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theBitterFig

How Good Are Autoblasters? Actual Mathematical Results!

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Posted (edited)

So I got tired of not knowing how good Autoblasters actually are, mathematically speaking.  Played around with a spreadsheet to test it out.  I didn't calculate everything-everything (I didn't really bother calculating against unfocused targets... it won't be hard and will probably add it later; also, I didn't really bother against 1 agility, except with 2 red dice... the effect was so thin there, it's not worth bothering), but I've got a legit sense of the effects now.

Anyhow, the TL,DR.  Probably not too different that we'd expect.

  • Autoblasters tend to add more damage when not focused.
  • They're not very strong without Marksmanship (worse than Predator), but with Marksmanship are typically better than Predator.
  • Attacker without focus, defender 3 green with focus, it's actually better to make a 2-dice Autoblasters attack than a 3-dice primary attack without mods.  Presumably holds for 4-dice (obstructed range 2 shots?), but otherwise probably the only example.

However, an upgrade simply adding an extra source of damage is often useful.  There aren't too many which do that.  For example, a T-70 with S-Foils Closed has essentially identical attacks with their primary weapon or with Autoblasters, but AB will add damage even without Marksmanship, costing only 2 points.  The effect ranges between 0.1 to 0.3 damage against 2 and 3 agility ships, in fairly common situations (better without focus, and better against more green dice).  Technically, there'd be Heroic rerolls, but that would be prohibitively hard to for me to calculate.

  • 4 red dice, 3 green dice
    • Focus vs Focus: 1.227 damage expected
    • Focus Predator vs Focus: 1.675 (0.448 added)
    • Focus Autoblasters vs Focus: 1.373 (0.146 added, 0.302 less than Predator)
    • Focus Autoblasters Marksmanship vs Focus: 1.804 (0.577 added, 0.129 more than Predator)
    • Unfocused vs Focus: 0.566
    • Unfocused Predator vs Focus: 0.874 (0.308 added)
    • Unfocused Autoblasters vs Focus: 0.871 (0.305 added, 0.003 less than Predator)
    • Unfocused Autoblasters Marksmanship vs Focus:1.419 (0.853 added, 0.545 more than Predator)
  • 4 red dice, 2 green dice
    • Focus vs Focus: 1.773 damage expected
    • Focus Predator vs Focus: 2.270 (0.497 added)
    • Focus Autoblasters vs Focus: 1.826 (0.053 added, 0.444 less than Predator)
    • Focus Autoblasters Marksmanship vs Focus: 2.068 (0.295 added, 0.202 less than Predator)
    • Unfocused vs Focus: 0.926
    • Unfocused Predator vs Focus: 1.319 (0.393 added)
    • Unfocused Autoblasters vs Focus: 1.137 (0.211 added, 0.182 less than Predator)
    • Unfocused Autoblasters Marksmanship vs Focus:1.529 (0.603 added, 0.210 more than Predator)
  • 3 red dice vs 3 green dice
    • Focus vs Focus: 0.638 damage expected
    • Focus Predator vs Focus: 0.911 (0.273 added)
    • Focus Autoblasters vs Focus: 0.839 (0.201 added, 0.072 less than Predator)
    • Focus Autoblasters Marksmanship vs Focus: 1.436 (0.798 added, 0.525 more than Predator)
    • Unfocused vs Focus: 0.299
    • Unfocused Predator vs Focus: 0.503 (0.204 added)
    • Unfocused Autoblasters vs Focus: 0.554 (0.255 added, 0.051 more than Predator)
    • Unfocused Autoblasters Marksmanship vs Focus:1.148 (0.849 added, 0.645 more than Predator)
  • 3 red dice vs 2 green dice
    • Focus vs Focus: 1.074 damage expected
    • Focus Predator vs Focus: 1.457 (0.383 added)
    • Focus Autoblasters vs Focus: 1.169 (0.095 added, 0.288 less than Predator)
    • Focus Autoblasters Marksmanship vs Focus: 1.587 (0.513 added, 0.130 more than Predator)
    • Unfocused vs Focus: 0.553
    • Unfocused Predator vs Focus: 0.863 (0.310 added)
    • Unfocused Autoblasters vs Focus: 0.727 (0.174 added, 0.136 less than Predator)
    • Unfocused Autoblasters Marksmanship vs Focus:1.147 (0.594 added, 0.284 more than Predator)
  • 2 red dice vs 3 green dice
    • Focus vs Focus: 0.227 damage expected
    • Focus Predator vs Focus: 0.319 (0.092 added)
    • Focus Autoblasters vs Focus: 0.419 (0.192 added, 0.100 more than Predator)
    • Unfocused vs Focus: 0.119
    • Unfocused Predator vs Focus: 0.204 (0.085 added)
    • Unfocused Autoblasters vs Focus: 0.322 (0.203 added, 0.136 more than Predator)
  • 2 red dice vs 2 green dice
    • Focus vs Focus: 0.475 damage expected
    • Focus Predator vs Focus: 0.653 (0.178 added)
    • Focus Autoblasters vs Focus: 0.609 (0.134 added, 0.044 less than Predator)
    • Unfocused vs Focus: 0.258
    • Unfocused Predator vs Focus: 0.428 (0.170 added)
    • Unfocused Autoblasters vs Focus: 0.408 (0.160 added, 0.010 less than Predator)
  • 2 red dice vs 1 green dice
    • Focus vs Focus: 0.914 damage expected
    • Focus Predator vs Focus: 1.213 (0.299 added)
    • Focus Autoblasters vs Focus: 0.963 (0.049 added, 0.250 less than Predator)
    • Unfocused vs Focus: 0.531
    • Unfocused Predator vs Focus: 0.828 (0.297 added)
    • Unfocused Autoblasters vs Focus: 0.584 (0.053 added, 0.244 less than Predator)

