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Dingding123

AoS should encourage bigger lists to have more variety!

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Lists consisting of 800+pts of the same type of unit in a battalion plus some heroes and tarpits like powerful lists nowadays threaten to frequently make games more stale, regardless of who wins.  If there were more incentives to include honest variety it would be a boon to the game unlike further encouraging streamlined strategies to the point of lists being one-trick ponies.  Battalions are neat, but unchallenged they can all but dictate what faction lists are "supposed" to look like instead of simply offering additional ways for factions to build their lists.  

Not to say battalions are poorly designed or outdated but they should never be as mandatory as they currently are, or as they're threatening to be.  Some factions simply don't have any strong battalions so they're left in the dust, whether they set up last or not.  There's way more flavor to the game than battalions offer; GW should let players explore that and add a variety of units to their lists instead of funneling them into only a few drops or less.

My honest guess as to how GW would best go about this is to generally allow extra points for lists that include a smorgasbord of units rather than just one dedicated strategy.  This would refrain from encouraging the "horde" list mentality (which ironically would be even more severe homogenization), all while encouraging players to explore more unique models to add to their armies.  If 2k lists have just one or two small behemoths, less than a couple hundred points worth of allies, a few hundred points maximum of any unit or the same amount towards all their heroes, for how much the game works against lists with these restrictions they should get more points at their disposal to put towards becoming more robust instead of letting them be sitting ducks to the current meta.

Regardless of my hot takes, points per list within conditions can be a fantastic lever for list variety that GW simply has yet to pull.  If I'm predicting the 2021 GH with this I'd be thrilled; if not I sincerely wish the best for GW and hope they come up with a way to promote selling new models for lists in the future without compelling players to either buy 600+ pts worth of them while they shelve all their older units or ignore new models entirely even if they really like them.  Power creep is not the play here; inclusion is.  

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1 hour ago, Dingding123 said:

Battalions are neat, but unchallenged they can all but dictate what faction lists are "supposed" to look like

As they should, in my opinion.

I'm all for flexibility and variety, but I'm strongly in favor of having some sort of rules-based guidance as to what the "standard" or typical army for a faction was envisioned by the designers to look like.

I sincerely miss the days of 3rd ed. Warhammer Fantasy Battle with actual compulsory troops you *had* to have in an army.

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I too feel like many forces are 1 trick ponies, when it comes to the gaming side. Honestly, they feel more like "warbands" than armies, and fairly specialized warbans in addition. Some people have been telling me that there are forces that have variety, but sadly not among the armies I am interested in.

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First off: I agree that the rules could do more to encourage more internally diverse list. In theory, those lists should have the advantage of being able to take a mix of all the best warscrolls have tools available for any situation. But in practice having more tools available is just not as good as having a few very focussed tools that allow you to do one thing very well. Plus, battalions are just really good deals at the moment. I'd go so far as to say that a battalion that does nothing but give you an extra command point and artefact and bring your drops down would still often be worth it for, like, 150 points (provided it lets you take units you already want).

But if we get some mechanics that encourage more internally diverse lists, I would want it to happen through positive reinforcement, not additional restrictions. By restrictions I mean something like the old Warhammer Fantasy allotments of certain percentages of core, elite, rare and command units. I am quite happy that AoS at the moment does a lot to allow you to build whatever list you want (10 Steam Tanks? Sure, go for it!).  I'd hate to see that go away. I would also not want the pendulum to swing too far the other way where we end up with mostly soup list on the table and everyone starts complainin that themed armies are unviable.

I said in another thread that the introduction of subfactions or battalions that require you not to repeat warscrolls (too much) would probably be a good way to tackle this problem with the tools that are currently available.

Finally, I don't think we should put too much weight on what the best lists look at the top level of play. Those are a good indicator if what the rules encourage you to build, but they are not a good indivator of what lists are viable in the average game. If we want to compare AoS to a game like Magic, I believe that the average player should view their list more like a Commander deck than a Standard deck: In list building, the main goal should not necessarily be building the strongest thing you can, but making whatever janky choice you build around work as well as possible. In that vein, I think we should encourage more awareness of the social contract of our casual games (don't bring your hardest list if your opponent brings a fun list, try to match power levels). Because a lot more lists become viable in lower powered games. Still, I support more mechanical support and sign posting of internally diverse lists.

