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Which Special Weapons do you think are worth it in Support squads?


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Given we all have the rules and points now, and some have a few games, which special weapons do you think are worth it, for their points cost?

 

For me I think Plasma is still very good and worth it. It's good against almost everything, and while expensive, if supported by an apothecary, can do great work. Also plasma looks very cool.

 

Flamers and the Chargers are ok just because they are cheap, and can do decent in a few situations.

 

Rotator Cannons seem very good for some legions, situational for others.

 

Melta and other Volkite seem over priced for what they do, compared to heavy support squad versions.

 

Ultimately I think Heavy Support squads sort of outclass support squads, though plasma still has a place. 

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Sounds like a topic for the tactics forum :D 

Massed flamers are fairly worthless, believe me, Sisters of Silence dont have many options and im still not a fan! Getting enough on target is tricky and even then most things you care enough to kill shrug off most of the damage. :/ 

Rotor cannons finally have a role, interested to see how they work out. Similarly long Volkites have some nice firepower but dont score anymore as i understand it? Which was most of there job previously.

Plasma is good but even less reliable than before, and doesnt instant death marines which seriously impacts its use on marine elites these days, enough that i wouldnt choose it myself. 


I do think this is the edition for the meltagun, hard hitting, reliable and instant death ahoy, it threatens everything in the game. Arguably too threatening, so transport essential! 

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7 hours ago, Noserenda said:

I do think this is the edition for the meltagun, hard hitting, reliable and instant death ahoy, it threatens everything in the game. Arguably too threatening, so transport essential! 

I agree Melta seems very strong this edition, I just think they over priced the melta gun in tactical support squads at +15 points. I will likely get melta in other ways, for that reason. Hard to get them into range, I imagine, when the enemy knows how dangerous they are. 

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The best are Plasmas and Rotor Cannons.

Plasmas are great elite killers even now, and the Rotor Cannons are cheap, long range, and can be fired on the move and have pinning. The low strength is off-set by the number of shots.

I think the rest of the weapon options are either outclassed by the options that Heavy Support squads can access, or have some hard limitations to work around such as lack of range. 

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Posted (edited)

@Marshall Mittens I gotta say you have some weird takes.

Melta stayed the same points it used to be and got better from both ACs removal and the plethora of 2 wound, 2+ armour save models; it's pretty hard to consider it over priced on the support squads. The draw of the support squad over heavy support is that you have 6 troop slots compared to 3 (and sometimes 1) heavy support. Stuff like a Spartan or leviathan is more valuable than volkite culverins.

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In terms of the marine matchup, plasma lost a lot of effectiveness. It went from doing unsaved wounds 0.54 per shot to about 0.40, it lost ap 2 for armour penetration purposes, and a lot of units gained an extra wound.  It's niche is shooting multiwound, higher toughness units; stuff like speeders and dreads, where the rate of rate of fire and breach can really help. 

@Orange Knight in a similar vein, what do you mean when you say "great elite killers"? Dreads? Vets? Terminators? Legion elites in artificer with no invul?

I agree that they're good vs dreads, as they average more unsaved wounds than melta, even in armourbane range. But the rest, not so much. A rapid firing plasma gun averages 0.8 unsaved wounds against 3+ armour, while a melta averages 0.54; you need 3 plasma guns to the 2 meltas to kill a veteran.  The math gets even worse for the plasma against any terminator profile. 

 

Edited by SkimaskMohawk
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The Plasma still has utility above 12" in range, and is cheaper.

I would agree that the Melta is the better gun, but the price is simply too high. The cost impacts the value of the unit.

In fairness I think both are over-costed. I would probably stick to the Rotor cannon for the unit, personally.

The Volkite chargers would make for a good, cheap option over a bolter unit, but the support squad loses Fury and Heart of the Legion, which makes a squad like this a bit more questionable.

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The plasma is cheaper, but you need fewer points worth of melta to get the same results as the plasma in rapid fire. Sure, it can shoot off 24", but that's kind of ignoring the fact that both weapons take a transport to bring them into optimal fire range and tend to get killed very fast after doing their thing. The edge cases of using the 24" on support squads is small enough to make it inconsequential.

Rotors are great, but are for the specific use of forcing pinning tests; a full 40 shots averages a generous 3 unsaved wounds against power armour.

The caliver is the real all-purpose weapon for its points; it has long enough range to compensate for being heavy, it out wounds the plasma for the same points, and has enough weight of fire to threaten vehicles.

 

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1 hour ago, Orange Knight said:

But the Caliver is pointless when the Culverin exists on the Heavy Squads.

I think the Caliver will only be taken in armies that are restricted in how many Heavy Support options they can run.

I gotta admit, that shocked me a little.

 The heavy support slot is the main area to access quality ranged damage output. You go to this slot to solve the problem of your opponents best units from range; you don't spend a heavy support slot that averages 5 unsaved wounds to t4 with a 2+ save with a maxed squad, and falls off against armour rather sharply.

