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Land Raider Excelsior and certain buffs

chapter master 454

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Ok so this came around when I made an army list with my Land Raider Excelsior in it and made it my warlord because it has the character keyword and thus could take a warlord trait which, of the many, I chose "Iron Resolve" (+1 wound and 6+ FNP rolls) however as I began to look around I did notice some oddities in wording of some items or the lack of there of.


The above part I am 100% sure upon is fine and above board but want some extra clarification regarding 2 other things.


First, is a relic. Armour Indominatus is the "Artificer Armour" of the game now however it isn't...as it doesn't stipulate any model requirements nor wargear nor unit type. Just outright able to go on anything. Does this mean then I can actually have my Land Raider Excelsior take the Armour Indominatus and thus benefit from it's one turn 3+ invulnerable? Not a major thing but still, having a 3+ invulnerable available for turn 1 alpha strikes could make a HUGE difference for the tank.


Secondly and this is the oddest one. By the wording of "Might of Heroes", I can buff the excelsior with it (and by merit of it's wording, any tank ether really). This would put the land raider at Toughness 9 which could be useful in again taking more hits.


I am just wondering about these occurances and wonder if anyone has anything that may point to me not being able to do this.

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This all looks legit to me from a rules perspective.


I wouldn't yell about it too much though if you want to preserve the option for the long haul, because I think it might've been an unintended consequence of someone randomly deciding that it counted as a 'Character'.

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Should you use the Salamanders chapter, you can give it the Salamander's Mantle relic, making it permanently T9, then with Might of Heroes it will be T10. Lascannons wounding on 5+ sounds pretty good to me!

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I prefer the idea of giving it the Iron Hands Warlord Trait Merciless logic. On a 6+ to hit the Warlord can make one extra attack at the same target with the same weapon. No restriction to Fight Phase.


Then I'd take a Rhino Primaris and give the Excelsior +1 to hit from being within 12" of the Rhino and +1 to hit from the Rhinos Servo Skulls Hub rule.


You've got 4 Las Cannon, 4 Grav Cannon, a Multi Melta, a Storm Bolter, a Combi Plasma and a Hunter Killer Missile all hitting on 2+ rerolling 1's and any 4+ is another shot.

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This is all rather quite insightful. It's also, all rather quite tactica. With that in mind, we'll just shuffle this over to the tactica forum where you dream up all the fancy uses and practice steepling your fingers conspiratorially at the same time.
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It was an official rule question to begin with but now...oh no...what monster have I discovered? Welp...RIP excelsior next FAQ, sorry boys.


So now...the question is how far can it be used to break this land raider? To be honest, I am surprised no-one noticed before. Guess the rarity of the unit in actually having it along with being a not so common HQ choice (for being so expensive) does hide this. Welp...if I see any of you boys get 1st in any tournaments because of this I expect full credit for finding it first! XD


But seriously, the salamander choice certainly is a massive deal. Even just being raw T9 is a massive buff to being able to take lascannon fire, pushing it to Toughness 10 with Psychic powers is making it nigh unassailable with any weapon. The question however does need to be asked: is it better to have a 3+ invulnerable save for the turn and be Toughness 8 (thus reducing alpha strike effectiveness) or having T9 throughout the game? I personally lean towards the 3+ invuln being a better option as this shifts damage off I believe more than being T9. Bear in mind I am talking as if you are going second so no Psychic buff yet. Let me do some maths, assuming lascannon fire as the main concerns here (as Str10 weapons are rarer and not a factor anyway regardless of T8 or T9) so lets throw say a devastator squad worth of lascannon fire at these two hypothetical land raiders.


So the first part of the math stays the same across the board, 4 lascannons smacking a land raider so both groups can use this common number: 2.68 (that is 4*0.67, 0.67 is 2/3)


So, lets see my personal choice first

2.68*0.67=1.80 (rounding to 2 decimal places). From here, we now put that through the 3+ invulnerable save I have so it has a 1/3 success rate so 0.59 then since we are doing the maths on this so that gets multiplied by 3.5 (the average damage rate of a lascannon) so we get 2.07 and to top it off with iron resolve so 5/6 of that gets through (fact: 5/6 for quick note is 0.83) so the end total is:

1.72 wounds.