Edited by Neil Arthur Hotep
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Whenever I consider playing a new faction, it's usually because I've focused in on one particular "theme" list or specific unit available to that army. It's easy to tell the "story" behind such a narrow army, and that themed narrative background is what gets me enthused about playing the list.

Lists with lots of internal variety just feel like a messy mish-mash of random stuff by comparison, and it's therefore much harder for me to get excited about them. To borrow @Neil Arthur Hotep's Magic analogy, they're more like a midrange value deck - everything they have is good, but there's no core mechanic or keyword that you're building your strategy around, you're just focusing on out-valuing your opponent. In that analogy, the skewed list is more like a tribal deck, with strong internal synergies and a single thematic "trick" that gives it a clear path to victory. There's nothing wrong with either approach in principle (and it's awesome that Magic allows for both to succeed) but for me, a lack of narrative coherency quickly makes me lose interest.

In general I would much prefer that any given battletome was able to support a wider variety of (competitively viable) lists, rather than trying to make every list utilise a wider variety of units. I think it would be quite sad if every army just became a "bit of this and that" soup.

That said, I do agree that battalions as they are currently implemented can be quite stifling of creativity in list building. I don't think it's a fundamental failure of game design, just a weak implementation of an otherwise sound concept.

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On 1/10/2021 at 7:21 AM, Dingding123 said:


Regardless of my hot takes, points per list within conditions can be a fantastic lever for list variety that GW simply has yet to pull. 

Personally I hope not. 
1. rules upon rules upon rules. AoS is already becoming such a convoluted mess. I got back into the hobby because I could explain the game in 15 minutes and me and friends could play. It’s not as bad as WHFB was when I quit but we’re definitely going that direction. 

2. Limitations in list building means less options to build a theme and will limit outlier lists. I like that occasionally someone props up with an off the wall list. Like the guy on tga that runs all scourge chariots, or that TTS player with max cockatrices. But also if I have a theme in my head, say I  want a full pistoleer army that I’m converting with cowboy hats, such limitations would mean I need to force in min sized unit just to get it matched play legal. 

3. competive players gonna compete. No stopping it. You can think of any solution you want. But if two units in the same faction have roughly the same role but one is more points efficient... I’m maxing that one. Only allowing one marauder unit per chaos warriors unit? Fine 5 warriors and 30 Marauders it is then. Instead of 40 Marauders. 
My whole game plan  is to flood the board with high save wounds. Here come the liberators/putrid blightkings. Doesn’t matter if you also now need to bring something else. 
And GW can keep playing that game until only one list is available per faction but until then you will see that behaviour. 

from a personal standpoint I’m not a fan of point 3 btw. But I do appreciate other people enjoying the hobby that way, I just don’t want the restriction to ‘fix’ point 3 to hurt point 1 & 2. Because that will hurt my enjoyment 😅

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To weigh in I don't know if battalions are the be all issue with AoS list building currently. There are many factions (top ones) that don't utilize them at all. However they do contribute in some way as some factions only BECOME competitive by using a hyper efficient battalion. I would say the issue lies more with (un)intentionally powerful stacking rules synergies and cost efficient warscrolls than with battalions.

 

To see more variety as many have touched on you need to expand the Keyword system so those buffs arent so hyperfocused on one particular portion of a faction. So people don't feel cheated by buying into say Trolls at the same time as goblins and also aren't so wildly under-powered compared to the army that bought into only goblins.

I think GW needs to have a long look at how they handle and distribute buffs within factions. Make them simpler buffs and spread them more evenly. Or as I have seen suggested elsewhere start tying inherent buffs to particular keywords (ex: ELITE, BEHEMOTH etc.) to make them stand out from the footies in that they can operate at a similar to buffed level but independently. Whereas the battleline will always need cheerleaders/babysitters.