 

Edited by theBitterFig

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Is this including the unblockable crit effect from firing out-of-their-arc?

In my limited run of 3 games, it really put a lot of damage into fragile aces that rely on their dice plus force/evade/focus. N1s, Jedi and Fenn Rau in my games really hated taking even one crit, which would have bounced without Autoblasters+Marksmanship.

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I assume these calculations include the free criteria for outmanoeuvering.

48 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

They're not very strong without Marksmanship (worse than Predator), but with Marksmanship are typically better than Predator.

I'm particularly interested in the comparison against crackshot and HLC. HLC has been ignored fairly widely for being "too hard to trigger" and it doesn't require you to be out-of-arc to make it work at full strength. Crackshot, on the other hand, is the "gold standard" bullseye effect. It's chea, only requires you to get a bullseye once, and has a devastating effect on any enemy you hit with hit. 

Once you purchase auto blasters AND marksmanship, you've paid almost as much as a HLC (or much more, if you've upgraded from a base generic to a talented generic). So, autoblasters+marksmanship really needs to be better than the rarely-played HLC to be worth bringing. Autoblasters+marksmanship is much harder to trigger at full strength (bullseye+out of arc+r1-2) and is not great against low agility ships. On the other hand, Autoblasters+marksmanship also has more conditions in which it partially triggers (bullseye r1-2 OR out-of-arc r1-2, whereas HLC is only bullseye).

The other question is whether you're better off with crackshot than marksmanship. Crackshot is effectively +1 damage the first time you get a bullseye (unless one of you rolls truly awfully). Marksmanship+autoblasters is a guaranteed crit every time you score a bullseye out of arc at r1-2 (unless you roll truly awfully). How many times in a game are you going to manage that? I suspect that if you're flying a ship that already has a talent, you're better off just taking crackshot.

There's one other key weakness of autoblasters: they don't work at r3. Range 3 potshots are when you need that guaranteed crit the most, and any enemy ace worth their salt should be able to get to range 3 and stay safe.

So, why should you fly autoblasters? You should fly them when you want a dirt cheap, disposable flanker that causes headaches for your opponent. If they turn their back on your flanker, you can take locks and try for those crits into enemy aces, or line up bullseyes on big ships for the +1 red die. If they turn away from your main force, then you can punish them and lose a single ship, no big deal. If they split their force, well, then you might be in trouble. Going from what @Gilarius said, though, any aces will be very nervous about a cheap autoblaster flanker, which should free up your main ships to do some work.

The cheapest option for this is a cartel spacer with autoblaster at 30pts. Now, for 30pts in scum I could take captain seevor, who is excellent against aces and has soloed a TIE phantom for me before. So the scyk isn't exactly amazing at this price point, but it's ok. I certainly wouldn't want to spend 5 points to add marksmanship though.

tl;dr marksmanship is a trap. Use autoblasters on a dirt cheap flanker. +1 red in bullseye is for fighting big ships, not for ace hunting.

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2 minutes ago, gadwag said:

tl;dr marksmanship is a trap. Use autoblasters on a dirt cheap flanker. +1 red in bullseye is for fighting big ships...

I can agree with this statement.

Though in my case I believe Interceptors are easier hit with those random crits. You can’t rely on getting a critical but they can’t afford to take that chance either which forces bad positioning or straight up jousts.

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7 minutes ago, LagJanson said:

You can’t rely on getting a critical but they can’t afford to take that chance either which forces bad positioning

This is why you bring autoblasters. They have a rare effect which is devastating on shieldless aces (interceptors and fangs), forcing your opponent to play around it. The effect is still decent vs other aces, but if you're flying something like 7B Anakin and you still have plenty of shields you can just ignore it.

