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I have a hellcannon about half way to completion (just spend three hours filing the wretched barrel into shape so I could stick it together!!) and am going to be writing it into my 2400 point armylist.
I have a good idea of how to use it, either as a way to flatten big hordes or as a monster to tie up large units for the majority of the battle with its high resilliance.
The thing I was thinking to myself, however, is what sort of things might I need to watch out for. Does anybody have experiences of it falling to some sort of a weakness? Initiative strikes me as a little on the low side, but I would hope most enemies of chaos would not think to take initiative based spells against us as the troops are generally on the high side.
Are there any other things that it needs to be careful of, and if so what sort of precautions should I take?
So far I've had great experience with them in combat. Unlike some here who have done some remarkable shooting with it...I have never done anything good when I've shot it. I guess my style and where I find more success with a Hellcannon is marching it up flanks to protect my Warriors Flanks and then flank charge assisting my warriors. They are so remarkable in close combat!
Ahh..i gtg but I'll finish this reply later >_>
To be honest you will not win with the thing for some time. It seems a trend that the HC will suck for 3 months to 2 years before it starts to avrage out. Once you get past the failure tho, it's a very handy piece to have.
You are wrong about the I tests, lots of those out there and very common to see. Most common would be the spells in the shadow lore, as shadows will lower our awesome stats it is very popular to take against chaos. just clipping the HC with a pit of shades will likely remove it from the game ( i did past an I test once, but failed it the next turn)
Lots of other things can threaten it. Heavy bow fire will fell it over time (sheer #'s will whittle it away), and anything str 6 or higher should be avoided. I think you have the targets mixed up; i find it works better to engage in horde units with low str attacks and to shoot at the eliete infantry/monsters. I wouldn't shoot a horde because they are generally made up of cheap models, and killing off 6 5pt models is not winning any games. I take a look at what is across the board from me and point the HC at the thing I will have the hardest time dealing with. Generally that is units of eliete infantry or sick monsters, most common rank-and-file units arn't much of a threat to my army.
Not sure what you mean Talisman? Are you referencing some sort of "new cannon curse" type mojo? Or are you talking about the rules? At the moment the thing is pretty sexy, and this is the first book we've been allowed to use it in. As for my own gun, he worked out extremely well for me from day one, although I'm notorious for having rancid luck, so maybe he just seems to fail less to me.
Hellcannons are good though. Some people go overboard and take 2 of them, which I feel is a bit of overkill. They fill an odd niche in our army- they're Unbreakable which makes them a great asset to have when combating hordes, but they're more expensive and not as resilient as a Warshrine, so tarpitting for a long period is a bit more difficult. Typically I field it on my "weak flank"- the flank where my Warriors are farthest from my characters and unescorted, and where my Knights are drawing attention during deployment, before I ride them off.
From that position I can use my Cannon to hold up enemy units, screen my flank, and/or get some devastating flank charges in if combat goes south.
Shooting with the poor guy is rarely worth it unless you can combine him with Lore of Death's -3Ld spell (Pandaemonium can substitute against character-reliant Ld armies like Skaven or Gobbos). Most players will see it coming, or will only allow it once and then never again, so they'll just toss a dispel attempt at it all. Plus, if the cannon misfires you're in for a world of magical hurt- I had one misfire and kill more of my models with forced miscast results than my opponent killed all game (back to my rancid luck- 2/3s of my results were "Cascade"). Plus, with about as much accuracy as a Stone Thrower, the risk just isn't worth the rewards. We're paying for a combat monster, so use him to advance and support your guys. If you must shoot, some people will advise shooting on turn 1, or firing parting-shots on the last turns of the game when your gun is too far away from the enemy to do anything else.
I also feel your pain with the barrel of the hellcannon, i cant belive its not finecast yet as it needs to be and as soon as they bring it in finecast i will get another 1
Anyway the hellcannon is best used in 3 situations
1) obliterating small elite units, with a direct hit on a unit of black guard u are hitting 15 of them and killing 12-13 assuming 5wide and 4 deep
2) running into low strength units and tieing them up, this is also great for assassinating wizards hidding in units
3) panicking low Ld units that are outside the generals range with either shooting at them or charging them
I will agree and dissagree with you in regards to shooting with the cannon. a str 5 template is very sexy against quite a number of targets, and the d6 wounds under the center can ruin eggbaskets. but I also agree that if you shoot with him every turn you are too far back to get into combat at the end of the game, when you need it the most. thats why I have take to shooting the hellcannon and maximum of 2 times in a single game, turn 1 and then possibly a 2nd one if it is availible on turn 3 or 4. it moves 12" where your warriors move 8", so they can catch up if you don't leave them behind for too long and you don't go charging off yourself.
I disagree about the resilience of the HC vs Warshrine. Sure, the Warshrine can shrug off hits, but he never wins any combats because he just doesn't do any damage when he strikes back. He's not steadfast and generally loses combat to static combat res and is usually 50/50 to break. "unbreakable" is HUGE for the HC.
The HC model is pretty badly cast, I have a few and they all came banana'd. What i did was wrap it in a towel or a t-shirt, then i put one end in a vise, and i used a large pair of channel locks (pliers) to bend it straight, after much exertion it actually straitened out very well, very minimal greenstuff later and they all look very nice You just need to be careful not to hurt any of the detail but there are some pretty good spots on it to get a good grip.
As for strategy, I agree that the shooting is not the best, BUT if you get a direct hit it does INSANE damage, you will kill elves and humans on 2's so thats a lot of dead soldiers, i usually plop my template in the center of the largest unit that is not ItP and try to break them.
I also always set my cannons outside my BSB range after 1st turn, that way its like a lottery, if it fails its berserk check it runs 3d6" (average of 11 on 3d6 is pretty much a march but could be 18"!) and if it passes I will either shoot or move, depends entirely on how the shot in the first round went, if it misfires or scatter 8 or more i just put the scatter dice away and start thunderstomping things 6 or less ill fire again and repeat the process.
Not the most scientifically sound strategy, but it works for me, and my hellcannons always come up big for me.
So it appears that it is generally a good idea to put it right on the front line, unless you are up against an opponent who has an instant kill initiative test spell (in which case I would asume that it should be sitting near the back of the board until the 'annoyance' has been dealt with) and that its main aim is to get into combat with somebody.
How does the 'wounds' system work with the hellcannon. Since it is not quite as simple as a regular artillery piece does it work like monster and handlers now (with the dwarves being hit on 5's) when it gets shot or spelled at or does it just count as having all the hellcannons wounds plus the dwarves too?