Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The Truth About D Weapons
So I cannot say if D weapons are ruining the game of 40K when they are allowed, but what I do know is that GW implemented these big weapons wrong and that is really the issue.
D-Weapons as we know them now were brought into 40K from the Epic scale. The most recent version of the Epic rules has essentially normal weapons(heavy bolter, missile launcher, lasercannon), macro weapons (multimelta, powerfist), and titan killers (Volcano Cannon, Deathstrike Missile, Cobra D-Cannon). Stuff like Bolters do not even count as ranged attacks and one appear during assaults. A ranged attack is decide by two die rolls. The attack roll which is given by the weapon vs target type(infantry or armor). For example a heavy bolter hits infantry on a 5+ but cannot do anything classed as armor while a lascannon is also 5+ but only can hurt armor. If a hit is scored then the target unit takes its save (4+ for space marines for example). Fall and the stand (~5 infantry models) or tank is removed. Pass and no lost model.
Now Macro Weapons keep the front part the same except that they generally can hurt both infantry and tanks on the same value (often 5+) but units cannot take their save unless they have a special rule (reinforced armor=Land Raider/Terminator). Titan Killers essential override reinforced armor and some allow a single attack to do more than 1 point of damage to a model hence they are good at killing titans. For example the Deathstrike missile is a 2+ titan killer that does 1D6 hits to the model. Now against an infantry unit that will remove one stand 5/6th the time with total and complete overkill but against a brand new Warhound it has better than a 25% chance of wiping off the map and a good chance of damaging it significantly. Destroying that one warhound is valued at the same as like 4 devastator stands and their two rhinos so an attack like that is much better directed at the Warhound.
Looking at a Turbolaser you will see something odd. It is listed as a 4 attack AP5+/AT3+ meaning you get 4 shots and generate hits vs infantry on a 5+ and tanks on a 3+. Notice something there. No Macroweapon or Titan Killer. Hence it gets a good number of shots but each shot while a heavy hitter is not a just remove a model/stand. Infact all 4 shots from one turbolaser does not even average a stand of space marines removed (.66 average and .33 for terminators as target). It is better against tanks but still on average does not even kill a whole landraider (.66 again compared to 1.78 rhinos). If the weapon is so poor why would it be standard armament on a titans. It is actually very good at removing void shields where it will average 2.66 per turbolaser.
So it seems to me that two 5 inch blasts that remove everything underneath is not a very good translation of a weapon that on average does not even get a single space marine tactical squad. Seems like a better translation for such a weapon would have been like 4 S9 AP2 small blasts. Actually almost all the D Weapons translated into 40K are at most megaweapons (think AP1). Looking at my list of Scout Titan weapons none of them are Titan Killers, for Reavers and Warlords only the melta cannon and volcano cannon are titan killers. The Imperator and Warmonger both also carry unique titan killers. For Eldar the Phantom Titan's pulsars are titan killers but not the ones on the revenants. Both the Warlock Titan and the Cobra have titan killers also that are special in that they involve the epic equavalent of templates that allow them to hit multiple models but they general pay for this in reduced hit chances. So instead of hitting on a 2+ or 3+ they might be 5+ or 6+.
So in their efforts to make the big guys cool they have made they way more deadly than they were. A Reaver Titan will probably average about 1 tactical squad (2 stands) killed per turn with all its weapons because that is not what it is for. Ofcourse that is not very exciting and not a reason to spend 600+ dollars. So instead of getting things which have specific applications where you need to choose the right targets we get super heavies that just wipe units off the board in a turn often including other super heavies which makes it very much a shoot first type of thing.
A further thought: If you are playing a futuristic battle game at 28 mm with individual infantry models than who those models are and how they are positioned should matter (with respect to terrain, spacings, formations, flanks, etc.) so having a whole class of weapons that just ignores any features of those models just undermines the point.