By: Anthony S. Altovilla
Khadoran warjacks are known for being slow, heavily armed and obnoxiously armored. This setup is exemplified by the Juggernaut Chassis, four signature warjacks that all share the same basic body structure and similar stat lines. In MK. II, Khador jacks were something that most players took only because they had to, fortunately in MK. III this is no longer the case. Khadoran warjacks are a significant and potent component of the Khadoran arsenal and the Decimator, Destroyer, Juggernaut and Marauder are excellent examples of the kind of heavy arms that Khador brings to the table.
The Juggernaut Chassis consists of four different variations of the same jack, each with a different weapon loadout: the Decimator, Destroyer, Juggernaut and Marauder. All four jacks share a similar stat line with SPD 4, STR 12, MAT 7, RAT 4, DEF 10, ARM 20 and 34 boxes. This means that these jacks are slow, heavily armored and geared towards melee more than ranged combat, but their individual abilities can make notable changes to their effectiveness.
The Decimator sports a ripsaw and a dozer, which is like an oversized six shooter. The dozer is a range 10” POW 15 gun with ROF 2 and Beat Back. In almost any other army, this gun would be downright amazing, and even in Khador it can be devastating. Unfortunately, Khador’s lack of range extenders, the Decimator’s slow speed and low RAT keep the gun’s power in check. Because of the low RAT, it is almost necessary to boost to hit against even other Khadoran heavies, but the high POW on the gun can make it worthwhile.
The Decimator’s ripsaw is a P+S 17 weapon with sustained attack. This makes it one of the best weapons for carving through an enemy heavy. The high P+S and increased accuracy from sustained attack make the weapon amazing at taking enemies apart in melee. If you can increase the damage of the ripsaw (such as through the Fury spell) you’ll be able to hit at straight dice against even Khadoran heavies. With MAT 7 you can be reasonably certain of hitting on your first attack, although spending the focus to boost is still worth considering because of the guaranteed hits on subsequent attacks.
Some important tricks to remember with the Decimator are that you can use Beat Back to advance further upfield or push an enemy out of a zone. This can give the Decimator a couple inches of extra threat over other Khadoran heavies provided that the enemy can’t (or won’t) risk trying to take him out. With the Decimator further up field you can set up piece trades more on your terms or bait out enemy heavies. The Decimator is not a dedicated ranged platform (Khador doesn’t have those) but is a powerful combined arms piece with options and adaptability. At 16 points, it is the most expensive member of the Juggernaut chassis, but it does bring a lot to the table.
Like the Decimator, the Destroyer is a combined arms jack. This warjack sports a RNG 14, AOE 4”, POW 14 bombard and a P+S 17 Executioner Axe. The Destroyer has fewer special rules than the Decimator, with only Arcing Fire on the bombard and Critical Amputation on the Executioner Axe.
The Bombard, while just as inaccurate as the Decimator’s dozer, is a blast weapon with a relatively large AOE. This makes it more suited to attacking groups of infantry instead of enemy warjacks or beasts. The POW is high enough that the bombard could be used to damage lights or less durable heavies, but the low accuracy means that the bombard does most of its work with blast damage. The difficulty of landing bombard shots where you need them is frustrating, but a 4” AOE can clear a decent area of the field.
The Executioner Axe is really not all that special unfortunately. It has higher than average P+S for a jack with a ranged weapon, but it relies on a critical effect to make the most of it. Critical Amputation fills in the remaining boxes on the last branch or column you damaged. In the case of regular lights or heavies the most you can hope for is an extra 5 damage, but the damage can be significantly higher against gargantuans. However, the fact that this is a critical effect makes relying on this largely not worth it.
So whereas the Decimator is a combined arms jack that specializes in hunting down other heavies, the Destroyer is a combined arms jack that likes to take out infantry at range and can do work against enemy heavies or lights once that option no longer becomes viable. At 14 points it’s a cheaper option than the Decimator, and depending on your opponent’s list it might be able to do the same amount of work.
The Juggernaut might be the most iconic of the Khadoran warjacks. A strictly melee jack, it carries an open fist and a P+S 19 Ice Axe with critical stationary. This jack possesses one of the highest base P+S melee weapons around, making it an ideal jack for eliminating enemy heavies. The Juggernaut also loves anything that boosts its POW, although depending on the target that may seem like overkill.
The Juggernaut’s open fist is something that is nice to have, but at P+S 15 it really only serves to soften up the enemy or enable the Juggernaut to throw enemies should that be something tactically necessary. If the juggernaut is going up against two enemy heavies, spending a focus to throw one away will knock them down and do some scratch damage, which might make things easier, or it could open up an enemy for a targeted attack by another jack and the increased accuracy can make sure the enemy goes down to whatever it is you’re sending in next.
The Ice Axe sits at P+S 19, which is very high for a non-character jack weapon. Critical stationary is nice to have against many opponents if it triggers, as it can give you the necessary accuracy to put down the enemy with your follow up attacks. Under Fury, the Juggernaut can hit at P+S 22 which will make even other Khadoran jacks shudder in fear. Sometimes this will be overkill, but if your opponent has access to ARM buffs, all you’re really doing is levelling the playing field.
