Necromunday: Your Move, Creep! Initial Impressions of the Palanite Enforcers

An article by    Gaming Necromunda Reviews Tactics        0

 

The 40k universe stretches well beyond the war-torn battlefields of distant planets. In Necromunda, violent gangs clash in the tunnels and sewers of the planet’s largest hive city. Starting this week, Dan “Sex Cannon” Boyd and Jules “Merton” O’Hare will be covering everything Necromunda, reviewing new releases, talking strategy, and how to run campaigns.

Greetings fellow Scummers! Merton and The Sex Cannon here, welcoming you to Necromunday: our weekly series of articles covering the exciting world of Necromunda! We’ve previously covered tactics cards and Dominion campaign territories as one-off articles, but now we’re coming back to you on a regular basis. This week we’re taking a look at the brand-new Book of Judgement. This expansion is chock full of new gear, guns, minions, and mooks to shake up your next game or campaign. Starting off, we’re going to take a quick look at the newest faction to hit the streets: The biggest gang in the Underhive, Lord Helmawr’s personal army, the Palanite Enforcers. So spit shine those jackboots, grab your magnacles, and hit the squadroom, rookie! Captain Merton and Sergeant Sex Cannon’s weekly briefing is about to begin.

 

Meet The Palanite Enforcers

Five-oh comin’ up, y’all. Credit: Games Workshop

Enforcers are a breath of fresh, recycled air. Prior to their release, Goliaths were the punchy gang and Van Saar were the shooty gang, while all other factions danced around the middle ground and tried to carve out a distinct identity between those two. Enforcers are an elite(ish) mid-to-close-range shooting gang with decent melee capabilities, but their flavor and niche comes from their equipment and their roster. 

Strengths 

Let’s start with the good stuff:

  • Equipment. Enforcers have a relatively average statline (on par with Orlocks), but they make up for it with access to a house armory brimming with gear that winds up being just a bit better than anything the other gangs are bringing to a fight. Flak armor and Armored Undersuits are standard issue, giving Enforcers a gang-wide 5+ save (4+ vs Blasts/Templates) by default, with the option to upgrade into Hardened Flak for a 4+ save (3+ vs Blasts/Templates). Enforcer Boltguns are cheaper than the usual variety, and come tuned up with a 4+ Ammo Check to represent their reliability. Additionally, Enforcers have access to a ridiculous number of template and blast weapons, making them an extremely dangerous, if somewhat indiscriminate, shooting gang.
  • Automatic Replacement. Look, good jackbooted thugs aren’t cheap. However, the Enforcers’ rules have you covered: Whenever an Enforcer is permanently killed, they are automatically replaced on the gang roster with a fresh rookie (juve) at no cost. As regular patrolmen and sergeants (gangers and champions) can be purchased normally, this free replacement method of recruitment ensures that you’ll always have a baseline number of bodies available for an Enforcer gang (though not necessarily a baseline level of competency).

  • Skills. Enforcers have access to some of the best skill sets in the game: Shooting and Palanite Enforcer Drills. Sergeants also have access to the Cunning skill list (which is rare outside of House Delaque), and that can set up some interesting short-range weapon and Infiltrate combos. They also have access to the Brawn skills, but those are almost universally useless, so we’re not going to waste time with them.

Weaknesses

It’s not all sun lamps and rose-scented fungal fields: Let’s talk about the downsides, starting with the Ambull in the room:

  • No Access to the Trading Post or Black Market. You read that right: The most unique thing about the Enforcers is that they can’t use either the Trading Post or Black Market to bolster their Stash, and are limited exclusively to requisitions from their squad equipment list. In fact, even if you manage to sneak an unauthorized weapon into your stash, all of the Enforcers’ profiles state that they “may only choose weapons from the Palanite/Subjugator List.” It’s worth noting that there is no similar restriction for wargear, so if your squad happens to come into a package of uncut Ghast, have at.
  • Expensive Things. Cheaper bolters are good to have, but they’re still pricey, and so having them as the de-facto basic service weapon means Enforcers can’t afford to roll as deep as Cawdor, and will frequently be outnumbered by everyone except possibly Van Saar.

  • Limited Number of Champions. Palanite Enforcers are prohibited from having more than 2 of their version of the gang champion, the Palanite Sergeant. While a Palanite Enforcer squad will generally have higher quality gangers than their non-Palanite opponents do, a lack of extra champions could seriously hurt them in the late stages of a campaign, especially when other gangs are running three to four of them.