Ok so lets see how T9 land raider does

2.68*0.5=1.34 and now there is a 2/3 success rate of going through (because of having a 5+ save regardless here) so 0.90 gets through and again 3.5 multiplier results in 3.15 and again 0.83 success rate and the final total is:

2.61 wounds.


A small difference however still a notable one. This ofcourse only accounts for lascannon fire and is to be considered only for turn 1. There on in, my choice of raider only has T9 as a defence where as the salamander tank has T10 which against larger guns shifts damage down. However, the big advantage of the armour indominatus vs. salamantle is the fact the armour blunts alpha strike attacks more heavily and can even be considered an ace if not needed turn 1 (because you got first move and were able to hamstring a major threat). It can't be argued however that being raw T10 does mean now that Strength 5 weapons now wound on 6s, a major factor in being strength was the fact you could wound anything on 5s at worst so it could help against some select light weapon fire (namely tau).


Sadly, not many warlord traits don't benefit the land raider much. If the blood angel/dark angel brothers would be kind enough to step in and let us know about their unique traits and see if anything could apply to the excelsior that may make it harder to kill. I did notice someone say something about that, would be nice to know what it does.


As it stands however in vanilla marines, I think unless you have some salamander love in your heart, you can use whichever chapter you like if you are buffing up the excelsior as the main trait used here will be iron resolve to give the +1 wound and 6+FNP. Other than that, you have free choice of which chapter and thus stratagems you use.

One final fun thing: It can also take the crusader helm if you want that extra 3" to your rites of war! Woo...

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So I decided since I have some spare time, I went and did the maths of the Land Raider Excelsior with various gear relating to vanilla marines. I used both GEQ and MEQ ballistic skill to get the numbers I did. Any errors let me know.


