Statistical Musings on Shooty EC (Sonic Blasters) - Warhammer 40K Fantasy
 

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JORMAGI's Avatar
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    Statistical Musings on Shooty EC (Sonic Blasters)

    I have often wondered about the poor reputation that the sonic blaster has among members of the forum. I see them, then I compare them to the Grey Knights my friend plays quite sucessfully, and I wonder why similar tactics couldn't work for Emporers Children. Now that said I may play such EC in the future, but I do not currently play any such army in the present. I present math and speculation, not experience. I am curious to see how people react to my musings.


    Offensivly the sonic blaster equipted marine yeilds about 2-3 times the firepower of a standard marine in a medium ranged firefight for 71% greater point cost.

    case 1: firing stationary vs meq targets: 6 sonic blaster vs 10 bolters (points come very close)
    sonic: 18 shots, 12 hits, 6 wounds, 2 kills
    bolters: 10 shots, 6.67 hits, 3.33 wounds, 1.11 kills
    sonic blasters are about 2 times as effective killing units for the points than the standard bolter.

    case 2: firing stationary vs light targets (t 3 5+ save or worse): 6 sonic blaster vs 10 bolters
    sonic: 18 shots, 12 hits, 8 wounds/kills
    bolters: 10 shots, 6.67 hits, 4.44 wounds/kills
    again nearly 2 times as effectve per point.

    Now the first two cases failed to take into accout the addition of special/heavy weapons.
    suppose we put near optimal heavy/special weapons onto the squads: for the sonic squad we give them a plasma gun, and a blastmaster, for the standard we give a pair of plasma guns. (the assumption is that we want to maintain the squads ability to move and shoot, and maximize firepower at medium-close range)

    case 3: same as 1, but new with specials added:
    sonic squad: total 2.26
    sonic: 12 shots, 8 hits, 4 wounds 1.33 kills
    plasma: 1 shots, .67 hits, .56 wounds/kills
    blastmaster: 1 shot 1.33 hits* 1.11 wounds .37 kills *assuming 1 full 2 partial on blast

    normal: total: 2
    bolters 8 shots, 5.33 hits, 2.66 wounds, .89 kills
    plasma: 2 shots, 1.33 hits, 1.11 wounds/kills

    agaist meq's things are much closer only a slight edge for the EC.

    Case 4: same as 2 with special/heavies:
    sonic squad: total 7
    sonic: 12 shots, 8 hits, 5.33 wounds/kills
    plasma: 1 shot, .67 hits, .56 wounds/kills (not upgrading to plasma would have been superior here)
    blastmaster: 1 shot 1.33 hits* 1.11 wound/kills *assuming 1 full 2 partial on blast

    normal: total: 4.66
    bolters 8 shots, 5.33 hits, 3.55 wound/kills
    plasma: 2 shots, 1.33 hits, 1.11 wounds/kills

    EC still prove clearly superior here.

    Now for the final case pitting the squads against each other. For this case I will assume that the other squad got the first shot (as that's already been calculated.)

    Case 5
    Sonic Squad: down 2 men: total: 1.6
    sonic: 6 shots, 4 hits, 2 wounds, .67 kills
    plasma: 1 shot, .67 hits, .56 wounds/kills
    blastmaster: 1 shot 1.33 hits* 1.11 wounds .37 kills *assuming 1 full 2 partial on blast

    Normal Squad: down 2 men: total: 1.78
    bolters: 6 shots, 4 hits, 2 wounds, .67 kills
    plasma: 2 shots, 1.33 hits, 1.11 wounds/kills

    Normal marines keep their killing power better through casulties because the killing power is focused on a few models rather than spread more evenly through the squad.

    Now this is the offensive considerations. EC are more mobile, can get a first turn strike on opponents with shooting, and have higher damage per point, conversly they are more fragile, and have less wounds to start with, and have a sharper drop off in damage capacity from subsiquent turns taking damage.

    I conclude that sonic blasters are worth the points, and do not deserve the bad rep I observe here on the forums, however they are more difficult to utilize properly, and require greater tactical skill to take advantage of their strenghts and minimize their weaknesses.

    I'm aware I've left out a lot of considerations in my stats, but this was ment to be a quick overview not an exaustive study. We could look at mobility/firepower at medium range (wich favors EC), we can look at straight up short ranged firepower. (wich favors the Normal Marines), the added cost of deploying squads in favorable ways, other effects of the models besides shooting (CC & leadership), all to get a bigger picture, but this seems like a good starting place.

