Monday, October 17, 2011

Cracking the Chimera

In response to a post over at Imperius Dominatus about how a Psycannon is not anti-tank, I decided to run all the marine portable weapons against a 2 weapon chimera in my tank destruction simulator. Here are the results:

So where does the Psycannon fall. Well the best weapon is a half range melta. It outstrips pretty much every other weapon a marine can carry. Ofcourse half range is 6 inches for the meltagun so you have to get pretty close. Every other weapon is the same or worse than the psycannon used in the Heavy 4 variety. It is better than normal melta, lascannons, and missile launchers. In fact the Assault 2 Psycannon is better than the missile launcher. Now the mean number of turns shooting to get the kill is as follows:

Half Range Melta:3.4
Heavy Psycannon: 5.8
Cyclone Missile Launcher (Hive Guard for Xenos): 6.1
Full Range Melta: 7.3
Lascannon: 8
Assault 2 Psycannon: 11.0
Missile Launcher(Standard Lances here also): 11.6
TL Psybolt Assault Cannon: 4.4
Newly Added for the Xenos: Big Gun Tyrannofex: 4.3

Now they are right. The psycannon does struggle to kill the Chimera but it does better than most other choices available. If the psycannon cannot be counted as Anti Tank then pretty much only anti tank weapon marines have is half range melta. While you have to roll 6 to get the penetrating hit you get 4 shots for each weapon. A lascannon might penetrate 3 times as much put it also misses completely 33% of the time. The four shots from the psycannon will only all miss about 1.25%. It is not that the psycannon is bad at antitank. It is that the rules in 5th ed in terms of light armor toughness are just unbalanced.

Now remember these numbers are for 1 weapon. We see that a psycannon can kill one Chimera a game. The list that I did not like a little while ago had 12 plus 6 TL Psybolt Assault Cannons (which are as good at killing light tanks as tyrannofexes for 1/3 the price). Six turns of this firepower will kill 21 Chimeras. Fully Anti Mech Nids (3 Tyrannofexes, 3*3 Hive Guard) is only 13.5 dead chimeras.


  1. "It is that the rules in 5th ed in terms of light armor toughness are just unbalanced."

    For some reason the word "unbalanced" doesn't seem like it's the right word. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I think "silly" is a better fit.

  2. I'd disagree with full-anti-mech Tyranids being three Tyrannofexes and three full broods of Hive Guard. I mean, that's a nice shooting base, but it ignores how Tyranids can really mulch mechanized units.

    I'd also disagree with the notion that light armour and toughness are unbalanced. You only need one destroyed result, so every shot after the first is better than a re-roll. To kill a W4 Tyranid creature is to create a dependency between at least four shots.

  3. If light armor survival was not unbalanced you would not see people taking 12. So much light armor transports purely for shooting purposes and not for transport.

    Now think about a 4 lascannon devastator unit. This is essentially dedicated non mobile anti tank. You opponent has to bring the tank into you LOS and range. Now it takes such a unit 2 turns worth of shooting on average to kill 1 light transport. That is probably a whole turn to many.