Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Box is a Box is a Box

So lately there has been a lot of talk about how to "properly" run a mech list for the good old Space Marines. Now let me preface this article by saying that though I may have Power Armor clad soldiers, I follow the way of the Black Templar, and thus I mostly move forward... Now of course that doesn't mean I can't run one or the other, but I prefer to have numbers on my side going into a close combat, and the capacity of a Rhino is more fitting for my tastes.

So, the interwebz has given marines a new look at how to put marines in boxes. This weeks episode seems to dictate the razorback. Now while they aren't inherently bad, not even close... it seems like an interesting choice. The primary target of this build looks to the standard Codex: Space Marines. This may be because they can use the Combat Tactics to place a 5 man squad (Usually consisting of the Sergent, special weapon, and maybe even an Independent Character) in the box, while the heavy weapon and 4 brothers sit back in cover and provide rear point control and support fire. But how does the vehicle itself change the way a squad performs.

Let's look at the vehicles themselves, and I'll break it into categories

It's not the size of your capacity... It's how you use it...
The Rhino has the clear superiority in carrying capacity. 10 vs. 6 can be a major difference, seeing as how the squad can't fully move forward if it has a razorback. Though it is possible to move marines up in both, only the rhino can bring a full squad to bear in this duel... However, One has to remember that the Razorback (if combat squaded) allows a spot for an IC. This is a pretty substantial perk if you'd like to keep a box on that Captain. So they both have a decent trick to build for.

Loki's Score (out of 10)
Rhino: 8
Razorback: 7

The Pew Pew
There is little to contest here. The Razorback has a clear advantage in this area; but never count out the ability of the storm bolter. However, while this does serve as the prime, or major use for the razorback, it causes a problem for the next category.

Loki's Score (out of 10)
Rhino: 2
Razorback: 9

The Price Tag
This is what makes the big difference. Assuming the Rhino is a unit that wants to move it's contents forward, it will usually take the Extra Armor to keep it mobile. The Razorback tends to sit back, and this may make that mobility a little more of a back burner issue for it. So in general... the starting prices are a bit different. Taking the Armor on the Rhino puts it at a base 10 points over the Razor. However, it is more likely to see Razorbacks with weapons other than the Heavy Bolter Standard. The Interwebz dictate the Las-plas pattern. Now, this does provide some nice buffs, nice shots, and scary power. However, it is one of the most expensive upgrades, putting him at 25 points over the Rhino.

Remember it still takes 2's as normal, and may only carry half the squad who purchased it... so there are some draw backs... but it of course has the power to hit hard. So with that said, I give the rhino a little higher score on price, as those points alone is a power fist on a sergeant somewhere.

Loki's Score (out of 10)
Rhino: 7
Razorback: 4

Tricks of the Trade
This one is something I give major props to the Rhino for. Though it matters very little, it is something I have seen come back to help win games in the end. Rhino Repair is a nice trick that makes those Rhinos resilient little pups.

Along the same note, the Rhino gives the squad inside the ability to fire 2 weapons (generally the Special and the Heavy, or even just the Special and a Bolter). Either way, it allows the Rhino squad to get some of those powerful shots off, while still having the defenses of a vehicle.

Loki's Score (out of 10)
Rhino: 10
Razorback: 0

Overall, they both fit a play style, and as such I give the Rhino a better score based on what I have seen in play. The biggest point I found was they both share the weakness of 11 11 10 armor, but the points spent on a Rhino, and it's abilities (repair and the 2 fire points) are more forgiving than that of the Razorback.

Loki's Final Score (out of 10)
Rhino: 8
Razorback: 6

But with that said, I will say that even though I do not field the Razorback, I can see it's merits. However, After looking at the points, I have seen a fun list that uses a mixture of both. It gives me powerful 10 man units to charge forth into the mid field and still have the man power to take hits without worry, while the Razobacks, and their 2 sub contents hold back and provide cover, as well as multiple scoring units for the purpose of scoring games. I don't feel that either is truly superior, but using a list that incorporates both seems like both a tactical, and logical idea.

So calling all players. What do you think? And on that note, how do you feel about the internet based list constructing? We all know that some players look to the interwebz to help in the idea of what's "good," but perhaps we should all look more to our own likes, and our own tactics. But Until next time,



  1. If I have a bit to say either way it's that you cannot fire the heavy weapon out of the Rhino unless it sat still, potentially leaving it very vulnerable. The Razorback almost always has access to some manner of impressive firepower at the 6" speed (12" if you're willing to sparkle).

  2. I think the Rhino is a staple, and the Razorback depends more on your tactics.

    I always thought the the idea of the combat-squad, with the assault half taking to the tank, was pretty cool. Plus, you still get that heavy weapon blasting into the enemy from afar.

    And the thought about the IC is very true - that power character can make all the difference.

    The things the Rhino has going for it:
    Cost. It's cheaper, and therefor easier to saturate the field of fire.

    It's a better transport. This is a fact. And by this, I mean it is, in truth, better at getting a squad from point A to point B. Why is this?
    Firstly, you're not giving up anything by moving 12". So you can't fire a storm bolter. Is that really a consideration when you're moving your troops about the field? Compared to losing, at least, a twin-linked heavy bolter round, it's negligible.
    Being able to self repair and the like, however unlikely, is a nice perk. And adds to the "I will get you there" feel of the box.

    The Razorback is more tactical, I would say. It allows you the option of splitting your group, adding fire, and giving you more than just wheels.

    Note that I'm not saying either is better or worse than the other overall, it just matters on your style and list, as with all things.

    And to speak on tactics - it's very hard to say something is always a bad choice. There are some things out there, but they're rare. Interwebs powerlists may be a source for inspiration, but shouldn't be taken as cannon. So much is meta, personal style, etc. Mainly personal style. If you can make something work, then it works. Period.

    People tell me that my Nid list is bad. But I win with it. What's that say?

  3. I think the Razorback gets a lot of attention because you can field a 5-man squad with a Razorback quite cheaply relative to a 10-man squad with heavy weapon in a Rhino. The offensive power of these two units at long range is the same. The tactical flexibility of the Rhino-mounted unit is, in my opinion, greater than the squad in the Razorback.

    As you alluded in the article, I think the best option is a mixture of the two transports. Some Razorbacks for cheap fire support and scoring units, and some Rhinos for some early-game fire support with beefier scoring units inside.

  4. How about preditors VS BAlls?

    Basolisk VS Leman Russ.

    Whirle wind VS Demolisher tank

    Chaos termies VS Vanilla Termies VS Wolf Termies VS ect....

    Guards man VS Space marine

    Space marine VS Grey knight

    Eldar VS the dark kin...

    Just a few sujestions.