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swarmofseals last won the day on September 29

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About swarmofseals

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  1. swarmofseals

    The Rumour Thread

    I know this isn't a TW:W forum (although TW:W is what got me back into the hobby!), but good lord that exceeds my wildest expectations. When I saw that the next DLC was going to be Vampire Coast/Dreadfleet themed I thought we'd get some new lords with fresh campaign mechanics and some reskins of Vampire Counts units. I did not expect such a vastly new roster with incredible units like -- is that a pirate Necrofex Colossus??? What is that giant crab thing? Giant undead cannons!?!?! Please stop, my fangs can only get so erect.
  2. swarmofseals

    Tournament Balance and GW's Next Big Decision

    I did a very bad thing and didn't stay on top of replies XD ... so now I have some catching up to do! I don't entirely disagree with this. Super strict balance is boring. That said, I think it's generally very good for as many factions as possible to be viable. Not against every other faction, but in a generic sense. What I mean by viable is that there should be at least one or two builds of just about every faction (and to be clear, I'm not talking about teeny tiny factions that don't have and never will have a battletome) that could enter a tournament and, if played well, have a reasonable shot of finishing well. Good and bad matchups are important. It's fine if one faction has another faction that they just can't beat. It's when a faction has nothing but good matchups or nothing but bad matchups that a problem exists. 1. The ship has sailed on this one, and I can't really pretend I even understand your reasoning. GW has shown a willingness to change warscrolls for a variety of reasons. I'm also not sure how this is really relevant to the overall argument that I was making. 2. I disagree with you on this one. Decreasing the price on underused units I think is generally fine, but I don't think heavily used units need to be nerfed automatically. They only need to be nerfed if they are actively crowding out everything else. I'd be open to hearing your argument as to why it's so important to always increase points on heavily played warscrolls though. I can tell you my counter argument right now -- take Daughters of Khaine for example. Witch Aelves and Hag Queens are definitely undercosted right now. But they aren't stopping Melusai, Khinerai, Sisters of Slaughter, Slaughter Queens, Doomfire Warlocks etc. from seeing play. If Witches and hags get nerfed into the ground, I'd argue that all those other units will be come less viable, not more. All of those units that I mentioned are good for specific purposes, but none are really on par with truly efficient warscrolls. If you nerf witches until they are inefficient and buff melusai until they are hyper-efficient, then all you've done is trade one OP thing for another. But if you heavly nerf witches and don't buff the other stuff to compensate, then all it means is that whole faction drops out of competitive play. How is that a good thing? 3 + 4. I absolutely agree. Points creep is potentially a real problem. I have to think that you mean something different when you say "viable." Obviously if you could just throw warscrolls together at random and be guaranteed a competitive force, then yeah that'd be pretty dumb. But even in that case, the skill of listbuilding wouldn't be removed. It'd just be more subtle. I'd say the game as a whole benefits greatly when building a viable list is relatively easy but building an optimal list is very hard. In a game like Magic, for example, the thing that separates good deckbuilders from great deckbuilders is the ability to make very small and narrow tweaks that absolutely maximize expected performance in a given metagame. Correctly anticipating the metagame takes a great deal of knowledge of skill. Actually applying that knowledge and adjusting something as small as 5% of your list to absolutely maximize your matchups takes even more skill. (continued below) Hogwash. Even if you accept that all the best lists are already discovered (which is almost certainly false), picking the best list for a given tournament takes skill. Understanding the list fully and being intelligent enough to make tweaks to maximize it further takes even more skill. See my reply to Dead Scribe just above. And beyond that, playing the actual game takes skill. And plus, the internet exists. The ability to netlist isn't going away and has little to do with GW's approach to game balance. This is a very complex question, and I think it might make more sense to think about what makes something good. I think there are three main ways something becomes good (in no particular order) Efficiency - If something deals or takes more damage or is faster for it's cost than something else, it has an advantage. If a warscroll is very efficient in one dimension it has the potential to be good, and if a warscroll is very efficient in multiple dimensions it's very likely to be good. Tactical Usefulness - This encompasses abilities that don't necessarily relate to combat exactly but have more to do with influencing the dynamics of the game. Things like taking up space on the board, deepstriking, holding objectives, blocking LOS etc. all fit in here. It's also important to consider the context of the faction a warscroll belongs in. Does the warscroll do something well that nothing else in the faction can do? Then it's probably tactically useful. Counterplay - If a warscroll is particularly good at countering something else, then it can be very good if that thing that it counters is popular. The Gaunt Summoner is a great example of this. In a horde meta, the Gaunt Summoner is very likely to be good. In a monster meta, it's very likely to be bad. So if we keep these things in mind, it's easy to imagine how something might be bad. If a unit is just very inefficient (or if there is another unit that does basically the same thing but is more efficient), then it's likely that the inefficient