"Never was anything great achieved without danger."
- – Niccolo Machiavelli
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, and the Orks have a few that they no doubt stole from the Imperium. 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. It is however possible that it's just another Bloodstrike Missile-esque thing.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 Cannon
- 1.7 Macro Plasma Incinerator
- 1.8 Plasma Eradicator
- 1.9 Plasma Destroyer
- 1.10 Plasma Decimator
- 1.11 Plasma Blastgun
- 1.12 Plasma Destructor
- 1.13 Plasma Annihilator
- 1.14 Plasma Obliterator
- 2 A Small Notice to all Devou/tg/uardsmen on Plasma Weaponry
- 3 Dark Angels exclusive
- 4 Adeptus Mechanicus exclusive
- 5 Chaos Plasma Weapons
- 6 Tau Plasma Weapons
- 6.1 Plasma Weapons
- 6.2 Pulse Weapons
- 6.2.1 Pulse Pistol
- 6.2.2 Pulse Rifle
- 6.2.3 Pulse Carbine
- 6.2.4 Longshot Pulse Rifle
- 6.2.5 Pulse Blaster
- 6.2.6 Burst Cannon
- 6.2.7 High Output Burst Cannon
- 6.2.8 Long Barrelled Burst Cannon
- 6.2.9 Heavy Burst Cannon
- 6.2.10 Pulse Bomb
- 6.2.11 Pulse Submunition Rifle
- 6.2.12 Pulse Submunition Cannon
- 6.2.13 Pulse Driver Cannon
- 6.2.14 Pulse Blastcannon
- 6.2.15 Pulse Ordnance Multi-Driver
- 6.3 Ion Weapons
- 7 Eldar Plasma Weapons
- 8 Ork Plasma Weapons
- 9 Tyranid Plasma Weapons
- 10 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 save for specific units and weapons (and even those take mortal wounds should Gets Hot trigger). 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 successful attacks). Between that and the heavy nerfs the grav-weapons got, plasma has re-established itself as a viable option in the metagame.
(Note for all of the below that lacks an updated profile: in 8th edition replace "AP2" with "AP:-3" and "AP1" with "AP:-4". Supercharged versions have +1 S and D).
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.
Officers favor plasma pistols for their power to neutralize heavily-armoured enemies in an easily-handled pistol configuration. As well, their rarity marks plasma pistols as icons of status that the bearer is considered important enough to have access to one. Amongst Space Marines, plasma pistols are available to Assault Squads to become more effective as tank hunters.
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, you're 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. (Unless the reduced size means that there's less space for plasma regulation systems)
Everyone's favorite walking death trap. The standard, rifle-sized plasma weapon, capable of a range and rate of fire similar to boltguns and Lasguns, with a Strength value of 7 and an AP of 2. In 8th edition, As with all Imperial plasma weapons, the Plasma gun is now, somewhat, revamped. It can now fire in two distinct modes. In normal mode the Plasma Gun has a Range of 24", S7, AP-3, D1, Rapid Fire 1 and is safe to fire, making it, crunch-wise at least, a flat-out upgrade over conventional boltgun. When fired on Overcharge however, it gets S8 and D2 (meaning it could potentially one-shot a Terminator or Primaris marine) but with a twist — firing in such high-power mode may result in catastrophic plasma containment breach, that is, crunch-wise, represented by the user being automatically slain on to-hit roll of 1. No saves of any kind are allowed and it doesn't matter how many wounds they have left, the wielder gets removed from the table.
|8th||24||Rapid Fire 1||7/8||-3||1/2||-|
A super plasma gun, created Primaris Marines Hellblaster Marines. Usually, Imperium-produced Plasma Weapons all fire searing bursts of energy, but the Mark III Belisarius Pattern Plasma Incinerator is the most advanced of its kind, firing a potent armor-melting blast with no risk of overload for the first time since the days of the Horus Heresy. 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. More information can be read below.
|30||Rapid Fire 1||7/8||-4||1||-|
Heavy Plasma Incinerator
A Heavy Plasma Incinerator is a variant of the standard Plasma Incinerator that is capable of unleashing an even more potent plasma blast that does even more damage. This extra power is generated by a large power pack that is worn on the back and is connected to the weapon by a short cord.
