"Never was anything great achieved without danger."
- – Niccolo Machiavelli
"You humans are weak! See the strength of my arm, the might of my armor! How can you hope to match me?"
- – Magnus Thrice-fated, moments before his death by plasma fire
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, the most promising candidate for a working 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 outweighs the possible electrical production benefits in the current generation of the technology. Don’t worry about explosions. Contrary to what most sci-fi has convinced people, fusion reactions that overload or are otherwise disrupted simply stop reacting. It can only exist under very specific circumstances, so anything messing that up causing the fusion reaction to end immediately.
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. Although “bolt” applies to the games and much art. The written lore has notably described the shot as looking like a solar flare.
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, it's power makes these forces use it every chance they get. Fortunately, the Imperium actually has a good (not great, but good) understanding of plasma tech and although making it in large quantities is hard the knowledge and tech needed is widespread enough that pretty much everywhere more advanced than a Feudal World makes them. The combined numbers ensures the Imperial Guard and Space Marines are often pretty well-equipped with plasma weaponry among other special weapons.
The Tau are so advanced their basic "pulse" rifles are
plasma-based particle accelerators, which Tau fans will insist are plasma weapons. Their actual plasma guns are called “ion” weapons and don’t even come from the Tau but their Not!Dwarf allies.
Due to their high firepower, plasma weapons are a go-to choice for most players dealing with heavily-armored infantry, eg. Terminators or Tyranid Warriors.
There is also "blood plasma," a form of liquid money you can have extracted from your body to pay for forgeworld minis, but otherwise is only of interest to Vampire players. 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 A Small Notice to all Devou/tg/uardsmen on Plasma Weaponry
- 2 Imperial Plasma Weapons
- 2.1 Sollex-Aegis Energy Blade
- 2.2 Plasma Pistol
- 2.3 Plasma-Caster
- 2.4 Plasma Exterminator
- 2.5 Plasma Talon
- 2.6 Proteus Plasma Projector
- 2.7 Plasma Cutter
- 2.8 Plasma Gun
- 2.9 Plasma Caliver
- 2.10 Plasma Repeater
- 2.11 Plasma Burner
- 2.12 Plasma Blaster
- 2.13 Phased Plasma-Fusil
- 2.14 Plasma Incinerator
- 2.15 Plasma Cannon
- 2.16 Plasma Culverin
- 2.17 Plasma Destroyer
- 2.18 Plasma Storm Battery
- 2.19 Hellfire Plasma Cannonade
- 2.20 Plasma Eradicator
- 2.21 Macro Plasma Incinerator
- 2.22 Omega Plasma Array
- 2.23 Hellex Plasma Mortar
- 2.24 Plasma Decimator
- 2.25 Plasma Blastgun
- 2.26 Plasma Destructor
- 2.27 Plasma Obliterator
- 2.28 Plasma Annihilator
- 3 Squat Plasma Weapons
- 4 Squat Ion Weapons
- 5 Chaos Plasma Weapons
- 6 Tau Plasma Weapons
- 7 Tau Pulse Weapons
- 7.1 Pulse Pistol
- 7.2 Pulse Blaster
- 7.3 Pulse Carbine
- 7.4 Pulse Rifle
- 7.5 Burst Cannon
- 7.6 Pulse Submunitions Rifle
- 7.7 Long-Barrelled Burst Cannon
- 7.8 Heavy Burst Cannon
- 7.9 Pulse Submunitions Cannon
- 7.10 Pulse Bomb Generator
- 7.11 Pulse Blastcannon
- 7.12 Pulse Driver Cannon
- 7.13 Pulse Ordnance Multi-Driver
- 8 Tau Ion Weapons
- 9 Eldar Plasma Weapons
- 10 Necron Plasma Weapons
- 11 Ork Plasma Weapons
- 12 Tyranid Plasma Weapons
- 13 Other Plasma Weapons
- 14 A Weapon that Beats Spess Mehreens? NEVAR!!
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 (a maintained micro fusion reaction, holy shit look at a nuclear power plant and think of this) 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 makes an emergency heat dump in order to avoid the containment breach and explosion (sometimes, albeit rare, plasma guns do experience meltdown and an explosion). Unfortunately for the wielder, this "heat dumping" takes the form of a cloud of superheated steam, hot enough to boil the unfortunate wielder's flesh alive. While such occurrences are almost guaranteed to be lethal to unarmored shooters, a 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:
8th edition crunch
8th edition rulebook makes a 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. Essentially, the ordinary overheat is not simulated for the sake of gameplay, but the overcharge fuck ups are, and you are out of the battle/the tank takes some bad damage if that happens.
- 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 armor 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. This has been fixed in 9th edition by changing the rule to specifically say "unmodified ones".
Interestingly, the idea of an 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).
Imperial Plasma Weapons
Imperial (and by extension, 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 armor, and they can go through any infantry armor as well as being rapid-firing. However, Imperial/Chaos players are not terribly fond of Plasma weapons due to the "Gets Hot" rule. The overheating issue is likely caused by unreliable electromagnetic field generators failing to properly contain the Plasma, or perhaps that the Plasma is worth several thousands of kelvin in temperature and can easily melt the operator's face off in the event where 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 Forge World other than Ryza, whose hat is that they Plasma the shit out of everything, and the difficulty in properly maintaining/using Plasma weaponry 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 that they are "rare" in terms of numbers, a million Plasma Guns being made per year would be "small" compared to billions of Lasguns made per year. Fun fact: the Adeptus Mechanicus does have Plasma weapon patterns that do not overheat, but boggarts them as usual with the good shit. Seriously, even their Skitarii forces have to deal with the Gets Hot. Then again, given how frequent Imperial forces turn traitor ranging from said Chapters, Regiments, and even Gangs, taking whatever Post-Heresy tech they had with them; the Mechanicus should be understandably paranoid about how and what tech they choose to share 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 are more than happy to reverse-engineer and mass-produce their venerable machines with reckless abandon.
Supposedly an entire regiment of Death Korps was given a general issue of plasma guns to fight the Necrons in the new awakening going on. Guess the 'crons scared the Imperium.
Note that prior to 3rd Edition of 40k, there was a split between Good Guy–Bad Guy Plasma technology, with team Imperium having the safer MkII Plasma weapons that required recharging between firing, and team Chaos being stuck with the older MkI Plasma weapons which were bulkier, covered in pipes, and 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 gets 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 runs the risk of the weapon taking out the arm and possibly the entire chassis. When the ludicrous volumes of bookkeeping were scrubbed for 3rd Edition, the recharging mechanic was removed along with the stacks of counters, and all Plasma weapons then 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.
And 8th edition shakes things up again. Plasma can now choose between the Standard profile which does not have the Gets Hot rule, and the Supercharge profile which does – and that Gets Hot instantly kills the shooter, no 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 Supercharge also means you are getting an eight in Strength (wounding most tanks on 4+ or wounding MEQ on 2+) and dealing a two in Wounds per successful attack (capable of taking down a Terminator with a single shot or wrecking a Leman Russ battle tank with just six successful attacks). Between that and the heavy nerfs the Grav-weapons got, Plasma has re-established itself as a viable option in the metagame.
Sollex-Aegis Energy Blade
Although classed as a power weapon in-game, instead of a power field in its crunch, the energy blade actually uses hot plasma to cut things up in its fluff. This thing is a literal 40k Lightsaber. Seriously, even the way it functions is a copypasta of a Lightsaber (More details can be read below). How the proverbial fuck GW avoided a copyright lawsuit from Lucasfilm of all things, we have no idea. Probably because a lightsaber uses a crystal to focus and shape light and has no container for gas and no mechanism for transferring or emitting gas. Which means it cannot be a plasma weapon no matter how much the retcon stuff tries to claim it is. No gas = no plasma. Since this means lightsabers are laser swords, a plasma sword is technically not a lightsaber and so isn’t “really” copyright infringement.
A product of information obtained from the Aegis Data Fragment – an STC database discovered in the Calixis Sector, the setting of Dark Heresy – and utilizing the properties of the Sollex focusing crystals, this is one of the rarest types of weapons in the Imperium – a blade of coherent high-energy plasma which materializes from the armored hilt as a blazing, roaring column of blue-white fire. Sounds familiar? Devastatingly powerful, only a few Sollex-Aegis energy blades are held by individuals outside of the Mechanicus, and their secrets are little understood even by their makers in the mysterious Tech-Priest sect of Sollex. Although potent beyond even most power weapons, they can also prove treacherous to the unwary as the energy blade can fluctuate, the laser containment fail or the insubstantial blade slip unexpectedly. While Power and Force weapons do not have the novelty of a Plasma blade, they are at the very least more reliable and won't stop working for arbitrary reasons. So if the battery fails for some reason. A Power/Force Weapon can still be used like the one it's based on to kill Cultists, Genestealers or anyone else without access to gear like Carapace or Power Armor. As it still has a sharp edge without it.
In the tabletop RPG, if your character uses an energy blade to parry, and with a hint of luck, you may destroy the enemy weapon like a Jedi would. Speaking of space wizards with laser (plasma, but whatever) swords, you can totally play as a Jedi in Dark Heresy by playing as an Imperial Psyker, and they most likely knew it too when they decided to add the weapon into The Inquisitor's Handbook. Back to the topic, if you fail at parrying with this energy blade, your character takes damage from the lightsaber.
Owing to the harsh actinic light and furnace-blast roar that the blade produces, the wielder cannot attempt to be stealthy while it is switched on. Additionally, the blade consumes canister fuel, just as a plasma pistol below does, with each canister worn on the belt and fed via a cable to the hilt. Note that this is an almost exact description of a Protosaber from Star Wars.
The Plasma Pistol: theoretically doubles as a Plasma Grenade provided that it's your last fuel cell, your really need that explosion, or you roll a 1.
Now, despite the significantly reduced size, the Plasma Pistol still has all the punch of the regular-sized Plasma Gun. What's the trade-off for a nuclear reactor that fits your holster, you ask? None... is what we'd like to say. You just have to cope with shooting slower and at a reduced range. Commonly carried by officers from both the Space Marines side and the Imperial Guard side, some specialized assault units such as Assault Marines may also at times be armed with Plasma Pistols, likely as an alternative to Inferno Pistols to shoot at tanks. Logically speaking, the Plasma Pistol should be the safest of the bunch since the gun is (should be) held away from your body when firing instead of being held up to your face while looking down the sights. Even if the gun were to actually melt down, you're likely to lose just your hand. Unless it explosively ruptured with the force of a grenade, it is unlikely for you to lose something critical. One of the latest pattern of Plasma Pistols available to the armed forces of the Imperium of Man is the Mark III "Sunfury," but only a handful of Chapters including the Novamarines are capable of manufacturing the new model. On the other side, Chaos Space Marines love to live dangerously by using hydrogen fuel in a higher quantum state. Surprisingly we actually have an idea what that really means. In terms of physics, a 'Quantum state' is a set of math equations, but a Quantum means how much energy a thing can release at once since particles can release their energy only in discrete units. Which is simultaneously a way to say 'it's just hotter' scientific and a way to make a physicist cry from the butchered explanation of what a Quanta is, but we don't have time to get into literal Quantum physics.
Also, Techmarines have access to the Plasma Cutter, which seems to be an allusion to our real-life tool. This Plasma Cutter, however, is better than ours since it also doubles as a rather effective weapon and is the Techmarine's version of a Plasma Pistol. More can be read below. Finally, there is Cypher's. His Plasma Pistol seems to be an ancient (as in, really good) kind since it doesn't get hot in 7th, and it uses Supercharge stats in 8th without the blowing up part.
Proof that you don't need to make your hand gigantic with a Power Fist to have a free hand while still having a side weapon like a Plasma Pistol.
The Plasma-caster is a vambrace fitted with what seems to be a Plasma Pistol with a bayonet attached to it, but is it? No! It's a smaller version of the Plasma Burner. Although the stats might be different from how the weapon is fired (wrist vs. grip), this version here may just be the hand-portable kind to complete the small-medium-large trinity. Since these things here are only for the best in the First Legion wearing Terminator Armor, there's the possibility of the it being more than just smaller. Anyway, so unlike the Bolt Caster with two Bolters on a Power Sword, the similarly-named Plasma-caster has an armor piece and a combat blade (if not powered) complementing the Plasma-flamer part.
As stated, it is equipped by the Inner Circle Knights of the Dark Angels during the Legion days, specifically the Cenobium whose members are composed of Dark Angels who have attained the rank of cenobite. These cenobites are temporarily chosen to wreak havoc in their Terminator Armor for a deployment that requires their unique skills, whatever they may be. They are elite, and the Plasma-caster is their signature weapon. The cenobites all carry one on their left arm, while their right arm carries a Terranic greatsword. So not only do these Terminators get a larger vambrace that might as well be a bladed buckler. they also get a plasma flamethrower on that same wrist in exchange for radiation exposure that will hasten their journey into being a Dreadnought.
On the other hand, the original purpose of what eventually became Tactical Dreadnought Armor was to work in hostile environment which also include high radiation, so these Terminators should be alright, unless they take off their helmet...
For a name with a word like that, you'd think it's a huge cannon or something. This gun is an "Exterminator" on a more local scale, like pest control.
The Plasma Exterminator is another Primaris-only gun, this time for the Inceptors. It is likely another variant of the Plasma Incinerator. Hellblasters don't use these and stick with their regular Plasma Pistols. Like the more standard twin Assault Bolters that usually comprise their weapons loadout, Inceptor Marines may wield two Plasma Exterminators together as an alternative to the maximization of ass-rape.
While rather short-ranged because the rule of common sense states that smaller guns don't shoot very far, the Plasma Exterminator packs as much power as a Plasma Cannon despite that compact size. This may have something to do with additional safety features in order to make room for a much more destructive blast. The wiring adjacent to the feeding cable connected to the backpack is indicative of that. Perhaps the power requirement of this weapon makes it exclusive to Gravis Armor, which would allow non-Inceptors who happen to wear one to use one, unless the Plasma Exterminator completely relies on some system which is only present within the Inceptors' variant of Gravis Armor. Also, the part at the back may either be a spare hydrogen flask just in case the backpack runs out, or it's a high-speed autoloader crucial in maintaining the firepower of this overclocked Plasma Pistol.
Because it has a cabling which will likely take some time to disconnect, it is not recommended to use this weapon as a Plasma Grenade.
And yes, they made a pistol with the power of a plasma cannon but not a rifle with even greater power or a cannon with yet greater might.
This weapon is the Plasma cherry garnished at the top of the Dark Angels' Ravenwing smoothie.
While Space Marine Bikes usually have either Bolters or Grenade Launchers as their primary armament, the upper echelons of the Dark Angels have access to something more... esoteric. And by the upper echelons, we specifically mean the Black Knights of the Ravenwing and its associated officers such as Apothecaries who may pimp their bikes out with the Plasma Talon, which is essentially a twin sawn-off Plasma Guns instead of the usual twin Boltguns. Indeed, the Plasma Talon seems to be an archaic weapon since only a notable few may attach one on their bikes in a Plasma-heavy Chapter. Given the size and firepower, it seems to be a Plasma "carbine" if there ever should be one.
In fact, its effectiveness is at about the same spectrum as the Plasma Exterminator of the Inceptors, and it might as well be the same in design concept if the Black Knights/Bikers can tear off those two sawn-off Plasma Guns and use them when they crashed their bikes. By the looks of it, Cawl or his colleagues might have been responsible for a few "missing" Ravenwing bikes. 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.
Speculations aside, the fact is that the Plasma Talon is a couple of short-ranged Plasma Guns used by the Black Knights of the Ravenwing.
Proteus Plasma Projector
Unlike most Plasma weaponry – or usual Flamers for the matter – the Proteus Plasma Projector doesn't shoot out plasma, instead it sprays the hot stuff out like a Flamer.
Hell, it even acts like a Flamer; it just uses Plasma as fuel. And who gets to use this awesome weapon? It's the Custodes, and not just some random Custodians either, you've got to be that guy who got mangled enough to warrant a Dreadnought internment first and even just that's not good enough. You've got to be that guy who's good enough to probably have his own novel to warrant the expensive Telemon Heavy Dreadnought before you have access to this thing; that is what it takes to have a couple of plasma-throwers attached to your special Telemon Caestus (Dreadnought Power Fist) and create a recipe of absolute Rape. Now, we can infer the Proteus name with a couple of meanings. Proteus itself is likely a Forge World/Moon by Neptune that our Forge World uses to designate a number of retro weapons and vehicles, which opens up the possibility that this thing is also another blast from the past, assuming that there actually is a plasma-thrower back then. This Proteus shares its last two parts of the name with the kind that is found on a starship's weapons battery. That big Plasma Projector does a lot of damage, but loses potency as the range increases, a reasonable explanation to this is that as the giant plasma ball travels over the cold space, it cools down, and a hot plasma is not as effective as when it was hotter.
