“The Sicaran Chassis is an advanced tank design with exclusive provenance to the Space Marine Legions. The Warmaster Horus would ensure many more of these machines ended up in the hands of the Traitor Legions than Loyalist in the run up to the start of the Horus Heresy”.Forgeworld, Sicaran Chassis History.
The Sicaran tank chassis features fairly regularly in armies from all Legions, both Traitor and Loyalist. This Tactica will take each of the chassis and each of its weapons variants in turn and identify the strengths and weaknesses for them. To start, what are the variants?
The Sicaran variants can be easily aligned into three specific groups:
General Purpose: Sicaran Battle Tank, Sicaran Omega Tank Destroyer, Sicaran Arcus.
Dedicated Anti-Infantry: Sicaran Punisher.
Dedicated Anti-Tank: Sicaran Venator.
Some might quibble the grouping. That’s fine as it’s my general impression having played about with all of the variants in one way shape or form. Your opinions might differ; but i’m hoping to explain my reasoning. However, firstly, let’s look at the core chassis and explore what makes the Sicaran better than Legion staples such as Predators.
Core Chassis Rules & Capability
The Sicaran is decidedly more robust than the Predator, having a one point of armour better on the sides and rear as a minimum.
|Sicaran Common Chassis||4||13||12||12||3||Vehicle (Fast, Tank)|
More crucial is its inbuilt ruleset. Not only is it Vehicle (Tank) but it is also Fast. This means it can move up to 12″ when moving Flat Out and if it moved at Cruising Speed (6-12″) it can fire up to two weapons using their full Ballistic Skill. So, deploy in cover, then burst out and start firing with the main weapons for good effect. Once out on the table, you can rapidly re-position to engage targets with very little concern.
The chassis is outfitted with Extra Armour reducing any Crew Stunned results to Crew Shaken instead. This means that even if it gets focus fired, you can still attempt to withdraw it to safety.
Offensively, nestled in next to the Drivers position is an inbuilt Heavy Bolter, providing some baked in anti-infantry protection. This uses the standard Heavy Bolter profile, so whilst it’ll whittle Power Armour or lighter armoured infantry, don’t expect too much from it against the heavier marks of plate. A Sicaran may also take Sponson mounted Heavy Bolters or Las Cannons for 20 or 40pts respectively – but you don’t have to take anything if you prefer a cleaner looking or cheaper platform. Finally, you can outfit a Sicaran with the standard range of pintle mounted weapons for the top hatch and put a Hunter-Killer missile on it for 5pts.
Defensively, the Sicaran comes outfitted with Searchlight and Smoke Launchers. Whilst these options are lesser utilised – they still have their moments where they can be indispensable – especially if you find yourself outflanked and outranged.
When it comes to modifications to the chassis, Armoured Ceramite is avalaible for 20pts, or should you be more mobility focused; Auxiliary Drive is 10pts and Dozer Blade is a further 5pts. Arguably, i take at least Armoured Ceramite and Auxiliary Drive. My thinking is that i face a lot of Melta weapons, so it makes sense to protect against it and Auxiliary Drive allows me to repair Immobilised results – something that is indispensable on a fast tank.
In summary the core chassis is a worthwhile upgrade over the Predator chassis -being higher mobility, more resilient and able to bring more firepower to bear. Most variants end up being between 200-280pts per platform for me, which is costly, but they do offer significant threat for that cost. The main shortfall for them is the lack of Invulnerable for the cost and outright lack of Av14. Considering that 280pts is getting close to an Arachnus Las Deredeo, which comes with a baked in 5++ and Str 10 Lascannons; it’s a personal and narrative driven decision for a player to make.
Regardless of its shortcomings, Sicaran are still a strong platform. The majority of that strength comes in its weapon variants. Instead of sticking to the normal Tactica format of Primary and Secondary Weapons, instead, i’ll discuss the variants outright as their primary weapon system is baked into that and cannot be switched.
General Purpose – Sicaran Battle Tank (Accelerator Autocannons) 165pts base.
Coming with Twin-Linked Accelerator Autocannons the Sicaran Battle Tank is solidly a general purpose platform.
|Accelerator Autocannon||48″||7||4||Heavy 6, Rending, Rapid Tracking|
Rending on the Accelerator Autocannons means that any to wound rolls of 6, wounds automatically and is resolved at AP 2 against infantry. So this can be occasionally nasty against Terminators or Artificer Armour equipped infantry. Against Armoured targets when calculating Armour Penetration, any rolls of 6 allow you to roll D3 and add that to the penetration result. However, these are resolved at AP 4 still.
