North players celebrated this past week with the release of the new North Mountaineering unit with two Leopard and two Lion Gears. 

 

At first it might not be obvious but the most overlooked aspect of these Gears is the Climber ability. It seems strange to say that but it is a fact that most Gears are very inefficient at climbing and the negative modifiers for being hung up while climbing terrain can act to dissuade a player from ever leaving the ground.

 

Image: the North Mountaineering squad in all of its glory.

It 's no question that if you want a good board position for your models the best plan is to move to a flanking position. The +1D6 dice modifier to your attacks makes it a great advantage especially with weapons without the burst trait. The Margin of an attack can matter significantly with traits like Armor Piercing.

 

Additionally models that do not have the climber trait really have to climb to the top of terrain as you really don't want to be stuck with a 6+ pilot skill when you're left hanging. Being on top of terrain can also mean that you don't have any cover and that can also be bad.

 

A Climber model can not only scale vertical terrain as fast as it can cross terrain at ground level but you can also choose to stop at different elevations and not suffer any skill penalties (See 6.5f in the Living Rule Book). This allows a climber model to loiter on the side of terrain with their silhouette partially exposed for shooting and then use remaining movement to duck down into full cover. 

 

To take advantage of this you can use your climbing models in the North, the Lanciers in NuCoal, and even the Caprice Faction is composed almost entirely of climbing walker models that bring deadly potential to every game.

 

The other major advantage of the Climber is that the stronger servos and hydraulics required to allow a vehicle to scale vertical surfaces quickly often translates as an advantage in melee combat as shown by the Brawler trait. The Leopard and the Lion use their strength as a weapon as indicated by their combat weapons representing punching attacks. Other climbers like the Lancier and Caprice Mounts carry a fearsome combination of a linked spike guns which can do major damage, especially to defenseless tanks and APCs.

Rushing at top speed to terrain, then scaling up it and firing when you reach the top allows a model to cancel the normal negative modifier of top speed with the positive elevation modifier. Take care to make sure your model is high enough as to gain the elevation modifier. You need to have your model's elevation be entirely higher than the target (p225). The following turn you can top speed again, fire before moving, then race down the other side of the terrain and continue to shorten the range or move into terrain ready for the next turn.

 

Going up can also provide other advantages where your model may now be able to see models that previously required a sensor lock to attack due to intervening terrain.

 

Investigating the qualities of specialist squads and how they can fit in to your force as a Primary unit or as a small support unit is part of the fun of Heavy Gear. I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of them in play as we move into 2016.

 

-Dave

Currently building: Mountaineering Gears! What else?