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Which Steggy do you feel is better for its points cost: the normal Stegadon, or the Ancient? I'm not talking about the Engine of the Gods, because we all know its good. So good...
The normal Stegadon has an extra attack and an extra point of initiative, and the Ancient has better strength and scaly skin. So the Ancient will be more damaging on the charge and more defensive after the first round, where the normal one will have a slight offensive edge after the first round.
In terms of the howdah weapons, I'm torn... The giant bow obviously has a range and power advantage, but the blowpipes offer 4d6 poisoned attacks. But, by the time the Ancient gets close enough to use the blowpipes, its most likely going to get charged by the enemy, or charge on its next activation. So the blowpipes don't seem as likely to see as much use as the giant bow.
That's my take on it... What does everyone else think?
I would take the normal one over the ancient for the reasons you postulated. And its cheaper.
I am right 94% of the time, why worry about the other 3%.
And the normal one uses a special choice rather than a rare, so you can field a couple of salamanders seperately.
The giant blowpipes, remember if you charge a unit and barrel right through it, in your next turn you likely need to turn around and lign yourself up again before a second charge. This is when you use the blowpipes, right in close after you have already been through combat once. Or maybe on your way in if you are setting up for a flank charge.
In general, neither weapon is particularly useful though, the bow has low BS skinks using it so will hardly ever hit since you are moving every turn. I'd go for the normal stegadon because of the cost difference. One less attack on the ancient I think unneccesarily hurts it, if they were closer in points it would be fair enough but given the differrence between them I don't see why the ancient should have less attacks.