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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Marine codex 'review' (#16): land raiders

Like the various rhino chassis, land raiders of all types share certain characteristics and attributes, but have much less separating them from each other.
Because of this, all common 'raider traits are summarized here, rather than in each individual entry.

Number one's the two big things: armor 14 in all facings, and being assault vehicles.
The armor makes it very hard to grind land raiders down, especially at range. Lascannons and equivalent need 6's for penetrating hits, while railguns 'merely' require 5+ to penetrate
Of course, meltaguns don't care about your armor all that much, but not even melta can guarantee a penetrating hit on you. Being armor 14 also makes ramming that much more lethal. Keep this in mind, because it's sometimes game-changing.

Note that some armies (necrons, demons, orks) have no realistic answer to single land raiders - let alone two or three.
Assault vehicle lets cargo assault after dismounting from 'raiders. This is a very rare and powerful thing, and usually only available to open topped, paper-armored transports.

Another important thing is armament and the machine-sprit. 'Raiders are studded with guns, and can buy more - the one mandatory being the 10 point multi-melta, which you should always pay for.
Most of what you've got is good (all things considered), or at least passable, but the mix bolted onto each land raider is often too random to be of much use.
Your machine-spirit allows you to shoot one more gun than normally allowed, and this extra weapon can be fired at another unit if you so desire (lascannons versus manticore, multi-melta against a nearby leman russ).

Third is your size. Land raiders are huge, and block off sight to everything that's not another 'raider. They're so huge, in fact, you can use the center point turning to squeeze out another inch or two of movement if you deploy sideways.
With great size comes great capacity. Regardless of type, land raiders take a full infantry squad, plus attached characters, or at least half a terminator squad, and the ever-present boss.

All land raiders are officially heavy support, but your main source of them - and only realistic reason to field them in the first place - is as terminator dedicated transports. That's right - terminators are so generous, they let you field 'raiders without using up heavy support choices.
However, triple terminator rocks require you to invest at least one heavy support slot, because you're limited to a max of two dedicated transport 'raiders (one for each type of terminators), and should you want multiple assault terminator rocks, you've gotta splash on two or more heavy support land raiders.

Movement is another thing. Most of the time, you want to move 12, but you're paying a lot for the dakka.
Since you're a land raider, and nothing outside of melta is a realistic threat to you, it's sometimes a good idea to slow down to 6, and fire off some shots. This doesn't really apply to redeemers, thanks to it having flamers as main guns, and any redeemers you take should pretty much always move at full speed against people.

The very last thing to remember is 'the rule of many.' Never take one land raider. Take two or three, or take none.
One's gonna draw all the melta the opponent has, and will get slagged early, while multiples almost guarantee that one of them will deliver its cargo. More is a serious threat to everything in the game, and messes with your opponent's plans - especially if they're all carrying terminators.

With that out of the way, on with the show.


Land raider: bad.

Also known as 'the regular 'raider,' 'godhammer,' and 'land raider phobos,' the land raider is a 250 point brick, sporting two linked lascannons, and one linked heavy bolter.

Supposedly, you open transports with the 'feared and reviled' godhammer lascannons, and shoot down anything that pops out with the heavy bolter. Anyone who's used this vehicle knows this wasn't likely to happen during past editions, and is even less likely now that vehicles are tougher. Still, lascannons are lascannons.

Used to be hardcore bad, but got massively improved in both 4th and 5th edtion. The former fail raider, while still not optimally equipped for anything, really, can at least shoot two targets a turn - unless its the chaos version, which happens to be the only way to put actual fail raiders on the table in 5th edition.

So, let's look morely closely at what we're getting.
250 points, yes? Two linked lascannons, one linked heavy bolter, the 'raider hull itself, and 12 people capacity.
The lascannons tell you it's a ranged firebase, of sorts, with large transport capacity. Put tacticals or scouts inside, camp homebase as an actual bunker? Maybe. Or you hunt enemy armor with it at very long range? Well, sure, but probably not worth the 250 points.
That one linked heavy bolter is there for laughs and tradition. Ask any random marine player when they last used their godhammer's heavy bolter in 5th edition. Go on, it's fun.

Yeah, you can move 6 inches and shot lascannons at two different targets, but this nifty trick costs you 250 points.

12 people capacity? Sure, yes - it has that. Can't deny the good of that, but the other land raider patterns get 12 and 16 respectively, and come with a little item that counts anyone charging after dismounting as having frags. Yes, even terminators.
The other two wield dangerous guns, too, which is worth highlighting.

