Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Let's Talk Tactics: Leman Russ Demolisher Kit
This post is a lot like a continuation of the review I did for this kit a few days ago. Since that post, I have since playtested every variant in a couple different configurations to try and determine what works and what doesn't. I'll share the tips I picked up with you.
1. Remember, the Demolisher kit is still a variant of the Leman Russ. It does have higher side and rear armor, but not in a significant amount... So don't think of it as a Land Raider. Keep its flanks guarded.
2. Each Variant has a specific job to do. Think of your Demolisher kit as a toolbox, and you need to pick the right ones for the job at hand. List synergy is more important than the effectiveness of this tank individually.
3. Most of these variants are designed to be most effective at medium to close ranges. This opens up your tank to assaults. Again, implement a strategy to guard your flanks and keep as many assaulting units at bay as possible. A tactic I have seen used is surrounding the tank with a tarpit of regular guardsman.
4. (This is more of a modeling tip than anything else-) Remember that this kit does not have the accessory sprue. I almost always put a pintile-mounted Heavy Stubber on my vehicles to add a defensive weapon. 10 points for a weapon that gets three 36" range shots at S4, on the move even, isn't too shabby. You may have to find other sources to get these stubbers, but it is the one upgrade I always recommend.
Well that does it for the general tips, now on to variant specific tips:
Remember KISS- keep it simple stupid! The Demolisher is used for similar purposes as the regular LRBT, albeit at a shorter range. It is slightly more powerful though, making it better for taking out groups or units you really don't want around. It eats terminators for breakfast, instant-killing them and bypassing their armor. If they fail their invul. saves, their dead meat... even those fancy terminator chaplains and captains. It also has a very high S ordinance main weapon, making it effective at destroying enemy vehicles. Adding Pask to this tank gives you an effective close-support tank, at a pretty comparable price to the standard LRBT. Since the demolisher is designed to work at short range, the hull weapon you choose really comes down to list synergy again. If you are lacking anti-tank firepower at range, then a lascannon is a safe bet. If you plan on using it as a line-breaking infantry-eating device of devastation, a Heavy Flamer is a great idea. The Heavy Bolter is really only useful if you want a bit farther reach than the Flamer, but in most cases I would much rather take the Flamer for this variant. The sponsons you choose also goes into list synergy... and the planned role the tank will play. To save points and keep your tank from being too points-heavy, sometimes it is better to not take sponsons. If you want to augment your tank's role, then sponsons can come in handy (especially if you don't plan on moving the tank a whole lot). If you intend on continuing your trend with a close-range tank killer, then Multi-Melta sponsons will really make this tank a lethal close-range bulldog. Plasma-cannon sponsons are spendy, but can further augment the role of heavy-infantry killer. For a cheap way to make the tank absolutely dangerous to regular infantry, adding Heavy Flamer sponsons is the way to go. Again, heavy bolters only have limited uses. If you don't want to spend the extra 20 points for PC sponsons, then the cheap 20 point H.Bolter sponsons are an alternative to give you some more 36" range weapon shots. Me... I'd just go with the PC sponsons.
I think this tank is overcosted for the role it is designed for. Pretty much, you are not taking this tank to do anything other than kill regular infantry, such as Ork Boyz or Guardsman. This tank is designed for math-hammerists, it seems. Twenty S5 shots sounds great on paper... until you consider that the tank's BS is a measly 3. That pretty much guarantees that about half those shots are going to miss. Factor in that there is no AP for the Punisher's Gatling gun, and that it's range is limited to 24", and you see where the problem comes in. Like the Demolisher, this puts you in close range, and in danger of being assaulted. To really make this tank effective in the role it is designed for, it takes a lot of points. To ensure that more than half (on average, that is) of your shots hit, you need to upgrade it with Pask. Now we're looking at 230 points. H.Bolter sponsons for more shots... plus a pintile stubber for a defensive weapon... you're looking at a 260 point tank for killing some infantry. Ouch. On the other hand though, if you're going to spend that many points on it, it should do a pretty substantial amount of damage to it's intended targets. With all the bolters added, that comes out to 29 S5 shots that have a 66.6 percent chance of hitting (with pask), plus the pintile stubber rounds. You're bound to kill a handful of regular infantry models with that many shots hitting their targets. I still feel as though there are better alternatives to this tank, however. If you want to take this variant, then remember it's intended role and use it as such... don't try putting Lascannons, Multi-meltas, or Plasma-cannons on it.
This one is a fun variant, but on the spendy-side. A Plasma cannon that spits out 3 blast pie-plates in one shot is a pretty great main weapon for destroying termies or light transports. The most expensive by far, though. The plasma cannon sponsons adds a pair of pie-plates you can throw down, but at a pretty heavy price. Of course, this variant makes mince-meat of infantry squads better than the Punisher (in my opinion), so it is probably worth it! Adding Pask doesn't help its role much, unless you are using it to pop light transports, but since the Plasma cannons use the scatter dice the fifty-point addition is not totally necessary. I would normally take a Lascannon as the hull weapon, to ensure the tank can defend itself against other armor, as well as insta-kill any independent characters. None of the other hull weapons really aid in this variant's role. For sponson weapons... really for me its only a choice between running it without sponsons or with Plasma-cannons. Again, none of the other sponsons really add anything to the tank's main roles. You could take Multi-meltas to further the anti-vehicle capability, but that's a matter of preference.
In summary, the most cost-efficient variant is likely to be the Demolisher. A high S blast weapon with low AP makes for a fine main gun, albeit a short ranged one. The most overcosted for the role is the Punisher. It is unable to fulfill its role with any sort of efficiency without very heavy points investments. The most expensive period is the Executioner, but it is very effective at its intended role. All of them are great tanks though, and have their uses. Just remember to synchronize them with your lists, and specialize them for their intended roles.
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