Analysis of Khorne Berzerkers - Warhammer 40K Fantasy

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    Analysis of Khorne Berzerkers

    OK so I am VERY new to the last edition of 40K and to be honest I skipped most of the previous edition as well so I may be quite wrong in my math... if I am please let me know so I can adjust it accordingly. Usually when I game I play strictly by odds, kind of like blackjack, statistically you are more likely to come up on top. With that being said…

    I have been quite hesitant on including Khorne Zerkers in my army since they don’t have power weapons and a quick google search of the area tournaments confirms what has always been true of 40k, 75% + of armies are marines or marine derivatives (CSM, Marines, Blood Angeles or whatever). So like I did back when I use to play I usually crunch numbers based on fighting marines. I compared a 10 man unit of Zerkers to a 5 man basic Terminator squad and got these numbers (for some reason the chart wouldn’t post on the forum). Basically Zerkers got an 84 points per wound (p/w) number, even on the turn they charge they only have a 47.3 p/w. Terminators on the other hand have a 60 p/w and that isn’t factoring any shooting just a pure assault phase. I calculated this value by…

    (Point cost of unit)
    Divided by
    (group size) x (number of attacks per model) x (% chance to hit) x (%chance to wound) x (%chance to fail armour save)

    Basically how much a unit costs divided by how many marines it kills on average.
    It seems to me they are a poor choice since they don’t have power weapons. I am not saying that Termies are the right choice, I am just using them as an example but with Terminators as an example the inclusion of even a 5 point heavy flamer VASTLY makes up for the furious charge bonus where they only have a 56% increase in killing potential (from 2.5 marines to 4.4 on the charge). Its also important to note that the zerker squad is 60 points more, (40% increase from termies)
    Any comments/corrections? Preferably ones that aren’t subjective like “one time I had 10 zerkers kill 5 terminators and a Captain in the 3rd turn)
    Thanks

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    Last edited by boogieoompa; April 24th, 2010 at 03:15.

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  3. #2
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    My biggest comment would be... one is a troop choice that is able to be in a Rhino the other is an elite choice that is capable of only being in a land raider.

    I think comparing Berserker's to standard Chaos Space Marines, and Berserker's to other Noise Marines, Plauge Marines, Lesser Summoned troop choices over a period of combats might be more informative.

    Also if you are going to include - with charge it seems only fair that you make an with charge for both the with +1 A, and the terminators. Then possibly graph it all...

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    Zerkers hit on 3's against Vanilla Marines. And since they are I5 on the Charge, they strike before marines rather than simultaneously. Plus they can sweeping advance, and save points on a transport. Oh, and on the charge you forgot to add in the extra assault attack.

    Terminators are better for striking in off of Icons with Combiguns, or other shenanigans.

    Revised Data:

    Zerkers on the Assault:
    Attacks 40
    Hits: 26.4
    Wounds: 17.4
    Unsaved Wounds: 5.8

    And this is without a Fist Skullchamp, which is generally standard.

    With a FSC the numbers go to:

    Attacks 39
    Hits: 26 (2 Champ)
    Wounds: 17 (2 Champ)
    Unsaved Wounds: 5 S5, 2 S8

    tl;dr: Yes, they are worth it.

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    Good points, forgot about the +1 attack. To make things a little easier to compare I just reran the numbers with the +1 attack and for giggles gave the termies lightning claws (that way you are comparing 2 pure close combat units), note the terminators are still cheaper. In this case the Terminators do an average of 5.6 wounds and the Berzerkers, on the charge mind you, do 5.9, they still only do 2.5 when they are not charging. Granted they do have sweeping advance but the Terminators do have a 2+.

    My primary concern with fielding them however is... what if I dont get the charge (which is bound to happend). I do agree on their charge turn they are probably worth the points (note that the delta between the two groups would be HUGE if they were to attack eachother) but you cant always charge, even if you get 1 charge you might get counter charged. It seems like for being close combat crazies they lack a bit of a punch. Back in previous editions with the armour modifier I would definetly say they are worth having but since it is now all or nothing close combat weapons kind of scare me.

