Monday, 3 December 2012

Is the meltagun alive and well?!?

Since the dawn of sixth I have been hearing much about the decline of the once fabled meltaguns.  As someone who spent the last year and a half building up a decent band of melta toting veteran troops, this was a bit of bad news. However as I'm still fairly inexperienced with sixth and toying with a lot of the units from the codex, I decided to take my melta vets for a whirl.
Tonight's Man of the Match- This Mad Maverick took down a Storm Raven, subsequently destroying the Dreadnought and 4 death company marines. 

The truth is, they played well, giving my Blood Angel opponent more than a little cause for concern. They did the usual good job of turning marines into molten slag when given the opportunity and even managed to take down a Storm Raven, a Dreadnought and 4 Death company marines, all with one daring (albeit Lucky) shot. 

Many people have switched from the melta to the plasma gun so lets look at the pros and cons of each weapon...

The Plasmagun..

1. It has potentially double the shots of a melta gun
2. It has longer range, even on the move.

1. Gets Hot. Nuff said.
2. A slightly lower AP (okay, not a massive issue, but still a minor con)
3. Slightly Lower strength (This is a bit more of an issue when you consider Feel no pain)
4. 5 points more expensive than the melta.

The Meltagun-

1. Doesn't Get Hot
2. Higher strength
3. Higher AP
4. Benefits from the Melta special rule
5. 5 points cheaper than the Plasmagun

1. Much Shorter range
2. only ever gets one shot max

So What does this tell us? 
Whilst it would appear the the meltagun is better in a pros versus cons race, this table above does not show the versatility of the plasmagun fairly. The Pros of the Plasmaguns when not in comparison with the meltagun are pretty massive plus points. It is a much more versatile weapon than the melta, having a superior range and potential number of shots, combined with a great strength and a terminator busting AP. The range and strength mean that this weapon is almost ideal to team up with a heavy weapon in the squad, whereas the meltas range and lack of utility will have the heavy weapon either snap firing, or force the melta to wait until something nasty came into range.
Another point to be made is that with twin linked Gets Hot weapons now able to re-roll the gets hot rule, a plasma vet squad teamed with a company command squad (fire on my target) would be able to dodge the dreaded plasma burn a bit better.   

But, after playing tonight I can see that there is still power in the meltagun. I think I will be keeping my melta vets around. Plasma Vets are great, but they will play a different role in a lot of forces to that played by the trusty old melta vet. For a start I wouldn't give plasma vets a chimera. I would simply leave them at the back of the table and hug cover (Aegis defence line anyone?).

That said, I am planning to try out some of the Plasma vets squads. Once I try them out I will report back on how the two squad types compare after some play testing. 

So let me know what you think- Do melta vets still have a place, or is there a different unit altogether which can fulfil their original role more effectively in 6th edition?!?



  1. Hey AJ,
    You make some good points when comparing the two weapons. Personally, my Vets are melta-equipped but that's only because my primary opponent uses Land Raiders and Monoliths in his armies so it fits my meta. I think the plasma is more common now because of its extra shots and the fact that 6th has seen more people ditch transports and turn to footslogging (due to glance wrecking).

    I also wanted to point out getting twin-linked plasmas is only of any use if you're pointing your guns at a vehicle or MC - a few people I've played against have conveniently forgotten about that part of the Bring It Down! rule :)

  2. Oh That is very true Kogeninja. Forgot that bit about bring it down.

    That is true about people ditching the transports in favour of foot slogging. I think I like meltas as they can ignore that somewhat common issue of Toughness 4 feel no pain. Its always nice to have a way to get round it.

  3. Hehe, it's like a knife twisting in your gut when you're deep into play and you think "Yeah! I'm gonna TL-plasma those Termies to DEATH!" only to realise Bring it Down! won't work on them :P

    I think overall it's a bit of a wash, either way there's pros and cons. My own force will probably end up with one unit of each type, probably both in a Chimera and call it done. The Platoons tend to do all the work anyway! :)


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