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Tactica: Basilisk

Submitted By: Goyder Date: September 10, 2006, 08:00:00 PM Views: 3132
Summary: If the Leman Russ variants are the favoured child of the Imperial Guard heavy support, then the Basilisk is most defiantly the forgotten child. It cops a lot of flak, primarily because old Imperial Guard veterans remember the good ‘ol days, with the Griffon, and look down upon the Basilisk because they feel it only got in (the new Codex) for the AP3 shell alone. I feel this is a bit harsh, because the Basilisk is still an awesome tank and Heavy Support choice in its own right.

The Basilisk is a glowing reminder of the sheer brute force of the Imperial Guard. Its range is massive and its firepower is bordering on the horrendously scary. Indeed, the Basilisk is the poster boy of how things are done in the Imperial Guard; Explosive, deadly, and if possible, far, far away from the enemy. This guide will show you several ways in which you can use the Basilisk to its utmost potential, and bring victory to you, and the Emperor.

However, do not forget, that this is a guide. There are many different Imperial Guard armies out there and you may not find what I say to be accurate for your army. Remember it’s your game, and you’re the one who’s supposed to be having fun.

What should I give a Basilisk?

The Basilisk is a very straightforward tank, it has no real options available for it; save for indirect fire. Indirect Fire is just what it sounds like, it allows the tank to shoot at targets it has no Line Of Sight too. While sounding great, it does give the Basilisk a massive min. range penalty, and you will not be able to fire ‘indirectly’ at targets less than 36” away, which can effectively neuter the Basilisk effectiveness, depending on where you have placed it and the size of the board. And because most board sizes are only 6x4, you may find that if you have hidden your Basilisk, it may not be able to fire as many times as you would like, but I will discuss this later.

This upgrade is completely optional, and it really boils down to how you want to use your Basilisk. However, do not forget, that if you purchase indirect fire, you also do not have to use it. You can choose to fire directly if you so wish and, because the Basilisk is already a very, very cheap tank for what you get, some people don’t mind paying the points for a “just in case” measure. I’m not one to waste points generally (playing an AC will make you a tight bastard), but if you feel that you may need to lob that nasty shell at stuff you can’t see, then hell, go for it.

As for the optional upgrades such as ‘Extra Armour’ and the like, my advice to you is not to bother. The Basilisk is an extremely cheap Heavy Support option, but it has its flaws. It has an extremely low Armour value, and can be destroyed by most weapons, even a rather strong orkish fart. Even the Armoured Crew Compartment is not really worth it, because if the Basilisk is being shot at, it’s generally going to be hurt. Also, the Basilisk will also attract TREMENDOUS amounts of firepower (it has a very, very nasty reputation), and unless you’re extremely lucky, it will eventually get hit. So, my mantra for most Imperial Guard tanks; “Keep it cheap” applies doubly for the Basilisk.

How do I use the Basilisk?

As I have used the Basilisk over the years, I have eventually worked out a few good little ways to use our tankish friend. And one of those ways doesn’t even require it to fire a single shot! Please don’t forget, you may have a different way of using the Basilisk, and if it works for you, that’s great. Keep it that way, because you are under no obligation (unless the death penalty is counted as an obligation) to listen to what I say.

The ‘Invisible Wall’

This way of using your Basilisk means you don’t need it to fire a single shot. Before you start saying “Get the gun! Goyder has gone stark raving mad again!” think about it. Because you generally place Heavy support choices down first, you can effectively direct where YOU want the enemy to deploy, because you force them to keep out of L.O.S. of your Basilisk (hence, the ‘invisible wall’). When you use your Basilisk like this, you are investing 100 – 125 points in you dictating your opponent’s deployment. Generally, it helps if you get to deploy first, but even if you have to deploy second, you can still stop your opponent from deploying elsewhere. This tactic works primarily because of the fear of the Big Bad Basilisk, and most sane people do not want to start the game with a strength 9 AP 3 shell staring down at them.


This is where it’s all at. Even though the Basilisk has incredibly bad armour (it is also open toped which can compound the problem), the best place for it to be for this type of play is smack bang in the middle. If you have good L.O.S throughout the middle of the board, you will force your opponent to deploy on either one of the flanks, or split his forces up. You don’t have to deploy in the middle of the board really, just anywhere that has a good L.O.S, and somewhere where you do not want them to deploy. Either way, you’re in control of where they deploy their forces from now on. Now, to me, this is worth the 100 – 125pts you are paying for the Basilisk. You can bend the enemy forces to your game plan, force them to spread out, or force them away from deploying near an objective. Don’t worry if gets destroyed in the first turn, because it has already completed its mission, its made things easier for you. This type of deployment will attract a lot of Infiltrators or Deep Strikers, and although keeping this tank alive is not essential after the deployment phase, be wary that there could be some very nasty units very close to your frontline.