 

Edited by BigNStinky
Added some further thoughts + spelling
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39 minutes ago, BigNStinky said:

To see more variety as many have touched on you need to expand the Keyword system so those buffs arent so hyperfocused on one particular portion of a faction. So people don't feel cheated by buying into say Trolls at the same time as goblins and also aren't so wildly under-powered compared to the army that bought into only goblins.

I think GW needs to have a long look at how they handle and distribute buffs within factions. Make them simpler buffs and spread them more evenly. Or as I have seen suggested elsewhere start tying inherent buffs to particular keywords (ex: ELITE, BEHEMOTH etc.) to make them stand out from the footies in that they can operate at a similar to buffed level but independently. Whereas the battleline will always need cheerleaders/babysitters.

 

Preach! Gitz is my only purely AoS army and I find this astonishingly bad design; I cannot bring a mob with some variety. It is either all little goblins, all squigs, or all trolls. For an army with SOME unit variety, way to underutilize the potential!

I do think the problem are buffs. By the time you are done bringing the relevant ones, there just isn't any room for anything else meaningful.

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1 hour ago, Greybeard86 said:

Preach! Gitz is my only purely AoS army and I find this astonishingly bad design; I cannot bring a mob with some variety. It is either all little goblins, all squigs, or all trolls. For an army with SOME unit variety, way to underutilize the potential!

I do think the problem are buffs. By the time you are done bringing the relevant ones, there just isn't any room for anything else meaningful.

I wholeheartedly agree.and the trend on gitz battalion continues with white dwarf battallions always focusing on a single group. The gitz fluff is about mixed mobs but the rules push toward a focus on only one of the subgroup:moonclan/squigs/troggoths/spiders

This is sad that not only the orc and goblins from wfb split into 2 battletomes but the goblin side split into 4 possible lists without any real unit variety if you look for efficiency

My current list has moonclan, squigs and troggoths in it because I like how it looks, but it s not a competitive list in any way

 

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On 1/10/2021 at 9:24 PM, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

But if we get some mechanics that encourage more internally diverse lists, I would want it to happen through positive reinforcement, not additional restrictions. By restrictions I mean something like the old Warhammer Fantasy allotments of certain percentages of core, elite, rare and command units. I am quite happy that AoS at the moment does a lot to allow you to build whatever list you want (10 Steam Tanks? Sure, go for it!).  I'd hate to see that go away. I would also not want the pendulum to swing too far the other way where we end up with mostly soup list on the table and everyone starts complainin that themed armies are unviable.

I really hate playing against armies that bring the absolute bare minimum battleline. I remember when it was all the rage to bring nagash and 2 units of 5 dogs to small games. Or minimum units of tree revenants and then Treelords and Durthu until the cows come home. Yawn.....

I do like the idea of slots to try and 'flesh out' armies to prevent 1) spam, 2) bland repetition 3) playing against monsters only.

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An expansion of roles for units would help as when movement/damage/toughness are the only considerations you inevitably end up with clear cut choices.

 

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More varied armies would be cool but I wouldn't want that to come at the expense of the option to play a wide variety of lists.

If every army has hard limits on how many of each unit you can take I can see a situation where we end up with more varied individual lists but a lot less varied lists across the whole player base if that makes sense.

Honestly I think it's kind of cool that lists can come as Nagash+VLOZD+min units of dogs or 200 clanrats.

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7 hours ago, Saxon said:

I really hate playing against armies that bring the absolute bare minimum battleline. I remember when it was all the rage to bring nagash and 2 units of 5 dogs to small games. Or minimum units of tree revenants and then Treelords and Durthu until the cows come home. Yawn.....

I do like the idea of slots to try and 'flesh out' armies to prevent 1) spam, 2) bland repetition 3) playing against monsters only.

I don't think that asking for an increase in the minimum requirement of battlelines does what you think it does. As of today the most "spammy" part of armies are often battlelines. In fact, quite a few of the strongest armies are strong because they have good options for battlelines and can just spam them: skinks in Seraphon, pink horrors in Tzeentch, eels in Idoneth, hearthguard berzerkers in Fyreslayers, mortek guards in OBR and so on. You might not like playing against minumum battleline but how do you like playing against 3x20 hearthguard berzerkers? or 3x40 skinks, 27 eels and so on?

