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Is AoS still a skirmish game?


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23 hours ago, Kramer said:

For what it’s worth. The game still works very well at 1,5K. (My preferred size) 

from 1K and lower I would agree that your better off losing the allegiance abilities. But then you also lose all the flavour of a faction. 

Now you say that, I don't think I've ever played a 1.5k game!  Once things have settled back to normality I may have to correct that 😊

Back when AoS launched (before allegiance abilities existed), I always felt that battalions helped to add a bit of factional flavour into an army.  Now I think about it, something along that lines could work really well for smaller games.

You pick a battalion faction (e.g. Gorechosen, Anvils of Heldenhammer, etc).  It will have restrictions on the units you can take (a few "must-haves" and perhaps a couple of "cannot take"), get a set of mini-allegiance rules and reduce the maximum unit size of units across the board.  Although not quite as "clean" as how Crusade works, it would allow us to keep the current format of the game and help that smaller & quicker game format without losing the flavour of an army/force.

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If AoS was a “skirmish” game then that makes this supplement an even bigger waste of money than i already thought it was

No, but does it matter?  personally I like the bigger units combined with the flexibility of not having to rank up.  I like a lot of terrain On the table and that was a pain in WHFB.in aos it enha

YES!!! I came to AoS as salvation from complete burnout from the illogical puzzle dynamic of historical war gaming.  My breaking point wasn’t the geometry per se but an incident where I spent thr

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1 hour ago, RuneBrush said:

Now you say that, I don't think I've ever played a 1.5k game!  Once things have settled back to normality I may have to correct that 😊

Back when AoS launched (before allegiance abilities existed), I always felt that battalions helped to add a bit of factional flavour into an army.  Now I think about it, something along that lines could work really well for smaller games.

You pick a battalion faction (e.g. Gorechosen, Anvils of Heldenhammer, etc).  It will have restrictions on the units you can take (a few "must-haves" and perhaps a couple of "cannot take"), get a set of mini-allegiance rules and reduce the maximum unit size of units across the board.  Although not quite as "clean" as how Crusade works, it would allow us to keep the current format of the game and help that smaller & quicker game format without losing the flavour of an army/force.

Yeah we got to 1,5 k building up from 1K for newer players. It has a nice amount of synergies without becoming overwhelming but it still has enough to be challenging. 
 

the battalion idea is nice as well. 
that way you could get all kinds of mixed armies going as well. With the prosecutor and KO battalion for example. You do need a big collection thiugh to keep thinks varied  

On a related note I’m thinking the whole ally system will be replaced with the 1 in 4 system for different sub factions we’ve seen lately. And the game would be better for it I feel. 
 

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If AoS was a “skirmish” game then that makes this supplement an even bigger waste of money than i already thought it was

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4 hours ago, JPjr said:

If AoS was a “skirmish” game then that makes this supplement an even bigger waste of money than i already thought it was

C374F803-3798-4351-B3F7-40BD3C154D9E.jpeg

That's a weird white dwarf ;) 

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On 11/24/2020 at 3:42 PM, Evangelist of Cinders said:

For much of WHFB history you could thematic scale your army from low to high fantasy both in look mechanics, it was one of the things i found unique and love about it, bringing a dwarf city militia to try to hold of god infused heavy infantry and sometimes win. 

Age of Sigmar is pretty squarely however in the realm of high fantasy and for the rules to reflect the lore. to make that feel work you need to concentrate on a unit or heroes special abilities, special equipment and fighting skills rather then formations, discipline and use of terrain

I think you are right in saying that more emphasis is put on "individual models" than in units, as would be the case in a pure regiment style game. However, I feel that while "special models" do need special rules and level of detail, the 39th witch in a DoK blob does not. My impression is that the skirmish mechanics do not scale well to such high model counts in units.

