Don't Panic Captain!

The way Mantic games work appeals to me a lot. There's way less focus on super-mega-killy-death-heroes that can destroy units or tanks with a merely a rye smirk, you have to take regular infantry. In both Kings of War that I have been playing for the past two years and now deadzone, objectives and VPs are (usually) a quicker way to a win over a straight out bloodbath. This means that leaders tend to act as a buff to tip the game over the edge. This could not be more true than for GCPS. Far from being combat monsters and only boasting about the same shoot stats as a line trooper the leader options will not be setting the world alight in a shoot out or bearpit. I see them as two things. 
  • A way to get more command dice
  • A way to make use of the Mantic splat
The comparison for the infantry options seemed to work last time so I'll do the same on the leader options. We are presented with the motley crew of:
  • Marine Sgt.
  • Ranger Sgt.
  • Major-General

Unit S F Sv Cost Recon Tactician
Marine Sgt 5+ 5+ 4+ 22 6+ 1
Ranger Sgt 4+ 5+ 4+ 30 5+ 1
Major-General 4+ 5+ 5+ 30 5+ 2

The fight characteristic can be discarded in my opinion for  reasons discussed here, but it's worth bearing in mind the boxfresh option that the Ranger Sgt has. Having the aerial deployment should mean that he's up nice and high from the start. If anyone does make it up to combat with him then the amusement of the energy gauntlet throwing them into thin air could make me chuckle.

All options have the same move, the same armour and are size 1 so there is nothing to chose between them there. On the subject of the Sv stat, despite the picture showing the M-G having some beefy looking plate armour he has the worst Sv value. Maybe the others are better at dodging, or his massively impractical trench coat makes him an easier target. Either way none of these chaps should really be getting too close to the action as their main reason is for dice and splats. Any Sv value is a bonus.

Spray and Prey

The Shoot stat should probably be taken into consideration along side the weapons they have/can have. The only leader option maybe worth it is the pistol which is in effect a short range Carbine. Looks nice but getting that close seems risky. Small arms are also not really worth it, it gets interesting when looking at the last choice. The Sergeants are stuck with light (assault) options. The M-G presumably as he has the keys to the armoury can take light (all). Although not their primary role the guys can shoot so given them something better than a pistol ensures they are not just a waste of an activation. Much of the review of the Ranger options holds true for the Leaders. If I had to, the Ranger Sgt would get a thermal rifle for the same reason as the regular Rangers (although this does push his price up a lot!) The M-G can make great use of his S4+ and take the Carbine or DMR for sitting back and laying down fire. The Marine Sgt I wouldn't bother. You are taking him for the cheap option and investing in stuff other than maybe a normal rifle seems a waste, he's also the worst shot. For pure shooting i think the M-G just edges it over the Ranger Sgt.

With the regular stats out of the way the special rules are what I think defines the choice to make. Your leader option will dictate your play style of either:
  • Cheap & plentiful 
  • Elite Special Ops
  • Master Tactician
I'll try and assess them below but there are a fair number of variables for each. 

Cheaper by the dozen

Taking the Marine Sgt frees up the price of a marine compared with the other options. You lsoe a spot of recon, veering towards tending to go second with the 6+ roll. Taking this option feels like hurrying through the fruit and veg isles as a necessary evil on the way to finding the cake and booze sections of the supermarket. The splat is a nice option to get off some last ditch rounds but only having 4 dice to play with means I'd probably be re-rolling where I can for better options. Move, fire and activation options are always going to be a preference.  If I am planning to pack the field with warm bodies and cold hard steel this guy is the choice for me. He's access to an extra command die and that is all.

Death from above

The Ranger sgt. oozes synergy with other options on the list. He also strikes me as the best fluff option available. who doesn't love the thought of a couple of elite drop troops deploying in annoying positions to stall and harass the enemy advance by pouring fire down from the roof tops. If you add to this the splat option to help with indirect and the list practically builds itself. As discussed a few rangers with carbines spotting enemies out in the open can help to create cross fires. At the same tine some hopefully pinpoint accurate mortar and grenade shelling from afar can blast the enemy while they are forced into narrow lanes. You have to go all in with this leader option and rangers and mortars don't come cheap. There's definitely a fair amount of luck needed as your model count will be lower and you'll need to conduct the orchestra of battle with finesse. The Ranger sgt. is my choice for a gambler who likes to control the game from the outset.

Murderously Pensive

As cunning as a fox who’s just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University, the Major- General has foresight and controls the battle from afar. A whopping two extra command dice and the option to equip him as a sniper mean that he's always useful loitering at the rear directing traffic. The extra dice mean that suddenly there's a much better chance of being able to allow units to move and then fire those Heavy options. I think it's probably the only leader who I would consider taking non-mortar weapons teams with. The splat option is so/so, Indirect two at a pinch can stand in for a grenade or mortar but feels like you need to be really lucky to achieve anything as you will likely be firing without line of site. It could be a decider if you manage to pin and blast key models however. With all the extra bodies you are likely to have with a GCPS force the extra move, fire and activation dice potential means you can be positioning round the board long after an elite enemy has finished their turn. This can be great for gaining or denying objectives, getting more clear shots off or simply moving stuff to get in the way.

Final Orders

This was meant to be a post about striders and leaders. I've rambled too much and the big chap will have to wait until next time. For now I think any of the leader options are useful but you'd have to build a list around them. Without the right troops to lead they become a fish out of water and it feels nice that you have to make choices and not just take all the best toys. Originally I leant towards the Ranger Sgt. as I love the fluff I could build into the concept, but the play style I am leaning towards seems to favour the Major General more. I'll see how I get on when I actually play a game but Major General Baldrick certainly has a ring to it...


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