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Apocalypse: Barracuda vs Thunderbolt?!
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Old 14 Oct 2007, 06:43   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Apocalypse: Barracuda vs Thunderbolt?!

Just got the Apocalypse rulebook. Is it just me or does the Tau Barracuda pale in comparison to the Imperial Thunderbolt?!

Both fighters have the same armour and ballistic skill.

Barracuda:
Ion cannon with AA mount
Twin-linked missile pod (no AA mount)
Two burst cannons (no AA mounts)
May purchase up to four seeker missiles

Thunderbolt:
Two twin-linked autocannons with AA mounts
Twin-linked lascannon (no AA mount)
May purchase either four hunter-killer missiles, or four bombs (either choice costs the same as four seeker missiles)

Note: If the Thunderbolt purchases either the hunter-killer missiles or the bombs it costs as much as a Barracuda that has not purchased any seeker missiles.

Comparison:
Clearly the Thunderbolt is the superior interceptor with its four twin-linked AA shots compared to the Barracuda's three AA shots (all at the same strength). The Thunderbolt can also use hunter-killer missiles in a dogfight, whereas the Barracuda can only use seeker missiles in a dogfight if it has markerlight support.

The Thunderbolt is also the superior tank hunter with its accurate autocannons and lascannon compared to the Barracuda's inaccurate ion cannon and accurate missile pod. The burst cannons might well play a role when shooting at rear armour, but the Thunderbolt can engage side and front armour thanks to its lascannon. Again, the Thunderbolt can also use its hunter-killer missiles, whereas the Barracuda can only use its seeker missiles with markerlight support.

The Barracuda would seem to have the edge against infantry thanks to its many ion cannon and burst cannon shots. This is a point I am willing to concede, except that the Thunderbolt can devastate infantry with its bombs. The bombs do mean that the Thunderbolt has no hunter-killer missiles, but a) it is already superior against other targets and doesn't need them; b) it gives the Thunderbolt some versatility which the Barracuda lacks.

Seriously, can anyone tell me where the Barracuda would be the better choice?!
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Old 14 Oct 2007, 06:59   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Apocalypse: Barracuda vs Thunderbolt?!

Unconstructivly: Whne you play Tau.

Constructivly: Well I havent played APocalypse so I have no Idea.

[EDIT] this is my 1337357 (leetest) post yet and it acually says it on the post count. Nice little easter regg from TO there.
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Old 14 Oct 2007, 11:23   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Apocalypse: Barracuda vs Thunderbolt?!

Alright,for starters, I belie that you did not include the other upgrades that each aircraft is entitled to have other than weapons. What about defensive upgrades? What about Support upgrades? Enhancement upgrades?

However I will first analyze it without any of the other upgrades that could make a difference.Let's assume for all intent and purposes that each fighter are devoid of the additional weapons upgrades and any supporting elements for now and that they each are barebone. Now I will begin with the analysis of both aircraft in a non-partial way.

I will analyze them first according to the dimension of the battle waged without any upgrades, and then I will proceed to how this would change with the upgrades and support entitled to each aircraft.

Now from what I recall without any BS upgrades of any kind, each aircraft has BS 3, with each aircraft having the same armour value as those of a Land speeder.


Without any upgrades
Aerial warfare
In aerial combat it is a norm that if you can shoot your opponent from far away and kill him without him being able to strike you back is king for you do not need to fight with him to the death face-on like when you fight in a dogfight. This is the role of an interceptor for you want the aircarft to be dead before they reach your lines or them being in range to shoot you. Examples for aircrafts like this in real-life includes the Mig-25 foxbat and the Northrop F-14 Tomcat.

Now look at the range of the guns and you will see that each aircraft has a maximum range where they can attempt to engage the enemy. For the Thunderbolt, without the hunter-seeker missiles the maximum range where they can bring all their weapons to bear is 48" while for the Barracuda it would be at a grand 60" due to the ion cannon.

