Horus Heresy: The Care and Feeding of Your Deimos Predator
Games Workshop has released the plastic Predator Tank kit for Horus Heresy: Age of Darkness. But how exactly should you use yours?
The tried and true Heresy era Deimos Predator Tank will be hitting shelves in September, begging the question, can one ever have enough tanks? Canonically, the Deimos Predator was one of the most common and iconic vehicles in every Legion arsenal and made several notable appearances throughout the Horus Heresy novels.
Players should expect to see parking lots of the Deimos Predator and its variants across the table as the plastic release resolves some of the scarcity and cost issues that plagued it prior in its resin form. With the Armored Speartip Rite of War (RoW) being both potent and eye-rollingly good, this release should elate and unnerve fans of the Horus Heresy Space Marine Legions.
Some Legions take better advantage of the Deimos Predator than others. However, it shouldn’t be ruled out of any chapter’s list as its weapon options are diverse and can be tuned for any target. Weighing in at a base cost of 120pts they come in squadrons of up to 4 models.
Gravis Lascannon, Lascannon Sponsons, Searchlights
I think this option keeps the platform cheap and focuses the weapons to ranges out to 48″. Many of the missions have night fighting, and some Legions can modify or extend it multiple turns so it’s essential that your Predators ignore it to be effective all game with searchlights.
Vulkite Macro-Saker, Heavy Bolter Sponsons, Heavy Bolter (Pintle), Searchlights, Dozerblade
This buildout is about the quantity of fire rather than the quality of fire. You’re not going to take down tanks with this loadout, but you can mow through troops and HQs through sheer volume of shots. As stated above, access to your Return Fire and Overwatch reactions makes this option appealing.
Consider Taking Squadrons
The price per tank goes from 120 base to 105 for each additional tank after the initial.
Armoured Speartip (Rite of War)
The Armoured Speartip is an excellent Rite of War (RoW) to work from if you’re interested in playing tank-heavy lists. The predator tank becomes the heart of this RoW as it moves from a Heavy slot to a Troops choice, while the Sicaran becomes an Elite option. Finally, you must take a single Predator or Sicaran as an HQ.
Your HQ tank gains a special warlord trait, Master of Armor, which grants +1 BS and 5++ invulnerable save. The big limitation to this RoW is that all infantry models must be embarked upon some kind of transport creating further constraints on squad sizes and units that accompany the core of your tanks. Legions that might make the best use of a Predator Tank squadron and Armoured Speartip RoW could be:
The Nightlords make brutal use of the new Predator kit with bonuses of +1 to wound and +1 on armor penetration rolls whenever they fight or shoot an enemy unit that they outnumber, is pinned or is falling back. Predators count as 10 models because they are a vehicle. This makes for particularly scary and efficient shooting.
It is easy to love Predator tanks with a Legion trait like Wrack & Ruin. A lascannon’d out Predator + Wrack & Ruin is pretty straightforward. You’re getting Heavy 4, str 10, AP2, w/ Sunder shots between the Gravis Lascannon and the 2 Lascannon sponsons while firing at Tanks, Dreadnoughts, or Automata. If you’re looking to pop transports or opposition Armor, it doesn’t get more consistent than this.
While most legions will opt to take Lascannon-equipped predators. The Imperial Fists can lay down a staggering amount of firepower from a bolter’d out Predator. Consider that they are getting +1 to all hit rolls with any Auto weapons or Bolt weapons (Predator cannon is considered an auto weapon), which equates to hitting on +2 when firing any of the following:
- Predator Auto Cannon – Heavy 4, Str 8, AP4, Rending 6+ (Main Turret)
- Heavy Bolter Sponsons – 2x Heavy 4, Str 5, AP4
- Heavy Bolter (Pintle) – 1x Heavy 4, Str 5, AP4
Another advantage to this build is that the sponsons and pintle weapons count as Defensive, so you can use reactions to dump 12 Str 5, AP4 bolter rounds into attackers.
While there are many upsides to running Armoured Speartip, it can suffer from a lack of scoring troops in smaller games. You have to be careful that your Line Troops don’t get shot off the board. Use Advance and Withdraw reactions on your Predators to vehicle block line of site to vulnerable units or even cut-off charge lanes to vulnerable units. Those reactions grant you 6 inches of movement and a 90-degree pivot directly toward or away from moving enemy units.
WARNING: Armoured Speartip isn’t going to win you many friends. This RoW allows you to take an obscene amount of tanks. With so much armor rolling around, it has the potential to skew the game in such a way that most armies do not have enough anti-armor to deal with it. Much of your opponent’s army will be relegated to running around the table trying to capture points while being mostly ineffective against your tanks. If you’re bringing an Armoured Speartip list to casual play, a friendly heads-up is advised.
With GW rapidly releasing Legion tanks in plastic, the future is bright for armor-focused lists. If you, like me, bought the Age of Darkness box, a Predator or three is another excellent addition to your army. Next up on the release schedule I would anticipate additional turret upgrade options for the Predator and Sicaran.
With all of the Heresy releases hitting month after month I foresee Games Workshop trying to provide further army staples to thirsty wargamers interested in diversifying their collections. If the track record holds, we may look forward to fliers and skimmers such as the Xiphon, Javelin, or Scimitar Jet Bikes in the coming year.
How are you going to equip your Deimos Predator Legionaire?