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D.R.A.I.C.H. - Druchii Naval Fire support: the RBT. 
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Corsair
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Black Arks are famous for their Corsairs, and also for their immensely powerful artillery, designed to get after the mightiest sea monsters. The clever DE general may use on the field a lighter version of this artillery to his advantage: the Reaper Bolt Thrower.

RBT stands for Repel BloodThristers. As says Drek: If you're really worried about the BT, then take RBT's. For one, they've got an extra letter. And it's an 'R'. For another, any big monster will pay attention to them. This will allow you to control the battlefield somewhat by funnelling him a bit.

In this article, I’ll start with understanding the RBT. Weirdly, the deployment will come later, and army building is at the end, in order to understand beforehand their consequences.



1. Introduction. Do we need any artillery?
2. Description of the RBT.

2.1. Outstanding strength & range.
2.2. A small frontage.
2.3. So static…
2.4. Just two Crewmembers.
2.5. 100 easy VPs.
2.6. Comparison to foreign warmachines.
2.7. The roles of RBTs.
3. Shooting with RBTs.
3.1. To kill 100pts worth of foes...
3.2. …is difficult if you die young.
3.3. Multi or Single tough targets?
3.4. The Rule of Multi Four, Single Five:
3.5. Single-shooting ranked units?
3.6. Single bolt.
3.7. Multiple bolts.
3.8. Comparing RBTs with RXBmen.
3.9. RXBmen advantages.
3.10. RBTs advantages.
3.11. Taking both.
4. Which targets are the best to shoot?
4.1. Reducing the immediate threat.
4.2. Clearing out fast cavalry.
4.3. Shoot the shooters.
4.4. Shooting big nasties.
4.5. Soften large targets and ranked units.
4.6. Juicy targets.
4.7. Make the panic test.
4.8. Kill at safe distance.
4.9. Counter battery, if nothing else.
4.10. Wasting shots at heavy cavalry.
4.11. Killing Chariots, with patience.
5. The psychological shot.
5.1. Influence the deployment.
5.2. Empty large areas.
5.3. Control the opponent’s movement.
5.4. Force your opponent to react.
5.5. Attract charges.
6. Protecting the RBTs.
6.1. Shooting and magic.
6.2. Most threatening foes in CC.
6.3. Make a buffer zone.
6.4. Prevent contact.
6.5. Augment contact.
6.6. Best bodyguards.
6.7. Taking no protection.
7. Reaction to a charge.
7.1. Delay your fate!
7.2. Sometimes you could stay.
7.3. Sometimes you’d better flee.
7.4. Use of lonely crewmembers.
8. Deployment.
8.1. Consider terrain.
8.2. Consider your troops.
8.3. Consider opposing troops.
8.4. Deploying several RBTs together.
8.5. Deploying several RBTs far apart.
9. How many RBTs?
9.1. 1 hydra or 2 RBTs
9.2. 0?
9.3. 1.
9.4. 2.
9.5. 3.
9.6. 4.
9.7. The druchii gunline.
9.8. Small games.
10. Conclusion.
11. Annex: Statistics.



1. Introduction. Do we need any artillery?

In previous editions, RBTs had a reputation of being too expensive for what they were doing. In present edition, everything has been priced down except RBTs. The other rare unit, the hydra, has been upgraded tremendously. Are some players nostalgic or utterly conservative to still field the RBT?

Some good players did leave them home. A couple of matches proved them wrong. They're still our best option when speaking about shooting, and there is an increasing prevalence of big nasties in all the newer books. With a superior range and excellent accuracy, these things can go a long way towards neutralising the large monsters staring you down across the table.

Many thanks to Clivegh, Dark Alliance, Dyvim Tvar, Irtehdar & Master of Arneim, for posting very valuable advice in answers to D.netters’s questions This advice is integrated throughout the article. Thanks to Weenth & Zhou Tai for old but still valuable statistics, some of which are reproduced in the annex.


2. Description of the RBT.

Reaper Bolt Throwers are a testament to the ingenuity of the Druchii. A mechanism of counterweights and strings allows this war machine to fire to shoot a hail of barbed bolts, or a single missile with much greater force. (it’s a quote from GW’s website, so it must be true).

2.1. Outstanding strength & range.
Easily capable of doing mass damage from afar.
48” range, 24" short range. With decent BS. 360° LOS. That’s our only long range shooter.
6x S4, AP. Or 1x S6, no save, 1d3 wounds. That’s our only high S shooter, and it isn’t a magic item.

2.2. A small frontage.
Small and compact, no LOS nor range problem, it is extremely easy to deploy in an efficient position.
Bolt Throwers can even be set up between your combat units to rain death upon your enemies while within the safety of your battle lines. Not taking space is helpful if you are going MSU.

2.3. So static…
Unlike nearly all other elements of a Dark Elf force, an RBT necessarily restricts a comparatively sizeable portion of your army (5% in a GT-sized force for 1 RBT, when often you have 2 plus one babysitter unit) to a strictly immobile fire support role. Immobility is one of the biggest reason why some people are against RBTs.

2.4. Just two Crewmembers.
If shot at, there are only 2 models. This is mitigated by the randomization of hits to the T7 W3 machine.
If charged, they will die. And if ever they win (thank you babysitter), they are forced to pursue because they have hatred.

2.5. 100 easy VPs.
Static, hopeless if charged, Bolt Throwers represent 100 very easy victory points for your opponent.
They don’t even claim ¼ tables if they happen to survive.

2.6. Comparison to foreign warmachines.
Not stinking and noisy as guns, not low cost low quality as most other races’.
- Helblasters, dwarf runed cannons, hellcannons, screaming skull catapults, etc. can cause massive damage in one round, whereas RBTs don't have a lot of potential for game changing shots.
- Spending 30-45 points on Bolt Throwers, as you would with Orcs, Dwarfs and others, is generally acceptable, and their eventual loss to enemy war machine hunters does not constitute a significant impact to the Victory Point bottom line. Investing 100 pts on a single vulnerable machine seems not terribly far from a folly.

But reliable and versatile.
RBTs are the most reliable of them all: good range, more accurate and no misfires.
They are very versatile with the option for multishot.

2.7. The roles of RBTs.
Killing stuff.
They can shoot, of course, and they can do it when nobody else can. Once down on the battlefield they should do the maximum damage before being destroyed. However, usually, an RBT will not kill the value of its points during the battle, as we’ll see later. For this reason, many players believe that RBTs are overpriced, maybe because they don’t understand their full use.

Area control.
Killing stuff is not enough to earn their day. Their main role is the psychological shot: they are here to control the opponent troop’s position on the battlefield. Practically our artillery is not very potent but it affects many different aspects of the game when used wisely.

Let’s examine now thoroughly these two roles: shooting and controlling the opponent.


Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:37 pm
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3. Shooting with RBTs.

RBTs are a pretty reliable warmachine. It’s magic that can’t be dispelled with a 48” range. They aren't massively powerful but they put in a solid performance if you target the right units with them.

3.1. To kill 100pts worth of foes...
According to my own statistics, if the RBT it shoots at close distance during 4 turns, or at long distance during 5 turns, it will have killed roughly around 100pts of foes (in average: usually hard foes cost more than soft foes) , i.e. it pays back its cost in 6 turns. However, other D.netter’s statistical charts contradict this determination in stipulating that over a large number of trials, a typical RBT will likely not earn back its points against a majority of opponents over the space of a single 6-turn game.

