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Squat-mageddon

 Post subject: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:45 am 
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I thought it was well overdue for a update on where the Squat list is heading at the moment.

When I first took over as AC, I thought that the 1.5 list looked rather decent as a list and was hoping to keep most of the main structure with only few minor tweaks, a few +1 and point changes and then husband it through the approval process.

Then Squatmageddon happened; after I started fielding my Squat army about 5 other players in the local/near local epic scene jumped on the squat bandwagon and started armies for themselves. These players are far more effective in list building and min-maxing than my good self and they rapidly found builds and playstyles that blew holes in the belief that the army was balanced.


To be frank, we now have a Squat build list that has not lost a game, winning against every opponent and army list we've tried against it.
* Yes we're playing with by-the-book rules and terrain
* Yes we've tried the best possibly opponents against it
* Yes we've re-run games with the players swapping armies and again the Squatmageddon list keeps winning.

Although others might decry this belief at this point we're going to have to put the army list up on block and have some serious thinking about what to do to fix this.


What is the best list?

1) Max spammed minimum-sized Bezerker squads
2) Max spammed minimum-sized Thunderfire squads
3) Max spammed minimum-sized Overlords
4) a random War Engine thrown in there for good measure.

It provides a large 15+ activation count, very flexible and has a answer for every type of target. I've played both with and against it and have to agree that it's overpowered.

The 'feel' of the army is that you've always got multiple answers to every enemy attack. It's not a one-trick pony either (unless you got lucky with massed volcano cannons) and can take on a lot of different builds.

How to fix this?

The first knee-jerk reaction is to either nerf or limit the offending units. We have had some trials with this and not found much success.

If you nerf the main units, then every other build becomes crippled, and this squatmaggeddon build is still the best one.

If you limit the choices then everyone would simply take the maximum allowed of the tough units.

Finally the build doesn't feel very 'squattish' at all.

Where we are thinking of going instead?

Our current idea is to keep the stat lines, but look very hard at the way you select the army, especially the core.

Trending back to more of a 'normal' baseline like Guard or Marines: purchasing large core blocks of warriors and then adding onto them auxilaries like the AA.

So a main choice would be Warriors + 1 Thunderfire much like Marines take Tacticals + hunter

Obviously taking into consideration mobile AA exactly as in the UK Thunderfire rules.

The initial playtests look promising, the only problem left unsolved is the Overlords


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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:51 am 
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DRAFT CORE SQUAT CHOICES

All core choices are 6 bases and cost the same


Bezerker Formation: 5 Bezerker Bases + 1 Hearthguard Base - 200 pts (has gone up 25)
Warrior Formation: 5 Warrior Bases + 1 Hearthguard Base - 200 pts
Thunderer Formation: 4 Thunderer Bases + 2 Warrior Bases - 200 pts (now a core choice)

Options:
+4 Warrior or Bezerker bases - 75 pts
Warlord/ Grand Warlord as now
The Warrior Formation may take one Thunderfire for +50pts
The Thunderer Formation may take upto two Thunderfires for +50pts each

Thunderfires are AP4+/AT4+/AA4+ towable by a rhino (excatly the same as in the Squat UK rules, and very similar to a SM Hunter


Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:35 pm 
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Elsaurio wrote:
DRAFT CORE SQUAT CHOICES

All core choices are 6 bases and cost the same


Bezerker Formation: 5 Bezerker Bases + 1 Hearthguard Base - 200 pts (has gone up 25)
Warrior Formation: 5 Warrior Bases + 1 Hearthguard Base - 200 pts
Thunderer Formation: 4 Thunderer Bases + 2 Warrior Bases - 200 pts (now a core choice)

Options:
+4 Warrior or Bezerker bases - 75 pts
Warlord/ Grand Warlord as now
The Warrior Formation may take one Thunderfire for +50pts
The Thunderer Formation may take upto two Thunderfires for +50pts each

Thunderfires are AP4+/AT4+/AA4+ towable by a rhino (excatly the same as in the Squat UK rules, and very similar to a SM Hunter


Thoughts?