If it isn’t clear by now your main targets are Av13 and less; this is reinforced by the Rapid Tracking rule which means that anything that can carry out a Jink cannot take it against damage from this weapon. That being said, it doesn’t have the Interceptor or Skyfire rule, so you won’t be using this to swat zooming flyers from the sky as they arrive from Reserve. Instead, Jetbikes, Skimmers, Infantry and Light Armour such as Rhinos and Predators are the core targets for this platform.
The only genuine thing i’d like to change about these is to be able to take them in a Squadron.
General Purpose – Sicaran Omega Tank Destroyer (Omega Plasma Array) – 220pts base.
Whilst given the name “Tank Destroyer”, this platform is far more than just that. Outfitted with the Omega Plasma Array, this very short ranged platform has two firing modes; Volley and Sustained. This drastically changes the platforms capability and widens the threat gamut. Its also the first of the Sicaran that can be deployed in a Squadron – which can be a boon to those using Rites of War limiting Heavy Support slots for example. It should be said at the start however, that this is the poor cousin of all of the Sicaran weapons variants – why will become clear.
|Omega Plasma Array (Sustained)||24″||9||1||Heavy 1, Plasma Burn, Gets Hot, Twin-Linked|
|Omega PLasma Array (Volley)||24″||7||2||Heavy 6, Twin-Linked|
Looking initially at the table, you can be forgiven in thinking that this is a strong platform. Actually, it is fairly strong – but its shortcomings are strong too. The short range most definitely is a limiting factor, even factoring in a 6-12″ move, with the optional side sponson weapons outstripping it fairly conclusively. Not a great start.
In sustained fire mode; only a single shot is fired and that has Gets Hot! applied to it, which means that if you roll poorly, not only will the platform be ineffectual, it can end up slowly killing itself. Remembering that Sicaran have 3 Hull Points, this isn’t too far off a reality. Twin-linked can help out in this regard, but still, it’s a volatile platform. Plasma Burn is an interesting rule whereby if an HP is lost on the enemy target as a result of this profile being used, roll a D6. on a 4+ additional HP are lost. If that 4+ resulted in a glancing hit, then the target loses 1 HP. If it was a penetrating hit, D3 HP. It might be a good sounding rule, but when you consider Exo-Shock on a Deredeo exists (on penetrating roll a D6, if the result is a 4+, a second penetrating hit is scored without any saves possible) and how good that can be – you’ll realise that its actually a pretty poor alternative.
Volley fire is slightly better in the fact that it loses Get Hot!, becoming Heavy 6, Twin-linked. However this also goes from Strength 9 to Strength 7 and AP 1 to AP 2. This does mean it’s good at mulching up infantry, which will die from the AP 2 – but it doesn’t double them out – so Feel No Pain is still available to them. Light Armour is still able to be threatened – but as with the Accelerator Autocannons on the Sicaran Battle Tank, Av14 is out of scope for the weapons engagement bracket.
It’s a difficult proposal over it’s brethren. It doesn’t do anything particularly well, aside from being volatile and its short range compounds this issue. If it were cheaper in points, it’d be more likely to be recommended, but at 220pts, it’s just expensive enough to be concerned about running it forwards into the enemies anti-tank capability.
Latest Rules: Here
General Purpose – Sicaran Arcus Strike Tank (Arcus Launcher) – 205pts base.
Firstly, some might be guffawing at how i’ve put the Arcus into a “General Purpose” category; but it’s simple really. It doesn’t really excel in a dedicated anti-tank role, nor in a dedicated anti-infantry role. It has customisable munitions, which whilst at cost to the player, make it able to counter most common threats in the game. Therefore; General Purpose.
The Arcus Strike tank brings in a new rule with it – Ripple Fire. This rule, means that if the Arcus stays still in the movement phase, then it can fire twice in the shooting phase. This, combined with the multitude of warheads that can be purchased for it and the core vehicle rules make it a genuinely solid threat to anything AV13 and less and a worry to AV14.
