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 Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit

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Kantalla
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PostSubject: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Tue Jul 12 2016, 10:39

In the CC options thread, I suggested a Court of the Archon (half Sslyth and half Lhamaeans) as a viable melee unit to compete with Grotesques. I can't say many seemed to agree with that, so here goes a bit of mathhammer to show the unit is worth consideration.

When Fisheyes did his assault unit analysis, Lhamaeans came out very well, but are extremely fragile. When mixed with Sslyth the unit still has an impressive damage output, but gains the majority T5, making it similarly resilient to Grotesques.

I have considered three different options for comparison of the Court to our other best choices:

Option 1 - Character with Grotesques
Succubus with Archite Glaive
3 Grotesques
Aberration with Agoniser
Raider with Night Shields
340 points

Option 2 - Grotesquerie
Haemonculus with Agoniser
3 Grotesques
Aberration with Agoniser
Raider with Night Shields
3 Grotesques
Aberration with Agoniser
Raider with Night Shields
585 points

Option 3 - Court of the Archon
5 Lhamaeans
5 Sslyth
Raider with Night Shields
245 points

I have worked out the number of unsaved wounds each model inflicts with shooting, on the charge and when in melee but not charging. I have assumed the Grotesques will get Rampage, and the Raiders will be snap firing, as they are likely to need to jink. I have also assumed the targets are in 4+ cover for shooting. For the Succubus and Grotesquerie options, I have worked out the average result allowing for combat drugs or latest experiments to be included.

As an example a Grotesque against Guardsmen would have 7 attacks * 2/3 hits * 35/36 wounds * 2/3 unsaved = 3.02 unsaved wounds per model. The results for the models in each option were then summed to get the total number of unsaved wounds for the option, and the result then divided by the cost of the unit to get a number of unsaved wounds per 100 points, so the options can be compared.

To give a unit example, for Option 1 charging against Marines:
Succubus = 2.17 wounds
3 Grotesques = 3.11 wounds
Aberration  = 3.56 wounds
Total = 8.83 wounds
Unsaved wounds per 100 points = 8.83 / 340 * 100 = 2.6

The Results:

Unsaved Wounds per 100 points vs Guardsman Equivalents:
OptionShootingChargingNot Charging
Succubus + Grotesques0.124.904.19
Grotesquerie0.115.274.44
Court of the Archon1.456.054.54
Unsaved Wounds per 100 points vs Marine Equivalents:
OptionShootingChargingNot Charging
Succubus + Grotesques0.092.492.13
Grotesquerie0.082.652.23
Court of the Archon0.981.981.47
Unsaved Wounds per 100 points vs Terminator Equivalents:
OptionShootingChargingNot Charging
Succubus + Grotesques0.070.990.83
Grotesquerie0.070.810.68
Court of the Archon0.520.990.74
Not too surprisingly, the Court is by far the best shooting option, but it is better against Guardsmen or Terminators than the Grotesques. Grotesques with an Agoniser have a slight edge against Marines, which is more than compensated for if the Court gets to shoot.

Other than the damage output, there are some other considerations:
- Latest experiments can make the Grotesquerie much harder to kill
- Court has Fleet
- Grotesques have a character who could be Warlord with them
- Court vulnerable if more Sslyth die than Lhamaeans
- Court is better at destroying vehicles
- Grotesquerie fearless and character higher leadership than the Court
- Freakish Spectacle for the Grotesquerie
- Court better armor save

All in all, I think the Grotesques and Court are fairly even, with the edge to the Grotesquerie due to the chance of T6 or 4+ FNP. At the very least I think the Court of the Archon should be considered a viable melee option alongside the Grotesques.

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Tue Jul 12 2016, 13:58

I'm not wonderful at math. As a quick question though, did you factor in the Grotesques' rerolls to wound?
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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Tue Jul 12 2016, 15:11

@Jimsolo wrote:
I'm not wonderful at math.  As a quick question though, did you factor in the Grotesques' rerolls to wound?

Good question!

Also, Kantalla, thanks for taking the time to put all this together for us!

What makes the court better at destroying vehicles?

