Necromunday: Houses of the Underhive – Goliath

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Guess what, Scummers? If last week’s general overview on the House of Chains was any indication, we’ve still got tons to talk about when it comes to Goliaths! We’ve chatted about their previous incarnation with our good friend SRM, but they’ve changed a lot in the new book. So, we’ll be leaving the old article in place (because it is delightful), and let’s take a fresh look at all the tricks in the ol’ beefy arsenal!

Goliath Tactics – House of Chains

The boys are back. (Insta: @Crabstuffedmushrooms)

Strengths

  • They’re Strong: There’s Strength 4 on every dude in this gang. This means even your shooty gangers are capable in close combat, which is where they want to be anyway.
  • They’re Tough: Toughness 4 on every ganger and up is huge, meaning most lasgun and autogun shots just bounce off. The 5+ save in their front arc from Furnace Plates make them even more durable. Easy access to Nerves of Steel and Unstoppable means they’re not staying down either.
  • They’re Cool: You may as well model shades on every ganger here, because you’re gonna be passing Cool checks left and right. It’s rare for a Goliath gang to bottle, and even rarer for gangers to panic when their buddy gets taken Out of Action.
  • They’re Bulldozers: The combo of great stats, and powerful close range shooting and melee weapons means that once you’re within 8” with your Goliaths, the game’s basically in the bag.
  • They’re… Surprisingly Adaptable: With alternate fighters for champions and juves/prospects and the advent of Gene-Smithing, a Goliath gang can tailor itself to fight whatever threat presents itself as they recruit (and grow) new members.

Weaknesses

  • Slow Movement: With a 4” move, it can be tough to get your close range/melee gang into position.
  • High Cost: Goliaths are more expensive than other House Gangs to start, as they’re paying for better Toughness, Strength, and Cool. You’ll often be outnumbered, which means your few actions per turn matter all that much more.
  • Toys Over Boys?: Worth repeating; fancy guns and genetic tampering can easily create a few powerhouses, but over-investing in tricks and gear will lead to a highly-diminished gang roster.
  • Willpower and Intellect: These stats don’t come up very often, but Goliaths will struggle to open up anything that isn’t an enemy fighter. Doors and loot caskets are your enemies here.

(Insta: @crumbsmclumbs)

Gang Composition

As the first recipients of the new “House of” books, Goliaths are the test bed for a number of sweeping changes to how gangs are going to be created and upgraded throughout a campaign, going forward. Each fighter-type now has their own unique House Equipment list and restrictions based on their ranking, and the new Gang Fighter ability now allows juves to count alongside gangers for determining a gang’s composition ratio!

Forge Tyrant (Leader)

  • Primary Skills: Leadership + Ferocity + Brawn (Muscle as Secondary)
  • Weapon Restrictions: None. (House List, Trading Post, Blackmarket all valid)
  • Wargear Restrictions: None. (House List, Trading Post, Blackmarket all valid)

You know him, you love him, he’s the baddest dude in town! Goliath leaders are as equally terrifying swinging an axe as they are aiming down the crosshairs. They’ve gained access to a slew of new weapon options, in both regular and Master-Crafted varieties. Basically it doesn’t matter what sort of tools you give this guy – he’s going to use them to wreck house.

Forge Tyrants have a Cool stat of an absolutely insane 4+, so Goliaths can expect to remain cool, calm, and stay on the board even after they fail a Bottle Test.

  • Recommended Equipment: Missile Launchers, Suspensors, Grenade Launchers, Master-Crafted Renderizers, Stimm-Slugs

(Insta: @crumbsmclumbs)


Forge Boss (Champion)

  • Primary Skills: Ferocity + Brawn (Muscle as Secondary)
  • Weapon Restrictions: None. (House List, Trading Post, Blackmarket all valid)
  • Wargear Restrictions: None. (House List, Trading Post, Blackmarket all valid)

Now one of the two champion options, the Forge Boss functions in the traditional sense as a sort of Lieutenant to his Forge Tyrant. They’re able to use Group Activation on a single accompanying model, which is an ability not shared by their counterpart, the Stimmer.

The Forge Boss has slightly fewer attacks and less Ballistic Skill compared to the Tyrant, but they’re generally almost as good at anything your leader can do.

