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Enoby

"Battleshock needs an overhaul" discussion

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I've recently been getting back into AoS and while I've mostly had a good time, there has been one thing nagging me above all others - that is, the battleshock phase.  Or, perhaps better said as the lack of a battleshock phase in most armies. 

The current discussions about monsters on the rumour thread has reminded me of this issue and I want to gather other people's opinions. 

Personally, I think battleshock immunity is too easy to get. It's a universal command ability (inspiring presence), often an passive effect (e.g. herdstone, Daughters of Khaine allegiance, Ossiarch Bonereapers allegiance, Slaves to Darkness unidivided mark, Archaon's Host of the Everchosen, Loonshrine), and often a command ability that improves upon inspiring presence (e.g. verminlord warpseer, Syll'eske, auric runefather on magmadroth, lord celestant, Nagash, exalted deathbringer). 

These are off the top of my head, and while maybe not a trouble on their own, there are at least 12 ways to get battleshock immunity for a huge potion of your army, and always a way for any army to get battleshock immunity to some degree. And that's not to mention the armies that just have very high bravery and rarely need to take battleshock.

This means in many cases battleshock has no baring on the game - the most it tends to do is cause a command point to be spent. Don't get me wrong, it can be devastating, but I think I've seen a large amount of models die to battleshock once in the last two years of playing. 

I personally don't find it engaging to have a part of the game that can, in many cases, just be ignored. Not only does it make bravery reducing abilities feel worthless (which reduces build variation as bravery bombs are beaten by a hero and a command point), but it removes what was meant to be a key weakness of hordes compared to elites and monsters. 

I personally think that the aura abilities should change bravery to the hero's bravery (e.g. all skaven in the warpseer's bubble change their base bravery to 10), or add a sizable amount to the number (e.g. the herdstone adds 5 to bravery). 

I think inspiring presence should add 10 to the bravery of the one unit.  

I feel these changes would keep these abilities relevant without the current issue of them shutting down an entire phase of the game. 

With that said:

Do you think a lack of impactful battleshock is an issue?  

If so, what would you do to fix it?

If not (whether you don't think it's an issue or you think battleshock is impactful), why?

Edited by Enoby
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I think the only “problem” is inspiring presence really. 

i do have an issue with ossiarch’s ability because I don’t like rules that don’t have counter play. You can take out heroes in most cases or you can deny opponents certain zones. can’t do anything to: ‘ I ignore a phase’ or ‘I auto cast’

looking at a few of your examples I have experience with:

skaven: I like that these are aura abilities and I love the strength in numbers rule. It feels right and in playstyle it’s also very thematic and interactive. I kill your heroes your swarm runs  

Gits: Same as above but in a slightly different way in my experience. A lot of command points and lots of heroes giving the units battleshock immunity. Slight difference to Skaven but I like the nuance. Loonshrine aura works for me especially with the new terrain placement rules  

beast of chaos: it’s a weird one. You have a ‘glass’ army but the herdstone stone almost challenges you to hold back a bit. Like the idea but feel the execution isn’t spot on  

Daughters of Khaine: it’s just a very good book that stood the test of time. The battleshock abilities help but isn’t the big thing. 

All in all. I do think battleshock has too little impact on the game. But just changing inspiring presence or removing it would be probably enough for me. 

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Lack of impact in the battleshock phase is an issue, there are too many armies that don't seem to care about it at all. That being said, forcing your opponent to spend a command point to keep their models from running away is still valuable, since then they can't use that command point on a different ability.

 

Bravery bomb can't work without serious overhauls to bravery across all warscrolls since at the moment destruction will usually autolose to it. stuff like brutes and trolls only have 6 bravery, so any penalties can cause you to lose HUGE amounts of models (In several games already I've lost trolls to battleshock even with only 1 casualty), ogors tend to have around 7 as well so they will also get wrecked by it. 

 

Bravery reducing shenanigans hurt elite multi-wound models way more than single wound models, since its effectiveness is multiplied by the amount of wounds the model has. Normally multi wound models have lower battleshock rolls because its per model slain, not per wound but bravery reducing abilities get around that.

Really all that needs to happen to "fix" the battleshock phase is to stop printing bravery 10, or free army-wide battleshock immunities.

 

If you want to see why bravery bomb can't work, shouldn't work, and creates major NPE just wait until we start seeing the Lumineth vs Gutbuster/Ironjawz/Gitz matchups. Lumineth can pass their battleshocks onto the opponent, and they can force Inspiring presence to cost 2CP.

