Basilisk Artillery Gun
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
- – Frederick II of Prussia
"Though my guards may sleep and my ships may lay at anchor, our foes know full well that the big guns never tire."
"SHATTER. THEIR. SKY!"
- – Basilisk commander from Dawn of War 1, about to fire the earth shaker round.
The Basilisk Artillery Gun is the iconic Imperial Guard self-propelled artillery piece. It is based on the versatile Chimera chassis, and it carries a massive Earthshaker cannon. It dates at least as far back as the Great Crusade, where it was used by the artillery batteries of the Space Marine Legions and Imperial Army; though they were too slow for the slimmer, faster post-Codex Astartes Space Marines, they could move at just the right pace to keep up with an Imperial Guard siege operation.
Of course, given its tremendous range, it doesn't need to move very fast to keep pounding the enemy, and it's not supposed to be at the front line -- rather, the Basilisk crews get told where to shoot, they launch great quantities of shells in that direction, and then they move away before they get hit by counter-battery fire.
- Standard Pattern
- You know'em, you love'em. The OG Basilisk with the famous gun shield. It is by far one of the most iconic vehicles from the Imperium of Man, let alone the Imperial Guard and stands equal with the Leman Russ Battle Tank, Baneblade, Land Raider and Rhino as most famous tank.
- Armageddon Pattern
- Because Armageddon is a
desert worldirradiated, poisonous shithole, they developed a Basilisk pattern that fully enclosed the entire tank, sheltering the loading mechanism (and, coincidentally, the loader and gunner) from the harsh environment.
- Basilisk Magnus
- A variant of the Basilisk fielded by Vance Motherfucking Stubbs, which seems to be dug into an immobile concrete position. It's like a regular Basilisk, except it can strike targets anywhere within the Imperial Dussala Precinct base, fires an absurdly powerful Earthshaker shell, and has styrofoam for armor. However along with the 100 Baneblades, Stubbs lost the targeting matrix for the thing and so it requires a spotter every time it shoots. Its size compared to the turret and crew suggest it would also be as well proportioned for mounting on a Macharius tank chassis as a normal Earthshaker is on a chimera chassis. Dis gon b gud.
- Legion Basilisk
- Before the Codex Astartes reforms, the Space Marine Legions operated some artillery of their own, including the Basilisk. The gun shield and crew compartment looks beefier, and the engine exhausts run out the sides of the tank.
- Vanaheim Pattern
- It's the same as the original Basilisk, with a less goofy-looking gun shield which offers additional protection for the gun crew from both the front and sides. Although its overall protection is not to the extent as that of the Armageddon Pattern or the Legion Basilisks.
Legion Basilisk of Iron Warriors.
The Basilisk's Earthshaker has the longest finite range of any Imperial Guard weapon (exceeded only by the infinite-range hunter-killer missile and Deathstrike missile, and the I.A. 300 inch range Manticore Missile, but apparently no-one ever includes those), able to drop an S9 AP3 large blast anywhere within 20 feet (which is pitifully small when scaled up to real-world dimensions...but so are all 40K weapon ranges). A single IG army can have up to nine of these monsters (three per Heavy Support slot, times three Heavy Support choices) for just over 1000 points, which will rapidly turn the entire field into a moonscape. It only gets worse in Apocalypse games, when the force organization chart limitations are lifted and units start getting vaporized from across the room.
In recent history, the Basilisk has been something of an awkward middle child between the powerful Manticore and the Infantry shredding Wyvern. The Manticore launcher will provide more destruction lb for lb if you just want to plonk 1 ordinance on the field, whilst mortars are far cheaper than the Earthshaker. In 8th, the Basilisk truly shines as it is meant to be played: in groups. An economy of scale with 3 of these boys will cost just over 300 points, but every turn you will destroy at the very worse a Leman Russ, and at the very best a Baneblade. The Basilsk must take a support role, aided with a Master of Ordinance and a cup of hot cocoa, to make your army suited to dealing with whatever your oppoenent may throw at you. MEQs, tanks and even terminators can not afford to scoff at a (2D6 pick highest) S9 AP-3 with D3 damage (just don't expect to wipe out blobs with a single one).
In Second Edition, where it first appeared, the Basilisk featured epic levels of bullshit since it rolled a D3 for damage to vehicles even if it didn't penetrate armour, and since the template usually hit every location on the vehicle it was statistically likely that anything hit by a Basilisk would be crippled or destroyed even if all AP rolls failed. Thanks to the preliminary barrage rule, it also got to fire a battle cannon round (somehow) before the game had actually started.
Thanks to the new "Emperors Wrath Artillery Company" out of the Mont'ka book, Basilisks can now accept Smite at Will (Split Fire), Suppressing Fire (Pinning), and Fire on My Target (IGNORES COVER) orders. All of these are hilarious under the right circumstances, but another special rule opens the door for truly unprecedented levels of Rape. Any unit with a vox can designate an enemy unit within 18" that has LOS. All attacks from artillery units within the formation are twin linked against that target. Deep striking Scion artillery spotters anyone?
These babies were in Dawn of War 1 and BY THE EMPEROR they are awesome. They are one of the "must-get" units for the Imperial Guard faction because they make up for the Guards' shitty early game when they don't have more models and plasma gun upgrade, and they are one of the reasons people play IG (the others being THE BANEEEEEBLADE and the Commissar). They are best at blowing up infantry blobs and scattering them like frigging marbles for the Guardsmen to mop up. Most importantly, their Earthshaker round deals a fuck load of damage to ANYTHING.
- The personal attack vehicle/pet of Commissar Dan. Being the retard that he is, he uses the thing as a front line assault tank instead of a full-time artillery piece.
Why A Basilisk is The Best Place To Be In The Whole Goddamn Imperium
- You're ten miles from the front lines and whatever fanged horrors or berserk supersoldiers are invading the Imperium this week.
- You get to fire a MASSIVE fucking gun and blow shit up. It's one of the best artillery weapons in the galaxy, able to mow down whole swathes of armies in minutes. Thus, the Tyranids' numerical superiority is irrelevant.
- If your regiment is commanded by Creed, you're one of a select few that knows how it is possible to deploy a dozen pieces of mobile artillery inside an impenetrable Ork stronghold.
- All the commissars (save one) are also at the front lines, seeing as that is where the business of executing cowa- erm upholding morale is most wanted.
- You can probably even get away with complaining about the High Lords of Terra and their general not giving a shit, seeing as there are no senior officers, no Inquisitors (since you're probably in a depopulated area far away from Inquisitorial interest), and no fucking commiss*BLAM*
- You're not at risk of being blown up when your commander tells the artillery to shoot right in front of his own troops. Though you will probably hear their screams over your vox-unit, and any complaints about your orders will get you *BLAM*'med.
- Canon says you're going to go deaf, but whatever right? Hearing problems are the least grimdark thing in the entire setting. Or just stuff your ears with wads from your Uplifting Primer-*BLAM*
- Not just anybody can drive one of these, therefore you are not as expendable as other Guardsmen, and Commissars are less likely to shoot you if you start fleeing (which is frankly what you SHOULD do if the enemy comes close to your art*BLAM*