[Analysis] Comparison of Tau Anti-Air Assets (7th Edition)

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[Analysis] Comparison of Tau Anti-Air Assets (7th Edition)

Post#1 » Dec 03 2015 12:47

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Comparison of Anti-Air Assets

Analyzing the most efficient anti-air choices available to Tau commanders


By Das'Kyman
December 2015. 7th Edition


Table of Contents
Introduction
Top 10 Options: Efficiency
Top 10 Options: Raw Power
Various Top 5 Lists
Summary
Appendix

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AA Comparison: Introduction

Post#2 » Dec 03 2015 12:47

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Introduction


This article is a resource for Tau commanders looking to incorporate Anti-Air into their cadres. With flyers and FMC's a commonplace appearance, especially with the increasing amount of Flyer formations, Anti-Air is becoming more necessary than ever before.

Due to all Battlesuits having access to the Velocity Tracker, the Tau Empire has more Skyfire Anti-Air than any other faction in the game. While this is a great strength, it can also prove problematic when optimizing a list. Too many choices can muddy the waters and result in sub-optimal decisions. This comparison attempts to identify the best trending AA options available to Tau commanders.

AA Options on their own merits
For the sake of neatness, this summary will ignore most unit interactions and support (such as external markerlights or rules like Coordinated Firepower) and look at our best Anti-Air units as stand-alone options. It will take into account specific upgrades and will only be evaluated vs AV12. Any decent AA must be prepared to deal with AV12 and it is assumed that any AA options that work well against AV12 will be just as effective (relatively) versus lower AV values.

Explodes! and D-Weapons
Explodes! results are considered to inflict an extra 2 HP for 3 total (the max HP of most flyers). Similarly, I have treated a 6 on the Destroyer Chart as 3 HP stripped. All other penetrating hit effects are ignored for this analysis.

Each unit entry on the list will have the following:
    Platform. model type
    Threat Range. This is the threat range that the unit is evaluated at. For example, a Skyray's most efficient while within markerlight range and remaining stationary, so its threat range is considered 36". It has a reduced efficiency at 72", but that is not taken into account. Similarly, The Stormsurge's primary weapon range is only 10" at its solid-shot range, but it can move 12" before firing so its threat range is considered 22".
    Average HP stripped. The expected amount of HP stripped in a single shooting phase. This is calculated using expected accuracy and armour pen vs an AV12 flyer. Both values against a Jinking target and a target with no cover are averaged to yield this result.
    HP stripped per point spent. This is simply the Avg HP Stripped divided by the unit's minimum point cost.
    Drawbacks. The limitations of using this platform should be taken into account, such as Forgeworld or starting in Reserves.
    Bonuses. Advantages that are hard to quantify are listed here for consideration, such as flexibility or mobility


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AA Comparison: Top 10 Efficient Options

Post#3 » Dec 03 2015 12:47

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Top 10 Options: Efficiency


This is the list of the top 10 efficient AA options available to Tau commanders. Their efficiency is simply the amount of HP they can be expected to strip divided by the cost of fielding them. While some are expected results, others might surprise with how efficient they are for the points.

#1 Skyray
Platform: Tank
Threat Range: 36"
Avg HP Stripped: 2.0185
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.01755
Drawbacks: 6 Seekers are one-use only. It has no other weapons that can hurt AV12
Bonuses: BS4 Skyfire Markerlights to support army. Can choose how to use markerlights after target choosest whether to Jink or not

#2 Longstrike in Missilehead w/ 2 Seekers
Platform: Tank
Threat Range: 36"
Avg HP Stripped: 2.558
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.01453
Drawbacks: Unique and a high priority target for opponent. 2 Seekers are one-use items. Forgeworld
Bonuses: Decent accuracy on the move. Useful against most vehicles

#3 Ghostkeel from Optimized Stealth Cadre w/ Ion Raker, Fusion Blaster, & VT
Platform: Jetpack Monstrous Creature
Threat Range: 24"
Avg HP Stripped: 1.975 (2.369 if it is part of a full team of 3 Ghostkeels)
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.01234 (0.1436 if it is part of a full team and takes a Target Lock)
Drawbacks: Relatively short range. Reduced effectiveness vs. Invulnerable Saves
Bonuses: Hits Rear Armour. Difficult to Kill (nigh impossible at range). Ignores Cover

#4 Y'vahra w/ VT
Platform: Jetpack Monstrous Creature
Threat Range: 36"
Avg HP Stripped: 2.889
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.01156
Drawbacks: Waste of Y'vahra's torrent weapon. Easier to kill than a regular Riptide. Forgeworld
Bonuses: Very mobile, but threat range drops to 18" every other turn

