I've been giving this topic a lot of thought today. As you know, I have both a Space Marine, and a Space Wolves army. The Marine list is all foot, while the Space Wolves list is mobile. And I'm starting to wonder for my Space Wolves if Rhinos are the way to go.
Hear me out, after the break:
So here we go, my ten reasons of why not to take a Rhino:
1. The cost. I'm talking model-wise AND points-wise. Model-wise you are paying another $45 bucks for 35 points of that unit. In return, you are getting what exactly? And points-wise.... 4 Rhinos are 140 points. That's almost another squad. I'm really starting to think I'd rather have more Marines than light tanks.
2. Are you really gaining that much mobility? Essentially you gain 6" of movement, more or less for the whole game, with a Rhino. And that's if you move 6" and then deploy out 6". And if you do that, especially if you are going first, you still won't be in rapid-fire range, which is where Marines really excel. So for the cost, why not for-go a turn of shooting and run forward? Yes, it's a D6" move, so you're not guaranteed the extra 6", you might get that 1", but in the long-run, it's not going to make a giant difference. Not when you have another 140 points on the board as threats to take the pressure off those Marines.
3. Free Victory Points! Every game now has the 'First Blood' secondary objective. And Rhino's are an EASY kill. Pretty much every game I've played with my Wolves I've yielded First Blood to my opponent.
4. Possible pin. Yes, your Rhino might protect you from that nasty large blast template, but you are likely bailing out of that Rhino when the blast hits it instead, and then you have a good chance of being pinned. On foot, you are more vulnerable, which means cover is a must, but in that cover the worst thing that happens is you lose models and fall back, automatically re-grouping and continuing to fight. In the Rhino, you're still likely to lose guys, and you have to take a pinning check. Yes you stand good odds of passing, but there is a chance for failure. Especially my poor Grey Hunters and their lousy leadership 8.
5. Rhinos aren't threats. The best way to out-manuever an opponent is make him second-guess himself. Make him unsure what the best course of action is. I know whenever I see a Rhino, if I'm not going to for kills in 'Purge The Alien' I just ignore them. Their damage output is minimal and once they've delivered their cargo, they are basically done. Some can get creative with them, using them to limit or block LOS, or to tank shock the enemy, but I've found Tank Shock to be a gamble at best and a sure way to kill my tank most of the time. I do use the LOS blocking technique, but it's usually thwarted by another squad firing a heavy weapon into it, destroying it, then my LOS is gone. So it's a distraction at best, but certainly not a threat.
6. Transport. This might be a nit-pick, but any time I field vehicles I have to bring a much larger case. Or two. I really like having my army fit in a single black GW case. I have the limited edition Apocalypse backpack (not bragging, just saying) and when I can fit my whole game in a single bag, I call that a win.
7. I don't really enjoy painting them. There I said it.
8. I took no vehicles to start in 6th. Yes, I got swept up in the 'sky is falling' of the internet about vehicles. Then I noticed no one was taking antitank any more, and thought 'Hey, here's a time to bring them back big time!' Sadly everyone else had the idea at the same time and vehicles, and the requisite anti-tank measures, returned at the same time. Advantage lost, if it was ever even really there.
9. Anything a Rhino can do, a Drop Pod can do better. It's true. More total range, you always get to jump out and shoot, higher armour so it's tougher to get that first blood point, the Deathwind launcher is actually an under-rated weapon. What I'm saying here is I really wish I had Drop Pods. Plus the mental image of it is so much more striking (and marine-esque). These crazed warriors dropping from the sky to wreak havoc on their foes. Beats arriving on the battlefield with a souped-up station wagon.
10. I hate parking lots. Sure it speeds up the game when you don't have to move 30 models per squad (obviously not the case with Marines; but still), but it's also not a very dynamic table. Seeing whole squads crashing into each other... now that's what I paid to see!
Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying Rhinos are useful, not am I saying I've always regretted taking them. They have saved my bacon from big templates. They have helped me get to that last objective I needed. I'm just wondering if maybe having more Marines on the field wouldn't yield the same (or better) result.
And now that I've dropped out of the League our club was doing, I'm no longer locked into an army list and can experiment. I'll let you know how it goes!
And once again all these images were shamelessly stolen from Google images, from people far more talented than me. I said a nice thing about you, now don't sue me.