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Monday, September 27, 2010

Analysis: Vindicators

There have been a few questions about Vindicators in comments whilst I was away and you see a lot of these suckers used on forums yet never or rarely upon request, on this blog. Let's break down the why of this and potentially how they could be fixed. This will look across all of the Marine codex variants including the Blood Angels and whilst Vt2 may cover this later in his Space Marine review, we're beating him to the punch ^^.

So first off, why do people even use this tank? Obviously it's a tank and for 125 points you get an AV13/11/10 BS4 tank which ignores terrain thanks to siege shield and has a very impressive S10 AP2 ordnance gun. This would appear to work well in a mech list that doesn't rely on getting close (i.e. Land Raiders with Terminators) as you can protect the weaker side armour and throw 3 S10 ord templates around. However, these tanks suffer from one-gun-syndrome and a short range.

Although 30" (24+6) is nothing to be sneered at, it is avoidable (especially on the first turn) and due to the design of the vehicle, basically becomes an area denial weapon especially due when immobilised. This effectively reduces its range and scope as the gun only has a 45 degree arc. Having only one significant weapon (which is very significant indeed) means the tank is virtually classified 'dead' once it's been shot off. Although it can still impact upon the battlefield, it's ability to do so has been greatly reduced. Furthermore, due to the significance of this gun, many opponents will attempt to simply shake-lock it. Whilst its weak side armor can be protected with other tanks, this will limit your mobility and requires multiple tanks to pull off and with most armies packing a large amount of S7+ weaponry, it isn't too difficult to shake AV13. Whilst this can attract firepower away from the rest of your forces, I'd prefer a tank which can attract firepower away from the rest of my forces but doesn't provide easy target priority choices for my opponent.

What this means is any damage on the vehicle damage chart is bad for the Vindicator, although immobilised is slightly better off than the rest, unless the Vindicator is in a good firing position, the impact of this tank is greatly reduced. Combined with the high damage potential of the Vindicator's gun, this tank becomes a huge target priority for your opponent and is often disabled early and with relative ease. Whilst the tank is protectable by other tanks, this is sinking a lot of points into a single gun and causes your tanks to clump which can limit mobility.

Does the Blood Angel codex make this any different? Whilst more expensive, the Fast status can overcome the range limitation (and in particular the first turn issue) to a certain degree but still suffers poorly with any roll on the vehicle damage chart. Spending points to protect the flanks of a Blood Angels Vindicator is also more expensive due to the increased cost BA pay for their vehicles.

So in the end, Vindicators are great at area denial and can significantly damage both mech and infantry based armies (MC armies don’t really care) but hate any weapons being direct at their way. Any shot which gets through generally leaves the Vindicator un-operational and due to their damage potential, are generally disabled quickly by an opponent. This ultimately takes away a Heavy Support slot which would be better off buying a Predator, Land Raider, Dreadnoughts or Devastators/Long Fangs which are more versatile, more resilient to damage (I.e. don’t suck when their weapon is destroyed) and fit better with the army as a whole.

21 pinkments:

Jon said...

Don't forget vindicators suffer from army-specific-gun syndrome, too. Any army that doesn't need to keep it's units in bunches (IE, anyone who's not DSing, getting out of transports in large numbers, etc) can spread out a little bit extra to turn that pie plate into a lascannon with half the range and one more strength.

Vindicators only work to their potential in the place their fluff declares them to be designed for: dense cityfight scenarios. Being able to block off access to weak side armour with terrain, fire indirectly (albeit 45 front arc), and ignore rubble in the street makes them great for the city sub-game. Not that this is a bad thing, it's nice to see support for expansions, but not competitive.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

Haha! You talkin' to me?!

I do know of the flaws of the Vindicator, but am trying to work around them. Get blood out of that stone young man!
I think the 3 Marine Dexes with modern Razors are the way to go.

You are bringing Razors + TROOPS anyway, and as they are not Rhino Bunkers, use their equal mobility to keep abreast of the Vindi.
I think tlAssCan has the most synergy with the Demolisher, though lasplas gives you better ruggedness and you can snipe at other targets with the LC.

How is the foe recognising the Vindi's power a bad thing?
Compare to a Pred, the Pred is just as hamstrung by stun/shaken, and no more resistant to it.
That the Vindi is a no-brainer to shoot at, keeps the Razors shooting.
Who would ignore a Pred to shoot at a Razor instead?

As has been discussed here [I think?], Transports are actually the thing to target T1+2, which would mean the Pred gets off scott free. With extra armour being very expensive these days, even a glance [stunned] will halt your Razors advance.
Better off having them target the Vindi with its better AV and is not carrying those important passengers.
1/3 ML shots give a probable Glance+ against AV 13
2/3 ML shots give a probable Glance+ against AV 11

That is my sandwich idea. Razor/Vindi/Razor.
They advance towards the objective, steadily. They won't ignore the Vindi and so dedicate hopefully more than one salvo against it per turn.

The wolf sandwich has a serve of Thunder behind it. Either ThunderLord+FenWolves or TWC. Their 6+d6+12 move means they can stream around those 4.5" Rhino chassis.

The blood sandwich works better, imo. Being able to go forwards AND backwards 12" means that many of todays armies cannot actually close on them. I have a belief that BA should be fighting like the Eldars, and this coincides with that vision.
The blood sandwich has its own brand of chutney.
Either Jumpers or a Land Raider+whatever.
The 18" or 21" move helps get them into the action at the same time.

You will also be laying down your own suppressing fire via ML and AC, which should mitigate some of the heat the sandwich takes.

geordiesirvin said...

