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Dire Avengers: A Small Thesis
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Old 15 Aug 2005, 01:36   #1 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Dire Avengers: A Small Thesis

Intro

In a fit of boredom, i was meandering through the codex. while i was flicking through it, i was thinking about the posts made considering guardian defenders and how some would use them to fleet of foot towards the enemy, before unleashing the merry hell of a shuriken catapult barrage, and then subsequently charge into close combat.

initially, this kinda struck me as wrong. i always saw the main "power" of the guardians as being their weapon platform. dropping the platform in order to get up close and personal seems like forcing the unit into doing something which it really has no business participating in.

the draw of this tactic is of course the wonderful effects of x amount of shuriken catapults going off in your opponents face. however, the subsequent charge generally leaves a lot to be desired. i had a look at the storm guardians entry, now overall (if i get this right) 15 storm guardians and 15 guardian defenders will get the same amount of overall shots/attacks on the charge. storm guardians getting three attacks and one shot, defender guardians getting two shots and two attacks. taking str/ws/bs into account, the defenders are actually going to have a better chance to do more damage than the storm guardians. unless the commander fits two flamers to the storm guardian group (and the group are maneuvered up to circa 6" away from their targets), the basic configuration will not see much damage delt.

based on that, i'd be tempted to place defenders above storm guardians in the "best unit to assault an enemy with" category. i'd still feel comewhat cheated out of a heavy weapon however.

then i came across the dire avengers entry. they cost 50% more than your average guardian, have higher ws, bs and their armour save goes one better too. they're armed with the same weapon as the defenders, however they can shoot it better, and after the charge their attack is more likely to hit home. ap of basic opposing weapons no longer negates the armour save, the need for a warlock with conceal just to grab a +5 save is lessened considerably, now against massed bolter fire, there's a 50% chance that they'll save from wounds. that's a good thing.

they're not without downfalls however. these upgraded guardians cost +50% the price of a standard guardian, you can field 15 guardians for every 10 of these. 10 is also the maximum allowed in a squad. there's also a distinct lack of upgrades for them. they have a shuriken catapult.. and that's about it. no grenades, no flamers, no fusion guns, no weapon platforms. they're also heavily constrained by the range of their catapults. the avengers perform one task and one task only, that is to fire and charge your opponents basic infantry.


method

so how well do they do in comparison to the other "entry level" units? i'm going to take a squad of 10 avengers (minus the exarch) and have them fire and charge at a group of 8 space marines. we'll then run the same test with 15 guardians and finally 15 storm guardians.


the science(ish) bit

- 10 avengers fire 20 shots. now 66.6% of those are going to hit home. that's a total of 13 hits.
- 50% of those will wound. that's 6 or 7 (we'll take worst case scenario and call it 6)
- 66.6% of those will be saved, hence the volley will leave (on average) two marines in the dust.
- the avengers charge and try to attack the marines. 50% of the attacks will be blocked, meaning ten will land.
- to wound, the marines are sitting pretty with another 66.6% chance of shrugging off the hits, this will leave about 4 armour saves to be made.
- another 66.6% chance to save, will see one, possibly two marines dead. - in total, the marines will have (on average) been reduced to 5 men.
- the marines strike back, five attacks, 50% are blocked, leaving 2 or three hitting home
- the marines have a 66.6% chance to wound now, between the ws/toughness you're looking at one or two armour saves to be made (depending upon how many hit initially)
- with a 50% chance of the save, you're looking at maybe one avenger snuffing it.

so the avengers have managed to take out about three marines and have a single casualty. in subsequent rounds, i'd expect them to snuff out a marine a turn, taking one casualty in return each round.

now for the defenders:

- the defenders shoot 30 times into the marines, a stright 50% of these will hit, so that's 15.
- the wounding will see 50% of these make an impact, (worst case scenario again) so that's 7
- 66% will be saved. this can leave up to three marines dead upon the opening barrage.
- charging in, we have 30 attacks, now there's only a 33.3% chance of hitting home, this leaves ten direct hits.
- now the marines will be able to shrug off 66.6% of the hits, this leaves about 4 marines requiring a save.
- with the 66.6% chance of saving, we're looking at probably another dead marine.
- now it's the marines turn. there's only four left, but 66.6% of attacks will land, on average that would probably be three.
- to wound, the marines are looking at another 66.6% chance of hurting the guardians, leaving two saves.
- 33% chance of living, you're looking at certainly one, probably two dead guardians.

the guardians have managed to take out circa four marines and take one or two hits back. in subsequent rounds, i'd expect them to snuff out a marine a turn, taking between one and two casualties in return each round.

finally, the storm guardians.

