Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Assault Cannon > LasCannon ?!? Math-hammer says yes...

So...numbers can be funny sometimes. We all know meltas are teh uber tank rapers in the current rule set.

But, there are other weapons out there that do things meltas dont, and Ive been toying with them. I saw a post in which someone said they thought Assault cannons were better Vs av 14 than las cannons. I think most initial reactions will be 'Bullshit!' Mine was.

But, then I crunched the numbers with the nifty Vassal40k- this is 100,000 rounds worth of fire for each weapon- hittin on a 3+ (PS- crunchin the numbers for 400,000 ac shots made my laptop use its safeword)
So Lascannon vs AV 14 11056 dice glance (5), 11186 dice penetrate (6+)
Metla-with 2d6 vs Av 14= 9074 dice glance (6), 38830 dice penetrate (7+) =
Melta w/1d6 vs Av 14= 11071 dice glance (6) =
Assault Cannon vs AV 14 14786 dice glance (8), 15082 dice penetrate (9+)

Lascannon Vs AV 13= 11036 dice glance (4), 22466 dice penetrate (5+)
Melta w/2d6 vs av 13=7274 dice glance (5), 48219 dice penetrate (6+) =
Melta w/1d6 vs Av 13= 11085 dice glance (5), 11089 dice penetrate (6+) =
Assault Cannon vs Av 13 = 14288 dice glance (7), 29664 dice penetrate (8+)

Lascannon Vs Av 12 = 11097 dice glance (3), 33222 dice penetrate (4+) =
Melta w/2d6 vs av 12=5496 dice glance (4), 55943 dice penetrate (5+) =
Melta w/1d6 vs Av 12= 11042 dice glance (4), 22196 dice penetrate (5+) =
Assault cannon vs AV 12 = 45188 dice penetrate (7+) (note- cant glance AV 12 since a 6 pen roll adds the 1-3 to its AP)

Lascannon Vs Av 11 = 11019 dice glance (2), 44327 dice penetrate (3+) =
Melta w/2d6 vs av 11=3655 dice glance (3), 60849 dice penetrate (4+) =
Melta w/1d6 vs Av 11= 11207 dice glance (3), 33192 dice penetrate (4+) =
Assault cannon vs AV 11 = 44201 dice glance (5), 44956 dice penetrate (6+)

Lascannon Vs Av 10 = 11007 dice glance (1), 55415 dice penetrate (2+) =
Melta w/2d6 vs av 10= 1902 dice glance (2), 64722 dice penetrate (3+) =
Melta w/1d6 vs Av 10= 11067 dice glance (2), 44509 dice penetrate (3+) =
Assault cannon vs AV 10= 45276 dice glance (4), 89708 dice penetrate (5+) =

So, Meltas within 12/6" are king Vs Heavy armor. Assault cannon are however capable of more penetrating hits than Lascannon. But the Lascannon has the edge over Meltas when they are only using a single penetration dice.

Once you get to lighter armor however, the sheer number of Pen & glancing hits the assault cannon puts forth is pretty impressive. This seems to make it an ideal weapon for working over squadron based vehicles.

And, all this isnt even getting into using the weapon Vs Infantry.

All this being said- I really think the Assault cannon- while 'nerfed' from 4th ed, is still worth the points in 5th ed.

This also has me wondering if the Assault cannon is better than the Cyclone/Typhoon, as for anti vehicle use krak missles are very easy to compare (use the melta w/1d6 stat line and jsut x2 for the results- its rough but close enough), however, 2 frag missles are pretty random, so are really hard to balance in an anti- infantry role. Oddly, it looks like the Assualt cannon is better Vs Av 14, and AV 10, but a Cyclone/typhoon would be noticably better Vs 11,12, and debatable vs 13 if you look at the glances. So, I think for termies, the assault cannon is better- as it cooperates with their 24" storm bolter range. For speeders, the typhoon gives better stand off range.

Note: I realize this is pure meta-gaming- there are numerous factors unaccounted for.