On 11/23/2020 at 9:05 PM, Saturmorn Carvilli said:

Age of Sigmar also is often more generous in entrapping an encircled unit further preventing escape as individual models can be stretched quite than to prevent escape far more readily than typical predefined rank and file game units.  I suppose 'Pile In' does take a relatively simple game and creates a lot of positioning complication.    I don't know if it can be avoided without becoming even more gamey though.

There is a reason why, as armies become larger, formations gain importance. I believe the reason is the exact same one that we face on the TT: if you have lots of models, having to consider each individually becomes cumbersome.

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If anything that should provide a penalty to flanked unit not a bonus to the flanking one. 

Isn't that splitting hairs a bit? Faces of the same coin and so on.

 

On 11/24/2020 at 8:54 AM, RuneBrush said:

My own opinion - no, AoS heavily veered away from being a skirmish game a few years back.  Horde discounts and allegiance abilities being written for around the 2000 point mark was roughly the point where the game moved away from "large scale skirmish" into an army game, compounded by year on year point decreases.

I still think that the game has the potential to fulfil both a skirmish and army role.  Looking at way 40k has implemented crusade gives me a bit of hope (being designed ideally for games between 25 and 50 power - so 500 to 1000 points).  But it will require a change in approach because some things just don't work well at anything other than a 2000 point game (I'm looking at you allegiance abilities and scenery pieces)

It just looks, from someone who wasn't there the early years, that the unit sizes just bloated.

On 11/24/2020 at 9:47 AM, Beliman said:

 I have more problems moving 40 Arkanauts than a 9 stands of Marksman Clones (big blob of archers in Conquest).

Agreed; that's the crux of it.

On 11/24/2020 at 11:35 AM, Overread said:

If you look at model count then its most certainly not a skirmish system

If you are comparing unit movement styles then it is skirmish when compared to regimented rank and file games. But that assumes only a two system classification of skirmish or rank and file movement. 

My point exactly; it is a game played at a not skirmish scale with skirmish rules. I like skirmish rules for "modern" combat, say 40k, since it makes more sense based on the squad level organization and the type of "warfare". Skirmish also works for "skirmishes" (duh), but for big blobs on dozens of miniatures?

 

I don't know, I think blobs should become "regimented", and perhaps allow smaller units to actually "skirmish".

Edited by Greybeard86
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53 minutes ago, Greybeard86 said:

 

I don't know, I think blobs should become "regimented", and perhaps allow smaller units to actually "skirmish".

I think we are seeing GW experiment with that a little (Lumineth formation rule name escapes me) and that is somewhat part of their development strategy they tend to experiment with mechanics  army or in a specialist game before placing it as a norm. They are probably aware of the weird scale some units have, bonus based on model count( "our line  is thining we cant hold the defense =epic, vs AoS crud steve died guess  all 39 of us got worse at stabbing), daisy chains of units a result of skirmish  style rules( havent played a regiment game that would allow or at the very least not punish me for a thin line of chaf across the board). We will probably see more experiments here and there in the future

Im not sure how big their department is but most of the more experienced  designers when it came to non-skirmish games left the company. I'd be curious of how much of the deaign team who would be interested in implementing what you suggest shifted to the Old World

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Part of me wonders whether so many people would take such large unit sizes if the whole 'how many drops' system when setting up armies before the game were to change.

If it were to change, it would probably have to go hand in hand with how first turn is decided changing, and potentially how the turns work over all. 

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5 hours ago, Evangelist of Cinders said:

I think we are seeing GW experiment with that a little (Lumineth formation rule name escapes me) and that is somewhat part of their development strategy they tend to experiment with mechanics  army or in a specialist game before placing it as a norm. They are probably aware of the weird scale some units have, bonus based on model count( "our line  is thining we cant hold the defense =epic, vs AoS crud steve died guess  all 39 of us got worse at stabbing), daisy chains of units a result of skirmish  style rules( havent played a regiment game that would allow or at the very least not punish me for a thin line of chaf across the board). We will probably see more experiments here and there in the future

Im not sure how big their department is but most of the more experienced  designers when it came to non-skirmish games left the company. I'd be curious of how much of the deaign team who would be interested in implementing what you suggest shifted to the Old World

I guess it is a possibility that we see OW being the equivalent to HH to 40k; personally, I'd be fine with that, I guess. In any case, you are right that lumineth do that, but I'd argue that funny enough they seem to be a better fit for skirmish (they have some big expensive models) than some of the armies that don't have such rules.

