Monthly Archives: October 2012

Fast Calls

In the heat of battle you have to make all kinds of on the spot decisions. Sometimes these are judgment calls with no analytically right or wrong answer – you just go with what feels right. However, sometimes even very good players do this in situations where a bit of thought would lead them to a definitively right choice.

For example, during the 2012 ETC, my opponent and I were discussing a cover save for a squad of my chaos marines. I contended that they were in 4+ cover, he said no. After some debate he offered me to ‘4+ it’ to determine if they were in cover, to which I offered a flat 5+ cover save which he accepted. In a later game the same situation arose with a squad of Obliterators, this time I agreed to ‘4+ it’. So here’s a simple question for you:

Was I right to take a different approach to two seemingly identical situations?

In the case of marines, they needed cover to have any save at all, rolling a 4+ to see if they are in cover of 4+ needs two 4+s which is only 25% likely. Arguing for a 5+ got me a 33% survival chance. So heres a rule of thumb, if your opponent offers a 4+ on 4+, offer a flat 5+. If an opponent asks for a 5+ get him to 4+ it instead.

Then why the change for the Obliterators? Well, like all good rules of thumb, you need to know your exceptions. The key difference is that if the Obliterators aren’t in cover, they still have their 5+ invulnerable – arguing 5+ cover would achieve nothing. I should roll for the 4+ to try for 4+ cover and if I’m not in cover then I can still use the invulnerable.

There was a similar situation against Imperial Guard. The IG order “Fire on my target” forces you to reroll successful cover saves. A quick bit of math and I chose the 5+ invulnerable vs 4+ cover, for the same statistical reasoning as before – a 33% chance of survival vs a 25% chance.

Whenever you find yourself in these kinds of situation, take a moment to think about it – because eking out a few extra percentage points can win you a tight game, and aren’t those the best victories?

Basic Anti Air

I realize that it’s been a while since I’ve thrown some numbers at you, and isn’t that really the purpose of this blog? So back on form, here’s a question:

Icarus was the boy of legend who flew too close to the sun, but if he traded his wax wings for a vendetta, then how worried should he be about the skyfire interceptor lascannon that they named after him?


Flyers are the new hotness of 6th edition and everyone needs to have a way of dealing with them in order to stay competitive. The BRB gives us two generic options, the Icarus Lascannon, and the Quad Gun.

Both have the very interesting interceptor rule, which lets them take a pot shot at any enemy unit that has arrived from reserve that turn – so you get a chance to blow that flyer out of the sky at the end of his movement phase (before he gets a chance to fire).

Both fire at full BS vs. flyers (thanks to the skyfire rule), and given that flyers are usually medium armour at best, you’d be hopeful of getting a lucky shot in to pop your opponent’s beloved flying machine of death. Unfortunately the numbers aren’t really on your side

So that Vendetta flies onto the board full of hopes, dreams, and heavy weapons, how does he fare? Let’s take the Icarus Lascannon first.


Assuming BS4, with fours to pen his AV12, and fives on the damage chart to explode him we get an 11% chance of success (which drops to 7% if your opponent evades). The hull point view isn’t great either, we can do at most 1 hull point, but the expected value is 0.3 hull points.


The quad gun is certainly a better bet for doing hull point damage (not so hot for an explodes result). We can potentially do 4 Hull points of damage to that Vendetta! But what are the odds?

Hull Points inflicted vs Odds
0 41%
1 41%
2 15%
3 2%
4 <1%

As you can see, not great. The expected value is 0.79 Hull Points, which is a lot better than the Icarus, but still not a major threat.

Running a few more numbers, I came across a sad truth. A snap firing twin linked tesla destructor (i.e without skyfire) is as dangerous to a vendetta as the dedicated AA Quad Gun.

So to answer my original question, our vendetta pilot shouldn’t sweat it, but my overall conclusion can be summed up as:

God damn necrons.

Ireland ETC 2013 part 01

I’ve recently been given the honour of becoming the 2013 captain for Ireland’s 40k team for the ETC. With the outgoing captain, Mike Tangney, having overseen Ireland’s best performance to date, I’ll have some big shoes to fill.

Thankfully I have a pool of excellent players to build the team, and have a small army of volunteers to help with the organisation.

Today’s post is just a snapshot of where the current rankings lie, as these will be a key component of team selection. Heres the latest rankings top 20:

40K (IRE)
Paul Quigley
Dan Ahern
Alec Cornelius
John Stowe
Jonny Fisher
Richard Flood
Ivan Sheehan
Scott Nelson
Eoin O’Mahony
Jan Karnowski
Michael Tangney
Mervyn Murphy
Philip Johnston
Dave Coleman
Peter Scott
Rowan Sheridan
Luke Osbourne
Tom O’Reilly
Brian Leonard
Javier Jimenez

As you can see we’ve got a good mix of former ETC vets and new blood vying for the top slots. Obviously it’s early days yet, and I expect to see lots of changes over the next 5 months, but I’ll post regular updates of the rankings scene and keep track of how people are progressing over the rest of the season.

IG and me

I played my first 6th ed tournament, using a combo of chaos marines and imperial guard. The format was escalation from 1000 to 2000 over 5 games with a 250 point uplift from round to round.

I brought a list that tried to include a bit of everything: flyers, deep strikers, flying monster, jump infantry, artillery, fortification etc.

Overall they were decent but definitely suboptimal lists, so I won’t bore you with the breakdown – but I did take the time to reflect on my games and come up with a list that is more evolved.

So 1750 points will get you:
Imperial Guard

Company Command Squad
Company Commander; Astropath; Master of Ordnance; Master of the Fleet; camo cloaks.

Guardsman Marbo

Platoon Command Squad
Platoon Commander.
• Infantry Squad: +1 Sergeant (melta bombs); flamer; krak grenades; Heavy Weapons Team (heavy bolter).
• Infantry Squad: +1 Sergeant (melta bombs); flamer; krak grenades; Heavy Weapons Team (heavy bolter).
• Heavy Weapon Squad: 3× autocannon.

Platoon Command Squad
Platoon Commander.
• Infantry Squad: +1 Sergeant (melta bombs); sniper rifle; krak grenades; Heavy Weapons Team (missile launcher).
• Infantry Squad: +1 Sergeant (melta bombs); sniper rifle; krak grenades; Heavy Weapons Team (missile launcher).
• Special Weapon Squad: 3× demolition charge.

Fast Attack
1 Vendetta Gunship
sponson heavy bolters.

1 Vendetta Gunship
sponson heavy bolters.

1 Vendetta Gunship

Heavy Support
2 Hydra Flak Tanks

Manticore Rocket Launcher
pintle-mounted heavy stubber; camo netting.

2 Hydra Flak Tanks

Aegis Defence Lines
Quad Gun.

Since chaos is in flux right now I’ve left them out of the list That said, with the new chaos codex coming out this week you can expect to see more from me on the IG+CSM combo in the near future.

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