With the number of shots that an Ion cannon can dish out at that range, the chances are high that the barracuda will always gun down the Thunderbolt first at any showdown as a result of its superiority of range. However, once the Thunderbolt is in range, one can see that the thunderbolt will be superior.

Now for firepower at shorter ranges, the advantage of aerial battle will leans towards the thunderbolt as they have more high strength weapons and also more twin-linked weapons than the Barracuda. Thus when it comes to shorter range aerial battles, the Thunderbolt will always have a chance to kill the Barracuda.

So basically when it comes to killing each other in the air, the Barracuda will have superiority when it comes to long-range aerial fighting, but the Thunderbolt will have the edge when it comes to medium-range and short-range shooting.

Air-to ground

Now the premise of an Air-to-ground attack is basically to deal as much damage as you can towards the land target, whether or not it is an installation or an enemy unit.

Now first stop we will look at the Barracuda.

The Barracuda has

Ion cannon
twin-linked missile pods
Burst cannons

Now I will proceed on to what those weapons can do to two tagets; Hard and soft targets.


Hard target in my definition is those units that are usually very tough to bring down, vehicles of any kind, and fortifications or installations.

Now, the Ion cannon and the missile pods as we all know will not dent an AV 14 tank , but surely it is able to try and shoot anything with AV 13 and below. As for fortifications and such, most of the Apocalypse buildings are Av13 and below, and thus the Barracuda will be able o try and destroy those facilities. As for monstrous creatures and other big walking nasties, the Barracuda will be able to shoot those with enough shots.

Thus, in terms of hard targets, the Barracuda is able to do its job decently.

Now as for soft target, it basically means that almost everything else which will often mean infantry.

Here the Barracuda will shine, as now it has at least 11 shots towards those targets and thus has the potential to destroy a squad of 10 people or severely weaken an infantry formation. It is basically the Ionhead in the air.


Now that we have seen what the Barracuda is capable of in its air-to-ground battles, let's look at the Thunderbolt .

The thunderbolt is equipped with

Twin-linked lascannon
2 twin-linked autocannon

Now when it comes to hard targets, the Thunderbolt is in its element, as it can gun down many hard targets without much difficulty. However, when it comes to soft targets it is not that good, for the shots will not kill many infantry on one go, especially hordes.

So when it comes to Air-to ground warfare, the Barracuda excels at wiping out soft targets while the Thunderhawk excels at killing hard-targets.



Now that I am done with the comparison between the two aircraft in their most basic configuration, now I will proceed to what happens when they are armed to the teeth with upgrades and other elements.


With upgrades and other elements

Air to air

Now remember that Tau vehicles of any kin can boost their BS up thanks to the Targetting array, and also boost the BS up even more thanks to the markerlights. And to makes things even more interesting, the Barracuda is ale to take 4 Seeker missiles that will hit on a 2+ due to seekers.So when it comes to long-range AA battles, the Barracuda is enhanced even more. In addition, it can bring down several aircrafts at once as a result of the seeker missiles.

But in terms of short-range dogfights, it will have some difficulty as the seekers missiles need to be markerlighted first before it can proceed to fight in a dogfight.

As for the Thunderbolt, the BS is still the same but now they can take the option of having 4 hunter-seeker missile which will launch at the the BS of the vehicle that it is armed with. And to add to the fact, the aircraft is still only able to gun down one target as compared to the Barracuda.

Even though the Thunderbolt is lacking in terms of long-range AA fights, but one of the main advantage is that it does not require a markerlight to shoot them. In addition, now the short-range firepower of the Thunderbolt is enhanced even more than ever.

So the new verdict here for the two aircrafts when it comes to AA combat is ;

1) the Barracuda's superiority in terms of a long-range engagement is enhanced and with seekers, they can gun down several aircrafts at once. However , they need markerlights to do that (killing several aircrafts in one go.

