Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Codex Space Marines - First Impressions on Inceptors

Gotta say I enjoy the sculpt of the Inceptors.  The trick's going to be getting the most out of them.  As with the Inceptors, they compete with some other units an in interesting way, and it's about options.

Inceptors - The Basics
Squad Size - starts as three guys, and can bulk up to a six-man squad per Fast Attack slot.

Weapon Options - they carry a pair of guns.  Bog-standard gear is a pair of assault bolters (translation - take a heavy bolter, cut the range in half and switch it to assault 3 vs. heavy 3).  If you feel like dumping a chunk of points on them, you can swap the whole squad's bolters out for plasma exterminators.  They're assault 3 plasma cannons with half the range.

The guys have no specialized melee weapons, but can deal a mortal wound on a 6 on the charge.  This is not what we'd call 'reliable.'  These guys are guns on jet packs, but melee is a partial consideration.

Mobility - you've got a base 10" move, and Meteoric Descent lets you set up in reserves and drop in no closer than 9" away.

A Note on Durability - As with all primaris, they've got two wounds per bob with the typical marine 3+ save.  However, you do have T5 on top of that - so you're a little more resistant to small arms than the average Marine.

Battlefield Role
Your choice in guns here is really going to determine your use.

Assault Bolters - these are the cheaper option.  You have a good volume of fire at six shots per Marine, and S5 / AP-1 / 1 damage is a useful profile.  A minimum-sized unit cranks out 18 shots (12 hits on average).  These guys can do a number on infantry.  Also, in a pinch you can knock some wounds off of vehicles.  It's not ideal, but a T8 3+ vehicle will probably lose a couple of wounds to a full squad shooting.

Short version - assault bolters are more for killing troops, but in a pinch can soften up or finish off vehicles/monsters through volume of fire.

Plasma Incinerators - these are pretty expensive.  You are, however, paying for the ability to drop a pair of plasma cannons per marine when and where you need them, and get the first volley in.  Each dude fires 2d3 plasma cannon shots - It's either S7/AP-3/1 damage, or S8/AP-3/2 damage (and die on ones).

Note that a squad of these guys is probably going to melt high-value targets.  Math is a little tricky because you're rolling number of shots, then rolling to hit, then to wound.  You can fire as many as 6 shots per guy or as few as 2.  AP-3 means that heavy-armor troops and vehicles should be concerned - things like Terminators and Knights are going to be taking their invulnerable saves unless they're in cover.

Note also that you probably want a captain nearby - if you're going to do anything other than murder one-wound infantry (and frankly, there are PLENTY of ways to do that with cheaper troops) you're gonna want to overcharge.  Each Incepter with plasma incenerators is almost 90 points - and overcharged guns kill them.  You really, really want to re-roll those 1's.  You might consider a deep-striking captain (Terminator armor or jump pack), but with 18" range you might also be able to get away with taking a captain on the board that's mobile.

On purely average dice, a squad of these will knock out 4-6 wounds off a T8 3+ statline.  If you're fighting T7 or less, you're going to up that to 6-8 wounds, which translates to "I think I just deleted a 150-200ish point model".

Overcharged plasma on terminators and the like is just kinda hilarious to watch - each failed save is a dead 45+ point model, and it's not hard to delete a small unit.

Short version - it's risky, but bring re-rolls and plasma incinerators can melt multi-wound infantry and seriously maim vehicles.

Compared to other troopers
1) Assault Marines
Inceptors are their shooty cousins.  The best comparison would be assault bolter Inceptors versus Assault marines - both are going to go after infantry.  Inceptors do it from range; assault marines need to get into hand-to-hand.

You can get a full ten assault marines (and probably a melee upgrade on Sarge) for the price of a minimum-sized inceptor squad.

In melee, the assault marines put out many more attacks - each guy's good for a couple of swings, and they probably got pistols on the way in.  Sheer volume of attacks is going to do better than the assault bolters, but note carefully that assault marines are going to end up putting themselves into the thick of it, and be open to retaliation.  Melee is a risk - there's the part where you're asking to get both shot AND punched, versus just shot.  And make no mistake - you're going to spend time in charge range.

