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 The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test

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Ultra Magnus
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PostSubject: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   6/2/2016, 22:04

Like many of you, I am constantly pouring over our codex looking for any hidden gems or overlooked combos which got me thinking about the Disintegrator Cannon equipped Raider. You almost never see it in any lists, both because we are always looking to maximize our anti-tank capabilities as well as to get more Venoms on the table. But surely a 36" S5 AP2 3 shot weapon should have some role, right? Especially in the anti-infantry role where it couples decent strength with a high rate of fire and ignores armor.

Out of curiosity, I whipped out a spreadsheet and set up a little ballistics test between a single Disintegrator Cannon Raider and its natural competitor, the dual splinter cannon Venom. Yes the point costs aren't exactly equal but close enough and everyone opts for the dual cannon load out so its a realistic scenario. I math hammered the results at shooting at a wide range of typical non-vehicle targets you might expect to see and which represented varying combinations of toughness and armor save.

I'll save you the wall of decimals but here is a breakdown of the winner in each category:

Guardsman      : Venom
Ork                 : Venom
Space Marine   : TIE
Necron War.     : Venom
CSM Bike         : Venom
CSM Bike (Jinx): Venom
Honor Guard    : Raider
Centurion        : Raider
Terminator      : Raider
Assault Term.  : Venom
Riptide            : Venom
Wraithknight   : Venom

So what did we learn? Basically the disintegrator cannon has almost no actual role or niche, being outclassed by the high rate of fire and Poison capabilities of the Venom, even on things like Wraithknights which are designed to almost totally avoid it! Only a bare 2+ save or 2+/5++ combo eeks out a win, but if you factored the availability of cover saves into the math even that would disappear.

If and when our codex gets a revamp I think the Disintegrator Cannon needs a rethinking. One idea might be to turn it into a light anti-tank weapon to compliment the Dark Lance but the design challenge would be how to do so without then making it also a better anti-infantry weapon than the Venom splinter cannon combo.

Until then continue to pat yourself on the back for all the Venoms in your list. Wink

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The Shredder
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   6/2/2016, 22:52

Thanks for posting this, but I'm not sure this is the best comparison. The Venom is built as a gunship first and a transport second. It has just 2 hps, 5 transport capacity and can't take night shields. Usually, if you take one, you're taking it for it's guns - with the guys inside being either a bonus or a tax.

In contrast, the Raider is very much a transport first - with twice the capacity, 3hps, and wargear that can allow a 3+ jink save. The gun is more of a bonus (and you expect to jink with it anyway).

To that end, it's a bit like comparing a rhino to a razorback - the razorback is going to win on firepower because it's designed to do so.

A better comparison might be 2 Venoms vs a Ravager with 3 disintegrators.

This is not to say I disagree regarding Venoms or Disintegrators - I just think a Ravager would make for a better juxtaposition.
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Creeping Darkness
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   6/2/2016, 23:15

If point equivalence is the goal then 2 Venoms vs 1 Ravager is a good comparison, hand waving the other 25 points as flickerfields, transport, etc.

Or, remove the platform and directly compare splinter cannons vs disintegrators. Who knows, maybe in the future Venoms could get a choice of upgrades and take dissies or heat lances...








(I doubt it but frak it would be cool)

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Ultra Magnus
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   6/2/2016, 23:20

Thanks for taking a look Shredder. I wasn't attempting to compare the value of the underlying Raider vs. the Venom, but rather to answer the question "Under what circumstances would I want to possibly take a Disintegrator Cannon?". I didn't compare it against the Dark Lance Raider because that serves a different (anti tank) role so is apples or oranges. I compared it to the Venom because:

The Disintegrator Cannon is available on our dedicated transport
The Disintegrator Cannon is billed as anti infantry
The Dual Cannon Venom is our other available dedicated transport
The Dual Cannon Venom is also anti-infantry
They are approximately equivalent in cost


The math hammer shows that, removing the underlying vehicle characteristics from the discussion, the Disintegrator Cannon is just an inferior anti infantry option to the dual splinter cannon set up and cannot perform in that role. Given that is it's primary role, it makes for a pretty pointless weapon.

Comparing the anti infantry output of 2 Venoms vs. a Dissie Ravager brings in a lot of intangible variables (MSU, Jinx, redundancy, mobility, etc.) but if 2 splinter cannons > 1 Dissie, then 3 Dissies might just break you about even or eek out a slight lead, but I think the intangibles would end up favoring the Venoms in the end.
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The Strange Dark One
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   6/2/2016, 23:32

But I also wouldn't take the Dark Lance out of the equation entirely. With S8, AP2 ID on multi wounded TEQs can make it the superior choice. Especially when shooting at FNP models.