2)The Thunderbolt now able to shoot further thanks to the hunter-seeker missiles, albeit a little less accurately. In addition, when it focus its attack in a dogfight, it is even more deadlier than ever.

Air-to-ground

For the Thunderbolt, they can opt to use either 4 hunter-killers or 4 dumb bombs. When the Thunderbolt is armed with 4 hunter-seekers, it is an anti-hard target platform as it can lay waste or weaken a hard target. However, when it is armed with dumb bombs, the thunderbolt becomes a more multi-purpose platform as it can hunt both hard targets and also soft targets.

However, the dumb bombs are rather in accurate and thus the chance of it killing something is more or less 50-50. IN addition, a Thunderhawk can only target one target at a time. SO basically you can try and destroy one target, or you just limit yourself to a certain weapon. This is particularly true for the dumb bomb variant. And the last fact remains, the BS is still the same.


Now as for the Barracuda, it becomes a multi-purpose platform as the seeker missiles helped the Barracuda to accomplish what it can never do in the bareboned one, to destroy harder targets. In addition, the seekers and target lock also gives the barracuda an interesting ability; the ability to harass several enemy units on one go. A seeker is not restricted to one target and thus the seekers can be launched at something else while the aircraft kills another target. In addition, with the arrival of the markerlight and the Targetting array, the platform is now more deadlier as it is now a more accurate platform to deal death to enemies.

However the fact still remains that the seekers need to be launched by a markerlight, and thus this limits the Barracuda slightly.

So the new verdict here when they are armed with the upgrades is that;

1) the Thunderbolt is a more heavily armed stand-alone platform, it lacks in accuracy and is also limited to one target.

2)The Barracuda is a more accurate platform and is able to kill several targets at once, but it needs help from other units to make it the monster with its seeker missiles.

Defensive platform

The upgrades are similiar, but the Imperial ones are better. But odds are those upgrades will not see the chance to be activated as a result of the number of shots against the aircrafts itself.

So the defensive upgrades will slightly hep the aircrafts but not so much.


Additional verdict

In addition to what has been said here, the Barracuda has also another interesting ability; the ability to engage in air-to-air and also air-to-ground at the same time. The seeker missiles can be launched to help the ground Tau forces to blast hard land targets, while the Barracuda proceeds to shoot enemy aircrafts down. In addition, it can also engage several targets in the air and on the ground, so basically it can blot out the sky and stall the enemy advance in one turn.

In comparison, the Thunderbolt is restricted to one dimension of combat every turn, Air-to-Air or Air-to-Ground. And the fact that it can only engage one target per turn is very good when you want to destroy a target, but also more tedious when the aircrafts ability is needed elsewhere at the same time.

However the fact still remains that in combat the Thunderbolt will often outnumber the Barracuda by 0.5 times, and thus for every two Barracudas up there, there will be at least 3 Thunderbolts in the air.


Conclusion

The reason why the barracuda is more expensive as compared to the Thunderbolt is because it has the potential to increase its own BS,kill things further than anything else and also able to kill several targets at once with the seeker missiles, both land and air and become a true multi-purpose platform. The thunderbolt is cheap because it is a rather economical aircraft, with the ability to punish enemy units with its firepower but yet suffering from accuracy problems.

The best comparison that fits the two aircrafts in the 40k scene would be a Hammerhead with a railgun and a Leman Russ. The former is used as a more accurate,multi purpose ,longer ranged support weapons platform but lacking in full attack power and endurance, while the latter is a more inaccurate but more robust and deadlier medium-range support weapons platform platform.

So in conclusion, each aircraft is good and each offers something extra to their armies and to also fill a niche in combat. It is hard to compare and contrast them in terms of how powerful they are, as each are powerful in their own right.

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Old 14 Oct 2007, 14:45   #4 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Apocalypse: Barracuda vs Thunderbolt?!