With instances such as the Melta Cannon proving that two different weapons may be designated the same name, it is likely that these Plasma Projectors are another of such cases.
Nothing more than an oversized wielding torch. The Plasma Cutter is one of the primary weapons/tools that is carried around by either a Techmarine or a Squat E-COG. Appearance-wise, it looks just like two Plasma Pistols attached together.
Although it is used as a cutting/repair tool, the high heat and sheer cutting power means that the wielder can just as easily use it as a unothordox weapon; the range of the plasma itself is enough actually to classify this as an oversized and clunky Plasma Pistol. Seriously, you do not want to fuck with a Techmarine in close range, it is the equivalent of eating a face full of Plasma without overheating. This is due to the fact that the Plasma Cutter ain't discharging a blob of barely contained fusion but a controlled stream of superheated charged ions. Nevertheless, crunch indicate that one can 'overcharge' a Plasma Cutter for the same risk, although why any Techmarine would want to do that, we have no idea.
The Leagues of Votann's E-COGs on the other hand, has the smaller Plasma Torch, which is more of a Plasma melee weapon that is a S+4, AP -4 and D2 Plasma Dagger. No where near that of the Plasma Cutter and remains one of the few Squat tools worse than their Imperial counterparts.
Everyone's favorite walking death trap.
An uncommon weapon even in the ranks of the Imperial Guard or Space Marines as mentioned above, most extant Plasma Guns are hundreds if not thousands of years old because, well, they tend to blow up without proper handling/luck. As a testament to their design, they remain as deadly today as the day of their fabrication. Aesthetically speaking, they look stubby and also rather clunky, with a ribbed back and flared cooling vents along the front. Hydrogen flasks stick out of the butt and bottom of the weapon. These generally contain enough fuel for at least ten shots before you need to swap it out with a new one just like a magazine. If you don't like to carry lots of hydrogen canisters because you don't have Power Armor that can mag-lock stuff as well as handle the weight, an alternative is a backpack that can hold more hydrogen with a feed line to the gun. Plasma guns can generally be fired in two modes: the Standard mode which is not only normal, but also the safest and practically a flat-out upgrade over the conventional Boltgun; or the higher-powered Supercharge mode with a longer range and higher temperature, which is definitely not the safest, possibly lethal, and powerful enough to potentially one-shot a Terminator or Primaris Marine (or both if they're standing next to each other when it cooks off). The latter requires a short time to replenish the plasma back to firing levels after firing. Ryza plasma weapons don't have a safety issue if you don't over-charge. So, follow the instructions on your death gun and you won't get death gunned by your death gun.
But here's the twist for not following safety procedures and why it is possibly lethal – firing in such a high-power mode may result in catastrophic plasma containment breach, that is, crunch-wise, represented by the user being automatically slain on a 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.
There is a huge variety of plasma guns, though. Even patterns that fire weaker bolts rapidly. By "weaker" I mean "smaller" so it's still going to melt through powered armor instantly just the hole in your body will be smaller. If you're not a space marine, the heat transfer would fry your body inside-out anyway.
On the Plasma side, the Skitarii do not use the same Plasma Guns like the Space Marines and Imperial Guard. They have something better.
For your information, "Caliver" is not a made-up word. It is a corruption of the word "Calibre/Caliber" which literally refers to the bore size of a firearm. Indeed, the Plasma Caliver here doesn't seem to have anything to do with bore size at all, so-so compared to the larger available sizes in fact. Historically speaking, the Caliver is a standardized form of the arquebus, an early form of the firearms we know of. This definition fits very well with the whole steampunk vibe the Mechanicus maintains for their Skitarii, which is not surprising because pretty much W40K's whole shtick is "Putting obsolete aesthetics on super space tech". As volatile as it is deadly, the Plasma Caliver boasts a terrifying rate of fire, making it a Plasma machine gun. A squad of Skitarii armed with several Plasma Calivers lights up the night sky with each volley, which should say a lot on how much Plasma this thing spews out. The Plasma Caliver seems use three fuel cells attached together at a time, which we may allude to how it shoots three times on the board. If we assume as such, then the Plasma Caliver probably shoots pretty damn fast, emptying all the three fuel cells at the given moment. To say they risk life and limb in the process is a grave understatement, yet to their Tech-Priest masters, such collateral damage matters not at all. Either the Plasma Calivers are cheap to produce to be disposable, or the gun itself may be salvaged somehow after blowing up.
One would assume that the Iron Hands and Salamanders, being the tech masters of the Astartes, along with Dark Angels the experts on Plasma weaponry among the Space Marines, would have a few Plasma Calivers in their arsenals by the end of the Indomitus Crusade. Or at least get authorized to build their own. But sharing would make things less GrimDark. The Mechanicus themselves are known for hoarding the good shit. Emperor forbid that humanity have the ability to wipe out huge swaths of their enemies at once. Calivers are basically slightly worse Incinerators, with their range now matching that of the standard variant and exceeding its rate of fire.
Dark Angels are well-known for their array of Plasma weaponry in 40k. Wind the clock back about ten thousand years or so, and this is in their arsenal.
The Plasma Repeater is a 30K weapon for the Dark Angels, the smallest Plasma weapon to apply the principle of More Dakka. Spewing enough firepower at Melta range to make Traitor Terminators regret their life choices up to that point. As the First, Dark Angels have access to a panoply of war not from the forges of Mars, but from their equipment cache back from the Unification Wars on our Ancient Terra. This means the Plasma Repeater is one of the relics that are often difficult to replicate and mass produce, and/or possessing too much firepower to be reliable to handle. Thankfully, the Plasma Repeater isn't too much to handle, and it is one of the few weapons from the Age of Strife which the Dark Angels were exclusively sanctioned to deploy with. In fact, there are certainly a lot of these around back then too, since despite being relics which you'd expect the notable few such as commanders to carry like the Plasma Blaster with the Tartaros Terminator Sergeant, the Dark Angels may fit entire squads with Plasma Repeaters instead of the usual Plasma Guns. We do not know what the Plasma Repeater actually looks like, but judging from the strength, rate of fire and weapon type it'll most likely resemble a scaled down version of the Phased Plasma Fusil, albeit with a second barrel making it a double-barrelled Plasma submachine gun; sweet mother of cheese does that sound fucking rapetastic.
Sadly, the crunch doesn't match that rapetastic prospect. Despite Gets Hot being a non-issue 90% of the time, their primary failing is a short range, comparable to what the Plasma Pistol can pull off, but since it's salvo it lowers to a meager 6" if the unit moves, so infantry units will rarely benefit from having them except on the smallest/densest battlefields or you spend a few points and cash on a Rhino/Drop Pod and hope that your opponent is blind or stupid enough to let them get near whatever's toughest/priciest. On the other hand, they are cheaper than Twin-Linked Plasma Guns on Outrider squads, so with Relentless will always fire at full effect and essentially have saved five points to gain an extra shot that is just as effective against T4.
For a distinctive tabletop representation, you will probably have to make do with something like painting your Plasma Guns differently or something. You may have the marines carry Plasma Incinerators to differentiate, or you may get these Plasma Repeating Shotguns made by White Wyvern Designs.
The Plasma Burner is another fuel to the Dark Angels' fetish on plasma (which we mere mortals will never understand), and this one has an actual fuel canister attached to it like a Flamer.
Used during the legion days of the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy, the First Legion had the capability to arm anyone normally equipped with a Plasma Gun with a Plasma Burner instead, though they had dedicated Interemptor squads armed with them exclusively. As the name suggests, it's a plasma flamethrower. While not a new concept – with the Custodians strapping a couple on a fist attached to a behemoth of a Dreadnought called Telemon – it is likely produced in a much greater volume since the Interemptors all carry one and the Dark Angels were able to equip them on other units as standard upgrades.
The Plasma Burner is a dangerous offshoot of a more common plasma technology. These things vent plasma gas through a magnetic bottle in high-speed jets. Any poor sods getting hit by such a spray is quickly reduced to a molten slag. What do you expect from getting coated in raw plasma? On the other hand, the magnetic fields that keep the super-heated gas contained are actually fragile and emit a low-intensity field of radiation. So what does that mean? On top of the fact they still use Rad Grenades like any good Destroyer Squad, the Interemptors who use them WILL get cancer, that's what it means. On average, they're good for combat only for a few short decades before requiring augmetic replacements and/or straight into the casket, the Dreadnought kind.
Interemptors are kinda like Destroyers, and a flamethrower that throws out star fuel certainly sounds like having a decent amount of destruction to it. Appearance-wise, it looks a lot like the Plasma Repeater bit we got from Google above there. However, the fuel canister and the tube feeding said fuel to the mouth of the barrel aside, the barrel of the Plasma Burner does seem similar to the Phased Plasma-Fusil, specifically how the bottom coil is exposed. And as an option, other than a missile launcher, an Interemptor may carry the heavy version of the Plasma Burner. It is not called the Heavy Plasma Burner as one would expect from a Flamer-lookalike. The Plasma Incinerator is essentially a bigger version of the Plasma Burner, identical in all but the fact that you have to hold it with a chainsaw grip. Aside from the nominal possibility of a more solid relationship between this Plasma Incinerator and the Plasma Incinerators used by the Primaris Space Marines, there is one unit other than the new Interemptors which is most fitting to carrying it one-handed, possibly safely, and a bigger output than what the Hand Flamer size can give – the Cenobium Terminators.
The only other weapon that is similar to the Plasma Burner here is the Splash Burna used by the Orks, and do note that the thing's from the Eternal Crusade game. Now, back to the fuel, we can infer that the Plasma Burner is actually a Combi-Plasma-Flamer. The fuel from the canister goes to the end of the barrel where the plasma comes out. And by now the reader should have already noticed that this thing does not have the usual pilot light to light the fuel up. Instead, it seems to be the plasma that's going to light the fuel up. Oh, and do note as well that the Splash Burna does not work that way. The Orks just used their plasma coils to heat up their fuel before discharge. The Plasma Burner here actually discharges plasma with the fire. For all intents and purposes, it is the SPESS MEHREEN's equivalent of the Ork's Skorcha with the blowtorch mode permanently enabled, only you know, far more fucking reliable. As you can imagine, having the flamer template mix in with the AP bonus of a plasma gun sounds fucking ridiculous, just imagine having a squad of these facing off against horde armies; you can kiss those hordes goodbye.
The Plasma Blaster is an ancient weapon, and it's really ancient. Sure this weapon goes back to the Great Crusade, but what if we told you... it goes way back to 2nd Edition?
At that time, the Plasma Blaster is essentially a Combi-weapon that is two Plasma Guns joined together. It is not a linked weapon, which means you do not fire both of them at the same time, but one at a time. And because of the massive power drain, the Terminator Armor with its bigger power pack is the perfect candidate to carry it. A Plasma Blaster was wielded by Saul Invictus, Captain of the Ultramarines 1st Company, before he was nommed by the Tyranids (Rest in Pieces) and Severus Agemman took his place, but sadly not his Plasma Blaster. The Plasma Blaster was later revamped into a Great Crusade / Horus Heresy era weapon-relic depending on which millennium you're in.
During the Horus Heresy, one may find Terminators carrying them – mostly Tartaros – and Contemptor Dreadnoughts having one installed in their claw. Though the range is rather short compared to standard Plasma Guns, the higher rate of fire the Plasma Blaster affords gives it a tactical edge when engaging in assaults. What differentiates this "Combi-Plasma" from other Combi-Plasmas is that this thing is literally two fully-functional Plasma Guns that can last the entire battle or more if you still have flasks left, while the Plasma Guns fitted to general Combi-weapons are only worth a single shot. Naturally, you are wondering why the combi-plasma doesn't just take a plasma-blaster (or combi-bolter or stormbolter) and replace one of the boltguns with an actual plasmagun or even plasma pistol or even just put the ammo outside of the attachment instead of inside so you can reload a combi-plasma in combat easily. The reason is that GW has to gimp the Imperium as much as possible with sheer stupidity or else they wouldn't have a grimdark setting and their itchy ball sacks would never get that sadistic scratch they crave.
May or may not actually be based on the Plasma Repeater of the Dark Angels, which is a similar and (likely) much older weapon used in the same age.
Fusil is a type of light flintlock musket, hence the term for a person using one, "Fusilier". The word "Fusil" itself is derived from "Foisil" which means "Flint".
Unlike the previous Plasma Caliver, the Phased Plasma-Fusil is the proper Plasma Gun equivalent of the Mechanicum in terms of application beyond infantry. The 30k Mechanicum's favorite weapon in a 40 watt range, the Phased Plasma-Fusil is tremendously effective against Marines as you might expect. While the Plasma Caliver is only carried by the Skitarii, the Phased Plasma-Fusil is also mounted on vehicles apart from being an option for Thallaxii. The most distinctive features of this gun is the fact that it has two barrels, and the fact that it is slender.
You can probably tell that it looks pretty unremarkable when not carried by the relatively smaller Thallaxii and Tech-Priests (and their Servitors). So, vehicles: the Minotaur Artillery Tank of the Ordo Reductor may use the Phased Plasma-Fusil as its side weapon; and although technically not exclusively Mechanicum, the Magaera variant of the Questoris Knights has one in place of where the Heavy Stubber or Meltagun should be. It is typically treated as an Assault 3 weapon because most troops equipped with the Phased Plasma-Fusil are Relentless and have at least two wounds or more. So you won't care if you lose a few to "Gets Hot". Extremely solid choice to increase the fire rate of Thallaxii or to make a death star of Myrmidon Secutors roll up in a Triaros and start tearing into Marines with two or more Fusils each.
Also shares the name with a Hrud (Warp) 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.
Because, apart from the Dark Angels, Space Marines are rather lacking in terms of Plasma weaponry, Primaris Marines have their own dedicated squad composition with its very own Plasma weaponry.
Imperium-produced Plasma weapons all fire searing bursts of energy, but the Mark III Belisarius-pattern Plasma Incinerator primarily used by the Primaris Hellblaster Marines 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. The same cannot be said when the Plasma Incinerator is fired on its deadly overcharged setting, however. So, this Plasma Incinerator here can fire at more or less the same potency as an overcharged Plasma Gun and a little extra range without any safety concerns to trouble you with, but still has an Overcharged mode just in case that Hellblaster Marine is feeling a little lucky for that extra punch. The Plasma Incinerator distinctively features a part which looks to be a high-speed autoloader similar to the Assault Bolter as well as the Auto Bolt Rifle. Unlike most Plasma Guns out there, the Plasma Incinerator uses two hydrogen flasks at a time instead of the conventional one at a time. Perhaps the high-speed autoloader is there to push the extra plasma out. On the other hand, the one of the two might be the actual flask that is used, while the other is a spare attached close by to improve reloading speed. Distinctively, the gun also comes with a handle for you to carry with convenience while you wait for the thing to cool down.
Possibly either Mark I or Mark II of the Belisarius-pattern, the Assault Plasma Incinerator is more at home with the regular Plasma Gun where range is concerned. It is, however, a little bit different in terms of capability when compared to the regular Plasma Incinerator. The fuel flask intake is tilted clockwise possibly for a better grip. The Assault Plasma Incinerator is also fitted with presumably laser and another sophisticated targeting sights because for the reduced rate of fire, you've got to be doubly sure of making that hot shot count.
Possibly either Mark I or Mark II of the Belisarius-pattern, the Heavy Plasma Incinerator is at about the same level as a Plasma Cannon in terms of punch. Presumably, the extra range comes from the juices of the power pack which is connected to the gun. Shunning magazines altogether, this gun/cannon uses a feed line connected to a backpack/fuel tank that is stuck right on top the power pack. The backpack also features three extra ports. These are possibly additional hydrogen flasks for the Hellblaster Marine to swap the Heavy Plasma Incinerator into a regular Plasma Incinerator when the backpack runs out of fuel.
We can now see that early in the list, our next Plasma gun is already a full-fledged vehicle-mounted weapon because it's too large to carry around. Originally called a "Heavy Plasma Gun" in 1st (Rogue Trader) and 2nd Editions, it was promoted to "Cannon" status beginning with 3rd Edition.