|Arcus Warheads||36″||8||2||Heavy 4, Cluster Warhead, Terminal Tracking|
|Neutron-Flux Warheads||24″||7||4||Heavy 4, Terminal Tracking, Neutron Flux|
|Pyrax Warheads||36″||5||4||Heavy 2, Large Blast 5″, Ignores Cover|
|Skyspear Warheads||48″||7||3||Heavy 4, Terminal Tracking, Skyfire, Interceptor|
Arcus Warheads are the stock ammunition that comes free with the Arcus Launcher. They have a plethora of rules with them that make them more vicious than the may seem at first. Remembering that Ripple Fire allows a maximum of 8, Strength 8, AP 2 shots in the shooting phase if it remained stationary, it’s further bolstered by Terminal Tracking which forces successful Jink and cover saves to be rerolled. Rounding out the viciousness, Cluster Warhead means that any successful Penetrating Hits are converted to damage by rolling D3 times on the Vehicle Damage Chart (instead of once) and applying the highest result. Being AP 2 and adding +1 to the results anyway means that most targets are in serious danger of an Explode result. It’s a viable tactic to sit back in some cover and simply wait for the enemy to roll their vehicles into that 36″ range. The downsides really are limited to one, Strength 8 – it lacks the reliability to be of genuine concern to AV14. Sure, lucky shots are things, but so are average rolls.
Neutron Flux Warheads are a 30pts choice – but they bring something genuinely terrifying for Mechanicum players – Instant Death to Cybernetica-Cortex models. For those unclear – Legio Cybernetica players; that’s near as damnit your entire army. Better yet, they retain Terminal Tracking to ensure no where is safe. The downside to this warhead comes in its short range. Virtually everything else is aimed purely as a hard counter to Mechanicum armies.
Pyrax Warheads are a 20pts choice and are for the Death Guard players lurking in us all. Whilst this lacks the permanence of true Phosphex weapons, this is a close second to them. Dropping 2 (4 if you didn’t move) Strength 5, Large Blast templates is nothing to sniff at – especially when this Ignores Cover. Against an infantry heavy force (yes Heresy armies are infantry focused, but some are more so) this can prove devastating.
Skyspear Warheads are a 15pts choice and really open the Arcus up into the all comers monster it can be. The only 48″ ranged warhead, this gains Interceptor and Skyfire making bringing flyers on from reserve and using them well extremely difficult. It’s Heavy 4, meaning if you leave it stationary it’ll be pumping 8 of those warheads at any flyer foolish enough to come close.
I normally outfit an Arcus or two out with Arcus warheads and Skyspear Warheads. That’s mainly down to my Night Lords being able to deal with power armour fairly well and in the Sons of Horus Force my Sicarans will shortly migrate to it’s the same deal. Neutron-Flux warheads are worth a shot if you face Mechanicum routinely – but you’re looking at 250pts for that with no other upgrades – it’s a very risky proposal.
The Arcus Strike Tank tends to fall down when concerted fire is applied to it and it will be due to the potential threat it presents. It’s second only to the Sicaran Venator for threat and is also the most expensive of the Sicaran chassis when taken for multi-role. If you’ve got a Spartan in your army versus one of these, there’s very little to worry about when rolling directly forwards into it, or podding a Leviathan down next to one of these to say hello in Melta Lance. Although it can offer some solid punch against anything less than AV14 or Flare Shield; it tends to struggle with reliability, requiring movement to get that side or rear armour into shot. This aside, it is still a steal, as it almost always takes more points worth of units to destroy than it costs. I genuinely think the platform excels the most when used predominantly for Anti-Air – especially against Primaris-Lightning entering the battlespace.
Latest Rules: Here
Dedicated Anti-Infantry – Sicaran Punisher (Punisher Rotary Cannon) – 190pts base.
Nothing says “infantry nemesis” like a huge multi-barrelled cannon. The Punisher Rotary Cannon is genuinely a case of superiority through overwhelming firepower.
|Punisher Rotary Cannon||36″||5||4||Heavy 18|
What’s amazing is, if 18 shots aren’t enough, you can keep it stationary and gain the Rolling Thunder rule. Effectively this grants Rending to the shooting attacks but means you’re not shooting for the next turn. This isn’t an issue as you’ll either be manoeuvring or it’ll be dead after firing that volley. You’ll drop a few shots on the hits and then converting the wounds but the reality is you’d be unfortunate not to wipe a squad of 10 (even with Artificer Armour) or at least make failing morale a certainty. However, it’s very specialised. Strength 5 means that you’ll be struggling to do much reliably to anything in a Rhino chassis or better, even with Rending.
Is it worth it? It depends. Mechanicum forces can be whittled down with one or two of these and anything in power armour or less can simply be removed from play. However, if you’re against 1st Company style armies, heavy on resilient Terminators, those 2+ saves can really weaken the effective firepower, even when parked up and Rending. Also, because they’re not doubled out, Primus Medicaes can further reduce the damage taken. So it’s very local meta dependent. Though it never gets old unleashing a wild torrent of Brrrrt! onto an enemy squad.
