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Why you should use Helios instead of Burning Eye
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 09:53   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Why you should use Helios instead of Burning Eye

Some of this material has been covered in posts that I've made in other crisis suit topics.

Okay, we'll have to start with a basic assumption:

Task: kill 2+/3+ save models.

Conditions: Given 6 turns on a 48"x72" playing surface with GW-standard quantities and types of terrain. In all cases "markerlight support" is assumed to consist of 4 markerlight hits.

Standards: None, really. Kill as many marines as possible.

Okay, many people put forth the theory that, when it comes to BS3 crisis suits, twinlinking weapons is a must. Following that assumption, the Burning Eye suit would be ideal for killing marines. This is a bad assumption, however. 3 BS3 shots is better than 2 twinlinked BS3 shots, as I will show. On the other hand, one twinlinked BS3 shot is better than one BS3 shot that isn't twinlinked. This, I will also show.

My argument is based on four points:

1A) The difference between the Burning Eye and Helios in the 12.1-24" range is 0.2 kills per suit per turn.

1B) Neither suit is worthwhile in the 12.1-24" range.

2) The performance of the suits is nearly identical inside 12" without markerlight support.

3) With markerlight support, the Helios far outshines the Burning Eye.

4) Helios is more versatile than Burning Eye.

Okay, the support:

On point 1:

At 24" range, three BE suits can be expected to kill 1.875 marines without markerlight support, or 2.43 marines with support. Helios is even worse, scoring 1.25 witout support, and 2.08 with support. The difference comes to half a marine per turn if you're talking about a full set of three suits. Clearly, a 200+ point elites choice investment is not justified to kill 2 marines per turn. Therefore, I submit that neither suit type is worthwhile outside 12".

On point 2:

In rapid-fire range, both suit types can be expected to kill 3.75 marines per turn without markerlight support. This is because both weapons wound on 2+, neither weapon allows a save, and since BS is the same in both cases, 3 shots is as effective as 2 twinlinked shots. Now, it is my opinion that 3 shots is the better deal, since an extraordinarily successful shooting phase will net 3 kills for the Helios, but only 2 for the Burning Eye, but for the sake of my argument, I'll stick to statisical averages and say that the suits are equal at 12" without support.

On point 3:

When you throw markerlights into the mix at close range, it becomes extremely interesting. Suddenly, the difference between 2 twinlinked shots and 3 shots comes sharply into focus. It becomes significant that three Helios suits are working against a maximum of 9 kills, while the Burning Eye is limited to 6. The Burning Eye only has a use for 3 markerlights, while the Helios can benefit from up to 6 of them. While we are assuming 4 markerlight hits, I want to go on a short tangent here and state that even with three hits (in fairness to the BE, since that is the maximum number it can use), the Helios suits kill 0.56 marines more per turn. Anyway, back to the meat of my case. With markerlight support, the BE suits kill 4.86 marines per turn. The Helios suits, however, kill 5.69 marines, a difference of 5 potential marines over the course of the game. With an above average result from the pathfinders, this gap will, of course, increase. What is the difference between 5 and 6 marines killed? Well, on a full strength squad of marines it is the difference between being below half strength or not. It's one less bolter being shot back at those expensive suits the next turn. It's 7% of the cost of the suits, per turn. On a small HQ squad, it's that much more likely to unmask the IC for that railgun shot.

On point 4:

Let me be clear. I am not going to suggest that Helios suits are a good choice for killing tanks. However, this is a capability that the Helios has and the Burning Eye lacks. It may not be applied to most tanks on a regular basis, but what are you to do when your broadsides are dead or the guns are shot off of your tanks? It may come in handy even in a less-dire situation. Helios suits are deadly to dreadnaughts, whether they're stomping across the board or deepstriking into your deployment zone. BE cannot make the same claim. Shot at that landraider, but it kept on rolling? Not only are three fusion blasters likely to make an impression, the sheer size of the target will provide your suits with cover against enemy fire. Is this something I would expect to employ in every game? Obviously not. But, like the FOF tactic, it's one more thing to put in your toolkit for a rainy day.

