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A bit of statistics... Thanks to Excel :-)
Let's see, I take a standard squad of 10 bolter marines. I take an identical number of points in gaunts. I calculate the average statistical result of combats, always assuming that the gaunts charge...
Case 1) Standard Hormies (15 of them)
1a) Marines can Rapid fire before combat
8.52 Marines will survive.
1b) Marines can single fire before combat
6.21 marines will survive.
1c) Marines can not fire before combat
2.45 Gaunts will survive.
So, with standard Hormagaunts, unless you can prevent the Space Marines from shooting at all, the Hormagaunts are definitely at a disadvantage... If the Hormagaunts reach the Marines uncathed, they just barely win after a very long CC.
Case 2) Toxin Sac Gaunts (13 of them)
2a) Rapid Fire
8.75 Marines survive. The lower resilience of the brood proves catastrophical in this case.
2b) One shot
6.01 Marines Survive. A bit better than standard.
2c) No fire
4.64 Gaunts Survive
These fare a bit better, in case they do not get hit by a lot of fire before CC ensues. But again, the Gaunts ONLY have an advantage if they do not get hit by fire.
Case 3) AG(WS) Hormagaunts (14)
3a) Rapid Fire
8.51 Marines Survive.
3b) One Shot
5.65 Marines Survive
3c) No shots
5.35 Gaunts Survive.
The best Gaunts so far! In all ases, the result is better than with previous Hormagaunts. But once more, our little guys are extremely vulnerable to fire.
Case 4) AG(I) Hormagaunts (14 of them)
4a) Rapid Fire
8.85 Marines Survive. The worst so far. Inititaive seems useless if only a small number reach the enemy.
4b) One Shot
6.54 Marines Survive. Again the worst result. Worse than standards.
4c) No shots
4.38 Gaunts Survive. Hmm...
So then, why use the (I) Glands? They are worse than the other upgrades! And unless they do not get fired upon by their target, the Initiative advantage doesn't outweigh the cost (and hence less Gaunts) either.
One more case, adding the two better Upgrades together.
Case 5) Toxin Sac / AG(WS) Gaunts (ONLY 12 of them)
5a) Rapid Fire
8.88 Marines survive! Then again, only 3.11 Gaunts made combat in these case...
5b) One Shot
5.61 Marines Survive. Best result ever!
5c) No shots
5.59 Gaunts Survive.
Conclusion? If you're up against Marines, the Initiative Upgrade is basically worthless. The effect, with small squads, is negligeable since the Gaunts just don't kill enough Marines per turn to have a significant impact on how many hit back.
The BEST upgrade is the WS upgrade, which allows a good addition in the number of hits against the marines, and that pays off, even when you get fired upon before (due to the relatively low price).
IF you are a good general and there will be a lot of terrain, so you can have the Hormies charge without being fired upon, then the combination of WS Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs is even better...
So then, how come so many people tend to play with Hormagaunts that have only the Initiative upgrade??
Frist, hormies should never be rapid-fired upon, since you have a 19-24" charge range and rapidfire only has a 18" range.
Second, why do you go from counting the numbers of marines surviving for shooting then, counting the number of gaunts surviving? or should those last be marines surviving?
Also, i would like to know where your numbers came from, because i'm getting drastically different ones.
One last thing, Warhammer 40k, like life isn't fair. You NEVER want to engage the opponent on a level playing field. As such, hormies never go in unsupported. That marine squad usually has sustained casualties from shooting and will also probably sustain more casualties from the other broods that charge in (such as leaping warriors with rending). Add all this together and you get a very complex mathimatical system that I for one, do not go near.
Last edited by dymew; August 26th, 2005 at 19:12.
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So many people use the I upgrade only because no one fields equal numbers of points of gaunts vs marines. Those statistics are all well and good, but my gaunt squads are 20 strong. All you've done is prove that point for point, Marines are better than Hormagaunts. Marines are better point for point vs almost every other troop choice in the game.
1) RF. Combat ends with 3.63 Marines surviving
2) SF. Combat ends with 9.25 Gaunts surviving
3) No Fire. Combat ends with 16.69 Gaunts surviving.
It's not even points wise, but it's what you are most likely going to see on the battlefield.
Last edited by Gojiratoho; August 26th, 2005 at 19:31.
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Yes indeed, Hormagaunts should not get double-tapped, our charge ranges are huge enough for that I agree. Also the calculations show that getting Rapid Fired upon is a disaster for any kinf of Hormagaunts anyway.
