Monday, June 20, 2011

40k-metrics: Stillfrosty's White Scars

Since this is still new the more armies we can push through system the better in order to see how various lists stack up.  Stillfrosty of White Scars blog was kind enough to submit his current 2k list for consideration.  Since he placed 5th at Adepticon with the 1850 version it's safe to say that his list is competitive and a good indicator of where a competitive bike army should be.

Picture this with another 150 points.

First the list...

Khan on bike
Vet with lightning claw melta gun
Vet with power fist and storm shield
Vet with power fist melta gun and storm shield Champ Apothecary Bike squadron 8+1 2x plasma guns fist mmab Bike squadron 8+1 2x melta guns fist mmab Scouts with s rifles and camo
2 typhoon speeder with h bolter
2 typhoon speeder with h bolter
2 typhoon speeder with h flamer
2 Thunder Fire Cannons
So here is a competitive list that is high on defense (all troops either have a 3+ invulnerable or are T5) and high on mobility.  In theory, the sacrifice for being tough and fast is you lose offense.  But remember, the player writes his own list, and the proper use of metagaming comes to mind.  Right now, you rarely see Land Raiders or Russes at the top tables of Grand Tournaments.  If you go with that assumption, it's safe to skimp on, say, melta in order to keep the other firepower metrics in your force high while still retaining mobility and toughness.  

How does this proven winner stack up?

Stillfrosty 2k DMS DMCC DRPG DLRPG Notes
Khan 0.29 2.18 2.00 0.00 Bike
5x Command 2.00 6.05 15.00 6.36 1 LC, 2 Fist, PW, 2 melta
8 bikes 4.85 2.68 7.40 1.98 2 Plasma, fist, MM ab
8 bikes 3.72 2.68 9.31 5.94 2 melta, fist, MM AB
5 scouts 0.68 0.90 0.87 0.00 sniper rifles
4 typhoons 6.20 0.00 13.20 0.00 Heavy bolters
2 Typhoons 3.99 0.00 6.60 0.00 Heavy Flamers
2 Thunder Fires 6.73 0.00 4.80 0.00

Totals:  28.46 14.49 59.18 14.28

So how does this list stack up to the top NOVA lists from last year?  Pretty comparably.  Like I said before, his army is fast and tough, so there are inevitably trade-offs that can be seen.  The key is trading off in economical ways that minimize the impact of the trade offs so that you don't feel their loss.

His anti-MEQ shooting is right on par with those lists.  It seem that the low to mid-twenties is where all these competitive lists are scoring, Orks not surprisingly coming in the lowest of the bunch due to a focus on close combat over shooting ability.  Since his score is nearly a 30, we can see he is packing significant anti-infantry firepower.

The White Scars close combat ability is where some of those economical decisions were made.  As you can see, his score is below the 4 NOVA lists but still rather close to the mech-BA list.  He does have an uber unit in terms of the command squad and Khan, which will single-handedly wipe out a full MEQ squad per turn between their shooting charge.  It's a tough, tough unit that is something of a swiss-army knife for this list in terms of it's problem solving ability.  Incidentally, the trading of CC ability may be a very good choose for this list in a NOVA style tournament.  With 5 objectives in every missions and table quarters, the list has the ability to turboboost and grab/contest real estate.  It doesn't need to wipe you off the objectives to win, it will be very happy to contest 2 of them, secure one or two of it's own, and use the command squad to clean you off the 5th and win 2-0.  So CC is a decent place for this list to make its trade-offs.

It's penetrating hits on Rhinos per game is on the low side, but still very comparable to Tony's NOVA winning list, coming in with identical scores!  Right now the sample size of lists I've broken down is 6 lists big and this is right in the wheel house of non-MSU lists I've looked at in this category.  Mid-to high 50's seems to be a very acceptable zone for a competitive 2k list in this category.

Penetrating hits on AV14 is another place I don't see him losing much by skimping on, for reasons above.  When there is a strong chance you won't see any Land Raiders at a tournament, there is no reason to sacrifice the balance of the rest of your list just to shore up anti-AV14.  While his score is lower than the some of the lists, the chances of facing a Land Raider at the top tables of Day 2 at a GT are low enough that a person can reasonably risk sacrificing some anti-AV14 to gain the mobility and defense that frosty does here.

So all in all, his scores are right in line with competitive 2k GT lists, which isn't surprising since we know his list is a competitive GT list already, too.  I would like to say that someone could definitely use this as the baseline/benchmark criteria list for any other bike list that comes down the pipe and feel confidant they were getting a good comparison.

