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Twitch of Izalith

Is Competitive AoS Backing Itself into a Corner?

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I think Fyreslayers are limited because they have literally three unit types coupled to an excess of heroes. They still work as an army but in an odd way. The models are sensational by the way.

KO are probably the worst in terms of theoretical choice (vast, custom skyports) to actual choice (probably 95% Zilfin, mostly Clown Car variants - rarely see a hero that isn’t a Khemist or a ship that isn’t an Ironclad).

KO narrative is ace and they are very cool, but an ultra squishy gunline dependent on egg shell transports was always going to be hard to balance well. Ultimately - must salute ambition of the Battletome - but also rue a few missed opportunities.

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I’m no expert on 40K but all I would say is be careful what you wish for - have seen and heard about some pretty janky lists.

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The greater pace of FAQs in 40K is amazing though! Good work GW.

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2 hours ago, Nico said:

This is a considerable exaggeration. There is no competitive 1 drop army containing Skyfires, which means the answer very simply is to outdrop them and kill the Shaman (before he casts  Treacherous Bond) or just kill the Skyfires. Many armies can do so.

Name the armies that are guaranteed one drop to force Tzeentch to go first. Stormcast, Sylvaneth? Even so battalion cost is through the roof, then you are possibly idling through two Tzeentch magic phases, shooting phases. So hopefully your one drop list can easily kill 12 skyfires at the back of the board turn one. I cant even name one army that  I think could pull this off. Then you got complete magic domination, the most mortal wound output of any army and the fact that tzeentch can will things to happen without having to rely on dice like everyone else. Tzeentch is the top tier army right now, even without being able to force 6 mortal wounds at will.

You list some great ideas for Fyreslayers to maximize your hope but its really not going to be enough in most cases. Also Fyreslayers are a really complex army, just b/c you have played against them, dosen't mean you have played against a super intelligent player who knows their list well and knows how to squeeze every drop of insanity from them. Regardless, I don't think they are 'the best' army, because Tzeentch can kill the general turn one and start forcing battleshock tests that will make them fall apart. But most armies are going to have way too much trouble killing the general and just spend their time losing an uphill battle against 90 infantry that wont die.

In my post I wrote a lot about why Khorne is not a top-tier army.

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13 hours ago, Samanar said:

So... where can I vote to have you recruited by the GW? xD

As much as I'd like writing for GW I am about 8 time zones away! I do appreciate the comment though!

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On 1/4/2018 at 10:12 AM, swarmofseals said:

I really like the linebreaker solution as it adds more tactical depth to the game, encourages "combined arms" lists instead of spammy lists and provides some relief against hordes without tuning up overall offense. It also provides a unique battlefield role for a unit type (cavalry) that currently doesn't really have one. 

A very thoughtful post.  I like the sound of linebreakers, can you give an example of how it might work in practice please?

For example, if it's a cavalry unit that completes a charge, pick a unit within 1" and that unit is -1 to save and / or cannot be immune to battleshock in the following battleshock phase / until their next hero phase, that kind of thing?  

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59 minutes ago, PlasticCraic said:

A very thoughtful post.  I like the sound of linebreakers, can you give an example of how it might work in practice please?

For example, if it's a cavalry unit that completes a charge, pick a unit within 1" and that unit is -1 to save and / or cannot be immune to battleshock in the following battleshock phase / until their next hero phase, that kind of thing?  

Maybe they could use the Old Bret spear formation or whatever for cavalry, it's not something that is good on it's own but adapt it to be used against hordes. If we apply it to monsters, maybe some type of bonus sweeping attack modifier either for damage or attacks (or both) mechanic applied to hordes. If they really want to tame hordes, maybe add bonuses to shooting for shooting into them since they would have so much mass it'd be hard to miss.

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8 hours ago, PlasticCraic said:

"Reasonably OK" I don't disagree with at all.  I think they're a solid second tier army.  But that wasn't your original point at all.  Your original point was that they were part of the absolute cream at the top of the game, and that's what I disagreed with.  I can see why you would want to change that though, because it was a very extreme proposition.

You are right though @svnvaldez, I've never got involved in a disagreement on here before, and it's dumb to start now over something so pointless.  

