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Helios vs Firestorm - Warning, mathhammer intensive!
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Old 02 Oct 2008, 18:45   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Helios vs Firestorm - Warning, mathhammer intensive!

At the Advanced Tau Tactica, in this thread about missile pods, I defended the Helios as the exception to the "everything is better with a missile pod" rule. There is also growing excitement about the Firestorm suit, a cheap piece of kit designed to dish it out over several turns.

First things first

- A Helios suit has a fusion blaster, plasma rifle, and a multitracker somewhere with the aim of firing 3 shots at 12" that ignore armor saves

- A Firestorm suits has a missile pod, burst cannon, and a multitracker somewhere with the aim of firing 5 shots at 18"

It becomes clear that this is a battle between weight of fire and better fire, quantity vs quality.

Important considerations

The basic Helios suit costs more than the basic Firestorm. 62 vs 50. What this means is that, because the Firestorm is 80% the cost of the basic Helios, it only has to be 80% as killy!

Furthermore, we expect the Helios to outperform the Firestorm when dealing with 3+ and 4+ saves. The intent of this article is to make the difference meaningful to you, the reader, such that we better understand how the tactical flexibility of the Firestorm ties in with its role as an an anti-infantry, anti-transport suit.

[hr]

Inflict Damage on a Space Marine Squad

Let us assume a Space Marine squad is running at us. We will JSJ from behind cover, inflict casualties, and then hide.

Helios

Helios suit jumps out to within 12", opens up at BS 3

1.5 shots hit, 1.25 wound. Assuming no cover, remove between 1 and two models per Helios suit, more often one than two.

W/ Markerlights/Targetting arrays:

BS 4

2 shots hit, 1.666 wound. Remove between 1 and two models per Helios suit, more often two than one.

BS 5

2.5 shots hit, 2.08333 wound. Remove two, sometimes three models per Helios suit, usually 2.

Firestorm

Jumps out from behind cover, finds its burst cannon to be in range, and opens up

BS 3

1 missile pod hits, 1.5 burst cannon shots hit. (.8333)+(1) = 1.8333 wounds inflicted. .6111 3+ saves are then failed. Expect to remove two marines for every three Firestorms.

Markerlights/Targeting Arrays: BS 4

1.333 missiles pod hits, 2 burst cannon shots hit. (1.11+1.33) = 2.4433 wounds inflicted. .814444 3+ saves are then failed. Expect to remove one marine per firestorm if dice don't hate you.

BS 5

1.666 missile pod hits, 2.5 burst cannon shots hit. (1.3883+1.6666) = 3.054 wounds! 1.01832 3+ saves fail! Remove one marine per Firestorm consistently.

Okay, but what do all the nice numbers mean?

1.25 dead marines (Helios) vs .6111 dead marines (Firestorm). Helios is almost twice as good as Firestorm at removing Marines from play.

NOTE: We are doing something inherently unfair: we are putting the Helios closer to the target than the Firestorm (12" and 18" respectively) THIS IS INTENTIONAL. We are trying to compare the battle-conditions, not hypothetical situations.

Now, note that we can reasonably expect a Firestorm suit to fire twice on any incoming squad, wheras the Helios may only have one turn of glory. This changes things. Think about that next time you outfit your suits. More turns shooting = more shooty = more killy.

The 80% solution

1.25 (The number of kills we can expect from a Helios suit) multiplied by .8 (Because the Firestorm is 80% the cost of the Helios) = 1. Comparing this "normalized" average (per turn, per suit) to that of the Firestorm (.6111), we find that the Helios suit is only 163% "killy" (Not 200%, as before). Note that 100% is, for this metric, the killy-ness of the Firestorm.

We can say that, rather than Helios suits being "twice as good" as Firestorms at killing Marines, have the much more diplomatic "63%"-better figure, which sounds so ridiculous as shop-talk that you'd think I made it up if you hadn't just read this whole thing. Seriously, imagine a fellow Tau player asking whether to take a Helios or Firestorm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Other Tau Player
So, burst cannon and missile pod, or maybe plasma rifle and fusion blaster?
Quote:
Originally Posted by You
At 12", a Helios suit is 63% more efficient than a Firestorm at 18"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Other Tau Player
Wha? Oh my... wait... what? *bows*
Terminators

"Fool!", I can hear you yell. "Terminators have a 2+ armor save! What hope can something that doesn't even pierce armor have against that?

