Stealing Content... Again

We've been discussing Harlequins here recently and the talk in the comments turned to Swooping Hawks.  The Master Manipulator (every store needs one) said the following:

Hawks don't look that good on paper either. The eldar actually have better more reliable ways to kill AV 14.

A 10 man unit should hit with 5 (4+ to hit with Intercept), and then less than 16% chance to pen. That less than a 10% chance to pen (and lets be real here, glance tanks all day and they don't really care).

Then look at a wave serpent (available at fine eldar motor pools near you) with TL bright lances. They will hit 75% of the time (4+ twin linked equals 75%), from that you should pen 33% of the time. That means with a single serpent you have just under a 25% chance to pen a AV 14.

Those things are available up and down the force org chart. They are also expensive, but you get one for a little more than half what most AV 14 vehicles cost.

Heck take a BL in almost any other format and it is almost equal to your chances with a Hawk unit. Guardians with a platform hit 50%, pen 33% is just over 15% to pen with a single. I know you get additional glancing hits with the hawks, but you also require a more expensive unit as well as the opportunity to get them there.

I know not everyone looks at stats the same, but all things being equal they can give you a good idea how something should perform. The numbers for the hawks just don't measure up. Trust me, I wanted them to work in the current dex, and most times they just leave me with headaches.

One other thing, if you insist of them don't immediately discount deep striking. You don't have to use deep striking to get close to the enemy. You can also use it to buy time, ect. There is not a whole lot of difference between jumping up behind a piece of terrain and DSing behind a piece of terrain. It does allow you to wait to see where you opponent commits before you make a move.

 I'm posting it because it's nice and succinct, which is much different from my normal wall of text.  Might as well steal some content as I'm trying to convince some of my peers to contribute here.  Notice the not-so-subtle hint?

And here's a blast from the past, just 'cause I hate posting without pictures.


evil homer said...

Drop me an email with what you had in mind for contribution.

Master Manipulator (every store needs one) said...

I loved the fact that you remind folks (everyone needs one) every time you talk about me....hehe

Brent said...

...not sure what you mean. ...are you on something?

Herr Fernseher said...

Ok, Brent, if you aren't going to do your usual "wall of text" I guess I'll have to. And even throw in a little math.

I have to start by saying I really appreciate you guys sharing some critical thought on the Hawks. Pretty much everyone else dismisses them without even bothering with a reason. I can't argue that they are fragile and difficult to deliver.

But the one thing I will argue is how they look on paper. The MM makes very good points, but I think he dismisses too quickly the cumulative effect of MULTIPLE glancing hits. I like a way to consider results beyond simply glance vs. pen, so possible outcomes: Nothing (which I don't bother calculating), Can't Shoot (for at least one turn), Can't Move (for at least one turn), Something (either can't shoot or can't move for at least one turn). Arbitrary, I know, but I think it will be more useful if we're going to assess the value of glancing hits. It took a lot of time and paper, but the results are in.

IF a 10 man squad of Hawks assaults AV14 and hits on 4+, then:
No Move 82.6% of the time
No Shoot 98.1% of the time
Something 99.7% of the time

Now, I agree BL's are sweet. But I don't believe they are more cost effective. A single BS3 shot from a BL (not TL) at AV14 will yield:
No Move 13.6% of the time
No Shoot 19.9% of the time
Something 30.8% of the time
Given these numbers, it would take

--12 BL's to get "No Move" as well as the 10 Hawks. A BS3 BL is a 30 point upgrade (never mind the cost of what it is attached to). So you would have to spend 360 pts on BL's. That's more expensive than a pimped out squad of Hawks.

--18 BL's to get "No Shoot" as well as the 10 Hawks. 540 points.
--16 BL's to get "Something" as well as the 10 Hawks. 480 points.

Like the MM said, people look at stats differently, but to me, Hawks look good on paper. IF they can get where I want them. The numbers change a little if my 10 man squad is a 5 man squad by the time they assault:
No Move 58.2% of the time
No Shoot 86.3% of the time
Something 94.3% of the time

This still looks pretty good, but the BL are suddenly in the ballpark:

--6 BL's to get "No Move" as well as the 5 Hawks. 180 points. This is a little cheaper than the 10 man squad. However, if ranged fire has been concentrated on the Hawks' target and it has been immobilized, then autohitting makes a 5 man squad as deadly as a 10 man squad that hits on 4+
--9 BL's to get "No Shoot" as well as the 5 Hawks. 270 points. Still more expensive than 10 Hawks.
--8 BL's to get "Something" as well as the 5 Hawks. 240 points. Slightly more expensive than 10 Hawks.

Well, as much as I'd love to calculate TL and WL (BS4), I'm sure someone has already drooled into their keyboard. Besides, I've got homework due in 45 minutes!