For me, one Basilisk has generally always been enough to force my opponent into deploying on my terms. However, on a larger board, or in games where deployment is more paramount than usual, two Basilisks will DEFINATLY get the job done. The only problem with this is that I feel you now begin to waste points. While paying 100+pts to control the opponents’ deployment is a good deal, I feel that 200+pts is getting a bit to, especially in 1000 – 1500pts games. Double especially because they will most definitely bite the bullet.  Indirect fire can be a very good option for this type of setup of the Basilisk, because you will have most likely forced your opponent into cover, so why not thank him by lobbing a shell into his troops? However, because of the suicidal nature of this deployment, it will most likely not get to fire more than twice, so in the end, it’s all a personal choice.

• You effectively get to control your opponent’s deployment phase, forcing them way from objectives or, creating a very nice tactical advantage.

• A very easy to use tactic, which can have some very big ramifications

• Extremely effective against most armies.

• This tactic is not very effective against horde armies, which tend to have a lot of cannon fodder.

• This use of the Basilisk will mean it most defiantly bites the bullet, especially because of its location.

• You will have to be very wary of Deep Striking / Infiltrators with this, your opponent will defiantly try to take it out, and having such forces near the centre of your army can bite you hard if you are not careful.

• Can be seen as being “wasteful” and not allowing you to take further Heavy Support choices that will kill enemy units

A sneaky, downright dirty and nasty (if not somewhat wasteful) way of using the Basilisk, which is why I love it so!

The ‘Artillery Barrage’

This is the stock standard way of using your Basilisk. It involves using its deadly long-range touch, far away from danger. The role of this Basilisk is to simply provide devastating support to where it is need the most, when you need it. Again, this tactic will force the enemy to deal with the Basilisks, forcing them to divert forces to stop the incoming barrages. Either way, you are generally coming up on top, with shells being placed on top of the enemy, or their forces being split up.


The best way to take advantage of people fear of the Basilisk, and its Indirect Fire abilities is to deploy it on one of the far flanks, tucked away in the corner, and, of course, hidden out of L.O.S. Because this type of Basilisk will most defiantly be equipped with ‘Indirect Fire’ you should be able to hit the majority of the enemy most of the time, except perhaps the endgame, where forces will be rather close. Placing them the far away from objectives, preferably still in range or L.O.S so they can shoot, means that they will be at their maximum efficiency for the entire game, allowing them to rain death against forces going for the objective. Some people also like to deploy a small “protection” squad around the Basilisk. I find this to be a pointless episode, as that squad will be nothing more than a very quickly stopped speed bump, however, it will increase the longevity of your Basilisk, especially if Infiltrators or Deep Strikers are brought in to bear against it (which is highly likely), once again, it’s up to you.


This tactic works fine with just the one Basilisk, the constant pain of a very nasty shell landing on your opponents head every turn will make them went to cry. However, in larger games, try and go for 2 Basilisks. This may give you the cry of “Cheese!” but honestly; the Basilisk is too fragile to be called cheese. However, once again, putting your faith into some very easily destroyed 250pts, and using up 2 Heavy Support choices can be seen as a waste. Remembering back to the days when I played a Mixed Armour/Infantry army, one Basilisk used to be enough, but it’s up to you in the end.

• Constant support when you need it, where you need it

• the Basilisk threatening presence can cause your opponent to falter from his objective, which is a good thing.

• Its long range, coupled with its deployment insures it can attack critical locations

• The Basilisk/s will generally be deployed away from your forces, meaning they can be easily picked off as they lack proper protection

• Not very effective on shorter gaming tables

• Taking more than one Basilisk can seriously deny more of your Heavy Support choices, and if they are destroyed, seriously weaken your offensive firepower


A very easy way to use the Basilisk. It ensures that the enemy is always being pounded by its incredibly powerful shells, and provides you with support when you need it, and where you need it. However, their deployment can sometimes leave them open to easy enemy retribution.

All Batteries! Fire on my signal…

The Basilisk is most defiantly a very, very frightening machine, and it most certainly does deserve the reputation it has before it. It’s a superb Heavy support choice, and while the Basilisk alone will never bring you victory, its support alone will help turn the tide if you’re smart. And when all else fails, use the reputation of the Basilisk to your advantage, make the enemy send forces out to destroy it, but play on this mistake, and smash the enemy into the ground.

If you’re still confused, lost or just plain awe struck, simply visit the Imperial Guard boards. There are plenty of Imperial Guard commanders willing to assist you, and hopefully, I shouldn’t be too far away. Just mention the word ‘Tank’ in your subject line, and its guarantied that ill see it!

Good luck,

And may the Emperor protect you always!

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