//Why corvettes are not good enough

Why corvettes are not good enough

My own experience with corvettes so far has been, that they are not all that dangerous when fighting enemy strike carriers in orbit. In this post i will analyze this mathematically to see how dangerous they are statistically speaking and based on this evaluate, if they are worth their points cost.

This is complex to analyze mathematically, so I need to simplify. I will focus on killing the UCM strike carrier but use all the different corvettes to properly compare them and make sure, that I don’t miss if one of them is actually significantly better than the others. I will let them fight the strike carriers in atmosphere. I will first look at two metrics; average damage and chance to kill an undamaged strike carrier with groups from 1 to 5 of each type of corvette. Based on this, I will further analyze if bringing a mix of corvettes and strike carriers are better to get ground control than bringing strike carriers alone to help me answer the question of whether or not corvettes are useful.

The overview

First, let’s look at the overview. For each corvette type, with groups from 1 to 5, what is the average damage to an UCM corvette and what is the chance of outright kill it.

Since most of the weapons are close action, I should also factor in point defence. To calculate all the probabilities properly in this case would complicate my calculations significantly, so I have simplified it somewhat by assuming that the point defence of 3 translates into one saved point of damage. This is not totally off, but not totally accurate either, but without this assumption, I would go mad doing the calculations.

Number of corvettes
SantiagoChance to destroy2,5 %21,9 %46,3 %66,9 %81,2 %
Average damage0,301,092,033,014,00
NickarChance to destroy7,7 %30,6 %54,9 %73,5 %85,6 %
Average damage0,471,432,533,684,84
EchoChance to destroy5,2 %30,3 %57,1 %76,7 %88,6 %
Average damage0,461,422,533,674,84
GlassChance to destroy2,4 %15,5 %34,2 %52,5 %67,6 %
Average damage0,831,672,503,334,17

(And as a sidenote – getting excel to calculate that Nickar damageprobabilities requires way, way, way too many assisting calculations. It is not a pretty sheet that made those numbers! Who thought up variable amount of attacks anyways?)

With the data in the bag, let’s take a look at what that means.

How high probability is needed?

This is not going to be easy to answer. Probabilities are not intutive. You might think that having 50 % chance of killing your opponent is good. But that is really only a 4+ roll of a dice. Not that good at all, really – quite the gamble. When I want something to be “fairly certain” a good and simple measure is the 2+ roll. That is about the same as an 83,3 % probability.

Looking at the chart above, there needs to be 5 Nickar or Echoes, probably 6 Santiagos (5 is just insufficient) and I’m guessing 8 or 9 Glass (we are out of the table, as you see). to have that kind of probability of outright killing a UCM strike carrier. That means to reliably counter an UCM strike carrier of 32 points you need somewhere between 110 (5 Nickar) and 150 points (5 Echoes). That is assuming that all corvettes survive the flight (especially the Glass can easily lose one or two on the way).

In short 4 to 5 times the points are needed!

A counter to this could be “Well, what you’re calculating is the chance of outright killing and not losing anything yourself – you’ll have the opportunity to do the same the next round”. Well, let’s take a deeper look at that situation for a moment.

A group of corvettes go into a bar

… or maybe more accurately, fly onto a battlefield.

My opponent fields 6 New Orleans for 192 total points. I field roughly the same amount of points split halfway between drop and corvettes; 5 Glass, 4 Santiagos, 4 Nickars or 3 Echoes. For drop I just assume – for the sake of simplicity – that I have a drop capacity of 3 available in the sector as well (it is not totally true for all the fleets, but we do not need this example to be any more complicated).

We assume that my opponent basically ignores my corvettes and fly towards a cluster at the center line, arriving in atmosphere in turn 2. I do the same arriving in turn 2, after him, enabling me to shoot in turn 2. He is unable (or unwilling) to fire at my corvettes during their approach. I can hardly get better conditions for using my corvettes to their fullest.