When it says Marines surviving, this means that after X rounds of combat, there simply aren't any Gaunts left. When it says Gaunts surviving, then the Marines were eradicated.
I did the calculations in Excel, and I think they are correct. I just double-checked a couple of my cases with the Close Combat Calculator on
and it seems to agree with me.
In all cases, if equal points of Hormagaunts reach CC with Marines, the Hormagaunts will venetually kill the marines. If the marines get to fire before that (even on long range), the Hormagaunts will loose eventually. In ALL cases the Initiative Upgrade is the least rewarding one versus Marines. And the WS one, lowering our To Hit rolls is the best...
Yet I see many armies where the Hormies have only the Initiative Upgrade, and statistically, against Power Armoured foes, it doesn't make sense.
Since diverse Marine types seem to be the most common foes, I therefore think that Hormagaunts should come in two flavours only: WS upgraded, or WS and Toxin Sacs.
Hmmm I'll redo the exercise against Eldar some time and see what it gives...
Oh and indeed, WH40K is more complicated than this simple exercise. But it does give me an indication which upgrade may be more effective.
BTW, you mentioned that Horms usually come in groups of 20?
I used that calculator for 220 points of Hormagaunts against 9 marines plus a power fist sergeant. So those marines are getting overwhelmed, but the results are:
Basic Gaunts: 134 points survive
Inits: 154 points survive
WS's: 142 points survive
Toxins: 131 points survive
Hmmm interesting... For smaller broods, Initiative is a lot less rewarding than for bigger broods. This is more complicated than I thought!
Last edited by Baktru; August 26th, 2005 at 19:29.
At a certain threshold the initiative upgrade supercedes WS in effect, as you begin killing enough enemies before they can strike back then. That's when about 20% more points of hormies are in the combat than there are marines.
However, i'd always prefer both adrenal glands as a 2pts investment over toxin sacs.
In combination wtih toxin sacs (if you want to use them) initiative is better than weapon skill too.
Generally all three upgrades are worth it, if they just make it into combat without too many losses.Yep...that's because a small brood will only take away a tiny part of the enemy punch before he can strike. A big one however can easily take out half of it, and another +50% in brood size then even can reduce it to a fourth of its original effect. The effect of initiative adrenal glands rises exponentially with the size of the brood, while weapon skill is only proportional.Hmmm interesting... For smaller broods, Initiative is a lot less rewarding than for bigger broods. This is more complicated than I thought!
Last edited by ArchonAstaroth; August 26th, 2005 at 19:39.
Me, I'm a purist. I believe the best gaunt is the one that has no upgrades and does his job well - die. I don't feel that buying WS, Initiative, or Strength upgrades help them do that one iota. If they made it into combat and can tie up the enemy for two, maybe three turns - then they've done their job. Whether or not they killed four marines compared to the five they could have makes no difference - my other units can take out that extra marine.
While this may not be the best approach, I feel it works for me. I prefer to save my points for stronger 'Nids - Genestealers, Warriors, Raveners.
Normal Gaunts are cannon fodder pure and simple. At 4 points plus a cheap weapon they are there only to get killed in great numbers.
Hormagaunts are getting closer to the cost of a standard marine if you add any upgrades so you had better not let them get blasted too hard before they get into combat.
Statistically, having both the +WS and +I Adrenal glands works out much better than just the Toxin Sacks and works out to the same cost. Typically, hitting first and hitting more often is better than hitting harder in 40k as dead models can't hit back. The +WS option also decreases your opponents chance to hit back so it has a dual effect. At 12 points these guys are almost the same cost as an assault marine without a jump pack (14 points) but have a lower S, T, and Armor Save. Their sole benefit against marines is their speed (both movement and initiative). If you don't make proper use of it you're just wasting your points.
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Originally Posted by LordCreampuff
The +1WS doesnt decrease a marine's ability to hit you, as he'll still hit on a 4+.
Him being dead, though.. does limit his responces .
As of Tyranid 5th Ed. codex I have the Gaunts I wanted. I did, however, loose the sniperfexs I relied upon and they were more important then the gaunts.
In all cases, getting them into combat is the key. That is where overwhelming numbers and cheap meat shields (though not as effective as they were in 3rd) come in. A huge wave of spine gaunts in front of the Hormies will make the enemy choose which to shoot at and he ignores the other at his own peril. They should be able to charge on the same turn.
Of course the other option is to go with as much cheap fodder as possible in order to fix the enemy and keep them from firing at all so your expensive guys can move up unmolested.