    Not trying to be argumentative or anything I just feel kind of torn for their point cost. Granted you can give them a champ and powerfist but that would raise their PC significanly and you can do an equivilant upgrade for the Termies that would cost less points and do more damage (say mark or Khorne).

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    Quote Originally Posted by boogieoompa View Post
    Good points, forgot about the +1 attack. To make things a little easier to compare I just reran the numbers with the +1 attack and for giggles gave the termies lightning claws (that way you are comparing 2 pure close combat units), note the terminators are still cheaper. In this case the Terminators do an average of 5.6 wounds and the Berzerkers, on the charge mind you, do 5.9, they still only do 2.5 when they are not charging. Granted they do have sweeping advance but the Terminators do have a 2+.

    My primary concern with fielding them however is... what if I dont get the charge (which is bound to happend). I do agree on their charge turn they are probably worth the points (note that the delta between the two groups would be HUGE if they were to attack eachother) but you cant always charge, even if you get 1 charge you might get counter charged. It seems like for being close combat crazies they lack a bit of a punch. Back in previous editions with the armour modifier I would definetly say they are worth having but since it is now all or nothing close combat weapons kind of scare me.

    Not trying to be argumentative or anything I just feel kind of torn for their point cost. Granted you can give them a champ and powerfist but that would raise their PC significanly and you can do an equivilant upgrade for the Termies that would cost less points and do more damage (say mark or Khorne).
    You won't get the charge with Termies either, unless you are using a Land Raider. Five Terminator Champions with the IoK and Double Claws is 280. With a Land Raider, they're 500.

    Those five champions get:
    30 attacks on the Assault
    15 hits on the assault
    11 wounds on the assault (counting the LC reroll)
    11 unsaved wounds

    For comparison, two units of Berserkers for around the same cost would get:
    78 attacks on the Assault
    55 hits on the Assault
    32 wounds on the assault (plus four fist wounds)
    11 unsaved wounds on the assault plus four unsavable S8 fist wounds.

    And berserkers are scoring.

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    Look, face it, berserker's roll a ton more dice! Everyone knows more dice = more fun.

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    Flawed logic

    1. You are comparing apples to oranges. Or more accurately knives to shotguns. These two units have entirely different roles. Terminators, WAAAAAY back when they came out, we meant to be the ultimate bad- er... bad-butts? or the galaxy. One could take out a squad by himself and was worth a ton of pts too. The game hame evolved since then and both his abilities and points have been deflated, but as a squad they are designed to take out regular space marines. They have the armor to withstand the bolters and power weapons to negate enemy armor. So you're telling me that a bunch of 150 pts termies (with tough armor, p weapons, shooting while stationary and deep strike) fight better than 210 pts of Berzerkers (bolt pistol. thats it. bolt pistols. No transport). Really? No surprise.

    2. Support. One unit is never really all that by itself. Units (usually) aren'y designed for the models to go wading into combat by themselves. 5 Termies have a huge weakness. They DS in and get shot to ribbons by every special weapon in LOS. Berzerkers without a rhino will get shot up by everything else before they make close combat. For your berzerkers to be do anything they need at least a turn without getting shot (read, RHINO) and then to be effective they need followup support, say from that winged demon prince or another squad of zerkers.

    3. Number crunching sucks. You lose flavor (just like a diet) when you get wrapped around numbers. I used to believe in number crunching as a way to filter out where to best spend my money (a valid point to someone on a TIGHT budget) but then I started having less fun playing. Everything was down to a system. Move here, deepstrike there. Shoot Shoot, charge. I realized when I was writing a guide on how to use my army that it wasn't fun any more; heck, I wasn't even necessary.

    4. Why settle? Take both. Know what works really well? Load Berzerkers into a Rhino, throw them at an enemy and then DeepStrike the Terminators onto the SkullChampion with a personal icon... Berzerkers get a messload of attacks to take down the ash and trash, while the terminators lend some umph to the mix.