You are right that it's pretty pointless what you are doing, as you seem to got extremely triggered by the fact that somebody on the internet said that IJ are reasonably close enough to do something in a tournament scene...  (especially with second place in GT and 4th in facehammer even if want to disregard LVO).  And if you go back and read my first post, it wasn't AT ALL about IJ specifically, but rather the fact that right now, there are a lot of viable top builds in general (and yes, most of those are order/chaos). 

I'm terribly sorry if you  got so hung up over the fact that I didn't see IJs as completely useless and maybe rated them slightly higher than you would have liked....

BUT, if you want to talk about completely missing the point:  my original post  sure as hell wasn't about the IJs specifically or a long rant on how awesome they were. It was that the complete dogs of subfactions right now should be higher priority for buffs/reworks imo.  The 2 GAs that would benefit mostly from that would be destro and death.  My actual first point (you know, all the letters except for 2 of them), was that more effort should be made to fix the "third and garbage tier" armies. 

PS: I actually even went and re-read my OP... I used such extreme language as "reasonably close to eachother" in the first post and "reasonably ok" in the second post... I don't get how your mind turned that into "absolute cream at the top of the game"... I really don't!

Edited by Elmir

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17 hours ago, Twitch of Izalith said:

I might be misunderstanding you but I think that would make it worse! I'm worried that this is what WILL happen in competitive play and will result in long repetitive "pillowfights" where buckets of dice get rolled and nothing happens because everyone has de-buffs, re-rolls and multiple saves against every attack.

This is what happened in 40k at the point I stopped playing it for a long while - It was full of "unkillable" units and re-rollable saves and it was no fun to play. 

I get that its a fantasy game but for me greater demons and dragons not being able to hurt a dwarf kinda ruins the fantasy...

I'm 100% with you on that,  but I was just giving ideas of how to make a unit more resilient (beside granting more and more ward saves) , I think that GW needs to balance these abilities to make it a fair fight for both players.
The fact is that there are tank-themed armies, we need to make them playable, balanced, and be able to take a beating without being unkilleable, as well as making sure that "DPS" armies are not too full of MW.

The big problem is that armies have been granted too many MW options, so the tank armies wouldn't tank as much. Instead of dragging down the number of MW one can make, they made armies resistant to this, and now we see armies that are unkilleable without enormous amount of MW.
 

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8 hours ago, Killax said:

Edit: When I then thake a peek into the other side of things, 40K, we see a much more streamlined core rules set which then has lead to practically 80% of every Codex unit choices being relevant for one army or the other. There the crazily great combo's also still excist but the relevancy of units by comparison is just much and much better.

People said this when AOS came out.  It wasn't true then and it isn't true now IF (and it's a big IF) you are trying to build the most optimised list.  The reality is there is a time requirement for people to identify and play out & optimise the best armies. 

Once they exist they are the best (subject to playstyle etc).  For me that doesn't invalidate those other units, the difference between a list that is 90% optimised and 100% optimised will not make a jot of difference to how well most players do at an event but for those looking to play at the absolute cutting edge of the top tables if you don't take the best list you possibly can then you're just making life harder for yourself.  It's that mentality that leads tot he homogenisation of lists.

But the credit I'll give AOS is the difference between the top and bottom is less pronounced than WFB and there are more armies that can cut it at the top end.  WFB it was often 3 armies that would dominate, based upon the lists from people earlier in AOS that's about 8-10.  

I remain convinced that GHB was both a good and a bad thing for AoS.  It brought in a whole load of players who were scared off by the lack of official points but it removed the community control which had developed a points system and could tweak and balance it without the fear of pushback that GW must be conscious of mitigating.  The scenarios are the absolute high point of the GHB.  The slide back into RAI/RAW debates and the increasingly applied jank on many army lists is the low point for me.

What is interesting is the current horde discount & GHB points should be due for a do-over in 6-7 months time when the next GHB comes round.  They could choose to take a completely different direction.  This potentially gives TOs the ability to pick 'seasons'/flavours for their event and tailor to a different build type/focus for lists which potentially makes it more interesting all round.

