The Destroyer is Your Bestest Friend (after me, that is)
With this blog I am going to try something new - analysis of some Warmachine units/minis. I like to think I have a bit of a different perspective than other Warmachine players (dont we all?). I enjoy taking minis and units that are normally poo-poo'd by the greater Warmachine community and see if I can find the context to make those models useful. I enjoy this doubly so when I have a theme I am working on and slavishly keep a model in the list despite its supposed ineffectiveness. Naturally, the Destroyer, which kicked so much butt in 1e and is now considered obsolete in 2e by many Warmachine players, is the 'Jack I field most often and have the best results with. I think I am going to call this series of Blogs "Pithy Analysis."
Pithy Analysis: The Destroyer
Even now, they cannot escape the shadow of "the Big guy."
The Destroyer gets unfairly maligned by pretty much every Khador player because it isnt the Behemoth. The Destroyer is nine points, gets you good ARM, a great ranged weapon (the bombard), and a solid (if unexciting) melee weapon. The Behemoth is 13 points, gets you two bombards, has great melee, has an extra point of armor, and looks sweet. So, for a measly four points more you get a lot more return on your investment, right? Right? Wrong. The reality is that the Destroyer continues to fill a useful role in Khador's arsenal - and is not supplanted in all instances by the Behemoth. Its All About the Gun.
Lets get the basics of the bombard out of the way-- long range; great POW (for a gun); 3'' AOE (to force good placement by your opponent and to still hit even when you miss); arcing fire (to ignore annoying screens); and because of that AOE, the ability to hit stealthed solos (I'm looking at you Eiyrss). Thats quite a set of abilities.
Fool'd ya! Its actually all About the Mission.
What the Destroyer does is give a Khador player a mobile and amazingly survivable gun platform that can also defend itself in melee -- for 9 points. That's the key right there, when you have a role to fill, you should fill it as efficiently as possible. Yeah, yeah, the Behemoth is better in many ways, but its also four more points. If you dont have to spend four more points to get the job done - then dont. Simply upgrading to the Behemoth in all cases is wasting a large percentage of your available army list.
To put it another way, if you are trying to save money, and you can buy a nice Mazda for $20,000 to get to work or you can buy a nice BMW for $70,000 - which should you buy? Yes, the Mazda isnt as sexy as the BMW, but for utility, it does the same thing. Drawing the analogy out, you can do the same for making lists. You can choose fluff over substance (which is totally okay by me, heck, I encourage it), or you can choose to streamline your list. Since we are talking about relative utility of the Destroyer and I am (vainly) trying to convince you, dear reader, that the Behemoth isnt always the better choice, lets just put aside fluff and aesthetics for the time being. Phew.
The Behemoth, Focus, and You!
One! Two! Two bombards! Ah, ha, ha!
Dont overlook the fact that the Destroyer is arguably our best model for taking and holding objectives. If you play games as something other than run-run-melee (which many Khador players seem to think is the only option - more power to them I guess), then the Destroyer is extremely valuable. It can advance to a spot, and with its armor absorbing hit after hit, hold that point for a couple rounds (at least). Better yet, since its bombard has great range and amazing hitting power, the Destroyer can camp that spot and still participate in the battle -- hitting challengers and severely weakening them before they ever get close to the objective point. When/if your opponent gets something to the point to try to push the Destroyer off, it has that handy axe for defending itself. There are other ways to take and hold an objective, but none so menacing and hard for your opponent to deal with than the (wrongfully-maligned) Destroyer. ...oh, and the Destroyer can hit stealthed targets at range. I've seen my opponent bring Eiryss to the table, just to see her wiped off the map by a nicely deviated bombard shot -- and then the Destroyer (in subsequent turns) deals ranged death to my opponent's most valuable models. Great armor + strong gun + great range = ideal unit to take and hold objectives.
Pithy Analysis Conclusion: Use the Destroyer when you need:
1) A powerful shooty unit in your army (one of the best Khador has to offer).
2) To hold an objective (the best Khador has to offer).
3) When the Behemoth is too expensive.