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Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes

 Post subject: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:04 pm 
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The Problem

I usually field a big Warrior + Thunderer formation in most of my games, and I try to love it, I really do. Partly because I enjoyed painting up the unit to a high standard, but mostly because in my mind the Squat army should include said units in reasonable numbers.

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Finshed! Now if only they were useful!

However nine times out of ten my 500 point formation ends up with the “Least Effective Formation” award at the game’s end. PLaytet and internet wisdom is that the best way to go is:

1) Multiple minimum Berzerker formations as core
2) Max out on War Engines (any will do except the Leviathan)
3) Spend all the rest of the points on the best goodies from support, namely Bikes, Overlords and Thunderfires.

What you end up with is a high activation bitty list, that although very powerful, is annoying to play with and against and is actually quite brittle. This is not only an unbalanced army, but it is the opposite of what Squats should ‘feel like’ in the fluff.

Just like a Space Marine army with no Tactical squads, a Squat Army without Squat Warriors indicates a failure in army design

Initially we tried boosting and nerfing stats here and there, but came to the realization that the stats felt about right, it was the way that the army was put together that made it skewed.

The New Philosophy

Squats differ from other armies in two main ways:
1) Units with unique stats and special rules
2) A unique way of selecting the army composition.
Trying to achieve both makes the army very hard to balance. We had a breakthrough when we realized we should strive to retain #1 while ditching concept #2.

What I have here is a list we have been playtesting, (provided for some feedback, and I expect quite a lot of feedback!) is a design that is very much like the tried-and-true composition of the Imperial Guard and Space Marine lists.

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* Minimum changes to existing unit stats. (Except for Thunderfires, as known)

* All existing players armies are still valid.

* Trying to increase options, rather than restrict them.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:14 pm 
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Further Discussion.


So the structure of the core list of Berserkers/Warriors/Thunderers should immediately be apparent to Marine players with the Assault/Tactical/Devastator.

Thunderers are brought out to core, where they might actually be useful. Note that while they have the increased firepower compared to Warriors, they lack the all important Inspiring and Leader from the Hearthguard. They are not the front line fighters

You should be able to select the same formation make-ups that existed in 1.5 with little shuffling.

The idea behind the extra options is that we wanted to differentiate the very similar core units more than they are now, so that they might be able to find a useful tactical role on the table.

Some combos that already have been useful are:

Berzerkers + Robots 325 pts. Actually a decent medium close combat formation, with the MW robot attacks being useful.

Warriors + Thunderfire + Thudd gun 350pts: Push forward into terrain in middle of the table. They have cover and the Thudd guns can actually snipe out pretty far, the thunderfire protects the centre of the army from Aircraft.

Thunderers + Mole Mortars + Termites 275pts: Come up on the enemy Blitz turn 3. Stay put in the 4+ ruins cover and shoot anything that comes close.


EDIT: For those who have not seen the Epic UK rules, we're stealing the Thunderfire concept

Move 5cm, Gun 60cm range AP4+/AT4+/AA4+ can be transported in a Rhino/termite etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:38 pm 
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Still doesn't solve the problem that Warrior formations will likely remain an underperforming choice when looked at by super-competitive types.

I assume the rest of the list is entirely the same? Still wondering why the list isn't just being openly posted, to be honest. Nice to see some pictures of changes, but... why can't we just see the list? I'm genuinely confused as to what this benefits.

Very much unsure on the cheapness of the core formations. I'd be much more inclined to make bigger core units (like Guard) and have the cheaper units be restricted support formations (again, like Guard, an army that works quite well). When one of the big issues flagged up seems to be certain types of people making super-spammy lists, it doesn't make much sense to my mind to have all the core units cost a mere 200 points.

I do like moving Thunderfires into a supporting role attached to Thunderer units though, that sounds like a solid and reasonable choice. I wouldn't mind seeing a 4-strong Thunderer core with 2 Thunderfires being present. That's not a horrible 250/275 point (ish) blitzguard right there.

I'd want to try 300 point core units. Then make warriors a 1+ required formation (and all others no more than the number of warrior formations, as has already been used in the Iyanden Ghost Warrior formation rules). Support units work off the number of core. War Engines stay shooty. Then we glare at Overlords and work that out.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 4:02 pm 
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Doomkitten wrote:
Still doesn't solve the problem that Warrior formations will likely remain an underperforming choice when looked at by super-competitive types.
Quote:

Interesting. Half the people commenting on this list say that they will never take Berzerkers over Warriors. Warriors are probably slightly better (the missile launcher beats out the +1 CC).

If you take Berzerkers you can't use the Thunderfire option
If you take Thunderers you don't have the amazing Hearthguard/Warlords.

Quote:
I assume the rest of the list is entirely the same? Still wondering why the list isn't just being openly posted, to be honest. Nice to see some pictures of changes, but... why can't we just see the list? I'm genuinely confused as to what this benefits.


