Sunday, April 17, 2011

Maths Request - Hotshot versus Stormbolter

Hiya Purg. Drinniol here humbly requesting you crunch some numbers :)

I have been writing a GK list and I was interested in how hot-shot lasguns perform against storm bolters in the hands of warrior acolytes.

Sure thing bud. Now, to start off, I think it's important to say that the answer will certainly be "it depends," as with so many things in life. The answer will change based upon range, target armor, and whether the target gets cover.

Does that mean we can't do some analysis on the question? Certainly not. Just recognize it's not a simple "this is mo betta" type of situation.

Let's start with the weapon profiles in question.

First, the Stormbolter.

24 inch range, Assault 2, Strength 4, AP 5. 

This is one of my favorite weapons. I take several in each of my Wolf Guard squads and you would be surprised how much those extra shots at 24 inches add up. This is a great weapon. It allows you to keep your opponents at a distance and wear them down from outside the rapid fire range which is where a lot of army's anti-infantry exists.

Next, the Hotshot Lasgun.

18 inch range, Rapid Fire, Strength 3 AP 3. So we are taking this guy for the AP 3, obviously. There is literally no other aspect that makes it superior to the Stormbolter, and it's more expensive to boot.

So, to make this a good comparison we need to use equivalent point values. The Stormbolter equipped Warrior Acolyte clocks in at a thrifty 7 points. The hotshot toting acolyte is a still-pretty-cheap 9 points.

So I guess the easiest thing to do would be to test at 63 points worth of models with 9 Stormbolter guys versus 7 hotshot guys.

Ok, so the first test will be against Marines, in the open, from 12" away. This is important because this is the scenario where the Hotshot MUST shine. If it does not perform here there is literally no reason to ever take this weapon.

The Hotshots will shoot 14 times, hitting on average 7 times, wounding (and killing) 2.33 MEQ on average.

Ok, the stormbolters will shoot 18 times, hitting on average 9 times, wounding 4.5 times and killing on average 1.5 Marines.

So at least we know that the Hotshot outperforms the Stormbolter under "ideal" test conditions for the Hotshot - that is, in rapid fire range, against Marines in the open.

Let's see how we do in the same scenario but let's put the Marines in cover, something that's pretty realistic.

The Hotshots will cut their kill number approximately in half if they are granting cover, resulting in 1.167 dead marines on average, while the Stormbolters keep their 1.5 dead marines.

Since we know that even in rapid fire range the Stormbolter outperforms the Hotshot if the target is in cover, I won't do any math for scenarios where things will be even worst for the Hotshot. I will say, however, that if for whatever reason the Hotshots are shooting from 18" away (why they would ever do that god only knows),  they are firing only one shot, so the Stormbolter is even further in the lead. Also, if the enemy is 18" -24" away, the Hotshots cannot even fire while the Stormbolter can (and really can fire at a target that starts up to 30 inches away with the movement phase included.

At the end of the day, the Hotshot will perform better at the one task that it's "designed" to do - killing marines in the open in rapid fire range. But it's still not "great" at doing that job, and in every other scenario the Stormbolter wins.