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JackStreicher

Powercreep - Fact Or Fiction

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Since the FeC and Skaven rework there seems to be an increasing powercreep going on as far as I experienced it. (Gristlegore and quadripple pile-ins, rattling guns with the engineer)

now I read all the Khorne previews so far and all I see is „MWs in addition“, 16% Chance to deal 16 MWs. D6 MWs to all wizards while losing the spell and getting -2 to cast, D3+D6 MWs AND -1 to hit.  „Spells“ with no drawback which are uncounterable.

Now I am concerned if there is an ALARMING powercreep happening right now. I‘d like to know the communities opinion on this topic.

Edited by JackStreicher
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Both yes and no, it's just that GW randomly decides that some units/entire books should be amazing, while others.... not so much. I mean, compare Gloomspite to the new FEC, they're dimensions apart in terms of power, yet both are new books.

Of course, power comes and goes. I played Skryre back in the first GHB. It's the only army that I've ever played that was so OP that I sold it, because I felt like an ass-hat playing it :P They later got pretty nerfed, then got boosted back up a bit in the new book. The new FEC however, seems to be crazy powerful. A few competetive friends of mine have tried out FEC vs DoK, and the DoK player gets destroyed everytime, despite the FEC player making mistakes/rolling poorly. So I'd say there might be some powercreep, but it seems to be somewhat unintentional. 

Edited by Chickenbits
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I agree there is power creep.  In the short term.

Usually GW will make some units in a new book very powerful.  Then if there's feedback from the community about unbalanced, that unit will be nerfed in the next GHB.  Thought I noted for Daughters of Khaine, GW's approach was to give anti horde abilities to newer armies.

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17 minutes ago, JackStreicher said:

The biggest issue with the MW-Spam is that it‘s neither fun to the player nor to the opponent...

Indeed.  It was too prevalent.  It was toned down in the earlier armies and later armies tend to get a 6's save vs MW.  

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I think there is definitely power creep. I think the new books are all relatively balanced against each other. I'll go as far as to say all of AOS2 books are somewhat balanced against each other. I do have a problem with how everyone does a crazy amount of mortal wounds now. Its not reactive or fun to play against.I think GW is playing some rock paper scissors with balance. Khorne is really only to strong if your an FEC player but FEC players are to strong if you play most other factions, ect. ect. the rock paper scissors goes on.

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38 minutes ago, Future said:

I think GW is playing some rock paper scissors with balance. Khorne is really only to strong if your an FEC player but FEC players are to strong if you play most other factions, ect. ect. the rock paper scissors goes on.

I think there's a lot of truth in that.  The approach seems to be to balance across the course of a tournament, or multiple tournaments, rather than any pretence at making a large proportion of individual matchups relatively evenly matched.  The result is that yes, nothing is unbeatable, but it can create a lot of lopsided (and therefore potentially unengaging) individual matchups along the way.

If a given army is going 3-2 at an event, but all 5 matches are massive blowouts, is that "balanced"?  GW's current approach seems to be that yes, it is, but I'm not so sure.

For tournament players (like myself) this is a double edged sword.  On the one hand, nobody enjoys a non-game.  On the other hand, considering and strategising about how you can take down the latest "broken" thing doing the rounds is one of the best aspects of the hobby.  But for all the garage gamers out there I think this is especially something that needs to be considered.  A lot of people will become disengaged pretty quickly if every game is a hammering.

Edited by PlasticCraic
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I don't think power creep is quite the right word. I think that when aos2 came along many armies got a fairly significant power bump. A handful full of armies ; all the Duardin,  Beastclaw,  Ironjawz and Free peoples, got left behind somewhat.

If we count the Nurgle book as the start of aos2 all the books we have seen since then have been fairly well balanced.  There are a few things here and there that are a little out of whack.

Arch regents are too cheap, Reapers are too good in a LoN list, one of the Skaven endless spells is a little op. 

There are also other factors. If you compare FEC and gloomspite,  there are a few obvious issues. FEC have a limited number of kits that many old players will already have. Just add another dragon and an arch regent or two and you are good to go. The power in the list is also very obvious. Wind up your terrorgheists and let them go. 