Now when it comes to access to the Trading Post and Black Market, we’re as sad as everyone else that by mid-campaign our sergeants won’t be running around with master-crafted gold-plated mining lasers and refractor fields, but ultimately Enforcers might not need any of that junk to be effective. Also, they’re still able to hire hangers-on and brutes as normal, so Ambots and Ogryns are absolutely still on the roster.

 

Pretty strong! Credit: Games Workshop

Enforcer Skills

Skill groupings also make a departure from the norm, in that Enforcers are the first gang where the captain (their leader) does not have Primary Skill access to Leadership. Instead, the gang primaries are Shooting and the new Palanite Drill Skill list. 

  • Got Your Six: Another flavor of the Overwatch skill, this one is only triggered when a visible enemy declares a charge, rather than when they activate. On the other hand, it does not require nor remove a ready marker, making this a valid side-grade option if you’d be using it to cover a fire-team that expects to be advancing towards the enemy into melee range. RATING: A-
  • Helmawr’s Justice: Roll twice on the lasting injury table when the skill-bearer performs a Coup de Grace, and pick one. This is a terrible skill, as it does zero to get you closer to performing the CdG in the first place. The only argument in favor of this skill is an extra chance for a memorable death for a credit bounty in the Law and Misrule campaign. It’s not even Win More, it’s just a recipe to lose friends. RATING: D
  • Non-Verbal Comms: The bearer of this skill can use a double action to trigger a Cool check on a friendly model within 6” to have a 360° vision arc for the remainder of the round. This is.. Bad. We’re not quite sure how a skill with this many trigger restrictions can possibly be attached to a result this minor. Facings barely even factor into current Necromunda mechanics outside of Furnace Plates and melee reactions. Seriously, this skill has more usage restrictions than Overseer. How? Why? RATING: F-
  • Restraint Protocols: Giving an Enforcer this skill allows them to restrain a seriously injured opponent in lieu of a Coup de Grace, giving your end of game capture check a +1 for each opponent restrained in this manner. Capturing an enemy allows you to ransom them back to their owner at whatever price you set or to sell them to the guilders for a percentage of their credit value, which is always great for a quick payday.  One caveat; it is currently unclear whether this action also puts the target Out of Action or if they remain on the board and able to attempt recovery rolls at the end of the phase. RATING: B+ if it turns out the victims are taken Out of Action, if not RATING: C+
  • Team Work: Functionally identical to Commanding Presence, straight up. If you’re running your Enforcers as separate fire-teams, this can get you a little more initiative with your activations. Nothing flashy, but a solid pick. RATING: B+
  • Threat Response: After an enemy charges, any models with this skill can trade their ready marker for a guaranteed 6” countercharge that swings before the enemy has a chance to attack.  Enforcers are no slouches in melee already, and both of your now-engaged fighters will be claiming a +1 to hit for the assistance bonus. The enemy, even if he survives this first salvo of blows unscathed, will be resolving his attacks at a -1.  This bonus stacks, so having multiple Enforcers in range to swarm in means even more blows connect. Offense as the best defense makes for a nasty combo. RATING: A

 

Enforcer Weapons

Not Pictured: Non-lethal deterrents. Credit: Games Workshop

Enforcers have a variety of interesting weapon options. Some will be familiar to Necromunda players, but some are brand new and could prove to be extremely deadly. We’ll take a look at each option and provide a bit of commentary to help guide our rookie Enforcer players.

Basic Weapons

  • Enforcer Boltgun – It doesn’t get more basic than the boltgun. The Enforcer variety comes with a 4+ ammo roll instead of the stock 6+. Additionally, it’s 5 credits cheaper than the stock bolter. Bolters are great in Necromunda, and this will be your go-to for the majority of your enforcers.
  • Enforcer Shotgun – This is a re-named combat shotgun. Combat shotguns are great, cheap, and reliable ways to get templates in your roster, and are the cornerstone of just about every Orlock and Goliath gang. An excellent choice for an Enforcer, especially because no Enforcer characters come with a BS better than 4+.
  • Subjugation Pattern Grenade Launcher – A re-named grenade launcher. This one is cheaper than GLs in other gangs, and is the mainstay of the Subjugator “class” in Enforcer gangs. You’ll want at least one of these in every squad as they are crucial for actually doing damage and piercing armor. Enforcers have a lot of low-strength and AP weapons, and you’ll need krak grenades in the late game.