Assault Plasma Incinerator
The Assault Plasma Incinerator is a variant of the standard Plasma Incinerator that has been outfitted with a more sophisticated targeting array. This allows the wielder to unleash far more accurate plasma blasts from the weapon.
Another Primaris Marine-only gun, this time for Inceptors. A Plasma Exterminator is a variant of the Plasma Incinerator that is more compact and can be wielded in one hand, much like a pistol. Like the more standard twin Assault Bolters that usually comprise their weapon load-out, Primaris Space Marine Inceptors often wield two of these weapons at once to maximize potential ass rape. While short ranged, it packs as much power as a Plasma Cannon despite being small enough to carry in one hand. Like all Plasma weapons, it has two firing modes.
The Standard shot has a range of 18" and is an Assault D3 weapon with a S7, AP-3 and D 1.
The Supercharge shot still retains the range of 18" and an Assault D3 weapon but now has a S8, AP -3, D 2. If it hits on a roll of 1, the bearer is slain after all of the weapon’s shots have been resolved.
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 given to Tartaros Terminator Sergents.
Plasma Blasters differ from Plasma Guns in that they have a shorter range, but a higher rate of fire due to their double-barrelled design which made them more suited to be used on the move (Similar to the Dark Angel's Plasma Repeater). Plasma Blasters were primarily used by Legion Terminator Squads, though on rare occasions Contemptor Pattern Dreadnoughts have been known to be fitted built-in versions of these potent weapons within their Dreadnought Close Combat Weapons instead of the usual Storm Bolter or Heavy Flamer.
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. The "heavies" of some hive world gangs often make use of the plasma cannon (Don't ask us where they exactly get these stache of supposedly rare and hard-to-maintain weapons). The gun itself has a similar effect to the plasma gun, except this weapon does damage over a much larger area. Several individuals can be caught in one blast, making the plasma cannon a potent weapon. Unless hooked up to a vehicle's systems, a plasma cannon suffers from the usual overheating problems that plague other plasma weapons.
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.
|7th||36||Heavy 1, Blast||7||2||N/A||-|
Macro Plasma Incinerator
The biggest kid of the Primaris Incinerator family, the Macro Plasma Incinerator is a Dreadnought-sized version of the standard Plasma Incinerator, a weapon that harnesses the heat of captive suns to melt enemy tanks to bubbling sludge. Other than its greatly increased size and corresponding damage output, it is essentially identical to the smaller weapons used by the heavy infantry of the Adeptus Astartes.
Only the Redemptor Dreadnoughts are allowed to carry such firepower. It is unknown why only these patterns of dreadnoughts are given special privileges. Maybe because they are the only ones with a sophisticated engine and mechanics that allow such wielding of these weapons possible? Nevertheless, this thing can still do its job in utterly wrecking enemy armor and infantry in one salvo.
A Plasma Eradicator is a type of heavy Imperial Plasma Weapon deployed by the Astraeus Super-Heavy Grav Tank favored by the Primaris Space Marines. Basically, the Macro Plasma Incinerator mounted on the Astraeus, however the Astraeus is so big it can just mount two instead. Plasma Eradicators are deployed as sponson weapons on Astraeus grav tanks and are often used to replace the Las-Rippers that are the standard anti-personnel weapons on that vehicle.
On the tabletop, Plasma Eradicators are a +1 Strength, AP-4 Plasma Cannon that uniquely only causes one mortal wound per 1 to hit on Supercharge. 90% of the time the Eradicators are the better choice. Not only are they cheaper than Las-Rippers, but they have more range. Being within 24" will put the Astraeus in danger of being chopped up by enemy Knights and makes it a prime target for most Plasma weapons however. The lone Storm Bolter won't be doing much of anything regardless.
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'.
Produced on Ryza, the only Forge World with the necessary knowledge to construct it, the Plasma Destroyer is powered by a photonic fuel cell which produces the immense if difficult to contain energies necessary to power the weapon. However many commanders complain that these cells do not provide sufficient power for prolonged combat situations, and replacing them is far too time-consuming in the heat of battle.
|36||7||2||Heavy 3, Blast|
A large plasma weapon carried only by the Knight Castellan, the Plasma Decimator is one giant middle finger to entire horde of MEQs charging their way. The Plasma Decimator is a huge and obliterative weapon capable of bathing swathes of the battlefield in searing energies and reducing the enemy to glowing ashes.
