Weapon Crews in Warmachine
Not every faction has access to a weapon crew. Some weapon crews are worth their points, and others gather dust on the shelves of frustrated Warmachine players.
Weapon crews vary between 3 and 6 points. Oddly enough, some of the most useful are also the cheapest.
Picking the best weapon crews depends on a lot of factors. Some of them have well defined roles, others less so. Based on the Trencher CID, we can begin to drop weapon crews into three categories.
Weapon Crew Types
Chaingun Crew (Unit) (RAT 6, Rng 10, POW 10, PC 4)
The anti-infantry weapon crew of the trenchers. A chain gun crew should be a significant threat to infantry targets while not causing worry to warjacks.
POW 10 and infantry go hand in hand. Single hit box light infantry dies easily to a well placed POW 10 shot, and the chain gun has 2-4 shots per turn, or a covering fire template. Boosted damage vs warriors means an auto kill vs ARM 12, and a 50% chance vs ARM 20. Into more sturdy infantry, the chain gun has a 50% chance of killing a 5 hit box warrior at ARM 16, and a 90% chance at ARM 12.
Thus the anti infantry pieces of other factions should have similar ratings.
Cannon Crew (Unit) (RAT 6, Rng 13, POW 13, PC 6)
The true artillery of a Trencher force, the Cannon Crew brings the armor punch that a Chain Gun or Blockhouse does not. Anti Armor is the design goal of this model.
At first glance, I thought the cannon was underpowered. The POW 13 gun’s 13″ range and AD means at least one turn of shooting, maybe two, without succumbing to enemy troops. Brutal damage means a 62% chance of killing a 5hb ARM 16, opposed to the chain gun’s 50%. That translates to a light Warjack column. Honestly, I still think POW 13 is weak vs armor.
Express Team (Unit) (RAT 5, Rng 14, POW 14, PC 5)
The Express team is a mobile high powered weapon. It should have a place as a utility piece that can threaten targets of all sorts.
With slightly further range than the canon, the express crew can certainly reach out and touch someone. Grievous wounds counters tough, and prevents both jack and beast healing. Damage isn’t boosted, so it won’t injure a jack, but it is a good opening shot before something like a cannon takes a shot.
Stormsmith Storm Tower fits here, as it has similar range and POW, and the Lightning generator does well into infantry. It also synergies well with other Cygnar electrical pieces.
Analysis of other faction weapon crews
With the Cygnar Trencher CID complete, it is easily assumed that Cygnar models are at the power and cost as well as best fit for their intended roles.
Protectorate of Menoth
The Deliverer Sunburst Crew probably fits into the Multi-Role category. It has a long reach, and high POW 15 AOE with continuous fire, but lacks special rules to make it stand out against either armored jacks or infantry. The AOE discourages mechanics from hanging about a warjack.
Winter Guard Field Gun Crew is another Multi-Role gun. Its 14″ range, POW 15 means pretty much always doing a single box on ARM20 if it hits. Knockdown on the hit means no tough and if it hits a jack or beast, a focus/fury spent on standing up. As an opening shot, it’s a great delaying tactic.
Winter Guard Mortar Crew seems like another Multi-Role piece, but it is more heavily weighted toward Anti-Infantry. The high explosive, 4″ AOE forces infantry to spread out. Into a shield wall foolish enough to line up in a single file rank rather than two staggered rows, a second to last member can be picked off by the POW 16 shot, and the member left alone can die to the POW 10. The problem with Mortar shots is that they are inaccurate, at a RAT 1.
Fortunately for Khador, the Artillery Kapitan and Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich can add 4 to the RAT, bringing the mortar to RAT 5 again. Aiming makes RAT 7. Although the better move would be shooting with the Field Gun, then following up with the Mortar on the DEF 5 knocked down model.
Revenant Cannon Crew has a longer range than Cygnar’s chain gun, but the POW 13 will take out a single box at ARM 14, and has a pretty good chance up to ARM 18. Adding insult to injury, the cannon removes warrior models from play and creates a grunt for Cryx.