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Change inspiring presence to reduce your battleshock roll to 0 instead of giving you an automatic pass. The test still happens, modifiers still apply.

Edited by PJetski

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Making "inspiring presence"  once per game would fix about 75% of the problem. 

Support characters should offer either rerolls or modifiers. Never immunity. Being able to give immunity to a horde of 30,40, or 50 infantry just bogs down the game and removes any incentive to play tactically. 

I understand that certain situations in the fluff would warrant a unit being "unbreakable" but those should be extremely rare and conditional. 

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15 minutes ago, Kramer said:

I think the only “problem” is inspiring presence really. 

i do have an issue with ossiarch’s ability because I don’t like rules that don’t have counter play. You can take out heroes in most cases or you can deny opponents certain zones. can’t do anything to: ‘ I ignore a phase’ or ‘I auto cast’

looking at a few of your examples I have experience with:

skaven: I like that these are aura abilities and I love the strength in numbers rule. It feels right and in playstyle it’s also very thematic and interactive. I kill your heroes your swarm runs  

Gits: Same as above but in a slightly different way in my experience. A lot of command points and lots of heroes giving the units battleshock immunity. Slight difference to Skaven but I like the nuance. Loonshrine aura works for me especially with the new terrain placement rules  

beast of chaos: it’s a weird one. You have a ‘glass’ army but the herdstone stone almost challenges you to hold back a bit. Like the idea but feel the execution isn’t spot on  

Daughters of Khaine: it’s just a very good book that stood the test of time. The battleshock abilities help but isn’t the big thing. 

All in all. I do think battleshock has too little impact on the game. But just changing inspiring presence or removing it would be probably enough for me. 

 

Just now, Landohammer said:

Making "inspiring presence"  once per game would fix about 75% of the problem. 

Support characters should offer either rerolls or modifiers. Never immunity. Being able to give immunity to a horde of 30,40, or 50 infantry just bogs down the game and removes any incentive to play tactically. 

I understand that certain situations in the fluff would warrant a unit being "unbreakable" but those should be extremely rare and conditional. 

Removing/limiting Inspiring presence would be an absolute DISASTER for elite units (which have already had a hard time), it would move us away from hordes and into MSU to mitigate losses from battleshock, and would benefit shooting units who can force battleshock tests from a distance.

 

Gitz would become unplayable. They already aren't particularly strong but without inspiring presence the entire army would just fall apart. I'm sure there are other armies/builds that would be in a similar boat.

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Inspiring Presence should use the Bravery of the Hero for that phase. You could even make it a universal rule instead of a command ability, that wholly within 12" of a Hero, that unit can elect to use their Bravery instead.

Right now, the only unit I can think of that can have some real effect in the Bravery department, is the Dreadsaurian whose threat merely forces a command point being spent, as opposed to having its ability work.

Bare in mind that I'm a Troggoth player, so this isn't in my interest. Granted, with the aforementioned rules, I'd still be pretty much fine. Gitz also has a Bravery 10 Hero.

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I was thinking a lot in the past few weeks, about overhauling the game system to a better.

with the new 9th edition 40k their rules for like battleshock and so on seem very promising.

And in the end I came to a conclusion, that if we compared aos with 40k and made a game system that had both elements in it, we could make a pretty great game.

I also personally thinks, that that might include more then just battleshock, when we’re talking about an overhaul.

there has been lots of talk how hordes are dominating right now, or how some things don’t make quite sense (for example a lonely clanrat wounding monsters at a 4+ or 3+ just like against every other infantry unit out there) 

So this might be something we will never (!!!) see in aos, but giving every unit a thougness and strentgh characteristic, as well as overhauling some damage characteristic, might help the game a lot.

so those are basically my thoughts.

I could be wrong, or right but, this could and can be a great Subject to talk about😉

Edited by Skreech Verminking

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25 minutes ago, Ganigumo said:

 

Removing/limiting Inspiring presence would be an absolute DISASTER for elite units (which have already had a hard time), it would move us away from hordes and into MSU to mitigate losses from battleshock, and would benefit shooting units who can force battleshock tests from a distance.

 

Gitz would become unplayable. They already aren't particularly strong but without inspiring presence the entire army would just fall apart. I'm sure there are other armies/builds that would be in a similar boat.

So if it hurts both elites AND horde armies (Gitz),  doesn't that mean its anfair change lol?

But do note that in the new 40k battleshock tests, you don't lose models equal to the difference. You only lose 1 model and the rest stay on a 2+. Its actually a huuuuge buff to horde armies. You also now auto-pass on a 1! 