Knight Castellan pilots become adept at regulating the flow of plasmic energy from their dual power cores to this potent weapon, even if it risks rustling the Machine Spirits' jimmies in order to unleash an especially ferocious blast should the situation demand it.
With the Plasma Decimator, you will be shit firing plasma at up to 48" across the board. Of course, like all plasma weapons, even Knights have to deal with the volatility of Plasma. So supercharge this gun at your own risk and volition.
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. This deadly weapon possesses formidable firepower over a larger area than most other types of weapons. When a target is hit the tremendous heat and energy released destroys it in an almighty explosion. When the weapon's beam strikes a target the searing heat and explosive shock of the plasma bolt's substance is instantly energized and transforms the target object into boiling plasma. Though the Plasma Destructor is a highly effective weapon system, it tends to lose accuracy over long range, and requires a massive amount of energy to power it.
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, it is directly linked to their Titan's monstrously powerful Plasma Reactors, a Plasma Annihilator can not only lay down extremely heavy fire, but also do so at a high rate of fire for such a massive weapon. Its ability to devastate a large surface areas make the weapon both formidable and highly desirable. Not much is known about these weapons, beyond their awesome destructive capability.
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")|
The Plasma Obliterator is a heavy Plasma Weapon used by the Adeptus Mechanicus. An enormous plasma weapon sitting atop a reinforced pillbox, the Plasma Obliterator is a magnificent piece of Adeptus Mechanicus war technology. The infantry assigned to operate this gun are known to hold their breath in terror every time it discharges, as the sheer power can destroy even the heaviest battle tanks and leave glowing, superheated craters in the hardiest terrain.
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|
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, remains as it was). Now a player can choose to fire his plasma weapons in normal or supercharged mode.
- On normal firing mode the gun functions 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 either slays the shooting model with no armour or invulnerable save allowed or inflicts mortal wounds, depending on the unit and the gun. Due to how modifiers work in 8th edition this happens more at night, but sometimes never happens at all.
Interestingly, the idea of a overheat-less normal mode appears in the fluff before the 8th Edition. The Fantasy Flight RPGs included the option for Plasma Guns to use an alternate fuel type that would stop them from Overheating, at the cost of not being able to Overcharge at all. On a similar note, Dawn of War 2 portrays some instances of plasma guns being able to be temporarily overcharged at the cost of overheating it (though the overheating drawback isn't potentially killing its user).
Dark Angels exclusive
The Dark Angels, always good at hoarding archaic stuff to smite their enemies with, have access to their own unique plasma weapons:
A Plasma Talon is an archaic Plasma Weapon.
Two shorter-ranged plasma guns mounted together on the bikes used by Ravenwing Black Knights, replacing the standard Twin-Linked boltguns on the Ravenwing's Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bikes, which are unique to the Unforgiven Chapters. With a range between that of the Plasma Pistol and the Plasma Gun, the Plasma Talon gives the Black Knights a significant boost in firepower.
In battle, the Ravenwing Black Knights drive at top speed upon their Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bikes towards the foe. On their approach, their Plasma Talons tear holes in the enemy lines before they ride over their quarry, cracking armor and sundering flesh with their Corvus Hammers as they go.
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. Seriously, this thing is a double-barrelled plasma machinegun, sweet mother of cheese does that sound fucking rapetastic.
|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.
Plasma Storm Battery
A Plasma Storm Battery is an ancient form of Plasma Cannon utilized only by the Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter and the Successor Chapters of the Unforgiven. This relic weapon was long held in the armory of The Rock. The Plasma Storm Battery is essentially an archaic pair of large Plasma Cannons mated together to fire in sync, much like a twin-linked weapon. A large dual-barrelled Plasma weapon mounted on the Land Speeder Vengeance, another Ravenwing-only device, this can be fired in two modes:
However, since all Imperial armies ran out of vehicle weapon-coolant somewhere during 4th edition, firing this baby in overcharge mode will result in multiple mortal wounds, quickly killing the land speeder itself.
