Monday, 10 February 2014

Imperial armour 2 second edition unit reviews part 5 - Land speeders, drop pods and support weapons

Hi guys,

I decided to split off the land speeders from the rest of the flyers as it was becoming such a large section. This on the other hand will be a relatively small section. Once completed, it just leaves dreadnoughts, transports, the inquistiorial units and the appendices to go over. The relevent sections covered in this article talk about the standard codex speeders and drop pods but also go on to cover the units below:

Land speeder Tempest Squadron

One of the few units in the book that I own due to converting one, the land speeder \Tempest is sure to be familiar to Dawn of War fans. It is available in squadrons of 1-3 as a fast attack choice for the big 4 and Badab war books. They cost less than double the standard cost for a land speeder. For that cost, you get 11/10/10 and 2HPs, an armoured cockpit (allowing you to ignore stunned/shaken on a 4+) and extra armour. This effectively means that if you lose that first hull point and get a stunned result, you can outright ignore it on a 4+ and downgrade it to shaken regardless. This may be important, as the other rule you get (as well as deep strike) if the afterburner rule, allowing you to move as a zooming flyer instead of shooting. Speaking of which, the ranged weaponry is an assault cannon and a twin-linked missile launcher with frag, krak and flakk missiles. 

So, is it worth it? Most would argue that for not many points more you could have a heavier armed and armoured flyer in the form of a stormtalon. By the time you've added in a typhoon launcher though you're only a power fist shy of double the points, and so by that token the tempest seems a reasonable deal. Assuming you survive the first shot you can zoom away and put yourself in relative safety placed for a strike the following turn. The addition of flakk missiles also means you can have a pop at the rear armour of flyers due to the speeders maneuverability, and with twin linked you're likely to hit. I think where possible a squadron would be the best way of taking them, as 3 would be ideal for a variety of roles, being able to pose a threat to medium tanks, infantry blobs and flyers with 12 assault cannon shots and 3 of a suitable missile. Overall I like the unit which seems like a nice halfway between a speeder and flyer.

Javelin attack speeder

A Single fast attack entry again available to all, the Javelin is a relic of the armoury and thus follows the rules set out in an earlier article restricting its availabilty. at 50% more base cost than a regular speeder, it comes armed with a heavy bolter and TL cyclone launcher as standard as well as armour 11 on the front and sides. In addition to deep strike, it also allows outflank. Already then it is a bargain, gaining extra AV and outflank over a regular speeder in exchange for a restriction in numbers - fine if you were only planning on taking one anyway. As far as options go, you may exchange your cyclone for a TL lascannon, heavy bolter for a heavy flamer or multi-melta and may take a searchlight and up to 2 HK missiles. Overall this looks like a nice little standalone unit which you can outflank and use to hunt heavy armour targets and light infantry blobs dug in on objectives.

Lucius pattern Drop pod

Formerly broken, the Lucius has been changed in this book for the better. It comes in at the same base cost as a land speeder and is effectively the same as a regular drop pod just without any armament. The rules allow any type of dreadnought to be transported, including Contemptors. (regular drop pods cannot) Any of the codices can take them. In addition to the ususal open-topped, immobile, drop-pod assault and inertial guidance rules, the lucius has a couple more rules that are ambiguous at best. Assault vehicle allows an assault on the turn the dreadnought disembarks, however (crucially) it states that the dreadnought may not assault on a turn it deep strikes. The burning retros rule basically grants shrouded to a dreadnought remaining in base contact with the drop pod, the drop pod itself and any unit obscured by the drop pod - all on the turn it arrives. So, the question really is what's the point of the assault vehicle rule here?

NOTE: I clarified the following with FW so to avoid confusion

Although the drop pod assault rule states here that the doors must be opened, nowhere does it state (unlike the C:SM drop-pod) that the dreadnought MUST disembark. I therefore think it is possible to leave the dreadnought in the pod the turn it arrives and, as it is a passenger, allow it to not be targetted until the following turn or until the pod is destroyed, plus it can overwatch anyone assaulting the pod. There are of course consequences for this in that the dreadnought will suffer the effects of damage to the pod, shaken meaning it can only snap shot in the next shooting phase and stunned preventing it from shooting at all. If the pod loses its last hull point, the dreadnought can then be targetted normally and must move through difficult terrain the next turn. If the pod explodes, the dreadnought takes a S4 hit on the rear armour. 

Deathstorm Drop pod

coming in at just over double a regular drop pod cost, the deathstorm is available to all and is a heavy support choice. Sounds great in a drop pod army actually where you're drop pods will mainly be carrying elites and troops anyway. A few caveats here. You must upgrade the drop pod for the cost of a power fist to grant it drop pod assault. Other than that it retains the usual drop pod stats, immobile and inertial guidance. Secondly, it has BS2 and the automated weapons rule, stating that it fires at each enemy unit within 12" in the shooting phase after it arrives (D3 on each). In subsequent turns it is much less effective, firing a single shot as normal using BS2. I'm a bit miffed as to why automated weapons all seem to have different profiles: BS2 here and with bastions, BS4 for drop pods/PoTMS and BS3 for tarantulas. Shame they aren't more standardised as it gets confusing. The Deathstorm has whirlwind launchers as standard and can upgrade to assault cannons for just under the price of a power fist. I personally would stick to whirwind launchers and use the points to upgrade to drop-pod assault - D3 hits on a clustered army in the first turn could be devastating! I clarified with FW and the whirlwind deathstorm can indeed fire as per normal in the turn it lands despite the launchers being blast templates. Happy days!

