Thursday, October 23, 2008

Panzer Strike!

This is my beloved Railhead. This tank is arguably one of the best in the game. It has decent armor, is a skimmer, is mobile and carries a big gun. When given the proper upgrades, it can fire on the move and dish out punishment from far away.

I like to deploy on a far flank when it can use its range to its advantage. This can also keep it out of range of enemy lascannons, multimeltas, etc.

When we're using 'pitched battle' and 'dawn of war' deployment, I like to set it up on a far flank with the rest of armor on the other flank. Your opponent will move most of his force toward your crisis suits, fire warriors, etc, exposing side and rear armor to your Hammerhead laying in wait on the other side of the table. The Railhead then moves up a bit and fires down the table length wise. With 72" range, distance isn't really an issue.

The important thing to remember is to protect it until the second or third turn. Don't pull it out into the open until you've got some nice targets. The theory being that in the first turn, most targets are in cover or behind terrain so your railgun shots will be less effective anyway. But mid-game it will be operating in a target-rich environment so you'll want to save it until then. Keep it hidden behind a big hill or building until your opponent forgets about it. Then move up the flank and drop large blast templates on his squads or throw solid slugs into rear and side armor.

One other piece of advice, always shoot large squads with the sub-munition. Even against marines but maybe not terminators. Marines will still die if you force them to roll 4 or more armor saves.

How to upgrade it?
In larger games, I always take at least one Railhead armed with Smart Missile System (SMS), Disruption Pod, Multitracker, and Target lock. What about all the other upgrades, you ask? Follow the wisdom of Old Shatter Hands-don't waste your points on them. Sensor spines, flachette dischargers, and the rest are next to useless. I might consider the decoy launcher if I have the extra points available but it's not manditory like the other upgrades. I've considered dropping the SMS and Target lock and giving it burst cannons instead but I haven't actually tried that yet.

How to protect it?
Disruption Pods, large pieces of terrain and distance. Distance is actually you best way to protect it. With such a long range weapon, there's no need to get close. Keep it out of range of your enemy's weapons and it'll survive to the end of the game.

What to use it against?
I generally don't use it against other tanks unless I am hitting side or rear armor and my target is out in the open. With only one shot, I've learned the hard way that Hammerhead tanks just don't make good tank hunters, leave that job to your broadsides. But the sub-munitions blast can really devastate infantry. I once took out an entire squad of space marines with one lucky sub-munition shot, I can't wait to taste such pleasures again!

What to watch out for?
Outflanking units with anti-tank weaponry, for example Ork Deffkoptas armed with twin-linked rokkits. Also, again, don't get too close. Strike from afar.

Two is better than one
A good tactic is have two of these things on either flank. It can get real ugly when your opponents is getting hit by at least one railgun every turn! I actually use the cheaper but equally mean ion-cannon armed variant as my second Hammerhead. I use it to move up the flank and get side and rear armor shots.

That's all for now. I would love questions or comments. Also, remember to check out the wealth of tau wisdom at

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