Plasma is the fourth state of matter, beyond gas. It is a sea of ions, or charged particles exposed to so much energy, such as nuclear fusion or lightning, that the bind between electrons and nuclei become weakened and the electrons freely flow through the plasma as a current just like through a metal. Plasma emits truly heroic amounts of energy, both as heat and light, because the free electrons within the mass are frequently caught in the attractive pull of the nuclei, resulting in circular motion around the nuclei, which decelerates the electron, causing it to emit a photon in order to maintain conservation of energy (Bremsstrahlung emission). This means plasma is incredibly hot and incandescent, though unless it is optically dense (thick enough to reabsorb the vast majority of emitted photons), it cools rapidly. Seeing as it is a mass of charged particles, it is also highly susceptible to influence from electromagnetic fields. Plasma is the most common state of (regular) matter in the universe; this is because intergalactic space consists mostly of low-density plasma, and stars are giant balls of high-density plasma. Nuclear fusion requires hydrogen gas to be heated to the plasma state to overcome the Coulomb barrier between nuclei.
Plasma is produced by applying a very strong electromagnetic field to a gas, such as hydrogen. The plasma is then contained within an electromagnetic field, keeping it out of contact with the weapon's components which it would almost certainly damage. The tokamak, a prototype fusion reactor, exploits this by accelerating plasma in an intense electromagnetic torus until it becomes so pressurized, hot and fast enough that fusion is achieved, although the cost of power outweighed the possible electrical production benefits. In fantasy sci-fi, "plasma" weapons fire insubstantial ammunition that imparts extreme heat on impact, or just as with gauss weapons, plasma guns can be anything that sounds cool. Hard sci-fi plasma weapons come in types: "flamethrowers" or cannons that expel stored plasma, Fusion cannons, melta weapons where so much energy is expelled from a weapon that it turns the air outside into plasma, lightning guns such as Tesla coils, with a large pulse of energy sending a huge electrical charge that produces plasma conduits across the air, or Ion Cannon like the ones that GDI uses as its signature superweapon.
In the grim, dark, dark, horrible, grim, dark grimdark future of Warhammer 40,000, plasma weapons are a type of heavy weapon used by the Imperium, Chaos forces, the Tyranids, and the Tau. A few variants are also used by the Eldar and Dark Eldar. They operate by firing a bolt of superheated energy that's hot enough to melt virtually anything in proportion to its size (pistols and guns can take out heavies while cannons can take out super-heavies and titans), with its primary drawback being the massive amount of heat generated per shot. Imperial and Chaos players like to use plasma weaponry for its raw, balls-out power and point efficiency.
Plasma technology is relatively rare in the Imperium as it is incredibly hard to produce and maintain properly in large quantities, and is thus scarce in both Imperial and Chaos forces. However, its power means that these forces use it every chance they get. The Tau are so advanced, their basic weapons are plasma-based. Because of their high firepower, plasma weapons are the go-to choice of most players when dealing with heavily-armored infantry such as Terminators or Tyranid Warriors.
There is also "blood plasma," which may be of interest to Vampire players, but the idea of a blood-plasma rifle is kinda gross, but can be made exceptionally awesome if done right such as sucking the life force of an individual. Pus-rifles on the other hand? Ew.
- 1 Imperial/Chaos Plasma Weapons
- 1.1 Plasma Pistol
- 1.2 Plasma Gun
- 1.3 Plasma Incinerator
- 1.4 Plasma Exterminator
- 1.5 Plasma Blaster
- 1.6 Plasma Caliver
- 1.7 Phased Plasma Fusil
- 1.8 Plasma Culverin
- 1.9 Plasma Cannon
- 1.10 Plasma Destroyer
- 1.11 Plasma Blastgun
- 1.12 Plasma Destructor
- 1.13 Plasma Annihilator
- 1.14 Plasma Obliterator
- 1.15 Dark Angels unique Plasma weaponry
- 1.16 A Small Notice to all Devou/tg/uardsmen on Plasma Weaponry
- 1.17 Gets Hot
- 1.18 8-the edition crunch
- 2 Tau Plasma Weapons
- 2.1 Plasma Weapons
- 2.2 Pulse Weapons
- 2.2.1 Pulse Pistol
- 2.2.2 Pulse Rifle
- 2.2.3 Pulse Carbine
- 2.2.4 Longshot Pulse Rifle
- 2.2.5 Pulse Blaster
- 2.2.6 Burst Cannon
- 2.2.7 High Output Burst Cannon
- 2.2.8 Long Barrelled Burst Cannon
- 2.2.9 Heavy Burst Cannon
- 2.2.10 Pulse Bomb
- 2.2.11 Pulse Submunition Rifle
- 2.2.12 Pulse Submunition Cannon
- 2.2.13 Pulse Driver Cannon
- 2.2.14 Pulse Blastcannon
- 2.2.15 Pulse Ordnance Multi-Driver
- 2.3 Ion Weapons
- 3 Eldar Plasma Weapons
- 4 Ork Plasma Weapons
- 5 Tyranid Plasma Weapons
- 6 A Weapon that Beats Spess Mehreens? NEVAR!!
Imperial/Chaos Plasma Weapons
Imperial and Chaos plasma weapons are powerful and point-efficient. They are easily capable of taking out light and medium tanks without the need to flank and target rear armour, can go through any infantry armor and are rapid-firing. However, Imperial/Chaos players aren't terribly fond of plasma weapons due to the "Gets Hot" rule. The overheating issue is probably caused by unreliable electromagnetic field generators failing to properly contain the plasma, or perhaps that the plasma is several thousand kelvin and can easily melt the operator's face off in the event the weapon needs to vent excess heat.
According to the fluff, Imperial plasma weapons are extremely rare and most are at least a few centuries old. This is due to the difficulty in mass-producing plasma weapons on any forgeworld other than Ryza, whose hat is that they plasma the shit out of everything, and the difficulty in properly maintaining/using the plasma weapon in light of the massive amounts of heat it gives off.