The exceptions to that rule are the Space Marines because they're big and wear Power Armor. Although the Sisters of Battle do wear Power Armor as well, we can probably infer that the power packs carried by the Sisters are not enough to charge the Plasma Cannon up, while the larger Space Marines with larger power packs may afford to do so (also because Space Marines are genetically engineered super soldiers, while the Soritas is comprised of MOSTLY mortals). Outside of the Power Armor ring, the Plasma Cannon remains a weapon to be installed on vehicles. Apart from the Servitors and influential/fortunate Hive World gangs, you won't see a Heavy Weapons Team with Plasma Cannons because you have to remember that this technology is pretty rare, and it shouldn't be installed on something less protective than in the hull of a Leman Russ Battle Tank and, strangely enough, an Armored Sentinel. Of course, Dreadnoughts may use this also because they're Space Marines made even larger. By being a larger Plasma Gun, the Plasma Cannon delivers destruction over a much larger area; several individuals may be caught in a single blast. The blast itself is also a little different from the usual Plasma Guns. Instead of a small "pulse," the Plasma Cannon fires out a larger "ball" of boiling nuclear energy which looks more or less like a miniature star, hence the "Sun Gun" moniker.
8th Edition introduces a couple more of Plasma Cannon variants mostly for representing a different effect when things go wrong just because the safety is turned off.
Continuing the early firearms theme at the size of what we would call cannons for the Mechanicus is the Plasma Culverin.
There seems to be a running theme between the Mechanicus and rapid-firing Plasma weaponry, because the Plasma Culverin is also the Dakka-friendly kind on a bigger scale. In fact, the whole thing looks just like the Plasma Caliver in design concept. Since it is much bigger, it will be too unwieldy for an average Skitarius to carry around. Unless said Skitarius happens to be an Ogryn or something, the Plasma Culverin currently sees sole usage with Servitors, specifically Kataphron Battle Servitors, more specifically the Destroyer kind that actually carries around the big guns like this or the Heavy Grav Cannon. 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, and even they put it on a essentially disposable unit, yet to the adepts of Ryza in particular, the scars they leave on wielder and war zone alike are considered quite normal. Since it is essentially a larger Plasma Caliver, and Skitarii usually handle with weapons which are also usually outright lethal to people who aren't half-machine, the Plasma Culverin might actually be that much dangerous to the wielder, and so it is carried by Servitors who are half-dead along with already being half-machine.
Because of its low damage per high rate of fire, the Plasma Culverin is applied as a Plasma Gatling to "accommodate" horde armies.
What makes the Plasma Destroyer different from your regular Plasma Cannons is that it is big enough to be considered a main gun.
Certainly, the Plasma Destroyer is too big to be carried by Space Marines or mounted on flimsy walkers like Sentinels. The only pattern we know so far for this class of Plasma weaponry is the Executioner-pattern Plasma Destroyer mounted on the eponymous Leman Russ loadout; Space Marines used to install this same type of cannon on their Deimos Predators too, but those tanks have been reduced to relics by the present age. The following is why plasma tanks are so hard to come by here. The Plasma Destroyer is produced at Ryza, a Forge World that is the capital of plasma and magnetic containment field, both of which an essential component when you want to make Plasma weapons. Concerning the performance, the Plasma Destroyer is a rather volatile for a cannon with only 12 shots worth of plasma before running out of juice; to recharge, it uses photonic fuel cells, one at a time. Heat management is a critical factor when handling this weapon. In fact, the Leman Russ needs to be modified to accommodate heat vents as such to not melt the insides out. There is also an emergency coolant system by the rear of the cannon, but since the damn tube is outside and vulnerable to damage by stray fires or something, the fail-safe usually doesn't work, so most tank crews usually ditch the tank when it starts to get too hot and the Commissar isn't watching.
There seems to be a distinct difference between a couple of Plasma Destroyers: the Executioner Plasma Cannon that is mounted on the Leman Russ chassis deployed by the Imperial Guard (that we have taken liberty to refer as "Plasma Destroyer" since it is at about the same size anyway), and the Plasma Destroyer that is mounted on the Predator chassis used by Space Marines. We can see that by appearance alone, where the Executioner Plasma Cannon looks to be a giant Plasma Cannon, the Plasma Destroyer seems to be more like the next size of the Plasma Blaster. What makes the Plasma Destroyer more reliable? It doesn't get hot. Recently, this translates to not letting you take your chances and overcharge its shots.
Plasma Storm Battery
Just like the Plasma Talon, the Plasma Storm Battery is also a twin-linked Plasma weapon of sort.
Unlike the Plasma Talon, this thing is a much bigger talon used by the Ravenwing on their much bigger Land Speeder Vengeance for an occasion where there is a much bigger prey that needs a much bigger Plasma bombardment. Yes, complementing the Heavy Bolter or Assault Cannon of the Vengeance is a couple of Plasma Cannons. Like a supernova born amid the fire of battle, the blast of the Plasma Storm Battery annihilates anything it touches. Whether spitting multiple bolts of energy or loosing a single, monstrous blast, this weapon spells death to all before it. A Plasma Storm Battery is a relic weapon long held in the armory of The Rock. Normally a Land Speeder shouldn't be able to bear the weight of two Plasma Cannons and another Astartes controlling the turret, but not only is the chassis of the Land Speeder Vengeance much bigger, it also has superior lift-engines to carry the heavy weaponry. By service records, the Plasma Storm Battery is the senior equipment compared to the Land Speeder it is mounted on, which was discovered recently at around M36. The Dark Angels just noticed that the new big Land Speeder can carry the Storm Battery and promptly installed it. The original purpose of the Plasma Storm Battery is unknown (we're guessing it was for killing stuff), though we can perhaps suppose that it used to be mounted on larger relic vehicles such as Deimos Predators.
Do note that it is not recommended to fire this weapon on Supercharge; since all Imperial armies ran out of vehicle weapon-coolant somewhere during 4th Edition, firing this baby in that mode will likely result in multiple mortal wounds, quickly killing the land speeder itself. Well, until 9th edition at least, when they finally found the cooling packs and now only 1 mortal wound takes place.
Hellfire Plasma Cannonade
As the Devastator of Dreadnoughts, of course, the Deredeo chassis has access to a true Plasma Cannon equivalent, and it shoots like a machine gun.
Alright, that is probably an exaggeration. The Hellfire Plasma Cannonade is a development from existing Plasma-based weapons technology. It was in its experimental, field-testing stage by the onset of the Horus Heresy. The Hellfire is clearly the Imperium's attempt on making Plasma cannons that can fire a lot of miniature stars at a time. It sacrifices range which is something of a standard quality for the Deredeo's armaments for increased armor penetration as well as the aforementioned rate of fire. As a bonus, it may also a fire a one huge blast like what a Plasma weapon should be able to.
Fast-forward to 40k with 8th Edition, however, the Hellfire Plasma Cannonade has lost its ability to fire one huge blast, which isn't really as bad as it seems since the Hellfire is supposed to be a Plasma cannon battery that shoots out a lot of Plasma in a short period of time. And for some reason in the present age, it is referred to as Carronade instead of Cannonade. The present rendition is likely a typo, since Carronade is a short but powerful cannon mounted on 18th–19th century warships, while the Cannonade refers to a continuous discharge of heavy gunfire. Clearly, despite being short-ranged like a Carronade, the Hellfire is a Cannonade with its high rate of fire.
This weapon system might be based on the relatively similar Dark Angel's Plasma Storm Battery mounted on their Land Speeder Vengeance.
Another Primaris-exclusive Plasma weapon since a couple of this can be mounted on a Primaris-exclusive vehicle.
Possibly a derivative from the Plasma Incinerator family along with the Plasma Exterminator, the Plasma Eradicator with a similarly intimidating name is perhaps a cousin to the Macro- variant. The Plasma Eradicator may be installed on both side turrets of the Astraeus Super-heavy Tank favored by the Primaris Space Marines as an alternative to the Las-Rippers. Concerning firepower, the Plasma Eradicator is more or less similar, but not the same compared to the Macro Plasma Incinerator with a similar size, but the super-heavy tank makes up for that by being so heavy enough to mount two on its sponsons.
Since the design of the Astraeus was actually based from a recovered STC with some additions here and there from Cawl's part, it is likely that the Plasma Eradicator was one of such additions, modified a little to become a weapon fitting for a heavy hovering tank and not a heavy Redemptor Dreadnought. Since the Plasma Eradicators are not only cheaper than the Las-rippers, but also provide more range that is a whopping extra 12", they are 90% of the time a better choice for you to live with; being within the 24" range will put the Astraeus in danger of being chopped up by enemy Knights or other equivalents, not to mention making it a prime target for most Plasma weapons from the other side.
You'd think a tank that big would be able to feed more juice into its Plasma Eradicators.
Macro Plasma Incinerator
The Plasma Cannon size of the Plasma Incinerator family alongside the Heavy variant, notice the "Macro" prefix if the looks of it is not obvious enough for you.
In a similar fashion to how the Heavy Plasma Incinerator is a relatively smaller for better handling by the Primaris Hellblasters, the Macro Plasma Incinerator is just simply a bit too large to carry alone. In their army, if Space Marines can't carry the weapon, then the Dreadnoughts will. For this particular cannon, not just every Dreadnought will do. It has to be the new Redemptor chassis which is also exclusive for the new Primaris Marines possibly due to being designed exclusively for it; regular Dreadnoughts can probably carry it, but likely don't have enough juice to fire the thing.
The Redemptor Dreadnought and Repulsor Tank are the current wielders of the Macro Plasma Incinerator, with the latter getting it for it's heavier firepower Executioner varient. Appearance-wise, it has a total of five flask-like objects attached to it. The three big ones are likely the fuel cells which are also likely used one at a time. The other two flasks might either be spares or possibly some sort of coolant. Since Primaris Hellblasters tend to handle with Plasma weaponry for the most part, the Macro Plasma Incinerator is a great familiar option for a Redemptor Dreadnought who was a Hellblaster back when he still had more limbs to speak of.
The Macro Plasma Incinerator is essentially a giant plasma gun made for harder hitting Dreadnoughts and tanks. With a little adjustment, other bigger present Dreadnoughts might be able to use it.
Omega Plasma Array
The Omega Plasma Array is a type of Plasma Weapon mounted on Space Marine Sicaran Omega Tanks as its primary weapon. Imagine if you will, a Plasma Destroyer that is twin-linked and is just as able to rapid fire.
The plasma array mounted on the Sicaran Omega is capable of focusing and projecting a highly pressurized stream of volatile and highly charged plasma, vaporizing outer armour layers and literally burning through an enemy tank’s defences. This crude application of plasma technology is rarely capable of the elegant destruction of weapons of the same calibre as the ubiquitous lascannon, but is capable of eventually reducing even the toughest enemy vehicles to molten ruin.
However, despite the awesomeness of the concept, gameplay wise, the Omega Plasma Array is in some tough competition as it is not as armour-fucking as the Venator's Neutron Laser Projector nor does it has the same Dakka as the Punisher's Rotary Cannon. Its biggest competitor however, is the Arcus Launcher as it does everything the Omega does in its niche as a versatile weapon that could switch its firing mode depending on the type of enemies it is facing.
Hellex Plasma Mortar
Instead of the usual cannon, the Hellex is a mortar, which means it shoots the Plasma up instead of the usual front.
Now, Plasma Mortars are certainly not new. Starforts for one may have them as part of their collection of batteries. In fact, it isn't that strange for an actual mortar or two to be used on naval ships of the past – the bomb ketch is a good example. As shown in Eternal Crusade, the Plasma Cannon may also double as a Plasma Mortar by aiming significantly higher, which is probably why there isn't a Plasma Mortar proper available. What makes the Hellex much more in line as a mortar is its payload. Deployed by Siege-Automata of the Legio Cybernetica under the Thanatar class, the Plasma coming from the Hellex they carry comes in a shell, but not the regular kind. Shunning the crude shells favored by most siege guns, the Hellex Plasma Mortar fires high-density charges of burning Plasma in programmed trajectory arcs timed to detonate over their targets. These airbursts create rolling waves of incinerating energy which engulf the surrounding area, burning through anything they encountered. The Hellex doesn't fire out raw Plasma. It shoots out a shell filled with raw Plasma, and detonate that over its targets – it fires out a star that promptly explodes. This results in a Plasma Wave that will definitely do a lot of damage over the perimeter. Though a debris might be able to cover you from regular mortar shells, you might need to pray to your god(s) for this one.
There are some additional points for the Hellex Plasma Mortar. On tabletop, the Plasma Wave essentially means you (or your opponent if you're the one who fired it) have to re-roll your successful cover saves. Because being stationary means more time to probably balance itself, the Thanatar will be able to shoot with the Hellex doubly further if it didn't move at that moment. Finally when assembling the model, the end of the barrel may be flared out if you prefer the sight of a blooming flower that shoots out miniature stars a few moments before going supernova over the poor sods over at the other side.
8th Edition brought out a lot of new Plasma weapons, and the Plasma Decimator is another one of them.
The Plasma Decimator is mounted as one of the two primary weapons of the Knight Castellan, Dominus-class chassis. It is a huge and obliterative weapon capable of bathing swathes of the battlefield in searing energies and reducing the enemy to glowing ashes. Because it is a Dominus Knight, it possesses dual plasma cores, which translates to more energy to feed into more and larger weapons these Knights carry to battle. Appearance-wise, this cannon seems to be the next size after the Plasma Culverin. It is one of the few instances where a rather Mechanicum-exclusive weapon makes its way to other Imperium forces, Imperial-aligned Castellan Knights for this case.
Pilots of the Knight Castellan are adept at regulating the flow of that abundance of plasmic energy 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. Simply put, it's just a fancy description for the signature Supercharge affiliated with most Plasma weaponry. Fundamentally speaking, the Plasma Decimator is one of the smaller, pseudo-Titan-sized middle finger graciously-signed to an entire horde of MEQs charging up their way. With the Plasma Decimator, you will be shit-firing plasma from your Knight Castellan at up to 48" across the board.
Of course and as stated, like all Plasma should be, even Knights have to deal with the volatility of that class of weaponry, so supercharge this gun at your own risk and volition.
Unlike the usual kind, this Plasma Decimator is exclusive to Mechanicum-aligned Knights Castellan.
So, why is it named after a certain Tech-Priest we know? You see, while our illustrious Archmagos Belisarius Cawl was working on some advanced Plasma weapons technology that ended up with the Primaris Marines – particularly to reduce the size to increase portability – some time around the centuries that took the work, he made this singular Plasma Decimator. Its enhanced containment fields and Machine Spirit data-shackles allow it to generate even more lethal volumes of energy than a typical example of such a weapon. The cannon itself was likely assembled as a testing bed for the containment fields which are crucial to Plasma weaponry, and/or the data-shackles that supposedly keep the Machine Spirit in line so that the system doesn't break down and explode or something. After confirming his results after a session or two of test firing, Cawl probably went back to his labs and told the Knight Castellan to take Cawl's Wrath home in a show of generosity, or the Knight just went home with Cawl's Wrath because his/her House sponsored that part of the project for the better Plasma Decimator. Since Cawl spent most of his working hours over the thousands of years on Mars, the Knight House in question is likely House Taranis, or any other unknown Houses that just so happens to be on Mars.
On the tabletop, it is simply a more potent Plasma Decimator available to Knights Castellan whose loyalties lie to the Machine God.
With a seemingly less intimidating name, the Plasma Blastgun is where we jump to the super-heavy class of this kind of weaponry. It also seems to be the next size after the Plasma Destroyer.
The Plasma Blastgun is, by all means, sized for a Titan. In fact, Warhound Titans may carry these as one – or both – of their primary armaments, and the larger sizes such as the Reaver and the Warlord may mount them as secondary weapons by what we anatomically call the shoulders. Continuing the tradition, the Imperium unsurprisingly straps this gun on tanks as well. The Stormblade, a Shadowsword variant, distinctively uses it as its main gun. The Macharius chassis, though smaller in size, also mounts the gun in a similar manner, though that variant in question is a little inferior.
It was discovered relatively recently as a Plasma Blastgun that is more compact and easier to maintain. The prospect of churning out more tanks with guns that fire out hot plasma came with a drawback – only about three Forge Worlds know how to make the damn thing. Speaking of variants, the Plasma Blastgun on the Stormblade was exactly the same Plasma Blastgun used by Titans. Recently, a distinction has been made since it is obvious that the colossal Titans have more room to accommodate support systems such as that of power and cooling than a super-heavy tank. The Plasma Blastgun on Titans are obviously much better to shoot with. Despite being less powerful, the difference made by the one on Stormblades is surprisingly range when compared by overcharging.
It is not recommended to stand near a Plasma Blastgun unprotected since when this thing vents out heat with you standing nearby, fourth-degree burns will probably be the least of your worries.