 

 

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I've gone into some deep discussion on this topic before, so I'll just reiterate some points. A huge problem with battleshock is that it's a mechanic of the game that's unevenly littered throughout the factions. The worst performing factions often have extremely low or modest Bravery with seemingly nothing to make up for it (now whether or not low Bravery is the sole reason they're under-performing is unlikely, but everything contributes). From what I've gathered, Bravery as a characteristic is low priority when it comes to arbitrating the "value" of warscrolls. Looking at various warscrolls throughout the game, it often feels quite arbitrary and exclusively lore-specific that some units have nigh-unbreakable Bravery 10, or are slapped with crippling 4's, 5's, and 6's.

I see people saying that we take away Inspiring Presence...but the second you do that, all of the low tier factions with Bravery issues are suddenly dead in the water. They RELY on it. Battleshock is a design issue where there are simultaneously too many ways to ignore it, so most of the game doesn't even play in that space, but there are still some factions that absolutely need the ability to ignore it.

I don't know how to solve it. You bend one way and Bravery doesn't matter at all and it becomes the vestigial hand of AoS (close to where we are now), or you bend the other way and chop the legs off of everyone who isn't undead or a daemon.

Edited by Mutton
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7 minutes ago, Skreech Verminking said:

I was thinking a lot in the past few weeks, about overhauling the game system to a better.

with the new 9th edition 40k their rules for like battleshock and so on seem very promising.

And in the end I came to a conclusion, that if we compared aos with 40k and made a game system that had both elements in it, we could make a pretty great game.

I also personally thinks, that that might include more then just battleshock, when we’re talking about an overhaul.

there has been lots of talk how hordes are dominating right now, or how some things don’t make quite sense (for example a lonely clanrat wounding monsters at a 4+ or 3+ just like against every other infantry unit out there) 

So this might be something we will never (!!!) see in aos, but giving every unit a thougness and strentgh characteristic, as well as overhauling some damage characteristic, might help the game a lot.

so those are basically my thoughts.

I could be wrong, or right but, this could and can be a great Subject to talk about😉

AOS got away from strength and toughness (which existed in fantasy) to make things simpler, you no longer need to reference a table during damage to see what wounds. I think it was a good change, even if there are some oddities involved. Having strength/toughness doesn't make the game more interesting, it just serves to better represent the reality of the situation, but comes with a cost in extra rules. If you really get into the details though its hard to justify what strength should look like anyways since it would realistically apply to both wounding and damage characteristics, and in a fantasy setting, possibly breaking through armor as well.

11 minutes ago, Landohammer said:

So if it hurts both elites AND horde armies (Gitz),  doesn't that mean its anfair change lol?

But do note that in the new 40k battleshock tests, you don't lose models equal to the difference. You only lose 1 model and the rest stay on a 2+. Its actually a huuuuge buff to horde armies. You also now auto-pass on a 1! 

 

 

it hurts elites and horde armies, but not MSU.  So the reality is the best thing to run would be spamming minumum sized units that don't need to worry about battleshock tests unless they're basically already dead. so instead of 30 phoenix guard, it would become 3 units of 10. The problem is that units of 10 generally aren't durable enough to hold anything, so there would be a shift towards units that are more useful in small units, which tend to be shooting units. Think stuff like irondrakes, handgunners,  and skinks.

 

The 40k version sounds pretty appealing, at least the autopassing on 1. Losing only 1 model on a failed battleshock feels like it might make hordes too good in aos though, especially since hordes in aos don't need to worry nearly as much about being shot down before they get where they need to be.

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My take on bravery and battleshock. 

Elite units need higher base bravery in general (they're ELITE after all, it makes sense.)

As opposed to being an autopass, Inspiring Presence should be a buff to a unit's Bravery Characteristic for that battleshock phase. You can still use it multiple times -possibly even on the same unit- but it doesn't nullify the consequences of loosing models. 

There's been some speculation based on the wording of one of the Lumineth artifacts that they may be moving towards attaching heroes to units. If this becomes a feature, having the unit use the hero's Bravery would be another solid addition.

This obviously doesn't solve everything. Most of the factions would need to be reworked to make this a good fit and to really balance it, and things like the Herdstone and Bonereapers would need some consideration, but it might just do the trick.

(As a thought, Herdstone might automatically act as the new Inspiring Presence buff for all BoC in range. Bonereapers might have a faction-wide reroll, or reduce the value of whatever they roll. Alternatively, give them an Inspiring Presence variant that uses Relentless Discipline points.)

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I like the concept of a "bravery test" that triggers if X happens in any phase.
Of course, a bit less swingy than what we have now, but a bit more impactful in the whole game.