However, since ALL Space Marine Chapters, many Imperial Guard Regiments, and even underhive gangs seem to have access to them, this admonition comes across a little flat. They might just be extremely expensive and the Adeptus Mechanicus just says that they are "relics" so people will take better care of them. The official reason seems to be they're "rare" in terms of numbers, a million Plasma guns being made per year would be "small" compared to billions of lasguns made per year. Fact: the Adeptus Mechanicus does have plasma weapon patterns that don't overheat but boggarts them as usual with the good shit. Seriously, even their Skitarii forces have to deal with Gets Hot. Then again, given how frequent Imperial forces turn traitor from Marine chapters to Imperial regiments, taking whatever post-heresy tech they had with them; the Mechanicus is understandably paranoid about how and what they share tech like this with their allies (or more specifically, how they refuse to share) since their allies are notoriously unreliable and volatile and their main enemy is a malevolent bunch of crazies who're more than happy to reverse-engineer and mass-produce their venerable machines with reckless abandon.
Note that before 3rd Edition 40k there was a split between good guy/bad guy plasma technology, with the Imperium having safer MkII plasma weapons that required recharging between firing, but Chaos having the older MkI plasma weapons: bulkier and covered in pipes, able to spit out up to three shots per turn compared with the MkII's one every other turn, but with the chance of overloading and leading you to roll on a random table to see whether it just get hot, vents plasma over the bearer or blows up and takes out everyone in the squad. Even Dreadnoughts were not immune to this, with the MkI Heavy Plasma gun able to spit out three smaller (coin sized) blast markers but run the risk of the weapon taking out the arm and possibly the entire vehicle. When the ludicrous amounts of bookkeeping were scrubbed for 3rd Edition, the recharging mechanic was removed along with the stacks of counters, and all plasma weapons developed the Gets Hot rule as below, playing into that edition's general theme of larger armies with more expendable and easy to kill models.
8th edition shakes things up again. Plasma can choose between the standard profile which does not have Gets Hot, or the Supercharged profile which does. And Supercharged Gets Hot instantly kills the shooter, not saving rolls or multi-wound shenanigans allowed. Worth to be noted however, that "supercharged" mode also means you are getting S=8 (that means wounding most tanks on 4+ or wounding MEQ on 2+) and dealing 2 wounds per successful attack (that means capability of taking down a terminator with a single shot or wrecking a Leman Russ battle tank with just 6 sucessful attacks). (Note for all of the below: in 8th edition replace "AP2" with "AP:-3" and "AP1" with "AP:-4").
The smallest weapon in the family, retaining the incredible power of the Plasma gun, but with a decreased range and rate of fire. As a pistol it also counts as a Close-combat weapon.
Logically speaking the plasma pistol should be the safest of the bunch since the gun is held away from your body when firing instead of held up to your face while you look down the sights. Even if the gun melted down your likely to lose your hand but unless it explosively ruptured with the force of a grenade it is unlikely for you to lose something critical.
A super plasma gun, created Primaris Marines Hellblaster Marines. Never gets hot unless you intentionally overcharge the Plasma Incinerator. Longer range and stopping power then normal conventional Plasma Guns. Two other variants of it exist-the Assault Plasma Incinerator is weaker but allows for firing after advancing since it's an assault weapon, and the Heavy Plasma Incinerator is a heavy weapon that has fewer shots but packs more power into each one and possesses a longer range.
Standard - Range:30" Type: Rapid Fire 1 S:7 AP:-4 D:1
Supercharged - Range:30" Type: Rapid Fire 1 S:8 AP:-4 D:2 On a hit roll of a 1, the bearer is slain after all this weapon's shots have been resolved.
Another Primaris Marine-only gun, this time for Inceptors. While short ranged, it packs as much power as a Plasma Cannon despite being small enough to carry in one hand.
Preheresy relic plasma weapon, that looks like a double barreled plasma gun. In 30K it was used as terminator and dreadnought weapon, but in 40k it only could be found on extremely rare Contemptor pattern dreadnoughts, or used by Tartaros Terminator Sergents.
An enhanced version of a standard Imperial plasma gun with a backpack power supply, the Plasma Caliver trades range and reliability for an increased rate of fire. These are exclusively used by the expendable Skitarii of the Adeptus Mechanicus. This is fitting, as this gun has a 21% chance of killing you every time you pull the trigger. This risk is somewhat mitigated when these weapons are used under the care of an Alpha Primus or whilst using a Doctrina Imperative to bump BS up above 5, and more reliable versions are often seen in a Mechanicus War Convocation.
Phased Plasma Fusil
The 30k Mechanicum's favorite weapon in a 40 watt range, the Phased Plasma Fusil is tremendously effective against Marines as you might expect. One of the few plasma weapons that don't Get Hot at all, it's typically treated as an Assault 3 weapon because most troops equipped with this one are Relentless for some reason or other. Extremely solid choice to increase the fire rate of Thallaxii or to make a death star of Myrmidons roll up in a Triaros and start tearing into Marines with 2 of these fusils each.
Plasma Culverins are a type of Plasma Weapon used by the Adeptus Mechanicus. Equipped to Kataphron Battle Servitors, Plasma Culverins sacrifice the range of their cannon-pattern equivalents in exchange for a higher rate of fire. Only the Adeptus Mechanicus dare coax such rampant destruction from their plasma weaponry, yet to the adepts of Ryza in particular, the scars they leave on wielder and war zone alike are considered quite normal.
The largest man-portable plasma weapon, only used among infantry by Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines, and available as sponson mounts for the Leman Russ Battle Tank. Again, is exactly the same power and armour penetration as the Plasma Gun, AND a lower rate of fire, but rather than firing quick 'pulses' of plasma, fires a charged bolt that, on contact with a solid surface, explodes with a blast of searing deadly plasma. Deathwing Terminators get to take up to two of them per squad. Which is a way smarter idea then just giving them to Space Marines in Power armor.
|36||7||2||Heavy 1, Blast|
This weapon is only seen on the 'Executioner' variants of the Leman Russ Battle Tank and Predator Tank, and like the Plasma Cannon, it fires explosive bolts, but in bursts of three at a time thanks to larger capacitors and cooling systems. Unless you go by Dawn of War II: Retribution, then the Executioner fires a lot, very quickly. It's also sometimes referred to as simply the 'Executioner Plasma Cannon'.
