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Blasts vs Mathhammer


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#1
Fulkes

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I did this as a look into Eldar specifically and shared it over on Warhammer Competetive on reddit, but I feel it paints a picture most of us can appreciate, so I'm sharing it here as well:
 

I've been seeing a lot of talk about how blasts would impact Eldar, and I wasn't seeing anyone lay out numbers to back anything up, just a lot of conjecture about MSU being the best way to play from a wounds perspective.
So I crunched a bunch of numbers, did all the tested Aspect Warriors against the worst profiles for easy math, and came to a couple of conclusions:


  • While the 6-10 model range can't be shot less than 3 times from Blasts, on average anything that isn't D3 already shoots at least that many shots or more on average (ex: D6 averages 3 shots, 2d3 averages 4 shots). This means the floor is raised on the minimum number of shots we could expect, but it doesn't actually change the average when comparing our options. Making these units basically the same for mathhammer against anything that isn't D3.
     
  • The worst amount of damage from a single shooting attack (I'm counting double shooting Leman Russes as 1 shooting attack since they need to hit the same target both times) was 5.33 from the Wyvern against a unit of 20 Guardians standing in the open with no protection of any kind. The Wyvern makes back 35.53% of it's points in that round of shooting, hardly coming across as a real boogyman it's been claimed to be.
And while it's easy to argue that you could kill X, Y, or Z by applying buffs A, B, or C then we're looking at a larger investment to remove that unit, meaning the points invested only increase and the ROI continues to drop. Additionally any modifiers in the defending unit's favor (-1 to hit, +1 to their saves, re-roll failed saves) also make the unit harder to kill, often with less investment than it'd take to kill said unit (especially since the first two can be gained from terrain).
The tl;dr is that I just don't think blast weapons are as devastating as we've been lead to believe they are. They're better than 8th edition when aimed at the right targets, sure, but they're not exactly going to delete whole units a turn from a single volley like some seem to be implying.
And of course here's the data for those who want to see the numbers for themselves: https://docs.google....dit?usp=sharing

 


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#2
Fulkes

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So I need to give this an update because long story short, some of my math could have been better, and questions were raised about a point I made on reddit that small arms were better at killing hordes (and more efficient) than blasts:
 

This thread is a follow up to the one I started previously about Eldar and Blast weapons ( https://www.reddit.c...ldar_vs_blasts/ ).
Long story short so you don't need to read the old thread: some things were pointed out about the math which have been corrected (as was my oversight on Wyverns re-rolling wounds), and I've expanded the target units to include MSU Ork Boyz and Grots as well as both units maxed out to cover some more horde profiles so people can get a look at how this impacts units who don't live with a T3 profile.
 
The shooting profiles have also been expanded, plasma cannon devastators are now a whole unit to illustrate D3 weapons being employed in a more realistic manner against units of all sizes, and I've also added in 6 new shooting units: Tactical Marines with bolters, Primaris with Bolt Rifles, Guardsman. The Marines come in both MSU and 10 Astartes sized units, and the Guard will be shooting normally, and while buffed with FRFSRF (the points cost for the buffing officer being added in for the bottom chart). This is to highlight the efficeincy of regular units shooting hordes vs blasts to give a better picture of where blasts fall into the mix.
 
I do want to say that all math was done using an 8th edition calculator (http://40k.ghostlords.com/dice/ ) as no 9th edition ones currently exist, and I'll be honest I'm not going to spend weeks trying to make one in excel to get an idea about this topic, so all average attack numbers with D6 weapons were done manually for 6-10 man units (as well as the Basalisk due to it's "roll 2D6 and take the highest" rule for attacks), and the Dire Avengers saves are all done on the basis of the worst save to smooth things out when dealing with the mixed profile nature of the unit.
 
Finally the updated data: https://docs.google....dit?usp=sharing
So, after crunching, and re-crunching all the numbers, what do I think?
 
Well a couple of things: First there was only one instance of a single blast weapon wiping out half a squad on average, and it was against an MSU squad of Dire Avengers. To be fair, it was a Wyvern which averages 12 shots, so that's probably not too much of a shock.
 
