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Old April 24th, 2009, 04:18 PM
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Case Study - Stingers versus 'Squad Killing' Heroes

Disclaimer:

The following theoryscape is full of simplifying assumptions. The calculations ignore many items such as possible height advantage, potential terrain effects (ie. proximity to jungle), etc.

In addition, the following was assumed to be true:
-Stingers never used Stinger Drain
-Stingers always able to make 3 attacks (i.e. assumed Stinger player playing with large number of squads)
-Both sides always able to get into range to make desired attacks


Battle 1:
Stingers versus Zelrig

For this battle, I needed to pick an average number to represent how many stingers would be affected by each of Zelrig's special attacks. Since stingers are a ranged squad, they don't really have much reason to clump together, but still, I decided to be generous to Zelrig and assume that each of his attacks affect, on average, 3 stingers. As you can see below, it still didn't help the big Z.

Zelrig has a .75 change of killing each stinger affected by majestic flames.

Average points of damage inflicted by Zelrig on each order marker:
.75 * 3 * 60 / 3 = 45

Stinger attacks, do, on average, .58 worth of damage against Z.

Average points of damage inflicted by the stingers on each order marker:
.58 * 3 * 185 / 6 = 53.65


Battle 2:
Stingers versus Braxas

When you do the math, it turns out that when Braxas uses her special, she kills, on average, 1.95 stingers per order marker. Let's see how she does:

Average points of damage inflicted by Braxas:
1.95 * 60 / 3 = 39

Stingers on the other hand, inflict .75 damage per attack.

Average points of damange inflicted by the stingers:
.75 * 3 * 210 / 8 = 59.0625


Battle 3:
Stingers versus Nilfheim

Once again, I decided to give an advantage to the hero, and I assumed that, using his special, Nilfheim was always able to get off 3 attacks on the stingers. In reality, in cases when he's engaged with 1 or 2 stingers, and he misses one of his attacks, he wouldn't be able to attack all 3. Still, it wasn't enough for poor Nilf.

Nilfs special has a 65.5% chance of killing a Stinger, which means she kills 1.965 of them on average when she gets to attack 3

Average points of damage inflicted by Nilf:
1.965 * 60 / 3 = 39.3

Like with Zelrig, stingers average .58 damage on Nilf per attack.

Average points of damage inflicted by the stingers:
.58 * 3 * 185 / 6 = 53.65

Battle 4:
Stingers versus Q9

Using 3 attacks of 3 (his best bet), Q9 kill 1.527 stingers per turn

Average points of damage inflicted by Q9:
1.527 * 60 / 3 = 30.54

Thanks to Q9's high defense, stingers average only .254 damage per attack. Still, it's enough to best Q9.

Average points of damage inflicted by stingers:
.254 * 3 * 180 /4 = 34.29

Battle 5:
Stingers versus DW8K

This one isn't even close. Even assuming that DW8K is in range to attack an infinite number of stingers, he still only kills, on average, 1.0366 per order marker.

Average points of damage inflicted by DW8K
1.0366 * 60 / 3 = 20.732

Stingers have a .146 change of killing DW8K. That means that 3 attacks have a 37.7% chance of killing him (1 - (1-.146)^3).

Average points of damage inflicted by stingers:
.377 * 130 = 49.03

Battle 6
Stingers versus Brunak

Here, we need to pick a reasonable number of stingers Brunak could get adjacent to when using his special. I decided to go with 3, and once again, I think that's quite generous considering the stingers are ranged and don't often need to clump together.

When Brunak is adjacent to 3 stingers, he kills, on average, 1.36 of them when using his special.

Average points of damage inflicted by Brunak:
1.36 * 60 /3 = 27.3

Like with Q9, stingers only deal .254 damage to Brunak per attack.

Average points of damage inflicted by Stingers:
.254 * 3 *110 / 3 = 27.94

Conclusion

In no case was the squad killing hero able to earn their points back against the stingers. The only one who came close, Brunak, did so based on the questionable assumption that he'd be able to get himself engaged to 3 stingers every turn.
Other heroes like Drake and Gueri-Oni who have specials which one might think would help against the stingers fared even worse then the ones mentioned above. In theory, Charos, with counterstrike, might do well against the engaged stingers, but in reality, all the stinger player would have to do would be to activate his stingers which weren't directly engaged.

