Let's Get Mathnautic!
I recently started playing Aeronautica Imperialis and I've found it to be pretty deep as well as a lot of fun; it's certainly gotten me thinking about how to optimise the various factions. I'm enjoying the challenge of different builds and decided to write some articles on the subject!
In order to get my thoughts in order, I decided to put together a table of the various weapons and calculate their damage averages. By the time I did this, it felt like rather than reference these stats piecemeal in different articles, it would be a better idea to start with an article about the data that I could reference back to later.
The data below is raw maths and none of it is a conclusion - though we can certainly draw conclusions from it! Notably it doesn't take into account points values or aircraft statistics - this is just about the dakka.
(The excel sheet with all of this data is available here if you want to download it for yourself)
Let's take a look!
All Ranges Total
Firstly, here's a list of every anti-air weapon in the game (bar ground assets). You can see average damage at short, medium and long range (factoring in extra damage and a 5+ to hit; if you're on a 6+ to hit due to altitude or other, your average damage is halved). You can also see the total average damage a weapon has across all three range bands, giving you some small indication of it's potential combat effectiveness in an unknown situation. Finally, you can see at the bottom the average damage across all weapons in each range band, and the average of all weapons that actually have dice, so we have some sort of baseline to compare "good" and "bad" weapons against (albeit a weak one). We can see that most of the game's damage is loaded into the mid range, with a lot of guns that can't fire at long or short bringing those averages down, but the numbers for short and long ranged guns with non-zero stats are a lot higher meaning that when guns can fire at those ranges, they can generally compete in output.
Here we can see the table sorted by damage at short range. The main takeaways here are that the big Tau and Imperial gunships pack a real wallop, and Quad Big Shootas are really good, the damage dropping off by almost 25% from those top 3 to the Avenger Bolt Cannon in 4th place. Given that the Quad Big Shoota comes on a 16 point aircraft we could certainly infer from this that the Dakkajet has a lot of potential, and we'll discuss this in a future article! Also make sure you respect the turret of both Marauder Destroyer and 'Eavy Bommers, they hit hard for a "defensive" weapon!
The king of medium range will be a surprise to exactly nobody who has played the game or read about it online - the Avenger Bolt Cannon is an incredible weapon. It will be the subject of a balance-related article, but at a whopping 1.56 average damage it certainly seems very far out of line with other contenders in the lower brackets given the aircraft's other performance characteristics and points cost. We can also see, though, that the Marauder Destroyer main gun is again up there packing a huge punch as are both the Vendetta and Vulture main weapons. Tau don't get a look in until 6th place and when they do they're a full 33% less effective than the best imperial guns. Imperials certainly win out at medium range and they do so by a long margin, and with a number of ships - Vendettas are possibly even more efficient than Thunderbolts when it comes to pure gunnery. Orks don't get a real look in in this category, so you'll definitely want to get in close with your Orks and stay there.
Now we come to long range, which is unsurprisingly topped by the Tigershark's giant railguns, the best long range weapon in the game by almost two times over. Tau dominate the top of this list, and the list view as a whole shows to some extent how the factions feel about long range, the middle being mostly blue and the bottom being mostly green. A good takeaway here is that the top part of the list is loaded with various missiles; clearly they're what you want if you intend to duel at long range, but you'll have to pay points to get them.
Finally we have a composite stat, with the table sorted by total average damage at all ranges. The big gunships again top the list here with their heavy short+medium totals, and unsurprisingly the Vendetta's Lascannons and Avenger put them up at the top too. Various Tau and other Imperial Gunships also show their versatility. Quad Big Shootas are the only Ork gun in the top 1/3 of the table but this does show their good overall stats.
As I mentioned at the start of the article, the conclusion to this article is that there is no conclusion, but maths-savvy readers will certainly be able to draw plenty from this. Certainly for people who aren't sure about certain weapon loadouts (this is especially true for Tau, as a lot of their weapons are great but very expensive) this should give you something to mull over. I'm looking forward to writing more articles on Aeronautica, and looking forward even more to being able to play with some wider groups once we're allowed out!
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