I will be making a post about how much I love the new 6th edition (again) and why, eventually. But today, I'm going to focus on one particular aspect of the love.
Then the new rules set was released and BLAM! Flamers became very useful indeed. Marine squads suddenly had three options to choose from rather than the obvious two special weapon upgrades. IG had a big desire for them because of what they do. Sisters of Battle enjoyed this as the loss of 'Divine Guidance' almost made the Flamer useless, yet Seraphim liked to take them in pairs. Hell, even Tau can be found rocking them on the Crisis suits now!
Why? Simple- OVERWATCH. Where normally a unit needs '6's' to hit units charging right at them, the Flamer automatically hits d3 times. Take an IG platoon of 30 and armed with 3 flamers, and suddenly a Marine squad charging them has to suffer at least six hits, and probably more. Crisis suits, often the targets of a well-timed assault, can lay down those auto-hits. This is important to them considering that they can only fire a single weapon for overwatch. Why not guarantee the hits? Marines rolling up in Rhinos or falling out of the sky in Drop Pods against those pesky 'charging you' armies suddenly have an extra little bit of shooting to keep them alive that extra round. Needless to say, the Flamer can mean all the difference between being chopped to death and just being sliced up a bit.
There is one weakness to the Flamer in the overwatch action- they can't take advantage of 'Precision Strike'. Since weapons wielded by characters (or special rules that say otherwise, like Sniper) need '6's' to hit in overwatch, they can be allocated by the owning player on those pesky characters or 'buffers' IF they hit. Flamers don't roll to hit. They only roll to see how many times they hit, and so lose out on that advantage. But that's not too bad considering that almost every model wielding a Flamer isn't a character anyway. So not a whole lot lost. But it is quite a bit gained.
And there it is: My ode to the almight Flamer. If you haven't gotten around to it yet, try arming up a squad or three with one. You may find them a bit more effective than we're used to. I know I have. After all, when a squad of Cultists can luckily reduce incoming Terminators and therefore survive where they wouldn't have, why shouldn't I appreciate it? Plus, even Tau players of skill are doing it. And we all know that if they jump off a bridge, so should you, right?
(It must be noted that this is in response to seeing Tau players using them. I'm used to the occasional Imperial army taking the upgrade, but never the Tau. More proof that this weapon no longer sucks!)