Attention Warhammer 40k Generals! Jwolf here, taking a break from BoLSCon preparation to give you my thoughts on configuring your Hellhound Squadrons.
Just as with the Russ Chassis, the first question with the Hellhounds is to Squadron or not to Squadron. Unlike the case of the Russes, though, the Hellhounds have extraordinarily good competition for the same slots. Valkyries and Vendettas provide Imperial Guard Commanders with a previously unheard of level of mobility for our troops, Armored Sentinels are fantastic for grabbing enemy squads and holding them in place, and that makes the Fast Attack choices more precious. So my answer to that is generally singles are best, but I can certainly see good reasons to take pairs.
I have a lot more difficulty rating the Hellhound variants than the Russ variants, as they are generally all good. Nevertheless, rating them is what I get the big bucks for, right? Lets get to it!
#1 Banewolf with Hull Multimelta – 2 weapons that ignore 3+ armor and are fearsome no matter the opponent. And with the chemical cannon being a defensive weapon, this variant moves 12” all the time and fires everything.
#2 Hellhound with Hull Multimelta – 2 good weapons and a terrible destructive force against any 4+ or worse armored troops.
#3 Devil Dog with Hull Multimelta – Vehicle killer, and the Meltacannon is frightening weapon that makes certain that Deep Striking Terminators want to run instead of shooting, always a good thing. Not as versatile as the other top builds, but also cheaper and a very purpose-driven build.
#4 Devil Dog with Hull Heavy Flamer – Good all-a-rounder, and cheap. The HHF makes this a good objective charger after the Meltacannon gets blasted off, too.
#5 Hellhound with Hull Heavy Flamer – A dedicated anti-infantry vehicle, this build sacrifices flexibility for the ability to do a massive amount of wounds. A pair of these will end a giant mob of Boyz in no time at all, and can do enough wounds to cripple almost any formation.
#6 Hellhound with Hull Heavy Bolter – Cheap stock chassis, with some ability to harass light vehicles and troops anywhere on the board. Great for moving 12” and firing the Inferno Cannon from a pair of these.
#7 Banewolf with Hull Heavy Bolter – Gives a little range to an otherwise point-blank chassis.
#8 Devildog with Hull Heavy Bolter – The meltacannon isn’t augmented by the inclusion of the Heavy Bolter, and the Heavy Bolter doesn’t give the chassis any ability to deal with cover saves.
#9 Banewolf with Hull Heavy Flamer – The best thing about the Banewolf is it allows no saves to Marines. The Heavy Flamer allows wound allocation that can save the Veteran Sergeant and the Special Weapons, meaning you just wasted your killing power. This is an especially bad configuration for a pair, which would kill a Marine squad with a great deal of reliability otherwise.
As for the options, Smoke Launchers make good sense. Searchlights are basically useless for standard Dawn of War missions, and Camo Netting is the ultimate in stupid purchases in the Codex. Extra Armor can be worth it, especially if you use your Hellhounds to screen your lines.
I recommend using Hellhounds as screening units, engaging the enemy forward of you lines and threatening objectives in their deployment zone. Offering a Hellhound as a charge target can work out very well. A target hit only on 6s can be easily missed, and then the assaulters are nicely bunched up for the Russes to pulverize.
~I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on the use of Hellhounds, so kick me if I need it. Now back to the salt mines for me.