Chaos Renegades: Heavy Support Analysis
Alright, we are most of the way through the Renegade unit analysis, just 2 sections left to go, Heavy Support and Lords of War! In either Renegades army, the most important slot is the Heavy Support. This is where all the punch for the army lives, and there's a crap ton to choose from.
A lot of the Renegade heavy support choices are made even better by the fact that BS2 is a mandatory upgrade, so units like Wyverns, Griffons, and Thuddguns can keep the low BS, since they're twin-linked blasts anyhow, and keep some spare points free for the rest of the army.
Renegade Tank Squadron
There are a huge variety of Leman Russes, they all have AV 14/13/10-11, depending on the variant, making them quite tough to kill. As with all the other tanks in the army, they're 10 points cheaper than what IG pay for them, but are BS2, and can be upgraded to BS3 for that same 10 points. This means that the variants that are less reliant on BS can be kept cheaper if you want to save some points (only useful on blast tanks really, so anything but the Exterminator, Vanquisher, and Punisher). Since they are so diverse, I'm going to talk a little about each one:
- Leman Russ Battle Tank - Ol' reliable, a modest price tag for a heavily armoured tank with a S8 AP3 large blast. Definitely a solid choice, but due to it's ordnance weapon turret, sponsons are going to need to snap shoot. While this is the classic variant, I tend to look for my pie plates elsewhere.
- Leman Russ Annihilator - This is a Forgeworld Russ variant, and one of the least expensive of all the Russes, with it's twin-linked lascannon turret, it could make for an interesting alternative for the Vanquisher, but I'm still not a fan. The nice thing is though, if you give it a hull-mounted lascannon and sponson multi-meltas, it can move 6" and fire everything thanks to being a heavy vehicle, making it potentially a nasty platform for high strength anti-tank weapons.
- Leman Russ Conqueror - Another Forgeworld Russ variant, this guy has the distinct pleasure of being a fast vehicle... that's right, AV14/13/10 and still hauling butt. It's main gun isn't very powerful, only being a small blast at S7 Ap4, but the idea of AV14 flying across the board is fun at least. Since this is tied with the Eradicator as the cheapest variant, at 110 points, I think it probably still merits some investigation.
- Leman Russ Exterminator - Probably my favorite variant, the Exterminator is dirt cheap, sporting a nasty 4-shot twin-linked autocannon turret. Always worth the militia trianing for that extra point of BS, slap on a pair of multi-melta sponsons and you have a very cost effecient vehicle that's great at wrecking light-medium armour. I use mine for hunting transports so that my artillery can shell the unit inside.
- Leman Russ Vanquisher - A long-necked russ, the Vanquisher's main gun is a single, very powerful anti-tank shell, but being that, it's one shot that must roll to-hit. Even with the Militia training, you're only hitting 50% of the time. Honestly, this is probably the worst variant, I would highly recommend a Rapier Laser Destroyer battery instead.
- Leman Russ Eradicator - Tied for the cheapest Leman Russ, the Eradicator actually packs an interesting gun, it's Eradicator nova cannon has a large blast at S6 AP4 that ignores cover. Being on an incredibly cheap AV14 tank, you can take a squad of 3 of these for only 330 points and just pelt away at enemy xenos in cover and take little damage in return. Since the gun isn't ordnance, you can stack on some extra heavy bolters and still fire all your weapons. They battle over the same role and slot as the Wyvern (which I prefer), but I still think they're a solid choice.
- Leman Russ Demolisher - The second classic variant and also the most expensive, brandishing the lovely, and aptly named, Demolisher Cannon. This highly armoured tank packs a mean punch, though in the Renegade army, it can be easily replaced by Medusa's and other weapons. Due to it's very high points cost, and inability to fire sponson weapons (well, it can snap fire them), I don't see it having much game time over an Executioner, or a Medusa heavy artillery carriage.
- Leman Russ Punisher - Because who doesn't like gatling guns? With it's massive amount of dice, even if it's not that effective in-game, it's fun to play with. Anti-infantry focused to the extreme with 20 S5 spots, tack on a pair of heavy bolter sponsons and you're talking 29 shots a turn. Sadly though, while it's fun to roll a fist full of dice, anti-infantry is something that your other artillery pieces do far better, and for less points.
- Leman Russ Executioner - The last Russ variant, the Executioner brings a nasty, 3-shot plasma cannon to the board. This variant is fairly expensive, but when it comes to dealing with Terminators and other squads of 2+ infantry, nothing does it better. You can add on 2 more plasma cannon sponsons to really bring the pain. Generally squads of more than 1-2 Executioners are going to really rack up the points, but it may not be bad to hide one in a squad of Eradicators.
