Thursday, December 9, 2010

Statistics: How Many Screamers of Tzeentch?

Screamers of Tzeentch are rightly thought of as flying melta bombs.  Hence the role that I have for screamers in my daemons army is to target enemy tanks, zoom quickly toward them and blow them in to scrap metal.  I don't intend for the screamers to survive this attempt in general for two reasons: they readily die to small arms fire, and even if they get to complete their task successfully, my experience is that they get caught up in the subsequent explosion of the tank they've just busted!  Hence they're something of a glass hammer in the same way that the flamers of Tzeentch are.

Tank Busting.
Let's suppose that they fly in to contact with a target vehicle.  They then use their warp jaws to plant a melta bomb.  In the case of a stationary vehicle, each screamer will plant one melta each.  For a moving vehicle, 2 screamers will be needed to statistically guarantee one melta bomb being planted.  And for a flat out vehicle, six will be needed.

For many vehicles, even a single melta bomb means a lot of trouble.  This is especially true for rear armour = 10 or 11 tanks like rhinos and similar.  I typically need about three successful meltas being planted to ensure a reasonably good chance of wrecking vehicles like rhinos (or better).  Hence, that's 3 screamers for stationary vehicles, or six for moving vehicles.  I won't even bother thinking about flat out vehicles from here on in as I reckon that would be a desperation move to try to target them with screamers.

Now let's add in a bit of jeopardy.  Consider 10 standard bolter shots coming in at the screamers, fired by BS=4 troops (i.e. space marines).  Of them, 6.67 hit, and 3.33 wound.  Half will be saved, resulting in 1.67 unsaved wounds.  Hence if the screamers are going to be taking incoming fire, we need to add and extra one or two to the squad to compensate.

Overall, I'd therefore suggest about 5 screamers for targeting stationary rhino-like vehicles, and about 7 or 8 for moving rhino-like vehicles.  Land raiders and necron monoliths are a different matter entirely!  I'd probably suggest up to doubling the number of recommended screamers for taking down land raiders.  But with the price for each screamer being somewhat above the average ork, I think the daemons player should think about alternative methods to down land raiders (e.g. through Heralds of Tzeentch, soul grinders, or greater daemons).

In the unlikely scenario the screamers survive, I will then use them to swoop in on objectives (depending on the game) to contest them.  Clearly this is a late turn gambit as they will readily fall to moderate close combat squads.  I recall a game against some Guard in a tournament some two years ago where Ogryns shot them up and ripped them to bits in the mid-game.  It wasn't pretty!


Atreides said...

again, i only partially agree. while screamers are useful against vehicles, i tend to use them more as last minute objective contesters. that 24 inch turbo boost is a real bonus.

as for numbers, i usually take two squads of three for the simple reason that they cost so little, but are still a threat. i can drop them out of sight and just wait.

jabberjabber said...

I tend to find with many forces able to deep strike (etc.) these days, a squad of three tends to be modestly easy kill points. But you're right -- they can be very cool at last minute objective contesting.

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