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Why I don't like 'best army' style tables


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I see these mostly in 40k, but more and more recently in seeing them creep into AoS. They're not a new thing, but they seem to be becoming more popular.

It's the sort of table that will tell you which army is winning most at events. There are often no other metrics beyond wins and losses for factions.

The thing that bugs me about this is that it doesn't tell anyone anything useful. It's meant to be a general indicator, except it's not. No matter how many games it's done over. This format doesn't work for Warhammer of any kind. Here's why:

 - Factions are represented as their name only. Like "daughters of khaine".  Armies are diverse things. Change a few units and the entire function, capability and playstyle changes on its head. When you try to say a faction is good because it wins, what won? Was it one type of list or a mixture?

- How skilled are the people playing those lists? If the best players all agree on a faction as they think will do well, how much does their skill and experience influence how well their armies perform?

- How skilled were the opponents in these games?

- What factions got played against? If Deepkin won three tournaments lately, who were their opponents? How many Kharadron players did they face?

- What scenarios were played at these events? Some scenarios favour some armies more than others

- Dice are random. Furthermore, it's not unusual for the result of a game to come down to one dice roll.

- You often find that a top performing list is also one of the most fielded factions. With no other factor in consideration, it is already more likely that that faction will win the event than not, and on top of that, there will be more occurrences of that faction playing against itself in one or more games, giving an artificial boost to its success (in terms of chances of a faction *winning* an event).

 

With some of these factors individually, you could make the argument that things could average out over time.

But there are far too many variables above. I think the biggest is player skill. There was a 40k adepticon recently where three of the absolute best players all agreed to go with a mixed eldar list utilising a particular combo. They each placed highly, leading many to conclude that this combo was overpowered. And it may be. But would those players have placed just as highly using other armies, because they're already top players?

I think these kind of lists can be useful in games where there are less factors to consider. But in Warhammer i don't think it works.

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I can appreciate why you might not take anything from it, which is totally fair and I agree with a few of your points. We're ultimately playing a very random game, which isn't balanced in its self so while the data produced by excellent people like @LLV is 100% accurate and precise the question then moves to me is it valuable?

I agree that you can't draw 100% defined conclusions from the collusion of all the data, for many reasons. Outliers like chris's pheonix temple can skew it and a lot of other factors go into numbers that appear. That said it is a fantastic tool to take a look at the game in which just has not been done before, you can look at things like how well represented a army is in the current meta. Things like armies win %, or which armies are losing the most.

While correlation doesn't always lead to causation, a lot of the time the data produced is massively valuable. Does DoK having a 72% win rate / most 5-0s at a event mean if you take the army you'll suddenly be taking GTs left right and centre? No but it does show they most consistently place well which is a good indicator of IF a army is too good, be it too many good rules, too low points or a combination of the both. 

You can look at trends like which alliance is most represented, are there any fringe armies which people have missed? Chris's Phoenix temple might be a super legit army that people have just looked over and the data could show / disprove that.

All in all I value this sort of data but at the same time do say people should use this data with a pinch of salt. Like any experiment or collation of data it's not a document which is stating facts (some do, some don't) more a set of values that you can look to create discussion, look at trends and draw conclusions from. 

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DoK would likely be even higher rated if it weren't for me taking a list with min WE and nig stompy stuff instead.

 

And only having a 2/3 at 3 events with 'em.  So yeah, players and builds effect the rating. But it evens out given enough data gathered. 

Edited by Bananaman
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Everything you said could also be applied to MtG, DotA, Hearthstone, League of Legends etc. None of these games are any less ‘ random’ or any less ‘skill based’ than warhammer, yet huge efforts go into maintaining meta % and win loss tracking for those games.

I’m an ex warhammer fantasy player coming back to AoS after playing competitive MtG. My first questions were- what’s decent and how much is it played. Where as in any of the games I mentioned I,as a new player, could have had an answer to that question from a quick search there was nothing in AoS except forum topics which largely resulted in conjecture and people arguing backwards and forwards trying to be the loudest voice in the room.