Take also into account that rules *already* encourage you to invest in your battlelines, due to some battleplans having bonuses for them (Shifting objectives)  or only allowing battleline to score (The Better Part of Valour), while NO battlelplan gives bonuses to all other units apart from Leaders and Monsters.

Including forced "slots" in AoS might seem like a good idea to import from 40k, but those proposing it should take into account what it would do to armies which already have a very limited roster: you might improve "internal" diversity (Fyreslayers must now take bersekers AND vulkite AND auric guards) while destroying the "external" one (every  Fyreslayers army is now the same combination of units for lack of options in differnt slots).

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I feel that the advantage of battalions in reducing number of drops, is a huge factor in reducing variety. 

If people are less incentivised to have as few drops as possible, and have more MSUs, maybe there can be more variety. 

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7 minutes ago, Evantas said:

I feel that the advantage of battalions in reducing number of drops, is a huge factor in reducing variety. 

If people are less incentivised to have as few drops as possible, and have more MSUs, maybe there can be more variety. 

Absolutely

Im still of the opinion that first turn should always be a roll off. 
That prevents guaranteeing getting first turn and maybe as a result hyper focussed alpha builds. 

don’t know if it will really change the look of the game. But alpha armies that deploy on the line might then need a screening unit here and there.  

And setting up first can still win ties or even +1 to the roll off. 

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On 1/12/2021 at 1:48 AM, Saxon said:

I really hate playing against armies that bring the absolute bare minimum battleline. I remember when it was all the rage to bring nagash and 2 units of 5 dogs to small games. Or minimum units of tree revenants and then Treelords and Durthu until the cows come home. Yawn.....

I do like the idea of slots to try and 'flesh out' armies to prevent 1) spam, 2) bland repetition 3) playing against monsters only.

There are a lot of points that could be made here.

I think I could agree that Nagash and 2x5 wolves at 1000 is pushing the boundaries of what an acceptable list should look like. But it's important to note that this list is not exactly mechanically encouraged. It really sucks at playing the objective game, and everything in the LoN book encourages taking a few big units over multiple small ones. The appeal of that list (I suspect, I came back to the game just after LoN was dominant) is probably more that you can play it after painting just 11 models, as opposed to the usual 50 or so you need for a 1000 point LoN list. Arguably, what's wrong with this list is more that Direwolves are unconditional battleline than anything else.

As for Treelord spam, I think it's important to enableTimmys (players who like big, stompy monsters and doing flashy stuff on the table) to play the game in the way they want to. Again, it's not like those lists are mechanically any more encouraged than lists with a lot of different units. They are generally quite bad, as the rules stand at the moment.

Finally, I think that this is a good example for the point I was making earlier about awareness of the social contract of the game. One aspect of that is that in casual games, you should try to ensure that your opponent has a good time, too. I think that would definitely include not bringing these types of lists all the time, if you are able to. Although as a very enfrenchised player with a large model collection it's easy to forget how significant of a barrier putting a fully painted, diverse list on the table really is.

Edited by Neil Arthur Hotep
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2 hours ago, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

Finally, I think that this is a good example for the point I was making earlier about awareness of the social contract of the game. On aspect of that is that in casual games, you should try to ensure that your opponent has a good time, too. I think that would definitely include not bringing these types of lists all the time, if you are able to. Although as a very enfrenchised player with a large model collection it's easy to forget how significant of a barrier putting a fully painted, diverse list on the table really is.

I don't think that is a valid point, honestly. While of course I support not beign a ******, the game should not rely on people "house ruling" armies out to deliver a fun experience, that is the point of balance and the rules!

It is just so tricky to do "quick" adjustments to lists depending on the opponent for so many reasons.  Including but not restricted to limitations on the available models or the understanding of what is competitive.

Frankly, a lot of us just want to be able to have lists that aren't hyper focused. In a previous thread some people told me that those are possible for some factions, but I have a hard time finding them. Specially for my collection of gitz and trolls, but also in other cases (e.g. sea people). The extreme requirements for buffing make it hard, and synergies tend to be rather limited.

