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Math-hammer 8E: no armour saves or higher strength? 
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Noble
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Note: this article was originally about one the items that from the rumours I believed to be able to force enemies to reroll armour saves. Unfortunately, no such item exists, so I changed it to calculate what is better: no armour saves weapon or high strength with armour piercing.

Introduction
While eagerly awaiting the new rulebook (I have yet to run to the store), I am mathhammering away at army-lists to try to see what models I have to prepare in order for that first game.

When it comes down to hero choices, I want some bang for the buck: I want my heroes to fullfill a specialized niche my troops can't handle. My main opponent plays Warriors of Chaos, which has received a great boost in 8th edition (or so I've heard).

One of those things Dark Elves always have trouble with (barring a few exceptions) is heavy armour. Since I'm exspecting Khornate 1+ save grinders, I looked at ways to ignore the enemy armour.

And boy, were there juicy toys in the new list (ogre blade! obsidian blade! giantsblade!). But what a price tag! And with the new stepping up rule, I can't afford to spend that many points on weapons, since defense come first in this edition for heroes imho.

So the question is: what is better: S4 with the ability to ignore armour, or higher strength (with the possibility of armour piercing through one of the magic banners or just as a property of a weapon)?

So I started calculating. First let me note that there are cheap ways to get a character with strength 5 (halberds!) or 6 (great weapon!). These have some downsides (no shields and striking last), but the point of this article is if I can boost them by putting them in a unit with armour piercing banner, I can spend all those magic items points for protection.

Following calculations are meant as a comparison. Assuming a dreadlord with 4 attacks with either the no armour saves sword or a weapon or potion that gives a strength boost, with and without armour piercing. Hatred is ignored for this calculation, so this is how many wounds that dreadlord would do in a protracted combat. So here we go:

Mathhammer

Image

My conclusions:

1) Versus toughness 2: boy, does the Obsidian Blade rule here! This is because there's no difference in the to wound rolls for higher strength than 4. I can't recall any 1+ save gobbo's though, so this row is actually quite useless and shouldn't influence my decisions! Next!

2) Versus toughness 3: if I recall correctly, empire has some T3 1+ save cavalry, and bretonnia uses mostly T3 2+ save cavalry, so this is a more interesting column. Versus T3 and a 1+ save, nothing beats a no armour saves weapon, not even the mighty giantsblade (unless it has armour piercing).

Take note though that a strength 6 weapon combined with armour piercing (soulrender anyone?) owns the no armour saves weapon, while without armour piercing the lesser strength no armour saves combination is actually better. Now you know where to put that armour piercing banner!

In other words: going against T3 armoured knights? Only one better investment than the sword of ruin or the obisidian blade, the much cheaper soulrender! Drawback? Strikes last, just like great weapons...

3) Versus toughness 4: the bane of my army (except for my Execs) is T4 1+ saves, which are hard to piece. Yes there is killing blow, but it is hardly reliable to count on that blessing, especially when there's multiple units of heavy cav in the game.

Having a Strength of 7 or 6 with armour piercing here is better than having a no armour saves sword, because of the ease of the to wound rolls.

No armour saves sword is still a reliable way to make some expensive kills, but don't exspect multiple wounds...

4) Versus toughness 5: I think Chaos lords fall into this category, and I have yet to encounter other models with T5 and a 1+ save. Here the no armour saves sword isn't even guaranteed to score a wound at all, as he has an uphill climb with the 5+ to wound roll.

Even S5 (halberd) with armour piercing is as good as the sword if the opposing model has a save of 2+ worse. But to be guaranteed a wound you'll need S6 armour piercing yet again.

5) Versus toughness 6: I have yet to encounter a toughness 6 monstrosity with a 1+ armour save, maybe the steam tank? In any case, the stats for those interested are obvious: S7 thrumps all.

This is the first case where S6 AP falls short. The no armour saves sword isn't worth much here.

Conclusion
With striking in initiative order being very prevalent in 8E, I see lots of players taking halberds on their characters. Rightly so, because a great weapon makes them strike last. However, against heavily armoured characters, this can spell their doom, as their puny attacks will pounce off, even with armour piercing S5 falls short against 1+ saves (versus 2+ saves it's sufficient).

