Once more, this tank draws upon the esoteric and outmoded designs that appeared during and in the years after The Great War. The Land Raider uses sponsons to mount its lascannons, but absconds from a more practical, traversable turret as seen on the predator. I imagine this is because the Land Raider was conceived as a heavy transport first and a main battle tank second. In fact, if you peel back the millennia further, its designers probably intended the STC to be used as a rugged agricultural vehicle. The exposure of the tracks (a tank’s greatest weakness) is madness whilst the profile is huge, towering two or three times higher than a 21st century armoured vehicle. Madness! A low profile is not a priority on the battlefields of the far future…
This might sound like criticism, yet it is the Land Raider’s ugliness, its impracticality, its sheer lack of suitability as a fighting vehicle that makes it so utterly appealing a concept. Humanity in the far future is bombastic in its arrogance. This young, violent race is absolute in its belief that it should hold sovereignty over the galaxy. In essence, the Land Raider is an allegory of that very sentiment given form: It is built upon the edifices of a glorious past; immovable in its dogma for 10,000 years, flawed, overblown, unwieldy, yet utterly lethal and capable of disgorging the finest soldiery in the galaxy. It may be driven by mortals, but it is a ‘machine spirit’ that ultimately governs its path. The Land Raider is truly a preposterous design that captures the imagination and is the very embodiment of the galaxy it inhabits.
The Proteus is 180 points basic. For a four hull-pointed, twin-linked lascannon armed transport, this is tremendous value. Invariably these points stack up when you succumb to the temptation of upgrades. Not taking armoured ceramite is a serious gamble, although the prevalence of this upgrade has diminished the amount of melta taken in 30k, especially amongst the crowd I play with. Anyway – I never risk it, particularly when I take a step back and consider what purpose this vehicle serves: To keep your vulnerable troops safe until the critical moment.
The Armoured Spearhead Rite of War enables the purchase of the Proteus as a dedicated transport for my Tactical Squads. Even on the lethal battlefields of 30k, a Proteus is capable of sticking around until late in the game, providing they are kept away from assault. This might not suit all play styles, but the Proteus is not an assault vehicle; it is in effect doing what the rhino falls short of – keeping your core units safe whilst laying down long range fire. Providing the rest of your force doesn’t crumble, this configuration will give you a fighting chance of a victory late in the game.
For those favouring a more aggressive approach, take the Armoured Spearhead RoW and this time load them up with outflanking Veteran Tactical Squads. The arrival of two of these monsters on your opponent’s flank will be most unwelcome, particularly if their deployment exposes the enemy’s vulnerable rear or side armour. This will really shake things up and allows you to get close without having to drop 50 points on the prohibitively expensive Exploratory Augur Web.
I’ve been amazed at how many games these things have survived. Their durability far outweighs their damage output and I’m happy for enemy firepower to be directed at these tanks rather than at my comparatively vulnerable Contemptors, Mhara Gal or other soft targets. It should be noted though that nothing dies quicker in 30k than tanks under assault from heavy infantry… Angron illustrated this with aplomb last week.
Gun Platform. Metal Bulwark.Objective Taxi. Humanity Given Form.
Bearer of the Burning Horizon Chapter of the XVII Legion.
Do you remember?
On Mars. It was on Mars you were born.
Humanity’s Crusade was in its infancy and slow was the tread of man from its cradle. Fell xenos of every description, nightmare cousins and rival empires proved worthy adversaries for the fledgling Terran empire. It befitted the mightiest warriors, the Adeptus Astartes, to be ordained with the most formidable weaponry to smite those that would stand in the way of humanity’s ascension amongst the stars. You began as such, a weapon. But now, you are so much more.
There was nothing random about your birth; Geobytes of combat reports, both actual and hypothetical, weighed the schematics of your design against most hostile of environs whilst Martial theory spanning millennia of human conflict weighed the merits of your architecture; Sun Tsoo, Guidiron and the great Rrolmel – the embers dredged from lost civilisations and cataclysmic war – deigned you a suitable contraption for dealing death. After years of refinement and months of field-testing on four score worlds, your kind were deemed worthy of service. How ironic that your genesis was, as our cousins might say, ‘a perfect compound of theoretical and practical.’
So it came to pass that a requisition order, bearing the seal of the Sigilite himself, commanded that you be made in the war forges deep within the Martian volcano of Olympus Mons. You and ten thousand others, rendered out of a sea of molten metal, stamped and beaten until you were given your true form. Fuel cells, engines and auxiliary systems filled your shell whilst hundreds of mechendrites coated you in ceramite.
Your teeth were delivered across the Meridian plains; Lascannons from Hellas Minor, Heavy Bolters shipped from Pluto and a targeting matrix derived from the greatest minds of the Boreum-Neuro slums. Deep you slumbered amongst ten thousand of your kin; Racks of new forged blades, unbloodied within their scabbards.
Astartes dignitaries visited you whilst you slept, regarded your chassis and marvelled at your potential. The bulk lifters soon departed, bearing you and your kin to the embattled expedition fleets.
You dipped into the Emperyan. And out. Light years later, you met your legion. On the training grounds of Colcharis your engine sang for the first time. A defiant roar. A challenge to the galaxy at large.
Legion service. Compliance they called it. Blood work.
For two hundred years your treads have stamped the mark of the legion into unnumbered worlds; Your guns have mown down seething monstrosities, crystalline xenos, mutants and traitors all.
You brought them the Word.
You are a mighty instrument and a Bearer of brothers.
You have bourn us through nuclear infernos, acid wash and alchem firestorms.
You have enabled us to close with a thousand hated foes and brought your mighty ordnance to bear on those that we could not have bested unaided.
We call you friend.
We call you brother, for you have saved many of us, carrying us many leagues broken and bleeding to safety.
We have bled together, you and I.
You have outlived seven crews in your century of long service; On Dolgatha IV I saw you burn as weapons of infernal alien design immolated you from the inside; On Crix, the Druggandred, numberless and cunning, prized you open and gutted you. During the compliance of Huthra you fell for two miles when your thunderhawk was lanced. After each calamity I wept for you as I would a revered brother and each time we remade you where other Chapters of the XVII would have discarded you. The Burning Horizon has remade you many times, yet only once were you reborn.
As the shroud was lifted and we gazed unblinking into the primordial abyss, you looked too didn’t you? Your crews tell me that you twitch and grumble down here, that you bellow in the dark of this hold and long for another war. You feel the rage as we do don’t you? I can see it – the yearning for fratricide. I sense that you long to test your mettle against your azure kin, adorned in the livery of the XIII.
I’ve prayed for this. You’re no machine, not anymore. You’ve altogether tasted too much blood, taken too much life. Your Standard Template designates you as ‘Land Raider: Type Proteus.’ That is past. We within the Legion have given you the nomenclature ‘Instrument of Truth’ since your inception in the XVII. Yes, you have gone by many names. But I have heard the celestial whispers of choirs in the night. The Dark Monarchs themselves recognise you now, bearer of Zu’ul Nag’r Herald of the Horizon. I pronounce you ‘Athame of Oblivion’.
“ You there, Tech adept. Paint my brother red.”
Thank you for reading.
Until next time!