I don't know what codex you've got Jon but I don't think the vindicator can fire indirectly. If it could most of its problems would disappear.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

The other is the trailer.
The Vindi follows the lead units and then makes it happen. You'll be sacrificing T1 shooting and can never make it back....
The formation is a Y, with two Rhinos up front and Vindi close behind.

This is done with Rhinos. Rhinos have the same top speed as the Vindi and have no need to not do so.
The Rhinos move 12" + smoke. Vindi 12" The Vindi has moved 7.5" past the starting line -> only 1.5" more than if it had poll position and moved 6" but the point of it is:
The Vindi avoids being shot at due to TLOS and getting a 3++ save.
The Demolisher might not have much to shoot at T1, what with things being Meched up or far away.
By the end of T2 Shooting phase, tasty infantry should start to come out of their shells forcibly, a bonanza for the the demolisher!

That means the Vindi has moved 7.5+6= 13.5" past your starting line before the enemy has a decent chance to start shooting it. This guarantees attention and lightens the heat the rest of your forces get on T2 or 3.

The trailer works with a MM bunker. Either the MM Rhino moves another 12" or the Vindi moves 6" and the other Rhino [whatever it has] also moves towards a good vantage point/out of the way.

If you use the blood trailer [little red caboose?] you haul them 18" on T1, getting the Vindi 13.5" past the starting line and 25.5" by T2.

I think a T2 demolisher shot is better than a T1 shot, although I concede that reduces the suppression fire you are putting down, which is not good.

Remember a few things. This is theory hammer and I am trying to squeeze more life out of the Dexes and secondly, I play at 1500 pts, which is going to see the Vindicator be more fruitful than a 2K game, for example.

VT2 said...

Getting to this one in a few days.
The way vehicles work, only templars can use vindicators in an offensive fashion.

Jon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VT2 said...

No, demolisher cannons can't fire indirect, because they're not barrage.

Lyracian said...

@Jon. There is a misprint in Space Marine codex. Demolisher cannon is not Barrage. See the FAQ

If you have a heavy mech list then one Vindicator can work to draw from from other vehicles. You can also try the approach of keeping Vindicator in reserves.

Jon said...

Oh man, really? I thought ordinance gave barrage (gave pinning) before I re-read the BRB. Fail! Posts deleted

VT2 said...

One vindicator dies.
Two are annoying, actual pressure, and draw fire.
Three means one's gonna get to fire.

Kirby said...

125*3 for 1 demolisher shot? Pass.

@Wilhelm, limited mobility comes from the fact your other tanks are protecting the side armor of the Vindi. They move elsewhere, and the Vindi becomes more vulnerable. They stay and they have to relegate their movement in relation to the Vindicator. What happens if it's stunned or you need more pressure in another direction? etc. By having 2 other tanks babysit a 3rd tank, you lose one of the main advantages of MSU and mech.

Robert said...

I use 2 in my list with a deathstar of terminators in a crusader and they work brilliantly. Going with the target saturation you speak of, People don't want vindicators near their lines, neither do they want assault terminators. so they have to choose between firing at the AV14 tank(very difficult at range unless your eldar or dark eldar) or hitting the AV13 tanks. through this number of high potential threats it's very easy to get to smack range with at least one of the weapons there. A great way to cover them with the raider is to have something similar to the Y set up described above. But have it more like \|/ with the raider in the middle, the vindicators hiding their sides behind it, they're back a bit more than in that example. also with a str.10 shot that picks the higher of 2 die vs. armour they are great at popping tanks. The most they can scatter is 8" and the size of majority of tanks out there the centre can still be on the vehicle even after a scatter.

Using them with a fast moving anti tank unit, MM attack bikes, speeders, even rhino mounted meltaguns to an extent they can really put the pain on infantry too.

brent said...

What about putting Chronus in the Vindicator?

VT2 said...

Then you have a 185 point vindicator, that's still not as good as the templar ones that can move far and shoot their big guns, while ignoring stun and shaken.

Kirby said...

@Robert; side armor is still open in that setup as you only have a 45 degree arc. A single raider is also easily blocked and 3 significant targets bunched up is not target saturation. It's the same reasoning above in relation to lack of mobility. If you concentrate your forces and don't wish to break that concentration, your opponent controls the battlefield unless you have significantly superior firepower. If you do break it, with your setup you don't have enough saturation for an opponent with a lot more units to pick apart.

You'll also find a 5" ord template at BS4 hits around 50% of the time on a chassis when you put it in the corner. Not exactly reliable.

Da Warboss said...

The Chaos vindi does have the ability to put a fair fall-back weapon, the havoc launcher, onto a turret. At least your immobolized-vindicator bunker will have something that can threaten enemies beyond 24" and 45 degrees.

Kirby said...

And suffers from being in the Chaos book + the opportunity cost of the much better Oblits.

Da Warboss said...

So are we going off on tangents about OTHER, BETTER units, or are we looking at the abilities of the various vindicators? Sure, Oblits in numnbers are good. Better? Depends on how many melatas or other AP 1 or 2 weapons are running about. AP 2 weapons still ahve a chore going through AV 13 at range. Obltis are far more easy to torrent. Add demonic, and the Vindicator with Havoc Launcher is probably more survivable than the two oblits you get for roughly same cost.

Kirby said...

Vaccum analysis is bad. So ya, when there are better units, you use them instead.

The fact that Vindicators are only decent at anti-infantry and to a degree anti-tank beyond all the issues highlighted above whilst Oblits have the tool for every job, means what then?

COTBT said...

Get three. Because they are awesome.

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