If I were running events I'd be tempted to say:

1. Horde discount doesn't apply to certain units - Bloodletters, Liberators (probably need to do a more comprehensive review but these are the ones I can immediately think of that hugely influence list design)

2. Balewind is 200pts

3. You can't deploy inside 3" unless specifically referenced by the rule (ie skryre).

 

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1 hour ago, Dave Fraser said:

People said this when AOS came out.  It wasn't true then and it isn't true now IF (and it's a big IF) you are trying to build the most optimised list.  The reality is there is a time requirement for people to identify and play out & optimise the best armies. Once they exist they are the best (subject to playstyle etc).  For me that doesn't invalidate those other units, the difference between a list that is 90% optimised and 100% optimised will not make a jot of difference to how well most players do at an event but for those looking to play at the absolute cutting edge of the top tables if you don't take the best list you possibly can then you're just making life harder for yourself.  It's that mentality that leads tot he homogenisation of lists.

But the credit I'll give AOS is the difference between the top and bottom is less pronounced than WFB and there are more armies that can cut it at the top end.  WFB it was often 3 armies that would dominate, based upon the lists from people earlier in AOS that's about 8-10.  

I remain convinced that GHB was both a good and a bad thing for AoS.  It brought in a whole load of players who were scared off by the lack of official points but it removed the community control which had developed a points system and could tweak and balance it without the fear of pushback that GW must be conscious of mitigating.  The scenarios are the absolute high point of the GHB.  The slide back into RAI/RAW debates and the increasingly applied jank on many army lists is the low point for me.

What is interesting is the current horde discount & GHB points should be due for a do-over in 6-7 months time when the next GHB comes round.  They could choose to take a completely different direction.  This potentially gives TOs the ability to pick 'seasons'/flavours for their event and tailor to a different build type/focus for lists which potentially makes it more interesting all round.

If I were running events I'd be tempted to say:

1. Horde discount doesn't apply to certain units - Bloodletters, Liberators (probably need to do a more comprehensive review but these are the ones I can immediately think of that hugely influence list design)

2. Balewind is 200pts

3. You can't deploy inside 3" unless specifically referenced by the rule (ie skryre).

 

What do you exactly mean by it not being true? What I am personally seeing is that Start rolls force you to include a Battallion (most of the time) which then force you to pick particular units which then most certainly filter down to the best units. Offcourse this is talking about optimized builds but the topic is made in regards to concerns about competitive designs after all.
Due to the strongest assest of the game being super speed/teleportation, mortal wounds and (character) sniping I personally do believe that if your unit does not fufill one of these aspects that there is little to no reason to thake it at a competitive tournament level. Not only can I confirm this when I look into some data, it's the unfortunate path the design just again snowballs into.

I have not played WFB 8th edition, did play 5th, 6th and 7th quite often (though 7th certainly lead to like 5 games a year). While I somewhat agree that AoS' unit design is much closer it also goes way part again thanks to Battalions. E.g. for Khorne Bloodletters are arguably already the best choice in terms of infantry. Now when said infantry gains 2d6 movement boosts through a Battalion and that Battalion is the cheapest things become extremely difficult to defend for other choices. Pre GH2017 there was the Goretide which gave similar movement bonus effects to Bloodbound units but the cost of that is cranked up so high that it's now close to impossible to competitively consider. To me this is no different from designing Core Chaos Knights in 6th WFB or Skullcrushers in the other editions. 1. It's faster, 2. It's hitting harder etc.

To me the Generals Handbook is a fantastic piece of work which clearly has a lot of time spend into it. But the core issue I have with it is that it's changing Core rules. What I would do if Core rules do not cover enough is create another edition. Harsh as it sounds, Generals Handbook/FAQs are there to fix something that probably shouldn't have been created in a particular form from the beginning. What this leads to is that new players who start AoS without it are playing a totally different game as those with GH.

Lastly I don't mind your fixes too much but I'd hardly say that this adresses my personal concerns with the game altogether :) .
- Horde discounts are in my opinion not something the game really needed. It's neat to get free points but at the same time the system rewards lower drop armies over high drop armies. The prime reason why this doesn't come to light whatsoever is because we can "Battalion drop" which in turn removes the otherwise great insentive to not have 10+ units.
- To me the Balewind Vortex is so popular because A. power but much more B. the way Magic is limited in AoS. The prime reason why this limitation feels so extremely odd to me is because narratively speaking the domains we 'battle in' are made of magical essence. 
- Crunched up deployments are the only physical ability we have to protect some models in the Shooting Phase. For better or worse this too is the only way to add some depth or protection to a part of the game that offers no depth nor protection for anybody.

