Well, with Aeon talking about mechanized warfare, and ElegaicRequiem reviewing the Guard’s fast attack options, I figured I’d go with the flow, and talk about some Heavy Iron. That’s right, I mean the Leman Russ. In the old Codex, we had only two options, the Demolisher and the normal Russ. If you could afford to get your hands on Imperial Armour, you had access to a host of other options, but they were “Permission Only”, and not legal at a lot of tournaments. Now, though, we have a host of new variants to use! Let’s take a closer look at each of them….
Leman Russ: You know it, you love it, and you probably have at least one. It’s the perfect multipurpose tank. It’s Battle Cannon is great against light vehicles like Rhinos and Ork Trukks, and can pulp just about any type of infantry in the game, even targets like Nob Bikers (remember, that +1 to toughness for being on a bike doesn’t count for Instant Death)! If you want to make it more effective against heavy armour, you can throw a Hull Lascannon and some Multimelta sponsons on it. If you want to use it to slaughter infantry, you can tack on Heavy Bolter Sponsons and a Pintle Stubber, and throw 12 shots down range to finish off whatever your Battle Cannon didn’t turn into a sticky red paste. This is the most basic, flexible, and cost effective tank we can afford. But, like everything that can fill just about every role, it doesn’t always excel at any of them. That’s why we have other, more specialized variants, like…..
Leman Russ Exterminator: Originally, this variant was from Imperial Armour 1. Sporting two twin-linked autocannons, this thing rips apart high toughness targets like nothing else. Putting sponsons on it is a must. Heavy Bolters are a good choice, especially if you’re hitting a target like Genestealers, Nob Bikers, and Ogryn. Putting Plasma Sponsons on it allows you to take out even harder targets like Carnifexes, Light Vehicles, or MEQ Special Characters. That said, it’s a waste to try and use this thing to hunt tanks, so don’t bother with Lascannons or Multimeltas. It’s also cheap, so feel free to throw a Heavy Stubber on there too, just because you can.
Leman Russ Vanquisher: Very probably the sexiest of the Russ variants, this Imperial Armour import is the tank killer for the Guard. If you take one, always give it a hull Lascannon, and consider bolting on some Multimelta Sponsons to make it even more lethal. It’s also great for sniping Carnifexes, Zoanthropes and Librarians or Sorcerers running around in Terminator Armour. That said, there are a few things you should be aware of when you field this beast. First of all, it SHOULD NOT be used against infantry squads. Period. Second, unlike the version from Imperial Armour, this tank doesn’t use a template. Instead, it rolls to hit. This can be useful if terminators show up very close to your line, as you won’t scatter into your own men (or one of your other tanks). The downside is you’re using BS 3, so you’ll only hit half the time. This is the best tank to put Knight Commander Pask in, without a doubt. Finally, they’re huge bullet magnets. The look of the main gun alone makes people shoot at it, even if they don’t know what it does, and players who field mechanized lists recoil in horror and make hissing sounds when you pull it out, like a vampire being shown a Crucifix. Don’t expect this tank to live too long if your enemy has a lot of armour.
Leman Russ Eradicator: I really like this tank. Although it’s not that great against MEQs, it can trash just about everything else. Its main gun fires what are, essentially, small nukes, which means that the target doesn’t get a cover save. Yes, a Str 6, AP 4 weapon that ignores cover. This thing is perfect against Tau, IG, Eldar, and anyone on a Bike with those damned 3+ cover saves. Giving it Heavy Bolter sponsons is a good idea, but Heavy Flamers could be even more fun. Don’t have it shoot at armour, though. It’s designed to kill infantry.
Leman Russ Demolisher: What can I say that hasn’t been already said? It has the most recognizable gun of any IG vehicle (except maybe the Basilisk). It’s tough as hell. It kills anything. Give it Plasma or Multimelta Sponsons and it becomes rolling death. The one downside it’s a massive bullet magnet, although with 14, 13, 11 armour, it can take out a lot of punishment.
Leman Russ Punisher: Another strong contender in the “Dear God, look at that gun!” category, the Punisher sports a Gatling Cannon that acts like a Heavy Bolter on steroids. Perfect for dealing with Gaunts, IG conscripts, and hordes of other low toughness, poorly armoured targets, this thing should always have Heavy Bolter Sponsons and a Heavy Stubber on it. It’s also very good at digging non-MEQs out of cover, just because of the sheer number of cover saves it forces. Although it’s not designed to deal with armour, watching it shoot up AV 10 vehicles is hilarious. I’ve had one blow up a Chimera six times over.
Leman Russ Executioner: Honestly, I’m a little puzzled by this one. With its main gun firing 3 small plasma shots at Str 7, AP 2, it’s perfect for pulping terminators and monstrous creatures. Multimeltas aren’t a bad choice, but putting Plasma sponsons on it turns it into the Burning Plasma Death Tank from Hell. But why take it? It’s the most expensive variant we have, it’s a massive bullet magnet, and just about everything does the same job for less. Want to kill MEQs? Take a Russ with Plasma Sponsons. Want to smear Terminators? Take a Demolisher with Multimeltas. The one thing it has going for it is that it can put up to three wounds on a target, instead of just one. That means if you roll well for scatter (or have Knight Commander Pask to help out), you can put 15 wounds on a squad of deepstriking Terminators (With a direct hit, the template will hit all of them, or your opponent hasn’t placed them properly), each with a 5+ save. It would also be pretty good for clearing Tyrant Guards off of a Hive Tyrant, or plastering a bunch of Zoanthropes. I guess that if you really, really want it dead, this is your tank, but I would only ever take one of them. That said, getting 5 small blast template shots that all go through MEQ armour is pretty nice….
Hope that helps guys. Tomorrow, I’ll be taking a look at combining Creed’s “Tactical Genius” rule with some of our vehicles.