Questions?  Comments?


  1. Hey nike looks good!

    Though just on quick edit my 2k list has tfcs which are listed in the analysis but not the regular list.

    Anyways, mind if I post this on my blog?

  2. I would be interested to see how bad 2000pt lists compare to the good ones you've looked at.

  3. @wisdom Me too. I've asked Mike if he could send me some 0-4 lists but I always feel like I'm troubling him when I ask for favors. When he sends them I will for sure do it.

  4. With a Servo-harness the Techmarine Gunner should give the Thunderfire cannons a score for melee?

  5. I actually ignored the Techmarine's CC scores because the chances of that being at all meaningful are next to nothing.

  6. I actually took out a drednought in assault with those two powerfist attacks!

    Sure it is unlikely to happen since a techmarine can't assault with a cannon until its destroyed or if he gets charged he is probably going to die but it is still awesome.

  7. Does this favtor in how easily a TF Cannon be dealt with if it's simply fired at with some decent volume of firepower?

  8. No, why would it? Defense is accounted for in the points value of the unit, and thus the quantity of units you can bring.

  9. So, how is this system a realistic portrayal of ANYTHING given units capabilities are being reduced continuously in games?

    We have to consider:

    Range of weapons
    Choices to make from turn to turn.
    Line of Sight

    A lot more, those are just a few. I appreciate the effort put into this, but it really skews views on a army's "effectiveness" because seeing this Biker army, you say the numbers are pretty sweet but what I see? I see a bunch of easily dealt with stuff like Skimmers and Artillery (Golly, Artillery just can roll over and die if any kind of moderate rate of firepower goes it's way OR assaulted) and although the Bikers are probably in range to use their guns by the time I take out the backfield, I'm much better off facing his list.

    Maybe re-tool the system a bit to accommodate this?

  10. Not like units are surviving all game continuously putting out their contribution. Unless nothing dies in your games, but we know that's not true.

  11. Again, I don't understand your criticism. This is a measure of potential, not a measure of what the army will actually kill on the battlefield.

    It turns out that measuring potential is, in fact, a useful way of predicting tabletop success all else being equal.

    What you are missing is that survival is already accounted for in points cost. I don't know how to explain it better than I already did. Easy to kill units you can take more of.

    I've already explained that you don't write lists with the intention of trying to break my system. The prize for breaking my system is... having a shit list that doesn't win games. The point is to make a realistic balanced list and compare it to other realistic lists.

  12. 1 - Alright, a measure of potential, best case scenario where we lose nothing all game? If so I get it, but you can kind of represent this with some kind of deteriorating formula "assume you lose X, now you have Y to deal with" or am I being too harsh? Really I've seen many people get their hopes up over your system so I only aim to improve it because, like I said, I can dismantle this particular list's "good firepower" by focusing on the Speeder/Artillery portion before the Bikes cause too much damage. I run a Biker army as well and run into the same simple dilemma.

    2 - Really, I don't think 40k is equal due to how the interchange of dice work and some rules giving certain races some obvious options over the others, examples:

    The Imperial Missile Launcher - Only Eldar Missile Launchers and Tau Hammerhead Railguns remotely do anything similiar, both not as cheap and not as prevalent or accurate.

    The AP 1 factor - Only Tau of all the Xenos has about as much AP 1 as an Imperial army or Chaos. It's not much, but it shows a difference, especially with Vehicle Damage results expected, yes?

    3 - I doubt this. A Predator with 2 Heavy Bolters is cheaper than a Thunderfire Cannon, puts similar firepower out (In the raw sense, blasts I recognize could get more, but what if the enemy's spread out and accuracy gives you a bad day for your Techmarine?)but is MUCH more survivable as a moderate amount of medium strength (4-7) firepower it's way, get through the ideally 3+ Cover Save, and either glance the weapon, killing it, or hitting the gunner, who can fail his 2+, it does happen! lol The Predator also doesn't fall immediately to assaults, Str 3 can't touch it (whereas the Artillery the gunner can be swamped with Str 3) and the vehicle can simply elect to move over fire a bit to get hit on 4's or even 6's. Even THEN we have to worry about the vehicle damage results which are AGAIN in the Vehicle's favor.

    4 - And again I recognize the effort and thank you, I just wish for a bit more realsim, because someone like I can dismantle a list looking at it, your numbers misconstrue that for the players, or me at least, and in the end of the day, this is a piss poor list TO ME because of the easy split focus of my firepower. Makes sense?

    Thank you for your time.