Land Raider Excelsior Theory
Checking the maths on what wargear and buffs affect the land raider excelsior
Loadouts to check:
Control (just T8 with no extras)
(with and without Iron resolve)
T8 with Armour Indominatus
(with and without Iron resolve)
T9 with Armour Indominatus (Might of Heroes)
(with and without Iron resolve)
T9 with Salamander Mantle
(with and without Iron resolve)
T10 with Salamander Mantle (Might of Heroes)
(with and without Iron resolve)
All maths will test using only 1 attack. This can be scaled due to all maths being multipling or dividing.
Maths will test two numbers regarding "to hit", Imperial Guardsman Ballistic Skill and Space Marine Ballistic Skill.
Maths will test three numbers regarding wounding, Strengh value of 8, 9 and 10.
Maths will test AP 3 only as the invulnerable save of 5 prevents any AP higher being a factor.
Maths will assume all attacks against the land raider will average 3.5 damage.
(All numbers will be rounded to 2 decimal places)
Hit Rates of the units:
Guardsman Hit Rate = 0.50
Space Marine Hit Rate = 0.67
Wounding Rates of Strength (Str) vs Toughness (T):
Str 08 Vs. 8|9|10 = 0.50*0.50|0.67
Str 09 Vs. 8|9|10 = 0.50*0.33|0.50|0.67
Str 10 Vs. 8|9|10 = 0.50*0.33|0.50
Space Marine:
Str 08 Vs. 8|9|10 = 0.67*0.50|0.67
Str 09 Vs. 8|9|10 = 0.67*0.33|0.50|0.67
Str 10 Vs. 8|9|10 = 0.67*0.33|0.50
Three Numbers come from each rate:
Guardsman wounding rates:
Str<T: 0.17
Str=T: 0.25
Str>T: 0.34
Space Marine wounding rates:
Str<T: 0.22
Str=T: 0.34
Str>T: 0.45
These values must be put against a 3+ save and a 5+ save
Final values will be made by multiplying by 3.5
Brackets show the final value once put through Iron Resolve
These will be named as Groups with initial(s) relating to which EQ (Equalivent) is firing.
The 2 lines within these groups will be referred to as A (3+ save) and B (5+ save)
Guardsman save rates:
Str<T Vs. 3+ : 0.06 = 0.21 (0.17)
Str<T Vs. 5+ : 0.11 = 0.39 (0.32)
Str=T Vs. 3+ : 0.08 = 0.28 (0.23)
Str=T Vs. 5+ : 0.17 = 0.60 (0.50)
Str>T Vs. 3+ : 0.11 = 0.39 (0.32)
Str>T Vs. 5+ : 0.23 = 0.81 (0.67)
Space Marine save rates:
Str<T Vs. 3+ : 0.07 = 0.25 (0.21)
Str<T Vs. 5+ : 0.15 = 0.53 (0.44)
Str=T Vs. 3+ : 0.11 = 0.39 (0.32)
Str=T Vs. 5+ : 0.23 = 0.81 (0.67)
Str>T Vs. 3+ : 0.15 = 0.52 (0.43)
Str>T Vs. 5+ : 0.30 = 1.05 (0.87)
So the next step is now how does each army attempt to get these values. The most obvious relates to Krak Missiles from Missile Launchers, Lascannons and Demolisher Cannons. However to note, some of the maths does change slightly due to Kraks not having AP3 but here a theoretical weapon of Strength 8 AP3 was used (akin to a brightlance).
With these numbers I am going to just talk lascannons as the easiest thing to consider.
So, lets see what it would take to knock my choice down, so T8 with dominatus engaged and Iron resolve online.
GEQ BS: 53 Lascannons, 54 if you count 4% to high a chance of failure to get the last wound. That's 1350 points worth of lascannon fire (why not throw in fun facts?)
MEQ BS: 40 Lascannons, 39 if you think you can beat the 47ish% chance of failure. 1000 points of your finest laser pointers
Now for a T9 Land Raider taking it on the chin with some ferris mindset
GEQ BS: 34 Lascannons, so 850 points required to purchase those lascannons
MEQ BS: 26 Lascannons to be sure, 25 if you are lucky. 650 points of Lascannons.
Quite a difference the 3+ does make however that should be expected when we are talking about shifting one variable 1 vs. 2 (so 16.67% vs. 33.33%)
However, lets see what happens if the Excelsior with T9 gets to T10 before those lascannons come online.
GEQ BS: 53 Lascannons, 54 to be sure. There we go, the same number as my initial one turn shield
MEQ BS: 38 Lascannons, 39 to be sure.
So interestingly, if you can get to T10 before they get their shots off, you can have a similar toughness compared to having that 3+ for a turn.
However the caveats to this stand:
The Armour cannot be beaten to the buzzer by a die roll and can always be deployed without fail (no psychic test needed) but only happens for one turn, afterwards it is inert.
T10 can be active throughout the 5-7 turns of the game and thus longer lasting but can be beat to the punch by having turn 1 ether being lost or stolen and can even fall off if the psychic test fails and can even be stopped if the supporting librarian dies (and because a land raider is a character btw, it can't block for the librarian in regards to being the closest target).
The trade offs are fairly balanced, being near enough the same resilience for the entire game is quite powerful however can be negated by larger guns that would have similar wounding rates anyway (you only shift them 1 stage of wounding instead of the lascannons 2). However it can be argued that turn 1 is the only turn where you need to be massively durability as this is when you will have no say unless you got the first move.
And to be sure this is clear: The Excelsior cannot block targeting of characters by being closer (as itself is a character) however unlike characters it can physically block LoS to supporting characters, thus meaning positioning is important.
Welp, time to go theory craft some supporting methods and what sort of armies we could build around this unit type, the "BlastMaster"!
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I prefer the idea of giving it the Iron Hands Warlord Trait Merciless logic. On a 6+ to hit the Warlord can make one extra attack at the same target with the same weapon. No restriction to Fight Phase.


Then I'd take a Rhino Primaris and give the Excelsior +1 to hit from being within 12" of the Rhino and +1 to hit from the Rhinos Servo Skulls Hub rule.


You've got 4 Las Cannon, 4 Grav Cannon, a Multi Melta, a Storm Bolter, a Combi Plasma and a Hunter Killer Missile all hitting on 2+ rerolling 1's and any 4+ is another shot.


I had planned on doing this as soon as I actually afford to buy the command tank kit from one of our friendly eBayers.

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I have just the Rhino Primaris for my fun list (pre beta). I'm keeping the Excelsior on the eBay watch list. Not desperate to use it but if one pops up cheap.