Autoblasters are like a weak multitool. They make you a credible threat vs aces, and they give you +1 red dice in bullseye to fight swarms or large ships. They should not be built into an ace-hunting wombo-combo. In fact, I'd argue that if you have a spare talent slot on a ship with autoblasters, you should put crack on before marksmanship. I don't think it's worth upgrading from a base generic just to take crack, but if you are already upgrading to init-kill torrents or something then go for it.

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33 minutes ago, gadwag said:

you should put crack on before marksmanship

🤨 So you're of the opinion that 2 red primary + crack shot (3 at range 1, remember crack shot only works for primary attacks in 2.0, so HLC/Crack is out...) is better than 3 red (4 at range 1) from autoblasters + marks (bullseye hunting is bullseye hunting. Crack, marks and blasters all want bullseye)?

Crack Shot

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Ah yeah I forgot again that crack doesn't work on secondary weapon attacks, even though I made a meme about that a while back. I still think that paying for marksmanship with autoblasters is a trap - I'd only do it if I had 1pt spare in my list after putting everything else in

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10 minutes ago, gadwag said:

And if I'm running anything with a 3 red primary, I'd rather just take crack shot and be done with it (no autoblasters)

We definitely agree there. :) As for autoblasters + marksmanship or not, I think it is coming down to play style/personal preference. I see that as good thing. I'm looking forwards to putting both on the table and figuring out for myself. :)

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Gilarius said:

Is this including the unblockable crit effect from firing out-of-their-arc?

That's the only thing it's considering.  The Autoblasters entry is the same number of red dice listed, but figuring out how much damage is added by crits that cannot be cancelled.

3 hours ago, LagJanson said:

Now... is that including outmaneuvered positions? Asking for a friend...

Is that friend Jag Lanson?

2 hours ago, gadwag said:

I'm particularly interested in the comparison against crackshot and HLC

tl;dr marksmanship is a trap. Use autoblasters on a dirt cheap flanker. +1 red in bullseye is for fighting big ships, not for ace hunting.

As to HLC, I feel like Autoblasters has two advantages.  First, cheaper.  Second, for a lot of ships, bullseye probably happens more at Range 1 than Range 3.  Something like low-init Scyks probably are going to have 4-dice Range 1 Autoblasters attacks than they could pull off Range 2-3 HLC attacks.  Granted, these attacks will probably be from the front, so no crit/outmaneuver effects, so the regular damage calc can handle that.  I suppose there's a 3rd advantage in having an existing full arc, so it would be compatible with XG-1 or IG-88 B.

 

As to Crack Shot, the thing to notice about Autoblasters is that it dramatically goes down in value against lower agility.  Crack Shot does some (it isn't exactly +1 damage; too many or too few Evades can mean Crack Shot doesn't help), but not as much.  Even a 1-green ship can roll an Evade to get Cracked, but Autoblasters will probably add nothing against 1 agility.  I will say though, that under best-cases (Range 1 Bullseye attacks against 3-green ships), Marksmanship AB is like +0.60 to +0.80 damage per attack, and that's up there with the value of Crack Shot, and it can be used more than once.

 

Marksmanship Trap: Maybe.  But for the longest time, I think it's been pointless to just say that.  That's why I wanted the numbers.  Numbers aren't too bad for Marksmanship/Autoblasters.  Somewhat of a meta-call, but not bad.  Depends on what you'd be giving up in the Talent slot to take Marksmanship.

But numbers are also somewhat irrelevant, since upgrades can't be put on every ship.  XG-1 probably have a devil of a time getting bullseye, due to the oddness of SLAM.  Resistance Transports aren't going to accomplish anything with Marksmanship.  Scyks are mostly low-initiative (but Serissu with MMS/AB seems nice...), so it's not going to happen often, and I don't really want to spend an extra 5 points for a Tansarii Marksman over a Cartel Spacer.  Stuff like B-Wings?  Naw, Crack Shot and skip the Cannon entirely.

But then I think about T-70 aces.  Hrm.  Poe, Ello, and Nien all have abilities which are fairly handy for getting out of arc, and don't need their Talent slot to pull off combos (Snap 'needs' Composure, for example).  I wanted more than idle speculation whether it was worth it for Poe to try to ace-hunt with Marksmanship/Autoblasters.  It's decent damage, and probably not a terrible mistake.  Against Darth Vader or Fenn Rau, Marksmanship + Autoblasters is 60-80% Crack Shot every time you get Range 1-2 Bullseye.  That's not too bad, and it adds a decent non-bullseye Hail-Mary sort of play for stuff like Range 2 obstructed shots, particularly with Gas Clouds.  And while Autoblasters doesn't help against low-agility ships, Marksmanship kinda does.  Stacking crit upon crit can be incredibly punishing on a high-hull ship.

