Experimental Rules: Fixing Grav Weapons

As a frequent user (and abuser; my current 2000 point list can put out 70 Grav shots a turn) of Grav Weapons, I know how over-powered these weapons are in the current game and agree with many that, when 8th edition comes around, GW should find a way to make this a less “auto-take” weapon and rebalance how they fit into the overall game. Right now, if you really want to be competitive, no other weapon choices really come close (the DW Frag Cannon might be an exception, but even that is not as strong against so many targets as Grav Cannon/Amps are). Additionally, Grav weapons are pretty much single-handedly the reason that lots of iconic units like Terminators, Land Raiders, Dreadnoughts, etc. are rarely used in the current competitive meta… thus, toning down Grav might allow for a “rebirth” of sorts for the competitive use of some of these units.

Now, Grav weapons do bring one positive to the game, namely they are a hard counter for things like Wraithknights, massed Riptides, massed Dreadknights, Stormsurges, and even certain types of Deathstars that would otherwise be almost impossible to deal with. Taking that into account, and considering the other heavy/special weapons available to armies with access to Grav weapons (i.e. Plasma weapons, Flamer Weapons, Melta weapons, Missile Launchers, etc.), I think the following might be a possible solution for “balancing” out Grav weapons so that they still have a purpose and can be taken in competitive armies, but that they do not overshadow all other weapon types and make certain units unplayable:

—GRAV WEAPON PROPOSAL—

*Grav Weapons would still maintain their current profiles, including number of shots, range, AP2, and Concussive rules.

*Grav Weapons would not longer strip a HP from and Immobilize a vehicle when they roll a 6+. Instead, on a roll of 6+, they cause a Crew Stunned result ( with NO hull point stripped).

*Grav Weapons would no longer wound based on the target’s armor save (i.e. wound on a 2+ against TEQs, on a 5+ against GEQs, etc.). Instead, they would wound according to the following chart:

T1-T3: 6+ to Wound

T4: 5+ to Wound

T5: 4+ to Wound

T6: 3+ to Wound

T7-10: 2+ to Wound

**Note: If the target is a Monstrous Creature or Gargantuan Monstrous Creature, then reduce the roll on this chart by -1 (so a T6 Riptide would be wounded on a 2+ and a T5 Daemon Prince would be wounded on a 3+, for example; this would not be able to improve Grav Weapons wounding to better than a 2+, however, so if they were a MC with T7+, then they are still wounded on a 2+). Also, Flying Monstrous Creatures/Flying Gargantuan Monstrous Creatures suffer a -2 to any grounding checks they take if they suffer an Unsaved Wound from a Grav Weapon that same turn.

So, you can see significant proposed changes here. Overall, the idea is to make Grav weapons still very strong at dealing with MC/GMCs, and even a solid counter against higher toughness units like Bikes, TWC, Nurgle Marines, etc., but also to make them vastly less powerful against standard infantry and vehicles. The vehicles, in particular, would no longer lose HPs to Grav weapons and, at worst, be unable to Move and Shoot for a turn (I think this gives you the ability to still use Grav weapons on vehicles as a “desperation weapon,” but not make them the go to choice over plasma, melta, MLs, etc.).

If these changes were made, I think you would still see armies taking Grav weapons, but in much smaller quantities and for much more specialized “monster hunter” duties, rather than as a staple for the entire army list. I also think you would see an uptick in plasma and melta weapons again, since they would have to step up to fill anti-MEQ/TEQ/vehicle void resulting from the Grav weapons being rebalanced.

Also, as I alluded to earlier, I think expensive, elite infantry and vehicles (like Land Raiders, Terminators, etc.) would start being more useable again, since they would be so much less vulnerable to Grav weapons than they used to be (i.e. under my proposal, for example, it would take 6-7 BS4 Grav shots to kill a Terminator on average, whereas before it only took about 2-3 BS4 Grav shots to kill one). Finally, I think Grav weapons would still have an auxiliary role because of their Concussive rule, which enables them to debuff multi-wound models before charging into combat, and also because of their ability to help bring down FMCs, since they have a much increased chance of “Grounding” them.

Overall, this would not fix all the balance issues in 40K by any means, but I think it would go a long way toward bringing competitive lists back toward “center” and allowing more diverse units and weapons to be included in those competitive lists.

