So for this instalment I'll be looking at Roughriders as part of a Blob guard list (And also a quick mention of any roles in a mech list they could play).
So what do we have for this unit? 55points gets you 4 men and a Sgt, typical guardsman profile (I'm surprised like bikes they didn't boost the toughness by 1 to make a T3/4 to give them a bit more survival). he 5+ save also really hurts them and if they don’t kill the unit on the first charge they do they will die usually.
The lances are a good point though, +2 Str and Ini makes them able to hit before marines or on par with captains or dark Eldar (Which isn't that good a benefit as you need these guys to hit before to thin down the return damage). Although the kicker is this ONLY happens on their first charge... seriously...
So let me get this straight, we're paying for a unit of 5 guys with crap saves who can only really do a good charge once in the game, and this may not even be against the unit you want... they have no feel no pain option, no option for better armour, they are 11 points a model for this...
|Old school rough riders... see they worked in that era.|
A plus point though is they get access to 2 special weapons (Flamer, Melta, Grenade launcher, plasma) and they can swap their laspistols for CCWs, seriously... while this is a nice option to give them you are piling even more points into a squad that will serve a limited purpose... their already on points costing with a Chimera! and while that maybe not a fair comparison unit to unit wise due to differing roles, when you do compare them it ends very badly... 55 points is still a decent enough amount, and adding special weapons or more bodies does mean the squad gets up to the cost of Veterans in chimeras almost. or a couple of infantry squads... and I'll be honest, that’s a tough pill to swallow for me.
Maybe if they had a second wound it could be better odds, or both 1 more wound AND the inc Toughness (biker style) then they could be of more use. Throw in a medi pack for 20 points (I honestly find 30 to be costly enough for T3 bodies and in limited numbers like the command squads.
But that’s me wish listing, what can we do with the unit as it stands? well they do make for a semi decent reserved counter punch unit, kept cheap with just the 5 guys no special weapons you can get a nice number of attacks on the charge and with Str 5 ini 5 and power weapon effect, you can thin down enemy units nicely. Although going back to what I keep saying, their anti infantry, and in blob lists you have that covered, even with the lances they hit like guardsmen but just wound better.
What I am curious to find though is if they benefit from Straken's furious charge, or is this like relic blades where it has a set str. because racing in with S6 ini 6 power lances could really ruin an enemies day... that once in the game.
The other benefit is slightly lost as their extended charge range may leave them out ahead or unsupported of your blobs, meaning you have to keep them close by until you can release the charge and know you can support it. With their profile they may see some damage before this time, and a weakened squad will be even less likely to make an impact.
|and in the 41st... well Vs all these evil monsters and creatures they look well out of place.|
This approach works more in static gun line lists or mech lists where you can have the enemy close on you only to be hit from them arriving from reserves to counter punch weakened units from your shooting.
I had thought of using them for mobile Melta but with the still small movement they would be no better than the infantry blobs for this role.
They do get an upgrade character though... Mr Mogul Kamir... with a better WS, an extra wound, a few more attacks with additional D3+1 on the charge he does boost their damage potential slightly better for his 40 point price tag... add in his ability to give the unit furious charge and you are gaining the benefits (I assume the FC does stack on top of the lances due to this) I mentioned re Straken nearby... but then he goes and ruins it all... rage... seriously (getting to use that word a lot with these guys it seems)... a T3 unit with rage making them move towards the enemy... that won't kill them or anything.
I suppose though with his extra attacks, and stat increases he can make a decent counterpunch unit coming on from reserve to it enemies close by with a decent amount of attacks. then fall over to return fire...
As you can probably guess I'm sadly not impressed with these guys when you have points left to spend, both in a lob capacity and slightly less in a mech role, where they could prove useful, but will still find it hard to get a place with a cost like that for their stats.
in smaller games they could find their worth where you have fewer enemy units to worry about, so they could roll in and wreck one before the enemy has to torrent them down which at least buys your other units some time before being focused on.
Sadly in my opinion a slightly below average unit, potential was there but they will get passed over in this high torrent fire edition even with cover they won’t last with only Ld8 when focused for a turn or two... if they don’t all die first. Though I do admit Vs Nids if you get them into a big nasty and kill it you should feel very proud of yourself for the upset caused.