Furthermore, unless you're Black Templar, your odds of assaulting out of deep strike are somewhat iffy - BT can swing it around 48% of the time, whereas everyone else is looking at a ~28% chance - not so great.

Assault marines do better when it comes to volume, but Inceptors are much more likely to get the first strike off, and less likely to get counter-assaulted.  Durability is a bit of a wash; six T5 wounds vs. ten T4.

2) Land Speeders
A couple of land speeders with heavy bolters is about the same as a minimum-sized squad of assault bolter Inceptors.  The tradeoff here is in the platforms and range.

Land speeders have more wounds and a worse save (T5/W6/4+) with the same toughness.  The big difference in their durability is in range - speeders can sit back at 36" and dump shots, whereas the Inceptors are going to have to be much closer.

The big difference here is in the range - Inceptors are close enough to draw fire from just about any source, whereas Land Speeders can sit back.  Land Speeder durability is based in part on the rest of the army - they're kinda allergic to heavy weapons, but if they're one of multiple targets then they're probably less likely to get murdered at range.

Mobility is an interesting comparison - Inceptors can move and shoot without penalty, but Land Speeders take a -1 because Heavy Bolters are, well, heavy weapons.  That being said, Land Speeders have a 16" move, while Inceptors have only 10".

Overall, this one's an army composition comparison - speeders need to be part of a target-rich army to make sure they aren't the only ones taking heavy fire, whereas the Inceptors can get the first strike.

3) Heavy Bolter Attack Bikes vs. Assault Bolter Inceptors
Heavy bolter attack bikes are comparable in points - the firepower and mobility are different.  Bikes have better base speed and turbo-boost, but have no way to get around the -1 penalty for moving and shooting heavy bolters.  Heavy Bolter bikes are more durable per model (T5/W4/3+), but also have less firepower (a heavy bolter and a twin bolter vs. two assault heavy bolters).

Inceptors are also likely to get the first strike.  I'm leaning towards Inceptors here because of the first-strike capability, and because they've got a little better mobility.  I feel like you might as well go with a double heavy bolter Land Speeder over a heavy bolter attack bike.

4) Multi-Melta Attack Bikes vs. Plasma Incinerator Inceptors
Ah, now we're finally getting around to throwing the plasma inceptors.  Costs are similar.  The inceptors can throw more dice, but the attack bikes through much scarier dice.  The bikes have the speed to get within 12" get multi-melta dice.  The problem is that they're only throwing three dice with a 50/50 chance to hit.  You are also asking to get shot up or tied up in assault.

The major advantage that the bikes have here is cost - they're about 20 points cheaper a head than Plasma Inceptors.  Both sides really, really want re-rolls to hit.

While multi-meltas are pretty scary, I'm leaning towards Plasma Inceptors because of weight of fire on this - who cares if you do 1d6 damage if you're only putting out a few shots?

 5) Shooty Terminators vs. Assault Bolter Inceptors
I'm comparing these options because they're both around to drop in and shoot.  The difference lies in what they do after popping up and shooting.  Terminators punch things and hold ground; Inceptors either avoid melee, or break away and shoot.  Terminators also really kinda mess things up in melee with powerfists.

If you want a drop-and-shoot option, your decision here is based on what you want to do afterwards.  Also, if you're Black Templar, consider the fact that you've got almost 50/50 odds to make it into assault when you arrive, so there's that.

In Closing
Inceptors are a fascinating addition to the marine army.  They provide you with a solid deep-striking shooty option that remains mobile after its arrival.  The assault bolter ones are workhorses that can thin out infantry and do a little damage to vehicles.  The plasma-toting Inceptors are significant threats to expensive targets - but are costly and really require re-roll support to avoid being a threat to themselves.  They're also a bit dice-reliant since they have random numbers of shots.

