Analysis Request: When is Deadly Aim Beneficial?


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So given the -2 to hit, when is deadly aim worth using? ie when you hit on a 10 or lest or something like that.


I think it may never be worth using.

Assuming starfinder never reaches the point where you never miss, it has to increase your damage by at least 10% to break even. At a 10 to hit (55%), if you use deadly aim your accuracy goes to 45%. At that point it would have to increase your damage by over 20% to break even.

Honestly, I think it's a trap feat.


I'd love to see a level by level analysis of the feat.

Off the cuff, 4th level or higher. Use it when you have a bonus to hit due to circumstance or spells. Target flatfooted? Deadly Aim. Just cast True Strike? Deadly Aim.

I wouldn't use it on full attacks ever.


If Deadly Aim were a maneuver, it would seldom be worth using. If I recall the numbers from another thread correctly, it never pays off for melee, as 1/2 BAB is never more average damage added then that lost by decreasing your attack. For ranged, there's a small window near 10th, before weapons start scaling so fast.
Essentially, it gives too little when your damage is low, and takes too much when your damage is high.
And that's for full BAB who get the most return.

So as a maneuver, it'd be a rare tactic even if you had meta-knowledge of your opponents' stats. As a feat, no. Don't bother.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Its probably most useful with explosive weaponry (targeting a non scaling AC of 5.) Granted it reduces the DC to save for half damage but I think if that'd your primary form of attack it might be worth it.


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N=Number of chances in 20 that you hit.
D=Damage without deadly aim
B= Bonus Damage from Deadly Aim.

Damage over 20 rounds without Deadly Aim = (N+1)*D. [N+1 because criticals cause an extra hit]

Damage with Deadly Aim = (N-1)*(D+B)

Use deadly aim when:
(N-1)*(D+B) > (N+1)*D
ND+NB-D-B > ND+D
NB-2D-B >0
B*(N-1) > 2D
You should use deadly aim when Your number of hits in 20 -1 multiplied by the bonus damage is more than twice the regular damage.

For example:
Say you hit on a 12+, That's 9 hits in 20.
Say you average 10 damage.
this gives
B*8 > (2*10)
8B>20
B>2.5
You should Deadly aim if your Bonus from Deadly aim is 3 or more.

Liberty's Edge

Probably too many moving pieces to have a set number but a couple good rule of thumbs to follow with this is the higher the accuracy of the attack, the less the bonus damage has to be to be worth it. So Generally more worthwhile on standard action attacks than full action attacks. Also the higher the damage being dealt without, the more damage deadly aim has to do to be worth it, so more worthwhile on small arms than longarms.

Did a comparison on a sharpshooter soldier, using the first contact enemies for target numbers. At level 6 it adds about 5% to the damage per round expectations. At level 13 it adds about 5% damage on a standard action attack but drops damage about 3% on a full action attack. Have to imagine with weapon damage scaling higher in the double digit levels that it's not going to get better than that, so likely only useful below level 10, or for standard action attacks. Have to imagine it'll be similar for solarions, and worse for the 3/4 BAB crew.

In any case, it doesn't really seem to boost damage significantly enough that it warrants a feat expenditure over other options.


Let's not forget that there are ways to mitigate the accuracy loss
Flanking, coordinated shot feat, etc
Situational I know but that's something to consider

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Sort of thinking it might be best suited to ranged-focused envoys.


@Shisumo
Or operatives using trick attack


It's most useful for small arms since the base damage is so low. But not operative trick attacks.

So multi attack operatives may want deadly aim if an envoy is giving out a +4 to-hit (to stack with your multi attack feat and +2 weapon focus).


Exactly, if you got an envoy in your party providing a buff, deadly aim becomes more useul

Liberty's Edge

MagicA wrote:
Exactly, if you got an envoy in your party providing a buff, deadly aim becomes more useul

Eh. Even at +4, the Envoy doesn't raise your attack percentages on full attacks higher than 70% or so.

Dropping that to 60% tends to be way more of a net loss of damage than Deadly Aim gains you.


