Thursday, January 27, 2011

Infernus Pistol vs Hand Flamer

I'm going to take a break from my Tactica series to address an article that appeared on BOLS today (which can be found here). The author compares infernus pistols and hand flamers not so much to each other, but to meltaguns and flamers, respectively. He reaches the conclusion that the special weapons are always a better option than their pistol equivalents. I agree with this conclusion, but it's a specious comparison.

The pistols are only in competition with their full-sized equivalents on standard Assault marines and in the Honor Guard. In these cases, always take the meltagun and flamer. However, infernus pistols and hand flamers are also available to characters, Assault squad sergeants, Sanguinary Guard, and Vanguard Veterans. In the latter two cases, they are the only options for adding melta and template weapons to the squad. The pistols add an entirely new function to the squad, and that can be worth their premium point cost.

It is on Assault squad sergeants that pistols are the most useful. In a five marine squad, the pistols allow you to add a second special weapon to the squad without taking the squad up to ten marines. Even in the case of ten strong squads, the ability to add another melta weapon or flamer can be tremendously useful. You can keep them as a single squad with a third weapon, making sure whatever target they hit is maimed, or you can split them into two combat squads, with extremely customizable levels of firepower.

Characters generally benefit from the pistols (as opposed to a combi-weapon) because the pistol does not cost them an attack. While a S4 attack that doesn't ignore armor is essentially negligible, characters have much more valuable attacks.

When it comes down to it, the cost of the pistols compared to their standard equivalents is irrelevant. They allow you to add extra firepower to key squads where there are either no other options or the other options are much more expensive.

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