Saturday, 14 November 2015

Leviathan Siege Dreadnought Analysis

The Leviathan Siege Dreadnought. It's new. It looks cool. But is it worthit? Macca here, and today we take a look at the Leviathan, the newest Dreadnought from Forge World. Now, I will preface this article with the fact that 'worthit' is a subjective term. Rule of Cool always trumps in-game performance, and I do think this thing looks awesome, but we are going to look at this walker from a gaming perspective.

Ok, so where do we start? Cost. This thing costs a bucket load of points, more than a Land Raider, stock it's only 100 points less than an Imperial Knight! But what about with weapons and upgrades?

-Comes with: Heavy Flamers S5 AP4 Assault 1, Template

 -5 pt upgrade from heavy flamers: Volkite Caliver S5 AP6 Assault 2, Deflagrate Twin-linked

-Comes with: Leviathan siege claw - X2 AP2 Melee, Wrecker, Severing Cut

-5 pts each: Leviathan siege drill - X2 AP2 Melee, Wrecker, Armourbane

-20 pts each: Grav-flux bombard 18" † AP2 Heavy 1, Large Blast (5"), No Cover Saves, Pinning,
Graviton Collapse†, Torsion Crusher

-10 pts each: Leviathan storm cannon 24" 7 AP3 Heavy 6, Sunder

-15 pts: Phosphex discharger 6"-18" 5 AP2 Heavy 3, One Use, Barrage, Blast (3"),
Poison (3+), Crawling Fire, Lingering Death

-20 pts: Armoured Ceramite

Well... kitted out for dakka, with two grav-bombards and you're looking at a unit costing 310 points! That's without Armoured Ceramite, a Phosphex Discharger or Volkites. This unit with all those upgrades costs 350 points! That's just 25 points less than a Knight Paladin! Holy crap!

Weapon Stats and Pros/Cons:
 Ok, ok, we might be overreacting, but lets look at the weapons themselves and the applications.

 -Leviathan siege claw: This weapon is my chosen load out. A pair of these on the dreadnought and you have a credible Primarch killer, and, you can get this dread at just 270 points as it's the stock standard type. (each wound causes D3 wounds, and with 6 attacks on the charge, that's good odds)

-Leviathan siege drill: Awesome weapon for punching the living shit out of fortifications and tanks.

-Grav-flux bombard: This weapon looks awesome on the surface. It's AP2, it has a large blast, it's pinning, it ignores cover, and toughness tests taken against it are on 2D6! Wow, most marines will fail by 3 on average! It also has anti tank ability, with 3D6 armour penetration and causes an extra Hull Point of damage with each successful HP taken off! So what are the cons? Well, for a start, it's only 18" in range. You want to fire it into the centre of an enemy unit to get the most out of the large blast, but that on average will mean you need to be 3" closer. Now who wants their 310 point minimum dakka beast just 15" away from their enemy? (we are talking in isolation here, not with the Napoleon of Warhammer running this beast, so please, no comments about 'using terrain' and 'generalship' PLEASE) You will get charged after you fire your first salvo, even if it's by a tar-pit unit. Also, 3D6 armour pen SUCKS. On average, that's 10-11. That isn't doing jack to anything tougher than a Rhino. This weapon is great if you can dump it onto a big unit of deep-struck Terminators, that's about it.

-Leviathan storm cannon: The best ranged weapon by far on this guy. 24" range gives you some safe range to play with, it's strength 7 with sunder, so awesome for shorter ranged anti-medium tank, and it's ap3 with 6 shots per gun, so it will wipe tactical squads as fast as or faster than the Grav-bombard, AND for half the cost.

-Phosphex discharger: This weapon is similar to the Rad Missile Launcher on Legion Destroyers, with 3 shots shooting small blasts with the barrage rule. Downsides? range is between 6" and 18", and the thing is one use only. It's like an anti-infantry hunter killer I suppose, just far far more likely to get a few kills.

-Twin Volkite Culverin: reliable on a Dakka Platform, to be sure. For overwatch and anti-militia/Solar, I'd personally keep the Heavy Flamers.

Ideal Loadouts and Uses:

If you want to run this dreadnought, the key with it is delivery. You want to earn the points back, and the minimum way of doing that is killing at least two tactical squads. Now, to get close enough with most of the weapons on this, you either want to deep-strike in a Dreadnought Drop Pod or Kharibdys Assault Claw. Here is where it gets murky. These vehicles can increase the overall cost of this unit immensely. The Kharibdys is a good choice for the Talon, as you can put multiple Dreads into play at once, but that unit would be around 800 POINTS!! 

My personal choice would be to drop Dreadnought Drop pods with these guys within. I'd also rock the cheapest loadout possible, with either claws or drills, aiming on distracting my enemy with the intimidation factor and hoping to draw some fire off the rest of my army. Since I'm Iron Warriors, mine would have extra-armour, so that's also a bonus.