unit will be bad. Skeletons vs. zombies is a good example. Zombies are pretty bad because skeletons do basically the same thing, but more efficiently. If skeletons didn't exist, then zombies wouldn't be as bad as they are. An inefficient unit can still be good though as long as it's tactically useful. Khinerai are a great example of this. Their offensive and defensive efficiency are both crappy, but they are very fast and very tactically useful. If a unit has no particular tactical usefulness though AND it's inefficient, then it's basically guaranteed to be bad. Zombies again provide a good example -- they are a slow infantry block with no remarkable abilities that distinguish them, so they live or die based on their efficiency. Finally, if a unit is countered by something else that is really popular then it's likely to be bad (at least in the context of that metagame). For example, if a unit is super efficient against rend 0 but horrible against mortal wounds, then it's going to be good if rend 0 is really popular but bad if mortal wound spam is really popular. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I prefer games that go longer. That said, the reality of time constraints at tournaments mean that five intense turns just really isn't possible. If competitive games only realistically have time for 3 turns, then I'd rather have the game be designed so that most of the intense decisions are made in the first three turns rather than have games constantly ending due to time running out when they are clearly very far from being over. I totally agree though about armies that are designed to end the game before the opponent can play. It can be interesting figuring out how to make such armies work, but in practice they get old very quickly. I think there is a world of difference between the action starting on turn 1 and the action ending on turn 1. This is very on point, and even for games with very established competitive scenes (like Magic), kitchen table players drive sales. That said, I think it's easy to ignore the splash effect that the tournament scene has. There are plenty of casual players who never play in tournaments but still at least vaguely follow what goes on in the competitive scene. I think this is more true of Magic than Warhammer, but I still think it happens here. Having a vibrant, healthy tournament scene is just good for the game. It creates the perception of balance, which trickles down to casual players. Creating an even progression between casual play and competitive play is also generally helpful. GW wants to get new people into the game, but it also wants those people to invest in the game. Dabblers are fine, but players who keep going for years or even decades are better. If there is a huge disconnect between casual and competitive play, then fewer casual players will ever convert over to tournament play and few tournament players will ever also engage in casual play. For example, lets say Jimmy has been playing for a while and is having fun with his Ironjawz list in games with his friends. He sees that there is a tournament coming up and thinks about entering. Lets say he has a chat with a tournament player and hears one of the following: "Yeah, Ironjawz aren't necessarily the top of the heap right now but maybe if you make some tweaks and buy a couple of new kits you'll be able to have a real shot if you play well." "Ironjawz are just too underpowered to perform well at the moment. You're going to have to buy and paint a new army if you want to play in the tournament. Ohh, and if you want to play tournaments consistently you should expect to buy a new army every year at the very least." In scenario 1, there's a good chance that Jimmy buys a couple of new kits and goes to the tournament. In scenario 2 Jimmy probably feels bad about the army he was previously enjoying and is not only less likely to try the tournament but he's less likely (even if just slightly) to continue with the hobby at the same level as he was. Now consider the opposite situation. Jimmy has been rocking tournaments with his Stormcast, but he wants to play some at the club level too. He takes his Stormcast, stomps some heads, and his opponents sit him down for a chat: "I think your list might be a little hard for this setting. It's just not fun to play against with the kinds of armies we have. Maybe if you took out Gavriel and didn't take so many Evocators we could get some better games in." "Stormcast are just too good for this setting. It's just not fun to play against Stormcast with the kinds of armies we have. Maybe if you picked up Gutbusters or Wanderers we could get some better games in." In the first scenario, Jimmy is likely to get more invested. In the second scenario, he's likelier to just keep playing in tournaments with his existing group. If Jimmy adjusts his lists and really gets into that club level play, maybe he will help get some of his club friends into the tournament scene. If Jimmy concludes that the gulf is too wide, his departure just expands the disconnect between the tournament community and the casual community. So yeah, I think that anyone claiming that GW should exclusively cater to the competitive crowd is crazy. But I also think that GW should work for a vibrant competitive environment that reduces the barrier of entry while maintaining the need for skill at the high level. Easy to learn, difficult to master is the gold standard. Simply replacing "difficult to master" with constant nerfs just to shake things up is a good way to burn out your player base.
