Take the fight to the enemy!
Type: Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Genre: Strategy, 4X
Developer: Proxy Studios
Publisher: Slitherine Ltd.
Release date: 28 May, 2020
The third unit DLC for Gladius, the Assault Pack, is the polar opposite of the DLC that came before it, the Fortification pack. Where the fortification pack was quite defensively oriented and at best a slow plodding advance towards the enemy, the Assault pack is all about taking the fight to the enemy.
Two things seem to define the assault pack: Early game aggression and transports. Four out of seven units have some form of transport capability, although in the case of the Tidewall it might be the unit inside that transport the transport (it makes sense, I swear!), and four of the units are tier 1 units, so you can start researching them almost as soon as the game starts.
Astra Militarum gets the classic Chimera troop transport, a surprisingly sturdy and well armed vehicle that has a few tricks up its sleeves. Most notably of these is the fact that it’s amphibious and thus can move across water. This is one of those perks that on some maps will have almost no use at all, and on some maps can be a godsend. If there’s a unit inside the chimera they can also help mount some of the guns, which increases its damage output, though not by as much as the unit would likely do on its own outside. But there’s value in force concentration and damage units can contribute in battle from inside the chimera.
The Scythed Hierodule that the tyranids get is one of the two late-game units in this pack, and it’s a beast. It’s a huge melee focused creature that can take an ungodly amount of damage. This is the kind of unit you bring in when you’re trying to take down a well defended base, as it can soak up a lot of damage and kill most smaller units in a single hit. It is expensive though so this is not a unit you’ll be spamming, unless you’re already winning and the enemy have really dug in.
T’au get the Tidewall Gunrig, a structure that can be built by the same drones that are used to create new cities. Once built they’re an immobile gun emplacement with a massive railgun on top that works well against heavier units, but infantry (including the Krootox riders from the Specialist pack) can be put inside these and suddenly they’re able to move. These are really the odd one out of this pack, as they’re slow and seem more like they would belong in the Fortification pack, but T’au was not in the game when that was released, and they already have plenty of more mobile and aggressive options, so they end up serving a unique role in the army.
Warbikes prove that Orks love speed and they love dakka. This is another tier 1 unit that you can get almost right away. Warbikes pack a surprising punch for a fast tier 1 unit, but they’re fragile and will go down quickly if they’re targeted by more than one early-game unit with some armor penetration. These are great for pouncing at exposed enemies and scouting, but ill suited for any kind of frontline fighting role.
Flayed Ones from the Necrons are yet another Tier 1 unit, and melee unit at that, something the Necrons did not have earlier. The big thing about them is that they ignore overwatch, similar to kroot hounds, and they also have an aura that lowers the moral of nearby enemies, to represent the fact that they’re basically clad in the skin of their enemies and really unnerving. Their lack of armour penetration does limit their use somewhat, but the fact that they do something that no other Necron unit does makes them pretty handy, particularly in the early game. It’s especially nice to see a good Necron unit in one of these packs as Necrons have kind of got the short end of the stick in the past two.
Chaos Land Raiders are Land Raiders, but Chaos use them. Seems simple enough. These serve a similar role as a heavily armed and armoured late-game tank as the Space Marine Land Raider seen in the first unit pack, and while they might not be identical to their loyalist counterparts, thanks to some different tech, the difference between the two is not particularly big. This is a unit you use to break through enemy lines and soak up damage in the late game, just like with the other Land Raider.
Then there’s the Space Marine Razorback, yet another tier one unit, and yet another transport. The Razorback is basically just an upgunned Rhino, similar to the tier 1 transport that Chaos has, with a heavy bolter turret, allowing it to lend a hand in fights against infantry. This is a useful, but not very exciting, unit that does exactly what you would expect it to and nothing else.
The Assault pack is, in my opinion, better than the unit packs that came before it. All of the units here actually seem useful in most games, without feeling overpowered, and most of them come into play early enough to have an impact, and are not just game enders. I especially liked the Flayed Ones as they are unlike anything else the Necrons have access to, and yet don’t feel out of place or change the identity of the faction, though the Chimera and Ork Bikes also open up some interesting new tactical possibilities. If you only have the money for one unit pack for Gladius then either get this or the Specialist Pack. Personally I would go for this one, but that might just be my own bias towards units that appears earlier in the tech tree speaking.