9 hours ago, Nico said:

I’m no expert on 40K but all I would say is be careful what you wish for - have seen and heard about some pretty janky lists.

Absolutely! But it's not the jank/high power lists I mind. What makes 40K a good example in this case is that it applies to all. Then there are issues with that design system too but what GW solved really well now is that Imperium and Chaos have so many Codex who do similair things that the balance between those two competitively speaking rocks. There is A LOT of mirrored design in 40K, can be seen as boring but it does work very well to balance things out.

Edited by Killax

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6 minutes ago, Killax said:

What do you exactly mean by it not being true? What I am personally seeing is that Start rolls force you to include a Battallion (most of the time) which then force you to pick particular units which then most certainly filter down to the best units. Offcourse this is talking about optimized builds but the topic is made in regards to concerns about competitive designs after all.

Saying that 40k is doing it better and 80% of all unit choices being valid is what I don't believe to be true.

I heard that at the last GW heat lists had already started to get very samey, the more people play and hone their armies the less you will see that unit diversity. 

This being exactly the process AOS went through once the GHB came out and points & objectives became set for a 12 month period. Before then there was not 1 pack to rule them all, so people had more varied lists as they performed different functions under different rules packs.

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10 minutes ago, Dave Fraser said:

Saying that 40k is doing it better and 80% of all unit choices being valid is what I don't believe to be true.

I heard that at the last GW heat lists had already started to get very samey, the more people play and hone their armies the less you will see that unit diversity. 

This being exactly the process AOS went through once the GHB came out and points & objectives became set for a 12 month period. Before then there was not 1 pack to rule them all, so people had more varied lists as they performed different functions under different rules packs.

Feel free to look into it: http://bloodofkittens.com/8th-edition-top-army-list-compendium/ Contains all the info on it. If you can't spair the time, I'll tell you that the list diversivaction is massive. There are also enough lists to consider due to there being that many Codex and many more comming in rapid pace.

In addition due to how Stratagems work even units who do not have great speed, great resilience or great damage output are relevant because if anything they can protect characters and sit on objectives. Best example I can give there is Cultists. In addition drops matter there too but it's actually a great thing for the game that a Detachment is not a single drop like a Battalion is.

The more varied lists simply said come from designing from a narrative but also game standpoint. Every unit has a particular task designed into it. 
In addition teleportation/deep striking is there for everybody, differenences in how wounding works makes more units relevant and Mortal wounds being a rarity in 40K you get a much wider competitive top. This is the speed/mortal wound/character sniping rules finetuned in 40K vs AoS being just the prime focus of the game.
 

Edited by Killax

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I'll have a look, thanks.

As you note , 40k has not had a period of relative stability since release, so list variety will have been a necessity due to the constantly changing environment.  If we have 6 months of AoS focus (doubt it will be this long but any relatively sustained period should do it) it would be interesting to revisit this and see how much variety has been sustained.

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The greater pace of FAQs in 40K is amazing though! Good work GW.

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@WoollyMammoth

Stormcast, Sylvaneth, Ironjawz, even Wanderers, SERAPHON - above all KO Clown Car which doesn’t even have to pay the Battalion tax.

The Seraphon list needs to watch the 27” unbind if Changehost and using Kroak or just summon shooting into range and delete key pieces. Blobs of Saurus or Bastiladons will do good work vs Skyfires.

The DoT Changehost also has to pay the Battalion tax and the one drop Daemon List is prohibitively expensive now.

Your comment ignores the existence of KO who can trivially wreck 5+ Save Skyfires and 5+ Save Shamen. KO are close to a hard counter to Tzeentch on most Battleplans. Wanderer 1 drop can also wreck DoT and they even get anti-Chaos buffs.

As of this moment (before Nurgle), KO and the tooled up versions of Vanguard Wing (with the various filth of the Order Grand Alliance book dragged in as allies like the Hurricanum) are the best armies in the game.

I am very confident that Tzeentch will not win the Masters for example (which is a reflection of List design and meta shifts not a comment on generalship). People have adjusted lists to beat DoT and to beat KO and Vanguard Wing or at least mitigate them. The meta evolves.

