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Are heavy bolters decent?

1464 Views 14 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Mossy Toes
I was thinking about either including a dakka pred or a squad of havocs with 4 heavy bolters in my army because I like hoolding big fistfuls of high strength dice in my hands, and was wondering if they are a viable option over say plasma weapons or reaper autocannons for my budding Chaos Army. As a former tyranids player I was always quite terrified of heavy bolters since they would mow down my carnifexes with ease, but that was 4th ed and I am really not sure if they are decent vs all opponents or not. All of my friends scoff at heavy bolters as useless but I think they have potential and I wass hoping that I am not the only one who thinks this. Thanks in advance!
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Heavy bolters were useful. A long time ago.

"Here lies the heavy bolter (1983-1998), victim of 3rd edition."

And now for a sad little history lesson. In second edition the heavy bolter was awesome. It was still pretty worthless at fighting armor but it was MUCH better at killing troops.

Each one got 2 "sustained fire dice" effectively a special GW D6 which had 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, jam! Each sustained fire die was added together to tell how many hits you got. So heavy bolter usually got 3 or 4 hits at str 5 with a -2 save modifier (like in fantasy battle.) AP didn't exist yet. Twin linked at the time just doubled the number of sustained fire dice. So a dreadnought with a twin linked heavy bolter rolled 4 of these dice and was nasty. Usually 7 or 8 hits, wounding marines on 3's and marines then saving (-2) on 5's.

After the changes moving into 3rd edition with the reduction in points and inflation in army size coupled with the AP system and the weakening of twin linking heavy bolter basically became useless. For the slots available in the FOC there was always a better choice.
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