With Armor Piercing and a RAT 5 boosted attack roll, the Heavy Rifle Team cuts through high base armor, and threatens models with fairly good defense. Because it blends high accuracy with armor piercing, it fits a Multi-Role capability weighted toward armored targets.
At a range of only 12″, the Thumper Crew feels like a handicapped Khador Field Gun. The slam from the momentum feels a little anemic at d3″ instead of the full d6″ of a slam power attack, but collateral damage is at POW 16. Heavy warjacks and beasts ignore the slam, but do get knocked down. So the Thumper Crew potentially becomes an anti-armor solution for Trolls, ripping apart shield walls and shoving jacks into troops or multi box troops into jacks.
The Pummeler Crew boasts better range, a POW 14 AOE, but sports a natural RAT 1 due to its inaccurate rule. The Bounce and POW 10 high explosive blast may harm lightly armored troops, but spacing troops out will mitigate losses fairly well.
Trolls lack solos to support weapon crews, and because the Pummeler can only get to RAT 3, it stands little chance at hitting anything that isn’t locked down.
Legion of Everblight
The Blighted Nyss Scather Crew has enough POW to scratch a light jack, but is primarily an anti-infantry artillery unit. The Scather hazard blocks charge lanes for single HP models, and the crew doesn’t suffer the inaccuracy of other long range AOE weapon crews.
The two Venator weapon crews benefit from the Dakar’s +1 attack rolls. The Venator Catapult Crew needs the buff, due to its inaccurate rule, but with a POW 18 on large or huge based targets at 18 inches away, it can probably be trusted to hit a slow heavy.
The Venator Cannon Crew has shorter range, but can fire 1-3 shots at POW 13 on small based targets, POW 14 vs medium and 15 vs large. RAT 5 means a chance of hitting, but the crew probably should position itself and ready an attack against an advancing unit for an aiming bonus. While the Catapult Crew seems able to work against armor, the cannon is better suited to fire into infantry.
Not your typical weapon crew, the Grymkin Mad Caps don’t shoot a cannon, catapult or even a giant slingshot. A straight up POW 14 fire damage roll from the cask imps put into play definitely scratches armor, but seems more suited to kill infantry. It has the added bonus of drawing gunfire from troops who don’t want the imps blowing up nearby.
The Sea Dog Deck Gun seems like a good idea, but RAT 4, Rng 12, POW 13 doesn’t seem great at anything. The gun requires some support, likely Lord Rockbottom giving them a Money Shot for +2 attack/damage roll. Master Gunner Dougal McNaile also grants a +1 to attacks and can increase range by 2″ for a single turn. With 8 points of support, a couple deck guns become two 14″ volleys at POW 15, RAT 7. Pretty good against infantry, and not too bad for scratching armor.
The Rhulic dwarves fare a little better than the sea dogs. Their Horgenhold Artillery Corps fire what looks like a mortar at 16″, and the 4″ AOE slams into troops with a POW 14, so they’d only take a POW blast if nearby. The artillery is more likely meant to fight armor, since the RAT 5 certainly can hit slower moving armor and score a boosted damage roll due to Brutal Damage.
The Farrow Razorback Crew has good range and POW, along with Brutal Damage, but lacks a good RAT. Good in the Anti-Armor effort, but will still have to roll a 6 to hit DEF 10. Minion options to raise the RAT comes from Victor Pendrake (boosted attack roll vs warbeasts).
Some factions definitely possess weapon crews worth their points. I think the “Multi-Role” artillery is a cop-out. Rather than a Multi-Role artillery piece, I would like to see anti jack, anti beast as alternatives, or even anti huge based or anti structure. There’s definitely design space for it.
I also think I was quick to give up on the Trollblood Pummeler. I may have overlooked using it in conjunction with the Wagon or Thumper as a method of overcoming its inaccuracy.
These pieces aren’t meant to fight alone, but to cheaply augment your capability and threaten a space. Thinking of the weapon crews in that light may find them working their way onto the table.