Necromunday: Goonhammer’s Guide to Grenades

An article by , and    Gaming Necromunda        0

Welcome back, scummers! If you’re sick of your gangers losing life and limb to errant explosives and bouncing bombs, we’re here to help. Today we’re presenting Goohammer’s Guide to Grenades in Necromunda, with everything you need to know about blowing things up a few inches away – from tactics to hobby tips.

Grenades are something that every single gang has in common. Even if a gang doesn’t have access to a type of grenade through their house list, they’ll be able to purchase them or scavenge them during the course of the campaign. Grenades have a startling array of offensive and defensive capabilities, and navigating all of these choices can be tough for inexperienced Necromundans. The different types of grenades are also what makes the humble grenade launcher one of the most in-demand weapons in the Underhive.

So, in this article we’ll be talking about the point of buying grenades for your fighters, how to use them effectively, and running down the list of each type of grenade and talking about their capabilities. Let’s get into it.

 

Why Even Bother with Grenades?

To put it concisely, grenades are effing useful! Grenades broadly fall into three types:

  1. Offensive
  2. Control
  3. Defensive

There are tons of blurred lines within these categories, and no grenade, except maybe the Krak grenade, sits purely in any of these categories. Offensive grenades are the easiest to understand and use effectively. They’re for blowing up the enemy! Not only can they pack a big punch, but almost all of them involve some sort of blast template, meaning that they can target multiple members of the opposing gang, which is never a bad thing, just go and ask a Cawdor player if you don’t believe me.

Control grenades are all about disrupting the enemy gang’s processes. The most important element of control, of course, is Pinning. All grenades contain an element of control, because most of them will at least Pin enemies, but for some grenades, the disruption is the point of the attack (Gas, Photon Flash Flares, Stun, etc.). Control grenades can be just as dangerous as offensive grenades, just ask anyone who’s played an Escher gang with a crap-ton of Photon Flares!

Finally, we have defensive grenades. These are grenades designed to stop the enemy gang from doing what it does best, while not really having any offensive heft at all. Smoke grenades are the most obvious standout here, and they should be a topic that regular Necromunday readers are extremely used to. We’ve been singing praises for Smoke grenades for years!

Grenades are also an excellent way to play the action economy metagame. What do I mean by that? Ok, say Juve X has two actions to perform on their turn, one of which can be an attack. Their player has spent 40 credits and armed Juve X with Incendiary Charges. Juve X can throw one of their Incendiary Charges and hit, let’s say, 2 enemy fighters. They’re both pinned, and one of them has even caught on fire! So, with their one action, Juve X has neutralized a whopping three enemy actions next turn (1 for the pinned fighter standing up, and 2 for the fighter who has to spend their turn stopping, dropping, and rolling). 

Generally, Juve X would be armed with some sort of crappy pistol, but since grenades sidestep weapon type limitations, Juve X can make a serious positive contribution to the game using their cleverly purchased Molotov cocktails.

 

General Tips for Using Grenades

The first thing to think about when equipping your fighters is, “who should get the grenades?” It can be a little bit counter-intuitive, but your big-time leader or champ with the tricked-out plasma gun probably don’t need to be packin’ Molotovs because their attacks are too valuable. Instead, give grenades to your fighters who either don’t have good ballistic skill (ie, Juves), or have a weapon that you don’t need to shoot every turn (ie, autogun or cheapo pistol). Juves and Prospects love grenades, Scummers! Don’t deprive them!

