Monday, February 14, 2011

Dessicator Swarms vs. Shreddershard Beetles - The Debate

Not really much of a debate but anything for the page-views, amirite?

In all seriousness though, I've taken off the ads. I felt like a sell-out and they had made me like ten bucks so... no more ads. My Stiffneck Studios project is going to have to pay my way to the NOVA... or I'm not going to make it. *sob*

Anyways, I've heard some folks online saying that they are taking Shreddershard Beetles rather than the Dessicator Swarm because Shreddershard Beetles are better for shooting at Feel No Pain Marines, such as Blood Angels all clustered into a deep-strike clump.

I thought about it for a few seconds, and then decided thinking is for losers. I'm going to use Excel.

So let's just say that you are lucky enough to catch an entire squad of Blood Angels in a deepstrike cluster. Seems reasonable.

You can catch all ten of those dudes with your template. So we start with 10 hits in *either* scenario.

So far so good.

Your Dessicator swarm will, statistically (which means "not really" but for the sake of comparison) cause 8.33 wounds. From that we assume they fail one in three saves to give us 2.77 failed saves, and Feel No Pain will cut that in half to give us a total of 1.38 wounds taken. In the game it's usually difficult to take .38 of a model off so we could say we are more likely to kill one Marine than two.

Shreddershard Beetles start with the same 10 hits. One sixth of those hits will cause rends (again, this is statistics, rare events happen, don't yell at ME if you roll 6 1's!) which will cause 1.67 Rending wounds. Since Shreddershard is Strength 3, we will also cause normal wounds on 5's, so we get another 1.67 regular wounds. The regular wounds go through the same process as any other wounds, 1/3 failed armor saves, 1/2 failed Feel No Pain nets us a grand total of .27 more unsaved wounds. Add that to the 1.67 rends and we get 1.94 total.


To recap those who didn't actually work through those:

Dessicator Swarms will cause (on average) 1.38 unsaved wounds with ten hits.

Shreddershard Beetles will cause on average 1.94 unsaved wounds with ten hits.

Yay, Shreddershard wins. I will now use them blindly in all instances.


Probably not. At the end of the day we are really talking about the difference between killing on marine and killing two marines in most every case. Maths are good for analysis, but they can't do our critical thinking for us. Let's talk about this a bit more.

It is very psychologically satisfying to kill Space Marines without giving them a save. It's very psychologically disturbing to a Marine player to have to pull his models without taking a save.

Psychologically disturbing your opponent (within the context of the game, not by having your skeezy girlfriend leaning over the table, intimidating him, smelling bad, or any of that shit) can be a valuable thing. See my article from YTTH on that topic.

But I really don't think that maybe killing one Space Marine (maybe TWO!) is going to have this impact.

Redeemer Cannons taking out 6 dudes at a time: Disheartening.

Shreddershards forcing you to pull one dude: Meh.

Let's not forget that you are ALSO going to be tossing down a Strength 5 Pieplate on that squad. Odds are good that if you DO happen to roll two sixes that he will simply toss both rends onto the same dude after he's "wrapped" his normal armor saves (perhaps not for the Blood Angels example but in many cases). So there goes your miracle Boxcars. Lol.

Finally, you have to consider the "torrent of fire" aspect. Would I rather put 1-2 wounds on every dude in the squad (including that Chalice Bearer!) or would I rather put one Rending hit on a disposable dude? I think in most every case I would rather go with the "torrent" option that gives me a shot at doing away with something juicy.

And let's talk about general utility. 90% of the time I would rather be doing lots of wounds, and having a weapon that can guarantee me lots wounds against anything in the game regardless of toughness is invaluable. Dessicator Swarms can help throw a second or third wound onto a Wraithlord, Daemon Prince, etc, before I charge it with Toxin Sac Termagants, or whatever. Flexible.

Flexibility is a nice thing to have, no?

It was mentioned that Terminators might be an argument for Shreddershards. In some few instances, yes. In most cases where it matters, no.

Let's assume we're talking about TH/SS Terminators, since that's what we're worried about, right? All bets are off when Grey Knights drop, but let's keep this in the land of the "now."

So let's say we luck out and catch all five Terminators in a Deathwing squad under our template. The Dessicator causes an average of 4.17 wounds and the player fails .69 saves. So maybe he loses a terminator.

Now the Shreddershard fires, getting the same five hits. This causes on average of .83 rends and .83 regular wounds. But the Stormshield manages to ward off the rend 2/3 of the time, leaving us with .28 unsaved wounds, and .13 of the "normal" wounds will go unsaved as well. So a total of .42 unsaved wounds from Shreddershard Beetles. Quite a bit worse than the Dessicator but in reality both of them are "not great" at killing Terminators.

Yes, we could talk about Feel No Pain Terminators without Storm Shields but, lol, how far down this road do you want to go? We have other tools in our toolbox. Yesterday I had plenty of S8 and S9 shooting in the form of Hive Guard and Heavy Venom Cannons (great for deep striking FNP Blood Angels!) to finish off Belial's squad (which had an apothecary).

Don't forget you DO have monstrous creatures too. Lol.

I'm just not sold on this idea. Maybe someone else can see the greatness that is the Shreddershards, and enlighten me? It's been said that Shreddershards shouldn't be our third choice anymore. That's probably true.

But it is still the second choice for me, and since I can only take one... Dessicator is what I'm going with.