Anyway, despite its 360° LOS and 48” range, it is possible to run short of valuable targets:
- Take into account the possibility of an adverse terrain setup.
- The predictable LOS is known when the opponent moves, he will hide the rewarding targets.
- Screening expandable units will often be the only target to be seen.

3.2. …is difficult if you die young.
For an RBT, to survive 4 turns, let alone 6, is far from granted. An RBT is often viewed as a static source of near-certain Victory Points for your opponent, even if it does manage to get more than two volleys off before it is destroyed. It is often very high on the priority list for all kind of warmachines hunters, and as a result, an RBT will quite often trespass before turn 3.

3.3. Multi or Single tough targets?
The single bolt is supposed to be anti monster: Higher Strength, negating armour save, making several wounds,
But the multibolt is Shooting 6 times!
How big must be a monster – or how armoured a character – to be worth a single shot?

Simplified rule:
Just multishoot everything except T6 monsters with armour.
The cases when this rule is not optimised are infrequent.

Comprehensive study:
Knowing that odds of hitting are the same, let’s review the killing expectations.
It depends on the Toughness, the Save and the number of Wounds of the target, right?
After some Excel mathammering, I’ve come up with this unique rule, in the following paragraph:

3.4. The Rule of Multi Four, Single Five:
Add the Toughness and the Wounds of the target (the higher, the harder).
Subtract its Armour Save (the higher, the easier).
The higher the total, the harder the target!
If the result is 4 or less, multi shoot. If it is 5 or more, single shoot.

Examples:
An Empire Captain (T4, 2W) with 1+ save: 4+2-1=5, single shoot. If he is already wounded, multi shoot.
Check: 6 S4 multi shots on T4 result in 3 AP2 wounds, among which 1 get across the 1+ armour.
1 S6 single shot results in 0.83 x d6 wound. If the target has more than 1 wound, Single Shoot. As the target can take only 2 wounds, the expectancy averages in 1.39, better than 1.

Note: the rule is slightly wrong in one instance, which you need not really to worry about:
On a T3 2W 1+ target, the single would make 1.39 wounds, slightly better than the multi 1.33, contrary to the rule, but the difference is so small that it is not worth trying to remember this exception.

3.5. Single-shooting ranked units?
Other question:
The single bolt is supposed to be anti ranks: shooting several models in a row.
But the multibolt is Shooting 6 times!
When is it interesting to single shoot at several ranks?

Simplified rule:
Experience shows that it is nearly always better to multishoot. Just never single shoot at ranks, but don’t let your opponent know because you’re happy to see him weary of showing his sides.
I checked with Excel mathammering, the simplified rule is close to be always appropriate.

Comprehensive study:
Against Brets, because of their specific ward save,
or against anything with regeneration,
it is never interesting to single shoot indeed, so multishoot!

Against other targets, most of the time, your interest is to multishoot as well.
Only very armoured units deserve the single bolt, and T4 targets are more rewarding than T2.

I’ve found that, as a rule of the thumb, the formula of the Rule of Multi Four, Single Five, remains valid. You just consider the cumulated number of wounds in the rank you could shoot.
It is just a rule of the thumb, and in some cases (most of them theoretical), comprehensive mathammering would tell you to use more often the single shot. But the difference is really small, so I conclude that it is not worth bothering more.

Example: Empire knights, T3, 1 wound x 3 ranks, (minus) save 1: total = 3 + 1x3 – 1 = 5 => single shoot.
Example: Tin can dwarves, T4, 1 wound x 4 ranks, (minus) save 4: total = 4 + 1x4 – 4 = 4 => multi shoot.

3.6. Single bolt.
Stegadons, Bloodthirster, Hydras, Shaggoths, and now the new skaven with their hellpit abominations, doomwheels, and even the screaming bell and plague furnace, all of these are monsters (pun intended) in close combat and many of them are a combination of high toughness/regen/ and/or stubborn.
Not many of our units can reliably break them on the charge, especially when they have their full wounds.

What could the RBT do?
In one game, a Bolt Thrower has a maximum of 6 shots. At long range, it will hit a large target 4 times.
It will then only wound twice. This will double to 4 wounds, assuming no ward save.
If it is a mount, then some shots will hit the rider, although that may be a preferable outcome! The rider gets 1/3 of it, i.e. 1.33 wounds, and its mount gets in average 2.66 wounds.

It requires in average 9 rounds of RBT shooting to inflict 6 wounds to a 6-wound monster at long distance.
It climbs at 13.5 rounds of shooting if the 6-wound monster is mounted.
For a Steam Tank, it requires 15 turns in average to destroy it… but 6 turns only to make it useless.
Thus a single Boltie can't be relied on to get rid of a Dragon by itself, even with 6 rounds of shooting.
Two RBTs need luck to kill a Steg in four turns or a Dragon in 6 turns.
Four RBTs expect to kill the Steg during turn 3, the Dragon or the STank in turn 4.

However a clever opponent won't give you four turns, he will reasonably give you one.
So is it really useful to invest in less than 6 RBTs?

Actually, the reason to take RBT is not to kill the beasts, but to soften them so that the rest of your army can better deal with them. Light shooting struggles to reliably damage them, but the bolt throwers can help to even the odds in your favour.
The rest of your army is the reason why your opponent’s beasties will learn to avoid the LOS of your RBTs, even if they know the puny statistics.

3.7. Multiple bolts.
Oh, yes, it doesn't take the penalty for salvo, see our AB p.24.
As we have seen, the six-shooter is to be preferred in pretty much any situation, except against monsters, for which the single bolt will provide better results.

When you are shooting other units with several RBTs, it is generally best to concentrate their multiple shots on a single target. 6 shots will not cause much damage at long distance: 3 hits, probably 2 wounds, that’s 1 or 2 kills. But 24 shots will often cause around 7 kills and is pretty much guaranteed to cause a panic test.

3.8. Comparing RBTs with RXBmen.
Which one is better for 100 pts? 1 RBT or 9-10 RXBmen?
Let’s compare the killing efficiency according to the range.

1-12" range: RXB.
- RXB is better (except for T7+ target they can’t wound).

12"-24": it depends on the situation & target.
- RXB are better against lightly armoured T3 targets (4+ AS or lighter), as well as lightly armoured T6 targets (as both S3 and S4 wound on 6+ in that case). Example: Giants!
- RBT is better against armoured/heavily armoured targets, especially T4 or T5, and their single shot is better against T6 well armoured targets.

24" to 48”: RBT.
- RBT is better, and at 30”, only RBT can shoot at all.

3.9. RXBmen advantages.
Greater resistance:
RXB – take 10 wounds with 6+ save (or 9 wounds to keep the same cost, with shields at 5+) – however, wounds can panic them; RBT – take 2 wounds with 6+ save but randomising makes that equivalent to 6 wounds. – wounds don’t panic them.
RXB - stand and shoot reaction; RBT - no stand and shoot reaction.
RXB - rank bonus; RBT - no rank bonus.
''Warmachine hunters'' (Fast Cavalry, Flyers, etc) in general can’t handle RXB's.

More aggressive at short range:
RXB are most effective shooters within enemy charge range.
RXB can flank charge when needed, with a 4+ armour save.

RXB – core; RBT – rare.

RXBmen contest table quarters - not RBTs. This means that even if they achieve nothing but survive, crossbowmen earn back their victory points.

