Friday, April 27, 2007

The Miraculous Magnificent Multi-Melta

A not often used and usually ignored heavy weapon is the Multi-Melta. This weapon is usually overlooked because its range is terribly short when compared to the other heavy weapons. Also the move or fire component of this weapon limits this weapon’s usefulness to short range fire fights or one shot per game situations. These components along with power and utility of the other heavy weapons really make this weapon look like a weak choice.

There are some real benefits that make this a weapon worth taking. The first benefit is its point cost effectiveness. In the new Dark Angel codex it is 10 and 15 points depending if you are fielding it in a Tactical Squad or Devastator Squad. This makes this weapon a good candidate for selection especially if you are looking to trim points out of your force.

The next benefit of this weapon is its power. Strength 8 AP 1 doesn’t seem like much but when faced nose to nose with a Land Raider you will always get a penetrating hit. Also the extra die of penetration will help if vehicles get within half the distance of your range. The low AP will allow you to get confirmed kills on anything you wound.

There are also some hidden benefits. A hidden benefit that I have found quite handy is so many folks treat this as a weapon of no consequence, and therefore they tend to ignore it as they are shooting at your army. This allows squads that are packing this weapon the opportunity to get close enough to use it.

The ability to establish a forward firebase is also something worth considering as a hidden benefit. What I mean by this is your opponent is most likely ignoring these deadly weapons, and therefore they are able to get up into position relatively unscathed. This enables this squad to dominate through firepower the position they take up. If you add this with a few supporting tactical squads you will find that you are wiping away the opposition with little resistance.

Now that we have covered the benefits lets talk about the tactical applications of this weapon. These applications are fairly sound and typically lack the flair for the broken that is usually seen with most tactical discussions.

I call this first tactic “Shoot and Slide.” Unfortunately this is a tactic that only a Black Templar Army may use, but it is a sound tactic. I came up with this tactic while fighting my friend’s Templar Army. I had noticed that his army lacked any real distance tank busting ability. This was hurting him because I was able to get my tanks and APC’s up close. His general response was that the army was a mobile force and didn’t have the time to wait for heavy weapons.

As I considered this I discovered a way that Templar players can have their cake and eat it too. “Shoot and Slide” basically relies on the Templar “Fall Forward” rule. What one would do, who is interested in this tactic, is place a unit that has a Plasma Gun and Multi-Melta in a spot that will draw the attention of enemy shooting, e.g. near a mission objective. Because you are grabbing their attention your opponent will want to shoot at you. In effect your opponent will be “reeling in” the squad with the Multi-Melta. This will drag your Multi-Melta into range without you ever making a conscious effort of moving, and you will be able to fire your heavy weapon because “Fall Forward” doesn’t count as movement for purpose of shooting.

The purpose and benefit of the Plasma Gun is two-fold. First it has the same range as the Multi-Melta and the bolters. Second it has the chance to overheat and kill the marine. Now I bet you have just read that last sentence more than once. Overheat is a good thing in this case. What you are doing is making your rules work for you. What you are hoping for is the gun overheating on you and forcing you to move closer to the enemy. This will at least help you inch ever closer to your opponents lines especially if he gets wise to you using your rules to your benefit.

There is a related tactic I call “Point Blank Fall Back”. This tactic relies on the Marine unit with the Melta weapon failing a fall back check. What you are hoping for is an enemy vehicle near enough to the fall back corridor that once the move is done you will be able to plug the vehicle with your Melta weapon at the start of your turn from within half the weapon’s range. Alternatively this can also be useful for getting back to your lines to deal with a particularly nasty unit in your deployment zone. (This Tactic wasn’t initially a tactic but a move of desperation made while loosing. It illustrates why you should play out your games because you can learn things not normally garnered from winning.)

Our next maneuver I call “Wall of Tank”. What we do to accomplish this maneuver is walk our Multi-Melta devastator squads up behind advancing tanks or Rhinos on turn one. On turn two if the vehicles are still mobile move the tanks out of the way and let rip with. If the tanks have been immobilized in some way chances are still pretty good that you will have something to shoot at.


Daniel on April 30, 2007 at 1:53 PM said...

I'm often suprised at how many people think 24" is too short for range. A unit in the middle of the board can dominate a huge area with 24" melta fire, effectively denying the area to enemy armor. This will either draw enormous fire from the enemy (relieving your other units) or funnel enemy armor into other areas of the board.

Rumors have it that Death Guard will be allowed Multi-Meltas in the next codex. You can bet I'll be giving them a closer look when that happens. Besides...they look cool!

Bullymike on June 3, 2007 at 5:22 AM said...

Are you saying that you might have to take a leadership test from losing a marine to plasma overheat? I'm fairly certain that's not the case, I don't think it works the same way as when you take a Ld check from losses due to enemy shooting. Maybe I understood you wrong... it would bring your squad size down for the next turn of enemy shooting and make it easier for them to break you. Or could be this is all strange Templars stuff, with which I'm not too familiar...

and btw, hello from a fellow Dragon's Plair!


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