The second thing to think about is where to place the templates. For offensive and control grenades, you don’t have to pick an enemy fighter as a target. You can pick a spot on the floor between fighters if you want, or even a spot on the wall behind fighters. In these cases, it might be easier to target multiple fighters than aiming directly at an enemy fighter. And keep in mind that targeting multiple enemies is the whole point!

lobbing a grenade over a barricade

 

Finally, let’s talk about throwing grenades at targets that the thrower cannot see. Unlike projectile or beam weapons, in the real world, grenades are often lobbed over obstacles or around corners. In my campaigns, I like to add some rules representing that on the tabletop. Now, we’ve already had FAQ rulings about firing into Pitch Black areas, and we’ve talked about our little hotfix for using those rules. I’d like to expand upon this.

tossing a grenade around a corner to hit a target that isn’t visible

So, when targeting a location that the thrower cannot see, such as behind a barricade or around a corner, the grenade thrower can still make the attack, but the attack always scatters regardless of the hit roll and even if a “Hit” result is rolled on the scatter dice (there’s usually still an arrow present, even on the hit face). This is to represent the grenade missing its intended target and bouncing or rolling around. I’ve found that in games, it’s still extremely worth it to make grenade attacks in this manner! Especially with 5” Blast templates. If you think that this makes grenades too powerful, then do what we’ve done in the Lost Zone and make all grenades Limited!

A quick note, I do not apply this rule to Grenade Launchers. While they can still happily blast away into Pitch Black areas, I like to rule that their payload’s trajectory is too flat to do skillshots like grenade throwers can do. I find that this does a good job to balance out the relative strength of the two attack options.

 

Modeling Grenade Effects

Sneaky Chaos Demogogue. Credit: Fowler

Fowler here with a hobby tip! Templates are a big part of grenades in Necromunda, why not have fun with them? My clubmate Andy hipped me to the idea of using miniature hamster balls as smoke nade templates. Measure out the spot with a standard template, and put the half hamster ball on the spot. This is a flavorful and 3D way to represent a smoke cloud on the tabletop. Keep in mind that most hamster balls advertised as 5” are slightly larger or smaller than that. Don’t worry too much about the difference, though – you are only losing or gaining a few MM on each side! 

Miniature hamster balls can be had for less than $10 at pet stores and on the internets. Remember that one hamster ball gives you two templates – one side has a lid that unscrews as well.

Rob: You can also paint them, either just making them opaque, or using washes and contrast paints. If you’re gonna go down that route, spray the ball with some matte varnish first so your paints have something to adhere to.

If domes aren’t your thing and you’ve been around long enough to accumulate a mass of templates, then you can create a pseudo-dome by cutting one template in half and gluing the cut sections onto a whole template, creating a semi-dome effect that still gives you an ideal fo the vertical radius of the blast.

 

Grenades by the Numbers

All right, let’s dive into the different types of grenades. We’ll split the grenades into their three categories, Offensive, Control, and Defensive, and then talk about their relative strength, cost, and which gangs can benefit the most from their use. This isn’t meant to be a ranked list of what are the best choices, but more of an exploration into what the grenades are good for.

Grenade Launchers

Any of the weapons marked with a * can be used with a Grenade Launcher. Grenade launchers are fantastic weapons that functionally increase a grenade’s range up to 24”. They’re really good! Just about every gang can take them, and they’re perfect for a Specialist. Blast weapons don’t really need super-high Ballistic Skill to be useful, so feel free to chuck the ol’ G.L. on a Specialist.

Credit: Merton

Goliaths, Grinders, and Ogryns

Most Grenades range is Sx3”, though some are shorter, with Sx2”. Having a bunch of fighters with S4 means that your gang can throw grenades further, and this should be taken into account when outfitting your fighters! Goliaths and the larger members of the Corpse Grinder Cult pack a Strength of 4 meaning that grenades for them are 12” or 8” weapons as opposed to 9” or 6” weapons.

Slave Ogryn gangs are a little bit of a special case. Because of their limited armory, grenades actually become the majority of a Slave Ogryn gang’s ranged repertoire for a lot of players. With a base Strength of 5, Ogryns are hucking grenades 15” or 10” inches, outclassing the majority of the game’s pistol weapons! If you’re planning on putting together a Slave Ogryn gang, do not forget about the grenades!