Brent, feel free to cut cut/remove this; I don't mind posting it on my anemic blog.

Final thoughts: I know this is a minor consideration, but neither the BL nor the Fire Dragon get any advantage against a Monolith, whereas the Hawks are still effective.

I'm just thinking there should be some way for Hawks to get some action if they're advancing with FD's and jetbiked witchblades. But you guys are pretty convinced that there's not a good delivery plan, huh? :(

Mercer said...

Fire Dragons?

Comments are working again too, yay! :)

Brent said...

Mercer - Ya, I didn't realize it was down for quite awhile.

Matt - Why on earth would I delete that?

It's 5:30 in the morning and I'm up to do my French homework; this put me in a good mood pretty quickly!

Mind if I steal it for a post? (I'm going to anyway; just being polite...) It will illustrate a good point rather effectively.

Always go there - since you're not around to have these long conversations personally, I'll take what I can get.

Brent (sigh - back to homework)

Evil Home said...

Interesting now lets see if I can make an ass out myself.
Disclaimer: I don't play eldar and don't have the codex in front of me. I assume with Haywire grenades you roll to hit and then roll for the glance/pen result? If this is the case Matt's math is off.

Warning Rough Math Hammer ahead:
10 attacks 5 hits (4+)
1 no result
1 pen
3 glances
so a base 40% chance of doing something. It gets worse if the vehicle moved more than 6" (at that point put your hawks away cause ain't doing shit).

End Rough Math Hammer
Tactical Analysis:
Now if you blow up the vehicle with the 6 pen some hawks are dieing too. Not good for you.

Whether you pop the vehicle or not they die to bolter/lasgun/assault the next turn anyway. Not good for you. You spent ~250 points for a single assault against a vehicle assuming you didn't lose any along the way as they came across the table.

~250 points for a single turn against a vehicle = FAIL!.

For roughly the same points I can take:
7 Wraithguard: (scoring, tough, better pen chance, limited range)

7 Firedragons, Exarch, Waveserpent w/ twin linked BL. (melta, range with BL, multi-role [can kill squads and vehicles], WS bunker, mobility for time on target delivery).

I could go on but for similar prices you get better anti-tank, better anti-infantry, mobility or durability, or both.

And that's just from 2 other units in the book comparing them to Hawks, hell I can take 2 spirit stoned Prisms for the same price as the hawks. Again mobility and duality in the same unit in a more survivable platform.

Hawks are just not point efficient, the cost to much for to little return. You can get the same results or better from other places in the codex. It's to bad because they still are decent looking models, especially given there age.

Gauthic said...

4+ to hit with the Hawks is always thanks to Intercept (which I'm not sure how that handles vehicles that stay still--been a while, don't care at this point).

The very worst that a Hawks squad with Intercept can have when hitting a vehicle is 4+--even if it was a skimmer going 24+" in the last edition (6's).

Evil Homer said...

like I said no Eldar book in front of me. Thanks Jeff. That being said though I don't think it invalidates my point.

Mercer said...

I did e-mail you Brent and let you know, did you get my reply to your e-mail you sent last week?

Gauthic said...

EH: Nah I was just clarifying/educating, not arguing your point :)

Hawks are an 'ok' harassment unit--I much prefer Spideys.

Brent said...

Mercer, I sure did and I really appreciate it.

Herr Fernseher said...

Wall II

I feel funny defending the Hawks so much, because I can’t make them work either. I just wish someone would, because I think IF they can connect to their target, then they are competitive with other options in the Eldar army list.

Evil Homer had me worried my math was way off when he said Hawks have “a base 40% chance of doing something.” In his example, since 4 of 10 Hawks causes some kind of hit, it is accurate to say an individual Hawk has a 40% chance of rolling on the vehicle damage chart. Conversely, this means he has a 60% chance of doing nothing. But the chances of all 10 Hawks failing are .60 raised to the 10th power, or 0.6%. That means a 10-strong squad of Hawks has a 99.4% chance of getting to roll on the damage chart at least once. So I think EH are saying the same thing, just saying it differently.

And we arrive at different conclusions.

One thing that makes 40k fun is trying to find ways to compare apples to oranges. Math is one way, but before I disappear down that rabbit hole, I want to point out a few more features of the Hawks that haven’t been mentioned yet by comparing them to Evil Homer’s two good answers to AV14: Wraithguard and Fire Dragons.
WG are tougher, but slower, so they will take more rounds of fire. They do have a better chance to pen per model but costing more, you’ll have fewer of them, and with fewer models attacking, that’s close to a wash. And with their limited range, they are about as difficult to deliver as a Hawk. (I’m excited to hear more about your Iyanden ideas, EH, cuz I think WG would work in a slower Eldar army. Unfortunately, WG aren’t a scoring unit unless 10 strong though.)
There really isn’t much I can say against FD’s; fusion guns own. One point to consider is that an army prepared to deal with mech can and should hobble the FD’s fast. On foot the FD’s are even more fragile than Hawks because they’re slower. Another point is that the FD is the true kamikaze unit in the Eldar arsenal. How often do you guys ever get them back into their transport? WG, witchblades, and scorpions can take out a tank in close quarters. If something comes out of the wreckage looking for blood these units can take care of themselves. Fire Dragons can die.

