May 11, 2012

Land Raider Pricing

So I visited Algesan’s blog…several weeks ago and he was asking what Land Raiders would have to cost to be worth taking.

I started writing my comment, explaining what I thought they should be priced at (based on the Metric numbers system I am relying less and less on) when I realized that I could neither easily explain how I got to those numbers nor why they were ideal

So I cleared that comment and began writing another, starting from the assumption that Land Raiders would come as a possible alternative to Predators. I started going through the price adjustments to Predators to account for the benefits the Land Raider has and I realized something interesting, which I hope to enlighten now:

Take your standard Auto/Las Predator: 125 points. It is basically a poor-man’s gunboat Land Raider if you consider an Autocannon comparable to a Twin-Linked Heavy Bolter. So adjust the price by multiplying by 4/3 to account for the increased accuracy of having Twin-Linked Lascannon Sponsons (now 8/9 to hit rather than 6/9, or a ratio of 4 to 3). Add PotMS. Transport capacity is 10 models or 5 Terminators, and the closest thing to that is a Drop Pod, so add the price of a Drop Pod; ignore the Assault Vehicle special rule and just assume that it is included with the Drop Pod price increase. AV 14 is a big step, but having it all-round is much bigger. The increase of one could be accounted for by essentially the Blessed Hull upgrade (different effect, but close enough to use the price), but this is different; instead just increase the cost by 50 points and call it good.

So how are those adjustments? They sound pretty fair, but maybe the AV increase is overpriced, drop it to only 30. Where does that put the price of the Land Raider? Right about 255, but 250 is a fine number to round to. So Land Raiders are actually well priced, compared to Predators. So why aren’t they used, and why is it that when they are they weaken the list?
How about a different approach? Two Twin-Linked Lascannons and a Twin-Linked Heavy Bolter that can move and shoot at multiple targets while carrying models, sounds familiar?…Of course, that is just like three Razorbacks! Actually not perfectly, the Razorbacks can target three different units instead of two and can move independently of each other; they can also carry a unit each rather than being limited to one. But a Land Raider cannot get chain-shaken and prevented from firing while the Razorbacks can, and most weapons cannot hurt Land Raiders (especially ones that stay back) while Razorbacks can get killed by just about any anti-tank weapon. The price of Razorbacks to equal the guns on a Land Raider is 90, 90 and 70 which equals 250: The price of the Land Raider, which means that a Land Raider should be an equivalent trade-off to three such Razorbacks, with the allowance that Heavy Bolter Razorbacks are pretty much a waste of time and thus this trade is not efficient besides the problem of being forced to leave two infantry squads without a transport.

How about combining the two above comparisons? Two Las/Bolter Predators clock in at 260 points. One the one hand you have AV 14, the ability to carry a unit, and being guaranteed the ability to fire a gun; on the other you have the ability to put gun vehicles in two different positions on the board and more anti-infantry firepower, but you can’t direct all anti-tank shots to tanks while anti-infantry shots go to infantry. But the Predators will be taken nearly every time, often as Auto/Las Predators to save points.

Are these comparisons just not valid? Probably, since even though the prices match the Land Raiders are neglected. My first inclination would be to see how much the price should be adjusted on the Land Raider, but how about looking at these comparisons and see what’s tipping the balance?

Single Predator vs. Land Raider are all price adjustments and make the Land Raider look even over-priced, unless you count the Autocannon worth saving 20 points to drop to the Heavy Bolter, and even then the Drop Pod’s price for the transport capacity seems small, so the only real difference is that the Land Raider is more expensive, and perhaps requires some creative use to get full value.

Razorbacks vs. Land Raider come down to having a spread-out value compared to a concentrated value. The Razorbacks benefit from needing at least 3 shots to kill but the Land Raider will likely need many more unless a specialized weapon is targeted at it. But I suppose you do gain more benefit from the Razorbacks by getting the protection to more units and being more flexible.

Two Predators vs. Land Raider once again, more flexibility with the Predators and more benefit from having two Auto/Las ones, for the same cost. Being Predators Melta isn’t especially a problem while the Land Raider should really be taking advantage of its transport capacity by moving a close combat unit forward.

What does all this tell us? In their current incarnation, Land Raiders should not exist. No, really, they are just too much to have any real, genuine value over taking more, weaker choices. Those choices are just as good, if not better, and add more flexibility to your list. Land Raiders are just doing too much.

How to fix them? Well, you could drop them to AV13 all-round. That would be a balancing effort for the game in general (allowing armies without Melta to have a better chance against them) and it would justify dropping its cost to something reasonable that would make it a valid option to compete for attention with Predators and Vindicators.

Or we could just make them a better value for their cost than anything else in the book. Will it tip things in their favor? No, because they still gimp you for costing so much, but at least it’s a trade-off rather than a simple sacrifice. Now I don’t have a whole lot of objective reason for how much I would price them at, but I like round numbers (to 10s or 20s), and it needs to still be one of the most expensive units that Black Templars can field.

A PotMS Vindicator or Tri-Las Predator will come in at around 160-170, maybe even up to 180 or 190 if you want to drop some upgrades on them. So 180-200 is a good number for the Godhammer Land Raider, and the Crusader should go for about 15 points more, just as it is now. That way it is costing you to go from Predators to Land Raiders and the Crusader variants still demand a specialized role to be worth taking as a transport, but the costs involved are worth it if you have the points. However this does mean that Predators are the choice in lower-point games while Land Raiders become the better option when you have more points to spend.

So I stand by my previous assertion: Land Raiders should not exist. No, Wounds or Structure Points would not solve the problem; they are just too much and need to be priced too high to be worth taking.


Yes, I’m most likely back to posting regularly. I am going to wait for at least two more posts before being certain that I can get up multiple posts a week. I have a lot of painting finished and possibly a tournament coming up next weekend, so I’ll try to stay updated on here about those.


  1. That was a different way of looking at it. I actually have a problem with Predators, I flat out don't like them at all. Move and shoot one or don't move and shoot all. Bleh! Somewhere, sometime I read a (probably house) rule that said if you didn't take the sponsons, then you got to add +1AV to the side armor. That I could live with or have a hurricane bolter option or make S5 weapons "defensive".

    For me, I'd figure about 200 points to field Land Raiders for any reason except fun. All it takes is to see one golden BB hit on turn one that results in Game Over because 25+% of a lists points are tied up in the LR/LRC and it makes it easy to see why they don't get taken.

    One THDC squad has ~29% chance to take out a Land Raider (of any type), needing a 6 on a glance or a 4-6 on a penetrate. After all, immobilize works as well as wreck or explode in virtually all cases.

    Don't go away from metrics yet, just remember what its limits are: 1) it doesn't say which lists win, it says which lists _lose_ and 2) it doesn't work for Newcrons...

  2. I've stopped really using the Metric System for Black Templars mostly because I'm not gaining anything from it anymore. I've used it enough and played with it enough to instinctively know that when I optimize a list and make sure to have sufficient conventional weapons it will have the right numbers; I don't need to check that. It also doesn't account for what is more difficult for me to gauge, namely having sufficient dangerous units, having enough Melta, having enough bodies in a foot-based squad, and so on. Nikephoros just left that to point costs.

    Granted I still use that system when building Daemon and Tyranid lists, but that's because those are such weird armies that I have yet to fully grasp my head around (thanks in no small part to not having a good place to discuss them like I have with Black Templars).

    I actually like Predators because of their relatively low price and what you get for it, but they do have their problems so it's not a unit that is an almost universal option (though I can think of a few).