MK3 Sloan Top of 1 Assassination

As per usual, the internet is saying that the world is ending because Cygnar will be able to perform a caster kill at top of 1!! Yes, ladies and gentleman, Kara Sloan with 9 hunters can get 9 boosted to hit shots 3 inches into the deployment zone at the top of 1.

Now, many people are trying to put out this  fire out by pointing out how it is actually really hard to get the 9 hunters to all obtain  LOS, after all, the warcaster opposite of Kara is going second and can choose the defensive table side and deploy models in a way to block LOS. This is certainly one way to pacify all the Chicken-Littles on the forum, however, has anyone actually checked the math on this turn one assassination? Well, as a Cygnar player, I had to! So, first of all, let’s set the basis for this article, we want to measure the probability of killing a caster, that is:

The damage done to the caster would be the sum of the damage done by the 9 hunters, right? Therefore:

Now, what is the probability of causing damage on one of the rolls?

Now let’s measure the probability of the sum of only two shots:
that, ladies and gentleman, is called a discrete convolution and if you are familiar with them, I’m sorry we probably have to suffer through the same classes…

This can be easily generalized to three, four… up to nine:

The fact that focus can be used to negate damage can be added into the model by adding 5 points of pseudo-armor to as many damage rolls as focus is on the caster. Since Hordes functions differently with warlocks transferring lots of damage to the beasts, this article is centered only on warmachine warcasters. However, if the hunters did try their turn one assassination on a warlock who held onto his fury, they will fail.

Now, the trick comes at testing all the casters, unfortunately that data has not been released, so we can only apply this to the casters spoiled by Privateer Press, such as Severius 2, Denneghra 1, Karchev, etc., etc.

  • The odds of Severius 2 dying to a turn 1 assassination by Kara Sloan are 35.5%.
  • The odds of Denneghra 1 dying to a turn 1 assassination by Kara Sloan are 28.5%.
  • The odds of Karchev dying to a turn 1 assassination by Kara Sloan are 0.0%, there is no way of chewing through 34 boxes.
  • The odds of Kaelyssa dying to a turn 1 assassination by Kara Sloan are  28.5%.
  • The odds of Durgen dying to a turn 1 assassination by Kara Sloan are  39.95%.

I fixed the focus to 6 and 7, given a fictional caster 17 boxes and seen its survivability in relation to armor and defense:


so, if a caster has focus 6, 17 boxes, and an armor of at least 16, the odds of a Sloan assassination are less than 50%. If a casters defense is at least 16, there is no way that the odds of an assassination are higher than 50%.



The code for this estimates is here.

In conclusion, Kara Sloan’s threat is scary good and she should be feared, but not because of top of 1 assassinations; the math just isn’t there for it to be reliable.

10 Responses

  1. CodeRed says:

    It honestly doesn’t even matter the %. If you are a newcomer to the game and someone pulls this crap on you, are you ever going to play the game again? PP did and continues to do a poor job of preventing broken shit. Lylyth2 lost the +4 RNG on her feat because of a “negative play experience” and then they go and release a BETTER Lylyth2.

  2. Zak says:

    It honestly doesn’t matter to me that she can, per se, I’m just questioning all of PP’s vaunted “years of playtesting” this edition if something like this made it through the gaps. Within a few days of her card being spoiled, someone maths out a turn 1 assassination, and PP says they’ve been testing this edition for years?

    It calls into question the balance of the entire edition. That’s my issue with it.

  3. JiveTalk says:

    Plus, player 2 will likely not be able to engage by round 2 so the Cygnar players gets another turn of shooting at an already beaten up caster OR just choose valuable jacks/beasts to wither down to nothing for two turns and win the attrition battle before engagement even happens.

    This list seems broken but time will tell.

  4. VagrantPoet says:

    Awesome article! I’ve been looking for math like discrete convolution for ages, I’m a physicist by education, but my probability and stats fu is not broad!

  5. LOL says:

    The issue isn’t with the game design / caster design at that point, it is the player using this caster against a new player. Also, if a person can’t understand that this is not a “Normal” situation that won’t happen often, then they are in over their heads when playing a person who utilizes this caster. The % absolutely matters.

  6. Pier-Paul says:

    The odds are actually slightly worst then what you wrote. There’s a little flaw in your process. People are not always gonna spend a focus to soak less then 5 damage. It would be possible to calculate the exact odd. It would require a MASSIVE matrix. for a 17 box and FOCUS 6 caster it would be a 17×6 by 17×6. So 102 by 102.

  7. James Hockney says:

    TBH the issue isn’t against Warmachine casters it is into hordes where they are forced to spend the resources they require for their turn 1 to transfer the damage to their beasts. Warmachine casters can spend all their focus mitigating damage and then replenish at the start of their turn. For a hordes lock, as no beasts have anything on them to leach they are either cutting or playing without that fury (which leaves them open to turn 2 assassination.
    The odds of a Hordes player loosing on T1 are slim, but not as slim as the odds of them having a good game if Sloan can get LOS & Range with the 9 Hunters.

  8. Rayd says:

    There’s nothing stopping a vet from dropping MMM against a new player either. Or Vyros2 spam. Or Double Stormwall Hayley 2. Or Bradigus. Or Syntherion tier. Or… Etc.

    If your complaint is “this list let’s a vet railroad a newbie” you need to consider the meta as a whole. PP can’t balance lists against the idea that a vet will steamroll a newbie, that’s always been a problem. That problem is solved by not playing with jerks like that.

    • Glen_Savet says:

      It’s not that the vet railroads the newbie, it’s that the newbie doesn’t even get to move a model.

      Even the potential for that is a poor design choice.

  9. Carl says:

    A buddy of mine is bringing the list to a steamroller, I’ll see how he does, but I see this list being a bastard in scenario play as well.

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