You are essentially 4 months out of date. DoT suffered a lot out of the GHB2017 (the FAQ), while KO suffered nerfs that didn’t materially affect their best strategy. 

Edited by Nico

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40K has his own daemons.

-Paying IMPERIUM is like playing unbound with 2/3 of the mini range, piling auras and having an overwhelming reroll-all shooting phase.

-Poorly written character rules (not for long maybe)

-The return of the unkillable chaos lists, no matter what you bring.

-The HQ regiment.

 

What kills me when i compare both game is that there are veryyy similar barring the wound table except for one big thing : in AoS 24" range shooting weapon is considered longrange and prised. In 40K 36" range is a minimum to be considered worthy and going to 48-72" range is common. Unthinkable in AoS.

 

 

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I play as Fyreslayers - I speak to one of the best players in the USA regularly about Fyreslayers. They are strong as discussed already  - Tzeentch and KO have possible answers insofar as they can snipe the Battlesmith and the Battleshock Immunity Buff. The Battleshock Immunity Rune is great too (and helped me get my I beat Jack Armstrong certificate at #Angelcore incidentally). Tier one if you want to think in those terms, but still weaker than jazzed up Vanguard Wing and KO.

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Maybe shooting should be played a little more accurately.  Most times I don't even seen tournament players (via streaming, no tournies around me)  not even bother to check LOS.   

I think AOS is a tale of two game systems, the original which is lots of fun and does not require large buy in, but includes the realmgate wars battleplans, and the GH matched play stuff which is currently only 12 matched play battleplans (vs the 100's of narrative).  

 

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3 minutes ago, Nico said:

Tier one if you want to think in those terms, but still weaker than jazzed up Vanguard Wing and KO.

Most Kharadron players seems rather pessimistic when speaking competitivity. I am quite surprised to not see them more in tops.

(But yeah VanguardW is nuts)

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3 minutes ago, chord said:

I think AOS is a tale of two game systems, the original which is lots of fun and does not require large buy in, but includes the realmgate wars battleplans, and the GH matched play stuff which is currently only 12 matched play battleplans (vs the 100's of narrative).  

I don't know if you played Realmgate wars a lot but for the most part, i found that most battleplan feels unfair/unfun,requires you to have a range of PRIEST/SORCERER/MONSTERS. Some armies have overwhelming advantages and some cannot even dream of a minor win. :/

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1 minute ago, kozokus said:

I don't know if you played Realmgate wars a lot but for the most part, i found that most battleplan feels unfair/unfun,requires you to have a range of PRIEST/SORCERER/MONSTERS. Some armies have overwhelming advantages and some cannot even dream of a minor win. :/

I've played a bunch.  Yeah, some armies have advantages, but if the scenario is a last stand type of scenario, then one side should have an advantage.  But if you feel it's too one-sided, just talk with your other player.  They give guidance on army sizes for each side, and its not point based, just discus and if you want it to be more fair just have the one side bring more models.

Not sure the problem with needing a priest/wizard/etc  there are no factions just GA's, so just grab a wizard.  Or if you can't afford it just be like, hey this guy is a priest for sake of the battleplan. 

:D

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3 hours ago, Dave Fraser said:

People said this when AOS came out.  It wasn't true then and it isn't true now IF (and it's a big IF) you are trying to build the most optimised list.  The reality is there is a time requirement for people to identify and play out & optimise the best armies. 

Once they exist they are the best (subject to playstyle etc).  For me that doesn't invalidate those other units, the difference between a list that is 90% optimised and 100% optimised will not make a jot of difference to how well most players do at an event but for those looking to play at the absolute cutting edge of the top tables if you don't take the best list you possibly can then you're just making life harder for yourself.  It's that mentality that leads tot he homogenisation of lists.

But the credit I'll give AOS is the difference between the top and bottom is less pronounced than WFB and there are more armies that can cut it at the top end.  WFB it was often 3 armies that would dominate, based upon the lists from people earlier in AOS that's about 8-10.  

