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Stormdrake Guard Are Beyond Absurd


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Over the weekend saw one of the top US players, Kaleb Walters, lose every model in his army to a SCE Drake list with 11 dragons. Literally no counter play; the second the SCE player dropped in, half of the Tzeentch army evaporated; upon winning the double turn, the game was over. 33-0.

 

Now, I know what folks are going to say. But having seen this list play, 9 dragons and 2 chariots, or 11 dragons, the things are utterly dysfunctional.

 

They have deep strike. Access to a 2+ save. Multiple rampage options per unit. High rend, high damage melee. Ranged mortals that can shoot out of sequence, with no hit modifier. They have quality in faction buffs that make them harder to wound. They have native spell immunity half the time. They can double move, and so on.

 

The warscroll is a bloated nightmare of "buy these please, and if you could, ignore the bloat." 

 

Give it a few weeks and you will see these lists dominating the meta. They have totally shaped my local meta, sweeping multiple tournaments yesterday, and, becoming rampant. IIRC, next weekend there is an event of 26, and a quarter of the field plus will be SCE dragon lists.

 

How the hell does anyone deal with this stuff?

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19 minutes ago, Aphotic said:

Over the weekend saw one of the top US players, Kaleb Walters, lose every model in his army to a SCE Drake list with 11 dragons. Literally no counter play; the second the SCE player dropped in, half of the Tzeentch army evaporated; upon winning the double turn, the game was over. 33-0.

 

Now, I know what folks are going to say. But having seen this list play, 9 dragons and 2 chariots, or 11 dragons, the things are utterly dysfunctional.

 

They have deep strike. Access to a 2+ save. Multiple rampage options per unit. High rend, high damage melee. Ranged mortals that can shoot out of sequence, with no hit modifier. They have quality in faction buffs that make them harder to wound. They have native spell immunity half the time. They can double move, and so on.

 

The warscroll is a bloated nightmare of "buy these please, and if you could, ignore the bloat." 

 

Give it a few weeks and you will see these lists dominating the meta. They have totally shaped my local meta, sweeping multiple tournaments yesterday, and, becoming rampant. IIRC, next weekend there is an event of 26, and a quarter of the field plus will be SCE dragon lists.

 

How the hell does anyone deal with this stuff?

Only one model per unit can use a Monsterous Rampage. They’re weak to mortal wounds, like pretty much everything. Their attacks aren’t very good compared to other options in their book.

I love those models, but I actually find them quite underwhelming for their points

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The mass dragon list is a problem that people don't seem to really quite understand until they actually face them. Comments like "they don't actually hit all that hard," "they're weak to mortals" etc are a prime example of this - yes, that's true on paper...until you have 9-10 of them hitting you T1 and then grinding you down because you literally can't move any of your army because they're all either engaged or moveblocked by the huge dragon footprint. There are a lot of lists - even otherwise competitive lists - that dragon spam will just beat no matter what with absolutely no chance for the opponent to do anything, and that's a big problem for the game. They are a prime example of a broken warscroll - they just have so much powerful junk crammed onto their scroll that they are always going to be auto-takes or never-takes from a balance point of view, depending on their pointing.

And the particular way they are broken makes spamming them more valuable than not spamming them, which is the exact opposite of what's good for game health. They are the ultimate skew list and unless you have one of the small handful of lists that specializes in doing masses of non-spell-based mortal wounds, you have basically lost the matchup before it even starts. It's a recipe for NPE and bad feelings. 

Building a warscroll that can cross the entire board and charge in a turn, that has mortal wound shooting output, that has 3+ saves, is a monster, has decent combat output, can spread out to have ridiculous board coverage, and has a spell shrug...it was just a terrible idea. 

To be clear, it's not an unbeatable list. But it's a list where your ability to beat it is basically dependent on you having copious amounts of a very specific set of tools, and that's a disaster for the game. Auto-wins and auto-losses are terrible for creating a good competitive game. 

 

Edited by yukishiro1
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1 hour ago, Aphotic said:

Over the weekend saw one of the top US players, Kaleb Walters, lose every model in his army to a SCE Drake list with 11 dragons. Literally no counter play; the second the SCE player dropped in, half of the Tzeentch army evaporated; upon winning the double turn, the game was over. 33-0.

 

Now, I know what folks are going to say. But having seen this list play, 9 dragons and 2 chariots, or 11 dragons, the things are utterly dysfunctional.

 

They have deep strike. Access to a 2+ save. Multiple rampage options per unit. High rend, high damage melee. Ranged mortals that can shoot out of sequence, with no hit modifier. They have quality in faction buffs that make them harder to wound. They have native spell immunity half the time. They can double move, and so on.