  3. It's closing in on two years since I made my first big post on this forum, tackling the issue of balance and building the AoS community (this post). A great deal has changed in the game since then, with two GHBs, many battletomes and a new version of the rules. I thought it might be a good time to revisit my thoughts on the state of the game and take a look ahead at the next major dilemma that GW has to address. I'm sure that some of you will disagree with me, but my impression based on reading tournament results from around the globe is that AoS is better balanced at this point than it ever has been in the past. I find this interesting, as there are loads of examples of warscrolls, spells, and abilities that are clearly "overpowered". Ultimately, I think GW has chosen to take an approach of balance through imbalance. Just about all of the competitive factions have at least one or two things that are just obviously great (in addition to a solid set of allegiance abilities). The result is that a bunch of factions have a nice foundation to build a competitive list on, and the diversity shows in the final standings. While this does certainly tilt list building towards these units, it actually doesn't seem to crowd out other warscrolls too badly. I'll use Daughters of Khaine as an example: Witch Aelves and Hag Queens are extremely efficient (to the point where some competitive lists take huge numbers of both), and yet just about every warscroll in the DoK allegiance sees at least some competitive play with the exceptions of Khinerai Lifetakers and Blood Stalkers (and even those might show up rarely). Most of the "above par" units tend to be pretty bread-and-butter types (with eels as an obvious exception), which results in armies that just spam that one thing being very one dimensional. As a result, you often see lists that lean on these hyper-efficient units but still take plenty of other things as well because they lend tremendous tactical depth. I will readily acknowledge that not all factions are competitive. However, GW has shown with the Beasts of Chaos and Legions of Nagash tomes that they can take struggling factions and push them into a great position with just a battletome release. I very much believe that many of the factions that are currently struggling can benefit from this treatment in the future, and those battletome factions that whiff can likely be buffed into shape later on with points adjustments. I'll also acknowledge that while faction diversity is currently in a very solid place, an argument can be made that strategic diversity is not. The metagame is generally quite aggressive, with many competitive lists intending to deal a very solid blow on turn 1. Some of this is due to many recent factions having abilities that enable some combination of very fast units, deepstriking, and bonuses to charge rolls. Even factions that don't have their own charge bonuses can use Chronomantic Cogs to get in on the action. I think a case can be made that this metagame is actually healthy for tournament play -- fast gameplay that starts with combat on turn 1 means that games will finish more quickly on average. There's also a case to be made that this dynamic is pushed too far and too many games effectively end with one army being crippled before they can really play the game. I honestly don't have a solid opinion on this and I think a valid argument can be made either way. So what is the point of all this? I think that GW is going to be facing a critically important decision when it comes to their approach to GHB2019. Assuming we don't see a new battletome come in and cause huge problems, GW will be writing the new GHB with a very diverse metagame (at least factionwise). I see two main paths that GW can take: Try to shake things up. Right now we have competitive diversity because many factions have access to above par warscrolls and abilities. If GW wants to shake this up, it'll need to nerf a lot of things and supplement that with significant buffs. Some factions may fall out of competitive play while other step up. Try to build on their success with a light touch. This approach will likely minimize nerfs while carefully buffing factions that need help. The goal here is to try to maintain the current competitive diversity and perhaps add to it if possible. Personally, I think the second approach is by far the better approach for GW to take and I very much implore whomever is making these decisions to not try to shake things up just for the sake of it. That path may have some upside, but the downside risk is massively greater. Path #1 would likely create more churn as competitive players shelve nerfed armies and pick up the new hotness, but IMO the marginal benefit to GW here is very small. If Path #2 is taken, players will still get bored of their armies and pick up new ones, particularly if new battletomes add new contenders to the mix. I think that the slice of the playerbase that purely picks an army based on competitiveness and will stick with it exclusively until it's no longer competitive is absolutely tiny. Meanwhile, extensive nerfs risks alienating enfranchised players and destabilizing an already diverse metagame is much more likely to result in a less diverse one. Path #2, on the other hand, gives GW a chance to excite players for buffs while minimizing backlash. It reduces risk of decreasing diversity and increases the chance to improve on it. Just to be clear, I do think that there is a situation where Path #1 might be superior. If AoS was a very mature game that had been stagnating, with players largely complaining of boredom with the status quo, then shaking things up has a lot more upside. That just isn't where AoS is right now, particularly on the competitive level. Competitive AoS is still very much in a maturation process and the game overall is (I hope) in a growth phase. Maintaining competitive diversity will keep competitive players happy and also help drive growth at the less competitive level. When casual players see tournament results with few factions placing well, they are more likely to get discouraged even if they don't ever play in tournaments. When the metagame is diverse, the opposite is true. Beyond this key question, I also think GW needs to decide if it wants to continue supporting the same level of aggressive play. I don't really have a horse in that race, and ultimately I think it's the kind of thing that could either be left as is or fixed through any combination of errata, points changes, and battleplan design. While I'm sure some folks feel strongly about this one, I suspect that whatever GW chooses it will have less impact on the health of the game than their answer to the previous decision.
  4. swarmofseals

