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Are mortal wounds killing the fun?


Myzyrael

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Sorry if this has been discussed before, couldn't find a thread though.

Our gaming group currently is in a bad situation. We have reached a point where we are trying to settle in a medium power Level and we all agree that powerbuilding lists is not our way. But we constantly fail...

Our hypothesis is the following: drastically decreasing the amount of mortal wounds output would result in games decided at later turns and in overall increase the gaming experience.

Let me give an example. I am playing Tzeentch and don't have access to a lot of good melee fighters but can easily field many spells that, thanks to my buffs, delete high priority targets easily. We play with a lot of terrain that blocks line of sight but I can summon a herald for only 120 to dish out 2d6 mw at 18+18", reliably removing important targets even turn one.

My Opponent plays a "normal" destruction army, I remove his important models early and then it is just cleaning what is left.

I try to tone done my mortal wounds (spells) and he fields some thundertusks, which is the Same like my spells combined with destiny dice. Point and click. He wants to have a model removed, 2+, done. I try to kill the beasties, some wounds left, fully healed. Point and click repeats.

Where is the fun in just bringing as much redundant but reliable killing power as possible? 

And more important, how do we overcome this? Neither one of us wants to get rickrolled and have his army reduced to some meat rolling some meaningless dice. But we still want the feeling of having powerful models and doing some cool summoning tricks etc.

Do you have similar experience or some tips how to deal with this? I even tried to come up with some maximum amount of mortal wounds calculating the average output multiplied with their range but the we will still just be maximizing to this threshold... Any advice is appreciated :/

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I am not sure if there is a good way to deal with this at all. It is just badly designed.

Anyway, here are my possible solutions

- play different armies that don't cause mortal wounds so often. Ok I understand that's not what anyone wants, but Ironjawz vs. Brayherd (and other armies that aren't top tier) don't have that problem for example.

- Houserule: give everyone a 5+ or 6+ save against mortal wounds. Mystic shield could improve that save like it improves the normal save.

It would make wizard heavy armies even worse though.

I would love to see how that houserule would impact the game.

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Well, some units like thundertusks and skyfires hopefully costs more points in gh2. Wizards are mortal wound makers but mostly the tzeentch ones. Though wizards weakness are the 18" range and the lack of armour. In gh2 hords will be more effective due to pricing. Elite armys hurts from mw but hords eats them. I think we are OK after gh2. 

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I think the issue isn't so much Mortal wounds but how prevalent they are. They feel like the idea was a fluffy guaranteed way for spells or certain things to represent how dangerous they could be but the problem is that you can spam them

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I think this partly comes back to being able to single out characters — horde infantry generally aren't too bothered by MWs, even monsters don't have it too bad unless they're heavily armoured. Maybe focus less on how easy it is to get MW spam, and more on which units are being killed and why it's a problem?

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My friends and I have a gentlemans understanding that you don't take multiples of elite warscrolls. For example our the tzeench player takes one unit of skyfires not three. 

It makes it more fun for everyone as there is more variety on the table and reduces mortal wound spam. 

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Problem is not mortal wounds themselves, problem is too easy risk-free way of dealing them. Thundertusk doesn't need point cost increase, it needs a warscroll change. 6 mortal wounds on 2+ is just stupid. Same with stormfiends, if you increase their points, any other variant except full flamer unit is useless (heck they're already overpriced if you don't use flamers). I really hope that that 1 page in ghb2 called warscroll changes is gonna have some of these problematic units changed.

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I prefer 40k implementation of Mortal Wounds.  They exist, and are important, but they are much much less availible than in AoS. I know that AoS doesn't has as many rend -3, -4 or even -5 weapons, and is more, technically, meele focused, but even in that case...

 

If everything fails, you can always bring hordes. They just don't mind MW :D 

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Mortal Wound spam (specifically, Smite spam) is already a big part of the meta in 40K, though. Brimstone Horrors are partly to blame, but I think in 40K a big part of the problem is just how many high-toughness, heavily armoured, and/or invulnerable-saved models there are. It's a slightly different problem from AoS, but I think the over-simplicity and lack of counters to mortal wounds is a big part of the problem in either system — even cheap horde units have their limitations.

