Welcome to Librarium Online!
Just curious how often you guys run Ancients built for combat? Either by themselves or w/ a Skink Chief. Obviously the upside is that those strength 6 hits go a long ways on the charge. For the two or three rounds I'm positioning, or even longer in the odd game when I have to be patient for the right charge, I find the Giant Bow to be useful for plinking while I am almost never in situations where I can use the Blow Pipes.
Anyways, just thought I'd see what your guys thoughts on the matter were.
I don't see any reason to take the normal stegadon EVER. As you mentioned the str6 is tons better (not just on the charge, but also in those protracted combats) Especially with terrible WS, you just can't afford not to wound things as well. The extra armor comes in handy as well. I really don't think there is a reason to take stegadons without characters on them either. They are just so much better with the characters (ie. Engine and warspear)
The blowpipes are hit or miss, I have used them several times and average about 1 wound per 18 shots (I guess I roll pretty terrible) but have also slain some chariots and monsters with them including on a stand and shoot reaction, so I would say they are a 1000x better than the giant bow which is near useless.
I hate putting all my eggs in 1-3 baskets, but that's just the way the book is written. Giant Dino-riders or super saurus. Anything in between is just piddlin'.
Personally, I would never take an ancient stegadon as a rare choice. If I take an ancient, it is always as a character mount. I wouldn't take a regular stegadon as a character mount for a chief, just the ancient. I would take the regular stegadon as a special choice. I agree the bow isn't that great, but they are cheaper, have one more attack, and who knows the bow just might do something every now and then.
I am right 94% of the time, why worry about the other 3%.
Another thing I forgot to mention is that our special choices are already chock full of decent choices. never mind my personal opinion about their point cost and nerfing or rules or whatever, but I would much rather have terradons, kroxigors and maybe even plain temple guard or cold ones over the regular steg.
I have had mixed results with the Blowdart stegger, i tend to position myself incorrectly, and it becomes useless, or in one case, my ancient blowpipe stegger blowdarted a highelf dragon and rider to death, quite amazing.
Haven't had a chance to use a warspear chief on an ancient.. but someday, i face way to many cannons to be crazy with them
I agree on ancients for mounts, regular for units.
The special slot steg gives you a stubborn, terror causing, tough to kill unit for a reasonable cost. It may not hit as hard as the same points in Krox, but is pretty flexible.
I use my rares for shooting help from salamanders usually and don't see the S6 as enough of an advantage to use the slots.