Renegade Artillery Battery
Now we're really starting to talk the big guns. Artillery Batteries are squads of Basilisk and Medusa tanks. They're both decently priced, but restricted by their AV12 front armour from getting anywhere near the action. While I generally like the idea of these squads, I find that the Heavy Ordnance Battery is just a lot better for the points, despite it's lack of mobility. If I were to take a squad of either of these though, it would be the Medusa variant, because who doesn't love a 36" range, S10 Ap2 pie plate?
Renegade Strike Battery
Everyone's favorite Imperial Guard tank, only better! These are squads of Griffons and Wyverns, but both at a discount, and in squads of up to 5! No need to pay the 10 points per model for BS3 when your high volume, blast guns are already twin-linked. Naturally a squad of 2-5 Wyverns is the first choice I add to any Renegade army, it's just a murder fest of artillery shells that will make any infantry on the board soggy in the britches. With Wyverns though, it's easy to overlook the Griffon tank, which weighs in at a mere 35 points for it's twin-linked S6 Ap4 large blast, so a full squad of 5 is only 185 points... Seriously, if you have any heavy support slots open in your list, it means you didn't take enough Strike Batteries, they are so amazingly cheap for what they do on the table.
Renegade Hydra Battery
Identical to the Astra Militarum variant (with the exception for BS), they bring your only real reliable anti-air. If you find that your meta is full of flyers and skimmers, then this may be an option to help deal with them, but personally, I just accept my fate of getting pummeled by the sky, while I focus on annihilating everything with it's feet on the ground. If they were a bit cheaper, or their gun was slightly better I'd probably be willing to take a squad, but with the competition in the Heavy Support slot being the roughest in the army, I've never even considered taking them.
Renegade Bombard Battery
It's not every day that you get pie plates that wound most things on a 2+, go through their armour, and ignore cover. Bombards are absolutely devastating against any dug-in infantry, and worthy of consideration, but they will become a top priority for pretty much everyone. They have a massive 24" minimum range, and must be fired using the Barrage rules, so if the enemy gets too close, they suddenly can't fire at anything. Additionally, they have pretty poor armour, so anyone who does want to get rid of them, probably can if they're not well protected and hidden. It might be worth taking just a single one, since it wouldn't be too hard to hide, just to have something to reach out and wreck far away scoring units.
Renegade Heavy Ordnance Battery
Very similar to the Artillery Battery, the Heavy Ordnance battery is a squad of artillery containing either Basilisk or Medusa heavy carriages. They are incredibly tough since they are artillery and quite inexpensive. By adding on a pile of extra crew, you can quickly have a blob of 36 T7 3+ save wounds sitting in the backfield, shelling your opponent. For their price, they really are an amazing unit, and a great place to hide your Arch Demagogue.
Renegade Support Squad
Basically a big squad of Heavy Weapon teams, they can have a lot of weaponry, but their T3 really makes them bait for any S6+ enemy firepower. Sadly, while they are inexpensive, they're just not resilient enough to be trusted to not get shot at by some scatter lasers and ran off the board.
Renegade Rapier Laser Destroyer Battery
Yes, take them, take many of them. Someone down there must really like us, because Forgeworld has blessed Renegades with one of the nastiest pieces of artillery you can get for basically no points. A full squad of 3, with 3 extra crew and Militia training is just under 80 points, and firing off 3, twin-linked S9 AP1 ordnance (not blast) shots a turn. They are amazing at wrecking anything shy of AV14 from across the board, and even then because of the Ordnance rule, AV14 isn't off the menu entirely. They don't have a ton of wounds, only 3 extra when you buy the crew, but for their price they can't be beat.
Renegade Field Artillery Battery
Last, but definitely not least, is even more Artillery! Renegade field batteries carry either heavy mortars, or the feared thudd gun. Back before there were Wyverns everywhere, these were the bee's knees, splattering the enemy with 4 S5 blasts a turn per model, and in the renegade army, able to be taken in squads of up to 4, you're talking 16 blasts a turn from each battery! When taken with the Ordnance Tyrant Arch Demagogue from Vraks, they count as non-compulsory troops choices, but that still means Objective Secured artillery in a normal Combined Arms Detachment. I do love these as a cheaper, tougher alternative to the Wyvern.
The hardest decision you'll have to make in a Renegade army is how to fill your heavy support choices. It's entirely possible to just take 9 Rapier Laser batteries, but that's only going to take up ~240 points in your army, so you'd better have a lot of infantry sitting around! Personally, I take a squad of 3 Exterminators with melta sponsons, a unit of 4 Wyverns, and a squad of 3 Rapiers. It's all fairly economical for the damage output, and it gives me answers for a variety of targets.
See you next time when we cover Lords of War. Despite only being able to get one in most armies, everything in the Renegades armies are so cheap that it's almost crazy not to take one.