Are unit fillers that scary to GW?

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4 hours ago, Greybeard86 said:

 

Are unit fillers that scary to GW?

I mean they use to teach you how to make em in white dwarf but the days of GW giving money saving tips is long gone. Maybe they feel its too close to mantic or mayhaps it doesnt really work in a game of round bases. I say this though recognizing Katakros is a unit filler of a few heroes rules wise.

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It would genuinely not surprise me if we saw an Apocalypse-style ruleset akin to War of the Ring, wherein you put your round models onto regimented trays for larger games. I could see them doing it if only as a prelude to TOW  ("look AoS players, isn't rank-and-file in the Mortal Realms fun? You should try it in The Old World(tm) as well in a few months!")

War of the Ring and A Song of Ice & Fire prove you can have rank-and-file rulesets that flow very smoothly and play very quickly, which I think would be a damn good alternative to what will presumably be the crunchier TOW.

Edited by Clan's Cynic
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Speaking of apoc and the other multitude of abandoned systems...

I do think that AoS has been leading the charge in terms of testing innovations. Which is good in the sense of GW attempting to improve the game systems (not the nth iteration of the same) but also can be a tad hard on the players going through the roller coaster.

I believe that skirmish rules can be fun and now there is a multitude of new not-mordheim games by GW. But my heart aches when I see conga lines and weird pile in moves (limit return fire and so on) with what is a regiment sized bunch of models. 

 

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18 hours ago, Greybeard86 said:

I don't know, I think blobs should become "regimented", and perhaps allow smaller units to actually "skirmish".

Personally I really really hope not. you say units have become bloated, my issue with the direction of AoS is that the rules have become bloated. 

If they then add different unit structures with all the rules that come with it in fantasy...

Even with half the rules of reforming, flanking, ranks. It was impossible to get friends interested due to all those rules upon rules upon exceptions and special circumstances. 

No I'm very happy that those rules are gone. I do agree that elite units need a bit of a boost, or hordes a bit of a hit. Maybe not both be better at scoring objectives and fighting due to having more models. 

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2 hours ago, Kramer said:

Personally I really really hope not. you say units have become bloated, my issue with the direction of AoS is that the rules have become bloated. 

If they then add different unit structures with all the rules that come with it in fantasy...

Even with half the rules of reforming, flanking, ranks. It was impossible to get friends interested due to all those rules upon rules upon exceptions and special circumstances. 

No I'm very happy that those rules are gone. I do agree that elite units need a bit of a boost, or hordes a bit of a hit. Maybe not both be better at scoring objectives and fighting due to having more models. 

I don't think GW would ever do it with TOW on the way, but there's a few notable rank-and-file systems out there which make such things very simple. Hell, in game terms it's a lot faster doing a pivot-move-pivot and basing angle on the four corners of a square than individually picking up thirty models and getting them within cohesion as best you can.. I do think an AoS-Apocalypse system which plays with rank-and-file the same way 40k-Apocalypse plays a bit with alternating activations could be fun experiment.

I don't think GW will give hordes a major hit when it's obviously proving profitable to them. The problem is when they start falling into WHFB's trap of "make them add more boxes to their Core/Battleline units!" and Lil Timmy gets burnt out painting 30+ of the same, identical chaff he's going to be scooping up by the handful and just decides to go play with his Space Marines instead, especially now price hikes are becoming more prominent again.

