Hammer of Math: Stormcast Judicators and Vanguard-Raptors

This week’s Hammer of Math looks at Stormcast Judicators and Vanguard-Raptors and sees if the difference in performance justifies the difference in points.

As one would expect given their role as GW’s fantasy Space Marines, the Stormcast Eternals have no lack of units with odd names and potentially overlapping roles. The difference is that since AOS doesn’t have decades of historical models to address (and then replace with bigger, even more convoluted versions) GW can still keep things fairly tight and make sure each unit is relevant. A good example of this can be seen in the Stormcast Judicators and Vanguard-Raptors. Both units are primarily range focused and come with the option for either a long-range heavy hitter or a relatively short ranged rapid fire option. Since each model has the same core stats the biggest differences are the weapons and the point cost.

Stormcast Eternals – Credit: Colin Ward
  • The Judicator Boltstorm Crossbow is 38 points and get 2 attacks that hit and wound on a 3+ and deal 1 damage with no rending; each successful hit roll counts as two hits thanks to the Rapid Fire rule.
  • The Vanguard-Raptor equivalent is a Hurricane Crossbow with 4 attacks and an otherwise identical profile to the Judicator version (including Rapid Fire), but at a price of 77 points per model.
  • The Judicator Skybolt Bow has 2 attacks that hit and wound on a 3+ and deal 1 point of damage with -1 rend. The Celestial Blast ability which deals a single mortal wound on a hit roll of 6 and then stops the attack sequence. The cost is 40 points per model.
  • Vanguard-Raptors who wish to attack at long range can use Longstrike Crossbows with 2 attacks that hit on a 3+, wound on a 2+, and deal 2 damage at -2 rend. They also have Headshot which is identical to Celestial Blast except that it inflicts 2 mortal wounds instead of only 1. All for 80 points per model.

To calculate the output I’ve updated the AnyDice program to be a bit more flexible and add extra hits. As with prior articles I run through the entire possible range of saves (since they’re the only thing that will vary from target to target). To keep things organized I have the charts separated by the type of weapon.

At short range we see that the added attacks of the Hurricane Crossbow make it significantly better than the Boltstorm Crossbow across the entire range of threats. In fact the Hurricane Crossbow is twice as effective, which makes sense given that the only difference between the two profiles is that the Vanguard-Raptor version gets twice as many attacks.

We see an even bigger disparity in output with the long range options courtesy of the superior rend and wound roll of the Longstrike Crossbow in addition to doing twice the damage of the Skybolt Bow.

This is an example of where the averages are more useful than the spread. We see that the Longstrike Crossbow is the superior option until the target has a 5+ or worse armor save, at which point the Hurricane Crossbow’s extra attacks is the superior choice. We also see that the Vanguard-Raptor option is always double (or better) than the Judicator option and in the case of the Longstrike against particularly well armored targets the difference is closer to triple the wounds dealt.

Stormcast Vigilors. Credit: SRM

From a lethality perspective, the Vanguard-Raptors are equal to if not better than the Judicator version even when you incorporate the difference in points. That said, it’s not the only consideration. As the stats on the models themselves are identical, the Judicator units will be more resilient to damage and take longer to fully degrade. The Judicator units being Battleline also makes them easier to incorporate into an army. If your army needs a rapid fire solution then the Judicars with Hurricane Crossbows are likely the better choice; for the same points you get the same damage but twice as many wounds. The Longstrike Crossbow is definitely the superior choice over the Skybolt Bow, and if you can position your forces to protect them then they’re likely worth the investment.

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