Tarantula sentry gun battery

A great blast from the past, the tarantula battery is a cheap and fluffy unit that could be fun. Each piece is artillery (so T6 and 2W with a 3+ save) and has no crew. Again, they are a heavy support choice for all the standard SM armies and are 1-3 coming with TL heavy bolters as standard. You can choose to upgrade the whole battery at a fixed cost to have either deep strike or camo netting (stealth) but not both. You can upgrade the heavy bolters to TL lascannon, a multi-melta with searchlight or a hyperios AA turret. In addition, you can add a hyperios command platform in allowing split fire on the other hyperios platforms in the unit. 

The rules for these little chappies mean that before the game you must either put them in point defense or sentry mode. Point defense means they will target enemies in a fixed 90 degree arc within 36". Sentry means they will target all around but within 18". This is important as a smart opponent can either stay out of the arc or range of your turrets, which is both a blessing and a curse for you. There's more. A tarantula must fire at the nearest preferred target where possible. If no preferred targets are in range/arc then it will happily shoot whatever is nearest. Heavy bolter tarantulas prefer non-vehicles; lascannon or multi-meltas prefer vehicles/monstrous creatures. There is nothing stated for the hyperios and so I assume it is free to target whatever. As it is automated artillery, it does not get removed until destroyed. 

I think these could be fun in certain games but will be tricky to use effectively a trio of heavy bolter ones guarding an objective, a trio of lascannon ones in a tight pass for vehicles and a trio of hyperios dug into the backfield could all be fun, but the arc/range restriction make them hard to use and easy to avoid unless cunning is employed.

Rapier weapons battery

I've always loved this unit and still have a classic one. However, I think this potentially qualifies as an undercosted and overpowered unit. It costs a power fist and power weapon basic for the gun and two marine crew and is available to all. Only special rule is that when the gun is removed, on a D6 roll of 1 place a 5" blast marker over it and hit models with S3AP-. It comes with quad heavy bolters as standard (heavy 6 twin linked) and can be upgraded to a laser destroyed for the cost of a power weapon. (36", ordnance 1, TL, S9AP2)

Now, although the classic was the laser destroyer variant it's the quad heavy bolters that caught my eye. At only 10 points more than a 5-man devastator squad with 4 heavy bolters you get 18 shots instead of 12 which are twin linked also. You get effectively 12 wounds (rapiers are T7/W2/3+) instead of 5, and can use majority toughness to make the unit more survivable (plus at least 3 of the marines can be ablative) What's not to love? Even the laser destroyer version is effectively better than a 5-man 4-lascannon devastator squad, as for a power fist more you get all those wounds plus the advantage of twin-linked (effectively giving you as many hits with 3 rapiers as 4 devastators) and ordnance for a sacrifice in range. I still prefer the heavy bolter pattern, but both are great and hopefully shall be making their way into my Raven Guard army ASAP. 

The next article will look at Dreadnoughts and command vehicles, the final one at the forces of the Inquisition and the appendices, which have some interesting rules for customising vehicles. 



  1. I have a query on the Deathstorm whirlwind launchers. Are they blast weapons? Drop pods can only fire snap shots on the turn they arrive, which means they have to wait to fire blast weapons.

  2. I suppose the automated weapons rule would take precedence over the usual rule.

  3. good points. I double checked to see if whirlwind launchers were a different weapon but it seems not. the rule doesn't specifically state that they can fite where normally they. couldn't, simply that they make an immediate attack against everything within 12, friend or foe. I assume this overrides the snap shot rule. I don't honestly see why anyone would pay to upgrade to assault cannons though, as d3 large blasts against every unit is devastating. I will add it to my list of faq questions for fw though.

  4. Yes, the Lucius pattern drop pod differs from a regular drop pod in that it doesn't contain any rules saying you must disembark upon landing. It is just an open-topped, immobile transport with Shrouding. It makes a great ablative shield for assault armed dreadnoughts, but one has to be wary of the pod suffering penetrating hits. Damage results of 'Shaken' or 'Stunned' can shut down the dreadnoughts shooting accuracy, however it could still assault. One must be extra cautious of the pod being surrounded and destroyed and being forced to make an Emergency Disembarkation. Fortunately, dreadnoughts can be armed with heavy flamers and the pod is open-topped so it can Overwatch fire against any units assaulting the pod while embarked, provided it wasn't Shaken or Stunned.

    Also, I don't know if you noticed that Tarantulas have the ability to Deep Strike. It's a lot easier to be within arc & range of your firing mode when you're right next to the target! :D

  5. hi Trentat, thanks for pitching in.

    Lucius - all good points and actually worth considering to stop your dreadnought getting popped first turn. i think the rule is a food modèle ground between the op assault first turn and it being an overpriced drop pod minus armament plus shrouded.

    tarantula - I picked up on the deep strike but failed to realise the implications. it would be nice indeed to deep strike in on your opponent once they're in a kill corridor for you. I assume as artillery they can still fire on they're full bs of 3 when deep striking?

  6. Drop pods count as travelling at combat speed now. Not cruising speed... so can shoot a siNgle weapon at full BS. Hence Deathwind launchers are worth it now....

  7. Drop pods count as travelling at combat speed now. Not cruising speed... so can shoot a siNgle weapon at full BS. Hence Deathwind launchers are worth it now....