Aug 11, 2011

Crusader Squad options.

Recently I've been running through numbers on the Black Templar units and weapons. At this point I have an excel sheet saved that has the DMS, DMCC, DRPG, DLRPG, and adjusted values of those numbers based on the points value of the unit, and another set of numbers based off of weighted averages of those values, for every commonly chosen unit that is available to the Black Templars as well as separate sections for whether or not Accept Any Challenge has been chosen.

Yeah, I have too much time on my hands.

However, I have learned from all of this several bits of information (that are actually rather helpful and I will be doing probably daily or semi-daily posts concerning each one worth noting along with a big post at the end. The first one is Crusader Squad Weapons.

No, I don't mean Bolters vs. Chainswords (though I will glance over it), I mean Heavy and Special Weapon choices.

First off, I like Bolters. I like how they work, I like how they look, I like their name...there is just nothing that normally brings me to choose something beside Bolters for my Marines (Close Combat Squads excluded, but they are for a later post). But in reality, whichever one you go with should be based on how you intend the squad to get used.

Now, I'm going to cover the Special Weapons first since there are only three of them and can get finished with quickly. First off, we have Flamers. Flamers kill infantry and are AP5. Bolters do that. Bolters are free. Didn't choose Bolters? Bolt Pistols, plus a bunch of attacks in Close Combat. Try again.

The Meltagun. Bane of Land Raiders, capable of making even the smallest of Scout Squads a threat to most armies, coming in at 10 points. Personally, I don't see spamming Melta as the best strategy, maybe in conjunction with Missile Launchers, but not by itself and not in the same squad. It has a place, but the short range and even shorter effective range plus low RoF makes this an option for when you need it, not standard.

The Plasma Gun. I've heard that the Plasma Gun was THE weapon of 4th edition. Personally, I think that it is still a pretty good choice. Cheaper than the Meltagun, better against Infantry, better against light vehicles, longer range, sounds good. Of course, there is the threat of killing yourself and since it is per shot you've got a lot of chances to kill yourself. If we had worse saves, I would be concerned. As it is, I can stand to lose a couple of guys each game to my own weapons.

So, Plasma Gun standard, with the option for the Meltagun should there be the need. On to Heavy Weapons.

Now, I'm going to ignore Power Weapons and Powerfists since they are for squads that are built for Close Combat and will be covered more in-depth in a later post. Basically, take the Powerfist as it is the more efficient at killing MEq and gives you a shot at killing vehicles.

We've got the Heavy Bolter, Missile Launcher, Multi-Melta, Lascannon, and Plasma Cannon. Personally, I would like Heavy Bolters to be a viable choice, because they're like Bolters but bigger and better. Unfortunately, for them to be viable the rest of the weapons would need to either be non-existent or so overly priced Heavy Bolters would be taken standard most of the time as a reflex.

Heavy Bolters make you better against Infantry, increase your range, and give you a shot against light vehicles. They come cheap, but don't provide the squad with the Duality that it needs. Maybe next Codex (I can only hope).

Missile Launchers. The 40k Swiss Army knife. It has an optimal setting for everything except Land Raiders. Not too expensive plus being relatively effective, sort of like the Plasma Gun. Worth choosing in many situations but is often neglected in favor of the Lascannon for anti-Heavy Tank.

Speaking of, the Lascannon gives the squad the ability to fairly effectively hurt absolutely anything (as effectively as you can hurt Monoliths). There are better weapons for the jobs, but not many and not for everything. Of course, there is a price tag which isn't unreasonable. If you are concerned about killing Infantry, take something more efficient at it, but you'd be sacrificing some anti-vehicle in the process so do so carefully.

For Infantry, none of these options are as effective, nor efficient, as the Plasma Cannon. Not great against Vehicles and won't fire one in six times (probably failing about once per game per cannon) and can hurt you, but I don't know of anything else that is quite as good against Terminators (hang on a moment, nope, even Assault Cannons aren't as good). Of course, this advantage also applies to MEq so it is pretty versatile. It's kind of like the Missile Launchers, able to do everything. The problem is that it is worse against Vehicles and isn't as reliable when firing at Infantry (though it is still more deadly), plus it can kill the user. It comes in at a very expensive price, but if you really need some extra help against Infantry, then this is the gun for you hands down.

Finally, the Multi-Melta. Not even the Lascannon can claim rivarly once you get in Melta range on any count. Cheaper than it, same damage to Infantry, better against vehicles. Of course, if you are out of that 12" range then the Multi-Melta losses much of its goodness, but it is still AP 1 so a Glancing hit can kill and you've got more reliability compared to any other weapon (no Shaken result on a penetrating hit and more things asploding!). In a Rhino the range problem is lessened and you start to force your opponent into taking or not taking certain actions based on the threat bubble it causes (especially if you've got several in mid-field).

Now let's look at some numbers. Using a simple algorithm to grade each weapon based on potential damage in various areas and cost, I've come up with this ranking:

2.Missile Launcher
4.Plasma Cannon
5.Heavy Bolter

Unfortunately, the Plasma Cannon and Heavy Bolter both scored really low. A great deal of the reason for that is because you rarely need to be worried about what they're good at and if you lack where they do, you will be fighting a long uphill battle. The Multi-Melta sailed ahead of the others, but it is limited by range to only a select few uses and, were it counted as being out of Melta range, it would only rank at the same place as the Missile Launcher (AP1 but half the range so probably considered below). The Missile Launcher and the Lascannon were extremely close, so due to the plenty of Missile Launchers available through Typhoons choosing the Lascannon for the strength against Heavy Tanks isn't a bad idea since other ways of killing heavy tanks aren't exactly plentiful to us.

So, generally the Lascannon is the best choice. Occasionally it would be better to take the Missile Launcher and the advantages of the Multi-Melta should not be over-looked. But do you know what's good about this? The general opinion (when not confused by the Chain Swords) matches what I've gone over so I know I'm being pretty accurate.

Final thoughts: Combining Special and Heavy Choices. Now, one thing that attracts me to the Multi-Melta is the range. 24" maximum and 12" effective. The same as Plasma Guns and Bolters. So a Multi-Melta/Plasma Gun Combination in a Squad with Bolters remains at the same effect at whatever distance you are. The Kill-Zone remains the same on all weapons. Contrast that with taking a 48" Heavy and a Meltagun (or worse, a Flamer), and you're usually firing but you aren't firing all of your weapons, thus less effectively than you should.

Anyway, I've gone on for long enough. This has given me the chance to put out my thoughts and has done little else. Goodnight!

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