|36||7||2||Heavy 3, Blast|
The first super-heavy Plasma weapon, found as a Primary weapon on the 'Stormblade' class super-heavy battle tank, and an arm-mounted weapon on the Warhound Scout Titan. Featured as a carapace weapon on Reaver, Warlord and Imperator Battle Titans. An even smaller Omega variant is mounted on the Macharius Heavy Tank for those times when you need to flash-fry entire enemy platoons but can't be bothered to field a Titan. This Plasma weapon features two different firing options: the first is a charged shot with an enormous blast range and apocalyptic power, while the second is a burst of several shots that bathes a slightly smaller, but more flexible area in less powerful (though still devastating) plasma.
|96||8||2||Ordnance 2, Blast (7")|
|120||10||2||Ordnance 1, Blast (10")|
The middle child of the super-heavy Plasma weapons, it is most commonly found on the Warlord Battle Titan. Like its brothers it has two firing modes, the Rapid mode that lays down several smaller blast templates or the Charged mode that has longer range, deals more damage and uses the larger templates.
|72||8||2||Ordnance 3, Blast (7")|
|96||10||2||Ordnance 2, Blast (10")|
The largest land based plasma weapon in existence, only seen on the arm mounts of the terrifying walking cathedrals that are the 'Imperator' Battle Titans. Capable of wiping out entire armies in a single salvo, the Plasma Annihilator has 2 different firing modes, which are essentially the same as the Plasma Blastgun, but at a tripled (!) rate of fire.
The Warlord Battle Titan has a smaller but nonetheless equally destructive version called the Sunfury Pattern Plasma Annihilator. Developed from designs intended for the broadside batteries of void warships, plasma annihilators such as the Sunfury are able to be mounted only on the largest of the Imperium's war machines, such as Battle Titans, as both the reactor-strength required to charge them and the motive power to wield them demand nothing less.
|96||8||2||Ordnance 6, Blast (7")|
|120||10||2||Ordnance 3, Blast (10")|
This weapon is only seen on the Plasma Obliterator fortification, being a new tool in the marine killer's box. The vengeance weapons battery can't take building upgrades despite this, indicating once again that games workshop can't write but will charge 35-50$ despite having a cheap editor. Regardless, the turn it does get to fire will ruin the day of any transports, walkers, and infantry. Can also be trolled if firing automatically by standing close to the enemy or the fortification.
|72||7||2||Primary 1, Massive Blast|
Dark Angels unique Plasma weaponry
The Dark Angels, always good at hoarding archaic stuff to smite their enemies with, have access to their own unique plasma weapons:
Two shorter-ranged plasma guns mounted together on the bikes used by Ravenwing Black Knights, replacing the standard Twin-Linked boltguns.
Plasma Storm Battery
A large dual-barrelled Plasma weapon mounted on the Land Speeder Vengeance, another Ravenwing-only device, this can be fired in two modes:
|36||7||2||Heavy 1, Large Blast|
However, since all Imperial armies ran out of vehicle weapon-coolant somewhere during 4th edition, firing this baby in burst mode obviously gives you a solid chance of glancing the vehicle to death over the course of a game.
A 30K only weapon for the Dark Angels. Repeaters are the smallest Plasma weapons to apply the principle of More Dakka. Spewing enough firepower at close range to make Terminators regret their life choices up to that point. Plasma Repeaters are just one of many weapons from the Age of Strife that the Dark Angels were sanctioned to be exclusively used by the Sons of the Lion.
|12||6||2||Salvo 2/3 , Gets Hot, Twin Linked|
Plasma Repeaters have a very short range. But your not going to care because nothing short of a Primarch or armored vehicles will last through all thirty salvos. Twin Linked makes Get Hot a non issue 90% of the time.
A Small Notice to all Devou/tg/uardsmen on Plasma Weaponry
Due to a recent modeling discrepancy with man-portable Imperial plasma weaponry (and GW making the errors canon), two things need to be said:
First, the Plasma Pistol, Gun, and Cannon only have one barrel. The bottom "barrel" is actually the access port to the main accelerator coil of the weapon. The accelerator coil is a ferromagnetic electromagnet, and thus loses magnetic potency as its molecules shift due to the powerful charges and pulses it experiences. This means it wears out with frequency, and needs to be replaced every so often, or at least often enough for the designers to add an access hatch.
Second, handheld plasma weaponry has a very small opening for the plasma to escape from. The large space that everybody seems so fond of drilling out to make an enormous-caliber barrel is in fact a magnetic plate shaped like a parabolic dish. The actual barrel hole, inside that plate, is small enough to get drilled with an in-universe pin vice(!) so you can see why no one tries to mould it (soft sci-fi weaponry is SRS BZNESS!) This is because the plasma, when it is being charged, is compressed to what is almost a dense gas in order to increase heat retention. The tiny plasma reactor within the weapon is breached for a quick moment, and the spill is immediately drawn along the length and through a narrow tube in a large, ferrometalic block. The block is supercooled to avoid catastrophic burnout, but it is mainly a focusing and directing mechanism. Through the tiny pinhole runs the plasma charge, but it does not touch the sides due to the block's strong magnetic field. When it reaches the muzzle, it is going so fast and is under so much pressure that the parabolic disk shape is necessary in order to focus the plasma as it nearly explodes out of the barrel. The disk face is also magnetized to avoid touching the plasma. The one exception to this is the latest Pattern of Plasma Cannon, which borrows design elements heavily from the Mars-pattern Plasma Destroyer mounted upon the Leman Russ Executioner. It should be noted that all Mars Pattern vehicle-mounted plasma weapons use the "newer" huge-caliber devices, while Ryza Patterns use the pinhole-barrel devices. This can be seen in the Mars-pattern Plasma Blastguns, and conversely on the Ryza-pattern Plasma Annihilator mounted on the Emperor-class Titan. Perhaps this is part of the reason why Ryza plasma technology does not overheat nearly as easily as Mars-pattern plasma tech?
This is basically the ONE downside of plasma weapons. They have a chance to overheat to the point where it explodes in the user's face. If any of a plasma weapon's shooting dice come up 1, the model has to make a save (armor or invulnerable) or take a wound. To multi-wound models, this is a noticeable dent, and to most models, which only have one wound, it's potentially deadly. Vehicles were immune to this rule until 6th Edition; with the advent of Hull Points, they now lose one Hull Point unless they save on a 4+.
