Hammer of Math: In Which We Mathematically Prove the Repulsor Executioner Might Not Suck

This week’s Hammer of Math establishes what might possibly an annual tradition by looking at the Repulsor Executioner in the context of 10th Edition.

It’s amazing how much of a difference a year can make. A year ago Space Marines were largely a joke, and the lowly Repulsor Executioner was so terrible that I named mine after a Tweet. Now with a new edition and a new codex, this former floating joke is now actually starting to see use across the battlefield. Although sadly it no longer floats.

Repulsor Executioner “Purgatum Mathematica”. Credit: Kevin Genson

Floating Box of Boom

As of this article the Repulsor Executioner clocks in at 220 points. That price buys you 16 wounds at a Toughness characteristic of 12 with a 3+ armour save and no invulnerable save. While it can carry 6 models and has a Movement characteristic of 12″, the fact that the model hovers has no impact on the game. The unique ability is by far the least impressive part of the unit: If the target is Below Half-strength then you add 1 to the Hit roll. Where the unit does shine is in its firepower, with the ability to fire as many as 22 S4 shots from a defensive array and stubbers in addition to a twin heavy bolter, heavy onslaught gatling cannon, and either a macro plasma incinerator or a heavy laser destroyer. In the vehicle-heavy meta of 10th Edition the heavy laser destroyer is the optimal selection, as it has the ability to reliably take out most heavy vehicles in a single Shooting phase. That, combined with fact that the main gun is [HEAVY], is exactly why the ability is largely useless.

There are a few Space Marine vehicles which are comparable. We’ll take a look at the two generalist heavy units as well as the three Gladiator specialists.

  • The regular Repulsor cuts down the firepower considerably. Rather than the multiple heavy stubbers, it wisely just brings 18 S4 shots in the defensive array. Outside of that you have the option of either a las-talon or a heavy onslaught cannon, hunter killer missile, and either twin heavy bolters or a twin lascannon. The optimal anti-tank configuration is all las-weaponry. Its core ability is to let a nearby unit retreat into its 12 model transport bay instead of letting them get charged, which is infinitely more useful. Not bad for 190 points.
  • The Godhammer pattern Land Raider is 240 points, and it has the same mobility, Toughness characteristic, number of wounds, and objective control. But it has a Save characteristic of 2+ and use its assault ramp to allow a unit of 12 models to disembark and charge in the same turn. The base model also gets 4 Godhammer lascannon shots which are pretty damn good in addition to a multi-melta, twin heavy bolter, storm bolter (WHY?), and a single shot hunter-killer missile. There’s also a Crusader and Redeemer variant which can carry more models, and in the case of the Crusader it has a ton of anti-infantry firepower.
  • The Gladiator Lancer is often compared to the Repulsor Executioner since it is a highly specialized anti-tank platform. At 160 points it is durable (12 wounds at T12), and has no transport capacity, but the lancer laser destroyer is very close in performance to the heavy laser destroyer and the main ability is an inherent re-roll in one Hit, Wound, and Damage roll per selection to shoot.
  • The Gladiator Reaper is effectively what to infantry what the Lancer is to tanks. In close range it can put out 16 S4 shots (with AP -1), another 6 AP 0 S4 shots, and 12 twin heavy onslaught gatling cannon shots with [TWIN-LINKED]. Against INFANTRY the twin heavy onslaught cannon has [SUSTAINED HITS 2]. Not bad for 150 points.
  • The Gladiator Valiant is is the oddity here. In previous editions the combination of a twin las-talon and two multi-melta shots would have made it a brutal threat against tanks. In this edition it’s limited to lighter targets that already tend to get popped by laser destroyer shots. Its special ability is that the twin las-talon adds 1 to the Hit roll against the closest eligible MONSTER or VEHICLE unit. At 150 points it’s comparable to the other two specialist tanks.
  • I’m tossing in the Vindicator because it’s such an absurdly good platform. It’s not cheap at 190 points, but the demolisher cannon puts out a ton of shots and a ton of damage for a very high variance threat. Plus it can shoot stuff in melee.

Cobalt Scions Repulsor Executioner. Credit: Charlie Brassley

Anti-Tank Shenanigans

First up we’ll take a look at the anti-tank output of the various platforms. The target is a T12/2+ threat that we have applied Oath of Moment to for re-rolling hit rolls. I’m only using the dedicated anti-tank weapons for the chart below because adding in every minor gun does very little to the end result and takes quite a bit of time. From the results you can immediately see why the Vindicator costs so much; it’s extremely good at destroying high value targets. Although the variance is high, 50% of the time it’s dealing at least 9 wounds to the T12 target without any modifiers. Add in the stationary bonus from an Anvil Siege Force and they average 12 wounds. The output of the Lancer is very strong, matching the Vindicator thanks to the high damage floor. The Repulsor Executioner performs close to the output of the Lancer; where the RepEx has more damage the Lancer has those amazing re-rolls.

Repulsor Executioner by Craig “MasterSlowPoke” Sniffen

Mowing Down Infantry

In the same way that we can look at the output against tanks, we can also explore how these vehicles do against large units of light infantry in Rapid Fire range. Oath of Moment is not used in the chart below. As before we’re focusing on the dedicated anti-infantry weapons, and for the Repulsor we’re assuming it’s the lascannon/las talon variant for taking on vehicles. Since the Godhammer pattern Land Raider isn’t very useful against infantry we can take a look at the Crusader instead. The output of the RepEx is considerable, matching the anti-infantry firepower of the Crusader. Even though the Vindicator has a [BLAST] weapon, it’s clearly better used against vehicle and tough targets. The Reaper falls squarely in the middle, reflecting its price but doing better than a Repulsor kitted for anti-tank.

Wrapping Up

The viability of the Repulsor Executioner ultimately depends on the target set its going after. It works best when it has a chance to take on both infantry and vehicle/monster targets, whereas more dedicated platforms like the Vindicator and Gladiator Lancer are better suited against factions like Knights or Monster Mash Tyranids. In essence it has the anti-infantry firepower of a Land Raider Crusader with a very large tank killing gun on top. Add the ability to transport 6 models for claiming objectives and you have a pretty dynamic and useful platform.

So does it suck? Not really!

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