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unit strength and thresholds of usefulness
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Old 08 Dec 2005, 17:15   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
 
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Default unit strength and thresholds of usefulness

Thresh hold question?

When designing army lists for 40k do you have to reach a certain “threshold” or “critical mass” of something before that something becomes useful? As an example; nobody seems to care about 6 las-guns, but if there are 60 las-guns, well, that’s a different story. But at what range does this threshold exist? Is it >10 las-guns, or >30???

I ask because I’ve been looking around for advice on my own list, and on a couple of occasions have run into the “threshold question”. Just now in Khaldun’s bat report vs nyds, http://forums.tauonline.org/index.php?topic=12453.15 he talks about taking a second XV-88.

This is interesting as I was doing some number crunching on broadsides the other night. Using the polynomial theory thingy that torgoch posted under the ion vs rail thread my numbers on a broadside look like this: with 1 xv-88 you have a 63% to glance AV12, with 2 broadsides shooting you have an 86% to glance AV12. This is a pretty substantial jump. If you ad another broadside your chance to glance goes up to 95%, a little bit less of a jump.

I built a spreadsheet around the equation (P(s))^r*(P(f))^q*nCr . It was interesting to try and get excel to use it (I’m just learning about spreadsheets) so please double check my numbers.

Many people seem to be swapping out their fire knives for death rain suits. Well why is that? 2 FK suits will glance AV12 52% (those numbers are just for the missile pods, ad a few % or so for the plasma) while 2 DR suits will pop AV12 68%.

In both cases we have a “window” at about the 60%-69% range, above which units seem to be useful (or more useful), and below which units seem to be not quite able to perform. The DR's are useful because they work 68% of the time while the FK is not so useful because it only works 57% of the time.

Another example might be stealth suits. I find in terms of neutralizing enemy units 6 xv-15 stealth’s and 2 drones are more than twice as capable, as 3 xv-15 stealth's and 1 drone. This I haven’t done any numbers on, it’s just a feeling.

The above data is a drop in the bucket, but it does serve to illustrate the idea that a certain threshold or critical mass must be obtained before a unit becomes viable. I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t get the feeling from other numbers I’ve been looking through that a: such a threshold does exist, and b: it’s probably around the 65% range.

So does anyone have a feeling about this idea one way or the other? Or am I perhaps reading to much from to small a data sample?
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Old 08 Dec 2005, 17:52   #2 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: unit strength and thresholds of usefulness

i take deathrains for a variety of reasons. they're cheap. 57pts with a flamer. I take them for the bs4.5 accuracy with the missile pods. they're simply more reliable for me. i take them mainly though, as my tau lack medium anti armour capability. and missile pods fit in perfectly. and then theres the high rate of fire, couple d with the effective 40" killzone to keep my suit nice and safe. I find the missile pods better than plasma. more shots at higher range, and in any case a smart marine player will be in cover, so he'll get a save in any case.
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Old 08 Dec 2005, 20:21   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: unit strength and thresholds of usefulness

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluespruce786
Another example might be stealth suits. I find in terms of neutralizing enemy units 6 stealth?s and 2 drones are more than twice as capable, as 3 suits and 1 drone. This I haven?t done any numbers on, it?s just a feeling.
That is kinda a hard one it's more case by case, A XV8 team with TW plasma rifles and drones, Could kill alot more marines then A stealth team, TW and plasma rifles much better chance at destroying Marines then Stealth suits. I know this from experience with the stealth suits, 18 shots, 50% will hit, roughly 66% will wound. Then about two or two and half of the marines will perish. But that's marines. What if you went agaist Gaunts, Burst cannon rips through the Nids hides, And you'll have a higher death toll. 18 shots, 50% of them will hit, 66% will wound. No armour save. ( the to wound ratio, I am a bit sketchy on there never played agaist a nid player, but have watched and learned from them.) So it's really a case by case thing.
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Old 08 Dec 2005, 20:26   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: unit strength and thresholds of usefulness

The difficulty arises when mathematics doesn't factor in mobility, return fire, weapon range, ld, or terrain. I like the threshold idea.... I've kinda had the idea on my backburner the whole time; think about it; one broadside is more efficient than each of 2 broadsides. Not only because the 2 broadsides may run out of targets, but because of the odds increase compared to the cost increase. I think that this would demonstrate that taking a variety of units would better suit an army, rather than relying upon 2 or 3 unit types.
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Old 08 Dec 2005, 20:29   #5 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
 
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Default Re: unit strength and thresholds of usefulness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oniyoh
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluespruce786
Another example might be stealth suits. I find in terms of neutralizing enemy units 6 stealth’s and 2 drones are more than twice as capable, as 3 suits and 1 drone. This I haven’t done any numbers on, it’s just a feeling.
That is kinda a hard one it's more case by case, A XV8 team with TW plasma rifles and drones, Could kill alot more marines then A stealth team, TW and plasma rifles much better chance at destroying Marines then Stealth suits. I know this from experience with the stealth suits, 18 shots, 50% will hit, roughly 66% will wound. Then about two or two and half of the marines will perish. But that's marines. What if you went agaist Gaunts, Burst cannon rips through the Nids hides, And you'll have a higher death toll. 18 shots, 50% of them will hit,* 66% will wound. No armour save. ( the to wound ratio, I am a bit sketchy on there never played agaist a nid player, but have watched and learned from them.) So it's really a case by case thing.
Sorry i was unclear. i was trying to compare a full stealth suit team (6 xv-15 and 2 drones) to a half stealth suit team (3 xv-15 and 1 drone). i didnt mean xv-8 suits, i will go and edit the above post.


In the mean time i found some data supporting the idea that a unit type must pass a certain "size" before it becomes really useful. Besides bugs i have been fighting sisters lately. in running kill numbers for them it turns out that a 1/2 squad of xv-15's should kill 1.2 sisters per turn, not bad. But if you make that a full 6 man squad, thats 6 xv-15 stealth suits firing 18, 5/5 shots per turn, they should nail 2.5 sisters. enough to force a break check.

Hmm, i guess thats not any better than 2, 3 man sqauds shooting. back to the drawing board.
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Old 09 Dec 2005, 17:35   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: unit strength and thresholds of usefulness

I'm a diehard opponent of using mathematics to determine your army lists. It's my experience that math will usually break down in the face of tricks your opponents pull on you. Also, I've found that Tau usually lose the kind of prolonged attrition-based slugfests that these numbers become truly useful in.

As to threshholds of usefulness, I would say it depends on what you're fighting. 6 lasguns is extremely useful, if you're shooting at grots. 60 is way overkill.

Those same 60 are nothing if you're shooting at, say, Necrons. It depends on where and when. In an ambush, a mob of fire is great. In a run and gun, the running is more important.
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