- they'll get 15 shots, of which 50% will miss, this leaves 7/8 hits. (again, taking worst case scenario, we'll call it 7)
- 50% will fail to wound, meaning an average of 3 wounds.
- 66.6% will save, leaving one marine dead.
- on the charge, each gets two attacks. 45 attacks, of which 66.6% will fail, that's about 15 hits.
- of these, only 33.3% will wound, leaving maybe five wounds.
- 66.6% will be saved, leaving two marines dead.
- marines retaliate with 5 attacks, 66.6% hitting home, on average 3.
- 66% of those will wound, leaving on average 2
- one of these will probably be saved, which leaves an average of one or two dead guardians.

it looks like the storm guardians come off worst, taking only three marines and one/two casualties.


results

the units of equal points cost (without upgrades) sees the sheer mass of firepower from the guardians more than equal to the prescision of the avangers. the issue that they will have is taking the return casualties however. the avengers (with some lucky rolling) could probably get through the assult without taking a single casualty. the storm guardians lose out due to the low % to hit in close combat, and also their low str and inability to inflict many wounds. i'd expect the storm guardians to take another marine down with them if fitted with 2x fusion guns or flamers.

based on the stats, i'd expect ulthwe's black defender guardians to come out top in that scenario. the most power comes from the shooting before the charge, and with mass and accuracy i'm pretty sure that they'd do a more than admirable job. that being said, i'd be loathe to give up the black defenders and lose a heavy weapon emplacement with bs4.


conclusion

point for point a dire avanger is approximately equal to a defender guardian on the assault, when taking return fire (especially close combat) they're infinitely more surviveable however.

storm guardians are poor quality, not being able to dish out many wounds nor take the return flack. require upgrades to perform adequately, squads can be altered to perform "specific" roles however.

dire avengers are only of any real use against opposing infantry, although massed fire could conceivably take down lightly armoured vehicles. they are somewhat resilient so could conceivably hold a table quarter or objective, however their lack of range means that they're at a great dis-advantage when not on the assault. note that taking the avengers up against anything other than basic/mid-range troopers would probably see them shredded very quickly.


numerical results

given that defenders and avengers are so closely tied, below is a calculation on the fraction of casualties dealt and taken:

dire avengers

2.2001 marines dead through shooting

1.1114 marines dead from the charge

0.7814 dire avengers dead from return combat

guardian defenders

2.5005 marines dead through shooting

1.1114 marines dead from the charge

1.3001 guardians dead from return combat


other stuff

if there are any errors, or other points of view i'd be glad to hear them/have them pointed out to me.


-sin
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Old 15 Aug 2005, 02:01   #2 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: dire avengers: a small thesis

Hey there! Nice to see someone modeling the game with a bit o' maths. Few observations, however.

In your guardian defender example, your math is slightly skewed. Try and set a "standard" for your numbers and rounding, otherwise your results are dicey. Note how in your Dire Avenger scenario you took the worst case scenario for wounding (a good practice), whereas in your guardian scenario, you invoked the dice gods to give them an additional marine kill, when the odds lean fairly strongly against that occurance.

When the numbers are as close as they are (with guardian defenders and dire avengers showing near identical results), it might be a good idea to go into fractions, just for the sake of curiosity. I wonder how much better one is than the other, even if it's only 1% =)

I like your look into the bigger picture too. The sad thing is, I truly believe a marine player would *love* for his eldar opponent to take dire avengers. Heavy bolters become victory point earning monsters, able to tear into aspect warrior and infantry alike. As much as it goes against the fluff, against the Marines, I'd probably want a large mass of bodies for target saturation. Poor eldar. :'(
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Old 15 Aug 2005, 02:16   #3 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: dire avengers: a small thesis

i'll admit that the numbers are somewhat estimated. i wanted to look at it from a game perspective rather than fractions (hence the ambiguous nature of the calculations). i will look into the fractions however.

Quote:
- now the marines will be able to shrug off 66.6% of the hits, this leaves about 4 marines requiring a save.
- with the 66.6% chance of saving, we're looking at maybe another two dead marines (dice gods with us)
i assume this is where i'm invoking the dice gods... and you're right, i am giving them about .664 of a marine. i'll alter it and the subsequent calc's - thankyou for pointing that out ^^

the reason i looked into this is due to some people drooling over the shurken catapult volley/charge tactic. i've noticed some would snub the weapons platform in order to allow their guardians to fof and let loose, i was curious as to how well the avengers would do in such a role.

