Land Speeder Tempest - the Astartes Gunship

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The Land Speeder Tempest is an uncommon variant of the Land speeder. Equipped with a nose-mounted Assault Cannon, Twin-Linked Missile Launchers and an armoured cockpit, the Tempest is built to deliver maximum firepower with minimal risk.

The Tempest is well equipped for the role of a medium-tank hunter, as well as a decent anti-horde unit. When launching Krak missiles and Rending salvos, the Tempest can even threaten Heavy Infantry, such as other Space Marines.

With the new Codex release, I felt it fitting to go back and look at the older entries of the Imperial Armour, and reflect on one of my favourite Space Marine vehicles, with an eye as to how 'efficient' it is in today's army.

The answer, I feel, is very.

The Tempest's first virtue is its extra frontal armour. AV11 may sound flimsy, but this is a Fast Skimmer we're talking about. It puts the Tempest on level footing with the likes of the Tau Piranha, and out-classes the Vyper. Tempests cannot be threatened head-on with small arms, meaning only Pulse weapons, Gauss Flayers or support weapons can damage them. That may sound rather unimportant, but I've seen several games where Land Speeders were used to contest objectives, only to be gunned down by a storm of Bolter shells.

In terms of payload, we should compare the Tempest to its closest rivals, and compare how they operate;

Tank-Hunters - Tempest vs Typhoon:
Weighing in 30pts cheaper, and packing a Heavy 2 Missile Launcher, the Typhoon is a very tempting vehicle for anti-tank operations... especially when you invest the extra 10pts for a Multi-Melta.

In terms of performance, Mathhammer (as ever) can be employed to consider the respective value of the vehicle;

The Tempest has an 88% chance of scoring a hit with its Missile Launcher. The Typhoon, a more respectable 132% (statistically, you should always hit with at least one of your shots). This means that the Tempest is the more reliable choice for slugging home those tank-buster volleys.

But what about secondary weapons? Well, let us consider how they fare...

Firstly, the Heavy Bolter is completely useless against any target of AV 12 or more. Personally, I would argue that a Tempest is wasting its payload firing at anything weaker than this, so let us focus on AV 12, 13 and 14, and give the Typhoon a Multi-Melta.

HB Typhoon:
AV12 - Missiles: 22.2% Glance, 44.4% Pen.
AV13 - Missiles: 22.2% Glance, 22.2% Pen.
AV14 - Missiles: 22.2% Glance, 0% Pen.

Melta Typhoon - 24" range:
AV12 - Missiles: 22.2% Glance, 44.4% Pen.  Melta: 11.1% Glance, 22.2% Pen.
AV13 - Missiles: 22.2% Glance, 22.2% Pen.  Melta: 11.1% Glance, 11.1% Pen.
AV14 - Missiles: 22.2% Glance, 0% Pen.  Melta: 11.1% Glance, 0% Pen.

Melta Typhoon - 12" range:
AV12 - Missiles: 22.2% Glance, 44.4% Pen.  Melta: 5.6% Glance, 55.6% Pen.
AV13 - Missiles: 22.2% Glance, 22.2% Pen.  Melta: 7.4% Glance, 48.1% Pen.
AV14 - Missiles: 22.2% Glance, 0% Pen.  Melta: 9.3% Glance, 38.9% Pen.

Tempest:
AV12 - Missiles: 14.8% Glance, 29.6% Pen.  Assault Cannon: 0% Glance*, 44.4% Pen.
AV13 - Missiles: 14.8% Glance, 14.8% Pen.  Assault Cannon: 14.8% Glance*, 29.6% Pen.
AV14 - Missiles: 14.8% Glance, 0% Pen.  Assault Cannon: 14.8% Glance*, 14.8% Pen.
* It is not possible to score a Glancing Hit with the Assault Cannon against AV12 due to Rending. Strange, but true...


Okay, what do these figures mean?

Well, firstly, they show that Melta weapons at 'Melta' range hurt like hell. The moment you park your Multi-Melta toting Land Speeder 12" away from an enemy Land Raider, there's nearly 40% chance you'll Penetrate the tank. That's also a 50/50 chance of a kill due to AP1. Melta's hurt.

But not more than 12" away. At those distances, here's how they line up:

AV12, the Typhoon will statistically do something to the target, even if it's just a Glancing. However, the Tempest isn't far off either, and has more chance of a Penetrating Hit. If you badly need that enemy Dreadnought to go boom, or want to make a Valkyrie kiss the dirt, the Tempest is more likely to score the Penetrating Hits that will make it happen. That said, it is the more costly way to do it...

AV13, the Tempest is pulling away in the tank-busting. The Tempest's Penetration rate is now the equivalent of firing four Krak Missiles at the target vehicle. It's not scoring Glancing Hits as well, but ask a Space Marine player whether he wants to glance or penetrate and we all know what the answer is.

AV14... the big hitter! The Tempest is the only one of the pair still able to punch through enemy armour. It still lags behind a little in terms of Glancings... but crucially, it's overall chance of damaging the enemy vehicle is up to a respectable 44% - that's just under 50/50 chance of glancing or penetrating the target.


