Battle Plan Roll 6s

Monday, June 25, 2012

Preliminary Thoughts & Math on Vehicles in 6th

So folks.   I've been throwing math at the new vehicle damage charts.  The results are not pretty.  Not pretty at all.  I've calculated the number of hits at Strength X required to wreck/explode a vehicle at AV-Y, and compared it from 5th Edition to 6th Edition.  Here's a few things that are shaking out. (Note:  I got wordy so this went from a FB post to a full-on blog post).
 As a note I've assumed 3 Hull Points on all vehicles below AV 14, and 4 Hull Points on all AV 14.
The vehicle damage rules are as follows to the best of my knowledge.    Glances remove hull points, but do nothing else.  Penetrations remove hull points AND roll on the vehicle damage table.
Damage table is as follows:
1-2          Shaken
3              Stunned
4              Weapon Destroyed
5              Immobilized
6+           Explodes

Key Modifiers are
AP 2:  + 1 On Chart
AP 1:  +2 On Chart
Open Topped: + 1 On Chart

Math Conclusions
1)      Under the 6th Ed rules, (ignoring AP1 weapons), a vehicle will ALWAYS require fewer hits on average to 'guarantee'  a wreck via hull damage than it will to destroy via explosion.  In many cases significantly fewer depending on AP (i.e.  A missile launcher will require 18 hits on average to get an explode result on an AV 12 vehicle.  It will require 6 hits on average to wreck that same vehicle via hull point damage.  A lascannon at the same will be 4.5 Hits to wreck vs 6 hits to explode). 
2)      AP-1 weapons based on my math will not experience any meaningful improvement under 6th.  In general their odds of getting an explosion vary between slightly better and massively better than their odds of destroying via wreck depending on Str vs AV.   Bottom line.  They’ll still kill things dead like you're used to.
3)      In 6th Ed, vehicles will take between 20% and 50% fewer hits to wreck than in 5th Ed, depending on weapon Str vs AV.  (i.e.  A missile launcher firing at AV 12 in 5th Ed required 9 hits get a wrecked/explodes result.  In 6th it will take the same missile launcher 6 hits on average to wreck via hull damage.  Or 18 via exploding on the damage table which I wouldn't count on.)
4)      The damage difference is even more severe when reduced cover saves are taken into account.  Case Study on our friend the missile launcher again.  In 5th Ed, a missile launcher firing at a AV12 vehicle in cover, would require on average 18 hits to 'guarantee' a wrecked/destroyed result on the chart.  Under the new edition the same missile launcher would need 9 hits to ‘guarantee’ a wreck via hull damage.  50% fewer hits!!!  And there are worse examples....
5)      Autocannons are better at destroying vehicles than missile launchers at AV 10, 11, & 12 thanks to rate of fire & hull damage.  They TIE with missiles on AV 13.  Multilasers are better than auto cannons on AV 10 & tie on AV 11.  Scatter Lasers are better than autocannons up to AV 11, and tie against AV 12.  Get that.  Up to AV 12 a SCATTER LASER will be better at wrecking vehicles than a missile launcher.
So some general thoughts I’m having. 
Based on the math trends I’m seeing light to medium vehicles are taking a good sized beating in terms of survivability in the shooting phase.  Between reduced cover saves, and the Hull point system, my numbers are showing major reductions in the amount of firepower needed to ‘guarantee’ a kill.  Particularly from medium strength, high rate of fire guns.
Heavy vehicles (AV 14) are doing somewhat better, but only because at the end of the day they have more hull points, and the guns required to burn them down are expensive, and typically don’t come with huge rates of fire. 
That being said, I think the standard deviation on vehicle kills is going to go WAY down.  In the past we’ve all had problems with shooting at transports where we either 1) Can’t Hit, 2) Can’t Pen, 3) Can’t Break through the cursed 4+ save, or 4) Can’t roll over a 1 on the chart.  With cover saves reduced, and with hull points effectively ignoring chart rolling, I think what we’re likely to see is most vehicles dying to ‘wounds’, with the odd golden BB rolling a 6 on the pen and exploding early.   AP2 weapons will see more golden BB’s; and AP1 weapons will remain the vehicle destroying beasts that they are.
From a list design standpoint here’s what my current thoughts are:
1.       I think the better lists are going to plan around destroying light to medium vehicles via hull point damage.  Explosions will be gravy, but as long as you can force enough glances/pens things will be fine.  The trick will be focus firing vehicles, and not spreading the hull point damage around, unless you get useful pen results that halt or otherwise make the vehicle irrelevant.