Overall, RXB are much more versatile and fill a core slot, while RBT, less useful at close distance and unable to defend itself if charged, competes with hydra for scarce rare slots.

3.10. RBTs advantages.
Long range.
RBT – 360°, 48" range although static; RXB – 90°, 24” and can move 5” & shoot at -1.
RBT can reach the vast majority of enemy shooting/warmachines without moving and getting the enemy fire.
RBT psychological impact is felt in huge areas, whereas RXBmen don’t inspire such respect.

Power.
RBTs can single shoot large monsters/steam tanks, that would be hard to bring down by magic, small-arms fire, or combat alone.
RBTs can kill 1+/2+ save cavalry decently.

Space taken in the deployment zone.
Not always are there hills in your deployment zone; 40 Xbows need much more space than 4 RBTs.

Panic resistance.
Xbows can be panicked with casualties. Not crews.

Overall, the RBT has two specialities: long range and tough monsters.

3.11. Taking both.
The RBT and the RXB units complement each other very well on a battlefield. They provide a solid and consistent fire base which weakens and softens the enemy lines to your CC elements. To use one or the other exclusively seem to waste a very good synergy, which they do provide.
All DE shooting is meant to killing opponent’s movement, which is where the RBTs are great early at long distance and RXB later at shorter distance.
Both choices equally worth their points, but having different uses. Mixed forces are best.


4. Which targets are the best to shoot?

Between one big shot or lots of small ones, just about everything is a viable target for your bolt throwers. As we have seen, it is difficult for a RBT to pay back itself with the pts destroyed. With a life expectancy which can be rather low, better select immediately the right target, i.e. the one which brings you an advantage over the sheer value of the pts destroyed. I recommend the following priority.

4.1. Reducing the immediate threat.
With their awesome range and 360°LOS, RBTs are very likely to be able to aim at that opponent’s unit which threatens to achieve the game-winning side charge on the game-breaking melee. Destroy that unit, or even soften it to less than US5, may be what will save you the game.

4.2. Clearing out fast cavalry.
Take away his redirect units. Shoot hounds, detachments, Fast Cav.
In most lists, DE rely on good deployment and movement to secure victory. We are a small elite army, so we MUST get the charges off. There is nothing worse than not being legally able to charge the flank of the unit you want because the opponent’s redirect unit did its job. Focus on targets that will hurt the rest of your army like fast cav and enemy fliers to give your forces the mobility edge.
This is the main job of RBTs. You can use your other missile fire for this as well, but the RBTs are usually hitting more easily and are a tremendous help in taking out enemy light elements.

4.3. Shoot the shooters.
Opposing shooting can be a big threat for your own agile troops, which you need in order to control the opponent’s movement.
If there is a lot of shooting, park the RBTs out of range (if possible) and hit the archers/crossbows/handgunners from afar, aiming to cause panic checks before moving on to the next target.

4.4. Shooting big nasties.
You need many shots to destroy a single monster. But a few shots can make that monster manageable with your other units. The RBT is the ultimate bane of the Steam Tank. Nothing worries a dragon / greater daemon more than cannons and, to a limited amount, RBTs, especially in large numbers.
Many times it makes the other player careful on placement and delaying, when he should be rampaging your army with his Big Nasty.

4.5. Soften large targets and ranked units.
There are some targets which can be killed by a dragonlord only after preliminary weakening by the RBT.
RBTs are very good at stripping a couple wounds off of enemy ranked units or cav just before they contact your own troops, thereby greatly increasing the odds of your forces winning combat and conducting a glorious pursuit!!
RBTs should be used to take ranks off of ranked up infantry or cavalry units to aid your own units in combat. Often all it takes to remove critical rank and outnumber bonuses is one or two kills. Even if you only manage to get off two or three volleys, RBTs can earn their points back in a broader sense by crippling those couple of units enough for your more combat oriented units to break them and get through the enemy's line.

4.6. Juicy targets.
Sure, it requires a mistake from your opponent. But killing lone mages at 48” is a must!
Or was it really a mistake? Make sure that the opponent was not cunning enough to provide you with a target so juicy that you forgot about something listed in the above paragraphs, which should be a higher priority.

4.7. Make the panic test.
Wouldn't you love to kill a fast cav (5 wounds) unit at the beginning of the battle, resulting in a large panic test area? This works well against low Ld armies.
Bolt throwers are ace for sniping down fast cavalry units. That is why 2 RBT are great: if you manage to kill three with the first, the other will shoot them as well, destroy the unit in a single phase, triggering a panic test all around at 6”. If you manage to kill two of them with the first, it’s enough for a panic test, the other can shoot at a different unit to kill some models and inflict a second panic test. If you manage to kill just one, the other can shoot the same to inflict a certain panic test.
However, ignore skirmishers with the reapers, because usually they won’t kill enough of them to force a panic check.

4.8. Kill at safe distance.
Sometimes, only RBTs can shoot at safe distance when other units would suffer greatly. An example of this is Lizardman Razordon packs. RBTs are also invaluable for shooting at Skaven jezzails so that you can diminish the unit (or even panic them) before they've had a chance to do damage. Regular crossbow elves don't have the range to deal with them quickly enough.

4.9. Counter battery, if nothing else.
You can target enemy warmachines, freeing up your shades to block marches.
With your six multi shots at long distance, 3 will hit, 2 are randomised on the machine, making 0.33 wounds, 1 hit one crew and kill it 2/3 of the time. Note that a single bolt is even less interesting.
You need 4 or 5 shots to kill the whole crew of a 100pts warmachine. In the same time, you could have shot a small infantry unit, worth significantly less. Hence, if you engage in a shooting war with an enemy with high Ld, it is viable to target their warmachines rather than their archers, crossbowmen… Dwarves may be an exception though, but against dwarfs you usually don't have many soft targets to shoot at anyway, and they won’t panic, so you might as well shoot at their expensive rare artillery that cannot have an engineer and cannot be entrenched.

4.10. Wasting shots at heavy cavalry.
Cavalry tends to grab attention because they have a nice high points cost, their armour is significantly altered with the RBTs armour piercing and, last of all, they move fast and are likely to get close to your units early.
However, many people overestimate the hitting power of RBTs: a six shot will get 4 hits, 2.7 wounds resulting into 1 or 2 dead knights. Bad idea. Much better to take out the enemy fast cavalry, and then bait the knights into a spot where you can get a favourable charge on them. And this is much easier to do if you take away the enemy fast cavalry and achieve superiority in terms of the number of units on the table.
Shooting at heavy cavalry is fine when there is nothing better.

4.11. Killing Chariots, with patience.
It requires 5 single bolts (3.3 hitting, 2.wounding and making 4 wounds) to destroy a chariot. Depending on the chariot, the multishot may be better (see the multi 4 single 5 rule) and 4 volleys may suffice. Anyway, that is a lot of firepower just to get rid of a chariot.


Last edited by Calisson on Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:19 pm, edited 4 times in total.



Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:48 pm
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5. The psychological shot.

As we have seen, RBTs have a hard time getting their points back by killing foes. You must get some additional advantage by using the RBT, otherwise it is better to spend your pts elsewhere.
There comes the psychological shot. Usually, opponents perceive them as more deadly than they really are. Psychologically, the Reapers are scary and must be handled in some way. If your common enemies will shy away from one, you'd be a fool not to bring it. Of course, if your enemies are not the least bit afraid of RBTs, you're probably better off with Hydrae.