You can't replicate the strengths of the arcus, fire raptor, or Scorpius. You can easily replicate the strengths of the volkite culverin squad outside the heavy support slot; for 100 points in your most populous slot, you get 15 STR 6 volkite shots.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Orange Knight said:

But the Caliver is pointless when the Culverin exists on the Heavy Squads.

I think the Caliver will only be taken in armies that are restricted in how many Heavy Support options they can run.

For me, HS slots are pretty much never used on infantry models. I use them for stuff like Levis/Deredeos or my LR Achilles. The only time I took an HSS squad was when we were playing like 5k+ points per player and went "screw the FoC"

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33 minutes ago, Slips said:

For me, HS slots are pretty much never used on infantry models. I use them for stuff like Levis/Deredeos or my LR Achilles. The only time I took an HSS squad was when we were playing like 5k+ points per player and went "screw the FoC"

The HSS with las are rather compelling now that they're 275 instead of 435 . They're still a bit fragile, but it's the easiest way to saturate lascannons and commands a dedicated answer like a kratos to avoid the potential return fire and intercept. 

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Yeah Heavy support squads have to make an impact in one volley, because they probably arent getting a second. Special weapons are much easier to use with transports/reserves and (Before reactions) a lot more likely to survive the first volley and possibly get a second. 

Except maybe meltas, a good squad of those is a priority target these days.

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2 hours ago, SkimaskMohawk said:

I gotta admit, that shocked me a little.

 The heavy support slot is the main area to access quality ranged damage output. You go to this slot to solve the problem of your opponents best units from range; you don't spend a heavy support slot that averages 5 unsaved wounds to t4 with a 2+ save with a maxed squad, and falls off against armour rather sharply.

You can't replicate the strengths of the arcus, fire raptor, or Scorpius. You can easily replicate the strengths of the volkite culverin squad outside the heavy support slot; for 100 points in your most populous slot, you get 15 STR 6 volkite shots.

 

 

 

Because of reactions, Heavy Support Squads are absolutely one of the best units to take in the heavy slot.

They can be killed in one turn, yes, but so can a Kratos or a Spartan, or any other vehicle.

The Volkite Culverin is one of the best weapons, thanks to being able to drown infantry and light vehicles in dice from well outside the range of return fire in most cases. Not to mention the deep strike defence they can offer.

The support squad, with an inferior Volkite, is only marginally cheaper and still loses mobility. It's why I would keep support squads equipped with weapon profiles that can't be replicated in other places. I think the rotor cannon is a very good niche option that, with some unit combinations, could cause a lot of problems for opposing units.

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25 minutes ago, Orange Knight said:

 

Because of reactions, Heavy Support Squads are absolutely one of the best units to take in the heavy slot.

They can be killed in one turn, yes, but so can a Kratos or a Spartan, or any other vehicle.

The Volkite Culverin is one of the best weapons, thanks to being able to drown infantry and light vehicles in dice from well outside the range of return fire in most cases. Not to mention the deep strike defence they can offer.

The support squad, with an inferior Volkite, is only marginally cheaper and still loses mobility. It's why I would keep support squads equipped with weapon profiles that can't be replicated in other places. I think the rotor cannon is a very good niche option that, with some unit combinations, could cause a lot of problems for opposing units.

The HSS is a great choice, but the volkite certainly is not "one of the best" weapons, and taking it definitely removes the HSS from contention as "one of the best" choices in the support slot. You get to kill power armour, bikes, and what? 5 hull points to Av12 (so one saber)? A single rhino? A javelin? The full unit bounces from dreadnoughts and terminators. It literally cannot damage battle tanks. 

The weapon is bad against anything but infantry, and makes the units reaction efficiency equally bad. No one has to worry about return fire from the culverin unit, because any good shooting is on a chassis that's barely affected by it.  

There seems to be this mentality from new players that blobs of power armour units are this big thing; they're not. Tacticals, assault marines, and despoilers are only good against each other, but get crushed by elite infantry, dreadnoughts, and pretty much any heavy weapon pointed their way. Spartans were already popular and are exceedingly common now. A bunch of legions can just put their multiwound, 2+ armour, elite infantry into deepstrike for an easy charge. All of these things demand a response other than "lol, I average 11 power armoured models per volley".  

You take lascannons, multimeltas, or even missiles on HSS to give them a role against threats that are actual threats.

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Gotta dedicate quite alot of firepower to wipe 10 guys off a board in one turn of just shooting alone. Just look at some of the math examples in this thread, no one squad is gonna do it. Bolter's ain't gonna do it, Plasma ain't gonna do it, Volkite ain't gonna do it.  If your opponent is dedicating that much fire to take out your lascannon squad you are kinda winning either way.

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Genuinely interesting discussion here.

