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Amongst all SM heavy weapons, I have find little use of heavy bolters. The weapon has decent range to hit anything while standing still, but fails to be any of use. The S of the weapon is not sufficient to penetrate armor, the rate of fire is not sufficient to kill many infantries (one wound is the average). The only decent thing that heavy bolters has is their AP value. Yes, they might not do anything to MEQ, but most xenos (non MEQ) will fall prey to the weapon. Taus, Orks, Eldars, Imperial guards, and Nyds. Then again, they might just get cover. Lets take a peek of other heavy weapons :
Missile Launcher : The most versatile heavy weapon. Anti Tank or Anti Infantry in one package. Hard to find flaws of the weapon.
Lascannon : The most expensive of them all, but provides the best sure penetration AT. The purpose of the weapon is clear. I gladly pay more for better armor penetration insurance.
Plasma Cannon : High strength, very low AP, and a blast weapon. What's not to like? The weapon put fear onto the heart of any MEQ player and may occasionally destroy armors. Their only downside is that they are prone to scatter.
Multi-melta : Another form of AT. Possibly the best for most armor, but a single shot at subpar range makes it a hit or miss weapon. But they instill fear onto any vehicle to enter its range.
I guess most of us already know this. What im trying to say, is there any good reason to have heavy bolter marine? do you have good experience with the weapon? I have two heavy bolter marine so im thinking to crack the glues and put better weapons to them, like meltaguns. Before that, I am trying to see any good point of the weapon that will make me think twice of getting rid of them.
unfortunately your observations are quite correct: 5th edition rules are giving heavy bolters a hard time. The reason: cover saves. When you face an Sv4+ unit and shoot it with an AP4 weapon, most often the enemy still has a 4+ cover save, changing nothing. The heavy bolter thus kills too few enemy models to be the effective anti-horde weapon it once was. It needs to get more shots or cheaper. You don't currently want them on Space Marines. Another reason for that is that infantry has to remain stationary in order to be able to fire their heavy bolters, where the 36" range is far, but not quite as far as required. The weapon just is not specialized enough and does not pack a big enough punch on its own.
But the heavy bolter still has some use: on mobile firing platforms and in greater numbers. Heavy bolters on attack bikes and landspeeders are still viable there. Here you won't have range issues and you have much better chances to avoid cover issues. Suddenly the heavy bolter becomes an effective all-round support weapon, killing light, medium, sometimes heavy infantry, aiding in stripping the last wounds off a monstrous creatures, or even kill light armor (chimera or artillery side armor, Ork trukks, enemy landspeeders or equivavent AV10 vehicles).
Don't underestimate this weapon overall: when used in greater quantities, the heavy bolter fire can be quite devastating. Remember: though one might only kill a single Eldar banshee per turn, those models are quite expensive, and it's well worth it if you can pick your target due to a mobile firing platform. The mass heavy bolters on my typhoon landspeeders or my Imperial vendetta gunships have often helped win a game big time, and even single heavy bolters on attack bikes in bike squads have saved my behind once or twice...
[About the mobility/range thing: same goes for multi-meltas, by the way. On infantry the are of little effect. On mobile platforms like attack bikes and landspeeders they are pure death and the Space Marines' most effective anti-tank.]
As I said: your assessment was correct. For tactical squads, the missile launcher - king of all Space Marine heavy weapons - is the best choice, while the plasma cannon can be a viable and effective support weapon here as well. Same goes for devastator squads, which - unfortunately - are not very points-effective in 5th edition Codex: Space Marines, though. (So unless you play Space Wolves with their Long Fangs or Blood Angels with cheaper dev squads I recommend not using them.)
I think you would do well removing the heavy bolters from the models and adding special weapons instead. The special weapons are all very viable and effective, and one of the most important (if not the most important) things in tactical squads. Or put on missile launchers (or plasma cannons) if you don't have any of those yet.
I would have to agree with pretty much everything here. Really heavy bolters are only good if there is no viable alternative, as on typhoons, or for synergy with other weapons such as on attack bikes in flamer toting bike squads.
I would just like to emphasise exactly how useless infantry mounted Multi-melta's are though. They are only effective against their chosen target within 12 inches and are still a heavy weapon, meaning they cannot move or deep strike and then shoot. So the chances for a vehicle to be in that firing range and the multi-melta to be able to fire are very slim, as most vehicles can simply move outside its range every turn. I can see the multi-melta on infantry being useful in only one way, area denial. No vehicle is going to want to risk moving within that bubble unless it can reliably kill the infantry first (not always hard). All up, pretty useless.
