Everyone loves the Space Marine ever lovin' Dreadnought. With dreads coming more common in the Space Marine codex, and I'm using four of them for my Imperial Fists Planetstrike list I thought I'd write up some tactica and guide for them.
Firstly and obivously Dreadnoughts are walkers, this means you can move, shoot and assault. So you really should make the most of this by fitting out your Dreadnought with a nice medium range weapon and keep the dccw, of course there are many setups you can do which I will talk about later.
If your not taking a drop pod for your Dreadnought then make sure you take a long range weapon, don't take a short range gun like a multimelta. On your first movement pop smoke, if needed and make use of terrain and other vehicles to block and give yourself a cover save.
Remember, walkers take difficult terrain tests like infantry. So terrain can be risky for a Dreadnought, and more than likely won't give you a cover save so try and avoid it if you can - shouldn't be much of a issue unlike a large vehicle like a Rhino or Chimera.
Not a lot to say about shooting except walkers can fire more than one weapon. This is great if your having a anti vehicle Dreadnought which is typcially armed with a lascannon and rocket launcher. Add the all shooting in with assault can make a nasty anti infantry Dreadnought with a assault cannon and heavy flamer, or perhaps a storm bolter.
Dreadnoughts are nasty in assault, especially against low toughness units - Howling Banshees? Forget they are dust. Guardsmen? Bye Bye. Even Space Marines won't do nothing on a Dreadnought - haha foolish Astartes. Only infantry Dreadnoughts really need to fear are monstrous creatures, with the average 2D6 roll being a 7 most monstrous creatures will wreck a Dreadnought easily, even the S6 Necron Tomb Spyder wouldn't have a much a issue. Monstrous creatures are the bane of Dreadnoughts, but luckily a dread has the initiative of a Space Marine so you more than likely will be going first in assault, and most monstrous creatures don't have invulnerable saves to compensate for their high toughness, so lets see how that Carnifex likes your dccw weapon now :D .
Not only are Dreadnoughts good in close combat as even S6 would struggle to do damage and low strength units they are immune to, they are hard to take out in close combat. Firstly they are immune to crew shaken, it does nothing and then crew stunned only makes them have one less attack for the next round of combat. Even if you immobilise it you're still locked in combat with the Dreadnought, take out that dccw and its still fighting at S6 and keeping units tied up.
Oh, and I hear people often say they are taking melta bombs in case of walkers, ha do not bet on them and do not fear the melta bomb! If using grenades against walkers in close combat you need to roll a 6, unless its immobilised or crew stunned and its normal weapon skill. So hitting on the roll of a 6 isn't good, and then to use those grenades or melta bombs affectively you need to immobilise it or score a crew stunned result first. So the Dreadnought will have two rounds of combat to do some smacking about.
In a general summary, short range weapon Dreadnoughts should always be entered into play via a drop pod. A foot slogging Dreadnought isn't much good of a thing, but at least a autocannon or lascannon it can defend itself. Terrain, try and avoid. Your Dreadnought will be easy pickings as any further immobilised results will mean weapon destroyed, and any infantry can then use grenades based upon to hit via weapon skill, not the roll of a 6.
Shooting a Dreadnought is a normal Marine. Nothing super special but definately not the worst. Use a Venerable Dreadnought and your scoring hits often with BS5 :)
Assault is where tis at with Dreadnoughts. Low strength infantry, forget it. Vehicles Dreadnoughts will most likely score auto penetrate as most vehicles are rear armour 10, if not you need a 1 to penetrate. Vehicles get battered against by Dreadnoughts. And those melta bombs folks keep saying they're taking in case of walkers - don't count on it bud, you need 6's to hit with that bomb, immobilise first and perhaps you'll get some where. I wouldn't be concerned about melta bombs. Throw the Dreadnought into low strength troops and tough front armour vehicles and it will have a field day.
The first Dreadnought listed in teh Space Marine codex and has a better general profile than the vanilla Dreadnought and the Ironclad, though sports the same armour as the Dreadnought. With BS5 it will hit on 2's - a assault cannon hitting on 2+, nice. A plasma cannon with low scatter, lovin' it. WS5 is a nice one too allowing you to hit mostly on 3's and then splattering infantry on 2+ because of the dccw or even if the Dreadnought is going in at S6. Vehicles forget about it as well.
The Venerable Dreadnought apart from the increased BS and WS is all you get apart from the normal Dreadnought. You do get the funky venerable rule (no, duh!) which you can request your opponent to re-roll on the vehicle damage table. This is where you can get greedy and have bad luck. You can either accept the result, or request the re-roll, but if your un-lucky and greedy wanting a lower damage result you could end up loosing that expensive Dreadnought.
And, speaking of points the Venerable is 165 points, a whooping 60 points more than the normal Dreadnought. Now asking your opponent to re-roll on the vehicle damage table could be risky, but costing 60 points more and you only get a better BS and WS is it worth it? I don't think so. I've played with and against Venerables and they are annoying, and they do stay around a long time. But you can get the better armoured Ironclad which also includes extra armour and move through cover special rule for 30 points cheaper.
Wargear wise the Venerable has the same wargear options as the Dreadnought and same costs. I think a assault cannon and plasma cannon are good choices here, assault cannon hitting on 2's is gravy and a plasma cannon which won't have much scatter is nice. Heavy bolter isn't worth it, auotcannon, lascannon and rocket launcher a normal Dreadnought could pull off the same task for less points.
Really I think the Venerable is a sweet looking model, if you can afford it, but like the model price to buy the units points price matches - high. Its a bit better at shooting and a bit better at fighting and can stay around longer than a normal Dreadnought, if your lucky, but I don't think its worth 165 points and then some. Give it a go perhaps, but I don't think for competitve lists or tournament play as it costs too much.
