Burn xenos, burn!
With my three Hellhounds completed and with several requests for this article, it is time to take a look at the Hellhound variants.
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The three types of Hellhound are straight out of the scissors, paper and stone handbook. Each one does a specific job well – and not much else.
I know there are new and veteran wargamers that browse this forum – but there is only one kit for all three variants. The Hellhound kit makes the Hellhound, Bane Wolf and Devil Dog.
We can further augment their decent ability with the Astra Militarum Regiment doctrines. Some doctrines are more beneficial than others.
The Hellhound is the classic variant and is best used to bathe swathes of weak infantry in flames.
It has a decent range at 16″ and does 2D6 shots that auto hit. Strength 6, AP-1 and 1 Damage – perfectly suited for taking out Infantry that is Toughness 3, 4 or 5 with a weak save.
Don’t forget that the ability to auto hit makes the Hellhound a very nice option against Flyers which have -1 to hit modifiers or stealth units that have minus to hit modifiers.
Catachan makes the most sense for the Hellhound. Of the 2D6 shots, you can re-roll one of those dice. This maximises the number of shots you can put out and because they are auto hitting there is no need to boost our to hit roll.
Using MathHammer we can see that a Catachan Hellhound will kill 5 Toughness 3 enemies with a 5+ save. Or 4 models that are Toughness 4 or Toughness 5.
Valhallans could also be handy to ensure maximum movement range for extended periods.
In the above image against the Death Guard, I took two Cadian Hellhounds. Their Regimental Doctrine had no real benefit here, but they were nearly painted and I wanted to use them. And as expected, the performance exactly like all newly painted models. They died.
Bane Wolf Variant
The Bane Wolf is a chemical variant. It only has an 8″ range, auto hits and does D6 shots. It also always wounds on a 2+ unless the target has the Vehicle keyword. This aspect is very important. It’s an elite infantry and monster killer. Facing a huge Tyranid monster? No problem, wounds on a 2+. And at AP-3 their save is always taking a hammering too. The one damage is probably the poorest part of this weapon profile though. It gives you a maximum damage output of 6 – if you roll perfectly.
Bane Wolf Regiment
Just like the Hellhound, we want to maximise the number of shots because we are auto hitting. So a Catachan Bane Wolf is ideal.
Devil Dog Variant
The vehicle destroyer of the group. The Melta Cannon has a range of 24″ and D3 shots. It’s an Assault weapon though, the other variants have Heavy weapons. This gives it the ability to fire after advancing with a -1 to hit modifier.
At Strength 8 and -4 AP this is definitely a vehicle killer. At half-range it does D6 damage but using two dice and you pick the highest result. Over half range, it’s just D6.
For most vehicle targets you will be wounding on a 3+ and they’ll get no save.
I do feel like this weapon will suffer from the same issues I found with the Thermal weapon on Armiger Warglaives – which is that it was always underwhelming.
Let us look at an example, shooting at a Chimera type vehicle. D3 shots mean an average of 2, hitting on a 4+ mean 1 will hit. So now we have one shot which hit, this now means we need to wound with this one shot on a 3+. That’s a 66% chance of success and a 33% chance of failure. I don’t like these odds. It’s very easy to flake out with this type of weapon. One wrong roll and it results in nothing happening at all.
Devil Dog Regiment
We’ve two obstacles to overcome here. The low number of shots and the to hit roll. Unfortunately, we don’t have one Regiment that can fix both issues.
Catachan can give us a re-roll on the D3 shots. That’s a tough call. Roll a one, yes re-roll. Roll a 2? Do you keep it?
Cadian seems like a better option. We can re-roll ones to hit if we stay stationary. If the target has already taken a wound then we can use Overlapping Fields of Fire to get us a +1 to hit. So we are hitting on a 3+ and re-rolling ones. That’s decent. We can always use a Command Re-Roll for the number of shots – if we get a one.
The Devil Dog is a tough unit to ensure you get a decent return from. Maybe take three?
A Tallarn unit of three Devil Dogs could give the enemy a freight! You can use the Ambush Stratagem to get them all near the enemy on turn 2. Then unleash a Melta storm!
Seriously consider taking Track Guards for your Hellhound Variants. Doing so means the movement characteristic does not degrade along with their profile. Your Hellhounds will be must more effective for longer and will be operating at their best right up until they are slain.
Do not forget the physical footprint of the Hellhound. It is of significant size and can be used to move forward and block enemy charges and enemy vehicles. Especially if you have three.
This applies mainly to the Hellhound Variant who explode on a 4+ and not a 6+. This gives you a 50% chance of causing D3 Mortal Wounds to units with D6″. This is important and forces our opponent to make some fairly difficult decisions. A Hellhound on 1 wound that is auto-hitting and that has Track Guards is as effective as a Hellhound on full wounds. So the enemy needs to kill them to remove that hurt from the battlefield.
By killing them though they run the risk of Mortal Wounds spilling into their lines. This could be particularly devastating against characters who were expecting to be safe. Killing a key enemy character by accident in this way would be a massive boost to your forces.
Heavy Flamer always, if you have the points. Given that your Hellhound Variants will be getting close; because of their short range and mortal wounds. It makes sense to take the Heavy Flamer. You will be moving a lot too. So another auto hitting weapon is perfect to remove the crutch of having to hit on a 5+ if you move.
The Artemia Hellhound is from Forgeworld and is a special Hellhound Variant. It only does D6 shots, but you roll 2 dice and discard the lowest. It also does 2 Damage – not 1! This makes it a good anti-armour version of the Hellhound.
This means you do not need to go for the Catachan Regiment to maximise shots as this is already written into the Artemia’s rules. OK, you could go Catachan to re-roll one of the dice and then discard the lowest, but it is not needed. Instead, you could go for Valhallan and remove the need to take Track Guards.
The Artemia also explodes on a 4+ – so it too is a great suicide tank. But it always explodes with a range of 6″ and does D6 Mortal Wounds, not D3. So drive it at enemy armour!