Leadbelcher Tactica (2009)
At first glance leadbelchers are fairly unimpressive: they're expensive bulls with a gun that (while powerful) has irritating reload rules and limited range. They've much inferior to ironguts and fill a coveted special slot. So why use them? For the same reason I advocated the slavegiant: deception.
Sun Tzu gets overquoted in the context of Wargames, but I think that when he said 'all warfare is based on deception' he was onto something. The leadbelcher's great strength is the confusion amongst gamers about their role. When an opponent sees leadbelchers they will expect you to sit back and shoot, and will shape their plans accordingly. It confused me at first, but noone expects leadbelchers to charge them, and when push comes to shove they're actually a pretty damn respectable combat unit.
Now I'm not advocating charging those chosen warriors head on, but against anything without rank bonus you stand a fairly good chance. This probably isn't making much sense yet, but keep reading, I promise.
If you remember my first article, you'll remember what I consider the ogre's great strength: mobility. With M6 all around we can pick our targets. We get to dictate who fights what and in that, you should never get your leadbelchers into a combat beyond their depth. The one thing that tends to bugger ogres is large frontage, which is where we come to the point of this paragraph. 2-ogre unit size. You probably just moved back slightly, cocked and eyebrow and wondered if this Polymphus chap has gone insane. Not yet I'm afraid. You see, the smaller frontage coupled with high US, speed and strength makes them ideal flankers. So you're paying 55pts a pop for a two-man bull unit. But here I'll remind you about what I said before: noone expects leadbelchers to charge. When you're planning to flank someone it's usually rather obvious, but when you set up leadbelchers on the flank, everyone assumes you're just trying to set up a shot. Use this expectation to your advantage.
Of course, after advocating playing against type with these boys, I'm now going to praise their shooting attack. You see, the expectation thing is cyclic. People expect them to shoot. When that expectation is subverted, they expect them to attack. Instead of sending in big slow blocks, they send in smaller speedy units. This is when you shoot. There's a reason leadbelchers need to reload: their shooting attack is absolutely amazing. Read the rules again and see how many negative modifiers it ignores. Realise that it's like mobile 6th edition grapeshot. See units of light cavalry wiped completely off the board in one round of shooting and you'll truly come to appreciate that blast.
The tricky part then, is knowing when to charge and when to shoot. It takes practice, but once you've got the hang of it, you'll never leave home without leadbelchers.
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