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
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?