And other people have cited their experience that the combination of high stats, Initiative that never changes, and the fact that their attacks start applying damage directly to the health tracks of crashed characters makes them exceedingly deadly. There's a diversity of user feedback that makes it difficult to formulate a standard.

This isn't really an issue that we need to leave up to peoples' subjective experience. I can just tell you, as someone who knows a bit about math, that battle groups don't work. I can see a few builds where they might pose an extraordinary threat - high initiative alpha strikes or perhaps low-defense soak builds, but the way the combat system is set up, it's arguable whether

*an individual character* is more or less deadly than a battle group with the same base stats.

Let's make our hero Moderately Optimized Solar. He's not great at combat, but his character creation avoided all of the trap builds. He's got an Dexterity + Melee of 10, wields a medium artifact weapon and wears medium artifact armor. He's only going to spend 5m per round of combat 1m for excellent strike and 4m to raise parry by 2. Let's say stamina and strength of 3 and initiative pool of 8.

His opponent - The Elite Troop. She's coming hard at him, but basically has no chance. She'll go first, because she rolled a starting initiative of 8, vs MOS's 7, but she's hoping for a lucky roll. She needs 8 successes on 11 dice. Now, for these probabilities, I'm going to cheat a bit and assume that each die has a 50/50 chance of success. That's not entirely accurate, and the real exalted dice pools are more chaotic, but it has the same number of expected successes and I can use Pascal's triangle to do quick probabilities instead of having to work everything out by hand.

So, the chance of 8 successes on 11 dice is 4%. Which we can just smooth out to an expected 25 rounds to land a single hit. Like I said, doomed. On the off chance she does hit, she rolls 12 dice of raw damage against a soak of 11. Let's be generous and say she does an expected 1 point of initiative damage. Assuming MOS did nothing but let her wail on him until he crashed, it would take roughly 175 rounds to do so.

MOS makes a counterattack. He needs 5 or more successes on 10 dice to land a decisive and 5 or more successes on 13 dice to land a withering. Let's assume withering until crash, then decisive. His expected attack result is 8 (I'm fudging a little, assuming Excellent Strike's reroll is enough of a boost that I can round up). But his odds of hitting are roughly 95%. Expected damage is 18 vs 10 soak. Let's say 4 initiative damage. Likely TET is crashed at the end of round 2, hit with a 20 initiative decisive in round 3 (which will have approx 82% chance of hitting).

Expected survival time of individual TET - 3 rounds. Expected damage vs solar 0.

Now, let's say she doesn't come alone, she brings an unreasonable amount of her friends. A size 3 battle group, of average drill. That boosts her accuracy, soak, and raw damage by 3, gives her a bunch of extra health levels in a real fiddly way. And it increases her defense by 1.

This time, the chance to hit 8 successes on 14 dice is approximately 40%. So let's say the battle group hits in rounds 1 and 2 and then misses in 3-5. Their expected damage is 15 vs soak of 11. A big improvement. We don't have to be generous to track that at an expected damage of 2 initiative. Which means . . . not a lot, because MOS is going to hit almost every round and get +1 initiative every time, so we have to figure about 6 hits , or 15 rounds before the Battle group does health level damage.

In fact, let's calculate it. He needs 6 successes on 13 dice. The odds of which are 70%. His expected roll is 8 successes. But it's against a bigger soak. 17 damage vs 13 soak, for an expected 2 initiative damage. That means he routes the first size unit of the battle group after 5 hits. Or 7 rounds. Assuming it reforms, we can shave another round off beating size 2 unit and then 2 rounds off beating the size 1, thanks to shrinking magnitude and bonuses. So 7 + 6 + 5 = 18 rounds. Just about when we're expecting MOS's initiative to run out. (Just as shrinking size makes the unit faster to rout, it also flushes its expected damage down the toilet)

Expected survival time of 100 TETs - 18 rounds. Expected damage vs solar . . . maybe 1 - 2 (if we're being generous)

That's what I mean. The Battle group is technically better than the individual . . . in that it can make the foregone conclusion more tedious, but at size 3, average drill, the benefits from being a battle group

*just barely *cancels out the disadvantage that comes from allowing withering attacks to damage health. Battle groups with Elite Drill and/or size 4-5 are more deadly . . . but remember, we are comparing these fights to

*single* mooks. You know what's infinitely deadlier than a size 3 battle group? 3 of its members ran as individual characters.

Now, I'm sure that there are anecdotal accounts of battle groups wrecking someone's shit, because we are dealing with large dice pools here, and there's a lot of variance. It only takes one improbable roll to put a PC in a real scary place. But when we talk about swinginess in individual vs battlegroup combat, PC Exalts are much more likely to benefit. It would have taken only a slightly-better than average roll to turn MOS's plink attacks into a 1-round rout. And that's assuming his player is absolutely committed to always being mote-neutral. Hitting a battle group with a full excellency on offense

*completely obliterates* their unit bonuses.

(I skipped talking about units with Might bonuses because -

* ha, ha, ha! yeah right!* You only field a battle group with might bonuses if scale has become a complete joke)

Honestly, I didn't even think this was going to be a controversial opinion. Battle group math is . . . not good. It simply doesn't work. Even to the extent that they are technically more threatening to moderately optimized solars (and let's be clear, I've seen fully optimized solars take out size 5 battle groups in 2-3 rounds), they are nowhere close to conveying the difference in feel between facing one lone soldier on leave vs a quarter of a legion deployed on the battlefield.