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effectiveness of XV8 configurations, stealth, kroot, and hh's
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 09:52   #1 (permalink)
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Default effectiveness of XV8 configurations, stealth, kroot, and hh's

This topic seeks to reveal just how cost-effective tau units are with a plethora of weapons against a plethora of enemies.* It should basically summarize which units are best at killing what.

Firstly, here is a key for those who don't know all the crisis suit names;
fireknife; plasma, missile pod, multi tracker
sunforge; twin linked fusion blasters, shield generator
helios; plasma, fusion, multi
burning eye; twin linked plasma
deathrain; twin linked missile pods
bladestorm; plasma rifle, burst cannon, multi tracker
firestorm; burst cannon, missile pod
firesurge; fusion blaster, missile pod, multi tracker

I will compare these crisis configs with stealth suits, ionheads, and railheads, as they all compete for similar roles in a tau army.* Keep in mind that I'm going to assume secondary burst cannons on the tanks, and that the tank fires them at it's target in addition to it's main gun.* To help keep things more simple, I've made tables in notepad format, you can find links at the bottom of the page.* (open them now)

Here is a breakdown of the most effective tau units, per turn of effective shooting;

guardsmen column;
1st;stealth suits
2nd;railheads
3rd;ionheads
Conclusions; pulse weaponry is the way to go against light infantry.

Marine column;
1st;helios
2nd;sunforge
3rd;ionhead
Conclusions; none.* It depends on the number of shots per game because of the differences in range.

Fw column;
1st;railhead
2nd;firestorm
3rd;deathrain/ionhead tie..
Conclusions; the railhead is the best choice for killing 4+ save troops.

AV 12 column;
1st;firesurge
2nd;sunforge
3rd;deathrain/helios within 6"
4th;fireknife
5th;railhead
Conclusions; fusion blasters cheapness works makes each shot very efficient.* Think about how many shots your fusion blaster gets in a game against vehicles, then compare 6 turn efficiencies with other units.* This will produce a good estimate for which unit you should take.* *
For example; I think my fusion gun will shoot 2X in a 6 turn game against vehicles.* I multiply all non-fusion blaster weapons efficiencies by 3 (6 turns, divided by 2), and compare them to the original fusion equipped suit's efficiency.* Whichever is higher is what I should use.* here is the equation, where FS=fusion gun shots, E1 is the efficiency of the fusion equipped suit, per volley, and E2 is the efficiency of whatever you are comparing the suit to, per volley; FS x E1 = 6 x E2

AV 14 column;
1st;sunforge
2nd;firesurge/helios are about the same effectiveness
3rd; railhead.
Perfect example for fusion blasters; A sunforge that fires just ONCE (within 6") is still more effective, per point, than a railhead that fires for every turn.

These numbers are here for you to print off and use when designing your lists.* Consider how many times you estimate each unit will shoot in each game, and you can calculate which unit is best for you!

For the less mathematically inclined, the top units I've mentioned are probably the way to go for attacking each unit type.

Finally, here are some things to keep in mind about some of the more prominent units;
Sunforge crisis are the premier tank hunters in the tau arsenal.... if you can get them close.* *It is completely up to the individual player to decide whether the sunforge's firepower is worth the cost in range or not, but the mathematical models (by estimating the number of shots you think you'll get) should really help in deciding.

The ionhead wins 3rd place against every troops type, but only falls behind helios and sunforge within 12" for killing marines.* The ionhead is a flexible troop killing machine, especially marine killing machine.* However, it isn't really very good at killing AV 12 tanks.* Only AV 11 or less tanks, and AV 12 or less skimmers should ever be targeted by an ionhead.

The railhead wins 1st against fw's, 2nd against guardsmen, and 3rd against AV 14 of the units mentioned.* The railhead is an excellent light, and especially medium, troop killing machine.* Tanks aren't exactly the railhead's best target, however, as both broadsides (not calculated here) and fusion suits beat it by a wide margin.* (of course, one has short range and the other has no mobility... I have to write a broadside tactica sometime, but not today....)* The pattern with the hh in general; troops are dead, tanks not so much.

Stealths and pulse weaponry are a tau's best friend against troops.*

Deathrains are your best bet against AV 12 vehicles.* Otherwise, fusion equipped crisis work.* Deathrains are both efficient with every shot and easy to use.* When the tanks are dead, they're decent at killing 4+ infantry.

