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Skybolt or Shockbolt bow?


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The Judicator Prime can choose a skybolt bow (3, 3+, 3+, -1, 1) which does a mortal wound on a 6 or a Shockbolt bow  (D6+1, 3+, 3+, -1, 1) but without mortal wound potential. 

Which do you think is better?

(I've included the Prime's extra attack)

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Having just run the numbers, it doesn't make a huge amount of difference. The Skybolt is better against strong saves, the Shockbolt against weak saves, and they balance out in terms of average damage around a 3+ save pre-rend, but even in the absolute biggest swing in favour of either bow (an effective 1+ for the MW bow, and no save for the d6 bow), the better bow only does more damage less than half the time. The difference in average damage is about 100% more for the Skybolt (MW) bow at its best, and about 50% more for the Shockbolt (d6) bow at its best, which works out to between 0.3 and 0.5 more damage in total.

These same differences hold up for if a regular Judicator carries one (which 1 in 5 can do, and you don't have to put the first on the prime if you don't want to), although the exact numbers vary a little bit.

The other main difference is that the Prime with a Shockbolt can potentially do more than 3 damage, which the Skybolt can't. At best (i.e. a unit with no save), this works out to 4+ damage about 13% of the time, so maybe once a game or so if you're shooting every round at something with no save, the Shockbolt will "spike" and do more damage than the Skybolt could have.

Also worth mentioning that +1 to hit slightly favours the Shockbolt and -1 to hit slightly favours the Skybolt (because more of the damage on the Skybolt is based on fishing for 6s to hit).


I actually started writing this post and messing with the numbers expecting to say yeah, just go Skybolt all the way, and I think for a couple of reasons I'm still leaning towards not taking any special weapon options, but I think there's an argument for taking Shockbolt bows, depending on the role you want the Judicators to fill. My thoughts are if you're taking the Judicators specifically to snipe high-value strong targets, Skybolts all the way. They'll have good saves and you may be at -1 thanks to Look Out, Sir. But I think you can justify bringing Shockbolt bows, sacrificing a little performance against strong saves for more performance against weak saves, and the potential for higher damage, meaning you'll have a slightly better average performance regardless of target. This might be good if you want a generalist unit, if the Judicators aren't going to be your core damage dealer and more for clearing screens for your real big hitters.

But I think overall the main argument in favour of uniform Skybolt bows across the unit is that it cuts down on the number of separate rolls you have to make. SCE already have a few rules where you roll handfuls of dice for not very much to happen, and I don't think I would willingly inflict that on myself with more units.

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Thanks Dogmantra! That was the exact detail i was looking for.

I've heard the talk about targeting hordes vs heros before and I wanted a more indepth and balanced answer. I didn't think about not giving it to the prime either.

I think I'll stick with all Skybolt bows. I have other things that can provide multiple low rend attacks. Also, the reduction in dice rolling is plus.



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