N18 First (Cawdor) Gang

Malevolent Pink Cat

Gang Champion
Jan 10, 2019
I've summarised my first draft of an N17 Cawdor gang below. Would appreciate any feedback (particularly on skill selection, but also more generally).

The Lighted Wick:

Leader (Mentor) - Hand Flamer, Axe, Reclaimed Autopistol.
Champion (Headbutt) - Cawdor Heavy Crossbow, Reclaimed Autopistol.
Champion (Parry) - Hand Flamer, Reclaimed Autopistol.
Ganger - Reclaimed Autogun.
Ganger - Reclaimed Autogun.
Ganger - Reclaimed Autogun.
Ganger - Polearm Blunderbuss.
Ganger - Polearm Blunderbuss.
Juve - Axe, Stubb Gun.
Juve - Axe, Stubb Gun.

The idea was to try and build the gang around three (hopefully complimentary) ideas:
- template weapons;
- blaze; and
- rapid fire.

To that end, I've spent most of my credits on relatively expensive ranged weapons (2 hand flamers, the heavy crossbow, two blunderbusses), and left myself fairly short of CC weapons. Any CC weapons I have gone for are either the cheapest available (although the axe seems a reasonable buy) or incidental (I didn't buy the blunderbusses for the polearm bit..).

Most of the other ranged weapons (whether main or back-up) have rapid fire. The exception to this is the juves, who have Stubb Guns.

Tactically, the very broad idea is to have the gangers with autoguns and the crossbow champion sit back, trying to keep my opponents ducking while the rest of my gang moves up. The hope is that, with the juve's screening (and maybe even hitting something with the stubb gun short range accuracy bonus ), the leader, champion and two blunderbuss gangers can get close enough to drop four blaze templates in quick succession. If there's still a substantial number of the enemy gang standing at that point, I think I'm probably out of luck, but hey - I've still got the crossbow, and juves are expendable. Maybe I'll even figure out a way to use those polearms effectively...

I'm less certain of the skills I've taken - the Cawdor skills do not seem to me to gel very well with the way the gang works. In any event, the thinking here was:

- mentor on the leader because I expect him to be relatively near a number of gangers for a majority of the game, and quicker XP hopefully means I can toughen up my front line fairly quickly. I can see overseer would work as well, but that seems a common (and therefore a bit of a dull) pick.

- headbutt on the crossbow champion, because, as he shouldn't be near the front line, I don't want to spend much on CC gear for him. I think headbutt makes more sense than hurl, since his distance from the front line means I'm expecting him to encounter faster but weaker opponents in CC (Escher, Juves) than tougher gang members (Goliaths); and

- parry on the flamer champion to aid survivability. I've taken parry over step aside on the basis that the champion's initiative is not brilliant - although I suspect there's probably not a whole lot in it.

All thoughts welcome!

Gang manager link here: https://yaktribe.games/underhive/gang/the_lighted_wick.38872/
Parry feels weaker than even a 4+ step aside... I believe anything that charges that champ will hit on 3+ and parry just forces them to reroll one success. Edge to the step aside. Now if it does happen to be a 4+ well step aside has the same odds only difference is who rolls.

As the champ has two wounds your opponents should learn early to be very cautious on how they engage...
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The hand flamer on the champ seems like a waste of his BS3+. He is one of just two in your gang that can shoot well, so you don't want to give him a template weapon that is just as effective on a normal ganger or juve.

The skills are not great for Cawdor champs if you aren't going to fight in melee, which is unfortunate considering they are your only good shooters. If you can get them a hand weapon they will be well balanced but limits their long ranged offensive ability.

The crossbow champ is carrying an autopistol as a second weapon. This is too short ranged to be a decent backup gun, and not that great in melee if you have two base attacks. I would lose this and get a hand weapon, or leave the slot free for a better long ranged gun later. Maybe a long rifle if you plan to keep him at a distance. A flail is a good hand weapon, you will make 3xS4 attacks on a charge, hitting on 3+. Entangle is a nice bonus trait if you roll 6s.