RBT's don't make up their points by killing, but by giving you more control on the road to close combat.

5.1. Influence the deployment.
Knowing that they can be shot before even starting their turn 1 will influence the opponent’s deployment.
Before you deployed your RBTs, the opponent will be cautious about from where they will threaten him, whereas an absence of RBT would let him deploy as he wishes.

If you have a hill on your deployment zone, but the opponent will expect the RBT there.
Just deploy your army as if you would add the RBTs, as the last unit, on the obvious hill. With some luck, your opponent will commit his warmachine hunters to the hill.
Then deploy the RBTs somewhere else and they will be relatively safe.

5.2. Empty large areas.
Use them to shape the battlefield. Just by putting the RBT on the table, you force the other player to worry about it the entire game. Your opponents will hate them and try to avoid them. You need not to fire a shot, just put it on a flank in a forest and watch him worry about it.
Also a RBT can obtain the same thing as a cannon by forcing heavy cavalry to always check alignment not to give someone the flank shot.
You can place them on the flanks of your army, in LOS of your light cavalry in the centre, which presents a glittering cape to your opponent till you spear him with a barrage of arrows.

5.3. Control the opponent’s movement.
Rather than a "kill whatever" sort of mentality to using them, you can use them to enhance DRs or Harpies in opponent’s control, as the RBTs are ideal at removing competing fast units (like fast cav and flyers). With their range and precision, they tend to help secure dominance in the movement phase rather than "earn their points back" in kills.
Make the enemy movements predictable, which is of massive benefit to a control army like Dark Elves. When you dictate the moves, your opponent is easier to draw into traps. They can become a focal point by which you can anticipate your opponent's moves...

However, most veteran players would, or at least should, know that an RBT's actual damage potential is relatively low, and as such its fire would not pose a dramatic threat so long as no gross mistakes are made. This is particularly true if said veterans' armies include dedicated war machine hunters, as is typically the case in a tournament setting.

5.4. Force your opponent to react.
This is used by a dwarven gunline with melee support, unable to get after too agile an opponent.
With a cannon, he forces the opponent to die at distance or get at him... where he is prepared to face him.
For the DE, the equivalent is to prevent elusive foes to play point denial or magic/distance attacks only: they must get at your warmachine or take losses.

RBTs usually force your opponent to try and engage their units in close combat sooner (especially cavalry) than they would prefer. Since cavalry get pinned by RBT's, they won't wait to make flank charges and just go straight into a unit.

5.5. Attract charges.
A bristling wave of firepower that draws enemy troops like a moth to a flame.
War Machines are a target to every flyer, skirmisher, scout, and other warmachine on the table. You can use this. It’s actually pretty easy to use a small unit of harpies to delay other flyers from getting to your warmachines (as long as they are not Peg Knights!). And in a worst case, if you place your warmachines far enough apart, it might take a few units of his army out of the game for a few turns as he try’s to manoeuvre to kill the warmachines.

The more your opponent sends after your Reapers, the more it benefits you on all other areas of the battlefield. If your army is an assault army with the back-up of RBT, then the more they attract, the easier it is to destroy the rest of the army.
A 350pt Unit of wraiths that takes 3-5 turns to kill 200pts of your warmachines can be a great deal for you. A Dragon could spend the whole game hunting 2 bolt throwers before setting upon the CoB, taking down all 3 units: 400 pts is a decent trade for keeping a 600pt dragon out of the game and still gaining half points for it… while the rest of the army gets a numeric advantage over the opponent’s remaining army – an still receive the COB’s blessings.


6. Protecting the RBTs.

If you bring RBTs, you know that they attract combat armies like a picnic attracts ants. Its survival rate is its weakness: it makes so good a target that it will be canon-sniped or hero-charged by turn 2 more often than not.
They have such a vital role to play against Dragons and Daemons that some kind of protection should be investigated. What tactics can be used to protect them?

6.1. Shooting and magic.
There is a proliferation of counter-battery units in GT-format armies. Besides, RBTs are easily killed by magic missiles. RBTs are also vulnerable to even weak (T3) shooting.

RBTs can deal themselves with opposing shooting, but the best is to take terrain’s protection.
Beware of the Lore of Life, it can be damaging if it affects targets on hills or woods. Fortunately, you know that before deployment.

6.2. Most threatening foes in CC.
Any opponent can take out a RBT in close combat. They just need to get at it, and one is enough: scouts, flyers, miners, ambushers, tunnellers, summoned units, fast cav…
Beware of flying monsters. They can quickly get in range in turn 1, resist one shooting, charge in turn 2, overrun on the second reaper in turn 3.

6.3. Make a buffer zone.
Creating a dead zone could help your RBT resist longer. You know the threats, here they must pass, here they shall trespass. Determine the part of the battlefield where you know the enemy should pass and in this point shoot him to death. Put a unit of 10 RHB corsairs near your RBTs. They excel at shredding the sort of cheap flyers typically assigned to the anti-artillery mission. And if it's a big expensive flyer... that's the sort of target the RBTs dream of.

This means that the bolt throwers can't be used to help the rest of your army, but if they destroy all the units that could have threatened them, hey are well worth their pts!

6.4. Prevent contact.
Here, the idea is to deny the landing area / charging lane necessary to get in contact with the RBT.
Deploy your RBTs in between 2 units where they have LOS, but flyers cannot land in sufficient number to pose a threat. Example against Terradons, if the gap available to land is less than 40mm (their base size) then the charge cannot be completed.
Harpies are perfect and inexpensive for being kept in reserve for charge blocking/redirection.

6.5. Augment contact.
Look at deploying a combat unit in front of the bolt thrower, so that when charged, the combat unit is also hit. two units have been reported in particular to do this, both being equally effective. The first is a crossbow unit which gives a stand and shoot reaction when charged. The second is the COB which causes a terror test before the charge goes in, followed by tons of close combat attacks.
At least, it will fend off the lightest units which would rely mostly on outnumbering to win the combat against the crew of the warmachine.
A drawback is that the warmachine crew must pursue in case of a win, so it looses the next turn of shooting.

6.6. Best bodyguards.
The trouble is that your unit designed to protect your RBT will remain in the back of your lines. If you use 20 executioners full command to protect a RBT, they're wasted. It would be nice if the bodyguard could be able to act at distance: either by shooting or by charging at long distance.

In order to achieve that, there are plenty of choices:
- A single unit of RXBmen at the bottom of the hill where the RBT are, 10 Xbows that can shoot and be useful by themselves. And RXB elves have a much better chance in combat than the fragile bolt throwers.
- A sorceress or more RBT, they share the same destruction potential at distance.
- A unit of DR to harass enemy light units is surely an excellent and worth option. With the speed of the dark riders, you can usually do this much easier than with an infantry unit. Deploy them where they can charge the flank of any unit that would be able to charge the RBT in the subsequent turn, and charge them.
- If you can find the 55 points to hold back a handful of harpies, these can further complicate your opponent’s options of dealing with your artillery by simply intercepting the potential artillery hunter.
- A unit of spears has been mentioned to guard them well.
- A COC is nice to protect a group of RBT with sorceresses. Just hope it won’t get stupid…

6.7. Taking no protection.
Many players just don’t bother too much with their protection.
- A RBT can usually take out light cav coming to destroy it. If it’s role is precisely to prevent fast cav to hamper your main infantry, it fulfilled its role, be it destroyed or not.
- Your "protection" unit could be better served elsewhere rather than sinking points into protecting 100 points far away off to the side of the table.
- Defending RBT is really necessary only if you have a rather static army. A fast all skirmishing list would be weakened if you keep a pair of units of shades behind the war machines, while they can really benefit from the enemy pursuing towards your RBTs.


