Author Topic: Dire Avengers should cost **13pts**...and here's why :)  (Read 1586 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline The Mattler

  • Brother Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 260
    • View Profile
Dire Avengers should cost **13pts**...and here's why :)
« on: July 21, 2017, 06:13:54 PM »
I like most of the changes in 8th edition so far, both in the core rules and the Indices, but points costs continue to be a concern.  I am currently evaluating all of the Eldar units for the degree to which their performance matches their points cost, and I thought I'd share a simple process that can help make it easier to determine appropriate points costs, as well as change them if necessary.  I've already sent all of this in an email to GW, but I wanted to post it here to get your feedback, and in case it helps the veterans of 40k Online with an efforts to submit their own balance suggestions to GW (which seems to be a work in progress right now).  I'll start with a few simple assumptions about the game, then dive right into an example of how to apply the method.

Theory and Assumptions
Game length: The number of battle rounds in 40k is generally capped at 7, but it's not that simple; in games with random length, 100% last at least 5 turns, 67% last at least 6 turns, and 33% last 7 turns.  In this exercise, I am assuming that games last 6 turns.
Expected Casualties: I think it's fair to say that most players want games with lots of casualties, so let's set the target at 100% casualties by the end of the 6th battle round.  In reality, we will fall short of that target because not all units will be able to apply their damage with perfect efficiency, and variability in dice rolls would cause fluctuations anyway.
Appropriate Damage: The two considerations above imply that a given unit should be able to average 1/6 of its own points value in casualties to its preferred target per round using its best attack, for an average total of 100% by the end of a game.

Case Study #1: Marines vs. Marines – Baseline Calibration
Let the Marine balancing be the benchmark for the rest of the game.
Let the points cost of a Marine be *arbitrarily* set to 13pts [Irisado, please leave it alone. ;)]. Gotta start somewhere...
At 24”, a Boltgun kills 1/9 Marines per round, so in 6 rounds they kill 6/9 Marines.  If those Marines are 13pts, that means per Boltgun 8.67pts of Marines are killed per game (new abbreviation: points killed/ game = PKG).  At 12”, double that number to 17.33.
If we assume that each Marine will only be in Rapid Fire range half the time, the average is (drumroll…) 13, which strongly implies that GW is already following the same logic as this exercise so far.  If the game we’re just regular Marines shooting each other, the game would be pretty well balanced, apart from the turn structure causing large “alpha strike” problems in which large numbers of models are killed before they get to act.  Alternating actions on a unit (or preferably, points) basis would go a long way to fix those problems, but I digress…

If you want to equip a model with a more powerful weapon with a more consistent range on a more maneuverable body, how much weaker would you have to make its defenses, or how much more expensive in points, to make it balanced with the Marines described above?

Case Study #2: Building a Dire Avenger – 1st Iteration (13pts)
(I chose 13pts as the starting point because I wanted to change the stats before seeing how far those changes would force me to deviate from the Marine points costs.)
At 18”, an Avenger Shuriken Catapult kills 1/3 Marines per round, so in 6 rounds it kills 2 Marines.  If those Marines are 13pts, that means an Avenger Shuriken Catapult has a PKG against Marines of 26.  That's crazy high compared to the Boltgun, so the Dire Avengers must be some combination of flimsy and/or expensive compared to Marines to make the shootout balanced.
At 24”, a Boltgun kills 2/9 Dire Avengers per round, so in 6 rounds it kills 4/3 Dire Avengers.  If those Dire Avengers are 13pts, that means per Boltgun 17.33 pts of Dire Avengers are killed per game.  At 12”, double that number to 34.67.  Again, take the average assuming Rapid Fire half the time, yielding 26 PKG.

If you have two units of the same type each other in battle, and assuming they are both intended to have the same preferred targets (in this case, each other), you want their PKGs with respect to each other to be similar.  It won't be exact, as we shall see, but they must be close in order to consider the fight “fair”.  If you don't want to change a unit's stats for thematic reasons, you must change the points cost.  CAUTION: adjusting a unit's points cost affects both its offensive and defensive efficiencies, so be careful and systematic! Fortunately for us, though, at 13pts apiece, the Marines and the Dire Avengers are balanced against each other, but let's take a look at some other factors anyway.

 First, models with lesser armour saves are disproportionately affected by even modest AP because it represents a larger fraction of save negation, and models with lower toughness are disproportionately affected by stronger weapons because they become easier to wound more quickly as weapon strength increases.  Second, models with a larger gap between the offensive efficiency of their best attack mode and other attack mode (e.g., between shooting and melee) have an exploitable weakness.  Third, other abilities of a model that have a substantial effect on the offense or defense must be taken into account.  In our present example of Marines vs. Dire Avengers, the Marines have the upper hand on these “tiebreaker” considerations; their better toughness and saves buffer them against weapon escalation, their melee performance is closer to their shooting than is the case with the Dire Avengers, and they suffer less additional attrition from failed Morale tests.  Don't get me wrong, the Dire Avengers have advantages too, such as their relative mobility acting as both an offensive and defensive boost, they have more accurate Overwatch, and their Avenger Shuriken Catapults lose much less efficiency against tougher targets compared to the Marine Boltguns.  The advantages the Dire Avengers enjoy are more situational than those of the Marines, but their maneuverability in particular prevents the Marines from maximizing their own efficiency, so 13pts is still appropriate for both models.

