Note: I have updated this article to reflect the latest version of the Brigand rules. It was originally written using the July 2016 Living Rule Book
Code Name: Street Viper
Manufacturer: Mandeers Heavy Industry / Dynamic Systems
Height: 4.4 meters
Weight: 5,100 kg
Baconradar’s Summary: Low cost Interceptor/Tank Destroyer gear with a vicious aggressive streak
- At 6 TV it’s an affordable gear, especially given how specialised it is
- With 6/8 movement it’s also one of the fastest
- AR 5, Agile, and Piloting 3 actually make it as hard to kill as ‘tougher’ gears like the Jager
- Its armament and role mitigate the impact of its poor gunnery stat
- Has access to one great and one good variant, both of which are quite specialised
- Decent Piloting and Brawler:1 make it a fine melee unit capable of hurting much more expensive models
- Due to its LPZ it’s surprisingly dangerous to heavy armour, especially vehicles
- Lacks any AOE weapon so can’t take advantage of clustered units, negate ECM at range, or take advantage of the minimum 1D6 rule
- Unlike many light gears, has no special EWAR, Sensors, or Comms advantage
- Suffers from its poor Gunnery when targeting Trooper or Heavy gears from range
- Has a somewhat restrictive UA modifier
- Interceptor. The Street Viper is basically perfect for hunting down and destroying recon models. This is particularly true if they are TD using forward observers, which will range ahead of enemy formations to get a good angle on your most expensive units and rain down ATMs, AVMs, and GMs. The Viper is fast enough to go catch them, packs the Precise LRF which greatly increases your accuracy and crucially has brawler 1 and a LVB. The objective here is to get to melee where many recon units have brawler -1, are defenceless, or rely on ECM which won’t work in melee. Having that point of brawler means you can often top speed right into them and still have a good chance of landing a hit. Remember, you are cheaper than they are, and specialised to win in melee. Targeting Piloting 4 models also means you aren’t suffering from having Gunnery 2 rather than 3, as they get an equal bonus against either, so this is just playing it smart.
- Tank Destroyer. It can be surprisingly difficult to find a cost effective way of beating tanks. Very high AR means you need AP weapons, very heavy weapons (which are always very expensive), or an overwhelming MOS which usually requires crippling the tank. Anything slow is unlikely to be able to get a Back Attack bonus and anything expensive is a real risk of points against a very hard hitting enemy. Street Vipers are cheap, fast, agile, pack the AP:2 LPZ, and have a massive advantage in melee (usually 4D6 vs 1D6). They can get Back Attacks in due to their speed, you can afford to lose them due to their cost, and they can simply overwhelm tanks like locusts. It’s true that against a heavy tank you’re almost never going to do more than that 1 AP damage in melee, but you can certainly be a thorn in its side and at a low cost.
Anti Air: For no extra cost you lose your LPZ and swap your LRF for a LAC with AA and Burst:2. While this change in armament doesn’t particularly play to the strengths of the model and losing the LPZ severely curtails your anti-tank potency, that special LAC is really nice. In fact when you’re going top speed, as you often will be in the interceptor role, it will often be more accurate than the rifle. Effectively this gives you a better tool for hitting those pesky Cheetahs or similar recon models when you can’t reach melee. In terms of actual air defence it’s also a decent cheap option for taking potshots at a Varis, Dragonfly, or Peregrine, but useless against the Titan or Scorpion. Generally I prefer the stock model, but this is situationally a very useful variant.
Riotmaster: For +1TV you swap your LRF for a MFC and your LPZ for a MPZ. Now we’re talking! This is one of the most exciting variants in the Southern arsenal. The MFC will absolutely mulch infantry and because the Viper is so fast it can easily reposition to take them out. It’s also just as good as a dedicated anti-tank gear. With its speed the Viper should have little trouble flanking them for that crucial +2D6 Back Attack modifier, with agile it’s more likely to survive than other options, with its low cost you can afford to field them in depth, and with its combination of MFC, MPZ, and LVB with Brawler:1 it is an AP threat at several ranges. If I knew I’d be up against an infantry heavy list, or one with a heavy tank, this is a gear I’d definitely want.