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With the changes in 5th most people seem to have gone off Devastators in a big way.
However, I find them incredibly useful.
They can deny objectives in my deployment area, are very useful against Deep Strikers and Outflankers, and can blow up vehicles, MEQs, and Hordes.
8 Devastators: 4 Missile Launchers. The Sarge's special is very useful with the Blast template.
I'd be interested to read your thoughts.
I prefer them with 4 plasma cannons - there's not a lot that can massacre so much of the enemy's forces at such range
They have their uses, and it's not so much that they've changed but that the tank-based HS options have become so much better.
I'd rather have 2 Predators. Faster, immune to small arms, can't be tied down, mobile firepower, and they can block off 2 objectives.
Devvies cost too much, have 0 mobility and since they sit back they are easy enough to ignore or at least get cover from.
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I've use them quite frequently (friendly matches). My setup is usually only Sgt. + 3ML + 1PC. Every once in awhile, if points permit, I'll add 1 or 2 more marines as meat shields. For me the main determination whether they are super effective or a waste is in their deployment. It is necessary to place them where they have a clear LoS to a major avenue of the enemies travel, or they can clearly support advancing units.
My main use for them is heavy infantry, transports, or regular infantry. Trying to use them as tank hunters has always proven less then average results. They are a static firebase, and unless an unwary opponent happens to turn its side to them, they won't ever really get to do much damage to a tank. Not counting a lucky shot getting through.
I use them sometimes but all depends on the mission. I'm playing through a campaign at the moment and have 2500pts a mission.
Used two squads of 4 ml in 10 man squads. Combat squaded them and used the none hw guys to sit a bit forward of the others guys to act as a screen for them. Worked wonders as it was a defensive mission for me. However, I have rarely seen a need for them in most other games I've played. Typhoons do the job better.
I run a full mech army so I get my heavy weapons mostly through LR, Vindicators and/or Dakka predators. When I run a more footslogger type of army I do run a full Devastator squad with 4 x ML. They are very useful but just don't fit my current style of play currently.
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I don't like them. Then again my army is Bikers, so I haven't really got the spare manpower to babysit half a Tactical Squad as they waste The Emperor's Plasma on mech. But it can kill AV12! Sure it can, provided the central hole doesn't scatter off the hull. Using Blast weapons on vehicles smaller than a Land Raider is fail. What about infantry! It wounds them on a 2+! Sure it does. Now here is a unit of Guardsmen with a 4+ cover save, ordered to hit the deck for a 2+ cover save. Oh dear.
Predators are so much better than Dev Squads it really isn't funny. So what they're only a single model and they can't realistically take on heavy armour? Your Dev Squad can't either, not unless you give them Multimeltas and deploy them in the middle of the board; and my Dakka Pred costs half of your Dev Squad. Sit them both 36" away from one another in cover (yes, the Devastators too if you want) and see which one flinches first.
I don't really like devastators, apart from defence missions, because you can't move and shoot. Then again I don't really like tanks either due to the best damage chart result possible not allowing it to shoot, which is the whole point of tanks. It's just annoying having hundreds of points of tanks that are not doing what you paid their points for, and how easy it is for this to happen.