Still, a lot of players aren't really concerned with this because of the simple fact that plasma is one of the most easily-accessible anti-armor weapons there is to IG, SM, and CSM players. Besides, it's not like you're rolling a 1 every turn, right? In any event, if your plasma gunner(s) are power armored, you usually won't care, although bad luck can cause a pretty nasty waste of points sometimes. If they are guardsmen, you have reserves so, again, you won't care, other than about the gun itself a bit.
It's a common belief that when a plasma weapon gets hot it always explodes and like many common beliefs, it's totally wrong. What happens most of the time is the weapon's fail-safe mechanism making emergency heat dump in order to avoid the containment breach and explosion (sometimes, abeit rare, plasma guns do experience meltdown and explosion). Unfortunately for the wielder, this "heat dumpling" takes the form of the cloud of superheated steam, hot enough to boil the unfortunate wielder's flesh alive. While such occurance is almost guaranteed lethal to unarmoured shooter, Space Marine's power armour could provide some measure of protection from it.
Note that all of the previous paragraph is nullified in 8th edition; see the section below:
8-the edition crunch
8-th edition rulebook makes rather radical departure in terms of how imperial plasma guns work in tabletop's crunch (as per fluff the overheating issue of most imperial plasma guns, barring some experimental models or Plasma Incinerators remain as it was). Now a player can choose to fire his plasma weapons in normal, or supercharged mode.
- On normal firing mode the gun function normally and doesn't have any equivalent to "gets hot" rule and is safe to fire.
- On supercharged mode, however, the gun gains +1 Strength and +1 Damage, but on "to hit" roll of one it suffers catastrophic meltdown that slays the shooting model with no armour or invulnerable save allowed. Due to how modifiers work in 8th edition this happens more at night, but sometimes never happens at all.
Tau Plasma Weapons
The Tau make extensive use of Plasma technology. In fact, almost all of their weapons are plasma-based in one form or another.
Tau plasma weapons generally shoot the same globes of magnetically- shielded overheated plasma as imperial ones, but do not suffer from the "Gets Hot" rule as they are less powerful than Imperial models and are somewhat lighter. Unlike imperial plasma weapons Tau ones only rely on energy to fire, rather than a combination of energy supply and chemical fuel.
Fun With Fluff
Thanks to 8th's new Overcharge Mechanics T'au plasma weapons got a substantial nerf. The lower power was a reflection of the fact that T'au weapons didn't Overheat. Now that people can choose whether or not their weapons overheat through the overcharge profile, T'au having a lower Strength is both meaningless and a secondary nerf ro Crisis and Broadside suits who have already suffered nerfs via cost increases. Plasma weapons aren't that worth it anymore.
The Plasma Rifle is a Tau plasma weapon that projects a burst of plasma to destroy the target. Unlike its Imperial equivalent, the Plasma Rifle sacrifices a measure of firepower in order to prevent overheating and potentially harming the user. Nevertheless, Tau Plasma Rifles are still extremely effective against targets such as heavy infantry, and are able to melt even Ceramite with ease. The Tau Plasma Rifle can be considered the equivalent of an Imperial Plasma Gun, albeit obviously inferior in raw damage output.
The plasma "bolts" fired by these weapons generate the destructive heat of a small sun; impacting with the fury of a supernova and scything through steel, flesh and bone as if they were nothing.
This is the good stuff. Has exactly the same stats as an Imperial Plasma Gun (minus one Strength point) but doesn't Get Hot. Battlesuits are the only things that can take these, although the Earth caste recently sent some experimental plasma-wielding Pirahnas to field testing on Taros.
Tau Plasma Cannon
Unlike imperial Plasma Cannons, it does not cover the small area with a plasma blast, rather fires in bursts, whuch means it's more suited for vaporizing singular big targets rather than groups of heavy infantry stupid enough to clump up.
Most Tau plasma weapons are "pulse weapons," which shoot a particle that super heats the air in its immediate vicinity due to its extreme level of excitement. Unlike what many people think, it does not fire plasma. It shoots individual, energized particles. The same thing as a Disruptor Macrocannon except in fires a single particle instead of a shell of particles. The glow is from the particle hitting the air, effectively turning it into plasma. Pulse weapons are as much of a "basic" weapons as shuriken weapons are basic eldar guns, or bolt weapons are basic non-cannon fodder Imperium guns, but they are superior to both in terms of power and effective range, with only ballancing point being they are mounted on rather human-like Fire Warriors. (And Bladestorm)
Predictably, a pistol-sized pulse weapon. A Pulse Pistol is a far smaller version of the Tau Pulse Rifle. As a pistol-sized Pulse Weapon, it is only used by certain Tau personnel as a basic defence and hold-out weapon for use in desperate situations.
The only time you'll see one of these on the board is if a battlesuit equips an ejection system and the pilot bails out (5th edition) or on a Sniper Drone spotter (6th edition). Hilariously, this thing manages to retain the same shot-for-shot power as a full-sized pulse rifle.
The Pulse Rifle is the basic firearm used by Fire Warrior squads, and occasionally Gue'vesa and Kroot who earn the trust of their Tau comrades. In terms of crunch, these things have better range and power than lasguns and even regular bolters. The fluff tends to respect this too, and the first Ravenor novel mentions a Guardsman who (rightly) ditched his own weapon in favor of a scavenged pulse rifle. Whilst they can fire on automatic, they aren't good at it and users are expected to pick and choose their shots rather than fill the air with energy rounds. The increased range appears to be due in part to a built-in gyrostabilizer -- that little circle gizmo at the end of the barrel (at least, according to Fantasy Flight Games' Rogue Trader RPG).
The Pulse Rifle was developed early in the Tau Empire's history, shortly after the end of the Mont'au. It was introduced during the Campaign of Scouring against the Orks, where it proved essential to victory.
Basically a pulse rifle with shorter barrel, slightly higher full-auto fire range but no single shot long range mode. These usually come equipped with a photon grenade launcher to pin down enemy infantry and markerlights and are given to scouts and bodyguards, or attached to drones. You can choose to give these to your Fire Warriors for free, which is now actually not a bad choice for Devilfish squad.
They are frequently wielded by Tau Pathfinders and Gun Drones.
