Sunday, April 10, 2011

Land Raider: Worth it?

Hello everyone. Apologies for a very long absence from the writing team here, so without further delay, let's get into today's discussion.

The Land Raider! One of the Imperium's deadliest weapons, bringing with it the Angel's of Death. Boasting a combination of the heaviest armor, heavy firepower, and the ability to carry the Emperor's Finest into battle... it is truly a sight to be feared... or is it?

In my experiences within the game, the Land Raider was always feared as a monster of a tank that couldn't be slain without pouring shots into it, or getting lucky with an early game pot shot. But with 5th edition this monster has (in this player's opinion) lost a lot of it's bite. I have looked into this long and hard, and noticed a few things that come up as negatives regarding this behemoth.

Choices, choices, choices...
Now as we know there are three patterns. While I feel the Crusader is the best due to high fire output and extremely high capacity (not that I'm bias as a Templar player or anything :P ) the others have their uses. However, the redeemer has too many heavy weapons, which forces you to choose which ones you'd like to fire, and the standard "God-Hammer" doesn't know what it wants to do since it's high ranged weaponry and low capacity don't mix well with it's assault orientation.

The choices here aren't a bad thing inherently, but I have noticed that with the exception of building a fluff oriented army, I rarely see any but the crusader hit the field. Again I can see why with it's qualities... but this shows to me a lack of balance within the Land Raider patterns.

The Cost of "Awesome"...

Now... The cost can be justified in some ways, as this tank does bring some very heavy armor, and (depending on the pattern) some impressive firepower. However, with it sitting at 250 points (240 for the Redeemer) before adding wargear like extra armor and the feared Multi-Melta... it quickly becomes a part of the list that has to be planned in advance.

Being the only transport capable of carrying those in Terminator armor, it is generally seen doing so. However, outside of this... it's a very expensive transport to simply carry troops. The one time I have seen (Without it being a LR Spam list) a Land Raider for a unit not bearing the Terminator armor was to carry Sternguard up. Was it a good strategy? Meh... Was it effective? Sure was. However, it made the Sternguard who are already expensive a huge point sink. Before I knew it, the unit and it's ride was already breaching 600 points. Add in Pedro, and it's almost 800 points.

Needless to say, the Land Raider is not something you add in last minute, when building your army. Perhaps this isn't a bad thing... but it is interesting to me considering the Land Raider alone costs more than another entire Tactical Squad with the usual bells and whistles (Power Fist, Meltagun, Missile Launcher) and their Rhino (Extra Armor). Sometimes you have to ask what would do more...

The "Unsinkable" Tank...
Once described as a tank that couldn't be breached... the Land Raider has lost a lot of it's staying power with the sheer increase of reliable Anti-Heavy Mech. Nothing is more apparent in this matter than the melta weaponry of 5th. With the average of a melta rule shot hitting 15 on the pen. table combined with the +1 on the chart... the once mighty Land Raider now has to skirt the edge of combat in order to survive.

Of course this can be a refreshing obstacle to come upon as it forces players to think ahead before just throwing their models forward... but it can be discouraging to see some melta-toting troop model not think twice when it sees the Land Raider. I often call the Land Raiders "the 250 point Rhinos" since it takes about as much to kill a raider in 5th as it did a rhino in 3rd and 4th.

And Melta isn't the only thing that makes a Marine player think twice about that Land Raider. With the new codexes come new ways to crack heavy tanks en mass. From Logan Grimnar making long fangs in a pod relentless, to Vet and/or Heavy Weapon spamming IG lists... the number of heavy weapons fielded by new armies is often double or more than we saw in previous editions. Meanwhile the Land Raider (apart from it's new weapon differences) hasn't gained much in the way of defenses. Of course it is hard to make a 14 box more resilient... but with Lance weapons, melta weapons, or sheer number of S9 or 10 shots hitting the field... the Land Raider is looking a bit weak for it's high costs these days.

Size Matters. Especially when it comes to hiding...
It's no secret that one of the big things to come of 5th was the incredible ease in which a cover save can be established. A curious little Rhino has a lovely ability to practically disappear behind a lot of terrain pieces out there, offering it some massive defensive perks. Remember that 50% of the time... a Rhino in cover is 100% better than armor 14 could ever hope to be when it comes to getting hit by anti-tank weaponry.

Rather unfortunate for the Land Raider, as it's footprint (and dat huge ass) can often make it hard to hide. This is another one of those 5th edition changes that while not directly effecting the Land Raider... can affect it's presence in a list as compared to alternative units.

and last but not least...

Show me the Money!
Ok GW, I understand you guys have been hit by the economy drop like everyone else... but seriously!? $62.00 for a single tank is pretty out there. I did find it funny that the Crusader/Redeemer box and the God-Hammer box are the same price. Not a good way to sell a tank that is considered the worst pattern by some/most.

Like with points, this tank requires players to know they want it... and it will take a lot of money just to get the tank. This again doesn't include whatever unit will go inside it... and again costs about the same as another tactical squad and their rhino.

Overall the tank has its uses. I run one in just about any game over 1,500 points when it comes to my Templar. Let me say that I know people can run multiples in a single army and are just fine with it, but again... this review is based on the principle idea that the durability of the tank has not increase in proportion to the firepower output of the new edition armies as well as the high cost when it comes to creating a "generalized (take all comers) list." I recognize it is possible to run them with success, but my observations here are to show that the Land Raider itself has lost a little of it's power as compared to older editions. Maybe this is balance, or just something that slipped into one of GW's many unnoticed cracks when they created 5th.

In any case, I hope to see the Land Raider return to some of it's former glory in the new edition, whenever that is. But until then, I'll just bring mine, and try to return it in pristine order so as not to anger the Master of the Fore, Brother Q. Until Next time.


(Special Thanks to MS Paint for the help with by far the crudest yet funnest RoB Pics I've ever done!)

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