Still a ever lovin' favourite, but has it being drown out by the Ironclad? No its not. The Ironclad and the Dreadnought have different tasks. The Dreadnought is a Space Marine is a armour 12 medium toughness tank. Like a Marine it's not bad a shooting and tough in assault against low toughness units and vehicles.
The Dreadnoughts true strengths is its flexibility and costs. For 105 points you get a Marine bred walking tank with a multimelta and a S10 power weapon - all gravy. The general wargear is good, if your going mainly after tanks which makes the Dreadnought, by default a short range tank hunter. As the multimelta doesn't have the range you need a drop pod, so now your looking at 140 points and then you'll need another unit in a pod to support it and things start to snow ball.
The drop pod Dreadnought is possibly a one trick pony, pod in blast multimelta and pop something but you cannot assault and the Dreadnought is stuck there. Come your opponents turn they will know or experience the damage first hand and that Dreadnought becomes a 140 point target, no doubt the Dreadnought will get taken out, and its rear armour shield, which is close combat (remember in close combat attacks against front armour and cannot shooting into combat) cannot be used as you just deep striked in. So spot that rear armour, light up any meltaguns from the saftey of a Rhino and boom boom goes Dreadnought and the drop pod's job is done. If its kill points the pod will most likely go too, armour 10 open topped? Forget about it, its not stopping on the table.
Other viable Dreadnought builds can be for all anti tank with a lascannon or a missile launcher, weighing it at 145 points you've got a nice anti tank unit which costs than the tri-las Predator and you don't need a one trick drop pod or support unti, possibly. A build known as the "rifleman" Dreadnought is two autocannons, which is a jack of all trades, good for strong infantry and light vehicles. For 125 points its a good buy. TBH I'd rather take a dakka Predator than rifleman Dreadnought, Predator is 100 points with heavy bolters which more than make up for the second autocannon and has armour 13. Tri-las might cost more, but for 20 points more you're getting three lascanons, one is twin linked and stronger armour. Something to consider. If your short on points then either of these Dreadnought setups are the way forward.
A build I favour is the trusty assault cannon and heavy flamer combo. The assault cannon hits at S6 and then the heavy flamer with S5, shoot with a spot of rending, burn and then assault. For 115 points I think its a bargain and a flexiable build as can be used for anti infantry, light vehicles and assaultly bonus.
If you don't like the rending goodness of the assault cannon you can try a plasma cannon, still fulfils the same role and dropping a blast template before a flamer template can be nasty business, but a clever opponent will move models defending what you fire first, so make sure you fire the flamer to get the range in, plasma cannon could scatter and only hit one or two models.
If you fancy some true pyromanic business you can go heavy flamer, but I think this could be a waste as you need a drop pod and landing striaght into hordes. If its Orks then power klaws will be about, Tyranids will have monstrous creatures and Imperial Guard will no doubt have some tank lurking by ready for a lascannon or large blast shot.
The Dreadnought is the most flexible and cheapest Dreadnought on the market, it can fit a majority of roles and still is pretty cheaper on the points. If you fancy a shooty tank you've got it, assault tank then its the one for the job. I think the Dreadnought still holds its top spot.
The next kid on the block bursts onto the scene recently back in June with the release of Planetstrike, along with funky wargear and better armour the Ironclad looks a sure choice.
Firstly, and as mentioned, the Ironclad has stronger armour, armour 13 in fact so infantry with grenades forget it. Oh it has extra armour if that wasn't enough it has move through cover special rule, while that might increase its chances of getting grounded in terrain it is a attractive assest as the Ironclad is all about assault.
Boasting 3 attacks the Ironclad is a mean sucker, throw on a meltagun for a nasty close range shot and a sesimic hammer which causes +1 on the vehicle damage chart. Looks like the Ironclad was made to smack vehicles around, or perhaps for Planetstrike. While the Ironclad can take on infantry the meltagun isn't exactly anti infantry and the seismic hammer is wasted.
The new goodies being a chain fist and hurricane bolter are free wargear, surprise surprise. I have seen G.W promoting the Ironclad for Planetstrike games mostly, as if it was designed for Planetstrike and the chain fist and hurricane bolter keep it for normal games. Well for 135 points with a power weapon which strikes last (even though rolls 2D6 armour penetration) and 6 bolter shots I'd rather take the Dreadnought. Hurricane bolter is ok, but for 135 points you can get nearly a full tactical squad or half one with a special weapon, which cna be used to claim objectives at least. I don't think striking last is actually tha good, and 2D6 armour penetration isn't really needed against vehicles. TBH I don't think the chain fist is needed. Ironclad assault launchers are also a new goody basicaly they're offensive and defensive grenades given to a Dreadnought but costing 15 points, hmmm...not sure also how much that benefits a Ironclad as 9 times out of 10 it can take the punishment, most times cannot do anything against it at all.
Heavy flamer can be useful, burn before assaulting and can do a little damage on rear of vehicles. Hunter killers are 10 points each and one shot, I don't think a Ironclad needs them so much as it has so much offensive against a vehicle anyway.
In a nutshell the Dreadnought is still the king in the dread roost. Its cheap, flexible and gets the job done. If you fancy a dread for ripping vehicles a new one, or just to assault strong infantry then a Ironclad is up your street, but I fear this is more for Planetstrike games as infantry can damage vehicles too. Lastly comes in the expensive Venerable Dreadnought, which is a slightly over costed. It make have the funky re-roll request on the damage chart but if that goes sour bye bye 165 points at least.