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    As it was brought up before, Berzerkers are troops and Termies are elites so they play very different roles. If you don't field Berzerkers you're going to have to field one of our other troops which, if you're looking for CC units, do much worse in combat against marines than Berzerkers do. Yes, Termies get power weapons or lightning claws if you pay for them and Berzerkers only get one model with a power weapon or fist, but if you charge Berzerkers into combat with marines they will kill a bunch of models before even getting attacked, more than likely winning the combat and either killing the marines in a sweeping advance or at least staying in combat during the opponents turn, where if you charge Khorne termies into combat with marines, they strike at the same time so have a slightly higher risk of losing models and possibly the combat, and can't sweeping advace, so those marines that get away will re-group and get a chance to fire their weapons back at the termies along with the rest of the army.
    World Eaters: W-47 D-10 L-9
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    still, it was a nice bit of effort you put in.

    zerker champions do get power weapons too tho, im not sure if you factored that into your maths?, the zerkers also can penetrate armour 10 on the charge, which is a nice double function.

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    Thanks for the responses! So to try to keep everything objective here is what we get when we factor in the points above.
    1) Khorne Berzerkers NEED to have a champ with powerfist. Makes sense, ok so with that factored in on the charge the unit will do 8.1 wounds on average (champ does 2.78, squad does 5.3) that makes them, on the charge have a point per wound (p/w) of 30.8. On the turn they donít charge the unit will get 3.5 kills with a p/w of 60. This unit is 250 points and on the turn they charge, the average trooper has a 14.8% chance of killing a marine with an attack, while on the turn they donít charge they have an 8.3% chance of killing a marine per attack. This is a rather significant delta.

    Terminators with MoK and LC will do 7.5 wounds every single turn on average with a 37.5% chance of killing a marine with an attack. The squad is 230 points with a p/w of 30.7 every turn.

    So 7.5 kills every turn with a constant 30.7 p/w versus 8.1 kills on the charge only with a 30.8 p/w but if they DONíT charge this drops to 3.5 kills with a 60 p/w

    2) The initiative aspect I can see as having an effect. Particularly if the squad your attacking has a power fist but a normal marine only has a 4.2% chance of causing a wound to a terminator, the champion has a 27.8% chance of causing a wound with a fist, so with 2 attacks has a 55.6% chance of causing a wound which would greatly effect the following combat round.

    3)No Sweeping advance. So depending on their armament will get a few shots in the following round before they are charged again. I can definitely see this having an effect since the zerkers would have basically got a free move to go onto the next unit while the termies will probably have to recharge the same unit since most enemy units would have moved away from them after seeing the devastation caused to the first one.

    4)Getting to combat is significantly more difficult for the Termies especially with deep strike. Agreed but if you take a land raider, which is expense you also get another very solid heavy choice, I know many people take this even without the plan on really using it as a transport. Also even if they are deep struck in, say with the mark of Nurgle, I can easily see them making up their points by absorbing 75%+ of the enemies fire that one turn, giving your other troops a turn of repree. Not to say thatís the best tactic but itís a tactic I use to use.

    So basically between the two units

    Termies: Consistent killing power, equal to zerkers with champ and fist on the charge and over 2x better on non charge turn. 20 points cheaper. Difficult to deliver in combat if you are trying to use them for offence.

    Zerkers: Can sweep advance, on charge turn have higher initiative and can equal damage of Termies. Nice cheap rhino, but if its destroyed will get torn up far faster,

    After this discussion I can see how zerkers are probably a better choice primarily because of sweeping advance, actually 75% (made up that number) because of sweeping advance. I am still VERY scared about not getting the charge. As stated eariler I did not mean to imply that they are the best choice in the CSM arsenal but simply a better or atleast a respectable alternative. Does anyone else have any combos that they think can compete as an alternative (including heavy choices and HQ, being my army currently only has 1 HQ atm). I meant to bring this up becaue I have about 250 points I wanted to spend on some CC and wanted the most bang for my buck.

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