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Ok, honestly in 3rd Ed I think the Lance Strike was much better than the Melta Torpedo. The higher S helped to wound and autokill, the AP ignored everyone's save, and against vehicles the S was high enough that even against the worst armors it would almost always penetrate. For the Melta Torpedo, all it had going for it was the 2d6 pen against vehicles.
Now, in 4th Ed, the rules say that vs vehicles the template center circle must be over the target to use the full strength, and if it isn't the strength is halved. This really hurts the Lance Strike (since there is little control on placing the template) and makes the 2d6 pen of the Melta much better vs vehicles.
Is this a change for the good (to make the two orbital strikes different and both useful)?
What are your thoughts and which will you use if you were to use an Orbital Strike?
Food for Thought
Actually, I don't think it was changed on the basis of orbital strikes at all. It was changed because of bad tactics on the part of marine players. They would put all of their rhinos two inches away from each other and then whine and complain when two of them got destroyed by a single basilisk shot. So GW, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to reward bad tactics with silly rules.
Now, for the question of does it make them better? Yes, Melta Torpedoes are now much more useful against vehicles, but remember that most vehicles can move and shoot now, so some players will just opt to get the heck out of that piece of terrain rather than getting torpedoed.
The Lance Strike is now much more useful against troops like marine devastator squads and any other troops that like to hang out in the rear of an army.
I only ever took Melta Torpedoes over Lances when I knew I'd be facing lots and lots of vehicles. That'll probably stay the same now.
S4+2D6 is still frightening to all vehicles that I can think of (ok, except maybe a monolith, but that thing's near impossible to kill with DH anyways), so the half-S-when-not-centered thing doesn't really bother me. All that means is that if you hit more than one vehicle, you're only guaranteed one kill instead of many kills, although you're rather likely to score another kill or two. Serves people who group armor together nicely!
Lance strikes basically can't kill armor now, is all that new rule does. Before, an S10+D6 hit could pop everything, but now it'll be a S5+D6 hit. Which makes the Lance strike only useful for what it was originally meant: killing troops.
AHH...confusion so ur saying..that for lance strike to be +10 it has to hit directly on the target ? otherwise its str is halved...can somebody explain 2d6 ap
Hourg1ass: I did not mean to imply that GW changed it because of the Orbital Strike. I just meant that, as a DH player, the Orbital Strike was affected by this new rule. I thought it might be useful to discuss how it affects play and players' choice of Strikes.
Landor: Yes. In 4th Ed any Barrage or Ordnance weapon that hits a vehicle goes by where the little hole in the center of the template lands. If it is on the vehicle the round does full strength, and if the hole isnt on the vehicle itself then it is half strength.
Vehicles have an Armor Value (AV) which the attacker must beat to damage the vehicle. Most weapons are S + 1d6. A few weapons are S + 2d6. Obviously, by gaining the extra 1d6 you have a much better chance of penetrating a vehicles armor.
Previously the Lance Strike was just about as good versus vehicles with a 10+d6 penetration (average 13.5)
Melta Torpedos are an 8+2d6 (average 15)
The Lance strike had a better AP value so was better against really well armored troops like Terminators and Obliterators. Melta Torpedo costs slightly more. Lance strike can also insta-kill T5 models.
Thus, for fewer points I had a better troop killing Strike that was only slightly worse vs vehicles.
Now, with Orbital Strikes so random, it is difficult to get the hole on top of a vehicle. Usually you will only clip it or partially get it under the template. Halving the S then makes the Melta torpedo much stronger against vehicles since the melta retains its +2d6 penetration (as opposed to the +1d6 for the Lance Strike).
Personally, I always thought it was odd that the Lance seemed a much better rounded choice for less points than the Melta. I think the change, although more difficult for me, is a good thing. It makes the Melta Torpedo a much better choice for anti-vehicle work. I will be much more likely to take a Melta Torpedo now.
Actually, after I clicked the "reply" button I read your post again and realized that you didn't mean just Orbital Strike. I was in rant mode anyhow...Hourg1ass: I did not mean to imply that GW changed it because of the Orbital Strike. I just meant that, as a DH player, the Orbital Strike was affected by this new rule. I thought it might be useful to discuss how it affects play and players' choice of Strikes.