#5 Longstrike in Missilehead
Platform: Tank
Threat Range: 36"
Avg HP Stripped: 1.62037
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.013
Drawbacks: Unique and a high priority target for opponent. Forgeworld
Bonuses: Decent accuracy on the move. Useful against most vehicles

#6 Razorshark w/ Missile Pod from Air Superiority Cadre
Platform: Flyer
Threat Range: We can safely assume that it can threaten anywhere on the board on the turn it arrives. Infinite
Avg HP Stripped: 1.500
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.01000
Drawbacks: Must be part of a Flyer-Heavy formation. 2 Seekers are one-use items
Bonuses: Infinite threat range. Arrives from reserve if enemy Flyers are on the board

#7 Missilehead w/ 2 Seekers
Platform: Tank
Threat Range: 36"
Avg HP Stripped: 1.389
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.00985
Drawbacks: Unique and a high priority target for opponent. 2 Seekers are one-use items. Forgeworld
Bonuses: Decent accuracy on the move. Useful against most vehicles

#8 Barracuda w/ 2 Seekers
Platform: Flyer
Threat Range: Infinite
Avg HP Stripped: 1.389
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.00951
Drawbacks: Starts in Reserve. 2 Seekers are one-use items. Forgeworld
Bonuses: Infinite threat range. Has 2 Jink-Ignoring Burst Cannons for lighter vehicles and bikes

#9 Broadside w/ HYMP and VT in a Gunrig
Platform: Infantry in Fortification
Threat Range: 42"
Avg HP Stripped: 1.594
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.00938
Drawbacks: Hard to hide. Unique setup. VT takes up the only support system slot
Bonuses: Mobile and tough. If either broadside or the Emplacement is destroyed, the other is still useful

#10 Shas'O w/ 2 Missile Pods, VT, & PEN
Platform: Jetpack Infantry
Avg HP Stripped: 1.389
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.00926
Drawbacks: priority target.
Bonuses: can use Target locks and Drone Controller to serve dual purposes. Can buff other units. Fairly tough.


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AA Comparison: Top 10 Powerful Options

Post#4 » Dec 03 2015 12:47

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Top 10 Options: Raw Power


These are the top 10 options when looking to inflict the maximum amount of damage possible in a single shooting phase. They are often not the most efficient use of points, but can certainly bring the pain when you really need it.

#1 Tigershark AX-1 w/ 6 Seekers
Platform: Superheavy Flyer
Threat Range: Infinite
Avg HP Stripped: 3.440
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.00486
Drawbacks: starts in reserve. 6 Seekers are one-use items. Very expensive. Forgeworld. Lord of War
Bonuses: Can target multiple flyers. Increased BS against ground targets.

#2 Y'vahra w/ VT
Platform: Jetpack Monstrous Creature
Threat Range: 36"
Avg HP Stripped: 2.889
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.01156
Drawbacks: Waste of Y'vahra's torrent weapon. Easier to kill than a regular Riptide. Forgeworld
Bonuses: Very mobile, but threat range drops to 18" every other turn

#3 Tigershark w/ Seeker Rack
Platform: Superheavy Flyer
Threat Range: Infinite
Avg HP Stripped: 2.611
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.00502
Drawbacks: starts in reserve. 6 Seekers are one-use items. Very expensive. Forgeworld. Lord of War
Bonuses: Can target multiple flyers. Increased BS against ground targets.

#4 Stormsurge w/ VT
Platform: Gargantuan Creature
Threat Range: 22"
Avg HP Stripped: 2.583
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.00680
Drawbacks: short range. 4 Destroyer missiles are one-use items. Lord of War
Bonuses: Tough. Has Stomp. Can target multiple Flyers. Markerlights can make the missiles D strength

#5 Longstrike in Missilehead w/ 2 Seekers
Platform: Tank
Threat Range: 36"
Avg HP Stripped: 2.558
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.01453
Drawbacks: Unique and a high priority target for opponent. 2 Seekers are one-use items. Forgeworld
Bonuses: Decent accuracy on the move. Useful against most vehicles

#6 Ghostkeel from Optimized Stealth Cadre w/ Ion Raker, Fusion Blaster , Target Lock & VT(in full team of Ghostkeels)
Platform: Jetpack Monstrous Creature
Threat Range: 24"
Avg HP Stripped: 2.369
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.01436
Drawbacks: Relatively short range. Reduced effectiveness vs. Invulnerable Saves, Requires the full unit of Ghostkeels in the OSC (expensive)
Bonuses: Hits Rear Armour. Ignores Cover. Difficult to Kill with shooting

#7 Skyray
Platform: Tank
Threat Range: 36"
Avg HP Stripped: 2.0185
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.01755
Drawbacks: 6 Seekers are one-use only. It has no other weapons that can hurt AV12
Bonuses: BS4 Skyfire Markerlights to support army. Can choose how to use markerlights after target choosest whether to Jink or not.

