Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Battle StingWings vs. Crisis Suits heats up!

A response came to me from Purgatus, a fellow blogger as follows: 
"That is most emphatically NOT a fact. When I am firing frag templates at a deep struck 3 man Crisis suit squad, I am getting at MOST 3 hits per template. Firing at a deep striking Stingwing (or any jump infantry) squad I can get MANY more hits at a time. I don't care if your are Space Marines with a 3+ armor save, unless you are rocking feel no pain you are going down. The only reason that Blood Angels can (kind of) get away with this is Feel No Pain and a Sparcity of Plasma Cannons in 5th edition armies.
It's like they Lash of Submissioned THEMSELVES, man."

My response got too long for a forum so I decided to respond here.

I know he is a fan of objectivity, so here is an attempt to expand on what we know.

Small blasts scatter.  Average scatter is 7"-4" = 3", so, and therefore you'll hit 3 per template on the average (or none at all) and get lucky 7's (dead on) once in a while too.

If he fires 6 Missiles into them and catches, lets say, 20 (7,3,7,3, Scatter, scatter)  he'll wound 10.  5 will die.  6 left. Gotta do it twice, right?  If you're the Tau General and not the Logan Wing general, are you fine with the Logan wing committing 12 Missiles to your StingWings (taking out the center Stingwings with each casualty, so 12 missiles may not even be enough)?  Maybe keeping your broadsides and tanks safe by giving up a StingWing unit is...fine if it redirects 12 missiles?

Now when firing at the crisis suits, you're Logan Wing are not firing blasts.  You’re firing krak.  1 shot, 1t giv kill, so it could take 8 missiles (probably less but lets be fair here) to do to Crisis Suits in cover what it takes 12 to do to the clumped StingWings in cover.  Which sounds better to the objective person?  Would an objective person change their opinion if someone reminded you that the StingWings will take out the center 3 casualties after the first hit?   The survivability difference here is dramatic.  In cover, the bolter advantage has already been addressed above.  Advantage StingWings there.

VacuumHammer might say you're right because in a vacuum there is no terrain to hide in for StingWings so lets look at that possibility.  Objectively, in the open, it will take you 6-7 missiles to kill the Stingwings.   It takes just 4 to kill Crisis suits in the open.  So both in the open and not in the open, StingWings survive better against Missiles according to an objective person.  Advantage StingWwings.

In the open, 19 Bolt shots and a melta will do effectively 4 wounds to a Crisis Unit.  Against StingWings, it will do 7 wounds.  Neither unit is dead, and both can still hurt the assailants.  However, the Stingwings are more likely to stand their ground (LD 9 vs. LD 8).  StingWings are also more likely to be able to limp to cover or an objective with their speed afterwards.  Objectively, which outcome do you prefer, given that nothing lives forever?  Maybe you'd say Crisis Suits because with wound allocation each suit could take one wound and only one would die.  That’s a very fair thing to say.  BUT....  then your suit kill ratio will change dramatically because the armaments did (we're assuming a FireKnife to get to the kill ratio we talked about) and the only changes could be to a lesser kill ratio.  So by playing allocation magic, you lose Marine killing power and the Stingwings rise up in value anyways.  So that's a no go there.

Let’s look at melee objectively too.  A Crisis unit on the charge does 3 wounds but go last so potentially less.   StingWings go first on the charge and do 3.66.  Advantage Stingwings again.  If the Stingwings lose, they are LD 9 and are therefore more likely to stand.  If they do not stand, then they are INIT 5 and are more likely to survive their escape.  Advantage StingWings. 

So in brief summary, if you want something to kill Marines, the Tau have nothing that can do it as well  as StingWings and I think I'm being objective!  Both units played to their strengths, the Crisis Suits are only very fractionally better killers, at the cost of survivability, lesser melee ability, LD and speed.  Templates are the bane of StingWings and are the one thing that can really make the survivability issue swing the other way.  Templates, not blasts, are the real enemy; but StingWings will get their chance before that happens.