There isn't a secret list being hidden from you guys. This is hot off the press. We've been doing a lot of playtesting and still arguing over the bits while consolidating.

But yes, put together all the 'Let's Talk about War Engines, Bikes, AA and Core' and you have where we are heading for 1.6

Quote:

Very much unsure on the cheapness of the core formations. I'd be much more inclined to make bigger core units (like Guard) and have the cheaper units be restricted support formations (again, like Guard, an army that works quite well). When one of the big issues flagged up seems to be certain types of people making super-spammy lists, it doesn't make much sense to my mind to have all the core units cost a mere 200 points.

I do like moving Thunderfires into a supporting role attached to Thunderer units though, that sounds like a solid and reasonable choice. I wouldn't mind seeing a 4-strong Thunderer core with 2 Thunderfires being present. That's not a horrible 250/275 point (ish) blitzguard right there.

I'd want to try 300 point core units. Then make warriors a 1+ required formation (and all others no more than the number of warrior formations, as has already been used in the Iyanden Ghost Warrior formation rules). Support units work off the number of core. War Engines stay shooty. Then we glare at Overlords and work that out.


Reasonably yes. The only catch is that the 300 point core unit in 1.5 was seen as pretty terrible. I also don't want to force everyone to paint up 4 new berzerkers just to field them. We'll work with incremental changes!


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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 4:44 pm 
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The easy answer with warriors is just to make them cheaper. They're currently waaay too pricey. Maths is

Squat Warriors 19.4 pts per model (assuming Rhinos at 10 pts each and hearthguard = 50pts)
Skitarri Hypaptists 16.7 pts per model (assuming Secutor is 75pts - same as Squat Warlord)
Bezerkers 15.8pts per model (same assumptions as warriors)
Steel Legion infantry 14.6 pts per model (assuming commander + likelihood of commisar is worth is 75)
Siegemasters 14.6 pts per model (assuming commander + likelihood of commisar is worth is 75)
Guardians 14.2 pts per model (assuming farseer is 50)

So simple solution, drop the points cost for warriors to 250 for 9 + a hearthguard.

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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 4:51 pm 
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Elsaurio wrote:
Interesting. Half the people commenting on this list say that they will never take Berzerkers over Warriors. Warriors are probably slightly better (the missile launcher beats out the +1 CC).

If you take Berzerkers you can't use the Thunderfire option
If you take Thunderers you don't have the amazing Hearthguard/Warlords.


Berzerkers will still zoom around like tiny, brittle units, which seems like the problem you identified is still going to be there. Why can't they be spammed? Thunderers can sit and guard and shoot with the Thunderfires. The Warriors... I dunno, they need something, perhaps as simply as just being larger and tougher but with less options, the anvil to the other units hammers.

With the way people talked about spamming Berzerkers, I'm sure people have two of those formations to consolidate into one. The changes to small warrior formations will require me to adjust how my units are based, so I don't see quite why that can be an issue the other way.

I don't believe 300 point units are, in and of themselves, just terrible units. Maybe they were terrible in 1.5s overall composition, maybe they needed tweaking or adjusting to be more valuable for the cost. I'm not sure I see reducing the formation sizes and costs as 'incremental' or somehow protecting peoples collections.

Any thoughts on making Warriors required? To my mind that instantly kills off the spamming problem, yet has been persistently ignored and never explained why it won't work. Do people object to having one or two required units so much as to make it completely unplayable?

I promise I'm not trying to be overly negative or confrontational about it, but Squats have always been that one list I've wanted to see polished and, perhaps sadly, always been the list that has evoked the strongest nostalgia which makes it the hardest to agree upon.

StevekCole wrote:
So simple solution, drop the points cost for warriors to 250 for 9 + a hearthguard.


This I like. Warriors being an expensive core choice might make them unpopular to some, but if they're still cheap enough to make them appear value-for-money, then the min-max lists will want to include them, at the opportunity cost of massive activation count.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 5:45 pm 
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Elsaurio wrote:
I also don't want to force everyone to paint up 4 new berzerkers just to field them. We'll work with incremental changes!

Worry about making the list work first and foremost. Such is the known danger of collecting and painting an army based on a developmental list. There's no guarantees. One AC to another, we'd never have made a working approved Imperial Fists list if we worried about existing collections based on the defunct attempt from Frogbear. 2cents.

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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:35 pm 
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StevekCole wrote:
The easy answer with warriors is just to make them cheaper. They're currently waaay too pricey. Maths is

Squat Warriors 19.4 pts per model (assuming Rhinos at 10 pts each and hearthguard = 50pts)
Skitarri Hypaptists 16.7 pts per model (assuming Secutor is 75pts - same as Squat Warlord)
Bezerkers 15.8pts per model (same assumptions as warriors)
Steel Legion infantry 14.6 pts per model (assuming commander + likelihood of commisar is worth is 75)
Siegemasters 14.6 pts per model (assuming commander + likelihood of commisar is worth is 75)
Guardians 14.2 pts per model (assuming farseer is 50)

So simple solution, drop the points cost for warriors to 250 for 9 + a hearthguard.