I have to say I do think the Volkite Culverin is a bit of a loser in the new edition. It got an extra shot, which is great, but the fact that almost all elites are now 2 wounds majorly reduces its effectiveness. Also, even when you're using culverins to wipe out blobs of enemy tacticals on objectives, those tacs are getting a feel no pain. 

So, for me, it's a hard sell to use a Heavy Support slot on Culverins. Now the lascannons are a different story because they will wreck armour and (again due to the increased number of 2w targets) are one of the better ranged options against elite infantry. 

 

Calivers are a different proposition though because they're a troops slot, so aren't a bad bet I reckon for a bit of additional firepower, without having to sacrifice taking your Deredeo, Scorpius and Arcus (or whatever). Going to 3 shots from 2 is also a much greater proportional increase in firepower than the Culverins got.  

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19 hours ago, SkimaskMohawk said:

I agree that they're good vs dreads, as they average more unsaved wounds than melta, even in armourbane range. But the rest, not so much. A rapid firing plasma gun averages 0.8 unsaved wounds against 3+ armour, while a melta averages 0.54; you need 3 plasma guns to the 2 meltas to kill a veteran.  The math gets even worse for the plasma against any terminator profile. 

Does it? (Spoiler not really if we don't round up too much)

First of all, if we don't round up it looks slightly better for plasma, it's 1.8 shots for melta and 2.45 for plasma to kill a veteran. Worse, but 36% more guns needed, not 50%, not the end of the world especially if you consider possible single shots at 24" as an added benefit. Depends on transportation method of course.

Against 2+5++: a single meltagun deals 0.37 unsaved wound -> 2.7 shots needed to ID a terminator; a plasmagun deals 0.52 wound, 3.85 guns needed for a kill. 42% more than plasma

Against 2+4++: meltagun deals 0.27(7) wound, ->3.6 shots needed; a plasmagun results in 0.41 wound, so 4.88 guns for a kill. 36% more than melta.

Just for fun: against 2+3++: meltagun deals 0.185 wound ->5.41 needed; a plasmagun deals 0.296, so 6.76 guns to kill, 25% more than melta.

So, unless I botched that simple math, plasma gun are of course worse than meltaguns but it's lesser of a deal than you might think, especially against Termis it's not *that much worse* than against veterans, it's pretty even.

With plasmas you get more range, you get some not bad firepower against monsters, you are somewhat worse against 2W (and especially a lot worse against no/weak inv 2+ save 2W targets) and bad vs vehicles but better against regular infantry. Imo it's not all doom and gloom for plasma but of course you depend on the fickle  4+, making it less reliable.

 

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Posted (edited)

@Lautrec the Embraced If we don't round up? We start with whole numbers because you can't buy half a plasma or melta gun, or any other fraction. Otherwise, there's no rounding.

Next, to the actual values.

I might be devastatingly wrong here, but plasma has breaching 4+, yes? A plasma shot averages 0.33 unsaved wounds from breaching and 0.07 wounds from failed armour; rapid fire naturally doubles that value. You need 3 plasma guns in rapid fire range to get 1.98 breaching wounds (the average failed armour saves only add up to 0.43 and are discarded as they don't add to the math from breaching ). So 3 plasma guns to 2 melta guns; 50% more guns and an extra marine necessary. 

A plasma shot averages 0.217 unsaved breaches against 5++, doubled again in rapid fire for 0.43. 9 shots average 1.96; 10 averages 2.18, either way you really need 5 guns. You need 3 meltas.

Cataphractii goes 6 plasma guns to 4 meltas.

Storm shields are 9 to 6.

So bringing this all back around to the original statements and my comments about plasma; against marines they aren't the best choice any more. They have a niche they excel in, and are ok in other areas, but volkite surpasses it against single wound infantry, and the melta against heavier stuff and vehicles.

They're not terrible, they're not the worst, but they're certainly not "the best", or "great" elite killers. 

Edited by SkimaskMohawk
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8 minutes ago, Bung said:

@SkimaskMohawk

Going with your math it seems GW Hit a solid middle ground with Plasmaguns in the TSS as the Melta Gun is more expansive and the Volkite Caliver for the same Points has other drawbacks.

Yea I think it's very fair to say that most weapons in this edition have clearly defined roles, with corresponding strengths and weaknesses.

The plasma is an alright filler choice against marine lists, and you shouldn't feel like taking it was a clear mistake, like say the flamer. But, for all the new players asking "what's the best weapon to equip a support squad with", against marines (the most popular 30k army for a variety of factors), the answer is the melta. It even helps in the fabled mass power armour meta, because just a 6+ fnp makes it equal the plasma, reducing its niche further.

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My take away, for what it is, is that both are good. I still think Melta is 5pts too expensive, as I know I will be focusing TSS with meltas,  and the short range hurts, but it seems that Plasma, long Volkite, and Melta are all decent, with melta being better when they are in range, but plasma and volkite both having decently longer ranges? 

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