That means if you have broadsides, and the means to protect them, there really is no better role for Crisis suits than as anti-horde units.  They are the most cost effective anti-horde answer you have and they work WELL, a mere 39 points for a TL Flamer+Burst Cannon with a great delivery system.  Ideal for the job.  Take the points you save switching their role and spend it on something awesome.  A 132 point Crisis unit vs. 186 FireKnife gives you a lot of points to spend without losing the utility you wanted, because Vespids can do it for you.  That puts the Crisis unit in the best possible position to impact a battle.  And flamers can deal out pretty good damage too in groups, yes?  Absolutely!

Friday, September 23, 2011

VacuumHammer and Stingwings

So I want to talk about VacuumHammer. 

VacuumHammer is when you try to compare one unit to another as if they are acting in a vacuum and conclude that it is better because it can, for example, do more in combat.  A prime example that has earned WIDE acceptance is the Tau Empire StingWings.  Most do not select StingWings.  A StingWing, on the surface is a 16 point model that at 186 points for a full unit, kills 3.67 space Marines and promptly gets blasted out of existence by anything remotely combat capable, or just shot to death with no saves allowed. 

All of that would be true statements in a vacuum.  They would further point out to you that a 186 point Crisis unit (Plasma + Meltas) can kill, at that range, 3.75 Marines in a vacuum and then would have 3+ saves to protect them afterwards.  In a vacuum the choice is clear right?

What’s not clear is that the Crisis suits only have 3-6 wounds (depending on Powerfist or melta shots on them in retaliation) to give in melee or shooting, their leadership is worse, and the Crisis Suit speed is much worse.  Also overlooked is that StingWings always drop into woods since they will almost certainly survive it thanks to their abilities.  So to shoot the StingWings dead would require about 66 Bolter shots from a marine Squad!!!  To kill the 3 Crisis suits. Assuming no meltas which I feel is generous, would require 54.

A Vacuum ignores also that the Pathfinders will be making those Stingwings kill 6.11 and the Crisis units would kill 6.25; and the Vacuum ignores the idea that in both the case of the StingWing and the Crisis suit, the unit they are shooting may become PINNED and unable to charge ANYWAYS!  If that happens, who would you rather still have alive to do that twice?  A really fast unit that can get there and takes more wounds to kill?  Or the one with better killing range and tank busting power, albeit easier to kill?  What if you face both a horde and a mech army at tournies?  Then what?

Vacuums ignore terrain too.  DO you want a unit that can jump over offending terrain as needed or do you want the slower guys?  If the terrain is wide open, you probably want a crisis suit…unless the enemy has a lot of AP 3in which case…

So who wins?  Stingwings?  Crisis Suits? 

Can you see my point?  The VacuumHammer player probably stops thinking right after you say “StingWings”.

That’s why this ideal of “optimizing lists”, while it has validity on some level, really falls apart when someone whose a good General puts disparate pieces together to form a stronger whole.  MSU armies rely on this to some extent but they suffer in KP missions.  So the balancing act is tenuous.

I exhort those reading not to fall into the trap of being a VacuumHammer planner.  Armies like the Tau have proven to me time and again that inferior stat blocks simply require you to think differently, not to despair.  We do not play in a vacuum.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


In the beginning there was paper, but God created Electrons and he saw that they were good and so he created Blogs, that we might find an outlet for our thoughts and that likeminded people might find reason for duiscussion on those words.  And thus was workplace boredom quenched.

Welcome Interneighbors to a blog dedicated to that which is improbable, but yet effective.  In other words, Unorthodoxy.  My style of Warhammer gaming has often been said to be Unorthodox and "no noe can make the things you do work".  Well, I think you're all a little smarter than that.  So I am giving you the benefit of the doubt and putting this blog here as a monument to the tactica, list building and unusual takes on the usual suspects in the 40K world.

Blogs are meant to be agreed with, debated and despised but as long as you read, I don't care which one you choose.  So begins the Genesis of what I hope will be an informative place to put my crazy lists that could "never work" and the crazy tactics that I like that "will never work".  People can say what they like while I'm standing in the victory circle.  It won't hurt my feelings any. 

This blog will be enjoyed by those who don't have a completely dismissive attitude towards "non-optimal" builds.  It will be enoyed by creative Generals who don't feel that sacrificing a unit here or there for the ultimate victory is a good thing.  It will be enjoyed by those who just like the style of writing I have.  Who knows.  There's even the outside chance I might be able to add to your existing knowledge.  Or not.

So settle in and enjoy.  I will be eagerly looking forward to your responses.