Sunday, August 31, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Thunderhawk Gunship

The most expensive Lords of War entry in Betrayal outside of titans, the Legion Thunderhawk Gunship is a flying, hovering, super-heavy!

There are a combination of items that make this gunship so expensive. Firstly the transport capacity: being able to take 30 marines to where they're needed and have them deploy off of an assault ramp cannot be underscored enough - its very effective on a flyer. But on top of this is the wide array of weaponry. The thunder hawk cannon will probably spell death for a space marine squad every turn (assuming it doesn't scatter too much), the four twin-linked heavy bolters will almost assuredly mop up any remains of the above, the two lascannons will give tanks pause for thought, and the heavy bomb clusters almost feel like an afterthought, but give the gunship a wide array of utility. But remember as a super-heavy, the gunship can fire all (yes: ALL) of its weapons as if stationary, and at independent targets.  Naturally, the gunship is also going to be a prime target for an enemy, but it does have 4 structure points to somewhat compensate for the AV12 armour all around. Hence there is some risk to deploying this monstrosity.

There are five possible upgrades to the Thunderhawk Gunship.

It can potentially take a Turbo-laser destructor (yes - that's the titan weapon of the same name) in place of its cannon. A "D"-class weapon is nothing to say no to, so this comes down to personal taste. I think I'd rather like to have such a laser on board to take care of opposition tanks that might come my way.

It can replace its bombs with six hell strike missiles. The trade-off here is significant. Do you want three turns of apocalyptic sized barrages, or six higher strength missiles that have a smaller blast size? This is down to taste to some extent, and what opponents you gamble you'll be facing.

The Chaff Launcher is very nice for the extra protection -- take it since its very little increase on the points already sank in to the thunder hawk.

The armoured cockpit will keep this guy flying and shooting longer with the ability to ignore shaken and stunned crews half the time. Again, it doesn't cost much compared to the points one has already sunk in to the gunship, so I think its on the list of "take it".

The flare shield is an interesting option, but pricier. In general, it will depend if you can keep your front arc facing the enemy most of the time to take full advantage of it (or at least: keep the front arc facing the enemy whilst the contents of the gunship is deployed). I'm not too sure about this as its use is situational and must be tailored to your army play-style.

Hence, my suggested set up for this super-heavy would be something like:

Legion Thunderhawk Gunship, Turbo-laser Destructor, Chaff Launcher, Armoured Cockpit (945 points)

The real question remains though: is it worth this price tag? Would a warhound class titan, for instance, be better? Or what about several (meaning three or four) Storm Eagle Assault Gunships? It is really a very close call on the face of it and I'm uncertain to be honest.

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