Thursday, May 7, 2009

Do you hear a rumbling noise?

Okay. So, I don’t think anyone complained to Reds about my last article so here’s the next one. As you may have guessed, it’s about the heavy support choices in the new codex. To start us off, the Leman Russ variants:

Leman Russ variant common info:
The LR’s all come with a searchlight and smoke launchers. I’m not sure that the searchlight is really a blessing, but being able to pop smoke for extra protection while you armor is running around in the open is always a good thing. You can also take them in squads of up to three, in any combination. The ‘Lumbering Behemoth’ special rule is, as they say, somewhat of a left-handed compliment to the Guard: moving at combat speed or stationary, your tank may now fire its turret as well as any other gun it’s got (provided you’d normally be allowed to fire it). The trade-off? Cruising speed is now only 6+ D6 inches (rolling every move). Not a bad trade. When you first look at this rule you think: oh, cool – I get to move and unload all my guns at everything that moves! Not so, I’m afraid. You get to fire the turret, and one other gun, and then the pintle-mounted weapon. If you squad-up, then save some points and don’t bother with sponsons – the hull mount is the best option since all the tanks have to fire at the same target. Whether you feel it necessary to unload the fury of three of the Emperor’s finest tanks onto a single target or not is between you and God. I’m up in the air about dozer blades for these guys, I personally won't bother, but if you're going to move around, Starwoof says they might be a good idea. As for the extra armor option, I don’t see why you need it; the armor values on the front and sides is sufficient that the enemy is going to throw his heaviest weapons at them. At that point crew problems are secondary to hull problems. The Demolisher, Punisher, and Executioner also have small-arms-proof rear armor. If you take single tanks, camo nets become a good option, but in squads you should be moving them around. All LR’s have the option to stick Knight Commander Pask inside, and I’ll point out what you could do when I discuss that specific tank. Don’t forget: tank shock is an amazing thing, and so is ramming. When your turret gets shot-off, start pantomiming a big drum and say, “Ramming speed. Doom, doom, doom…” Don’t let the enemy assault your tanks. A good meltabomb style grenade, and boom. Even krak style ‘nades will take these out 50-67% of the time. By the way: these all have the ‘tank’ vehicle type. Duh…

Leman Russ Battle Tank:
The backbone of the Guard. Really, this tank can handle everything reliably. The main turret is an S8 AP3 ordnance weapon. The low AP value plus the high strength means that it’ll pulp almost any infantry, and it gets a large blast so you can put a lot of enemy units in harm’s way. The ordnance part means that you can (usually) roll two dice for armor penetration, and pick the highest. With the center hole of the blast marker over the model, you have a 33% chance of penetrating on the hardest vehicles in the game. Pask is a waste here, I think. You only get one Pask, so put him where he can do more good. These would be good in squads of two, but three is a bit of overkill.
LRBT’s score: 8.5/10

Leman Russ Exterminator:
These are kinda cool – an autocannon platform, with serious armor. A four shot, twin-linked autocanon. Nice. The Guard officially laughs at the Space Marine Predator Destructor. Pask will turn this tank into an infantryman’s nightmare. Light vehicles like transports will also go boom at the caress of this tank’s guns. It could try to hack it as an all-rounder with a hull lascannon, but I think stocking more anti-infantry goodness with the heavy bolter is the way to go. Enemy too close to risk a blast weapon? Use this. Putting this into a squad with other variants seems like a good idea to me.
Exterminator’s score: 8/10

Leman Russ Vanquisher:
Behold! The tank slayer cometh. Another great choice for Pask. Another turret that doesn’t fire a blast. No, it’s not a coincidence. A single shot S8 AP2 turret that gets a to roll a second D6 for armor penetration. When it’s big, ugly, and needs to die now, take a squad of these. Even without Pask, three shots will statistically hit. And a hit will statistically kill the target. That said, infanry can ninja dodge the shots, and it’s only usefulness there is as a big (really big) and expensive sniper for the hero types.
Vanquisher’s score: 8/10

Leman Russ Eradicator:
Have you figured-out how these things are named yet? There’s no ‘Leman Russ Cuddly Bear;’ only names that threaten death and dismemberment. It’s awesome. And so is this tank if you fight in 5th edition rules, with everyone and their mother's getting a cover save from having sand on top of their boots. The Eradicator denies cover saves, and with a S6 AP4 large blast, that’s nothing at which you should sneeze. “Should I stick the heavy flamer on here for maximum anti-cover firepower?” No, silly: if you're close enough to hit with a heavy flamer, the other guy’s probably decided to assault you. I thought I told you to keep assaulty troops away. It is up to you, though. I’d personally put plasma cannon turrets on here. Again, Pask isn’t very necessary here.
Eradicator’s score: 8.5/10

Leman Russ Demolisher:
The pinnacle of short range “Kill it” tanks. It doesn’t matter what you point this thing towards, it’s going to at least take a wound. The turret is S10 AP2 ordnance with a 24 inch range. These you might want to keep moving a bit. I’m pretty sure that lumbering behemoth was for this tank, primarily. Pask might be a good choice here, but I think it would be more for a hull mounted lascannon.
Demolisher’s score: 8/10

Leman Russ Punisher:
I’m not sure what to think about this variant. Of all of them, this one is the only one that needs Pask to start being effective. It certainly looks good on paper, with a S5 20 shot gun on top. But there’s no AP value – everything can try to save against it. It’s also the second most expensive variant, so the jury’s still out. I’m sure that if you also took Creed, and outflanked with a squad of them, it would spell certain doom. But there are better ways to spell doom.
Punisher’s score: 7/10

Leman Russ Executioner:
A very aptly named vehicle. The turret on this baby fires a trio of S7 AP2 blasts into a wide-eyed quivering target. It’s almost obligatory to laugh manically as you roll the dice on this one. Throw some plasma cannon sponsons, and you’ve got yourself a party. Pask is actually good here, to make sure you squeeze every last wound out of this thing. If you have points to throw around recklessly, take two of these (include Pask and a pintle mount and this becomes the same price as a land raider, but it’s so worth it). I promise you’ll have fun with them. I think partnering this with the Exterminator might be the ultimate anti-infantry/-light vehicle choice.
Executioner’s score: 8.5/10

Wow. That’s a lot just with the LR’s. On to the much talked-about –
Hydra Flak Tank:
The hydra autocannon has longer range than the normal version, and the tank has two twin-linked hydra autocannons. Let me say it again, because the codex tries to sneak this past you: there are two twin-linked hydra autocannons. The Hydra is mounted on a regular Chimera chassis, so keep it supported. It is a tank, so you can tank shock, etc. Here’s the nifty part: the auto-targeting system gives bikes and skimmers the finger. No cover saves from going flat-out or turbo-boosting. And they’re really cheap. Take a squad of three. Trouble with Nob bikers? Those blasted Eldar vehicles? No more!
Hydra’s score: 8.5/10

I’ll do the other page in a separate article, since there’s so much to cover with heavy support.


  1. As far as dozer blades on leman russ squadrons go, I recommend them if you have points to spare. Today my opponent rolled a pair of ones on turn one for his leman russes, and lost half of both his squadrons without me firing a single gun.

  2. I'd be tempted to run the hydra as a replacement for anti-infantry heavy weapons squads, since for the same price as a heavy bolter team you get three of your 4.5 expected hits at s7 rather than 5 and an armored chassis that requires a s6 hit to hurt on the front as opposed to getting instagibbed by s6. They're very good at anything that requires a lot of medium strength firepower.