What is “good”?

When you’re building a list, how do you choose what units to use? You might choose units based on what the model looks cool or are significance fluff-wise, or you could choose what you deem to be the better units at your disposal. But how do you actually know which unit choices are better than others? You could go play 100 games and get a good, general “gut” feeling, but unless you are employed as a full-time 40k playtester, you probably don’t have time to go fully test and play with every model in your index.

So if we can’t rely completely on personal experience, we need another way of choosing units – MATH. Hold on to your pocket-protectors and TI-82’s, with some pretty straightforward and simple math, we can get a pretty good feel for how one unit stacks up against another and even compare two different lists. But it’s important to be realistic about what we can and can’t do with this sort of analysis.

The power of MATH Image source


  • Find the most cost-effective unit for a given role
  • Get a feel for how long a unit should last before dying
  • Compare one list’s specified metrics to another’s to see how it measures up


  • Determine the “best” list overall
  • Account for everything
  • Ignore the list of assumptions that we will have to make

Speaking of assumptions…there will be a lot of them. That’s not to say that what we look at won’t be accurate or not worthwhile, but it’s important to be clear about what we are talking about. Too often when discussing this sort of thing, it’s easy to get over-optimistic about what can be determined or accomplished. I will explain the rationale behind my assumptions at every step along the way in hopes of making my conclusions transparent.

Another important note is that, unless specified, I’ll be discussing outcomes that are only┬álikely to happen resulting from thousands and thousands of dice rolls (hence, the name of the blog). You might take something I post here as the word of the Emperor and expect it to be fully relied on, but that would be a mistake. We all have days when our dice hate us and there’s nothing we can do against having a “lower than average” day.

Next time, we will take a look at what specifically we will be focused on in order to compare units to other units. Happy dice rolls!

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