Definitely an interesting idea.
Did you try the UK option as a way to reduce spam - 3 thunderfires for 175pts and Bezerkers at 200pts for 7+1?
One thought would be that by dropping thunderfires into every core formation, i actually have better AA coverage than with dedicated formations (though you are correct that it eliminates the spam problem and I probably wont get 6-8 thunderfires in my list). I might also get my Thunderers into a game.. :D
My opponent in my last game was surprised that Rhinos can tow Thunderfires 30cm - it seems most heavy AA is slower.
Overlords at max of 1 per 1000pts? Or maybe reduce Battle Cannons (or restrict the firing arcs more, which is effectively the same thing)?


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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:24 am 
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Quote:
Definitely an interesting idea.
Did you try the UK option as a way to reduce spam - 3 thunderfires for 175pts and Bezerkers at 200pts for 7+1?
One thought would be that by dropping thunderfires into every core formation, i actually have better AA coverage than with dedicated formations (though you are correct that it eliminates the spam problem and I probably wont get 6-8 thunderfires in my list). I might also get my Thunderers into a game.. :D
My opponent in my last game was surprised that Rhinos can tow Thunderfires 30cm - it seems most heavy AA is slower.
Overlords at max of 1 per 1000pts? Or maybe reduce Battle Cannons (or restrict the firing arcs more, which is effectively the same thing)?


One of the issues with 3 thunderfires and 8 bezerkers is that not all squat players have formations in that size. Secondly is doesn't reduce spam that much. (The 'squatmageddon' killer list only loses a single activation as it reshuffles the thunderfires from 3 groups of 2 down to 2 groups of 3). We're thinking of removing the 'Thunderfire only' formation entirely, meaning you have to buy to core troops to get them. This would mean that Squatmageddon loses 3-4 activations.


Both Space Marine Hunters and Guard Hydras are move 30cm. And a Thunderfire is almost exactly the same as a Hunter. Maybe your opponent was used to 0cm Thunderfires and hadn't planned on them suddenly being able to move!


One catch that some people don't realize is that UK Thunderfires use the normal transport rules as per infantry. This means if you want to move the Thundies you have to 'load' and 'unload' them using two separate move actions. This means that the vast majority of the time you have to declare a double move action and take the -1 to hit penalty. It means they are substantially less maneuverable than their space marine cousins.


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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 2:26 am 
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Elsaurio wrote:

One of the issues with 3 thunderfires and 8 bezerkers is that not all squat players have formations in that size. Secondly is doesn't reduce spam that much. (The 'squatmageddon' killer list only loses a single activation as it reshuffles the thunderfires from 3 groups of 2 down to 2 groups of 3). We're thinking of removing the 'Thunderfire only' formation entirely, meaning you have to buy to core troops to get them. This would mean that Squatmageddon loses 3-4 activations.


Both Space Marine Hunters and Guard Hydras are move 30cm. And a Thunderfire is almost exactly the same as a Hunter. Maybe your opponent was used to 0cm Thunderfires and hadn't planned on them suddenly being able to move!


One catch that some people don't realize is that UK Thunderfires use the normal transport rules as per infantry. This means if you want to move the Thundies you have to 'load' and 'unload' them using two separate move actions. This means that the vast majority of the time you have to declare a double move action and take the -1 to hit penalty. It means they are substantially less maneuverable than their space marine cousins.

He was coming at it more from DKoK and Knight lists, where the towed AA has moves of 15-20cm. Point taken regarding the SM Hunter however - that has lots of advantages over other Imperial AA.
If thunderfires are going to be integrated within core formations, then slowing down their Rhinos probably doesnt make sense.

If you're looking for more playtests for the new list I am happy to give it a try. Are there any other changes?


