Thursday, January 10, 2008

Battle of the Wagons

Codex Orks is upon us now and I will be writing up yet another review. However, I noticed something in my recent games with the new codex that I thought should be addressed because it deals with a larger, more important, concept. A thought began swimming in my head over the last few months. It was: why is it that my ├╝ber points expensive, larger than life, battle wagon ineffective? I was thinking about fielding a Pez dispenser instead because at least the Pez dispenser would do something.

Well the thought finally dawned on me what the difficulty was. My Battle Wagon was suffering from a case of Multiple Purpose Disorder (MPD). MPD is an Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) that cannot settle on a battlefield role. What I mean can be seen in our friend the Land Raider. A Land Raider is a great transport. It is also a pretty mean tank, but it has trouble when it is being tasked to do both at the same time.

So how does this apply to my friend the Battle Wagon? Well I was arming it to the teeth with tons of upgrades thinking that I would drive forward, drop off troops, and shoot the tar out of my opponent. This in and of itself was terribly flawed thinking. The reason was that it was so expensive that I could only take one Battle Wagon, and so on turn one my Battle Wagon was a fire magnet/ points sink.

This has inspired me to revise how I look at the Battle Wagon. The Battle Wagon is not a tank; it is an infantry support vehicle. Let us take a close look at the upgrades it can be given and it will become painfully obvious how to use this vehicle.

Shooty Weapons
The Battle Wagon has a wide array of weapons available. What should be considered is the range on most of them. The Big Gunz and Big Shootas have comparable ranges. They can hit targets out to 36”. The Kill Kannon and Rokkit Launchas can strike targets out to 24”. The significance here is 24” is too short when it comes to ranges. Almost every army in the game will have longer range artillery/ heavy weapons and they will stomp the Battle Wagon into the ground.

If you were to take the maximum shooty weapon load out for the equally ranged weapons then you would be paying the following: 35 points for 36” ranged weapons and 100 points for all 24” weapons.

Choppy Weapons/ Upgrades
This is where the Battle Wagon gets ugly. The Def Roller, Wrecking Ball, Boarding Plank, and Grabbin’ Klaw make the Battle Wagon a juggernaut. These weapons exceed the strength of the shooting weapons, and are comparatively cheaper than the shooting weapons. They also give the Battle Wagon the ability to inflict major damage on opponent tanks and vehicles. The cheaper cost of these upgrades gives an Ork player the chance to have more battle wagons in their force.

Me Orky No Wat’s
Either option for the Battle Wagon is perfectly acceptable. If you are going to upgrade the guns to be Kill Kannon and Rokkits then by no means should this vehicle consider transport duties. It must shoot every turn and move as little as possible. Once your opponent has knocked the ordinance weapon off then it can be a transport, but not until it has been relieved of its ordinance weapon.

This battle wagon will excel at infantry support. What I mean is primary targets for this tank should be soft juicy infantry models, and not tanks. Let your opponent sweat the decision to target your Wagon or your Boyz, and let your wagon pummel your opponent’s infantry with high-AP-insta-kill goodness. The Shooty Wagon will run from 150 to 270 points, but that depends on the options and weapons you put on it.

For this warlord, my money is on the Choppy Wagons. I think that their ability to get the boyz to their destination will be invaluable. I also think that their ability to engage close-by targets will increase their threat ability. The big consideration is that fully loaded out for close up duties, with infantry killing guns, only costs at most 175 points. A lower cost will allow you to take two of them. Two Wagons will ensure that you will be able to use them beyond turn 1. Failing that, you will have distracted a lot of fire from your advancing horde.

When I utilized a little point manipulation I figure that I will be able to take two Battle Wagons in a 2000 point game.

So before you throw your Battle Wagons onto the field, take a look at what you want them to do. I feel that by avoiding MPD, and specifically tasking your Battle Wagons, you will be a force to be reckoned with.



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