September 20, 2017 by crew
…a tank for Bauhaus and some new jet bikes for Mishima.
T-32 Wolfclaw JBT
The first of the two new vehicles in the T-32 Wolfclaw JBT, a Bauhaus tank with a very distinctive silhouette that many will recognise from the Target Games RPG.
The stat line is nothing to get excited about, yet appropriate for a light tank, with a very familiar Ranged Skill 13, Speed 6 and moderate armour.
What makes this vehicle interesting – besides being the first viable alternative to the Bauhaus mainstay, the Vulcan walker – are the two features that make the vehicle so recognisable; the triple-barrelled autocannon mounted in the turret and the cutting blade mounted under the front of the hull.
The latter is not actually a weapon but a simple approach to the problem of moving Bauhaus armour through the jungles of Venus; why go around when you can cut your way through!
A pair of Wolfclaws won’t turn your dense jungle table into a freshly cut field, but if they DO happen to drive through some difficult terrain with a small enough footprint you can remove that terrain from the table.
Better yet, those blades make ramming much more dangerous for enemy models that get in your way!
As for the cannons, Strength 16 with Armour Piercing (4) and three shots per turn is very respectable, although the Wolfclaw will rely heavily on the bonus for shooting at large targets in order to make all three shots count.
Factoring in range and cover, infantry is likely to lose only a single wound for each volley. Luckily the Wolfclaw can also choose to pound an area with shells, exchanging three shots for a single, weaker shot that uses the LE template and has a chance to stun models caught within.
The turret has an LMG as well, although, with a shorter range and relatively low strength, most Bauhaus players will rarely be able to justify spending 2 AP for a Torrent of Fire action so the tank can fire both. The reason Sondereinsatzkommando.
Wolfclaw JBT – Tabletop Tactics
The final trick the Wolfclaw can pull, Sondereinsatzkommando allows the tank to act as an open transport for up to five Venusian Rangers.
Because this rule is so specific, the Wolfclaw doesn’t have the Transport type and cannot be fielded in the Transport OOC slot. But it gives the Bauhaus player a compelling reason to take more than the single 5-man, 2-missile launcher squad so often fielded as an infiltrating alpha strike.
Now you can deploy a ten man squad of Rangers in your deployment zone and have them race up the table on a pair of Wolfclaws, quickly catching up with any Rangers infiltrated further up.
What really makes this idea work is the fact that the Venusian Rangers can mount up without spending any Action Points and the Wolfclaw can disembark that squad for free as well.
If transporting Rangers kitted out for a gunfight, you can move 12” and shoot, softening up the target (and potentially stunning them) before disembarking the Rangers on the far side of the tank, giving them cover until you are ready to activate them.
However the real strength is in transporting CC Rangers; Perform a Ram action and move 12” into the middle of the enemy squad, using the fact you get to place the (surviving) rammed models to your advantage. Then disembark your Rangers just out of reach of the enemies so they can charge into combat on their own activation.
If the enemy squad who just got rammed activate before your Rangers, they will begin their activation engaged with the tank and will need to spend a Resource card per model to get another AP if they want to break away from the Wolfclaw and attack the Rangers.
Taking Kaspernov is a must as he will help to ensure you have a good round of combat when they charge in. The Blitzkrieg doctrine will really you cover some ground here – not just because of the speed bonus but because of Pre-emptive strike.
It might seem counter-intuitive but for maximum first turn reach, deploy your Rangers for a defensive infiltration only 12” up the table, approximately 6” ahead of their transport in your deployment zone.
Pre-emptive strike movement happens after Infiltrators have deployed so use the free 6” move to put the Wolfclaw in the middle of your Ranger squad (remember models embarking must do so from the rear arc and be within 2”).
If there are enemy infiltrators nearby who are threatening your deployment zone, activate your Rangers first and have each model take a shot before boarding the Wolfclaw as they finish their activation.
On your next activation (or later in the turn if your opponent has anti-tank weapons that haven’t activated yet) you have the choice of moving 14” or 21” further depending on whether you need to shoot, putting the Wolfclaw between 26” and 32” up the table in the first turn!
Combat Deck Options
Regardless of how you plan to use your Wolfclaws, here are some cards from the Advanced Combat Deck that will help you get the most out of them…
Glancing Hit – A useful card to protect your points investment in a vehicle, this card is even more crucial when that vehicle is a transport and destruction could also mean the loss of the squad inside.
Make sure you have three of these in your deck to help your tank shrug off hits from otherwise deadly CF(2) or CF(3) weapon but don’t forget that once you use it, you can’t play ANY other tactical cards on the entire Wolfclaw squad for the rest of the turn.
Lightweight Weapons or Fragmentation Slugs: If you are planning to deliver Rangers into close combat, Lightweight Weapons and the Blitzkrieg doctrine means Speed 8 so your Wolfclaws will be zipping around the table and be capable of delivering a Strength 25 hit via the Ram action if required!
If you want to keep the enemy at range – whether transporting Rangers or not – Fragmentation Slugs paired with the Marksmanship doctrine will help to turn the LE template attack into something that will reliably hit and wound enemy infantry models, giving you a firing solution for both kinds of targets.
