Subscriber Enoby Posted October 4, 2020 Subscriber Share Posted October 4, 2020 This is a long post, there is a conclusion and tl;dr at the bottom; I would recommend at least reading the titles to get the jist of my argument. While the addition of any 40k like rule into AoS is often met with pushback (see the initial announcement of command points in second edition), I believe there are still things to learn from 40k's ruleset. One of the more controversial additions, which I will be arguing in favour of, is strength and toughness. For those who don't know, strength and toughness are the equivalent of AoS's 'to wound'. Every model has a strength (S) score, which is often modified by a weapon, and every model has a toughness (T) score, which is very rarely modified. You use these two values to find the 'to wound' value; to do this, you compare the S & T to one another. If the S is half the T, you wound on 6s, if the S is less than T, you wound on 5s, if the S is equal to T, you wound on 4s, if the S is greater than T you wound on 3s, if the S is double the T you wound on 2s. The idea behind S and T is to create a difference between 'strong' (e.g. a greater daemon) and 'weak' (e.g. a grot) models so that they fight on an unequal playing ground, better representing their points cost. In theory, it stops a horde of 60 weak models taking down a very strong model in one turn (and helps that strong model beat the horde). I am not arguing that 40k’s implementation is totally balanced, but rather a well done implementation in AoS could help the game a lot. In this piece, I will discuss how it could be implemented in AoS, why it would be good for AoS, and countering some of the common arguments against the introduction of S & T. How it would be implemented Generally, the implementation would be similar to 40k (e.g. how you compare S & T), but with some key differences. The strength would not be the model's strength, but would be attached to the weapon. This is for simplicity's sake. For example, a bullgor's great axe may have S6, their small axe have S5, and their horns have S4. Toughness would only ever go up to 8. It very rarely goes over in 40k anyway, but this is to ensure we keep with workable numbers Note, I am not proposing we have a weapons bloat like 40k, wherein every profile has loads of weapons attached that each modify S in a different way, nor am I suggesting weapons should be costed differently. In my proposition, the variety of S values would be akin to the variety of 'to wound' values found on weapons on the same warscroll. Why would strength and toughness help AoS? One of, if not the, most important question is why would this make AoS a better game? It's all fine adding strength and toughness, but if it doesn't help at all then it's a waste of time at best and game breaking at worst. I've summarised a few reasons that I believe S and T would help the game: Add an extra tool of list consideration More tweakable stats increases the number of ways a model can be created, and thus played. This does not mean they will be better balanced, but rather having more numbers means the rules writers have more control in how a model works and so more interesting considerations for players to make while building their list. For example, AoS could do away with wound rolls all together, but that would mean that the ‘to hit’ value would become much more valued and weapons could not be diversified on having a good ‘to hit’ and a poor ‘to wound’, so the players have less engaging decisions to make With S and T, if the average T was 3, a weapon with S4 may seem very tempting compared to an alternative with S3 (e.g. if a hand weapon had S3 vs a great weapon with S4, but the hand weapon lets you have a shield) as you’ll wound more things on a 3+ rather than a 4+. However, against a T5 enemy, both the hand weapon and great weapon are wounding on 5s, so the hand weapon is always better in this case (as it comes with a shield). These extra considerations mean a more engaging list building stage, and not much more complex than the current rules. Breathing new life into disappointing warscrolls Judging by the recent ‘most disappointing units’ thread, a common theme is disappointment in elite units. For example, chaos warriors and knights are often outclassed by marauders; a chaos warrior has 2 attacks at 3/3/-/1 with their hand weapon, and a marauder (in a full or larger unit) has 2 attacks at 3/4/-1/1. As you get far more models in a marauder units point for point, marauders end up being far more lethal than their more elite allies. If S and T was in AoS, a chaos warrior may have S4 and T4, compared to a marauder’s S3 and T3. This doesn’t just mean that warriors would remain better at wounding, but would also be much more resilient (with a better save and most enemies having a harder time wounding them). To compare 10 warriors (rerolling saves) vs 20 marauders (horde bonuses) now, the marauders do 6 damage against the warriors and the warriors do about 6 against them. To compare them when using strength and toughness, the marauders do about 4 damage (and the chaos warriors do 6). This means a unit of chaos warriors would likely beat a unit of similarly costed marauders with ease, which they should do lore wise. However, in other situations (e.g. against a T3 unit with a 4+ save) the marauders would do more damage so would still have a place in the army. Basically, S and T allow elite units to have better stats than weaker horde units, allowing them to have better ‘to wound’ values and defences against chaff, without skewing the game from horde units to elite units as there will still be areas where