In Goonhammer Hot Takes, we do quick-pass reviews and reactions to new releases, rules, and events. In today’s Hot Take, we’re covering the the newest addition to the Space Marine Legion armoury – the Legion Arquitor Pattern Bombard, an artillery tank that may serve as the inspiration for the Plagueburst Crawler (if, of course, we paid any heed to such far future Heresy…)
It’s a second Christmas! After a surprise tank reveal not one month ago, Heresy players were again treated to a new tank this morning.
The Legion Arquitor Bombard with Spicula Rocket System (try saying that in a hurry after a drink or two) is up for pre-order, with accompanying rules. We had seen a version of this vehicle with a grav-bombard of some type teased in the Road to Thramas series, so it is a nice surprise to have a variant which was completely unexpected.
As with the other new recent release from Forge World – the Sabre Strike Tank – the Arquitor is evocative of a “reversed” Sicaran. It seems unusual, as the tracks are exposed at the front, but I like how it is immediately familiar as a “Heresy-era” chassis while being distinct. As of yet the jury is out as to whether you can easily swap the weapon options, but from studying the images on the Forge World website it looks like these insert into the hull, so its possible we might have something which can be easily magnetised with a bit of forethought.
As with prior tanks, Games Workshop is providing the rules for the Arquitor free. Check out this Link to the Rules for Download, which we’ll be discussing.
The Arquitor is styled as a close-support bombard platform, at the “forefront of a Legiones Astartes advance” with “brutal short range firepower.” It is a Heavy Support choice for Legiones Astartes.
The price tag, to start with, is pretty reasonable – 140 pts for a 12/12/10 platform with four Hull Points – more than the average Astartes tank. It can also be taken in squadrons of up to 3 – which comes in at over 420 pts base – expensive, but not outrageous. .
The standard loadout is the Spicula rocket system, two sponson Heavy Bolters, and the usual Marine vehicle upgrades – which includes an Auxiliary Drive, which is nice to see for “free”. You can take the range of usual upgrades (e.g. a Combi-Bolter), including the oddly-expensive Havoc Launcher for 15 pts. The Heavy Bolters can become Autocannons for 10 pts, which seems OK at first but doesn’t quite gel with the Arquitor’s Ordnance rule – see below.
The real meat of this tank is in the Spicula rocket system. This weapon has rules which are, so far, unique in the Heresy. When you fire the rocket system, you pick a spot within its 24″ range and firing arc (which does not have to be over an enemy base or model), and place a 5″ or 7″ template down, which is then scattered using the Arquitor’s BS 4.
Once the final position is resolved, any unit under the template then suffers 5 hits (for a 5″ template) or 4 + d6 hits (for a 7″ template). This is potentially devastating if you catch, say, 2-3 units with clever template positioning in the early game – you could be doing 15-20 hits across a range of enemy squads.
There is a downside – if you use the 7″ option, and roll a 6 for the number of hits, then the rockets are exhausted for the rest of the game.
The rockets are heavy hitters – S 7, AP 3 with Ordnance, Sunder and Wrecker. This means if a vehicle is hit, you’ll have to laboriously roll each hit as 2 dice at a time picking the highest, potentially with re-rolls – which is not great for game speed, but it is what it is.
Note that this tank, although it feels like it should do, does not have Barrage – so no sniping things or hitting vehicles on the side armour, and you’ll have to watch out for where Artificer Armour is in enemy squads, as if its at the front your AP 3 hits could be “tanked”. As the Spicula rocket system is Ordnance, you’ll also be snap firing any sponsons – so maybe don’t bother loading up on autocannons…
Overall, its an interesting unit. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the Ordnance rule limiting the efficacy of the sponsons (except, I suppose, if it runs out of ammunition) and the lack of Barrage seems a bit incongruous, but the tank overall is an interesting new addition to the Astartes arsenal.
Using an Arquitor
The amount of variables you have under the current rules for the Arquitor mean there are not that many “permutations” of it – basically you either take the autocannons or you don’t. My initial impressions would be to stick with the Heavy Bolters and keep this as cheap as possible.
I personally would run two in a squadron – which can absorb a decent amount of firepower at 280 pts for 8 HP – and put them on a flank. I’d use them in an early game to hunt my opponents non-AV 14 transports as they advanced, and then carpet-bomb infantry squads and/or non-AV 14 tanks as the game developed. I think you should be aggressive with these, given their poor range – push them up every turn, particularly as they are Heavy and so cannot move particularly fast!
I can see these getting a lot of use in Iron Hands, Armoured Breakthrough and Armoured Spearhead lists due to their reasonably cheap points cost.
An Abundance of Gifts
And that wraps up our “Hot Take” on the Arquitor – an interesting new addition to the Legion armoury, and one that I look forward to seeing on the battlefields of the historical far future. I hope you have enjoyed reading this, and please check out the rest of our Horus Heresy series as it is rolled out. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or thoughts, feel free to drop us a note in the comments below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.