7th Edition Review: Adeptus Mechanicus: Onager Dunecrawler
Alright, I got snowed in so I guess I'm going to write a second one of these.
Onager Dunecrawlers are very versatile weapons. With four completely different weapon loadouts, it can potentially take on a lot of foes on the battlefield. If you aren't sure which weapon to take, hopefully this will help you out.
Let's start with the stock weapon, the Eradication Beamer. This cannon looks pretty nice on paper, but is definitely the most difficult to use. It is easy to look at its profile and think, "Well, this one gun is the most versatile, so I should keep it and just be careful about positioning." Well, that doesn't work very well. If you are trying to whittle down a footslogging horde, sure, you could keep the right distance to keep dropping large blasts on it. But most opponents won't let you do that, and so it gets very hard to find valuable targets in the right range for this. The Dunecrawler just doesn't move fast enough to reliably position itself right. I find that this gun tends to fizzle on me.
Next up is the twin-linked Heavy Phosphor Blaster. This gun is pretty underwhelming. The range, at 36", is not that good. The Strength is high, but not very high. Using this to shoot at a light vehicle could be not bad, but you're at the mercy of the dice then. The AP is pretty good, but not great. I think if the AP was 2 instead of 3, I would want to take this a lot more. But 3 shots at 36" isn't that much, and it's unlikely to damage any but the lightest vehicles, and won't wound TEQs or MCs as reliably as I would want. If this was the stock gun, I could see giving it a shot, but it just doesn't seem as useful as the others. If anyone has used it, please weigh in. The gun just seems too "meh" to take over the others.
Which brings me to the Icarus Array. This will probably be the most popular way to equip an Onager. First off, it's the only really reliable anti-air the army has (TL cognis weapons on an Ironstrider will hit with 5/9 shots, so not enough for me to consider them reliable). It's expensive, but worth it. Especially if your opponents like Flyers and Skimmers. Playing against Eldar, this gun has always paid for itself, often in the first turn or two. Yes, all the weapons have low Strength, but Flyers have low AV, and it pumps out so many shots, that it turns out pretty nicely. This is a very solid weapon.
Finally, we have the Neutron Laser. This is probably my favorite, but that's because I like overkill. This gun has also never failed to pay for itself thus far. My first game since getting back into the hobby, its first shot sank two wave serpents (one of which exploded and killed a nearby scatbike) due to some lucky scatter. It will punch a hole in pretty much anything reliably (50% chance to at least glance a Land Raider, 1/3 to penetrate it). And, it comes with a free Cognis Heavy Stubber! This is almost superior to the Eradication Beamer in every way, since it has longer range, is usually stronger than the EB, and hits more models up close (though the EB has a larger blast at max distance, making this slightly worse at killing weak hordes from afar). Whatever it's shooting at will rue the day it set foot on the gaming table.
You can also pay more for a hatch-mounted Cognis Heavy Stubber. This has proved useful one time for me, so I probably won't keep spending points on it. Most of the time, I'm firing at big, valuable units who are too far away and too tough for the Stubber to hit, so it rarely comes into play. Even when it has, it did merely okay - not well enough to convince me it is worth it. Then again, it's cheap, so maybe I will.
The Mindscanner Probe has been awesome for me. I kept some Vanguard near my Onager, and the Mindscanner saved them from a one-turn slaughter when they were assaulted. If you expect to have troops near your Onagers, definitely worth considering this.
Finally, we should look at the Cognis Manipulator. I feel torn about this upgrade. It is expensive, and has proven largely irrelevant as a weapon. Sure, a Strength 10 AP 1 punch looks good on paper, but would really only matter in a tiny selection of circumstances, none of which are likely. My Onagers have been assaulted under two circumstances: first, by things that will destroy the Onager, or second, by things that will never kill it but will keep it stuck in combat. If you are assaulted by the former, it is likely going to kill your Onager before you get to fight back. Maybe not, but really the best you can hope for is mutual destruction here. If you are assaulted by the latter, you'll never kill enough of them to escape.
That said, I have always given my Onager this upgrade, because it confers IWND. This has kept my Onager alive when it would have died, and has gotten HP back enough that people who couldn't make it explode gave up trying to glance it to death. Plus, it potentially could come in handy as a weapon, if only to drag a hammernator into the grave along with your Onager.
All in all, the Onager is a very versatile and pretty cheap (points-wise) unit that has been a lot of fun for me to play. If you are hesitant to pick one up, I would definitely recommend it!
Any further thoughts or disagreements are welcome!