Are Exhaust Weapons worthwhile?
That has been a pretty common question since Legion was first released. Maintaining a healthy action economy in the game can help you get the most from your troopers and exhaust weapons hurt your troopers action efficiency. So, are they actually worth it? I am going to crunch some numbers and see what I can find.
Z-6 vs MPL-57 Ion
This is one of the easier comparisons, although I actually am not a huge fan of either of these weapons. The Z-6 is the definition of "Spray and Pray" in a heavy weapon. Piles of dice, but little to no consistency. The MPL-I actually has the same average number of hits generated as the Z-6 with just a 3rd of the dice. It doesn't have the same peak potential, but will much less frequently produce zero hits.
So, if you get the same number of average hits (1.5), what are you actually getting for your 10 points and exhaust? Obviously, Impact 1 and Ion. The Impact adds quite a bit to the squads potential for damaging armored vehicles. Ion effectively costs the targeted vehicle an activation. You might look at Ion as trading the action it takes to Refresh the MPL for the action on the targeted vehicle, but that is a bit flawed as Ion won't work every time. I have had Ion save squads by taking away actions from an AT-ST. I have had it go full games accomplishing nothing.
In many ways you don't lose much against damage potential against Troopers if you take the MPL-I over the Z-6, but you can end up with wasted points and actions.
DLT-19 vs HH-12
For the HH-12, you give up more than just 10 points and Exhaust. You also lose the ability to move, thanks to Cumbersome and shots at Range 1. So, how can this be worth it?
For starters the HH-12 generates more average hits than the DLT-19, 1.875 vs 1.75. Not a huge difference, but a real one. In this case the real cost seems to come from Impact 3. Impact 3 generally just makes a wreck of armor and is at the same level as Vader, the AT-ST, the T-47, and the AT-RT Laser Cannon.
Even though there is a slight gain in anti-trooper firepower, the cost of Exhaust, Cumbersome, and 10 points really makes that 2 extra points of Impact expensive.
Flamethrower vs T-7 Ion
This is a tougher comparison as these two weapons are so very different. Both in functions, and the cost increase of 14 points rather than 10. The Blast/Spray combo makes the Flame weapon devastating vs. Troopers, but largely pointless vs. Vehicles. The poor dice (1.375 average hits) and lack of Blast makes it so the T-7 is strictly an inferior anti-Trooper choice, unlike the Z-6/MPL-I comparison.
Really if you want your Snowtroopers to have an anti-vehicle role, I think you want to go with Impact Grenades over the T-7. I do think Ion has potential, but is too match-up dependent for the kind of costs involved with the T-7.
Scatter Gun vs MPL-57 Barrage
This is a case of a squad with 2 great choices. Both of these weapons are so much better than the options given to the rebel Troopers. A Scattergun equipped squad of Fleet Troopers has a higher damage potential than even Flamethrower equipped Snowtroopers, but with 2x the range. The combination of Pierce with great dice is just too good. But in this case the MPL-B is really just behind it in anti-Trooper damage when the target has cover. Overall the damage between the 2 is pretty comparable.
What you get for your 10 points and Exhaust is 2 points of Impact and the occasional shot at Range 3. The MPL-B is the ultimate in multi-use weapons for Legion. It is great against Troopers, only being outclassed by the Scattergun and Flamer (and then just barely), while being the second best infantry gun in the game at damaging vehicles. I think it will be a great tournament weapon, where you never know what kind of opponent you might face. As good as the Scattergun is, the versatility of the MPL-B has made me a huge fan.
So, what does it all mean?
Looking at these 4 comparisons has made it pretty clear that FFG wants to charge a premium for anti-Vehicle weaponry in both points and actions.
This seems fine as the AT-ST and T-47 are very expensive and it would be bad for the game if the bext weapons for killing them came cheap. That isn't to say you need these specialized weapons to kill a T-47, but it certainly doesn't hurt.
I think going forward with Legion a real question will be "are vehicles scary or prevalent enough to make investing in these anti-Vehicle special weapons worth the extra costs involved.?"
For now, I don't know. I like the MPL-B a ton for its versatility. The HH-12 likewise still works well enough against Troopers to be worth having. Both those Ion gus though are going to have a hard time finding a place unless Vehicles become dominant in the game.
I thought I would add my Power Rankings of the 8 weapons:
1 - Scattergun
2 - DLT-19
3 - MPL-B
4 - Flamer
5 - HH-12
6 - Z-6
7 - MPL-I
8 - T-7