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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tank Classifications

I think it’s time for one of these articles :P. A lot of energy seems to go into arguing over terms and what you should call tanks, etc. mainly in Vt2’s last post of the Space Marine review. So here I’m going to outline what I (emphasis on I) label tanks and what I presume their roles are. I imagine there will be some variation in tank placement and classification but for the most part I’ve found these classifications to not cause a huge amount of confusion. Hopefully this will encourage…er some more discourse in relation to Vt2’s articles and streamline terminology (and if you disagree or have an extra term, etc., let’s hear it). This article will also lead up to a discussion on the vehicle rules over the next coming days. Some of you may remember Stelek’s articles on this and I thought it would be a good idea to look at them again, especially since some of us have talked about it in the chat lately.


The first and most obvious. The most obvious transport in the game is the Rhino. They generally have low armor from AV10-12 and pack one or two guns but can be bought as dedicated vehicles for squads. This is the big kicker for transports, especially the ones which have heavy guns on them such as Razorbacks and Chimeras as you are essentially getting access to more FoC slots. Whilst these transports can be used offensively their primary use is to hide, protect and transport infantry units around the battlefield. This allows infantry more protection, greater mobility and often increased firepower.

The important thing about transports is they often super-cede the Gunboat classification but are not heavy tanks or hugely expensive. Again, their primary purpose is more often than not, related to their contents.

Common transports:
Chimera, Rhino, Razorback, Trukk, Wave Serpent, Raider, Devilfish

Light Tanks

These aren’t often even tanks and generally are capable of outmanoeuvring the enemy in some way (fast, skimmer, scout, outflank, etc.). With low armor values (<11) and often capable of operating in squadrons, Light Tanks generally bring a fair amount of firepower to the table on cheap chassis which improves vehicle saturation. However, they are generally pretty easy to destroy and are the perfect target for a bunch of S7/8 shots.

Common light tanks:
Land Speeders, Sentinels, Piranhas, Vypers, Buggies


This is probably the most commonly fielded tank and often transports also fulfil the role of gunboat (I.e. Wave Serpent). Gunboats are medium to heavily armoured tanks (AV12-13) but don’t always have high side AV (I.e. Predator). These tanks generally have multiple weapon systems and are capable of putting down a fair amount of firepower and are quite capable of being outfitted for multiple roles. Distinguishing factors of gunboats are their ability to often fire and move (not so much Vanilla Preds) or don’t have a “main” weapon and some are even capable of doing both (I.e. Falcon, Ravager). Ultimately, Gunboats are generally flexible and durable in the front arc

Common Gunboats:
Predator, Hydra, Falcon, Ravager, Exorcist, Fire Prism


These are sort of upgraded Gunboats which generally field a “main” weapon but may not be as mobile as their less armed brethren. They also generally have better AV (13-14) and often greatly improved side armor (12+). These tanks are generally bigger and badder than everything else around them but cost a lot more and don’t like weapon destroyed as much as other tanks.

Common Battle-tanks:
Leman Russ variants, Hammerhead, Land Raider, Monolith

So there are my understandings of tanks. There’s some cross-over and some tanks don’t fit the definitions too well (I.e. Vindicator…) but it gives some broad definitions to help me build my army lists and know what I need to be capable of shutting down. With the advent of transports with guns (Razorback, Chimera) in 5th edition, I need a lot more suppression fire to be able to silence their guns whilst still having enough firepower to take out gunboats and battle-tanks whilst protecting myself from any light tanks which may be running around.

In terms of AV and ‘tank heaviness’ though, here is what I would classify as light, medium and heavy:

Light: <44 (or roughly AV10-11 most sides)
Medium: between 43-49 (or roughly AV 12+ most sides with high front)
Heavy: 50+ (or roughly AV13+ most sides with high front)

This generally puts most transports in the light area (except wave serpents) as well as light tanks whilst most gunboats and some heavy tanks go in the medium area (I.e. Exorcist, Predator, hammerhead) and only the really big tanks like Leman Russes, Land Raiders and Monoliths get the Heavy army tag.

Remember, these are my classifications and generally what I reference when I discuss armor on this blog and in person so I'd be curious to know how parallel this runs to others', etc. Ensuring everyone or nearly everyone is on a similar or the same page is good and will cause less QQ.

P.S. Ya, pink tank. FTW.

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