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8 hours ago, Sigwarus said:

Well, some units like thundertusks and skyfires hopefully costs more points in gh2. Wizards are mortal wound makers but mostly the tzeentch ones. Though wizards weakness are the 18" range and the lack of armour. In gh2 hords will be more effective due to pricing. Elite armys hurts from mw but hords eats them. I think we are OK after gh2. 

Hordes are and will still be garbage lol. 

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I think what OP is actually describing is how powerful shooting is (blast spells fall under this umbrella), not Mortal Wounds. Retributors are not a problem and even the much-maligned Stormfiends aren't all that if they're not flying Air Sayl. Reliable long-range attacks that pick apart the opponent's key pieces have been a much-discussed issue with AoS for a long time now.

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If indeed Shooting is the subject I agree, Shooting as a Core rule currently is very unrestricted meaning there is actually very little you can do to defend yourself against it. To me Mortal Wounds in itself arn't killing the fun, because the fun is killing. 

One of the reasons to why I percieve Shooting as a too unlimited rule is because the key elements can easily be shot of the table but doing this by pure Melee or Magic is a whole lot more difficult to do. 

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2 hours ago, Squirrelmaster said:

Mortal Wound spam (specifically, Smite spam) is already a big part of the meta in 40K, though. Brimstone Horrors are partly to blame, but I think in 40K a big part of the problem is just how many high-toughness, heavily armoured, and/or invulnerable-saved models there are. It's a slightly different problem from AoS, but I think the over-simplicity and lack of counters to mortal wounds is a big part of the problem in either system — even cheap horde units have their limitations.

And they have been nerfed into the ground. Those units where OP, the only ones that was doing smite spam

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The counter to mortal wounds in melee is cheap or tough units to pin down the thundertusks.

Ranged, only mortal wound saves or line of sight blocking terrain will help. I run mostly old horde armies against a guy who had many of the new mortal wound armies and win at least 50 percent.

Mortal wounds are annoying but not the end all be all.

I do have shooting heavy armies that can countersnipe ranged mortal wounds. I give as good as I get. 

a bolt thrower to the face generally fixes most problems for me.

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Thank you all for your responses.

 

17 hours ago, Squirrelmaster said:

I think this partly comes back to being able to single out characters [...]. Maybe focus less on how easy it is to get MW spam, and more on which units are being killed and why it's a problem?

10 hours ago, angrycontra said:

Problem is not mortal wounds themselves, problem is too easy risk-free way of dealing them. Thundertusk doesn't need point cost increase, it needs a warscroll change. 6 mortal wounds on 2+ is just stupid.

What you are describing here might be the actual core of the problem. Having your important models exposed and (most of the time) no means to defend them against mortal wounds. The thundertusk indeed has a stupid rule imho, but this also applies to my tzeentch wizards. Seriously, I love the destiny dice, as they reduce the risk for critical dice rolls but they make removing key models way to easy. Just like the tt.

Maybe it really is the "I want this character removed", *some ridiculously easy dice roll*, "Done" thing that I try to blame here.

 

8 hours ago, Bjarni St. said:

I think what OP is actually describing is how powerful shooting is (blast spells fall under this umbrella), not Mortal Wounds. Retributors are not a problem and even the much-maligned Stormfiends aren't all that if they're not flying Air Sayl. Reliable long-range attacks that pick apart the opponent's key pieces have been a much-discussed issue with AoS for a long time now.

8 hours ago, Killax said:

If indeed Shooting is the subject I agree, Shooting as a Core rule currently is very unrestricted meaning there is actually very little you can do to defend yourself against it. To me Mortal Wounds in itself arn't killing the fun, because the fun is killing. 

One of the reasons to why I percieve Shooting as a too unlimited rule is because the key elements can easily be shot of the table but doing this by pure Melee or Magic is a whole lot more difficult to do. 