To summarize:

Both suits stink at 24", although the Helios is worse. Their performance is equal at 12", unless you throw markerlights into the mix, in which case the Helios is superior. Their cost is about the same, with the cost of the item on the Burning Eye's third hardpoint determining which suit is a couple points cheaper. Considering that the difference for a full set of three is likely to be less than the cost of a single firewarrior, I think "equal cost" is a fair assumption. The Helios has capabilites against heavier vehicles and monstrous creatures that the Burning Eye simply lacks.

My bottom line is that to get good use out of anti-marine crisis suits, you have to get up close and personal. If you do get that close, the Helios suit is the better choice. That's my pitch, the rest is just the maths to back up my claims, if you don't care, you can stop here.

--March--

24"

BE: 3/4 hits, 5/6 wounds, 3 shots= 1.875 kills
H: 1/2 hits, 5/6 wounds, 3 shots= 1.25 kills
Delta: 0.625
BEw4ML: 35/36 hits, 5/6 wounds, 3 shots= 2.43 kills
Hw4ML: 5/6 hits, 5/6 wounds, 3 shots=2.08 kills
Delta: 0.35

12"

BE: 3/4 hits, 5/6 wounds, 6 shots= 3.75 kills
H: 1/2 hits, 5/6 wounds, 9 shots= 3.75 kills
BEw3ML: 35/36 hits, 5/6 wounds, 6 shots= 4.86 kills
Hw3ML: (5/6 hits, 5/6 wounds, 6 shots)+(1/2 hits, 5/6 wounds, 3 shots)=5.42 kills
Hw4ML: (5/6 hits, 5/6 wounds, 7 shots)+(1/2 hits, 5/6 wounds, 2 shots)=5.69 kills
Hw5ML: (5/6 hits, 5/6 wounds, 8 shots)+(1/2 hits, 5/6 wounds, 1 shot)=5.97 kills
Hw6ML: (5/6 hits, 5/6 wounds, 9 shots)= 6.25 kills

For those who care, with 2 markerlight hits, it's 4.49 versus 4.86, and with one markerlight, it's 4.12 versus 4.31.
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 12:15   #2 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Why you should use Helios instead of Burning Eye

It's a bit unfair to factor markerlights into the equation, as they will obviously help the non-twin-linked suits more.* An army that includes twin-linked system is less likely to bring markerlights in the first place, while a list that has fireknife/helios/etc may be inclined to bring the lights to make the suits more effective.* The points spent on those lights, however, are really, to some degree, an additional cost for the un-twin-linked suits, because they are purchased with the intent to cover for the suits poor chance to hit.

What I've been noticing with my crisis suits is the more I give them anti-marine type weapons, the shorter ranged they get.* Sticking the fusion blaster on the suit limits you to 18" range, which isn't very far.* Suits are a very static support element (except ICs), and are stuck to a piece of terrain (usually) to keep away from the many insta-kill weapons that would love to pick them off at 48".*

It is of course difficult to assign a value to this, but assuming we're playing some stand and shoot style army, we're not going to have anything advancing close enough to get that fusion shot in.* Heck, even if there are some assault elements around, they can very easily avoid the fusion's range if they so choose, while the extra 12" on the plasma makes that pretty impractical.

It's also easy to say that killing 2 marines for 200 points (actually about 180) is impractical (TL plasma outside rapid-fire range), but it really isn't.* The sad fact is, marines are ALWAYS a pain to kill, and Tau's best bet is a constant barrage of fire to whittle numbers down over a series of turns while avoid casualties, usually (I find) through mobility.* The same 180 points of firewarriors will kill fewer marines at the same ranges, and the suits are safe from most return fire.* Stealth suits kill the same amount for the cost, but have reduced range (while gaining other handy perks), so it's not that far off.