Adeptus Mechanicus exclusive
Our second favorite hoarders of technology after the Blood Ravens and all the other good shit also have Plasma weapons that only they can field.
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, turning it into a plasma machine gun.
These are exclusively used by the expendable Skitarii of the Adeptus Mechanicus; a squad of Skitarii armed with several Plasma Calivers can light up the night with each volley. This is fitting, as this gun has a 33% chance of killing you every time you pull the trigger, if Overcharged.
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. Shares a name with a Hrud plasma weapon weapon favored by mercenaries and Inquisitors, although this is likely coincidence or owed to naming conventions, as the two weapons are quite different.
Basically a more dakka version of a regular Plasma Cannon.
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.
Because of its low damage per high rate of fire, the Plasma Culverin is used like a plasma gatling gun to take care of horde armies. It is convenient that this gun reduces its damage potential and thus, power usage. Could you imagine the amount of dead Kataphrons from sheer overheating and explosive malfunctions if the AdMech had decided to not reduce the amount of raw plasma it vents out.
Hellex Plasma Mortar
A giant plasma artillery that, for some reason, the rest of the Imperium did not take notice in its capability. Seriously, god damn, look at that bore-size...
The Hellex Plasma Mortar is an artillery system used by the Thanatar Class Siege-Automata of the Legio Cybernetica. Shunning the crude shells favored by most siege guns, the Hellex Plasma Mortar fired high-density charges of burning plasma in programmed trajectory arcs timed to detonate over their targets. These airbursts created rolling waves of incinerating energy which engulfed the surrounding area, burning through anything they encountered and engulfing the surrounding area.
If you can't picture it properly. Think of it like the Wraith mortar from the Halo games. A giant moving mass of plasma that can vaporize entire chunks of infantry platoons. On tabletop, it is a large blast ordnance S8 AP2 rapemachine.
Chaos Plasma Weapons
Chaos Plasma Weapons are basically the same as the Imperium's but with more spikes, Chaos decorations and they fire crimson red plasma rather than the Imperium's blue. However they do have a few Plasma weapon exclusively designed by Chaos, for Chaos.
A Thousand Sons exclusive. Also known as the Æther-Flame Cannon. Mounted only on the Castellax-Achea Class Battle-Automata. Æther-Fire Cannons were Plasma Weapons modified by Zhao-Arkkad and used by the Thousand Sons Pyrae Cult.
It is unknown if the weapon along with the Castellax-Achea is still within the Thousand Sons armory in the 41st Millennium.
On the tabletop, Æther-Fire Cannon basically adds 10 points of Soul Blaze to any Plasma Cannon. If this is bought, all such guns in the unit must be upgraded the same way. Although it's nice of them to push the under-used Soul Blaze rule, a whole squad of 5+ plasma cannons is likely going to erase or cripple anything remotely susceptible to Soul Blaze.
Given that a whole squad of Plasma-Cannoneers will fork out 100pts for what is basically 1-3 bolter hits a turn... You can see why Soul Blaze is under-used in the first place. If you've got a Castellax-Achea rolling around with 10pts to spare, they are better spent on 2 Melta bombs. Really, those can sometimes save your bacon, unlike even 3 bonus Bolter shots.
Yeah yeah, cue Ghostbusters theme.
The Ectoplasma Cannon is a type of heavy weapon used by the forces of Chaos. It fires red crimson plasma, although this is more cosmetic than anything else. So called because they fire plasma made from the souls of the damned.
These weapons channel raw daemonic energy from the Warp and fire tortured, screaming souls which envelop their enemies. Mounted most frequently on Forgefiend Daemon Engines, these weapons are often dangerous to use even for the wielder.
Like the Imperium counterparts, the Ectoplasma Cannon have a chance of overheating and exploding.
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 to 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
Forge World produces a turret for the Hammerhead Gunship that lets it mount a twin-linked Plasma Cannon instead of a railgun or ion cannon. This gun first saw use during the Taros Campaign where it was 'coincidentally' being field tested there, this gave the Tau much needed boost in their little Weeaboo hands to counteract heavy Imperial firepower.
Basically an enlarged Plasma Rifle grown a tad bit too big. Because of this, they are more powerful than their little kinder and also fire more rapidly. However, a Plasma Cannon sacrifices some of its armor penetration power for this advantage, making it similar in damage output to an Ion Cannon.