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9 comments on “Experimental Rules: Fixing Grav Weapons

  1. WestRider says:

    I think you’re nerfing them too hard against Vehicles, and the potential for needing massed 2d6 rolls is logistically problematic. I’d just make it a flat Stun on a 6 instead of the current Immobilized. Some of the key Vehicles that they shut down (Land Raiders, MaulerFiends) have ways around that built in, and it would make Extra Armour an actually relevant upgrade again.

    I think I might also change the Amps to +1 to Wound (no effect on Vehicles) instead of re-rolls. Or something. The Amps are definitely part of the problem.

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    • greysplinter says:

      Good point on both counts here… 2D6 is a pain to do in mass during the game and a simple 6+ resulting in Crew Stunned is a more elegant solution… I’ll modify the post accordingly. Thanks for the feedback!

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  2. Nick Thrower says:

    It’s not just grav that’s the issue though, a lot of the weapons need rebalancing given the vast and rapid changes we’ve seen to 40k over the last few years. How many heavy bolters do you see being used? Storm bolters on terminators have a truly pathetic damage output for such an iconic unit, and their resilience is so poor to massed fire that you won’t see them much even without the changes to grav.

    I like your proposals, though I suspect given the way you’re proposing to wound we won’t see something like that implemented – it’s too complex and adds to the bloat of the game that many people want to see taken away.

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    • greysplinter says:

      You are right, it is a little complex, but I don’t think it would be too much to be a “game stopper”… really, it is almost the inverse of the current S vs T chart, so I think people would be able to master it relatively quickly and, overall, I think gameplay would be a lot better for it in the long run.

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  3. Thomas says:

    I would like to Grav becoming a movement inhibitator rather than a regular damage output type weapon. A unit hit by Grav can only move after a successfull dice roll (Sv 2+ = 6+, Sv 3+ = 5+, Sv 4+ = 4+, Sv 5+ = 3+, Sv 6+ and Sv – = 2+). MC and GMC (and bikes maybe) get a -1 on their roll as the have a greater bulk affected by the Graviton beam. Vehicles get either a reduction of the movement or are temporarily immobilized. Flyers and Swooping FMC should be affected more drastically.

    I think it could be a fun mechanic as it would allow another layer of tactical depth.

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    • greysplinter says:

      This gets a bit complicated and adds a lot of extra work in every turn (though, I’ll admit, it does make sense, given how Grav weapons are supposed to work). Something simpler, like any unit hit by Grav Weapons always acts like it is in Difficult Terrain until the end of the turn, might work.

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      • Thomas says:

        Well you actually remove the to wound roll so even if you have to roll once per hit unit you’ll be rolling less dice total in a game.

        All units hit suffering diff terrain is a bit counter intuitive as Grav should punish heavy armour more than light armour.

        If you want to remove dice roll have a movement reduced by a fixed number dependent on your armour save. Terminator armour max 2″, flak armour max 5″.

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  4. Ed OMalley says:

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head sir! Those changes would go a long way towards balancing the four main special weapons again. If you want people to take more terminators the answer seems quite simple. Allow them to re-roll failed armour saves. It would fix their vulnerability to small arms in one fell swoop whilst still making ap2 weapons dangerous against them. As for their damage output, making Stormbolters Salvo 4/2 should help.

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    • greysplinter says:

      Allowing re-rolls of armor saves might work, but it might be too much (I have played recently with Ravenwing that had a re-rollable 2+ Jink save and they were all but invincible against tons of shooting).

      A solution that I would prefer for all TDA models is a rule called “Indomitable,” which forces all enemy units to re-roll successful to Wounds against them (if the attacking enemy unit had Shred or Preferred Enemy or some other source of re-rolls to Wound, then those rules and “Indomitable” would cancel each other out and the attacks would roll to Wound as normal). I think this would make Terminators much more durable, but not make them downright unkillable for their points.

      As for Stormbolters (well, for all Bolt Weapons, for that matter), I think they should all get the “Shred” USR against targets with a 4+ armor save or worse… right now, they just are not that much better than Lasguns against enemy hordes and, while they should definitely not be MEQ killers, I think the explosive nature of their shells is not adequately represented in the game right now. Adding “Shred” in this manner would make all Bolter-like Weapons (i.e. BPs, Bolters, Heavy Bolters, Assault Cannons, Autocannons, etc.) significantly better against the light-medium infantry hordes, which is really where they should excel in the first place).

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