Thursday, April 10, 2014

Addendum: Clamjack Damage Thoughts

As a quick follow up to the post yesterday about clamjack melee damage math, I wanted to clarify a few things.

With all the damage fixer Merc solos thrown into a list, this is something you could do with technically any 'caster. I think some lend itself much more to it than others, with Harkevich being one of the better ones due to consistency: his movement buff is consistent (and passive, so no order of activation issues,) he gives all of his warjacks Pathfinder, and he frequently has plenty of Focus he can hand out (relative to his Focus stat, anyway) due to a lack of any really "must cast" spells turn-by-turn. That is to say: while I think this concept could work well in other places, I think (hope?) that Harkevich is uniquely suited to make it work well.

One thing I find remarkable is that there is someone that can accomplish something similar - Butcher1 - but I've never seen anyone really try it. Most Butcher1 lists seem to have a Reach warjack or a shooting warjack, and I totally understand the logic behind that (Butcher1 needs all the threat range extension he can get.)

Clamjacks seem to go together with Butcher1 like peanut butter and jelly:

 - He has two innate damage fixers with Fury and his feat.
 - Both clamjacks (Devastator and Demolisher) have the ability to generate a lot of damage rolls, which makes them potentially great models to have around on the feat turn.
 - Butcher1 has zero ways to increase the threat range of his warjacks, so traditionally the answer is to bring warjacks that don't need to close for melee (guns) or have some additional threat built-in (Reach.) Clamjacks offer an alternative: put a model forward that your opponent is going to have a hard time killing (or is only going to kill with a large investment of resources) and either kill whatever they send in using that clamjack or kill it with something set up to counter-charge (usually trivial with Butcher1's ability to ramp up damage.)
 - For as clumsy as it can be, Full Throttle can be a fantastic spell in the right situations. The one that immediately leaps to mind is when you're sending a warjack in to deal with a DEF 12-14+ heavy (most commonly found on the Hordes side of things.) MAT 6 is a problem in that range because then you start to miss as much or more than you hit; the boosted attack rolls from Full Throttle do a lot to help that, and the free charge gives you some Focus efficiency. It gets even better if you can send multiple warjacks in (though this doesn't come up often) and with Butcher1's feat that turn can actually be scary.
 - With absolutely everything going, you could have a clamjack charging in (for free) with boosted attack rolls, making P+S 19 melee attacks that are essentially Weaponmaster attacks. That takes all of Butcher1's resources, but even P+S 19 Weaponmaster is enough to dirt nap most things.

Some math, similar to the last post:

Demolisher charging w/ Fury and Blood Frenzy vs. Stormwall w/Arcane Shield:
11 (charge attack) + 8 (other initial) + 8 (buy attack) + 8 (buy attack) = 35 damage

Not bad at all, all things considered. Without Arcane Shield:

Demolisher charging w/ Fury and Blood Frenzy vs. Stormwall (no Arcane Shield):
14 (charge attack) + 11 (other initial) + 11 (buy attack) + 11 (buy attack) = 47 damage +/- 1 damage (Eiryss2 Snipe shot)

That's an 85% dead Stormwall on average from just the Demolisher's attacks. Just about anything else you can throw at it on Butcher1's feat turn should be able to take it off the table.

The important thing isn't the damage itself (Butcher1 is a walking avatar of doing loads of damage,) but of the reliability of delivering that damage. A Demolisher under Butcher1 is slower and doesn't have Pathfinder (compared to Harkevich,) but it's still ARM 25, and with Butcher1's damage supplements you don't need to feed character models into the list to try and make up for it. Or you can toss one of them into the list and make it so that the Demolisher nearly kills the Stormwall the turn it charges in (any +2 damage buff puts you at around 55 damage.)

I feel like you can be much more audacious with clamjacks than you can with other Khador warjacks due to their high base ARM, and when you combine that audacity with a damage buff (as Butcher1 does) I think it lets you put a very direct, harder to remove threat up against a key target. And since you're running Butcher1, it's not like the rest of your list isn't a massive threat to their stuff as well (assuming you can get to melee.)

To sum up: I'm always surprised to see so few Butcher1 lists making use of clamjacks. I don't think you'd want to spam them per se, but one or two certainly seems like it has potential.

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