Saturday, 22 January 2011

XV8's: A Study in Crazy

OK so earlier I said that non 3+ save armies should do crazy. They should bend what the opponent expects and play, in some ways, non-interactively.

If I had a pound for every time someone said "man JSJ is sick" well I'd have at least ten pounds...possibly substantially more. But why is it so good?

As readers will be aware my approach is to look at the detail of things. I want to know why things are good and I get there through examining the game on a low level, machine code stuff.

At the binary level shooting has a few fundamental rules. The one we're interested in is "the closer you are to getting spanked in hand to hand the better your shooting should be". Rapid Fire. Melta. Flamers. Generally weapons that are good at range are on vehicles, vulnerable troops or hideously efficient long fang packs.

So what if you got to cheat on that basic rule? Well XV8's do. You just jump into optimal range and then hop back out of optimal before your opponent gets to react. The price for this should be massive right? Wrong.

You suit is 25 points, naked as the dancing ladies in your dreams - a tassel perhaps thrown in. You get a lot for this. You get your guardsman stat line, which is about 5 points. S5, which we're going to call 2 points because its fairly useless here. T4 which is worth about 3 points. A wound that is at least 5 points. A sort of jump pack, which runs at least 10 points. And an incidental bump to a 3+ save which we don't especially care about. That is 25. Now add on fantastic weapon options and the ability to fire heavy weapons, thats a fair few right?

The other half of the cost is weapon systems. I'm going to say that the best by far is the 12 point Missile Pod. 2 shots S7 AP4, which might as well be AP6 for all we care. What it does is makes mince meat of tanks like Rhino's. The same rhino's the other guy is using for all his tactical play.

Aside here. 90% of 3+ save army tactics are in Rhino use, or Rhino like vehicle use. It's the ubiquitous lynchpin of strategy from 'drive, get out, shoot' to 'drive, get out, assault' through to the more complex 'form conga line for cover save purposes, get out, do stuff'. End aside.

Next up in weapons for me is a Burst Cannon. Mathammer dictates that one of these does more damage than a Plasma, on a marine even. I'll run you through it quick and dirty. 3 x 0.5 = 1.5 x 0.666 = 0.999 x 0.333 = 0.333 vs 2 x 0.5 = 1 x 0.833 = 0.833 x 1.0 = .833. Hang on a sec I seem to have forgotten to factor in two things - points paid and cover save. Cover Save means the plasma goes down to 0.415. Divide our .333 by the 12 points it costs is 0.0278 and our 0.415 by the 20 it costs for 0.0238. That's with the plasma in rapid fire, which you know is more dangerous than hopping in and out of 18" because its closer to having your face chewed off in assault or by return rapid fire.

Sensibly my fave is to pair these weapons and add in the ability to shoot both at the same time. Bending binary rules or what? 50 points per XV8. Don't bother with a leader upgrade, leave your shield drones at home. 150 points gets you 6 S7 AP 4 and 9 S5 AP5 shots.

As an aside I said I would talk about my second fave configuration. TL Flamer and Missile Pod in groups of one. This unit has three roles. First up mash other armies that rely on cover saves. Second tie things up in CC after plinking away with the Pod for a while. Third, and mostly, Deep Strike in through the Positional Relay when I'm fighting guard - who by the way you can't out shoot with Tau.


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