Friday, 16 September 2011

Long Range Anti Tank.

I played a game two days ago.  The result was a draw, but in reality my list should have dominated and I was out played (and made some very silly mistakes)

Guard vs Grey knights
1500 Points
Pitched Battle
Seize Ground
Result: Draw

My good friend Chris wasn't playing standard Grey knight list last night.  He used a Corteaz Henchman list with no 3+ armor saves or storm bolters.  His long range anti tank consisted of a Vindicar Assassin,  Four Jokaero (Lascannons) in a chimera and Land Raider.  With this is mind Chris's tactic was to sit back and blast me with the anti tank while advancing with rhinos full of warriors with meltas or plasmas.

Sitting back and trying to out-shoot me isn't something I've ever seen work.  Lascannons against 14 armor Leman Russ fronts aren't reliable (especially at BS3) which is a lesson it took me a long time to work out.   The Beauty of Leman Russ is that people will fire long range anti tank at them.  In reality this should only be done with Rail Cannons, Manticore missiles, Vanquisher Cannons and Lance Weaponary.  Otherwise you need short range anti tank and a way of deploying it.

The wild card here is of course the Vindicar.  He (until Errata'd) can crack armor 14 with almost every time.  He was obviously a priority on turn one and was taken out accordingly.  The trick here is realise you need something that can take out Armor 14 early on.  Whether that's the above mentioned long range anti tank, a Multi-Melta wielding Land Speeder or a deep striking melta gun suicide squad something has to be able to take out the big stuff. 

I say this because too many forces rely on the short range of transports full of Melta guns or a Vindicator to do this job.  Believe me when I say it won't get there. 

The final point of all this, is i suppose, that Lascannons don't really have a place in 40k.  They are most useful against armor 12 and 13.  Anything lower and you should be using autocannons and anything higher and you need the above mentioned bad boys.  So if we've found some good armor value targets then why are they useless? 

Surely the point of any army is to be a good all rounder.  It should be placed on a table and have a good chance against MEQs and then do well the next game against 100+ Orks.  This theory balanced list building is essential to competitive play.  It's for example why Whirlwinds and Hellhounds are never taken (Who wants AP 4 weaponary in a meta game dominated by MEQs?)

So assuming a list needs to be useful all round find me armies where the primary anti tank targets are a good choice to shoot with Lascannons (i.e. Arm 12 or 13) 

-  Space Marines have predators and vindicators, but both is much easier to take out by getting in the side arc. 

-  Eldar tanks can be 13 or 12, but most generals have the upgrade that reduces weapons to act like Strength 8 Lance or they get their cover saves anyway.  Any one who's tried it will tell you firing single shot lascannons at vehicles with 4 or 5 up cover saves is a depressing task.
- Tau skimmers have the same issues with cover saves as above.

So in reality it's very nice saying look at my scary high strength, long range gun, but what is it doing?  What, optimally, would you use it against? 



  1. Add to that that some armies can still get Tank Hunter on Devastator squads for true Str 9 spam with Missile Launchers. The Lascannon's only saving grace is that it is usually twin-linked.

    Of course, the real king of anti-tank is the Broadside, but with the state of Tau currently you rarely see them. Twin-Linked Str 10 AP1. You bet your ass I'm scared, they kill ANYTHING. Even the "invincible" Monolith is nothing to a Broadside team. Predators are penetrated on a 4, and die on 4+. All without clever manoeuvring or tactical flair.

    The only good use for Lascannons is Imperial Guard tanks (or anything AV13+). Often you can't close that gap effectively with the Lemans covering so you need to shut them down. The Lascannon does this job - it suppresses while Speeders / transports / whatever get into position to slag that tank. Against most armies the humble Krak launcher (or Hell, even the Autocannon) can do this, but those AV14 fronts are killer.

  2. Out of interest, which armies can get Devastators with Tank Hunter? Black Templars an give it to their Terminator Squads, who can be equipped with 2 Heavy Weapons per 5 men. Black Templars can also give Venerable Dreadnoughts Tank hunter - so the Twin-Linked lascannon is strength 10 against vehicles.

    Also, against things like obliterators, the Lascannon far outmatches the Missile Launcher and the Autocannon, being able to punch through 2+ saves and instant death is not to be sniffed at. It's not as widely useful, but there are definitely things a lascannon can do that the other weapons can't.
    Just one thing about Eldar Vehicles, they're all armour 12 and it's only the Wave Serpent which has an Energy field - which isn't an upgrade, just a standard part of the wave serpent.
    Another point worth mentioning is lascannons are a great option for shooting Vindicators - as to melt them, you have to get in range of the big gun.
    I'm not saying the lascannon is the be all and and end all, and pound for pound Melta and Autocannons do the heavy lifting of Heavy and Light tank hunting respectively.
    They're a nice thing to have - it also make a leman much more useful against Monstrous creatures.
    Your point about taking Vindicators from the side is a good one, but (for example) the combi-pred has such long range that it's rarely going to present a decent side arc shot - at Throne of Skulls I out shot the 'Best Guard' army - but what I definitely didn't do was fire my lascannons at AV14. My combi-pred took out two chimera's and a Vendetta before being wrecked - it's a formidable light tank and transport hunter, which CAN take on heavy armour at a push, will strip wounds from MC's in a heartbeat and all for less than the price of a rifleman dreadnought (which is doesn't compete with for a Force Org Slot).