Mathhammering Belial

20 March 2015 | 7th Edition

Belial armed with thunder hammer and storm shield. But is is it the right thing to carry?
"Oh no. It looks like I've brought a shield to a gun fight!"
Model and image: Putty.

So you want to include Belial in your army. Great. But how best to arm him? Mathhammer might give you some useful pointers. Applying some scientific rigour to answer the age old issue of how best to arm Belial.

My thanks to Chaplain Lucifer for allowing me to reproduce his insights in this article.

Let's add the caveat upfront that while mathhammer is a useful guide, it is based on statistical averages and as we all know that isn't always how things pan out.

After a discusion with another gamer about Belial, I decided that the best way to see what is so good about Belial and what would be his optimal loadout would be by some number crunching. So with the help of a mathammer calculator I put up some work on calculations.

So the crux of the matter was the following. A member was defending that the best loadout for Belial would be either thunder hammer and storm shield or twin lightning claws. The Sword of Secrets would not be worth it — might as well take a regular Company Master similarly equiped (artificier armor, storm bolter, Mace of Redemption, digital weapons) for 30 or so less points.

I refuted the argument because from the get go, if you want Deathwing Terminators as Troops you can't have a Company Master instead of Belial. So, 1-0 for Belial because he can achieve something the Company Master can't.

Belial also bring a precision shot to the table and an accurate teleport for him and a squad so in my book that is worth the 30 or so points gap.

But what about close combat? How do the three versions of Belial compare to each other and to the Company Master.

I similated a charge with each Belial against each type of opponent, taking the most common ones. Remember the point of the exercise is to show which are the most effective Belial weapon loadouts, and to demonstrate that a Company Master will still struggle to be as cost effective as Belial if the army includes at least one Terminator squad.

Here's how it went:

Against T4 with 3+ save

All are somewhat balanced but the sword and storm bolters get an edge.

Belial with thunder hammer and storm shield 2.22 wounds
Belial with Sword of Secrets 2.59 wounds
Belial with twin lightning claws 2.50 wounds
Company Master with Mace of Redemption 2.59 wounds

Against T3 with 3+ or worse save

Winner here are the twin lightning claws because they have more attacks (5 instead of 4) but only the thunder hammer is seemingly lagging behind.

Belial with thunder hammer and storm shield 2.22 wounds
Belial with Sword of Secrets 2.59 wounds
Belial with twin lightning claws 2.96 wounds
Company Master with Mace of Redemption 2.59 wounds

Against T6 with 3+ save

The Achilles heal of twin lightning claws shows up. Even with re-rolls to wound it is hard to beat T6. The Mace of Redemption lags behind the Sword of Secrets because it just wounds everything on 2+.

Belial with thunder hammer and storm shield 2.22 wounds
Belial with Sword of Secrets 2.59 wounds
Belial with twin lightning claws 1.07 wounds
Company Master with Mace of Redemption 2.07 wounds

Against T5 with 3+ save

Again decrease of performance by the twin lightning claws.

Belial with thunder hammer and storm shield 2.22 wounds
Belial with Sword of Secrets 2.59 wounds
Belial with twin lightning claws 1.85 wounds
Company Master with Mace of Redemption 2.59 wounds

Against T8 with 3+ save

Big winner is the Sword of Secrets, everything else falls behind.

Belial with thunder hammer and storm shield 1.33 wounds
Belial with Sword of Secrets 2.59 wounds
Belial with twin lightning claws 0.00 wounds
Company Master with Mace of Redemption 1.03 wounds

Against T4 with 2+ save

The advantage of AP2 becomes evident as everything is way behind the thunder hammer.

Belial with thunder hammer and storm shield 2.22 wounds
Belial with Sword of Secrets 0.43 wounds
Belial with twin lightning claws 0.41 wounds
Company Master with Mace of Redemption 0.43 wounds

Against Chaos T4 with 2+ save

So this is the only situation the Mace of Redemption beats the Sword of Secrets.

Belial with thunder hammer and storm shield 3.00 wounds
Belial with Sword of Secrets 0.50 wounds
Belial with twin lightning claws 0.36 wounds
Company Master with Mace of Redemption 3.02 wounds

So what are my conclusions after running the numbers?

Belial with thunder hammer and storm shield is the most reliable to have, because he will be good against everything except T8 where he is only average. Also some other factors to have in mind: Belial will have a higher invulnerable save that will offer him better protection and can 'tank' shots for his unit and will be able to tackle vehicles with ease. The downside is that he will strike last.

Belial with twin lightning claws is the least reliable to have. Unless you face only opponents with T3 and a 3+ or worse save and you have no need for a better invulnerable save yourself, then in almost every instance it is better to take one of the other armament versions.

Belial with Sword of Secrets has higher damage output than the thunder hammer and storm shield in majority of cases and also has the advantage of Initiative 5 so he can spare his squad mates or himself of some hurt. So in my eyes it is as valid as the thunder hammer and storm shield version, except if you face lots of 2+ saves or you face too many vehicles and you need every tank hunter you can get.

The Company Master, well, even if we are talking about a non-Deathwing army he only has the edge (and in close combat) if you face Chaos. Still, if you have even a single squad of Terminators in the army and you're undecided about your HQ choice, taking a Belial instead of a similarly-armed Company Master will give you more bang for the buck… not only you get an extra Objective Secured unit, you also get to deep strike it accuratelly plus a few other neat bells and whistles.

Have fun with Belial
Chaplain Lucifer


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