Pistols

  • Stub Gun – Every Enforcer comes with one of these automatically. So you’ll undoubtedly get a lot of use out of yours. Grab some Dum-Dums to give it some extra punch and hit the range, rookie!
  • Autopistol – Do not buy any of these. Your characters already have free stub guns. The only reason to buy an autopistol is to create some sort of stub gun/autopistol gunfighting sergeant and please do not do this. This hypothetical character will do nothing but disappoint you, we promise.

Special Weapons

  • Concussion Carbine – This weapon is actually kinda nuts. For 30 credits you get an 18” frag grenade launcher that auto-pins, knocks back, and has AP -1. This is an extremely useful and cheap weapon that mitigates the otherwise meh BS of an Enforcer squad. There is definitely space for several of these in any gang of jackbooted thugs.
  • Sniper Rifle – A cheap long rifle. Enforcers are almost entirely based around short- to mid-ranged shooting, so including one or two of these in a squad will drastically improve the outcome of any Sector Mechanicus games you end up playing. The pro-choice might be to have one as an alternate weapon set for a champion with a 3+ BS for use in a Sector game.

Heavy Weapons

  • Heavy Concussion Ram – We gotta be honest with you, reader. There is no reason that we can see as to why this crappy bolter costs 20 credits more and takes up a fighter’s last 2 weapon slots (as they already have a stub gun). This weapon sucks, please avoid it.
  • SLHG Pattern Assault Ram “Sledge Hammer” – This is a high-strength, versatile melee weapon with a built-in grenade launcher with frag and choke grenades. It’s a weird one, reader. Grenade launchers want to be far from their targets, but this is a melee weapon with an attached GL. It doesn’t make a ton of sense. It could, however, be deadly in the hands of a later-campaign champion or leader.

Close Combat Weapons

  • Shock Baton – The shock stave is better and cheaper. This thing has parry, but it’s otherwise uninspiring. Avoid.
  • Shock stave – 25 credits for +1 Strength, shock, and versatile? Yes please. Give it to a leader to use that sweet 3+ weapon skill.
  • Vigilance Pattern Assault Shield – Combined with the subjugator’s armor, the assault shield can turn any fighter into an absolute TANK. If you’re planning on making a melee-heavy Enforcer squad, this is the weapon for you.

 

The flashlight is what makes this tactical. Credit: Jack “BenBooley” Hunter

Some Sample Enforcer Gangs

Now that we’ve had a look at all the particulars involved in a Palanite Enforcer gang, we’re both going to construct an example squad of 1,000 credits and explain our choices along the way. Additionally The Sex Cannon found a truly hilarious gang that costs exactly 1000 credits so we’ll give you a look at that one, too.

 

The Sex Cannon’s Example Enforcer Gang

Palanite Captain – 140
Enforcer boltgun – 50
Shock Stave – 25
Skill – Team Work
Total: 215

Subjugator Sergeant – 110
Subjugator pattern grenade launcher – 50
Skill – Fast Shot
Total: 160

Subjugator Sergeant – 110
Subjugator pattern grenade launcher – 50
Skill – Fast Shot
Total: 160

Palanite Patrolman – 70
Enforcer boltgun – 50
Total: 120

Palanite Patrolman – 70
Enforcer Shotgun – 60
Total: 130

Palanite Patrolman – 70
Concussion Carbine – 30
Total: 100

Palanite Patrolman – 70
Concussion Carbine – 30
Total: 100

Gang total: 985

We all know that shooting is king in Necromunda. This gang is built around the idea of mitigating the Enforcers’ middling BS attributes and maximizing the effects of their blast weapons. Krak grenades will be this Enforcer Squad’s primary method of beating armor and taking out high-Toughness targets, and you’ll need to get those on sergeants so you can reliably upgrade their BS for more effectiveness. I like the Fast Shot skill on the sergeants as allows them to sit back and toss 2 grenades per turn each and lock down most of the enemy gang. Your bolter patrolman and your captain will be your early-game damage dealers, and the rest of the patrolmen will help provide important crowd control. For the last 15 credits, I’d be tempted to grab some smoke grenades on one of the sergeants to better protect the gang against that extremely shooty gang in your campaign group. You know the one.