Should you be able to equip your character with wards/regen and make a hard to kill build, soulrender is very much worth it, as in most cases S6 armour piercing will do a better job at handling tougher heavily armoured fighters for a way cheaper price.

Considering ways to get S7:
- Giantsblade (expensive!)
- Caledor's Bane (only on the charge!)
- Potion of Strength (one turn only!)

Against ways to get S6:
- Crimson Death (not so expensive!)
- Ogre Blade (not so very expensive)
- Soulrender (bonus armour piercing!, only on foot though)
- Great Weapon (strikes last though, and only on foot)
- Lance (only on the charge!)

Add two banners with armour piercing in the comparison, and you'll see having greater strength will allow you to more easily deal with the heavy protected characters and troops that are about to be fielded as a supplement to the cheaper hordes.

The no armour saves weapons are handy to take on knight units, but please keep them away from T5 or higher, they just aren't suited for that.

Having a character with as duty staying alive and intercepting heavily armoured support (which will not be fielded in large numbers) to complement your own troop formations, will allow you to put a serious dent in your opponent's battle plan, more so since lords and masters are now less effective at taking on hordes.


Last edited by Thanatoz on Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:37 pm
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Corsair

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The Other Trickster's Shard forces the re-roll of successfull ward saves


Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:49 pm
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Noble
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Gee wrote:
The Other Trickster's Shard forces the re-roll of successfull ward saves


Figures this was too good to be true. That's what I get for basing an article on rumours. Lemme see what info is still useful then (probably not much :D ).

Edited the article with comparison of no armour save weapons versus higher strength armour piercing then.


Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:15 pm
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Malekith's Personal Guard

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venom sword and exec axe are still up there for some of the higher end models (venom just because of the extra 2D6 roll on T or lower). ManBane as well because then even @ it's worst it's still 6 vs 6.

Getting ready for big boys is going to HURT- I mean Sword of Ruin+ Strength Potion for anything 5+? That seems to make Chillblade and Crimson Death mandatory!

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:26 pm
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Cold One Knight
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asdf


Last edited by Timz on Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:13 am
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Malekith's Best Friend

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Very interesting comparison, thanks! :)

One small correction; GW's are +2 strength on mounted models too.


Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:35 am
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Is that true? Hm... that changes things.


Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:49 am
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Noble
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L1qw1d wrote:
venom sword and exec axe are still up there for some of the higher end models (venom just because of the extra 2D6 roll on T or lower). ManBane as well because then even @ it's worst it's still 6 vs 6.

Getting ready for big boys is going to HURT- I mean Sword of Ruin+ Strength Potion for anything 5+? That seems to make Chillblade and Crimson Death mandatory!


Venom sword I don't like, simply because of the low chance to wound and it allows still armour. And it eats up a might 75 points!

Exec's Axe always does max damage (2,22), except versus T3, where it is equivalent to S6. Downside: you'll need a BG retinue with ASF banner (only needed to make the lord survive), so the points cost is very high (lord + EA + ASF banner and BG). I might then better go for the level 4, a better investment.

Timz wrote:
The above charts show exactly why I favor magic.


Lore of metal:
0. Base spell can do 2d6 hits on T4-5 1+ armor save guys, they take wounds on 2+ no saves.
1. It also has a spell to permanently reduce their armor by -1. It can be cast multiple times on someone AND lasts forever and can't be dispelled on other turns.
2. +1 to hit AND armor-piercing applied to a unit (and stacks with those -1 armor save spells!)
4. Then a sniping spell d6 hits on the character, wounding on 2+ no saves but Look Out Sir if there's 5+ models left.
5. -1 WS, -1 BS, -1 Armor save for your turn and opponent's. Stacks with #1 and #2.

So Lore of Metal + S5 halberds can make 1+ save knights get only 6+ saves in combat. Really changes the odds up. 2+ to hit with Hatred means 97.2% of our attacks hit. Add crimson death and you'd be slicing knights apart before they even attack.

