One unit that doesn’t seem to get much attention in the Space Marine army is the Land Speeder Storm.
At first glance, it might look like a very “niche” vehicle with only limited application, given that it has weak survivability (i.e. AV 10/10/10, 2 HP, and open topped) and can only carry 5 Scout models or Telion. On closer examination, I think there is much more tactical flexibilut to the LS Storm:
1 – Mobility/Transport — With Scout (so either free 12″ move or Outflank options), Deep Strike, and Fast Skimmer stats (so it can move 12″ and the Flat Out another 18″ for a total of 30″ of movement in a single turn), it can get almost anywhere on the board in about 2 turns or less. This is great for things like Line Breaker, setting up a charge by its Scout passengers, and of course, getting critical objectives (remember, if its taken as DT for Scouts from a CAD, the Land Speeder Storm itself has Objective Secured…. being able to spring 30″ accross the board and contest an objective with an Objective Secured speeder is incredibly useful). Also, getting Scouts into close combat so efficiently, whether to beat up on a shooty unit like Fire Warriors or tarpit a close combat beast like a MC and prevent it from attacking more valuable units, makes the LSS quite an asset. Finally, if it is taken as DT for Scouts, it can also Infilitrate, as long as the Scouts deploy inside it, giving it even more mobility options.
2 – Force Multiplier — First off, the LSS has the Jamming Beacon special rule, which doubles the scatter range of any enemy units arriving by DS within 12″ of its hull. This means 4D6″ in most cases (so an average scatter roll of 14″), making DSing much more dangerous for opponents that don’t have a WWP or some other form of DS scatter mitigation (like Inquisatorial servo-skulls). Additionally, the LSS has the Cerberus Launcher, which in its latest iteration is fired at BS4 (vice old BS3) and, if it even hits a single enemy model with its large blast (hits, not wounds), then the whole enemy unit has to take an Initiative test due to Blind USR and, if it fails, be reduced to WS1/BS1. Of course, this is most useful against low Initiative armies like Necrons, Tau, AM, Sisters of Battle, and Orks, as it has a better than average chance of succeeding. Combined with a follow-on Scout Assault or Drop Podding Marine reinforcements near by, this can be a very potent force multiplier to your army strategy as a whole.
3 – Firepower — Now that the LSS has BS4 (like all Scout units in the new SM Codex), its based price was reduced by one MB to 8 MBs total and its weapon upgrades either remain the same (Free for HB or HF, 2 MBs for a Multimelta) or got slightly cheaper (3 MBs for an Assault Cannon), it can be a sneaky little gun boat platform. With a Heavy Flamer it can rush up 12″ (remember, it is a Fast vehicle, so it can move 12″ and still shoot two weapons to full effect) or dash around 12″ and pump out Assault Cannon shots at 24″, either way making for an effective “skirmisher” vehicle. Alternately, if you want to hunt tanks, a BS4 Multimelta on a Fast Vehicle that can also Deep Strike can be the perfect, cheap, vehicle “assassin” if you need it. Finally, since it is open-topped, all of its (now BS4) Scouts can shoot out of it as well, meaning that as it moves, they can fire their BPs, Bolters, and or Shotguns to suppliment its anti-infantry firepower.
4 – Resiliency — While there is no doubt the LSS is fragile, it has three elements to off-set this if used by a cunning commander: one, like any speeder, it can Jink, giving it a 4++ cover save and basically doubling it survivability at the expense of shooting. Combine this with a nearby Psyker casting The Shrouding and suddenly it has a 2++ cover save and can be quite difficult to move off of an objective. Second, being so exceptionally mobile, it can use LOS blocking terrain and enemy range restrictions to its advantage, making it quite difficult for the enemy to engage it effectively. Finally, given its very low points cost, it can both serve as a “sacrificial lamb” distraction from other more important units (imagine the enemy Riptide shooting at the LSS instead of your Centurions, for example) and, even if you do lose it, it is not a massive loss of combat power to your overall army’s compositions (i.e. in 2000 point game, a LSS with a Multimelta would only constitue 1/40th of the points value of your army).
As you can see. the humble LS Storm is quite versatile and effective little “swiss armyknife” for any Space Marine army and can be used tactically to bring out the best in the rest of your task force on the table top.