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Don't know about the whirlwind, but the thunderfire is awesome. It is pretty much artillery with a free techmarine that can upgrade one cover by +1. It can ignore cover, cause movement issues, all kinds of fun stuff. It also shoots 60". The vindicator is also awesome because it drops str 10 ap2 24" large pie plates. They are both great anti-horde.

Honestly, I would try to take both.
 

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Vindicator. High armour, massive low ap pie plate its the nasty of nasties

The thunderfire is shit.
Firstly its AV 10 or 11 not sure, but its low so any plonker with a lascannon will just take it out. I do it regularly, first turn.
Secondly forgive me if I"m wrong but does the unit counts as two kill points? thunderfire and techmarine
If so definitely dont take it

The whirlwid is quite nice , strength 5 ap4 ordanance barrage or strength 4 ap5 ignores cover. Thats a lovely anti horde stat line, suck on that gaunts and orks and no line of sight needed. Problem is once again low av, if something catches a glimpse of its side its gone.

I guess you could say the same of the vindi however that is moving forward so you can portect its vulnerable side armour with the rhinos your also moving forward.
 

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The vindicator is a very blunt instrument. It's not bad, but everyone is 100% aware of what it can do and can act accordingly.

The thunderfire is much more subtle. It's shots can slow opposition units down (and potentially immobilise vehicles/prevent bike boosting), ignore cover or just cause a ton of st 6 hits. My tyranid army would be much more concerned about the thunderfire cannon than a vindicator.

Whirlwinds have had their day. A dakka pred is just plain better at killing light infantry.
 

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The vindicator is a very blunt instrument. It's not bad, but everyone is 100% aware of what it can do and can act accordingly.

The thunderfire is much more subtle. It's shots can slow opposition units down (and potentially immobilise vehicles/prevent bike boosting), ignore cover or just cause a ton of st 6 hits. My tyranid army would be much more concerned about the thunderfire cannon than a vindicator.

Whirlwinds have had their day. A dakka pred is just plain better at killing light infantry.
Thunderfire was a PITA against both my orks and my tyranids. Between no cover, making cover 3+, and creating movement issues, it sucked. Guy I play who uses it does a good job controlling the field with it. If the placement works, it has taken me till turn 3 or 4 just to get a shot off at it.
 

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Thunderfire cannons are cheap for what they CAN do. It's just getting it to do it's optimum role that's difficult.

And it does mean, more often than not, that you need to keep a unit close buy to baby sit it from attacking jump infantry.
 

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Haven't used the thunderfire, but I've read the entry in my 'dex enough to know what it can do.

Thunderfire, I think, works best like most other HS options. In twos. If you can field two of them, on opposite ends of your deployment table, or can field them at forward positions, they seem to possess a great strength of area denial. They're like oversized riot control guns. Granted, they'll also be thinning the horde, but in general they're best against infantry.

The vindicator, I love. I have two. A MkI and MkII as well. I love to pound the living daylights out of enemy fortifications with them. That's what they're there for. Getting pounded repeatedly.

Vindicators are good because they have str10 pieplate, as aforementioned, but it's not so important that they can thin a crowd (I can almost guarantee a squad packed too tightly together can vanish under a direct hit, but the problem is, most of the time, they don't directly hit). What's important is that ordnance gives you two dice to roll for armor pen, and you pick the higher. When you're str10, rolling 2d6 and picking the higher quite often means you rip the land raider in half with two shots. Even if you scatter a few inches, you should still be able to keep the pie plate over the tank (BS: 4= 2" scatter max). The con of all this? Weak side and rear armor, and you have to get close enough to fire. That puts you at risk for rapid counter attacks, so, even if you succeed in obliterating that Land Raider, you'll probably lose your tank the next turn to land speeders with multimeltas.

Finally, the whirlwind. I have used these from time to time. I don't like to, because to me, str5/ap4, or str4/ap5/ignores cover is better left to flamers and heavy bolters, but for the points cost, it's alright. I can sit a whirlwind behind a rock outcropping or in a valley, away from harm, with its rear armor against the table edge, if I like, and pop shots across the board with impunity.

The biggest thing with comparing Whirlwind to Thunderfire, I think is, which one stands to thin the hordes more, and which one can slow them down more? If you find one succeeds at both better, use that one. For me, Vindicator does both in good order, I just have to send two predators to guard it (two auto-las preds flanking, in a spearhead formation, it's not unstoppable, but it's good fun to run that up an enemy flank and then behind their lines).
 
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