7. Reaction to a charge.

Sooner or later, something will be in charge position with the clear intent to wipe your RBT off.
You’ve got one last turn to shoot before you can say goodbye to your RBT. Or is it necessarily so?

7.1. Delay your fate!
Consider moving if suddenly threatened. This buys you time for redeployment of other resources to help them out: side charges, shooting…. It can also work as points denial in the last turns of the game.
Even if the only effect is to delay the destruction of your RBT to just one turn later, then it will also delay one more turn the availability of the opponent’s unit to resume bothering your other units. And you’ve lost no shooting, you’ve just postponed your last shot to next turn.

7.2. Sometimes you could stay.
Being on a hill helps out as it adds +1 to the combat resolution.
Banner of Nagarythe is another help. A nearby Death Hag BSB with a COB is a great force multiplier.
5+w save blessing from the COB is another.
But these tricks are only good if you face light skirmishers with poor combat ability and little hope to kill both crewmembers. Especially if you have the help of a babysitter unit. And you take a risk of having your RBT destroyed, and you’ll be forced to pursue if you win.

7.3. Sometimes you’d better flee.
Refusing a charge that you’re bound to loose can help to keep the enemy unit in a counter-chargeable position. More importantly, it denies the enemy the ability for a tactical wheeling: you choose the direction where your opponent will end up instead of him choosing in which direction he’ll pursue.

The crew will leave the RBT, and the charging unit will instantaneously destroy the machine – and get the 100 VPs anyway. The victorious assailant may choose either to overrun – triggering a new flee reaction from the crew, in the same direction - or to remain where the RBT was.

But avoiding the tactical wheeling and possibly keeping the crew alive is better than hoping for a miracle one more turn delay before inevitable destruction.

7.4. Use of lonely crewmembers.
Now that the RBT is destroyed, you have one or two idler models.
They are of some use! They are skirmishers, so they can run around across terrain. They march block as efficiently as anyone. They block charges just like harpies (albeit not moving as quickly).
They are worth nothing, so you can use them for stupid tasks, and your opponent will hate to waste any resource on them. Make sure he does!


Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:52 pm
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8. Deployment.

It is essential to be flexible with RBT - the places where you position them should take terrain into account and be correlated with your list and the enemy's army.

8.1. Consider terrain.
Placing the RBT depends heavily on the terrain for two factors: the cover you can get from a type of terrain and the view it allows.

Hills for offence.
Obviously a good place despite some downsides. You have a clear view on any targets. However, any threat (flyers, cannons) has a clear view on you. Also, a single hill in our deployment zone allows your opponent to plan before you even put your first unit on the field.

Woods for defence.
The trick of placing the RBT inside a forest, at 1" from the edge, can be useful to provide cover from shooting and to help delay charges from fliers and fast movers. However, you'd have a narrow view.
Your survivability would get a big boost, when threatened with an imminent charge, just move back 2" and there will be no charge. Unfortunately, the RBT becomes unusable for 2 turns, unless you have a view on another part of the battlefield from the new position.

Buildings for synergy.
Place the RBT close to a building's corner. Inside the house, you put your 10 RXBmen that will kill any light enemy approaching. If threatened with a charge, move around the corner and you delay 1 turn, while the RXBmen shoot once more. During the delay, you have to find a unit to counter charge the unit threatening the RBT.

Far rear for safe distance.
Deploying deep in your DZ can mean more turns of firing. Just make sure to plan ahead how the rest of the army is to move so that you always have something to shoot at.

Shooting lanes.
Terrain may well be placed in the no man’s land in order to deny long range shooters a clear view on the opponent. This is especially true if you deploy the terrain by the rules. In that case, there will remain a 12” radius empty area in the middle of the table, and the proliferation of terrain will force everyone to go through this bottleneck. Your RBT just needs a clear path to there. Usually a side view is great. But beware of opponent’s skirmishers and scouts who can run across woods towards your RBT.

8.2. Consider your troops.
Try to understand where your units will move two turns later to contact the enemy: units in close combat or in the way do not allow any shot.

A great spot for reapers is far behind the battle line. You just need to leave some small interval between your units so they can see the target.

Or you can deploy one on each flank, for example with repeater crossbowmen protecting them. Nice for covering your flanks against light annoying opponents.
R..xb……….......xb..R

8.3. Consider opposing troops.
Two factors to consider: his warmachine killers and your preferred target.

Look at your opponent’s army. Who will kill your warmachine? Flying monster/flyers? Fast cavalry? Scouts? Cannons? Tunnel squads/miners/come from below units?
This tells you if there is any need or use for a babysitter.
It tells also how long you can expect to be shooting, and if you can delay the RBT removal:
- deploy away from scout’s woods or terrain ignoring fast units (spiders…).
- or deploy inside woods, where flyers cannot charge except by walking.

If there is no immediate threat, then you need just to examine which one is your likely target.
If your target is large or on a hill, you can place your RBT anywhere, there will be a LOS.

8.4. Deploying several RBTs together.
Never, never deploy your two RBT close together without a solid reason. Not because spells with templates, but to deny your opponent the pleasure of killing two RBT with one charge (kill and overrun).

But if you find a safe place (a place granting high survivability and good view), why not keeping them together?
If a single hill is available and the enemy has no flyer, then put both RBT on top of the hill: they can target anything over troops on the ground, and the enemy will need time to get up the hill.

You may also choose to have them not too far apart, so that they can be covered by the same babysitting unit. Shades have 360° LOS for shooting and charging, fast cavalry can shoot at 360° (but not across themselves).

With 4 Reapers (X), make sure not to provide easy lines of overruns on successive targets.
---X--------------X------------
-----------X---------------X---

8.5. Deploying several RBTs far apart.
The Bolt Throwers shouldn't be close enough together to be charged with skirmishers in subsequent turns. Your opponent is not likely to have many warmachine hunters (unless he is playing DE as well). One tactic for defending the Reapers is called ''placing them far apart''. The goal with deploying them is to make it difficult/impossible for the opponent to take out all of them without spending way too much effort in this. With this technique, your opponent can spend the whole game before getting rid of all RBTs.

Two hills.
If two hills are available (or a very large one), then both RBT go there.

One hill.
If a single hill is available but the enemy has some flyers, then a single RBT on the hill is better. The second RBT goes where the field is open.

No hill.
If no hills, put them on the far sides of your army, at more than 20" apart to prevent any chance of flyers destroying one and then hitting the second with the overrun.
- You cover much more surface.
- You always threaten to shoot from a side.
- Your own units don't provide a cover to your enemies from both RBT.
- A machine-hunter will have a long way to go from one to another.
- If one gets destroyed it won't panic your other.

Babysitters.
Your choice: let the enemy travel the long way for a meagre 200 pts. Or provide them with a shooty escort or with some fast stuff, able to influence what is going on in the table centre.


9. How many RBTs?

Gimme 1! – Gimme 2! – Gimme 1, 2, 3, 4!