If only combat maneuvers were more viable, knocking someone prone then getting an envoy buff, then deadly aim

Liberty's Edge

MagicA wrote:
If only combat maneuvers were more viable, knocking someone prone then getting an envoy buff, then deadly aim

With a level 1 Taclash and a single Feat, you can easily be rolling something like +35 vs. DC 43 to trip at level 20 vs. a CR 20 foe. That's a 65% chance, and not too shabby.


You mean the improved combat maneuvers feat?

The Exchange

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
MagicA wrote:
If only combat maneuvers were more viable, knocking someone prone then getting an envoy buff, then deadly aim
With a level 1 Taclash and a single Feat, you can easily be rolling something like +35 vs. DC 43 to trip at level 20 vs. a CR 20 foe. That's a 65% chance, and not too shabby.

Id rather disarm them.


Shaudius wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
MagicA wrote:
If only combat maneuvers were more viable, knocking someone prone then getting an envoy buff, then deadly aim
With a level 1 Taclash and a single Feat, you can easily be rolling something like +35 vs. DC 43 to trip at level 20 vs. a CR 20 foe. That's a 65% chance, and not too shabby.
Id rather disarm them.

Of their weapon, or literally?


Well the reason I mark the trip is for prone, which gives a +4 to melee attacks, which is very beneficial for a full attack

Though, looking at this as compared to power attack, of deadly aim gave more damage for the to hit penalty would it be worth it as a feat?


tlotig wrote:


Use deadly aim when:
(N-1)*(D+B) > (N+1)*D
ND+NB-D-B > ND+D
NB-2D-B >0
B*(N-1) > 2D
You should use deadly aim when Your number of hits in 20 -1 multiplied by the bonus damage is more than twice the regular damage.

For example:
Say you hit on a 12+, That's 9 hits in 20.
Say you average 10 damage.
this gives
B*8 > (2*10)
8B>20
B>2.5
You should Deadly aim if your Bonus from Deadly aim is 3 or more.

So at level 6, with a max BAB class, hitting with 12+, you should do deadly aim if your average damage is 10 or less. That's 1d8+6. Weapon specialization and a any decent 2 handed lvl 6 weapon tops that, but lower level weapons would be borderline. A non max BAB class will get +3 bonus damage at level 8. A semiauto pistol at lvl 8 would do 2d6+8. By that level, even pistols top that.

Melee weapons will never be useful with deadly aim, using this algorythm, if you have any kind of STR bonus and weapon spec. Al lvl 6, when a full BAB class adds +3 from deadly aim, STR 18+Specialization beats 10 with any kind of weapon


Deadly Aim is a lot more useful than you might think.

It's most effective when using low damage weapons like Small Arms or against targets several levels lower. Soldiers and Solarians get more damage out of it but also more likely to use higher damage weapons so it balances

Ex. L1 operator with +2 Dex bonus and laser pistol (D4) vs. Second Skin and +1 Dex to AC. The overall increase is about 12% however the hits you do make are a minimum of 25% more damage and on a bad roll double.

EX L10 Soldier with laser pistol 3D4 and +3 Dex and weapon focus/ spec vs L7 in heavy armor +10EAC and +2 Dex. Overall only a 7% gain but the extra 5 HP damage could be the difference in dropping the target in 2 shots vs. 3 shots.

EX. L10 Soldier with combat rifle 3D8 and +3 Dex and weapon focus/ spec vs L7 in heavy armor +10EAC and +2 Dex. Only about 3% overall here but could reduce the number of hits needed.

Grand Lodge

Lane, that math only works if you can't take a full attack. If you can, then Deadly Aim becomes useless again in those scenarios.


It might be okay with pistols, but if you want to increase your damage you won't be using pistols (unless you're an operator with trick attack).

If you want to spend one feat to increase expected damage weapon focus will have more effect. If you want to spend two feats to increase expected damage longarm proficiency and specialization will have more effect. If you're using longarms it's probably not worth it.


Lane_S wrote:

Ex. L1 operator with +2 Dex bonus and laser pistol (D4) vs. Second Skin and +1 Dex to AC. The overall increase is about 12% however the hits you do make are a minimum of 25% more damage and on a bad roll double.

Well, yes, if we only count the hits, and not the extra misses you get from the -2, it is pretty good.

That's not a good way to look at it, tho.

