Flexibility is harder to define. I'm separating it from Mobility, which is normally part of it, to refer mainly to direct combat functions, shooting and assault. For shooting, the Gunline stomps all over the other four lists with sixteen (16) available shots (2xCyclone ML, 4xLC, 4xTLLC, 3x Auto/Las Predators, 3xTyphoon ML) with 48" range. The two DDP lists have fourteen (14) shots, but only 3xTyphoon ML with 48" range, the rest having 24" or 12" ranges. While not as big a deal in the initial drop, the lack of long range options can hurt a list in the Mobility area. The New DS list has has twelve (12) shots with half of them (3xCyclone ML, 3xTyphoon ML) at 48" range. The Old DS list only has ten (10), but again half (2xCyclone ML, 3xTyphoon ML) keep the 48" range.
"Style" represents the most subjective of the intangible factors. It is all about how a list is "supposed" to work. It is also all about how a player likes to play. These two synergize, because if you hand an in-your-face-assault player an Alpha Strike or Leafblower list he won't do as well as an equally skilled shoot-them-all player would with the same list. Let's digress a bit and think about what a 40k list is supposed to do in order to win. I'm using stuff from Nike a lot here, mainly because I was checking up on some metric stuff so it was convenient and it fits with where I'm going.
Nike's current post is about Necrons and he asks: "Wondering how to beat Necrons?" and answers:
" Same way you beat every army in the game: shoot the piss out of them from long range, and then assault the handful of survivors.
That was easy, wasn't it?"
Yep, that was easy. The problem is how to translate it into a list that performs the task in a manner most comfortable to the player. “Everything in war is simple, but the simplest thing is difficult. The difficulties accumulate and end by producing a kind of friction that is inconceivable unless one has experienced war.” - Karl von Clausewitz, On War
On making rational decisions, Nike wrote:
- Offense is greater than defense. Minis die by the bucketful. Normal, loss averse human nature, would make people play defensively and try to minimize casualties. Unfortunately, these is not the path to success. You win in 40k by out-killing your opponent, not by competing to see who can absorb the most fire power.
- The goals/objectives of the game are known from the outset and we can/should begin planning for turn 5 before the game starts. Since human nature encourages short term thinking, it is very easy for a player to get into a situation where they lose sight of long term goals and they react to their opponent on a turn by turn basis.
- I’ll restate my theory now so we are all up to speed: In 40k, a unit’s points cost correlates more directly with its defensive capability than its offensive capability. A unit pays through the nose for FNP, 3+ saves, etc. Adding a Missile Launcher (or 4!) to a unit doesn’t really cost that much more considering the vast increase of firepower.
- Mike Brandt; mvbrandt@gmail said... The only thing I'll say is that for MANY unit types and sizes, firepower is only the reliable way to kill tanks. Shooting lots of guns at large squads in cover doesn't always work out the way you want it to, and killing INFANTRY is a measure of combat more than it's a measure of guns. This is why lists that simply cannot position and plan for charging survivors with meltaguns find themselves in such hairy situations in many games ... because shoot all you want, if you aren't there and ready to charge down survivors, you aren't in a good position as a player.
- Nurglitch said... I think that's a problem with the metric in general, because it abstract away important things like an army's ability to leverage its optimal shooting and charging by using movement to gain optimal position.
There's no point in calculating the optimal shooting and assault if you don't know how to optimize your ability to deliver those dice downfield.
I mean, anyone can calculate how many Space Marines/Rhinos/Land Raiders unit x can kill. The question is how that unit integrates with its army to win the game when that game ends.
Therefore, there are some requirements for any list.
- To be able to crack transports and kill troops, which can be done by shooting or assault.
- To be able to seize, hold or contest objectives, which is possible to do by shooting (or surviving shooting) or by assault (or surviving assaults).
- To be able to work together as an army rather than as a disconnected group of units doing their own thing.
That is where board control comes into play.for all of four of those lists with their ability to misdirect, feint, block and otherwise stymie their opponents. IMO, the key to victory depends on making the enemy move the wrong way just once in the game. When I can do that, even when I was originally running a version of the DDP, I win. When I cannot, I can still win, but it becomes a much harder struggle. The weakness of the New DDP comes directly from its inability to assault with any kind of authority. The Old DDP covered that somewhat by its twin Castellan Command Squads because between the them and the EC's Crusader squad (which I would give BP/CCW, but that is another story) have something that can chew through MEQ MSU squads, especially if they get an assist from another squad or Dreadnought. The Dreadnoughts themselves aren't killy enough in assault to do that job quickly, their main virtue is survivability in close combat.
The Gunline I'm a bit more impressed by since I reran the numbers on it, but it depends directly on the two THDC Terminator squads to handle the offensive CC role. Also, I don't think aggressive use of those squads was what Marshal Laeroth actually had in mind for using them. In both of the DS lists, the heavy lifting comes from the three Terminator squads (who can each trash a full squad of MEQ) and the EC's BP/CCW configured Crusader squad who can deal with a MEQ MSU handily enough. The Terminators can easily deal with two transport type vehicles in an assault with their PF, hammer down enemy CC "oriented" (not Deathstar/Rock units).
Don't think I'm pushing for CC dominance here, I'm not. I run the Old DS list like a gunline and have won playing them as such. Less shots, but more focused shooting. OTOH, ever since I started working with the metrics, I noticed the huge assault numbers and started using more aggressive play. I can bring the hammer down either way and in the end, I can say what Niky said about beating the new Necrons, shoot them down and then assault whatever is left. A list must have the ability to handle CC, even if that isn't the main mission of the list.
Well, I'm going to call this to a close, there is a Necron codex to my left and it is just begging a readin