Edited by Clan's Cynic
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To some degree (note the emphasis) it's down to your personal preference. Do you want it to feel like a skirmish game? Then build and play your army in that way. Do you want to it feel more rank and file? Then build and play with that in mind. You can't control what the opponent does, but if your half of the game feels that way to you, you're halfway there. 50% might be the best you're going to get.
Of course, you'd still be playing within a ruleset that you personally feels skewed more skirmish or less skirmish, however you interpret it, but there's a certain degree of flexibility within that ruleset to play how you want. 
I know that doesn't directly answer your question as to whether AoS is or isn't a 'skirmish game', but the discussion seems to have established that what a 'skirmish game' actually consists of is pretty nebulous. So if what 'skirmish' means is personal taste, maybe you can bring your own personal interpretation to AoS and play it in the way you wish it were (i.e. more skirmish or less skirmish). 'Be the change you want to see in the world!' 

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54 minutes ago, Clan's Cynic said:

I don't think GW would ever do it with TOW on the way, but there's a few notable rank-and-file systems out there which make such things very simple. Hell, in game terms it's a lot faster doing a pivot-move-pivot and basing angle on the four corners of a square than individually picking up thirty models and getting them within cohesion as best you can.. I do think an AoS-Apocalypse system which plays with rank-and-file the same way 40k-Apocalypse plays a bit with alternating activations could be fun experiment.

I don't think GW will give hordes a major hit when it's obviously proving profitable to them. The problem is when they start falling into WHFB's trap of "make them add more boxes to their Core/Battleline units!" and Lil Timmy gets burnt out painting 30+ of the same, identical chaff he's going to be scooping up by the handful and just decides to go play with his Space Marines instead, especially now price hikes are becoming more prominent again.

I think that, outside GW, there seems to be a unspoken rule that states that for large forces representation you: i) don't use "skirmish" rules (i.e. rules that give high importance to models within units); ii) you do not represent 1 to 1 the models (i.e. regiments are such that 1 man counts for 100, or whatever scale).

GW didn't follow rule ii) with WHFB (those large blocks....sigh), and is now "breaking" also rule i) in AoS. Players had a way around  "Lil Timmy gets burnt out painting 30+ of the same, identical chaff he's going to be scooping up by the handful" using unit fillers. I personally loved them, as they were a chance to show creativity (of course there were bad ones, but there are also badly painting miniatures). 

Now, it is quite clear that unit fillers don't work with skirmish rules, so in that sense GW has an incentive to keep increasing unit sizes and also keep skirmish rules. It just means selling more plastic crack, which is their bottom line. But, at the same, time, if the game loses appeal ("Lil Timmy gets burnt [...] and just decides to go play with his Space Marines instead"), that also hurts their bottom line.

47 minutes ago, The Mysterious Mr B said:

I know that doesn't directly answer your question as to whether AoS is or isn't a 'skirmish game', but the discussion seems to have established that what a 'skirmish game' actually consists of is pretty nebulous. [...] 'Be the change you want to see in the world!' 

I think that we may argue over some fine details, but most "wargamers" know what about skirmish vs rank and file games. As for the change, I do that already! I am currently carrying out several painting projects; my latest one is a bunch of old school Mordheim models that I plan to use as "counts as" in larger units of empire, ehem free guild, forces (and even as "unit fillers", I have several models of frenzied mob that would make awesome "camp followers").

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5 hours ago, Clan's Cynic said:

I don't think GW would ever do it with TOW on the way, but there's a few notable rank-and-file systems out there which make such things very simple. Hell, in game terms it's a lot faster doing a pivot-move-pivot and basing angle on the four corners of a square than individually picking up thirty models and getting them within cohesion as best you can.. I do think an AoS-Apocalypse system which plays with rank-and-file the same way 40k-Apocalypse plays a bit with alternating activations could be fun experiment.

I don't think GW will give hordes a major hit when it's obviously proving profitable to them. The problem is when they start falling into WHFB's trap of "make them add more boxes to their Core/Battleline units!" and Lil Timmy gets burnt out painting 30+ of the same, identical chaff he's going to be scooping up by the handful and just decides to go play with his Space Marines instead, especially now price hikes are becoming more prominent again.

first part a very good point. But whenever have GW made and more importantly kept rules simple?