Well, first of all, the Terminator's 2+ save is only 16% more protection than the 3+ save. The real point of lower armor saves is to prevent your armor from being pierced - indeed, the Ion Cannon, Sniper Drones, Vespids, et al are almost useless against Terminator armor. Ap 1/Massed fire, however, is not.

There is another consideration - the Terminator's invulnerable save. This makes the Ap 1/2 Fusion Blaster/Plasma Rifle much less effective. On a 5+ (33% of the time), they'll be up and running.

Oh dear.

What do we see? Compared to Marines, Firestorms will be 16% less effective ("killy") against Terminators (Due to the better armor save), while Helios suits will be 33% less effective (Due to the invulnerable).

This is important. Remember, before, the normalized average was 1 kill (Helios, per points) vs .6111 kills (Firestorm, per points). Now, multiply 1 by .6667 (That is, 1-(.3333)) and .6111 by .8334 (That is, 1-(.1666))

Results:

Against Terminators, a Helios suit gets .6667 kills per suit (per points, for lack of a better term) and a Firestorm gets .5093 kills per suit (per points).

BY THE ETHEREALS!

My poor fish brain hurts, what does it all mean?

Helios suits are, unsurprisingly, better than Firestorms at killing marines, about 63% better infact. Somewhat surprisingly, this margin decreases against Terminators. Helios are still better, just not by much.

When the gap is so close in pure, raw, unadultured killing power, we can start thinking about tactical considerations. (Remember, these numbers come from the Helios within 12" and the Firestorm within 18") What if there is cover? Helios would suffer immensely. What if the enemy doesn't deepstrike within 18" of your plasma and fusion? (Firestorms would be faster to get into range, hint hint wink wink)

What if you arn't playing marines? Those Helios suits sure look stupid, eh?

Commanders, consider your options well. May the Ethereals guide you. Kovash'Shi Shas!
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Old 02 Oct 2008, 22:27   #2 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
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Default Re: Helios vs Firestorm - Warning, mathhammer intensive!

So spill the creds for 3 Firestorms and leave 2 Helios at home.

I also like the increased volume of fire available against GEQ or Horde armies.
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Old 02 Oct 2008, 22:30   #3 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
 
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Default Re: Helios vs Firestorm - Warning, mathhammer intensive!

For an XV8 without access to wargear, a Helios (at 1.25 MEQ's) underperform's a Burning Eye (at 1.48 MEQ's). Further, the Burning Eye has lower variance and is more effective outside 12 inches. Burning Eye is 65 points, not 62, but the kills-per-hundred-points (2.016 vs 2.227) is still better for a Burning Eye.

For a Shas'el, a Helios (with TA) with 2.08 kills, or a Helios-6 (twin-link the plasma rifles) with 2.04 takes the cake. I prefer the range of a Helios-6.

Bodyguards or team leaders can be either BS-4 Helios, or BS-3 Helios-6. Both are about 1.67 kills, which beats the Burning Eye, and cost 72/75 (TL or Bodyguard) points, for 2.32 kills-per-hundred-points.

A Deathrain, at 53 points, kills 0.49 MEQ's a turn, for reference. But these are all numbers to be taken with the limitation of mathhammer: comparing a 36-inch-range vehicle killer to a 12-inch-range MEQ killer.
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Old 03 Oct 2008, 19:06   #4 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Helios vs Firestorm - Warning, mathhammer intensive!

Thanks for the mathhammer!
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Old 03 Oct 2008, 19:13   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Helios vs Firestorm - Warning, mathhammer intensive!

nice work

I'm willing to trade the 12-18 inch tactical consideration for the increased raw efficiency.
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Old 03 Oct 2008, 19:25   #6 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Helios vs Firestorm - Warning, mathhammer intensive!

See, knight actual, the idea here is to allow you to make that choice. The "raw" killing power is that - there's no guarentee that the Marines will allow you to even get within 12" of their lines. Sometimes they can be quite shooty.

I also want to make a point that Firestorms scale incredibly well. You can take a whole bucket of them and they'll just kill more. At higher point values, this is very useful.
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[url=http://forums.tauonline.org/index.php?topic=11198.0]Crisis Suit Theory, Army Composition, and why Fireknives suck - You've got to read this classic by T0nka
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Old 03 Oct 2008, 19:43   #7 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Helios vs Firestorm - Warning, mathhammer intensive!

my playstyle laves the tactics to me and the efficiency to the piece.

I'll handle the tactics - that's my job. I'll worry about the threats, ranges, and position.
My army will handle the actual shooting, that's their job.

I'd rather have my piece be slightly more finiky to use, but be more efficient once the finikiness is overcome.
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