In short, based on this simple model (with all it's assumptions), no hero makes a good counter to a mass of stingers. Whether or not this applies to the real game, I cannot say.

Join us next time when I show why, in most cases, stingers make better hero killers then hero killing heroes.

Last edited by padlock; April 24th, 2009 at 04:34 PM.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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Re: Case Study - Stingers versus 'Squad Killing' Heroes

wow! that must have taken a lot of time.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 05:57 PM
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Re: Case Study - Stingers versus 'Squad Killing' Heroes

Edit: Duh, should have read the qualifiers at the beginning of your post, maybe. You may ignore everything I have to say past this point if you wish.

So, the heroes just stand there while your stingers surround and pound them? From practical experience, I can tell you that at least Nilfheim (with threat range of 11, flying), beats 3 squads of stingers handily (threat range 10, poor height and movement). The only way your numbers make sense is if the hero stands still, or the combat takes place on a small completely flat map where Nilfheim, or some of the other heroes you mentioned, get no advantage for greater movement, range, height, or their flying abilities.
Granted, I wouldn't take any of the soulborg heroes, let alone one of the deathwalkers, head to head against 3 squads of anything. But I would easily take Braxas, and have taken Nilfheim, against squads like that. I haven't tried it with Zelrig, but would imagine his special lends itself perfectly against 3 stinger squads. With flying, he can usually deny them height, leaving them 1 defense. Also, his greater movement range and awesome special range mean your assumption that 3 stingers can attack each turn makes little sense. I would just fly around the edges of your army, picking off one stinger at a time.

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Last edited by Fencerjared; April 24th, 2009 at 06:09 PM. Reason: sentence structure, general dumbheadedness.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 06:14 PM
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Re: Case Study - Stingers versus 'Squad Killing' Heroes

Thanks for the feedback.

I just ran the numbers, and even when giving Braxas and Nilf height advantage for the entire battle, the stingers still come out on top (though in Nilfs case, it's very close). Remeber that since the dragons are using special attacks, height doesn't enhance their attacks. It does give them an extra defense dice though.

Also, the question isn't whether the dragons can beat 3 squads of stingers, it's whether they can earn their points back against 6 or seven squads of stingers (big difference).

As to whether or not the stingers could realistically regularly get off 3 attacks, I honestly don't know. Remember however that Braxas's special only has a range of 4 and Nilfs has a range of 5.

Last edited by padlock; April 24th, 2009 at 07:33 PM.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 06:40 PM
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Re: Case Study - Stingers versus 'Squad Killing' Heroes

I know height doesn't enhance their attacks, but gives them better defense and most importantly against single life squaddies, denies them the extra defense. The pure numbers might make sense, but I'm telling you that in real life, even with average rolls from Nilfheim, and good rolls from my opponent (who always seems to roll what he needs, except when he doesn't...), Nilfheim outmaneuvered all the stingers on a relatively simple map (no height variance greater than 6), and was only in range of at most 2 stingers at a time. I only took 3 wounds on him, and never rolled more than 2 skulls for my special at any time. Zelrig, with equal movement and much greater range as well as a more devastating attack on the stingers, would probably fare even better in real life.

Now I'll stop ruining your theoretical fun.

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Old April 24th, 2009, 07:53 PM
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Re: Case Study - Stingers versus 'Squad Killing' Heroes

Nice work, padlock. Good to have another stat-nerd around here.

What you've discovered is that stingers are great hero-killers. This is a big part of why they're an A+ unit in the power rankings. The only hero who, for the points, is probably a consistently better hero-killer than the stingers, would be the future Unit Battle Royale champion, Krug.

The weakness of stingers, really, is against better anti-squad squads, like Knights or 4th Mass or 'trons, or even Minions. Of course, those figures all hate facing rats, which is part of the reason that stingers+rats is a popular combo. However, I could easily flip that around and argue that, with the exception of Brunak, the heroes you consider should be attacking the stingers from behind a wall of their own Deathreavers.

Obviously this was just an approximation, but the assumptions you make that I would dispute are:

- the figures with flight or longer range (which is all of them except Brunak) should be able to get height advantage a good percentage of the time if they're doing things right. So you could run alternative versions where the hero has an extra defense die.