Latest Rules: Here
Dedicated Anti-Tank – Sicaran Venator (Neutron Beam Laser) – 190pts base.
This is the true Tank Destroyer. The one model that gets targeted from the off for focus fire moreso than even the Sicaran Arcus. The reason is the efficacy of the Neutron Beam Laser. That efficacy comes at a cost – Dangerous Reactor Core means that if an enemy scores a penetrating hit on the Venator, they can re-roll any ones on the Vehicle Damage table and should it explode, it adds D3″ to the distance.
|Neutron Beam Laser||36″||10||1||Ordnance 2, Concussive, Shock Pulse|
The stats speak for themselves really. At 36″, you can reach out and touch enemy armour like a foot stamping melting butter. What’s more is that being Ordnance 2, when you are rolling to penetrate you roll 2D6 and pick the highest result, further improving your chance to penetrate. You’re also adding +2 to the Vehicle Damage chart with the weapon being AP 1 and, should the target survive, it’s in for even more trouble. Concussive means that any unsaved woulds from a weapon with this special rule have their Initiative reduced to 1 until the end of the following Assault phase.
Doesn’t sound useful? Shoot it at Angron or similar before charging into combat with them. Against some nasty Knights, Titans or Vehicles? Shock Pulse means that any vehicle, including Super-Heavies that suffer a penetrating hit may only fire snapshots on the following game turn. Yes, you read that right. A 190pts Sicaran Venator can shut down a c.590 Acastus Porphyrion with a single well placed shot. Strong. There’s no double firing here, so you’ll be able to hide and then manoeuvre to shoot.
The downside is their success. Everyone playing Heresy has seen or knows of the threat these possess and prioritises them for destruction. An Arcus Strike Tank can be countered by running Spartans, Land Raiders and Leviathans at it. The Venator will simply pick the closest crocodile, manoeuvre to the movement limit of the enemy and attempt to erase the approaching unit – usually to high degree of success. The old adage of Heavy Support is slightly altered; One is none, two is some, three is disgusting in this case.
This Tactica series has started off mostly focusing on assets that fulfil the anti-tank role in an army. This entry introduces the first genuinely anti-infantry focused weapon systems and also what can be regarded as one of the finest anti-tank/super-heavy weapon systems in the game. It’s rarefied air there, inhabited by a Primaris-Lightning Strike Fighter with Krakens and Super-heavies.
In summary, there’s actually only one Sicaran chassis i’d avoid. The Omega just doesn’t provide the bang for buck that the others do in their specialised or general purpose roles. It’s also likely to induce “sods law” and shuffle its own mortal coil off by itself at the most inopportune moment. In short – for 220pts base you can buy better.
The main Battle Tanks, whilst a General Purpose unit, do well. I’ve run two previously which do well in a harassing role – even against AV14, as long as you don’t forget Rending. It’s clearly not a dedicated anti-tank platform, but it’ll do work against Rhino chassis platforms and infantry, allowing it to effectively chase down and destroy transports and their contents, whilst heavier, more focused units deal with the AV14 threats reliably. Its weakness is its armament and armour – it can’t deal with AV14 and it’s own armour is susceptible to Strength 9 and above.
The Punisher is the one to go for when you’re a tactical player. After all, the enemy can’t score if they have no troops. Heavy 18 is brutal, god forbid you are playing ambush and the one being ambushed, loosing 36 shots out. The Brrt! is real, but just remember that you still need some dedicated anti-tank in Heavy Support as this won’t pull that detail. It’s counter is pretty much anything that has armour that doubles out its Strength 5 weapon. Which, as it turns out, is quite a lot.
The Arcus was the hot-topic recently and still features heavily. It’s a solid performer thanks to Ripple Fire and able to genuinely multi-role and protect from the ever present hard-counter to armour that is the Primaris-Lightning Strike Fighter.
The Venator is the true monster of the bunch. Able to shut down units many times its points cost and devastate anything with armour on the table, it can also be used tactically to immensely reduce the efficacy of the targets you really don’t want to get into melee with unless they’re concussed – namely Primarchs. Hell, if you can get its voids down, this thing will deny a c.2900pts Warlord Titan the opportunity to bellow its unadulterated wrath. It’s weakness is really just how good it is – rain shitty death on it until it doesn’t exist anymore and the problem goes away. However, being 190pts, that’s arguably not a huge issue because for 190pts, you might as well take two…