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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:47 am 
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Quick first thought is that 6 warriors or bezerkers for 200 points is waaay to pricey. 4 thunderers plus 2 warriors looks interesting but might be too cheap (even accounting for losing the hearthguard). All the additional shooting plus being 4+ firefight makes thunderers a lot better than both bezerkers and warriors.

Big point for comparison with guard and marine AA is that they can both also take t-bolts and guard can take units of hydras and flak. This gives them way better aa than the proposed squat changes. My worry is that looking at a single thunderfire per infantry unit means the list really struggles against fighters and fighter bombas as it can't put out enough shots to ward them off.

All theory hammer though!

From play testing. 3 strong units with rhinos at 175/200 works a treat!

Regarding overlords, lose spotter. It's a really easy nerf.

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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:07 am 
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I have to say I don't like the 30cm move on TF with rhinos in the EUK list. Think they should have limited it to 20cm when towing like tractors. With garrison you can double on top of your opponent's blitz on turn 1 and roll 5+ to hit at 60cm range.

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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:13 pm 
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StevekCole wrote:
Quick first thought is that 6 warriors or bezerkers for 200 points is waaay to pricey.


6 Bezerkers are currently 175pts and are the bee's knees. Sure, they're not going to win any big engagements, but at the moment everyone's having a great time with them zooming all over the battlefield in the free rhinos. They can claim and contest objectives pretty well and the opponent usually has to spend more than 175pts worth of shooting to get rid of them. Plus they are handy tunnellers. I don't think the extra 25pts is going to break the bank. Considering the Uk list has 8 for 200 points.

Quote:
4 thunderers plus 2 warriors looks interesting but might be too cheap (even accounting for losing the hearthguard). All the additional shooting plus being 4+ firefight makes thunderers a lot better than both bezerkers and warriors.


Open to suggestions about the thunderers going up in price. Although at the moment they are a poor choice and their shooting might not be as wonderful as it looks on paper.

5 Warriors + 1 Hearthguard has 4 missile launcher shots, plus Inspiring and Leader
4 Thunderers and 2 Warriors have 5 missile launcher shots, plus lots of 30cm Heavy Bolter AP.

Is the 30cm Heavy Bolter AP shots worth losing the amazing Inspiring and Leader? I guess it is all about positioning and how they work on the battlefield as a smaller unit.


Quote:
Big point for comparison with guard and marine AA is that they can both also take t-bolts and guard can take units of hydras and flak. This gives them way better aa than the proposed squat changes. My worry is that looking at a single thunderfire per infantry unit means the list really struggles against fighters and fighter bombas as it can't put out enough shots to ward them off.


We're also considering more AA than just the thunderfires. Check out the new AA thread


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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:26 pm 
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ffoley wrote:
I have to say I don't like the 30cm move on TF with rhinos in the EUK list. Think they should have limited it to 20cm when towing like tractors. With garrison you can double on top of your opponent's blitz on turn 1 and roll 5+ to hit at 60cm range.



If you're talking about the loophole about 0cm units allowing the whole formation to garrison, then yep we already found that one in playtesting.

I don't believe that it was the intention of the UK Crew to allow mobile thunderfire to garrison AND move 30cm and in any case we're going to ensure that it's not allowed in this list. Either by giving Thunderfires a tiny but non zero move (like 1 or 5cm) but by banning it with an explicit rule: "Any Squat formation that contains Rhinos may not garrison"

If Thunderfires could not garrison would that make them more acceptable to you?


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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:45 pm 
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The garrison thing isn't actually that helpful. You're not going to do it against opponents who have any sort of assaulting scouts (eg marines, orks, dark eldar), or shorter range indirect fire, plus 3 thunderfires are unlikely to actually knock out an air assault so you're risking losing a valuable aa unit very early doors while still being too far away to counter assault. The other thing is while it's a hard unit to break, it's a pretty easy unit to suppress so there's definitely ways of playing around it.