9.1. 1 hydra or 2 RBTs
For each rare slot, you have to choose between one hydra or two RBTs.

Hydrae are offensive at close distance. Their greatest asset is that they can take a lot of punishment, and can move out of trouble too. Of course, they are usually given much more attention, but that can also work to your advantage: whatever's trying to destroy your T6, W5, and regenerating monster isn't trying to destroy all them squishy elves.

RBTs are sometimes murderous, sometimes useless. Their greatest asset is the fact that nothing can ignore them, because of their range and their power. They exert their influence on most of the battlefield. They are hopeless in melee.

Hydra and RBTs have nothing in common:
One hydra has an excellent control on a single moving 18” radius including melee, but not beyond.
Two RBTs have a weak control over two static but huge 48” radius, except for melees.

Like every other DE unit, they are specialised units, filling a specific role in an overall strategy. Don't take ‘em if you don't need ‘em. They must complement to the rest of the army, which must work together for you to win.

9.2. 0?
Is anyone playing 2 hydras? Well, it does happens…
If you play a fast melee army, or if you play an attrition war, then RBTs aren't for you, take hydras. One may wonder why you play DE at all when WoC or VC might be more appropriate, but that’s just opinions.

9.3. 1.
This is a very unusual setting in a 2k range. It happens when you realise that your shooting don’t impress your opponents and you have learned that it is really good only against fast cav, of which there is not that many.
Even one RBT, well placed, can be effective. Just the presence of an RBT on a flank will often force an opponent to shift their forces elsewhere to try and avoid it. Depending on the army you are facing, putting it in the centre and/or on a hill can provide a commanding view that allows you to pick out valuable targets (fast cav, foolish lone characters, etc.) anywhere on the board. It is also excellent at stripping a combat rank bonus away anywhere on the board just before you charge in and then going on to tackle the next unit.
Just don’t expect too much from it.

9.4. 2.
By very far, it is the most common sighting.
"Mixed arms" is better than trying to dominate in a single phase. Two reapers backed up by a Hydra is a balanced approach, and lets you deal with just about anything that comes your way due to the versatility of this combination.
Two is usually enough to remove enemy support units from afar which helps you win the battle. They provide overlap of firing arcs and greatly help support movement and combat of your other troops.

However, many players feel that 2 RBTs just don't give enough return on investment. They don’t score a single kill, and just give up 200 victory points to the happy opponent. An absolutely terrible tradeoff.
This means that the RBTs don’t match up with the rest of the list, or with the usual opponents. Or it could mean that the tactics used for deployment and target selection could be improved. Or that the invisible benefits are not taken into account in these players’s minds. If this happens to you, despite reading this article, you can try to be happy with one more hydra instead.

9.5. 3.
More than 2 means not taking any hydra, despite it being such an excellent rare choice. But it is perfectly possible to run a list without a hydra; the largest advantage of the hydra, as already mentioned is its durability, when the RBTs are more offensive early in the game.

The advantage of taking 3 rather than 4 RBTs, besides sparing 100pts, is that it's easier to deploy 3 than 4 of them, and still sufficient to force the opponent to split his warmachine hunters on too many targets.
Overall, it is hardly ever seen, because if you’re renouncing taking any hydra, you want to invest enough in RBTs to justify your sacrifice.

9.6. 4.
It is not seen very often, but it happens indeed.

Big game rifle.
If you mean them to inflict serious damage, you should take four RBTs. At 2k, they are devastating! As we have seen, four RBTs expect to kill a Steg during turn 3, a Dragon or a STank in turn 4. These monsters could reach your lines before, of course, but would them still dare to try it with 1 wound remaining?
If no monster show up, they also can wipe away whole units in a few turns of shooting.

Turn one panic test!
Now it is interesting to get the first turn! Shoot one fast cavalry till destruction, or even a warmachine, and watch all the units panicking around.

Reliable, at least.
After seeing 2 RBTs letting them down too many times, some people experiment four of them, to find that they tend now to perform always as wanted. If you want them to be reliable, then four of them achieve that. Not only their shooting becomes closer to statistic average, but it will take the whole game for your opponent to take down all of them, and your firepower will decline naturally at the same pace than your need for it.

With 4 RBTs however, there are some problems:
a) line of sight and positioning, especially if you’re strong in infantry or cavalry.
b) spaces and guard - they will probably clamped or near each other, so one unit of tunnelers/Light Cav/Monsters can take all/most of them. They should be babysitted.
c) even 4 of them can't really get rid of massed cavalry, so you need a goalkeeper unit to take/hold massed heavy cavalry. Magic can do the trick, also.

Some people have found them effective, some find hard to use that many, some conclude that 4 RBTs just aren’t worth it.

9.7. The druchii gunline.
4 RBTs, 40 RXBmen, and Magic.
You can select some Shades instead of RXBmen.
Back it up with overwhelming magic superiority for greater results.

It’s easier to have complete domination in one phase than trying to compete in all phases as you will get dominated in whatever phases your opponent has focused on, which depends on him, not on you. The druchii gunline will completely dominate the shooting phase against pretty much any army (especially considering how awesome RXBs are against other shooty units).

In a gunline, the drawbacks of being static don’t matter anymore: it will be up to the enemy to come after you.

Still, you need some goalkeeper units. With 800 pts of shooting and 600 pts of magic, there is ample spare pts for two robust and reliable BG units, who need not to worry much about opponent’s magic or shooting, given the rest of the army. Chariots are nice goalkeepers, too.

9.8. Small games.
At 1500 pts, it is either a hydra or 2 RBTs.
It changes the character of the whole army, so choosing one or the other must be for a specific reason: they must complement and work in synergy with the rest of the army.

At 1000 pts, spending 20% of your pts on the rare slot is a lot. You might rather spend 10% on a single RBT, all the more that the opponent will have at most a single fast troop to rush and destroy it.
Sure, you could select to have your über monster get you an easy pts denial. However, if your opponent plays pts denial himself and stays elusive, he’ll just avoid the hydra, when he’d have trouble to avoid the 48” range of the RBT.

At 500-750 pts, don’t take a hydra: you wouldn’t learn anything from your victories. Take a single RBT.


10. Conclusion.

Hopefully, you’ve realized with this article that RBTs are not just about killing things.
If you have no specific use for them, don’t take them.
If they are part of your plan, they’ll achieve their job.

_________________
Winds never stop blowing, Oceans are borderless. Get a ship and a crew, so the World will be ours! Today the World, tomorrow Nagg! {--|oBrotherhood of the Coast!o|--}


Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:56 pm
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11. Annex: Statistics.

In my stats, I consider that all shots did hit. In order to get the killing expectancy, you have to reduce to 2/3 at short distance, 1/2 at long distance. No regeneration nor ward save taken.

Table 1. Multi shots.
Results on toughness
- 2 --- 3 --- 4 --- 5 --- 6 --- 7 --- 8
5.00 4.00 3.00 2.00 1.00 1.00 0.00 if armour save 5 or worse.
4.17 3.33 2.50 1.67 0.83 0.83 0.00 if armour save 4
3.33 2.67 2.00 1.33 0.67 0.67 0.00 if armour save 3
2.50 2.00 1.50 1.00 0.50 0.50 0.00 if armour save 2
1.67 1.33 1.00 0.67 0.33 0.33 0.00 if armour save 1
0.83 0.67 0.50 0.33 0.17 0.17 0.00 if armour save 0

Table 2. Single shot.
Results on toughness
- 2 --- 3 --- 4 --- 5 --- 6 --- 7 --- 8 --- 9 -- 10
1.67 1.67 1.67 1.33 1.00 0.67 0.33 0.33 0.00 if target has 3 wounds
1.39 1.39 1.39 1.11 0.83 0.56 0.28 0.28 0.00 if target has 2 wounds
0.83 0.83 0.83 0.67 0.50 0.33 0.17 0.17 0.00 if target has 1 wound.

