Monday, October 14, 2013
Imperial Guard Tactics: Leman Russ
Yeah the Leman Russ! My favorite tank of 40K by far, it's large armored bulk and big guns, what is not to like. Now some say armor is dead in 6th, and this is complete BS. Armor is not dead it is just different. IMO the addition of HPs actually made the heavier vehicles tougher, as a glancing hit is not as damaging as previous additions. Yeah you can be glanced to death, but on your front armor this is not going to happen often. The fact that glancing no longer rolls on the damage table is a huge boon to the leman russ, as a glancing hit can no longer immobilize it, shake or stun it, destroy a weapon, and AP1 weapons could still take you out on a glance in 5th. This is often forgotten when people talk about the difference between 5th and 6th in regards to vehicles. What this means is vehicles actually got faster and more durable to damage and getting one shotted. Now medium and light vehicles got "weaker" because the breadth of weapons that could kill them opened up with being able to glance to death, but the chances of being immobilized or stunned decreased.
Now what does this mean for the venerable Leman Russ? Well very little changed until the release of a FAQ that I have come to hate. You know the one, the one that got rid of lumbering behemoth and made the Leman Russ a heavy vehicle, and of course without even the courtesy of giving another HP in compensation for this. Now the LR does not really get to benefit from the fact that it is hard to immobilize and slow down. It can't fucking move more than 6 inches, fuck me that blows. Well this isn't all bad, what it means is you have to decide how you want to use your big guns and where to put them as fire support. Because thats all you can do with them, they are really not mobile enough ,except in a few cases, to be used in an assault role. This is ok they are excellent at sitting back and shooting things to death. Now when taking the two venerable LR, the MBT and Demolisher, you have to take into account Ordnance and what it means is sponsons are worthless for these two, don't take em, your paying points for needing 6s to hit. At first this sucks, but after I while I started to realize this isn't that bad. The battle cannon and demolisher cannon are both great on their own and are only 150 and 165 respectively, which is actually cheap for what you get. So for these two, don't bother with upgrades, just bring another tank to go along with them. I'm going to go through each different tank and then go into how to use them together and tactics within the army.
Leman Russ MBT
So the standard russ, mounts a big gun, has lots of armor, shoots stuff till its dead. That's what the LR MBT does. With Ordnance rules as is it makes sponsons and upgrades kinda pointless. But this is actually a good thing, at 150 you have a 72" S8 AP3 large blast ordnance shot with 14 front armor. Nine are only 1350, its super easy to spam these guys and a lot of armies will have trouble surviving 9 large blasts. Now if you have 9 LR hulls, bravo good sir, I am jealous. I am not saying this is the way you should roll, but you can and still have 500 left over at 1850. That is a nice armored company. These guys are still the all around MBT and a good choice if you are looking for long range firepower with durability. They work well alone and in pairs with themselves, but also with Executioners, for a good one two anti space marine punch. Park them in a spot with good LOS and get shooting, keep the rear covered and watch out for assaulters.
Leman Russ Exterminator
The Exterminator is one of my favorite russ's next to the Vanquisher. Its cheap like the LR MBT, but since it has its awesome autocannons, you can throw on sponsons and be effective. This is one of the few tanks to throw them on. Have 3 heavy botlers and get rocking. This guy is awesome at mowing infantry and light vehicles apart, and IMO the most versatile tank. Plus with 4 twin linked autocannon shots you even stand a chance of hitting flyers in an emergency. If you want to gear him to be a little more well rounded throw a Lascannon on it, it will start to get expensive but if you aren't planning on taking 9 you will be fine. Gives you a good chance at guaranteeing a kill on AV12 and below and even a shot at 13, though I would not recommend that, stick to 12 and less will give you the most effectiveness. These guys work well in pairs like most LR and are a great choice if you already have dedicated anti-tank and AP3.
