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Rhinodon

Analysis

Fiction

The Rhinodon is described as a ferocious and deadly warbeast that has an unusual number of natural weapons, allowing it to fight off packs of smaller creatures in the wild. It apparently causes so much collateral damage, especially to buildings and soldiers, that it is rarely used in inter-house fighting within the Skorne Empire and has only seen a rise in popularity with the invasion of the Iron Kingdoms where its tendency toward wanton destruction is less problematic.
  • The Rhinodon is supposed to be a unpredictable rampaging monster ideally suited to attacking fortifications and feared by soldiers due to its savageness. Almost nothing of this flavor comes through on the card.
  • The Rhinodon's spiky backplates have traditionally been represented as part of its rules block. The Spiny Growth animus is would appear to represent this in the New Edition. Its horn has not been represented as a weapon since Mk1.
  • The Rhinodon has 3 initial attacks and a non-reach thresher special attack. This is somewhat corner case as it is unusual for a non-reach model to engage more than 3 enemy models (though it does happen).
The Rhinodon's various natural weapons have seen quite a few incarnations. In its Mk1 incarnation the Rhinodon could attack with its horn (which was quite powerful). In every incarnations the back plates have been represented by some form of special rule, either providing additional armor from the rear arc or causing significant damage to enemies who hit it with free strikes. 

Role in the Faction

Rhinodon has long had a somewhat problematic relationship to Skorne's staple melee beast: the Titan Gladiator. The two seem to have similar roles but the Gladiator, being only a few points more expensive, beats out the Rhinodon in number of attacks, power of each attack, base survivability, and (due to the Rush animus) threat range and support utility.

The new edition brought the Rhinodon a new animus, Spiny Growth, allowing him to spend 2/3 of his Fury to match the Titan's armor value and deal damage to any warjack or warbeast that attacks him. This seems like it might give him a role as a first-wave warbeast, sacrificing himself to soften up enemy heavies. It also gives him a warlock support role as this animus is a powerful defensive tool for those warlocks who can afford to cast it. 
  • Low damage output means the Rhinodon has a hard time playing into heavy warbeasts and due to short melee range it isn't much better at killing infantry than the Gladiator. The price difference is too small to justify it purely as a "bargain" alternative and it would benefit greatly from a more specialized role.
  • Due to the fact that it cannot run and use its animus, the Rhinodon cannot easily position itself to be a first wave beast without leaving itself vulnerable with a truly miserable armor value. Being only 1 SPD faster than a titan makes it difficult to get to the front line significantly ahead of other models unless you bring a Gladiator to support it with Rush. Once it gets there its low P+S hinders its effectiveness as an anti-heavy beater. Charging into a heavy to ineffectually hit it with a few feeble initial attacks and then hoping to do a decent amount of damage with Spiny Growth while you are beaten to death would not be a very gratifying strategy even if it were effective!
  • As a caster support piece the Rhinodon is overshadowed by the Razor Worm, which provides the same animus for substantially fewer points and has a secondary role that is likely to keep it alive and thus providing support longer than the Rhinodon's role as a front-line beast.

Goals

With so many issues I can see what the Rhinodon has struggled to find a coherent design. It is unlikely that we will be able to solve all of these, so the goal will be to clarify its role while maintaining the current price point of the beast (dropping the price might be another good way to fix the Rhinodon, but it would make for a pretty boring doctored card!)

I will focus in on a specialized role as an anti-infantry beast while maintaining a secondary role as a front line speed-bump.  Fictionally I would like to express the Rhinodon's ferocity and unpredictability.

Doctored Card

Discussion

  • Smasher
  • +1 SPD
  • +1 DEF
  • Parry
  • Horn Attack
  • Reduced Tail POW
  • Reduced Threshold


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