Gloomspite is either a horde army or almost entirely relies on new kits. It is also quite a technical book to play. 

If you had a competent gloomspite player going against gristlegore with foreknowledge of their abilities, the gloomspite player should win every time. They have better board control, better magic,  tons of minuses to hit and some good counter units. A FEC blisterkin list would give a better match up. 

I think this is how GW thinks about balance. They are not aiming to balance any two lists against each other, but trying to give every book a few options that can compete. 

We also have an upcoming supplement that will offer new things for every army and and a balance patch in the next ghb. 

Hopefully the books I mentioned earlier get new books this year.

Mortal wound spam is a whole other conversation.

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Creep occurs but they try to cancel it out with adjustments of point values. I'm not exactly a competitive gamer so I'm not super bothered by the whole thing

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Honestly almost every new army release I've encountered since I started playing decades ago has initially been accused of power creep. People work out the counters and new armies come out which counteract particularly tricky combos. Occasionally there's an utterly broken unit or combo but it's much rarer than people make out. It's also generally a lot better these days thanks to the GHB's annual patches. In the old days, we'd still be stuck with un-nerfed Skyfires and Tzaangors at their original points, dominating for a whole edition until a new DoT book came out. 

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The Skarbrand example isn't great imo. Before he used to be able to outright slay anything provided it had 8 or less wounds, without any way to prevent it. Now he can do 16 mortal wounds, but provided little changes, he still has to get into combat. I play Freeguild and he'd be dead before he even completes his charge, since he doesn't fly.
Should Skarbrand be that powerful? Hell yes, it's Skarbrand. Does he have drawbacks like clipped wings? Yes, so just because he can do 16 mortal wounds doesn't mean he will. Terrorgheists are a problem because they come with everything you could possibly need.

If this means he will actually see play then so be it, because I still struggle to see a world where Skarbrand is taken regularly regardless of how many MWs he can deal.

I dislike Khorne in general; their utter reliance on a fundamentally unimportant single model (Bloodsecrator) is a bit of a turn off as I do not like auto includes that aren't say, the primary hero of an army. Also why I passionately dislike all this new terrain that forces you to buy it as it's free in game and a stab in the foot if you don't.

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On the surface I've felt the same, however it does seem to be that all of the new battletomes are being written with "tricks" that can be super powerful, but not long down the line there's a battletome that can be built as a complete hard counter.  Longer term it'll hopefully balance itself out - you'll know that if you decide to run a maxed out Gristlegore that there are half a dozen armies that will simply stop you in your tracks (i.e. you're going to want to tone it down and take something with a bit more variety).  Hopefully this year is going to see a lot of battletomes updates and refreshed, which should put us in a better place overall.

I do agree though that there seems to be a proliferation of Mortal Wounds added with each new battletome which I'm personally not a fan of.  Don't get me wrong, I think the Mortal Wound mechanic is great, but it just removes interaction within a game so the number an army can cause needs to be controlled.  In truth even "automatically inflicts a wound at -2 rend" would be better for a lot of abilities rather than a mortal wound.

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I think part of how GW are balancing is to try and release new armies that are counters to the meta prior to their release. At the moment the strongest armies have generally been horde based with powerful saves (DoK and LoN), so anti horde abilities and mortal wounds are a good counter. 

In aos 1 a unit having a save against mortal wounds was fairly rare, but now most armies have access to something that can give troops a 6 up or better. 

With the new khorne judgements it seems to me like they are explicitly designed to counter arkhan and nagash. 

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Power Creep is a complicated thing rooted in GW's history.

 

Lets take a step back to before 8th edition 40K when GW's pattern for both Fantasy and 40K was to release a big new rules edition and then update the codex/battletomes for the game very slowly over time. Each new book would come with a big update of models - adding new models as well as replacing some with new sculpts. They were big Gloomspite style launches of each codex/battletome. However the previous release for that army might have been years ago (esp if it was anything that wasn't Ultramarines or Chaos). As a result it wasn't just a big release, it was a huge release. So GW puts a lot of effort into marketing, builds up hype and also the new book was often "the most powerful ever!" 

