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The Rhino Tactica
The daemons within
Work in progress
I've always been a fan of the all infiltrating Death Guard army list backed up by some rhinos full of Plague Marines but with the arrival of the new Chaos codex a lot of things have changed. Now the infiltration skill is no longer available to the basic troopers and we are left with only a couple other options to get where we want to go, especially with our basic Chaos Space Marines.
I know there are some options out there to make our army a fast army with our fast attack options, but I want to find the best possible strategies with our main troop transport: the rhino.
This is a work in progress, I want to share what I found out so far on how to use rhinos effectively and then you can add you own little bits of information, remark, critics and tactic so we can all become more "proficient" with our rhinos and make those loyalist scum eat dirt and taste our chainsaws.
Since I haven’t found any rhino guide I thought it might be needed, so here it is.
The new Rhino
With the new Chaos codex the rhino suddenly got cheaper and better. It's equipped with a free smoke launcher and searchlights and it can be equipped with combi-weapons and an havoc launcher. Also now they have a fire access point wich mean that a special weapon or a Sorceror can shoot from the hatch while the rhino move. The rhino is now our best / cheapest dedicated troop transport available even if it still face some armour issues.
Some rhino tactics
I've been playing with rhinos for a while now and the questions I always asked myself when doing so was how to make a successful rhino rush, when to disembark, pop the smoke and how to move after that. I play tested some strategies and I had some interesting results.
The main problem with rhinos is that their armour is paper thin. Everything a little stronger than a bolter have it's chances to pop it and people usually take all their chances when it means slowing down your army. The good number of Rhino in a 1500 pts list for me is 4 but it can work out 3. In a 2000 pts list, 4 rhinos are a must but 5 seems to be the lucky number.
Early on I discovered that the rhino rush tactic like we knew it in the third edition is impossible to achieve with a Chaos army. Even a Blood Angel army who's the specialist army of fast attacks in rhino cannot do it. So since we cannot move or charge after we disembarked then we're left stranded waiting a turn before we can charge. The only good option available to us Chaos Warlords to perform a mechanised assault in turn 2 with basic troopers is the "Land Raider rush" but it cost so much that the majority of us just won't even consider it.
Supporting your rhinos
Before discussing the actual tactics a Chaos player can use with his rhinos, I want to point out that a successful rhino tactic usually depends on the targets you present to your opponent. If you give only 2-3 rhinos as targets to his heavy weapons, your opponent will blow them up as fast a he can. If you give him 4 rhinos, 2 Predators, 2 squad of Chaos Bikers and a Defiler, he will be hard pressed to assign priorities. Your list must include more than the rhinos loaded with your troops and this selection make a difference in the achievement of victory or defeat.
Also, the deployment strategy is almost as important as the actual game play since a mistake made in the beginning will be hard to recover from later on because it generally mean more ground to cover on foot and a longer exposition to enemy fire.
Here are the 2 common rhino tactics that everyone rhinos user are used to perform with some variant but who are essentially the same for everyone.
The rhino rush:
- Deploy the rhinos 12" from the table edge as much out of the line of sight as possible but with nothing in front of them to stop them.
- First turn the rhinos go full their speed and stop 12". Right there the troops they carry disembark and the rhinos pop their smoke and wait for any incoming shot.
- On the second turn the troops are ready to charge toward the enemy line and the rhino can now be used to block the line of sight of dangerous units shooting at the troops they were carrying.
- By turn 3 the troops that disembarked should be where they were intended to be.
Now the problems I encountered with this tactic are the following, first I if I didn't get first turn it usually meant that some of my rhinos will not even get a start leaving some of my forces entangled, then if I tried to hide the rhinos behind some cover in case I didn't get first turn. By doing that, most of the time, I was losing some precious inches so my troops had to march another turn before being able to charge. Lastly, leaving my troops inside the rhinos for another turn was generally an error because it is so easy to perform a penetrating hit on a rhino leaving my troops entangled on the spot.