Can you use rapid interdiction force 3d+3 marker light to illuminate air units? If you can, this is a good combo to clean up air units.
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Old 14 Oct 2007, 21:29   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Apocalypse: Barracuda vs Thunderbolt?!

I have just been looking at the stats for the Barracuda in the Apocalypse book and the only options available is to add up to four seeker missiles at 10pts each.
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Old 14 Oct 2007, 22:37   #6 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Apocalypse: Barracuda vs Thunderbolt?!

FYI, a barracuda carries more str.7 (3 from the ion, 2 from the missile pod shots) than the Thunderbolt. Also, the thunderbolt carries only a twin linked lascannon (which is it's only true advantage over the barracuda). Which is pretty moot considering that both aircraft are AV10. And with all of the Barracuda's 11 shots able to penetrate the Thunderbolt's armour, the Thunderbolt would be hard pressed to survive a determined attack from a Barracuda.
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Old 14 Oct 2007, 23:25   #7 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Apocalypse: Barracuda vs Thunderbolt?!

Yes the Barracuda does carry more S 7 guns but it can only bring 3 of those shots to bear on any airborne target. The Twin linked missile pods are are ground targets only.
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Old 15 Oct 2007, 00:55   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Apocalypse: Barracuda vs Thunderbolt?!

Actually, given that Fliers may only fire at one target (Damnable lack of target locks and other upgrades…), the missile pods and burst cannons could make a difference in a dogfight, even though they only hit on 6's.

Also, noted in Apocalypse, is the fact that Fliers always hit side armour of vehicles, irrespective of facing (representing firing down at thinner top armour), so our 5 S7 shots are perfectly acceptable, unless engaging Land Raiders/'liths (which should be engaged with railguns anyways).
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Old 15 Oct 2007, 07:30   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Apocalypse: Barracuda vs Thunderbolt?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crisis_Vyper
Alright,for starters, I belie that you did not include the other upgrades that each aircraft is entitled to have other than weapons. What about defensive upgrades? What about Support upgrades? Enhancement upgrades?
I don't think that flyers can take normal vehicle upgrades (as StaffordGames said). This means that the Barracuda may only buy seeker missiles (up to four) and the Thunderbolt may only buy hunter-killer missiles (exactly four) or bombs (exactly four).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crisis_Vyper
Now look at the range of the guns and you will see that each aircraft has a maximum range where they can attempt to engage the enemy. For the Thunderbolt, without the hunter-seeker missiles the maximum range where they can bring all their weapons to bear is 48" while for the Barracuda it would be at a grand 60" due to the ion cannon.

With the number of shots that an Ion cannon can dish out at that range, the chances are high that the barracuda will always gun down the Thunderbolt first at any showdown as a result of its superiority of range. However, once the Thunderbolt is in range, one can see that the thunderbolt will be superior.
Flyers don't move like normal vehicles in Apocalypse. Every turn you must place the flyer more than 36" away from where it started the turn. Apart from that they have no range restriction. This means that the Barracuda will not be able to "outrange" the Thunderbolt in a dogfight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crisis_Vyper
Here the Barracuda will shine, as now it has at least 11 shots towards those targets and thus has the potential to destroy a squad of 10 people or severely weaken an infantry formation. It is basically the Ionhead in the air.
While I do agree that it has the potential to do a lot of damage to infantry, it probably won't do a lot more than the Thunderbolt on average.

Barracuda:
3 ion cannon shots @ BS3 = 1.5 str 7 hits
2 twin-linked missile pod shots @ BS3 = 1.5 str 7 hits
6 burst cannon shots @ BS3 = 3 str 5 hits

Thunderbolt:
4 twin-linked autocannons shots @ BS3 = 3 str 7 hits
1 twin-linked lascannon shot @ BS3 = 0.75 str 9 hits

The Barracuda seems better against all targets with a 3+ save or worse, but remember that the Thunderbolt can take four bombs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crisis_Vyper
In addition, it can bring down several aircrafts at once as a result of the seeker missiles.
The Barracuda needs markerlight hits before it can fire seeker missiles. Normal markerlights can only hit flyers on 6+. Also, markerlights have a range of 36". Hunter-killer missiles do not need markerlights and they also hit on 2+ (can anyone confirm?), but they have a maximum range of 48" (can anyone confirm?).

