January 18, 2010

Nautican in Depth: Wavebreaker Unit Analysis

I have been reviewing Sigmars Nautican Army book in more detail this week and comparing it to my existing Warhammer armies (Dwarfs, High Elves, Vampires) to see how it stacks up. First unit to face the comparison were the Wavebreakers the primary core infantry unit of the Nautican army.

For this comparison I am looking at standard units of 20 troops with Full Command and the most basic of equipment options across all four of my current armies.

Points comparison
For a unit of 20 with full command and no additional equipment
  1. Wavebreakers - 125 pts
  2. VC Skeletons - 180 pts
  3. Dwarf Warriors - 185 pts
  4. HE Spears - 205 pts
Of the four armies Wavebreakers are by far the cheapest when you look at their base point cost. However, points are not the only issue of importance. What exactly do you get for those points?

If we pitted the front ranks of each unit against each other we would get.
  1. Wavebreakers - Handweapon & no armour = No AS & 6 attacks at WS3 S4
  2. VC Skeletons - Handweapon & light armour = 6+ AS & 6 attacks at WS2 S3
  3. Dwarf Warriors - Handweapon & heavy armour = 5+ AS & 6 attacks at WS4 S3
  4. HE Spears - Handweapon, Spears, shields & light armour = 6+ AS & 11-16 attacks at WS4 S3 or 4+AS and 6 attacks at WS4 S3
Going simply by points I can field 3 units of 20 Wavebreakers with full command for approximately the same points cost as two similar units of Skeletons, Warriors or Spears. Of the four armies though they are the only one that does not come with armour as standard. However, adding this armour doesn't increase the cost of Wavebreakers substantially and still makes them cheaper.

Additional equipment options
Other options are available for the first three units though upping the points cost and adjusting their relative merits.

  1. Wavebreakers w. Clam Shield - 5+AS/4+ AS in HtH or Shield - 6+/5+ can also take Spears allowing rank attack option similar to High Elves but they will lose any armour. A single unit of Wavebreakers can also take Scalemail granting 6+ AS and making any enemy attack roll at -1 to hit.
  2. VC Skeletons can take Spears
  3. Dwarf Warriors can add Great Weapons.
Points comparison with equipment options
For Wavebreakers to survive they will need armour and the best option available to them is the Clam Shield which grants a 5+ AS for 2pts per model. Leaving off the Spear option, this would adjust their points comparison to:

  1. Wavebreakers - 165 pts --> 5+/4+ AS
  2. VC Skeletons - 180 pts
  3. Dwarf Warriors - 185 pts
  4. HE Spears - 205 pts
Still 40pts cheaper than any of the other three races for the same number of infantry and gives them a better AS in close combat with the exception of HE Spears who use handweapons (and honestly who does that).

What do you get for the points: fighting in combat
Assuming the average core infantry solider is WS4 for most armies and T3 the Wavebreakers again compare well to the other three armies when looking at your typical 'to hit' and 'to wound' rolls.
  1. Wavebreakers - WS3 S4 --> Hit on 5's and wound on 3's.
  2. Skeletons - WS2 S3 --> Hit on 6's and wound on 4's.
  3. Warriors - WS4 S3 --> Hit on 4's and wound on 4's
  4. HE Spears - WS4 S3 --> Hit on 4's and wound on 4's
In straight out averages Wavebreakers are less likely to hit you but more likely to do damage. Given that only 1 Wavebreaker unit can take armour, you would most likely field them with Shields forgoing any spears and losing your rank attack bonus. With the Clam Shield granting them a 4+ AS in HtH combat they again stack up favourably to the other units.

What about leadership?
After this stuff leadership becomes important. Elves and Dwarfs are base Ld9, Skeletons Ld3 and Wavebreakers Ld7. Skeletons low leadership is offset by their ability to be raised and the fact that they cause Fear.

Any other options?
A single Wavebreaker unit can carry a 25pt magical standard, common sense would dictate you give this to the Scalemail equipped unit. In this they are similiar to HE who can equip a single core unit with a 25pt standard, have an advantage over Dwarfs who have to upgrade to Longbeards (at 3pts a model) to gain a runic banner, but less well off than VC who can give every Skeleton unit a banner. The Nautican special rules also give Wavebreakers the ability to deploy 6" further into the deployment zone than the three other armies, though how useful this would be is debatable.

Final summary
So, looking at the analysis a unit of 20 models with Full Command, and comparable armour options see the Wavebreakers come out cheaper than Dwarf Warriors, HE Spears and VC Skeletons. They will find it harder to hit people than Elves or Dwarfs but when they do so are more likely to do damage. But if they fail to do that damage they are less resolute than the other three armies and more likely to run (as my play testing has shown).

How would you field Wavebreakers?
In most lists I have put together for Nauticans and those I have used I took at most 2 units of Wavebreakers. Either two units with Clam Shields and Handweapons or a single uber-unit with Scalemail, Clam Shields and a magic banner. Given that lower points cost 3-4 units may be a way to go, but like the High Elves where the majority of armies take only a single Spear unit, you are better off taking the minimum and going with Special options.

The uber-Wavebreaker unit though is quite a formidable option and is incredibly cheap if you equip it out to the max:

Wavebreakers x20 @ 230pts
w. Full Command, Scalemail, Clam Shields, Healing Salt Spray Banner

AS 4+/3+ HtH, Enemy at -1 to hit, Unit loses 1 less wound and restores a single model to its ranks in combat before calculation of CR

1 comment:

Sigmar said...

Thanks for the analysis Kiwi.

It seems to support some other views about Wavebreakers which have been epxressed around the various forums where I posted the Army list.

It is probable that the pts cost of Wavebreakers will go up by 1pt per model. We think we will than have a nicely balanced unit.

It's really great to read an analysis that someone has put some time and thought into.

Much appreciated,
Sigmar