Unlike imperial Plasma Cannons, it does not cover the small area with a plasma blast, rather fires in bursts, which 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.
In a hilarious part of 40k fluff (Depends on whether you find a dead Fishface turned into a Fishcake hilarious), a lone Tau Water Caste was trying to secretly kill a Smurf by pretending to talk the angry blueman down through the use of Diplomacy. This includes the use of speaking to him of Ultramarine culture and whether it would be considered honorable to kill an 'unarmed' woman and what Papa Smurf would think of this dishonor. Her weapon of choice? A Pulse Pistol. Yes you heard us right, a Tau bred to be diplomats first and soldiers later actually thought it was a good idea to kill a supersoldier with lightning fast reflexes at close range with what counts as a
slightly much more powerful flashlight. Suffice to say, in a rare stroke of Awesome, Cato Sicarius of ALL people saw through her Bullshit and proceeded to flatten and crush her to death with his hueg augmented blueberry muscles.
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.
A more Dakka version of the regular Pulse Rifle.
Basically a pulse rifle with shorter barrel, better portability, 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.
Like most Tau weapons, this little thing was invented to counteract the swarm tactics of the Orks, suffice to say, the high rate of fire and the blinding effects of a photon grenade worked wonders against the greenskins, especially in close combat where the Tau are most vulnerable in being turned into fishballs on a stick.
They are frequently wielded by Tau Pathfinders and Gun Drones.
In the All Guardsman Party, they are a favored weapon due to the punch and full auto. They were disguised as lasguns, but as of the latest, they lost them.
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.
Essentially a pulse minigun. These things are on EVERYTHING; stealthsuits, battlesuits, every single Tau vehicle, and if you include Forge World models, aircraft and drones too. For all intents and purposes, it is a Tau Assault Cannon.
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
Get a regular old Burst Cannon and proceed to further increase its fire rate and rotor capabilities up to 11.
The High Output Burst Cannon is essentially a Burst Cannon given crack cocaine. Seriously it behaves like a druggie hyped up on speed. As you can imagine, this thing has a pretty difficult handling due to the amount of Dakka it can spew out within a short frame of time.
Also, it would have plenty of heat sinks for it to cool down the barrels before it reaches melting point and the whole thing
falls apart breaks apart at high velocity due to how fast the barrels are spinning, most likely decapitating a unfortunate meatshield Kroot in the process.
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
A Burst Cannon given a literal penis extension.
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 Burst Cannon's abusive father.
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 like a neckbeard on a diet on cheez whiz and crackers. 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 with the only sound the enemy is capable of hearing is a constant noise of "BRRRRRRRRRRRT!" rather than the more soothing "DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA!". It is the Tau's answer to the Imperium's Punisher Gatling Gun.
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.
By opening up in-built pulse induction inhibitors, a Heavy Burst Cannon can also draw upon the XV104’s Dark Matter Nova Reactor to go super saiyan, making possible a devastating storm of pulse rounds so ridiculously huge that it can crack even the toughest of armor with ease and make reinforced ceramite to cave in and bend over.
On the tabletop, the Heavy Burst Cannon is now a Heavy 12 S6 AP-1 2 D, making it much better at wiping out two-wound infantry and gives it a secondary role of killing light vehicles with its sheer number of shots.
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. Additionally, larger targets such as bulky infantry, monstrous creatures and vehicles inevitably suffer proportionally greater harm from Pulse Submunitions Cannons, as they can be struck with a wave of near-simultaneous detonations, amplifying the blast and turning them inside out. Exceptionally handy when it comes to fending off Tyranids. Some have even consider calling it as the Tyranid's Bug Spray, cause it kills them that easily. 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.
Like the Heavy Burst Cannon, the Pulse Submunition Cannon can also nova-charge the weapon systems via its Dark Matter Nova Reactor and double their rate of fire, this is used when you absolutely must muderfuck a entire horde army up to and including hordes of gargantuan creatures.