That operative at lvl 5 will do 4d8+2 without Deadly Aim, assuming trick attack and a 1d8 sonic pistol. Deadly aim would add +1 to that damage, at the cost of -2 to hit. I wouldn't do that.

The only situation where I think Deadly Aim is good, is with an operative quad attack, because you add the bonus damage x4,


It seems that Starfinder really punishes trying to use full attacks for tyring to maximize damage


Actually it's pretty reasonable. The math works out that on a 12 or less to hit you should full attack no matter who you are, unless ammo is a real big issue.


@baggageboy
what do you mean by 12 or less to hit?


At MacicA:

Sorry, what I meant was if you hit on a 12 or better.

Here's a link to a thread discussing when to full attack. It's actually really enlightening.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2ukbc?When-to-full-attack


HUh, that really is enlightening

This is going to make me feel alot better on choosing when to or not full attack
THanks m8


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Lane_S wrote:

Ex. L1 operator with +2 Dex bonus and laser pistol (D4) vs. Second Skin and +1 Dex to AC. The overall increase is about 12% however the hits you do make are a minimum of 25% more damage and on a bad roll double.

Well, yes, if we only count the hits, and not the extra misses you get from the -2, it is pretty good.

That's not a good way to look at it, tho.

That operative at lvl 5 will do 4d8+2 without Deadly Aim, assuming trick attack and a 1d8 sonic pistol. Deadly aim would add +1 to that damage, at the cost of -2 to hit. I wouldn't do that.

The only situation where I think Deadly Aim is good, is with an operative quad attack, because you add the bonus damage x4,

"I lose damage on every shot, but I make it up on volume!"


@Cyril Figgis
Only if you hit that is


Skip the formulas and just eyeball it. It's not like our characters stand in combat with calculators and slide rules figuring this out.

Liberty's Edge

EC Gamer Guy wrote:
Skip the formulas and just eyeball it. It's not like our characters stand in combat with calculators and slide rules figuring this out.

Well, that implies you already have the Feat. Which is a bad decision for most characters most of the time.

The purpose of the analysis is to figure whether you should grab the Feat at all more than whether to use it on Enemy X.


I enjoy seeing the mathematical analysis, and as I feared, because attack bonuses don't scale nearly as much as they used to the 10% relative reduction in chance to hit really means that the bonus damage isn't enough under most circumstance. Especially when you can full attack.

2 successful full attacks will be far greater damage than 1 successful shot with deadly aim. The difference being 10% reduction in chance to hit vs 20% reduction in chance to hit. But the 20% chance doubles your damage, while the 10% chance only adds 1/2 your BAB to damage. For a level 20 soldier that's only 10 damage. Which is a problem, considering that you're already doing something like 11d6+20 (from weapon spec) for an average of 58.5 damage per shot.

An extra 10 damage would be nice, but you're also 10% less likely to hit. And for another 10% reduction in chance to hit, you can do 117 average damage.

I think you're much better off just taking weapon focus and avoiding Deadly Aim, especially once weapon damage really starts to take off.

Liberty's Edge

Claxon wrote:
Which is a problem, considering that you're already doing something like 11d6+20 (from weapon spec) for an average of 58.5 damage per shot.

For the record, this moderately is low damage for a 20th level Soldier. You can manage 12d10+2d6+26 for an average of 99 damage. That's a maxed out Sharpshooter using a Heavy Weapon...but I'd expect almost all Soldiers to be using Heavy Weapons by then. Even going Laser and ignoring Sharpshoot we're talking 9d8+20 for an average of 60.5 damage.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Which is a problem, considering that you're already doing something like 11d6+20 (from weapon spec) for an average of 58.5 damage per shot.
For the record, this moderately is low damage for a 20th level Soldier. You can manage 12d10+2d6+26 for an average of 99 damage. That's a maxed out Sharpshooter using a Heavy Weapon...but I'd expect almost all Soldiers to be using Heavy Weapons by then. Even going Laser and ignoring Sharpshoot we're talking 9d8+20 for an average of 60.5 damage.

I just picked the Zenith Laser Rifle as a rough grounds to demonstrate.

You're absolutely right though, there isn't a strong reason (at higher levels) for a Soldier not to be using Heavy Weapons and dealing even more damage. And I was also completely ignoring other special abilities.