Herr Fernseher said...

Wall III
Swooping Hawks? Skyleap. Strike with impunity. They should take one round of shooting, make their one strike at a high AV vehicle, and then get off the table. Later in the game they might be able to deepstrike back in to contest an objective, pick off an easy kill point, or mop up a straggler from the tank herd.

“~250 points for a single turn against a vehicle = FAIL!.” I’m having trouble arguing with Evil Homer on this one. Unless the Master Manipulator (every store needs one) is right that we shouldn’t discount the merits of deep striking. If MM is right, then the Hawks may get a second turn. That’s more that I can say for my Fire Dragons usually. FD might only get one turn against a vehicle and could cost even more. Granted, they only need one turn if they are within 6”, but that can be its own delivery challenge sometimes. Outside of 6” a fusion gun is worse than a BL, and I’m convinced that a successful squad of Hawks is more cost effective than BL’s.

One more thought: a Rhino screening a LR means your BL’s, Fire Prisms, Wraithcannons, and fusion guns are suddenly half as effective as they were. Hawks, on the other hand, can hop right over it and assault the LR.

Ok, a little Mathammer. I’m more of a poet than a mathematician, so I’ll try to post the guts of my calculations on my blog in the near future so all you numeramancers can correct me, but this is final’s week (minimester), so you’ll just have to wait. For now,
A review:
IF a 10 man squad of Hawks assaults AV14 and hits on 4+, then:
No Move 82.6% of the time
No Shoot 98.1% of the time

5 man squad:
No Move 58.2% of the time
No Shoot 86.3% of the time

Obviously, everyone wants to destroy a tank permanently, but the majority of the results are otherwise. That said, I find considering “No Move/Shoot (for at least one turn)” to be a useful result when assessing a unit’s effectiveness. Now why would I pay 242 points for a squad of hawks that only caused a “Crew Stunned” result? Because that means the second wave of assaulters autohit, and you would have paid more for enough BL’s to ensure the same immobile result. Which means Hawks always have to be the vanguard. To temporarily immobilize a tank and fail to capitalize on it is always a waste, but even more so with Hawks since that might be all they do for you. But are they overpriced? If they can freeze a tank for the FD’s in the second wave, then you really can get away with only 5 FD’s. Dropping from 10 to 5 FD’s frees up 80 points to defray the cost of the Hawks. They just got even more cost effective. (Also, the Hawks extend the effective range of FD’s, since 5 autohits with meltabombs is about the same as shooting and then hitting with meltabombs on 4+. Running adds 1-6 inches to their range.) So I guess I’ve just talked myself into running Hawks with jetbikes (witchblades), FD’s, WG, and maybe Scorpions.

Herr Fernseher said...

Wall IV

Oh, and a math overview:
7 WG:
No Move: 81%
No Shoot: 94.3% Slightly more expensive, slightly worse performance than Hawks.

2 TL Fire Prisms
No Move: 25.8%
No Shoot: 29.1% Slightly more expensive and much less effective (although not bad for a single ranged attack.)
I’m not even going to calculate FD’s. We know with 6” they’re a lot better than Hawks, and without (a lot?) worse.

When I say something is worse, I only mean in my categories, No Move/Shoot for at least one turn. This term may be worthless to other people. A unit of Hawk will stop a tank more frequently than squad of WG or a pair of Fire Prisms, but the WG or FP’s stop a tank permanently more often than the Hawks. How much more often? I don’t yet. I’ve neither calculated it nor playtested them much. A lot of people with a lot more experience than me are saying that they aren’t worth their points. Which is too bad, cuz they still look appealing to me—on paper. If anyone with more time than I have wants to field test them, I’ve got a squad you can borrow…

Sorry, guys. The more homework I have, the longer these posts get.

Hmmm. The CAPTCHA is "prechee". I wonder if God is trying to tell me something...

Man, I need to sleep more and write less...

Jo said...

I've always wanted to play swooping hawks just because the models are so awesome and I dislike spidy models. Reading this might finally give the justification to actually get them!

Brent said...

Oh, I don't know Jo! Read some of the more recent posts: I'm afraid Herr Fernseher's sterling defense of the Swooping Hawks was all for naught!

Though I think people should always use what they want; we shouldn't get focused only on what's best... so go for it if you've a mind, and let us know how it went.


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