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Playing with fire - about plasma weapons
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Old 19 Apr 2006, 10:17   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Playing with fire - about plasma weapons

Generally plasma weapons are a love-hate for players because they offer an impressive fire-power, but in the same time they threat your own man with their "Gets hot!" rule.

There are some obvious reasons to use plasma weapons, such as:
  • good strength
  • good AP
  • they can threat light vehicles
  • the plasma cannon uses area blast marker
But those weapons are more famous (or infamous) for their main drawback: the "Gets Hot!" rule.

I've heard players that don't take plasma at all because they fear overheating too much. Are they wrong? No, it's so annoying when your plasma cannon kills your own man (and offers to the opponent about 35 victory points for free).
The important thing is to valuate how many times it happens.

Let's start with some Mathhammer:
A weapon that shots once, gets hot 1/6 times and this kills your man 1/3 times, so overheating is lethal only 1/18 times (5.56% times)

A weapon that shots twice (rapid firing plasma rifle, static plasma guns):
  • inflicts one wound to the wielder 16/36 times and this kills 1/3 times. So the wielder dies 12/81 times;
  • inflicts two wounds to the wielder 4/36 times and this kills 20/36 times. The wielder dies 5/81 times.
Total: the wielder dies 17/81 times (20.99% times)
(The remaining 64/81 times the weapons shots normally or it overheats but the wielder passes his saves.)

Conclusion of the Mathhammer boy: if you shoot once, you risk one casualty every 18 shots; if you shoot twice, the risk is one casualty every 5 shots.

(IMPORTANT: this is the average, don't trust it blindly. Luck is too important to be ignored. A friend of mine got 5 overheats and 5 deaths with only 6 plasma cannon shots (in several matches). Now he refuses every plasma weapon)

My conclusion is that if you don't rapid-fire/shoot twice, plasma weapons are safe enough to be a valid help to your army, specially against SM/CSM/light vehicles.
If you want to rapid-fire, do it at your own risk. Sometimes it pays, sometimes not. I think that in a match you have only one occasion to rapid-fire, so the risk is acceptable.

Hope it helps.

EDIT: thanks to LordDemon and Siruk for noting the mistakes.
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Old 19 Apr 2006, 12:20   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Playing with fire - about plasma weapons

Hey man,

Good synopsis of the plasma weaponry. You could probably complete it by adding the availability statistics in a marine army, as well as the different types (pistol, gun & cannon) and how they can effect these things (cannon averaging more hits for example perhaps). Just maybe a bit more on them for interest's sake.

One thing that may be worth mentioning, in regards to wanting to rapid-fire or not. When you move, your weapon becomes rapid-fire and you must shoot it twice. So plasma on the go, is dangerous. Plasma that is stationary, taking one shot at 24 inches, is less dangerous (as you proved).

Great job! Cheers!
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Old 19 Apr 2006, 13:51   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Playing with fire - about plasma weapons

  • Wow! Thanks for the Karma!!

    Ok, so let's look at the plasma in your army:

    Where you can find it:
    • Troop:
    in a troop squad, you have all the three options: plasma pistol, plasma gun and plasma cannon. The kind of weapons must be chosen according to the role you want for your squad: plasma cannon is obviously a good choice for a static squad who will support the army with mid-ranged fire.
    Plasma pistols are good in every kind of squad, but specially in a cc oriented one, because allow your model to take a cc weapon in addition to it (and so getting the extra attack for having 2 weapons). Another advantage of the pistol is that it can be used even if the squad moved and allows to assault the survivors.
    Plasmagun has the same range as a bolter, so it mixes well with squads who provide short-ranged support and advance to rapid-fire. Its ability to rapid-fire is a two-edged sword for the "Gets Hot!" rule, but in my opinion it is worth the risk because gives you the possibility to wipe out tough enemies.
    • Assault Squad:
    they can choose up to two plasma pistols, and this adds to the shooting power of the squad. The pistol's ability to shoot only once when the squad moves limits the risk of overheating. I've been warned against using plasma pistols in an assault squad because they are so powerful that they may even kill too many enemies and so negating you the possibility to assault them.
    • Devastator squad:
    this static unit is the good place for a couple of plasma cannons. The only disadvantage is that this weapon isn't the best choice if you need to go tank-hunting (no way to destroy vehicles with armor 14)
    • Independent characters:
    their high BS makes them the perfect candidates for plasma pistols (and another cc weapon, of course). They also have extra wounds and better saves to reduce the risks of overheating. I generally give them bionics to gain an extra chance against this wounds (and against the others, too )
    • Techmarine:
    I don't have the codex with me, but I think that his servo-items includes a plasma pistol and that his servitors can take one plasma cannon. Those weapons are in the right place, because the Tech and his squad are often stationary to work on vehicles and so they have the opportunity to use their weapons to the best results. Add that the signum can be used to repeat to hit rolls, and you will have something like a twin-linked plasma cannon or the possibility to reroll the die of the pistol when it gets hot, so it reduces the risks.