Second, multiple blast weapons being fired at a target (such as the Devastators) was -far- more effective than any single blast weapon (or at least the ones I've seen touted more as the ones to be concerned about), and units like Marines and Guard were far more effective at dealing out wounds just by getting into rapid fire range than blast weapons against most targets. I could probably test out a no-rapid fire option for the units as well, but even if they're not as good we still have unbuffed squads doing more damage by getting close, something to be concerned about with smaller tables since that becomes far easier for them to do.
 
In actual game play I'd likely combine options (for example, a Whirlwind and an Intercessor squad at half range) to inflict the most casualties. Blasts to soften hordes (or even mid-sized units) first, followed by regular small arms to finish the job. This is because blasts are more effective against undamaged units, while the small arms don't care as much and can finish the job more efficiently.
 
As for list building, I'd have to say in most cases large units actually benefit you more. You become more resistant to any single shooting attack, and your buffs become more effective (especially important if your army doesn't rely on auras for your buffs, like Craftworlds who get most of their buffs via psychic powers and stratagems). The downside of course is debuffs are more efficient, and you give up slightly more casualties to any single blast weapon, or a whole lot more against units with multiple D3 blast weapons as they can keep getting the max number of attacks for a lot longer.
 
Long and short of it is that no individual blast weapon is going to break a horde, just give up slightly more casualties on average, and if your army leans into hordes get some games in with them before you decide to shelf the horde and go MSU, or even mid-sized units.


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#3
MegaVolt87

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I think it would be safe to assume there will be plenty of 2-3 CP stratagems that show up in 9th ed to soup up blast capability in new codexes/ campaign books. GW seems to favour a tame base set of rules then make them better via stratagems, the odd baked in unit special rule. 


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#4
Fulkes

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I think it would be safe to assume there will be plenty of 2-3 CP stratagems that show up in 9th ed to soup up blast capability in new codexes/ campaign books. GW seems to favour a tame base set of rules then make them better via stratagems, the odd baked in unit special rule. 

Not impossible. But even then you're buffing one unit for a cost, not the same as the claims that all hordes were going to be killed by all blasts.


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#5
chapter master 454

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One thing I note about blast is the oddity of how having multiple separate guns with blast is better than one with many goes of it. The prime example of this is a Thunderfire Cannon vs. 4 Plasma Cannon Devastators.

Both fire 4D3 shots but the difference is that the thunderfire cannon has a floor of 4 (so never benefiting from blast) where as the devastators floor is their ceiling of 12 shots against a squad of 6 models or more. Even a squad of 4 missile launchers floor out at 12 shots vs. Cluster Rocket system of a Stormsurge which floors at 4 shots (despite both being 4D6 shots).

 

This makes it that blast weapons that can be spammed being stronger than individual blast weapons. One insane example is if you have the grenade barrage stratagem from Imperial Guard get used, now you have 10D6 blast attacks (I know weak frag but still) which even again a 6 model squad hits 30 times minimum. 

If there is ever a buff to blast in the future, I hope to see it be that it treats each die individually instead of all together.


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I Chapter Master 454, Chapter Master of the Angels of Justice, Warboss of WAAAGH Gubskul, Commander of a Catachan Regiment, Phaeron of a Tomb World, Shas'O to a Cadre and Princeps of a lance of House Taranis hereby pledge that I will not take up any further models til all other prior have been fully built and painted to tabletop standards. There is no time limit for this task, there is no deadline. My oath is to solemnly complete the armies I have now, to see it that they can have their glory. Paint will be stripped from the old in need, thick may it be like ceramite I will see it removed so that plastic and metal alike may see light of new paint. Models yet to be, boxed and in darkness will be assembled with due care and attention. For this task I am permitted to still buy the supplies needed to do my task but not one model more.

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#6
Fulkes

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I don't think blasts need to change as we're emulating the old templates through putting a floor on the number of attacks. I have to double check the shooting rules, but it's possible each of those attack profiles should technically be rolled seperately as they would need to be resolved seperately, but I'm not 100% on that right now.

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#7
MegaVolt87

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I don't think blasts need to change as we're emulating the old templates through putting a floor on the number of attacks. I have to double check the shooting rules, but it's possible each of those attack profiles should technically be rolled seperately as they would need to be resolved seperately, but I'm not 100% on that right now.