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Tue Jul 12 2016, 20:43

I'm just finishing up my new Sslyth(what is the correct plural?), so this is rather interesting to read.
Good stuff.

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Tue Jul 12 2016, 21:07

@Jimsolo wrote:
I'm not wonderful at math.  As a quick question though, did you factor in the Grotesques' rerolls to wound?
Yes - the reroll to wound is factored in for Grotesques, so 35/36 wound rate against GEQ, and 8/9 wound rate against MEQ or TEQ (increasing to 35/36 if getting +1 S from Latest Experiments).

For what it is worth, I have also included the Succubus' Combat Drugs and Grotesquerie's Latest Experiments into the results as well.

@BetrayTheWorld wrote:
What makes the court better at destroying vehicles?
Grotesques lose Rampage against vehicles, so option 1 for example has 21 strength 5 attacks and 6 S4 attacks for 340 points, and the Court has 25 strength 5 attacks for 245 points.

@flakmonkey wrote:
I'm just finishing up my new Sslyth(what is the correct plural?), so this is rather interesting to read.
Good stuff.
My bet is Sslyth is the plural as well as the singular. Sslyths just doesn't sound right. Sslythss would be an amusing alternative perhaps.

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Tue Jul 12 2016, 23:24

@Kantalla wrote:

@BetrayTheWorld wrote:
What makes the court better at destroying vehicles?
Grotesques lose Rampage against vehicles, so option 1 for example has 21 strength 5 attacks and 6 S4 attacks for 340 points, and the Court has 25 strength 5 attacks for 245 points.

I see. For some reason I thought Sslyth got 1 less attack than they do. I forgot that they had 2 CC weapons.

It would be cool to see how these units stacked up to various high toughness units too. I wonder if the Grots would win out with their poison, or if the Lhameans 2+ poison would pull them way out ahead.

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Wed Jul 13 2016, 07:27

Is the Court in the 10 man configuration critical?
I ask coz I've only got 3 Sslythss Very Happy, and considering if its worth gettin more

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Wed Jul 13 2016, 08:59

The court can do CC. I mentioned them in CC options too.

For me Grots do CC better because of the grotesquerie table, coven pfp table, -1 ld bubble, rampage, ID and poison BUT the court can still do CC and can do great shooting as well. Especially with some medusae.

With enough sslyth the court can be a different flavour of shooty grots.

A sweet tactic is to WWP the courts raider so the tip of the raider is within 3" of an enemy held obj that you need that turn. Then the court blasts said enemy unit to hell. +1 point to you and maybe a destroy enemy unit or linebreaker point as well.

Now your opponent has to deal with these guys messing up his dep zone.
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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Wed Jul 13 2016, 09:02

Made a couple of tweaks to the table, as I found a calculation error on the spreadsheet for the Succubus (should not have had a bonus attack for two weapons).

flakmonkey - this configuration should work at any size, so long as you have at least half Sslyth. 2 Lhamaeans and 3 Sslyth in a Venom should work fine, all the way up to 10 models in a Raider

Something I didn't take into account for the vehicle wrecking is that Sslyth wont get Furious Charge from Turn 4, so at that point Grotesques would have the advantage.

@Painjunky wrote:
The court can do CC. I mentioned them in CC options too.
True, but the general consensus was that decent options were Grotesques, Talos and Succubus only.

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Wed Jul 13 2016, 12:00

@Kantalla wrote:

@Painjunky wrote:
The court can do CC. I mentioned them in CC options too.
True, but the general consensus was that decent options were Grotesques, Talos and Succubus only.

There were many advocates for reavers and incubi as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Wed Jul 13 2016, 13:12

Well, I'm convinced. I never liked the Haemonculus tax to the Grotesquerie a huge amount, and this presents an alternative on how to fill the DE HQ slot other than going Grotesquerie Haemonculus + 4 Medusae + Venom + WWP.

I may indeed try 2 Lhamaeans + 3 Sslyth in a Venom to fill the DE HQ slot and have a versatile ranged/assault unit to hang back by the shooty vehicles to deal with deepstrikers while the Reavers all blaze forward.
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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Wed Jul 13 2016, 14:12

Did you take initiative and overwatch into consideration on your numbers?
It doesn't look like you did, but I will admit I'm not really breaking into them.

