Here we are with the second part of the Unit reviews. I have merged two sections together here for ease of reading. These section focusses on the smaller main battle tanks found in the book. Honourable mentions are given to the standard predator annihilator/destructor, vindicator and whirwind as well as the Baal predator, but in terms of rules the section mainly deals with the Deimos pattern predator, Sicaran battle tank and the hyperios and scorpius pattern whirlwinds. All of these tanks are heavy support choices.
A new rule exists in general throughout the book that I will give a mention to here. The relic of the armoury rule is a nice touch that marks the rarity of the Heresy era patterns when used in 40k. Basically, Your primary detachment can include one relic tank without penalty. You may include more in the primary detachment or a single one in the secondary detachment if you have a master of the relics as a non-compulsory HQ. (or compulsory in the case of secondary) This is in the form of a Master of the forge (codex SM), Interrogator Chaplain (DA), Reclusiarch (BA) or a Rune priest with saga of the beast slayer (SW).
Where the deimos rhino is merely different in aesthetics, the predator has different weapon options to distinguish it from the standard predator. Note that it cannot be taken in Blood Angel armies. Loadouts for both turrets and sponsons vary, with heavy bolters, lascannons and heavy flamers available for the sponsons, with the HBs/HFs just under a power fist in cost and the lascannon double that. The Turret weapons to replace the autocannon are considered below. Note that the unit becomes a relic unit if the plasma destroyer or heavy conversion beamer are used.
Flamestorm cannon - basically a poor mans Baal predator but only the cost of a power weapon
Magna melta - a beast of a multi-melta putting out a 5" template at 18" range. Just over double the cost of the flamestorm
Executioner plasma destroyer - same as found on the leman russ, this baby can put out 3x 3" blasts with plasma stats. Costs 3 power weapons
Heavy conversion beamer - At ranges above 42", this puts out a 5" S10 AP1 shot, decreasing in effectiveness with range as per its smaller cousin. The flip side with the weapon is that it must remain stationary to fire the primary armament. Combined with the ranges, it will be hard to get maximum effectiveness out of the weapon as units can simply hide from it or, failing that, get close enough to limit its effectiveness. (Short range is S6, AP-, medium S8 AP4) It costs just over 4 power weapons.
Sicaran battle tank
Ok, I love this tank. Both aesthetically and in terms of its rules. It boasts 13/12/12 and 3 hull points - the armour values were errataed (originally 13 all round) and the hull points are a little disappointing given its size but never mind. It comes in at a little over the cost of a vindicator and for that you get extra armour included and a hull heavy bolter. Sponson heavy bolters will cost you between a power weapon and power fists worth of points, lascannons double that. However, where it gets interesting is the main armament - tha accelerator cannon.
Effectively a 6-shot twin-linked autocannon, the accelerator cannon would be potent enough against light vehicles alone. Add in the other special rules and you also have rending and the ability to ignore jink saves. This makes the Sicaran great for taking out flyers and skimmers. Versus a stormtalon, the sicaran would get 2 hits, with a 1 in 3 chance to rend (and therefore penetrate) and a 50:50 to strip a at least strip a hull point. Don't forget, no jink saves either. Against lighter craft such as the crimson hunter and ork bomma this becomes even more effective. Against an Eldar tank, you'd likely get 5 hits, two glances/penetrates and no jink saves either. Not exactly a game changer but definetely worth bringing along (don't forget it can have lascannons too). MCs and FMCs should beware as should bikes thanks to the high strength and ignores jink.
A few points less than a vindicator, the main use of the hyperios is for anti-air duties. I have covered the abilities of the turret on the land raider Helios and so will not go into more detail here. An expensive but overall more effective alternative to the hunter/stalker IMO (lighter armour mind), though SM best anti air still exists in the form of flyers.
Now this is an interesting bit of kit. I didn't even know it had its own rules initially and thought it was simply aesthetically different to the standard whirlwind. However, what you get for the same price as a vindicator is another relic unit that is more heavily armoured version of the whirlwind (13/12/10) On the face of it the multi-launcher seems rather meh, with a 48" range, S8 AP3 and 3" blast. However, if you remain stationary the barrage is increased to a rather pleasant D3 +1, giving a nice average of 3 small blasts per turn. Don't forget also that all the shots are barrage, great for sniping those power armoured models!
In conclusion I think these chaps are a nice addition to the armoury and definitely feel they have a more defined role over the land raiders we looked at last time. The sicaran is great for medium sized vehicles / infantry / MCs, whereas each of the predators fulfills a function nicely. Anti-infantry for the Infernus with flamestorm (and heavy flamers, although mobility will limit you), anti-vehicle at range with the heavy conversion beamer, anti-MEQ/TEQ/light vehicles for the executioner and anti-heavy vehicles and TEQ for the magna melta. Secondary armaments are great for ablative damage, and again can be tailored to what you want to achieve. The hyperios is a nice unit that I would rather use over the other SM AA tanks, mainly because in my experience the AA tanks are destroyed by the flyer as soons as they arrive. Interceptor gives you the chance to at least get a shot off assuming you don't get vector struck and also allows you to target ground units at full BS should there be no airborne targets. The scorpius looks like great fun against power armoured armies, especially those dug in to relatively light cover. Just sit back, hide and shoot!
In my next article I will look at the heavy tanks in the book.