VS Contemptors:

This dreadnought is 100 points more than a Contemptor. The combat weapons are individually better, but the secondary armaments are worse, no grav-guns, plasma-blasters or melta-guns here. The ranged weaponry is universally stronger, but also much shorter in range. It also lacks the Interceptor and Skyfire shenanigans of the Contemptor. Overall, I'd have to say that everything this Leviathan Dreadnought does, a Contemptor (or almost even two Contemptors for the same cost!) can do better.


Felix, Spraggy and myself spent a few hours talking about this unit when it first dropped, and we came to many of these conclusions in that conversation. I'd like to quickly take a second to thank them for their input, they are both very talented guys and understand the game as well as myself or better. 

We wanted this dreadnought to shine, but at the end of the day, it doesn't. It's too expensive, too big, and too poorly armed (6" extra range here or there would be amazing). This is a display-shelf miniature, or an awesome Rule of Cool centerpiece walker for your army. I don't want to discourage people from buying it or fielding it, as I said, I think it's a really cool miniature, just it's....

(please forgive the grammatical errors, they are not deliberate, Blogger is having a spaz and the the code is going insane inserting jumps and breaks at will into the middle of words) ~Macca


  1. I love mediocre, it usually ends up meaning balanced. But even if it is fairly average, at least I can play rule of cool without getting cheese in my beard :p
    Nice write up dude

    1. It's a cool unit for sure, but at Primarch level costs, it's not exactly competing for the cost:power trophy this year. I like it a lot stylistically, and the weapons are cool as hell right!?

  2. I think it'll be loads of fun with CC options and litterally using it to punch apart tanks and superheavies.

    1. It's just getting it there isn't it mate?

  3. Inbuilt meltaguns on both kinds of melee arms.

    1. Yes, but it loses that when it upgrades to the main dakka. I think I should have been clearer on that, so my bad, and a good spot for you mate!

  4. Just a detail about the claw: the d3 wounds is only if you get a 4+ in a dice, not automatically, and the dreadnought charging iirc has only 5 attacks, as the +1 for two ccws is already included.
    About its uses, maybe using it defensively? Deepstriking terminators wouldn't be a good idea if it has a bombard + claw(except justaerin with the multimelta, and if it has ceramite forget it, or IF/BA with assault cannon and pray for a pen). Moreover, attacking at initiative vs most cc weapons that can hurt him being unweildy and having a ++4, means that the opponent will think twice before getting his cc units near. Surely is still very expensive (both points and money), but I thinl it might find some use.
    I must add that I haven't played a single 30k game and barely any 40k for years, so if I said something silly I beg you take it lightly :P

    1. You're right on every point! However, I felt the massive cost (just shy of a Knight) offsets those redeeming qualities. What I failed to note was the Hammer of Wrath and the +1 Initiative on the charge, both of which are handy. Also, the Dakka version still has S8 kicks, which will ID most marines. Good points all round Elzender!

    2. I must say that at first I wasn't sold on the model , to me it looked too much like a fat contemptor. However, I think it actually fits the Imperial Fists aesthetic and I like the rules for it, although I try to not choose units solely by their rules, as I have always been more of a collector than a player.
      Actually your analysis might have made me like it more, as I don't like the idea of using overpowered units just because they are that good (although I must admit that the posts here talking about the goodness of the rapiers were just irresistible and I will include them in my list). Anyway, right now it is a bit too expensive for me, but in a distant future a leviathan might join my crusade.

    3. When I first saw it, I thought it was a Heresy-style version of the Castaferrum (square dread from 40k), but then I realised that the base was larger and the model was larger. I think the missed opportunity here is that they should have done that, done something with smaller dreads rather than keep making bigger ones (that are somehow initiative 5 on the charge??).

  5. Well, I think I read somewhere that there will be a new type of dread that will be smaller called contemptor cortus dreadnought, because it is supposed to be a previous version that was substituted by the present contemptors, but with lack of supplies during the Heresy they were used again

    On the +1 initiative on the charge, the name of the rule "crushing charge" makes me think that it is basically because a massive (and according to the fluff, progressively crazed) bulk of metal furiously charging at you doesn't give you much time to react before getting smashed/crushed/sliced by it :D

    1. Yeah maybe, but it just makes me think of 40k Carnifexes and how they are the same size and oh so slow despite their organic nature. Smaller Contemptor sounds pretty cool tho.

