However, there may be some confusion with regards to how D-weapons work in this edition and what effect they have on vehicles and Super-heavies. I'm pretty sure I understand the rules, but I've seen so many assumptions and arguments about them (all of them interspersed with yet more tiresome complaints about GW) that I wanted to put my ideas out into the ether and see if others agree.
For starters, I believe that GW listened to gamers' complaints that 6th Edition D-weapons were too powerful and set out to create D-weapon rules that would be potent, but wouldn't necessarily relegate all non-Super-heavy models to players' shelves. I think they also intended to develop a table that would work for all vehicles and wouldn't need separate rules for standard vehicles and Super-heavies.
Standard Weapons and Vehicle Damage
Let's start with the rules for damaging vehicles on page 75 of the new rulebook. Under "Penetrating Hits" it says "If a penetrating hit was scored, the vehicle not only loses 1 Hull Point, but also suffers additional damage." The new Vehicle Damage table follows on page 76. It's the same as the one in 6th Edition except Crew Shaken now occurs on a 1 through 3 and Explodes! only occurs on a 7. For Super-heavy vehicles, page 94 says that Super-heavies don't suffer Crew Shaken results, Weapon Destroyed results, etc., but that "each time a Super-heavy vehicle suffers an Explodes! result on the Vehicle Damage table, instead of suffering the effects listed, it loses D3 additional Hull Points as well as the hull Point it loses for the penetrating hit."
So far, so good. Except for the slightly more forgiving Damage Table, standard weapons have the same rules as before. A penetrating shot against normal vehicles causes them to lose a single Hull Point and forces them to take their chances with the Vehicle Damage table. Super-heavies lose a single Hull Point and may lose an additional D3 Hull Points if an Explodes! result is rolled.
D-Weapons and Vehicle Damage
Under 6th Edition, D-weapons were insanely devastating. On a 1, any vehicle would suffer a penetrating hit. On a 2-5, Super-heavies lost D3+1 Hull Points while all other vehicles simply exploded. On a six, normal vehicles still exploded while Super-heavies lost D6+6 Hull Points. Fortunately, GW decided to tone it down in 7th.
The new rules actually give regular vehicles a chance at surviving a D-weapon blast, although there's still a good probability that they won't survive. The Destroyer Weapon Attack Table also omits any special exceptions or rules for Super-heavies; it works for any type of vehicle (or buildings, for that matter, which now have Hull Points).
As before, the rules state that if a target vehicle is hit by a D-weapon, you roll on the Destroyer Weapon Attack Table instead of rolling for penetration. The table on page 163 provides the following results:
1 - "Lucky Escape: The model is unharmed"In various places, I've seen people argue that a Solid Hit has no other result but to remove D3 Hull Points (and thus whine that melta-weapons are better than D-weapons). Others seem to think that the result is D3 Hull Points lost plus one for the penetrating hit. However, I think these ideas completely miss the mark.
2-5 - "Solid Hit: The model suffers a penetrating hit that causes it to lose D3 Hull Points instead of 1." (Below it says that cover and invulnerable saves may be taken against a Solid Hit.)
6 - "Devastating Hit: The model suffers a penetrating hit that causes it to lose D6+6 Hull Points instead of 1. No saves of any kind are allowed against this hit."
|Although their chainswords will do|
less damage, Imperial Knights will
have a much higher survival rate
Having determined from the Destroyer Weapon table exactly how many Hull Points have been lost from a penetrating hit caused by a D-weapon, we can resolve the target vehicle's fate by referring back to the penetrating hit rules found on page 75. These tell us the following: "After deducting any Hull Points, roll a D6 for each shot that penetrated the vehicle's armour and look up the result using the Vehicle Damage Table."
I think the confusion stems from the fact that the 6th Edition Destroyer Weapon Table entirely replaced the Vehicle Damage Table whenever a D-weapon was involved. It stated explicitly that on a 2-6, normal vehicles suffered an Explodes! result. The 7th Edition Destroyer Weapon Table provides no actual damage results, it merely tells us that a penetrating hit was made and how many hull points were initially removed when this happened. The fact that a penetrating hit occurred sends us back to the Vehicle Damage Table on page 76.
The Consequences of D-Weapon Hits
Most vehicles, whether standard or Super-heavy, are unlikely to survive a Devastating Hit, so let's focus on Solid Hits. At a minimum, a standard vehicle is going to lose a single hull point along with whatever damage is rolled on the Vehicle Damage Table. The Shadowsword's Volcano Cannon and the Imperial Knight's Reaper Chainsword are AP2 and will therefore get +1 on the Damage Table while the Stompa's Mega-choppa and the Lord of Skull's Great Cleaver of Khorne are AP1 and will get a +2 on the Damage Table.
In a worst case scenario, a standard vehicle will lose 3 Hull Points from the initial hit (which will immediately destroy anything except for models like Land Raiders) and then get an Explodes! result on the Damage Table. However, unlike D-weapon attacks under 6th Edition, there is still some chance that the vehicle might survive.
As for Super-heavies and D-weapons, the 7th Edition Destroyer Weapon table makes no distinction between what happens to a Super-heavy and what happens to a standard vehicle. Thus, a Super-heavy that takes a Solid Hit will also suffer an automatic penetrating hit, losing D3 Hull Points instead of just one. Like a standard vehicle, the Super-heavy will also have to roll on the Vehicle Damage Table. The biggest difference here is that only an Explodes! result can affect the Super-heavy, and then it won't necessarily be destroyed but will instead lose an additional D3 Hull Points.
In a best case scenario, a Super-heavy may only lose a single Hull Point to a Solid Hit, as opposed to at least two Hull Points under 6th (in the previous edition Super-heavies lost D3+1 Hull Points to a Solid Hit). At worst it may lose 6 Hull Points where it couldn't lose more than 4 under the previous edition.
Assuming my interpretation of the rules is correct, I think 7th Edition D-weapon are pretty fair. They're still the scariest things on the table, but at least non-Super-heavies have a fighting chance again.