Longshot Pulse Rifle
A long-barreled variant of the Pulse rifle that can be used as a sniper rifle. Fairly standard as far as sniper rifles go except they have a greater rate of fire (read: Rapid Fire type) and usually built in the called Sniper drones.
They are lethal weapons capable of sending plasma pulses over great distances, a well-placed shot from a Longshot Pulse Rifle is capable of taking out any target.
Longshot Pulse Rifles were a lethal fruit of the Pulse Weapon technology first developed during the Tau Empire’s Campaign of Cleansing from 606.M38 to 792.M38, the first prolonged war of the Tau against the Orks (AKA Tau target practice/living experiments). Whilst the Tau suffered many defeats early on, they were ultimately able to eradicate the Greenskins, thanks in part to the Earth Caste refinement of the first Pulse Weapons. As a result of this campaign, the Dal'yth Sept was successfully founded.
The Pulse Blaster, also known as a Pulse Shotgun, is a type of Tau Pulse Weapon. Commonly used by Fire Warrior Breacher Teams. Similar to the Human Shotgun in function, the Pulse Blaster is designed to deliver powerful close-range firepower. Though the Tau are historically disdainful of close-range warfare, the Pulse Blaster had to be developed due to Tau difficulties in urban combat on labyrinthine confined Imperial Hive Worlds.
The Pulse Blaster uses a two-stage firing process to enhance its lethality of its plasma-based ammunition. When the trigger is halfway pulled, an invisible volley of negatively charged particles paint the target, followed by the full plasma payload. This causes victims to glow with a ghostly light moments before they're hit.
Crunch wise, they are the newest Pulse tool for the Fire Caste to play with, it resembles nothing more than an Over-Under Shotgun Married to an Assault Rifle; with the same rate of fire as the Pulse Carbine (Assault 2) this is the Tau's answer to Close Quarters combat, acting as a Pulse Scattergun that grows more powerful the closer the target is, at its longest range it won't even put a dent in Ork or Kroot "armour" (S:4 AP-), while at point blank range it'll tear through a Space Marine's armour and the Space Marine inside (S:6, AP3), although currently it's only seen on the Tau Fire Caste Breacher Teams.
With four rotating barrels to mitigate thermal stress, Burst Cannons are able to sustain ferocious rates of fire, albeit at the expense of the long ranges that many other Pulse Weapons possess. However, this drawback is usually offset by the Burst Cannon’s portability, and the maneuverability of units commonly armed with them. The most common Burst Cannon design leaves the weapon’s four barrels exposed to the environment, though certain Tau units make use of Burst Cannons that are fully enclosed with an armored sheathing.
High Output Burst Cannon
Found only on the XV 8-06 Coldstar Commander Suit, this weapon is the middle step between a regular Burst Cannon & the Heavy Burst Cannon, with Assault 6 & Twin-Linked, it was obviously designed as a Strafing Weapon for the airborne suit but the number of shots it puts out wouldn't do too badly against light fliers so long as you can get their RAV, roll a good dice or two and have a successful hit.
Long Barrelled Burst Cannon
It's in the name - a Burst Cannon with longer barrels, and thus increased effective firing range. It also has a much higher firing rate due to being mounted mostly on aircraft or tanks whose reactors can muster more energy than your average battlesuit or speeder.
It is of note that the Hammerhead gunship’s Long-Barrelled Burst Cannon also fires with more power and armour penetration per shot when compared to the standard Burst Cannon found on Battlesuits.
Heavy Burst Cannon
The biggest and the most powerful weapon from the Burst Cannon line, it is capable of a ferocious rate of fire that can mow down hordes of enemies with ease. It projects plasma rounds further and with greater force than normal Burst Cannons. Even in daylight, these heavy weapons produce a blinding muzzle flash, their barrels a blur of motion as a stream of incandescent fire stretches out before them. Developed during the Tau Empire's Third Sphere Expansion, it can only be found on the Riptide battlesuit so far. It fires more powerful rounds (S6 AP4) at the same rate of fire and range as the LB one, and can be overcharged with the Nova reactor to double it's firing rate and gain Rending at the cost of overheating and potentially damaging the suit.
Created by the Pulse Bomb Generators fielded on Sun Shark Bombers.
Pulse Submunition Rifle
Another "shotgun" version of the pulse rifle, this one could be found on Hazard suits, and fires what could be described as a "pulse shrapnel" shot that explodes above enemy heads, covering quite a big area with cover-ignoring pulse shots, in a way similar to railgun submunition needle packs.
While it does have a decent range, and killing power, the trade of for spreading shots is it's armour-piercing capabilities, as even the IG's Flak armour has a decent chance to hold pulse submunition shots. Nonetheless it has proven to be an awesome tools for clearing trenches and buildings from infantry, and wiping out tightly packed Ork and Tyranid hordes.
Shas’O Vesu’r Ra’lai is a notable Tau Commander who pilots an XV9 Hazard Battlesuit, and wields an experimental version of a Pulse Submunitions Rifle as his primary armament. The weapon he wields sacrifices a degree of damage and blast radius in favour of a higher rate of fire, and the ability to be loaded with several potent, limited-issue warheads. Whilst powerful, these warheads are currently experimental as their barely contained power can damage the Battlesuit itself.
Pulse Submunition Cannon
Naturally, a bigger, badder SPR, found on R'Varna battlesuit. A deadly experimental weapons system, the Pulse Submunition Cannon fires micro-cluster projectiles capable of saturating the target area in a storm of plasma pulses. This plays on tabletop as it fires considerably more powerful shot at considerably larger range, with a cluster effect, which means the bigger the target is, the harder it gets hit.
While rifle's role is anti-infantry, the cannon's primary purpose is killing light to medium vehicles and monstrous creatures, and it's ridiculously good at it, especially against Tyranids, who tend to deploy their monsters in squads, where they can suffer from both huge blast range of the cannon and it's cluster effect.
Pulse Driver Cannon
XBAWXHUEG cannon, mounted on Stormsurge battlesuit, the Pulse Driver Cannon utilizes pulse induction fields generated by a particle accelerator to propel huge bursts of plasma over great distances. The Pulse Driver Cannon is capable of killing Titans (Albeit small ones).
