Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Liturgies of Blood: It's a Bird, It's a Plane... Nope, It's a Bad Idea

Today’s chosen topic will be deep striking land raiders. Currently this option only exists for the deep-strike heavy Blood Angels, but that isn’t why we are looking at this today. Nope, for today we are going to discuss the retardation inherent in the very idea.
The first time you hear about deep striking land raiders is likely something along the lines of “That’s cool” (if you play space marines) or “That’s broken” (if you don’t). But then you start to think about it and realize that there aren’t very many benefits to doing this due to the following reasons:

1. Inherent in all deep strike is that you don’t always get it to come in when you want it or need it, and it may arrive too late in the game to be much use.

2. When it does come in it only gets to fire one weapon (thanks to Machine Spirit) and the guys inside don’t get to assault.

3. The land raider is a large model and scattering into another unit or terrain is far far more likely than with small based models.

Now let’s go over each of these reasons in detail. The first reason given is probably the least important as it applies to anything that deep strikes or outflanks, but most units that are held in reserve are back-up type support who are more useful showing up behind enemy lines and blowing something away before getting blown away themselves the next turn, which is something that while more useful early game is still helpful late game if they don’t arrive for the first couple of turns. Often this isn’t the case with a land raider and its occupying squad. These guys are often the big power unit of an army and their presence on the field is necessary. Not having your hammer unit until turn four or five can be disastrous. Furthermore, even if it does show up as early as turn two there aren’t many places that it couldn’t have just moved to with two turns of 12in movement plus the size of your deployment zone. Now a lot of people might say that its showing up without being shot at on the way there, and they are right. But remember it is also showing up with shooting its own guns, or the squad inside doing anything. Plus the shots that would have been fired at it didn’t go away, they just targeted something else in your army, are the kinds of shots that can faze a land raider are the kind of shots that can wreak havoc or other things.

Also we have to remember that when it does come it can only fire one weapon when it does show up. While one shot is better than no shots, it is all you can get while if you moved the land raider you could move it less than the full 12 or not at all in order to get more of the full fire power that the raider can provide. But the point of the land raider is usually not its guns, but its ability to move your heavy hitters up to the front line and have them pop out and kill something. The assault vehicle rule is arguably the most important rule that the land raider has, but when you deep strike you don’t get to use it. What is the point of an Assault Vehicle that you can’t assault out of when you need to?

However, so far all of these problems are only make the idea bad in nearly any situation, while this third large problem catapults the idea into the area of ridiculous. Despite the land raider being a huge nearly unkillable vehicle that is ties only with the monolith for highest armor rating (outside of apocalypse) it has no special rules that allow it to deep strike without horrible consequences. Imagine a giant the giant hunk of metal containing some of the deadliest fighters in the 40k universe, and right below that falling machine of death is a single grot. And then the grot wins. That’s right the grot doesn’t even take a single hit and the land raider goes straight to the mishap table. Now I can understand when this happens to small unstable vehicle like a skimmer, or individual infantry that are teleporting in from the warp, but a land raider falling from the sky? That just seems ridiculous. How much work would it have taken to write the land raider some of its own special rules for deep striking like the monolith?


  1. a grot can now kill a land raider by doing nothing by saying

    "Oi boss... I tink der's somethin' commin. Oh... wate.. nevermind."

  2. "How much work would it have taken to write the land raider some of its own special rules for deep striking like the monolith?"

    Using this line of thought it seems that you wish that Marines should literally be able to do everything niche that some armies do (like deep striking Monoliths for Necrons) but do it the same/or even better.

    That just seems....

    When I first heard about a deep striking Land Raider I wasn't really impressed due to all the points you brought up being true. The weakness of the Land Raider (its slow nature and its usually short range) being mitigated by using Deep Strike should have dire consequences or it would be broken.

    Besides, why Deep Strike when you can do what Andrew does in his Luna Wolves list and shoot a multi-melta 36"-48" and get a 4+ cover save from your DZ turn one.