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One of the more interesting options of the current codex is the new landspeeder storm. I love landspeeders, and a skimmer transport is just too awesome, it seems. But is the landspeeder storm really the monster it appears to be?
The unit itself...
For the price of a landspeeder you get... a landspeeder! Or so it seems.
But in fact there is quite a few differences between a landspeeder and the storm variant.
The landspeeder storm may appear to be as tough as a regular landspeeder, but it frankly isn't. Since it is open-topped it tends to go down a lot more quickly.
It's not hard to glance or penetrate a landspeeder, and while this one point on the damage chart may not seem like much, it is then often enough that one point that makes wrecked from immobilised or immobilised (and therefore destroyed, if moving flat out) from weapon destroyed. I've seen it happen too many times.
The storm is manned by scouts that don't yet excel at the shooting range. This is very unfortunate and reduces the efficiency of its guns to only 75% that of a regular fully-trained Space Marine fired gun.
Unfortunately this is just enough to push the reliability from "okay" to "definitely a gamble".
Extra movement and outflanking
Scout move is a good thing, certainly. The ability to outflank is too. But for the speeder itself this is probably not all too rewarding. This will be more of an advantage when we talk about its transport function...
It can deep-strike like a normal landspeeder but considering its speed and possible scout or outflanking move this seems little compelling.
The storm's upgrade options are few and rather expensive.
- The heavy flamer covers for its low BS, but it does increase the price of the speeder significantly while stripping it of the option of dealing damage from a distance which helps keep this very fragile landspeeder alive for a little longer. The storm is a scout transport, though, and as we will see it will want to be close up anyhow, thus the flamer still is a very viable option if you can spare the points. Other upgrades throughout your army will probably be more important though, so prioritize and stick with your bolter if you run short.
- The multi-melta is nice, but the storm is no tank hunter. The scout move may seem appealing to blow up enemy tanks on turn 1, but its BS is just not a good thing to rely on. If you are using Vulkan's chapter tactics then this may very well work, but apart from that I'd suggest you better get regular landspeeders or attack bikes for that job, who are all cheaper, more resilient and more reliable.
- The assault cannon is an awesome weapon and is cheaper on the storm than on other landspeeders. But it's still a huge points commitment put into a very unstable firing platform that is supposed to go head-to-head with the enemy, and the low BS does drastically reduce it's effect. Losing 25% on a single shot may not seem much, but on four shots you will definitely feel it.
This is a neat little extra, but it's hard to use so effectively that it turns into a major disruption of your opponent's strategy. You'd have to be atop an icon or homer if you wanted to block its entire range of effect, and then you probably won't be alive very long and probably there's not only a singe icon or homer. Telion is probably the better choice to take out icons, and at least his way to do this is permanent.
The jammer is not to be underestimated, though, and if you use more than one storm they can cause serious problems for the opponent at least for a turn. Well: a nice little extra.
The unit as a transport
The unit can transport a squad of five scouts. This seems really nice, but what can you accomplish with it?
- Using it as a mobile firing platform makes little sense. Missile launchers, heavy bolters and even sniper rifles can't shoot if you move the speeder, and remaining stationary and use the transport as protection for your fire support squad is not exactly the best idea. Scouts with camo cloaks can get very good cover saves which will probably prove more awarding than a AV10 open-topped "bunker" and can infiltrate into position.
So you could drive around shooting bolters, shotguns or bolt pistols, wow. Drop the scout squad and its transport and get two double-heavy bolter tornadoes for the points, their BS4 shots deal more damage. Sure you wouldn't be scoring, but buying a unit of shooty scouts and chaffeur them around the battlefield just to take an objective at the game's end is not using your units efficiently. If scouts could have special weapons like melta guns this would make my day...
- Using it as an assault vehicle makes much more sense. Fast vehicle and open-topped gives you an effective threat range of 20" like the land raider (or 20"+D6" with Shrike in your army). But a small five men squad of scouts isn't exactly a monster of an assault unit, even with a tooled-up sergeant, and more won't fit, even though the cerberus really gives them an edge as long as they somehow manage to win combat.
You can do first turn charge or be pretty sure to be able to charge on the turn you come in from reserves via outflanking, which is both very valuable because the scouts and speeder won't survive being shot at too much.
Again it seems to make very much sense to use at least a pair and make them support each other, so that the two scout units can support each other too and double-charge an enemy unit that would likely be too tough for one scout squad alone.
[In cities of death, rappelling lines can be used to disembark from a speeder onto the upper level of a ruin. This is a pretty neat surprise if your terrain features a lot of multi-level ruins. Your opponent's fire support unit atop its perfect viewpoint seemingly safe from charges as any attackers would have to move up four levels through difficult terrain... tied up in combat on turn 1 - be sure to take a picture of that look on his face!]
Really helps the scouts do serious damage and sweep any units they win combat against as if they had inflicted two more casualties. This can be priceless because your five men squad won't do much after the charge!
On the other hand you may even want the enemy squad to pass its leadership test and stay in combat with your scouts because you are very prone once they're gone. But I guess you better just accept the fact that your scouts will be pretty much a one-charge-pony...
Competing for slots
Now that we've had a look at what the landspeeder storm gets us, we also have to take a look at what the landspeeder storm doesn't get us. Unfortunately - and this is very sad indeed - the storm is not a dedicated transport option for scouts. It takes up a fast attack slot, and those are very, very precious.