Edited by Beliman

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Keep inspiring presence the way it is - and stop printing anything Battleshock - negating in future books and revisions. Things like + 1 Bravery or -1 Bravery are good but models must die in this game and Battleshock (this game’s version of leadership tests ) needs to be feared. 

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2 hours ago, Ganigumo said:

 

Removing/limiting Inspiring presence would be an absolute DISASTER for elite units (which have already had a hard time), it would move us away from hordes and into MSU to mitigate losses from battleshock, and would benefit shooting units who can force battleshock tests from a distance.

 

Gitz would become unplayable. They already aren't particularly strong but without inspiring presence the entire army would just fall apart. I'm sure there are other armies/builds that would be in a similar boat.

You got that backwards I think.

It would be an absolute BOON for elite units in comparison. Although I feel if you take more than 10 in a unit it hardly classifies as an elite unit, but that doesn't really matter for the conversation. If I bring 6 GoreGruntas and you deal 12 wounds it's going to hurt me in battleshock a lot less than when you do those to my 40 Skaven. (Not to mention that the same attack who does that 12 damage to GoreGruntas would do a lot more to the clanrats)
Imagine a combat we both do 12 wounds to each other. Would you rather take battleshock on the 4 wound per model unit or the 1 wound per model?

But I agree right now being elite is not really shown in bravery. Stormcast being Bravery 7 for example doesnt fit that. 

I also agree that Gits is a bit weird as it does not have any real battleshock prevention on the warscrolls beside the Loonshrine. But if you're discussing making a massive change to the core rules that will always impact different factions differently and might need a personal touch to counter that. But that would also be true if you would change Inspiring presence to +5 Bravery. (In the above example it would mean 5 less clanrats run, but it also means the GoreGruntas are battleshock immune)

Just my two cents.

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I struggle to understand how ghosts, who are meant to cause fear and terror, are uber susceptible to battleshock, even at bravery 10, partly due to squishy heroes being shot off by turn 1 or 2, so no inspiring presence options and partly due to being uber squishy themselves. So many of their army mechanics rely on bravery bombs, yet they can't get higher than -1 without assistance from allies. The command trait Terrifying Entity is just a pure example of WTF rules writing. 

I would love to see an overhaul to bravery and battleshock, as my main army is meant to use it as a resource for their unique abilities and currently can't. 

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I reckon this is the thing I'd like to see change the most in whatever AoS3 looks like. 

As a system, battleshock/bravery is almost entirely independent of the mechanics of the game - you could do almost anything with it and the rest could stay the same.

And I agree with most of the commentary above, that as it is the system just doesn't work.  You could eliminate the Battleshock Phase from the game entirely and it wouldn't substantively impact 70% of the games I've played.  You can't say that for any of the other phases.

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1 hour ago, Kramer said:

You got that backwards I think.

It would be an absolute BOON for elite units in comparison. Although I feel if you take more than 10 in a unit it hardly classifies as an elite unit, but that doesn't really matter for the conversation. If I bring 6 GoreGruntas and you deal 12 wounds it's going to hurt me in battleshock a lot less than when you do those to my 40 Skaven. (Not to mention that the same attack who does that 12 damage to GoreGruntas would do a lot more to the clanrats)
Imagine a combat we both do 12 wounds to each other. Would you rather take battleshock on the 4 wound per model unit or the 1 wound per model?

But I agree right now being elite is not really shown in bravery. Stormcast being Bravery 7 for example doesnt fit that. 

I also agree that Gits is a bit weird as it does not have any real battleshock prevention on the warscrolls beside the Loonshrine. But if you're discussing making a massive change to the core rules that will always impact different factions differently and might need a personal touch to counter that. But that would also be true if you would change Inspiring presence to +5 Bravery. (In the above example it would mean 5 less clanrats run, but it also means the GoreGruntas are battleshock immune)

Just my two cents.

Elite units tend to be less wound efficient to make up for the better stats, which doesn't always translate into increased defense, and losing even a single model in an elite unit hurts way more than losing a few clanrats or grots.

This especially hurts stuff like trolls, or ogors, as each body in the unit is worth 40-50 points, which would equate to 7-8 grots in a pure point comparison, but expensive elite units need each body more, hordes tend to bring the bodies exclusively as extra wounds. At the moment this is kind of balanced since you need to inflict more wounds to cause an elite unit to take battleshock in the first place. If bravery ended there maybe we could get rid of inspiring presence, but as it is there are a LOT of armies that were given tools to mess with bravery in some form or another, and the effectiveness of every single one of those rules is amplified by the strength of the unit it is fighting. Without inspiring presence rules like reducing bravery, forcing extra models to flee, or rerolling successful battleshock tests will destroy things like Gutbusters and brutes. Just imagine what playing 3 bravery Trolls/Brutes, or 4 bravery ogors would be like without inspiring presence.