For example, I had been using crisis team leaders with TL Plasma/Fusion/HW Multi (like my shas'els, usually), but after this battle: http://forums.tauonline.org/index.ph...3236#msg203236
it occurred to me they were really limited.* Even the twin-linked plasma had a tough time getting range, the fusion only came into play at once or twice at the very end, when I could advance freely and had the game wrapped-up anyway.* I find I'm starting to drift once again towards missile pods.....they'll never be without a target, and although they may be ineffective against most, the fact that they're relatively cheap and get to shoot every turn means they have a chance to do some damage.

What also struck me was that the short-ranged suits have a chance of being unable to help at all in objective-based missions. In the above mentioned "cleanse", if my opponent had moved straight for my corner, and had instead moved into the adjacent ones, my regular suits would have been worthless.....hiding from the lascannons, out of range of the enemy.....just an expensive corner-holder (when I had a cheap kroot squad doing the same thing).
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 13:37   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why you should use Helios instead of Burning Eye

Basically, we've found that markerlights eliminates the need for TL weapons...Question is... to have pathfinders, or not? With the new 'dex rumours, I think I'll be doing a squad of them...
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 15:15   #4 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Why you should use Helios instead of Burning Eye

March, let me begin by sincerely thanking you for putting this together. I had begun to get frustrated with some members of this forum (including you) for continually critiquing the work of others, occaisionally negatively, without creating topics of your own for others to critique. It's very easy to only reply to other's topics... it takes lots of guts to stick something like this out there for others to comment on, and for that I applaud you. Perhaps there should be a rule that everyone must write an article before they can comment on them?

I have 3 main points to raise:


1. How often do your Helios suits survive the game? A big cornerstone of my playstyle is denial of Victory Points. Many people gauge the effectiveness of a particular unit based on whether or not it can "kill it's points cost". Personally, I believe this is rubbish. The only time a unit must "kill it's points cost" is if it dies! If your unit survives the game, every model it killed is a net gain in VP's for you. The fact is, there are very few units in the Tau army that can kill their points cost over 6 turns fighting against marines, especially if you throw return fire into the mix. We just don't have "no brainer units" like that. Deathrains can do it against light vehicles, Broadsides can do it against heavy vehicles, and plasma suits can do it against Terminators... but aside from those 3, every other model in our army cannot die if it's to result in a net positive gain of VP's. That's a pretty hefty realization.

This realization is what pulled me away from Helios suits. I too used to be a staunch advocate. When 4th edition came around and I could no longer hide my suits behind my tanks as I moved up the field (and the drone rules got nerfed), I found it too difficult to reliably locate a piece of LoS blocking terrain within 12" of my intended target. At that point my choice was to either hang back plinking away with a single un-twinlinked plasma shot per turn from whatever LoS blocking terrain WAS available... or to advance up the field un-protected. And of course, as soon as you do that, out come the LasCannons (or heck, even bolters) and the suits got pasted. People know what those suits can do, and if I bring them out in the open they immediately become priority number 1. The fact is, insta-killing 60+ point suits is an easy way for Marine Tactical squads or vehicles to kill their points cost!

Therefore, my thoughts go something like this. Helios suits must get close to be effective. Because of this they are vulnerable. If they could reliably kill their points cost in a single turn, this would be acceptable... however this is really only possible by firing at Terminators, with Markerlight support... a set of circumstances which is difficult to arrange even when all the players are present. The only way I've found to reliably make the Helios configuration work is in the HQ section. Here, the model doesn't need to worry about killing it's points cost since it is reliably protected by its IC status. But as near as I can tell, your article isn't attempting to deal with HQ suits?


2. Helios suits cost more than Burning Eyes. You do mention this at the end, but I feel it's a bigger difference than you make it out to be. All of your numbers are 'kills', whereas the more important quantity is 'kills per point'. Even at 12" range (where the Helios is portrayed in the best light), the Burning eye is 6.8% more efficient than the Helios on account of its lower cost. You contend that this discrepancy is negligible. Imagine if you made this same contention about every unit in your army. Imagine if, at the flick of a switch, your entire army just became 6.8% less efficient. You'd obviously be at a 6.8% disadvantage against an army which didn't flick that switch. Again, perhaps this isn't much... but there are games (more than I think you give credit to) when this will make the difference. If your goal is to get the absolute maximum performace out of every unit in your force, you can't discount this difference. 6.8% is not negligible.

