Part 4: The Specialist
A conclusion of the Leman Russ Tactica, looking in more detail at the Executioner and Annihilator patterns of Leman Russ tank.
The Leman Russ Executioner
Formerly an Imperial Armour model, the executioner not only got a plastic re-vamp in 5th edition, it also (unusually for a vehicle making a jump from FW to GW) got a rules upgrade too: increasing from Heavy 2 blast to Heavy 3 blast!
3 Strength 7 AP 2 shots is a very nasty prospect when you consider how easily it will mince infantry, but factor in some Plasma Cannon Sponsons and you’re throwing out 5 blasts a turn. That’s enough to seriously maim, if not destroy entirely, pretty much anything!
So for sheer hurting power it’s the best tank the Imperial Guard have access too, especially against armies in power armour.
However all this power at comes at a cost. Here are a few things I would think about before using one.
- They’re very expensive. At 190 points basic (230 with Plasma Sponsons) they’re a big chunk of your points. To put it in perspective you can get 4 Chimeras with some extra equipment, nearly 2 Devil Dogs, or even a full 45-man platoon (albeit poorly equipped) for 230 points! Also, even with armour 14/13/11 it’s still just a Leman Russ so it can still die as easy (if not easier) as any other pattern of Leman Russ. I would rather have my firepower spread throughout the army than concentrated in a single vehicle, especially in battles of less than 1500 points.
- People are afraid of them. This sounds like a good thing, but not when people will go out of their way to wreck them. They’ll attract a lot of fire, more so than any other pattern of Leman Russ. Because of this don’t be tempted either to buy lots of upgrade for them. I once played against a guy who fielded one with Pask, Extra Armour, Camouflage netting and a few other upgrades pushing the cost above 300 points.
- Screw Stunned/Shaken results are horrible. Because all of an Executionor’s weapons are small blast, even a crew stunned or crew shaken result will render shooting impossible. So even if you survive intact, you’ll still have a lot of points just sat there doing nothing.
- You can blow yourself up. People say it’s unlikely, but there’s a good chance that you’ll take all the hull points off yourself over the course of the battle. I stress it is unlikely, but it’s nonetheless possible to destroy yourself in the first turn. All it takes is three 1s, and then 3 1-3s and you’ve wrecked a 230 point vehicle.
Personally I think that the firepower of a Executioner is roughly the equivalent of a Demolisher anyway, maybe slightly more if you get lucky with your scatters. It suffers from the same drawbacks (not firing when stunned etc) but is significantly fewer points. The AP is the same, and you’ll still be killing things on a 2+, but at least with a Demolisher Cannon you’ll be causing Instant Death to Space Marine Characters (and some monsters) whereas the Executioner won’t.
[Details of Annihilator to come, I need to dig out my old Codex/Imperial Armour to find the rules for it]