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Are Jetbikes better than Guardians?

It's been a good long time since I've done any Mathhammer, and I've got a stylistic decision to make for my aeldari.





I recently bought Gangs of Commoragh, and after completely failing to get a regular game going, I'm thinking of converting the Reavers and Hellions into Craftworlder proxies. Before anyone mentions the Ynnari, I'm not a fan of death cults. I'll stick to my own New Dawn Lugganath faction thanks, and try for a future which doesn't involve getting souls eaten by a god of any kind.


I currently have an smallish army of scatterbikes and Guardians, backed up by Farseer and a Fire Prism.... basically the contents of the start collecting box plus a bit.


I want to replace the guardians with some shuriken catapult armed windrunners, and I think the Reavers would do for  nice corsair themed unit. However, being the insatiable numberphile I am, I can't help but wonder if this is optimal, and dare I say... efficient.


So, let's do some maths!


First, let's consider the defensiveness of the two troops. They will be Objective grabbers above all, and so this is a primary concern. if they can't hold on to an objective then they won't be much use. Here goes:





OK, so a little to unpack here. The Windrunner jetbikes do come out as being slightly tougher than the Guardians, but on average they're basically the same. The balance here is very easy to see, with the jetbikes being able to shrug off more wounds, whereas the Guardians absorb them through numbers.


Whilst the maths makes them similar, I still think the jetbikes are tougher for their point values. There are far more AP5 weapons out there in 40K than AP -, and in most situations the Gaurdians will e without saves. That said, they do have more chance for cover than jetbikes, so it may all balance out in the end.


Next up, the joys of Eldar shooting:




So, despite the twin-linked weapons, the Guardians actually come out as more point efficient in the end. I'm neglected to include bladestorm in this equation, but with more shurikens flying that mechanic favours the Guardians anyway.


Next up assault:


(Jetbikes left, Guardians right)


Despite the fewer numbers, the Windrunners pull out on top with their Hammer of Wrath attacks. With only a Strength 3 punch, I wouldn't be putting either of these units in close combat, but I've included it for completeness.


Again, it has to be said, the margin in favour of jetbikes is slim, and the shooting advantage of the infantry exceeds that of the assault bonus. But then we come to the real reason you pick jetbikes: mobility.




(Jetbikes left, Guardians right)







This should be explained a little.


To start with, we take the movement value of each unit. Then I added on an average run move to account for the Eldar Battle focus rule (run before or after shooting) for the Guardians. Then, I include a value for Run or Turbo-boost for the jetbikes.


I also included a value for an assault move, again for Battle focus and the Jetbike rule. Then took an average of the whole thing.


In retrospect, I probably should have reduced the Moving value for the Guardians, and also the assault move. They won't be able to use both benefits in the same turn as the jetbikes can, but as you'd expect the jetbikes came out on top anyway, and I see no need to increase their lead in mobility. The point is clear enough.


Finally, let's look at an overall average:




(Jetbikes left, Guardians right)




It's the jet bikes by a whisper, that strong mobility carrying them over the finish line. Again, the values are very close together, once again showing the remarkable internal balance of the codex (at least in terms of calculable theory). The numbers probably get a bit more disparate as the special weapons and Warlocks get piled on, but in terms of naked units, jetbikes are the slightly more efficient option.



And I mean slightly more. I have to admit to some bias in wanting jetbikes to be better. I've always been fond of cavalry, and entirely mounted armies, so I was going to go the Saim-Hann jetbike route anyway. Whilst I can justify to my fellow neckbeards now in a mathsy sense, there isn't enough of a lead to discount the humble Eldar Guardian either.


Play what you want to play is the rule. I just have fun doing some maths in between games and painting!


So... are my calculations correct? Any glaring inconsistencies, or dodgy workings? Rages about how bad I'm at this? let me know in the comments below!


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