 

Credit: Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

Offensive Grenades

Anti-Plant*

  • Price: 30 credits
  • Range: Sx3”
  • Notes: The issue with doing things alphabetically is that sometimes you start off with something that is only noteworthy because no one ever uses it. Whatever. Anti-plant grenades are actually very reliable weapons against carnivorous plants and brainleaf zombies. If your campaign is frequently headed to the jungles of the Badzones, and it should, because Badzones rule, then you’ll want to pack a few of these along. Otherwise, they don’t actually do anything.
  • Advantaged Gangs: None.

Blasting Charges

  • Price: 35 (30 for Orlocks)
  • Range: Sx2”
  • Notes: Blasting charges are probably the most efficient way of causing damage with grenades, especially if you’re an Orlock player. S5 means you’re wounding Goliaths on 3s, and you’re even able to reliably damage Ogryns. On top of that, Blasting charges come in at damage 2, meaning that most champs and leaders will get blasted to smithereens, and supporting characters won’t even stand a chance. The only drawback here is the decreased range, probably to indicate the unwieldy and un-aerodynamic properties of the charges themselves. Great candidates for carrying Blasting charges into the battle are Juves, because who cares if the template blows back on them? One more thing: don’t forget the Knockback!
  • Advantaged Gangs: Orlocks get them for cheap, which is great, but Goliaths and Ogryns can throw them way far, which makes them very, very scary.

Demolitions Charges

  • Price: 50 (45 for Orlocks)
  • Range: Sx2”
  • Notes: If you like swingy burst damage, then Demo charges are for you! They’re S6 and D3, meaning that they’re one of the few weapons available that can reliably take down Ogryns and Ambots. The drawback is that they’re one-shot weapons, which is an important consideration. However, often you’ll only need one of these things to take out your opponent’s heavy hitters. Again, your throwaway characters are generally the best to give Demo charges to, because it’s entirely possible they don’t survive the attack.
  • Advantaged Gangs: Again, Orlocks get these things on the cheap, and can give them to their hyper-mobile Wreckers, so that’s obviously a good gang for Demo charges. Other than that, any gangs that lack ranged template punch will definitely appreciate having a couple of Demo charges. Goliaths, Ogryins, Grinders, and Enforcers are obvious contenders.

Frag*

  • Price: 30 credits
  • Range: Sx3
  • Notes: Ah, the humble frag grenade. Ubiquitous, famous, and the scourge of tightly-packed hallways everywhere. It’s not going to impress anyone with its stats, but when compared to an autopistol or stub gun, they sure start to look good! Relatively cheap and inarguably effective, frag grenades have been making Juves useful for three decades now. Fighters with stronger attacks probably aren’t good places for frag grenades, but anyone with cheapo guns can definitely make use of these things for close-up work. You’re probably not buying frags at gang creation, though. They’re honestly a little expensive for what they do. Wait to buy a bunch when you have some more cash on hand after a couple of games.
  • Advantaged Gangs: Everyone but Orlocks. Orlocks get Blasting Charges for the same price, so there is near-zero reason to buy frags. Other than them, every gang can make use of the ubiquitous frag grenade. High-strength gangs are probably better off taking Blasting Charges or Demo Charges, but your weaker gangs cannot go wrong equipping cheapo gangers and juvves with frags.

Krak*

  • Price: 45 credits
  • Range: Sx3”
  • Notes: So, along with Melta Bombs, Krak grenades have no blast template and a hit penalty when thrown. This, unfortunately makes them mostly useless for most battles, unless you take them with a Grenade Launcher. In that context, they’re actually a really good way to deal strong single-target damage. With some gangs, like Enforcers, a Krak grenade fired from a grenade launcher is really the only way to get reliable anti-armor! But when it comes to throwing them, just don’t. The high-Ballistic Skill gangs like Van Saar don’t even care about them because they have access to guns that can do equivalent or better damage. One thing to remember, though, is that they can be used as Demolitions to attack a static target. Some missions include blowing up one thing or another and Krak grenades can be used as an auto-hitting attack against things like that. It’s a very marginal use-case, but it still counts, I guess.
  • Advantaged Gangs: Enforcers use kraks the most, but generally all fired from their grenade launchers. I mean, any gang can use kraks in a grenade launcher, but other gangs generally have other guns to take care of heavier targets, where Enforcers are severely lacking in the high-strength, high-AP department.