    Votewar MKV 2nd place. . .

    Back from internet limbo, and glad to be here.

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  3. #2
    Sadomachiatto Karmoon's Avatar
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    I wonder what Giant Mantis has to say about this.
    He seems to be experienced with his EC army, yet quite.. bitter about sonic blasters
    Stats wise, I agree they look really cool, they can really help give an extra edge against enemies like the Tau who might take advantage of a bolters 12" kill range.
    Fantastic work Jormagi!
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  4. #3
    Son of LO The_Giant_Mantis's Avatar
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    Yeah..

    I've never done the maths. Unless the maths is very simple, I tend to rely on my own experience rather than the statistics. Statistics can't factor in every element of the battle, there is your ability to use the unit, your opponents inclination to target it, etc. I can safely say that, with all these things taken into account, my general impression is that the sonic blasters in my army (at least on regular emperor's children squads) have never done anything for me other than concede a lot of points to my opponent, generally early in the game. With the exception of abseloute beginners, almost everyone I've played understands that sonic blaster marines cost as much as thousand sons, and are much more fragile. Thus, they tend to get reaped early in the game.

    Does this mean sonic blasters are useless? Nope.. It could just be that I can't use them, or the opponents I've been playing against know to target them early. All I know is that I'm not going to include them, and I wouldn't advise anyone else to do so.

    Perhaps it's ironic, but if I wasn't playing Emperor's children (or if I wasn't so stubborn about getting free champions,) I might be more tempted to. The trouble with sonic blasters is the lack of ablative wounds. Realistically, in a 6 man squad, ablative wounds will seriously cost you firepower, and a 12 man squad is far too big for any degree of usefulness, in my opinion. If I were to field sonic blasters, I would field an 8 man squad with 5 blasters, a blastmaster, and two ablative wound marines.

    The real problem though is just one of efficiency. I can take a unit of noise marines equipped for cc and know they have a reasonable chance of making up their points. They're a brilliant option and a bargain for what they can do.. When you're paying for the mark of slannesh which you're unlikely to use the effects of, and a sonic blaster, the end result is, I feel, far less points efficient. While they may not be bad, there's a much better choice available.

    On bikes and terminators, I think sonic blasters are a steal though. I don't take them, but I feel I'm a bit stupid and lazy for not doing so. They're abseloutely great in this capacity.

    It may surprise you all to know that my bitterness comes from the fact that I started out trying to build a shooty Emperor's Children army. That went down the pan very, very quickly. EC can outshoot other marines.. send them up against guard, tau, shooty eldar, they'll die, and if you've built your army to dominate shooting, you will seldom, if ever, be able to beat these armies, because they do it better.
    Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; June 1st, 2006 at 12:49.

  5. #4
    Senior Member JORMAGI's Avatar
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    Well my evaluation of the stats is that if you're going to go with them, you should go all out, and make them most of the army. That way your mobile firepower is so withering that they have a hard time responding to you. It's one thing for a squad of 6 to kill 2.25 men, it's another for 6 squads each doing it, and killing the opponent's squads before they have the chance to respond properly.
    Just a few here and there are not going to have, and keep the vollum of firepower needed to get the job done.
    Of course I wasn't detracting from the slaanesh CC squad setup, I was just musing and thinking that this setup would probably work too as a whole army setup.
    Votewar MKV 2nd place. . .

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  6. #5
    Now with STFU flames! Caluin's Avatar
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    The problem is that while their long range fire power is quite a bit more considerable, their short range fire power is not.

    Take a squad moving/firing at the 12 inch range. Both units come out exactly the same, with the exception that the Noise Marines are now free to charge if they wish. Of course, that's not advisable, since you have 24 point marines with only 1 attack a piece in close combat...

    Quote Originally Posted by JORMAGI
    Now this is the offensive considerations. EC are more mobile, can get a first turn strike on opponents with shooting, and have higher damage per point, conversly they are more fragile, and have less wounds to start with, and have a sharper drop off in damage capacity from subsiquent turns taking damage.
    I think that sums up everything quite nicely. They're excellent investments, if you can keep them safe. That's often hard to do, however. Every single casualty hurts Noise Marines, since each casualty in a favoured unit is 17% of their over all firepower.