 

The warscroll is a bloated nightmare of "buy these please, and if you could, ignore the bloat." 

 

Give it a few weeks and you will see these lists dominating the meta. They have totally shaped my local meta, sweeping multiple tournaments yesterday, and, becoming rampant. IIRC, next weekend there is an event of 26, and a quarter of the field plus will be SCE dragon lists.

 

How the hell does anyone deal with this stuff?

But apart from all that you’re ok with it yea?

 

stormgitz innit.

Edited by Kaleb Daark
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 They're pretty strong. Some armies can set up to fight them relatively alright (as a Kruleboyz player I can defend myself well from dragons, but it means playing mega defensive), but most armies have little they can do except pillowcase all their important stuff and hope it's enough. With a double turn it usually isn't.

That being said, they are alright damage and pretty expensive. It's pretty swingy with their shooting attacks but their melee has a pretty limited upper number, which makes them not amazing against hordes, but them being able to do 20ish damage is still pretty nuts. I'm not qualified to say they're broken yet having only fought them twice, but both times I was very lucky.

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I was entertaining a unit of 4 in my Cities list purely for their enormous footprint and flying once-per-game hero phase move and charge that can be used to circumvent Unleash Hell/Redeploy and just tie enemies up with a blob of 36 3+ (boostable to a 2+) wounds that ignore half of all spells sent at them. That kind of board control power coupled with how missions usually work in 3.0 is just incredible, especially given they have a plethora of high quality attacks too. They are absolutely one of the strongest warscrolls in the game. 

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They feel like a prime example of a unit that's abusive against older armies. There was a shift partway through 2.0 and especially with the 3.0 books towards putting out a crapload of non-magical mortal wounds, something that is generally quite rare in the older 2.0 books. 

Having a list that completely crushes most older armies with basically no counterplay is really not a good thing for the game. GW thinking it was ok to let dragons be battleline - and at the truly ridiculous original 270 points to begin with - is a prime example of how far the company still is from taking balance seriously. 

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13 minutes ago, yukishiro1 said:

They feel like a prime example of a unit that's abusive against older armies. There was a shift partway through 2.0 and especially with the 3.0 books towards putting out a crapload of non-magical mortal wounds, something that is generally quite rare in the older 2.0 books. 

Having a list that completely crushes most older armies with basically no counterplay is really not a good thing for the game. GW thinking it was ok to let dragons be battleline - and at the truly ridiculous original 270 points to begin with - is a prime example of how far the company still is from taking balance seriously. 

 

That's my feeling of it. 

The scroll is ludicrously overpowered imho. As for my concerns for the game, I mean, Dragons are legit abusive and horrific to face as a new player that's for sure.

 

I think the god characters are still a little insane, and Gotrek dodged the hammer, but most stuff is OK - I wish theyd update the older tomes. Some armies are just so bad.

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His damage per points is horrible after so many nerfs.

If a tzenth player lost every model against dragon spam is due to dont use any horror,because it is imposible a full dragon list can kill the 200+ wounds of horrors lists.

They are usefull due to movility and tanking,but they are overcosted and fulminators are so much better

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Wait... GW have made a unit that's above the power curve and people are spamming?

In other news the sky is blue and water is wet.

This is the way of the world with GW, AoS isn't balanced, GW don't make balanced games and people spam the best things. If you want a balanced game where things like this don't happen AoS isn't it. 

It's however loads of fun, you just got to roll some dice and accept the game for what is is, or don't play it. 

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1 hour ago, AaronWilson said:

Wait... GW have made a unit that's above the power curve and people are spamming?

In other news the sky is blue and water is wet.

This is the way of the world with GW, AoS isn't balanced, GW don't make balanced games and people spam the best things. If you want a balanced game where things like this don't happen AoS isn't it. 

It's however loads of fun, you just got to roll some dice and accept the game for what is is, or don't play it. 

True, the game has been a roller-coaster since the time of WHFB. However, the game has always benefited from the community calling GW out on their nonsense. I do not think we'd see stuff like the dataslate or battlescroll if the community hadn't started aggregating data and shown in black and white just how terribly balanced the game actually is. THW and the data blokes are ever increasing the quality of the data too which is going to put more pressure on them to create a more balanced game. It is not great for a fairly young game to be known as the game where alpha stikes have become so problematic a double turn is always an auto-win.

I would also caution anyone from using these kind of "P2W" lists (buying and spamming the new overpowered stuff before the nerf hits) in games where fun and dice rolling is the name of the game. You're likely to end up being 'that guy' either as because of bringing optimised meta lists to non-tournament games or for scaring off new players. Since most of us established players know how wonky the balance is it also comes down to us to act accordingly. I mean, if on one hand 'the rule of cool'/pick the army you like is super-important yet the type lists fielded are super-competitive we end up sending mixed messages. In our heart of hearts, can we really claim it is a fun aspect of the hobby to roll some dice and have your army be obliterated before you get to do much of anything?