Melta Bombs

  • Price: 60 credits
  • Range: Sx3”
  • Notes: Imagine a Krak grenade, but one that can’t be fired out of a grenade launcher. Sure, the Melta Bomb has some of the best stats in the game, but it’s near impossible to hit with, and you can’t use it in conjunction with the launcher, like you can with kraks. And they’re more expensive. The truth is you just never see these things used, because there’s really no reason to use them outside of specific scenarios that involve blowing up static targets. Don’t bother with these things, Scummers. Spend that money on a Melta Gun instead and actually use it in a game.
  • Advantaged Gangs: None.

Phosphor Canister

  • Price: 40 credits
  • Range: Sx3”
  • Notes: War crimes in a can, what’s more Necromunda than that?! Phosphor Canisters are Incendiary Charges on steroids. Instead of Promethium or high-test liquor, Phosphor Canisters are filled with deadly phosphorus, which will happily burn underwater, so good luck putting that out, starving child-soldiers of Necromunda. S4, AP-3, and D2 mean that these things pack a punch, even to heavily-armored targets. Blaze is almost a happy afterthought with stats like that, but it sure don’t hurt! It’s important to remember that Phosphor canisters only pack a 3” template, unlike their less-flammable cousins, so that makes them more of a direct damage threat than a lockdown threat. Scarce and a 5+ ammo roll means that you’re likely to run out of these things after the first throw, so it’s best to give these to one of your stronger characters to make it count.
  • Advantaged Gangs: High-strength gangs can really make the most out of these things. Goliaths, Grinders, and Ogryns. You can also have a great time with these if you combine them with Gunk, but more on that later.

Plasma*

  • Price: 90 (65 for Van Saar)
  • Range: Sx3”
  • Notes: The dreaded Unstable trait rears its ugly head once again. The way Unstable works is that every time you make an ammo check, you have to roll a dice. On a 1-3, the character who used the Unstable weapon is taken out of action. On a 4+, they’re fine. So, because of the Unstable trait on plasma grenades, every single time a character throws one, they have a 50% chance of going out of action. It should not need to be said, but this is a very bad thing. Additionally, Blasting Charges have the same stats with a shooter range but a larger blast and no Unstable, meaning that they do everything the Plasma Grenade does better and safer. And they’re a third of the price. Do yourself a favor and please do not use Plasma Grenades.
  • Advantaged Gangs: No one. Even Van Saar want to avoid these stinkers.

Rad

  • Price: 25 credits
  • Range: Sx3”
  • Notes: Rad Grenades are a Van Saar-only vehicle for the extremely underwhelming Rad-phage trait in 3” blast format. The only thing that makes them somewhat worthwhile is that they’re cheaper than frags, which is not nothing. They’re still too expensive for what they do, which is honestly not much. With Strength 2 and a rule that only procs 50% of the time, they could stand to lose another 5 credits in value to be an attractive choice. The thing is, frag grenades are overpriced, so if you’re a Van Saar player who wants some blast support, these things might be your best option anyways because you save a little bit of cash.
  • Advantaged Gangs: Van Saar

Control Grenades

Choke Gas*

  • Price: 50 credits
  • Range: Sx3
  • Notes: I honestly did a double take when I saw these things were 50 credits. Sheesh. Truly, Gas weapons are pretty bad. They don’t pin, do very swingy damage, and are generally very expensive. If you don’t have an Escher gang, then I wouldn’t go near Choke Gas grenades. However, if you do have an Escher gang, the proprietary Chem Alchemy system can make Choke Gas grenades worth it. Chem Alchemy is a very credits-intensive system, but it can yield some serious results. Realistically, Choke Gas grenades are probably too expensive to be good, even with Chem Alchemy, but I don’t want to say that they’re outright bad. I’m sure there’s some combo somewhere in the House of Blades book that would make Choke Gas grenades good.
  • Advantaged Gangs: Escher.

