Quite a bit has been going on over the last few days, some of it's for another time but I played a game yesterday against a Space Marine army, 3 Dreads, 2 Devastator squads, Aegis, all that jazz. And in dreaded kill points, which my army can't handle very well.
I was trying out a few combinations, I dropped a Rune Priest and the Lascannon Long Fang pack in favour of beefing up the Grey Hunters and giving them Rhinos to hide behind. That worked quite well, I was getting in close but then I'd be in range of the Plasma guns, they'd pop the Rhinos and the Grey Hunters would get murdered by torrent.
The Thunderwolves had a good game, eating 2 squads and gaining Linebreaker. But what it came down to was in the last turn I forced my opponent to take 3 leadership checks. 2 at LD8 and 1 at LD9. If he didn't fail any he would win the game, if he failed one it would be a draw and if he failed 2 I would have won. He did the former, and won 9-8. But anyway, it was a fantastic game and I learnt a lot, I'll be trying out Drop Pods next.
I got quite excited when I saw the Land Speeder Squadron. The problem that you generally have with them is that they're very flimsy and are susceptible to giving away First Blood and Kill Points cheaply. This isn't such a problem for Dark Angels, as you can take squadrons of 5 Land Speeders.
This could be quite a short post, as my thoughts on this are quite clear. In order to make your Land Speeder more durable, you're going to pump more into the Squadron. So, for example let's say that you take the maximum 5 Land Speeders. Now you have spent about 250pts on 5 Heavy Bolters. Yes you're preventing your Land Speeder from giving away points cheaply, but in doing so you've pumped a load of points into something that's doing, not much really.
You can swap their Heavy Bolters for Heavy Flamers for free, but the difference between the 2 is essentially that Heavy Bolters have a much longer range but Heavy Flamers are much more accurate when they get there. The problem being that with AV10 2 Hull Point vehicles the last place that you want to be is in the enemy lines, as my Grey Hunters will beat you out of the sky with their fists (regular, non-power fists).
You could give them a Multi-melta instead for an additional 20%, but I could do that with an Attack Bike in an Attack Squadron for 5pts less and it would be more durable (smaller, harder to hit, better save, buried in a squad with better saves.
The next batch of upgrades is where things start to get interesting however. Rather than swapping out your Heavy Bolter, you can start to just slap guns on.
The first option given is a Typhoon Missile Launcher for an extra 50% of your points cost. Now you're starting to get some decent shooting out of these. I wouldn't give them to all of the Land Speeders in a squadron. I would give them to 2, maybe 3 max. Simply because if they all have them every Speeder that you lose is more points down. If you use less well equipped Speeders to cover these ones at the front by taking the first few glancing or penetrating hits then you could do ok.
Just comparing this to Long Fangs for a second. 3 Land Speeders with Typhoon Missile Launchers are 85pts more expensive than 5 Long Fangs with 4 Missile Launchers, and they both churn out the same number of shots. What Long Fangs have over them is that they can split fire, but the Speeders are faster, able to move around and still shoot, and they're resistant to small arms fire. I'd still say that the Long Fangs have the edge (because they're undercosted), but this isn't a bad makeup for the Speeders.
Instead of the Typhoon Missile Launcher you could take a second Heavy Bolter for an additional 20%, ok, but this is really just pouring more points into the ones that you will want to be stock and taking the first hits for you. The additional Heavy Flamer is more of the same, you'll only want it if you're trying to hurl your unit forward and flame something, but most players will have defence for this like castling around the more vulnerable units like Eldar Pathfinders, before shooting you down or beating you to death when you arrive.
A second Multi-Melta costs twice as much as an additional Heavy Flamer/Bolter. Again, Attack Bikes are better for this role, although more on this when I write the Attack Bikes post, I haven't thought about them too much yet, just looked at the paper.
And finally the Assault Cannon. Yes it gets double the shots of the Typhoon Missile Launcher and Rending but the Typhoon has a higher strength, lending itself better to reliable anti-vehicle, has the Blast option, and is 5pts cheaper. I think that the Assault Cannon is a little too pricey for this vehicle.
So, to sum up. This really isn't a bad unit. I wouldn't invest too much into it though, the last thing you want is to place a big target on it. But for 200pts you're getting 3 of them, churning out 9 S5 shots and 4 S8 AP3 shots a turn. Putting the one without the Missile Launcher at the front to take the first few hits.
So, is this worth it. I think it's about a fair price for what you're getting, but I'll leave it up to you to decide. If you think you have a good idea for a combination or weapons configuration for the Land Speeders, please write a comment. I enjoy hearing your feedback and I'm always open to new ideas.