The Plasma Destructor is an even bigger Plasma cannon that seems to have been forgotten and mothballed with the Plasma Annihilators. However, with the released of the Warmaster Titan, the Destructor returns with a fresh new coat of paint. The new Suzerain class Plasma Destructor is now a quad-barrelled Plasma Annihilator of death and the Warmaster wields two of them.
While the smaller Titan classes such as the Warhound and the Reaver are stuck with the Plasma Blastgun, Warlord Battle Titans and Warmaster Heavy Battle Titans have the Plasma Destructor here as an option. Fun fact: way back in the ancient days with Adeptus Titanicus, this gun was called Plasma Cannon, and the smaller Plasma Blastgun was just Plasma Gun. Later on to the 2nd Edition of Epic with Codex Titanicus, they acquired themselves the new names we have here.
The Plasma Destructor is so powerful that even for a Titan, it cannot do anything else after firing for a while; it takes that much power to fire the Plasma Destructor. As of recent, this quality isn't mentioned in its Apocalypse incarnation, though the high power demand should secure its place with nothing less than the Warlord size. And since the Plasma Destructor is considered to be at the size for Warlord Titans, some has suspected that the modern Sunfury Plasma Annihilator to be equipped as a primary weapon for the modern Warlord Titan is in fact a Plasma Destructor.
Footnote: unlike its incarnation in Apocalypse, the Plasma Destructors back in those distant days may also be shoulder-mounted as well.
This is the point where the gun is big enough to be worth mounting as an emplacement on a bastion.
The Plasma Obliterator is just at about that size. It may be mounted on Aquila Strongpoints. These things are really, really rare. Although Plasma weapons are established to be pretty rare on their own, this one has a special garnish on its cake. Aquila Strongpoints with Plasma Obliterators installed on were designed by Rogal Dorn during his fortification spree for the Horus Heresy. Because Plasma weapons are pretty good at killing traitor Space Marines, the man himself made sure to pop out some huge varieties on defense lines. Sadly, ten thousand years is a heck of a long time, and the Mechanicus doesn't seem to be building new ones to replace the old ones which were destroyed. Those cogboys are probably more at peace with reserving giant Plasma guns for their God-Machine Titans.
Since the Plasma Obliterator is only about second to the Plasma Annihilator below in terms of sheer power, the size of this cannon might be that of a Plasma Destructor. Plasma Destructors are also kind of short for something that big, and this relatively short cannon fits that criterion as well. Although a Primarch, we don't really hear that much about Dorn's engineering prowess; he probably is not at the same level as Manus and Vulkan. The Plasma Obliterator is less likely a new weapon entirely designed by Dorn, but more of a Plasma Destructor appropriated for fortification by Dorn.
Since Aquila Strongpoints are reserved for things that are big and bold like Macrocannons, the Plasma Obliterator is perhaps also similar to the Plasma Projectors similarly mounted on voidships like said Macrocannons.
Walking cathedrals deserve no less than a gigantic cannon that fires out giant gouts of Plasma on one arm (or both).
A weapon of terrifying and indiscriminate power, the Plasma Annihilator is capable of incinerating entire cityscapes and rendering the strongest armor into steaming vapor. Developed from designs intended for the broadside batteries of void warships, Plasma Annihilators are able to be mounted only on the largest of the Imperium's war machines. Since the Plasma Blastgun is already the limit for super-heavies such as the Shadowsword chassis, the Plasma Annihilator seems to be reserved to nothing less than a building, or the kind that moves such as the bigger Battle Titans, as they have both the reactor-strength required to charge them and the motive power to wield them into the fighting.
The blatantly intimidating name is also not just for show: the Plasma Annihilator annihilates. Not only is its payload big and bold, creating humongous craters as well as turning surrounding sands into glass, it also has a high rate of fire to keep that payload coming. Indeed, the weapon is so loud that those glass might as well shatter few moments after being made by the previous shot. Emperor-class Battle Titans can afford that much destructive capability simply because they have a "dynamic" reactor, which essentially means they have much more power than lower-tier Titans.
The Sunfury pattern is a recent rendition of the Plasma Annihilator mounted as the primary gun of Warlord Titans.
Squat Plasma Weapons
Unlike the Imperium's failed attempts at trying to revive the Sollex-Aegis Energy Blade and to generalise the use of plasma-based firearms, the Leagues of Votann manage to maintain their vast armoury of lightsabers and blasters for both mining and warfare purposes.The colour of the Kin's plasma blades depends on which League forged it, with the Greater Thurian League's glowing orange while the Trans-Hyperian Alliance's are teal. Though since the Leagues regularly trade with one another it isn't uncommon to see Kin wielding weapons with the colors of other Leagues.
The smallest critter of the family. The Plasma Knife as its name implies, is the standard-issue combat knife of the Leagues of Votann Hearthkyn Warriors. Short, light-weight and having a collapsible plasma blade which makes it even smaller, the Plasma Knife could just as easily slice through ceramite as it is a piece of wood or flesh. The only issue of course, is the energy usage before this thing goes off combat to a normal combat knife which just needs to be sharpened.
They are also cultural weapons too, as they are carried as a badge of office by almost all of the Leagues of Votann's Kâhls and Grimnyrs. They denote their wielder speaks with the authority of the League's First Ancestors and are rarely used in combat - except as a weapon of last resort.
Crunchwise, the Plasma Knife just acts as a regular old combat knife, so you better off trade it with something better if you have the points to spare. Guess GW decided we needed a new counts as tier weapon now that Chainswords are actually better than bare fists.
Plasma Blade Gauntlet
A mix between that of a lightning claw and a power sword. The Plasma Blade Gauntlet is a fist-mounted plasma sword that is largely used by the Einhyr Hearthguards as their primary form of close-quarters assault. It's plasma-induced blade means that the weapon, like all CQC plasma weapons, could collapse when deactivated; saving space and overall weight of the weapon.
On the tabletop, the Blade Gauntlet is a S+1 AP-3 D1, +1 attack weapon. An alternative option for Einhyr Hearthguard, who wields them well since it somewhat offsets the lower number of attacks made per model.
The most basic of the basic, the Plasma Sword is the lovechild of a lightsaber and a power sword. Although it activates its plasma blade like a lightsaber, it still has the physical skeletal structure of a sword. Allowing one to collapse the blade into a more compact form. It is a definite step-up to the smaller Plasma Knife.
On the tabletop, it is a S:User AP-3 D1, +1 Attack. An Astartes Chainsword but better. The premiere can-opener for the Votann, you'll make every Space Marine around you green with envy with this.
The Plasma Axe is used if you also want to lob off heads as easy as you can chop up some firewood. The Plasma Axe is a one-handed CQC weapon used by Squats if they want to opt for a better armour-piercing dismemberment weapon than the Plasma Sword. Like all plasma weapons, the blade itself is collapsible, making the weapon lighter and more compact for storage.
Crunchwise, this thing is a S+1 AP-3 D1 weapon, one of the two basic CQC weapons used by the Leagues. A power sword by another name. Good for enemies with high armour saves.
Forgewrought Plasma Axe
An upgrade to your regular Plasma Axe.
The Forgewrought Plasma Axe is a mastercrafted plasma axe that is only used by the Kâhls of the Leagues of Votann. The Plasma Axes boasts much higher intensity in heat; offering stupendous cutting power as a result.
Crunchwise, Forgewrought Plasma Axes are a master-crafted plasma axe, with +1 damage. A Kahl has this by default and it is one of his primary close combat weapons. Very nasty against even TEQs due to the extra bonus damage.
Heavy Plasma Axe
The Plasma Axe's bigger cousin.
Heavy Plasma Axes are among the Leagues of Votann's most robust mining equipment, that Chthonian Beserks use to extract precious minerals. However, when called to battle, they will also use these upsized Plasma Axes as effective weapons against the Leagues' foes as well. Given the existence of its collapsible blade, the 'Heavy' part of the Heavy Plasma Axe isn't as massive as one would expect.
Tabletop wise, this weapon has 2 profiles, a Strike at S+1 AP-3 D2, and a Sweep at S:User AP-3 D1, with every attack roll making 2 attack rolls. Beserks get these by default, and they're no slouches with them.
EtaCarn Plasma Pistol
The EtaCarn Plasma Pistol is one of the chief primary products produced by the EtaCarn mega guild in the Leagues of Votann. Possibly named in reference to the Eta Carinae star system.
These Squat Plasma Pistols are orders of magnitude superior to their Imperial counterparts; allowing one to fire overcharged plasma bolts without the worry of it exploding in your face. The sheer awesome firepower and technical sophistication do come at a price, however. The sheer safety features needed to overcompensate for its ridiculous firepower means that its range is cut dramatically short than its equivalent.
On the tabletop, these little monsters are a permanently charged plasma pistol that doesn't overload, but with half the range at only 6". Don't expect to fire this too often. Still will pack a nasty surprise for enemies wanting to charge into CQC though.
Try with Ymyr for a bit more use cases because of that extra 4" range.
EtaCarn Plasma Gun
The EtaCarn Plasma Gun is one of the chief primary products produced by the EtaCarn mega guild in the Leagues of Votann.
Like their smaller brothers, the Plasma Gun provides much superior performance than their Imperial or Chaos counterparts; easily rivalling that of both the Eldar and Dark Eldar when it comes to efficiency, safety, maintenance and power. But whereas the Eldar cuts down on its raw balls-out power for increased range and firepower, the Squats does the opposite and overclocks it at the expanse of range.
Crunchwise, these things are a 24" HunTR 1, S8 AP-4 D2 plasma gun. The default weapon for the Einhyr Hearthguard and packs a wallop of a punch at range.
EtaCarn Plasma Beamer
The big dick assault rifle of the EtaCarn range of plasma products.
The EtaCarn Plasma Beamer is a Plasma Gun that behaves somewhat like a Lascutter; as in, it fires a continuous stream (Or drill) of plasma that vaporizes, melts and burrows through basically anything it contacts with. Since the EtaCarn Guild originally designed this monster as a mining equipment, it does its job quite well in punching through boulders to get that sweet, sweet moolah. Likewise, the Squats, being as pragmatic as usual, also found it just as useful in boring Terminator Armour a new asshole. This awesome power does come at a price however, as the immense power upkeep means that its effective range is decreased to prevent overload.
On the tabletop, these goddamned monsters are 18" HunTR 1, S8 AP-3 D2 Plasma Guns with Beam. Overcharged plasma that won't ever blow up, proving that the Imperium got the junk left behind after the dwarfs left. Its short range makes it awkward to use, however.
[insert Ymyr rebuttal]
Squat Ion Weapons
You want to know where the Weeaboos got their Ion weapons, now you know.
The Ion Pistol is the smallest Ion weapon issued by the Leagues of Votann.
These pistols pretty much contain the power of an Ion Blaster in a more compact and pistol-whipping form at the expanse of maximum effective range. Used only by Theyns of a Hearthkyn Warrior squad, the Ion Pistol is effectively like having a near lightspeed EtaCarn Plasma Pistol without the risk of residue plasma burns being washed back into your face.
Crunchwise on the tabletop, the Ion Pistol is, in a nutshell, a pocket-sized Ion Blaster at 12" S5 AP-2 D2. Comes somewhat close to the Ion Blaster's range, so it's not a bad choice to give to your Theyns if you've gone all in on Ion.
The Ion Blaster is one of the standard-issue weapons used by the Leagues of Votann.
Orders of magnitude more advance, compact and powerful than their shoddy knock-off counterparts used by the Tau. The Ion Blaster is an assault weapon-type plasma weapon that fires repeated ionised particles at near light-speed. Funnily enough, whilst the League, specifically the Seran-Tok Mercantile League do trade with the Tau, the Squats deliberately gave the Tau their second-hand junk material whilst keeping most of their goodies for themselves.
On the tabletop, the Ion Blaster is an 18" HunTR 1, S5 AP-2 D2. A 1 point upgrade for Hearthkyn, bumping their ppm to 12. Tailor-made for wrecking power armour of almost any variety, but the single shot is a bit underwhelming.
The Ion Beamer is the EtaCarn Plasma Beamer's Ion cousin.
This supped-up Ion weapon is mounted as one the primary weapons of the Magna-Coil Bikes and one of the secondary weapons for your Hekaton Land Fortress. Like the Plasma Beamer, the Ion Beamer acts as a 'drill'; boring its way through armoured vehicles as easily as the boulders it was originally intended for.
On tabletop, these are an alternative upgrade for your Pioneers and Land Fortresses, this is a souped-up Ion Blaster with the Beam keyword, HunTR 2 and 2 extra strength. Might be a viable pick, since Pioneers can easily get into a position where they'll take full advantage of Beam weapons. A Land Fortress can replace either 2 or all 4 of their Bolt Cannons with these for oodles of laser-spewing death.
Cyclic Ion Cannon
No. Despite the name, they are in no way related to the Tau's Cyclic Ion Blaster or Cyclic Ion Raker. Although knowing the Squats, they might as well be where those aforementioned Weeaboo weapons came from.
One of the largest known Dorf Ion weapons. The Cyclic Ion Cannon is a type of heavy Ion Weapon used by the Leagues of Votann. They are known to be mounted on the Hekaton Land Fortress as one of its primary weapons. The weapon unleashes high-powered blasts that can make Terminator Armour look to be as effective as Flak Armour.
Crunchwise, this monster Ion Blaster is 24" Heavy 3d3, S8 AP-2 D2 with Blast. The default primary weapon of the Land Fortress, this is tailor-made to ruin a Space Marine's day. Though remember Armor of Contempt makes them noticeably less effective at their job.
Chaos Plasma Weapons
Chaos Plasma Weapons are basically the same as the Imperium's but with more spikes, skin, Chaos decorations and they fire crimson red plasma rather than the Imperium's blue. With the possible exception of Death Guard plasma guns, which... you see it, right? it's not just us?
However they do have a few Plasma weapon exclusively designed by Chaos, for Chaos.
A Plasma-ish weapon that doesn't seem to settle on whether it wants to be called "Æther-Fire" or "Æther-Flame".
Either way, the Æther-Fire Cannon is an option for the Castellax-Achea Battle-Automata to take instead of the usual Mauler Bolt Cannon loaded with psychoreactive toxins (also known as nerve agents). While the Castellax-Achea itself was developed by a Forge World with a Chaos Dwarfs-ish name, Zhao-Arkhad, the Æther-Fire Cannon is a later development by the Techmarine artificers of the Pyrae Cult – Bright Wizards of the Thousand Sons. This obviously modified Plasma weapon was developed with occult lore as well as the unique "techno-arcana" of the aforementioned Zhao-Arkhad. Aside from the psychic robots, Thousand Sons who happen to carry a Plasma Cannon may switch to this Æther-Fire Cannon instead.
On the tabletop, the Æther-Fire Cannon basically adds ten points of Soul Blaze to a Plasma Cannon. If this is bought, all such guns in the unit must be upgraded in the same manner. Although it is 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 anyway. Given that a whole squad of Plasma-Cannoneers will fork out 100pts for what is basically a one or three of 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 15pts to spare, you might want to consider this.
It is unknown whether the present Thousand Sons still have this psychic-Plasma Cannon at their disposal, or what kind of work a thousands of years in the Warp has done to it.
GW wanted to give Chaos Plasma a distinctive name. Thankfully, there's already a "Plasma" in "Ectoplasma".
For the most part, an Ectoplasma Cannon can be found as a weapon on the Forgefiend Daemon Engine when the guys who make it want to try something else instead of the usual Hades Autocannons. The pulsing energies of a Forgefiend’s furnace are not always employed to produce solid ammunition. Some sport flex-sheathed Plasma weapons of ancient design, weapons so large they would look more at home on a light aircraft than a land-bound walker. Those Daemon-beasts the Imperium have nicknamed Cerberites bear no less than three of these Ectoplasma Cannons, one mounted on each weapon-limb and one jutting out from their maws. Gargoyle-mouthed and drizzling balefire, the searing energies these devastating weapons hurl outwards are a hybrid of Plasma and burning ectoplasm channeled straight from the Forgefiend’s tainted heart consisting of raw daemonic energy from the Warp and fire tortured, screaming souls. Presumably, the Forgefiend eats stuff to make bullets for the Hades, so it wouldn't be too far-fetched to say that Forgefiends with Ectoplasma Cannons eat, well, people. The Ectoplasma Cannons were once prized artifacts, dating back to before the Heresy, but the Warpsmiths have perverted them into something far worse. In practice, it certainly has become better in regard of not getting hot as of recent.
