Space Marine Review: Heavy Support: Whirlwind

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Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of the Space Marine Whirlwind. For more reviews, analyses and tactics, check out the Tactics Corner.

Overview:

The Whirlwind is an anti-infantry tank for the Space Marine army, able to fire a barrage of rockets at the enemy forces without requiring line of sight to the target, adding an additional layer of protection for the tank. The Whirlwind is a tank based on the Rhino chassis with the same armour and 3 hull points. The Whirlwind is relatively cheap at only 65 pts, with the option to take up to 3 in a squad.

 

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Wargear:

  • Whirlwind Multiple Missile Launcher- able to fire in one of two modes: Vengeance- 12-48″, S5 AP4, Large Blast, Barrage, Ordnance 1 or Incendiary Castellan- 12-48″, S4 AP5, Large Blast, Ignores Cover, Barrage, Ordnance 1.
  • Searchlight
  • Smoke Launchers
  • May take Dozer  Blade, Storm Bolter, Extra Armour and/or a Hunter-Killer Missile.

Special Rules:

  • Suppressive Bombardment- If the unit includes 3 Whirlwinds, each Whirlwind’s Multiple Missile Launcher has Pinning and Shred.

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Tactics:

The Whirlwind is primarily useful as an anti-infantry vehicle in the Space Marine army. It’s primary weapon will make short work of most lightly armoured infantry models such as Guardsmen, Orks, Fire Warriors and Guardians. The two fire modes for the Multiple Missile Launcher add to its utility. The Vengeance missiles are S5, meaning they will wound most infantry on at least a 3+ and can even wound bikers on a 4+. The Castellan missiles are great for lightly armoured infantry in cover, as they will ignore both their armour saves and cover saves in many cases.

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The fact that the missiles are barrage is also useful. This means you don’t need line of sight to target the enemy unit, allowing you to deploy the tank out of line of sight to give it extra protection. This will mean that you don’t get to use the BS of the tank to reduce the scatter on the large blast, but assuming you roll low and are targeting a decent sized enemy unit, you should still get a decent number of hits. In addition, if you get lucky with your blast placement you can even “snipe” out a trooper with additional wargear such as a special weapon or heavy weapon. Ideally, you want to deploy your Whirlwind out of line of sight and not have to move it for the entire game.

The cheap cost of the Whirlwind is also a bonus. At under 100 points, it is not too much of a threat to most armies so will be ignored a lot of the time (unless you are playing Orks or Guard). This means it is very useful for holding a backfield objective while still occasionally causing some damage. There is no point buying any additional upgrades for the Whirlwind, as they will be of limited benefit.

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Back in the days of 3rd edition, my Dark Angels army always took to the field with a Whirlwind. My skills at guessing the range of the missile fire (back when you had to do this) were well trained after so many games with it on the field.

Unfortunately, the introduction of the Thunderfire Cannon has pretty much rendered the Whirlwind obsolete in the current meta. For only 35 pts extra, you get a far superior platform that is more than capable of taking on light infantry, as well as more heavily armoured troops and bikers thanks to its increased strength attacks that are also able to access Ignores Cover. In addition, you get an increased range and no minimum range for the Thunderfire Cannon.

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Taking three in the unit does give them access to some nice bonuses. Gaining Shred is useful, meaning you have a great chance of causing more damage. This can be useful with the Ignores Cover shells, meaning you can take on units such as Ravenwing Black Knights, negating their 2+/3+ re-rollable cover save and having more chance of causing casualties. However, again, a unit of 3 Thunderfire Cannons will do a far better job of taking on such units for not too many more points.

Overall, I really like the look of the Whirlwind and it can find a use against some armies, but unfortunately, there are far better units in the Space Marine Codex for taking on such units in the enemy army.

And as always, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!

You can also pick up some cheap models in our Second Hand Shop. Some of these gems are quite rare, sometimes they’re fully painted!

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About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

13 Responses to “Space Marine Review: Heavy Support: Whirlwind”

  1. westrider September 11, 2016 9:21 pm
    #

    The Quad Mortar from FW also leaves the Whirlwind in the dust. 5 Points cheaper, easier to hide, more durable in many cases, and it’s got Shatter shells that let it do Anti-Tank as well. And then there’s the Wyvern if you want to splash in IG Allies.

    • fluger September 12, 2016 7:11 am
      #

      Heck, its outclassed by the thunderfire cannon in its own codex.

      Whirlwind either needs to be 35 pts or else really upped in potency. Like, S6 AP4 Ignores Cover. Heck, that’s only Griffon territory (with the ignores cover of course) and still pretty shlubby compared to the thunderfire cannon.

      I just don’t know what to give it that would put it in the right category of useful and points appropriate.

      • westrider September 12, 2016 11:30 am
        #

        He mentioned the TFC in the review, so I didn’t bother bringing it up again. This is one of the cases where I feel like the Whirlwind is pretty close to where I’d like the power level of the Game to be, and I’d rather see the stuff that outclasses it nerfed down to its level than have it buffed to match.

        • fluger September 12, 2016 6:57 pm
          #

          Fair enough.

      • AngryPanda September 12, 2016 12:02 pm
        #

        Asking for a 35 points Whirlwinds is the ultimate way to sum up my impression of Marine players over the years.

        • westrider September 12, 2016 2:53 pm
          #

          I don’t think Fluger’s ever had a Marine Army. He mostly plays IG and Orks.

        • fluger September 12, 2016 6:56 pm
          #

          Yup, I’m looking at it as a horde player and thinking, “That thing is a piece of garbage.”

  2. Rob September 12, 2016 12:05 am
    #

    It might be worth mentioning the whirlwind’s role in the suppression force formation as that can be a handy cheap auxiliary choice in a gladius (although most will choose the 10th company I know but still).

  3. Beoron September 12, 2016 7:10 am
    #

    “It might be worth mentioning the whirlwind’s role in the suppression force formation as that can be a handy cheap auxiliary choice in a gladius (although most will choose the 10th company I know but still).”

    I think that is very true. I am under the impression that in Europe the Suppression Force is more popular than in the US. On the other hand it is the other way around with the 10th company.

    Suppression Force is also great against spammed Tau-Drones! 🙂

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr September 12, 2016 8:53 am
      #

      The suppression force is getting its own review (due soon), so will look at many of these points.

  4. AngryPanda September 12, 2016 12:04 pm
    #

    While these reviews focus on single Codices and I apprecate calling things out for what they are (as in “this ain’t a thunderfire cannon so meh”) the Whirlwind does at least also exist in other Marine books that don’t have that other option.
    Which I just realised doesn’t matter since all Marine armies ar amalgams of all the books anyway.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 12, 2016 2:57 pm
      #

      I’ve heard of folks running units of 3 with Tellion and doing work.

      • AngryPanda September 12, 2016 9:21 pm
        #

        Isn’t this another case of it would be better with a Thunderfire? In any case I like it. Larges pies baked with shred, rending and ignore cover are yummy.