Final Thoughts
Since everything is now in a wounds/toughness/save system in which all units can split fire, the entire game can be balanced from a single base model, the Tactical Space Marine.  There are other considerations for the larger models of course, which will probably end up being more tuned for performance against each other than against typical infantry, but that's not too tough as long as stronger weapons tend to have fewer shots and inflict more sounds instead of having more shots. I'm particularly encouraged by how the various Indices show that there appears to be an array of archetypal profiles for, e.g., transports, heavy tanks, light vehicles, heavy infantry, monsters, etc., which are then tweaked according to faction.  That's a great way to smooth out some of the variability in quality when multiple designers are all working on separate Codices later.

If you have any questions or comments about my methodology, or if you spot any mistakes, let me know.  Regardless, I hope this has been a useful exercise for you! :)
« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 02:11:36 PM by The Mattler »

Online DCannon4Life

  • Grand Master
  • *
  • Posts: 984
    • View Profile
Re: Dire Avengers should cost **13pts**...and here's why :)
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2017, 06:35:17 PM »
Mattler, great work on this. I'm confident that we can expect Dire Avenger point costs to come down when they get their codex. Take Space Marine Inceptors as an example: their cost came down 15 points compare to what they were in the index.

First, you must learn Balance. --Miyagi

Offline The Mattler

  • Brother Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 260
    • View Profile
Re: Dire Avengers should cost **13pts**...and here's why :)
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2017, 10:39:56 PM »
SeekingOne on 40kOnline brought the Lanchester square formulas to my attention, which allow you to instantly find the equilibrium point between two units fighting each other.  You probably still have to make adjustments for various abilities that have more subtle effects, but it's a great start.  SeekingOne's explanation is here:

Offline Shadenuat

  • Initiate
  • *
  • Posts: 25
    • View Profile
Re: Dire Avengers should cost **13pts**...and here's why :)
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2017, 02:31:23 AM »
How about calculating what price actually Serpents should have when compared to Vypers/War Walkers or vise versa?

Offline Odras

  • Battle Brother
  • *
  • Posts: 93
    • View Profile
Re: Dire Avengers should cost **13pts**...and here's why :)
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2017, 07:28:40 PM »
Great post! It is interesting to see, I have been trying to work out whether our good units are undercosted or our bad units are over costed.

Offline Angelic

  • Corsair of Yriel's Eldritch Raiders
  • Supporter
  • *
  • Posts: 2217
    • View Profile
Re: Dire Avengers should cost **13pts**...and here's why :)
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2017, 06:42:22 PM »
I have to wonder if GW really gets into this level of mathematical detail when trying to calculate unit cost. It doesn't seem like a stretch of the imagination. Great work on this, I've always been impressed by you Mathhammer guys taking things to the nth degree (at least in my eyes).
The Dance Without End Begins..

Offline mcphro

  • Primarch
  • *
  • Posts: 1445
    • View Profile
Re: Dire Avengers should cost **13pts**...and here's why :)
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2017, 01:21:01 AM »
Absolutey.... good job dude.

One of the considerations ive often thought about is the cost to by x weapon platform vs cost/ survivability of said platform (I note any unit is a platform).

An example is a Missile launcher. Given the Eldar circumstances nowdays, I think the Eldar missile launcher is one of our more versitile weapon systems given it can fire in 2 modes. It can be antitank, or is can be Anti-infantry.

But there are a number of ways to take that weapon.

Guardian squads
War Walkers
I also include Dark Reaper squads.


If you wanted to "maximise" the number of Missile weapons in an army, but also have the best survivability, what would be the best option?

6 x Dark reaper squads? + Wave serpents?

***the idea is simply to start shooting at one vehicle till its dead... and move onto the next.

I ask this partially because a) we have taken a hit... and b) in our meta one of the more powerful armies is a Dark Eldar army, and between blasters, Ravagers etc etc It is a very good army and im thinking of ways to counter it. DE Dark lances are assault so with the movement of the vehicle they have 48 inches to shoot. Eldar Bright lances are HEAVY... how unfair is that!

an idea... 2000 points. Basically 2 spearhead detachments:

6 x Dark Reapers with a missile launcher for exarch

6 x Falcons with Spirit stones.

- When deploying you only have 6 models to place... your going first almost always - unless they seize.
- If you go first 5 out or 6 times, then turn one, you get out of the vehicles and you shoot your bum off. If all weapons fire, your looking at:

From Falcons
12 Str 8 Pulse laser shots
6 Str 8 Missile shots

From Dark Reapers
6 Str 8 Missile Shots
12 Str 8 Reaper shots.

An Alpha strike of 36 Str 8 Shots doing either 3 or D6 damage. At BS 3, 24 will hit, vs T7 Vehicles 16 should wound - 10 should get through at least night shields (+5 inv), doing upto 30 ish damage.


« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 01:48:51 AM by mcphro »