I’m pretty confident this gang will do well, but if you think there’s something I missed, feel free to log in to the comments and tell me why it won’t if you have other ideas.

 

Merton’s Example Enforcer Gang

Palanite Captain – 140
Shock Baton – 30
Hardened Flak – 20
Stub Gun – 5
Dum Dum Rounds – 5
Skill – Threat Response
Total: 200

Palanite Sergeant – 100
Concussion Carbine – 30
Dum Dum Rounds – 5
Skill – Fast Shot
Total: 135

Palanite Sergeant – 100
Concussion Carbine – 30
Dum Dum Rounds – 5
Skill – Fast Shot
Total: 135

Palanite Patrolman – 70
Enforcer boltgun – 50
Total: 120

Palanite Patrolman – 70
Enforcer Shotgun – 60
Smoke Grenade – 15
Total: 145

Palanite Patrolman – 70
Enforcer boltgun – 50
Total: 120

Palanite Patrolman – 70
Enforcer Shotgun – 60
Smoke Grenade – 15
Total: 145

Gang total: 1000

For my build, I’ve gone with a pure Palanite list for flexibility in dealing with engagements at all ranges.  Your patrolmen and sergeants can be split into a pair of identical fireteams to better enable you to pin and flank the enemy as you advance, while your captain stays embedded with whichever team is more likely to encounter melee resistance.  Threat Response on the captain means he’ll be slingshotting to the front line to deal with any enemy charges that sneak through, so I’ve splurged and given him a full shock baton and heavier armor. Double concussion volleys from your two fast shot sergeants should keep overeager Goliaths at bay (but don’t be afraid to switch to your stub gun if they get close), and smoke grenades on your shotgunners mean you’ll be able to shut down a rogue sniper’s firing lane without having to duck for cover.  Nothing in here is particularly showy, but with solid play you’ll be able to grind down even the toughest gangs.

ADDED BONUS: It turns out, you can totally build this entire list straight off of the sprue!

 

The Riot Squad (The Sex Cannon’s Bright Idea)

Subjugator Captain – 150
Shock Stave – 25
Vigilance Pattern Assault Shield – 40
Skill: Bull Charge
Total: 215

Subjugator Sergeant – 110
Shock Stave – 25
Vigilance Pattern Assault Shield – 40
Skill: Threat Response
Total: 175

Subjugator Sergeant – 110
Shock Stave – 25
Vigilance Pattern Assault Shield – 40
Skill: Threat Response
Total: 175

Subjugator Patrolman – 80
Shock Stave – 25
Vigilance Pattern Assault Shield – 40
Total: 145

Subjugator Patrolman – 80
Shock Stave – 25
Vigilance Pattern Assault Shield – 40
Total: 145

Subjugator Patrolman – 80
Shock Stave – 25
Vigilance Pattern Assault Shield – 40
Total: 145

Gang total: 1000

I was screwing around with points and realized that 6 Assault Shield tanks are 1,000 creds on the nose. This gang will get dumpstered by an all-comers gang with some good crowd control, but against an unprepared gang it will completely bodyslam them. All of your characters start with a 3+ save in their front arcs that will only improve in combat and vs. blasts. Bull Charge on the Captain means he’s S5 and knockback on the charge which even scares Goliaths. If someone has the means to build the Riot Squad, please share some pictures because I absolutely love this terrible, terrible idea.

 

Final Thoughts

Enforcers bring a really interesting new flavor to Necromunda. Instead of being lightly armored specialists, they’re tanky generalists with the best starting armor and equipment in the game. We both feel like they will be an absolute force in the beginning and middle of a campaign, but due to their weapon and personnel restrictions, they may lag behind house gangs in the late stages of a campaign. But with good skills, equipment and guidance from a crafty Necromunda player, they could easily be one of the scariest gangs out there.

Have any questions or comments about Enforcers? Want our opinion on adding them to your campaign? Want to share photos of your rad Enforcer gang with us for us to feature in a future article? Feel free to start a conversation with us in the comments, hit us up on Facebook, or email us at contact@goonhammer.com. We’d love to hear your thoughts about Enforcers or the Book of Judgement or whatever else! We’ll be back next week with another Necromunday column, so make sure to check back. Thanks for reading, now get out there and indiscriminately stomp some bad guys, rookie!

 

Leave a Reply

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