hordes are better. Bring monsters back into AoS It’s no secret that non-hero monsters aren’t considered fantastic in AoS. Monsters such as the ghorgon, aleguzzler, and jabberslythe (among others) are considered very weak; not just in a competitive sense, but also in a narrative sense - you see a towering monstrosity of bovine fury ready to tear the enemy limb from limb, before it’s taken down by a bunch of goblins wounding on 2s. It doesn’t feel great no matter how you play the game. Unfortunately, weight of decent attacks from hordes and a poor save for most monsters mean they don’t find a place in lists no matter the style of play. There are other issues with monsters, but S and T would at least give them a few advantages. Not only would monsters be able to more easily cleave through the average horde (assuming S6 vs T3), but they would be able to weather measly attacks from the standard solder (assuming S3 vs T6). For example, a unit of 20 marauders do 11 wounds against a ghorgon, and a ghorgon does about 6-7 damage against the marauders. With the suggested S and T, the unit of marauders would do 3 damage, and the ghorgon would do about 8 damage. This gives the ghorgon more of a fighting chance, being much more defensive against enemies that reach their ankles. This helps make up for the fact that a ghorgon can’t hold a point on its own, and still has a low save when considering it fighting other monsters. S and T empowers monsters, but does not make them overpowering as they still suffer from a degrading profile, small board presence, no objective capture power, and generally weak saves. Instead, it gives them a battlefield roll of being able to take on small hordes. Help with the 'feel bad' moments of the double turn I’m sure no one here is a stranger to having your army crippled by a double turn, losing key pieces due to a huge weight of attacks. Thankfully, S and T have a place here too - shields around key models can be created using models with high T to help ensure that they don’t get wiped away, exposing the key models for the double turn. Monsters and heroes may have a higher chance of surviving mass weak shooting that would normally clear them from the board. It would allow the combats to be more predictable (not to the point of boredom, mind) so you could better plan for the double turn. If you know what parts of the opponent’s army can charge or shoot you first turn, you can look at their strength, and try to plan around them with favourable T matchups. This also makes reactive deployment more important. Diversify lists Unfortunately, AoS lists often have a high weight towards one type of unit in competitive play - eels in Idoneth Deepkin are found in abundance, with thralls and leviadons often not finding a place. With S and T, models can be tailored towards certain rolls so the best lists usually have a bit of everything - a horde unit can’t take the place of a monster, and a monster can’t take the place of a horde unit. For example, if I brought a Slaves to Darkness list with hundreds of marauders and some lords and sorcerers to buff them, currently I wouldn’t do too badly as they have a high damage output against nearly every unit. Under S and T, I would be wounding any monsters my opponent brings on a 6 - I would struggle to do enough damage, and I’d need to consider bringing my own monsters or elites. But if I just brought monsters or elites, I’d lose objectives to hordes and ultimately lose the game. If a list is mixed, each unit has a role they can fulfil, and the player has to make engaging choices when list building and when playing. They must ask themselves if it’s worth bringing two monsters or just one - two gives more ways to use them, but less overall board presence. In the game, they have to decide whether it’s worth putting the monster into the horde to tie it up, or to go into the other monster to deal with it. The strategy isn’t more complex (as in, a new player isn’t expected to do hard maths to do anything), but is more engaging and will allow players to employ more strategic manoeuvres. Create more narrative heroes Age of Sigmar tells stories of heroes and villains carving their stories through the mortal realms - chaos lords cleaving through foot soldiers, lord celestants smiting unworthy bloodreavers, megabosses krumping skeletons, and vampire lords dispatching grots with contempt. Unfortunately, in the game these on foot heroes are best leading from the back. Aside from supporting their troops with a safe joint charge, they’ll likely never see combat - and certainly not combat befitting of the title ‘Mighty Lord of Khorne’. The narrative and rules just don’t jive here. S and T allow these combat heroes a fighting chance - if combat heroes like vampire and chaos lords have T5, and combat giant heroes like Mighty Lords of Khorne and Megabosses have S6, they have a larger defence against the unwashed masses they shouldn’t fear, but still have to be careful about challenging monsters to 1v1 combat. Not every hero needs a high S and T, certainly I wouldn’t argue for Lord Kroak becoming harder to kill, but this is specifically for combat heroes. Finally, god models like Archaon, Nagash, and Allarielle would be some of the few to have T8 (other big models could still have S8 weapons) - meaning that only the most powerful attacks could reach them - no more cowering in fear from a horde of daemonettes. Many of these god models are already very powerful, no arguments there, but it feels very strange to have them taken down by a bunch of mortal bowmen. They may need a points boost to compensate, but overall I think god models feeling as such would