The only thing this tactic is buying me is 6" at the start of the battle, so 1 turn of foot slogging for my troopers... not that good but if it's what you want to achieve for, let's say, the capture of an objective, then it might be a good option.
The drive by shooting:
People refer to this tactic when they use their rhino as a taxi to drop their CSM in rapid fire range and decimate their foes with bolter and plasma fire. Then they have the choice to continue shooting or assault. The best troops to perform this are basic troops with their bolters and some plasma guns.
- The strategy is essentially the same as a rhino rush except that the rhinos should always start being cover to protect themselves from the first turn shooting fest.
- Instead of disembarking the troops from the rhinos on the first turn, pop the smoke, leave the troops in their box and wait for turn 2 to get them where they need to be. The only exception to this is if the target is less than 12" away, then the troops should disembark right away and shoot everything they see. If the intended target is 18" and less, the troops should also disembark to make sure they don't stay entangled in case the rhino blow up and then on turn 2 they should walk the distance to blast their target.
- On turn 2 the surviving rhino drive the troops that go further than 18" to be in rapid fire range and they deliver them right on the spot so they can blast their target with hot metal.
I really like this tactic and it gave me some nice results. The threat range is around 24" for one turn and on turn 2 it can be either another 18" if you disembarked your troops or another 24" if you leaved them in the rhino and it didn't blow up. For this tactic 3-4 rhinos protected by 2 Predators are really good for lists under 1500 pts. For lists of more than 1500 pts I would advise taking at least 4 rhinos and some fast attack troops.
The rhino Daemon / Bombing rush
Ok I think this tactic have been around for ages, but it is good to talk about it in this guide because it does work wonders against some armies, especially the shooting ones. With this method you will be able, with a little luck, to deliver a unit of Daemons into close combat by turn 2 and by turn 3 have the squads that delivered them follow in close combat. It will give very little time to your opponent to react accordingly and it's quite nice. Also with the new codex the Lesser Daemons are all generic Daemons with the stats of a normal CSM but without 2 close combat weapons and without the ability to shoot, but they are quite good at what they do and since they can charge the turn they arrive on the table they still have the means to wipe out entire squads of weak troops in one sweeping advance.
- Deploy the rhinos 12" from the table edge as much behind cover as possible.
- Make them speed up 12" and disembark everyone, pop the smoke and wait for any incoming shot.
- On the second turn at the beginning of the movement phase the Lesser Daemon squads become available for summoning and they can be placed at 6" from their icon. Place your Lesser Daemons in charge range of any enemy unit. Then the Chaos Marines move their 6" and shoot at what's in rapid fire range or wait for an assault. In the assault phase, the Daemon squads charge what's in range or they just stand in the way and absorb some of the incoming fire.
- By turn 3 the troops continue their shooting or advance to add some weight on the charge and the Daemons do what they do best, hack and slash.
Now this tactic is quite good if you have Chaos Bikers because they can deliver units of Lesser Daemons really close to the enemy line and your opponent won't be able to ignore them too long.
For this tactic to work I discovered that I needed at least 3 rhinos and 4 squads of 5-8 Lesser Daemons for lists of 1250-1500 pts and 4 rhinos and 6 squads of 5-8 Lesser Daemons in lists between 1500 and 2000 pts. You also have to say a little prayer for your reserve to arrive early.
This setup also work with small squads of Terminators, but you won't be able to charge with them when they'll appear, they do make a really nice unit to absorb fire and they have a "fear factor" that your opponent will have a hard time ignoring… so 2 squads of 3 terminators with 1 heavy flamer is a really good unit to drop in front of anything you want to blow up.
The Rhino Stampede
The last tactic I tried out is a little bit different and is possible only in larger games because it involves a lot more rhino than usual. The minimum number of rhino for this tactic is 6, but it also work with 4 with less success if anything goes wrong.
Divide your rhinos in 3 groups of 2 rhinos. You can equip your troops the way you want and give them the mark you want, just make sure you have a good number of them and a good mix of special weapons and some power fist.