Print the summary of the stats for reference, if you wish.* I'm personally going to use it when designing lists, to test my unit's effectiveness before they even reach the battlefield.*
HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE;
1; estimate the number of times you think a particular weapon will fire during the course of a game (assuming it doesn't die) and multiply that by it's efficiency number in the second graph. (see equation)
2; repeat step one for another unit you are considering for the same role.
3; whichever scores higher is probably the unit you should take, unless you feel that one unit has not won by enough of a margin to discount it's other weaknesses.

I'm considering making individual charts in addition to what is essentially a summary.* Something like; a stealthsuit chart of kills against different toughnesses and saves.* A graph where the bottom is increasing toughness, plotted with increasing armor saves.* A placard like this for each unit MIGHT help people out, or it might be fairly useless.* However, if this guide is useless, then the individual summaries will be too.* What do you think?

This is technically a work in progress.* If there is something you'd like me to add, then feel free to let me know about it.* Comments, questions, concerns, and complaints appreciated!*
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 10:47   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: effectiveness of XV8 configurations, stealth, kroot, and hh's

Good post, Khal! I would like to make a few corrections, as usual.

First, a Helios suit at 12" will produce 75% as many kills as an Ionhead will...at 40% of the cost. Also, consider how many helios suits you can get versus how many Ionheads. On the other hand, there is that pesky 12" range to consider...In the final analysis, the Ionhead probably does do better against marines than the helios (although terminators are another story!), so I'm not suggesting that you change the order. I am, however, suggesting that

Quote:
Conclusions; the ionhead FAR surpasses other units against marines.
is a bit exagerated.

Second, the pains you go to to pack as many units as possible in front of the Railhead versus vehicles is a bit ridiculous:

Every single unit that you cite at AV12 needs to be within 6" to be better than the railgun, something you conveniently leave out. The exception here is the fireknife. I won't bother with the math, but I'm guessing that it has to be within 12" to surpass the railgun.

At AV14, once again, the other contenders have to get within 6" to be better. Nobody has ever argued that the railgun is better than the 6" fusion blaster, especially when twinlinked. However, given that you have to get within 6" in the first place, I don't think anyone on this board would agree that your primary tank-killer should be a fusion blaster equipped crisis suit.

Therefore, I would suggest that "raiilgun units" be placed in a two-way tie for second best with the ionhead against AV12, behind the Deathrain suit (which only wins on cost-effectiveness). If the fireknife truly is more effective, move it to first ahead of all of them. Also, I would submit that the Railgun be placed first against AV14, given that the fusion blaster has to get within 6" to be effective, and really needs to be a sunforge.

Other than that, excellent analysis!
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 14:04   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: effectiveness of XV8 configurations, stealth, kroot, and hh's

Great work! Anyway, I feel that something's missing out here. AV12 skimmer perhaps? Very important, as you can only glance it, and ionheads for instance, are usually very effective vs these ones...

Just a thought, juuuust a thought (Swordfish, anyone? )

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Old 22 Oct 2005, 15:38   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: effectiveness of XV8 configurations, stealth, kroot, and hh's

Khaldun:

Interesting setup

I'm actually glad to see someone else who considers hammerheads as better for anti-infantry, and suits for anti-tank. I found it out from playing, but it is definitely something people should explore. The railgun of a hammerhead is wasted typically against most opponents I find when shooting at armor, when a Suit could do it. I'd rather throw huge templates and fire ion cannons anyday at infantry. And of course, railguns on XV88's make more sense for pure anti-armor support, since one selection can do very well at punching a tank down.

Anyhow - good setup.

Cheers!
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 19:53   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: effectiveness of XV8 configurations, stealth, and hh's

Quote:
Originally Posted by march10k
Good post, Khal!* I would like to make a few corrections, as usual.

First, a Helios suit at 12" will produce 75% as many kills as an Ionhead will...at 40% of the cost.* Also, consider how many helios suits you can get versus how many Ionheads. On the other hand, there is that pesky 12" range to consider...In the final analysis, the Ionhead probably does do better against marines than the helios (although terminators are another story!), so I'm not suggesting that you change the order.* I am, however, suggesting that

Quote:
Conclusions; the ionhead FAR surpasses other units against marines.
is a bit exagerated.
You caught an error first try! Well, at least it was caught. The helios is slightly more effective than I first calculated when 12" away. I've adjusted the numbers now, and it turns out that a helios within 12" is the most effective marine killer the tau have. I've now adjusted my first post to account for the new rankings. However, to see which is truly better for you, check out the equations below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by march10k

Second, the pains you go to to pack as many units as possible in front of the Railhead versus vehicles is a bit ridiculous:

Every single unit that you cite at AV12 needs to be within 6" to be better than the railgun, something you conveniently leave out.* The exception here is the fireknife.* I won't bother with the math, but I'm guessing that it has to be within 12" to surpass the railgun.

