Space Marines Review: Heavy Support: Land Raider

Ah, the good ole Land Raider and the Redeemer and Crusader variants are up for review today. Deemed one of the strongest tanks the Space Marines have to offer according to  fluff and the codex description. But, in-game it does a complete 180 and does not fare well against models that were cast alongside it. For more reviews, battle reports, tactics discussions, list building methodology, and analysis check out the Tactics Corner!

At first glance the Land Raider and its variants seem like  pretty solid options with their large-scale, armor value, and transport capacity. But then you look at the points and remember that anything with AV that is not a super-heavy will have issues in the current 40k game edition. I personally like the look and aesthetic of the Land Raider, however, fielding one on the tabletop just hurts my soul and makes me Emperor Saltatine. Since Grav is king, the Land Raider lives in a continuum of  disappointment and shattered dreams. Pretty harsh, I know.

Man does it look boss!


The Land Raider and its variants are ground transports that have 14 AV on all sides, 4 hull points, and have the ability to carry larger sized infantry (Terminators and Centurions). They act as the Cadillac Escalades for delivering your infantry into close-range shooting or close combat. It is the only Tank in the Space Marine tank to have the “Assault Vehicle” special rule. This of course comes at the heavy price tag of between 240 to 250 points. The three options to field the Land Raider bring different guns and transportation capabilities to the fight. However, because you want to deliver your cargo as fast a possible, shooting all of the Land Raider weapons at full ballistic skill will not happen. It also suffers from having no fire points for your models inside. If the Land Raider enabled models to shoot out from it, it could be a decent firing base that can get you from point A to B if needed. But alas this is not the Land Raider Games Workshop wanted to give us.


 Content Value  Land Raider Land Raider Crusader Land Raider Redeemer
Weapon Options

Twin-linked Heavy Bolter

Two twin-linked Lascannons


Smoke Launchers

Twin-linked Assault Cannon

Two Hurricane Bolters

Frag Assault Launchers


Smoke Launchers

 Twin-linked Assault Cannon

Two Flamestorm Cannons

Frag Assault Launchers


Smoke Launchers

Special Rules and Transport Capacity:

 Content Value  Land Raider Land Raider Crusader Land Raider Redeemer

Special Rules


Transport Capacity

Assault Vehicle

Power of the Machine Spirit

Transport capacity of 1o models

No Fire Points

Access Points on sides and front

Assault Vehicle

Power of the Machine Spirit

Transport Capacity of 16 models

No Fire points

Access Points on sides and front


Assault Vehicle

Power of the Machine Spirit

Transport Capacity of 12 models

No Fire Points

Access Points on sides and front


Additionally, Land Raiders can take a Multi-Melta as an additional weapon and can take options from the Space Marine vehicle upgrade list. However, they cannot take dozer blades……  This is a big problem for Land Raiders, as no player wants to see and witness a 250 pt tank be immobilized to a rock on turn 1. In the tactics section I will discuss which Land Raider variant is the best option


Land Raiders are not compelling when it comes to its firepower. With Power of the Machine spirit you will always be able to shoot one weapon at full BS, but it is not really that good to dedicate Land Raiders as tanks designed to kill other threats on the tabletop.  The best anti-tank you can get on a Land Raider of any variant is a Multi-Melta, which will most likely need Power of the Machine Spirit to shoot or will snap fire. By rules design the Land Raider and its variants have a hard time shooting its weapons efficiently. If they were able to shoot all their weapons at regular BS like a Leman Russ, the Land Raider’s tabletop uses would be greatly enhanced. But not enough to deem it tournament worthy.

They also lack, like most armor-based models, any kind of guaranteed save. The only thing is the smoke launcher which gives you a 5+ cover save for a turn, but the Land Raider has to sacrifice shooting for that turn. Since Land Raiders lack durability you need to shield it with other layers of other vehicles to prevent clear shots at it. Not being able to take Armored Ceramite (immune to the Melta extra d6 rule) and some way of ignoring immobilized results caused by Grav, the Land Raider is ironically a delicate unit that cannot Rambo its way up the battlefield like a Biker Star.

