Saturday, December 3, 2011

Is the Land Raider Obsolete?

My own Templar Land Raider Crusader
Last week, I posted my thoughts on a real Beatstick Army using my Blood Angels. It includes only a single vehicle in the form of a Land Raider Crusader, which serves as a launching platform for assault terminators and as mobile terrain and cover for Mephiston and an assault squad.

Conventional 5th ed. wisdom says that this is an outright stupid choice as with a single vehicle, you stand a great chance of losing it early to alpha-strikes or the plethora of melta/high strength shots available to armies these days.  That got me to wondering though, is a single Land Raider really a bad option?  Is it really that easy to kill? 
The premise of my army’s strategy is to get as close as possible, as quick as possible and then multi-assault the crap out of my opponents’ armies.  If I lose the LRC, that’s fine as in most scenarios, it will at least make it to midfield before being stopped.  This means that my terminators, mephiston, and assault squad are halfway across the board unscathed and in fair reach of my opponents’ armies.

We also know that Land Raiders are virtually immune to most guns unless there are a plethora of them or they are melta or AP1.  The biggest argument against taking these behemoths of cool is that just about every army has access to melta and melta can easily slag a LR with little effort. 
Thus, I set out to do the math.  A meltagun in melta range will perform in the following manner if used with BS4.  It will hit 66% of the time and glance 13.89% and pen 58.34% of the time.  Due to AP1, it will wreck the LR roughly 1.5% of the time if you glance while it will destroy the LR roughly 19.5% of the time if you score a pen.  So, a single melta shot stands roughly a 21% chance of destroying your LR and only 10.5% chance if you use cover or intervening models to get a cover save.

The other side of the coin is that your average marine army takes around 8-10 meltaguns and some extreme armies like IG can take many, many more.
Again, I think this is a situation where Mathammer scares people out of taking a model.  I think a LR can be used wisely and not be destroyed.  In fact, some top tier armies may really struggle to handle a LR.  Grey Knights for instance, hope and pray for 6’s on their psycannon rolls.  Still then, you only destroy it about 9.8% of the time you shoot it per psycannon.  My buddy learned this the hard way in our game on Black Friday in which he only managed to immobilize my Land Raider in a position to assault his two big combat units and ultimately wipe them off the table. 

Of course, there are the other results like immobilization which is a pain, but still leaves a viable weapons platform sitting in the midfield free to shoot as many as two targets a turn.  Weapon destroyed results aren’t that scary either because Land Raider have a plethora of deadly weapons to use and even if one is destroyed, you generally still have a few more pretty nasty weapons.  Finally, power of the machine spirit really helps against shaken and stunned results meaning that the Land Raider largely ignores these results with minimal consequences. 
The key to bridging the gap between the math/theoryhammer and actual game play is to remember that while that Land Raider is 250-260 points of your army, you have an entire 1,750pt. of army left to put pressure on your opponents with so that they don’t have the luxury of laying down full concentrated firepower on the LR alone.  In my Beatstick list, I have deepstriking landspeeders and assault squads to add pressure to my opponents’ backfield elements.  I have devestators to apply long range anti-infantry and anti-mech pressure.  I have Mephiston who gives most people a coronary just thinking about him.  This means that my opponents generally have the quandary of taking care of my expensive tank, but then having the units benefitting from its shielding abilities to deal with shortly thereafter, or they can dilute their shooting to deal with the multiple threats I present.  Either way, it applies pressure. 

Disclaimer: This article doesn’t mean that I think this list is a super competitive list or would even do well in tournaments.  I do know that it can present a strong showing, though.  Heck, Jawaballs has done pretty well with a similar army managing to beat a handful of tough armies at NOVA this year.  that said, a canny opponent will neutralize this threat fast if you aren't careful.  As we all know and few preach, it really is how you use the army and not how the averages tell you it will work out that decides victory. 
Anyway, I hope this article was somewhat enlightening.  This little foray into the math of Land Raider viability has restored some faith in how this tank can work for me. 

Other random articles for you to peruse:
Strictly Average
For kicks
Heading in another direction
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Von said...

I think a big part of the argument against fielding only one of anything is that doing so makes your opponent's target priority easier. Making your opponent's game easier is not sensible if you are trying to win - you want them stretched and challenged and making mistakes that you can exploit.

Mathematics isn't the whole picture.

AbusePuppy said...

Even with a Meltagun or three, it's certainly not easy to kill a Land Raider. However, between blocking tactics and Melta, it's quite likely that it will bite the dust before having really delivered the unit you want to the enemy's lines, which is the real danger. When you're sinking that many points on something, you want it to pull its weight, and getting cockblocked by a 35pt Rhino and then shot down is pretty disappointing.

Doesn't mean you can't ever do anything with it, but I would feel like I wasn't getting what I wanted from it.

Student Teacher said...

I think its a matter of perception. As you stated you only have a 20% chance of losing a LR to a melta shot, and that is only once they get within 6 inches of the LR.

The problem, especially when you only have a single LR, is that one time out of 100 where your LR gets destroyed on Turn one.

It happened to me playing guard. The guy had a battery of Basilisks and he shot my LR that was sitting out of LOS behind a building. One of the two shots landed directly on the LR and blew it up before I got to roll a die.

The thing, THAT time is going to stick out in people's mind. It's not going to be the time the IG player missed on turn one and you were able to get your Termies (or in my case, 15 Blood Claws with a WGBL 2/3s of the way across the board.

People only seem to remember the REALLY bad, and those are the stories that get told on the internet.

Now if you are a highly competitive player, a single LR is probably a bad idea. If your destroyed on turn one, then your chances of winning a tournament are probably very slim.

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