points back per game.
Last edited by vertejaune; June 26th, 2010 at 04:45.
You left out that the basalisk can fire directly, without the minimum range. This is a huge advantage to it.
Also if it moves it cant fire indirectly so your solution of moving a fraction of an inch to help against assaulting outflankers becomes a hinderance to its own damage potential.
The Emperor Protects
IG Best Gen 1st overall of 10 DE 4th overall of 6
Eldar 3rd Overall/Best General of 26--2nd Overall/Best General of 7--1st Overall/Best General of 11
I disagree with some of this analysis.
First their offensive role, the #1 use for artillery like the Basilisks is in objective games to shell the enemy troops that he is using on his "home" objective(s). Doing this will give two results. Firstly it will force him to pull back offensive troops weakening his assaults to ensure he doesn't loose the objective. Secondly it makes deep strike/outflank a viable option for your own late game objective steal.
Don't feel you need to bunch artillery up against the corners just to keep deepstrikers away and increase your fire zone. It's 48 inches across the board so you can normally shell a "home" objective even when you are directly opposite it. A central position makes it harder for him to bring in his outflankers to pop it and you can always use direct fire if he gets close. Artillery isn't for eradicating enemy troops, that's what your mechanised infantry are for. The job of artillery is to punish camping and make them come into your flamer and melta gun range.
The comment about hull weapons is good, artillery can serve a dual role protecting your own "home" objective so if he does get troops onto your objective a hull heavy flamer can help out a bit.