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Im starting an imperial guard army and Im not sure if I should give my infantry squads autocannon or heavy bolters for dealing with infantry. Is it better to go for more shots with lower strength or vice versa? Since both weapons cost the same it is something of a dilema
Autocannons give you the added option of disposing of enemy transports leaving your heavier weapons to deal with the heavier vehicles/mc's.
It all comes down to your opponants force. If they are footsloggers go for the heavy bolters. If they are catching a ride in a vehicle, take Autocannons. From my own experiences, the majority of people I play spam transport vehicles so I run Autocannons.
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I love Heavy Bolters but Autocannons are more multipurpose. Autocannon and Grenade launcher are a great combo for your squads. Both are cheap and effective.
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Sir Winston Churchil
The difference is versatility. Autocannon while lacking 1 shot can effectively fight against most enemies and will wound most enemies on a 2+ because of their strength value and still be able to target light armor.
Others have said it. Autocannons have duality in that they can effectively target infantry, MCs, and transports. Heavy Bolters are pretty much infantry-only unless you're shooting at Ork Trukks.
Pair them with grenade launchers and you have two blast weapons to nail infantry, and higher strength to help take down vehicles and transports.
The normal armour for transports is 11-12, and missile launchers will penatrate 12 1/3rd of the time, and penetrate 11 half the time. Autocannons will pen 12 one sixth of the time and 11 one third of the time. Sure the autocannons have a better ability to glance, and to pen AV11 but the missile launchers are close.
Against infantry missile launchers will often preform better. frag missiles will destroy hordes while krak missiles can hit marines and other 3+ sace models out of cover better than the autocannon.
Missile launchers will instant death the basic T characters of all races but necrons and daemons, so if you finish a squad consider taking a potshot at the guy who had been hiding in there, he likely won't even get his save due to the AP of the missile. Tyranid warriors too are suseptible to krak missiles. They had 3 T4 wounds, and one missile can take them all out.
Monsterous creatures often have a high T and good save, most TyranidMCs for example have T6 3+. A krak missile will wound on 2+ while they get their save, an autocannon would be two hots wounding on 3+ and they would get a 3+ chance to ignore it.
So try some missile launchers, they're a very versatile weapon that is always useful.
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I love missile launchers too because of the ID on most characters and ignoring more normal saves. You need to use orders though otherwise you will hate yourself when half of them miss that Trygon, or most of those Ork Boyz live due to cover.
Autocannon hands down.
HB is only slightly more effective at infantry. However, the AC gives you anti transport ability, better at wounding MC, and has a longer range.
As for Missile Launchers, AC have a higher chance at penetrating AV11 and the same chance against AV12, however, AC costs 5pt less.