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 and is designed for cross-battlefield destruction of enemy main battle tanks. Emitting a deep bass thrum that rises in pitch as its particle accelerator relays spool up, the cannon can build up enough force to level a building before a volley is released. The phenomenal amount of heat generated in this process is emitted through huge heat sinks built into the weapon. 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
Hey you! The Pulse Driver Cannon not doing enough Shoop Da Woop for you? Is it not killing enough superheavies fast enough for you? Do you need to compensate even further for your lack of manly parts? Fear no longer for the Tau have got your back!
Take a regular Pulse Driver Cannon and than triple the amount whilst supercharging it at the same time. You want a Weeaboo Turbo-Laser? You got one. You want a Weeaboo Turbo-Laser Destructor? Well you already have it!
The Pulse Ordnance Multi-Driver is a set of three extra-long Pulse Drivers mounted on the back of the Ta'Unar supremacy armor. 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 its 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.
Ion Rifles are currently only issued to Pathfinders as special weapons, where their firepower boosts the team's combat capabilities by allowing them to vaporize heavy infantry and light vehicles alike. Tau Interceptor Drones are also armed with a set of twin-linked Ion Rifles as standard weapons, which they use in conjunction with their advanced targeting systems to blow incoming aircraft out of the sky. They are basically the Tau's quintessential Lascannon equivalent or a rocket launcher equivalent.
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. If you know how anti-tank a single Ion Rifle can be, imagine four of them synchronizing their shots for maximum FUCK. For some reason, it is never given to ground vehicles despite the benefits of a ludicrous anti-tank weapon device.
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.
As with all Tau Ion Weapons, a Quad Ion Turret's design allows for the weapon to be overcharged by exposing the reactive Mor'tonium power source to the environment, though this also exposes the vehicle to the dangerous ionising radiation emitted by the Mor'tonium, and risks overloading its primary power cells. Overcharging the Quad Ion Turret allows it to generate a massive explosive blast with increased damage compared to its normal fire mode, cause why not limit yourself in the overkill department? Just don't get too surprised when all your little Tau pilots turn out every end of the battle with cancer.
On 8th edition, the Quad Ion Turret was hit with a massive nerf bat. The gun has basically been reduced to a reaper autocannon, which aren't even any good in the CSM army. Overcharge helps out a bit, granting +1 S D3 damage and D6 shots
Cyclic Ion Blaster
So the Tau heard the calls of the weird decision on not putting an anti-tank weapon such as the Quad Ion Turret on a ground vehicle. Thus, the Tau have delivered an answer to the problem. Low and behold, the Cyclic Ion Blaster is born.
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. As a result, the Cyclic Ion Blaster's role changed to one more similar to the more stable Ion Rifle design, and now features a moderately high rate of fire with immensely more damage capabilities per shot.
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
The Cyclic Ion Blaster is not doing enough bang for your buck for you? Worry not, the Earth Castes of T'au have learned the mystic arts of the Imperium and thus, had supersized their smaller guns into something bigger and badder.
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.
Like the previous Ion weapons, this thing can be supercharged to fire even more powerful shots at a higher fire rate in exchange on getting cancer for free! Not a particularly good trade off mind you, but maybe just enough if you can look at the enemy's face once you blow up his precious superheavy with this cheesemonger of a gun.
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.
For their size, Ion Accelerators have a relatively high rate of fire; and their strength allows them to engage both heavy infantry and vehicles effectively. While it does have two barrels, it does not have double rate of fire despite what the fluff states, 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 has one of the lowest effective ranges amongst Ion weapons, and is unable to use overcharge blast mode, but it's shots also have an 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
You want to fuck that Stompa formation quick and clean. You want to give a Warhound Scout Titan a good pause in its merry run on stomping your forces. You want to shower those pesky Nid hordes in a good bath of irradiated plasma. Ladies and gentlemen, the 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. Seriously this thing is like the more dakka version of the Pulse Ordnance Multi-Driver. But whereas the Pulse Ordnance Multi-Driver is the Tau's Turbo-Laser, the Tri-Axis Ion Cannon is the Tau's Gatling Blaster. Dakka indeed.