  • Recommended Equipment: Missile Launchers, Suspensors, Grenade Launchers, Master-Crafted Renderizers, Stimm-Slugs

Stimmer (Champion)

  • Primary Skills: Ferocity + Muscle (Brawn as Secondary)
  • Weapon Restrictions: None. (House List, Trading Post, Black market all valid)
  • Wargear Restrictions: None. (House List, Trading Post, Black market all valid)

Stimmers are like Forge Bosses, but with a master’s degree in mayhem. They’re a little bit pricier than the Forge Boss, but they come with a 2+ WS, better 2d6 stats, and access to some truly insane weaponry. In turn, they give up the ability to perform group activations. Like Corpse Grinders, Stimmers have access to two kinds of paired weaponry: Paired Spud-jackers and Paired ‘Pulverizer’ Serrated Axes. With either one of these pairs of weapons, a Stimmer will roll into combat on a turn they charged with 8 attacks. This is completely wild. Stimmers also have access to the assault grenade launcher, becoming the first fighter type to be able to use Rapid Fire Grenades. If that doesn’t get you excited for Stimmers, we don’t know what will.

  • Recommended Equipment: Paired Weapons, Renderizers, Assault Grenade Launchers with smoke grenades, Stimm-Slug Stashes, as much Frenzon that a Rogue Doc can physically fit into a mostly-human body.

Bruiser (Ganger)

  • Primary Skill: Ferocity + Brawn
  • Weapon Restrictions: May only purchase and equip weapons from their entry’s list. Only Bruiser Specialists may purchase and equip Special Weapons on the list. 
  • Wargear Restrictions: None. (House List, Trading Post, Blackmarket all valid)

As your rank and file ganger-type, any crew is going to have a bunch of Bruisers kicking around. One major change, if you’re working with a Gangs of the Underhive-era Goliath gang, is that non-Specialist gangers are no longer allowed to equip Special Weapons! For most of your basic dudes, that’ll be a non-issue; Bolters and Stub Cannons and Shotguns are still valid and legit. However, for those of us who went down certain dark paths and gave every ganger on their roster a Grenade Launcher, be aware – those loadouts are no longer legal at creation.

Goliath gangers are now allowed to nominate a single Bruiser to be a Specialist at founding, and that’s pretty awesome. That one dude can rock a Grenade Launcher or a Flamethrower, and even has the ability to choose his advancements as he spends XP. Everyone else is going to be confined to the less-explodey weapons until they prove they can be trusted!

  • Recommended Equipment: Boltguns, Combat Shotguns, Stimm-Slugs, any single-handed Melee weapons, Grenade Launchers (Specialists Only)

Bully (Juve)

  • Primary Skill: Ferocity
  • Weapon Restrictions: May only purchase and equip weapons from their entry’s list.
  • Wargear Restrictions: None. (House List, Trading Post, Blackmarket all valid)

In a stunning change of pace, for the first time in years a fighter with Juve next to their name is suddenly worth taking! The new Goliath Bullies share a basic statline almost identical to full Bruiser gangers, with a reduction in Ballistic Skill and secondary stats (lower Ld/Cl/Int) in exchange for a 20 credit discount.

Their promotion ability now allows them to become Bruiser Specialists, which primarily unlocks the improved equipment list available to Specialists. It’s entirely possible to create a Bully who’s able to tailor their advancements and gain the five required for promotion before a regular ganger is able to luck into the random roll to become a Specialist themselves!

Until then, the basic Juve game-plan isn’t going to be anything special. Don’t splurge on gear or Gene-Smithing, maybe just invest in a melee weapon and a grenade if you’re feeling spicy. Bullies are a vital augment to a healthy Goliath roster, but don’t expect them to blow you away until they’ve gotten a few advancements.

  • Recommended Equipment: Axes, Brute Cleavers, Smoke Grenades, Incendiary Charges

Forge-Born (Prospect)

  • Primary Skill: Combat
  • Weapon Restrictions: May only equip Pistols and Close Combat weapons from the Trading Post and Blackmarket. May also purchase and equip Storm-Welder from House List.
  • Wargear Restrictions: None. (House List, Trading Post, Blackmarket all valid)

If you were running Juves pre-House of Chains, the Forge-Born’s profile is going to look strikingly familiar. They’re faster and weedier than regular Bullies, and come with an equipment list and special rule that encourages risky play similar to the suicide runs from the juves of old. They have the option to promote after five advancements in the unlikely event that they live that long, but unlike Bullies, Forge-Born promote into full champion-types.

