5th edition made loads of cheap transports a staple in practically all list, they're resilience to damage provided a mobile safe haven for troops with the only risk being at the mercy of your opponent consecutive rolls of 6's. There wasn't much you could do to combat them other than load your list full of melta guns and when it came down to the damage result roll, pray you rolled a 4+. We've all see and witnessed the gripes about the changes to vehicles. But it's really come down to a balancing act to force vehicles to perform their roles. They're far more lethal now with the added capability of snap firing, granted it only firing at 16.7% accuracy, it's still firing where it couldn't in 5th. Also since stun locking is out of the question, the only thing preventing a vehicle from shooting is destroying the weapon, and to throw a tribulation on to that, its a random weapon (At least my Tau Hammerhead Railguns will only get removed 33% of the time!). Also, with every vehicle given the ability to go flat out, they've certainly increased in speed.
But as they've improved in lethality, we all now they've become far more fragile... and as we've seen from recent list and web-chat, they've become less prolific, dedicated transports more so.
With that I wanted to talk about the state of the rhino. It never had any lethality (other than lucky tank shocking!). It's faster than before with the vanilla version being able to go 18" after a flat out, but you're not last minute grabbing any objectives while being embarked. And arguably they're quite a bit more fragile. But there's other things that hamper their performance under the surface...
Disembarking is about 2 inches shorter, we all know that. But the after-math of it is that the rhino is stuck back 6 inches further than it was before. Its much harder to conceal your troops after disembarking to get them into weapon range, or to park the rhino in front to give your guys an anti-assault buffer. Also, if you've got a stun result on your rhino, your men aren't firing their weapons. There's a lot of forward momentum lost when trying to utilize the old tricks that made rhino so annoying and tactical in 5th. Employing those tricks to survive is going to slow your forward advance.
Assault troops completely find the Rhino less appealing, sure you can go 18", but they're not assaulting any turn they get out. And the survivability of the advance laughable. Hull points put your rhinos on a timer. Smoke launchers only confer a 5+ cover and using them prevents going flat out that turn. And your assault troops have to disembark a turn early and hide on the table in order to get a charge off, giving your opponent a full turn to hail fire power upon them. Not to mention all the other assault issues like Overwatch and random assault distances.
So with all this... why would you ever run a rhino? Well, there's certainly not a lot going for them, but they still have a purpose in this edition. They'll prevent your army from being alpha striked off the board. With all the IG barrages, Demon's Breath of Chaos, and simply just sheer anti infantry firepower that people are packing into list, they're forced to deal with the rhinos before ever harming your marines. Basically they still serve the purpose of protecting your marines, just without the nigh invulnerability that 5th edition had. And your troops still aren't moving any faster unless you've given them other means such as jump packs or deep-striking capability, which in turn usually cost more than a Rhino with giving them protection. They serve more of their purpose now than ever of just being a way to transport your units, which is much more fitting of their affordable 35 point cost.
Hope you enjoyed this information and my reflections on the Rhino! Feel free to leave any comment below, this is my first blog post and I'd love to hear some criticism so I can improve and write some quality articles for our listeners!