Tactical Command

Fliers and calculations
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Author:  Ronnie_Nielsen [ Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:13 am ]
Post subject:  Fliers and calculations

As discussed before I think that fliers are way out of balance (for some races more than other). It is something I would love to have adressed for gold (or next gold version) as gold is the netpic version used most widely (IMO).

I did some calculations of AA vs. fliers and it is quite horrifying how terrible AA is compared to the fliers. Please be aware of the numbers shown dont reflect the order of fire, distance, position etc. This is just heads up shooting.

For the calculation I choose to field 1200 points of AA vs 1200 points of fliers. For AA I picked eldar firestorm (which I believe is good AA option compared to others avaliable). For the fliers I picked fliers from different races (also to compare the strength of fliers for myself). I have picked the strongest fliers of the races shown.
The reason for 1200 is that is gives a round number of detachments for all the chosen fliers (and avoids decimals of fliers which would only confuse, even if the math is the same - so 1200 is only for ease of reading).

First I saw how many firestorms each flier would kill if they focused all their fire on the firestorms (pretend everything is visible and in range). All barages with range is assumed to cover only 1 model and barages with no range is disregarded (harridan has bombs that are disregarded). Ork bomber would also kill 1 of its own due to misfire but that has been taken into account. Also remember fliers get additional -1 TSM for "shoot the thin part":


If the firestorms fire back they hit all fliers equally well and would be able to kill a number of fliers depending on the save of each type of flier (and wounds+regenreration for harridan):


The stats are somewhat sad. Fliers are much more dangerous that AA even though AA is supposed to be a specific counter to fliers. Heads up the fliers would win that shooting match if evenly matched for points. The points of firestorms killed per point of flier killed (a cost ratio which reflects the ratio between their effectiveness to eleminate each other) is also abysmal:

Harridans 10,7
Ork Bombers 4,4
Marauder Destroyer 3,1
Eldar Vampire 1,9

Those numbers (especially the Harridan) shows that the stats vs. cost for fliers and AA are not in balance. They should be less than 1 if AA is superior to fliers in heads up shooting.

That said I know the argument will be that positioning is important and I argree, but fliers are easier to position than AA. Plus fliers benefit from -25 cm to enemy fire on top of that.
Next argument is that AA is on first fire so will shoot first and then kill fliers before they can shoot back. That is true, if the flier choose to move into the AA bubble. Still the kill ratio is so high the fliers will still win.

The harridan stats are terrifying with how hard they are to kill and their weapons (disregarding their bombs, infiltration, transport, synapse and hivemind cards).

I think that AA should outshoot fliers point for point. AA is something picked to counter fliers whereas flier weapons can affect everything equally.

P.S. I choose firestorm because I play eldar, but it is not a complaint about firestorms, but rather the imbalance between fliers and AA.

Author:  Ronnie_Nielsen [ Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fliers and calculations

Just to show an example that is easier to understand and that takes into account that the firestorms shoot first:

12 ork bombers fly over 8 firestorms to shoots them to bits (1200 points for each).

1. The firestorms shoot first with all 8 of them. They resolve 24 shots that hits on 4+. They get 12 hits.

2. The ork bombers have a 2+ save and are hit with -2 TMS weapons. They save on 4+. They save half the hits and 6 fliers are killed in the laser battery barrage

3. The 6 remaining ork bomber unload everything at the 8 firestorms. They shoots with:
6x kustom shoota fire (30 shoots with average rolls and 1 misfires) -hits on 5+ -10 hits with -1 TSM
6x rokits fire (average BP 6, one misfires) -hits on 4+ -2,5 hits with -1 TSM
6x big shoota fire -hits on 5+ -8 hits with -1 TSM
Total is 20,5 hits with -1 TSM (which becomes -2 TSM due to "shoot the thin part")

4. The Firestorms has a 3+ save which becomes a 5+ save due to the -2 TSM. 7 saves are rolled, which leaves 13 unsaved hits, enough to kills the firestorms 1,5 times over (in game that would be all the firestorms and then other targets afterwards)

End result is that the AA got totally wiped out by the filers with enough firepower left over to kill other units besides. In the following rounds the fliers are then free to roam the sky.


P.S. small correction on one number (13 hits unsaved, not 15 unsaved hits left) - Changes nothing really

Author:  MagnusIlluminus [ Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fliers and calculations

Wow, nice numbers. Good work on all that. Just a couple of quibbles. You are allocating shots & hits incorrectly. Well maybe, it is difficult to tell. You seem to be using all of the shots as one batch against the targets as a whole rather than selecting individual targets as the rules require. Doing this would fix (or skew) the results.

Specifically, while some players would put two shots on each Bomma, some would put more shots on fewer Bomma just to try to ensure that they go down. Statistically, you should also look at other result spreads. For example, with two shots at each of 12 Bomma, another result spread could be: four are missed twice, four are hit once and missed once, and four are hit twice. Thus four would have no chance of taking a hit, four would have a 50% chance, and four would have two 50% chances.

As to hits, it is likely that several times, the target of multiple hits will fail their first save, thus negating all subsequent hits on that model. Those hits are not re-allocated to different models, they are just wasted. Your method does not take that into account.

Also, you forgot about Morale. If the Bomma take 6 losses out of 12 models, at least two detachments will have to make Morale checks. Well, that of course depends on whether the Bomma are all part of the same or different Clans.

IMO you did not use the "most powerful" Ork Flyer. That being the Blasta Bomma. That one has a 1+ save and is a Super Heavy.

