7th Edition Review: Adeptus Mechanicus: Onager Dunecrawler - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-13-16, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Default 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!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-14-16, 07:26 AM
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Hmm interesting how do you feel the about the fact, that its a walker even if it has bonus movement or something I'm not too sure what the rules were but i remember something.

Good break down of the weapons, again a wide use weapon but can be focused in some key areas depending on the needs of the army.

It seems to be a decent platform for weapons with the conversion beamer (eradicator beamer) or the anti air weapon (Icarus Array). Certainly a decent unit, not too sure have never faced any ADMECH as I've said.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-14-16, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Well, its special rule ignores difficult and dangerous terrains, which is nice, but not great (in my experience). One downside is that, as a walker, it can be locked in combat, which sucks. However, by the time it can be locked in, it has always for me already taken care of more than I expected it to handle anyway, so I don't really mind. Maybe if my opponents had gone after it immediately, I would feel differently, but people have not expected it to be as dangerous as it has been in my games. Once they're missing a few crucial vehicles, though, they tend to gun for it.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-23-16, 09:46 PM
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Don't forget one of the biggest strengths of the Onager: the overlapping shields.

These can be run in a squadron of up to 3 walkers. 1 gets a 6++, 2 gets a 5++, and 3 get a 4++, as long as they're close enough to overlap their shields.

Of course, the issue there becomes... weapons?

I'm planning to run two of them, and I LOVE the Neutron Laser, but as you said, the Icarus is pretty much the only anti-air the entire AdMech army have. I don't want to mix weapons in a squad, but I'm also worried about 'wasting' shots if I don't have fliers or skimmers to target.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-24-16, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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You have brought up several great points: first, I did forget to mention the shield boosts, because I only have one so I have yet to use it in a squad. My mistake.

Wasting shots is a huge problem for squads of Onagers. They still have to shoot at the same target unit, so pretty much anything will be overkill. Firing two or three Neutron Lasers at one target would be great if that target is a super heavy, or something like it. Pretty much any other circumstance and it'll be a waste. I guess it'd be good for ensuring you get that Land Raider down ASAP, or a maxed out unit of Terminators or Centurions, maybe. But few targets are worthy of the gift of three Srength 10 Armor Piercing 1 Blasts.

Similarly, using the Icarus Array in a squad would usually be overkill. If there's a jinking Stormraven bringing certain doom to you and you really need to make sure it can't deliver its payload, then yeah, go for it. But what targets need 24 shots from Strength 6-7 poured into it? I have yet to see any large units of flying targets (at least that I can recall), so maybe they are out there, but that's a lot of firepower to point at most targets.

The Heavy Phosphor Blaster would be better in a squad of three, but then the Onager becomes pretty much exclusively dedicated to hunting down MEQs. You would still only get 9 shots at 36", so it wouldn't even be great at that. Maybe just lighting up blobs for your Sicarians and Dragoons to charge into. They still lack the Strength or Armor Piercing to take down big targets, but lack the number of shots to take down most infantry. And if someone is fielding three Onagers together to hunt down semi-tough elite choices, they are going to have a rough game ahead of them.

I just still can't imagine the Eradication Beamer being much better with three. Maybe it would be, since you could really light up the midfield with fairly dangerous Heavy Blasts right out of the gate, but again the Neutron Laser is almost strictly better in most conceivable situations (unless you're strapped for points).

I hope to get more Onagers soon (thinking about buying more Get Started boxes just because it's so cheap), so maybe I'll feel differently after actually fielding a squadron of three, but I just can't imagine many targets worthy of such a force.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-12-17, 10:43 AM
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Default Squad of Onagers

The overlapping shields are pretty good, which is of course offset by squad shooting.
But, with GS:FoC you can field them in Grand Convocation (Basically mix of Skitarii + Mechanicus but two HQ's) which will give them IWND for free (so you can save points from manipulators) but mainly, when they are within 6'' from HQ choice they get PotMS, so you can shoot wherever you want, making squadron of say, one Icarus + two Neutron viable, as long as you keep your Dominus near them.
The whole formation really screams "Buy Cawl for front line and let your old Dominus tend to vehicles".
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