3. Helios suits are not best suited to killing 3+ saves. I've hinted at this in other threads, but the fact is that there are better ways to deal with 3+ saves. It's true that Helios suits are more efficient at killing 3+ saves than Firewarriors (our baseline), however this is only the case if you're within 12", and if you don't die. This gets back to the survivability issue. If you're targeting 3+ saves, you must be able to survive to shoot for several turns, since the models you're killing are not costly enough to 'kill your points cost' in a single shooting phase. Kroot, Stealths, and Vehicle mounted weaponry all have this survivability and even though they're not as efficient as a Helios within 12", they can suffer a loss in efficiency since a reasonably skilled commander can keep them alive through turn 6... something I contend is not reliably possible with Helios suits if you're seeking to stay within 12" for a majority of the game.


In conclusion, yes, I agree Elite Burning Eye suits aren't the best choice. But I also feel that Elite Helios suits aren't the best either. The only place that either config makes sense in my mind is in the HQ section, where their IC status gives you the survivability they so desperately lack. Of course, if you bring an Ethereal (as I believe you do?), you only have room for 1 HQ Helios... which isn't really sufficient.
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 15:22   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why you should use Helios instead of Burning Eye

In all of the posts I've read it seems to come down to this: Plasma Rifle is good and will at least do something at range; but the fusion blaster requires you to get too close...thus only really workable on HQ with IC status (and even then people seem not to like it). Missile Pods are a great weapon with good range and more shots...BUT are they going to kill any space marines??? I think that should be worked into this debate. I really don't know and am fishing for advice, but the impression I've gotten is that though MP are good against bikes and 4+ armour and higher kills....MP will not kill any significant number of space marines. I am sure all of you have played space marines...epsecially assaulty armies, would you really want MP's then? So that's about it, yes MP give you range; but are they actually going to kill that 3+ space marine or witch hunter or chaos marine???

Seriously, will it...I'd like to know?
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 15:28   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why you should use Helios instead of Burning Eye

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
but are they actually going to kill that 3+ space marine or witch hunter or chaos marine???* *
It takes 3.6 Missile Pod hits to statistically kill a Space Marine. Therefore, if those hits are coming from Elite Suits with BS3, it takes 7.2 Missile Pod shots to kill a Space Marine.
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 15:43   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why you should use Helios instead of Burning Eye

So, then you would dedicate a 180 point set of three crisis suits to the task of killing two marines per turn, then? *If you believe that is worthwhile, Foxx, then the rest of my argument is *virtually meaningless. *

Only if you agree that a marine killing suit needs to get into 12" range to be effective does the Helios become overwhelmingly better than the burning eye. *Also consider that the enemy is likely trying to get into assaulting range with you. *Do you keep him at 30" range of the crisis suits and accept that he will kill your firewarriors?

Also, note that the difference between the two suit types without markerlight support is pretty small, even at 24"...0.2 marines per suit per turn. *Even if you don't have markerlights and hope to stay out of rapid-fire range, I'd rather have the option of nukeing a dreadnaught. *It's worth accepting one less dead marine per game, IMHO. *If on, on the other hand, you speand part of the game in 24" range, and part in 12" range, the difference is a good bit less than one marine per suit per game. *Surely, you can see that in this case the versatility of the Helios wins out.

As for factoring in the cost of the pathfinders, this is of course an issue, but I would insist on distributing that cost evenly over all of the units that they are likely to mark for, rather than adding the entire ~200 points to each of those units. *Of course, the devilfish makes a sticky issue. *If it goes around earning points, but you consider the pathfinder unit an upgrade, who gets credit for those victory points? *In any case, since the Helios holds its own against the Burning Eye even without markerlight support, don't let the issue of whether or not you have pathfinders be your sole deciding factor.