Leman Russ Vanquisher
This guy is probably my favorite. The V cannon is awesome at blowing up tanks, most memorable moment was my first apocalypse game having one LRV one shot a Monolith the first turn it arrived. That sold me on them and I still love using them as dedicated tank and MC hunters. A lascannon is a must. If you really want to get spendy you can add multi meltas but I would rather bring another one or add Pask. Now where the MMs can work is if you only are planning on bringing 2 and have the points to spend. They will just rock any armor or MCs on the field and have enough shots as close range to shoot at a flyer in emergency. If you are going this route, you actually want to play forward enough to make use of the MMs, yeah you hae 72 with the V cannon, but if you are spending the points for MMs you need to make use of them. Protect the rear with your troops and placing the LRV on a flank and move up, they will destroy anything heavy and soak up the fire for your infantry to close and take objectives. It realy is a great tank and IMO makes the best use of Pask and his special rules against vehicles and MCs.
Leman Russ Eradicator
Ok I don't like this tank to be clear. The short of it is you can bring a colossus that has more range, doesn't need LoS, is AP3, is pinning, is ordnance, still ignores cover, and is cheaper. Yeah, why would you take this. Or you could take a hellhound which is even cheaper, so yeah, don't take this tank, its dumb. If you really like it for some reason, fine go ahead as long as you realize its not worth what you are getting. Oh but the hellhound needs to be within 12" to be effective, yeah but it can move 12" and fire because it is fast, it actually has a greater effective range because of its mobility. All in all this is a fluffy tank that kinda sucks.
Leman Russ Demolisher
Ah the other veteran. Well he has taken the hardest hit with 6th, again sponsons are worthless on this guy. He just can't move fast enough, at least before the FAQ, you could roll for the extra 6" and could still move flat out. Now all you have is 6" move. The key to using this guy is deployment, you have to get it right or he will not be repaying his points if he even survives. Keep him cheap and throw him up front and just go straight for the toughest nut and have him soak up fire by scaring your enemy. If deployed right and using LOS blocking terrain you can get him within the 24" window and start blasting. In pairs this can work as you have to tough targets and good chances that at least one will survive to turn 2 or 3 where they will be effective. If you are lucky you are facing an opponent that is coming at you and so don't have to worry about range issue. The rear armor of 11 is a nice upgrade, gives you a little more survivability in CC against units that don't have dedicated anti tank CC weapons. The other way to use this is take Creed in your army and outflank a squadron of these guys, this gets them across and also protects them for at least the turn they would be useless for anyways. All in all this veteran is still a good choice, just requires a little more finesse to play.
Leman Russ Punisher
Ok I know a lot of people like this tank. I don't. Woo 20 shots, at BS3 thats only ten hits, then you have to wound, and it has no AP. Yeah you have a stronger lasgun woo! Why people throw pask on this guy boggles my mind. He is great at killing vehicles and MCs, something this sucks at. BS 4 is not worth 60 for one tank, sorry, throw him on something else. Now to be fair this isn't a worthless tank, I just think there are better options. Really don't bother with upgrades, take two and just go to town on light infantry, that is all its good for, and AV10/11, 40 shots will get you some glances, but other than that this is a very niche tank. If you try to build it for other roles, you just won't have the versatility that the others can bring for the points. It can do great in the narrow role it has, just don't take it out of that role and you will do ok with it.
Leman Russ Executioner
This is a good tank and IMO has taken the place of the demolisher. It has the AP 2 that you want, three blasts, but doesn't get hot! It has 36" range and can touch light to medium vehicles as well. Its draw back is it is not cheap, the most expensive of the LRs, as much fun as two P cannon sponsons can be, don't, far to expensive. If anything just upgrade to the lascannon and thats it. The Lascannon is a good upgrade as you have AP2 all around and gives you an edge on medium vehicles. This is your marine/termie slayer and can also put wounds on MCs as well, though you need to get lucky with the scatter. My only thing is you can take a Vanquisher with MMs and Lascannon and be cheaper with about the same amount of potential wounds and be more flexible. Against troops the LRE is better at killing them, against MCs and vehicles the LMV is better. Personally I like this tank for its fun factor and fluff more than anything. I love my Plasma Death Tank! It is great for its psychological factor. It just scares people more than any other leman russ. There is a lot of utility and a lot of fun melting your enemies with plasma death. He can't touch heavy vehicles but that is ok, send him after medium vehicles and infantry. He is expensive but if you take this into account that isn't a huge detriment unless you are planning on taking 9 of them.