The Hellwrights themselves seem to also have access to the Ectoplasma technology. A couple of variants, both of which notable weapons hardly found in the present age, have been corrupted into an Ectoplasma alternative. Although we do not know for sure what exactly the Ectoplasma Cannon used to be, we are certainly sure for the following two. The Ectoplasma Blaster is just that, corrupted Plasma Blasters mounted in the fists of Contemptor Dreadnoughts. There is also the Ectoplasma Battery, which is a warped variant of the Hellfire Plasma Cannonade mounted on Deredeo Dreadnoughts. Unlike the Ectoplasma Cannon, these two will still overheat if you're not careful/lucky with it. Perhaps it has something to do with how Dreadnoughts are not Daemon Engines.
And yeah, yeah, cue the Ghostbusters theme.
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.
Many, many people somehow mistake pulse weapons with plasma weapons. Pulse weapons are below this section on this page for...some reason.
Fun With Fluff
Back in 8th edition, T'au plasma weapons got a substantial nerf. The lower power was a reflection of the fact that T'au weapons didn't Overheat. That meant people could choose whether or not their weapons overheated through the overcharge profile, and T'au having a lower Strength was both a meaningless and secondary nerf to Crisis and Broadside suits who have already suffered nerfs via cost increases. This made them utter ass in 8th.
9th edition fixed this so instead of having to overcharge and risk death, T'au plasma rifles are effectively always overcharged compared to their imperial equivalents without suffering any of the ill effects. Think of it as the difference between the plasma rifle in Doom versus the plasma rifle in Fallout to note the differences between the Imperial and T'au plasma long guns.
Before 9th edition, the Plasma Rifle was essentially a Plasma Gun with its safety engaged. If players wanted their "Plasma" weapon that does blow up like a Plasma should with the reward of extra strength and wounds accompanying the dakka, check out their Ion arsenal below.
Indeed, the Plasma Rifle is the Plasma Gun equivalent for the Battlesuits. The only difference it has to our usual Plasma Gun is that this thing is actually safe, relatively speaking, which translates to a smaller volume of shots compared to the Plasma weaponry of their oppositions. In practice, this is the only Plasma proper weapon widely available to the Tau since their Plasma Cannon below were in its field-testing stage by the time of the Taros Campaign. It seems the Earth Caste has been busy lately incorporating the lessons learned from building their own plasma cannons into the humble plasma rifle, updating it into one of the most potent plasma weapons for its size.
For the XV8 Crisis Battlesuit, the Plasma Rifle is available as a primary weapon option and it packs a wallop! Sure it only kicks out one shot, but that one shot now has a 30" range and when it hits? It's a one-hit TEQ kill: S8 AP-4 D3. A couple of Plasma Rifles may be installed instead of the Smart Missile System over the shoulder of the XV88 Broadside Battlesuit – the same can be said for the XV104 Riptide Battlesuit as well. Commander Longknife also has his own experimental variant to complement the experimental Battlesuit, and his comes with two barrels. Commander Farsight also has a "High-intensity" plasma rifle, differentiating himself from the other Battlesuits.
The High-intensity Plasma Rifle is a much better variant overall, powerful, with the same range as the Plasma Incinerator as well.
Plasma Accelerator Rifle
The lack of "Plasma" weaponry with the Tau does not mean they neglect working on this branch of their tech tree. The Plasma Accelerator Rifle is one of the recent developments available on the field.
In fact, the Plasma Accelerator Rifle is also one of the deadliest inventions from Bork’an’s renowned science divisions, blending pulse-induction technology with a high-yield plasma generator. No, the gun does not have a metal detector mounted on it, probably. "Pulse-induction" most likely refers to their Pulse technology below which also shoots Plasma, though indirectly since it's not Plasma that comes out of the barrel. The Plasma Accelerator Rifle, on the other hand, uses Pulse technology in conjunction with proper Plasma technology. The result is a long-range armor-piercing weapon that is highly effective against both infantry and light vehicles. Now, plasma acceleration is actually a thing, and it does so through an electric field which we may correlate to the embedded Pulse tech. This E-field in particular is also special in its own way, since it also must be associated with the electron plasma wave (plasma oscillation) or other kinds with "high-gradient plasma structures" as well. Do not actually take any of our word for this, though, since the closest thing most of us get to being scientists is using a search engine. Relatively speaking since the Tau practically steamrolls through achievements, it really took the Earth Caste quite a while to figure out that they should try to combine two similarly "Plasma" weapon systems together. Although, since said “achievements” were due to the Eldar who abandoned them, it’s unsurprising their tech stagnated, takes a long time by modern standards to make advancements, and their advancements since said abandonment are mostly using what they already have in different ways rather than actual invention.
It seems to be a matter of time before those nerds figure out how to incorporate their Ion technology as well in order to unite the Plasma trinity together in a single frame. Right now, the Plasma Accelerator Rifle is probably still under the early stages of field-testing – a single Battlesuit may be found with one attached in a Bork'an force, and its effectiveness is at about the same level as Farsight's High-intensity Plasma Rifle with a little difference.
Tau Plasma Cannon
This is basically the Plasma Rifle, 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, this Plasma Cannon does not cover a small (or large) area with a Plasma blast; it fires in bursts, which means it is more suited for vaporizing singular big targets rather than groups of heavy infantry stupid enough to clump up. Since the Tau Plasma Cannon is essentially a main gun for a tank which is the TX7 Hammerhead Gunship, a more proportionate comparison over the Imperium's side should be a Plasma cannon that is also worthy for their tanks – the Plasma Destroyer. No matter the weapon, the Tau Plasma Cannon is clearly better than any of the Gorilla counterparts in one factor other than not getting hot from playing it safe. For the size, it shoots pretty far. The smallest size over the Imperium that can shoot as far as their Plasma Cannon is the Plasma Decimator, which is fitted on the larger Dominus-class Knights. Along with the Fusion Cannon, their Plasma Cannon saw first blood 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 against heavy Imperial firepower at the time.
Forge World used to produce a variant turret for the Hammerhead Gunship for the twin-linked Plasma Cannon option. But since it "used to," your only choices of getting one are either finding people who sell it, finding alternative bits that look just close enough, whipping out your conversion expertise, or the universal solution.
Tau Pulse Weapons
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 pre-charged and stored in magazines (presumably to save on energy and heat for the weapon as it doesn't need to charge the particles itself). Each barrel fires one particle. 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 balancing point being they are mounted on rather human-like Fire Warriors and that they have zero tactical flexibility unlike the ammo options of shuriken, splinter, bolt, and other kinetic weapons. (And Bladestorm.)
Predictably a pistol-sized Pulse weapon, the 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 defense and hold-out weapon to be applied in desperate situations. The only time you'll ever see one of these on the board is if a Battlesuit equips an ejection system and the pilot bails out (5th Edition), on a Sniper Drone spotter (6th edition), or carried by a Fire Warrior. Even Drones are armed with Pulse Pistols, specifically Escort Drones used by the Water Caste. That one is understandable since you can't really make a pacifistic impression when a bodyguard robot with two cannons is right besides you. Hilariously, this thing manages to retain the same shot-for-shot power ratio of a full-sized Pulse Rifle.
As hilarious is a part of 40k fluff (depending 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 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 really powerful flashlight. And if she'd succeeded the entire freaking Legion would probably have ganged up on the Tau and erased their existence in time for lunch.
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.
Unlike the other handheld variants we've seen so far, the Pulse Blaster is actually a later development over that area which came along with the Breacher Teams.
Back when the Tau were starting up their expansion game, most fights they encountered had them being on the defense since their enemies were more on the aggressive side such as the Orks. Everything changed when they attacked the Imperium. Hive Worlds and bunkers are usually narrow and at times not quite accommodating for Battlesuits, and Space Marines are really good at boarding ships which similarly have little room for maneuvering. This is where the suicidal Breacher Teams and their Pulse Blasters come in. As their signature weapon, the Pulse Blaster exchanges the reach and consistency of its rifle equivalent for sheer destructive punch. It uses a two-stage process to enhance the lethality of its Plasma-based ammunition. When the trigger is halfway depressed, an invisible volley of negatively charged particles paint the target, priming it for the killing shot to come. Such victims glow with a ghostly light for a moment before their doom is delivered. A twitch of the trigger, and the Plasma payload is shot out, dragged unerringly to its destination with shocking force – far more than a conventional infantry-borne weapon could hope to achieve. At close quarters the Pulse Blaster's every shot is powerful enough to slam a gory hole through an enemy's chest or even punch clean through the side of a transport vehicle.
Crunch wise, they are a recent Pulse tool for the Fire Caste to play with, and it resembles nothing more than an over-under shotgun married to an assault rifle. With the same rate of fire as the Pulse Carbine, this weapon 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 "armor", while at point blank range it'll tear through a Space Marine's armor along with the Space Marine inside it.
Now this is the smallest Pulse gun you may hold your trigger with (at least without melting down the Pistol or the Blaster breaking your shoulder).
The Pulse Carbine exchanges the range enjoyed by the Pulse Rifles for more Dakka. Aside from the reduced range which is almost half, it also looks like a sawn-off Pulse Rifle as the Pulse Carbine is more compact as the name suggests – a shorter barrel goes a long way in portability. The Pulse Carbine seems to be exclusively used by the Tau over the suicidal infantry section that has to close in in order to use this gun. Tau personnel who are not infantry such as vehicle crew does not seem to have access to the Pulse Carbine, being stuck with a small (but still deadly) sidearm that is the Pulse Pistol above.
Available as an alternative for Strike Teams, for the Pathfinder Teams and also Darkstrider, the size of the Pulse Carbine makes it perfect for their mode of operation whose keyword is scouting. The smaller size also makes room for a Markerlight or an underslung grenade launcher for Photon Grenades. Outside of Fire Warriors, the Pulse Carbine also sees plenty of application by the Gun Drones in a pair, while Exploratory Drones are one Pulse Carbine short since it probably needs more juice diverted to additional equipment to help in exploration such as sensors. After all, it is supposed to look at stuffs like Space Hulks, not shoot stuffs up like mean and green football hooligans. In Layman's terms, an assault rifle for the Tau.
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.
The Pulse Rifle is the basic firearm used by Fire Warrior squads, and occasionally Gue'vesa and Kroot who have earned the trust of their Tau comrades.
The Pulse Rifle used by the Cadre Fireblades in particular have a larger scope, while Kroot Shapers forgo the scope entirely. The Tetra Scout Speeder used by Pathfinders also mounts two of these as the means for self-defense or perhaps something more offensive. 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 it can fire on automatic, the Pulse Rifle is not that good at it.
It is not something like an assault rifle that anyone can go trigger happy with, so the gunner is expected to pick and choose his shots rather than fill the air with energy rounds despite one power cell being worth fifty shots before needing to reload. The Pulse Rifle also gives us the explanation to the increased range. It appears to be due in part of the built-in gyro-stabilizer allowing the gunner to shoot further in a more accurate sense – that little spherical gizmo at the end of the barrel (at least, according to Fantasy Flight Games' Rogue Trader RPG). The Longshot variant used by the MV71 Sniper Drones, on the other hand, puts further emphasis in the sniping part along with having the range increased even further.
So, it is less likely to be the matter of recoil for the ineffectiveness of the Pulse Rifle in automatic firing. The issue might be in the rate of fire itself.
Developed during their steamrolling through the tech tree, application of the Burst Cannon is quite prolific among the armies of the Tau. That is to say, these things are EVERYWHERE.
Shortly after the Tau perfected their Pulse induction technology which is what makes Pulse weapons work, the Fire caste was provided with early prototypes of Pulse Rifles; though excellent weapons, they lacked the rate of fire to be repurposed as a support weapon apart from the Sniper Drones that use a variant with increased range. The Ethereals tasked the Earth caste with developing a weapon that would enable Tau warriors to engage with foes many times their number. The result was the creation of the Burst Cannon, which produced impressive results in combat trials where the subjects on the receiving end might have been Orks green with jealously of the amount of Dakka the gun spews out, tearing apart enemy infantry and light armor with equal ease. Now, almost every Tau vehicle has a mounting for a Burst Cannon, and it remains a favored weapon system for all marks of Stealth and Crisis Battlesuits. Appearance-wise, it is that of a quad-barreled Gatling gun – XV9 Hazard Battlesuits as well as Ghostkeel Battlesuits over the shoulders may carry double that number since they use a variant with two barrels. Burst Cannons may also have an armored sheathing over the barrels as shown on the picture. This extra bit in particular is widely attached with Stealth Battlesuits.
Enemies of the Tau have developed a healthy proportion of respect and fear for the Burst Cannon. The weapon makes a distinctive sound when fired, the induction chamber crackling with energy as a stream of charged particles hisses across the battlefield. Imperial Guardsmen that come under fire from Burst Cannons often speak of the sound, each shot cleaving the air with a distinctive whiz-hum, not unlike the sound of solid bullets buzzing past their ear, but multiplied hundredfold as dozens of bursts are fired each second just like our Minigun. Unlike the Heavy Bolters and Stubbers of the Imperium with their rhythmic thumping fire, a Burst Cannon makes a continuous tearing wail, with individual shots nearly indistinguishable from each other. With heavy mountings and large plasma coils powering them, Burst Cannons are a degree more deadly than smaller Pulse weapons. Like these smaller weapons, a Burst Cannon can punch straight through most infantry armor as if it wasn’t there. Given that a Burst Cannon fires a great many of these shots each minute, it is fully capable of clearing an area of infantry in the space of a few bloody seconds. Stealth suits especially favor this weapon, its sudden storm of fire making it an ideal weapon for short ranged ambushes. The XV86 Coldstar Battlesuits used by Tau Commanders have access to a High-output variant which has double the firepower just like there's another Burst Cannon next to it.
Burst Cannons are also well suited to combating light armor, which cannot defend against the powerful hail of high-speed plasma. Walkers, armored transports and recon vehicles all stray within range of a burst cannon at the risk of having their thin armor plating torn from them bit by bit. Even Imperial battle tanks are not immune to the burst cannon: a sustained burst directed at weaker rear armor is capable of rupturing an engine or setting off ammunition stores. Burst Cannons are found on many Tau vehicles, from the Devilfish APC to the Hammerhead Gunship. Often slaved to Drone control, a Burst Cannon makes for an ideal point-defense weapon, keeping infantry and light vehicles away from a tank hunter like the Hammerhead, or giving a squad of Fire Warriors cover as they deploy from their transport. This is where the Burst Cannon trades the range and accuracy of weapons like the pulse rifle for the ability to saturate an area with Plasma fire. For this reason, Burst Cannons are used extensively as part of established defenses. When guided by Drones, they make effective sentry guns, silently tracking back and forth, scanning for threats. Again, this thing is everywhere, sometimes in conjunction with a variant with two extra barrels below.
Pulse Submunitions Rifle
Because it'd be rather unfair for the Fire Warriors to get all the shotgun fun with their Pulse Blasters, there is the Pulse Submunitions Rifle.
Hell, since the Pulse Blaster is relatively the newer gun, it might have been based on this cannon-sized rifle here. And despite being a rifle, its range is not that great, but impressive nonetheless considering that it is more of a shotgun rather than a rifle in the first place. The Pulse Submunitions Rifle is a primary weapon used by the XV9 Hazard Battlesuits, and it fires what can be described as a "Pulse shrapnel" shot that explodes above the enemy targets, covering quite an area with cover-ignoring pulse shots. While it does have a decent range as well as killing power, the trade off for spreading shots is its lack of armor-piercing capabilities, as even Flak Armor used by the Imperial Guard has a decent chance of brushing off a Pulse submunitions shot.
Nevertheless it has proven to be an awesome tool for clearing out trenches and buildings of infantry, and wiping out tightly packed Ork and Tyranid hordes swarming at the position. The XV9 Hazard Battlesuit of Shas’O Vesu’r Ra’lai in particular sports an experimental rendition of the Pulse Submunitions Rifle as its primary armament. It sacrifices a degree of damage and blast radius in favor for a higher rate of fire, and the ability to be loaded with several potent, limited-issue warheads. Whilst powerful, these warheads are currently equally experimental as their barely-contained power can damage the Battlesuit itself.
Shas'o R'alai is also your only source for a Pulse Submunitions Rifle model if you want to get one for your Hazard team.
Long-Barrelled Burst Cannon
Continuing their tradition of making a bigger variant of a weapon by making it longer, the Long-barrelled Burst Cannon is a Burst Cannon given a metaphorical penis extension.
Unlike with their similarly-sized Fusion Cannon and Plasma Cannon, the Tau's Long-barrelled version for their Burst Cannon sees a healthy application on a number of vehicles other than on a turret in a pair for the TX7 Hammerhead Gunship. In fact, all of these vehicles are atmospheric aircraft, which probably says a lot on the primary reason this weapon was developed. The firepower given by the Burst Cannon is so phenomenal that the Tau attach the guns on many, many of their war engines such as Battlesuits and other ground-based craft. The problem, however, lies in the short range of the Burst Cannon, which does not sit well with air-based craft which would have to fly dangerously close to the ground/target to unleash the regular Burst Cannon.