    AoS 2 - Daughters of Khaine Discussion

    I think what happens to Daughters of Khaine is going to depend a lot on what GW's balancing philosophy shakes out to be. While some people might not like the current dynamics of the game (which have been leaning toward faster, alpha-heavy play), an argument can be made that the overall balance level has never been better. In every other phase of AOS there have been one or two factions that were clearly creating an unhealthy dynamic in the metagame. In GHB2016 it was largely Destruction (pick two of: kunnin' rukk, stonehorn/thundertusk spam, goblin spam) and in GHB2017 it was Tzeentch. There isn't any army that is proving to be oppressive like that. While there are a few armies that are putting up pretty consistently good results (DoK among them), there are clearly quite a few options at the top of the pile. And tournament after tournament has shown that there are plenty of other factions that can still put up great finishes. At this point there just isn't evidence of a need for a big rebalance. Some minor buffs to underperforming factions could make the metagame even more diverse, but as it is there are just a ton of options and nothing is oppressive. The only thing that could arguably use a look is the predominance of alpha-strike lists, but of all the top tier lists DoK (and maybe Nurgle) is the least capable of being built for an alpha-strike. Right now, I think the game is balanced around pervasive imbalance. Just about every competitive faction has some things about it that are busted. The result is that external faction balance is still solid even though internal balance for some factions is very skewed (SCE is probably the best example of this). The most broken things that DoK have right now are definitely Witch Aelves and Hag Queens. Despite that fact, nearly every unit DoK has access to is still seeing some level of competitive play (exceptions: Blood Stalkers and Khinerai Lifetakers). I'm a huge fan of mathhammer and efficiency, but any serious player will tell you that the numbers aren't everything. Tactically useful but inefficient units can make or break a competitive list. In some ways, hyper efficient units like Witch Aelves can make inefficient tactical units (like Khinerai) competitively viable. If you have a very efficient foundation, you can afford to take some inefficient units too. DoK pays for these advantages in other areas. DoK has no real viable way to alpha strike, has relatively weak magic defense, and has difficulty lowering drop count. Most if not all of the other highly competitive factions have a similar dynamic -- a set of things that are well above par and a few clearly defined weaknesses. Ultimately, how GW reacts to this will be a major crossroads. I see two paths and one supplementary question: Shake things up just for the sake of change. This will likely entail wide reaching nerfs across all of the competitive factions affecting all of the "cornerstone" units that define each factions competitiveness. Supplement with buffs to bring up factions that weren't as competitive and/or to make new sets of warscrolls the foundation of competitive lists for formerly competitive factions. Use a light touch to maintain or enhance the current state of balance by keeping competitive factions largely the same with a small tweak here and there plus buffs to factions that need help. Supplementary question: do we want to keep the metagame as aggressive as it is? If so there could be some global nerfs to the abilities that enable alpha-strikes, and this will likely involve errata more than just point changes. If GW goes with the former, expect Hag Queens and Witch Aelves to get hammered. If the latter, then I could see things staying mostly untouched or with a small nerf only. Personally, I think GW would be incredibly foolish to go with the first approach. It's far riskier and has limited upside compared with a huge potential downside. The upside is that they might sell more models as the competitive churn would be higher, but the downside is that it would seriously ****** off enfranchised players and be very likely to result in a less balanced metagame overall. This strategy would be a good one if the game were stagnating. In that case the benefit of shaking things up is higher. If a lot of players are expressing boredom with the status quo, then it's time to take that risk. I don't see that happening now. I see a lot of excitement about the diversity of lists placing well at tournaments as well as continued excitement about new releases. I don't think GW needs churn among high level competitive players right now. Top players will buy into new armies anyway as they get bored with their current ones. What GW needs is to keep expanding the core of the playerbase, and showcasing tons of factions doing well at events is the perfect way of doing that.
  5. swarmofseals