Realistically, outside of Hand Flamers grabbed from the Trading Post and some certain other pistols you’ll notice if you scour the TP/BM for long enough, most folks are going to be running their Forge-Born the way they came in the box – with either a Storm-Welder or a Heavy Rock Saw. These weapons are… interesting. Between the exorbitant prices and/or their propensity to backfire, it’d be hard to recommend taking one on your Bosses or Tyrants. On the Forge-Born, however, they’re strangely okay for two reasons:

  1. It’s totally okay if these dudes die, especially if they get one good hit in before biting it. Life’s cheap in the Underhive!
  2. When you delete a fighter from your roster, as long as you didn’t get completely tabled or bottle out from the preceding match you get to put all of their non-armor gear into the Stash! Sure, the gun and saw cost a ton, but make sure you grab it off the dude’s smoldering corpse and you can just pass it off to the next prospect in line!

In a campaign, these prospects mostly excel at padding out numbers for Bottle checks, scouting and flanking around objectives, and dive bombing the enemy with grenades, template weapons (our main use-case for the Hand Flamer), and the infamous Storm-Welder. They even have a special rule to prevent Nerve tests from nearby allies when they’re seriously injured, because everyone else kinda expected it to happen.

  • Recommended Equipment: Grenades and maybe Heavy Rock Saws are the correct answer, but screw it, run a Storm-Welder and go nuts. Just make sure the rest of your crew isn’t in Line of Sight, if possible!

(Credit: Games Workshop)

Key Skills

Nerves of Steel: This skill means you’re always one Cool check away from turning a pinned fighter into a ready one. Goliaths have the best Cool in the game, which makes this an extremely reliable skill for your guys to get back up and moving. With their low movement, Nerves of Steel is crucial to get charges off.

Unstoppable: It’s tough to Flesh Wound a Goliath to death with their respectable Toughness 4, and this makes it all but impossible. Recovering lost Flesh Wounds and having better odds on recovery rolls makes this a good skill to have.

Berserker & Bull Charge: The +1 Strength from Bull Charge is the difference between wounding Toughness 3 gangers on twos and Toughness 4 gangers on twos with a Renderizer. Berserker is just the icing on the cake by giving you an extra attack, all but guaranteeing the renderization of whatever you’re charging.

Muscle Skills

For Goliaths, Muscle skills are available primarily to Stimmers and their ‘Zerker Brutes. Forge Bosses and Forge Tyrants can get in on the action as well occasionally, but only if they invest in the Natborn’s Adaptive Mind upgrade to make Secondary skills count as Primary.

  1. Fists of Steel: Unarmed attacks are +2 Strength and deal 2 Damage. This is a solid pick on a Grenade Launcher Stimmer, allowing them to plod forward and blast away until they’re in range to charge in and rip an enemy apart.  ‘Zerkers will generally have other skills they’d rather acquire, especially since Fists of Steel technically doesn’t count any of their Fist weapons as unarmed! This skill also happens to be the exact same profile as a fighter equipped with a Servo Claw, meaning Fists of Steel ends up being the equivalent of a 35 credit melee weapon.
  2. Iron Man: Toughness not reduced by Flesh Wounds. With this skill, chipping away at a fighter’s Toughness isn’t an option – they’re either as beefy as they started out as, or they’re dead. Great for survival against a hail of Lasgun fire. For added value, combine with Walk it Off to gain wounds back just as quick as they’re knocking ‘em off!
  3. Immovable Stance: Can use Tank action to increase armor save and become immovable. Situationally useful in missions where you need to hold the line, or for times where you absolutely don’t want to let the enemy slip past in a tight corridor. Sacrificing an activation for a double action that elsewise only increases a fighter’s armor save isn’t particularly powerful, though. If every skill set introduced needs a dud, Immovable Stance drew the short straw.
  4. Naaargah!: After taking two actions, pass a Toughness test to take a third action, becoming pinned afterwards. Despite being worded in a manner that specifically prevents the user from moving and then charging, Naaargah(!) allows for an incredible amount of utility, acting as a sort half-Overseer that the user controls themselves. For fighters with ranged weapons, this skill can also function as a bizarre version of Spring Up, with each turn’s actions consisting of Stand – Move/Aim – Shoot – Pinned. Melee types have something to gain here as well, since if they make a successful charge with their first two actions and pass the Toughness check, they’ll have an extra action to use Headbutt, Hurl, or Flex as part of the same activation! Admittedly, those all require an additional skill to be purchased, but the possibility of finally being able to use them on the charge is very tempting.
  5. Unleash the Beast: Can use Flex action to knock back all Engaged enemies who fail a Strength check. We will always advocate for a skill that lets Goliath show off their rockin’ bods, Charles Atlas-style. By itself, the knockback isn’t the most powerful effect, but this skill pairs with the new Unleash the Fear Tactic Card to also cause all onlookers within 6” to pass a Cool check or become immediately Broken. Provided you can draw the card, that ability alone is enough to make this skill worth taking.
  6. Walk It Off: Wounds regenerate after a Toughness check, if the fighter uses two move actions during activation. Regeneration is always a good thing, but you’ll be sacrificing offense while you’re shuffling into position. The more Flesh Wounds you have, the lower your Toughness and the higher the difficulty of passing the check in the first place. This downside can be negated by also investing in the Iron Man skill.