You need troops to win games, but apart from that I'd be more than happy to make armies comprised of fast attack options only. A lot of 5th edition Space Marine armies count on their fast attack units to do the more serious tank hunting, as close-up melta weapons are the only seriously reliable anti-tank available.
Since we've noted a few times that the landspeeder storm makes most sense if taken as a pair, this significantly cuts down on our army's other options. This is a huge, major drawback. If scouts could take them as dedicated transports, or if storms could at least transport normal marines, I'd take tons any day. It would help already if you could take a squadron of two for one slot.
The landspeeder storm is not as awesome as it promises to be.
Use it as a transport only, because it just is one!
If you have something else in mind than getting your scouts to where they should be, you better stick with a regular landspeeder that will do a better job, really.
Don't upgrade the storm.
You can add the flamer if you feel you have the points or you can even add the multi-melta to make it appear as a much greater threat to your opponent in fear of that lucky hit. But don't count on it having any other reliable effect than that psychological one. It can kill tanks, but you can't rely on it happening then when you need it.
Oh, and... Better not take the assault cannon. It just makes the unit too many points.
If you already have close combat scouts in your army anyway then you're doing them good giving them a storm as a transport. If you want to outflank or first-turn-charge then you should go with this unit too.
(It's especially good for tying up and break enemy fire support units right at the start of the game, which is most effective if you have the rest of your army in the enemy's face alongside the scouts so that they aren't on their own. This is a very good complement to drop pod armies because it gives them the option of getting into close combat on turn one in addition to blasting away at the enemy with the drop pod squads.
If your opponent reserves his entire army you could probably still hide the storm from sight and charge as soon as something's on the board in a single turn.)
If you don't use scouts and don't need first turn charge you're probably better off using the other fast attack units, namely regular landspeeders and attack bikes. You can never have enough fast attack, ever.
So my final judgement is the following:
The landspeeder storm is nice transport for close combat scouts and should be used to assault and break enemy fire support units. It is best used without upgrades. Deliver your scouts to their prey and then see what else you can make of it. Use the jammer, shoot some heavy bolter, contest some objective, or reembark the scouts if they survive...
I'd say that's a pretty fair assessment. The Storm has a lot of nifty abilities, but it's still open-topped AV10 with BS3 carrying 5 Scouts. It's a fun unit, but far from what I'd consider worthwhile.
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I agree with Me. Of course I do. LSStorm was a dead dog from the moment someone decided that it would be a good idea for a Fast Skimmer to be able to carry Assault Scouts, the fact it takes up a Fast Attack slot simply compounds the fail.
If you want scoring Fast Skimmers, go and play Eldar or Deldar.
Nice assessment, I think the unit is good friendly game unit. But competitively it falls pretty short.
It's fun to use as a last turn objective claimer in friendlies. I put sniper scouts in it and use the LS-S to just get them the hell out of dodge if I'm facing a CC army. And sometimes I like to have everything in my army with a transport if I feel like doing a theme.
Thats an excellent post, proving my hesitation in thinking of the Storm as anything other than a cool model was well founded. Rep to you, Red Archer, for a very nice piece of work. Damn i sound like a school teacher.
Jager bombs. Very efficient at wiping out friend or foe.
I agree, somewhat , with your conclusion. I think units like the Storm, Vanguards, devastators or LotD for example, have limited use when compared directly to other units and have a to rival other units , either in force organization chart or relating to point cost, that could possibly do as better a job for less or flat out outperform these units.
That being said i think the Storm, like the Vanguard and others, have their niche utility when combined with other entries from the codex: Khan, for example, when joined to a vanguard squads makes for a potent combination.
The Storm i feel can be worth its upgrade when paired with Vulcan; A first turn multi melta shot (And combi melta from the sergeant) can put a sever set back to your opponent. Similarly equipped with melta bombs or flamer, they can take out important units : Vindicators or Lootas for a moderate cost while providing all the perks you mentioned. A Raven guard list or Pure deep striking list would also be significantly aided by a Storm speeder.
But , yeah, overall it got little or no merit outside specific list when compared to other fast attack choice or other unit with the same price tag... I mean i can get a vindicator for the same price i take for scouts in a storm...
Alsolol!Damn i sound like a school teacher.
Last edited by seismic; October 2nd, 2009 at 00:18.
"The things that appear are a vision of the unseen"
-Anaxagoras of Clazomenae
I'm not surprised. They always seemed like a flavour unit to me. They might have been viable...if they carried more Scouts, if Scouts still had WS/BS4, and if it was a dedicated transport. As it is, it's an assault transport carrying a unit that is entirely meh in assault.
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Mr_Wayne: "Some people believe that the World Eaters do not field any ranged weaponry. Those people often die at a distance."
So, if I can ask, what would you folks suggest replacing the Storm with in a very small-points game?
Specifically, I'm building an army of 400 points using Combat Patrol rules, and was planning on using the Storm as a quick insert/evac unit for a squad of Sniper Scouts, plus providing some covering fire with the Cerberus Launcher and Assault Cannon. Is there something else that would fill this role just as well, or do something similar? Or is it unlikely to be an issue? (My rationale being that in a game this small, one would potentially need the ability to move the Scouts around quickly, as elements of the opposing team would need to be mopped up, or to enact a different firing lane.)
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