Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Dark Angels Analysis - Nephilim Jetfighter

Now edited to include Unrelenting Hunter.

Today the analysis rolls on to the Fast Attack section. Simply because there are some shiny new flyers in there and I'd like to see what they do. I also expected something a little more glossy for this blog's 100th post when this blog began, but none of you want to read guff about blogging so on with the usual schedule.

Since I last updated what I was doing, I've broken out the Eldar. With the Space Wolves all but finished I'm trying to update the rest of my armies for 6th edition. Eldar were probably the easiest for this, and although I have no idea how it is going to work I think that my 1,500pt Eldar list from 5th edition is still valid (because it was also awful under 5th). Therefore, I have broken out the Swooping Hawks (see) to give them a new paint job, and I'm currently busy magnetising Scatter Lasers to a Wave Serpent.

But anyway, the Nephilim Jetfighter.

I'm going to compare this to a Storm Talon. Simply because it is quite balanced. Neither overpowered nor underpowered. So how does this face up.

Well, to start with it is 50pts more expensive than a Storm Talon. Going through what it gains in terms of special rules and stats. It has 1 additional hull point, a model that doesn't look like a flying toaster, Missile Lock, Unrelenting Hunter and Strafing Run. Whilst losing Ceramite Plating, Aerial Assault, Hover Strike, Escort Craft and Supersonic.

Just going through the trade off. Yes the additional hull point is nice, that's a good bonus. But does Missile Lock do anything for you? What this special rule does is decrease the amount that your Blast Weapons scatter from 2D6” to D6”. This would be nice if the Nephilim had any Blast weapons to fire. A pointless rule.

Strafing Run is actually quite nice. +1 BS when shooting at anything that isn't a flyer. A strange rule on a flyer called a 'Jetfighter' but I'll take it. Unrelenting Hunter then lets you treat weapon destroyed results as Immobilised results instead. Not particularly useful as you're losing a turn of shooting instead of losing one of your many guns.

In the rules that you lose, Ceramite Plating doesn't matter as if a Meltagun hits you you're in trouble regardless of whether or not it rolls 2D6 to penetrate. Being Armour 11 and the Meltagun only having 1 shot. Escort Craft is ok, haven't seen it widely used though and with the decrease in the number of units that will outflank nowadays, you're aren't going to be taking advantage of it that often.

Aerial Assault would be nice, as the Nephilim has the potential to fire lots of weapons in a single turn. And Supersonic is irrelevant, if you want to move 36” you can fly.

So what you're essentially doing is swapping Aerial Assault and 50pts for an additional hull point and strafing run. It's not stacking up particularly well so far. Let's look at the guns.

A Storm Talon has the a Twin-Linked Assault Cannon and a Twin-Linked Heavy Bolter without spending any additional points. The Nephilim has a Twin-Linked Lascannon, a Twin Linked Heavy Bolter and 6 Blacksword Missiles. Now we're talking. You can then swap the Lascannon for an Avenger Mega Bolter for no additional cost. That 1 Lascannon is unlikely to do any real damage to vehicles, yes it's a Lascannon shot but it only has a 14% chance of killing a Rhino with 1 shot. I'd probably go anti-infantry with this as it isn't exactly bristling with other anti-AV12+ vehicle weaponry.

Admittedly, it does come with a nice little rule called Unrelenting Hunter, allowing it to turn Weapon Destroyed results into immobilized results. However, this isn't really going to be used too often, immobilised results are useful against vehicles that are getting in your face mostly, i.e. transports, and I'm not seeing too many of those around these days. The most common vehicles around are Flyers and gunboats, and in these cases you are probably wanting the Weapon Destroyed result, unless you can move under the projected stopping point of the flyer in question next turn and create an in game impossibility. 

So, with the Nephilim you get 3 S5 AP4 Twin-Linked Shots and 5 S6 AP4 shots a turn. Then you get 6 1 shot missiles, which are each S6 AP4. Essentially, the Nephilim has a lot of S6 AP4, and this is where I see the problem.

Each turn, due to only being able to fire 4 weapons at full BS a turn as a flyer, you're probably going to be churning out 7 shots S6 shots a turn.

Now here's the problem. What exactly is S6 AP4 effective against. Mathhammer time.

Let's say that in a shooting phase you fire the Heavy Bolter, the Avenger Bolter and 2 Blacksword Missiles.

Heavy Bolter = 2.91 hits.
Avenger Mega Bolter = 4.16 hits
Blacksword Missiles = 1.66 hits

How does this do against Marines, Orks, Tervigons, Rhinos and Vendettas.