Remember, the most important reason why seeker missiles are "better" than hunter-killer missiles is because a lot more of them can be taken. This is not the case in the Barracuda - Thunderbolt comparison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crisis_Vyper
However, the dumb bombs are rather in accurate and thus the chance of it killing something is more or less 50-50. IN addition, a Thunderhawk can only target one target at a time. SO basically you can try and destroy one target, or you just limit yourself to a certain weapon. This is particularly true for the dumb bomb variant. And the last fact remains, the BS is still the same.
The bombs use the Apocalypse barrage template. This means that the bombs cannot "miss" due to low BS, but they can "scatter" a bit. Also, the bombs can be dropped in addition to firing the other weapons and the other weapons may fire at a different target. The bombs are not "dumb", they add to the versatility of the Thunderbolt, which the Barracuda does not have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crisis_Vyper
In addition to what has been said here, the Barracuda has also another interesting ability; the ability to engage in air-to-air and also air-to-ground at the same time. The seeker missiles can be launched to help the ground Tau forces to blast hard land targets, while the Barracuda proceeds to shoot enemy aircrafts down. In addition, it can also engage several targets in the air and on the ground, so basically it can blot out the sky and stall the enemy advance in one turn.

In comparison, the Thunderbolt is restricted to one dimension of combat every turn, Air-to-Air or Air-to-Ground. And the fact that it can only engage one target per turn is very good when you want to destroy a target, but also more tedious when the aircrafts ability is needed elsewhere at the same time.
As pointed out, the Barracuda probably may not purchase the target lock. Also, I believe that hunter-killer missiles do not need to target the same thing that was shot at (can anyone confirm?). This means that the Barracuda and the Thunderbolt can target the same number of targets, but the Barracuda needs help to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunaris
Can you use rapid interdiction force 3d+3 marker light to illuminate air units? If you can, this is a good combo to clean up air units.
I believe that this is legal, which does make it a good comba (as you say). I'm glad to see that someone thinks like me Still, the Thunderbolt does not need this kind of support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Impulse
FYI, a barracuda carries more str.7 (3 from the ion, 2 from the missile pod shots) than the Thunderbolt. Also, the thunderbolt carries only a twin linked lascannon (which is it's only true advantage over the barracuda). Which is pretty moot considering that both aircraft are AV10. And with all of the Barracuda's 11 shots able to penetrate the Thunderbolt's armour, the Thunderbolt would be hard pressed to survive a determined attack from a Barracuda.
True, but the Barracuda has less AA fire than the Thunderbolt. In Apocalypse, you only hit a flyer on 6+ (regardless of BS). Only weapons that have the AA ability hit flyers using their normal BS.

Barracuda:
3 AA ion cannon shots @ BS3 = 1.5 str 7 hits
2 twin-linked missile pod shots @ 6+ to hit = ~0.6 str 7 hits
6 burst cannon shots @ 6+ to hit = 1 str 5 hit

Thunderbolt:
4 AA twin-linked autocannon shots @ BS3 = 3 str 7 hits
1 twin-linked lascannon shot @ 6+ to hit = ~0.17 str 9 hits

Side note: As a result of everyone's replies I have come to realise that the Barracuda at least benefits a lot from markerlight hits when firing at infantry. It's not much, but at least it's something
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Old 15 Oct 2007, 08:38   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Apocalypse: Barracuda vs Thunderbolt?!

if they were the same pts cost then there wouldn't be much to choose between them but when the Thunderbolt is only 180pts and the Barracuda is 220pts then that makes the Thunderbolt a better option.

There is one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet!

The Barracuda is a much cooler model!
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