A Question of Balance…

For those of you who are unaware I have certain preferences……

No not those sort of preferences…gaming ones…..

I am the poster boy for shooting things to death from a good safe distance. The more shots the better as far as I’m concerned and if they’re high strength ones then all the better.

I adopt the principle that if I roll enough dice at you, then the soul destroying number of saves that I force you to make will mean that you’ll roll enough of the 3’s, 2’s or 1’s that I need to make your unit die.

However some people inconsiderately roll high…I know…what a bunch of bastards…

I have recently been on the unfortunate end of opponents steadfast refusal to roll low enough numbers so their stuff dies. So much in fact that I’m seriously considering dropping some ‘Torrent of Fire’ units from various of my lists in order to up my quantities of low AP shots as I’m reasonably sure that not allowing my opponent a saving throw at all should sort out that problem quite nicely.

Of course I could be over-reacting…

I’ll have to resort to a bit of Mathshammer now for which I apologise profusely,

As a Marine player (for much of the time at least) my weapon of choice for destroying light Transports and insta-killing Marines is the ever popular and bargain priced Missile Launcher.

Vs. Armour 11
Marine BS of 4 gives me a 0.67 chance of hitting, followed by a 0.335 chance of penetration which in turn gives me a 0.11 chance of leaving a pile of wreckage or a crater where the vehicle was. Of course vs. transports an immobilised result is generally pretty useful as well which ups the odds a bit. Those odds don’t sound particularly good but as I usually take 17 of them that’s somewhat mitigated, lol.

Vs. Power Armoured Marine.
The same 0.67 chance of hitting, but a nice 0.56 chance of killing the Marine in question dead as a coffin nail…

Now a Lascannon would have better odds of destroying the transport but exactly the same odds of killing the Marine. Alternatively a Plasma gun would be worse against the transport but again exactly as effective against the Marine*.

* Who’s probably feeling a bit victimised by now so we’ll leave him alone for a bit.

There are of course other factors involved. All the alternatives I’ve listed are more expensive in game terms and Plasma weapons have additional problems such as a shorter range and the danger of blowing your own arm off with it.

I also have a new problem thanks to the Grey Knight codex, namely Terminators.

Now I know Terminators aren’t exactly a new problem but they seemed to have fallen out of favour somewhat (apart from the ever popular Thunderhammer + Storm Shield ones) so I don’t have to deal with them that often and If I do there’s usually only five of the buggers. Now of course having to deal with twenty of them is not uncommon and thirty of them is also a distinct possibility.

Suddenly my Missile Launcher seems a tad like a peashooter,

Vs. Terminator Armour.
0.67 chance to hit, 0.11 chance of a dead Terminator.

Here the Lascannon would be a better option but as mentioned before it’s more than twice as expensive as a Missile Launcher. The Plasmagun would also be quite useful (The Terminator would obviously still get his invulnerable save but I’m happier waiting for a roll of 1, 2, 3 or 4 than a roll of 1) but it does involve me being a fair bit closer to the Terminator and his friends than I’d really like. Also packing enough Plasma into a unit to have a chance of killing all (or nearly all) of the enemy cuts down our unit options considerably as few have multiple Plasmagun options and additionally there’s the ever present issue of blowing yourself up.

Another issue I need to consider is that Missile Launchers have the option of firing Frag instead of Krak which gives me an additional bit of duality in the form of an anti-infantry weapon whereas I’m sure the Ork player can afford to lose the one guy a turn he’s losing from Lascannon fire 😉

Of course there’s still that possibility that I’m over-reacting…

Mathshammer and the reality of average numbers happening more often when your rolling a ton of dice mean for the most part that my ‘Torrent’ armies are still going to kill what I’m aiming out most of the time. It does however mean that on those occasions that Maths chooses to fail me I’m going to have particularly frustrating games.

The more astute of you will obviously have considered the option that I can take both torrent of fire units and low AP weapons on different units. This ties in neatly to what I’ve always maintained and that is that balanced armies are the best option for competitive play…The issue I’m having at the moment is working out just what the correct ‘balance’ of ‘torrent’ to low AP actually is…

Thoughts, comments and well reasoned objections to Mathshammer are (as usual) most welcome.

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