 

This stuff is why I dread having to play against lumineth. Gitz can at least get a lot of CP to maybe counteract the double cost spell, but gluttons/ironguts will literally evaporate unless they completely destroy the unit, or the Scinari Cathellar fails her emotional transferrance.

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16 hours ago, Dankboss said:

Inspiring Presence should use the Bravery of the Hero for that phase. You could even make it a universal rule instead of a command ability, that wholly within 12" of a Hero, that unit can elect to use their Bravery instead.

Right now, the only unit I can think of that can have some real effect in the Bravery department, is the Dreadsaurian whose threat merely forces a command point being spent, as opposed to having its ability work.

Bare in mind that I'm a Troggoth player, so this isn't in my interest. Granted, with the aforementioned rules, I'd still be pretty much fine. Gitz also has a Bravery 10 Hero.

I suggested such an idea in another thread so it seems great minds think alike. :)

I think this change would give heroes more playability and variety and thus makes their presence feel more dynamic and characterful. It might make less seen heroes such as a Loonboss or Exalted Champion more optimal as a hero choice than a Fongoid-Cave Shaman or Chaos Sorcerror Lord depending on the scenario.  It is always frustrating to see CP starved heaven forged battle angels flee from battle while cowardly goblins sit back and laugh as half their unit is wiped away. 

I do think that it would require that battleshock tests be revised somewhat as they are currently extremely damaging to units before implementing such a change. I am excited to see how the new system in 40K works out to see if they are applicable to AOS.

Edited by Neverchosen

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I dislike how little impact battleshock has in the game, however I think certain things should be immune to battleshock based on the lore.

inspiring presence needs to go though. It’s fine have specific heroes that can trigger battleshock immunity auras, but the command ability is so frustrating for armies that rely on you taking battleshock.

I’d also give the big scary monsters a rule that forces you to take battleshock if within 3” of them regardless of any rules you have to ignore it, to represent Fear/Terror

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27 minutes ago, Joseph Mackay said:

I dislike how little impact battleshock has in the game, however I think certain things should be immune to battleshock based on the lore.

inspiring presence needs to go though. It’s fine have specific heroes that can trigger battleshock immunity auras, but the command ability is so frustrating for armies that rely on you taking battleshock.

I’d also give the big scary monsters a rule that forces you to take battleshock if within 3” of them regardless of any rules you have to ignore it, to represent Fear/Terror

In changing inspiring presence you would make the units immune to battleship feel more unique and lore friendly. Also I love the idea of a return of fear/terror. It is also such a great effect for spells and items.

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Battle shock is contentious because from a game play perspective, it feels bad to have a domino effect on your game. You've already lost several models only to lose even more. From a game play perspective I think this is what has caused GW has made it easier to preserve the power of your army from things that would otherwise be out of your control 

 

all this to say I agree that it should be more impactful, but I understand why there is an abundance of gun shy rules. 

 

I think the real solution would be having alternate rules that are more fun or more engaging than the power of battleshock negation. 

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12 hours ago, Ganigumo said:

The 40k version sounds pretty appealing, at least the autopassing on 1. Losing only 1 model on a failed battleshock feels like it might make hordes too good in aos though, especially since hordes in aos don't need to worry nearly as much about being shot down before they get where they need to be.

While you’re only guaranteed to lose one model to a failed test in 40k, you still roll to see of each other model then flees (when you fail a morale test one model flees, and you then roll a dice for every remaining model in the unit and for each 1 another model flees).

Given how much inspiration 40k and AoS have taken from each other these last editions I would not be surprised to see something similar come to AoS in the future. We might also see Inspiring presence change to once per game as it just did in 40k.

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7 hours ago, Falkman said:

While you’re only guaranteed to lose one model to a failed test in 40k, you still roll to see of each other model then flees (when you fail a morale test one model flees, and you then roll a dice for every remaining model in the unit and for each 1 another model flees).

Given how much inspiration 40k and AoS have taken from each other these last editions I would not be surprised to see something similar come to AoS in the future. We might also see Inspiring presence change to once per game as it just did in 40k.

That seems remarkably similar to the current system but with more steps, also that feels like it would slow the game considerably if big hordes of units were involved but maybe i misunderstand it.

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