Author Topic: 8th Edition Mathhammer #1 - The Wraithknight  (Read 1121 times)

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Online Odras

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8th Edition Mathhammer #1 - The Wraithknight
« on: June 14, 2017, 11:56:58 PM »
I have heard a lot of opinions on the wraithknight in 8th edition ranging from it's completely useless now / never take it to how it is amazing so I decided to do the first of my mathhammer articles on the wraithknight.

I would like to thank The Mattler, who did the previous mathhammer articles that I really enjoyed reading. (Yes I am one of those people that likes doing maths and even reading about other peoples maths) I would also like to thank Neil Phillips for the spreadsheet that he did calculating the damage output of weapons against a large variety of targets. He did an amazing job including a large number of intricacies of different scenarios and special rules which made my job determining points efficiency much easier. (I found his spreadsheet over on 3++ is the new black forums / articles)

Points totals for anything have been removed to prevent any copyright issues.

Probability and that one time my squad of dire avengers took 20 wounds off an imperial knight
When I have talked about this kind of stuff with friends and/or randoms at my local game store, I have often been told that I am breaking the game by looking at it in this way and that there is no point because when you roll dice random random things happen. The Mattler in his previous articles explained exactly how I feel about it and why I do it.
I play the Eldar faction for its fluff and model range, but I can't use them in a game without understanding the rules.  Every rule in 40k can be reduced to a number, and 'psychology' is often a euphemism for exploiting another player's ignorance of probability.
Much like in the previous Mathhammer articles here, I am finding averages. This does not mean that these are the results that will always happen, but over a large number of games they give an indication of a units general performance. There is still most certainly an element of skill involved in playing the game and memorising these numbers or taking a perfectly optimised list according to these number will not automatically win you the game.

If you are interested more in probability distributions rather than the averages, have a look at the website The author there writes quite a few very insightful articles looking at probability distributions of units. His one on the wraithcannons vs the forgeworld melta cannon wraithknights was one of my favourites. At the time of writing he has not written any 8th edition articles, but given that the edition is not officially out yet I do expect there to be some coming.

  • As with previous mathhammer articles I am biased towards writing all comer lists as I am very rarely in a situation where I am writing a list to combat a specific opponent.
  • My calculations are based on Neil Phillips spreadsheet, which I have not done a thorough validity check on. I have assumed however that it is accurate due to it being used in quite a few other articles as well across multiple factions and by multiple people.
  • D6 are 3.5
  • D3 are 2
  • 2D6 pick the highest as 4.5
  • Weapons with multiple damage on targets with a single wound are accounted for appropriately, as in that multiple damage is effectively wasted
  • All calculations are done assuming the wraithknights are at peak functionality still, ie. no degradation of their stats has occurred. I don't have an image but I did check what happens when the weapons go to hitting on a 4+ or even a 5+ as the knight takes damage, and while it obviously reduces the damage output the differences between the weapons remain the same and the weapons that did better with 3+ to hit still do better all the way up to 5+ (If anyone is interested I can post the numbers)
I probably should have written this list out as I was doing the analysis rather than after. If there are any comments on how something has been done feel free to ask and I will update.

Note: There was an error found in the spreadsheet I used with D6 damage weapons, I have corrected for this error.

Interesting Note on Wraithknight Melee Weapons
As I first started this analysis I was a bit unsure on how to handle the sword wraithknight, and how to compare that accurately to the stomp (Titanic Feet) attack and the Titanic Wraithbone Fists of the gun wraithknight. I am still not sure this is the best method so if anyone has any better suggestions I can go back and revisit that.

Interesting note: In all cases I modelled, using the titanic wraithbone fists was worse than using the Titanic Feel stomp attack. Keep that in mind when fighting with your wraithknight, even against things such as Imperial knights or land raiders it is better to use the Titanic Feet instead of Fists.

In quite a few cases too, notably against anything T4 or below, and against some things that have invunerable saves Titanic Feet is better than using the ghostglaive.

To more accurately understand what you are paying for when you pay for the sword, I calculated the damage output of both the sword, the fists and the feet and in the situations where the sword was better I used the difference between using the sword and titanic feet as the damage output from the sword, since when buying the sword you are paying for that improvement to your melee capabilities. In the cases where the sword was not better than using titanic feet I treated the sword as having 0 damage output because the sword is offering no improvement over the other wraithknights in those cases.