You can always just blast several 1+ armor save guys instantly dead with Metal magic, but those debuffs I just mentioned are great for assassinating the Chaos Lord hiding inside of a huge block of warriors. And one of them lasts forever.

Lore of shadows:
-d3 toughness on that enemy T5 lord makes him much more manageable. He could even be bumped to T2, where basic infantry are tearing him apart. Note, the no-armor-save sword works quite well if shadow debuffs an enemy to toughness 1-3!
-No armor save sword combined with Okkam's Mindrazor. Roll to wound using S8-S9 or whatever. Your entire unit wounds could wound character on 2+. Your no-armor-save guy might even kill him outright.


Why bother spending hundreds of points on a combat character when you can turn normal rank and file soldiers into chaos-warrior-slaughterers.

And it's much more versatile. If you reduce Chaos Warriors to 5+ instead of 3+, then they take more damage from our troops, that flank charging Hydra and his breath weapon, AND our archer shooting. Whereas if you give a no-armor-sword to a hero with those points instead, only one of your units is capable of doing anything to the tough-guys.


Your words ring true. However, in 7th I stopped using magic because I got extremely unlucky. I look forward to the changes in magic in 8th. I got off the 6th level magic spell that should slaughter chaos warriors in 7th once, and rolled a 3 on my 2D6. Aaaarghl.

Since then I used a caddy and Ring of Hotek. Glad we've got some more options now, and looking forward to it again.

However, magic is fickle, and unreliable at best. You never know what scrolls your opponent has up his sleeve (can they only have one?).



Setomidor wrote:
Very interesting comparison, thanks! :)

One small correction; GW's are +2 strength on mounted models too.


That's good news for us, because our models get wounded on a 2+ most of the time anyway.

In that case, I would recommend following build:

Dreadlord on Dark Steed with Black Amulet, Soulrender, Dragonhelm, Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak.

He has a 2+ save (we don't want to put all our faith in Black Amulet), 1+ versus shooting (Black Amulet doesn't do it's stuff on ranged attacks), and the might S6 armour piercing. Cost: 247 points.

I'll charge him on his own in a unit of 5 Khornate Chaos Knights, He'll receive 2.2 wounds, of which 1.1 should rebound and then he'll do 1.9 wounds in return, meaning he should win with 3 wounds to 1.

He can take on 3 squads like that. And more importantly, in 2250+ games can be used in conjunction with a level 4. Thougths?


Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 am
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Due to a game between 2 employees yesterday, I have only one flaw in this theory: 1's Auto fail, and 6's Auto succeed. This is the rule for TESTS (p 10) but the reverse can be applied as per the Roll to Hit table on p. 40. (if you want to compare Ranged in the attacks- roll higher than 1 on a second die, and 10+ being Impossible(!).) or the last sentence on the last paragraph of p. 50 before the italicized example: 6 always hits, 1 always fails. I think because of that factor the "No Armour Saves" weapons are still BIG bonuses.

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Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:13 pm
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Cold One Knight
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"However, magic is fickle, and unreliable at best. You never know what scrolls your opponent has up his sleeve (can they only have one?). "

People say that, but it's kinda meaningless. With supporting attacks, going into combat is fickle and unreliable at best also.

If you cast something with a 2.8% chance to miscast and you miscast, it's bad. Then again going into combat, your character probably has more than a 2.8% chance of suffering wounds from goblin spearmen or random fodder.

If you cast a powerful spell and miscast, the spell succeeds, is impossible to dispel, and will likely earn a lot of points.

If I fluke the rolls on a T3 Dark elf Lord in combat, he falls over dead and then no huge spell kills 1/3rd of the entire enemy unit.

Of those two, I think magic is more reliable in 8th because the worst possible situation, your spell still completely succeeds!


Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:54 am
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L1qw1d wrote:
Due to a game between 2 employees yesterday, I have only one flaw in this theory: 1's Auto fail, and 6's Auto succeed. This is the rule for TESTS (p 10) but the reverse can be applied as per the Roll to Hit table on p. 40. (if you want to compare Ranged in the attacks- roll higher than 1 on a second die, and 10+ being Impossible(!).) or the last sentence on the last paragraph of p. 50 before the italicized example: 6 always hits, 1 always fails. I think because of that factor the "No Armour Saves" weapons are still BIG bonuses.