 

Weapons and Wargear

Just like everything else involving Goliaths, House of Chains really shook up how Goliath players equip their characters. Now each fighter type gets their own weapons and wargear list, instead of referencing a whole-house list. Functionally, this gives each fighter a lot more choices (especially in the wargear department), so we’ll go through each weapon and grenade, and highlight our favorite pieces of wargear. After each weapon name, we will put who can use it in brackets.

Basic Weapons

  • Boltgun [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser]: The weapon most familiar to any space marine players out there, the boltgun is powerful and accurate, but woefully unreliable. We’d argue that its stats are worth the potential for running out of ammo, but it might be a good idea to pack a back-up stub gun just in case. Rating: B+
  • Combat Shotgun w/ Salvo & Shredder ammo [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser]: Combat shotguns are just about the best basic weapon available. Probably better on a Forge Boss or Bruiser, as they’ll be firing templates the majority of the time, and you don’t want to waste that 3+ native BS on a Forge Tyrant with a template weapon. Equip a couple of Bruisers with these and blast your way to victory! Rating: A
  • Shotgun w/ solid & scatter ammo [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser]: While cheaper than the boltgun and combat shotgun, the regular shotgun just doesn’t quite stack up against either of the previous entries. It is far less effective than the combat shotgun, and it lags behind in effectiveness and range when compared to the boltgun. That being said, it’s not the worst weapon out there. Rating: C+
  • Stub Cannon [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser]: The best thing that can be said about the Stub Cannon is that it is cheap, coming in at only 20 credits. Other than that, it has one shot, no positive to-hit modifiers, and only does 1 damage. It has a place though: outfitting a cheap, crappy Bruiser. Rating: C-

Pistols

  • Combi-pistol (Bolt Pistol/Hand Flamer) [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: Expensive, Unstable, and unreliable. Do yourself a favor and avoid this one. Rating: F
  • Combi-pistol (Bolt Pistol/Plasma Pistol) [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: While this weapon is one the two ways Goliaths can get plasma weapons at gang creation, it’s too expensive and unreliable. If you want plasma, grab the stub gun/plasma pistol instead. Rating: D
  • Combi-pistol (Stub Gun/Plasma Pistol) [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: Cheap plasma with a Plentiful backup weapon. Easily the best option for plasma implementation in a Goliath gang. Rating: B+
  • Bolt Pistol [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser]: The bolt pistol hits reasonably hard and has a positive to-hit modifier in short range, but it’s pricey for what you pay for. Rating: C
  • Hand Flamer [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser]: Too expensive for what it does, especially when Goliaths have access to Combat Shotguns. The Hand Flamer can be useful, however, in mitigating a Forge-Born’s crappy BS, but you’d have to get it from the Trading Post as it’s not on their equipment list. Rating: C-
  • Stub Gun [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Stimmer, Forge-Born, Bruiser, Bully]: Ah yes, the stub gun. Cheap, reliable, accurate, and cheap. Give it Dum-Dums to generate a little more power, or keep it dirt cheap. Either way, it’s still effective. Rating: A

Special Weapons

  • Combi-weapon (Bolter/Flamer) [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: The harsh truth is that a combat shotgun will do anything this weapon can do, and do it for 115 fewer credits. And that’s before you factor in the Unstable Flamer profile. No thanks. Rating: F
  • Combi-weapon (Bolter/Grenade launcher w/ frag rounds) [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: There is no reason to get this weapon when Goliaths get Grenade Launchers at a discount. Just get one of them and leave this overpriced piece of trash at the hideout. Rating: F-
  • Combi-weapon (Bolter/Melta) [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: The most compelling of the combi-weapons, the bolter melta actually makes a case for use! It’s best used on a Tyrant if you do use one, to take advantage of that 3+ BS, but if you’re going to spend that much cash on a tricked out gun for your Tyrant, why not get a Heavy Bolter or Missile Launcher? This weapon seems a little toothless in comparison. Rating: C-
  • Flamer [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser]: Even though we probably sound like broken records at this point, the Flamer has no business being as expensive as it is, especially when Goliaths can get templates at 80 credits cheaper. For all your template needs, please head on back to the combat shotgun entry. Thank you. Rating: D
  • Grenade Launcher w/ frag & krak rounds [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser]: Grenade Launchers are the Goliath gang’s best option for crowd control and for covering the gang’s advance with smoke grenades, which can now be purchased at gang creation! Do that! Maybe even twice! Grenade launchers are one of the most versatile and effective weapons in the game, and will do a ton of work for almost any gang. Rating: A
  • Meltagun [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser]: While undeniably effective, the melta is just a little too pricey for its range and unreliability. It would be suitably terrifying on a Tyrant, though. Rating: C
  • Storm Welder [Forge-Born]: This weapon is the very definition of “go big or go home”. It will either totally wreck face, or it will cause the firer to go explode-o. It’s up to you to decide if a 75-credit coin flip is worth it. Rating: C