And now my bitter hands cradle broken glassOf what was everything... - Black by Pearl Jam
I like the Heavy bolter. some prefer to use the ML for hordes, But i like them in devastators - multiples for chewing up Non-meq armies (Orks hate them) as the rate of fire works well.
I don't mind them in tac squads either, it's not just the heady bolter, but all the other bolters in the squad have nice synergy when you are targetting efficiently.
I personally prefer to make my units with a dedicated role in mind:
lascannons for vehicles (never in devastators though)
Plasma cannons in devs x 2-3 or in a tac combat squad with a plasma gun for 2+ killing,
ML's - occasionally in a tac squad, depends how much anti tank i have in the army
Hb's - anti infantry.
now i do prefer my squads dedicating to holding objectives to have anti infantry (as the most likely visitors are infantry troops) and i do equip them quite frequently.
Adeptus Mechanicus Marines: http://www.librarium-online.com/foru...ml#post1655065
I have to disagree wholeheartedly. The cover-spam that is prevalent in the current edition really reduces the importance of AP, and increases the importance of rate of fire (and if you're shooting at T3 troops, S5 and S9 both wound on 2s). Unless you're trying to kill a vehicle, rate of fire is by far the most important consideration. Three shots are better than one...except when you're comparing three shots to one template that will almost always hit at least two models. So the plasma cannon is better than a heavy bolter against troops, if you can afford one, a frag missile is better if the target is T3 or worse, but the other weapons...they're strictly antitank...and that's never been the heavy bolter's role. In its role of killing troops, it's actually quite good. Antitank and antitroop is apples and oranges.
IG since 1999 __ DA since 2002 __ Tau since 2005 __ SoB since 2007
Brets 1997-1999 __ TK since 2009 __ Empire since 2010
I wouldn't take MM either unless they are on an attack bike or landspeeder or another veh - not being able to move and most effective within 6" - thats not gonna happen on a normal marine - thats why for troops just use melta gun - leave the MM for the veh
Tau: 6K - W17-D3-L4, Orks: 4K - W9-D0-L2, SM: 7K - W7-D3-L4,CSM: 4K W5-D1-L1, Nids: 3.2K W3-D0-L2
Apoc games (mixture of armies used): W5-D0-L1
@ Marnepup: the importance of AP has decreased far more with AP4+ weapons than with AP3- weapons. Even if a Sv3+ model has 4+ cover, an AP3 is 50% more likely to harm its target per shot when compared to an AP4 or worse weapon. Take a Sv2+ model with 4+ cover and the AP2 weapon is 200% more likely to harm its target per shot when compared to an AP3 or worse weapon...
You are very correct saying that anti-tank and anti-infantry are apples and oranges, but if you can buy only one thing, you have to consider how much apple and how much orange you want and which will benefit your army the most. The high rate of fire makes the heavy bolter a good anti-infantry weapon, but the missile launcher is almost as good (maybe it inflicts fewer casualties, but it can inflict instant death and has longer range which is key for a stationary weapon) and the plasma cannon is even better. But tactical squads are all about versatility and fifth edition is all about mechanization. You need to crack those vehicles before you can kill the infantry. And monstrous creatures with high toughness and Sv3+ armor are quite common these days. Missile launchers really are the perfect weapon for shooting transports and monstrous creatures, but they are also quite adept at killing hordes - perfect versatility without any extra cost.
The reason for me saying that heavy bolters are better in greater numbers is this: you want to terminate units, not only weaken them slowly. There is often that heavy weapon staying alive until the last model dies, any casualties prior to that not significantly reducing combat effectiveness. Same for wounds on monstrous creatures, etc... A single heavy bolter doesn't pack the punch to kill its target in one turn. Anti-infantry should be dealt with by flamers, mass firepower, large blasts, or close combat, etc... The missile launcher on the other hand packs a real punch: it kills that piece of artillery, stops this transport, etc... The plasma cannon is an alternative if you're army lacks AP2 weaponry.
I'm still enjoying my HBs.
I always take one inside my ML-toting long fangs. I could say my success is do to their ability to "split fire", finishing off a model or two while popping a vehicle. If I need to, I can still glance a vehicle over AV 10.
As for troops "in cover", I just sick my mounted grey hunters on them to flush them out ;D