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Wed Jul 13 2016, 18:07

The frailty of the sslyth/lhamaen ratio is the biggest concern I have. A highly mobile force like Tau, Eldar, or Drop Marines can arrange themselves to take out a single Sslyth (or two if needed) so they can drop a large number of shots or a big template and wound the whole unit on the ladies' tissue paper toughness. (It's what I'd do if I saw this unit on the table.)

I admit, the idea does seem interesting, though. I think I'd like to field our big formation some day, and if I do this is probably how I'll run my Court. Any special event which required a retinue or forced me to max out an FOC might see its use, too.
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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Wed Jul 13 2016, 21:26

Agree with the risk on the Sslyth / Lhamaean ratio. That is definitely a concern. It might be necessary to position the squad with the Sslyth in the middle and Lhamaeans around the edge in some cases, but without doubt some extra risk involved. There is also a potential for an exploding Raider to result in a Sslyth dying and leaving you at easy squishing toughness.

I have started adding in some higher toughness options, but am not sure how to deal with Instant Death. I suspect the best way to do it will be say a number of unsaved wounds per 100 points with the equivalent number of ID wounds in brackets. Which high toughness options are people interested in?
Wraiths / Hive Tyrants / Talos / Wraithlord / Wraithknight - or something else entirely?

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Wed Jul 13 2016, 21:30

@Thor665 wrote:
Did you take initiative and overwatch into consideration on your numbers?
It doesn't look like you did, but I will admit I'm not really breaking into them.
I didn't take initiative and overwatch into account. That gets too messy with the massive number of variables involved. However, as both units are similarly hard to get rid of, the impact of overwatch should be similar for either option, and likewise losses from enemy attacks will be of a similar consequence to either unit.

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Wed Jul 13 2016, 23:05

This is cool to see. I persoanlly like Grots better b.c the COven book and Survivability.

1 thing I really dont like about the Court is 0 gear options :/
If the Court had gear selections (even if it is it's own gear selection) then I think I would play them.

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Thu Jul 14 2016, 00:50

Or if they were all characters, like how you can take all-character squads in Corsairs. That'd be so much fun with accepting challenges for your attached IC or taking LOS for each other.

At present though I'm really liking the idea of a mostly Sslyth group with a handful of Lhamaeans in there as a shooting unit to hang out by Ravagers or similar vehicles and assault whatever tries to approach them.
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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Thu Jul 14 2016, 03:23

I think if I did it I'd do a 2-1 split between Sslyth and Lammys.
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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Thu Jul 14 2016, 03:51

@Kantalla wrote:
likewise losses from enemy attacks will be of a similar consequence to either unit.

This actually isn't the case. Since wounds in a unit of grotesques are concentrated in fewer models, losses of similar numbers of wounds can be particularly devastating to the Court.

Example: Both units are dealt 5 wounds.

For the grotesques, this equals losing the attacks of 1 dead model.
For the Court, this equals losing the attacks of up to 5 dead models.

Since I noticed you gave all of them on both sides the charge bonus(a method which always favors the side with more models: More models = more bonus attacks from assault), this fact will significantly alter the outcome of the study. Further, NONE of these models have grenades, so they're all more likely to be going last in CC, after enemies have had an opportunity to take wounds off.

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Thu Jul 14 2016, 11:22

BetrayTheWorld - I'm disappointed. You are wrong on both counts.

Sslyth have two wounds, so it would be three models lost for the Court not five. Given that Lhamaean plus Sslyth is roughly equivalent in resilience and damage as a Grotesque the Court is in a similar, albeit slightly worse situation for the 5 wounds than the Grotesques. In the case of instant death it goes the other way, where the Court could lose a Lhamaean instead of a whole Grotesque. That is why I said similar consequence for both units.

I did the calculations for both charging and not charging.

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Thu Jul 14 2016, 12:19

@Kantalla wrote:
BetrayTheWorld - I'm disappointed. You are wrong on both counts.

