Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mark of the Raptors: Part II

This is the second and (probably) final part to the Mark of the Raptors series and follows directly on from part one.

Today we're going to get to the heart of the matter: how does dW change for different icons (in 5th ed.)?

Firstly, the near-trivial case of an icon of chaos glory. This one has no bearing on the outcome of a round of close combat -- it simply gives the raptors (a sometime very precious) second roll of the dice against fleeing. Let's have a look at the others.

This icon will ensure that the raptors strike before their imperial brothers (apart from the power fist equipped aspiring champion who'll still strike last).

Slaanesh Case 1: Baseline raptors.
Here, we have 10 raptors all hitting before the imperials. They'll cause 2.583 unsaved wounds on the imperials. So, we'll assume that the imperial sergeant is still around (worst luck!) after the raptors strike, but there are now only him and 6.417 ordinary marines left over. The total number of attacks from the imperials is therefore reduced to (2x6.417)+3 = 15.834. These will be expected to cause 1.320 unsaved wounds. Hence dW is increased from 0.833 to 1.218 (an increase of some 46%)

Slaanesh Case 2: Power fist.
This case reduces to 9 ordinary raptors hitting first on the charge, the imperials striking back, and then the power fist. The 9 raptors will inflict an average of 2.250 unsaved wounds on the imperials. Striking back (again, with the sergeant still alive), the imperials then inflict (2x6.75)+3 = 16.5 attacks that cause 1.375 wounds. The aspiring champion (whom we'll assume is still alive) causes an additional 1.250 unsaved wounds. The value of dW increases from 1.750 to 2.125 (21% increase) simply by having this icon.

Slaanesh Case 3: Lightning claws.
The 9 ordinary raptors are still striking first and causing 2.250 unsaved wounds. The aspiring champion also gets in on the act early here, causing an additional 1.500 unsaved wounds for a total of 3.75. The slightly bewildered looking marines then take their turn, with (2x5.25)+3 attacks that only cause 1.125 unsaved wounds. So, dW changes from 2.000 to 2.625 (a 31% increase).

Conclusion: The Slaaneshi icon works best with lightning claws.

More attacks must mean more damage! But how much more?

Khorne Case 1: Baseline raptors.
Here, all the combatants strike simultaneously. The imperials are still therefore inflicting 1.750 unsaved wounds after being charged. But now, the raptors are getting an impressive (9x4)+5 = 41 attacks. These will cause 10.25 wounds, of which 3.417 will go unsaved. Hence dW increases from 0.833 to 1.667 (a 100% increase and much better than with the Slaanesh icon.

Khorne Case 2: Power fist.
Again, 1.750 wounds from the imperials. The 9 ordinary raptors have 9x4 attacks on the charge enables them to cause 3 unsaved wounds. The aspiring champion then hits 2.0 times, causing 1.667 unsavable wounds. That makes dW increase from 1.750 to 2.917 (67% increase).

Khorne Case 3: Lightning claws.
All striking at the same time, the poor imperials are still only causing 1.750 unsaved wounds on the charging raptors. The ordinary raptors still give 3 unsaved wounds. But now, the lightning clawed aspiring champion dishes out 5 attack, of which 2.5 hit. That means 1.875 more unsaved wounds for a total of 4.875. Here, dW increases from 2.000 to 3.125 (or, 56%).

Conclusion: The Khornate icon works marginally better with lightning claws.

The action of a Nurgle icon is more subtle and changes the dynamics of the melee: the imperials find it tougher to wound the raptors -- from 50% probability to 33%.

Nurgle Case 1: Baseline raptors.
The Nurgle icon does nothing to affect the raptors wounding ability -- they still cause 2.583 unsaved wounds on the charge. But now, the imperials with 21 attacks will only be expected to cause 1.167 unsaved wounds in return. Hence dW goes up from 0.833 to 1.416 (70%).

Nurgle Case 2: Power fist.
Again, our raptors are causing 3.500 unsaved wounds and their opposition are inflicting 1.167 in exchange. So here, dW goes up from 1.750 to 2.333 (33%), making the Nurgle icon better than a Slaanesh icon.

Nurgle Case 3: Lightning claws.
Another simple case: the raptors cause 3.750 unsaved wounds in exchange of 1.167 from their counterparts. That increases dW from 2.00 to 2.583 (29%). That is almost as good as a Slaanesh icon!

Conclusion: The Nurgle icon works best with lightning claws. However, this really is not the reason that we'd want the nurgle icon: it is to increase the overall survivability of the raptors over the whole game, rather than just in close combat. So this analysis is only a small snippet of what this squad would be capable of enduring. In close combat it is the equal of a Slaanesh icon - this is perhaps the most surprising and over-looked consequence of this icon.

We have only considered a basic opposition whose aspiring champion loyalist counterpart is not equipped with anything fancy. The Tzeentch icon comes in to its own when trying to fend off attacks from such weaponry and other ranged ordnance that typically voids the power armour's save. As such, in this incomplete example, the Tzeentch icon will do nothing over and above the baseline.

Conclusion: a Tzeentch icon should be used with a purpose other than close combat in mind for the raptors, or in a pure Tzeentch army.

Summary and Final Thoughts.
I hope that you've followed most of the above and that I've got my sums correct. Let me know of any glaring errors - I'll be the first to admit that I do get things wrong and I'd like this posting to be accurate.

Clearly this analysis has been superficial and much more could have been done (e.g. considering upgrading the opposition's armaments; having smaller numbers of raptors against larger opposition numbers and generally tweaking my assumptions; thinking about what happens if the squad shoots before charging; or if the opposition rapid fires on them in the previous turn; and so on). There wasn't any real surprises in testing out my pre-conceived ideas that a Slaanesh icon goes with lightning claws and a Khorne one goes with either in general. But the real surprise to me was just how good the Nurgle icon is: it is almost the equal of the Slaanesh icon in close combat. On top of that, the Nurgle icon offers so much more in terms of survivability: that extra point of toughness is wonderful all through the game and not just in rounds of close combat; hence the points value.

I'll be modelling a Khorne icon on my raptor squad given that the aspiring champion is armed with a power fist.


RonSaikowski said...

That's alot of math my friend... and here I thought it was ok to just pick the coolest looking one and go with that.
I'm just kidding.

CrusherJoe said...

Thanks for doing the analysis AND for posting the results. I've never considered taking an Icon of Slaanesh simply because I didn't think it would make all that much difference (being a Khorne man, myself). It was surprising to learn what a difference that IoS really makes!

Hmm...maybe time to re-think a thing or two about icons/marks...

Lord Vampyre said...

Khorne Case 2: Power fist.

Shouldn't champion hit with two attacks now? 2 on base, 1 for charge and one for mark - 4 in total. 50% hits, so it's 2 hits and 1,667 wound.


jabberjabber said...

RE: Khorne Case 2: Power fist.

Very well spotted! That'll teach me to copy & paste from Slaanesh.

Strangely, dW was correct though.
I've updated the text.

Thank you very much for your keen eye - you have really helped me.

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