Normal shooting feels a lot less guaranteed compared to mortal wounds. You have to roll for hit, wound and save. I think you are right with the reliable and long-range argument here. 

 

5 hours ago, Cerlin said:

Mortal wounds are annoying but not the end all be all.

I do have shooting heavy armies that can countersnipe ranged mortal wounds. I give as good as I get. 

a bolt thrower to the face generally fixes most problems for me.

May I ask how dependent you feel your armies are on key *models* (not units)? Maybe this is our problem that we build our lists around key models or the things they can do and get annoyed too easily when they are removed instead of just relying less on those easy to remove thingies and have more fun with our army overall... This^... Your ease with saying "so what" might be what we need to learn.

 

13 hours ago, Auticus said:

I like mortal wounds, but yeah its a relatively trivial thing to min/max them.  They are at their core the ability to cause wounds without needing to roll dice after all (no to-hit or to-wound and then save roll)

So I don't think mortal wounds ruin the game.  I think powergaming mixed with people not wanting to powergame are what ruins the game.

Question here is how do we overcome the problem of not min/max but still keeping the list building and trying to win aspect in the game? We have, for ourselves, already agreed that we do not want to see stuff like 4 thundertusks, big bird of tzeentch with all of his little friends, etc. (only if agreed beforehand) but how to prevent without restricting people even more? As stupid as it sounds, none of us want's to play with armies he knows beforehand they are completely useless. We love some of the competitive aspects of the game but want to settle on a lower level. And this feels way to hard for us. Our group is heavily mixed in the need for feeling challenge/competitiveness so this discussion is more "top"-down driven.
Indeed, fully agreeing to "do what you want" would solve this problem, because then it only comes down to you for not bringing the crazy stuff. Maybe this is a way we have to test. But not all of our group would follow us this way and we don't want to risk a split.

 

Thank you all again for your valuable input, you have given me a lot of food for thought.

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I think if AoS was done again, we'd perhaps see rules like the 40k rule to prevent targeting of characters unless they are the closest. But on the other hand, the buffs handed out would be MUCH more tamer. You certainly would not be seeing Bloodsecrators running around buffing half the table.

Honestly though, I do think the targeting is really the 'feel bad' problem here. Mortal wounds is just one aspect, in general, it's more just long range damage. If there were no Skyfires/Summoning/Aetherstrike/Thundertusks/Kunnin' Ruk in the game, we'd probably all be complaining about something like Cannons or Hellstorm Rocket Batteries instead and we'd still be in the feels bad situation.

At the end of the day, it's generally easier or same toughness to kill a 5 wound hero providing a buff to potentially multiple units, than to kill a unit. Yet, it's your heroes you are more attached to, you want them to be up there doing interesting things, so it feels bad when they're taken out without getting to perform an action in the game.

 

Personally, without revamping the entirety of AoS, my favoured solution is:

  • Change Thundertusk to hit using normal mechanisms (i.e hit roll can be modified), highest bracket is D6 rather than 6 mortal wounds
  • If a model cannot draw clear line of sight (Ignoring own unit. target obscured, or line goes through other units/terrain) to any target models in the enemy unit, then it suffers -1 to hit
  • Unbind range increased to 24"
  • Change Sayl's the Faithless' spell to only effect SLAVES TO DARKNESS (and still price hike him) - or just delete him from the game.

It would not necessarily solve every problem, but I do think it would curb a lot of abuse. That being said, shooting is always going to be tough to get right while characters are so important. AoS has just emphasized how important characters are, without actually giving them a whole lot of protection over prior editions.

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I've been pondering the same thing over the past couple of months (and wondering if I wanted to create a post or not :)).  I've personally not found mortal wounds themselves to be a massive issue, more the quantity/reliability that can be fielded.  Throwing out the odd Mortal Wound here and there is pretty good fun.  You wait in anticipation if your small unit of Bloodletters rolls any 6's.  It is powerful, but one round of attacks generally does a couple amongst a few more regular wounds.  Where I feel the enjoyment goes is when you have enough mortal wounds from one source to remove a character with no opportunity for that character to react or interact.

