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In many articles and advice I have read the general opinion is that the lascannon is better than the autcannon for the Imperial Guard. While they have the same range, the lascannon is stronger 9 vs 7 for the autocannon. However the autocannon can fire two shots instead of the one for the lascannon.
Obviously, for the very few vehicles that have armour of 14 (Land Raiders and Monoliths, the autocannon is useless. For vehicles with armour of 13 a round of shooting will result in damage 1/3rd of the time and half the time for the lascannon. However, for almost all other vehicles the autocannon shows its strength. At armour of 12 the ratios are even and at lower armour values the two shots of the autocannon win every time. Against troops T
the same maths benefits the autcannon as well.
There are very few vehicles which do not have weaker armour on the side, so a wide spacing of autocannons are likely to enable at least some of them to shoot for the side armour.
Naturally, the two points in strength give the Lascannon more damage once done, but in my limited experience, the chance of actually damaging it somehow is more important the the result of the glancing or penetrating hit.
So, unless you are facing one of the few armies which uses vehicles of armour 14, perhaps you should be looking at autocannons. Also the saving of 10 points is not to be sneezed at.
I think the maths is right, but am hoping that someone will enlighten me if what I have written is wrong.
I prefer autocannons due to their verstility, hordes? no problem, light to medium tanks? bring 'em on. That said, the lascannon is an awesome anti-tank weapon that demands respect.
Autocannons also work better because of the multiple shots when you factor in guardsmen BS. I like to have 1/3 to 1/2 half of my heavy weapons autocannons with a few lascannons and the odd mortar.
As they both have the same range it probably comes down to personal preference, but autocannons do it for me.
I like having two fire support squads with ACs, and one anti-tank with LCs... I throw the LCs in the center of my line to take on tanks' front armor and to give it a fairly wide field of fire, and I put the ACs on my flanks... chances are that your opponent will try to avoid showing his sides to your ACs, but if you force him to keep his front armor pointed at your LC you'll have a better chance of your ACs seeing his sides.
That having been said, LCs are pretty much a one-trick pony... kill big stuff. Granted, it's a wonderful trick pony, but if there's nothing big to shoot at it feels like overkill firing at anything else, and ends up being a waste of points. The ACs are a very versatile weapon, as was said previously, having a decent rate of fire for hordes, and a good str and AP for moderately-armored foes.
I would suggest 2/3 AC and 1/3 LC depending on the foe... when fighting SMs it would be worth the points to take the LCs, even if they miss more often.
Personaly I prefer Autocannons, their versatility and multi-shot nature makes them much more flexible weapons, but obviously there are some things an Autocannon simply can't tounch. Therefore I think a balanced army should always take both along for the ride.
I agree with Kindsyndrome, I tend to field my Lascannon at the centre of my flank, however I find Autocannons on the flanks can often be outmanuvered on a board with a fair amount of terrain, so Autocannons on Sentinels can be effective (despite me playing devil's advocate for the HF Sentinel in another thread at the moment).
I love autocannons but I am seen more trends at tournments to be hvy vehicles and have good armor save. I have a store tournment this weekend and thier will be about 20 to 24 players and I am willing to bet that their will be enough landraiders, terminators, crisis suits, demon princes with stature and armor save of 2, looted leman russes and sm's .So to offset it I need plasmas and LC. Anything that can open an armor save of 2 or 3. That is the main reason I take more LC then autocannons or Hvy bolters.
There's already been a lot of number crunching on this. The statistical result is that autocannons are better at AV < 12, lascannons are better at AV > 12, and that AV 12 is kind of a split.
Autocannons will hit AV12 and glance or better once every three shots.
Lascannons will hit AV12 and glance or better once every three shots.
Lascannons have a slight performance edge vs. AV12 as there's a greater chance of a penetrating hit, which ramps up the odds of a destroyed result.
Vs. light infantry (4+ save or worse), the autocannon performs better than the lascannon, but not as well as the heavy bolter.
Vs. MEq and better, the lascannon performs better as the AP benefit outweighs the to-hit benefit.
This means the autocannon is kind of an in-between weapon, as the only target against which it outperforms the heavy bolter or the lascannon are AV 10-11 vehicles. So instead of thinking that lascannons are only useful vs. AV14, you instead should think that ACs are only optimal vs. AV10-11, which is a very limited number of units.
Originally Posted by IGFreely
Very good point... the AC appears to be a compromise between a Heavy Bolter and a Lascannon...
I guess the final call is going to have to be made in the face of what army you're playing against... LCs against SM, HB against hordes of 4+ armor saves (or worse), and AC's for any sort of mix you'd come across (such as some Tau and SM Scout forces w/ transports).
I've noticed that this is the same with most of the IG's heavy weapons: they're all either incredibly useful, or incredibly ineffective depending on what you're facing... kinda speaks positively for the balance between everything...
I have only taken two autocannons in an anti light vehicle role. They're there to destroy the things like vypers and landspeeders that I don't want to waste my lascannon shots at.
I've also mixed in plasma guns with the squads so terminators will think twice about approaching the squad.
... only triumph could turn pooing his pants into a good thing..
Yeah, I prefer lascannons quit a bit more accually. They can take on the big stuff and with that great AP, kill termies, Mega armoured nobs and the like. The tank popping power is also much greater (sure you all knew that xD.)
I once was dark, now im light.
Must admit I pretty much always take lascannons in my lists. Depending on the points limit, I always take Lascannon/Plasma line squads. Sure it mightn't be useful against horde armies, but truth be told, every army out there usually fields some sort of target that you will really want dead. Lascannons can provide you with this type of firepower. Add to the fact that most ppl play space marines anyway, and lascannons just get better.
Just as an example, I played a game yesterday and was suddenly faced with 5 deepstriking black templar assault termies. One round of shooting later, and those termies were no more. Lascannons took out 2, plasma the other 3. There's a lot to be said for ap2, and thats why in my books, lascannons will always get the nod over autocannons.
What Guardsmen dont want to hear...
"Ok boys, time to fix bayonets!"