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Author Topic: Blast Weapons, new edition, old editions, all editions  (Read 608 times)

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Offline Wyddr

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Blast Weapons, new edition, old editions, all editions
« on: June 14, 2020, 03:10:24 PM »
Okay, so Cavalier and I have been going back and forth about the new Blast weapon rules in 9th (which, to me, seem underwhelming). So as not to clutter up that thread any further, I'm going to elaborate on what I don't like about (specific) blast weapons and why.

In essence, the problem with most artillery in the game is that they are anti-tank weapons or possibly shooting small elite units, but are essentially worthless against hordes of infantry or even moderate numbers of infantry. This is only mitigated if you have a blast weapon that fires a minimum of 2d6 shots and does so at a modest price-tag.

To whit, the Basilisk:

While I readily concede to being out of the competitive game for a while now (my last tournament was in 6th Edition and then pretty much everyone around here stopped playing 40k except for a small handful), I can only see the Basilisk being useful if you have an opposing force of small elite units and vehicles (so, Primaris Marines or Bike lists or something) where a single shot has reasonable odds of doing significant damage to a fairly effective unit. And even then, there are a bunch of units the Guard can take that do that same job better. 

If you play against anything else (hordes of Orks, hordes of Guardsmen, foot-tau, etc.), the Basilisk is, on a good day, going to kill 3 dudes on a shot for an extremely minimal return for a over-100 point tank. The range and all that is mostly irrelevant (when was the last time you were more than 48" from an enemy unit?) and so, barring niche uses where you've got an enemy hunkered out of LOS in the opposite corner of the board and no other way to get at it, it essentially is a big paper weight that nickel-and-dimes units all game without much to show for it.

So, okay, if your meta has you facing a bunch of small units that are small-arms resistant, then fine--fear the Basilisk. But hordes? Even moderately large units? Eh.

And that, right there, is my problem with blast weapons: they're pretty miserable horde control. You fire this giant cannon and routinely kill two guys. Now, if those two guys are pretty expensive (Wraithguard, etc.), that will hurt. But my ork opponent can let me kill two orks all day long and never care. Same goes for my own guard--shell away, I could give a crap. In an edition that gave us massive piles of dice for everybody else, blast weapons have been left behind. The Pie Plate was once king and is now jester. Or, I guess more accurately, a slightly better lascannon.

Maybe I'm alone in this (I guess?), but I really fail to see how 100+ points for an average of 4 (weaker) lascannon shots a turn equates to an effective use of points. Especially in an edition where (in my experience) vehicles have either become relatively rare or obnoxiously tough (Wave Serpents, Knights, etc.).

I would also add that, given the blast rules in 9th, big artillery guns really don't become much better against large units (6 shots hitting on 4s is still only 3 hits) and are exactly as good as they were against those small elite targets that have become their only real use.

I dunno, maybe I just don't play against enough marines? What am I missing?

Offline magenb

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Re: Blast Weapons, new edition, old editions, all editions
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2020, 08:47:13 PM »
GW has stripped out a lot of the "risk vs reward"  from the old 40k game to "speed up" the game, there isn't really any good way to replace the template system as it didn't just affect the number of hits. You would also spread your units out to minimize the impacts. This also meant you might lose cover.

By spreading out and scatter dice effects, small blasts would be generating 2-3 hits, with large being 3-5. To be fair if you played against someone that bunched up, you could double those figures, but I haven't seen that happen for a very long time. I still play old edition as it feel more like an battle simulation than 8th does, I don't take dedicated blast weapons in any army list, because there are more consistent options for CWE.

That said, on a full size board, a squad of basilisks could cause serious problems, and while they might not have made up their points in kills, they forced your opponent to throw resources at them, so they had strategic value. You could generally get 2 turns of fire out of them before they'd start taking hits themselves.


Basically 8th/9th are very different games to everything that has come before it. The new blast rule helps to get them to be at a similar killy level as previous editions. So is the question is the blast rule a problem, or is it just some units with the blast rule no longer have the same sort of value as previous edition, so their points may need to be adjusted to compensate.


Offline Wyddr

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Re: Blast Weapons, new edition, old editions, all editions
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2020, 08:59:25 PM »
The new rule in *no way* equals the damage output in previous editions, first off. You used to be able to consistently nab 3-5 *hits,* not shots. Hits. In other words, the equivalent of 6-10 shots.

