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Monday, October 4, 2010

Forumitis: 'Earning your points back.'

A rhino is 35 points for modern armies, and 50 for ancient ones.
Each rhino symbolizes resources worth almost a potential 2 more marines, and in the case of witch hunters, almost 5 battle sisters.
Because rhinos have a stormbolter, they're not gonna kill much of note, and when meltaguns get involved, they blow up effortlessly.
Those of you who come here know that rhinos are a force-multiplier. They're not good at killing infantry, don't endure massive amounts of firepower, and have no way to deal with armor, but they don't need to.

Rhinos make sure your infantry gets from A to B faster and safer than on foot, and once you're at B, their armor protects the squad inside. This is their strength, and all you want from them. You all know this, but not everybody else out there does.

A nasty symptom of forumitis is the overpowering need to make sure everything included 'earns its points back.'
Rhinos never 'earn their points back,' so they're often skimped on.
People all agree that 12 inches a turn is better than 6, but that rhino's two extra marines. Two bolters equal four shots, that, mathematically speaking, will destroy 12.858% of a guard squad in the open, but if the moon's aligned with jupiter, the killyness is off the scal- yeah, let's not go into the realm of fail math.
Posting a list with 10 rhinos almost guarantees that someone'll tell you dumping them would let you field 20 more marines, and those 20 marines are more likely to 'earn their points back.'
Ignoring how terrible massed tacticals are, let's look at things from a caveman perspective, without math, stats, or anything except raw numbers and field presence. In other words, we'll pretend we're completely new to the game.

20 guys shoot 20 times a turn. Bolters are good small-arms on marines, because they're powerful and accurate. 20 marines take at least 20 wounds to down, while 10 rhinos take only 10 'wounds.'
At range, the marines shoot as many times as the rhinos, but up close, they get 40 shots.
Marines get cover saves from meltaguns, so won't instantly blow up - unlike the rhino, with its 'guaranteed cover save only once a game'-smokelauncher.
Yeah, six inches a turn isn't all that fast, but there's no risk of immobilizing tactical marines if you move them through terrain, and you can hit people in combat, too.
While rhinos are harder to hurt, it takes less total shots to hurt them, and even if they don't blow up, they're at best not gonna be able to shoot the next turn, so even less killy than normal.

Ergo, two marines are better than one rhino.

Of course, a tactical squad isn't all that good at earning its points back, either, but it's got a bigger chance of doing so than rhinos. This is why you see so many full tactical squads, but so few rhinos and razorbacks.

Sternguard sure have a lot of dakka, but they die just as fast as regular marines, and the dakka they bring costs a lot. Over 300 points for the 10 man, dual heavy flamer combo, with powerfist, some combi-flamers, and little else.
You think they're gonna earn their points back frying boyz? Think again.

Tactical squads worth 300+ points equals more bolters. More bolters equal a larger chance of earning the marines' points back. 300+ points of tacticals are most definitely not a mere 10 guys, and so need more fire thrown at them before the opponent can earn their points - unlike the sternguard, which is an expensive unit, that can only really shoot, and has zero increase in durability.


So just what earns its points back, then? Deathstars.
8+ nobz on bikes, with attached warboss. 10 hammernators, with Vulkan and a chaplain. Black templar terminator command squads. Twin chaos lords with 10 khorne terminators.
Units like these often exceed 600 points, but have a realistic chance to earn all of them back. Simply multi-charge three full tactical squads, and you'll be well on your way to earning the deathstar's points back.

Or will you?
What if there aren't three full tactical squads on the table? What if there's just two, and they're hidden inside rhinos? What if there aren't any huge, expensive units at all around, and all infantry's mounted aboard cheap transports?
Heresy! Why would anyone ever run lots of small, mobile units, when only large, ultra-killy things can earn their points back?

It's not like the original deathstar got beaten when realization struck that it can only be in one place at any given time, it's a massive target, can only attack so often, and small, compact, mobile units will hand it its ass on a platter.
No, sir, such a thing surely never happened, and branding superkilly, expensive units 'deathstars' was a very smart and fitting thing to do.

While the nobz above annihilate everything they touch, they can't be everywhere at once. The squad can only shoot one target, and when it manages to pull off a combo-charge, it's more often than not against a bunch of cheap, expendable rhinos, stubborn, expendable infantry, or units equally as killy as themselves.

The whole notion of deathstars, 'earning your points back,' and putting everything of value inside one super unit, are all relics from a game that doesn't exist anymore - one that became obsolete 2008.
True, people are infamous for being slow to adapt.
People are also infamous for being stubborn, but when your 'deathstar' leads you to lose against everyone who's a) not on foot, and b) not using the time-tested 'strategy' of 'moving towards the enemy as fast as possible,' it should be very obvious you're doing something wrong, and need to rethink your battleplan.

A rhino will realistically never make its points back, but there's no need for it to. These days, victory isn't measured in how many points you kill, or how many you have left. Victory comes from taking and holding objectives, and in one mission, from wiping out units.
Whether the unit in question is worth 600 or 60 points is of no concern - destroying it gives you 1 point, and leaving it alive gives you 0 points.

Some will now argue that having too many killpoints is bad, but if you have 4 units, versus an opponent with 12 or more, he's gonna shoot your army to pieces before you even reach him, since he's got more guns than you have models.

If there's one sure-fire way to not earn your points back, that's being extremely dead - like mega-units often are in 5th edition.
It's great to be ultra-powerful, sure, but when you have to go through rhinos and dinky squads, well - not so good.

Also, there's overkill.
You know how fun it is to shoot 6 missiles against a two-man squad, or one rhino? It dies, yeah, but it's overkill, and sucks away valuable resources. If only you could take 2x3 or 3x2 missiles, you'd not blow all your heavy firepower against a single unit... Oh, wait - you can.

Choppyness works just like firepower. If you charge a tactical squad with 10 nobz, they'll go poof, but they'd go poof if you charged them with 3, too. Severe overkill, and an epic waste of resources.
In either scenario, that tactical squad's likely to be hiding inside a rhino or a razorback, so you can't claw them to bits, and after you throw yourself at it, regardless of whether you fail horribly to destroy their ride, or split it in half, your super unit is still stranded out in the open, right in front of the opponent's army.

And they say rhinos never make their points back, or accomplish anything useful.

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