Although I am curious, what is giving the 2d6 and the extra 6 static damage? I'm guessing the 2d6 is from some sort of weapon enhancement, but I am probably wrong.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'd guess Focus Fire and Bullet Barrage.


Cyril Figgis wrote:

"I lose damage on every shot, but I make it up on volume!"

Opperative weapons add less damage per shot in both flat damage and weapon specialist bonus, but they add normal deadly aim bonus. Then opperatives raise that damage in two ways: with trick shot, and with extra attacks. Both get roughly same total damage.

When they raise it through quad attack, the efficiency of the good side of Deadly Aim is 4x better than with trick shot, while average damage loss outside of DA is similar.


As far as I can tell, Deadly Aim is better as a way to add a little extra damage onto a single attack rather than something to add onto Every Single Attack Made like the with the old pathfinder calculus.

If you're calculating for making a full attack every round, yeah, it's gonna be less useful, but if you're in a combat where you're able to stand there full attacking every round, it's not a very interesting battle.


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Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Of their weapon, or literally?

A practitioner of the Cho Sun, I see. Personally, I prefer the Sai Cha.


Eh, the Cho Mai is as effective as teh Cho Sun

Liberty's Edge

Maezer wrote:
I'd guess Focus Fire and Bullet Barrage.

Intense Focus rather than Focus Fire, technically, but that's substantially correct.

The Sharpshoot Fighting Style and Bullet Barrage Gear Boost are what you can combine as a Soldier to do more ranged damage than anyone else in the game (indeed, this build does as much damage as a focused melee Soldier).


@deadmanwalking

Would you happen to have some math to show this?


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A Soldier's maximum base ranged damage per shot is achieved with a Paragon Reaction Cannon for 12d10 damage, average 66, +20 (specialization) +6 (Bullet Barrage gear boost), boosted further on a full attack with +2d6, average 7, against the first target (Focused Damage Sharpshooter technique), for an average value of 99. A Soldier's maximum base melee damage per swing while still being capable of full-attacking is achieved with a Dimensional Slice Curved Blade, again hitting for 12d10 damage. +20 specialization, +9 strength, +4 Melee Striker (gear boost), or +33 total for 99 average damage.

Other notable mentions are the Dimensional Slice Longsword, which loses only 3 average damage and the bleed critical effect to the curved blade in exchange for being cheaper, one-handed, and analog rather than dying in 20 swings. And of course, there is the level 19 Dimensional Blade Doshko, which has the single highest damage per-hit in the game of 114 assuming the same optimization, but is unwieldy.

All of this can of course be further boosted by Deadly Aim... for what it's worth.


huh, interesting

so is deadly aim more worth it for ranged builds?

Liberty's Edge

MagicA wrote:
huh, interesting

Yup, Hithesius has the math down.

MagicA wrote:
so is deadly aim more worth it for ranged builds?

Not usually, no.


So then, it seems really the only people who benefit from deadly aim are Operatives using Trick Attack, but even then without having a Full BAB, taking a -2 is a bit of a risk

As it stands, it seems that if deadly aim gave more damage in return it would be more worth it.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
MagicA wrote:

So then, it seems really the only people who benefit from deadly aim are Operatives using Trick Attack, but even then without having a Full BAB, taking a -2 is a bit of a risk

Not really. I would not recommend anyone take deadly aim. All people are arguing is in which narrow circumstances deadly aim might be mathematically beneficial. If a fairly narrow set of circumstances and thus not really worth the feat cost unless you are a soldier with 10 extra combat feats... because there simply aren't that many good combat feats.


Yeah, it is. And for melee Str and decent Dex humans, you can get away with Str 16 to start and only loss +1 to hit and Damage over the Str 18 builds, but have high Dex, Con, or whatever. But, I get the point that for the most part deadly aim isn't as good mathematically as the old power attack/deadly aim from Pathfinder. But I can see uses even for high lvl melee builds, +43 damage vrs +33 (max Str etc soldier) for a -2 to hit when you need your swift and/or move action. Not a bad deal (still not comparable to a full attack at -5 for *3 damage).


It seems pretty useful for builds that are highly mobile and normally only use 1 attack

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