The Blast rule doesn't work as it ought to. I don't want 70-point Bassies. I want blast weapons worthy of the name. The simplest fix (which, incidentally, has happened for a bunch of units) is to increase the number of shots. Give me 2d6 shots base off a big artillery blast weapon and they'll work great.

But of course that might be *too* good. You could also just have them roll *hits* and not shots.

All of that is beside the point, though--they aren't doing any of that. You get to keep your diddly 1d6 shots against anything you *want* to shoot at (vehicles, monsters, small elite units) and max shots against stuff you don't want to shoot at.  ::)

Offline Cavalier

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Re: Blast Weapons, new edition, old editions, all editions
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2020, 09:38:34 PM »
Ok I see where you are coming from now. Yeah the Basilisk is NOT a crowd control tool against hordes- at all. The Wyvern is now 24 shots against 11+ sized mobs and has clearly taken that slot since its introduction in 6th for better or for worse.

But the Basilisk is fantastic at removing entrenched elite, well armored units and pummeling vehicles out of LOS. The value in that cannot be emphasized enough. The best players win by out-deploying you and it all pivots around range and LOS blocking terrain. The Basilisk takes that away. And their is more LOS blocking terrain than ever coming to 40k and the game is shifting to a mech. MSU type build which is why I love the Basilisk. It is the ideal tool for that job.

Its a fantastic alpha strike weapon, that can go after the best vehicles and best armored infantry units in the game, no matter where they hide and it can do so with almost total protection when out of LOS (which is extremely prevalent in 9th ed). Additional terrain rules will also shed light on why the good old Bassie works so well too.

You are totally right about it not being a horde control tool. Its not. It probably should be. But the Wyvern is, and its horrific what it can do in 9th edition, but the Basilisk is phenomenal in its role as well. Its why its been a perrenial choice of so many tournament players and an auto-include in most Guard armies during 8th. 

So just to give you context, one of the major lists I played against in my playtesting of 9th was battle-cannon leman russ', double basilisk, a Wyvern and a Vulture (flyer with twin punisher cannons) and it was horrific. There was no place to hide, and if I did sneak out of LOS, I had double tapping battle cannons raining down on me. Its incredibly effective and it took every bit of maneuvering, reserves, and locked in target priority to get the job done. The mere presence of the Basilisk especially with blast forced is the total table setter and puts tons of pressure on you, especially in a game with less redundancy, and it excels at killing what is best in the new edition.

So yes I totally understand where you are coming from. Its not a horde control unit, but it is still great in the role that it operates in now and it has been for a long time, even at the highest levels of competitive 40k.
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Offline Grand Master Lomandalis

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Re: Blast Weapons, new edition, old editions, all editions
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2020, 01:25:33 AM »
Blast and Large Blast weapons were great for taking advantage when someone made a mistake and screwed up by bunching their units.  I've only seen people make those mistakes once or twice before learning and making an active decision to NOT be bunched up.

By spreading out and scatter dice effects, small blasts would be generating 2-3 hits, with large being 3-5. To be fair if you played against someone that bunched up, you could double those figures, but I haven't seen that happen for a very long time.

If someone properly spaced their models, a Blast weapon was going to get one hit, maybe two on a perfect scatter.  A Large Blast would net you 5, scattering might net you six.  In all honesty, Blast / Large Blast weapons were never really deterrents to hoard armies.  What they did was convince the Ork player to take the time to perfectly spread out his units of 30 boys to minimize the potential damage you could do with the blast weapons.

My view on blast weapons is that they were usually better suited for dealing with Armour than they were for thinning hoards.  A Large Blast against most vehicles was going to have a hard time missing, and the 2d6 armour pen with the high strength generally meant that you were going to do something. 

That is still very much the case with 8th.  Roll low on the number of shots against a unit of 30, and they laugh at you; whereas those low number of shots can still bring the pain to a vehicle and potentially bracket it to reduce it's effectiveness.  Giving Blast weapons a boost against units based on target size is a welcome buff.  Does it mean they will be clearing out hoards left and right?  No, but they weren't doing that in a realistic scenario in the first place.

