1/08/2011

Analysis: Combi Weapons

First and foremost, we must remember that the combi weapon is a one-time shot. Its special "half" can only be used in a single firing. That being said, single-shot weapons never seem to play in my favor. It's always the shot that rolls a 1 or 2 to hit, or 1 to wound, failing miserably in its only chance to be useful.

I can understand combi weapons from a heroic point of view: Your sergeant is on the field, his squad has taken massive casualties. There's a Killa Kan or Chaos Defiler heading towards him, almost within assault range. He loads his combi-melta, says a final prayer to the God-Emperor, aims and hits. The enemy walker explodes in a devastating blast of metal parts and shrapnel.

But it rarely ever works that way, does it?

Against vehicles, if it hits and glances, you're most likely going to get an immobilized, weapon destroyed, shaken, or stunned result. And at best, if the shot penetrates, you only have a 20-25% chance of wrecking or destroying it.

And don't forget, Chaos vehicles ignore shaken and stunned results, and extra armor on Imperial vehicles counts stunned as shaken. So in reality, you have a very slim chance of turning the tide with a combi shot.

Against infantry, that one plasma or melta shot is usually a waste. Even if it hits and kills, there's still at least half a dozen more guys charging at the squad.

The best combination with combi weapons, in my opinion, is probably putting a combi-flamer on an HQ unit. It auto-hits anything under the template, ignores cover saves, and the HQ can still assault after firing.

Sure, most units will get their armor saves, and it's useless against vehicles, but the potential to inflict more casualties is there. A melta or plasma blast will potentially only kill a single model (or two with a double-tap from a combi-plasma), whereas the flamer could take out four or more (providing their armor saves fail them).

On the other hand... do you really want to equip your HQ primarily with a bolter? You can't even assault after double-tapping! I always take a storm bolter for my Commander, just so he's guaranteed two shots and can still assault. It's a relatively weak weapon, but it's fun to use, especially for only 3 points (combi weapons generally cost 10-15 points, for a shot that will most likely fail you somehow).

They just don't seem worth their cost right now. Maybe if they made them multiple-use in the future they'd be worth taking.

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