In the deployment phase, deploy 3 rhinos in your deployment zone. Make sure you cut your line of sight with enemy weapons as much as possible and deploy them far from each others. Then deploy the other 3 rhinos right next to them but a little further back than the 3 first rhinos. The principle is to protect 3 rhinos with 3 other rhinos.
If you have some Predators they work great as a diversion for the first turn. If they can divert some fire from your rhino then their job is done. Place them in plain line of sight and prey that your opponent will target them first if you don't have first turn. If you have first turn then your opponent just lost a chance to shoot some rhino down and you will be able to make most of your moves without too much trouble.
- First turn all the rhinos move forward 12".
- The rhinos that are in front of the others and that will most likely take the hits from the next turn shooting unload all their troops and pop a smoke. If the troops can shoot at anything in rapid fire range, if nothing is in range they just wait right there for the next turn. They are the first wave.
- Turn 2, all the rhinos that didn't unload advance 12" and disembark their troops. Once unloaded they rapid fire at anything they see. They are the second wave.
- The first wave that is already disembarked advance 6" and rapid fire at anything they see and give a covering fire to the second wave.
- On the second turn you can also roll for some reserves and bring some Daemon units on the battlefield if you have any.
The first wave should be equipped with plasma guns and the champions should be equipped for close combat and with power fist since they will most likely give the charge. The second wave should be equipped with meltaguns and the champions should have some power weapons, since they are the ones that will receive the counter charge. Also the second wave would benefit greatly from an Icon of Slaanesh for the +1 ini it gives.
I personally make my first waves out of Plague Marines and the second waves are Chaos Space Marines with an Icon of Slaanesh. The Plague Marines can take an impressing amount of punishment and the CSM of Slaanesh are quick to dispatch anything that will charge them since that their initiative is boosted, most of the time they will strike first.
Another variant designed by ForgedInTheFurnaceOfWar:
- During the deployment phase place your rhinos in a T shape. The lead rhino forms the top of the T, while the rear forms the vertical line of the T. This shape makes it fairly difficult to fire around the lead rhino.
- The rear rhinos should probably have fire support units, while the lead rhinos have dedicated assault units. The reason for this is dedicated assault units won't be able to assault until turn 3, unless your playing an army that out assaults even a chaos army - orcs/nids.
- Place fire support squads as the protected rhino to ensure that you can deliver damage to the enemy on turn 2. With ubergrit, and a powerfist, even the weakest of chaos squads would be quite powerful in assault.
- Proceed with the Stampede.
Rhino: The afterlife
It happens from time to time that a rhino deliver it's cargo, survive the shots it received or was left alone because too many juicy targets were presented to your opponent heavy weapons and actually stay whole past turn 3. In such a case the general consensus it to use the rhino as a mobile wall and block line of sight with it.
An empty rhino can be more than that after he fullfiled its role. First he can Tank Shock anything in range... that's great because if he successfully tank shock an enemy unit, that unit is pinned for the next turn. Also as hotspike18 pointed out you can use it to block incoming assault, this can really be annoying to a charging unit. You can also use it to deny some narrow pass to your opponent, making him walk the long way to flank you...
Another use for rhinos are as a mobile platform. Of course a rhino equipped with an havoc missile launcher and a combi-plasma can become a little expensive, but really, that combi-plasma is a potential tank killer (especially if shot in the back), it's also a great way to get rid of those 2+ save units and a general pain for the normal troopers. The havoc missile launcher is a great anti-infantry weapon and it's great to use against infantry heavy weapon teams and sometimes it's enough to make them pass a leadership test.
Maybe there's an afterlife for the rhinos after all... but yeah you can still leave them there to become a wreack so your Chaos Marines get a great 4+ save like grimmtu suggest it.
It's a compilation of the tactics most people use with rhinos.
I hope it helped some of you and I'll be waiting for some more rhino tactic to try from the community as I'm sure a good rhino full of Chaos Space Marines is a deadly weapons in a lot of settings.