    2. The carnifex thing was probably a balancing adjustment, as in older editions invulnerable saves, FNP, IWND, Eternal Warrior and other survival-enhancing special rules were less prevalent, and high resistance units or other monstruous creatures were scarce, a tough, multiple wounds monster hitting with high strength at initiative 3+ would have probably been overpowered (makes you think about how has the game escalated :P), and so they gave it I2 to give some chance to the opponent to kill it in CC but not allow powerfists and other powerful but unweildy weapons to hit simultaneously.
      I remember something in the fluff of some old codex that said that carnifexes were slow when they were static, but once they started running they were unstoppable. Maybe giving them a similar rule to "crushing charge" and furious charge might reflect it to make them justice (haven't read the latest codexes so I don't know if they actually have something like that).

      PS: I kinda find a bit sad that the escalation of the game has caused things like that, units that were fearsome in previous edition being progressively overshadowed by bigger, stronger, and more resilient units in the same or other codexes. When the faction of the intelligent, agile, swift, elegant but fragile aliens have bigger units than the one of the monstruous biomass devourers, something might have gone wrong...

      Sorry for the little rant :P

    3. Crushing charge? They get Hammer of Wrath... cos that's awesome XD

      I feel very sad too, and it takes all my strength not to go off-topic and write a lengthy post about the stupidity of GMC's and MC's taking over instead of good old fashioned walkers. Your rant is a gentle breeze next to my hurricane. You ever want a full on rant, I can give you over 1000 words instantly on the Chaos Space Marine codex in 40k... worst part is, even on BOLS nobody disagrees with my assessment, and when even BOLS commenters agree, well....

  6. Calivers are S6 AP5, not the other way around.

    Anyway, this dude is friggin awesome. Phosphoex discharger, claw/drill, and grav-flux cannon. Very nasty.

    As for monstrous creatures vs. vehicle walkers, that whole thing has gotten out of hand. They just need to throw away the vehicle rules in the trash. Instead of armour value, give vehicles toughness values. They can even be different depending on site. Then give them wounds and a proper save. As it is, walkers are really crap compared to monstrous creatures, because they have fewer wounds, each wound they take can be debilitating (lose weapon/movement/ability to shoot), no armour save, harder to take advantage of cover, and don't get access to things like Feel no Pain.

    An autocannon wounds a T7 model on a 4+, and glances an AV11 on a 4+. It wounds T8 on 5+ and glances AV12 on 5+. A lascannon wounds T7 on 2+, and glances AV11 on 2+. It wounds a T10 model on a 5+ and glances AV14 on a 5+. So the conversion can be pretty easy.

    AV10 = T6
    AV11 = T7
    AV12 = T8
    AV13 = T9
    AV14 = T10

    There are only two issues:

    1. The extra wounding row. A S7 weapon can wound T10, but can't do anything to AV14. If the wound chart stays as is, it would make vehicles more vulnerable, but that can probably be more than cancelled out by giving them more wounds and a proper armour save.

    2. Damage chart. Honestly, this thing needs to either go completely out of the window, or apply to monstrous creatures too. I'm pretty sure a creature is more discomfited by losing an arm than a dreadnought is by having a weapon blown off its chassis.

    Seriously, how do a couple of fishmen sitting in an open-topped artillery platform with legs count as a monstrous creature, but a half-daemon/half-machine dinosaur monster is a vehicle?

    1. "Different depending on site" is my terrible way of saying different toughness values for front/side/rear.

    2. I can't disagree with you, but the walking fish tank is an MC cos' reasons.

  7. Excuse-me, where did you find the rules sheet? I found one here: but it doesn't seem to be the same, for exemple there's no mention of the Grav-flux bombard.

  8. A year later, we can safely say this assessment was dead wrong, as the Leviathan in Pod has become one of the most useful and common heavy support choices for the 30K Legions.

    Most popular load-outs that I've seen:
    Drill/Melta Lance (my own most commonly used) - pretty much the automatic heavy support choice for any Night Lord Terror Assault army, but any army wanting a huge distraction carnifex that can kill the heaviest armor likes this guy. 4 melta shots at BS5 (3 of them as S9), followed by two S8 hammer of wrath, and then a bunch of S10 armourbane swings at I5 erases things like Knights before they can swing.

    Deathblossom - double storm cannon and either nipple volkites or nipple assault cannons (if BA). This is super popular in Texas and is pretty devastating. I hate it myself because I don't like to give up all those melee abilities, but in practice it's actually far more difficult than you'd expect to tie up in combat due to the volume of twin-linked overwatch fire. Better hope it's another dreadnought or terminators charging it, or you WILL lose 3-4 guys.

    Claw/Grav flux - The Gravflux is not as amazing as first seems, it's true, but it does provide an amazing way to erase those ubiquitous rapier platforms (who auto-fail the toughness), and since it ignores cover saves you don't have to worry about shrouding from the pod.

    There is one rule with the Leviathan, regardless of weapon options. You MUST buy the pod, period.