The second release for the month is the Mishima Dragonbike, another vehicle often associated with the jungle thanks to the Paul Bonner art depicting a patrolling Dragonbike encountering a Mercurian Maculator.
These jet bikes have many similarities with the recently released Nova; they are fast, agile, well-armed and relatively inexpensive but without the same level of survivability enjoyed by their more advanced Cybertronic counterpart.
Able to be taken in squads of up to four models, this vehicle comes with a choice of two weapon configurations with a common close combat attack that ensures either loadout will still have the means to take on more expensive vehicles.
The anti-infantry option is the Dragonfire HMG, the same weapon sported by the Crimson Devils and Demon Hunters, with a 24” range and 4 shots at Strength 12.
Dragonbikes – Tabletop Tactics
As a flyer, the Dragonbike can quickly and easy move into a good firing position but with RS 13, an enemy infantry squad has little to fear from a single Dragonbike…but no Mishima player is going to field a single bike when they have a special rule that allows these vehicles to be taken in a support slot, freeing up the light vehicle slot for a Meka or Gigamek.
In those cases, a squad of 2-3 Dragonbikes with HMGs will be able to put out a very respectable rate of fire that should allow them to decimate minimum sized infantry squads – and when they typically come in at 75 points, these 50 point jet bikes can quickly make back what you spent on them.
The “Kakushi no Shomei” Ki power is a good choice here, as the debuff effect prevents the enemy squad from benefitting from cover.
The much more interesting weapon option is the Demonfang Rocketgun which finally gives Mishima a ranged Critical Force (2) weapon with an effective Strength of 20 against vehicles at no extra cost (although only two models in each squad an take a Rocketgun).
On paper the Rocketgun has a ‘limited’ range of only 18” but in practice, when mounted on a Speed 7 platform the difference of 6” when compared with most other missile launchers is quickly negated.
This makes it the go-to choice whenever you can only afford to fit 1-2 Dragonbikes in your list or need the ability to quickly counter enemy transports or dangerous walkers which are likely to be taken singly (such as the Hurricane, Orca or the Eradicator Death Droid).
Finally, the pilot is armed with a Molecular-Edged Titanium Katana (on both variants) which is capable of delivering a single Strength 18 hit against vehicles, made all the more deadly by the “Tankusutoraiku” ability which allows the Dragonbike to perform a Battle Focus action for free as long as it is engaged with an enemy vehicle.
Of course, the Dragonbike has to ‘land’ in order to make the attack, leaving the vehicle potentially vulnerable until it’s next activation the following turn.
Like the Purple Shark and Nova, keeping these relatively fragile vehicles alive long enough to contribute to your overall strategy is a matter of deployment and sensible use of the flying ability.
When a Dragonbike is flying it cannot benefit from cover and most tables will not have terrain tall enough to fully block line of sight to your jet bike until it is ready to attack. When it is not flying, it is far easier to shield your Dragonbikes view ranged attacks but they become vulnerable to enemies attacking them in close combat.
If you have the initiative, consider using your HMG-equipped Dragonbikes as a first strike unit to mitigate any damage enemy infiltrators can do and land them in cover (or out of sight) to ensure the enemy infiltrators can’t retaliate.
If you don’t have the initiative, or if you brought Dragonbikes with Rocket guns instead, deploy them out of sight and in the “landed” state and delay their activation as long as possible.
When it is time to move, check to see if a worthwhile target has moved into striking range (unlikely on the first turn) and if not, move them up the table but keep them out of sight (and charge range!).
Having to navigate around terrain features won’t be much of a hindrance when you can move so fast and they will be in a strong position to attack a target of your choice at the start of the second turn.
Combat Deck Options
However you plan to equip your Dragonbikes, there are plenty of interesting cards in the Advanced Combat Deck which will help them realise their potential on the tabletop…
Ki-Infused Ammo & Medal of Honour – Normally I would not recommend putting two gear cards on the same squad when you can only have three in play at any one time, but with their speed, I feel a squad of 2+ HMG Dragonbikes are in the best position to take advantage of the Ki-Infused Ammo, with a trio of jet bikes having a good chance of pinning two separate enemy infantry squads.
The bonus from Medal of Honour is small, but almost every bonus will help the Dragonbikes – RS for the HMG, CC for the Katana, WP for Ki and Fearless (2) for dealing with vehicles like the Eradicator Death Droid, Wolf Spider or Black Widow.
Play these cards early while the cost is not to going to affect your overall strategy.
Lightweight Weapons & Charge – Although a more cautious player might prefer to move, aim and fire with a Rocketgun-equipped Dragonbike, this might only be a good solution for very light vehicles which can be disabled by a single Critical Force (2) hit, or a single large vehicle where two Critical Force (2) hits in the same location will do the trick.
When attacking a squad consisting of multiple tough vehicles (Meka, Judicator, Vulkan etc) it may be best to fire without aiming, charge, use “Tankusutoraiku” for free to target the location that was hit and then make a CC attack, making each bike capable of dealing 3 damage to a location in a single turn.
In order to pull this off, you need to maximise the distance you travel during the charge to ensure you can reach that enemy vehicle and these two cards will give you an 18″ charge range. Exactly the same range as the Rocketgun, as it happens.
Will you be deploying either of these vehicles alongside your army in Warzone: Resurrection?