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I've decide, as per my army fluff, that I would not include expensive modern kit like Leman Russ' in my guard army. Instead I've bought one (and may get another) of the forge world Malcador kits. (I know I'm making things hard for myself, but meh!)
My tank is armed with twin linked lascannon with a 90 degree forward field of fire, a hull mounted demoisher and sponson mounted heavy stubbers (which also only seem to have a 90 degree field of fire, but this time pointing side ways.
I've only tested it in one game so far and I don't think i got the best out of it. For the first half of the game I sat the tank at the back. The background talks about it being a slow but hardy fortress. However with the exception of some lascannon sniping I didn't get much use. I had better luck in the second half when i moved it forward, but was very aware of its slow speed, and its limited fields of fire.
How would you guys use such a tank. I understand most people reading this will not have used one, but nor have I much, and you probably have much more guard and tank experience than me, so any advice would be appreciated. I also realise it will never be as effective or easy to use as a leman Russ, thats the whole point. But for a cheap (points wise) super heavy (just, its stretching that term with its comparatively normal av) I'm sure I could get some use out of it.
Well, i'm currently doing a batch of playtesting my machariuse's for the brighton warlords tournament on the 14th (allow F/W models)
The absolutely paramount thing about them is: Deployment. It wants to be near the front, in the centre with good fields of fire. If you do not give it good fields of fire, to start shooting stuff up it will be useless.
It needs to go in the centre to ensure your opponent can't just avoid it (If you put it on the flank this tends to happen)
This leads to your movement (or lack of it.)
Bear in mind that you can only move forwards, then move once (repeat per turn). There is no reverse. So, if you deploy where your only movement is going into a large clump of scenery it won't be that usefull.
The best use of super heavies is to scare the bejeezus out of your opponent. They'll rarely make their points back - the more stupendous the guns on it, the more stupendous the cost of the tank. However, super heavies longevity is worth considering, as is their psycological impact. Will your opponent ignore it (how can you? it's a big multi gun toting super heavy) and shoot your other armour, or shoot at it, ignoring the rest of your armour. (I'd prefer the opponent to shoot at it allowing the rest of my armour free reign, and that's what most people do first time out)
Here's an example in my last playtest:
Macharius in the centre, leman russ and hellhound on left, demolisher and hellhound on right.
My opponent (Eldar) flew his squad of fire dragons in a falcon directly for it, his assault winged autarch also made a beeline for it, it was doomed. two guardian squads shot at it with the platform ?~$ (can't remember) and did nothing, in fact, my armour was unmolested.
Me: It moved forwards, as did my other armour. I shot up the falcon, immobalising it, the macharius shot three war walkers, then the heavy bolters caused a casualty on two different squads. (my left flank hellhound and leman russ wasted a dire avenger squad. My demolisher managed a heroic 1 on the to wound roll on the autarch. Curses.)
He: whizzed the fire dragons to the superheavy, and the autarch meandered along to my smoked hellhound on the right. (He fusion blastered/whatever it, the smoke saved. He haywire grenaded it but missed) All anti tank shooting bounced off the macharius again. (bar some niggles that i just didn't care about) The fire dragons charged the macharius, and after lots of 6's after penetrating with meltabombs it blew up. The assembled crowd cheered, and everyone was happy, and my opponent was jubilant, going round the tables and collecting people to explain what he'd done and bring them back to point.
In my next turns shooting I immediately wiped out the fire dragons, and the autarch with infantry fire. My hellhounds started to roast the guardians (hidden in clumps in trees. After hitting them it's a 2+ to kill.)
I won three objectives to nil. He had no serious anti tank left after the fire dragons and autarch died, and had let me have free reign with my armour for the first few turns.
So I need more tanks to back it up then? I don't want LR's in my army, so are Hell hounds good, Even if you are holding back as a gun line?
Fluff wise my army are supposed to be a backwater PDF ho get the oldest mothballed kit (making it hard for myself), so Malcadors not Russ's, Heavy mortars not Griffons etc. I doubt they'd be able to get a LR.
That brings me to another point though. I wish Malc's weren't classed as super heavy (I know its all down to structure points). In my limited experience they are less powerful (and i think cheaper) than a LR. Luckily my friends let me take it as a Heavy support choice as they as a) nice and b) aware its less scary than a Leman Russ.
As an idea, why not get something akin to a steam tank and call it a leman russ? Basalisk=Catapault. The world is your oyster.
Or, you could get a foot long plastic cow, make a "howda" with lasguns, and a hat (attached by chin strap) with multilaser and crewman and have it as a "counts as" chimera. Maybe with udder slung heavy bolter. Dunno where to mount the smoke launchers though.
Oh god, i want to make it now.
Having a super heavy with anti armour and 2 supporting tanks with anti-infantery will mean that the destruction of said super heavy will (in 1 stroke) remove ALL of your mobile anti-tank. Not a good idea in my opinion.