Heavy Bolter = 0.64 dead marines
Avenger Mega Bolter = 1.15 dead marines
Blacksword Missiles = 0.46 dead marines

Total dead marines = 2.25

Points deficit = 144pts

Ork Boyz:

Heavy Bolter = 1.94 dead boyz
Avenger Mega Bolter = 3.46 dead boyz
Blacksword Missiles = 1.38 dead boyz

Total dead boyz = 6.78

Points deficit = 139.32pts


Heavy Bolter = 0.32 wounds
Avenger Mega Bolter = 0.69 wounds
Blacksword Missiles = .27 wounds

Total wounds caused = 1.28

Points deficit = 145.86pts

Rhino front armour:

Heavy Bolter = 0.49 glancing hits
Avenger Mega Bolter = 0.69 glancing hits and 0.69 penetrating hits
Blacksword Missiles = 0.28 glancing hits and 0.28 penetrating hits

Total damage = 1.46 glancing hits and 0.97 penetrating hits. 2.43 hull points removed.

Points deficit = 151.65pts

Vendetta front armour:

Less hits against the Vendetta due to Strafing Run not coming into effect against flyers.

Heavy Bolter = N/A
Avenger Mega Bolter = 0.74 glancing hits
Blacksword Missiles = 0.22 glancing hits

Total damage = 0.96 hull points removed.

Points deficit = 138.4pts

I'd probably better issue an apology, apparently the Nephilim Jetfighter is best for taking out flyers, simply because it makes its points back better that way. But seriously the point of this was to discern what the Jetfighter was most effective against: Heavy Infantry (marines), Hordes (Orks), Monstrous Creatures (Tervigons), Light Vehicles (Rhinos) or flyers (Vendetta).

The answer is, none of them particularly. The problem is that it just doesn't churn out the damage very well, ignoring its influence on the wider game. But with those figures it isn't going to have a wider game. I'm not going to deploy differently in fear of this thing, it doesn't do any damage. I'm not going to fire my precious missiles at it, there are better targets out there, and it isn't going to have the firepower to take out any of my vital units.

So it doesn't dish out damage, and it has little to no influence on the wider game. Is it at least durable? No. A Heldrake is 10pts cheaper, keeping in mind that these 2 books were both meant to be balanced. A Heldrake has 1 higher armour value on the front and side, where things are actually going to be shooting at it (yes the rear armour is lower but it's rare that you get to hit that), and it comes with a 5++ save. Much more durable for less points. The only difference between this and a Storm Talon in terms of durability is that I need to glance this 1 more time before it dies.

Maths again. Vendetta with Heavy Bolters shooting at a Nephilim Jetfighter.

3 Twin Linked Lascannons = 2.25 hits
Standard BS Heavy Bolter = 1.5 hits
Snap shotting Heavy Bolter = 0.5 hits (2 Heavy Bolter hits in total)

Lascannons = 0.375 glancing hits and 1.5 penetrating hits
Heavy Bolters = 0.33 glancing hits

Total damage = 2.205 hull points removed and a 67% chance of causing an explode result.

Bye bye Nephilim.

I'm sorry I'm being so negative in this post, but I'm even more sorry if you spent £45 or however much you spent wherever you read this on one of these things, but they're bad. You could say that it's unfair compared to a Vendetta, because they're widely recognised as undercosted. But because they're undercosted you're going to be seeing a lot of them, and so a lot of them are going to be shooting at you, and that's why you need to run the maths on these things.

In short, Nephilim Jetfighters don't do much damage, they don't take much damage, and they cost a lot of points.


  1. It looks like you've tried to put a lot of thoughts into writing your blog so I'm not gonna go simply listing off each discrepancies I've found but I will list two of them. The avenger megabolter is not twin linked, and that while you did mention the strafing run ability, the +1BS was never used to calculate hits. I am also curious what numbers you are using for your wound calculations because I am getting very different numbers.

  2. Also, am I the only one that gets annoyed there there is no options to send a private message on blog sites? I've never tried to pm anyone on these before.

  3. It's fine, all criticisms are welcome, if you see something that I've missed or got wrong I'd much prefer it that you point it out to reduce the amount of time that I look like an idiot. Thanks, I'll go back and correct it. I agree on the PMs too. Although feel free to email me. I'll put my up updated email address up somewhere on the site but in the meantime it's

  4. Thanks again, I've just noticed a particularly stupid piece of mathematics on my part where the Blacksword missiles get more wounds against the Tervigon than they have shots. I've had about 4 hours sleep in the last 2 days so I'd really appreciate it if you could let me know if the new maths are wrong and of any other deficiancies, I occasionally have these kinds of off posts.