Sslyth have two wounds, so it would be three models lost for the Court not five. Given that Lhamaean plus Sslyth is roughly equivalent in resilience and damage as a Grotesque the Court is in a similar, albeit slightly worse situation for the 5 wounds than the Grotesques. In the case of instant death it goes the other way, where the Court could lose a Lhamaean instead of a whole Grotesque. That is why I said similar consequence for both units.

I did the calculations for both charging and not charging.
BetrayTheWorld said "up to", suggesting loosing 5 Lhamaens rather than Sslyth and as a maximum amount of losses.
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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Fri Jul 15 2016, 00:25

@Kantalla wrote:
BetrayTheWorld - I'm disappointed. You are wrong on both counts.

Well hey! Guess you can stop being disappointed now, because I wasn't wrong! Wink

See Imateria's response. He understood what I said and nailed it with his rebuttal. I said "Up to", meaning, it's entirely possible that the first 5 wounds get allocated to Lhameans rather than Sslyth, in which case it would have a far more pronounced effect, as described above. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Fri Jul 15 2016, 13:25

Well I can't logically say you are wrong, but in the same vein, I could claim the Court is more resilient because if three wounds were inflicted that might cost the Grotesques the Aberration (or even the Succubus). Both are pretty unlikely though.

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Fri Jul 15 2016, 15:25

@Kantalla wrote:
@Thor665 wrote:
Did you take initiative and overwatch into consideration on your numbers?
It doesn't look like you did, but I will admit I'm not really breaking into them.
I didn't take initiative and overwatch into account. That gets too messy with the massive number of variables involved. However, as both units are similarly hard to get rid of, the impact of overwatch should be similar for either option, and likewise losses from enemy attacks will be of a similar consequence to either unit.
We did a number crunch like this a few years ago and had the consideration of Overwatch and Init (I think the compare at that time was Grots v. Incubi v. Sslyth)

I will agree that the Court unit is a little sexier in some ways, but your numbers are not accurately reflecting its inherent squishiness.

I almost hate to agree with Betray, because he is abrasive, but he is hitting a very valid point. If I inflict 2 wounds to the Court you have the option (presuming equal distance, which would be smart setup if you can swing it) of killing off a Lhamaen - which starts to drag down the kill advantage the unit has vs. Grots, or you can kill a Sslyth, which just isn't an option until you kill a Lhamean due to maintaining the Toughness advantage. Also, not all of the units wounds will benefit from FnP even if you manage to maintain the T5 constantly, making 5 of your wounds 33% less effective at absorbing damage.

So while I see an argument for more theoretical killability (and I think your per 100 points method might be skewing the numbers...albeit I'm not sure it's making it better or worse for a given unit, as I was able to build a functional Grot unit that performed worse than yours while costing less, but clearly that dividing method creates a skew based on unit cost rather than the slightly more pure 'wounds per point' of a non-built unit, and if Init isn't an issue I would bet Incubi would showcase pretty smartly on this list also...of course this compare requires a built unit. I'm blathering now, disregard me!)

To save the above doomed paragraph - I think the Court unit might be able to do more damage for a relative saving in points spent to cause that damage.

However - that unit is drastically more fragile in maintaining both its advantage in kill capability and also maintaining its ability to even come close to the survivability of Grots.

I think it's an interesting idea - but with the way shooting works in the game, when I bother to pay for an assault unit I really want it to stay a threat for as long as possible, and I think Grots will do that better than the Court.

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PostSubject: Re: Court of the Archon as a high end assault unit   Fri Jul 15 2016, 21:20

Thor - there's a bit of a risk of a rambling reply coming up but here goes anyway Smile

If I backtrack a little, we had a really useful post from Fisheyes just after the draft FAQ dropped comparing the damage done on a points basis of the individual models in our Codex. That analysis showed some interesting results, with the models that tended to score best against most targets being Lhamaeans, Khymerae and Incubi (in differing orders depending on the target).