I lean towards assault bolter inceptors myself because of the price, and the fact that they aren't asking for re-roll support.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Adeptus Mechanicus - First Impressions

I got around to finishing up my AdMech and threw them on the table the other day.  It's an interesting lot in 8th, though I look forward to a full-up book and rules here in a bit.

I took 1,000 points vs. Necrons in the Konor scenario - as we'd both elected to fight for the Imperium since the Necrons apparently hate Chaos.  It ended up being a furball in the middle.

Admech (patrol detachment)
Dominus (Volkite blaster, macrostubber)
5x Sicaran Infiltrators (power sword/stub-carbine)
Cybernetica Data-smith
5x Skitarii Rangers (2x Transuranic Arqeubus)
5x Skitarii Rangers (2x Transuranic Arqeubus)
Onager Dune-Crawler (Icarus Array, cognis stubber)
2x Kastelan Robots (Fists + flamethrower)
Ironstrider Ballistarii (twin lascannon)


Necrons (vanguard detachment)
Cryptek
Warrior Blob
2x Deathmark Squad
Praetorians
Tomb Blades

Synopsis of the battle
I set up in cover in a corner as the defender, and as the attacker, his reserves were hampered by deployment restrictions - so instead of deep=-striking on top of me, I ended up digging in and shooting him on the way in.  The Icarus array did a number on his Tomb Blades, and the Kastelans absorbed the abuse in the middle of the field long enough to win the day.

On the Canticles
So, I admit that I forgot about these a couple times - you roll at the start of your turn.  I recommend an index card or something - you're going to either pick one (1x per battle) or just roll.  You can get a variety of neat abilities out of it (like re-rolls of 1's for shooting or melee).

Note also that you only get canticles if your whole detachment is admech - so if you're going to mix with these guys, pay attention to the detachments you take.  These guys do bring a soolid sniper to the table and some interesting troops in the form of robots and onagers.  Note that the current lack of HQ options (you have the dominus and Belisarius Cawl, and that's it) does make an impact on what you can bring in detachments.

Thoughts on the Models
Domninus
The tech-priest Dominus does two things - give you re-rolls and provide melee punch not found in many places in the army.  Mine hung out with the rangers and Onager and provided re-rolls.  In a pinch it can fix other stuff if it takes a hit, but you really have to think about where you need the buffs and repairs.

If you're going to camp in the back with rangers and/or shooty Dune Crawlers, then the "+1 to leadership" bubble warlord trait is useful.  Mostly because Skitarii have kinda sad leadership and few buffs for it.

Sicaran Infiltrators
Turns out T3 and a 4+ isn't much of a defense.  You're reliant on positioning and infiltrating to keep them alive and get them into melee.  I'm 50/50 between the swords/carbines and the taser goads/flechette guns.  I think the echoice comes down to what else you've got in your army - there isn't really a cost difference, and the kits don't lend themselves to magnets to switch up the loadout.

Whatever loadout you've got, I think these guys are an important part if you're gonna go Admech pure - you need something with some mobility and melee ability.

Cybernetica Datasmith
Bring one if you're going to bring Kastelans.  Otherwise I'm not sure why you'd bring one.  And remember that you need to be near the Kastelans at the start of the movement phase to switch out their protocols.  And think hard about whether you need the extra efficiency (fight twice or shoot twice) vs. the +1 to saves.  And do NOT forget you can repair d3 damage off the robots - getting back T7 wounds is pretty awesome.

Skitarii rangers
Take them with a couple Arqebus and camp.  The 30" rapid-fire 1 guns lose out to the Skitarii vanguard gun (Assault 3, 18" range, and other goodies).  Note that the Arqebus is both a sniper weapon that can pick out characters, and a decent anti-materiel weapon period with S7 and D3 damage (with a mortal wound on a 6+ wound roll).

