Mediocre 40k! How to Save It…

What’s good fellow gamers?  Mr.MoreTanks here to put ink to a few thoughts and discussion I’ve had on tournament road trips.  These articles are just ideas on how to make iconic weapons, units, and the like become actually viable.

While these articles are basically pipedreams, I think the discussions are fun and thought provoking.  I’m not trying to make the next Grav Cannon, but I’d like to just see these few things in the game become just a little bit more usable.  Indulge me if you will, and open your mind to a new possibility…

First up I’m going to talk about the infamous Heavy Bolter.  It seems that every meta makes this thing more and more useless with every passing edition.  The best targets for them die to nearly any other weapon worth taking.  They typically run about 10 across the board.  And the profile is just… MEDIOCRE!  36″ range, Strength 5, AP4, Heavy 3.  When compared to options on vehicles, the Heavy Bolter is often short on range when compared to other weapons on the tanks.  They also dramatically lack punching power; while Strength 5 is commendable, compared to the hitting power of Auto Cannons and Las Cannons, the Heavy Bolter doesn’t really pair well with very many other Imperial weaponry.

So I have one simple suggestion that I think would go a long way to making the Heavy Bolter superior: making it a salvo weapon.  I’m thinking 3/5 like the Grav Cannon.  This keeps it as a tempting option for Drop Pods, Skyhammers, vehicles, and more.  I’m even open to seeing it bump up a little bit too around 15 points to make it a little more balanced, though I don’t think seeing it change from 10 points is necessary.  I don’t think the range needs to change on it, the improvement on fire power will make up for that. One other basic idea is to simply make it Rending.  That’s it, just Rending.  I think it would go a long way. Although I like my first idea more.

So there you have it, a couple thoughts on the Heavy Bolter.  I’ve got a couple other units coming up so stay on the lookout for those.  What do you guys think on the Heavy Bolter?  Is it fine as it is?  Let us know in the comments.


About Mr.MoreTanks

Lover of gaming, whiskey, steak, poker, and politics. T.O. of the and events.

42 Responses to “Mediocre 40k! How to Save It…”

  1. Hotsauceman1 November 8, 2015 12:19 am #

    salvo 3/5 would balling. I mean seriously, imaging that on the Ig tank with the auto cannon turrets
    I would make the Str 6 salvo 3/5

    • Reecius November 8, 2015 12:15 pm #

      Yeah, it would be good fun!

  2. Mike November 8, 2015 12:34 am #

    If only the people responsible for our uptodate rules were say…well-known tournament-minded players who care about balance* rather than GW.

    *hint freaking hint. Can’t wait until the game has a FLG-errata fixing some of the ludicrously obvious problems.

    • Amberclad87 November 8, 2015 5:52 am #

      I second this!

      • Reecius November 8, 2015 12:15 pm #

        Who knows? As the ITC becomes bigger and more trusted I suppose anything is possible. We don’t have plans for this type of thing in the near future, though.

  3. Happy_inquisitor November 8, 2015 12:58 am #

    Heavy bolters with Tigurious or Telion as your warlord are pretty awesome. They are just cheap flexible effective firepower.

    So yes I think that just adding rending fixes them, maybe what it needs is a cheap relic so it can be reliably done by other chapters.

    • Mr.MoreTanks November 8, 2015 3:50 pm #

      It would be nice though to see them work without having to be buffed up by something or someone else though.

  4. Ravenbiker November 8, 2015 2:16 am #

    I like Salvo, but I think 2/3 would be sufficient. this would give units like Tac Squads have a reason to take them, while retaining the historic level of firepower, and not encroaching on an assault cannon’s place.

    • VonCrown November 8, 2015 11:57 am #

      Yeah, I have had thoughts along similar lines to thIs article, and conclusion was salvo 2/3 as well, with a reduction to 5 points.

  5. Amberclad87 November 8, 2015 5:51 am #

    Salvo 3/5 still pales in comparison to grav unfortunately. This is how I would break down the heavies for imperials.

    -Heavy bolter. 10pts. Salvo 3/6 Shred.
    -Missile launcher. 15pts. same profiles but include the skyfire missiles.
    -Lascannon. 15pts. add ordnance to its profile.
    -Plasma cannon. 15 pts. Add an overcharge option for large blast but overheats on a 1-3
    -Multi melta- 15 pts. same as is
    -Grav cannon. 30pts. Salvo 3/5 but goes to ap 3.

    In my opinion, none of these choices is the clear winner of the bunch and all have a specific role and can do it well, which is what balance is all about.

    • Reecius November 8, 2015 12:16 pm #

      True, but they’re cheap and have longer range. Power comparison, no, they’re not even close, but they’d have a place if they were better.

    • WestRider November 8, 2015 12:32 pm #

      Make Lascannon Primary Weapon or Sunder instead of Ordnance. Otherwise you’re totally screwing over Predators and such.

      Multi-Melta, I think is fine as-is.

      What I actually want for the Plasma Cannon is a Focused option, something like Heavy 2, no Blast, so I can use SkyFire with them on a StormRaven or with a Skyfire Nexus.

      • Reecius November 8, 2015 12:35 pm #

        That would be a cool option for Plasma, no doubt.

  6. Nurglitch November 8, 2015 6:19 am #

    Heavy bolters are fine. They pair well with Bolters, and provide some nice anti-infantry power at a good range.