#8 Ghostkeel from Optimized Stealth Cadre w/ Ion Raker, Fusion Blaster, and VT
Platform: Jetpack Monstrous Creature
Threat Range: 24"
Avg HP Stripped: 1.975
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.01234
Drawbacks: Reduced effectiveness vs. Invulnerable Saves
Bonuses: Hits Rear Armour. Ignores Cover. Difficult to Kill with shooting

#9 Riptide from Riptide Wing w/ Hvy Burst Cannon, Fusion Blaster, VT, & using Riptide Hailfire(shoot twice) while within 6" of another Riptide from the formation
Platform: Jetpack Monstrous Creature
Threat Range: 18"
Avg HP Stripped: 1.813
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.00906
Drawbacks: Very Short range. Cannot move or use Jetpack after shooting. Can only use the Riptide Hailfire for one turn. Must be part of a fairly expensive formation
Bonuses: Very tough. Will fire at full effect as long as it is alive.

#10 Shas'O w/ TL Missile Pod, VT, & PEN in Gunrig
Platform: Jetpack Infantry in Fortification
Threat Range: 42"
Avg HP Stripped: 1.762
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.00783
Drawbacks: Slow. Hard to hide. Priority Target. Requires unique army list composition
Bonuses: Mobile and tough. Useful against all vehicles. Gunrig is useful even after Emplacement is destroyed

(Since #6 and #8 are both OSC Ionkeels, I've added #11 as an honorable mention)
#11 OSC Stealth Team from Optimized Stealth Cadre, w/ VT, one Fusion Blaster on one team member, and in a Gunrig
Platform: Infantry in Fortification
Threat Range: 24"
Avg HP Stripped: 1.617
HP Stripped per point spent: 0.0081
Drawbacks: Gun Emplacement is vulnerable. Relatively short ranged (Fusion Blaster)
Bonuses: Very hard to kill with shooting, complements Ghostkeel as AA, Very useful against targets with lower rear AV


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AA Comparison: Top 5 using various parameters

Post#5 » Dec 03 2015 12:48

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Top Options: Various Restrictions

These lists are short and intended to give Tau commanders an even greater feel of what AA options match their specific environment and playstyle.

Top 5 options w/ no no one-use missiles or abilities: Efficiency
    Ionkeel w/ FB from OSC (full squad or solo)
    Y'vahra
    Longstrike Missilehead
    Missileside in Gunrig
    Shas'O w/ 2 MP, PEN

Top 5 non-formation options: Efficiency
    Skyray
    Longstrike in Missilehead w/2 Seekers
    Y'vahra
    Longstrike in Missilehead
    Missilehead w/ 2 Seekers

Top 5 Non-Forgeworld: Efficiency
    Skyray
    Ionkeel w/ FB from OSC (full squad or solo)
    Razorshark w/ MP from ASC
    Missileside in Gunrig
    Shas'O w/ 2 MP, PEN

Top 5 Non-Forgeworld and Non-Formation: Efficiency
    Skyray
    Missileside in Gunrig
    Shas'O w/ 2 MP, PEN
    Missileside
    Sunshark

Top 5 Non-Forgeworld, Non-Fortification, and Non-Formation: Efficiency
    Skyray
    Shas'O w/ 2 MP, PEN
    Missileside
    Sunshark
    Razorshark w/ MP

Top 5 non-superheavy/gargantuan options: Raw Power
    Y'vahra
    Longstrike in Missilehead w/ 2 Seekers
    Ionkeel w/ FB from OSC (full squad or solo)
    Skyray
    Bursttide w/ FB from RW using Riptide Hailstorm

Top 5 options w/ no one-use missiles or abilities: Raw Power
    Y'vahra*
    Ionkeel w/ FB from OSC (full squad or solo)
    Shas'O w/ TL MP, PEN in Gunrig
    Tigershark AX-1
    Longstrike Missilehead
    Missileside in Gunrig
*Note: Y'vahra's threat range is dependent on a once-every-other-turn 24" move

Top 5 Non-Forgeworld, Non-Fortification, and Non-Formation: Raw Power
    Stormsurge
    Skyray
    Shas'O w/ 2 MP, PEN
    Sunshark
    Ionkeel w/ FB


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AA Comparison: Summary

Post#6 » Dec 03 2015 12:48

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Summary


No matter how many lists we write or graphs we populate, we will not be able to come to a definitive answer on which option is always the best, period. Army composition, warlord traits, mysterious objectives, markerlight support, etc. are all going to affect what AA option is best for you. However, looking at this data from different angles can help us identify our generally better AA options.