 

This latter part I think was partly accidental because the updates were so slow you could well have more armies running on old than on new for quite a considerable length of time; there is also release bias where the doom and gloom people "It's broken" tend to raise their heads a little louder; but also part intentional in so much as GW didn't want and couldn't afford for the army launch to be a flop. So I think they erred on the side that if the army is really strong its better than if they are weak. If they are strong they will help drive sales, whilst a weak army might get a muted reaction from the community. Even though GW is a model company first the rules have always been there (the only time they weren't was AoS - and possibly some of the very very very very early days).

 

 

So powercreep became something most expected and which did happen more times than not. Of course it got less as the game got updated and more armies became "the most powerful ever"; however GW never finished editions back then. Heck I recall one edition of 40K the FAQ/Errata documents went out only weeks before the edition was retired and a brand new one released. Armies could miss whole editions (some even missed two!) so you'd get some armies running on very old rules with old balance and with less models. Dark Eldar and Necrons are two prime examples - a more modern one would be Sisters of Battle. 

Right now GW has had a total attitude change. The balancing and rules writing staff are still the same people so some elements are still there; but the release rate has gone nuts. 40K is basically completed now save for Sisters of Battle and GW had been adjusting balance via regular FAQ/Errata and annual handbook updates. 

AoS is slightly worse off because of its rather bumpy start in life, but it looks like this year is going to be a big year of Battletomes that should hopefully settle things. That said whilst AoS seems to have the overall, more robust rules of the two games its got two elements that have rather large issues.

1) The double turn - which in a game where each player takes a full turn of action before handing over, can be rather broken. Getting two full turns of moving, spells and attacks is insanely powerful and can tip a close situation into all out win for one player.

2) Summoning - which has always been a tricky thing with a rather spotty history. In a game where balance is tied to the point value of units on the table, any ability that lets you increase that value is always questionable. Right now some armies are capable of some really insane summoning prowess if used right. Some argue that the summoning is baked into the points of the army, others argue that even if it is it still unbalances the game

 

 

 

Personally I think we won't know the full story for AoS and if power creep is real or not until such time as the majority of the game is updated with current edition Battletomes.

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I think the power curve will even out as battletomes are updated. But I don’t like this inflation of mortal wound. This is just an unfun game mechanic. I actually liked it better as it was in 1.0, where it was rarer but also a good tool to have in the belt. 

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I think the term "Powercreep" gets thrown around all the time when people feel something is unfair, but without any further thought on what, how and why.

There are always balance issues in games like this. AoS has arguably one of the best balanced competitive scene amongst its competitors and it's issues are minor in comparison.

The strong factions in AoS aren't always the newer ones and while most new books can certainly compete, they don't outright beat everything before it. Not by a long shot!

In most peoples early reactions I see a clear combination where the grass is always greener and "WTF 16 MORTAL WOUNDS WHAT ARE THEY THINKING!?" without further concern about odds, costs and other downsides.

I feel that in AoS players still have a lot of inluence during the game outside of listbuilding, where tactical movement, dice rolls and creative use of your army strengths can change the course of battle more often then not.

So while there may be a case of powercreep going on, it is done in a slow, steady wave of releases where everyone can join in at any time.

On a side note: "free" summoning has nothing to do with it, c'mon can we get over that already?

 

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The mortal wounds given to everyone was the answer to all of the 2+ rerolling saves that ignored 1-2 rend that was heavily prevailent in the early 1.0 meta. It gives armies ways to deal with heavily armored units like Sequitors and the originally feared Fulminators where they have little to no rend.

My bro and his friend still talk about the immortal resurrecting  units of vampire knights and other near impossible to kill or downright impossible to destroy combos.

As a fun idea over summer is putting the super broken units and armies from 1.0 with heir old rules vs the new powerful armies of today to see how big the changes are.

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I think it's just a bit of a interim period, I think since Gloomspite Gitz we've seen the next "level" of codexes, Skaven, Fec and Khorne seem to follow that trend and I think all new books will be on this new level. 