    Top 10 at Facehammer with Deathmarch

    Other points are certainly well taken and I appreciate the clarification. While I certainly don't think all other armies are more offensively efficient than this one, I think that there are several contenders that realistically can be (and by a substantial margin). The most obvious is Daughters of Khaine but I wouldn't be surprised if Beasts of Chaos can be as well, and I suspect a Plague Monk heavy Nurgle list can get there too (although Black Knights should be able to plow through Plague Monks like nobody's business).
  6. swarmofseals

    Top 10 at Facehammer with Deathmarch

    @Ravinsild I'm not following your argument at all. Where are you getting 100 attacks from 10 Black Knights or 10 Grave Guard? With Wight King's command ability, a unit of 15 Black Knights has 45 attacks with lances and 45 attacks with hooves. With Vanhel's it's 90 of each, but the enemy will get to strike first before your second round of attacks. Overall though you are correct, both Black Knights (when charging) and Grave Guard have decent to good offensive efficiency. "Defensive effectiveness" is a weird concept. I suppose you'd want to calculate how many wounds of a given rend would be required to destroy the unit. You can decide to factor in Deathless Minions if you want, but you should only do so with the understanding that you won't have access to it all the time. Healing/returning models absolutely counts, but it's not completely reliable. If your opponent destroys your unit before you get to your hero phase, you aren't going to get a chance to heal.
  7. swarmofseals

    Top 10 at Facehammer with Deathmarch

    @ianob also, how precisely does shutting down monsters with the VLoZD work? If it's your turn, you need to have more units in combat than the enemy does in order to protect the VLoZD entirely. If it's your opponent's turn can't they just ignore the VLoZD? I get that they do want to kill the VLoZD to stop resummoning, but the defensive efficiency of this army is really low any any enemy that has high offensive efficiency might be better off just wiping your units out and camping your gravesites. Maybe that's not realistic in practice, but I do wonder how well this list stands up to opponents who understand what you are trying to do.
  8. swarmofseals

    Top 10 at Facehammer with Deathmarch

    100*2/3*2/3*2 = 88.89 100*2/3/2 + 100*2/3/6*2 = 55.55 (rend 1 damage)
  9. swarmofseals

