Give the Manticore a Place in Your Army!
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At first look the Manticore doesn't seem at all that great as it only has four rockets and weak armour. This often turns imperial guard players away immediately at first glance however most player often do not read into the Manticore properly and figure out exactly what it can do.
A Closer Look
The armour of a Manticore is not very good in fact it is as easy to kill as a chimera. For example a space marine lascannon at 24" against front armour (representing it sitting back at the other side of the tale, this will be relevant later):
To hit = 3+ = 2/3
To penetrate = 4+ = 1/2
To destroy = 5+ = 1/3
Total = n/a = 11/100 = 11%
To put that in context a rail guns chance of destroying AV 13 is 14%. However a weapon destroyed result is as good as gone and there is a 14% chance of this happening (glancing counts for the increase). The enclosed crew compartment is generally an upgrade if you have the points spare as it takes away the open topped aspect of your basilisk making it slightly more risilient. Extra armour is nice if you have extra points but is not extremely useful as it has the same chances as a weapon destroyed result. The smoke launchers will give the tank a nice 4+ cover save halving the enemies' chances of destroying you though choosing the right moment can be tricky. Camo netting can be a very good upgrade to your vehicle even if it doesn't seem so at first. It improves your cover save by 1 and as you should be placing your manticore in cover it will give you an extra 16% survivability when taking the cover save, when using it alongside the smoke launchers you can get a 3+ cover save which can deter most anti tank weapons.
The main armament of the Manticore is a set of 4 storm eagle rockets. These weapons are interesting as it is strength 10 with a minimum range of 24" a decent AP but not enough to worry a space marine player and ordnance D3. The ordnance D3 is the key part of this vehicle meaning that every turn you will be using 1-3 large blast templates averaging out to 8 over 4 turns. Already it has other artillery pieces beaten even if they stay for a full 7 turns in a game. There is also the possibility of poor rolling getting you only four shots and favourable dice gods for 12 hits in four turns. Now we have established its extreme ability to lay down much more fire power than all other guard ordnance in less turns we can look at its power.
The strength of the weapon brings it on par with demolisher siege cannons and medusa siege cannons but it has a poor AP compared with the others but the nature of multiple barrages (which I will cover later in this section) it means the main target should be larger squads of T5 or less but it by no means eliminates its potential for taking out tough units. Units with a 4+ armour save will be highly vulnerable to this weapon. This type of target will maximise hits made by the multiple barrage and ensure that everything perishes on a 2+. This makes the Manticore ideal against horde armies as well as tougher foes like necrons (where squads tend to be massed) and to a lesser extent space marines though it will do better with chaos space marines large assault squads. Also when firing as a barrage it counts as pinning.
When firing it is important to remember it can fire two ways and they are dramatically different in there style. You may either fire as:
-A multiple barrage weapon which enables you to be out of LOS but your markers will not land on top of each other so it is not accurate for small squads, though this also has pinning.
-A multiple blast by firing directly, this gives you a better chance e of hitting as each shot is worked out independently it doesn't work like a multiple barrage. Useful when firing against any squad but lacks pinning and you must have LOS
It always depends on a case by case decision which firing mode is used.
Placing the Manticore
Where to put the Manticore can be vital to a game. Generally speaking it should be deployed far back away from the edges to prevent out flankers and preferably with a cover save either from infantry (a good conscript squad provides cheap shielding) or terrain to help save it. In this category it really depends on the battle field and what is available as a city terrain there will be plenty of cover but an open field will leave your vehicle vulnerable. The best type of cover available is area terrain as it provides cover saves from most weapons whereas intervening objects rely on it being inbetween the weapon and the basilisk.
When the rockets are gone?
When you have used up all the rockets whilst annihilating the enemy you need to know what to do now. If playing an annihilation game it I best to keep it back using its heavy bolter to attack minimising its chance of dying, however in an objectives mission a heavy flamer equipped Manticore tank shocking and flaming enemies off objectives will do you a huge amount of good as there is no penalty for losing it you can be a bit more reckless.
Another situation is if you suffer a weapon destroyed result your rockets are gone for good, keeping an enginseer nearby is an expensive counter to this but if you have lots of tanks then it can make up more than its cost in repairs. Remember though that if the rockets are repaired you still only have the same amount as when they were destroyed.
In conclusion Manticores are a great strategic vehicle for your army to chose from and hopefully your opponent will under estimate its power like so many guards players do now. I hope you decide to field a Manticore in your army or a least proxy one to see how it fares.