There are a few things that need to be noted before I go any further. The first is the fact that this is from my perspective, one that seems to be falling on disfavor lately in the BT community due to my "self-promotion" of Implausible Nature and my list-building philosophies. So know that this analysis is made from a competitive standpoint, as always. Second, I won't be encompassing every single nuisance of the important FAQ changes. Lastly, this topic will be divided into several parts on my blog over the next few days. Each new post will have links to the previous posts and older articles will be edited to add in links of the more recent posts. :)
Anyway, lets get this going. The first change I really want to talk about is the change to our Typhoon Missile Launchers. It easily has had the biggest impact on our lists, so its fitting that it should be first on the list of things to read about. So what was changed that has everyone so excited? Well, to put it simply, the rules for the weapon were updated to the 5th Edition rules. This is a massive improvement over a single twin-linked Str 5 AP5 blast shot. The older rendition did not have a place in any list. It didn't kill infantry reliably due to its poor AP and small template size. Nor did it scare vehicles, due to its low strength. In exchange, we gained two real missile launcher shots, which provides us with legitimate armor hunting ability and an emergency option for culling down the size of mob infantry squads.
But that isn't the kicker. For a codex that is so used to paying so much more for the same stuff (compared to our 5th Edition brethren), the real shocker is the fact that Games Workshop decided to keep the price of these at 70 points a pop. The other Space Marine chapters pay 90 points! 70 points for two missile launchers and a heavy bolter on a fast skimmer is amazing, even with the AV 10. For the first time, we have a cheap and reliable source of long range firepower in our codex, and we get it 20 points cheaper than everyone else.
Most competitive BT lists prior to the FAQ featured MM/HF Land Speeders, but most players had difficulty in using these properly. These players were resigned to deep striking the Land Speeders in, possibly getting a good shot off on an enemy vehicle, then dying to incoming fire the next turn. While we lose the presence of the melta in our lists, what we gain is so much more. Now we don't have to worry about positioning the Land Speeders to get the perfect shot off. All they have to do is mill around in your deployment zone and fire at your enemy's vehicles from the get go. And when that is done, you can point those missile launchers and heavy bolter at their infantry.
This change took a little bit of the finesse out of the Land Speeder unit, but that isn't a bad thing. Saving points on an unit that does its job better than before, is nothing to complain about. With that being said, you can still go wrong in their setup. It is my preference to keep them standard at their simple 70 point setup. You have the option to give them a Multi-Melta for an additional 15 points, but in my opinion, that defeats the purpose of taking them in the first place. Not only are you paying more for a ridiculously cheap unit that is already good, you remove its duality. The heavy bolter is important to have when there are no more armored targets available, giving you a weapon that puts out a decent amount of shots against infantry. Against deathstar units like Thunderwolf Cavalry, Nob Bikers, or Seer Counsels, this is a critical tool at your disposal.
Then you have to consider the fact that you are removing one of the Typhoon's prime advantages in the list: its long range capabilities. By taking off the heavy bolter, you are replacing it with a weapon that only has a 24" range (MM). If you want this weapon to be effective, you really need to be in melta range, putting you in an extremely vulnerable position. This potentially puts you in the open, well within range of your enemy's weaponry. At this range, even bolters will hurt you. Hell, you can even be charged and then its all over. At a distance, only dedicated long-range AT weaponry can knock this vehicle out of the air. Your enemy will have to decide between the fragile Land Speeders (though they should be in cover if possible) or something else equally dangerous in your list.
So with all of this awesomeness in a neat 70 point package, what should you do with your MM/HF Land Speeders? To be completely honest, the only place that I can conceivably find them still useful is in Drop Pod lists. And even then, I'm pretty sure that I would still take the new Typhoons for their versatility and cheapness. Unlike the MM/HF Land Speeder where squadrons weren't always the best, the Typhoon can easily slip into a squadron of two for optimal tank killing power. You can easily target elite infantry or MCs as well. The shear amount of firepower that you're putting out for so few points outweighs the negatives of the squadron rules. One way you can manipulate the squadron rules is by placing one Land Speeder in cover and the other in the open, to give the unit obscured saves. If you have points to play around with, try using two Typhoons per squadron for maximum efficiency.
However, with all that being said, it doesn't mean they aren't good by themselves. The Typhoon is very well-rounded and can fill whatever role you need in your lists. Armies short on points can still take three (in separate squadrons) for no loss in effectiveness. You just don't have as much firepower coming from each squadron, obviously. In either case, it is important to have three separate squadrons so you have target saturation and three separate units to fire upon your enemy with.
If you have the money, pick three Typhoons up and put them into your list. You won't be disappointed. If you don't, proxy them in your games until you can. These are the single greatest change for our codex in the FAQ, I would hate to see people waste such a blessing. The Typhoon is the epitome of duality in an unit, for minimal amounts of points. Can't beat that.
Like what you read here? Take a look at the other articles in this series:
The BT FAQ: What did we really get? Part Two.
The BT FAQ: What did we really get? Part Three.