As others have said the data isn’t there to try and prove anything 100%. I’ve never made any such claim. It’s there as a community resource for new and old players alike who are interested in it. It’s just a tool. How we as players and a community use what is presented is up to us.

It’s opened my eyes to how little some factions are played at tournaments. Im even seeing some players look at some of the lesser played factions and champion them. Who knows maybe there’s is another ‘Chris Tomlin/Phoenix temple’ out there. I’d love to see dispossessed rise up and start taking out tournaments, or Darkling Covens start 4-1 regularly.

In the very least the fact we are even having this conversation I think is testament to the increased interest in the ‘tournament scene’ updated results and data can bring to the community. Giving more of the spotlight to tournaments and events and the tireless work that the TOs put into such things I think is a great side affect and IMO will help grow the community and attendance at these events even more.

anyway that’s my 2 cents.... not that I’m biased for any reason....?

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, LLV said:

Everything you said could also be applied to MtG, DotA, Hearthstone, League of Legends etc. None of these games are any less ‘ random’ or any less ‘skill based’ than warhammer, yet huge efforts go into maintaining meta % and win loss tracking for those games.

At least one significant he said could not: that armies are described only by their faction, unless you're telling me that data from MtG includes descriptions like "blue won the tournament."

Now, certain lists might be adequately defined by just their faction name because they only have one play style, but I find that rather unlikely, and descriptions like "Destruction" give you barely any useful information about the meta.

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7 hours ago, LLV said:

Everything you said could also be applied to MtG, DotA, Hearthstone, League of Legends etc. None of these games are any less ‘ random’ or any less ‘skill based’ than warhammer, yet huge efforts go into maintaining meta % and win loss tracking for those games.

I’m an ex warhammer fantasy player coming back to AoS after playing competitive MtG. My first questions were- what’s decent and how much is it played. Where as in any of the games I mentioned I,as a new player, could have had an answer to that question from a quick search there was nothing in AoS except forum topics which largely resulted in conjecture and people arguing backwards and forwards trying to be the loudest voice in the room.

As others have said the data isn’t there to try and prove anything 100%. I’ve never made any such claim. It’s there as a community resource for new and old players alike who are interested in it. It’s just a tool. How we as players and a community use what is presented is up to us.

It’s opened my eyes to how little some factions are played at tournaments. Im even seeing some players look at some of the lesser played factions and champion them. Who knows maybe there’s is another ‘Chris Tomlin/Phoenix temple’ out there. I’d love to see dispossessed rise up and start taking out tournaments, or Darkling Covens start 4-1 regularly.

In the very least the fact we are even having this conversation I think is testament to the increased interest in the ‘tournament scene’ updated results and data can bring to the community. Giving more of the spotlight to tournaments and events and the tireless work that the TOs put into such things I think is a great side affect and IMO will help grow the community and attendance at these events even more.

anyway that’s my 2 cents.... not that I’m biased for any reason....?

 

 

 

 

I can't remember where but I distinctly remember watching a youtube video (or was it an article?) about Randomness in games and how it essentially serves as a way for lesser skilled players to have an edge over higher skilled players since it's chance rather than skill, taking away control from the higher skill player.

Thats not an insult to either type of players, just an observation. It what makes these games both exciting and frustrating that sometimes RNG is what wins the day. (Especially in the case of Hearthstone, a game where some cards that literally can pull from the entire library of cards in rotation. For example, Evolve Shaman!)

 

 

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Random can throw a game to be sure; anyone who has played magic the gathering has had times when they've drawn no mana or nothing but mana cards - both generally breaking any well made deck.

That said any lesser player who relies on random to will, will lose. And in the vast majority of cases the better deck and player will win most times. 