Along with being more powerful, the Long-Barrelled Burst Cannon has double the range of the usual Burst Cannon, giving an aircraft equipped with one or two the room it needs to deliver the payload. The smallest aircraft to mount this gun so far in a pair is the DX-6 Remora, a Drone stealth fighter which provides fire support for vanguard units such as Pathfinders and Stealthsuit Teams. The Barracuda AX-5-2, the Tau's air superiority fighter, mounts two of these on its wings, while the Orca and the Manta also possess these for self-defense, with the Manta sporting sixteen of them compared to the Orca's couple on a single turret.
The Hammerhead itself used to have the Long-barrelled variant as a main gun alternative, but recent rules have that said main gun being the Heavy Burst Cannon below instead.
Heavy Burst Cannon
With the evolution of larger and more powerful armored vehicles and Battlesuits, it was inevitable that larger versions of the Burst Cannon would be created.
Currently the biggest and most powerful weapon from the Burst Cannon line, the Heavy Burst Cannon is capable of a ferocious rate of fire that can mow down hordes of enemies like a neckbeard on a diet consisted of cheez whiz and crackers. Even in broad daylight, this giant Gatling gun produces a blinding muzzle flash, the 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!". Developed during the Tau Empire's Third Sphere Expansion, it can be primarily found on Riptide Battlesuits as well as a couple of aircraft which are the Barracuda and the Tiger Shark. The Heavy Burst Cannon incorporates multiple induction chambers, and six rather than four barrels, allowing them to fire even faster than their smaller variants. The Heavy Burst Cannon is able to project Plasma rounds much further and with greater force, making it substantially more dangerous to face in the battlesphere. By opening up the 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 fires more powerful rounds at the same rate of fire and range as the Long-barrelled one, and also able to overcharge with the Nova reactor to double it's firing rate and gain Rending at the cost of overheating and potentially damaging the suit. As of 8th, it has lost the ability to do so. 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 sheer number of shots.
Pulse Submunitions Cannon
Imagine going Rambo on a kill streak with an automatic shotgun on both hands. The Pulse Submunitions Cannon is the shotgun, a rather big one to boot.
A deadly experimental weapons system, the Pulse Submunitions Cannon fires micro-cluster projectiles capable of saturating the target area in a storm of Plasma pulses just like the smaller Pulse Submunitions Rifle. Additionally, larger targets such as bulky infantry, monstrous creatures, and vehicles inevitably suffer proportionally greater harm from the Pulse Submunitions Cannon, 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 Bug Spray, because it kills them that easily.
This plays on tabletop as firing considerably more powerful shots at considerably longer range with a Cluster Fire effect, which means the bulkier the target is, the harder it gets hit. While the Pulse Submunitions Rifle's role is anti-infantry, the Pulse Submunitions Cannon's primary purpose is killing light to medium vehicles as well as monstrous creatures, and as we have stated, it is ridiculously good at it. Like the Heavy Burst Cannon, the Pulse Submunitions Cannon can also nova-charge itself via the Dark Matter Nova Reactor and double its rate of fire. This is applied when you absolutely must murder-fuck an entire horde army up to and including hordes of gargantuan creatures.
It's a giant shotgun that shoots Plasma. Any Ork who happens to loot this boy will be a very happy Ork.
Pulse Bomb Generator
Though it doesn't sound like one, the Pulse Bomb Generator is the Tau's general solution to artillery strikes.
That is, they rely on air support to carry out the explosions, and their choice of bombs come from the Pulse Bomb Generator. As the name suggests, a pulse induction field is used to generate a single bomb made up into a Plasma ball. This ball is then dropped to where it is supposed to explode. It is the primary weapon system for a Sun Shark Bomber, mounted underneath the aircraft’s rear hull. The Pulse Bomb Generator gives the Sun Shark a fairly potent level of firepower capable of blasting ground targets and possibly really unlucky airborne targets. As you might have guessed from the appearance, the Pulse Bomb Generator works by rapidly spinning, building up the Pulse energy until a ball of plasma can be unleashed, and leaving nothing but glowing craters and drifting ashes at the point of impact. Oh, and this thing does not just drop a bomb and recharge. It keeps the bomb coming almost indefinitely, though at times minor malfunctions can occur due to battlefield debris or something, so reconfiguration is required for that case for optimal alignment to recommence Plasma ball production. Until then, the Sun Shark Bomber is forced to maneuver and use its rocket systems, Markerlight and a pair of nimble Interceptor Drones as its means for self-defense to avoid enemy fire until the reactor recharging is completed.
How does the Pulse Bomb work exactly? Well, for up to ten models in an enemy unit, you get to roll a six-sided die. For each roll of 5+, the target unit gets a mortal wound. Enemy infantries get an extra one in their results because they are not tanks.
You think the Pulse shotgun range ends at the Pulse Submunitions Cannon? Think again, and say hello to the Pulse Blastcannon, the proper big brother to the Pulse Blaster.
Also known as the Pulse ARC Cannon on the store page for some reason – another "Pulse Arc Cannon" shows up in the Tau's fluff where it is heavily modified to combine its beam with five others like the Death Star and tear a hole into a Gargant – the Pulse Blastcannon is one of the largest Pulse Weapons at the Tau's disposal, employing superheated Plasma/accelerated particles on a scale that leaves only glowing craters to mark where its targets once stood. Pioneered by the finest of Tau's Earth Caste weapons scientists, the Pulse Blastcannon is a weapon so massive in size and power that it can only be borne into battle by a dedicated artillery Battlesuit with another generator attached to exclusively power the cannon such as the KV128 Stormsurge. As one of the two options for the Stormsurge's primary armament, the Pulse Blastcannon is simply the version with more Dakka compared to the Pulse Driver Cannon and its emphasis on range. The Pulse Blastcannon uses Aggressive Reactive Charge technology (A.R.C) to hyper-accelerate plasma energy. A stream of negatively-charged particles is 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. Technically, it does not use plasma as Tau pulse weapons are particle accelerators, but the charged particles could easily create plasma from the atmosphere and at the point of impact.
It is common for some people to confuse the Blastcannon with the Pulse Driver Cannon due to their similarities in appearance. The most distinct feature you may pick out of it is that the Blastcannon has two barrels at the end compared to the Driver's one. Only slightly smaller than the alternative option for the Stormsurge, the Pulse Blastcannon is an upscaled Pulse Blaster in practice. It even shares the relatively short range, rapid rate of fire, and "the closer the target, the more powerful it is" shtick with its smaller cousin; all are turned up to eleven save perhaps the range part, with the "weakest" Long Range mode being an S9, AP5 large blast, and the "strongest" being the almighty D.
Pulse Driver Cannon
Pioneered by the finest of Tau's Earth Caste weapons scientists, this XBAWXHUEG Pulse Driver Cannon mounted on the KV128 Stormsurge Battlesuit is a weapon so massive in size and power consumption, it can only be borne to battle by a dedicated artillery suit that carries another generator dedicated to the damn thing.
Emitting a deep bass thrum that rises in pitch as its particle accelerator relays spool up – that is, the circular thing by the base of the cannon – the cannon builds up force enough to level a building before the volley is released. Once the pent-up energies are let fly, an incandescent beam of blinding intensity stabs out with a buzzing roar. Anything in its path is obliterated in a column of superheated Plasma, cast into its component atoms as if a solar flare had lashed from the heart of a sun to scour them from history in one terrifying second. And do not disregard the name, this thing drives its Pulses pretty far with its Pulse accelerators, really far. The phenomenal amount of heat generated in that process is emitted through huge heat sinks built into the weapon. The Pulse Driver Cannon was originally developed in response to the gargantuan war engines of the Orks. In the latter stages of the Arkunasha War a stationary prototype mounted on the Argap Plateau sent searing columns of white force through the guts and torsos of Ork war effigies time and time again. In recent decades the weapon's deadly power has been matched instead against the Titans of the Imperium; though these boast far more sophisticated technologies than the walkers used by the Ork race, the result of a sustained barrage from a Pulse Driver Cannon has proven to be much the same.
On the tabletop, it goes way overboard with its firepower, launching S10 AP2 pie-plates with enough range to hit anywhere on the board unless you play Apocalypse. On top of that, as it is mounted on top of a very high platform, it always has the high ground advantage.
Pulse Ordnance Multi-Driver
Though the Tau rely on the Sun Shark and their Pulse bomb delivery as their means of artillery, this thing comes pretty close to conventional artillery.
Hey you! The Pulse Driver Cannon not doing enough Shoop Da Woop for you? Is it not killing enough super-heavies 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. Judging from appearance alone, they are not exactly the same breed as the ones on the back of Stormsurges, but the range and name make it close enough to be at least related to the regular Pulse Driver Cannon.
This triple-barreled system is designed to combat super-heavy enemies such as Imperial Knights and Tyranid beasts. It can either fire in volleys consisting of high explosive and kinetic projectiles 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 volley to saturate a single target or in arcing trajectories to shower a wider area to equally devastating effect because sometimes no kill is better than overkill.
Unlike other Titan weapons we've seen, this one takes the cake in looking like someone just tore the thing off from a starship and installed it on a giant walker.
Tau Ion Weapons
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 Ionizing 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. Originally, Ion weapons technology came from the Srry-tok Brotherhood of the Tau Empire member race known as the Demiurg (who are actually a Tau-friendly Prospect of the Squats/Kin), but then the 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 the 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. Ion weapons evolved the way opposite to pulse weaponry, which started as small arms and then evolved into bigger and bigger weapons. Ion weapons started from the biggest of the big (spaceship cannons, analogues to imperial lances), and then were miniaturized down to vehicle weapons, to battlesuit weapons, and finally to compact rifles. One wonders when we would finally get ion pistols as things go. Due to their origin, this makes Ion weapons a very rare case of collaboration between humans and Xenos.
The aforementioned new power source, called Mor'tonium (a form of hyper-enriched Iridium that quickly decays when exposed to an atmosphere), allowed Earth caste engineers to create a portable Ion weapon.
The resulting weapon that is the Ion Rifle combines the man-portable size of a Pulse Rifle and the firepower equivalent to an Imperial Autocannon in one deadly package. Now, Tau Ion weapons are typically found on heavy vehicles and void craft, and this lightweight man-portable variant is still considered highly experimental. The weapon operates by creating a stream of highly ionized particles and using advanced electro-magnetic fields to direct them at a target. Where the particles strike the target, they react explosively, causing massive trauma.
Currently, the Ion Rifle is carried by Pathfinder Teams as a variant sniper/anti-materiel weapon to vaporize heavy infantry and light vehicles alike. As an Ion weapon should be capable of, the Ion Rifle’s safety measures can be temporarily shut off, allowing the ion stream to reach dangerous levels of energy before being released. If done correctly, the resulting damage can be spectacular. However, if left active for too long, the Mor'tonium power source will emit to much ionic radiation and cook the user like a popcorn shrimp. Aside from the Pathfinders, the Interceptor Drones used by Sun Shark Bombers are also armed with a set of twin-linked Ion Rifles as their standard armament, which they use in conjunction with their advanced targeting systems to blow incoming aircraft looking to do harm to the bomber out of the sky.
Ion Rifles are basically the Tau's quintessential Lascannon or Rocket Launcher equivalent; and like its 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 gun's power source to air. This is not a good idea, considering that 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 that happens (and considering the high risk of their job, there is a good chance they will.)
Quad Ion Turret
While the Interceptor Drone carries two Ion Rifles, the Quad Ion Turret carries four as its name implies as the primary 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 and the larger Battlesuits despite it its ludicrous anti-tank capabilities. While it lacks the range and armor-piercing qualities of the Ion Cannon mounted on the Barracuda, it packs pretty much the same power per shot and even a slightly higher rate of fire. Due to it's rather compact size, it may be mounted on a 360° turret, making the Razorshark an excellent ground attack aircraft, as opposed to more of a dogfighter that is the Barracuda which can only lay hate on Groundpounders in strafing runs. This recently translates to an extra one to a hit roll on the poor sods that can't fly.
As with all Tau Ion weapons, the Quad Ion Turret can be overcharged by exposing the reactive Mor'tonium power source to the environment, though this also exposes the vehicle to the dangerous ionizing radiation emitted by the Mor'tonium, not to mention the risk of overloading its primary power cells. Overcharging the Quad Ion Turret allows it to generate a massive and explosive blast with increased damage compared to the normal firing mode, 'cause why not limit yourself in the overkill department? Just don't get too surprised when all your little Tau pilots turn out with cancer at every end of a battle.
By the transition to 8th Edition, the Quad Ion Turret was hit with an equally massive nerf bat, basically reduced to a Reaper Autocannon, which are not even any good over the CSM army, though Overcharge helps it out a bit, granting +1 S D3 damage and D6 shots
Cyclic Ion Blaster
The smallest Ion weapon mounted on Battlesuits – that is, the Crisis – is the Cyclic Ion Blaster here.
The Cyclic Ion Blaster is an Ion weapon that combines the designs of the Burst Cannon and the Ion Rifle. This quad barreled weapon fires a rapid stream of ion radiation capable of annihilating lightly armored troops at pretty much the same power as the Ion Rifle, but with a considerably reduced effective range. The design, however, is not perfect. Although the rate of fire is stable, the ion radiation is still quite unpredictable, resulting in an uneven performance when deployed against armor. The original design has a static block of four barrels firing in cycles, while the modern rendition uses a new power source with a rotating three-barrel block in an even smaller package. 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 output 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) the Cyclic Ion Blaster has finally made it out of experimental stage and gone into mass production.
As of the Damocles rematch, it is one of the standard weapons of Crisis Battlesuits, and also available to the Barracudas AX-5-2.
Cyclic Ion Raker
Because the Ghostkeel is a much bigger Battlesuit, it would look silly with just the regular Cyclic Ion Blaster.
As the fancy new Ion weapon for the new XV95 Ghostkeel Suit, the Cyclic Ion Raker acts as an advanced version of the Cyclic Ion Blaster (along with looking like a bigger version) of the Crisis Battlesuits. Just like the smaller Ion Rifles used by Pathfinder Teams, the Cyclic Ion Raker uses a slab of Mor'tonium as its power source. However, due to its role as the Ghostkeel's principal weapon system, the Raker is calibrated to fire with a complete lack of sound. Yes, you read that right. This is a weapon that rakes through a group of enemies, and neither will they see it coming because the Ghostkeel is a ninja, nor will they hear it coming because the gun has a built-in suppressor. Those caught in its intense high-energy streams suddenly melt away, their flesh vaporizing with such suddenness they often do not even have time to scream.
As with all Tau Ion weapons, the Ion Raker can be overcharged by exposing the unstable alloy inside to the atmosphere. The resultant burst of radiation is so powerful it can destroy entire platoons of the foe – though regrettably the pilot may also sign his own death warrant in the process... yeah, they're 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 super-heavy with this cheesemonger of a gun.
The Cyclic Ion Raker features one of the highest rates of fire of any Ion Weapon in its normal firing mode (R 24",S:7, AP4, Assault 6) which can overcharge to a devastated explosion of ionizing radiation (R 24", S:8, AP4, Heavy 1, Large Blast, Gets Hot!).
Phased Ion Gun
The Ion option for the experimental XV9 Hazard Battlesuit is the Phased Ion Gun, which you can probably tell from the looks of it because it doesn't really look like one, or act like one for the matter.
This equally experimental weapon seeks to develop the rapid-firing technology of the Cyclic Ion Blaster and vehicle-mounted Ion Cannon into a stable Battlesuit system. That's right. Despite not having the Cyclic prefix, this gun is at the Dakka side of the spectrum. The Earth caste probably tried to miniaturize the Ion Cannon and incorporate the Cyclic part without the rotation. The result we have seems to be a "Phased Ion", which might be related to the stuff used by the Gatling flamethrower of the XV109 Y'Vahra. The long accelerators of the Phased Ion Gun allow the pilot to engage the enemy at range with a storm of projectiles that react explosively on an atomic level, decimating heavily-armored infantry as well as vehicles.
It is a prototype weapon system for use with the XV9 Hazard Battlesuit because the advanced power cores allow the Battlesuit itself to most effectively use these weapons. While the rate of fire is stable and very high, the ionization 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.
Strangely for an Ion weapon, the Phased Ion Cannon doesn't get hot – that is, it cannot Overcharge. Perhaps "Phased Ion" is already considered overcharged, or a different breed entirely that cannot overcharge in the first place.
Listen up, Shas'saals. This point is where things become blurry, because the sizes from here on are all considered Ion Cannons.
