I actually like the S8 idea simply because of the damage mechanic that exists now.
I wouldn't mind an extra couple of shots though.
I think that would present an interesting mechanical niche, but would it feel right for the weapon? The low damage would make it a reliable way to hurt vehicles and monsters but a bad way to actually kill them. You'd be able to toss wounds on meqs
left and right, but you'd only kill about 1 meq
per scatter laser. I guess the real question is is the high strength 1 damage, high volume of fire niche a useful one? At strength 8, you'd have a good shot at taking a wound off a rhino, but 1 wound isn't much progress. Against hordes, you'd just be getting a +1 to your wound rolls against T4 baddies. Against MEQs
, you wouldn't really be changing your performance much.
So when would you take such a weapon? If you want antitank/anti monster, you'd be better off with a lance or missile launcher. If you want to clear swarms, you'd be roughly as well off with a shuriken cannon (same as now, basically). I guess you'd be just slightly better at hurting expensive T4 stuff like tyranid warriors, I don't really feel like I need a weapon specifically for that.
Personally, I like the idea of starcannons being our armor-ignoring mid-strength decent damage gun, scatter lasers being our crowd clearers, and shuriken cannons being a flexible middle ground . So with that in mind, I think something closer to the rapid fire or strength 5 suggestions would be the way to go. Something that will be more effective than a shuriken cannon against hordes but noticably less effective against vehicles.
Rapidfire 3(ish) at Strength 5 and AP
- seems like it might work. The shuriken and star cannons are better against light vehicles, but you'll sort of kind of balance out against anything T7 or above (with star cannons having a slight edge). You'll have equal or double the shots against hordes compared to shuriken cannons, albeit wounding geqs
on 3s instead of 2s.
So at 18", a hypothetical scatter laser at s5 with rapidfire 3 on a BS3+ platform would do...
6 shots - > 4 hits -> ~2.68 wounds to a T4 or less unit
3 shots -> 2 hits -> 1.34 wounds to a T4 unit and ~1.67 wounds to a T3 unit.
Hmm. So that's not a huge difference, but it might be enough. Basically, for every 8ish wounds you put on a guardsman with a scatter laser, you'll only put 5ish wounds on that same guardsman with a shuriken cannon.
Now all that said... *gulp* ... I do feel compelled to bring up a certain 6th edition codex rule that we were all pretty happy to see go when 7th rolled around. Once upon a time, younglings, scatter lasers on a given model were resolved before that model's other weapons. Then, if you hit at least once with the scatter laser, the model's other weapons could reroll failed to-hit rolls. Basically, the scatter laser served as a sort of "tracer round" for your other guns.
At the time, this rule was considered annoying due to how it combo'd with the serpent shield (which was basically a long-ranged multi-shot gun) and with the perceived OP
nature of eldar t the time. In this age of 10+ wound rhinos and to-hit penalties for vehicles, I think rational autarchs could make an argument for this rule's return. Something like...
Scatter Laser: X Points Strength: 5 AP
- Damage 1 Range 36" Rapid Fire 3.
-Special: When shooting a model wielding a scatter laser in your shooting phase, resolve the scatter laser's shots first. If any of the scatter laser's shots hit, you may reroll failed to-hit rolls of 1 for the model's other weapons that fire on the same target for the rest of the phase.
This would make pulse lasers just a tiny bit more reliable while costing less than a bright lance or missile launcher, would add to the anti-horde dakka of a a wave serpent or vyper without stepping on Biel-Tan'st
toes, and... might not do much for war walkers beyond giving them a more horde-centric gun than the shuriken cannon.
I'm not necessarily advocating bringing back this special rule, but it would give the scatter laser a role beyond "more pew pew version of the shuriken cannon."