Table 3. Single shot on several ranks of targets with 1 wound.
Results on toughness
- 2 --- 3 --- 4 --- 5 --- 6 --- 7 --- 8 --- 9 -- 10
0.83 0.83 0.83 0.67 0.50 0.33 0.17 0.17 0.00 kills on 1 rank
1.53 1.53 1.53 1.11 0.75 0.44 0.19 0.19 0.00 kills on 2 ranks
2.11 2.11 2.11 1.41 0.88 0.48 0.20 0.20 0.00 kills on 3 ranks
2.59 2.59 2.59 1.60 0.94 0.49 0.20 0.20 0.00 kills on 4 ranks
2.99 2.99 2.99 1.74 0.97 0.50 0.20 0.20 0.00 kills on 5 ranks

===========================================================
Table 4. RBTs vs RXBmen.
These stats were made by Weenth.
Examples of shots made at [more than 12"]-[up to 24"], i.e. long range for RXBs and short range of RBT.
One RBT vs. 10 shield-less RXB - both units worth 100 pts; the number given is average wounds caused:

HE spears (T3): RBT single shot: 0.66 RBT mulitshot: 2.67 10 RXB: 2.77
Swordsmen (T3, 4+ AS): RBT single shot: 0.66 RBT multishot: 2.22 10 RXB: 2.22
Orc Boyz (T4): RBT single shot: 0.43 RBT multishot: 2.00 10 RXB: 1.85
Grave Guard (T4, 4+Sv) RBT single shot: 0.43 RBT multishot: 1.67 10 RXB: 1.25
HE Knights (T3, 2+Sv): RBT single shot: 0.56/0.80 RBT multishot: 1.33 10 RXB: 1.11
Empire Knights (T3, 1+Sv): RBT single shot: 0.56/0.80 RBT multishot: 0.89 10 RXB: 0.56
Bret Knights (T3, 2+Sv+ws) RBT single shot: 0.37 RBT multishot: 1.11 10 RXB: 0.83
Knights of Chaos: (T4, 2+Sv) RBT single shot: 0.56/0.62 RBT multishot: 0.67 or 1.00 10 RXB: 0.37
Chosen Knights (T4, 1+Sv) RBT single shot: 0.56/0.62 RBT multishot: 0.50 10 RXB: 0.50
Giant: RBT single shot: RBT multishot: 1.67 10 RXB: 1.67
Treekin: RBT single shot: RBT multishot: 0.74 10 RXB: 0.49
T4 Monster (Minotaur) RBT single shot: 1.11 RBT multishot: 2.00-sv 10 RXB:
T4 Mount (Pegasus Mount) RBT single shot: 0.74 RBT multishot: 1.33-sv 10 RXB:
T5 Monster (Giant) RBT single shot: 1.11 RBT multishot: 1.67-sv 10 RXB: 1.6
T5 Mount (Manticore) RBT single shot: 0.74 RBT multishot: 1.11-sv 10 RXB: 1.6?
T6 Monster (Bloodthirster) RBT single shot: 0.83 RBT multishot: 0.83-sv 10 RXB:
T6 Mount (Dragon) RBT single shot: 0.56 RBT multishot: 0.56-sv 10 RXB: 0.8

It raised comments about some points not covered by these statistics:
Treeman not considered it in a wood, and it is always in a wood.
Dragon without a rider (with a rider 1/3 of your shots go to the character that normally bounce them off like a rubber)

===========================================================
Other stats were made by Zhou Tai, in RBT Damage Calculator (summary)

Table 5. Multi-fire - Summary
Multi-fire_______________________________Range______Average Kills
HE Spears_________________________________Long_______2.00
HE Spears_________________________________Short_______2.67
Empire Swordsmen (4+Sv)__________________Long_______1.67
Empire Swordsmen (4+Sv)__________________Short_______2.22
Empire Knights (1+Sv)______________________Long______0.67
Empire Knights (1+Sv)______________________Short______0.89
HE Knights (2+Sv)__________________________Long______1.00
HE Knights (2+Sv)__________________________Short______1.33
Bret Knights (2+Sv + Ward)_________________Long_______0.83
Bret Knights (2+Sv + Ward)_________________Short______1.11
Orc Boyz___________________________________Long______1.50
Orc Boyz___________________________________Short______2.00
Grave Guard (4+Sv)_________________________Long______1.25
Grave Guard (4+Sv)________________________Short______1.67
Ironbreakers (3+Sv)________________________Long______1.00
Boarboyz (3+Sv)____________________________Short_____1.33
Chaos Knights (2+Sv)_______________________Long______0.75
Chaos Knights (2+Sv)_______________________Short______1.00
Chosen Knights (1+Sv)______________________Long______0.50
Chosen Knights (1+Sv)______________________Short_____0.67

Note - All troops up to Brets are T3; all troops starting with and below Orc Boyz are T4.

Note 2 - the above figures represent the average number of kills per volley. That is, I assume 6 shots, with 3 to 4 hits depending on range, and plug in Toughness and Armour as appropriate.


Table 6.1. Single Fire - Summary
Single Fire__________Range_____Weighted Average Kills
T3 Infantry___________Long_______0.49
T3 Infantry___________Short______0.66
T3 Cavalry (1 rank)____Long______0.42
T3 Cavalry (1 rank)____Short_____0.56
T3 Cavalry (3 ranks)___Long______0.60
T3 Cavalry (3 ranks)___Short_____0.80
Bret Cavalry (3 ranks)_Long______0.28
Bret Cavalry (3 ranks)_Short______0.37
T4 Infantry ___________Long______0.32
T4 Infantry___________Short______0.43
T4 Cavalry (1 rank)____Long_______0.42
T4 Cavalry (1 rank)____Short_____0.56
T4 Cavalry (3 ranks)___Long______0.46
T4 Cavalry (3 ranks)___Short_____0.62

Note - all infantry assumed in ranks of 5.


Table 6.2. Single-fire - Backup Calcs
Important - first (smaller) entry for each troop type is at Long Range, the second is at Short Range. Basically just like the Single Fire Summary table above.

__________________%%1______%%2_____%%3______%%4______%%5
T3 Infantry___________0.42_______0.35______0.23______0.12_______0.04
T3 Infantry___________0.56_______0.46______0.31______0.15_______0.05
T3 Cavalry (1 rank)____0.42
T3 Cavalry (1 rank)____0.56
T3 Cavalry (3 ranks)___0.42_____0.35_______0.23
T3 Cavalry (3 ranks)___0.56_____0.46_______ 0.31
Bret Cavalry (3 ranks)__0.28_____0.15_______0.09
Bret Cavalry (3 ranks)__0.37_____0.21_______0.11
T4 Infantry____________0.42_____0.28_______0.14______0.05_______0.01
T4 Infantry____________0.56_____0.37_______0.19______0.06_______0.01
T4 Cavalry (1 rank)____0.42
T4 Cavalry (1 rank)____0.56
T4 Cavalry (3 ranks)___0.42_____0.28_______ 0.14
T4 Cavalry (3 ranks)___0.56_____0.37_______ 0.19

Note - all infantry is assumed to come in ranked units of 5. No armour save component, but Brets get a Ward save as per their rules.