Sorry, the only exception to that was if you were firing an Apocalyptic blast.  Then you were clearing hoards out.
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Offline Wyddr

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Re: Blast Weapons, new edition, old editions, all editions
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2020, 08:13:42 AM »
There were plenty of situations where you didn't have any choice but to bunch up--disembarking (particularly from a destroyed transport), deep striking, or immediately after a successful assault come to mind, not to mention the vagaries of certain terrain or blasts carrying across multiple floors of a ruin. I used to run Vindicators in 5th Edition back in the day, and they did plenty of business, even in tournaments. Hell, don't we remember the Leafblower?

Yeah, small blasts were always terrible--no argument there.

Blasts certainly were more reliable for dinging armor, but were seldom sufficient for taking it out entirely. This, ironically, is exactly how they work now.

I think the implications of having easier LOS-blocking might be sufficient to make the Basilisk, in particular, a more effective tool than it has been, but time will tell. I still consider weapons like that to be extremely meta-dependent. They're a niche weapon and they really ought to be a workhorse.

And nobody is arguing, by the way, that the 2d6 Battlecannon from the LRBT is bad. That is exactly how effective all artillery blasts should be, in my opinion. I just have a hard time buying that you guys are all worried about a couple basilisks (or a few Defilers for that matter, or a trio of vindicators). I've fielded mine a number of times in 8th edition and it has failed to impress every single time. The math on the dice just isn't there--yeah, you will almost certainly wound (though not as easily as it once did, of course), but it's the hits that are the problem and the damage isn't exactly amazing, either. Too often I've pegged a juicy target with 5 shots only to wind up doing, like, 3 wounds. That's an awful return.     
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 08:15:21 AM by Wyddr »

Offline Calamity

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Re: Blast Weapons, new edition, old editions, all editions
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2020, 12:50:56 PM »
I find that since you need to roll to hit with them despite the random attacks, blast weapons are still not performing as they aught to.  It’s also weird that high explosive weaponry is better at anti tank than it is at anti infantry.

I had a solution that was in the back of my mind for a while.  Having the number of attacks directly tied to the size of the target unit, 1 attack per model, no matter how large, with a minimum number and possible negative to hit modifier too.  So they get progressively and proportionally better against bigger units.  Just a thought lol.

Offline Roboknee77

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Re: Blast Weapons, new edition, old editions, all editions
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2020, 01:09:46 PM »
Sounds like blasts should be getting a guaranteed minimum number of hits based on unit size instead of guaranteed minimum number of shots.  Make them more like flame weapons.  It takes one less level of random dice rolling out of the equation so they would be more consistent and more of a threat, right?

Offline Wyddr

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Re: Blast Weapons, new edition, old editions, all editions
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2020, 02:54:16 PM »
I would prefer to do away with the to-hit roll, yeah. But none of that is really relevant, since that isn't happening.

My ultimate point here is that the "buffs" to blast weapons really only matter for very specific blast weapons that actually want to target infantry (so, your Wyverns and Thunderfire Cannons) or for any blast weapon with a D3 hits (yay Plasma Cannons!), but for the stereotypical "big guns"--your Earthshaker Cannons and Battle Cannons and Demolishers and so on--the boost to blast weapons is mostly irrelevant, since you were never shooting those guns at large units anyway and they really haven't gotten any better and they really don't behave like artillery should.

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Re: Blast Weapons, new edition, old editions, all editions
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2020, 10:32:55 PM »
Earthshaker Cannons, Battle Cannons and Demolishers aren't horde clearing weapons, they are meant for dealing with armour and heavy infantry, always been the case. They do the job really well.

My buddy absolutely wrecks my space wolves with his pair of basilisk, and I have absolutely no way to deal with them out of line of site. Even if they have a bad turn of shooting, they will be shooting all game, and at whatever they want.

Hydras are the anti-horde weapon.

The new blast rules don't do anything but help all these weapons.

I know what it's like as I run heavy plasma incinerators on my redemptor dreads. They will roast vehicles and heavy infantry,  but are not there for horde clearing.


Tbh, I am so happy templates and the scatter die are out of the game. Slowed the game down too much, and lead to too many arguments. I like this system, keeps the game going.
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