On the tabletop, it goes way overboard with its firepower launching S10 AP2 pieplates with enough range to hit anywhere on the board, lest you play Apocalypse. And on top of that, as it's mounted on the top of a very high platform, meaning it would always have the high ground advantage.
The Pulse Blastcannon AKA the Pulse ARC Cannon is one of the largest Pulse Weapons at the Tau's disposal, employing superheated plasma on a scale that leaves only glowing craters to mark where its targets once stood. Pioneered by the finest of T'au's Earth Caste weapons scientists, the Pulse Driver Cannon is a weapon so massive in size and power that it can only be borne into battle by a dedicated artillery Ballistic Suit such as the KV128 Stormsurge. The Pulse Blastcannon uses Aggressive Reactive Charge technology (A.R.C) to hyper-accelerate plasma energy. A stream of negatively-charged particles are fired from the gun milliseconds before the main plasma charge, accelerating the plasma blast into the target to explosive effect; a shot that disperses over a wider area the further away the target.
It is common for some people to confuse the Blastcannon with the Pulse Driver Cannon due to their similarities in appearance.
Pulse Blaster in a cannon form, only slightly smaller than the Driver, it shares the short range, rapid rate of fire and "goes stronger the closer the target is" shtick with it's smaller cousin, just turned up to eleven, with the "weakest" long range mode being S9, AP5 large blast, and the "strongest" being the almighty D.
Pulse Ordnance Multi-Driver
A set of three extra-long Pulse Drivers mounted on the back of the Ta'Unar supremacy armour. This triple-barreled system is designed to combat super-heavy enemies such as Imperial Knights and Tyranid beasts.
It can either fire in volleys that will reduce entire city blocks to dust with a ridiculously accurate bombardment, or concentrate the fire of all three Drivers into one ridiculously powerful titan-killing shot. Because no kill is better than overkill.
Ion weapons are not specifically called plasma guns, but seeing as how they shoot a stream of ions at their targets, they meet the scientific definition of "plasma". Fluff says it doesn't so much fire Plasma, but shoots a stream of Ionising particles that reduce what ever the stream hits to Plasma like a bastard hate child of laser and plasma weapons, and it's pretty horrific if you think about it. Original Ion weapon technology came from one of the Tau Empire member race known as Demiurge, but then Earth caste tinkered with it for a bit, and replaced the power source with a more compact one that could also now be "overcharged" by removing it's radiation shielding - this results in weapon firing single powerful blast shots instead of a torrent of weaker ones, but also runs the risk of wounding the weapon operator or damaging his suit/vehicle with a burst of ionizing radiation from the power source. Opposite to pulse weapon, which started as small arms and then evolved in to bigger and bigger weapons, ion weapons started from the biggest of the big (spaceship cannons, analogues to imperial lances), and then went the way of minimizing down to vehicle weapons, to battlesuit weapons, and finally to compact rifles.
The aforementioned new power source allowed Earth caste engineers to create a tau-portable ion weapon. The resulting weapon combines the size of a pulse rifle and the firepower of an Imperial autocannon in one deadly package. Like it's big brother, the Ion Rifle can be overcharged for an S8 AР4 small blast, but in order to do so a soldier must expose the rifle's power source to air. This is not a good idea, considering said power source is highly radioactive. As a result, pathfinders, equipped with this weapon usually die from cancer, unless they get killed in action before (and considering the high risk of their job, there is a good chance they will).
Quad Ion Turret
Little more than four Ion Rifles duct-taped together, it is the main weapon of the Razorshark Strike Fighter. While it lacks the range and armour-piercing capability of the Ion Cannon, mounted on the Barracuda, it packs pretty much the same power per shot and even slightly higher rate of fire, and due to it's rather compact size it could be mounted on a 360° turret, making Razorshark an excellent AtG craft as opposed to more of a dogfighter of a Barrcacuda, which can only lay hate on groundpounders in strafing runs.
Cyclic Ion Blaster
Before the Ion Rifle was invented, Earth caste tried to apply Ion weapon technology to a weapon small enough to be carried by infantry or at least battlesuits - and the result of their research was a cyclic ion blaster, which fires very quick bursts at pretty much the same power as Ion Rifle, but has a considerably smaller effective range. The original design had a static block of four barrels firing in cycles, and the modern one, which uses new power source has a rotating 3-barrel block.
For quite a while it was stuck in development hell as the Earth caste constantly worked to improve it and then re-worked it with a new power source, so the number of working models available to field personnel was rather scarce, but as of recent (999M41-recent, aka five minutes till advancing the storyline) it finally made it out of experimental stage and went to mass production. As of Damocles rematch it's one of the standard weapons of Crissis suits and is even available to the newest marks of Barracuda fighter.
Cyclic Ion Raker
This fancy new Ion Weapon is found on the fancy new XV95 Ghostkeel Suit, acting as an advanced version of the Cyclic Ion Blaster (and looking like a bigger version of it) that can be mounted on Crisis suits, the Cyclic Ion Raker reacts destructively with its target, vaporizing flesh and metal alike with equal ease.
Featuring one of the highest rates of fire of any Ion Weapon in it's normal firing mode (R 24",S:7, AP4, Assault 6) which can over charge to a devastated explosion of Ionising Radiation (R 24", S:8, AP4, Heavy 1, Large Blast, Gets Hot!)
Phased Ion Gun
A Phased Ion Gun is a Tau Ion Weapon developed as a primary weapon system for the XV9 Hazard Battlesuit that is capable of engaging enemies at range with high energy ion streams, vaporising flesh and metal with equal ease. These high-energy particles are accelerated by an electromagnetic field and react explosively with the target as a result of the direct transfer of energy at an atomic level. The Phased Ion Gun was developed during the Tau Empire's Third Sphere Expansion and based on the Ion Weapons technology acquired as part of a fruitful alliance between the Syrr'Tok Brotherhood of the Demiurg and the Water Caste of the Dal'yth Sept.
A Phased Ion Gun is a prototype weapon system designed specifically for use by XV9 Hazard Battlesuits, as their advanced power cores allow them to most effectively use these weapons. The Phased Ion Gun melds the rapid-firing technology of the Cyclic Ion Blaster with the power of the vehicle-mounted Ion Cannon into a stable Battlesuit weapon system. The lengthy particle accelerators that comprise the Phased Ion Gun's mechanism allow the Battlesuit pilot to engage the enemy at range with a storm of projectiles that react explosively at an atomic level, decimating heavily armored infantry and vehicles.