You misunderstand why people bring markerlights, as well. *Only a fool brings 200 points worth of markerlights to help out one 180+ point unit. *It would be far more effective to bring two 180 point units! *One brings markerlights in order to have the option of improving the accuracy of any given weapon(s) in your army on a given turn. *A set of pathfinders can give you a 58% chance of having all three theoretical railheads hit the theoretical landraider, virtually guaranteeing at least one penetrating result. *A set of pathfinders can ensure that a stealth squad hits on twos wit hevery single shot. *And of course a set of pathfinders can help a set of Helios suits kill 6 marines instead of 4. *To suggest that people bring pathfinders for the sole purpose of "improving those worthless nontwinlinked suits" *is a bit disingenuous....


Olanon....this thread is not about pathfinders, or even markerlights. *Without them, a helios suit will kill 0.2 marines per turn less at 24", and the same number of them at 12"...with the added bonus that they can tackle a landraider, a chimera, a dreadnaught, a bloodthirster. *There are a number of things that come close to your lines that plasma rifles, even twinlinked, just don't do much for. *If the Helios is just as good at 12", and nearly as good at 24"...why not? *Even without markerlights.


TTD,

On your first point:

You're right, of course, survival can be an issue. In your area, it may be an overwhelming one. Where I play, 25% of the board truly is covered with terrain, and half of that does block line of sight. Also, I can count on most of my enemies to come to me. Regardless of what I'm doing, they will try to get some from of assault element to my ethereal, my pathfinders, and my two static FW squads. I can usually get my Helios suits into position to ambush that assault element before it reaches my lines. Usually, this will consist of 10 assault marines led by a HQ character, often a chaplain. Typically, two of them will die before my suits get hold of them. After my suits peel off 6 more marines, that leaves the chaplain and two meatshields. If I can't kill those two with pulse fire, allowing for the railgun coup de gras on the character, I do run the risk of the marines charging my suits...at this point, they usually die...having nearly made back their points, and having destroyed the enemy's chances of getting a viable assault element into my lines. Regardless, I think of them as a defensive tool for taking apart approaching assault elements, not a tool for hunting down his devastators (or whatever). But the simple answer to your question is YMMV. I get about 50/50 results of all of them dying and all of them living. When they die, they usually take down at least 90% of their points. More importantly, they die successfully protecting my firewarriors. When they don't die, they usually only score ~50 points per game, not counting objectives siezed, table quarters, and other noncombat points. The trick is fixing things so that only the targeted unit (or, at worse, that unit and one other) can return fire. On planet bowling ball, you're screwed. On a board with the proper 25% terrain, it takes a bit of wrangling, but it's nearly always doable.

On your second point:

The difference in cost between a helios and a burning eye is entirely dependent on what you put in that third slot. I can't sit here and calculate kills per point for every variation of burning eye suit, since I don't have my codex with me, but the points difference could be more than 6% or even fall in favor of the helios, depending on that third hard point. In any case, a 6% differential in cost is only meaningful if you can find a better way to spend those points (in this case 9 of them). Not just find a use, but find a better use.

On your third point:

I have no argument with you here. Nothing in the tau army is efficient at killing marines. My point is simply that that Helios can do it better than Burning Eye, and has that S8 AP1 shot for "contingencies", making it more versatile.
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 16:23   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why you should use Helios instead of Burning Eye

Just out of curiosity, what do you fill your 2nd HQ slot with?
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 16:31   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why you should use Helios instead of Burning Eye

Shas'O Fireknife at 1750 and above (see my avatar? That's him!), nothing at 1500 and below. Just don't have the points. I could do an HQ Helios and two monat elite helios suits, and run them together...but that would be cheesy...
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Old 22 Oct 2005, 18:08   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why you should use Helios instead of Burning Eye

SO as i see it crisis suits are a waste of points
because for the price of 180 for a squad killing 30-40 points
i could take a ion head for 150 with multi tracker that kills 40-50
and will take 7 or better str weapons to be taken out
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