Feel free to comment or to correct anything you think might be a mistake. Also since English is not my first language you'll have to excuse all the mistakes I made.
Nice guide Thyr, I think it'll be pretty helpful for new Rhino users like myself. It's nice to know the ways that other people play Chaos. I'd just like to mention that you can use empty Rhinos for more than blocking shots, though that can be pretty useful. You can also block incoming assaults with them. If you have a single unit with good shooting or assault capability that has two enemy units coming towards it, you can hold off one unit for a turn to let you get a free go at one unit before the other one comes into play. You have to be very precise, it's not all that hard for them to go around and make one or two base contacts depending on the distance, but it can make a big difference in a pinch.
"If you can wait til I get home, then I swear we can make this last."
Wow just the tactica that I was hoping someone would start. I agree with all of yours points and I especially agree with chaos not being able to rhino rush. Blood angels can do this effectively and they also have the fast assualty units such as baal predators and veterans with jump packs to support this.
I think you hit the nail on a really hard stragedy to overcome for opponents which is the plague marine and slannesh icon build. This kind of list is also very competitive, which is good.
In my own list I just use a couple units of chosen units to back up my 2 rhinos though. They seem good at drawing away fire as the enemy will have to choose to shoot at the rhinos, the chosen or the predators. Overall I think it has been working.
Again Nice job.
Great work Thyr,
I'm proud of you like you were my own human son!
Yeah, great work mate, and thanks!
As an avid Chaos player, I'm very thankful for this as this has given me a lot of ideas to try out. And now I have a good reason to get a few more Rhinos that I've been thinking about
Looks good. Thanks for the tactica.
If I can add a rhino tactic that's related to the Rhino Rush, my favorite use - because once a rhino is dead, it counts as cover. So, I use my rhino's smoke-launchers to get them to a good firing place, disembark the troops, let the rhino's die, move my troops into the dead rhino for a good cover save right where I want them.
Also, consider renaming the Rhino Wave tactic The Rhino Stampede... after all, isn't that what rhinos do?
Nice tactica. One point Id add, to the swarm tactic: Place your rhinos in a T shape. The lead rhino forms the top of the T, while the rear forms the vertical line of the T. This shape makes it fairly difficult to fire around the lead rhino. The rear rhinos should probably have fire support units, while the lead rhinos have dedicated assault units. The reason for this is dedicated assault units won't be able to assault until turn 3, unless your playing an army that out assaults even a chaos army - orcs/nids. So place fire support squads as the protected rhino to ensure that you can deliver damage to the enemy on turn 2. With ubergrit, and a powerfist, even the weakest of chaos squads would be quite powerful in assault.
Thanks for all the great comments.
I've made some changes and now the rhino swarm is officially the Rhino Stampede . It's a great name for this tactic.
I also added your T formation tactic ForgedInTheFurnaceOfWar it's a variant I never used but I'll make sure to try it as soon as possible.
Also I added the "Rhino: The afterlife" section so I can reflect the tought of hotspike18 and grummtu.
Thanks Karmoon, I'm having a cerebral hemorrhaging right now because of your wisdom but I should be fine... (sorry I just love your sig... )
One thing :In fact I discovered that the rhino rush like everyone knows it is not possible with a Chaos army. I realised this when I saw a Blood Angel rhino list with 2 land speeders and some assault marine perform what I was trying to do, a lightning fast attack with a charge in my lines on the second turn because they have the ability to move with the rhino, disembark and then charge right away.Blood Angels cannot move, disembark and then charge, even with overcharged engines...Only a Blood Angel army can achieve it with success because Blood Angels can disembark and charge right after that, giving them the means to be in close combat by turn 2 with their supercharged engines.
There is no "Rhino Rush" since the beginning of fourth edition.
Last edited by mika; October 24th, 2007 at 00:54.
"One must do violence to the object of one's desire; when it surrenders, the pleasure is greater."
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