Artillery units were introduced in the Coronis Campaign (CC) expansion alongside the introduction of Imperial Guard and Tyranids. Lately I’ve been brushing up on the rules for Artillery, and wanted to put down some ideas that’ve been percolating in my head.
Artillery added a new alternative to shooting, the most conventional way to remove opposing units during a battle. As a refresher, successful artillery rolls (aka “shells”) allow you to:
- Lock a ready unit
- Destroy a locked unit
- Destroy a fortification
Note that 1) You cannot target charging units; and 2) You can hit the same target multiple times with multiple successful rolls/shells. I forgot these nuances!
Thus, artillery offers two advantages:
- Destroy units and fortifications without needing to charge with an assault unit or fire with a high-speed unit;
- Lock a high-threat unit that you cannot deal with otherwise.
It’s clear then that the races that most benefit from artillery are the ones that cannot readily solve these scenarios. For example, Eldar possess an embarrassing wealth of high-speed units and unit-locking BAs, so they may not find as much value in their artillery units. On the other hand, Imperial Guard may have trouble getting past a fast blocker or a high-armor target that could dismantle a key unit early in the battle. Here, an artillery salvo to lock or destroy that unit could save an IG player a lot of heartache. Add in all the other artillery-related synergies in IG command lines, and you have a recipe for artillery as a viable and effective piece of the battlefield puzzle.
Both artillery and assault let you destroy units without having to deal with blockers, but they have their own hurdles through which to jump. Assault usually requires a BA of setup time (charging); similarly, artillery requires you to roll successfully – sometimes more than once.
It’s important, then, to know how many M modifiers you need to consistently pass these rolls. Also consider that against die-manipulating races like Chaos or Eldar, things may not necessarily go to plan.
Finally, consider a couple other points about artillery units:
- They are usually non-flag units;
- They usually have low die rolls.
But there are exceptions:
Until next time, may your artillery booms be loud and effective!