If you have to, leave them without a second weapon for the first game rather than buy something that is too weak or will never be used.
I can't really see the benefits to any of the flame weapons myself, they all seem overcosted for what you get, but it's very hard to get why taking a hand flamer is preferable to the blunderpole:
  • The basic attack is identical at S3 D1 template with blaze, it's just less reliable on the ammo rolls
  • The secondary attack makes up for that quite a bit though, D6 S2 auto hits (more if you can catch extra targets) is nothing to be sneezed at
  • The close combat part of it isn't bad either, versatile has its uses
  • You can upgrade it to a pseudo bolt pistol if you want
  • It's way cheaper
Interesting choices...

Personally I'd ditch the missile crossbow. It's a lot of creds for a starting gang, and will waste more creds when u realise it needs a suspensor to maximise the tactical value. On ZM it will be next to useless - a grenade launcher is half the price and pretty much just as effective on ZM.

Instead, for the champs, I'd go with the combi-flamer for one, and double pistols on the other. Close ranged support. I'd then tailor the rest of the gang to a close range massed template gang. Massed auto-pistols too for the rapid fire...

The rapid fire autoguns could work, but with only 3 of them I'd hardly consider it a massed firing line, and I'd expect you to lose a ranged firefight against delaque and van saar. orlock too. I'd switch one of them to double auto-pistol, and another to axe and autopistol. I'd ditch a juve (it's taking up the space of your future 3rd champ afterall) and get a third blunderbuss polearm.

You'll now have 5 flamer template weapons, all with blaze, and 5 auto-pistol/autoguns for rapid fire.

With the right tactics cards and game-play you'll force your opponent to make tough decisions on placement. They'll need to spread out so you can't get many of them under the template, which should allow you some tactical advantage. It's still very much a delicate gang but then so are all of them.

Once your opposition get wise to blaze they'll start getting those hazard suits (or whatever they're called), so you'll need to switch up. By that point you'll be getting champs 3 and 4. I'd advise to get one ranged champ and one hth champ. The chain glaive is very good, and complements their skill-set. It's very thematic even if it ain't perfect. At least u get to use versatile which is fun...

Like they said above, Flails are awesome hth weapons for your gang, and I'd go for a flail on all models that can take one (obv not the blunderbussiers or the chain-glaive).

Finally, mentor on your leader is a nice choice but I still think Overseer is the most powerful choice available and can be absolutely devastating when used with your flamer. They can either fire twice or use overseer to double move first so they're in position for a proper flaming on their own activation. I've used it like that and it can take the opponent by surprise.

The Crossbow is useless? If anything the 5 inch templates are more punishing on ZM as people typically are more clustered than in SM and compared to the GL it's frags are strength 4 as well.

I would not recommend double pistols on a cawdor champ either, they are the best shooters in the gang so you definitely want them to have some better range options.
Thank you for all the suggestions, and working back through them:

Firstly, the logic for step-aside over parry makes sense, and that change is easily made (although it seems to me then that in almost all cases parry ends up being the weaker skill..).

A number of the comments around my CC champion centre around the fact that he has a template weapon, and therefore isn't making use of his higher BS. That's true, and I understand the criticism, but I also do not see any particularly attractive alternatives for a starting gang. The crossbow is the cheapest of the heavy weapons, and whilst I could swap the existing one out for a heavy stubber (at +5 credits), that still leaves me with another champion to equip. I cannot afford a second heavy weapon, so that leaves me with the following:
- long rifle, which would leave both my champions as mid-long range, weakening my (already fairly weak) CC, and taking away from the range I feel like Cawdor are best suited (short - mid range).
- some form of autogun, which I instinctively feel is a ganger weapon, not a champion one (it's just so dull);
- take either dual pistols or a sawn-off shotgun. Both are viable (of the two, I prefer the shotgun) - but is it worth dropping a template weapon for an ultra-close-range killer (i.e. sawn-off)?

The point around the blunderbuss polearms rather than the hand flamer is fair enough, although I'd still retain one because I like the fire imagery).

Also, the skills aren't great for Cawdor champs if I am not in melee, but.. champions only have access to Brawn and Combat as primary skills, both of which seem to be geared around CC...