Technically, I think they should be done separately as I read it, however I think people will just fast roll. If someone does that grenade barrage with IG example without fast rolling, surely someone will insist on fast rolling....
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#8
Fulkes

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It's probably worth enforcing if you think there is a chance that the unit in question doing the shooting will kill their way down put of getting their buffs.

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#9
chapter master 454

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I don't think blasts need to change as we're emulating the old templates through putting a floor on the number of attacks. I have to double check the shooting rules, but it's possible each of those attack profiles should technically be rolled seperately as they would need to be resolved seperately, but I'm not 100% on that right now.


Technically, I think they should be done separately as I read it, however I think people will just fast roll. If someone does that grenade barrage with IG example without fast rolling, surely someone will insist on fast rolling....

 

 

Edit: I am an idiot however I have found something of tangent note.

 

You can't dance between different weapons, so for example if you level 4 lascannons and 6 boltguns at an enemy unit and start with a lascannon, you must then resolve the other 3 lascannons before moving on to the boltguns. This applies to any weapon with the same characteristics as each other, as the rules state anyway. 


Edited by chapter master 454, 29 July 2020 - 01:49 AM.

I Chapter Master 454, Chapter Master of the Angels of Justice, Warboss of WAAAGH Gubskul, Commander of a Catachan Regiment, Phaeron of a Tomb World, Shas'O to a Cadre and Princeps of a lance of House Taranis hereby pledge that I will not take up any further models til all other prior have been fully built and painted to tabletop standards. There is no time limit for this task, there is no deadline. My oath is to solemnly complete the armies I have now, to see it that they can have their glory. Paint will be stripped from the old in need, thick may it be like ceramite I will see it removed so that plastic and metal alike may see light of new paint. Models yet to be, boxed and in darkness will be assembled with due care and attention. For this task I am permitted to still buy the supplies needed to do my task but not one model more.

http://www.bolterand...one-model-more/ the thread to my oath. My own reminder.

http://www.bolterand...rk-in-progress/ my own chapter
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#10
Fulkes

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Good to know. That'll be a wrinkle worth keeping track of!

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#11
BluejayJunior

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It's probably worth enforcing if you think there is a chance that the unit in question doing the shooting will kill their way down put of getting their buffs.

You can't kill yourself out of receving the benefits of Blast. At least not for a single unit. Even if a tactical squad kills a squad of 15 boyz down to 9 with their bolters, then fires their frag missile, the frag missile is still maxed out shots. Because you check for that when the targeting is done. 


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#12
Fulkes

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It's probably worth enforcing if you think there is a chance that the unit in question doing the shooting will kill their way down put of getting their buffs.

You can't kill yourself out of receving the benefits of Blast. At least not for a single unit. Even if a tactical squad kills a squad of 15 boyz down to 9 with their bolters, then fires their frag missile, the frag missile is still maxed out shots. Because you check for that when the targeting is done.
Good point. That would be the disadvantage of working on this before I had the book in hand.

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#13
jarms48

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Honestly, the Blast rule does need to be changed. It’s nowhere near as powerful as it was implied. It should be per dice roll, not per weapon. The minimum 3 shots should also trigger at 5 models rather than 6.

This would really help armies with weapons with 2D6, 3D6, etc. It would also help low BS armies like Orks and Guard deal with 5 model MSU’s.

#14
Alcyon

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I was trying to compare to Marines expecting Blast to matter more but I think you're exactly right. The classic scenario is Plasma Inceptors, and the best target for them would be something like Vanguard Veterans with Storm Shields. If you run 5 VVs then 5 Inceptors will kill them handily even without re-rolls just shooting 10d3 shots, and if you run 10 they won't quite wipe the squad but they'll still kill 8 which is pretty devastating. So you might as well run 6-8 since it basically makes no difference there.

