The Death Engine
Death Engines are the odd contraptions found in the Ratkin list. A few options that completely change this unit so lots to discuss with this one.
Speed of 6 good for this unit. It wont hurt anything on it's own so you want it backed up by your other units.
Melee of 4+ is alright, any hit that gets through will hurt but 4+ certainly isn't bad.
Defense of 5+ is really good, even with bane chant on your enemy attacks most of them will be hurting you on 4s.
Attacks is a bit shaky... you have between 8-13 attacks. These attacks are potentially strong but it is not going to ruin hordes or even regiments on it's own. But it seems clear the Death Engine is not for taking things down on it's own. If it rolls high you get a decent amount of attacks for your points but if it rolls low you are going to be disappointed... obviously.
Nerve of 16 with no waver is good. It has the defence and staying power of a regiment of knights which is great for it's points.
170 points is alright but given it's upgrades which we will talk about later there isn't much to ponder here.
Overall above average in everything but attacks can be variable. But it's more important with this unit to talk about it's upgrades and how that changes it's role in the army.
This review will have to be a little different since we are looking at 2 different units ultimately. Since the Stats here are pretty straight forward I think we can mix this one in with the tactics.
Upgrades + Profile + Tactics
Alright so first up we do the Vile Sorcery upgrade.
This is my personal favourite of the upgrades. For 40 points you gain Piercing 2 Firebolts with 4+ range. With it's height of 4 (monster) you can safely sit behind a horde lobbing attacks at enemy support units and chaff while your main lines deal with more important targets.
Eliminating enemy bane chanters or damaging hordes before a charge can be issued is a great benefit to have on such a tall unit. If it really comes down to it you can even charge with this thing. It's role is even further improved with it's "Rally 1" ability and depending on the units you are supporting it is likely you will have something giving you extra nerve as well.
Unlike the dreaded warmachines of this list the Death Engine can move at the double and keep up with troops. The obvious height advantage is there along with the better defense this unit becomes among the better shooters of a list relegated to 12" shooters for the most part. It can hit relatively hard if your other units need the help making it a very decent support unit.
Second is the Bloody Carnage upgrade.
It's very unfortunate that bloody Carnage does not increase the attacks. Obviously it's attacks hit a little harder with vicious and crushing strength 2 (Thunderous charge 1) but it still only has a few attacks. However it only costs 195 points compared to the VIle Sorcery upgrade.
It's role is similar to it's ranged brother but instead of being behind the main line it should be among the main line. Have it charge alongside your troops and give an extra punch to any unit that needs a helping hand. Remember this unit still has Rally so this is something it can do pretty well.
Death Engine with this upgrade competes with the Mutant Rat Fiend. They are both very similar with some key differences but we can get into that when the Rat Fiend is up.
Bloody Carnage only causes a little more Bloody Carnage in combat than his brother Vile Sorcery. Personally I would stick to Vile Sorcery since it threatens both at range and up close.
No Upgrades it is below average. Better served to get Rally through another horde or character for the points. Really you want the upgrades as it makes the unit considerably better.
The Vile Sorcery Upgrade is Pretty Good. It does the same job as unupgraded and does a similar job to Bloody carnage but can also put pressure at range. I would consider one after the necessities have been purchased to help out the battle line.
The Bloody Carnage is also Below Average. Honestly at that point you may as well go all out on the Rat Fiend who starts off at 5 points more however both have pros and cons that are worth considering. Rat Fiend is also more reliable.
In my view this is a support unit and the one that does this the best is the Vile Sorcery Death Engine. As been said it can remove support units as it towers over the battle line or remove chaff as your line advances and even force the enemy to come close or keep taking fire. It does so much more than the other variants of the Death Engine.
This was an interesting unit to review, honestly I have never come across nor have I even heard of it until today. I think it's role is very clear though as support no matter the upgrade you decide to go with. If your experience differs from my thoughts let me know.
Someone has requested that the following unit is reviewed:
Flea Bag Riders - Goblins