- The stingers should generally be rolling for stinger drain when attacking heroes. You can throw this into your calculations. It involves doing a weighted average based on the different possible drain roll results, but I imagine you can figure it out.
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Old April 25th, 2009, 12:11 AM
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Re: Case Study - Stingers versus 'Squad Killing' Heroes

Thanks dok.

By the way, you're right about stinger drain. I ran the numbers and they run the gamut from being very slightly better (in Braxa's case), to quite a bit better (Q9 and Brunak). In no case, against these heroes, was it worse to drain then to not drain. I suspect that, statistically, as long as you can get off three shots at a hero with life > 3 and defense > 3, then it's always better to drain (so long as you've got enough stingers to spare loosing one in case the drain fails).

I also agree about anti squad squads being the ideal counter to stingers. Melee squads in particular seem to do well, probably due to the Stingers low range. I believe that Marro Drones, KoW (with Gilbert) and Heavy Gruts all do well against stingers.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 03:56 PM
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Re: Case Study - Stingers versus 'Squad Killing' Heroes

Just a thought padlock, when you ran it for the stingers using their Stinger Drain did you add in them not attacking on turns that it fails? It might still be more beneficial overall, but I wonder if that would change the numbers.
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Old June 11th, 2009, 12:31 AM
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Re: Case Study - Stingers versus 'Squad Killing' Heroes

Quote:
Nilfs special has a 65.5% chance of killing a Stinger, which means she kills 1.965 of them on average when she gets to attack 3
Hmmm... Nhilfhiem... The female dragon king...

Seriously. In my battles, I've only come up against 4 or more squads of stingers once or twice in the games I've played. In these situations, however, I find the best strategy to be squad vs. squad.
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Old June 11th, 2009, 09:25 AM
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Re: Case Study - Stingers versus 'Squad Killing' Heroes

Nice job, padlock. Hordes of Stingers can be very devastating. I learned that the hard way.

I'm not surprised they beat nearly every hero. 3 attacks of 3 is a very, very strong turn in Heroscape, and they are one of two units that can get it consistently (almost) no matter the situation, and they don't have to worry about attacking different units.

I'll agree with dok also - Nilf and Braxas should definitely have some Deathreavers with them. They help a lot.

Q9 nearly always has Raelin. I'd be interested to see how that works out. Say, Q9+Raelin vs. Stingers x4 or 5.

Lastly, I'll add a couple of comments on the test to shake it up a bit. The scenario above really is giving Stingers the advantage, allowing them to always get three attacks per turn. That is the main advantage of heroes over squads - they don't lose any of their firepower until they're dead. Squads have to spend time to replenish their ranks, and are sometimes denied attacks because of this. In the Stingers case, there probably won't be many attacks lost, but there will be some.

Secondly, I don't think I'd advise Draining against any hero, even if the numbers statistically say so. Remember that you aren't just losing a Stinger, you're losing 3 attacks. Giving your opponent two free turns can really wipe out your positioning. Also, draining on Order Marker #3 in a round you've won initiative is even riskier. A fail there could give your opponent 3 free turns.

Just some things to consider...

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Last edited by killercactus; June 12th, 2009 at 08:03 AM. Reason: Stinger Drain = after movement.
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Old June 11th, 2009, 09:49 AM
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Re: Case Study - Stingers versus 'Squad Killing' Heroes

I've played with 5 squads of Stingers and the Marro Dragon; that is devastating. I drained every time I was in range, or going to be in range. On height with my guys I took out Jotun and Sonlen in two Order Markers.

Stingers are probably the #1 or #2 common squad...they have to be...

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Old June 11th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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Re: Case Study - Stingers versus 'Squad Killing' Heroes

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperflyTNT View Post
I've played with 5 squads of Stingers and the Marro Dragon; that is devastating. I drained every time I was in range, or going to be in range. On height with my guys I took out Jotun and Sonlen in two Order Markers.

Stingers are probably the #1 or #2 common squad...they have to be...
I'd rank them 5th, behind Rats, Glads, Blasts and 4th Mass. I guess that's kind of 4th though, since Trons are effectively one team.

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