Out of curiosity, would it be possible to run a competitive cities list that uses a combination of demis, 1-2 artillery pieces, some spears, some ranged, and some heroes? Because that is the point of contention here. People come to the hobby with some fluffy idea of how armies should look like, then the rules push them in a different direction.

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1 hour ago, Greybeard86 said:

Out of curiosity, would it be possible to run a competitive cities list that uses a combination of demis, 1-2 artillery pieces, some spears, some ranged, and some heroes? Because that is the point of contention here. People come to the hobby with some fluffy idea of how armies should look like, then the rules push them in a different direction.

Here you are conflating the game with one very specific side of it, that is, the "competitive" side. In that area the answer is: yes it is absolutely possible to run whatever list you want even in super competitive events, but you will probably lose most if not all of your games. If you are not satified with this answer, what you are really asking is: is it possible to run a list without optimisation and win all/most of your games in a competitive tournament? Probably not, but this is true in all games with list/deck building. That being said, optimisation doesn't alway mean "spam", and skill, experience and (of course) luck can go a long way. I have already used this example in another thread but a quite diverse and off-meta Cities list went 4-1 in a competitive tournament here in France and  was featuered in a warhammer community article, check it out! https://www.warhammer-community.com/2020/11/26/metawatch-warhammer-age-of-sigmar-episode-2-kharadron-overlords-ascendant/

Edited by Marcvs
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6 hours ago, Kramer said:

Absolutely

Im still of the opinion that first turn should always be a roll off. 
That prevents guaranteeing getting first turn and maybe as a result hyper focussed alpha builds. 

don’t know if it will really change the look of the game. But alpha armies that deploy on the line might then need a screening unit here and there.  

And setting up first can still win ties or even +1 to the roll off. 

I don't know if a roll off is the answer but some factions (like BoC/Sons of Behemat which I also play) just have 1-2 useable battalions (on the expensive side or NONE in the case of Sons) in a sea of mediocre battalions and could really use the roll off to ever be considered for first turn.

I also know I am not alone with many battalions not offering bonuses large enough to outweigh the costs of the battalion (even factoring in the free CP/Artifact which I think need to go to make battalions less of a no brainer for some factions). whereas other factions have incredible battalions (and subfactions!) that are basically free on top of handing them extra CP/Artifacts.

And the funny part is I've heard that seraphon have a wide range of useable battalions but also know they are one of the armies that rarely makes use of them. I guess their units are just so good on their own they just don't need them? I know CP is no problem for that faction....

 

 

Edited by BigNStinky
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57 minutes ago, BigNStinky said:

don't know if a roll off is the answer but some factions (like BoC/Sons of Behemat which I also play) just have 1-2 useable battalions (on the expensive side or NONE in the case of Sons) in a sea of mediocre battalions and could really use the roll off to ever be considered for first turn.

Don’t know that either. But it will make deployment more interesting. 😄

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4 hours ago, Greybeard86 said:
7 hours ago, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

 

I don't think that is a valid point, honestly. While of course I support not beign a ******, the game should not rely on people "house ruling" armies out to deliver a fun experience, that is the point of balance and the rules!

I agree with @Neil Arthur Hotep. Because it isn’t as black as white as you present it. There is vast space between being an a-hole and house ruling your army. 

If we’re playing a game and I know you’re a new player that has just started collecting stormcast, I’m not bringing my KO lightning vortex in a bottle ziflin list. The game would be over turn 1. Then I would try a ground troop focussed morhnar list that has me intrigued but I don’t know how to play. 
that’s the social contract. I know of your situation and I make sure we both have a fun game. Not an a-hole, not houseruling. 
mand the other way around as well.  If I know your aiming to win next months big tourney and you see our game as a practice match I’m not bringing my har kuron ‘dark elf nostalgia’ list. I’m dropping all my old metal corsairs and going full hag narr. 
again knowing the situation of the opponent and making sure we both have fun. Not an a-hole, not houseruling. 
 

4 hours ago, Greybeard86 said:

It is just so tricky to do "quick" adjustments to lists depending on the opponent for so many reasons.  Including but not restricted to limitations on the available models or the understanding of what is competitive.