 

Random in wargames isn't really there to give weaker players a chance; its more there to remove perfect planning and to introduce an element of uncertainty into the game. This builds into the design of armies and of the game - do you commit all your forces on a risky attack that could win the game or do you hold back a turn and then have more units to take into that battle etc... Because its part of the game its part of the skill of the game in balancing that potential, rather than balancing absolutes. 

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20 minutes ago, LLV said:

Sorry rut simply - You're wrong.

Here:

https://www.mtggoldfish.com/tournament/competitive-standard-league-2018-10-04#paper

MtG 5-0 decks from yesterday.

4x "Golgari Aggro" - all different.

3x 'Boros Aggro'- all different.

The list goes on.

Us saying "Daughters of Khaine" and 3 lists being slightly different is EXACTLY the same as MtG saying "Golgari Aggro" and the decks being slightly different. It makes the tracking of how that class of deck is doing no less relevent.

 

 

Except that it's you that's wrong. I'd already acknowledged that some descriptions are decent. One, or even a few correct examples doesn't mean all are correct. There is likely NO equivalent to describing lists as Grand Alliance (anything). I wouldn't even say that many descriptions are useful in the AoS lists. "Legions of Nagash" is probably the most relevant example of this - very common, and vague. 

Edited by EldritchX
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41 minutes ago, EldritchX said:

Except that it's you that's wrong. I'd already acknowledged that some descriptions are decent. One, or even a few correct examples doesn't mean all are correct. There is likely NO equivalent to describing lists as Grand Alliance (anything). I wouldn't even say that many descriptions are useful in the AoS lists. "Legions of Nagash" is probably the most relevant example of this - very common, and vague. 

I'll agree to disagree. I could spend hours providing more evidence but you're not worth my time as youve already made up your mind. Have fun with that :)

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41 minutes ago, LLV said:

I'll agree to disagree. I could spend hours providing more evidence but you're not worth my time as youve already made up your mind. Have fun with that :)

Funny, that actually sounds like you're describing yourself. And do yourself a favour and learn some logic. "hours providing evidence" would not advance your argument because it would do nothing to disprove that describing a list as "Destruction" or "Legions of Nagash" does very little to help in understanding the meta. Neither of those terms tell you anywhere near enough about the list composition and strategy to make informed decisions about what to bring, unlike in MtG where the descriptors do a pretty good job of doing so. 

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15 hours ago, AaronWIlson said:

I can appreciate why you might not take anything from it, which is totally fair and I agree with a few of your points. We're ultimately playing a very random game, which isn't balanced in its self so while the data produced by excellent people like @LLV is 100% accurate and precise the question then moves to me is it valuable?

I agree that you can't draw 100% defined conclusions from the collusion of all the data, for many reasons. Outliers like chris's pheonix temple can skew it and a lot of other factors go into numbers that appear. That said it is a fantastic tool to take a look at the game in which just has not been done before, you can look at things like how well represented a army is in the current meta. Things like armies win %, or which armies are losing the most.

While correlation doesn't always lead to causation, a lot of the time the data produced is massively valuable. Does DoK having a 72% win rate / most 5-0s at a event mean if you take the army you'll suddenly be taking GTs left right and centre? No but it does show they most consistently place well which is a good indicator of IF a army is too good, be it too many good rules, too low points or a combination of the both. 

You can look at trends like which alliance is most represented, are there any fringe armies which people have missed? Chris's Phoenix temple might be a super legit army that people have just looked over and the data could show / disprove that.

All in all I value this sort of data but at the same time do say people should use this data with a pinch of salt. Like any experiment or collation of data it's not a document which is stating facts (some do, some don't) more a set of values that you can look to create discussion, look at trends and draw conclusions from. 

It’s probably looked over (Phoenix Temple) because people don’t know. 

The Elves don’t have a Start Collecting! Box, they’re not on display in GW stores as they’re only pushing newer armies (not even beastmen had a spot until just recently...) and they don’t have a lot of units. 