    Marines survivability against a plasma hit:

    suppose that a marine with a plasma weapon shoots to another marine (or MEQ):
    he hits on 3+ (66,67%), wounds on 2+ (83,33%) and negates his armor save. Result: 55,56% times the marine is dead.
    Add to this that plasma cannon uses the area , so you can hit more than one target per shot:
    if you have 2* marines partially covered, on average, you will hit one* and miss the other. So, you have the original target and another who are risking. On average both will die 30,86% times and 38,27% times you will score one casualty. This is good enough (for me) to accept the risks of using plasma weapons.
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Old 19 Apr 2006, 14:06   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Playing with fire - about plasma weapons

Nice guide to the pros and cons of plasma weapons.

You might also want to mention that Plasma guns can be taken in bike squads, for some mobile, hard-hitting plasma death. Bikers can fire rapid fire weapons and then charge into combat, so that would be great for mopping up any survivors.
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Old 19 Apr 2006, 15:08   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Playing with fire - about plasma weapons

Bikers can only charge after firing rappid fire weapons if the rapid fire weapon is bike mounted.

However this is indeed a good article on the dangers ouf Gue'la plasma weaponry.

Unlike the enlightened Tau who do not needlesly risk their own soldiers with dangerous weapons.
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Old 19 Apr 2006, 15:59   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Playing with fire - about plasma weapons

I thought it would be better in the general 40k section since it's not just Space Marines can take plasma weaponry. I myself haev a Nurgle army with 3 plasma guns and 2 plasma pistols. Although I personally like plasma weaponry as being my "standard" special weapon.
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Old 19 Apr 2006, 18:45   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Playing with fire - about plasma weapons

Well I should have on average about 30 plasma weapons in my army...

Since according to the descripts, pulse rifles fire a nice little shot of the stuff.

And I don't have to worry about my HQ killing himself with the stuff. Sure the strength is one lower, but its worth it for not having to worry about killing yourself! Safety first!
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Old 19 Apr 2006, 18:52   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Playing with fire - about plasma weapons

This was very interesting.


My mate Guy, staunch Dark Angels player, used to take a Devestator squad with four plasma cannons. This was lethal, it killed nearly anything it hit. Til one day, he rolled four ones to hit, four overheats. Nevermind he thought, I have power armour. Guess what? 4 ones to save...... Happened another few times exactly the same. He only takes one now.......
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Old 19 Apr 2006, 19:13   #9 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Playing with fire - about plasma weapons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balloz
A weapon that shots once, gets hot 1/6 times and this kills your man 1/3 times, so overheating is lethal only 1/18 times (5.56% times)

A weapon that shots twice (rapid firing plasma rifle, static plasma guns):
  • inflicts one wound to the wielder 16/36 times and this kills 1/3 times. So the wielder dies 12/81 times;
  • inflicts two wounds to the wielder 4/36 times and this kills 16/36 times. The wielder dies 5/81 times.
Total: the wielder dies 17/81 times (20.99% times)
(The remaining 64/81 times the weapons shots normally or it overheats but the wielder passes his saves.)
I think your math is a bit off. One shot/wound is Ok, but two wounds kill(cause a failed save) the marine 20/36 times, resulting wielders death (using your terms) 80/216 or 30/81 times (unless I calculated wrong). This puts the overall death count to 42/81, or 51.8%, meaning death every second turn.

Otherwise interesting thinking. I think (without checking the numbers) that guardsmen should try to rapid fire their weapons, marines should keep in single shots.


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Old 19 Apr 2006, 19:32   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Playing with fire - about plasma weapons

i tried playing marines yester day and my plasma guns on there first turn of use all desided to kill them owners. i have 7 and they all killed there owners.

now i refuse to use them, same with lascannon (25 lascannon shots AV13 they couldent even glance it). now the Melta Gun that is a wepaon of kings!
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