Onager Dune-Crawler
These guys take up a chunk of real estate - I mean, they're on a pretty hefty base.  That aside, these guys are lumbering gun platforms.  Their role depends on their main gun - the Neutron laser is basically a heavy D3 lascannon with better strength and damage.  The Eradication beamer loses out to the neutron laser unless you're within 12", so I'd skip it.  The twin phosphor blaster is just rate-of-fire, but if you really want RoF I'd think about the Icarus array - against flyers, it's absolute murder as it's a heap of mid-strength shots at BS2+.  If you're shooting at ground-bound targets, it's still 10 shots at S6-7 on a 4+, and you'd just want to hang around the dominus for some re-rolls.

You'd also be surprised how much stuff has the Fly keyword that doesn't sit in the Flyer force org slot.

Kastelan Robots
So, these guys are your anchor.  T7 with 6 wounds and a 3+/6++ (that can get a +1 bonus to saves) is going to soak some abuse.  They're also reasonably spry with an 8" move (which is nice, but it means your datasmith is going to end up advancing to pace them and switch out protocols/execute repairs.

Note that their shooting is more about volume than strength - each can mount three heavy phosphor blasters, so they're dumping 9 shots at S6, AP-2, and 1 damage per 'bot.  18 each if you switch over to Protector Protocol.  If you're bringing these guys as shooters, remember their BS is 4+ and consider sitting a Dominus nearby.

If you're going into melee (and this is pretty much your only high-strength, high-damage melee) then I'd bring the flamethrower on the shoulder.  You may be hitting at S10 AP-3 for 3 damage each, but remember that you're only three swings at a WS4+ - these guys are for holding the line and punching a few guys to death, not killing hordes (outside of the flamers).

Note that the kit itself isn't too difficult to magnetize, which I'd recommend doing based on the price.

Ironstrider Ballistarii
These guys exist to bring a large gun onto the field.  They're also among the swifter things in the book, but you don't have a rule that lets you ignore the penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons.  You can pick either a twin-lascannon, or a twin-autocannon.  On the bright side, they're cheap.  They're also going to disintegrate if the other guy throws heavy weapons at them - T6, six wounds and a 4+ isn't going to do much if you take more than small-arms fire.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Codex Space Marines - First Impressions on Intercessors

We've seen these new Primaris fellows in the various starter sets - and now that we've got the codex, we've got the full picture.  That being said, here's my first swag at just where the Intercessor Squad comes into play.

The Intercessor Squad - the basics
Squad Size - starts at five; if you go up to ten then you can combat squad them.

Weapon Options - so, here's where they really stand apart from the other troops choices.  Everyone carries a bolt pistol and one of three types of bolter - assault bolt rifle, a regular bolt rifle, or a stalker bolt rifle.  Also for every five guys, one of them grabs an under-barrel grenade launcher.  And that's it - those are your options.

Mobility Options - grab a repulsor, or walk.

Battlefield Role
They're probably walking, unless you sprung for a Repulsor - which is awesome, and also like 250-300 points of firepower.  You also probably want something more painful in squad than a few bobs with bolters.  Sarge can grab as word in a pinch, and with three attacks he's not terrible in mlee.

 That being said, the battlefield role depends on their bolter of choice -

1) Bolt Rifle
This is your 'IDK' loadout - compared to a regular bolter, you've got another six inches of range and a -1AP.  Factor in the auxiliary grenade launcher and you're reasonably flexible; you've got one dude that can sorta/kinda threaten armor (Krak grenades) and everyone else has bolts for folks on foot.

2) Auto Bolt Rifle
You pay an extra point a guy to get an assault 2 bolter.  Better volume of fire at range, but you lose the -1AP.  And you should have that aux grenade launcher.  The assault bolters win out at longer range in terms of volume of fire and do better against lighter targets.

3) Stalker bolt rifle
You're now a heavy 1 36" rifle with a -2AP.  This is your camping squad - you trade volume of fire for range, and a pretty solid AP.  They can pick off stragglers at range, though - and that -2AP is going to annoy anyone without cover or a decent invulnerable save.

Compared to Other Troops
1) Tactical Squads
I don't think Intercessors are going to put tac squads out of business any time soon.

