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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Damage Potential


Stelek had another rage over on YTTH today. Again. Against Riki. Again. With the same points raised. Again. E-drama at its finest. So let’s look at a point that’s quite important to armies like Tau, IG & Eldar. Damage potential. Now it’s great if you’ve got these 3 shots that are just guaranteed to kill 3 things each turn but that has its issues. Against a mech army, well the army will be decimated in 5 turns but what about the infantry that comes out? Or an MC or horde army? Issues begin to arise. Now what happens if you have 21 shots that only have a 1/9 chance of a guaranteed kill. Well you’re sitting a bit below those 3 guaranteed shots in terms of actual damage but your ceiling is infinitely higher, especially against hordes. This is one of the major premises of using PR/MP suits over TL-MP suits and is also why Eldar S6 works and IG...well firepower spam. The more guns you have, the more damage you can potentially do.

Let’s take this theory and apply it to your army composition. We’ve covered suppression fire and anti-tank fire with a couple of nice articles but haven’t really looked at anti-infantry, etc. I’ll do that later as that requires some other concepts to be brought up first (like tank shocking). But we’re going to assume we want a decent mix of suppression fire, anti-tank and anti-infantry in our armies. Good assumption, yes? Now we could run ‘complex’ mathematical equations to get the actual point effectiveness of each unit, etc. but that would require effort. We don’t want that. So using the premise we outlined before and making sure our specific fire patterns are covered, fire saturation is very important. The better the guns, the better your fire suppression becomes. For example, 50 S4 shots is nice anti-infantry but 30 S6 shots is nice anti-infantry and suppression fire, etc. This brings us back to the ever important concept of duality. When you can get more medium-high strength shots compared to less but more reliable medium-high strength shots, the more shots are often better because of their damage potential being infinitely higher than the less but more reliable shots.

So looking specifically at Tau and their Crisis suits (again). PR/MP have double the shots of TL-MP and will average more hits and are only significantly more expensive if flamers are taken on the TL-MP but still have great suppression fire and anti-infantry through medium strength torrent. In relation to the Tau codex which lacks medium strength weaponry...well the PR/MP gets the nod there. Whilst you lose a tiny bit of suppression fire reliability, the PR/MP is already reliable as it is. The PR/MP also adds versatility to the list and here’s the kicker, with markerlight support they become a lot more potent as they over-come the “reliability issue” (of BS3) and can bring their AP2 into play. With a Pathfinder squad in play, PR/MP should always be used because of this. It’s taking advantage of the principle of damage potential which can be multiplied by markerlights. Tick.

So looking at Stelek’s ard Boyz semi’s list, he has taken 3x3 TL-MP/targeting array suits and 2x3 PR/MP/TA/BSF suits. This has been done (as he explains quite clearly) due to the missions released by GW (NF = common) and the lack of any markerlight support (NF = common). Whilst he has lost potential torrent due to no 3x3 PR/MP you’d see in a 2k list, the list is more capable of dealing with the missions it is given (remember suits already have acute senses) and he still has excellent torrent through his HQ suit squads. Riki of course jumped up and down on this and offered another list w/5 PF (seriously...5?) which means he’s already lost out on blocking ability for the gain of a couple of plasma shots. Woopee.

Back onto the general principle of damage potential. Hydras/Rifledreads/HiveGuard/etc all take advantage of this. This seems very familiar to suppression fire and they are very similar but you’re looking essentially at ceilings. One shot guns like railguns need support such as twin-linking to really be considered effective anti-tank (why the hammerhead isn’t), the same as meltaguns (how often does that roll of 3+ to hit fail?). Now you take squads w/3 meltaguns...well there’s anti-tank and you’re forcing the reality of the dice rolls very close to the glass ceiling of certainty yet 3 squads w/1 meltagun are better because you can affect more units. How about a Broadside squad w/target locks? You’ve just doubled your damage potential. This is often overlooked in army composition. If your army’s firepower is focused on a couple of units without great defences, your army can be picked apart. You spread your firepower out and your potential is greater compared to a list with concentrated firepower.

So the principle of damage potential is well...to maximise your damage. This is generally done by weighing up taking more guns/shots/weapons/rate of fire compared to upgrades, reliability, consistency, etc. whilst ensuring an even spread throughout your army to minimise damage stacking (i.e. multiple wrecked results on a single vehicle).

2 pinkments:

Messanger of Death said...

Such obvious things to consider when putting together a list but they really need to be said. It is one of the reasons I love Stelek's Thunder Cav lists with Long Fangs. No vehicles but it can still spread enough fire power against multiple targets.

Messanger

Kirby said...

3++, we've got your basics covered!

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