Theyre a weird small niche army that most people probably don’t see and GW employees never talk about it. 

Well some of my evidence is anecdotal but the past 2 managers in my local GW official store never talk about the old armies, they let customers ask questions about what they see on the wall and go from there. They’re sort of trained like that I think so new people just don’t know they’re a thing I guess. 

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1 hour ago, LLV said:

Still going. Nice ?

Ok I’ll bite (I really should not feed trolls I know....)- if that’s the case explain to me the cards in BW Control. From your reasoning you should be able to get pretty close. 

Thats me being nice - some decks are just described as colours. For instance I could have had you tell me the cards in a WUR deck.... 

TBH I agree with the Eldritch guy. 

I don’t follow tournaments at all, so when I see Legions of Naghash, since I recently started playing Death myself, it means absolutely nothing. 

Legions of Nagash isn’t an army. It’s a Battletome. Grand Host of Nagash, Legion of Blood, Legion of Sacrament, Legion of Night, Soulblight and Death Grand Alliance are all in Legions of Nagash.

What Legions of Nagash list is winning? Mostly Deathrattle? Mostly Deadwalkers? Mortrarch armies? Is Soulblight all vampire armies winning? 

Anyone done well with Neferata? 

What is Legions of Nagash? Anyone using a Mortis Engine or Corpse Cart? Anyone even using Grave Guard? I’ve heard the ghost options for LoN are great and Nagash himself is nasty. Are Morghasts good? Are people using them? 

This doesn’t tell me anything because there’re like 13 different ways to play Legions of Nagash and Legion of Night doesn’t play like Legion of Sacrament and those don’t play very similarly to Grand Host of Nagash because they all emphasize completely different things with their battle traits, command traits and artifacts... 

Also is anyone using Battalions? I’ve been messing around with Deathmarch and I really like it, and I know ianob won a tournament with it, but as far as I know we’re the only two people using it at all. 

Anyone used Crimson Keep? 

Edited by Ravinsild
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1 hour ago, LLV said:

Still going. Nice ?

Ok I’ll bite (I really should not feed trolls I know....)- if that’s the case explain to me the cards in BW Control. From your reasoning you should be able to get pretty close. 

Thats me being nice - some decks are just described as colours. For instance I could have had you tell me the cards in a WUR deck.... 

Do you know the format and thus the card set available? Do you understand that the word Control is already far more descriptive than a faction name? Knowing these and the colours involved, are you able to narrow down the possibilities of the composition and strategy? Even the number of each card in the deck is quite predictable because of the 4 card limit. Even failing all of these, are you able to otherwise locate a description of this fairly easily on the net? 

Can you do anything even close to this with "LoN" or "Destruction"? Are seriously trying to convince anyone that the MtG tourney results lists fail as badly at describing the meta as the AoS lists do? MtG is a far more well-established, researched and tested environment, and you failing to understand this probably contributed to you making your erroneous statement in the first place. 

Edited by EldritchX
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12 minutes ago, Ravinsild said:

TBH I agree with the Eldritch guy. 

I don’t follow tournaments at all, so when I see Legions of Naghash, since I recently started playing Death myself, it means absolutely nothing. 

Legions of Nagash isn’t an army. It’s a Battletome. Grand Host of Nagash, Legion of Blood, Legion of Sacrament, Legion of Night, Soulblight and Death Grand Alliance are all in Legions of Nagash.

What Legions of Nagash list is winning? Mostly Deathrattle? Mostly Deadwalkers? Mortrarch armies? Is Soulblight all vampire armies winning? 

Anyone done well with Neferata? 

What is Legions of Nagash? Anyone using a Mortis Engine or Corpse Cart? Anyone even using Grave Guard? I’ve heard the ghost options for LoN are great and Nagash himself is nasty. Are Morghasts good? Are people using them? 

