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AoS Theorycrafting Balance Changes

Discussion in 'Seraphon Discussion' started by cyberhawk94, Dec 23, 2021.

  1. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    oh yes, it's pretty clear that often they don't understand their own rules...
     
  2. Canas
    Slann

    Canas Ninth Spawning

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    To be honest I don't think it's necesarly that they don't understand their own rules. I think it has more to do with how and what they test, and consequently the things they miss.

    Based on the battle-reports, as well as how they describe themselves and their work-proces in white dwarf articles, the designers themselves seem to favour very fluffy playstyles, where noone optimizes & players regularly make stupid decisions cuz it's cooler to do something stupid, like have a duel between two generals, rather than play the objective. So they won't find the problems caused by buff-stacking, spamming a particular unit, or using weird illogical strategies like conga-lining since they never do that themselves. So they won't find this kind of "degenerate" gameplay, like SCE spam that just annihilates an opponent in a turn and a half, in their own tests, cuz that's simply not how they play.

    The external play-testers are more competitive focused, and will find some of those problems. But they generally care more about the balance within the meta, and not necesarly mind this kind of "degenerate" gameplay as much as the less competitive focused players (hell, competitive players might even enjoy it if it adds to the competitive nature). So long as it has a 50%-ish win-rate in a tournament setting, they're willing to let the "degenerate" gameplay slide, provided it isn't truly ridiculous.

    Also, based on the white dwarf articles that occasionally appear about this, there only seem to be a handfull of external testers and they seem to do this on a voluntary basis. So it's a pretty safe bet their test-coverage isn't going to be great.... Add in the fact that they're under an NDA, and thus limited in who they can discuss their tests with and it's easy for issues to slide through....

    Consequently stuff like the SCE dragons being rather broken only really becomes obvious to them when they actually release them and large amounts of people start playing with them...
     
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  3. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    i was thinking more about things as "scaly skin", that as originally written worked also on MWs caused by attacks, only to realize later that it wasn't their intention.

    i find really hard to believe that dragons that deal MWs with shooting attack without having to roll "to hit", in a system where you introduced also Unleash Hell, was merely an unexpected result.
     
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  4. Canas
    Slann

    Canas Ninth Spawning

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    Meh, neither of those are that weird.

    In the case of scaly skin; the designers all knew what was the intended rule, so none of them ever made that "mistake"of applying it to mortal wounds. And we all know GW needs to hire a proof-reader cuz 9 out of 10 times they forgot that there are other interpretations of language....

    As for the second. Sure, the dragons were probably intended to be powerfull. But mono-lists that annihilate half an army in a turn and a half probably weren't.
     
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  5. Just A Skink
    Carnasaur

    Just A Skink Well-Known Member

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    Agreed, our flyers would need to be better. I was just expanding on something I heard and that I thought might be interesting/fun.

    I wonder if it would be too much to have Terradons do "Rock Drops" any time they move for the whole game? It could be OP, but they are fragile. Similarly, I wonder if Rippers could have more uses of the "Blot Toad"? Maybe make it a bonus based on charging instead, or possibly make the Ripper Chief the bearer of the blot toad and as long as he's in range, the Ripper unit gets the bonus?
     
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  6. Canas
    Slann

    Canas Ninth Spawning

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    Every time they move is probably too much. That allows for a potential 3 drops per turn even without any special abilities (regular move, charge, pile in/retreat).

    Also, I'd suggest giving the terradons something that doesn't require them to be in melee. If they need to be in melee to be effective then there's always going to be some conflict with the rippers.

    The bloat toad ability can easily just be permanent. Probably still wouldn't be enough though without any rend.
     
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  7. Just A Skink
    Carnasaur

    Just A Skink Well-Known Member

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    Good catch. I misspoke. I imagined it as dropping rocks only once a round but for any move they make. Basically, something they can do every round and NOT just once a game.

    That's fair. Rend is lacking with several of our units. What if the extra jaw attack for Coalesced became extra Rend -1 for any jaw attack instead? That would give the all Coalesced troops and monsters more armor penetration. Hmm... it seems like that would affect (improve?) basically ALL of our units. Maybe that's too much?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2022
  8. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    I like it, and that would give more variety to our lists, other than "swarm my opponent with lots of attacks paired with serpent's staff".
     
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  9. Putzfrau
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    Putzfrau Well-Known Member

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    +1 attack is almost always going to be more damage, even against higher save units.
     
  10. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    It depends.
    If i go against a 3+ save, enhanced by All out Defense, the difference between rend 0 and rend -1 is notable.
     
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  11. Putzfrau
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    Putzfrau Well-Known Member

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    2 attacks at 4's and 4's does more damage against every save than 1 attack at 4's 4's with 1 rend outside of a 2+ and then its even.

    4 attacks at 3's 3's rend 1 with 5 damage compared to 3 attacks at 3s 3s rend 2 with 5 damage is still going to do more damage against every save outside of 2+ where the difference is .3.