The Ion Cannon itself operates by generating a stream of high-energy ionized 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 (More can be read below). You see that main gun on the Hammerhead? That's an Ion Cannon. You see those huge guns on the Custodian Battleship? Ion Cannons. Indeed for an Ion weapon, the Ion Cannon sees fairly wide application over the Tau Empire's military; that is, more than two different vehicles use it.
Aside from being an alternative cannon for the Hammerhead Gunship, Ion Cannons may also be found on their aircraft. The Barracuda may sport one as its big gun, while the bigger Tiger Shark has double that number, which is two. The huge Manta in particular does not sport the regular Ion Cannons since it is just that big, but a total of six Long-barreled variant to complement its sixteen Burst Cannons. Originally, this variant is just a better variant with no Overcharge just like the other Long-barreled renditions, but recently we can now do so with an extra effect of being more lethal against numerically large units just in case where the Burst Cannons are not enough or out of reach.
Another notable fact about the Ion Cannon is its range which is a whopping double to what their rifles are capable of, which is likely the reason why their aircraft use it.
While the Tau are still working on accelerating Plasma as with the case of the Plasma Accelerator Rifle above, they seem to already have a knack in accelerating Ion streams.
And while the Long-barreled variant maintains its superiority over range by about ten inches, the Ion Accelerator overshadows the cannon in all other aspects. The blast of an Ion Accelerator's blast is more akin to a torrent, melting its targets entirely. This massive weapon rips through armored fortifications with ease, and can amplify its killing power even further by drawing extra power from an XV104’s Nova Reactor. Indeed, available as an alternative primary armament to the Heavy Burst Cannon, XV104 Riptide Battlesuits may choose to instead sport an Ion weapon that fires a wide stream of volatile energy capable of rupturing the thickest armor-plating and tearing great chunks out of reinforced bunkers and fortress walls.
The cannon is massive, and capable of turning entire squads of heavily armored soldiers into molten slag in mere moments. It would be a fool’s errand to attempt to mount such a weapon on any frame or chassis smaller than an XV104 Riptide. Appearance-wise, it looks to be a double-barreled Ion cannon with not much change length-wise. While it does have double the barrels, it does not have double the rate of fire despite what the fluff seems to suggest, and neither does it count as Twin-linked – both fire simultaneously, combining their streams to increase weapon's armor-piercing capabilities (to AP2).
The Nova Reactor can empower its Overcharged blast shot even more, turning it into an S9 and an Ordnance, a potential that could rival the almighty Railgun in its ability to bring down heavy armor.
Ionic Discharge Cannon
Another Ion weapon that is capable of tapping into a Nova Reactor, but this one is mounted on the XV109, not XV104.
Also known as the EMP Discharge Cannon on the store page for some reason we will get to right now, the massive Ionic Discharge Cannon designed to incapacitate enemy war engines. For a most relatable example, imagine the Ion Cannons from Star Wars. Yes, the Discharge Cannon is exactly that, but in a smaller package at the size just right for the Y’vahra.
Appearance-wise, it is little more than a sawn-off Ion Cannon. Possibly due to the lack of barrel length, the Discharge Cannon has one of the lowest effective ranges among Ion weapons on top of not being able to Overcharge. On the bright side, its shots have the aforementioned EMP effect as they likely ionize vehicles at close range with a Haywire hit on top of the damage it does, making it extremely deadly against said vehicles. The alternate name might suggest this cannon to be a Pulse (of Electromagnetic breed) weapon. Indeed that unlike its relative, the Ion Accelerator, the Discharge Cannon does not possess the distinctive Overcharge profile alongside the Nova Reactor profile. At its size, it would be one of the only Pulse cannons that is not rapid-firing along with the Pulse Submunitions family. Nevertheless, since the official prefix according to its profile is "Ionic," we are sticking with it and assume that it does fire Ions.
While the usual Ion Cannons may not be found on usual Battlesuits, the Ionic Discharge Cannon fills in that gap nicely in an exclusive manner.
Tri-Axis Ion Cannon
You can probably tell that this Ion Cannon is a big gun because it comes with three barrels.
As the biggest of the big Ion Cannons you are likely going to find on the ground because spaceships get most of the big guns, this multi-chambered – specifically triple-barreled – possibly Gatling Ion Cannon is a rapid-firing variant of the standard Ion Cannon at a much bigger scale whose firepower is unmatched for its size in the Tau arsenal. The Tri-axis Ion Cannon is particularly designed to reap through enemy formations, though that doesn't stop it from doing a good damage to something more specific by making its beams actually coherent with precisely controlled lethality after some power adjustments.
Seriously this thing is just like the more Dakka version of the Pulse Ordnance Multi-Driver above. But whereas the Pulse Ordnance Multi-Driver is the Tau's Turbo-laser equivalent, the Tri-axis Ion Cannon is the Tau's Gatling Blaster equivalent... Dakka indeed. Mounted only on the Ta'unar Supremacy Armor as its standard armament over the arms, 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 are not blasts, but a single-targeted tank-busting coherent beam that may rival the bigger Imperial Lascannons in its potential.
This is the weapon you want to fuck that Stompa formation quick and clean. This is the weapon you want to give a Warhound Scout Titan a good pause in its merry run on stomping your forces. This is the weapon you want to shower those pesky Nid hordes in a good bath of irradiated plasma. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Tri-axis Ion Cannon.
So far only featured in Soulstorm. The largest known Tau weapon built on a planetary surface. The Ar'Ka Cannon was the one-of-a-kind brainchild of Shas'O Or'es'Ka, and the centrepiece of his WMD-based combat doctrine used in the Kaurava System.
It was built in Orridune, one of Kaurava II's moons, at the heart of the stronghold of Nan Yanoi ("Sword Moon" in blueberry moonspeak, as they intended to rename the entire moon in honour of the cannon). From there, it could strike at any inhabitable place in the system.
It worked by firing a high-density ion beam that was tuned to only melt the brains of advanced lifeforms, leaving its target's infrastructure and plantlife intact, and free for the taking. That would be good enough for systemwide defence and for risk-free looting of more advanced Xenos' stuff, but there's more than that. The Ar'Ka Cannon acted as the heart of the Ar'Ka System, a satellite array of smaller versions of the weapon that could quickly slaughter any sieging force from orbit.
Nan Yanoi should've been unassailable. Unfortunately, it had a few issues that proved lethal:
1.: The base was unfinished. Despite the Earth Caste's best efforts, Nan Yanoi had serious gaps in its defences, which were hastily plugged in with Tau infantry, Kroot and drone squads. If they couldn't hold the line, there was nothing that could stop enemies from pouring into the stronghold itself.
2. The entirety of the Ar'Ka System could be hijacked if the control terminal in front of the Ar'Ka Cannon was captured by non-Tau, and it's so user-friendly that even an Ork could turn their "unassailable" defences against their creators. This perfectly shows Or'es'Ka's infamous hubris, as he never imagined that enemies could reach the cannon and placed little to no defences around its immediate area (a couple of barracks, Fire Warrior teams and a squad of XV88s won't be enough to hold such an important location against a tide of enemy forces. They will hurt a lot before they go down, though).
3. The Ethereal Aun'Ro'Yr was inspecting the base around the time it was attacked. His death left the Tau so demoralized they promptly retreated from the system, leaving the cannon and what remained of its array behind.
4. They built Nan Yanoi above Gorgutz 'Ead 'Unter's stronghold, pissing off the Warboss (If you play as him, you can reach Nan Yanoi in only 2 turns). No base, no matter how well-built or prepared, will be able to resist the full brunt of an angered WAAGH!, much less so an incomplete one like Nan Yanoi.
As canonically Gorgutz won the Kaurava conflict and abandoned the system afterwards, the Cannon was either looted by the Orks for his WAAGH! or lies abandoned in Nan Yanoi's ruins, surrounded by the star-bleached bones of Aun'Ro'Yr and his escorts and the Ethereal's skull adorning the Warboss' armor. And if it's the first case, the cannon will probably fire much faster now due to Ork beliefs and its red colors.
Heavy Ion Cannon
Remember the Starship-grade Ion Cannons we talked about earlier? Yeah, here it is in all its glory.
Resembling more like an oversized Tri-axis Ion Cannon, the Heavy Ion Cannon usually come in Batteries and are mounted on Tau Navy ships in the Kor'Vattra, both Merchant Fleets and Warfleets.
As aforementioned before, these things are the Tau equivalent of a Lance Weapon, as such, it is a great weapon when it comes to punching through Void shields and armour. Unlike other races' lance weapons which are either fixed in-place like the Orks, Tyranids and Eldar or semi-turreted like the Imperial Navy and Chaos, the Tau aren't stupid and put theirs on an actual turret. This gives it full firing coverage, leaving no blind spots for the vessel. The catch is, of course, the limitation of weapons. The largest Tau Battleship could only carry around three to six of these things before it runs out of space, so it's gonna get out-Dakka'ed.
Tl;dr, it is the biggest Ion weapon ever fielded, USE IT.
Eldar Plasma Weapons
While limited as the Eldar prefer their more stable and accurate laser-based weaponry, they still make use of a few plasma-based weapons.
Though the signature feature of Eldar Plasma technology is its reliability to the point of being cool to the touch, that does not mean they don't appreciate exploding Plasma.
Also known as Sunburst Grenades possibly to differentiate, the Plasma Grenades of the Eldar kind are deployed by all three factions of their kind: Craftworlders throw them; Commorraghites toss them; Harlequins juggle them. For Craftworlders, the Plasma Grenades are issued to Guardian Defenders as well as a some of Aspect Warriors – Dire Avengers, Striking Scorpions, and Shadow Spectres – and by extension, Autarchs. For their darker cousins, usage is limited to Wyches and Scourges, and also Corsairs. Harlequin Troupes along with the accompanying Masters are equipped with Plasma Grenades. Though Plasma Grenades are represented over tabletop only by these Eldar factions, that does not mean the notion itself has not strike the other factions of the grimdark future. The Imperium of Man actually uses Plasma Grenades as well, seeing how Rogue Traders as well as Deathwatch Astartes for one may have in possession. If the Orks in general do toss Plasma Grenades, they are likely limited to the Meks who have access to the higher tier of their tech tree. On the other hand, the Tau seems to be content with just Photon Grenades, though Battlesuits tossing grenades might be an interesting prospect. The Necrons and the Tyranids do not seem to deploy Plasma Grenades, or any grenade for the matter.
While the Imperium relies on deliberate Plasma containment breach for their Plasma Grenades, those of the Eldar apply a different design principle like having an actual miniaturized star in there ready to go nova by the grenade pin or something.
It may not look like one, but the Starcannon is the smallest Plasma weapon deployed by Craftworld Eldar.
The Starcannon fires Plasma in 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 sophisticated containment fields to not only prevent the weapon overheating, but going as far as to keep it cool to the touch. Unless you count their Sunburst Grenades, this is as small as it gets for the category. Though its shape is somewhat similar to a few other weapons, there are a couple of ways for you to tell a Starcannon apart.
Most distinctive is the Plasma coil, but since that part is sometimes covered by a shroud, the second most distinctive part you may look for is the trinity of canisters at the very back of the weapon. As practically the Plasma Cannon for the Craftworld Eldar, the Starcannon sees a healthy militaristic application. Guardian Defenders may mount one on their Heavy Weapons Platform, and Wraith constructs may similarly do so as well on their shoulders. Smaller vehicles such as Vypers and War Walkers may also has the gun attached. Larger vehicles such as the Wave Serpent and the Falcon may have one as part of their turrets. Finally, Crimson Hunter Exarchs may swap the usual pair of Bright Lances with Starcannons.
Since the Starcannon doesn't blow up ever, the fact that humanity uses a weapon that could maim and/or kill the wielder is seen by the Eldar as a testament to our idiocy. That said, if they're so reliable, it begs the question as to why the Eldar never created a handheld version of the Starcannon for use by their infantry like the Imperium and the Tau.
Plasma weapons are often described as striking with the force of a sun. Because of the pathological need to make everything dark and edgy, Disintegrator Cannons of the Dark Eldar are powered by a stolen sun.
To be specific, the Disintegrator Cannon fires particles of unstable matter harnessed from a stolen sun, each shot capable of atomizing the most heavily armored warrior. Far more sophisticated than the conventional breed, it maintains a high rate of fire and always remains cool to the touch even in the fiercest battles despite the ravening energies housed within. Indeed that unlike the crude Plasma-weaponry of more primitive races, Dark Eldar Disintegrators are able to maintain a phenomenal rate of fire without suffering an overload or reducing themselves to slag through excess heat. The Raider combat skimmer may use on as its turret.
Likewise, the Ravager variant with its two additional side turrets may mount up to three Disintegrator Cannons. While the Suncannon is limited to only Exarchs for the Crimson Hunters, Razorwing Jetfighters all have access to Disintegrator Cannons. Another large vehicle with Disintegrator Cannons is the Tantalus. The two cannons mounted on the nose of the Tantalus are actually stock parts. They are commonly found on Commoraghite starships. In a space-borne environment, they were considered somewhat low-powered. In the confines of the Dark City, however, they are ridiculously strong. Anyone struck by the Tantalus’s Disintegrators is killed instantly, exploding as the water in their cells turned to superheated steam.
That starship-grade breed of Disintegrator Cannons on the Tantalus is called Pulse-disintegrator, by the way. More can be read below.
The bigger cousin of the Disintegrator Cannons.
Pulse-Disintegrators are Dark Eldar weapons mounted on vehicles, for example - on the front hull of a Tantalus grav-tank. These weapons fire rapid pulses of unstable subatomic matter, vaporizing their targets. Unlike crude Plasma Weapons of primitive races, Dark Eldar disintegrators are able to maintain a high rate of fire without overheating. It is for all intents and purposes, a rapid-firing Plasma Cannon without the need in gimping its firepower.
On tabletop, these things are a Dark Angels player's wet dream, these monsters are essentially an overcharged Plasma Cannon, but with a cooling system that actually works and the rate of fire of an Assault Cannon...Oh, and the Tantalus comes with two of them. You couldn't catch a bus back to 'overkill'.
While the Starcannon is at just the right size to be viable for many installations, 40K being 40K, bigger vehicles need bigger guns.
For this particular case, the vehicle in question is the Wraithknight, and only the Wraithknight so far. The Suncannon is the souped-up version of the Starcannon above with notably more oomph. It is a larger and also noticeably longer Eldar Plasma weapon. A Suncannon is a rapid-firing weapon and its wide and potent blasts are able to pierce all but the heaviest types of armor worn by enemy infantry – that is, this thing wipes out whole platoons. It is also hauntingly accurate due to the use of a sophisticated electromagnetic pulse to guide its lethal blasts to enemy targets. Really, it has all the properties of a Starcannon, only in a much bigger scale.
As with all Eldar Plasma weapons, it is far superior to its Imperial counterparts – which for now is only the Plasma Decimator since the Imperial Knights are kinda lacking in variety of weaponry over the Plasma spectrum – 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. Unlike the Starcannon, the Suncannon does not come with an exposed Plasma coil for us to identify. But do not worry, because the Suncannon retains the distinctive triple canisters by the top side.
The Suncannon is identical in pretty much every way to the Starcannon except that it dispenses pie plates instead of ho-hum boring-old hits.
The Absolute UNIT of plasma weapons and possibly one of the biggest one to date.
The much LARGER brother of the standard Starcannon (Larger being a massive understatement). The Heavy Starcannon works in much the same way as its tinier sibling, just on the scale to match Battlefleet Gothic. These things are commonly mounted on Eldar starships and are very much the equivalent of the Imperial Macrocannons we know and love.
As noted, it is notorious for the fact that it is not mounted on a turret, meaning that the entire ship needs to steer in order to aim. While one could argue that it frees up internal space and eases construction. The problem is that the ships are in space, a 3-dimensional void where you really, REALLY need a turret to hit anywhere given its three dimensions and the sheer vastness of it. Although 40k is just one of many Sci-Fi franchises guilty of designing their warships like WW1-era battleships, the design of Eldar vessels in general is one of the more notorious examples.
You might think it would be easy to turn the whole ship in vacuum, so turrets wouldn't be important, but you'd be dead wrong. Space is big... really, really mind-bogglingly big, even in combat, spacecraft aren't likely to be very close at all, and the sheer precision required to hit anything at those kinds of ranges goes well beyond minutes or even seconds of angle. While turning and orienting any object with great precision is hard, doing so with a massive object is orders of magnitude harder, even if that big heavy something is "extremely maneuverable". Good luck turning that kilometer-long cruiser with single-molecule precision. Once you realize that, you know that you need to turn as small a mass as possible to get the job done, and if your super-advanced space elf technology isn't up to the challenge of fitting an effective anti-spacecraft weapon in a turret, then it sure as hell isn't going to be up to the much tougher challenge of pointing things at other things in space. For Cegorach's sake, even the mon-keigh figured out turrets, and once they invented them, were smart enough to stop using fixed gun mounts altogether.
