Most people view the razorback as less desirable not because of the reduced capacity (because exactly as you said, it's perfect for combat squads), but because the weapon options for it tend to make it too pricy for as weak as it is structrually.
This was especially true before the latest codex where they made razorbacks cheaper. It used to be a razorback cost more (rather than having the lack of space and loss of storm bolter essentially pay for the gun), and then you were adding the cost of a lascannon on top of the assumed cost of the heavy bolter it came with.
Now of course, razorbacks are *still* more expensive than rhinos, but the cost difference is not so high. The razorback is a very reasonable and effective choice for someone who's using them as you are
The weapon costs, however, are still very high for anything but the HB
Take a look at the TL heavy flamer. It costs 25 points more than the HB!
Now, look at the Dreadnought. It gets a multimelta that can be exchanged for a TL Heavy Flamer for free. To replace that TL heavy flamer with a TL HB costs five points. So TL heavy bolter is actually something that should cost 5 points more than a TL heavy flamer. And yet they're asking you to pay five times that price difference for what, on a dread, would be considered a downgrade. Especially since a dread has more reason to e and chance to survive close range encounters. The flamer is way worse for a razor than a dread but costs much, much more?
And that's the cheapest upgrade.
All the others are ten points more. Sure, the TLLC on a razor is cheaper than on a pred, but the razor has less armor (by which I mean virtually none), making it a less desirable host for a fire-magnet weapon like that. 75 points is a lot to lay down for an AV11 gun platform. For less you can have a naked predator. For a little more you can slap sponsons on it
But if you really want to up-arm, consider your chosen role.
This is an assault carrier, it's got your fister, your flamer, and their three buddies onboard. Anything that's going close-in on your enemy needs to be cheap (point for HBs) and effective against what you're going to face down...since you;re geared for assault and anti-horde that's another point for HBs, one or two points for the flamers, and one for the assault cannon.
HB, AssCan and HF are all good anti-infantry weapons.
Remember though, that you cannot assault after disembarking from a moving, closed-topped transport. This means that you do NOT want to deploy your boys within flamer range. Even though TL heavy flamer is probably the single best anti-troop option you can have for this vehicle, for its purpose (assault delivery system) it is a poor choice indeed. If you get close enough to use the weapon you are too close to the enemy to deploy without your boys getting left in the cold and assaulted on the enemy's turn.
You want to deploy far enough back that your enemy cannot close the gap and assault your boys, but close enough that they can conceivably move in within the next turn or so (I suggest deploying with the razor sideways between you and the enemy, roundabout 12" between your boys and theirs, this way they have to move *around* the razorback to get to you (and thus cannot get close enough to assault, and obviously they cannot shoot through it to get at your men) and next turn your razor can pull away first and give your boys a straight run at the baddies.
This is too far away for the flamer.
That just leaves the assault cannons or the heavy bolters.
Asscan has higher strength an extra shot and rending...BUT it costs 35 bloody points above and beyond the bolters. Against low toughness and/or low armor enemies the difference between the two is miniscule. Only against marine-type infantry does the assCan have a sizeable difference in kill ratio.
The heavy bolters are still an effective anti-troop weapon and are far and away more cost-effective.
As an assault carrier, heavy bolters are both cheap enough not to be missed if someone vapes the tank (which is more and more likely the closer you get to the enemy's meltas and powerfists), have the range to fire from a sufficiently tactical deployment distance, and still pack a decent anti-infantry punch.
Furthermore since you've only basically paid 5 points (the cost difference between rhino and razor) for them, you don't feel as though you're wasting points if you forgo firing them to pour on the speed and deliver your men to the target. Indeed, if you;re paying a lot of points for a weapon option, you're encouraged to go slow so as not to waste those points by not using the weapon as much.
Now, all that said, if you're using your razorback differently, there are other things to consider.
Razors are versatile platforms, and though expensive at times, they can prove useful.
Consider the razorback as an alternative to buying the extra 5 men, lascannon and plasgun if your tactical squad is meant to be a long ranged support unit. Buying 5 extra guys, a plasgun and lascannon is 105 points.