Heavy Weapons

  • Assault Grenade Launcher w/ stun rounds & frag grenades [Stimmer]: With this weapon, you’ve taken a Goliath champion and turned them into a 40k Primaris Aggressor. It is literally a Rapid Fire Grenade Launcher, and we here at Necromunday are very much Here For That. Beware, though, as firing Frag Grenades through this thing makes it Unstable, potentially knocking your expensive grenadier out of the game early. Rating: B
  • Heavy Bolter [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: With its great range, excellent strength and damage, and high accuracy, what’s not to love about the heavy bolter? This weapon will turn a Tyrant into a long-range murder machine that will strike fear into any opponent’s heart. Rating: A
  • Heavy Flamer [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: Y’all, it’s an Unwieldy template weapon that costs 195 credits: in another word: garbage. In the immortal words of SRM, “This thing could kill The Emperor and I still wouldn’t take it.” Rating: F
  • Heavy Stubber [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: The venerable heavy stubber will do a fine job, especially when wielded by a Tyrant. However, it exists in the same niche as the much, much better heavy bolter. If you need to save some cash, though, the heavy stubber will perform. Rating: C+
  • ‘Krumper’ Rivet Cannon [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: At only 70 credits, the Krumper seems like a steal, but remember that it only has a 9” range. With a range like that, it’s basically a powerful flamer. At least it’s not Unwieldy anymore. Rating: C-
  • Missile Launcher w/ frag & krak missiles [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: Super expensive, but pretty dang good. 5” blasts with frag and 3 damage with krak missiles means that this thing can do both crowd control and targeted damage better than almost any weapon. Rating: A
  • Multi-Melta [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: The Sky-high price plus Scarce makes the multi-melta a bit iffy, but it will absolutely melt anything it touches. Combine this with an ammo cache, and you’re in business. Rating: B

(Insta: @crumbsmclumbs)

Close Combat Weapons

  • Axe [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser, Bully]: At 10 credits, the humble axe is extremely good. In the hands of a roided-out sci-fi blacksmith, it really comes into its own. Rating: B+
  • Brute Cleaver [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser, Bully]: Not as strong as an axe, but more accurate and better at penetrating armor. It’s twice as expensive, though. Best used on Bruisers and Bullies. Rating: B
  • Chainsword [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: Do not buy one of these. The Chainaxe is the same price and way better. Rating: F
  • Chainaxe [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: The Chainaxe rules. Bonuses to strength and to-hit, with a slew of excellent weapon traits. What’s not to love? A melee-focused character will do very well with one of these. Rating: A
  • Fighting Knife [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Stimmer, Forge-Born, Bruiser, Bully]: In the hands of a Goliath gang, with their increased Strength stats, the fighting knife becomes a lot more effective. It’s also dirt cheap! Rating: B
  • Heavy Rock Saw [Forge-Born]: On a more durable fighter, the heavy rock saw would absolutely kick ten different kinds of ass. But 120 credits is a lot to invest in a 1-wound juve. If they hit something in combat, it’s going down, but getting them there is gonna be the challenge. Rating: C
  • Maul [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser, Bully]: The Maul continues to provide it’s target with an increased armor save, which, unfortunately , renders it useless. Rating: F
  • Power Axe [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: The Strength +2 is nice with the power axe, as most opponents will be Toughness 3, meaning that the Goliath is wounding on a 2+. We think you’ll get more mileage out a chainaxe, but the Power Axe is definitely still a good choice. Rating: B+
  • Power Hammer [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: With its damage of 2, the power hammer is a very scary weapon in the hands of a Goliath fighter. It’s a little on the pricey side, but when it comes to mashing enemies flat, it’ll get the job done. Rating: B
  • ‘Pulverizer’ Serrated Axe/Paired ‘Pulverizers’ [Stimmer]: The Renderizer’s little brother, the Pulverizer certainly packs a punch. However, the paired Pulverizers are really where it’s at, as a Stimmer will get 8 attacks on the charge with a couple of those bad boys. That’s truly wild, y’all. Rating: A
  • ‘Renderizer’ Serrated Axe [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Stimmer]: It’s great when one of the best weapons in the Goliath arsenal also comes with an 80-grade name. It’s unwieldy, but the vastly increased Strength and Damage mean that additional weapons will not be needed. It’s also extremely affordable! Rating: A
  • Servo Claw [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: The servo claw is a cheap way to get +2 Strength and 2 damage, while keeping a hand open for another weapon. An excellent choice in almost any situation. Rating: A
  • Spud-Jacker [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Stimmer, Bruiser, Bully]: Strength +1 is always nice, and Knockback means that your fighter has some inbuilt protection from reaction attacks, which is also nice. Can’t go wrong with a spud-jacker, even though we’re still unclear on what spud means on Necromunda and why they would need to be jacked. Rating: B+
  • Paired Spud-Jackers [Stimmer]: If you’re going to have your Stimmer jack some spuds, you might as well give them the opportunity to jack two spuds at once. The paired pulverizers are probably better, but you really can’t go wrong, here. Rating: B+
  • Two Handed Axe/Hammer [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Bruiser]: -1 to hit is such a terrible hindrance to the effectiveness of these weapons, that there’s really no more reason to talk about them except to say that you shouldn’t take them. Rating: D