The stats were taken directly from Neil Phillips spreadsheet to account for a large numbers of possible targets and to provide a representation all of the possible targets in the game. Targets not chosen here can either be accurately represented by one of the targets here, or can be interpolated between one of the targets here. The table outlines what each target is as follows:
Armour Save
Number of Wounds
Invulnerable Save

I have uploaded my results to imgur because I can't find a way to upload either images or spreadsheets here and formatting the large tables directly is too hard.

The first image is the offensive efficiency of the wraithknight and the second image is the defensive effeciency. In the first image the top half of it is the damage output of each of the weapons that can possible be equipped on a wraithknight. The numbers for the ranged weapons come directly from Neil Phillips spreadsheet while the melee weapons are ones I have calculated using his spreadsheet.

The second half of the first image is the important part, these are the points cost of dealing one wound (on average) to a given target. Lower numbers are better here.

On the second image, the top half of the image is the points cost inflicted by firing each of the given weapons once at each of the targets. Again lower numbers are better here. These numbers are calculated using the damage output numbers from Neil Phillips imperial weapons spreadsheet against targets that are representative of a wraithknight either with or without a scattershield.

The bottom half of the second image is the differences between the best option defensively and the other options.

In all calculations a green highlighted cell indicates the best option in the row / column, and a blue cell is one that is pretty good but not the best and I will probably touch on in my conclusions.

The following acronyms are used:
WKHW - Wraithknight Heavy Wraithcannon
WKSC - Wraithknight Suncannon
WKGG - Wraithknight Ghostglaive
ShC - Shuriken Cannon
SL - Scatter Laser
StC - Starcannon
GG - Ghostglaive

Interestingly the starcannon seems to be the best secondary weapon to put on the wraithknight which is not what I expected given that when looking at the heavy weapons themselves the star cannon is too expensive and is it is better covered by the cheaper shuriken cannons or brightlances for heavy tanks and monsters. Against all but T3 and T4 with low armour saves the star cannon is better.

When it comes to the wraithknights primary weapons, as expected, and even given how I treated the sword in my analysis, it is the best weapon for destroying high toughness targets with good armour saves such as lemon russ tanks and land raiders. This is about where the benifits of the sword end though, in all other cases the performance is better by either the sun cannon or the heavy wraithcannon and when looking at the numbers for the heavy wraithcannons against the same targets there is so little difference that the downside of having to reach melee range is not worth it. Sadly, given how awesome the model for it is, at the moment there is no reason to bring the sword.

When comparing the offensive efficiency of the heavy wraithcannon and the suncannon a valid argument could be made for either. I believe that the heavy wraithcannons are the way to go, the increase in number of shots for each of these from 1 shot each to two shots each has done wonders for this weapon. Interestingly the heavy wraithcannons are better than the suncannon against light vehicles, which is one of the targets the suncannon was touted as excelling against. The suncannon is better against multiple lower toughness targets and targets with high invunerable saves where the higher number of shots is all that matters. Eldar still have plenty of other firepower within their army to deal with the lower toughness higher model count targets so I think a wraithknights firepower is wasted there and therefore the heavy wraithcannons are the way to go.

The downside of the heavy wraithcannons though comes when you consider the defensive efficiency of the wraithknight. As expected the best wraithknight defensively is the cheapest one with a scattershield, which is the ghostglaive and shuriken cannons. Interestingly when comparing these numbers to the numbers The Mattler generated last edition, it appears the wraithknight has increased in defensive efficiency against nearly all weapons. In general it has become easier to wound (everything can wound it and no more FNP) but the massive increase in wounds more than compensates for this, even with weapons doing more than 1 damage per wound.

To give some context to these numbers we can convert them into a number of shooting attacks required to kill the wraithknight.

Weapons:                  Lascannon        Grav Cannon w Amp        Meltagun (Half Range)

With Scattershield:        23.14                        24                                20.25
Without:                       18.51                        16                                 16.2

As can be seen especially with the grav cannon, where it takes 50% more shooting attacks to kill the knight with scattershield it is a reasonable loss in defensive efficiency.

Overall this reinforces the fact that there is a decent argument for both the suncannon or the heavy wraithcannons, depending on what you are looking for in your army. Star cannons are the way to go for the secondary weapon options.

I plan to update this article when the rules for the forgeworld wraithknights are released.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 10:25:08 PM by Odras »

Offline DCannon4Life

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Re: 8th Edition Mathhammer #1 - The Wraithknight
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2017, 10:02:54 PM »
Good work!
First, you must learn Balance. --Miyagi

Offline WildCandy

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Re: 8th Edition Mathhammer #1 - The Wraithknight
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2017, 04:35:59 AM »
Excellent breakdown!