Truly an unfortunate site

The standard Land Raider wants to stay far as possible to shoot its lascannons, but it also wants to move forward to deliver its passengers. The Redeemer has the Hellstorm flamers which are Strength 6 and AP 3, but lack torrent. This does not work all to well when attempting to grill up some units in front of you, as the flamers are position relatively close to the middle of the Land Raider. The overall design of the Land Raider does not match its fluff or even a coherent way to play it effectively. Black Templars have access to Objective Secured Land Raiders via the Crusader Squads, but do you really want something that points taxing to sit on an objective? The clear answer is NO!

The best Land Raider variant in my savage opinion is the Crusader. This is because it has the largest transportation capabilities a decent amount firepower that can go through light infantry. The Frag Launchers are also nice for combat units who do not come equipped with frag grenades. Taking a Land Raider really boils down to delivering quality infantry into combat or in a position that gives them the best threat range. The Land Raider is already costly, and will only become more expensive with the unit you want to put inside it. Having 500 pts move around the board with such low survivability is really sub-optimal tactics, and will make you rethink your entire 40k career. Never put all your Marines in one Land Raider.

Additionally, GW is so confident in the way that they designed the Land Raider’s rules that they want you take three in any combination of the three variants! This is called the Land Raider Spearhead formation. The Land Raiders act as pseudo Super-Heavies being immune to all of the vehicle damage chart except the explosion result. And they get to re-roll failed wound rolls and armor penetration rolls against Gargantuans, Super-Heavies, and Mighty Bulwark Buildings…… This formation is too costly to do anything good on the battlefield, and if you are going “Big Game” hunting with these tanks you are doing 40k wrong.

Your reaction to fielding a Land Raider.

Units that can work well in a Land Raider Crusader are Assault Terminators, Centurion Devastators, Vanguard, and Assault Centurions. In any of these units I would accompany them with an independent character to give them defensive and offensive buffs (Librarians and Chaplains). While these are the better options to put in a Land Raider, there are better ways to move troops across the battlefield (drop pods, deep strike, levitation psychic power, and Storm Ravens).


The Land Raider and its variants really suffer in the current rules set, because of the proliferation of Grav. However, it suffers from more than just being a byproduct of rules edition swings, its own rules and overall model design are flawed (just look at the Land Raider Redeemer). When someone tells me they are considering they are taking a Land Raider, I will always respond that there is something better for your army. The Land Raider as a whole needs to be reworked to be really considered for competitive play. It can only perform decently armies that cannot deal with heavy armor. But even then, you are still investing 250 pts into a box that could be put into something else like a Librarius Conclave. This unit is not McSavage approved. But, if you want a Land Raider worth looking at, please consult Forgeworld.

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!



About Berent McSavage

Berent McSavage is a devoted 40k player who looks to optimize savagery by all means necessary. He plays in the Greater Toronto Area, and does his best to spread the savagery. In the future he wishes to be a Grav Cannon.

14 Responses to “Space Marines Review: Heavy Support: Land Raider”

  1. Avatar
    Maeglin September 15, 2016 1:20 pm #

    Sold two unbuilt standard Land Raiders the other day. They’d been waiting along time for a reason to be built and that reason never arrived

  2. Avatar
    Anggul September 15, 2016 2:24 pm #

    Make all vehicles able to fire all weapons full BS at combat speed. Nerf grav weapons because they’re a blight upon the game.

  3. Avatar
    westrider September 15, 2016 2:48 pm #

    It’s not just Grav. Even if that were to disappear, they’re still extremely expensive Units that want to simultaneously rush forward and sit still to shoot. To really be good, they need both a price drop and better ability to fire on the move. On top of removing things like Grav and D from the Game.