    It's a downgrade in a vast, vast majority of situations and a sidegrade in all others. Seraphon don't really need any help in the damage department at all. The army oozes mortal wounds in multiple phases almost regardless of build.

    edit: this is all not to poo poo suggestions to seraphon problems. I just think the relationship to +1 attacks/rend/hit/wound etc isn't always as obvious as it initially appears. An additional rend isn't always better into higher save weapons, even if it intuitively seems like it should be.

    I think adding rend in a few smart places (namely carnosaur jaws) is a great idea, but one that doesnt necessarily need to happen at the expense of +1 attack. Perhaps at the expense of some of the SKINK keyword buffs? balance out the power level between saurus and skinks a little bit? Maybe it's even a buff from one of our saurus foot heroes?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2022
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  12. Canas
    Slann

    Canas Ninth Spawning

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    Yeah, the extra attack is more valuable for most units.
    The only units who would benefit from a +1 to rend on bite-attacks would be units that already have multiple bite attacks.

    e.g. +1 rend would be better on the rippers, but worse on saurus warriors.

    Simply changing that faction ability won't really fix anything for most of our stuff.

    As for the terradons dropping rocks every turn. It'd be significantly better. But, does mean the rippers now need to come with something really good to be able to compete with terradons at all.
     
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  13. Kilvakar
    Carnasaur

    Kilvakar Well-Known Member

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    Yep, extra attacks are usually preferable. Although we do have a lot of mortal wound output when it comes to magic, I do think we could use some diversification in mortal wound sources besides the Starpriest. If that single model was to lose that one buff, our infantry (without other changes, of course) would become nothing more than screening units. Even Skinks with their massive volume of shooting attacks at max unit size are barely going to get a couple points of damage through a 3+ save. There's a reason Salamanders are the best unit in the army. Decent rend and mortal wounds are necessary when going up against some of the threats that a lot of armies can bring these days.

    I'd love it of Terradons could drop rocks once a turn, that alone would make them really useful in a lot of lists. Rippers would definitely need something else to make them worth taking. I think either making them anti-infantry like they are in Total Warhammer, with slightly better attack profiles and extra attacks based on models within a certain range, or making them more elite with better stats all-around and rend -2 on their attacks to help kill elite models would make them worth using.

    Another option more in keeping with our "average warscrolls with lots of buffs" playstyle would be to make the Terradon and Ripper chiefs give major buffs to their respective flyer units. Maybe the Ripper Chief doubles the number of attacks instead of adding +1, and makes their Tearing Jaws trigger on 5s instead of only 6s. And the Terradon Chief could keep the rock drop buff, but also have an ability that gives -1 to hit to Terradons, or maybe even some ability to fly away from melee or to retreat when charged.

    And for another weak unit, Razordons need to fill a different niche but still be able to compete with Salamanders. The thing I find most annoying about them is the random number of attacks. With their attack profile, even getting 12 attacks doesn't give you much chance of getting any damage through. I think if they got a set number of attacks, let's say 8, got rend -1, and also didn't get an attack reduction on their overwatch ability I think they'd be worth taking. Salamanders would still be the best option for sniping elite targets, but Razordons with their longer range would actually be worth taking as both long-range support and charge deterrents.

    Carnosaurs really do need it. Rend -1 on the claws, and rend -2 and 3s to hit on jaws would actually make them a really good combat monster. The Pinned Down rule is kind of lame as it makes them want to attack weaker enemies, and I would much rather them be better against other elites. I'd rather drop it and just get 3s to hit on jaws. The Sunstone Spear on the Oldblood would be really powerful if it hit or wounded on 2s (a lot of Stormcast heroes have this, it wouldn't be OP). His gauntlet should either be a mortal wound attack al la the Stormdrakes or just go to 4 attacks and 3s to wound.

    I do wish that we got more universal buffs rather than just Skink or Saurus buffs. I dislike how our battletome (and a lot of AoS in general, tbh) discourages mixing the different unit types in your army. With how things are in 3e, Skinks aren't overpowered. It's moved a long way from the Fangs of Sotek hordes of Skinks who run up the board turn one, shoot you, and then all get overwatch when charged and then might just retreat from your charge altogether to shoot you again next turn. They're still good though, but not in need of nerfs at all imo. I'd rather see them buff what's bad than nerf what's good.

    Saurus definitely need a buff, which has been discussed over and over again. There's a *ton* of ways they could go about it, both through direct warscroll buffs and indirect buffs through better support heroes. I do like the idea of hero auras. Perhaps the Sunblood increases defense, the Oldblood gives rend, and the Scar-Vet gives exploding 6s like he does now. If we had that type of support available, then they wouldn't need as much of a warscroll improvement. I do think with the smaller unit sizes they just should have their extra attacks built in rather than limited to groups of 15 or more.
     