You have a point, but I would like to add a caveat. Points in Epic are difficult to calculation on a unit-by-unit basis.

Sure in 40K you can say 1 Space Marine is worth 12 points, so ten marines are worth 120.

But in Epic you have different cost returns as the formation grows bigger. In a simple example if an infantry unit is worth points then you might think that

10 units = 250 points
20 units = 500 points.

But in gaming terms it would be far more powerful to have two units of 10 then 1 unit of 20. The 'real cost would be more like

10 units = 250 points
20 units = 400 points.


I've played with the 10 man warrior squad and a lot of their weakness comes from the fact that they are too damn unwieldy at that size, especially for the low amount of short range shooting and the fact that they need to get into FF to do any real damage yet that is difficult to do.

Squat units work well at unit size 6. My example above has the option to bump it up to 10 if you really like for 275 points (cheaper than in 1.5) and yes it is perhaps a tad too pricey.


The other option is it's hard as you have to stick to multiples of 25 points - there exists the option to start taking 20 and 35 point units, (like Orks, Nids) but would like to avoid it if possible for now.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:45 pm 
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Els, those points comparisons are from similarly sized units (8-12 man ) excepting Krieg so definiely valid. Of course there's internal balance, playstyle etc which doesn't get picked up there. I think the big point for me is that Bezerkers are costed at about the right level per model while warriors are pretty seriously overcosted. It would just be a case of drawing rough parity for the warriors.

Also, different horses for different courses. I've been running 2 x 14 man warrior units over the last 6 months and I'm a big fan. You obviously lose activations but have units that can actually take a bit of punishment and actually win assaults.

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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:11 pm 
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SteveK, you're right. I was just picking an example of why it's hard to compare units to units.

My rough calculations has Berzerkers and Warriors at about 20 points, Thunderers at 35 and Hearthguard at 60 (and that's making them slightly too expensive with margin of error).

In 1.5 we all agree that Warriors are pretty badly overcosted, as is the Warlord Upgrade, meaning that to have a supreme commander you have to spend a fortune on a 400-500 point core tax unit that can't really do anything useful on the battlefield, especially as you want to keep the Sup Com safe. Now you can buy a minimum warrior + sup com for 300 points - small enough to hide away or you can give it 3 small arty units (thudds or moles) so that it can at least participate with some minor Indirect Fire.

You an also spring +325 for a leviathan for that 300 point unit to hide in, and for 625 points you have a pretty decently protected sup com who can at least fire the doomsday cannon.

Fun tip. For +50 points you can attach a thunderfire to the uni, it can ride about in the Leviathan and still shoot out the top of it for an extra AT4+/AA4+. That WE can trundle up the centre of the battlefield lending AA and support, like the fluff is meant to let it be.


Hmmm, maybe Leviathans might actually see the table top these days.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:16 pm 
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StevekCole wrote:
Quick first thought is that 6 warriors or bezerkers for 200 points is waaay to pricey.


What about some discussion on this topic? Are six man berserker/warrior formations priced right at 200pts? Comparing them to other infantry formations of roughly the same size/power (IG Storm troopers, Emperor's Children Marines) makes them look a touch on the expensive side. Then again, this could just be poor pricing on some of the newer lists.

It's hard to compare directly as the Squats have built in Leader and Inspiring which is far more powerful than most people realise.

The U.K. list has 8 bezerkers for 200 points.

Is there a case for lowering the price to 175 points?

Discuss.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 4:44 pm 
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Elsaurio wrote:
Is there a case for lowering the price to 175 points?

Discuss.


Not if they're a core unit. It defeats one of the already identified issues of previous lists, this being cheap, spammable activation infantry tearing about the place without a limitation.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:26 pm 
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I'd say simply make them 8 for 200 points. Cost wise that's in the right ball park, roughly 16 points per bezerker, 10 points per rhino, plus 50 for the hearthguard. 175 just makes them that bit easier to spam.

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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:14 am 
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StevekCole wrote:
I'd say simply make them 8 for 200 points. Cost wise that's in the right ball park, roughly 16 points per bezerker, 10 points per rhino, plus 50 for the hearthguard. 175 just makes them that bit easier to spam.

This.
If the Bezerker formation is 7+1 for 200, then i could see a good reason to take all three of the core formations.


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 Post subject: Re: Let's Talk 5: Core Infantry Changes
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:46 am 
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StevekCole wrote:
I'd say simply make them 8 for 200 points. Cost wise that's in the right ball park, roughly 16 points per bezerker, 10 points per rhino, plus 50 for the hearthguard. 175 just makes them that bit easier to spam.

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Currently you pay 200 points for 8 bases with transport included. That seems fair to me given that the only issue is that you have he option for 6 at 175/spamming. So make the min unit the 200pt option from the original book.


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