Incendiary Charges

  • Price: 40 credits
  • Range: Sx3
  • Notes: For 10 more credits than frags, you get a 5” blast and Blaze. Frankly, Incendiary Charges rule. They’re supremely good at causing havoc, especially when combined with Gunk, and they’re cheap enough that giving them to Juves and cheapo Gangers is a no-brainer. Blaze can really wreck your opponents’ day, but even if they have a bunch of Hazard Suits, that 5” blast can still pin a lot of fighters in one go. It’s always a good idea to give your Juves Molotovs, and if you have 10 credits to spare, Incendiaries are always better than frags.
  • Advantaged Gangs: Cawdor can take Incendiaries at gang creation, and, surprisingly, so can Slave Ogryn leaders and champs. For Cawdor, arming characters who can’t or haven’t taken a blunderpole with Incendiaries is a very good idea. You can also duct tape them to bomb rats which is both hilarious and sad. For Ogryns, Incendiary Charges generally make up the majority of early-campaign shooting for most Slave Ogryn gangs. They’re cheap, reliable, effective, and can cause untold havoc in games. It’s easy to weather the other gang’s shooting when half of them are running around with their pants literally on fire.

Mindflect Shards

  • Price: 50 credits
  • Range: Sx3”
  • Notes: Cursed is a low-key great weapon trait. Willpower is generally a dump stat for everyone in this game, and Cursed weapons will wreak absolute havoc all over your opponents. Mindflect Shards are pretty cheap at 50 credits, and they pack that ever-important 5” blast template. The damage here is pretty negligible, but that’s not the point. The Insane condition is extremely brutal, and will result in you controlling your opponent’s models 33% of the time, which is absolutely hilarious. The only drawback here is that Mindflects are rare enough that you won’t have many fighters packing them during a campaign. You’ll want to give them to a character who can get close enough and survive to make them worthwhile, like a well-armored champion or leader.
  • Advantaged Gangs: Helot Cultists are all immune to Insanity, so you can throw Mindflects willy-nilly if you pay a monthly subscription to any of the Dark Gods.

Photon Flash*

  • Price: 15 credits
  • Range: Sx3
  • Notes: The purest form of Control grenades around, Photon Flashes don’t do any damage, but they can absolutely ruin your day. If a character is hit, they need to pass an Initiative test or lose their next activation. That’s crazy useful, especially if you’re up against big, slow guys like Goliaths and Ogryns, or sickly, old farts like Van Saar. Flashes are also tied for the cheapest grenades in town, making them extremely tempting to give to Juves and Prospects. Just don’t depend on them doing anything worthwhile if your opponent has an Escher gang. Those ladies are too quick to get blinded, generally, so you’ll have to focus on a different method of controlling your opponent.
  • Advantaged Gangs: Escher, Delaque, and Enforcer gangs can all take Photon Flashes at gang creation, making them a popular choice for Juves and secondary weapons for those gangs. Escher clearly make the most use out of these as their excellent Initiative stats will keep them out of trouble from friendly fire.

Scare Gas*

  • Price: 45 credits
  • Range: Sx3”
  • Notes: Scare Gas are Choke Gas grenades that target the enemy’s Cool instead of their Toughness. And instead of Injury rolls, they cause their targets to become Broken. I’ll be honest with y’all, I’ve never seen anyone use Scare Gas in a game. They’re cheaper than Choke Gas, but think about it this way: It’s just as easy to take out an Orlock Leader as an Orlock Juve with Choke Gas, but it’s very, very unlikely that you’ll cause an Orlock leader to break with Scare Gas. Why limit the effectiveness of your gas attacks to target the least important characters in the other gang? You shouldn’t, is what I’m trying to say. Again, Eshcer gangs can combine their wacky Chem Alchemy with Scare Gas grenades, but they’re still going to be less effective than Choke Gas grenades.
  • Advantaged Gangs: Escher

Shard

  • Price: 30 credits
  • Range: Sx3”
  • Notes: Shard grenades are cheaper Mindflects with Rending. Rending on a S2 weapon is whatever, but 30-credit Cursed grenades with a 5” blast is huge. Again, Willpower stats suck across the board in Necromunda, so it’s a very good way to attack the enemy and own the action economy metagame. It should be mentioned that Insanity is very unlikely to get recovered from during a game, as Insane characters tend to stay that way. If you’re into Corrupted weaponry and other Chaos-y stuff, go after some Shard grenades, they won’t let you down.
  • Advantaged Gangs: Helot Cultists, for the same reasons mentioned above.