Now, given the Melta clearly performs far better than any other weapon up close, why shouldn't you just go with all Meltas? The answer is range. 12" is very close to the enemy. You may have more chance of blowing up the target, but odds are you lost the Speeder as well. Mass Bolter-fire, rapid-firing Plasma, enemy Melta-weapons... your poor little Speeder is as good as dead. By contrast, a Speeder hanging back can live to fight another day, or at least cause the enemy to waste more fire in bringing her down. Ultimately, this is a judgement call only you as the player can make.


Bring the Rain - Tempest vs Tornado:
When a strafing run is in order, the Tempest steps up to the bat with pride. Its rival, the Tornado, packs one hell of a wallop... but which is the king of the body-count? We will take a Tornado, strap on an Assault Cannon, and see which machine does best.

A Note On Mathhammer Limitations: Calculating the odds of hitting things with Frag Weaponry is an absolute bugger, so I refuse to do it. Instead, I have treated the Frag Missile as a 'Heavy 3' weapon, and so please keep that in mind.

For simplicity's sake, let us look at how each weapon copes:

Heavy Bolter:
T3 or less - 1.67 wounds.
T4 - 1.33 wounds.
T5 - 1 wound.
T6 - 0.67 wounds.
T7/T8 - 0.33 wounds.

Multi Melta:
T6 or less - 0.56 wounds.
T7 - 0.44 wounds.
T8 - 0.33 wounds.
T9 - 0.22 wounds.
T10 - 0.11 wounds.

TL Missile Launcher - Frag:
T1/T2 - 2.22 wounds.
T3 - 1.78 wounds.
T4 - 1.33 wounds.
T5 - 0.88 wounds.
T6/T7 - 0.44 wounds.

TL Missile Launcher - Krak:
T6 or less - 0.74 wounds.
T7 - 0.59 wounds.
T8 - 0.44 wounds.
T9 - 0.30 wounds.
T10 - 0.15 wounds.

Assault Cannon:
T4 or less - 2.22 wounds, of which 0.44 Rend.
T5 - 1.78 wounds, of which 0.44 Rend.
T6 - 1.33 wounds, of which 0.44 Rend.
T7 - 0.89 wounds, of which 0.44 Rend.
T8/T9 - 0.44 Rending wounds.

Now, simply pick and choose what you need. A few sample builts:

Marine Killer:
Firing Krak Missiles, the Tempest will score 1.78 wounds (saves allowed) 1.18 wounds (no saves) against Marines. That works out at around 1.8 kills after saves.
The Tornado, with a Multi-Melta, will manage just 1.59 kills total with a MM/AC build, or 1.48 kills with the HB/AC build. Neither are going to slaughter a squad alone, but the Tempest is probably forcing a morale check on an under-strength squad... or taking out a pair of Lascannons from the enemy Devastator squad. That extra little edge the Krak Missiles give could be enough to make a difference.

Ork Shredder:
Pumping out the Frags, the Tempest can blow away 3.55 kills a turn (remember the limitations on the math for Frag Missiles... it could be higher with a good placement!). The HB/AC Tornado? Dead equal. So, the Tempest needs to hit at least two Orks with its missiles to break even. However, remember my note on armour; those Shootas and Sluggas can't hit the Tempest back!

Shoot The Big Ones!
There's a Wraithlord. It's Aulma'd. What do you scramble to slay it?

A Tornado will inflict 0.88 wounds a turn. The HB/AC will manage 0.55, and the MM/AC 0.77 wounds a turn. There's a one in ten difference in it.


Conclusions:

I haven't looked at every loadout there is. That'd take far too long.
I can't accurately calculate the efficiency of a Frag Missile. It's nigh impossible.
All I can do is extrapolate 'there or there abouts' as to how the Tempest fares compared to its closest rivals. The conclusions we have, therefore, are as follows:

The Tempest, against tanks, is Quality over Quantity. You get less Glancing Hits, but more Penetrating Hits, whilst not having to engage at suicidal ranges.

Against infantry, its benefits are very slight in terms of output. It is a better Marine-Killer, a slightly better "Gribbly" hunter (although a T6 AP2 creature would ruin its day) and against Hordes it's all down to the Scatter Dice. Overall, however, the Tempest should in most cases perform better than its rivals... a re-rollable Scatter dice with -4" to the Scatter Roll should ensure you whack a lot of enemies!

It is more expensive, by at least 20pts, but it's got heavier frontal armour to balance. Is AV11 worth 20pts? Maybe, maybe not.

I guess the conclusion I come to is this; the Tempest is a big, angry gunship. If nothing else, its formidable arsenal should encourage panic-firing from the enemy, who would rather see it burn than risk letting it run rampant. It is still a viable choice for any Space Marine army, and I see no reason why it should be dismissed out of hand.


In closing, keep the Tempest in mind; it's a loadout your enemies will not expect, and that alone is worth the extra cost.
 




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