2.       I think heavy vehicles will still require melta to take down efficiently.   Lascannon spam is all well and good, but when you’re talking 12-18 hits to get to the center of a Land Raider, that could otherwise be working over lighter vehicles for FAR better results, its just better to put melta on the job.

3.       Also regarding melta, I think that a certain amount of it will need to be phased down in favor of plasma in many lists.  Saving it for dedicated tank hunters, or assault units.  With the decrease in vehicle resilience its not nearly as necessary to break open the medium vehicles, and the reduction in infantry cover saves means that plasma can be far more effective.  Plus, the new rapid fire rules mean that plasma can be used to effectively support your dedicated light anti-tank weapons at medium/close range.

4.       I think rate of fire is going to be key in selecting weapons.  Autocannons are now hands down better than missile launchers (Go, go, Chaos Havocs), and should be chosen in their place wherever possible.   Ditto for assault cannons, and don’t even get me started on Psycannons.  Bottom line, Grey Knight anti-Tank just got a sizeable buff (though I look forward to hull pointing their dreadnaughts off the board.  The flyer rules also back up high ROF weapons.  Being hit only on 6’s means pointing heavy weapons up there is likely not worth it without special rules, but high ROF weapons will likely be better there as well, as well as twin-linked weapons.

5.       Lascannons are going to be more worth the points to buy up from missile launchers under the new edition because AP-2 means their odds on the pen table are better in addition to the Str bump.  Whether it will be worthwhile will likely depend of the number of shots sacrificed versus the damage increase.  Hard to say without more a more dedicated analysis.

6.       I also think vehicles are gonna be suppressed far less often than currently.  Rolling on the chart only for pens, means fewer shaken/stunned/ect results.  Vehicles are likely to come in two flavors most of the time.  Fully functional or dead.  I’m not feeling as much middle ground on the board. 

7.       As for what/ how many vehicles to include….that I have a hard time saying.  Its dependent on too many factors right now.  Yes, vehicles are easier to kill now, there’s no way to argue that.  And I haven’t even discussed vehicles and assaults.  But infantry have taken some lumps as well, the knock down to 5+ cover hurts infantry just as much as it does tanks, as does the rumored ability to ‘focus fire’ and only shoot models outside cover.  For my money, I think heavy tanks are still worthwhile.  Land raiders will still be a pill to bring down, and Russes got much better when everyone’s cover saves got nuked.  Full strength on blast weapons against vehicles didn’t hurt their usability either.  It’s the light and medium vehicles where I find myself holding judgement.  I think rhino’s are in a bad place, but they may remain cheap enough to justify it either way.  Razorbacks…..not so much.   In any event, another week and we’ll have a much better view.

And after way too much verbiage that’s all for now.  Cheers folks.
Wolf Lord Wooten


  1. Great job! Great info! Necrons for 6th Ed! :)

  2. so basically, transport spam could take a huge hit this edition. Good for some people, bad for others...

  3. Thats my early impression. We'll have to see how things pan out in actual gameplay. He're one quick and dirty way of looking at this. If a vehicle takes half as many hits to kill, its almost equivalent to having twice the number of guns to shoot at it with.

    So think about a 5th Ed game, and imagine your rhinos driving towards 30 missile launchers instead of 15. Just ponder on it...

    You'll be loosing fewer early on to lucky 6's, but the high part of the average (that round where you can't fail cover saves or your opponent can't roll above shaken), will be going away. 3 Damage Results and you're gone.

    Think of a vehicle as a high toughness (AV 10 = T6) monstrous creature with 3-4 wounds and NO armour save and you're looking at it in the right light. Add a variable chance to be instant-deathed/incapacitated on a single hit and you're there.