Grenades

  • Blasting Charges [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss]: Excellent damage and a 5” blast means that blasting charges are not messing around! They’re even better for Goliath fighters because the short range is somewhat mitigated by Goliath’s increased Strength! Can’t go wrong, here. Rating: B+
  • Incendiary Charges [Stimmer, Forge-Born, Bruiser, Bully]: They’re a little pricey, but 5” blast and Blaze will cause your opponent plenty of problems. They’re also Sx3” range, so most Goliaths are huckin’ them out at 12” range, which is real nice for a 5” blast. Rating: B+
  • Frag Grenades [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Stimmer, Forge-Born, Bruiser, Bully]: Goliaths have excellent selection when it comes to grenades, so the “standard” grenade stands out even less. Probably best to avoid. Rating: D
  • Krak Grenades [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Stimmer, Forge-Born, Bruiser, Bully]: We don’t think anyone has thrown a krak grenade since this version of Necromunda came out in 2017. You’ll never use these things. Rating: D-
  • Melta Bombs [Stimmer]: You’ll never use these, and they’re crazy expensive. Rating: D-
  • Smoke Grenades [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Stimmer, Forge-Born, Bruiser, Bully]: House Goliath’s biggest weakness is their reliance on combat and their slow speed, so why not mitigate that completely by making it impossible to shoot at you fighters?! Smoke grenades are a must for pretty much every gang, but doubly so for these big bois and girls. Rating: A
  • Stun Grenades [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Stimmer]: Check it out, it’s frag grenades, but worse! Rating: D-
  • Selected Wargear
  • Stimm-slug Stash [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Stimmer, Bruiser, Bully]: If you’re planning on having a fighter focus on dealing death in melee, give them a Stimm-slug Stash. Have them take it before their first charge, and watch the enemy fighters turn into pink vapor. This item truly elevates Goliaths to a ridiculous degree.
  • Armored Undersuit [Forge Tyrant, Forge Boss, Stimmer, Forge-Born Bruiser, Bully]: Goliath armor isn’t great. The ol’ Furnace Plates could definitely use some help, so consider adding an Armored Undersuit to any character you really want to keep alive.
  • Frenzon and Frenzon Collar [from the Black Market]: Frenzon is a combat drug that goes above and beyond the lowly Stimm-slug stash to turn your fighters into psychotic murder machines. It’s the mean ingredient for Eversor assassins, so you know it’s the good stuff. Get your hands on this highly illegal drug and watch your opponents quake with terror.

 

(Credit: Games Workshop)

Gene-Smithing

Consider Gene-Smithing to be somewhat akin to an RPG’s character creation perk system, and you’ll have the gist of it. There’s enough in here to really drill in and create a fighter with whatever quirks, boons, and drawbacks your beefy heart desires.

 

Regardless of whether you’re selecting a benefit or a drawback, rank and file Goliaths can only select a single Gene-Smithed option from whatever Subtype they hail from. Champions and leaders are able to select a second option as well. Vatborn Goliaths are the baseline variety, and Natborn or Unborn Goliaths can be unlocked with a credit up-sell. All Gene-Smithing upgrades must be taken at fighter creation/recruitment – there’s no way (outside of House Favors) to permanently gain one afterwards!