    Personally, I think Sonic Blasters belong on certain units only. Bikers and Terminators should always have them, since they may always fire to full effect. Regular troopers shouldn't since they make for better Close Combat units than shooting. Not only are they cheaper that way, they can make use of their inherent initiative bonus.


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    My take on sonic blasters.

    I did the math when starting my EC army and I used to be all abous sonic blasters. Untill i played a 2K game a while back with 4ish shooty units. After losing horrably i realized that my average points per piece of plastic was in the low 40's (including tanks and IC's). This is excessivly too high.

    To sum up my take on sonic blasters. At 24" standing still 1 noise marine can do what 3 regular marines can. But 3 regular marines can take 3 times the punishment. Also at 27pts per model with infiltrate they are quite quite expensive.

    One thing i love about sonic blasters... they can defenatly unleash a furry of fire on anything on turn 1. Move rhino, jump out and light em up at 24"

    The next list im trying in 2K is going to have its going to be more balanced.
    2x Ranged squads,
    2x close combat squads
    2x squads of daemonettes.

    I think that sonic blaster squads have their place but not a full army of them.

  8. #7
    Son of LO The_Giant_Mantis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JORMAGI
    It's one thing for a squad of 6 to kill 2.25 men, it's another for 6 squads each doing it, and killing the opponent's squads before they have the chance to respond properly.
    True.. but between them those 6 squads will cost you about 1000 points already. This means your opponent gets 1000 points of probably more redundant stuff which he can afford to lose.

    I don't think Emperor's children can ever win the shooting game against a real shooting army. They just don't have the stamina. A guard army can lose squad after squad and keep fighting.. Emperor's children with sonic blasters feel the pain whenever a man dies.

    Again, they aren't useless, and I think you guys have done a good job at highlighting the strengths. But I dislike them, and I will never equip a basic squad with them again except to test out a new tactic or to try and find out where I've been going wrong.

    The blastmaster on the other hand is an amazing weapon which I will happily drool over for days. My advice, if you want shooting elements, take havoc squads with blastmasters. Expensive, sure, but they'll be able to keep a safe distance, meaning they aren't going to be sliced up by plasma guns or massed bolter fire with nearly the same ease.
    Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; June 2nd, 2006 at 00:16.

  9. #8
    Member Greg's Avatar
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    Hmm
    I factored this in when building my army and I field one unit in a 1000 pt army, to provide long range backup to my normal cc units. I keep the unit at a distance and use sonic blasters x 5 and a blastmaster to hammer units whilst my two or so cc units move in with bolter or bolt pistols. (or even my dread if I'm feeling suicidal or mean)
    this works well for me. but equiping a whole army has got to be to expensive to be realistic, I know I sure can't afford it
    Like mantis I learned this the hard way when an entire unit was cleaned up in the first battle against someone nearly a third my age. it hurt and hurt bad now I keep them as a back support unit. alongside my havocs.

  10. #9
    Senior Member JORMAGI's Avatar
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    Ya but go with a bare minimum shooty marine they'll cost Xpts. These guys can easily be outmanuvered & outshot a squad at a time (I should know that's how I usually lost in the old days vs my friends Daemonhunters

    Give a squad locomotion and that raises the price by Y, the amout dependant on the type of locomotion.

    So you take X+Y to make your squad more effective. That closes the gap in durability between Shooty EC and more standard Marines. If they don't take it, well the EC can outmanuver them easily. Sonic Blaster Marines don't need transports/infiltrate. They have the range and manuverability to hoof it just fine.

    I appreciate your comments, and I am taking them seriously. But I am still convinced that sonic blaster marines can be made to work. Not easily, but it can be done.
    Votewar MKV 2nd place. . .

    Back from internet limbo, and glad to be here.

  11. #10
    Son of LO The_Giant_Mantis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JORMAGI
    I appreciate your comments, and I am taking them seriously. But I am still convinced that sonic blaster marines can be made to work. Not easily, but it can be done.
    As I said, I'm sure they can.. Greg and Lackofabettername both sound like they've found ways to make them work for them. Ultimately, the Emperor's Children list is a balanced and integrated one, with the ability to make lots of different units work together and balance your own style of play.

    Shooting heavy is certainly one of the hardest ways to play, in my opinion, and I couldn't play it. I don't want to be constantly praying to the dice gods to spare my troops. However, I fully invite you to proove me wrong by making an effective shooting army, because I'm not denying it can be done. It's not going to be an easy army to play though.
    Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; June 2nd, 2006 at 01:56.

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