That is interesting in itself, but there is an obvious trade off in that if say Lhamaeans are 70% "better" than Grotesques against a given target, they are an order of magnitude easy to destroy. I can't see 10 Lhamaeans in a Raider - even less survivable than Wyches - being a particularly useful unit. I also think of my experience with Incubi melting away a bit too easily limiting their admittedly impressive damage if they are able to bring it all the way to the enemy. I think my feelings on that front are similar to yours, in that I want a resilient assault unit, as glasshammer ones have a bad habit of getting wrecked far too quickly. Somewhere though there is a worthwhile balance between toughness and damage, or the only assault unit we would field would be the toughest option in the Codex - which would be the Corpsethief Claw.

On the other hand, I felt it was being too generous to Grotesques to look at things purely on a per model basis. Realistically they need a character to be viable if taken direct from the Codex, or have a compulsory character if part of the Grotesquerie. The character drags down the points efficiency in most cases, and then whether Grotesques or other assault units, it is usually necessary to have a transport to get to the destination. Really here, I am making the case for comparing built units as the only really fair way to compare.

The issue with comparing built units is there are a lot of potential variations for what the unit looks like. Not so much for the Court, although reading some of the skeptical responses, perhaps a more Sslyth heavy ratio should be considered. When it comes to Grotesques, there is a choice of characters, numbers, Aberration with Scissorhand (not worth it), Aberration with Agoniser, or no Aberration. Should you pay extra points for Liquefier Guns (NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!)? I have tried to be as optimal for the Grotesques as possible, picking the most efficient character option (Succubus) and best Aberration option against Marines, plus filling the Raider to minimize the impact of the character and transport tax, plus I have still assumed Rampage with a 5 model unit. The Court still compares fairly favorably on a theoretical basis. I could do the comparison with an Archon with some excess toys and three Grotesques with a Scissorhand, if I was intending to make the Court look good, but have tried to present the strongest option for comparison.

My experience has been that against shooting (and overwatch) you have reasonable, but limited control over how casualties are removed, and in assault you usually have freedom to control which models are removed. I am certainly considering rejigging the numbers based on changing the Sslyth balance to say 6:4, but I feel like I should in most cases be able to control losses to alternating between Lhamaean and Sslyth.

The Court is a little bit more vulnerable than Grotesques, or a lot more if the Lhamaeans end up majority. Lhamaeans do get Power From Pain, so gain Feel No Pain by turn 2/3, so depending on the time of the game FNP may make a difference to the survivability of the unit. I realize the Court suffers a little in that the first wound taken means losing a Lhamaean, where it takes three to impact the Grotesques. I'm not too concerned by that, but it is an advantage for the Grotesques.

In terms of overwatch and initiative, I had avoided including that because there are so many variables involved. Guard equivalent could mean anything from a lone Guardsman with a flashlight, to 30 Guardian defenders with a weapons platform, or half a Tau army. There is a mix of weapon options and so on to deal with too. However, resilience to overwatch and initiative is a very important consideration. As an example, lets consider a fairly nasty overwatch case - 30 Ork Boyz with Shootas, all in rapid fire range, including 2 Big Shootas. We can also assume it is turn 1 (so no Lhamaean FNP) and for whatever reason the Dark Eldar player hasn't attempted to whittle them down with shooting first.

Against Grotesques:
Big Shootas 6 shots, 1 hit, 1/2 wound, 1/2 unsaved, 1/3 after FNP
Shootas 56 shots, 28/3 hits, 28/9 wounds, 28/9 unsaved, 56/27 after FNP
Average is just over two wounds, so possibly one model down, but probably 2 wounds off a single model.

Against Court:
Big Shootas 6 shots, 1 hit, 1/2 wound, 1/2 unsaved, 1/2 dead Lhamaean
Shootas 56 shots, 28/3 hits, 28/9 wounds, 56/27 unsaved - lets say that is two wounds 1/2 to finish off the Lhamaean and 3/2 on a Sslyth, which after FNP would be 1 wound on the Sslyth.
Average is dead Lhamaean and one wound on a Sslyth. Similar consequence to the Grotesques.

To bring the rambling to a bit of a close, I am not trying to say scrap Grotesques and just take a Court instead, but the units can do a similar amount of damage (slight edge to Court) and a similarly resilient (slight edge to Grotesques), making the Court another option if you want a strong assault unit. I feel like the difference in fragility is being overblown a bit.

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