This doesn’t tell me anything because there’re like 13 different ways to play Legions of Nagash and Legion of Night doesn’t play like Legion of Sacrament and those don’t play very similarly to Grand Host of Nagash because they all emphasize completely different things with their battle traits, command traits and artifacts... 

Also is anyone using Battalions? I’ve been messing around with Deathmarch and I really like it, and I know ianob won a tournament with it, but as far as I know we’re the only two people using it at all. 

Anyone used Crimson Keep? 

Exactly. And we don't even need to go as far as LoN see this problem. Even for a Battletome as small as BCR there is more than one decent play style. Only the narrowest and least flexible factions or Battletomes could be reasonably used to describe an archetype (maybe DoK, although I'm far from familiar with them). 

And this is precisely what the OP mentioned, which I happen to agree with. 

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wow - just read through EldritchX 33 posts. Each one arguing or disagreeing with someone. No positive content whatsoever- just contrarianism at is finest. And people wonder why our hobby is so isololationist - exhibit A. 

good job mate.

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10 minutes ago, LLV said:

Good job of making someone that’s put a lot of effort into a resource for community feel like it’s not wanted. I see why this stuff has never been done before- because people like EldritchX.

good job mate !

wow - just read through EldritchX 33 posts. Each one arguing or disagreeing with someone. No positive content whatsoever- just contrarianism at is finest. And people wonder why our hobby is so isololationist - exhibit A. 

As I said- good job mate.

Well what if you had a key way to differentiate armies? Like Between Ironjawz it’s mostly either Bloodtoof Style or the Gorefist style, which are similar but different. 

Same with death, what if you had the list and put down “Grand Host of Nagash” or “Legion of Night” or something? They have to include that information to submit to a tournament right? 

Would it break the data if the mixed Destruction was instead like, “Giant Army” since people play giants but they don’t have their own subfaction or anything so they just play them as GA Destruction? 

I think maybe subfactions or even naming it by commonly used battalions would help a lot. 

Like Stormcast can be shooty, magic or melee right? Which ones are doing well? Could you put sub-dividers like Stormcast melee focus 38%, Stormcast shooting focus 62%, Stormcast magic focus 5% or something? 

Its a lot of work but it could help people get a more clear idea of what kind of playstyle and actual army is being used. 

With some armies it’s obvious like 99.9% of the time Blades of Khorne means Gore Pilgrims but if you’re me then you keep trying to use Skulltake Battalion. 

Obviously easier said than done though or if it’s even possible to know all of this information so detailed. 

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There’s no need to differentiate armies. I’ll stand by if mtg presents something as WUR - 3 colours with Zero context, the broad factions work for this exercise. The only context you get from mtg showing something as it’s base colours is looking at the deck in question. This will be presented very soon. 

Put simply- if you don’t like the data, and are not ready for it, don’t look at it. That will be my last contribution to this thread. 

 

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50 minutes ago, LLV said:

wow - just read through EldritchX 33 posts. Each one arguing or disagreeing with someone. No positive content whatsoever- just contrarianism at is finest. And people wonder why our hobby is so isololationist - exhibit A. 

good job mate.

I've been really quite patient with you but this takes the cake. It's rather pathetic, having been proven wrong, that your aren't man enough to admit it and feel the need to find some way of attacking. And in trying so hard to do so, make further fallacious statements. 

My opening post in this thread was to defend one of the OP's points, the very definition of agreeing with someone. The criticism of the weakness in the labeling of items on the list, and pay attention here, implicity suggest specific improvements that can be made. At no point did I even suggest that these endeavours are worthless or should be discontinued. News flash: people can appreciate something and still give constructive criticism, and one expects that people are mature and secure enough to see that for what it is. 

And BTW, contrarianism is disagreeing for the sake of it. Correcting someone's information or logic is far from that. 