With dark angels you can have a 6+++/5+++ warlord trait and a -1 to hit relic, stacking to -2 with a darkshroud. Dark angels also have a stratagem to allow a unit to fall back and shoot. Useful since the best way to deal with a buffed up Excelsior would be to keep trapping it in combat.


Although the coolest thing would be to give the Excelsior the huntsman warlord trait so it can target charachters with non heavy weapons. Imagine that with some vindicate and sniper scouts. Could really mess with someones plans.


The wording allows 2 Rhino Primaris to heal the same unit, unlike tech priests. If you wanna go nuts.


Don't forget to bring all the company vets to take the wounds.

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Great topic! I used the Rhino Primaris in a game with only tanks and dreadnoughts and it was really a fun game. Upon reading this topic I started building the Excelsior. Can't wait to use it in battle! :D


Thanks for sharing! 

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That merciless logic thing is pretty badass. Finding it funny seeing how much has been enabled by the Land Raider Excelsior. Because of how that works, the +2 means now that you have a 50% chance to trigger the extra attack.


So just quick running the maths, that's 6 lascannons, 6 gravcannons and 3 storm boltgun shots.


Not shabby really. Certainly gives you an onslaught of shots per turn. It does mean you got to hide the Rhino Primaris if you don't get first but if you can keep it safe for a turn or 2, that could result in some serious hurting.

This is kind of funny thinking no-one noticed the Excelsior had the character tag!

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"TARGETING CHARACTERS An enemy Character with a Wounds characteristic of less than 10 can only be chosen as a target in the Shooting phase if it is both visible to the f iring model and it is the closest enemy unit to the firing model. Ignore other enemy Characters with a Wounds characteristics of less than 10 when determining if the target is the closest enemy unit to the firing model. T his means that if any other enemy units (other than other Characters with a Wounds characteristics of less than 10) are closer, whether they are visible or not, then the enemy Character cannot be targeted."


I read that charachters with 10 or more wounds can block charachters with less than 10.

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Welp I was wrong. Good to clarify that so ok, the Land Raider Excelsior MasterBlaster is now able to cover for his fellow support boys meaning if you have a conga of librarian, techmarine, apothecaries and lieutenants around then they can't be targeted so long as they get behind the excelsior. Well, I missed that bit.

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So a unit can only be healed once, if healed by a normal techmarine, so no primaris Rhino, techmarine healing stacking.


I know this looks strong but because the points are so big and you are presenting such a big target, you pretty much have to build everything around it to get the value out of the Excelsior.


The Excelsior can be shut down by combat (unless dark angels), is vurnerable to mortal wounds, psychic debuffs, tau marker lights.


I played around with the idea a bit, the salamanders version looks strong but I think to really shore up the weaknesses, you have to go dark angels for stubborn tenacity, shroud of heroes, fall back and shoot strategem and darkshroud.


A smart player will either try to get into combat with the Excelsior or work on killing the support units or killing everything but the Excelsior then playing for objectives. The darkshroud is really important to make the support network/Excelsior harder to kill. Should be your opponent's first target and should be hidden out of LOS if playing defensively.


The Excelsior has 6 cc attacks. Going DA means you can actually do work in combat then pull out and shoot next turn.


You'll also need some company vets for insurance/screening. Since you have the rhinos +1 to hit, that'll be good for ravenwing black knights, hellblasters or Inceptors (DA +1 plasma damage stratagem) and the talonmaster is a shooty hq worthy of a +1 to hit too.


A psyker with good denial like voldus or greyfax is definitely worth allying in cause some sneaky psychic shennanagins could ruin your day.


All this doesn't leave you too many points once you've taken troops for a battalion.

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I do appreciate the thoughts STTAB however one must remember, it goes in every direction for all units. "But a smart player will tar pit a smashmaster down with fodder units and keep him at bay or will jsut ignore him as he can only affect one point on the board so play objectives" however it is all fine and well but "no plan survives contact with the enemy" goes both ways.


Knowing the weakness is actually just one step in the multi-layered mind game of tactics. Yes, we are talking extremes here and just finding how far we can push a unit to absolutes which i think is a good experiment and seeing where someone can go with the rules. Yes, I can fit a shadowsword into a 1000 point game but it doesn't mean it is good however it is for a one off game a bit of fun because of how silly it is.