You are free to make your own decisions, but here are the options that seemed to perform well in this analysis:

Skyray- On almost every list and for good reason. If you don't mind tanks or Seeker missiles, this is the clear winner.
Stormsurge- Though very inefficient as an AA option, it has many other uses and the VT is actually a relatively cheap upgrade for the potential damage it can do to a Flyer.
Y'vahra- Multi-threat, highly mobile, and extremely lethal. It also doesn't rely on One-shot abilities like most of the other heavy hitters.
Longstrike in Missilehead- Add Seekers and it is both powerful and efficient. If you are comfortable fielding such an expensive tank, he is a good option.
Razorshark w/ MP from ASC- reliable and reasonably potent, this is a good option since the ASC comes on when it is needed most. It is also harder for your opponent to destroy before his Flyers arrive.
Ionkeel w/ FB from an OSC (full squad or solo)- A deadly formation option that is even better when facing Flyers that have a lower rear AV and/or Flyers that rely on Jink to survive (basically, even deadlier against anything other than a Storm Raven). If you can take a full squad of 3, the damage potential and efficiency goes even higher. This formation also has incredible 'bonuses' like being very hard to kill and scary against all types of targets.
Commander w/ 2 MP, and PEN- like Longstrike, he'll be a prime target and you can't have many of him, but he is a good source of supplemental AA. It is also an excellent way to make your commander useful while he is babysitting Marker Drones.

Something to keep in mind when looking at this data. You'll notice that very few of the options available are capable of destroying a 3 HP flyer, let alone doing it reliably. For this reason, sufficient AA should be in the form of multiple sources. It is also important to note that sprinkling large quantities of "sub-par" AA options within your list can be sufficient against small numbers of Flyers. So a major component, which is not addressed in this analysis, is how an AA option fares when not targeting a Flyer.


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AA Comparison: Appendix

Post#7 » Dec 03 2015 12:48

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Appendix

All data for this comparison was calculated in an Excel spreadsheet. If you think you can make sense of my madness, then knock yourself out: Anti-AIr Efficiency Excel File

I apologize for the small size, but here some graphs from some of the data gathered:

Efficiency
Image

Potency
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The HP stripped for each unit vs. Jink and vs. No-Jink
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Mathematical Calculations
Example: Deathrain-D w/ VT. BS3. 72 points
4 shots = 2 hits = 2/3 HP stripped = 1/3 HP stripped vs. Jink. Avg HP Stripped is 1/2. Avg HP stripped per point is 1/144.

Example: Railside w/ VT. BS3. 85 points
1 Shot = 0.75 hits = 0.375 HP stripped + 0.16667 additional HP from possible Explodes! vs. 0.1875 HP + 0.0833 additional HP stripped vs Jink. Avg HP stripped is 0.40625. Avg HP stripped per point is 0.004779.

Units with Integrated Markerlights
For these units, the 'average' of possible outcomes is taken against Jink and No-Jink before calculating the Avg HP Stripped.

Example: Remora
Avg HP stripped when firing 2 seekers at BS3 is 0.375 HP
Avg HP stripped when firing 1 seekers at BS3 and the other at BS5 w/ Ignores Cover is 0.60417 HP
Avg for the Remora is the Avg of those two outcomes (has a 50% chance of landing a markerlight hit, so each average is weighted equally): 0.4895
(Note: firing both seekers at BS4 is ignored, since it inferior to firing the Ignores Cover Seeker, averaging only 0.5 HP)

Example: Skyray
The Skyray was more difficult, as it can choose how best to use its Markerlight after the enemy Jinks. The averages for HP stripped with and without Jink are the averages of the best uses of the markerlights depending on if the target Jinked. The True Average is an average of those two averages.

So, If the Skyray targets a jinking flyer and it gets 2 marker hits, the best thing would be to grant all 6 missiles Ignores Cover at BS4. However, if the target did not Jink, then it would be best to give the Skyray BS6.
For one marker hit against a jinking target, it is just as beneficial to fire one Seeker at BS5 Ignoring Cover as it would be to fire all Seekers at BS5, but against a non-jinking target giving all Seekers BS5 is obviously preferable.
By averaging only the best options for Jink/No-Jink and then averaging those results, we get the best possible Skyray number (not that it needed the boost)

In addition, the Skyray is more accurate and is shooting two markerlights, so the results can't be weighted equally. It has a 1/9 chance of failing to roll 3+ on either die, 4/9 chance of rolling one 3+, and a 4/9 chance of rolling two 3+. This is taken into account by weighting each outcome according to its likelihood of occurring before 'averaging' the three possible outcomes.


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