    Top 10 at Facehammer with Deathmarch

    I think it's a holdover from the GHB2016 era. Stormcast and Sylvaneth were both very prevalent then, and it was pretty common to see 2+ rerollable saves, some of which ignore rend 1. Meanwhile, unrendable saves and ward saves were relatively rare as Death, Nurgle, and DoK were either non-competitive or didn't exist. Even then it was a bit overstated as like you said you can tarpit them or keep them off objectives. You aren't going to kill a 2+ rerollable with mass rend 0 damage though, particularly when it can heal. Now the metagame is hugely different. 2+ rerollable saves are much rarer and both unrendable saves and ward saves are much more common.
  10. swarmofseals

    Top 10 at Facehammer with Deathmarch

    I'm very curious to know how you got from mass skeletons to mass Grave Guard. So far from this thread I think I've surmised the following: This list demonstrates that drop control can do a lot to make up for somewhat reduced unit efficiency, particularly in a metagame where early offense is prevalent Legions of Nagash is particularly well suited to compensate for defensive inefficiency in units that are fast and hit hard as long as they are summonable The merit of the Black Knights in this list is obvious. They can do a lot of damage and can take up a lot of space, and they should hold the enemy back long enough that you can resummon them once they go down. The large unit may not work as well on tables that are particularly clogged with terrain, but that's the exception rather than the rule. What's less clear to me is the role of the Grave Guard. Back when AoS2 dropped, I made the argument here that Grave Guard should be playable based on the numbers. Their offensive efficiency is competitive with Grimghast Reapers, and their defensive inefficiency matters less given the ability to resummon. The problem is speed, but this list helps compensate for that. It's also a necessity to take some for the battalion, and the battalion is a necessity to keep your drops low. So it doesn't really surprise me that Grave Guard are playable, but I'm not sure why you'd want to take a huge unit of them instead of skeletons. What did you find in your testing that led you to go this route instead of 90 skeletons and 5 grave guard? Granted, that route only gives you 2 extra CP. Maybe that's the difference maker? EDIT: Also, can you imagine any circumstances that would lead you to swap the doppel cloak for a different item (probably Ethereal Amulet, Scales of Ignax or Gryph-Feather Charm) or the Azyrbane Standard for a different item (likely the same list as above)?
  11. swarmofseals

    Top 10 at Facehammer with Deathmarch

    @deynon -- another player has created a thread to highlight an interesting and off-beat list that he used to place very well in a highly competitive tournament, and you've come into that thread to repeatedly say why his list won't work or should be designed differently. When presented with evidence that contradicts your stance, you just double down and continue to insist that you are correct. If you want to make a thread about your own listbuilding preferences and about your tournament results with small units of Black Knights then please feel free to do so, but hijacking someone else's thread by repeatedly insisting that their list has no merit when there is ample evidence to the contrary is just not constructive.
  12. swarmofseals

    Top 10 at Facehammer with Deathmarch

    Are you talking about club/local play or GT play? I get the feeling this may be the source of the disconnect.
  13. It all depends on how much stock was added. I think sometimes GW shifts some stock around from region to region when something is sold out locally, but it's usually not much. The Cauldron of Blood kit has been sold out for long periods this year in the US, and I've seen it come back into stock several times only to sell out again in days of not hours. It's currently out of stock again. As far as I know it's never been out of stock in the UK. My best guess is that each time it restocks it's just a few kits arriving in the US from somewhere else, which of course causes them to sell out quickly. It's also possible that GW is generally maxed out on production but can occasionally squeeze out a small supply of out of stock kits.
  14. swarmofseals

    Do null deployments count as "drops"?

    That's what I thought, thanks!
  15. I definitely agree on the Thorns of the Briar Queen. The Chainrasps themselves are worth 40-50 points, so the cost of the queen is only 100-110, which seems worth it given her powerful spell and decently useful scream attack. I could imagine allying her in a Legions of Nagash army. She won't be great in all matchups, so she should be a particularly nice possibility for tournaments with a sideboard.