If you choose to upgrade into Natborn or Unborn, they’ll be using their own individualized Gene-Smithing option lists as well as having particular abilities granted by the Subtype:

  1. Natborn: Intelligence and Willpower increased, at the cost of some Cool. Slightly more prone to panic, but less inclined to go insane and also understands the concept of doorknobs.
  2. Unborn: Can choose one additional basic skill set as primary. Infiltrating Goliaths. Overwatching Goliaths. Clambering Goliaths? If you’re trying to build something truly weird and off-kilter, this is gonna be your first step.

Like we’ve said, there’s a ton of options for customization spread across the three Gene-Smithing lists, but in the end which ones you choose to go with (if any) are going to depend highly on each player’s individual playstyle and how they choose to approach their opponents in the Underhive.

We admit, we’re guilty of using “situational” as shorthand for “not that good most of the time,” but all of the Gene-Smithing options are the real, literal situational. Sit down with the charts and figure out what works best for your gang and for you, because it’s going to be different for every person.

 

Brutes, Pets, and Friends

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Sumpkroc (Exotic Beast)

This cute little fella can protect its owner by counter charging and making an immediate attack action against whoever charged them. This might not seem all that useful as it’s a defensive ability and Goliaths are usually on the attack, but on a shooty leader this could be extremely handy.

(One thing to keep in mind: The new rules for Exotic Beasts in the House of Chains book specifically prevent them from gaining XP when they rally back to their owner. No more easy advancements for your scaley friend, they’re gonna have to earn it the hard way now!)


‘Zerker (House Brute)

When you thought Goliaths weren’t beefy enough, here’s one that has become more beef than man. Furnace Plates and a Stimm-Slug Stash are just about mandatory on this large lad, and Mutated Fists & Bone Spurs help him hit even harder while adding the only instance of actual Versatile to the Goliath gang. He also has a Combat Drug Stash like the Stimmer, which can make him attack even more, when it doesn’t send him on a bad trip and crater his attacks characteristic. He doesn’t have any skills automatically but does have access to Ferocity, so make sure to buy him Nerves of Steel as soon as you’ve got the XP to do so, or he’ll get pinned like a chump every single round.

Goliaths, as a whole, can more than hold their own in close combat, and the ‘Zerker is a pricy brute that exists only to crush in close combat. He’s stronger and tougher than anything else in the rest of the gang, but in the end the ‘Zerker doesn’t add anything new to the Goliath bag or tricks beyond what they were already trying to accomplish.


Pit Trainer (Goliath Hanger-On)

Up to three fighters can be temporarily taught a random skill from their Primary or Secondary lists that persists for the next game, with the possibility of a Lasting Injury. 

Extra skills are great, but not when they’re randomly chosen! There’s a lot of real clunkers out there, and most of the good ones won’t even matter depending on the affected fighter’s loadout most of the time. The ability to choose whatever you want if it happens to hit a skill the fighter already has is nice, but that’s statistically never going to happen.

On top of that, ⅙ of the time the fighter will be forced to take a Lasting Injury! That’s a pretty hefty risk for a temporary skill that most likely won’t even be relevant to them.


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Brute Handler (Hanger-On)

Allows for Brutes on your gang roster to be trained up between games, possibly rewarding them with additional XP. Can be added to your crew in any fight, not just randomly when defending Home Turf. Grants nearby Brutes the effects of the Nerves of Steel skill.

There’s a lot of House Brutes, the ‘Zerker in particular, where they’re decently okay but missing a key skill that would make them great. The Handler helps to kickstart that process with some between-game XP generation, and has a better than average chance of succeeding with the Goliath Brute.

Since the Handler can always join a crew and also imparts a small Nerves of Steel aura around its trainee, there’s an inclination to run him front and center with his ‘Zerker right off the bat. Unfortunately, if your enemy catches on, they’ll probably just shoot your Brute Handler instead, who’ll flee right off of your gang roster if he winds up with an Injury.


Chem Dealer (Hanger-On)

All Chems count as common items at the Trading Post and Black Market. A single dose of Chems, Stimms, or Medikit can be purchased for free in the Pre-Battle Sequence, provided that the Dealer is reimbursed after the game.

Chems can add a lot of extra zip to a gang’s step, and not having to worry about supply to ‘Slaught, Frenzon, and Spur running dry at an inconvenient time can be a huge relief. It doesn’t hurt that outside of hogging a valuable Hanger-On slot, the Chem Dealer is one of the cheapest hires available.