As a final note, you might want to rerun this using Points Formula values for the forces involved. I'm sure you will see a difference, mostly in the number of models involved.

Author:  Ronnie_Nielsen [ Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fliers and calculations

Yes, you are right I did not allocate the hits, I allowed all units, both fliers and AA to shoot effectively at each other. I also did not take into account that it takes 8 activations to use all AA, where it takes 4 activations to use all fliers.

But morale is not untill end of round so the fact that some fliers might break does not change that the AA is wiped out and the fliers have destroyes more than they are worth before having to roll for morale at end of turn.

The point of the exercise was to show how out of balance the AA is in regards to fliers. You purchase a unit specifically to counter another unit, yet point for point it is impossible to counter fliers (sometimes with a point to point factor that is insane (looking at you Harridan)).

Thanks for reading :)

P.S. ork bommers are point for point better than the blaster bomma. Granted a single blasta bomma is better than a bommer. But looking at firepower per point spent, the bommers are much better value and therefore I choose to use those.

Author:  MagnusIlluminus [ Sat Aug 06, 2016 2:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fliers and calculations

Good points. Yeah, Flyers are a bit broken as is. That is a known issue, but finding a solution that people can agree on has been difficult. While Gold will not be having any major changes, Platinum (or whatever) might change things.

Wait, you actually expect AA to be as good as Flyers? That could not happen. Heck, even in reality AA has never been as effective as Flyers are and in reality AA gun emplacements usually vastly outnumber the Flyers. It is unrealistic to expect a point-for-point equanimity between AA models and Flyer models, because they do different things.

On the other hand, I would expect that a platform specifically built to shoot down aircraft would have just as much armor on its top as on its sides, as it would be more likely to take hits there. What do other people think about that thought?

Unfortunately, the Points Formula values don't make anything better for this. The Ork Bomma mob dropped in value to 248 from Gold's value of 300 and the Eldar Firestorm increased to 155 from Gold value of 150. No help there.

I disagree with you on the relative value of the weapons on the two models. The Blasta has 4 shots at 50cm with -3 TSM. This outperforms everything on the Bomma. Sure, 3 Bomma get more shots than the 1 Blasta, but the Blasta is more likely to actually destroy any targets. Looking at Formula values:
Blasta Bomma _ _ _ _ Bomma
_ B.Kannon _ _ 32 _ _ Rokkitz __ 4.8
_ B.Shoota _ _ 12 _ _ K.Shoota _ 9.7
_ Bombz _ _ _ _ 8.3 _ B.Shoota _ 8
Totals _ _ _ _ 52.3 _ _ _ _ _ _ 22.5

Thus three Bomma (one Mob) would have a total weapons value of (2*22.5+22.5/3) = (45+7.5) = 52.5 if factoring for Break Point or (22.5*3) = 67.5 if ignoring that. Thus the Bomma do actually have a greater total value for their weapons, but not by a lot. I personally would not use the phrase "much better", but that is a personal value judgement I suppose.

For comparison, the Eldar Firestorm AA has a weapon value of 108.

The issue of Activations needed to use all of the AA is likely moot, as most likely they would Snap Fire the moment the Bomma entered range. Thus ignoring that for the simulation should be fine. How many the Bomma needed would depend on how many Clans they were attached to, but since the AA would likely be Snap Firing it is also moot.

Author:  Ronnie_Nielsen [ Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fliers and calculations

Thanks for the answer. Regarding the best ork flier we can disagree but unlimately it has little bearing on the essence of my post, so I will not comment further on that.

I dont want AA "to be as good as fliers", but I want them to be able to counter fliers with less point investment than the fliers cost.

If I believe my opponent will bring alot of fliers there should be an option where I take AA to effectively counter that. If he then dosent bring any fliers my AA will "useless" and I will be at a severe disadvantage but that okay, thats the challenge of composing the correct army.

If I play against an opponent I know will bring 1500 points worth of fliers every game, how do I counter that with the current system? Only the social contract keeps that from happening and that is a sign of an unhealthy balance of units. It would be a better game if units exsisted to punish lists that load up on one type of units (be that fliers, titans, super heavies etc.) and for everything unit type but fliers there exsists a counter in the game IMO.

If fliers are uncounterable, tournament games and cut throat games will devolve into lists with mostly fliers (which is the most effective).

An easy fix (but not drastic enough IMO) would be to say that any AA weapon has twice the number of listed attack dice against fliers and floaters only. So no exrta dice against titans and skimmers, but much better firepower against fliers/floaters.
That would still leave fliers with the same offensive potential as in the current system, only AA is able to effectively counter them point for point (except for a few fliers which would still win a straight up fight).
This change would only affect fliers and therefore not affect the balance of AA weapons in other situations at all.

Kind regards

Author:  MagnusIlluminus [ Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fliers and calculations

In a tournament, the TO can directly control that (should they want to) by limiting the number of Flyer formations that a player can bring, either by raw number of formations or by fraction of total cost.

Flyers are counter-able. Have your own Flyers to intercept and shoot down the enemy Flyers. Seriously, take some Flyers and wreak havoc on your foes like they have been doing to you. Or take an allied Squat force, consisting of Overlord Airships. Those can shoot at Flyers with impunity. You have options. If you don't like the existing options, use the Points Formula and build some new ones.

If AA was adjusted in that way, which is an interesting idea, it's cost would have to increase to account for the additional function. Not sure by how much, probably *1.1 (IE, +10%) as it affects so few target models. In other words, the AA ability would change from having a cost of *1.5 to a cost *1.6. As this would only adjust the cost of the weaponry and not the whole model, the increase to cost should be minimal.

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