A razorback with Lascannon and TL plasgun is 75, and it can still move and fire one of those (but remember, only one) so it's not locked down like a tactical support squad. You can even tack on a storm bolter and come up cheaper and with almost the same level of firepower as 10 marines at long ranges (give one to the sarge too and it's even, but now you're getting too close to the cost of the men to make it worth it)
Your other five guys can form a walking assault element around the sarge, or they can be a boltgun fireteam (consider giving your sarge a storm bolter for that, though that might not be cost effective), or fuck it, pile them inside so you can go for last minute objective steals. My advice os to keep them outside but close so they can maybe prove useful rather than making the whole thing a 165 point firemagnet
For DA, BA and Wolves you can still buy a special at 5 men, so they can get a plasgun or a melta and fuck off to do their own thing.
It's not ideal though.
Alternatively, you could give it shorter range guns (the flamer or the asscan) and have it roar around harassing enemy formations rather than hidden back and tank-sniping. Sort of a poor man's Hellhound (and at 65 points, you're running about half the price of a hellhound if you pick the flamers).
The problem is, it's not a substitute for a battle tank and it *needs* to be well-hidden if it wants to survive (though ideally, still able to fire), which generally rules out poor-man's hellhound and makes the asscan option less ideal as well.
The 'slotless light tank' idea is not without its flaws though. You need to think about what those other men are going to be doing. If you're just buying five tactical marines and a vet sarge for the sake of their mini-tank, you're spending unwisely. However it's not just Tacticals that can use a razorback.
Command Squads and Honour Guards, who may be flying around on JPs or riding bikes (or huddled up inside a land raider) have no use for a razorback as a transport, but they can still have one, even if they cannot actually climb inside it.
In this case, you're wasting nothing but the points you spend on the razor itself since the men it was bought for are perfectly useful on their own. Likewise for Devastator squads who shouldn't be wasting shooting attacks by climbing in and out of transports. You can buy a razor and either park it nearby (or in front of) them as combination fire support and cover (in which case go for lascannon versions) or buy it as a light tank like the others.
One thing I've noticed in this analysis though, is that the extremely close ranged flamers are too costly for how vulnerable their range makes the vehicle, and too short ranged to be of use to an assaulting squad.
Even as the 'cheapest' option, they're probably the least desirable. If it were an even swap for the HBs they might be worth it as a harassment tank, but not for 65 points, I don't think.
Likewise, the AssCan seems to be an odd man out as well.
Back in the day when Rending was better against vehicles, it would be a no brainer. Slap on the TLAC and go mid-range tank hunting with a relatively cheap standin for a baal predator.
Now, however, Rending is much less effective against heavy armor. I haven't seen reworked math for modern TLAC vs TLLC, but my money is on the lascannon. And as we established earlier, the TLAC isn't THAT much more effective than the bolters to be worth the massive points increase (almost double the cost, but not double the effectiveness except against MEQ type units and even then it;s fractional wounds being discussed). If you're not routinely putting it into assault range it's still a decent option though as an anti-troop harassment tank, but really not worth it compared to the longer ranged, much, much, much cheaper HB option.
Bottom line though is that on its own merits as a tank it needs to stay far from the enemy and in cover to survive any focused attention, which makes the long range lascannon/plas, or TLLC more desirable. Picking between the two, I'd favor the TL if you're just using it to snipe tanks and planning to keep it moving. If you're going to be a tactical pillbox, may as well take the las/plas and be able to open up some whoopass against close and midrange targets. But ideally you won't be getting it that close, so TLLC is probably best. It's about 20% more likely to hit, and unless you think you;re going to be within 12" or 24" 20% of the time, it's not really worth it. The LC/PG is potentially devastating up close against terminators, but really if you;re within 12" of terminators and you;ve got AV-11, you can kiss your 75 points goodbye.
As said before, for a transport, the HB option is the most effective for the cost.
If you want more punch, toss in a storm bolter.
Edit: I guess that was a very long-winded way to say exactly what Cal just did.
Assault transport, go with TLHB, tank-niper, go with TLLC
Last edited by Galahad; 10-02-09 at 07:41 PM.