The Juggernaut is a simple melee bruiser with a lot of power behind it and a little bit of versatility as the only member of its chassis with access to throw power attacks. Most of the time this won’t matter much, as its P+S 19 axe and high MAT will do far more work.
The last version of the Juggernaut chassis is the Marauder. Sporting a pair of Ram Pistons, this melee jack is designed to slam things all over the board and to hunt down huge based enemy models.
The Marauder’s two Ram Pistons are P+S 16 weapons, making it the least damaging member of the Juggernaut family, at least on its face. However, the special abilities of these ram pistons can make them much more useful under the right conditions.
The Marauder comes with the star attack Combo Smite. Trading out one of its initials for a POW 20 slam attack against the target gives the Marauder some ability to provide board control and enables knockdown and collateral damage shenanigans against enemies. An aimed slam attack can put targets into threat range of your other jacks, clear charge lanes, or knock down enemy casters while still doing significant damage to most targets.
Against huge based models (battle engines, colossals, gargantuans and some warcasters) the Marauder gains an additional damage die on its attacks thanks to its Siege Weapon rule. Since most huge based models are ARM 19, this extra die can make up for the lower POW of the Marauder’s Ram Pistons. If you can add a damage buff to the Marauder, it can be a major threat to enemy colossals or gargantuans as 4 dice worth of damage on a charge can take out up to half their boxes in a single swing.
The Marauder is the cheapest of the Juggernaut chassis jacks, at only 10 pts. This makes it easier to fit into a list that needs just a little extra power, although the Juggernaut may still be more attractive if you lack the damage buffs to really push the Marauder to the limits. If you play against a lot of colossals or battle engines, two Marauders in your list can go a long way towards swinging the game in your favor and are only ⅔ the cost of most colossals.
Sadly, no jack is perfect, and if you plan on using these warjacks it is important that you know the drawbacks of these jacks, as well as how to mitigate them.
The first major drawback is something shared by all Khador jacks: Slow speed. All these jacks are SPD 4, with 1” reach. This means that they only threat 8” on the charge without caster support. Fortunately, many Khador casters have abilities that improve the speed of their warjacks, so there are ways to mitigate this. The other thing to remember is that SPD is only important when you’re trying to close with the opponent. Once you’re in their face it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are.
The second major drawback is their low RAT. While the Juggernaut and Marauder could care less about this, your Decimator and Destroyer will really wish they had a higher number to use. Unfortunately, Khador is lacking in buffs for ranged attacks, which means that you’ll spend a lot of focus boosting attack rolls. The other problem is aiming. With only 10” on the dozer and 14” on the bombard, aiming a shot is difficult to pull off, because you will end up in charge distance of the enemy a lot of times. And with the access to SPD buffs that Khador has you can extend your melee threat enough that it might be better to spend that focus on a charge instead of trying to hit with a low RAT shot.
The final major drawback is their low DEF. DEF 10 is extremely easy for most enemies to hit, and while Khadoran Jacks sport the kind of ARM that will shrug off most attacks, when you’re being attacked by an enemy heavy every attack that misses you is a lot of damage you don’t take. Khadoran jacks are tough, but even they can be killed by a fully loaded assault from an enemy heavy. Khador tends to lack ways to boost the armor of their jacks, so if your opponent has a damage boosted heavy you don’t have any way to counter that, and with your slow speed they are likely to be able to get the alpha strike. In addition, the low DEF leaves you open to spells. You might laugh at a POW 12 or 13 hit, but when you’ve been parasited, befuddled, hit by telekinesis or any of the other dozens of control and debuff spells available you start to wish your opponent missed on something higher than double ones.
Overcoming the Weaknesses
The best way to overcome the key weaknesses of the Juggernaut chassis often involve careful positioning and leveraging the abilities of your warcasters. Most Khadoran warcasters have one or more ways to increase the mobility of their jacks, from reposition, to SPD boosting spells to feats that take Khadoran jacks from among the slowest models on the field to the fastest. They also frequently possess abilities to increase the focus efficiency of your jacks, providing free charges, boosts or other effects that allow you to spend less focus while still being reasonably confident of getting the necessary work done.
The use of cheap, plentiful infantry can help screen your warjacks on the approach and begin the piece trade on more favorable terms, blunting the enemy alpha strike while you position your jacks for the all important counterattack. Units like the Winter Guard or Iron Fang Pikemen (Black Dragons may be better for this specific use thanks to sidestep) can screen for your jacks. If you are running in the Jaws of the Wolf theme, your only large body unit choice is the Kayazy Assassins, so in such a case it may be better to put one of your jacks further forward as bait while you position your other jacks for a counter attack. Other themes, like the Winter Guard or the Legion of Steel themes provide powerful infantry pieces in a ranged or melee variety that can help ease the burden on your warjacks and let them really focus on what they do best: shredding enemy heavies.
In the end, the Juggernaut chassis jacks exemplify Khadoran values. They are tough, hard hitting, independent and flexible. If you’re picking up the battle box for Khador you’ll be starting off with two of these jacks to begin your collection, so it pays to get familiar with them as they’ll be a staple of your lists for as long as you continue to serve the empire.