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  14. Putzfrau
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    Putzfrau Well-Known Member

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    Sure, but that's a completely different unit with a completely different point cost don't you think?

    I like the idea of having jaws at rend 2. I don't like the idea of carnosaurs just being a knight draconis under a different name. I think there are ways to accomplish that that don't involve just buffing every profile into the sky. I think thats part of the reason why I'm always a little reluctant to just be like "yeah let's buff every warscroll and make seraphon not rely on buffs so much." That just turns every army into stormcast.

    Also, skinks are still pretty op haha.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2022
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  15. Kilvakar
    Carnasaur

    Kilvakar Well-Known Member

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    Yep, it would definitely be a different point cost. I guess I never thought of mentioning or clarifying it, but I definitely don't assume the same point cost for units I'm wanting buffs for.
     
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  16. Putzfrau
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    Putzfrau Well-Known Member

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    Should every monster be a 400 point elite killing machine?

    I just don't want seraphon to become something it isn't. 400 point monsters fundamentally changes the kind of army seraphon are.

    I think balancing the keyword buffs and adding an additional rend to an attack or two could help "spread the love" while keeping the flavor of seraphon (an efficient buffing army that deals damage in every phase) in tact.
     
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  17. Kilvakar
    Carnasaur

    Kilvakar Well-Known Member

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    I personally think it would be nice to have access to at least a couple units like that, for sure. But not everything needs to go that route.

    I think that for 3e it would be nice for us to start to move out of the cheap horde playstyle and start to get some proper elites and tough centerpiece units. The thing is, we have such a wide model range that it's totally feasible to have both styles available. Skinks of all varieties, flyers, some dinos and our foot heroes can remain inexpensive and easily spammable. But then we could have other units in our army be more expensive and elite but also much tougher and able to operate with less buff-stacking. (I'm not saying no buff-stacking, I know that we'll still rely on synergies at least somewhat unless GW wants to totally re-work the army)

    I certainly don't want us to become a scaly Stormcast imitation, lol! But I just think they're the easiest army to compare to with their 3e book being out and them having so many different unit types. I don't think you could easily compare our dinos to a Great Unclean One, for example. Maybe a Sludgeraker Swampbeast is a good comparison as well. But it's still a similar comparison to the Stormdrake. More wounds, more attacks, better hit/wound profiles, better rend (his *tail* has better rend then a Carno's jaws, lol!), built-in mortal wounds, etc. Not to mention the Orruk mount traits beat the crap out of ours. It does also cost more, but to be honest I'm fine with the cost on some things going up if it means we get at least one or two proper fighting beasts that can actually take down other factions' monsters without needing 3-4 buffs and the stars aligning for your rolls to do it. I know that our monsters are good because they're cheap, not because they're powerful. But honestly I'd really like to have some power available as well, and I kind of think that's the way 3e seems to be going. I think you can have both tough elite units and cheap units in the same army without compromising what it is.
     
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  18. Dread Saurian
    Salamander

    Dread Saurian Well-Known Member

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    If gw wants it to be more fluffy make carnosaurs and dread saurians more terrifying. They did drive dragons out of lustria after all
     
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  19. Putzfrau
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    Putzfrau Well-Known Member

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    How come? Other armies exist that have that playstyle already.

    We do have centerpiece units, just different kinds. An army can't have access to everything, it needs strengths and weaknesses.

    IMO its hard to add that much power to monsters without sacrificing the buffing playstyle we have. Imagine a mawkrusha you could get on +3 attacks, reroll 1s, exploding 6s and 6s to wound do mortals.

    Imagine that model in an army that also has some of the best shooting and magic in the game. Something would need to give. I don't want to give up the playstyle I already enjoy so seraphon can be a playstyle I could get from another army.

    Just my opinion.
     
  20. Canas
    Slann

    Canas Ninth Spawning

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    Not every monster needs to be a 400 point killing machine (and imho, I'd go so far as to say 400+ point units aren't exactly healthy for the game as a whole regardless, too much power focused into one unitm but that's a seperate discussion :p), for example the bastiladon does just fine at 200-ish points, but he also isn't intended as a killing machine. Instead it fills a different niche, one where it doesn't need to compete with those 400 point killing machines.

    But that's kind of the issue with the carnosaur. He's supposed to fill the same niche as those 400 point killing machines, but he can't keep up with them in the slightest.

    Hell, a carnosaur even struggles to really outperform 200-ish point demi-monsters at times, and can reliably be killed by them if they get in the first hits.

    It also doesn't provide anything special, no ranged attacks or mortal wounds output like the stegadon, no buffs or debuffs, no special weird rules like the giants their ability to eat a specific model every turn. It's just a straightforward beatstick.

    And that's the main problem. In a world where 400 point monster beatsticks exist alongside 200-ish demi-monsters beatsticks, the carnosaur is kind of left in an awkward spot.
     

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