In my experience, 30cm move is fine. Sure Krieg are only 20cm but they also get t-bolts, and most of their army are roaming about in gorgons rather than rhinos. So it's just a totally different army make up.

Regarding thunderers, they're also the only 4+ ff infantry unit in the army which is a huge perk over bezerkers and warriors. The shooting is definitely that bit more powerful than infantry which means they're far better at knocking out scouts etc in the early game or shifting small/damaged units in the late game.

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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:23 pm 
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I quite like the subtle difference in human lists between towed AA (DKOK etc) and self propelled AA (Hydra, hunter). The towed ones have the advantage of garrison (normally off the home blitz) providing an o/w bubble as well as AA, They also benefit from numbers (typical 6 units vs 3) making them less likely to break. The down sides are that you cannot single move (otherwise guns will be "inside" the transport unable to fire) which is particularly annoying if you have to take a hold action (and kind of rules out engaging in case it was ever on the agenda). The other perceived difference was speed: self propelled AA is generally 30cm whereas towed was always slower.

I don't object to the garrison and overwatch (that's fluffy) , I just think when the mechanised infantry and gyros go for the big push on the blitz, the towed TF should be trailing behind - not in the spearhead - as is perfectly possible in the E:UK list

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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:51 pm 
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Big difference there Ffoley is that Krieg get t-bolts who can provide air cover via CAP.

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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:00 pm 
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As for garrisoning:

There's no problem with rhino-less squat infantry garrisoning as per normal.

There's no problem with 2-3 Thunderfires garrisoning forward as per normal.

There IS however, a nasty tactic where you could build a big CC/FF formation of infantry/bezerkers + lots of support all in rhinos, and then attach a single transported 0cm Thunderfire. By the exact wording of the rules it would allow the entire unit to garrison forward, catapulting them directing into the opponents half. In this case the AA gun is a 'cheat' to get the free forward move.

That's the trick that we're not going to allow.


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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:05 pm 
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StevekCole wrote:
Regarding thunderers, they're also the only 4+ ff infantry unit in the army which is a huge perk over bezerkers and warriors. The shooting is definitely that bit more powerful than infantry which means they're far better at knocking out scouts etc in the early game or shifting small/damaged units in the late game.


5 Warriors and 1 Hearthguard are 6 dice at 5+, averaging 2 hits.
4 Thunderers and 2 Warriors are 4 at 4+, 2 at 5+, averaging 2.666 hits.

Then on top of that the Warrior Formation has Inspiring, for the very powerful +1 result to the firefight.

The shooting is better, yes, but I'm not considering that the 4+FF to be much of anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Squat-mageddon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:51 pm 
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I've been thinking a little about the proposed changes and playing with some lists.
Firstly, I understand the importance of trying to match the list to players collections (e.g. two Thunderfires in a blister). Hopefully we can get to a point where the list is playable/balanced and meets the collection requirement, however I think the playability/balance part should take priority.

Comparing the core Bezerker, Warrior, Thunderer formations, I dont think I would ever take the Bezerkers. Maybe if they were still 175pts, or even better - were 200pts for 7+1, but otherwise they are just weaker than both alternative options.

I dont run a spam list, so the proposed changes would cost me an activation compared to the E-UK list I am using, and leave me with less AA cover and smaller (more breakable) core units. Maybe that balances out with the slightly increased usability of the Thunderers. That's just on paper though - I'm looking forward to seeing how it works on the table.

It looks like the spam list would lose around 3 activations with the changes (which reduces half of the Squat-mageddon issue), but can still field a lot of Overlords.
If I compare them with other 200-300pt WE's, the thing which stands out the most is the 6 Battle Cannon shots at 75cm. I've been toying with reducing that in my games to 3 Battle-cannons, with no firing arc restrictions. That might bring them in line with their points cost?
Can you share the nerfs that you have been playtesting with the Overlords?


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