PRO
-versatility (sarge has options, and you can take a special and heavy weapon)
-weapon options allow tac squads to engage targets that Intercessors cannot do so effectively (IE - armor, vehicles, etc.)
-cost per model - a tactical marine is about 65% the points cost of a regular one
-transport options - you have Rhinos and Razorbacks
CON
-less durable (1W models vs 2W models)
-basic-issue bolter is inferior to all the options in terms of range and/or volume of fire and/or AP

So it's a matter of role - Intercessors and Tac Squads compete for the following roles - short-range firefight (bolt rifles and bolters+flamers) or home-base objective camping (long-range anti-infantry via Stalker rifles vs. heavy weapons at home).

The biggest difference is that if you're trying to keep it cheap, a five-man band of Intercessors is going to be a bit more durable than a minimal tac squad.

2) Scout Squads
This is a bit of apples-and-oranges comparison.  You can't really compare scouts deploying via Concealed Positions - the Interecessor don't have that.  You're trading durability for board position.  Instead, I'll compare Scouts w/ camo cloaks and sniper rifles to Intercessors

PRO
-slightly cheaper per model
-can take a heavy weapon
-sniper rifles can pick out characters
-sniper rifles can inflict mortal wounds (if you're lucky, so maybe like one per shooting round)

CONS
-need cover to get a comparable save (both have a 2+ in cover; the scouts get a 4+ in the open)
-sniper rifles without mortal wounds are inferior to Stalker bolt guns
-scouts are inferior in melee (one less attack in melee each)

I think Stalker-armed Intercessor squads are a reasonable substitute for snipers - they aren't as dependent on terrain, if the other side DOES get into hand-to-hand with you, you're slightly better off.  Slightly.

3) Crusader Squads
Crusader Blobs (bunch a guys with pistols/swords) are simply going to be meaner in CQC due to volume of attacks and the number of bodies they can bring.  Crusader squads as campers win due to cost and ability to take a special AND heavy weapon in a five-man screw.

In Closing
Intercessors trade the flexibility of tactical squads* for the durability of multi-wound models,
** and cheap access to transports.  They bring better rifles, and unless you're dumping them in a Repulsor then you're using them as mid-to-backfield support.  Intercessors with Stalker rifles compare reasonably well with Scout Snipers*** for backfield campers, and can even sorta/kinda fight in melee.

They're not going to be replacing tactical squads any time soon, but they do offer some durable backfield support.

At least, not at first glance.

*and heavy weapons
**and a hardcore allergy to 2-damage weapons.  Like, hardcore.  It's not even funny, unless you're the one shooting at 'em.
***trade mortal wounds and the ability to cap characters for durability and a lack of reliance on terrain

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Batrep - Black Templars vs. Chaos Undecided

My comrade and I opted to go up to 2,000 points.  We knocked out the game prior to the release of the Codex: Space Marines, though agreed to use Black Templar Chapter Tactics.  Both of us realized those are kinda sick for deep-striking assault troops*, since 9 on a 2d6 with a re-roll is about a 50/50 shot.

Chaos Undecided
Battalion Detachment
Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster
Herald of Khorne on Juggernaut - Warlord
Hellbrute w/ Reaper Autocannon, Flail
15 Poxwalkers
15 Poxwalkers
12 Cultists w/ Heavy Stubber
12 Cultists w/ Heavy Stubber
Foetid Bloat Drone
Foetid Bloat Drone
10 Hounds of Khorne
Maulerfiend w/ Lasher Tendrils
Superheavy Detachment
Traitor Knight w/ chainsword, thermal cannon, stubber, icarus cannon

Black Templar Battalion Detachment
Chaplain Grimaldus - Warlord
Emperor's Champion
5 Assault Terminators
6 Terminators w/ Assault Cannon
Sternguard squad
Cenobite Servitors
Crusader Squad - 5 men w/ plasma gun, plasma cannon
-Razorback w/ Twin Lascannon
Crusader Squad in a pod (9 guys, meltagun, fist, sword)
Crusader Squad in a pod (9 guys, meltagun, fist, sword)