  1. Damn that was geeky. And here I am trying to get Assault Cannons for my Razorbacks (I have secured one, in metal) :) Maybe I should swap the lascannons out. Not only does it pop armor well, but I can also try to inflict 4 wounds instead of one on infantry. With rending, and good range.

    Damn, maybe I'll pop that Assault gun on one of my Razorbacks before I leave for the game tomorrow:)

  2. black templar get to make ,termies and dreads with assaualt cannon tank hunters pushing up the anti armour even higher

  3. Aaaaah, the donkey gun. Beloved in 4th, not so much in 5th. The main problems I have with ACs nowadays are the way rending works now (it really wasn't ACs that got nerfed so much as rending, which hurt some other things even more -- Eldar Harlequins come to mind) and the cost. Oh dear GOD the points cost, especially for Termies. We won't go into the whole "you can only take one in a Termie squad of 5" rule, which I think pretty much chokes on cock. But that's just me.

    I respect your mathhammer, using Vassal40k (sadly, RIP Vassal40K) was a stroke of genius though I'm not sure how accurate it would be considering it -- like any other pure software solution -- doesn't have a "true" random number generator. But at the number of times you ran it I'd say the Law of Large Numbers probably even out any issues the non-random random number generator may have introduced.

    However...mathhammer is only a simulation. It's a great tool for doing some basic analysis, or to get a rough idea on how things may or may not work out...but it's certainly far from perfect. I submit to you this thought as well: there are times when the range of the las cannon with make it worth more than assault cannon fire. There's no substitute for inches (*cringes at the unintentional double entendre potential there...*) in some cases. Finally, the other thing is the AC *requires* those rends to get to the level of usefulness vs. armor. Sometimes I think its a psychological influence that acts upon my to-wound rolls for AC hits that keeps those damned sixes from popping up when I really need them.

    Aaaand finally (for real this time), an assault cannon is indeed nice, and it's probably the best Swiss Army Weapon in the 'dex...but twin-linked assault cannons are even better, because they tend to give you more dice with which to rolls for those lucky rending 6's with. :)

    Great blog, BTW. It's been good reading so far.

  4. Ya, I was worried about the accuracy of Vassals Randomness- which is why I ran batches for 100,000 fire phases. I might went with anothe zero, but crankin out 400,000 shots with rending results made my lil dual core 1.8 Toshiba work way too hard ;)

    The AC is definitely a 'luck' weapon- but, 4 shots means ya get 4 opportunities to get lucky with it ;)

    And Ya. TL assault cannon are sexy, but short of Land raiders and razor backs I dont think theres anywhere else to field them ;)

    @stummer, the Tank Hunters ass on changes the numbers alot- almost into melta/2d6 range on av 14/13 and it just runs away on the lighter armor....I'd say its safe to call that broken lol

  5. On the lower armor values, it's all about volume of fire. I'm an Eldar player, and as much as I love dumping Bright Lances into things, there's something to be said for feeding lighter vehicles mounds of S6 shots (or infantry, or anything else).

    Vs. Squads, oh...oh, yeah. Gotta LOVE vehicle squads, and S6 tends to kill most of the lighter ones fairly well.

    However, the difficulty marines get is in finding good places for them. I, personally, when I rolled with marines? I tended to find MM/HF speeders to be more of a threat. I mean, assault cannon/heavy bolter speeders can put down a nasty volume of fire, but need to get close. If you're not going to commit to the close-ranged MM/HF speeder, I think I'd go with the heavy bolter/Typhoon missile speeder. Stay at range, get two kraks vs. armor and 2 blasts/3 HB shots vs. lighter targets. And, always move 12". Make the enemy use longer-ranged weapons to reach you.

    Beyond that, I switched over to MMs on dreads, though I could see assault cannons. Past that? Oh, Crusaders, how we love all those freaking twin-linked guns (...or love to hate them, as the case may be.)

    I can say I've never considered Vassal for stats, though. Not surprised GW eventually shut 'em down, but it was going to happen sooner or later.