Thursday, October 28, 2010

Statistics: How Many Plaguebearers?

Today, I'll continue my examination of lesser daemon statistics by having a closer look at Nurgle's tallymen: the plaguebearers. They are one of my favourite units in a mixed daemons army list and I don't usually leave home without them.But what do I want my plaguebearers to achieve in a typical mixed daemons army list? Well, they're certainly not there to get their points back through close combat with opposition units. I use them in two primary roles:
(a) Objective securing;
(b) Tar-pitting opposing units (and monstrous creatures).

Before we get in to it, I will also note that I use plaguebearers to hold chaos icons in my mixed army lists given their survivability and have long ago concluded that they're the only lesser daemons that are worth while taking a chaos instrument for. That can also make for some neat wound allocation shenannigans, but I won't get in to that!

Objective Grabbing.
Usually, I will sit a unit of plaguebearers on an objective (if it is an objective game), hunker down and sit there for the entire game. Perhaps some other units might deep strike off their icon to support them; perhaps not. I will usually aim to place an icon in a piece of terrain as well, so they'll get approximately a 4+ cover save.

Let's assume that they get 10 incoming shots per turn. How many plaguebearers do I need for a 5, 6, or 7 turn game so that at least 1 of them survives (statistically)?

We'll assume the shots are from marines (hitting on 3+) and wounding on 5+ (thanks to the daemons high toughness rating). For 10 shots, there are 2.22 wounds resulting.

Their cover save means 1.11 wounds stick and the feel no pain special rule reduces that down even further to 0.55 wounds. Hence over 5 or 6 game turns, there are approximately 3 daemons sent back to the warp. Four in a 7 turn game. Hence I could get away with a minimum sized squad if I believed that they would be mostly left alone apart from a puny 10 bolter rounds per turn!

Let's have a look at the other role I have for them -- tar-pitting other units. What do I mean by tar-pitting? Simply making sure that other units are in close combat with the plaguebearers and not attending to other units that might be better targets for shooting (etc.).

We'll assume that the situation is that I want to tie-up 10 space marines in close combat for most of the game (thereby keeping them away from objectives and preventing them from shooting my more fragile daemonettes or bloodletters). One of the marines is a sergeant with a power fist.

Given that the plaguebearers enter play via deep-strike, we'll assume that they take some incoming firepower from the marines. This will result in approximately 1 plaguebearer heading back to the warp (give or take a little margin of error).

The marines strike first, hitting on 4+ and wounding on 5+ (with 2 attacks each, let's assume). If the plaguebearers charged in, they will take 3.33 wounds, of which 1.11 stick after their saves and feel-no-pain rolls. In return, the plaguebearers will hit and wound on 4+ (with re-rolls to wound due to poisoned attacks). For every plaguebearer, that results in 0.25 unsaved wounds on the charge. The sergeant with the power fist will then cause 1.11 wounds of which 0.74 stick. So, the plaguebearers need to number at least 8 strong to get better than even odds of a draw (which my instrument of chaos then means I'll convert in to a won close combat). Add in a few extras to survive the incoming fire, and about 9 or 10 plaguebearers will be needed. This number again feels about right from play experience.


CounterFett said...

I really am digging this series. I love actual examination of why to pick things the way we do, rather than "This is that god's favorite number" or "This many come in a box."

Keep this style of article coming, it's really helpful.

jabberjabber said...

Glad that you're enjoying this series CounterFett -- thanks for the encouragement!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Sequestered Industries