Stun*

  • Price: 15 credits
  • Range: Sx3
  • Notes: Fortunately, Stun grenades got a 3” blast in a recent FAQ, or else they’d be worse than useless. They’re still mostly useless, but progress is progress, right? Stun grenades have the Concussion trait, which lowers the enemy’s Initiative for the next round. Alone, this does nothing. But when combined with Photon Flash or falling tests, or anything else that attacks Initiative, Concussion can be pretty scary. Combos are fun and cool and all, but Stun grenades still have a razor-thin use case. A case could be made for their use because they’re half as expensive as Frag grenades, and can be a very cheap way to add some Blast templates to your gang’s arsenal. But if you’re going to do that, why not just sidestep the combo requirement and get Photon Flash Flares? 
  • Advantaged Gangs: None.

Credit: SRM

Defensive Grenades

Flare*

 

  • Price: 20 credits
  • Range: Sx3”

    Notes: Flares are used to illuminate darkened areas of the map so that you can mitigate the impacts of Pitch Black. They’re a cheap and readily available way to stymie those sneaky Delaques when they play that one dang tactics card on you. Obviously, if you’re a sneakster yourself, you won’t care about Flares, but they’re nice to have if you have any known night-fighters in your campaign.

  • Advantaged Gangs: Good shooting gangs like Van Saar always want to have brightly lit, open firing lanes, so Flares can come in handy for that.

Gunk Bombs

 

  • Price: 40 credits
  • Range: Sx2”

    Notes: We’ve mentioned Gunks before, but they are the number one way to keep those scary-ass Goliath champs and Butchers from eating your entire gang for lunch. The Gunked condition is applied on hit, and slows down movement and charges, making it ideal to defend against melee characters. It doesn’t last very long, but it can be integral in ruining your opponent’s “big turn”, which is usually turn 2 or 3. In addition, Gunked fighters will get set on fire on a 2+ instead of a 4+ when hit by a Blaze weapon, creating an obvious and extremely fulfilling combo. As a Blaze-enthusiast, I can tell you that Gunking Goliaths and watching them burn is one of life’s purest joys.

  • Advantaged Gangs: Anyone who wants to keep their corpse out of the grinder! If you’ve got a surplus of melee gangs in your campaign, I’d strongly advise picking up some Gunk Bombs at the first opportunity.

Smoke*

 

  • Price: 15 credits
  • Range: Sx3”

    Notes: Oh yeah, Scummer. The grenade GOAT. Smoke grenades are the cheapest and easiest way to keep your fighters alive in Necromunda besides forfeiting all your games. Smoke creates a temporary line-of-sight blocker that allows your fighters to traverse open terrain without getting blasted, or cover the advance of your terrifying melee monsters. Smoke grenades are absolutely necessary for just about every gang except Van Saar, because, again, they want to keep all the firing lanes open and unobstructed. Sure, there are ways to mitigate Smoke’s effectiveness, but they’re all pretty expensive and restrictive, while smokes are 15 credits and ubiquitous! You can’t go wrong with having a couple of fighters in your gang packing Smoke grenades. Even van Saar gangs, honestly. Sometimes they don’t want to get shot, too!

  • Advantaged Gangs: Everyone! Stop what you’re doing and hit the Trading post for some Smoke Grenades now, Scummer!

 

Wrapping Things Up

That wraps up our look at grenades and hopefully you now have everything you need to blow your opponents to kingdom come. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.