You cannot "apply the reverse" to a section where it does not apply.

Emphasized when the rules explicitly state a 10+ to-hit with a shooting weapon is IMPOSSIBLE.

Under close combat, a to-hit roll of a 6 hits. When shooting, not automatically at all.

I may be misunderstanding, I just don't see where the first part of your argument makes No Armour Save weapons worth more than otherwise.

You don't always get a successful armor save roll if you roll 6 or anything. Modifiers can make saves go away completely and there's no roll.


Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:05 am
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Thanks for the feedback Timz.

The merging of miscast and irresistable force is a good thing imho, so I'll be on the lookout. Now I will include mages in my force (starting with a level 4, after that possibly a level 2, have to test for balance), but if points allow it, a combat character (even a master) migth deliver some punch where troops might fail (if magic is out of the picture).

My rulebook has arrived, and I'm working my way through it. Have yet to come to the part of the lores, so I'll have to see if it's worth it. In 7th no matter how many magic levels I had, I didn't get enormous returns, but 8th spells look lots better. Maybe that supporting master will have to make room for additional sorceresses.

Yes, combat heroes/lords can flunk their rolls, but with heavy armour saves and some new ward saves available, we can increase their victory chances. Which is precisely why I made the calculations, to see if a 4 or 6 point halberd or great weapon would be such an enormous difference from a 50 point weapon. It seems it doesn't, so I can safely invest my magic items in protective gear, and rely on S6. Not always with the same results.

However, after seeing that metal lore and reading the FAQS about the ring, I might swap my master for a sorceress...


Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:18 am
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Thanatoz wrote:
Thanks for the feedback Timz.

The merging of miscast and irresistable force is a good thing imho, so I'll be on the lookout. Now I will include mages in my force (starting with a level 4, after that possibly a level 2, have to test for balance), but if points allow it, a combat character (even a master) migth deliver some punch where troops might fail (if magic is out of the picture).

My rulebook has arrived, and I'm working my way through it. Have yet to come to the part of the lores, so I'll have to see if it's worth it. In 7th no matter how many magic levels I had, I didn't get enormous returns, but 8th spells look lots better. Maybe that supporting master will have to make room for additional sorceresses.

Yes, combat heroes/lords can flunk their rolls, but with heavy armour saves and some new ward saves available, we can increase their victory chances. Which is precisely why I made the calculations, to see if a 4 or 6 point halberd or great weapon would be such an enormous difference from a 50 point weapon. It seems it doesn't, so I can safely invest my magic items in protective gear, and rely on S6. Not always with the same results.

However, after seeing that metal lore and reading the FAQS about the ring, I might swap my master for a sorceress...


From the games I've played in 8th so far, I consider the Lvl.4 mandatory because of the +4 in both casting and dispelling all enemy spells, her large number of spells, and her 90% chance to get the one she wants.

The only question to me is whether or not to take a lvl.2 in addition to it.

She's 160 points for 2 spells from a different lore and 1 extra power dice per turn (Darkstar Cloak.) She also channels an extra 1/6th dice per turn. She costs far more for the damage she will do than the Lvl.4 costs for the damage it will do (since no additional +2 +2 bonus is taken by having a second sorceress. Just the +4 +4 from lord.)

But then again 160 only buys a naked Dreadlord with non-magic armor and non-magic Halberd. 4+ save in combat, T3, and 3 wounds makes him very easy for enemy to kill (toughness ones like executioners wounding him on 2+, killing blow, and giving him no armor save at all from S6.

It seems he kills stuff well if you give him 100 points extra gear putting him at 255 points, but then he costs as much as 21 executioners, who will likely be better at accomplishing whatever job the Dreadlord was gonna do.

The math numbers above show that a Dreadlord isn't a whirlwind of death. An armored unkillable dreadlord is usually killing 1-2 troopers for his 250-ish points cost. And only on the turns he is actually in combat.


Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:32 am
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