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Old 15 Aug 2005, 02:52   #4 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: dire avengers: a small thesis

i think these numbers are right.. it's late though, i'll revise them after i've had a sleep:

dire avengers

2.2001 marines dead through shooting

1.1114 marines dead from the charge

0.7814 dire avengers dead from return combat

guardian defenders

2.5005 marines dead through shooting

1.1114 marines dead from the charge

1.3001 guardians dead from return combat
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Old 15 Aug 2005, 04:32   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: dire avengers: a small thesis

Yeah, I understand perfectly the "I can't actually kill 0.0065th of a Marine!" thing. I tend to round as much as possible myself, for the sake of sanity. I just asked because things were so close =).

I'm not an eldar player myself, but knowing what their capable of helps a lot. Thanks for breaking down your findings, Sin!
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Old 15 Aug 2005, 06:35   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: dire avengers: a small thesis

Firstly just a small mathematical nitpick....

Quote:
Originally Posted by sin
i think these numbers are right.. it's late though, i'll revise them after i've had a sleep:

dire avengers

2.2001 marines dead through shooting* TK - This should be 2.2 recurring

1.1114 marines dead from the charge

0.7814 dire avengers dead from return combat

guardian defenders

2.5005 marines dead through shooting* TK - This should be 2.5

1.1114 marines dead from the charge

1.3001 guardians dead from return combat
Anyway, great work.
this confirms my belief that guardian defenders are superior to storm guardians in just about every way.* I have long held the opinion that black storm guardians are the only storm guardians worth taking.* If you do use storm guardians I think that the best way to use them is to make them a specific anti tank squad - give them two fusion guns and haywire grenades and transport them in a wave serpent to wherever they're needed.* However this raises the question of whetherthe WS can be used for better aspect warrior squads.

Dire Avengers have stat advantages over guardians which I think make them worth their additional price - combine this with an exarch with even better stats which could give you an extra advantage in cc with its high number of attacks and power weapon.* The problem with Dire Avengers is that they are few in number compared to guardians and can get mown down by infantry weapons fairly easily, making guardians in some ways more useful because they can more easily take casualties - but are more likely to take them!

A question therefore is:* Should you give guardian defenders support weapons?* The advantage is of course that extra additional firepower, the disadvantage being the fact that of course they can't close the distance between themselves and enemy units as quickly.* With black defender guardians, I really do think you ought to take advantage of that BS 4 weaponry, but with normal guardians it's more debatable on whether it's worth it.* It is very expensive* (costing over the price of six guardians) so you really want it to be worth its points.* The problem is that the weapons themselves are technically capable of taking back those points but because of the BS, it is difficult.* Obviously therefore if you give your guardians a heavy support weapon, you'll want to keep them alive and free to fire for as many turns as possible.* This means not being so eager to throw those guardians in as the front line troops at the front of your army* but using them as a more support type of role.
* * * * * You could use Dire Avengers as the main front line troops and use guardians to support them but technically that doesn't make sense - the smaller more expensive units being thrown in as the front line troops and the bigger less expensive units supporting them.* It really should be the other way round - it's a pity that Dire avengers can't take heavy support weapons.* Therefore there's a strong case for saying that you shouldn't burden your normal defender guardians with a support weapon and simply let them get to the enemy and let the shuriken catapults do the rest.*
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Old 15 Aug 2005, 11:26   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: dire avengers: a small thesis

....Isn't it 50% chance of Guardians hitting Marines? Don't they hit on 4's?
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Old 15 Aug 2005, 11:47   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: dire avengers: a small thesis

For normal guardians yes. However Black guardians (only available with the Ulthwe craftworld) have slightly better stats! >
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Old 15 Aug 2005, 14:17   #9 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: dire avengers: a small thesis

with regards to the maths:

i calculated it in an odd way. i decided to go to four decimal places and always use 66.6666 for the calculation (to keep things fair). hence, when working out the numbers for a 33.3333 % chance i actually figured the 66.6666 % calculation and subtracted it from a 4 decimal placed version of the original number. although it's possible that even with that in consideration i'm at error. and lazyness is starting to creep in ^^;
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Old 16 Aug 2005, 10:55   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: dire avengers: a small thesis

no....WS3 guardians against WS4 marines? 5+ to hit?

Isn't it your adversary needs to be twice your WS + 1 to be able to qualify for a 5+?
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