While the rate of fire is stable and very high, the ionisation effect remains unpredictable and varies due to the developing nature of this still-experimental technology. At its peak, a Phased Ion Gun's energy streams are able to bypass virtually all forms of armor. Whilst a Phased Ion Gun is similar in its tactical role to a Cyclic Ion Blaster, it sacrifices some of the latter’s rate of fire for extra damage per shot.
The Ion Cannon is a powerful Tau weapon mounted on large vehicles and starships. The Ion Cannon itself operates by generating a stream of high-energy ionised particles and launching them at a target using an electromagnetic field. These particles react explosively with the target, transferring tremendous energy at the atomic level. The resulting vaporization only magnifies the amount of damage dealt, with starship-based models comparable to Imperial Lances.
The default non-railgun weapon for Hammerheads, it's basically a long-range Plasma Destroyer with AP3, and the option for a large blast (making it arguably superior to a railgun). Due to new power source it could be overcharged for single S8 AP3 pie plate with gets hot, to rape some marines even more.
Pretty much long-barreled double-barreled version of the Ion cannon, commonly used by Riptide battlesuits as their main weapon. While it does have two barrels, it does not have double rate of fire, nor does it count as twin-linked - both fire simultaneously, combining their streams to increase weapon's armour piercing capabilities (to AP2).
The Nova reactor overcharge can empower it's overcharged blast shot even more, turning it into S9 and Ordnance, meaning it could rival the almighty Railgun it it's ability to bring down heavy armor.
Ionic Discharge Cannon
Pretty much the opposite of an Accelerator, compared Ionic Discharge Cannon, found on Y'Vahra battlesuit is little more than sawn-off Ion Cannon. Due to it's stub of a barrel it have one of the lowest effective ranges amongst Ion weapons, and is unable to use overcharge blast mode, but it's shots also have EMP effect as they ionize conducting surfaces they hit, making it extremely deadly against enemy vehicles at close range.
The Ion Accelerator is based on Ion Weapon technology acquired as part of a fruitful alliance between the Syrr'Tok Brotherhood of the Demiurg and the Water Caste of the Dal'yth Sept, and is a prototype weapon designed for use as a primary weapons system for the experimental XV109 Y'vahra Battlesuit. An Ionic Discharge Cannon can be nova-charged by the Y'vahra's Dark Matter Nova Reactor to dramatically increase its rate of fire
Tri-Axis Ion Cannon
The biggest of the big, save spaceship-mounted Ion Cannons, this triple-barreled Gatling Ion Cannon is a rapid-firing, multi-chambered variant of the standard Ion Cannon whose firepower is unmatched for its size in the Tau arsenal, a Tri-axis Ion Cannon is designed to reap through enemy formations.
Mounted on Ta'Unar Supremacy Amour can fire either the unholy barrage of standard ion cannon shots, or slightly less rapid firing torrent of powered up shots that surprisingly for Ion technology aren't blasts, but single target tankbuting coherent beams that could rival imperial lascannons in their power.
Eldar Plasma Weapons
The Starcannon fires plasma bursts, and does so by firing many smaller pulses as opposed to single stronger ones; using sophisticated electromagnetic pulses to guide bolts of destructive plasma to a target. Though its plasma core produces the incandescent heat of a star, unlike its crude and clumsy Imperial counterparts the Starcannon uses containment fields to not only prevent the weapon overheating but keep it cool to the touch.
That humanity uses a weapon which could maim or kill the wielder is seen by the Eldar as a testament to our idiocy. Starcannons are more accurate and infinitely more stable than their Imperial counterparts, and are typically seen mounted on Falcon and Wave Serpent grav-tanks as well as weapon platforms used by Guardian squads.
The souped-up version of the Starcannon above, with more oomph. A Suncannon is a large Eldar Plasma Weapon and makes use of a small nuclear fusion reaction to superheat a stream of matter into its plasma state. A Suncannon is a rapid-fire weapon and its wide and potent blasts are able to pierce all but the heaviest types of armor worn by enemy infantry. It is also hauntingly accurate due to its use of a sophisticated electromagnetic pulse to guide its lethal blasts to enemy targets.
As with all Eldar Plasma Weapons, it is far superior to its Imperial counterparts, as the core of the weapon is protected by a sophisticated series of electromagnetic containment fields to ensure the weapon will never overheat in the hands of its wielder despite producing the incandescent heat of a sun. Suncannons are scaled-up versions of the more common Starcannon, and are only used by Eldar Wraithknights due to their immense size and power.
Identical in pretty much every way except that it dispenses pie plates instead of ho-hum boring-old hits. These nasties are found mounted on the extra-large Wraithknights.
Plasma grenades are basically plasma in grenade form. They're a small but deadly time-delayed explosive device that releases a plasma-based explosion after a short amount of time, much like the Imperium's frag grenades, but also nothing like frag grenades. Despite their description and obvious anti-everything application, TT-wise they allow Eldar assault forces to ignore the attack initiative their targets get when they're in cover and can be thrown/attacked with in combat like other grenades. Since units with these are generally armed with guns with ridiculously short range anyway, this could be called synergy.
Plasma weapons are often described as striking with the force of a sun. Because of the pathological need of the Dark Eldar to make everything dark and edgy, their Disintegrator Cannons are powered by a particle of matter of a stolen sun.