Well the LR is a great vehicle and most of the variants are very good. The LR MBT and LRV are great at range, these guys can shoot across the board and kill what they hit. They work best in pairs, this helps mitigate your BS of 3 to guarantee hits and also mitigates target saturation, where 3 battle cannon shots may be overkill. A great army loadout that doesn't take up too much but really brings the pain is 6 tanks in three squadrons, two regular LR MBTs and one LRV squadron. This gives you really good anti tank and two good general purpose squadrons and also doesn't soak up so much points that you can't bring infantry and other units. This army is great of sitting back early on, especially if you can get them behind cover and blast your opponent across the board. The infantry hunker down and protect these guys from flankers and fast attackers. You'll need some AA, so Aegis or Vendetta's are a must. In this I would go with Aegis, use the line as cover of the vehicles and quad gun or icarus for AA. Blast them and then make a play of objectives turn 3 or 4, key with this is to pay attention to LOS as this army is not going to be hyper mobile and have minimal barrage.
Leman Russ tanks in general work best in pairs, it gives them almost guaranteed hits and maximizing effectiveness without wasting shots. It works if you just want a little armor support or a lot. They are flexible and their survivability is high. For demolishers and punishers, deploy them forward and just go straight at em. You will keep moving and you'll be surprised how far you will get by turn 3. Don't be afraid with your vehicles, you have 14 armor and 13 on sides, you can take a beating and a lot of weapons can't touch them. Roll forward and blast, they will soak up shots and do damage in return and importantly allow your infantry to move on objectives while the enemy is focusing on the Russes, plus you can use the hulls to block LoS.
To be honest the armored army does well going second, let your opponent place, then you can counter his deployment with your tanks. You have range and armor. Even Tau do not have a whole lot that shoots beyond 36". You deploy back, your out of markerlight range, he has to move forward or risk being pummeled with little response. Keep everything but the tanks you can in reserve. This means only a few armies will have anything on the board that can really hurt you turn one, and keeps your troops safe for later. The army to def not do this against is Demons, if you can go first, go first. They can move way to fast and will tear tanks apart no problem in CC. In this case infantry up front to prevent the charge and force them to decide between going after them or the tanks.
So a few thoughts on pask. He is a good character if a little expensive when compared to others. At 50 he isn't horrible, but when compare to longstride, his closest counter part, he just doesn't hold up quite as well. Taking him on his own though, he isn't bad at all but he is def not a taker on all LR variants. For me you have to take advantage of his rules in hunting tanks and MCs. His best options is going to be the LRV, giving it a good upgrade in BS and with the crack shot rule really benefiting here. Since this tank doesn't really need to move that, you are going to get this most of the time. This tank is also pretty good at wounding MCs, only draw back being it doesn't have enough shots to kill one in one go. The LR Exterminator is another good bet, as it really improves its medium vehicle killing power and is a good monster hunter for the number of wounds it can put on. When it comes to the punisher, I feel you are wasting the potential of Pask on it. Yeah 20 shots at BS 4 is good, but you really can't make great use of his crack shot because of the range, so you'll have to move, and it isn't great at MC hunting. He isn't a horrible choice but there are better uses for him. Any of the LR with blast weapons really aren't that worth it, that one inch rarely making the difference. But not horrible. For me he goes on Exterminator of Vanquisher and that is it. Those two maximize his rules. The next one is the Executioner, as it can hurt MCs pretty well and with the plus one to armor pen roll your Plasma Death Gun is effectively S8, making a big difference. For the rest, he just isn't worth the points on them for what you get. You are already a third of the way there to another LR MBT, just go all in and bring another.
Overall I love these tanks and still think they are viable in 6th. Since the meta has seen a drop in dedicated anti tank weapons and a move to S6/7 weapons, these guys have the potential to run with only small opposition from dedicated anti-tank. If you like armor, go for it just don't sink points into individual LRs, put it in number of hulls. There are a few to stay away from but overall there are great choices and can be used very effectively even with their limited movement. Armor is not dead!