IIRC, killing FNP MEQ is easier with Lances than Disintegrators.

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Creeping Darkness
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   7/2/2016, 03:23

@Ultra Magnus wrote:
the Disintegrator Cannon is just an inferior anti infantry option to the dual splinter cannon

You're comparing one gun to two guns and acting surprised when you find two guns are better. When you compare them one on one, the Disintegrator starts to look a lot better.

Sure, Disintegrators aren't available on the same platform as Splinter Cannons are. But that just means they aren't competing against one another in the first place!

Perhaps your question should instead be "Is it worth taking Disintegrators to complement my Splinter Cannons?"

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Its_Rumble
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   7/2/2016, 03:48

A dissie can also touch vehicles, where the SC can not. At AP 2 you can explode a rhino EQ.

But just as shredder has stated, comparing the venom to the raider is apples and oranges, his role comparison is spot on.

Comparing a gun ship to a gunship is more of a realistic argument. IE venoms and ravagers.

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MHaruspex
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   7/2/2016, 05:41

It's also good to note the Raider is 10pts cheaper than the Venom, and that the Disintegrator is actually better than a Lance against AV10. I run a pair of Disintegrator Raiders regularly and am fond of them.

I'd still usually go with Venoms given the choice though; the 5++ save is very valuable.
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Count Adhemar
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   7/2/2016, 09:56

@Creeping Darkness wrote:
Or, remove the platform and directly compare splinter cannons vs disintegrators. Who knows, maybe in the future Venoms could get a choice of upgrades and take dissies or heat lances...

In my homebrew, Venoms can indeed replace one or both splinter cannons with dissies.

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The Shredder
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   7/2/2016, 11:40

@Ultra Magnus wrote:
Thanks for taking a look Shredder. I wasn't attempting to compare the value of the underlying Raider vs. the Venom, but rather to answer the question "Under what circumstances would I want to possibly take a Disintegrator Cannon?".

But that's the thing - if you're taking a Raider you're not taking it for its disintegrator (that's just a bonus).

I suggested a Ravager because it's something you take purely for its weapons (and it gets more of them per-point than the Raider).

@Ultra Magnus wrote:

The Disintegrator Cannon is available on our dedicated transport
The Disintegrator Cannon is billed as anti infantry
The Dual Cannon Venom is our other available dedicated transport
The Dual Cannon Venom is also anti-infantry
They are approximately equivalent in cost

They're approximately equivilent in cost, but you're comparing a gunship-transport with 2 guns to a transport that's effectively given up it's second gun for additional transport capacity. If you're just comparing the guns, it would probably be better to print the numbers for a single splinter cannon and a single dissi cannon, so that people can multiply one or both as appropriate depending on what units they're comparing.

@Ultra Magnus wrote:

Comparing the anti infantry output of 2 Venoms vs. a Dissie Ravager brings in a lot of intangible variables (MSU, Jinx, redundancy, mobility, etc.)

Many of these things also apply in the Raider vs Venom comparison.

This is hardly a be-all and end-all comparison - it's just to see if there's any value in taking a dissi Ravager over more Venoms.
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   7/2/2016, 11:45

What shredder points out is essentially the problem with math hammer. Too many variables to compare stuff with each other.

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The Shredder
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   7/2/2016, 11:52

Mathhammer is fine so long as keep its limitations in mind. Comparing the firepower of 2 units with mathhammer is perfectly valid. The issue is when you start to neglect/ignore other key abilities (because they don't show up in the mathhammer) or army roles (in this case, comparing a gunship-transport to a transport with a gun).
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   7/2/2016, 12:57

Yes, but such stuff is difficult to put in numbers right?

Anyway, if I could take a Venom with two disintegration canon, I'd take it.

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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   8/2/2016, 06:11

@Ultra Magnus wrote:

If and when our codex gets a revamp I think the Disintegrator Cannon needs a rethinking. One idea might be to turn it into a light anti-tank weapon to compliment the Dark Lance but the design challenge would be how to do so without then making it also a better anti-infantry weapon than the Venom splinter cannon combo.

Yeah, they do need a revamp for sure. They were originally very powerful against heavy infantry, and even light vehicles, back in 3rd, and collected so many MEQ and TEQ player's tears that GW simply had to make them terrible.

But now, with things like the Leman Russ Executioner bringing 5 plasma cannon shots per turn and options to repair, ways to twin link the guns and even PotMS access... I think returning the old dissie profile is fully justified.