In this case, combat can be countered with bubblewrapping the land raider. Intercessors act as cover for SmashMaster and can equally fulfil this for a MasterBlaster. Similarly, you can argue they can be beaten but with proper placement you can make it far harder to assail the land raider which unlike SmashMaster offers a massive area of threat, SmashMaster can only threaten 1 model or unit a turn effectively and from there he must move to a new location which could mean he is a one pump chump in some cases where as the MasterBlaster can unleash terrible vengeance upon any target from turn 1 through turn 5 due to massive 48" range lascannons which can easily match a smashmasters DPS once engaged.


Personally I think there is something to this whole idea, the MasterBlaster idea could function with similar design idealogies of SmashMaster lists. I am not talking we bring a full retinue of characters like mentioned but instead we balance it out.


As a note: the techmarine entry is a bit odd however, the Rhino Primaris does not have a "repair once per turn clause" and doesn't call it "repairing" but regaining. It is semantics however I believe the intention is actually closer to what we have seen with apothecaries and the like and that the entry for techmarines should state "a vehicle can only benefit from "the blessing of the omnissiah" once per turn". However if I missed something maybe in the main rulebook, which I believe I haven't you can have your excelsior regain D3+1 wounds per turn so long as the rhino lives.


 A blastmaster does have consideration power as well. While not as concealable, he is extremely robust, to a similar degree as smashmaster who would have equal issues if you were to face someone with powerful melee units. Both share certain vulnerabilities but yet both pack a massive amount of power into their frames. Yea, the Excelsior costs far more but does offer far more in terms of threat and damage output. One of the biggest weaknesses is getting alphaed but the armour indominatus allows us to counter this to a large degree, a 3+ Invulnerable save is extremely hard to defeat and on top of that, the excelsior has many factors more wounds than Smashmaster (in fact, it takes over a smashmaster worth of wounds to even degrade the excelsiors effectiveness) along with various options for support.

 Naturally there will be at least 30 intercessors in a list trying to be serious with this as the most effective bubblewrap. But from there, we can include things to help cover weaknesses and it could be argued that you could still run a smashmaster of your own that is designed to ether meet close combat to help cover blastmaster OR is our own form of a counter to a smashmaster.


 It is costly but I think with some testing, this could be a serious thing. Not saying top tier stomp tournaments but a serious high mid-tier thing.

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If character vehicles indeed can have relics... heh. For example Chaplain Dreadnoughts could find the Armour Indomitus useful too. Not just the invulnerability, but the upgrade to 2+ armor save as well. Too bad I suppose you can't give it that extra wound warlord trait without making it targetable (since it'd go to 10 wounds) :tongue.:

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... I suppose you can't give it that extra wound warlord trait without making it targetable (since it'd go to 10 wounds) :tongue.:

That just makes the trait an easy modelling exercise. Just paint a target on the chest plate.
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  • 1 month later...

IVE BEEN PLAYING MY EXCELSIOR SO WRONG MAH DUDES! I never noticed but you can buff the WL trait to generate extra hits. And here I was thinking that trait was useless! Praps not anymore. (Also it doubles the tank’s output in melee, as a WS6+, when buffed with the warlord trait, could get 12 hits on 6 4+’s. That’d be a nasty surprise and also a good way to bring back tank shock/ramming, now I think about it.


I may try this the next time I play the local 20+ year game get who plays Eldar. He does PL so I reckon I can oblige him (makes options much easier).


He says he usually ends up being the guy no one wants to play, partially because he plays Eldar but also because he has a crippling grasp of tactics.


If nothing else I want to see how this fares against someone with vastly superior game knowledge than I. :D Should be entertaining, if anything.


Also, Eddie, pretty funny, I must say. Sad the model’s leaving though. *tear*

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  • 2 months later...

Another question regarding the Excelsior.


It gets +1 for shooting when within 24" of the Rhino Primaris.


Would this +1 apply to overwatch with 5's becoming 6's since it's shooting and modifiers are applied after... But then 6's would be 7's and therefore misses :s

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Read the rules on overwatch my friend. Not to mention this topic has been somewhat done. The +1 affecting the WL trait of iron hands is old news in this thread really. Also the melee boost is dubious and I believe doesn't work. Would need to check but if a mod could do this thread a favour and put it down.

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