The Scenario - Secure And Control (capture the flag)
Deployment - Search and Destroy (table quarters)

My Plan
So, I look at the army lists and realize I'm not going to first.  Second, I'm going to have a heap of deep-striking units to deal with.  Well, this is why I bring pox walkers and stuff - I'm going to need them to take up lots of space so I can try to dictate how he deep-strikes.  I know there's melta in his deep-striking squads, so I ensure that my big stuff (the greater demon and the knight) will be out of range on the first turn.  My hounds and herald go into the ruins close to the middle, while cultists and the Hellbrute hold my objective.  The hellbrute is placed so the Razorback can't see it, AND it denies my opponent an easy deep-striking zone, because if he can deep-strike there and land more than one unit I think I lose.

Deployment - Chaos Castles Up
 His objective is in the building in his table quarter - not that you can see it, but there's a five-man crusader squad with cenobites sitting on that objective.  His las-back is in ruins, and his sternguard are at the middle line.
BT turn 1 assault
 He opts to bring in just one squad on turn one - terminators in the middle, which promptly dig into my bubble wrap.  His las-back knocks some wounds off my Knight.
Chaos Turn 01 - Counter-Assault and Desultory Gunfire
 ...so naturally, I'm going to go handle the problem.  His other stuff will come in when it comes in; I just need to start dealing with it now.  My Bloat Drones start pushing up to try to deny more deep-striking space.
Khorne Dogs vs Sternguard
 The Bloodthirster, Herald, Maulerfiend and Hounds burst out of cover and into his guys.  The Herald gets roughed up, and the Bloodthirster kills enough stuff to keep my Maulerfiend from attacking.
Templar Turn 2 - In Which More Terminators Arrive
 So his assault terminators arrive, and Grimaldus and Friends (TM) arrive as well.  Note that those Terminators are standing where a Bloat Drone used to be.
Grimaldus Charges in to Buff His Comrades - 2CP Later He's Dead
 He charges Grimaldus in - I spend CP to ensure that the Bloodthirster gets to swing.  As this happens before the Bloat Throne gets used like a pinata, this gets me both First Blood and Slay The Warlord, which is crucial.
Chaos Turn 02
 Alright, it's a furball now!
Knight vs. Terminators + terrible rolls
 The Knight decides that Terminators won't be that bad.  Turns out the knight can't roll dice for spit.
PLAY! PLAY!...and the combat goes on
 This combat is going to go on for quite some time....
Bloodthirster remains happy
 Bloodthirster controls the middle, poxwalkers work to slowly grind away at marines and terminators.
Turn 03 - Emperor's Champion Arrives
 His champion drops - and his terminators in the middle drop my Bloodthirster.  The Heralds has gone back into cover with the cultists, since he's sitting on about 3 wounds, and I want to deny him the VP.
Knight is SAD
 My opponent makes an inordinate number of saves, and the knight loses a chunk of wounds.
Middle Battle continues, minus Bloodthirster and friends
 The middle is one hell of a furball.
Chaos Turn 3 - Knight disengages, Puppy charges, Bloat Drones Pushes
 The Maulerfiend, having failed a charge earlier, decides to go handle the drop pod - it also eyes the razorback meaningfully.
Still at it in the middle
 Man that's a lot of zombies.  Some of them used to be space marines.
Templar Turn 04
 I kill his drop pod on his turn.  The Emperor's Champion heads off in search of cultists/herald, and his Crusader buddies head towards the middle.
2 wounds left - BUT ALIVE!
 The knight finally finishes combat, heavily damaged but technically alive.  It did about 21 wounds to that last guy.
Chaos Turn 4
 The Puppy slaps the razroback a little, and melee continues.  My bloat drone has, by this point, traded itself for the Crusader squad.  It got in, fired, and then ate an overcharged plasma volley that cost the plasma gunner his life before the fistfight started.  The plasma cannoneer smashes the drone, then dies in the explosion.  It's the stuff of legends, except I doubt the Cenobite servitors would actually tell the story.
BT Turn 05
 At this point it's getting close to winding down - time isn't on my side.  The combat in the middle continues, but the Crusader squad does a lot better at killing zombies than terminators due to volume vs. quality of attacks.
Wrapping up
I just need to hold one objective - at this point, the Knight is (somehow) still alive, and the Maulerfiend is in position to grab his objective, so even if I end up having to handle troops and possibly lose mine, I've got another one.
Emperor's Champion vs. Cultists
 The cultists actually thought they could beat the Emperor's Champion.  They DID knock off two wounds in shooting though.  And force a number of saves.
Endgame
 You don't see the Maulerfiend in this picture because it's sitting on his objective.  At this point, the survivors are -
CHAOS
12 Cultists
Hellbrute
Knight (2 wounds remaining)