However, Heroic.  That adds about half the survival time that Hull Upgrade would add, at 1/5th the price.  I find it very hard to pass up.

I guess where I'm coming down is that, if I were actually good at playing X-Wing, I'd strongly consider Marksmanship on Poe.  I'm not that good, so I'm bringing Heroic. There are no doubt players out there who can avoid getting shot well enough to skip Heroic, and I think there's enough damage in Marksmanship/Autoblasters that it'd be solid.  But even if I was actually good, the better list might be one where Poe runs Plasma Torpedoes or just a bigger bid and no weapons.

Edited by theBitterFig

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1 hour ago, theBitterFig said:

Marksmanship Trap: Maybe.  But for the longest time, I think it's been pointless to just say that.  That's why I wanted the numbers.  Numbers aren't too bad for Marksmanship/Autoblasters.  Somewhat of a meta-call, but not bad.  Depends on what you'd be giving up in the Talent slot to take Marksmanship.

Your numbers are appreciated! And it's good to see that autoblaster is a little better on paper than most thought. I think the real weakness of the card is when it actually triggers, which you address in your next paragraphs. 

1 hour ago, theBitterFig said:

But then I think about T-70 aces.  Hrm.  Poe, Ello, and Nien all have abilities which are fairly handy for getting out of arc, and don't need their Talent slot to pull off combos (Snap 'needs' Composure, for example).  I wanted more than idle speculation whether it was worth it for Poe to try to ace-hunt with Marksmanship/Autoblasters.  It's decent damage, and probably not a terrible mistake.  Against Darth Vader or Fenn Rau, Marksmanship + Autoblasters is 60-80% Crack Shot every time you get Range 1-2 Bullseye.  That's not too bad, and it adds a decent non-bullseye Hail-Mary sort of play for stuff like Range 2 obstructed shots, particularly with Gas Clouds.  And while Autoblasters doesn't help against low-agility ships, Marksmanship kinda does.  Stacking crit upon crit can be incredibly punishing on a high-hull ship.

This is the sort of analysis that autoblasters really needs. Personally, I'd argue that if you already have a ship like Poe then I'd still go crack for the lower cost and increased usefulness (I run crack on Fenn and it does serious work) but you're right - the numbers aren't terrible on autoblasters and in an ace-heavy meta it's not a bad choice.

I've only run autoblasters once myself, on IG-88B and IG-88C, vs ketsu, talonbane and kavil. I put marksmanship on as well for a laugh. The autoblasters wound up being a terrible choice for IG-88B, because every time I missed a shot it was all the way out at range 3. I managed to fire a bonus autoblaster shot once at ketsu, and it missed. I spent the whole game wishing I had tractor beams instead.

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5 hours ago, Darth Meanie said:

You.  Have.  Too.  Much.  Free.  Time.

😜

We all have too much free time. Otherwise we wouldn't be spending our time browsing and commenting on a forum dedicated to discussing a plastic spaceship game. :P Of course, I don't happen to think there's anything wrong with that... ;) 

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6 hours ago, theBitterFig said:

But then I think about T-70 aces.  Hrm.  Poe, Ello, and Nien all have abilities which are fairly handy for getting out of arc

I’ve been running Kare Kun with Autoblasters and Marksmanship... her stress-free Daredevil ability is great for lining up those out-of-arc bullseye shots! ;)

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Posted (edited)

Now, I need to know how much better is TL than focus when shooting from outside of enemy front arc :)

Fun fact, with TL you have 23.4% to roll a crit per dice and only 12.5% with focus. So TL is much better on Autoblaster. 

And what to do if you have for example TL and roll blank and hit against 3+ Agi focus target, I suppose that you should reroll both dice.

Edited by Boreas Mun

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12 hours ago, theBitterFig said:

...then I think about T-70 aces.  Hrm.  Poe, Ello, and Nien all have abilities which are fairly handy for getting out of arc, and don't need their Talent slot to pull off combos (Snap 'needs' Composure, for example)...

What combo does Ello have?  Is there a way for her to get TL and Focus?

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, AngryAlbatross said:

What combo does Ello have?  Is there a way for her to get TL and Focus?

No combo, but that's my point.  Some pilots kind of need stapled-on talents to do something.  Ello (and Poe and Nien) doesn't have any of those, at least as far as the Talent slot or Weapons Hardpoint goes. They're free to equip Marksmanship/Autoblasters, without disrupting anything.

Edited by theBitterFig

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