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The Lingering Shadow of AoS 1.0


Black Blade
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After participating in my local escalation league I've noticed a trend in AoS when it comes to units that were released during different periods. Just for some background, I sold all my 40k models and dove into Fantasy right at the Endtimes. Those of you who know your history will recall that it did not take very long for the Endtimes to transition to AoS. I played for maybe the first two months but just kind of gave up after the only opponent  I could get locally was a guy who played 40k demons and that became very stale quite fast. Fast forward to AoS 2.0 and I'm back in the saddle diving into the Sacrosanct chamber and playing against all these colorful armies like IDK and Nighthaunt etc. I'm having a blast but in my more competitive games I'm seeing a trend that almost everyone else notices, the new stuff is just better most of the time. However not being cynical I have some thoughts as to why this is the case that don't involve intentional marketing practices.

(I'm examining this from a Stormcast perspective because that's what I really know but I want to hear others input on where else this might be the case like Blades of Khorne, Ironjawz etc because I am certainly not making the argument this all applies to Stormcast only).

The obvious units left behind by the conditions in which they were developed [first run AoS] are Liberators, Judicators (w/x-bows), Paladins of all stripes, Desolators, Celestant-Prime, and Prosecutors. Some of this could be attributed to the under-costed nature of the new releases which is not too extreme in my opinion; Sequitors and Evocators going up 20 points each would feel right to me but also their rules and profiles lead to this disparity. Sequitors have more than twice the grand weapons, a better special rule and their base weapons have a better profile across the board. Thematically and from a game-play perspective there is just too much daylight between the two units. 

Looking at Evocators, they are better than every paladin option, better than every dracothian guard option pushing out almost all other elite options. Again partly due to cost but also due to rules. Evocators don't have much in the way of defense and this is where I think they could be competed with along with a points bump. The other elites should fall about 20 and Evo's rise about 20 (I actually think Dracolines should fall 40 but thats for another chat). In addition though Paladins should have the 5" movement have better attack profiles and get a defensive buff. I think Evo's are a good unit, if undercosted but I dont believe in punishing a strong unit just for being strong. When Paladins were developed they were put into a game without points and with a very casual bent. All Paladins have reliquaries on their backs which would be an excellent excuse to give them a save after the save or something to that effect making them more durable than Evo's, then upping their attack profiles by 1 would put them on Evo's damage output level. 

The Celestant Prime is not a bad unit necessarily, he finds himself allied into a lot of lists but he offers very little to his home faction. His biggest issue is being a special character with 8 wounds and a 3+ flat save.  I don't have to tell you that seems incredibly fragile on a 360 point unit that is supposed to be trading blows in combat. He needs more but I'm not even sure how to adjust him.

First run AoS has a very bad binary problem. Protectors, and the Stardrake I think highlight this issue the most. Protectors were taken because shooting used to be such a problem in the old edition but their monster hunting design makes them very binary in combat and easily avoidable. The Stardrake is an awesome model that still see's a lot of play but it's presence on the game board is disappointing to me. He is an unkillable mountain, probably too unkillable for my tastes. His combat output is clearly dated however. A lot of his damage is locked behind conditional checks. He's not very effective at fighting other monsters which is something you would like him to be able to do as well as engage hordes. Right now though if he fights some elite cavalry? Probably kiss those tail and bite attacks goodbye, won't pass the checks. Even worse when fighting a Mawcrusha. Those claw attacks? They are bad, at best they are equal to a Dracolines claws. That doesn't make sense to me and he would not be designed this way if he were released today, the only reason he sticks around is his tankable nature which keeps him limping into lists. He should probably make Dracothian guard battleline as well.

My bottom line is the first run AoS releases were largely developed without matched play/ points in mind leading to intentional binary unit design where the binary/ specific nature of the unit WAS THE BALANCE in a system without points and this should be remedied. Thank you for litening to my TED talk, please share your thoughts on this topic, I'm expecting to hear about Blood Warriors and Goregruntas below.

Edited by Black Blade
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Something like this happens every edition update, and since AoS and AoS 2.0 are largely the same game (to the point that I'd argue that 2.0 is more of a 1.5 edition in how most of the mechanics work) the problem is largely just a matter of the devs becoming better at writing rules for the system, knowing how to represent things better and generally just getting better at doing what they should be doing in making the game work. AoS is still in that ugly duckling stage of growth too so it's going to be a while before it really settles down. It doesn't help that the concept of points and how they should be applied to models seems to still be undergoing some flux in the design team, but things are getting better and are smoothing out as we go so I remain optimistic.

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This reminds me a lot of the transition from 5th edition to 6th. I'm excited for all of the non-battletome factions to get their books, especially the aelves. Hopefully GW won't leave any of them in the lurch, like they did to Wood Elves and Chaos Dwarves back then.

Technically, Chaos Dwarves are still in said lurch.

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On 11/16/2018 at 9:55 AM, Black Blade said:

Some of this could be attributed to the under-costed nature of the new releases which is not too extreme in my opinion; Sequitors and Evocators going up 20 points each would feel right to me but also their rules and profiles lead to this disparity. 

I think you are right on both counts.

Gunkulator currently values Liberators at 105 (vs 100 GHB18), and Sequitors at 145 (vs 120 GHB18).  This may not seem "too extreme" but put it in context... extended through a 2000 point game, that kind of disparity is equivalent to putting an extra 420 points on the table.  It is significant.

But your other point is also very interesting and I think valid.  There is a trend with some new units coming out with more of the kinds of special rules that can give virtual points advantages if used right.  They are more flexible, and good generals can effectively get an additional points advantage from them through good play (moreso than is possible with many older units).  

Edited by Lemon Knuckles
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Thank you, I didn't realize previously how idiotic I was in my personal understanding. The gentle and compassionate responses I have received in this thread have truly shown me the error of my ways, and brought me up to a higher plane of comprehension.

Maybe let's have a discussion instead of glibly disparaging the ignorant, hm?

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51 minutes ago, Gothicwaltz said:

Thank you, I didn't realize previously how idiotic I was in my personal understanding. The gentle and compassionate responses I have received in this thread have truly shown me the error of my ways, and brought me up to a higher plane of comprehension.

Maybe let's have a discussion instead of glibly disparaging the ignorant, hm?

I think the point was that Forge World is part of Games Workshop and thus while the rules aren't written or play tested by the main team (at least in their inception, the main team has been doing points readjustments for FW points costs in 40k) they are official GW rules and are more official than something homebrewed up in your free time.

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4 hours ago, Gothicwaltz said:

Thank you, I didn't realize previously how idiotic I was in my personal understanding. The gentle and compassionate responses I have received in this thread have truly shown me the error of my ways, and brought me up to a higher plane of comprehension.

Maybe let's have a discussion instead of glibly disparaging the ignorant, hm?

@Gothicwaltz I wrote a lot there and I noticed you replied with a "laughing reaction." Which part did you find laughable?

 

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