So yes, not only can they steal entire stars and proceed to weaponise them, they do so at the cost of the sheer power that the Imperial designed weapons have. The plus side is that these weapons do not overheat, fire faster than any comparable design and still strike with enough force to vaporise a Space Marine.
|Weapons of the Eldar|
|Sidearms:||Shuriken Pistol - Fusion Pistol|
|Basic Weapons:|| Shuriken Catapult - Avenger Shuriken Catapult - Ranger Long Rifle - Reaper Launcher |
Eldar Flamer - Fusion Gun - Lasblaster - Death Spinner - Laser Lance - Prism Rifle
|Exarch Weapons:|| Fire Pike - Dragon's Breath Flamer - Tempest Launcher - Star Lance |
Hawk's Talon - Sunrifle - Spinneret Rifle - Prism Blaster
|Warp Weapons:||D-Scythe - Wraithcannon - D-Cannon|
|Heavy Weapons:|| Shuriken Cannon - Scatter Laser - Eldar Missile Launcher - Bright Lance |
Shadow Weaver - Starcannon - Suncannon - Vibro Cannon
|Vehicle Weapons:||Pulse Laser - Prism Cannon - Doomweaver - Phoenix Missile Launcher|
|Super Heavy Weapons:||Pulsar - Psychic Lance - Sonic Lance - Revenant Missile Launcher|
|Melee Weapons:|| Diresword - Eldar Power Sword - Executioner - Ghostglaive - Mirrorsword |
Scorpion Chainsword - Scorpion's Claw - Singing Spear - Witchblade
|Weapons of the Dark Eldar|
|Sidearms:||Blast Pistol - Fusion Pistol - Splinter Pistol - Stinger Pistol|
|Basic Weapons:||Splinter Rifle|
|Special Weapons:||Baleblast - Bloodstone - Eyeburst - Hexrifle - Liquifier Gun - Splinter Pods|
|Heavy Weapons:|| Blaster - Dark Lance - Haywire Blaster - Heat Lance |
Shardcarbine - Shredder - Splinter Cannon
|Vehicle Weapons:|| Disintegrator Cannon - Implosion Missile - Monoscythe Missile - Necrotoxin Missile |
Shatterfield Missile - Spirit Syphon - Spirit Vortex - Stinger Pod
|Melee Weapons||Dark Eldar Combat Weapons - Power Weapons|
Ork Plasma Weapons
The Orks have only one plasma weapon, but that's all they need. It comes in many different shapes and sizes.
A while back, some random Mek took a plasma gun from some dead Imperial and thought to himself "We needs us sum ov dese." Today when they need something to kill all those pesky MEQs and TEQs, Mekboys can carry a S8 AP2 Assault 1 plasma slinger. It can also be mounted on Grot vehicles. Unfortunately, due to most Orks' shitty armor saves combined with Gets Hot, the second option is more common.
Kustom Mega-Blastas do not always have to fire plasma, although they are used in a tactically identical manner. Kustom Mega-Blastas could be Microwave lasers, lightning guns, linear accelerators, or even micro-wormhole generators! Modeling on a GW-produced Big Mek with Kustom Mega-Blasta (that sold like spoiled cheese) showed the Blasta in question to be a bulky pistol with an ammo feed, so a fast-firing pulse-weapon is not out of the question either. Either way, plasma is a common variant, and Orks just make and do whatever they want.
As far as the "Gets Hot!" rule is concerned in 8th edition, Orks naturally don't give a fuck - they always fire at maximum power because it's more fun that way, so they also always have the danger of the weapon blowing up (which is also more fun for everyone involved).
Tyranid Plasma Weapons
The Tyranids makes use of "Bio-Plasma", which they vomit out through their mouths. To do so, a Tyranid with this ability regurgitates an unstable series of chemicals from its innards, which it then spews from its mouth, ignited using electrical impulses along the Tyranid's throat - much in the same way that a Venom Cannon works. Once launched, the glob of biochemicals go off in an incandescent explosion of plasma. Because it does not burn while inside the creature it will not overheat inside its user, negating any heat related issues. It's not terribly popular as far as upgrades go since players in general prefer Venom Cannons, which are both safer and longer-ranged for their anti-armor purposes, though Bio-Plasma can prove useful against heavily-armored infantry.
Massive Bio-plasma-emitting spines can also be found on Tyranid bio-ships. These spines emit gargantuan balls of Bio-plasma that can devastate enemy voidcraft. Bio-plasma spines serve as effective short-range weapons batteries in void combat for Tyranid bio-ships.
The Exocrine is a Tyranid creature that comes equipped with a huge Bio-Plasma Cannon which can fire either a stream of the stuff to hit several targets or a great ball of it to cover a small area with Marine-melting goop.
This massive gun contains the brain which controls the Exocrine, and can aim itself via its six eyes. Imperial observers have reasoned that this weapon-symbiote like the Pyrovore and Biovore is actually more intelligent than the beast it is mounted on. The Bio-Plasmic Cannon is able to unleash a vast ball of roaring energy, or several focussed streams of death from its multiple barrels.
A Weapon that Beats Spess Mehreens? NEVAR!!
|This article or section involves Matthew Ward, Spiritual Liege, who is universally-reviled on /tg/. Because this article or section covers Ward's copious amounts of derp and rage, fans of the 40K series are advised that if they proceed onward, they will see fluff and crunch violation of a level rarely seen.|
When you have a weapon that's good at killing Marines, it's only a matter of time before you draw the ire of the spiritual liege. Infuriated that there were units in the 41st Millennium which actually had the firepower and weaponry to pop asshole units like Terminators, Matt decided it would be a lovely idea to give the Grey Knights a piece of Wargear for the Ordos Xenos inquisitor that functionally renders any unit using a Plasma weapon within 12" of that unit completely worthless, as its plasma weaponry is treated as BS1. The Ulumeathi Plasma Syphon is supposedly hindered by its short range, but in practice, /tg/ has found it quite easy to get the Inquisitor carrying it into the enemy's midst (often with allied units protecting it) in order to keep high-threat units like nests of Fire Warriors or a Leman Russ Executioner completely locked down. It's particularly nasty against Chaos (which as a rule lacks high-AP weapons except for the Vindicator's Demolisher Cannon and Plasma Weaponry) and Tau, who rely extensively on plasma weapons as described above. Apparently Ward forgot that there is a difference between fluff making Marines unstoppable juggernauts and actually making them that way on the tabletop. 6th Edition ameliorated this somewhat with the advent of the Inquisition Codex giving more Imperial Armies (and a handful of xenos armies as well) access to this broken tool and making the thing only affect Plasma weapons as described in the BRB, thus giving the Tau a fighting chance. Everyone else (Chaos as a whole, basically), though, is still right fucked.
Fuck you, Matt Ward.
But still grav-guns.
In 8th is no longer a thing. As the Syphon has been replaced in favor of Inquisitors in Terminator Armor and the Telethesia physic discipline.