help the narrative of the game. Arguments against Strength and Toughness While I believe that there are strong arguments for S and T in AoS, there are certainly potential issues. I will try to address these issues. It’s great for monsters and elites, but not for hordes A lot of what I have spoken about talks about how this will help heroes, monsters, and elites - but I’ve said very little on how this will benefit hordes. And in a way, it doesn’t (though some hordes may have points reductions in response to this change). I would argue that hordes as a whole don’t need a buff - generally they are the strongest type of unit in AoS. With a higher volume of strong attacks, benefiting the most from buffs (due to their higher number of attacks), suffering the least (besides heroes) from battleshock, having the most wounds per point, and being able capture objectives easily, hordes are often the star of an army. All adding S and T would do is partially take away some of the punch power and staying power from hordes, but not the other advantages they have. In addition to this, if we assume that hordes (generally 1 wound models) tend to have T&S3, elites (generally 2 wound models) tend to have T&S4, and super elites (generally 3+ wounds) tend to have T&S5, then hordes would be better than elites against super elites (considering the other advantages of hordes), but not as good against monsters - they would still have a role and some good damage behind them. It’s too complicated - AoS is meant to be a simple game It’s true, S and T would be more complicated than a simple ‘to wound’ value. But I would argue that it’s not that much more complicated - certainly not the hardest rule in the game. All it involves is the ability to divide by 2, and confirming S&T with your opponent, and I think the vast majority of players can do that. Without the massive selection of weapons of 40k, and how they interact with a model’s strength, I doubt this would confuse many players. Only one number would be added to the warscroll (toughness), and strength would replace a weapon’s wound characteristic. I believe this slight bump in complexity would help the game overall. We already have something similar - to wound, rend, save, and wounds At the moment, these four values do seem to be the equivalent to S&T. The wound value is most equivalent to strength, and rend vs save is like strength vs toughness, and the wound value is just toughness. However, I would argue that the lack of interactivity between wounding and the target model means you get odd scenarios where grots can stab the ankles of Archaon with a higher ‘to wound’ than Slayer of Kings. This flat ‘to wound’ value means hordes are very killy. The rend vs save is more of an interaction, but as we can see with many monsters, they have a 5 or 6+ save; being tough doesn’t equate to a good save, and being weak doesn’t mean they have poor rend. The wounds are a different story - tougher models do generally have a higher number of wounds (e.g. Ghorgons have a whopping 14). However, as we’ve seen, these models lose these wounds very quickly; a ghorgon takes 11 wounds from a unit of 20 marauders, and while a full wound ghorgon will kill about 6-7 marauders, there are more marauders dead than ghorgons, but the ghorgon has taken more damage - and it will be in a rough state with the damage table decreasing. If the marauders were buffed, they would probably kill the ghorgon in a single combat activation. Basically, wounds are not enough to make a model tough. It would require too many changes, and would be a massive amount of work on GW’s behalf Adding S&T would take a lot of time - no arguments there. It is a change large enough to come from a new edition; yes, every warscroll would need an edit, but the same happened in 40k 8th edition and I think 9th. An index, free erratas on the website, and an updated app would ensure everyone would get up to speed, and if GW pumped out battletomes like they’re meant to be doing with the new 40k codexes, everyone would be up to date soon. Not every army has the tools to create a varied list While I have said that there is a big advantage that more varied lists can be created, that only works if every army has the ability to take these varied models. Looking through the armies, there is only one army I can see without a monster (though it does have elites) and that’s Nighthaunt - but even then, they have the black coach and a mortarch. I don’t believe it would be too hard for GW to rejig Nighthaunt so they had an answer for monsters. All armies have elites (including cavalry) of some kind, though not all armies have one wound hordes (however, this is fine as not having one wound hordes doesn’t matter if S and T are added) Conclusion Overall, there is difficulty when introducing Strength and Toughness in Age of Sigmar. However, I believe there are strong reasons to push pass those difficulties and make the change which would have positive effects for the balance, narrative, and list building of AoS. I look forward to hearing the views of others on this topic TL;DR I believe that strength and toughness have the ability to revitalise certain warscrolls - especially elites and monsters, add more tactical depth, join the narrative and gameplay more, and diversify lists. While there could be issues, none of them are severe enough to offset the positive consequences. I would recommend reading the titles at least for the fors and againsts - while the entire post is a lot to read, the headings will give you more of an idea. 19 4 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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