Personally when AoS initially came out and you really only saw Mortal Wounds from the odd spell (and D3 at that), everything felt a lot more controlled.  Regularly seeing 12+ Mortal Wounds a turn makes me feel that it's all gone a little out of control to the detriment of the game as a whole.

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Certainly but with the way they will promote Hordes in GH2017 it's quite certain that Mortal Wounds will only show up in a larger quantity. Personally I have no issue with removing models at all, as a result Mortal wounds to me are cool. I miss the quantity in 40K to be honest, where 30+ wound models are more common so it could have been implemented easier.

So for me the question also somewhat boils down to, do you feel models are too easy removed in AoS? My honest reply to that is no. However that also comes from my Warmachine and WFB background likely, where armour saves wernt all too common to be constantly made.

I do get that some might want to keep some more models around but it's very difficult to find a balance that doesnt feel like your cutting through butter versus grinding it down. I dont really favour grinds too much because it somewhat stops the pace of the game and the pace AoS has is something I do like. To me primary reasons as to why certain games can go too fast have more to do with how Shooting works again and offcourse the Double Turn concept. 

- So the pace of removing random models for me (due to Mortal wounds) isn't too fast.
- The pace of removing key models to shooting for me is a bit too fast. I think a 40K rule for characters would work out easily enough.
- The pace where a game can be decided on a double turn is something I personally do not like despite the certain speed it gives to a game. I don't believe AoS needs to have the double turn if we're going to a stage where every unit can do something. A stage we are seemfully heading if we look at the costs for certain Hordes and the armies who are made up of those units.

Lastly I also think that a somewhat more restricted Shooting phase would actually open up more options for relevant design. With this I mean that I do not mind Assassin characters to be ignoring some of these rules (as per 40K) and in fact I believe this type of design is somewhat hinted in AoS but not yet fleshed out while it would be the perfect excuse to make certain mini Heroes relevant.
For example, if we could deploy an Assassin wherever we want now it's kind of irrelevant if better Shooting units excist. However if we do something with that Shooting rule suddenly that Assassin deployment matters. Likewise if we do have some sniper Heroes who indeed ignore other models closeby suddenly that Hero matters.

Basically AoS needs some finetuning still and I hope GH2017 touched on some or many of it's smaller issues.

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12 hours ago, SlowPlay85 said:

Hordes are and will still be garbage lol. 

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to playing AoS. Horde armies just won the last three UK tournaments.

They have always been powerful, people just haven't been using them. They also just got better...

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3 hours ago, Chikout said:

How about trying the 40k rule of not being able to target heroes unless they are the closest model? It would make all your characters more survivable but not prevent you using powerful abilities against other units. 

I thought about this as well. But the problem, for me, with changing any of the core mechanics is you can't oversee the consequences. 

For example, adding the rule that: 'heroes with less than 10 wounds within x inches can't be targeted unless its the closest model', will help with the OP issue as it prevents you from point and clicking key heroes. 

But next week, with this addition, you face a close combat orientated army that thrives on its strength when you get in combat with its synergy intact. Did you just make them weirdly overpowered? Because the inherent weakness of such an army is losing its synergy before getting into combat....

I don't know, and it's fun to experiment a bit. But messing with such core systems of the game usually has unforeseen consequences. 

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Perhaps, I think the consequence should mean some Snipers remain and additional Assassin characters should be added.

Im not saying hunting Heroes should become impossible but am saying it should be specialistic role that isnt on everything with a ranged weapon.

As a result I think it would only add to the experience. While snipers would be better theyd also be more costly while poorer shooters can become cheaper because they would hunt chaff.

The experience most people I know have now is that its too relevant and magic too irrelevant. It would be cool to find that balance aswell.

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Direct  port of the character targeting rule from 40k might be too much. At least there are tons of threads in Dakka about the aura buff characters being too good in 40k because they are so hard to kill and give so good benefits and in AoS there are more of this kind of heroes. There was a (false) rumour before 8th was released that the targeting restriction would be closest or within 12", which could be nice middle ground.

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