 

Goliath Terrain

Like Ammo Caches and Booby Traps, Goliaths can purchase scatter terrain-sized pieces of equipment, each with its own particular ability. Here are our favorites!

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  • Furnace Barricade: Small makeshift barricade, grants immunity to Blaze and Melta traits while in cover. We’re not as excited about Melta immunity as we are about the simple ability to place barricades onto the battlefield after deployment zones have been chosen. At that point in the game you’re going to likely have an idea of how your crew is going to advance, and being able to make sure that there’s adequate cover along the way is a godsend.
  • Heavy Rivet Cannon: We’re suckers for tripod-mounted heavy guns, even if this one isn’t that great. The range is short enough that by the time you’re able to fire it, the enemy will almost be in range of running over and taking it over! It’s a super neat mechanic though, and we’re looking forward to seeing more weapons with the Fixed trait in the future. In the immediate sense, though, the Rivet Cannon isn’t super effective.
  • Amneo Canisters: Nearby fighters can remove a Flesh Wound. Unfortunately, these canisters are stuck in your deployment zone. If there was a way to drag them into a more forward position they’d be invaluable, but as it is they’re still a useful tool.

Top-Tier Tactics Cards

Anyone lucky enough to have a copy of the old decks (or access to various online resources) knows that Goliaths have some pretty nasty options for Tactics Cards! We’re still wrapping our head around the new set to work them all in, but as soon as we do you’ll be able to find them right here!

Brutal Charge: A Goliath gang’s big weakness is their slow movement. This will help to guarantee a charge, guarantee a kill, and if the target somehow isn’t dead, then the Goliath is safe from a riposte.

Inhuman Resilience: Your opponent will likely be trying their hardest to pin your fighters to prevent them from charges. Play this tactic to stand everyone up immediately and smash them anyway. Also triggers a free recovery roll for anyone on your team who happens to be Seriously Injured, with no danger of going Out of Action.

Knockout Blow: When your wound rolls are an automatic success, Strength and Toughness doesn’t matter! Want to punch out an Ambot? Go for it. Need to kick the objective in Sabotage until it explodes? You got it.

Unstoppable Behemoth: If your enemy wises up and starts bringing the big guns, shrug ’em off by ignoring all injury rolls from that attack. Remember to hold off on playing this card until after the attack has gotten past your Toughness and Armor!

Example Gangs

Out-of-the-Boxes 1,000-Credit Gang

  1. Forge Tyrant w/ stubber/plasma pistol, power hammer, furnace plates (Nerves of Steel) – 225
  2. Forge Boss w/ Grenade Launcher, smoke grenades, furnace plates (Nerves of Steel) – 175
  3. Stimmer w/ Renderizer, furnace plates (Nerves of Steel) – 170
  4. Bruiser w/ combat shotgun, furnace plates – 120
  5. Bruiser w/ combat shotgun, furnace plates – 120
  6. Bruiser (Specialist) w/ grenade launcher, furnace plates – 115
  7. Bully w/ axe, spud-jacker, furnace plates – 65

TOTAL: 990

Dan’s Starting Goliath Gang

  1. Forge Tyrant w/ heavy bolter, furnace plates (Nerves of Steel) – 300
  2. Stimmer w/ Renderizer, furnace plates, Dermal Hardening (Nerves of Steel) – 180
  3. Stimmer w/ Paired Spud-Jackers, furnace plates, Dermal Hardening (Nerves of Steel) – 165
  4. Bruiser (Specialist) w/ grenade launcher, furnace plates – 115
  5. Bruiser w/ combat shotgun, furnace plates – 120
  6. Bruiser w/ combat shotgun, furnace plates – 120

TOTAL: 1000

Final Thoughts

Goliaths were strong before their new book, and they’ve only gotten better with all of the new options available to them. They’ve got the tools to deal with almost any situation, and all it takes is a couple extra credits and the know-how of what to use where. With all of these choices, it seems like the biggest threat to Goliaths is going to be decision paralysis!

Well that, or Plasma weapons. Probably the Plasma weapons, come to think of it.

 

Seventeen pages later and we barely scratched the surface, eh? If you’re running new Goliaths, let us know how they’ve been working out for you! We’re always looking for more ways to use the Stimmer and Forge-Born a bit more effectively. As always, feel free to comment below, or on Facebook, or hit us up at the Necromunday-specific necromunday@goonhammer.com! We love hearing from you guys, and we’ll be back next week to write a love letter to Merton’s new gang, the Slave Ogryns!

 

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