My point is, you can accept it, speak out about things you don't like, and not feel like you have to walk away just because you have issues with the system. It is how the game becomes better (and it has gotten better IMO) rather than a dystopian P2W whaling operation.

As a disclaimer; I'm not accusing anyone, pointing fingers at anyone in particular. It is all examples.

Edited by pnkdth
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Yeah, new stormcast are insane. Between the dragons, annihilators, fulminators, and raptors, they can pretty much remove any chance you have to interact with them before your army just evaporates. Some of the new books can hang with that sort of output but many of the older ones just can't.

There was a 10 man tournament at my flgs yesterday with 21 dragons and 5 stormcast players. First place was 9 grandhammer annhilators and 6 raptors, Second place was an actual, honest to god homebrew tanky stormcast list with gardus, yndrasta, and 10 protectors (even though apparently paladins are apparently hot garbage and shouldn't even be considered), and then fourth place was a 10 dragon list. 

So yeah, get ready to see SCE everywhere... 

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13 hours ago, Aphotic said:

How the hell does anyone deal with this stuff?

Over time. The meta is constantly changing due to new things coming out but also people work out how to play against lists like this. I’ve been playing GW games for a long time and this is a common thing that pops up. But things move on. I can remember when Flesh Eaters were all that and now they aren’t considered to be anywhere near top tier.   

I think with the cost of the army, it’s not going to be super common and shouldn’t be very popular. You are most likely to see armies with a few dragons rather than all dragons. 

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the US player sell this army now he’s won an event with it and start playing with something else. These sorts of armies rule the scene for a few months and then something happens and they aren’t as good. 

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13 minutes ago, Gaz Taylor said:

I think with the cost of the army, it’s not going to be super common and shouldn’t be very popular. You are most likely to see armies with a few dragons rather than all dragons. 

I was at an 18 player tournament over the weekend and we had 2 dragon players, the only thing that stopped the dragons was SoB and dragons. 

I honestly have no idea how I'd deal with an 11 dragon list with most of my armies. I might be able to soak a ton as nurgle or lofp, but it'll go the same way eventually and the main 2 I play beasts and hedonites it just wouldn't go well. 

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Yes imposible to deal with them.....but since his launch they have been very popular with many dragons list in every tournament and so far i think they havent won any tournament yet? Many 4\1 but they havent won anithing.

But i see many sc and citys lists that go 5\0 and all have 4\6 fullminators. If sc have any unit broken is fullmis and not dragons

Edited by Doko
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3 minutes ago, Doko said:

Yes imposible to deal with them.....but since his launch they have been very popular with many dragons list in every tournament and so far i think they havent won any tournament yet? Many 4\1 but they havent won anithing.

But i see many sc and citys lists that go 5\0 and all have 4\6 fullminators. If sc have any unit broken is fullmis and not dragons

I'm unsure why winning a 5 game GT is a measure by which we assess if something is fun to play against, engaging, or broken and abusive. I  don't think that's a good standard. But I do think you'll see them winning plenty in the coming weeks.

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14 minutes ago, Aphotic said:

I'm unsure why winning a 5 game GT is a measure by which we assess if something is fun to play against, engaging, or broken and abusive. I  don't think that's a good standard. But I do think you'll see them winning plenty in the coming weeks.

Because some people only play in tournaments and believe themselves and those like them to be more important than anyone else, and that the ‘casual’ players are just a myth and don’t actually exist, sadly 🙄

there’s a bunch of armies in the game that are terrible in tournaments, but bring it to the local gw store and the casuals are going to have a terrible time against it. The tournament players don’t consider these armies to be a problem because it doesn’t affect them

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Because its IMPOSSIBLE and horribly wrong to balance game with the casual players in mind. Game must be balanced with compepetive and tournaments stats. AoS is a game of deployment and movements, the diffrance between new player, good player and pro player IS HUGE.  

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12 minutes ago, Nizrah said:

Because its IMPOSSIBLE and horribly wrong to balance game with the casual players in mind. Game must be balanced with compepetive and tournaments stats. AoS is a game of deployment and movements, the diffrance between new player, good player and pro player IS HUGE.  

I don't think any actual game designers balance their games like that. If 90% of your player base is causal, then of course you should be concerned with making the game fun for them. Even if the thing that is a problem in casual play is not a problem at the highest levels.