    • Mr.MoreTanks November 8, 2015 5:19 pm #

      Do you run them in a particular manner? Imperial Fists Devs? I have to admit that I think that most things the heavy bolter is useful against can usually be killed just as easily by bolters or other heavy weapons which are way better.

      • Nurglitch November 9, 2015 11:32 am #

        Usually I run them in Tactical Squads with Ultramarine CT, although I have a Devastator Squad with three and one Multi-Melta that I like to combat squad into one unit with the Heavy Bolters and one unit with the Multi-Melta and Signum. I find the Doctrines in a Gladius really help because then the multiple dice shine.

  7. Maeglin November 8, 2015 10:01 am #

    I guess I’m biased because I’m used to running heavy bolter devastators with Imperial Fist chapter tactics. The re-rolls combined with tank hunter makes means they can really do work against light vehicles and infantry for a cheap price. Salvo would make them even more attractive however and is an option in 30k.

    Or you can do what Reece does and use them in Skyhammer.

    • Reecius November 8, 2015 12:17 pm #

      Yeah, they work well for me in my Skyhammer formation but that is largely due to the pinning effect.

      • Hotsauceman1 November 8, 2015 12:54 pm #

        But then wouldnt ML be better because the pinning doesnt matter for wounding.

        • Reecius November 8, 2015 1:26 pm #

          ML are a good option, largely due to the greater range as much as anything. I like the Heavy Bolters as they compliment the Bolters well when I need them to actually hurt stuff, and they work great with IF CTs.

  8. Crispy86 November 8, 2015 11:35 am #

    I think making it an assault weapon would be ok and to off set the extra power make the ork equivalent assault 4 🙂

  9. Reecius November 8, 2015 12:17 pm #

    Cool ideas, Mr. More Tanks!

    • Mr.MoreTanks November 8, 2015 3:49 pm #

      Thanks bro!

  10. jy2 November 8, 2015 12:44 pm #

    I like it! The basis I would use is the Scatterlaser. 36″ S6 AP- 4 shots for only 10-pts? The Salvo 3/5 Heavy Bolter is very reasonable compared to that.

    • Reecius November 8, 2015 1:26 pm #

      Yeah, good point, Jy2.

      • Novastar November 8, 2015 1:36 pm #

        Heavy Bolters would be cool if it was rapid fire so 3 shots max range or 6 at 1/2 to keep in line with the bolter and make it so a marine can walk while firing the marine machine gun

        • Reecius November 8, 2015 1:38 pm #

          That would also be very cool!

          • Novastar November 8, 2015 9:50 pm

            Didn’t deathwatch have a suspensor web upgrade that let them move and fire at reduced range?

        • WestRider November 8, 2015 2:30 pm #

          I’ve been saying since 6th Ed introduced the category that that’s how Salvo Weapons should work. They’re even described in the fluff as being like Rapid Fire Weapons, but more so.

    • Mr.MoreTanks November 8, 2015 3:52 pm #

      I always hesitate to compare things that are very well costed to things that are over costed. The difference between them is so stark its almost unbelievable.

  11. Lord Krungharr November 8, 2015 1:58 pm #

    Heavy bolters would be cool if they could take different ammunition, just pick before the game or something. That might make them more interesting.

    • Mr.MoreTanks November 8, 2015 3:51 pm #

      Yeah that would be cool, it would pair well with Sternguard.

    • Novastar November 8, 2015 9:49 pm #

      They can in 30k, join us 😉

  12. Deuce11 November 8, 2015 6:12 pm #

    In 30k, marines with heavy bolter automatically get leg sports so they can move and fire. I find it really works well.

    • Novastar November 8, 2015 9:50 pm #

      Don’t you still have to buy the suspensor web?

  13. fluger November 8, 2015 6:16 pm #

    I love this idea.

  14. Bassface7 November 9, 2015 3:29 am #

    Just make them Assault (or give the model carrying them relentless) and they instantly become a decent option

  15. FallenCT November 9, 2015 5:05 am #

    I think it would be cool if you could get alternate ammo like the Sternguard ammo. Something Like poison or flashbane rounds, low Strength blast ammo, rending ammo or maybe even AA rounds.

    • Nurglitch November 9, 2015 11:34 am #

      Heavy Bolters are listed under Boltguns in the Space Marine Armoury, and Special Ammunition references the Special Ammunition profiles replacing that of the Boltgun the model is carrying.

  16. Jural November 9, 2015 10:14 am #

    Lots of good ideas here, but do Imperial forces really need one more good weapon choice? I think I would just drop the price 5 points per weapon or sponsoon.

    But if you really want them to shine, give them ignore cover. The rule is getting very commonplace nowadays, and honestly that fits quite well with their volume of fire fluff… one of the darn shells is going to find you!

    • Nurglitch November 9, 2015 11:35 am #

      Unless there’s cover in the way. And if the Heavy Bolter, why not anything else?

  17. Rufus November 11, 2015 6:29 am #

    Personally Ive felt that Heavy Bolters should be left as is for Imperial Guard, but when Astartes wield them either the Marine should be considered Relentless, or they become Assault 3.

    Considering that an Imperial Guardsman Special Char can walk and shoot one, a SM should be able to.

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