BLACK TEMPLAR
Crusader Squad
Couple of Sternguard
Razorbacks - not so hot in melee

Maulerfriend on BT objective
Closing Thoughts
1) Bubble Wrap is your friend
Those two poxwalker squads were crazy useful - in large part because they managed to take up space.  Same goes for the cultists squads, to an extent - they're cheap, the fulfill my troops requirements, and can hold objectives in the backfield.

2) Black Templar Chapter Tactics
Deep striking assaulty troops are going to be money for these guys.  Having a 50/50 shot at making the charge off the bat is disgusting.  I think the real winners with this are going to be Terminators (either variety) and Assault Marines with jump packs.

Regular terminators are versatile - and god help you if they get into cover and you have to shift them.  Assault terminators love showing up nearby, though if you're going hammer-heavy you may want a Chaplain or something else to give you some re-rolls.

3) Knights - Mixed Feelings
Turns out that Thunder Hammer assault terminators are rough on knights, especially if he has some hot dice on the saves.  That being said, the thermal cannon was a bit underwhelming - then again, I didn't have great targets for it this game; the razorback managed to make saves and otherwise I killed a few terminators.

That being said, the ability to walk out of combat, shoot, and assault again make knights stupid mobile and productive.  Which frankly, they need to be, since that one was almost 500 points.

4) Khorne Dogs - kinda sad
I'm not super-impressed with them this time around - with the change to WS, they aren't as hard to hit in melee.  I do like the bonus attacks/strength on the charge, but they really need to hang out next to a herald to get the +1S after that.

More testing is needed, but I'm not as psyched about them as I was in 7th.  Then again, I was also fighting power armor marines with a decent volume of attacks.

5) Foetid Bloat Drones - Mainstays
They're mobile, hard to hit, and durable.  I'd have a hard time leaving home without these or Helldrakes for the mobility.

Up Next
I expect the release of the Chaos codex and the new SM book will shake things up a bit.  I like the versatility of Chaos Undecided, though I'm thinking about a Sorcerer on a Disc of Tzeentch - things like Warptime are silly, and the extra-heretical part of me really, really wishes I could use Warptime on a Bloodthirster - but I'll have to settle for using it on a Hellbrute or Maulerfriend.

*I'm assuming we did the deep-strike reserves correctly - if deploying a squad in a transport counts as placing one unit on the field, I'm assuming it's the same for reserves, and that's how we agreed to play it.  I should probably RTFM or something to be sure, but it seemed logical at the time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Thoughts on Math-hammer - tweaked for 8th Edition Relevance

Since 40k is a dice game, it probably pays to know a bit about how the dice will behave in a given situation.  8th edition shakes up a few things (like the to-wound chart and leadership) and changes some odds (like casting psyching powers, which is easier).  It also adds the whole 're-roll ones' mechanic, which tweaks re-rolls.

A Few Disclaimers - 
1) remember that we're talking about odds.  Averages are guides for decision-making.  You'll be able to take a guess at outcomes if you're weighing options.

