Feast of Blades '13

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

List Efficiency and Optimization: How to Identify how Effective a Unit Preforms in your List/Playstyle

Hey all Kevin here to talk about more of our favorate subject in school, Mathhammer. Today we will talk about how to identify how effective and efficient a unit you are using in your list is and how to optimize your list with units you like to use. I am not here to talk about some uber awesome units but how to identify stuff that works under your system and playstyle through a few easy methods.

The first thing you need to do is record some data. Take your current favorate list full of units you would like to try and play atleast ten or more games. It is important to record games against as many different armies, lists, and players as possible in order to achieve a good sample size.

The first, and most obvious thing you should reord is did the unit do its job. There are many different unit types, in terms of battlefield uses, in 40k. To list a few there are disruption, scoring, counter assault, contesting, anti-tank, anti-infantry, long range support etc....Record how often each unit does its job/s In case a unit has a few different uses, such as sternguard with melta in a pod as they are mainly a anti AV 14/13 unit to take out these threats while they still exsist in my opponents table half yet they are also an excellent disruption unit. Give them a check if they did their job and a minus if they did not. If you can see they are not doing their job then either you are playing them wrong or they just plain do not work.

The next, and very important, thing to record is are they getting their points back or are they not. Effectively, using victory points, record how much of your opponents victory points did they take and also record how much they gave up...whether all or just half for being under half strength. This is important to discover if the unit is hurting your army overall preformance or helping it. If a unit costs 200 points, like assault terminators, and you rarely lost any VP's from them yet in every game you are earning back 300+ on average then they are an asset to your list, playstyle and your approach to using them. Yet if your 600 point biker command squad deathstar dies every game and is only gaining back 300 enemy VP's on average then it is not working and you need to adjust your list to use them better or not at all. This can help you indetify elemnts in your army that may seem to be working but putting a large hole in your overall list preformance especially if you play many missions with VP's as a mission.

Th next important thing to realize is your list balanced between the list rolls. For instance if your army has 12+ lascannons and is an excellent anti-mech list..yet cannot deal with any infantry what so ever than you are gonna have issues. You need balance between all of the elements in order for your list to be the best it can be. Too much in one area can cause a lack in others. Also identify areas in your games where a unit type would be useful, such as you need more anti infrantry and less counter assault. Or you need more disruption and less anti-tank. Also identify if units you are using in these rolls are the most effective they can be. For example record how long a disruption unit hampers your enemy. If they tie your opponent down into dealing with them from turns 2-3 then they are only starting to play your real army starting turn 4....this is an effective use....yet if they only drop in turn one and your opponent wipes them in the same turn without diverting many resources then the unit is not preforming.

Simple data such as these examples can help you indentify what you need to add, or get rid of, in your list in order for it to be the best it can be while still figuring it out for yourself and different units uses in your own personal playstyle...but also remember the best list possible is one that works the most efficient for your style yet is also a lot of fun to use....more on this later...


  1. Would you mind delving a little deeper into the toes of roles you described above? If possible a description of each with examples from a couple codex ( say SM and IG)
    disruption, scoring, counter assault, contesting, anti-tank, anti-infantry, long range support etc..

    I'm an older payer that doesn't get in as many games as I would like. But I need to make changes to the way I pay and what you described above sounds interesting. I just need a little more. I hope you don't mind

  2. I think you should cover other criteria for a unit doing well apart from earning it's points back. Some units have buffing effects which are useful such a blood angel priests, eldrad etc. A good example is my haemonculus. He costs 55pts and rarely (if ever) makes his points back, but joining my wyches to give then Feel No Pain and allowing wracks to be troops freeing up elites slots is worth it to me even if he never killed anything.

    Units can do more than just kill the enemy, and you touched on this when you talked about distraction units, but other unit goals need to be considered which can not into mathhammer, such as scoring, objective contesting. Therefore as well as making sure you weapon loadout is balanced to deal with mech and infantry there needs to be a balance of unit roles even if the mathhammer kill ratio score goes down a bit.


  3. Yes Rathstar, its more of a series of a chechlist where you record how each unit is doing. Like for instance you have some nob biker unit that is a great distraction and can tie up your enemy till turn 4 but it ties down 500+ points. Compare that to how much it ends one arning you and if you are winning or losing while using the unit. Use these factors and determine if it is worth it to take that large point unit. But it is very possible that a unit is worth its point if it does its job well every game and never get its points back.

    For Derek a good example would be a small henchman unit of 3 guys in a razorback for grey knights. They are scoring and very low points. Say they only die in 1/3 of your games but almost always score. Since they only tie up less than 100 points they are very efficient at doing their job. Now take a tactical squad with 10 men and a missile launcher tieing up over 200 points. Yes they are more survivable but you rarely lose any models in the unit and the missile launcher you find is not killing very many things a game. This unit would be innefficient due to it tieing up so many unecessary points that could be used on something else like an annoying bike squad you could use as a distraction, or a devastator team as long range anti tank

  4. My 20 point Solar Pulse has yet to kill 20 points of models...better drop it haha.