 

Then I was going to argue Blast matters a lot more for D6 shot weapons where there's so much more variance available... but thinking about a Redemptor, usually you get 3.5 shots out of a Macro plasma incinerator which'll kill one Gravis model (or just under one BGV.) If you have Blast, you get 3+3+3+4+5+6/6=4 so an average of 4 shots, a half shot improvement. Not much, doesn't change the math really still just kills 1 Gravis or BGV albeit a little more reliably. Even the mighty Whirlwind Castellan, as you guys noted, 2d6 only converts to an average of 8 instead of 7 so really you get one additional hit.

 

Maybe it pays off against Orks or Tyranids where you can often get units larger than 10 models. In that case a unit like the Whirlwind, in its best situation, goes from killing 3.2 Termagants to killing 5.5. That's not bad but for 125 points you could also get 6 Intercessors with a Grenade Launcher and Auto Bolt Rifles which'd kill 7.6 even without the Blast keyword, though they do need LoS. Even worse, you could run 3 Aggressors with Boltstorm Gauntlets which'd kill 10.5 or 13.3 with Blast on their grenade launchers. 

 

So yeah, Blast is kind of a toothless boogeyman. Certainly I'll care less about its impact when picking squad sizes going forward.



#15
War Angel

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Cause it’s not meant to be a game ender for large units. It’s just a little more damage to a large blob.
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#16
Xenith

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Interesting discussion, and along the lines of my own experiences where Blast weapons are not really dominating the game as we were expecting. Even playing my Tyranids, I'm not really scared of them. I think part of this is that the D6 shot anti infantry weapons were somewhat pointed out of relevancy. 27/50 points for a missile launcher or Cyclone/typhoon is ridiculous, considering D3 shot weapons are more prevalent and get better bonuses from Blast: a D3 shot weapon gets max shots when shooting a unit with 6 or more, while a D6 shot weapon only gets max shots at 11+.

 

As such the weapons that benefit most are, I think, plasma inceptors (obviously) who jump from 20 shots to 30 shots going from 5 models to 6 models.


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#17
Spinsanity

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Interesting discussion, and along the lines of my own experiences where Blast weapons are not really dominating the game as we were expecting. Even playing my Tyranids, I'm not really scared of them. I think part of this is that the D6 shot anti infantry weapons were somewhat pointed out of relevancy. 27/50 points for a missile launcher or Cyclone/typhoon is ridiculous, considering D3 shot weapons are more prevalent and get better bonuses from Blast: a D3 shot weapon gets max shots when shooting a unit with 6 or more, while a D6 shot weapon only gets max shots at 11+.

As such the weapons that benefit most are, I think, plasma inceptors (obviously) who jump from 20 shots to 30 shots going from 5 models to 6 models.


The problem with the blast rules IMO is that they don’t really do much.

A D6 weapon shooting a unit that is 6-10 models strong only gets an extra .5 hits (from an average 3.5 to 4 hits), and gets a further 2 when shooting 11+ models. Unfortunately, .5 extra shots just isn’t enough of an advantage to make D6 shots weapon worth their price.
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#18
War Angel

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Interesting discussion, and along the lines of my own experiences where Blast weapons are not really dominating the game as we were expecting. Even playing my Tyranids, I'm not really scared of them. I think part of this is that the D6 shot anti infantry weapons were somewhat pointed out of relevancy. 27/50 points for a missile launcher or Cyclone/typhoon is ridiculous, considering D3 shot weapons are more prevalent and get better bonuses from Blast: a D3 shot weapon gets max shots when shooting a unit with 6 or more, while a D6 shot weapon only gets max shots at 11+.
As such the weapons that benefit most are, I think, plasma inceptors (obviously) who jump from 20 shots to 30 shots going from 5 models to 6 models.


The problem with the blast rules IMO is that they don’t really do much.
A D6 weapon shooting a unit that is 6-10 models strong only gets an extra .5 hits (from an average 3.5 to 4 hits), and gets a further 2 when shooting 11+ models. Unfortunately, .5 extra shots just isn’t enough of an advantage to make D6 shots weapon worth their price.
m

Yeah but what units usually have those numbers? Guard are always 6+, so your extra hit as basically a guaranteed extra kill.
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#19
Fulkes

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I had to argue a lot online that Blasts weren't the game breaker that people where claiming, so it's nice to see that experiance seems to have shown that they really don't break the curve like the initial fears said they would.


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