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3 minutes ago, Nizrah said:

Because its IMPOSSIBLE and horribly wrong to balance game with the casual players in mind. Game must be balanced with compepetive and tournaments stats. AoS is a game of deployment and movements, the diffrance between new player, good player and pro player IS HUGE.  

While you're correct that it's incredibly difficult to balance with casual players in mind, I think it's a much larger discussion as to whether competitive players should be the goal of balance.

I think it's very likely that pro players (and competitive tournament players in general) are the tiny minority of AoS players, and that casual 'pick up an army and play' are in the vast majority.  It's also true that pro players, by virtue of being pro, likely know more about the game and how best to play. As such, if an army is strong in the pro scene then it's 'truly' strong - as in, it can beat other strong armies used at their best by people who are good at spotting strong armies.

If an army is winning a lot at a pro scene then there's a good chance it will also be strong at a casual scene too; it's rare that a meta army will be too complicated to use at a casual level to good effect. Thus a nerf can work at the casual and pro scene when based off the competitive scene, which is how it currently is. 

However, the difficulty comes from armies that aren't good at a tournament level as pro players know how to effectively counter them with higher skill, but are a problem at a casual level. I'll call this the AoS 1 Thundertusk effect. For those not in AoS 1, the old Thundertusk could do 6 mortal wounds at 18" range on a 2+. Basically, it deleted little heroes. It could be beaten with not having important <6 wound heroes in range, playing the objective, or using chip damage to turn the 6 into D6. At a competitive scene, the army was a bit of a dud, but people hated it at a casual scene.

If a unit is making the game unenjoyable for the larger player base, some would argue that it should be nerfed regardless of how "truly" bad it is. Others would say that people can just get better and use their improved skills instead of a nerf, or at casual games just ask people not to bring it. Personally I think the "ask not to bring it" argument is a dud as, while "casual games" invoke the idea of friends around a table, a lot of them are pick up and plays with strangers where you can't really have much of a say in their list. 

The argument of 'just get gud' is, in my mind, the stronger one but even then some people don't enjoy "getting gud" by changing up their playstyle (especially if they only play once every few months) and some people aren't really capable of it (especially when learning the game). On the other hand, a nerf to a 'truly' bad unit isn't fun for those few who want to use it at a competitive level and have now gotten even worse. 

Overall, looking at the Thundertusk, this was solved by changing what it did alongside the rest of the army. It became more of a horde clearer rather than a sniper and the rest of the army improved with it, helping both sides. I think, in the case of these awkward "AoS 1 Thundertusks" the best solution is a rewrite that tries to satisfy both crowds. 

Though for the dragons, that won't likely happen for some time. I've personally not played against them so I don't have much of an opinion, but I do think it's something that the design team really need to focus on in the future. I think first turn charge alpha strikes and high ranged mortal wounds have a very high chance of turning into AoS 1 Thundertusks, and should only be included in the game very sparsely because they become very hard to appease both crowds with.

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I Think Glootkin+ a strong other Maggotkin Unit (4-6 Pusgoyle, Orgoth 10 BK (buffed)) could be a good Counter.

Okay if the Dobbeltourn is against u it is game over but that is not just against Drgoon so......

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3 hours ago, Gaz Taylor said:

Over time. The meta is constantly changing due to new things coming out but also people work out how to play against lists like this. I’ve been playing GW games for a long time and this is a common thing that pops up. But things move on. I can remember when Flesh Eaters were all that and now they aren’t considered to be anywhere near top tier.

I wouldn't say that Flesh Eaters stopped being top tier because people learned to play against them. GW just eventually noticed that they had a particular combo that was too strong, and nerfed them into the bottom tier with their usual subtle approach.

Competitive AoS is a game where very little adaptation is possible in response to a "new meta". Most established armies are already restricted to picking from a couple of maximum-efficiency units propped up by whatever broken mechanics their faction can still muster - if that already-optimised army can't handle the new thing, there's no way to improve it, it's just dead in the water. "Learning to play" generally means building a different faction that can handle the new thing, or waiting for the new thing to die a natural death under the tender ministrations of the GW nerf bat.

"Over time" is still very much the right answer, but that's mostly the time it takes for GW to acknowledge that there's a problem. In six months, it'll no doubt be the Stormdrakes' turn to be battered into oblivion too.

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I only faced 2 units of 2 once and a unit of 4 and a leader yesterday. They are very good but not unkillable. I didn t know about their once per battle ability from the leader for a unit to shoot in the hero phase and didn t properly deployed because of it. In the future I ll stay more than 24" away from the unit of 4 at deployment so I don t lose my screens in the hero phase

Dealing with 10 of them sounds like a nightmare though but I ll probably will never face that in my local meta

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