In short, it's an assault vehicle armed with long-ranged, anti-tank guns. If you want to use it to ferry squads around, you'll be missing out on optimal use of the lascannons. If you don't use the transport capacity, you're paying 250 points for two linked lascannons.

In all honesty, the best use for phobos raiders are as the aforementioned scoring bunkers.

What makes it good: for the minimum cost of 325 points, becomes a scoring, armor 14 bunker, with two linked lascannons.

What makes it bad: inflexible load-out. Heavy bolter is rarely used for anything. Not really good at dealing with either armor or infantry at the cost. Very expensive for what you're getting.


Land raider redeemer: bad.

A giant piece of awful, outfitted with dual mega-flamers and a linked assaultcannon. Many think this is a good investment, but reality doesn't agree.

While the godhammer is fail for being too long-ranged, redeemers are fail for being too short-ranged.
So short-ranged, optimal usage requires you to drive well within melta-range.
Land raiders are wide, squads are small, and most people put the flamers in the back set of sponson slots. The end result? After a lot of fidgeting, you manage to fry a unit with one sponson, get slagged by a meltagun, and whine for a bit.

And fry infantry you will - if you get to shoot. The mega-flamers are strength 6 and AP3. Few units in the game survive hits from them.

The magic moment is managing to reach your destination with 6 inches or less of movement, with expensive infantry on both sides.
After a simultaneous flamestorm broadside on both squads, the remaining dudes break, and the terminators inside the redeemer charge the enemy's HQ standing in front of the 'raider. Magic indeed.

Redeemers are supposed to be the ultimate in assault vehicle technology, but fall very short of such lofty goals and aspirations, thanks largely to the required melta-range insanity, and only one gun that can be used for the first two or three turns of the game.

Some small comfort's available. Unlike the oth
er two, redeemers 'only' cost 240 points. In general, it's best to skip on this one.
A regular 'raider sure isn't all that good, but it doesn't run the risk of instant-slagging turn three, either, and might take out a vehicle or two.

What makes it good:
cheaper than the other two. Magic moments are hilarious, and almost worth the 240 points price-tag.

What makes it bad:
lower capacity than the crusader. Too short-ranged. Magic moments are rare. Requires being within spitting distance of meltaguns to function.


Land raider crusader: good.

Transports 16 dudes. Oh yeah.

Also has 2 hurricane bolters (6 linked bolters in total), and a linked assaultcannon.
Thanks to the bolters all being defensive weapons, you can roll 6 inches and fire at full effect. This is very, very good, in case you didn't know, and an extra stormbolter expands this dakka.

Godhammer is too long-ranged, and has no focus. Its role as a transport is always being questioned, too.
Redeemer is suicidal, has a lower capacity, and can't do much at range.
Crusaders are focused anti-infantry platforms, carrying up to 8 terminators, and unleashing hell at medium range. No one likes 12-14 bolt shots aimed at their infantry, and 4 assaultcannon shots thrown in for laughs.

With the almost mandatory multi-melta on top, you suddenly gain a serious use for the crusader's machine-spirit - slagging armor with the multi-melta, and pew-pew'ing infantry to pieces with the rest of your load-out.

In the ancient days, you could move 12 and dakka with everything, and the 'raider itself could be upgraded to gain a sort of immunity to melta.
Alas, such insanity is no longer allowed, and only the ancient, outdated 3rd edition demonhunters codex allows maximum dakka at that speed, while only black templars are permitted to make their crusaders resistant - to lances of all things.

Still, all that dakka, 16 dude (8 terminators) capacity, and frag launchers for 250 points? Yes, please.
Oh, I can have a multi-melta that fires independently of my other guns, thanks to the machine-spirit? Very generous, mister crusader.

When all's said and done, crusaders end up costing 285 points - not 250. These points buy you the crusader itself, a pintle stormbolter, extra armor, and the multi-melta. Whatever you do, don't skimp on extra armor. You need the crusader to keep moving.

Outside of forgeworld, easily the most useful land raider pattern, and one of the most potent units at your disposal.
The high cost is really the only thing keeping it from a higher rating.

What makes it good: immense anti-infantry firepower. Huge capacity. Can move at combat speed and shoot all its dakka. Tends to have dramatic impacts on games, especially if there's two or more.

What makes it bad: it costs 250 points base. Still need two or more to make its presence felt, which is a huge chunk of your total points.

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