Second part I always struggle with that idea. Just like you said people burn out painting, people struggle with the numbers. There are so many downsides to massive units as well that I think it very likely that it also hurts the sales. Especially if you make them very expensive. 

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15 minutes ago, Kramer said:

first part a very good point. But whenever have GW made and more importantly kept rules simple?

The start of AoS (infamously so) 8th Edition 40k and Underworlds.

GW can make simple rulesets, but as you say, it's keeping them simple and not drowning them in bloat - both edition and supplemental books - which is the problem. They just don't seem to be able, or willing, to restraint themselves, presumably because they know if things get too bad they can go "Look everyone it's the new Malibu Stacy and she's streamlined down to be the smoothest version ever!" and people give them infinite chances and gobble down every splat book until it's bloated again, repeat ad nauseum.

Edited by Clan's Cynic
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25 minutes ago, Kramer said:

first part a very good point. But whenever have GW made and more importantly kept rules simple?

Second part I always struggle with that idea. Just like you said people burn out painting, people struggle with the numbers. There are so many downsides to massive units as well that I think it very likely that it also hurts the sales. Especially if you make them very expensive. 

In my case, I am endlessly confused by skirmish rules applied to blobs. I try, but it just seems counterintuitive to me; I cannot bring myself to accept conga lines and stuff like that. I naturally just form them up in tidy rows, etc.

I think skirmish is not simple if you have too high model counts. Although skirmish is fun for smaller units!

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I loathe that we keep using the term Skirmish to mean both small battles and battles where models move on their own.

It’s like WW1 veterans claiming WW2 wasn’t a real war because they weren’t using nerve gas or trenches.

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29 minutes ago, Greybeard86 said:

In my case, I am endlessly confused by skirmish rules applied to blobs. I try, but it just seems counterintuitive to me; I cannot bring myself to accept conga lines and stuff like that. I naturally just form them up in tidy rows, etc.

I think skirmish is not simple if you have too high model counts. Although skirmish is fun for smaller units!

Haha have you never played capture the flag* as a kid in a dark forest?  It’s literally a game of screening.  

Or watched rugby. 

or even the first few battles in the series vikings. 

what I like most about the free form that their are specific advantages to stringing out and keeping your unit compact. It adds depth without adding extra rules.

* in case it doesn’t translate. 10+ kids per team and you hang a flag in your territory. On the word go you need to grab the flag of the other team and bring it back. If you’re tagged you need to restart at your own flag. Brilliant fun. But both teams usually have conga line as a screen to prevent the opponent getting to their objectives. 

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1 hour ago, Clan's Cynic said:

The start of AoS (infamously so) 8th Edition 40k and Underworlds.

GW can make simple rulesets, but as you say, it's keeping them simple and not drowning them in bloat - both edition and supplemental books - which is the problem. They just don't seem to be able, or willing, to restraint themselves, presumably because they know if things get too bad they can go "Look everyone it's the new Malibu Stacy and she's streamlined down to be the smoothest version ever!" and people give them infinite chances and gobble down every splat book until it's bloated again, repeat ad nauseum.

haha yup. 

Although if i'm completely honest if they didn't do stuff like the malign portents updates, new scenarios, special sieges rules, cities of death, Endless spells!, all that good stuff. Then even by adding new armies I would get bored of the hobby. Because I take at least a year to paint a new army, so just updating the armies wouldn't do it for me. 

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I think it's possible to have a 2K game of AoS, and still play like a skirmish style game, even with like 200 models on the table.  If a horde of Skaven were all in movement trays, then there would only be perhaps 7 units for them on the table.  And frankly, big blobs should be put in movement trays to save tons of time deploying and moving the first couple of turns, and even in combat they usually don't all need to be taken out and moved individually since not all can always get into melee range.   It would be like having 7 Chaos Mammoths, but composed of 40 tiny rats each.