But this absolutely. It isn’t easy, and everybody occasionally misjudges it. Especially due to all the synergies. That killer unit suddenly becomes weak sauce without the buff. But no middle ground there. 
also with the time and money invested in the armies. It’s not like TTS where you can keep switching things around. 
I remember my first club game as a kid. Knew the player, used to be my old hockey coach, he brought orcs and goblins me my dwarfs. 
he cast foot of gork turn one, irritable force and destroyed a over half my army. 
he felt worse about it than me 😅

But I rather have that grey area for us all to play around in, rather than (close to) pre-built armies that guarantee balance and 

Edited by Kramer
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1 hour ago, Marcvs said:

Here you are conflating the game with one very specific side of it, that is, the "competitive" side.

I am conflating it with playing the game as it is intended, i.e. playing it by the rules to "win".  A good rule set should withstand the pressure from competitive players without breaking.

1 hour ago, Marcvs said:

optimisation doesn't alway mean "spam",

Maybe, but in some cases it does. And I find them to be "too frequent" for my taste. In the case of gitz, it seems almost mandatory to go full in for one of the themes (gobbos, trollos, spiders).

And it is not infrequent to find spammy lists on the table. HB spam for fyreslayers is a staple, from what I gathered, all pistoliers and outriders, all demis, eagle spam and so on have been fairly prevalent, over the years apparently.

The designers, via keywords, battalions and composition rules are responsible for implementing a vision of the game on the table. I'd prefer one where I could create armies that "make sense" without being penalized (by being actually bad at the game), though it is nice to allow some thematic armies.

 

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I think the newer battleplans have done a lot to increase diversity in lists. You can't minimum battleline and expect to win if you roll a mission that requires you to have it. Sure there are annoying lists to play against like hearthgaurd and various behemoth spam and the like but they are not actually great if you play the objectives and not to table your opponent. It might not be as fun to kill only 2 of your opponents models each round but if you have the numbers and play tactically that does not mean you will lose.

There is nothing wrong with focusing a portion of your army and I feel each army list should have a focus, otherwise it's just a random amalgamation of units. I have been following a lot of the TTS tourneys recently and I do see certain combos pop up in a lot of lists, but the armies are rarely spamming just one or two units. I guess it comes down to what you feel is spam.

Edited by Marrlfox
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2 minutes ago, Marrlfox said:

There is nothing wrong with focusing a portion of your army and I feel each army list should have a focus, otherwise it's just a random amalgamation of units. I have been following a lot of the TTS tourneys recently and I do see certain combos pop up in a lot of lists, but the armies are rarely spamming just one or two units. I guess it comes down to what you feel is spam.

Personally, I think that lots of the current "focused lists" don't feel natural from a bluff perspective, or what one might expect coming into the game. What you label as "random amalgamation of units" often feel more like what the armies should be.

As for spam, I consider a troll (2 types) plus Hag + general and maybe a gobbo shaman (or not) spam. And couple of blocks of hobbos, a boss, a few trolls, maybe a giant, and some squigs, not spam and NOT a "random amalgamation of units" but rather a lore adequate list. That's why I say that it comes down to what the designers want to be "good" on the table; what is the vision?

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Battalions need a fundamental rework. They shouldn't give CP, they shouldn't give extra artefacts, and they shouldn't reduce drops - or rather, having lower drops shouldn't impact whether you go first or not, except maybe to let you break ties or something like that. You should take a battalion because of the ability it gives, whereas right now in a lot of cases the ability is more of an afterthought compared to the incidental benefits. Obviously this would mean drastically reducing the point costs of most battalions, which is just fine. Then just let people buy an extra artefact and CP directly, if they want them. 

A lot of the fundamental problems with list-building in AOS come from battalions and they way they funnel you into restrictive lists if you want to be competitive. The remainder of the problems come from overly restrictive buff interactions - Gitz being the prime example of this. It's basically four mini-armies none of which have much if any synergy with the others. That's terrible book design. 

Well, then there's units that are just bad, of course. But that's always going to be a problem to some degree. 

Edited by yukishiro1

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