Edited by EldritchX
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20 minutes ago, LLV said:

There’s no need to differentiate armies. I’ll stand by if mtg presents something as WUR - 3 colours with Zero context, the broad factions work for this exercise. The only context you get from mtg showing something as it’s base colours is looking at the deck in question. This will be presented very soon. 

Put simply- if you don’t like the data, and are not ready for it, don’t look at it. That will be my last contribution to this thread. 

 

The difference is the context clues. MTG has sets, usually blocks of 2 or 3, and out of those only a handful of good cards. It’s not all the white, blue and red cards ever made, it’s all the white blue and red cards out of idk Ravnica block. 

Granted, the same could be said for Warscrolls, there’s only a handful per faction and only the best ones get chosen, but not always. Because in MTG you’re constantly getting new blocks, whereas in AoS it’s also about aesthetic and time. You build and paint your own army and choose models you like, so sometimes someone might do really well at a tournament using a dark horse list, but MTG doesn’t work that way. The decks are solved and nothing can really break the meta. 

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29 minutes ago, Ravinsild said:

Well what if you had a key way to differentiate armies? Like Between Ironjawz it’s mostly either Bloodtoof Style or the Gorefist style, which are similar but different. 

Same with death, what if you had the list and put down “Grand Host of Nagash” or “Legion of Night” or something? They have to include that information to submit to a tournament right? 

Would it break the data if the mixed Destruction was instead like, “Giant Army” since people play giants but they don’t have their own subfaction or anything so they just play them as GA Destruction? 

I think maybe subfactions or even naming it by commonly used battalions would help a lot. 

Like Stormcast can be shooty, magic or melee right? Which ones are doing well? Could you put sub-dividers like Stormcast melee focus 38%, Stormcast shooting focus 62%, Stormcast magic focus 5% or something? 

Its a lot of work but it could help people get a more clear idea of what kind of playstyle and actual army is being used. 

With some armies it’s obvious like 99.9% of the time Blades of Khorne means Gore Pilgrims but if you’re me then you keep trying to use Skulltake Battalion. 

Obviously easier said than done though or if it’s even possible to know all of this information so detailed. 

Thankful you, Ravinsild. This would be exactly the kind of evolution I think would be great to see in the tourney summaries. 

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I also agree with Eldritch here.

AoS has too many variables and extra layers that aren't comparible to MtG, HS and the like. Even in those games the lists don't decide everything, but their influence is way bigger then in AoS.

I believe that looking at tournament lists and data is useful to get certain information, but it is far from able to determine the best army or best anything really. It mostly shows popular choices and a part of their influence.

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As a non-MtG player those tournament winning list names are completely useless. It's literally a bunch of letters and a word you need to know card game stuff to understand. On the other hand, when I see LoN as an AoS player I immediately have some idea of what it means (though I would like Nagash and non-Nagash separated).

At the end of the day no matter how descriptive you are you're going to have to go elsewhere to get a proper list analysis anyway meaning that things like 'Destruction' provide just as much help as 'WUR Control' or 'Ashe' for their respective groups. Unless you provide me with a literally play by play knowing that DoK is winning lots gives me no real information other than I need to look into them for which these kind of tables provide ample data to go on.

The problem is often that people are so used to their own communities and jargon they don't realise that this kind of data is useful as a pointer of what to look up (which is all it can ever truly hope to be).

As a new player coming here with its well divided section, whilst seeing Legion of Nagash doesn't tell me a huge amount, it does tell me that if I go and look into the Legion of Nagash these I'd be going in the right direction rather than having to aimless wander through every single thread.

Edit: just want to point out that people are using the fact that only certain cards etc are used in certain colours in MtG. Again, as a non-MtG player that is useless to me and fits exactly the same with AoS where a seasoned player knows that certain units will not get much use in tournaments. If you know the context etc already then these lists are merely a way for you to get some idea of their true popularity and how many tournaments they are winning. For people without the context they are a good way to know where to start looking.

Edited by Yoshiya
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