2) Averages emerge when you throw dice enough times - twenty throws of a dice is about average, when it comes to statistics - IE - thirty guardsmen walk into rapid-fire range and drop 100d6 looking for 4+, you'll probably see 50 hits most of the time.

3) Remember that we have a cognitive bias towards remembering outliers - we're bad at math unless we're trying.

Basic Math - looking for X+ on 1d6
Base WS/BS Unmodified chance Re-roll misses Re-Roll 1's Base with +1 Bonus
2+ 83% 97% 97% 83%
3+ 67% 89% 78% 83%
4+ 50% 75% 58% 67%
5+ 33% 56% 39% 50%
6+ 17% 31% 19% 33%

I'm going with WS/BS on these because it's the most common, but this math applies to any rolls when you need X or better, such as morale and wounds.  I've added in re-rolls, re-roll 1's, and +1 bonuses.

Note that blanket re-rolls are a bit better than a +1 bonus - but they're pretty close.  The only place that really loses out on it is the 2+, as we're assuming a 1 always fails here.

Note also that re-roll ones are neat, but have diminishing returns as you need better numbers when it comes to odds.  However, some stuff (like plasma) REALLY doesn't want to deal with 1's, because explosions.

Roll at Least X on 2d6
At least X on 2d6 Odds
2 100%
3 97%
4 92%
5 83%
6 72%
7 58%
8 42%
9 28%
10 17%
11 8%
12 3%

This one's important for two big phases - the psychic phase and the assault phase.  Two obvious break points are 9+ and 10+.  

We care about 9+ for deep-striking assault troops (which means that they've got just under a 1/3 chance of assaulting off deep-strike).  Note that any deep-striking troops that can get an extra inch of charge range (IE - Trygons with adrenal glands) get a significant boost to their ability to charge out of reserves.

We care about 10+ for Smite's bonus damage.

Roll 2d6, pick the highest
Roll 2d6, pick highest 1 2 3 4 5 6
Chance of getting at least  - 3% 8% 14% 19% 25% 31%
As long as I'm doing math, went ahead and did this one.  

So, What Do I do with this?
These are all guides - if you're looking at figuring out how nasty something's going to be, crunch numbers.  

Example 1 - 5 Chaos Terminators deep-strike and fire combi-bolters into guardsmen in cover. Let's assume they're all within 12" of the targets, so their rapid-fire 2 guns are kicking out four shots each.
5 combi bolters * 4 shots each = 20 shots
20 shots at BS 3+ = 13.33 hits on average
13.33 hits that need 3+ to wound (S4 vs T3) = 8.89 wounds
Guardsmen out of cover have a 5+ save
8.89 hits vs 5+ save = 2.96 saves, so 5.9 guardsmen die.

So you could expect 5-6 guardsmen to eat it.

Example 2 - say the Chaos Lord deep-strikes in behind his Terminators, and gives them the ability to re-roll 1's
5 combi bolters * 4 shots each = 20 shots
20 shots at BS3+ with a re-roll one 1's = 15.55 hits
15.55 hits needing 3+ to wound = 10.37 wounds
10.37 wounds vs a 5+ save = 3.4 saves, so 6.9 guardsmen die

So, if you dropped the terminator lord in behind his terminators, you could guess that it'd kill 6-7 guardsmen in that context.

To bring it further - so the guard survives, and however many survivors get to rapid-fire the terminators and then probably assault (move 6 + 2d6 charge = 80-90% chance of a charge going off).

What Math can do is tell you the odds of stuff happening with dice involved - but what math CAN'T do is tell you what your opponent is going to do - does the opponent turn around and try to kill the Terminators to a man now, denying you the ability to disrupt his backfield?  Does the opponent say 'eh, screw it' and let your terminators wander around his backfield and focus firepower elsewhere?

In Closing
Having an idea of how math works gives you a decision-making tool.  The dice can always give and take away, but if you know math then you can guess how rolls will go, and ask yourself how much risk you want to accept for a given course of action.