Monday, November 8, 2010

Statistics: How Many Fiends of Slaanesh?

Continuing the daemons codex review, today we turn to the Fiends of Slaanesh. Many daemon players swear by them and many opponents swear at them. Why is that? Let's have a closer look and address the question of how many fiends should a daemons player include in a squad?

What is it that I want to achieve with Fiends? Well, there's the anti-infantry role (obviously), the anti-tank role, the anti-monstrous creature role, the all round anti-other army role (almost joking), the hit and run role, and the moving fast to contest objectives role. I'm going to ignore that last point and take it for granted that you're going to move fiends quickly. That is one of their best points and one of the strongest reasons to field them. Combined with the hit and run rule, these guys can pose a problem for many opponents across the board.

I'm going to take my usual approach of setting them up against a squad of 10 marine. They will take a round of bolter fire before charging in to the squad (whose sergeant has a power fist, of course). The marines will hit on 3+, wound on 4+ and take a wound off a fiend on a failed 5+ save. That means an average of 2.22 wounds before the fiends get the charge off. That translates as one dead fiend. On the other hand, if the daemon player is worth his or her salt, they should take zero wounds on the way in due to their immense movement and charge range potential.

In melee, the fiends will strike first with a remarkable 6 attacks each. They will hit on 4+, wound on 3+ (rending on a 6) and the marines will make armour saves where appropriate. The results in 2 wounds, 0.5 of which will be rending.

The marines get a 3+ save against the 1.5 normal wounds, resulting in 1 wound caused in total per fiend. In exchange, they will suffer attacks from 8 regular marines (assuming the 9th regular marine perished rather than the sergeant), resulting in 4 hits, of which 2 will wound and 1.33 will stick. The power fist is likely to cause an additional 0.55 wounds. That's almost a dead fiend in exchange.

Therefore the fiends need to number more than 1 in a unit to win a combat...! Ten are needed for an alpha strike. But a few less than that is usually a good number. Dare I say that six(!) is about the right balance for this anti-infantry role. The fiends stand a good chance of killing plenty of marines and taking very few wounds in exchange. Don't forget to hit and run at the right moment once you're done!

With a strength of 5 and rending, the fiends can be very damaging to opposing tanks. They can penetrate AV=13 and glance AV=14 at best, so there's not a tank in the game that is invulnerable to their claws (at some level).

Below, I give a table of probabilities to glance and penetrate a given AV value, assuming that there's a single fiend that gets 6 attacks on the charge to the (non moving) vehicle.

AV=10: 6 hits, resulting in 1 glancing and 1 penetrating hit
AV=11: 6 hits, resulting in 1 penetrating hit
AV=12: 6 hits, resulting in 0.33 glancing and 0.66 penetrating hits
AV=13: 6 hits, resulting in 0.33 glancing and 0.33 penetrating hits
AV=14: 6 hits, resulting in 0.33 glancing hits

Of course, it is very unlikely that the fiends will go for stationary or immobile tanks. So the above values should be halved if the tanks have been moving (but not flat out). I wouldn't recommend targeting flat-out tanks unless it is near the end of the game.

So if I want to penetrate AV=13 that is moving, I will require 6 fiends. But since the fiends will target the rear armour of a tank, we're mostly looking at AV=10, 11 or 12. The chances of penetrating these tanks therefore increases, but again (and from play experience) 6 fiends is about right. And did I already mention that's a fluffy number to have?

Anti-Monstrous Creature.
The main problem with figuring out how good fiends are against monstrous creatures is what creature should I put them up against? With infantry, I like to consider marines as the opposition (and therefore assume that eldar and guard miniatures will be easier!). In the absence of a good and obvious choice, I elect to put them up against a daemon prince. This is because it appears in two codices and is probably more common than carnifexes. Trygons might also be a good alternative, but let's stick with daemon princes.

The two creatures strike simultaneously (I=5).
The daemon prince strikes on 3+, wounds on 3+ and the fiend has a save of 5+. From 4 attacks, the fiends will suffer 1.19 wounds.

The fiends hit on 4+ and wound on 3+. But let's be evil and say that it is a daemon prince of Nurgle with T=5. They now wound on 4+ (rending on 6). The prince has a 3+ save against normal attacks (assuming an iron hide for a daemon's codex daemon prince) and a 5+ save against rends.
From 6 attacks, 3 will hit. Of those 3, 1.5 will wound (0.5 rending). After taking saving throws, the prince suffers 0.67 wounds.

If the prince has 4 wounds, 5.97 fiends are required to take it out on an alpha strike (let's round that up to SIX!). About three will be needed to win the combat. So again, not only is 6 fluffy, but it also works against monsters!

Take six of them for flexibility: they can alpha strike a Nurgle daemon prince (and pose serious problems to other high toughness targets), they can penetrate tanks readily and they will easily win against standard marines. And six is fluffy.

And finally, none of the above assumes the unholy strength upgrade. Said upgrade will only improve the situation! Remember also that it is the sheer speed of these guys that can hurt opponents -- maximize this advantage!

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