    • Avatar
      AngryPanda September 15, 2016 3:08 pm #

      True enough. Land Raiders have not been used since the start of third Edition. Maybe they had some resurgence in between but Imust have missed it if that happened.

      • Avatar
        westrider September 15, 2016 6:06 pm #

        Crusaders were sometimes seen in 5th. Vehicles were nice and tough then, and the Defensive Weapon Rules let them fire the Hurricane Bolters while moving 6″, which comboed with PotMS to let them fire everything while at least edging forward.

  4. Avatar
    Dakkath September 15, 2016 7:41 pm #

    Well at least the Landraider Spearhead helps with the whole immobilization due to grav or hitting a rock t1 thing.

  5. Michael Corr
    Michael Corr September 16, 2016 12:19 am #

    It’s a real shame as I think the Land Raider is a brilliant model. Pity it never sees the table these days.

    • Avatar
      Beoron September 16, 2016 2:08 am #

      It does not “see the table these days” in competitive environments for said reasons – true! But why not field those kind of models in a more relaxed setting. Hell, you could even play with people competitively agreeing beforehand to both use these kind of models. My point is: not every unit needs to be build for competitive use. Especially not in a codex full of really good models. There is a tendency among players to demand from GW “balancing” so that all units, armies, factions are equally “good” or useful – something which came over or was at least influenced strongly by computer online games. But I think that will never happen! And honestly it is even not that big a deal.

      • Michael Corr
        Michael Corr September 16, 2016 6:09 am #

        I occasionally use them in friendly games as a transport for my Terminators (another fun but subpar unit). Even in a friendly game, they are still a big points sink that doesn’t really achieve too much on the table.

        • Avatar
          Beoron September 16, 2016 6:47 am #

          Yeah, maybe. But than I remember things like toasting a 8 man squad of Grey Knights with a Flame Storm Cannon and smile*.

          *grin devilishly

  6. Avatar
    Indy September 16, 2016 7:40 pm #

    What would make them good?

    Or at least passable in the age of D and grav weaponry.

    Lower points?

    Fire all weapons all the time?

    Flamestorms get Torrent?

    5 hull points?

    Ignores all terrain tests and crew shaken/stunned results?

    …and can repair itself once per Turn?

    Just curious what it would actually take.

    • Avatar
      westrider September 16, 2016 9:19 pm #

      Lower cost and better ability to fire on the move would go a long way. Changing Grav so it was a Stunned result instead of Immobilized and letting them take Dozer Blades would help, too. Haywire would still be a problem sometimes, but I don’t see it spammed like it was for a little while anymore. D is gonna be a problem for anything that’s taking the kind of “lots of eggs in one basket” approach that Land Raiders pretty much mandate, tho.

    • Avatar
      Dan September 17, 2016 1:38 am #

      What I would do to make the Land Raider playable:

      All codex variants start at 200 points base. Same as a Storm Raven or Monolith. (certain FW variants may cost more depending on their loadout)

      All Land Raiders gain:
      – Re-roll all failed difficult/dangerous terrain checks. (Basically Dozer without actual Dozer blades). After all, the tank is supposed to be able to operate in almost any sort of hazardous environment, even underwater.

      – Independent Targeting: As per Fire Raptor. The Land Raider’s sponson guns can each shoot at targets independently to other weapons on the vehicle, and do not count towards the number of weapons the tank can fire that turn.

      With that rule, a Land Raider could move up to 6″ and still fire both sponson guns + 1 other non sponson gun at full BS (and also one more weapon at full BS with POMS).

      But it will still be snap shooting if it moves up to 12″ (barring the one gun with POMS), so it will not be ridiculously OP. You would be able to either make a slow, brutal advance up the field, or choose to gun it up the field at the cost of effective firepower.

      I think that would be reasonable for a Land Raider. .

  7. Avatar
    Charles Keeling September 18, 2016 2:29 pm #

    Make all vehicles work like superheavies and ignore the damage chart aside from explosion results as well as independent targeting each weapon.

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