So in order to utilize these guys as best as possible you are going to need to get as much damage as possible out of them. A solid turn or two of D6 shots out of them before charging in is preferable but usually this wont be possible so don’t try and force it. You might need to move them for an objective or get them up closer to the fight so don’t be depending on the D6 shots.
They’re lightly armored and have low bravery so be careful with them and don’t leave them open to getting attacked too easily. If they don’t get a turn of shooting followed by a charge they are not going to be doing very well. As well as this you need to maybe back them up with another unit to pull pile in moves away and minimize damage coming back at them.
At first glance you might think that this unit can do some solid damage with the potential D6 shots. However the cruel reality is that they will more often than not be only ever doing D3 shots. so with an average of two shots per model (1/2 a shot per wound), they hit on 4+ and wound on a 3+. That means on average, for every 3 leadbelchers you will wound twice. That is 6 wounds a turn before saves with 9 leadbelchers. 420 points, will on average if there is a target every turn and they remain full strength will cause 30 wounds in a game before saves with their shooting weapons. Let that sink in. Against a 4+ save that is 4 damage a turn from this unit of 9. I really hope your picking up what I’m laying down here.
One thing i noticed about this unit was that their combat far surpassed their shooting in terms of damage output. they have only 2 attacks each which hit on 4+ wound on 3+, -1 and 2 damage. Its still nothing to write home about since each model only gets 2 attacks.
The only ability on their warscroll is their piss poor shooting condition. If they don’t move and don’t have an enemy within 3″ they can fire D6 shots instead of D3.
Units That Synergise With It
Butcher with Cauldron
The +1 to hit buff can make these guys more reliable especially if you have two and actually get them off in a turn. It requires two 1/3 chances but if you get both of these off while you are able to fulfill your D6 shots condition then a big unit of these can do a lot of damage with a charge as well. Now this is a lot to ask so I will say that if you use these and are depending on this happening then prepare to be disappointed as their are a lot of moving parts required for this to happen.
Having grots to screen leadbelchers means they can shoot at units with their D6 shots a lot easier. Use the tyrants bully ability on a large unit of grots, tie up an important unit, fire D6 shots at them for a few turns and hope you get lucky with your rolls. 9 Leadbelchers firing D6 shots still only yield s 5-6 wounds on average.
Units it Synergises With
They make nothing nothing better.
Ok so the destruction allegiance ability is the only thing that can really make these guys good. If your lucky and get the allegiance ability off on them, then you have a chance to get in range and still do D6 shots. If you are really lucky and get it off twice then you’ll certainly catch an opponent off guard. There are a couple of things to consider here though. One make sure characters are in range. Two, if you get it off twice, then make sure the first one doesn’t take them out of range of the second. Lastly, when using screens of grots they will prohibit you from moving too far and getting into range so be mindful of this also.
How to Use the Unit in Game
So my initial plan for these guys is to try and use them to zone enemies off. I was hoping opponents would be afraid to get within range of the unit. With that in mind I positioned them behind a screen of gutbuster grots and near the objectives where I know opponents will be sending units. I keep the leadbelchers just over 3″ behind the front of the unit so that when the grots are charged I’ll have D6 shots always. The plan then would be to shell a unit for a couple of turns with 9D6 shots and eventually charge them with either the ogors, ironguts or the leadbelchers themselves in an attempt to finish off the unit.
In hindsight, this was a terrible plan as it hinged on me sitting in place waiting for the opponent to recklessly charge the grots in the perfect spot. In reality the opponent avoids the grots, brings on reserves behind my leadbelchers (if i leave a gap) or focuses on a different side of the battlefield, meaning the leadbelchers are out of range for a couple of turns. Sure I can sit them near important objectives but in a game where there are so many objectives the opponent can choose to avoid them.
The best way to utilize this unit is to treat them as a combat unit with a compliment of shooting. Their shooting can help clear that last model from an objective or remove a small screen of models from an important target so they can charge.
Pros & Cons
Ranged unit in an army with not a lot of range
Rend -1 on shooting and combat
Ranged shooting on average is awful (D3 shots yields 2 wounds per 3 models, D6 shots yields 3.5 wounds per 3 models)
Not a lot of attacks
No unit buffs
Not much army synergy