Table 7. Additional tables dealing with monsters and monstrous mounts.

Note 1 - both single fire and multi-fire tables consider the same classes of targets. Only the final outcomes of the calculations are presented.

Note 2 - the "Hits" column considers the total expected number of hits vs. a given target class, treating both the rider and his mount (where appropriate) as a single target. The expected Wounds values are then calculated based on the premise that 1/3 of the hits will go against the rider, while 2/3 of the hits will go against the mount.

Note 3 - all T5 and T6 monsters are considered to be Large Targets (+1 to hit) for the purpose of these calculations. All T4 monsters are not. Riders are considered to be a part of their mounts (see Note 2 above) for purposes of Hit percentages. Note that units of monsters (e.g. 2-ranked regiment of Minotaurs or of Khornate Bloodcrushers) are not considered for simplicity's sake.

Note 4 - to reiterate, all these figures are averages , i.e. the values likely to be approached over many trials. On a single game, or single Shooting Phase, basis the actual percentages may vary widely.

Table 7.1 Single Fire
Single Fire_____________________Range_____Hits (total)____# of Wounds (excluding Ward Saves)
T4 Monster (Minotaur)__________Long______0.50___________0.83
T4 Monster (Minotaur)__________Short______0.67___________1.11
T4 Mount (Pegasus Mount)______Long______0.50___________0.56
T4 Mount (Pegasus Mount)______Short______0.67___________0.74
T5 Monster (Giant)______________Long______0.67___________0.89
T5 Monster (Giant)______________Short______0.83___________1.11
T5 Mount (Manticore)____________Long______0.67___________0.59
T5 Mount (Manticore)____________Short_____0.83____________0.74
T6 Monster (Bloodthirster)________Long______0.67___________0.67
T6 Monster (Bloodthirster)________Short______0.83___________0.83
T6 Mount (Dragon)_______________Long______0.67___________0.44
T6 Mount (Dragon)_______________Short______0.83___________0.56
T3 Rider_________________________Long______0.50___________0.28
T3 Rider_________________________Short_____0.67____________0.37
T4 Rider_________________________Long______0.50___________0.28
T4 Rider_________________________Short______0.67___________0.37
T5 Rider_________________________Long______0.50___________0.22
T5 Rider_________________________Short______0.67___________0.30
T3 Rider (Large Target)___________Long______0.67___________0.37
T3 Rider (Large Target)___________Short______0.83___________0.46
T4 Rider (Large Target)___________Long______0.67___________0.37
T4 Rider (Large Target)___________Short_____0.83____________0.46
T5 Rider (Large Target)___________Long______0.67___________0.30
T5 Rider (Large Target)___________Short______0.83___________0.37

Notes:
1. Expected Wounds value calculated assuming an average roll of 3-4 on a D3 (i.e. each hit averages 2 wounds).

2. Expected Wounds value is before any Ward Saves imparted to the monster and/or its rider. To find the maximum (D3 roll = 5-6) and minimum (D3 roll = 1-2) expected Wounds before Ward Saves, multiply the results above by 3/2 (maximum) and 1/2 (minimum) respectively.

Table 7.2. Multi-fire
Multi Fire________________________Range_____Hits (total)____Wounds Before Saves
T4 Monster (Minotaur)____________Long______3.00__________1.50
T4 Monster (Minotaur)____________Short______4.00__________2.00
T4 Mount (Pegasus Mount)________Long______3.00__________1.00
T4 Mount (Pegasus Mount)________Short______4.00__________1.33
T5 Monster (Giant)________________Long______4.00__________1.33
T5 Monster (Giant)________________Short______5.00_________1.67
T5 Mount (Manticore)______________Long______4.00_________0.89
T5 Mount (Manticore)_____________Short_______5.00_________1.11
T6 Monster (Bloodthirster)_________Long_______4.00_________0.67
T6 Monster (Bloodthirster)_________Short_______5.00_________0.83
T6 Mount (Dragon)_______________Long________4.00_________0.44
T6 Mount (Dragon)________________Short_______5.00_________0.56
T3 Rider_________________________Long________3.00_________0.67
T3 Rider__________________________Short_______4.00_________0.89
T4 Rider__________________________Long_______3.00_________0.50
T4 Rider__________________________Short_______4.00________0.67
T5 Rider_________________________Long________3.00________0.33
T5 Rider_________________________Short_______4.00__________0.44
T3 Rider (Large Target)___________Long_______4.00_________0.89
T3 Rider (Large Target)___________Short_______5.00________1.11
T4 Rider (Large Target)____________Long_______4.00_______0.67
T4 Rider (Large Target)___________Short_______5.00_______0.83
T5 Rider (Large Target)__________Long________4.00_______0.44
T5 Rider (Large Target)__________Short_______5.00________0.56

Notes:
1. Expected Wounds calculated before armour saves . This was done mainly to save space (as each target class can conceivably have any type of armour/ward save). When comparing single-fire to multi-fire against Monsters and Monstrous Mounts, bear in mind that the seemingly better multi-fire results will likely be reduced after saves. Thus, one multi-fire volley at a Dragon (3+ Sv) will actually cause 0.30 and 0.37 wounds at Long and Short range after saves, not 0.44 and 0.56 as shown above.


Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:02 pm
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Executioner
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Excellant article, the draich tactic articles are my favorite part of the web site, thanks for taking the time

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Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:54 pm
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Thanks Calisson, good overview as per usual.

Despite being a long time fan of the RBT's, the rule of multi four, single five is a good one to remember. Thanks for the number crunching!

PS: I disagree about shooting at heavy cavalry a waste. I regulary play versus WOC, and often with two RBT multishooting in turn 1 have I decreased one unit of knights by three models.

Those are expensive knights, and the unit is "out of action", as they cannot reliably break my units anymore (though still dangerous). Admitted, it involves some luck, but that's always countered by the luck I've had with single shots (on a roll of 2+ this bolt pierces your expensive knight and will go through your rank because I'm on the flank... never mind).


Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:43 am
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This is the best DRAICH article I have read! Congratulations - some of your points really got me thinking!

Just a suggestion: (regarding 3.9. and 3.10.)

You forgot to mention one of the largest advantages of crossbowmen over RBTs, namely that they contest table quarters. This means that the crossbowmen do not have to do ANYTHING other than just stay there to earn back their points. 10 crossbowmen can be really hard to get rid of!


I really think that 2x10 crossbowmen and 2xRBTs support each other very well. Their combined shooting is really a threath to any unit or monster!


Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:40 pm
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Thanks for the appreciations :)
My work was mostly gathering and rearranging the excellent comments made by outstanding players. My original contribution is predominantly the §3.4 multi four, single five rule, putting §4 targets in the appropriate order, developping ideas in §5 and §7, creating most of §9 and tables 1, 2 & 3. Most other stuff is quotes and rephrasing.

@ Thanatoz, comment about shooting heavy cav has been softened.
@ Auere, comment added, thanks for reminding me with that.

Newer, independant analize here: RBTs worth a Shot?

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Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:19 pm
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