Hammer of Math: Loota Logic and Fishing for Crits

This week’s Hammer of Math goes DAKKA-DAKKA-DAKKA! and takes a look at the optimal play for Ork Lootas in a Dread Mob Detachment.

One of the more enjoyable things about 40k is the way that players take the rules designed by Games Workshop and completely disregard their intent. A perfect example of this is how one of the most effective plays for Orks is to take a Dread Mob and shove a bunch of Lootas and Big Meks in there, similar to what Martin Hulgren recently did. Does it matter that a winning Dread Mob list doesn’t really feature any Deff Dreads or Killa Kanz? Nope. Is it Orky as hell? Absolutely.

Now this opens up an interesting question; given the absolutely TERRIBLE Hit rolls that Orks require, what is the optimal play for the Dread Mob ability and the re-rolls for Lootas? Dread Mobs give players one of three options in exchange for making their guns [HAZARDOUS]:

  1. They can have [SUSTAINED HITS 1],
  2. [LETHAL HITS], or
  3. Increase AP by 2 on a Critical Wound.

Lootas can either re-roll hits of 1, or if the target is near an objective marker they can re-roll everything. So that leaves us with us two questions:

  1. Which is the optimal choice between the different Dread Mob options?
  2. Should a player re-roll everything in the hopes of seeking out crits?

Lootas. Credit: Rockfish
Lootas. Credit: Rockfish


The first thing we’re going to do is compare [LETHAL HITS] to [SUSTAINED HITS 1]. As much as I would like to also examine the effect of improving AP, the opportunity to re-roll Hits means that the other two options are much more likely to be triggered and are therefore going to have a greater influence on the impact. To examine the difference between the two, we can look at the expected wounds that would be inflicted on a target based on the Hit and Wound rolls required. In the case of [LETHAL HITS] there’s a 1-in-6 chance that the probability of Wounding will be 1. With [SUSTAINED HITS 1] there’s a 1-in-6 chance that two Wound rolls will be made.

The results are pretty cool: The optimal choice for [LETHAL HITS] or [SUSTAINED HITS 1] is entirely dependent on the Wound roll. The BS/WS of the attacker has no bearing on the result. If the Wound roll is less than 4+ then [SUSTAINED HITS 1] is the optimal play. Above 4+ it’s [LETHAL HITS]. And at 4+ it doesn’t matter. Knowing that 4+ is the equilibrium point also means that we can know how re-rolls will influence the optimal choice; anything with a less than 50% chance of Wounding is better off with [LETHAL HITS]. Conveniently enough these results align with our previous article on the topic. The fact that the Hit roll doesn’t determine the optimal choice also means that the presence of re-rolling misses or 1s does not influence which option is preferable. But what about choosing to re-roll anything that’s not a crit?

Big Mek with Shokk Attack Gun. Credit: Rockfish
Big Mek with Shokk Attack Gun. Credit: Rockfish

Re-roll misses or non-criticals?

Since a player who can re-roll anything can also re-roll hits that aren’t critical, it’s worth examining whether or not there’s an optimal play for seeking out Critical Hits. The two charts below show the results.

The results here are rather interesting.

  • Re-rolling anything that isn’t a 6 doesn’t seem to help for Wound rolls of 4+ or less.
  • Against a Wound roll of 5+ you can re-roll anything that isn’t a 6 if your Hit roll is 2+.
  • For Wound rolls of 6 re-rolling results less than a 6 provides an advantage.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it. Use [LETHAL HITS] for targets with a Wound roll of 5+ or 6+, and [SUSTAINED HITS 1] for anything else. While technically the expected result is the same for a Wound roll of 4+, [SUSTAINED HITS 1] has a higher ceiling thanks to the chance of getting a second shot. More variance means occasionally you’ll get hot. As for re-rolls, unless you’re hitting on a 2+ you should only hunt for 6s when the Wound roll is 6+. Otherwise you’re better off just re-rolling misses.

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