That said, Warcry is a good skirmish game.  Would be interesting to try it without cards and the regular AoS stats instead.

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1 hour ago, Greybeard86 said:

I cannot bring myself to accept conga lines and stuff like that. I naturally just form them up in tidy rows, etc.

Play Dankhold Troggoths or Bonereaper Morteck Crawlers.  That will allow you to punish anyone that conga lines stuff.  Age of Sigmar is already pretty strict on coherency.  Combine it with many buffs needing wholly within to work and being a mostly melee centered game, and I think Conga line tactics aren't as useful overall.

Besides what's a tidy row but an organized Conga line with coherency redundancy.  The inherent nature of line infantry combat is present a line that isn't easily flanked.  When an AoS army has 6 feet of line to defend it probably isn't going to have the luxury of much depth for their lines.  Me, I tend toward 2 ranks for infantry and archers while having a single rank for cavalry, and I tend for 15-20 infantry/archers units and 10 cavalry units.

If this was 8th ed 40k, I would be with you on Conga lines being an issue.  However, I think AoS already largely has controls in place to deal with it.  While AoS models everything individually sure, but perhaps it would be better for you to not consider large Battleline units as skirmishing.  Instead, consider them more a unit that can be pliable to the situation.  Kinda like a real formation would be.  War is a messy business afterall.

Like I said, I think AoS is more honest (or at least less abstract) in terms of formation combat compared to a few 'movement tray' formation miniatures war game.  A player has to actually move the attacking models in to combat ranges over, say, catching a corner and delivering a full frontage of attacks.  The game already has built-in strengths and weaknesses to going to thin or deep with formations for the most part.  Even the ever present drops rules steer armies from going MSU to some extent which without a proper Command and Control rules set would be a much bigger issue.

The drawback is this can be time-consuming piling in each model.  Especially as AoS becomes surprisingly tactically and fiddly (far more fiddly than tactical though) at this part of the game.

***

I don't buy the idea GW wants players to field larger and larger armies.  I mean they do, but they also know that it endangers new recruitment.  I always enjoy smaller points games, but locally and online the player base usually shoots down games of less than 2,000pts.  Heck, when 40k received a points reset some players were considering going to 2250pts as to keep the same number of models on the table.  So I see it less as GW wants players to buy more models (though, they surely do want that) and more players want bigger games.  I know it would likely be easier for me to play a 2500pt game of AoS than a 1500pt game just because of other players' preferences in my area.

Sure, miniatures games such as these have a working points spectrum.  Too few points or too many and the system breaks down.  That said, I think more often than not players are pushing on the too many points side of the spectrum.  Especially veteran players who want all the things and bring every single model they can.  I think GW actually goes out of its way to ensure there are steps to allow players to get to that via skirmish (common parlance) games such as Warcry and Kill Team and small point games such as Combat Patrol and 40k's Crusade and some extent AoS Path to Glory.  I think GW is all too aware that established players are going to push the upper points limit.  While that limit may be. "A bridge too far" for newer players to jump into the game without intermediate steps. 

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On 11/23/2020 at 12:37 PM, Greybeard86 said:

No, large groups are rare in 40k. It truly is mostly skirmish based, and 30-40 man blobs are niche faction specific occurances.

One could argue it is more about getting the right aesthetic than about the actual number of models. If you are going to push a 40 man blob around, then model based rules seem counterintuitive to me.

This is just wrong, it is normal for Daemons, Orks, Nids, GSC, IG, DkoK, to have large amounts of models. Heck some of the top lists for tournaments right now is basically 120 models with some MC's or Tanks. Sometimes as DE or Sisters i have 100+ models. Necrons are moving more towards a horde base army now as well with their new codex (2x20 warriors as their first 2 units in the army along with other 10mans). 

Not all armies are Custodes and Marines with 30-60 models. Thats like saying "SCE is the most popular army so AoS must be a elite unit style game".

Edited by Maddpainting
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