Compared to the Naval Lascannons used by Craftworlders, Heavy Starcannons are shorter-ranged and have a lower projectile speed in contrast to the literal lightspeed of the Lascannon. However, Corsairs are able to mount a metric shit ton more Starcannons than the few diddly Lascannons of the Craftworlders.
Both Eldar and their Edgier cousins use Heavy Starcannons as their secondary ship weapons. The former fires blue plasma bolts while the latter fires pinkish-purple bolts for your convenience.
Necron Plasma Weapons
Necron Plasma Weapons hit like railguns with the searing heat of a plasma. What do you honestly expect?
Tesseract Singularity Chamber
No, despite its name, it has nothing to do with it being a black hole cannon.
The Tesseract Singularity Chamber is the main armament of the Tesseract Ark. It is essentially a shielded device which holds a sliver of a dying star within it, akin to a miniature Æonic Orb. When activated, the Singularity Chamber is capable of a variety of rapetastic effects such as Solar Fire, Particle Hurricane, and Seismic Lash. However, like the Æonic Orb, should the chamber be sufficiently damaged, there may be a catastrophic chain reaction.
Crunch wise, the three modes of firing are as-is: Solar Fire is basically a meltagun, but it trades a point of AP for more shots, gaining a very respectable statline of S8, AP-3, and D6 damage for D6 shots. Particle Hurricane (Which yes, actually causes a fucking hurricane despite essentially being a sun gun) auto-hits everything and wounds anything outside of vehicles on a 2 (Vehicles are wounded on 6s, always), and Seismic Lash (because it wouldn't be 40k if sun guns didn't cause earthquakes as well) which is D6 attacks at S5, AP-3, flat 3 damage.
Aaaahhhh...the Doomsday Cannon....the sweet, sweet Doomsday Cannon. This one part Lascannon, one part Plasma Cannon, one part Battle Cannon and one part Railcannon is noted to be one of the most ridiculous guns available to the Necrons.
Only found mounted on a Doomsday Ark, which is in itself nothing less than an enormous self-propelled Doomsday Cannon. This is a Plasma weapon that can win a battle with a single shot. And most often, this can play through on even tabletop. Even fired at low power, a Doomsday Cannon is a fearsome weapon; when firing at full effect, its searing Plasma beams burn many times hotter than more conventional Plasma Weapons. Infantry squads caught in the Doomsday Cannon’s fury are obliterated instantly whilst armored vehicles are reduced to glowing slag. In the face of a shot from a Doomsday Cannon, nothing less than a Titan’s Void Shields can hope to offer more than a fool’s hope of protection.
As overwhelming as the Doomsday Cannon is, fortunately there is a crutch, the weapon requires immense amounts of energy to fire. Due to the energy constraints that are inherent in the design of a Doomsday Ark, a Doomsday Cannon can only be fired at full power whilst the vehicle is not moving. This is because the weapon draws on the same power reserves as the repulsor engines of the vehicle.
Any systems not directly pertaining to the Doomsday Ark’s main armament are part of the motive units that power its anti-gravitic engines and propel it into position, or the shielding arrays that give the vehicle some measure of protection from enemy fire. Each of these secondary systems draws power from the same source as the Doomsday Cannon, and much of the pilot’s concentration is taken up ensuring that the energy distribution is appropriate to the tasks at hand. As a result, a Doomsday Cannon is somewhat less effective when fired during or immediately following any significant movement of the craft, due to the need for the pilots to redistribute power to the dimensional repulsor motive units that keep the Doomsday Ark aloft. This forces the Doomsday Cannon to receive less power and fire a weaker, though still powerful, blast. Then again, even a low-power blast from a Doomsday Cannon rivals the most hallowed of Adeptus Astartes Plasma Cannons for destructive potential.
A cousin of the Doomsday Cannon, the Doomsday Blaster is a heavy Necron weapon mounted on the top of the Canoptek Doomstalker. Unlike the regular Doomsday Cannon, the Doomsday Blaster has a more dial-a-yield effect that allows it to switch from a wide-spread anti-blob exterminator to a more focused, "turn-a-Land-Raider-inside-out" beam of assfuckery. This makes the weapon extremely versatile and lethal to anything not wearing Void Shields as standard issue.
On the tabletop, the Doomsday Blaster's crunch is actually pretty accurate to the fluff. There are two modes for the weapon. The first is the Low Power profile, which has a short-range of 24", much like a particle shotgun. It is a S8, AP-2 D3 weapon that would easily cleanse a blob of tarpitters, although TEQs and Light Vehicles should be able to survive just fine if the dice gods are in your favour.
The second is the High Power profile, which has an increased range of 48". This more focused shot has a whopping S10, AP-5 D6 statline, allowing you to punch holes through even superheavy units as that nasty AP value makes any unit, even ones with Sv2+, absolutely impotent. However, it can only be utilised when the Doomstalker is standing completely still, limiting its overall utility of the Doomstalker.
For the actual vehicle, see here: Æonic Orb
The actual orb of the Æonic Orb. This orb is an entire star shrunk via spacial manipulation and is all around, a batshit insane piece of wargear. An Æonic Orb is usually crafted from the living metal of the Necrons' own undying bodies, Necrodermis. This was the only material that has the properties both strong enough to withstand the gravitational force generated by the fragment of a star and regenerates fast enough to self-repair from the raging plasma of that star.
The orb can open a small corridor, allowing the raw heat of a star to be projected over a wide area. You can imagine the results from that proverbial assrape. The Imperium boasts that its plasma weapons fire miniature suns, the Necrons laugh at that pitiful notion. Also, if that containment field is destroyed, the entire star goes out, on top of the planet.
The orb has two firing modes:
- Solar Flare, an artificial solar flare, the Solar Flare is a more direct, anti-armour approach with long-range. The damage is unmatched, making Void shields role for critical existence failures and giving Emperor Titans a new asshole. But such a blast will force the Orb to recharge for a significant period of time before it can be unleashed again.
- Solar Burst, the more anti-infatry and anti-horde approach. This is a less-damaging, shorter-ranged plasma blast otherwise identical to the full solar flare. However, the solar burst's beam will sweep across a wider area as a result of its greater accuracy and the increased second-order radiation effects. Good for roasting Tyranids on a Sunday morning.
Ork Plasma Weapons
The Orks have only three plasma weapons, but that's all they need. It comes in many different shapes and sizes.
This is the weapon for a Mekboy to use when he finds himself in a pinch and wants to have a weapon that can tear Terminators a new one, and yet still has a convenient enough size to be wielded with one hand.
While the "rare" Plasma Pistols used by the Imperium may be found in the hands of a lot of people, the Kustom Mega-slugga may only be found in the hands of a Mekaniak, specifically not the ones wearing Mega Armor because those have outgrown the compact size given by a Slugga. Appearance-wise, the cooling vent looks exactly like it was ripped off from a Sunfury pattern of Plasma Pistols. Accompanying that is the pilot flame-looking thing that certainly makes the Slugga look like a Hand Flamer on top of a Plasma Pistol. The spherical Plasma canister is attached to the back, which raises the question to what the rectangular object attached to where a magazine might be might be. Considering the existence of what appears to be an ejection, it wouldn't be too far-fetched to say that the Kustom Mega-slugga doubles as an actual Slugga. But if this is actually the case, it probably is not represented on tabletop. Since it is a "Kustom" gun, there should exist at least some variants made by some Meks that can do just that. The Kustom Mega-slugga has a couple wiring attached to the power pack carried by the same Mek. The wires end right at the handle where a tube seems to combine whatever came from those two and send the mixture to the Slugga proper.
Despite a lesser range, it is a Pistol, 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".
Perhaps due to how Ork Meks generally prefer the "Go big or go home" approach, the Kustom Mega- family skips the comfortably handheld Shoota generation and straight to the slightly more cumbersome that is Blasta. In practice, the Kustom Mega-blasta is essentially a Plasma Gun equivalent for the Orks; though whatever comes out of the barrel can pretty much be anything, the common feature that binds these guns together is the fact that it can and will explode at some point.
Big Meks clad in Mega Armour tend to carry a Kustom Mega-blasta instead of their usual smaller Mega-slugga. But since "Kustom" gears are pretty much exclusive to the Meks who make them, beyond their workshops, the Kustom Mega-Blaster is typically found on those Orks who can afford one. Orks abundant with material wealth such as Lootas may be found sporting a Kustom Mega-blasta. Likewise for some reason, some Burna Boyz may also be found using one of the same breed as well. Slightly bigger machines such as Deff Dreds on the good side of the Meks may also have a Kustom Mega-blasta on the side as well as Morkanauts. Grot Tanks along with the bigger Mega Tanks may also have a Mega-blasta turret. Understandably as a rather curious piece of machinery, the "Chinork" Warkopta has a Kustom Mega-blasta as its big gun option.
As far as the "Gets Hot!" rule is concerned in 8th Edition, Orks naturally don't give a fuck – firing at maximum power is their default setting, so they also always have the danger of the weapon blowing up (which is also more fun for everybody involved).
Ork philosophy dictates any weapon to be inevitably bigger for the sake of Dakka, no exceptions, not even the Kustom Mega- family.
The Meks seem to have again skipped a size and went straight to vehicle-grade weight of a Kannon. Despite the increase in load, the Kustom Mega-kannon is typically seen only on two things. First is a Mek Gun, which we all know is a giant gun on wheels manned by Grots. In terms of appearance at least for the specimen we have, it looks just like an Inferno Cannon, particularly the breed mounted on the Malcador Infernus, but in a much smaller package and not fueled by Promethium, of course; also, nothing screams "bigga and betta" better than having two barrels in addition to being much bigger.
Unlike the smaller Kustom Mega- weapons we've seen so far, the Kustom Mega-Kannon does not seem to have a distinct Plasma sphere. We can probably speculate that the Plasma in question is built into the gun, if at all. Another vehicle that has the Mega-kannon is the Morkanaut. Now, the one on the Morkanaut is obviously special since recently, it is now a Kustom Mega-zappa. Of course, looking at it, the Kustom Mega-zappa does have a few notable differences from the kind mounted on wheels. Morkanauts obviously have more space to install auxiliary equipment to make the Mega-zappa fire better. The armor provided by the Morkanaut should also provide the volatile Mega-zappa some protection as well.
Practically, as in tabletop-speaking, the Mega-zappa is simply a more powerful version of the Mega-kannon in all aspects but range, where it remains the same.
Tyranid Plasma Weapons
Revolving entirely around being organic, Plasma weaponry among Tyranids are few. The Bio-plasma Biomorph is exclusive the Carnifexes, its shots equivalent in deadliness to that of a Plasma Cannon.
To do so, the Carnifex with this Biomorph 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 actually burn until passing the throat, it will not overheat inside the user, negating any heat related issues that would have surfaced otherwise. Massive Bio-plasma-emitting spines can also be found on Tyranid Bio-ships. Bio-plasma spines serve as effective short-range weapons batteries in void combat, emitting gargantuan balls of Bio-plasma that can devastate enemy voidcraft, more of which can be read below. Recently, Bio-plasma-specialized Carnifexes have begun to surface with only an additional suffix along with different stats, the Bio-plasmic Scream possessed by the Screamer Killer brood. This type was originally used to designate Carnifexes with Bio-plasma because of their terrible ululating shriek, caused by rasping plates in their esophagus that were used to energize the Bio-plasma. On the other hand, it is reported that these Screamer Killers use an electrical field around their claws to build up an incandescent Bio-plasma ball before launching it at a target over longer ranges – imagine a Rasengan, but over the mouth.
Since Monstrous Creatures can only fire two of their ranged weapons per Shooting Phase, and you should already have two sets of twin-linked Brainleech Devourers on your 'Fex, AND it has only a 12-inch range, so you'll never get the chance to use this Biomorph and shouldn't waste the points to begin with. While 8th Edition lifts that restriction, it is 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. The option is 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 quite useful against heavily-armored infantry. The Scream, on the other hand, is an Assault D6, 18" range, and AP-4 which make this a much better weapon overall than the standard Bio-plasma, allowing the Screamer Killer to soften things up before it charges.
Of course, when it comes to Bio-plasma, the Tyranids aren't limited to puking it out like some feral beast.
The Bio-plasmic Cannon is pretty much the only weapon of note on the Exocrine apart from its Powerful Limbs. This massive gun is pretty much the brain that controls the Exocrine because that hulk pretty much serves only as its transport. Only when the larger beast remains still can the symbiote focus all of its mental resources into targeting and destroying its prey. This great weapon can channel Bio-plasma through a series of different ventricles to ensure the destruction of its prey. Now don't let the fancy word fool you, "ventricle" is simply a cavity inside an organ. Get it? 'Cause the Bio-plasmic Cannon is a Biomorph.
It has organs that make Bio-plasma as well as launching the hot stuff. Initially, the Bio-plasmic Cannon was essentially the Tyranid's equivalent for the Plasma Gun, but instead of the chance to explode, it had two modes to fire with – either a vast ball of roaring energy to cover a small area with Marine-melting goop, or several focused streams of death from its multiple barrels. Appearance-wise, the Bio-plasmic Cannon looks pretty much like a scaled-up version of the Spore Mine Launcher on the back the Biovore. As mentioned, it has a total of six eyes, one for each of the smaller barrels surrounding the big one. The chimneys over the back probably has something to do with making the Bio-plasma to shoot out of.
8th Edition morphed its application into a practical cannon with only a single mode to fire with just like a lot of other weapons out there, specifically a heavier stream.
The big mama of the Bio-Plasmic Cannon.
The Bio-Plasma Battery, also known as the Bio-Plasma Spine works in the same way as other Tyranid Bio-Plasmas, just on an obviously larger scale. These monsters are the closest thing the Nids get to a Lance Weapon barrage as they shoot out giant glops of plasma at enemy warships.
Whilst the Pyro-Acid Battery acts as a sort-of close-range Macrocannon/Flamer, the Bio-Plasma is much longer ranged thanks to the fact that the plasmic bolts actually travel a distance rather than acting as a spaceborne chem-thrower. Granted, the range on the thing is still shit given the fact that the Nids can't aim and they don't have the same level of Dakka as the other races. But it is your only ranged-weapon so are you gonna complain?
The weapon comes in two forms like the Pyro-Acids. There is the much larger Discharge Artillery which is mounted on the front hull of the ship. That gives it longer range at the expanse of fire rate. Then these are the batteries which are mounted on the starboard and port of the vessel. They have greater firepower at the expanse of range.
Other Plasma Weapons
The basic and primary weapon of the Spindle Drones.
It is actually unknown what type of weapon these are. The only reason why these weapons are here is based merely on extrapolation from the Tau's own Pulse Weapons terminology, although its true nature remains hidden.
It is extremely likely that the weapon is actually the 'eye' of the drone, given the lack of any other external equipment that resembles a weapon
Drone Pulse aren't particularly powerful weapons, given the fact that a Spindle Drone is meant to come in swarms. However, a unique ability for the Drone itself is that it has a special ability called Threat Level Rising, which allows any remaining Spindle Drones to gain +1 to their strength, damage, and AP for every Spindle Drone that is wounded or destroyed. Alternatively, the presence of a Guardian Drone simply adds +3 to all of those.
The weapon itself, as aforementioned, isn't really that impressive, being a S3, D1, 18" pistol with zero AP. But when Threat Level Rising starts to kick in, it becomes much more dangerous.
An even bigger variant of the Drone Pulse.
The Destroyer Pulse is the primary weapon of the Guardian Drones. It is actually unknown what type of weapon these are. The only reason why these weapons are here is based merely on extrapolation from the Tau's own Pulse Weapons terminology, although its true nature remains hidden.
It is extremely likely that the weapon is actually the 'eye' of the drone, given the lack of any other external equipment that resembles a weapon
Unlike the lacklustre Drone Pulse, the Destroyer Pulse actually packs a hefty punch. At S9, Ap-3 and D4 with an 18" range, this weapon is impressive as it still shares the Pistol profile as its little brother. However, a big trade-off with its stronger attacks is that the Guardian Drone lacks the Threat Level Rising ability, making the weapon more suitable for powerful individual targets.
It is best used in conjunction with the Guardian Salvo Launchers, which is a weapon suited for horde armies.
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.
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. And since there’s a way to use one without risking being blown up now, the Plasma Weapons are arguably better than before.