With the Gloomspite Gitz Army, Fanatics are back in a big way! The Loonsmasha Fanatics have more tactical uses than most people suspect. Here is some well-tested trickery to get the most out of these awesome units (and awesome new sculpts!)
See the descriptions below for the details; here are two key tactical principals to keep in mind:
1) The-more-the-merrier! Take 10 of them instead of 5. Actually 15 might be too much as its hard to get all the 32mm bases in contact at that size, unless you are going for a massive grot front line (not a bad thing!). We need a tactical keyword for the principal of “committing” to a unit with numbers. I would say strength-in-numbers but given the nature of FANATICS the-more-the-merrier seems fitting.
2) scorched-earth! razed-to-the-ground! Here is the slightly subtle tactic. Most gamers seem to say “well they hit hard but then they die”. True, but only if there is an enemy unit left alive to attack! I have been surprised how they hang around for an extra turn or two! Increase their numbers and make sure to pick a target that will be utterly eliminated, and stay 3″ from anyone else, even if it means backing off a fanatic or two.
3) better-with-friends. These guys attack at the “start” so you immediately can pick ANOTHER unit to pile in. For example, if you charge in with some Fellwater Troggoths to make sure the target unit is decimated so your FANATICS are on the table. MANGLER SQUIGS is a bad idea because they explode when slain, and for some reason I always lose 3 fanatics from this.
Think about your opponents misery knowing 10 fanatics are sitting on the board. Even if they have shooters or spells, this means the fanatics will soak up all those assets! With bravery of 10 killing just a few will not be enough as they will pass battleshock! If they don’t have spells or shooting, since fanatics fight at the start, they have a real problem. If this is turn two, and you roll and get a double turn, you may actually start feeling sorry for your opponent!
“This unit fights at the start of the combat phase” – and that is not just the turn it charges. This is the key to unleashing their full potential.
Units it Synergises With
Not really a synergy, but a requirement; they must be “hidden” in a MOONCLAN GROT unit. See “how to use” below for the tactical synergies.
The Loonsmasha Fanatics, since they have the somewhat isolated “FANATIC” keyword, have no direct army buffs. Maybe that’s good, because they are already lethal! However, since they “hide” in a unit of MOONCLAN GROTS,
THE HAND OF GORK is incredible for providing a means to deep strike at your opponents vulnerable spots. Its casting value is 7 so its not a sure thing. Make sure you place a caster 30″ away from enemy wizards! Remember that the unit of GLOOMSPITE GITZ must be 3″ away from enemies as well (you can’t “retreat”).
Fanatics are included in the SKULKMOB HORDE. However, its not worth building an army around this, unless your are all about GROTS and FANATICS – which isn’t a bad thing!
How to Use the Unit in Game
The MOONCLAN GROTS that carry the FANATICS have many synergies, but none as important as HAND OF GORK which allows you to “teleport” ANYWHERE on the board 9″ away from the enemy. Since you set up the fanatics at the start of the charge phase “wholly within 3″ of the unit” you have a 6″ charge instead of 9″! I try to run a hero in the area to allow a CP charge reroll if possible. We joke that it is best to “ambush from the front” as you stay near your main army for support.
Of course, you can also use them as a screen, and with all the fast moving alpha-strike units and battalions, screens are vital in the current “meta“. counter is to charge with two units and forcing the Fanatics to split their attacks so that their are surviving models to end the fanatics, and then allow the other unit to pile in to the real target. Your Gitz can counter this by NOT releasing them and letting your grots take the hit (with -1 to hit netters) and then releasing the fanatics on your own terms, 3″ from them (allowing a charge!).
Pros & Cons
They are great! There are no cons, other than making blunders with them when you set up (which I have done too often, and yet somehow they still were effective!) Beware units with “pile in from 6” away rules and anything that occurs “at the start of combat” and avoid! Of course, -1 to hit units are rough, so avoid these, or realize you will lose a ton of damage output. Finally, Night Haunt and units the avoid rend will negate their -2 rend effectiveness!
This is a chance to get a little crazy with colors in your army! I just put my base coats on mine, but I am thinking of a crazy circus theme for these guys, with different colors for the hats, and maybe polka-dots (because it looks like mushrooms, which I would think these guys hold in very high regard!)