Tuesday, 18 September 2012

40K Tactics: Artillery

"Artillerymen believe the world consist of two types of people; other Artillerymen and targets."-Unknown.


Artillery: A by-word for big guns and big explosions. a word which conjures an image of dozens of high calibre cannons firing in unison to utterly obliterate their foe. But in Warhammer 40,000, what is the best way of utilising these units? How should you be using your Basilisks, Whirlwinds or Lobbas? Well, here's a few ideas which may help you.

Back-Line fire

Keep back. Much like artillery units in real life, 40k artillery units have long range. For example, an Imperial Guard Basilisk has a range of 12" inches with its Earthshaker Cannon (10 feet). Considering the average table size is 6ft x 4ft (72" x 48") it can hit anything on the table. Therefore, there is no need to get artillery up close and personal. Keep it at the back and bring on the metal exploding rain.

Hull Down

Artillery units have great guns, but what they lack is armour. The Whirlwind has armour much like a Rhino, which means it won't survive a direct fire-fight with your average battle tank or anti-armour unit. Hiding it in cover can help with this, by providing a good cover save to help absorb the shots. Make sure you have the tank aiming the right way also, as their guns are more often than not fixed in the hull, meaning they don't have the 360* shooting arc which turreted vehicles have.

Hiding it behind something works too: if they can't see it, they can't shoot at it. however this only works for artillery units with the Barrage rule;if you don;t have it, you still need line of sight to shoot your gun. It's also possible to use other units to provide cover, and to help deny any charges to your weak rear armour.

Target Priority

Picking your target is essential for all units, including artillery. Look at the profile of your gun to figure out its best target. High strength guns will be great for tanks, whilst lower strength guns are best suited for infantry. Take note of any special rules. For example, the Whirlwind's 'hell-fire missiles' have the ability to ignore cover, so it's a great idea to use it to flush out enemy models and deny the weaker units their cover saves. Guns with a high chance of scattering (Barrage, low BS shooters etc) should probably aim for big groups, to maximise the chance of hitting.

More often then not, artillery units have good strength, AP, and a large blast, so your target should be whatever is the most threatening unit at the time. In most cases, flyers are out of the question, since you cannot target them with blast weapons under normal circumstances.

So remember, Stay back, get cover, and focus your shots.

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