10 warriors- dark lance, raider, flickerfield and dark lance
5 warriors- blaster, venom, 2x splinter cannons
5 warriors- blaster, venom, 2x splinter cannons
Just about everyone is talking target saturation. Get the min sized units and fill up your troop selection before moving on to the other places for specialization. I get it. My worry comes in when we consider that my min sized units are riding around in AV10 open topped skimmers. They have a 33% of exploding when penned. Not good. They ride high off the table top so cover can be harder to find unless using intervening transports for cover, so you are only saving on a 5+ if you buy the flickerfields.
The 5 man units are begging to get up close quickly. With an 18" range, they have to move up. Granted this is easier with a fast skimmer than my marine rhinos. No doubt. But after a turn 1 charge forward, venoms will start falling from the skies quickly and take a lot of models as well.
On the other hand, I have the 10 man option with a dark lance which I really like. Combine that with a raider with a dark lance and you can do some damage at a distance. Combine it with nightshields and you can hit stuff with the vast majority of it not being able to hit you back. Unfortunately, the raider suffers the same problem as the venom. Thus, I decided to do a little math and determine what the outcome of an "explodes!" result would be for the 5 man unit and the 10 man unit. Here they are:
So a 5 man unit in a venom gets penned and exploded. That is 5 to-wound rolls on a 3+ (S4 to T3). This yields us 3.333 wounded models. Taking a 5+ armor save means that 2.222 models are dead. Depending on how you swing that, you will have 2-3 models left including the blaster if you allocated correctly. That unit is now sitting in a crater if they passed their LD8 (or 9 with sybarite) for morale.
So what then? Well, how much does it take to get rid of that unit for good? To get rid of a remaining 3 models, I ran my calculations using S4 bolters. In order to remove 3 models with a 4+ cover, you need to pump 14 S4 bolter shots into them. If they go to ground (perhaps because they are on an objective), the number of shots required goes up to 20.31. This is actually not all that hard for a marine list to do.
Now, let's look at the 10 man squad. The same stats apply, but after the raider exploding and doing S4 hits to every model, you have 6.666 wounds dealt of which 4.444 will remain unsaved. Depending on dice swing this means you have 5-6 guys including your dark lance because, again, you allocated properly. These guys are also sitting in their crater cover. In order to remove these models completely, you will need 28 bolter shots, or if they go to ground, 40.62 shots. This isn't so easy to pull off for marines. Not unless you have 2-3 tactical squads within rapid fire range. The great thing about the dark lance though is that it is usually not going to be in rapid fire range as it has sat nearer to your table edge than your opponents making use of its 36" range.
Things I didn't consider for this, are the pinning test and morale test that need to be passed after the raider/venom explodes.
Ultimately, as is everything that occurs when building a list, we have to consider costs.
5 warriors w/ blaster in venom with 2x splinter cannons- 125pt.
10 warriors w/ dark lance in raider with nightshields(or flickerfields) and dark lance- 185pt.
Considering this, we can't think of it in terms of points per models, but rather in the effectiveness of the unit you buy. The 5 man warriors may only lose a 65 point transport and 2-3 models to the explosion, but the unit probably won't be of much use afterward, even with it's blaster. The 10 man squad while losing a 70 point transport and 4-5 models maintains a bit more utility and survivability with its remaining 5-6 models.
The final thing that I haven't mentioned, but that needs to be mentioned is the placing either unit in an army and its role therein. Unfortunately, this little exercise doesn't bear out unless we apply it to an entire army scheme. Perhaps 6 units of 5 warriors in venoms is the way to go. I am actually thinking about taking a pair of 10 man units, a wych unit, and then filling the rest with 5 man units. That makes the most sense to me.
I would love comments and thoughts. I'm still not convinced the min-maxing route is best for my personal playstyle, but it may work for others. This has been an interesting exercise though and helped me to really evaluate my understanding of why I take the units I do. I hope it helps someone else out too.
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