Even so, I'd be happy to leave it similar to what it is at the moment, but with a little more juice and  see it available on more units, perhaps as a weapon for venoms and kabalites to pick up.

@CptMetal wrote:

Anyway, if I could take a Venom with two disintegration canon, I'd take it.

Exactly. This is pretty straightforward awesomeness. DE sort of pioneered Venoms (I think?), but both Harlequins and Corsairs have access to more gun options on them than DE.

The other thing that annoys me about them is cover saves meaning that even a termagaunt could realistically shake off a hit or two. I mean, it is meant to literally DISINTEGRATE things, so hiding behind a rock shouldn't be such a safe option. It need a rule that forces successful cover saves to be re-rolled. Add that to this new profile and I think we're in business:

36" S5 AP2 Salvo 2/4. Maybe even add Shred to it.

Thoughts?

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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   8/2/2016, 07:00

Make it S6 ap 2., 36" salvo 2/4 pinning
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   8/2/2016, 08:58

They could make it a bit more like its 3e multi-firing incarnation but give it a twist, like...

Torrent fire mode:
24" s5 ap3 torrent

Focused fire mode
36" s5 ap2 heavy 3

So you'd be torrenting away most infantry and bypassing cover, with focused fire for anti 2+ and vehicles.
Fluff wise, a raider flies by marines behind cover, the kabalite gunner unleashes a torrent of darkness on them, eating through concrete and power armor alike, leaving only ashen skulls as what remains of the marines.

I think the splinter cannon could also be s4 so DE get a slight boost in anti (light) armor, 6 s4 shots is statistically similar to a heavy bolter against av10.

*At this point DE should just get their own Vyper. A trio of double lance Vypers with flickerfields feels very appropriate for a Kabal raid.


Last edited by HokutoAndy on 8/2/2016, 09:05; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   8/2/2016, 09:01

Strength 6 is too close to the scatter laser. The gun itself is great, we have to get it more often!
Make it a weapon for Infantry and for venoms too and that's all I ask for. Can you imagine an army with 6 venoms with 12 of those guns? And that's only a small number in that case..

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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   8/2/2016, 09:12

I'm happy to not have an infantry version of the dissie as I really feel there are some weapons that should be too big for a weedy space elf to use effectively, even with anti-grav tech etc. I would however love a fleet of dissie Venoms! My homebrew allows dissies at +5 points/weapon so a dual-dissie venom clocks in at 75 points. Some might say that it should be more than that but I simply look at Hornets and rest my case Smile

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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   8/2/2016, 20:45

Imagine if you could put them on Reavers... Move over, scatbikes!

So yeah, nothing wrong with the gun itself. It's all about where it can be taken.

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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   8/2/2016, 22:47

@Xm0shcryptX wrote:
Make it S6 ap 2., 36" salvo 2/4 pinning

This would put Plasma Rifles to shame. In fact, it could come close to putting Plasma Guns/Cannons to shame. Remember, we can't be allowed to be better than or equal to Space Marines Razz

Its gw's code of conduct.

@CptMetal wrote:

Strength 6 is too close to the scatter laser.

I agree. Having AP 2 on a platform with that much strength and that many shots isn't healthy for the game.

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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   8/2/2016, 22:50

Speaking personally, I'd happily trade disintegrators for Scatter Lasers.
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   10/2/2016, 03:14

@hydranixx but pulse lasers on hornets for 80 points are no big deal? Strength 6 is not too much in the least
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   10/2/2016, 20:36

Personally I've found the Dissie to be rather useful against TEQ's since you can't always count on your opponent roling 1's. Like much of our equipment I just wish it was more widely available in the army. Given that the current codec describes it as being a moe exotic form of plasma I wouldn't mind it being S6 or even 7 though.
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   10/2/2016, 20:42

I know other people have had more positive experiences, but I've been perpetually underwhelmed by disintegrators. For me they're one of those weapons that looks impressive on paper, but always fails on the battlefield.

Perhaps part of the issue though is that I've never had problems killing MEQ or terminators with other weapons. And, as far as terminators go, I tend to see ones with good invulnerable saves - so the disintegrators are of negligible value anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: The Disintegrator Cannon: A Ballistics Test   10/2/2016, 20:55

Negligible value? They are free weapons that ignore 2+ saves, I'd rather force thunder hammer terminators to rolls a 3++ save than a 2+.

You can't compare venom cannons and diss cannons, both weapons full different roles and have different target priorities. 3st 5 shots at ap2 may not sound as good as 12 4+ poison shots but there's some targets they are invaluable against the same as diss cannons
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