Since it quickly becomes complicated from here (factoring in damage from previous rounds) I will use a very simplified approximation (any more complicated and I will go mad, I think). Each round I will add the accumulated probability of destruction together from this and all previous rounds and for the first 50,0 % – and each subsequent 100 % – I will assume one New Orleans is destroyed. In the same manner I will also keep track of how much have been dropped into the cluster both by me and my opponent and compare the two.

I will make a separate table for each fleet below.

UCM (4 Santiago)

TurnAcc. dam. prob.Killed New OrleansLive New OrleansTotal enemy troopsTotal friendly troopsTroop deploy difference
266,9 %1553-2
3133,7 %15106-4
4200,6 %24149-5
5267,5 %331712-5
6334,4 %332015-5

When the game is over, you are 5 ground assets behind your opponent. Or more likely, much more since he throughout the game have had superior firepower on the ground hence have been able to kill more of your ground assets than the other way round. In short – you are probably only present on the ground with a very small force.

Scourge (4 Nickar)

TurnAcc. dam. prob.Killed New OrleansLive New OrleansTotal enemy troopsTotal friendly troopsTroop deploy difference
273,5 %1553-2
3147,0 %15106-4
4220,5 %24149-5
5294,1 %331712-5
6367,6 %421915-4

The Nickar is slightly better at dealing damage than the Santiago, and in this approximation, it will in the final round mean one more strike carrier down so you are only 4 troop deploy behind. However, it is in reality not going to make a significant difference and the conclusion is much the same as for UCM.

PHR (3 Echo)

TurnAcc. dam. prob.Killed New OrleansLive New OrleansTotal enemy troopsTotal friendly troopsTroop deploy difference
257,1 %1553-2
3114,2 %15106-4
4171,3 %24149-5
5228,4 %241812-6
6285,5 %332115-6

There are only three of them and the medium calibre turret is not making up for that. PHR is 6 troops down at the end of turn 6 – and probably much, much more.

Shaltari (5 Glass)

TurnAcc. dam. prob.Killed New OrleansLive New OrleansTotal enemy troopsTotal friendly troopsTroop deploy difference
267,6 %1553-2
3135,3 %15106-4
4202,9 %24149-5
5270,5 %331712-5
6338,1 %332015-5

Having almost the same probabilities of destruction as the Santiago, the numbers are the same. It should be noted that the opposing New Orleans – whose guns I have been steadily ignoring this whole time – have quite a significant chance of killing a Glass – 59,2 % when all 6 are present, 52,7 when only 5 are present, etc. probably meaning that odds are good that the Glass in the end will do considerably less damage as more and more will die in the process. In the end, it might look a lot more like the Echo or even worse.

What does this mean

Even under the best of circumstances, bringing half-and-half (pointswise) of strike carriers and corvettes are inferior to just bringing strike carriers. You will end up with fewer boots on the ground both at turn 4 and turn 6. Though you might end up killing more enemy ships, the earning in kill points are nowhere near compensating for the lack of ground control.

So, are corvettes any good?

My conclusion seems – sadly – to be rather clear. Even under the best of circumstances, spending points on corvettes is worse than spending them on strike carriers. There might be some specific scenarios where bringing corvettes will make sense, but if it is all about controlling the ground, bringing more strike carriers is clearly a better strategy.

What can be done to remedy that?

Well, corvettes need to be significantly more deadly in atmosphere. I say “in atmosphere” because if they have the same deadliness higher up, they might be a little too dangerous. I haven’t properly analyzed exactly how much better they need to be, but I guess double the amount of attack is probably the minimum and then either with “air to air” weapons only functioning in atmosphere or a heavy reduction in attacks or lock rolls outside atmosphere. In that manner, 44 points of Santiagos have what amounts to a 3+ chance of killing a New Orleans – making them a little more expensive but also able to take one out the next round and the round after – and making you able to “catch up” over time with your own strike carriers.

Among the many rules changes that would make the game better, making corvettes more deadly in atmosphere is high on the list – if for no other reason then to give you better options of counteringĀ strike carrier spam.