Melta, Melta, Melta & More Melta! If you read any 40k board or forum its all you will see Melta this Melta that. Well I suggest something different Plasma. Lets look at each.
Range 12". Strength 8. Ap 1. Assault 1. Melta(2 x D6 Armour Pen at half range.)
Lets look at this short range one shot weapon gonna mash most armour and kill any troop instantly kill T4 multi wound and take a wound off MC's. A good gun aimed at vehicles and good against MEQ and TEQ. Also as an assault weapon means you can assault after meaning potentially more damage to units. Very short range one shot weapon great for armour but bad against hordes or large squads.
Range 24". Strength 7. Ap 2. Rapid Fire (2 Shots at <12".) Gets Hot(Roll a 1 take a save.) Now straight away we have a gain of 12" on the range and gain a shot close up. You take a a slight hit on the strength and the Ap, but this means you are still wounding most infantry and Mc's on 2's & 3's. Now the gets hot roll basically you have 1/6 chance of taking wound when firing. You get your armour save.
Now I'm going to talk about a concept which I believe the Marine Codex was designed for flexibility. Looking at a Tactical squad you have a Sgt, Special Weapon, Hvy Weapon & 7 MARINES WITH BOLTERS!!!!! Now think a marine squad main component is the lowly Bolter marine s4 ap5 rapid fire gun. They are designed to cause damage to infantry they have Frag and Krak grenades to deal with vehicles etc. Basically the Plasma Gun fits, if you fire Melta then assault your making the rapid fire Bolter redundant, might as well give them all pistols and leave it as that. For vehicle or heavy armour there are items in the codex better designed to deal with these threats Multi Melta Attack Bikes, Land Speeders etc.
My argument here is that a Melta provides a 1 shot weapon good against armour and maybe pre assault when firing pistols (losing 7 rapid fire shots) but the Plasma Gun provides a weapon which fits in with the other 7 members of the squad and still provides an anti armour aspect not to be sniffed at. As lets face it Tacticals are the 'jack of all trades, master of none.' they should be used as such to support other better suited units such as Assault=Vanguard or Honour Guard. Shooty= Sternguard & Shooty Command Squad.
Melta has its place but since the rise of 5th edition I think the Plasma Gun has taken a nose dive. Both are niche weapons and have to be applied to the situation but i think to use just Melta is a mistake. The Plasma Gun nicely bridges the gap between a bolter and melta providing a happy medium and little reduntancy within the squad. Anyway enough of a rant now everbody will agree the worse thing about Plasma is the 'Gets Hot' roll. Now what about a way of lessening it effects. Now I have your attention. Well you will have to wait till next time for that one. Sorry if I have gone on. Now just through reading this I realise I myself are guilty of many of these things redunancy & lack of flexilbilty have think about your own army are you guilty?
(Bro Cpt. Ventris.)