Mounted only on the Ta'Unar Supremacy Amour. This...thing 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 tankbusting 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 Dark Eldar|
|Sidearms:||Blast Pistol - Fusion Pistol - Splinter Pistol - Stinger Pistol - Terrorfex|
|Basic Weapons:||Blaster - Shardcarbine - Shredder - Splinter Rifle|
|Special Weapons:|| Destructor - Eyeburst - Hexrifle |
Liquifier Gun - Ossefactor - Splinter Pods - Tormentor
|Heavy Weapons:|| Dark Lance - Haywire Blaster - Heat Lance |
Phantasm Grenade Launcher - Splinter Cannon
|Vehicle Weapons:|| Disintegrator Cannon - Horrorfex - Implosion Missile - Monoscythe Missile |
Necrotoxin Missile - Shatterfield Missile - Spirit Vortex - Stinger Pod
|Melee Weapons||Dark Eldar Combat Weapons - Power Weapons|
Ork Plasma Weapons
The Orks have only two plasma weapons, but that's all they need. It comes in many different shapes and sizes.
Kustom Mega Slugga
Basically the pint size son of the Kustom Mega-Blasta. The Kustom Mega Slugga is an experimental energy weapon and it is used if the Mekboy found himself in a pinch and wants to have a weapon that can blow apart Terminators yet still has a convenient enough size to be wielded with only one hand. Basically, they are the Ork's Plasma Pistol equivalent. Despite what appearances may suggest it isn't a Flamer in any way.
Like its larger counterpart, the Kustom Mega Slugga can only fire on maximum charge, so you'll always be taking mortal wounds on 1s to hit. S8 AP-3 D D3 means this packs a fierce punch. But Rokkits are same S one less AP, give you reliable 3 wounds instead of D3 and will not wound your models. Despite a lesser range, it is a pistol class meaning that you can fire whilst in melee. So happy hunting!
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
Exclusive to Carnifexes, it is a biological equivalent of a shot from a plasma cannon, and just as deadly.
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.
The iffiness of the Bio-Plasma is further explained as here: since Monstrous Creatures can only fire 2 of their ranged weapons per Shooting Phase, and you should already have two sets of twin-linked brainleech devourers on your 'fex, AND it's only 12-inch range, you'll never get the chance to use this biomorph and shouldn't waste the points to begin with. While 8e lifts that restriction, it's still held back by its short range, limited number of shots (Assault D3 12" S7 AP-3 1 D), and exclusivity with the more useful Enhanced Senses and Tusks.
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.
Exclusive to the Screamer-Killer Carnifexes, with a boosted range and fire rate. The first strain of Carnifexes encountered became known as Screamer-Killers because of their terrible ululating shriek, caused by rasping plates in their esophagus that were used to energize a form of bio-plasma in their gut in to shoot, and in some instances Screamer Killers were reported using an electrical field around their claws to build up an incandescent bio-plasma ball before launching it at a target over longer ranges.
The Scream is a Assault d6, 18" range, and AP-4 which make this a much better weapon overall than the standard Bio-Plasma and lets it soften things up before it charges.
Take a Spore Mine Launcher and then supersize it. The Bio-plasmic cannon is a large type of Plasma Biomorph used by the Tyranids.
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 focused streams of death from its multiple barrels.
Mounted on the back of an Exocrine (or the "Giant Plasmavore" as I've taken to calling it) it delivers the same S7 AP2 as any other plasma, and can be fired either in Large Blast or Assault 6 modes so you can season to taste. 24-inch range.
|Bio-Weapons of the Tyranids|
|Small Bio-Weapons:|| Devourer - Fleshborer - Spike Rifle |
Spinefists - Strangleweb - Blinding Venom
|Medium Bio-Weapons:|| Barbed Strangler - Deathspitter - Tyranid Flamespurt Cannon |
Impaler Cannon - Shock Cannon - Spore Mine Launcher
|Large Bio-Weapons:|| Acid Spray - Bio-Plasmic Cannon - Brainleech Devourer |
Drool Cannon - Fleshborer Hive - Heavy Venom Cannon
Rupture Cannon - Stranglethorn Cannon - Tentaclids - Bio-Cannon
|Inbuilt Bio-Weapons:|| Bio-Electric Pulse - Bio-Plasma - Cluster Spines - Flesh Hooks |
Grasping Tongue - Ripper Tentacles - Spore Mine Cysts
Stinger Salvo - Thorax Swarm
|Melee Weapons||Tyranid Close Combat Weapons|
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.