At AV14, once again, the other contenders have to get within 6" to be better.* Nobody has ever argued that the railgun is better than the 6" fusion blaster, especially when twinlinked.* However, given that you have to get within 6" in the first place, I don't think anyone on this board would agree that your primary tank-killer should be a fusion blaster equipped crisis suit.

Therefore, I would suggest that "raiilgun units" be placed in a two-way tie for second best with the ionhead against AV12, behind the Deathrain suit (which only wins on cost-effectiveness). If the fireknife truly is more effective, move it to first ahead of all of them.* Also, I would submit that the Railgun be placed first against AV14, given that the fusion blaster has to get within 6" to be effective, and really needs to be a sunforge.

Other than that, excellent analysis!
Well, I wasn't really trying to be biased here. These are efficiencies PER SHOT, when in effective range. I've also included fusion effectiveness out of 6" and within 6", so depending on which you encounter more often, you can ignore one, average the two, or something else that makes sense.

You can also calculate which would do better during the game for you. Practice a few games, for instance, and record how many times your fusion blaster equipped suit shoots his gun at a tank. Or, simply estimate the number of shots you think it will shoot against tanks. Use the equation I mentioned above to compare game total efficiencies for each unit.

For example; Let's compare the railhead and the sunforge against AV 14. Joe believes his sunforge will get within 6" half the time, so he averages the two scores against AV 14; within 6" and farther than 6". This gets an average efficiency (per shot) of .365 kills per turn, per 100 points spent. The railhead's kills per turn, per 100 points is .098.

Joe thinks his sunforge will be able to shoot once during the game and still survive. He believes his railhead will be able to shoot 5 times in a game and still survive. (stunned/shaken results, plus the enemy or me hiding for a turn reduces it slightly)

Here comes the algebra; we multiply the number of shots by the per-turn efficiency. SO;
sunforge = 1 x .365 = .365
railhead = 5 x .098 = .49

By Joe's estimation, the railhead is a better choice for him.

However, to do this scientifically, I would have to record the number of times each unit fired (and in the case of the fusion blaster at what range) during the course of a standard game. After about 6 games or so, I could average the number of shots I get for each unit. Plugging in THAT number would reliably get me my effectiveness for each unit. Try it out yourself! Just record the number of times a unit shoots each game, and you'll discover which is more effective for you.

In the infantry section, however, the effectivenesses of each unit are rather straightforward. Against tanks, however, the effectiveness depends on the number of shots per game because the range for fusion blasters and railguns is so radically different. That's when it becomes up to the individual commander to discover which unit is right for him.

Try out the experiment for yourself; you just play games and take notes now and again.

Finally, I was thinking of making charts for individual units against every toughness and save combo there could be, up to toughness 8. Would people find this useful? Or is this summary (marines, guard, AV 14 etc) enough?
Or are there particular units (ie skimmers) that more people would like to see?
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 21:47   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: effectiveness of XV8 configurations, stealth, kroot, and hh's

I think it needs to be considered that it will take some turns for units with short effective ranges to be able to fire. The railgun can down a monolith on turn 1, something no fusion equipped suit is capable of. The monolith may be a poor example as it is not a high priority target, but consider a land raider. The sooner those lascannons are gone, the better, especially with a mechanized Tau army.

My point is that for units with a short effective range, you need to consider not only how many times they reach that range (and how well they can survive getting there and afterwards), but how soon they are capable of reaching that range.
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 22:01   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: effectiveness of XV8 configurations, stealth, kroot, and hh's

Quote:
Originally Posted by DireStrike
I think it needs to be considered that it will take some turns for units with short effective ranges to be able to fire. The railgun can down a monolith on turn 1, something no fusion equipped suit is capable of. The monolith may be a poor example as it is not a high priority target, but consider a land raider. The sooner those lascannons are gone, the better, especially with a mechanized Tau army.

My point is that for units with a short effective range, you need to consider not only how many times they reach that range (and how well they can survive getting there and afterwards), but how soon they are capable of reaching that range.
So if you wanted to conduct the experiment... you could record the number of shots for each turn. ie turn 1; average number of shots. turn 2; average number of shots, etc.

However, I'm going to have to figure out a good way to give that the right amount of weight in battle... There are so many factors that could decide how much of a setback it is to not be shooting for the first few turn(s).
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