I remain convinced that GHB was both a good and a bad thing for AoS.  It brought in a whole load of players who were scared off by the lack of official points but it removed the community control which had developed a points system and could tweak and balance it without the fear of pushback that GW must be conscious of mitigating.  The scenarios are the absolute high point of the GHB.  The slide back into RAI/RAW debates and the increasingly applied jank on many army lists is the low point for me.

What is interesting is the current horde discount & GHB points should be due for a do-over in 6-7 months time when the next GHB comes round.  They could choose to take a completely different direction.  This potentially gives TOs the ability to pick 'seasons'/flavours for their event and tailor to a different build type/focus for lists which potentially makes it more interesting all round.

If I were running events I'd be tempted to say:

1. Horde discount doesn't apply to certain units - Bloodletters, Liberators (probably need to do a more comprehensive review but these are the ones I can immediately think of that hugely influence list design)

2. Balewind is 200pts

3. You can't deploy inside 3" unless specifically referenced by the rule (ie skryre).

 

Great post in the first few paras.

I genuinely don’t understand how you can simultaneously nerf the Balewind (again - it has been nerfed twice already); and then immediately nerf the the things that the Balewind is most often taken to deal with. 

Tzeentch don’t take Balewind as they want to, they take it because they HAVE to - because of the horde meta. There are better options for teleporting in casters or summoning them for sniping purposes, but the Balewind GS combo is the only answer to hordes in the army (especially after multiple nerfs to the Windthief Charm).

Chaffing up hordes with Split is a partial answer - but Split has been nerfed in two ways - both position AND crucially if you wipe a unit of 10 Pinks in a relevant phase (Split doesn’t work in charge phase at all), then you have to deploy the Blues immediately or not at all. This is almost always a nerf as other units (beyond the one that wiped the Pinks) can shred the newly created unit. This means that split isn’t as powerful as it used to be (which is fine bakance wise) - however this is VERY poorly understood. It is not helped by the FAQ being ambiguous on the point.

30 Tzaangor could be an answer, but isn’t viable given that the Arcanite Battalions are the worst in the game and Tzeentch are so dependent on being 3 drops or fewer (since otherwise all those 6+ and 5+ Save casters are dead and a lot of other stuff is dead before Treacherous Bond and Mystic Shield and Shield of Fate go up).

These Battalions are effectively narrative only (with Skyshoal and Cabal being partial exceptions).

Finally regarding setup rules - don’t nerf the core mechanic as that is a guaranteed recipe for unintended consequences. I think the Vanguard Wing fix is going back to the old 20 Liberator model cap - fewer grand hammers and no discount for them - plus no stacking of Lantern +1 to save with itself and no stacking of Bless Weapons with itself.

Split needs to be able to deploy within 3” so that it actually does its main purpose - blogging down melee troops. This is impossible if you cannot setup within 3”. 

Changehost should also be a pure setup (again it has been nerfed significantly already - cannot swap one unit twice which also weakens the Balewind incidentally).

Bloodletters hordes are strong - I lost to Dan Ford on his road to victory at Blackout - a great @Chris Tomlin event. I lost because of his clever use of unbinding. Plenty of armies can outdrop Bloodletters and kill 17+ models in two units that are already in the middle of the table with a Battleshock largely doing the rest. Then you’ve got a good chance of winning.

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Most Kharadron players seems rather pessimistic when speaking competitivity. I am quite surprised to not see them more in tops.

They are probably acting in character for the army (almost as sneaky as Skaven). ?The KO chat thread is practically one long celebration of how broken they are and how easily you can take off a Mirror Shield Stardrake and the other supposedly tough heroes turn one. 

The Thunderer nerf is largely an irrelevance as they have focussed on Clown Car and also reduced drop count. Gary Percival is going to do well at the Masters with his one drop Clown Car.

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Another reason why Balewind is necessary is that fundamentally shooting is a lot better than magic in AoS. Mostly this is because you move then shoot - whereas you cast spells then move (cf. 40K). The ranges of debuff spells are ridiculous and does not reward the effort taken to invest in a debuff (e.g. Festus, Daemonsmith, Sorceress). 200 Points Balewind would completely kill those debuffers too.

The biggest reason why Balewind isn’t overpowered is that you can go to an event and only see 1-2 hordes in 5 games. I took 2 teleporting Medusae to Heat One and they had no worthwhile targets until game 4 - way too late.

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