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Are Scatter bikes overpowered?: Defence

We've looked at the offensive potential of Eldar Scatter bikes compared to a non-special weapon White Scar biker squad. With the assault potential of White Scar Bikes taken into account, the difference between the two becomes slimmer and slimmer.

But now we look at the defensive value of each unit.

There are some Psychic powers that can take effect here, but both units will have access to something similar. Jetbikes can receive Shrouding from Warlock Battle runes, whereas White Scars can receive it from Telepathy. Since both can receive the same buff, we can discount it as a controlled variable. Guide used in the offensive shooting analysis could not be discounted because bikers have twin-linked bolt guns, meaning that the similar Divination power would be useless on them.

This is a simple analysis, assuming the same number of hits on each unit. We go through various strengths and APs, coming out with an average value for both wounds taken and then wounds after saves. If your own calculations vary for the wounds after saves, at AP 3 I take an average of wounds after jinking and possible wounds, to allow for weapons which ignore cover.

Unit   Scatter Jetbikes White Scars bike
Price   81 84
Unit count   3 4
Wounds   3 4
Toughness   4 5
Shots   10.0 10.0
Received wounds from strength      
1   1.7 1.7
2   1.7 1.7
3   3.3 1.7
4   5.0 3.3
5   6.7 5.0
6   8.3 6.7
7   8.3 8.3
8   8.3 8.3
Average   6.7 5.6
Wounds against AP   Includes 4+ Jink  Includes 3+ Jink
-   2.222222222 1.851851852
6   2.222222222 1.851851852
5   2.222222222 1.851851852
4   2.222222222 1.851851852
3   5.0 4.2
2   5.0 4.2
1   5.0 4.2
Average   3.412698413 2.843915344
Rounds to death   0.879069767 1.406511628
Points to death rounds   92.14285714 59.72222222

As somewhat expected, the White Scar bikers come out on top in this analysis. They are tougher Space Marines so it's not a surprise. But what is interesting is that they are very close in terms of average wounds taken.

But let's add this to our total average value table. It's not perfect, but we can agree that we want our points investment to last as long as possible. To put it another way, we want our points to last for more rounds.

As such, a unit which loses a lower number of points per turn of received fire, is better (or at least more efficient) than one which loses more. Right now, our table has efficiency of points per wounds given. Now we can average this offense efficieny with the defence efficiency, and see which comes out on top.

I can't stress how not perfect this is. It may be that a defensive efficiency is simply worth more than offensive, depending on the situation. But it's a good idea to back up our statements of over-powered-ness with some kind of numerical data.

Unit Scatter Jetbikes with Guide White Scars bike at 24
Shooting Value 44 33 77 155
Assault Value 69.4 69.4 28.0 28.0
Defence Value 92.1 92.1 59.7 59.7
Average Value 68 65 55 81

And look at that!

Once we add the defensive value the efficiency of the Eldar Scatter pack falls to between the middle, right between White Scar bikes at 12-inches and 24-inches.

This shows the Scatter packs are NOT undercosted for what they do.

Right now, it looks as though they're well balanced in terms of other aspects of the game. Yes they dominate the shooting phase, but that's all they dominate. They follow in the grand Eldar tradition of specialisation.

In fact, getting a Farseer to cast guide on the unit doesn't seem to change much to it's overall value. This shows you why it's a Primaris power and not one needed to be rolled for. It's overall impact, whilst significant on a turn-to-turn basis, is not hugely game changing when taking whole battle factors into account.

But we're still not done yet.

Now, we need to consider the effective ranges of all these factors. From that, we will come up with a final table, and a final number for each unit. This will unify all the factors into a single, comparative efficiency value. And we can say, once and for all if Scatter Bikes are over-powered.

Thus overturning, or confirming one of the prevailing myths of Warhammer 40K, 7th Edition.

And yes, I'm not ashamed to get this excited over numbers!

Thanks for reading.

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