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8 hours ago, JackStreicher said:

now I read all the Khorne previews so far and all I see is „MWs in addition“, 16% Chance to deal 16 MWs.

I think you mean Skarbrands Ability Carnage with this. But in his case there is actually a little nerf in between. The ability did ignor everything that could save against (so he could kill Morathi with one attack even with her ability that she could only get 3 Wounds). This addition seems to be gone, so now Aftersaves, Stone Skeleton or The Iron Heart of Khaine now work against Carnage.

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Though so have to say that the Khorne Judgements feel very powerful. Not only can the opposing player not move them or dispell, but the Khorne player can have a chance to move endless spells depending on what is one the table.

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I look at it from the other perspective.  Mortal wound spam is good because it removes the dice ability to wreck your plans.  Its kind of like playing Total Warhammer.  You know in Total Warhammer that a unit when it attacks does a certain damage.  In AOS, dice deviate all of that.  With mortal wound spam, you know you won't have to worry about having bad to hit rolls or your opponent having hot save rolls ****** your attack over.

And I think spammed summoning is the opposite of spam mortal wounds.  Its just a mechanic that gives you guys back and the two cancel each other out.

Is it "fair"?  I don't think its fair or unfair.  Its just minimizing dice out of the equation, something a lot of tournament players talk about, and I'm glad the GW team is doing the same.  There is still plenty for the dice to do, but the new books make it more and more so the outcomes are more steady.

Now it may not be "fair" to armies that don't have the ability to do that (having mortal wound spam or summoning spam), but thats when you either have to be ok with it or buy new models that can do it.  If you want to win games, you have to keep your armies fresh and on top of the curve.

Edited by Dead Scribe
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I think the problem with the mortal wound spam is that makes "elite units" and Behemots with high saves kinda pointless.

A Hag Naar witch elf has a better odd of surviving a Mortal wound (1 in 6) than a Leviadon (0 chance), who has a great save of 3.

Saves are becaming pointless, even tho it is probably taken in account for models point cost.

On the other hand we have a lot of "save after save" against mortal wounds on frail units/armies.

 

I think AoS need a severe reduction on Mortal Wound abilties so saves will be relevant again.

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I think it’s going to need to be seen in context with the rest of the battletome. These previews always tend to promote the powerful stuff but won’t cover the things that aren’t so favourable (like the bloodletter change in wrath and rapture). 

 

In Skarbrand’s case we haven’t seen the whole warscroll even. As others have pointed out it already makes him slightly less dangerous against Morathi, or anything with a mortal wound save. The other big question might be whether he still has all his rules for rerolls, or whether carnage still has an attack characteristic for example. In the past it did, and with rerolls and easy ways to buff the number of attacks it was possible for Skarbrand to instant kill a stardrake or a leviadon before this change. 

The new endless spells are a step above anything that came before, admittedly, although there’s been a definite trend with more and more becoming no risk for your own army ever since the first faction specific spell came out. Points cost will matter- if the d3+ d6 one is  priced like the purple sun I don’t think they’ll be breaking anything, but if it’s 40 points that will be quite filthy. 

I’m sure I saw a lot of panic over the bad moon mortal wounds for Gloomspite until the full battletome was out. Is anyone still worried about that now? 

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I see the axe being priced about 50-70pts. It’s about as powerful as the Pendulum and about as good with its movement though the needing to roll to deal the mortals before the damage gives a 1 in 6 failure.  So I can easily see it being priced similar.

 Since they worded Skatbrand as just rolling a dice i would guess they removed Carnage’s attack profile unless it’s become an additional damage on top of his regular attack with the weapon.

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@Thiagoma, I think your post mirrors my thoughts pretty well. It feels like rend, an actually engaging game mechanic, is made obsolete by mortal wounds. You cannot do anything to prevent a mw (yes I know ward saves are a thing, sometimes). The player is reduced to a spectator, who’s simply watching how high the opponent rolls and removes models accordingly. And that’s boring as ******. Yawn. 

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