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Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT

 Post subject: Re: Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 4:05 pm 
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Correct, round up

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 Post subject: Re: Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:26 pm 
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Some feedback following a game at the Skorcha event on Sunday:

I found the spotter rule quite confusing and inelegant. As written, I couldn't work out what it is supposed to let you do:
Squats 1.5 wrote:
Squat War Engines that perform advance, double, or marshal actions may fire their indirect weapons upon an enemy formation that is within range of a weapon with the spotter ability that has a line of fire (see EA 1.9.2) to the formation. Normal modifiers for these actions still apply as well as range considerations.


Presumably "indirect weapon" means a weapon with the Indirect Fire ability... And then for the Colossus:
Quote:
The Doomsday may fire indirectly with a spotter.


So the Spotter special rule is somehow related to the Indirect Fire rule, but not worded in the same style so is not clear about whether it is about LOF or also range and/or +1 to hit. The rule doesn't even explicitly mention LoF, it just says "you can shoot at them". It reads to me like the rule is about removing the "sustain" restriction of Indirect Fire rather than about the LOF element of Indirect Fire. And then it gets more complicated with the Doomsday cannon, which is an exception to the special rule because that weapon isn't an "indirect weapon" in the first place.

The end result is that there are huge variations in ranges that I needed to constantly be aware of: the different ranges of the spotter formations, the normal and doubled ranges of Indirect Fire weapons, and the Doomsday non-indirect weapon. The latter two have different conditions on the same model. Plus, both can fire without LoF on an advance, but the Doomsday can't be fired in this way on a sustain. That is just plain weird. Coupled with the Support Craft rule, the whole thing was very confusing for me and I was never sure what I could or could not be shot with. I am not sure if we even played it correctly in the end, allowing the range to be doubled on an advance/double order - should all ranges be doubled, all ranges except for the Doomsday, etc etc?

I think the structure of this rule needs to be looked at, and preferably also its function to reduce its complexity. It was most glaring because I was playing Tau, who have a similar rule (Markerlights) which is much simpler (and IMO even that is a little complicated to explain) and despite being "high tech" has a shorter range than Spotters. That it is such a huge bonus (on a double, really??) is strange considering that the Indirect Fire rule is actually designed as a representation of spotters anyway - what makes Squat spotters so much better?

Personally I would just remove the Spotter rule as it is covered in Indirect Fire, but I guess this isn't going to fly with you guys ;) So I would propose that the rule be changed to a unit special rule with a standard 30cm range. I also think it needs to be reworded, probably with the addition of a Guided Fire rule that is described like Indirect Fire but with different actions. Something like:
"Enemy units within 30cm and line of sight of a unit with the Spotter ability are considered to be "spotted". Weapons with the Guided Fire ability may fire on spotted units during a sustain, advance, double or marshal action without requiring a line of fire from the weapon itself as would normally be the case. Note that the weapon uses the range listed on its datasheet and modifiers for taking sustain or double actions are unaffected. Weapons that also have the Indirect Fire ability may not use both abilities at the same time.

The Spotter ability may not be used by units that have marched this turn or by broken units."

IMO this would make things much simpler: there is only one spotter range to remember, there is no doubling of ranges, and it is separated out from the Indirect Fire rule which will remove the ambiguity regarding ranges and is more appropriate considering not all guided fire weapons also have indirect fire. It also means the Doomsday can use spotters on a sustain.

I still think it is confusing to have both weapon types on the same model and ideally they should be unified: either remove the ability from the Doomsday (which would make things even simpler still), remove Indirect Fire from the plasma missiles, or give the Doomsday indirect fire with a reduced range. I understand why the Doomsday lacks indirect fire; I'm not sure of the fluff but it seems odd that a cannon can fire without LoF in the first place, but presumably it is there for a reason.

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 Post subject: Re: Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:32 pm 
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Next Stubborn. I felt this was also a bit complicated and largely unnecessary.

It's not really a complaint but more of an observation: for units like Thunderfires (which I gather are a contentious unit), it is a very useful buff. It prevented me from being able to destroy a 1-unit formation supporting a losing assault as would normally be the case for an immobile platform, due to the fact that you can't get within 5cm of it unless you actually assault it.

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 Post subject: Re: Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:24 pm 
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Hi Kyrt,

Nice one. Really interesting feedback. There's not much I disagree with there. The reason I'd be in favour of the rule staying is that without aircraft Squats are actually pretty bad at prepping dug in or hard to reach units. Spotter really helps with this. It also helps to drive the army forward by making you push overlords and gyros onto enemy units and into exposed positions as well as allowing more effective fire and move. Lastly, it just feels right with the army. Of cousre one option would be to do away with it and just give doomsday cannons IF but that does feel a bit overcooked.

I'd second most of your changes to the spotter rule (and apologies as I feel I probably explained it badly - I did try my best but was also monstrously hungover). Particularly the clarity around wording. I agree about standardised range but think that it should probably be 50cm rather than 30. Remember marketlights are mostly on fast moving scout units (some with teleport) usually 6+ models strong rather than on relatively slow moving airships or very small units of gyros. 30 means the unit is just going to get auto assaulted and die. 50 makes assaults still a very real possibility but with good positioning not a given. Second, unlike markerlights you aren't likely to be using spotter to draw super lethal crossfires, often you'll just be pinging or prepping units. Occasionally, you'll get a lethal sustain off with it but that actually requires quite a lot of work and planning.

Regarding stubborn, I agree it's overcomplex and could just be removed. I think this would make the list a lot more playable.

I think a key thing to stress though is that Squats, as they stand are decent but really not a top tier army. I defy pretty much anyone to make that case. Maybe in 1-2k they're strong. At 3k it's easy to do a lot of damage with them but pretty tough to actually win games (especially by big scores) so we need to be very careful about just taking stuff which strenghtens the list out.

Having played steel legion and biel tan mostly in the last 6 months I can tell you they're a hell of a lot more powerful, or at least a lot easier to play than Squats. Indeed, we played a test game where I was steel legion against Mark who was runner up in Exeter last month. He took a squat list with 2 overlords and 2 colossus (so the mother of all spotter lists) but ultimately it still didn't win (despite pounding me on turn 1). Mostly, because the Steel Legion just have more strong options. For Squats, overlords are great, the colossus is good, bezerkers, bikes and gyros are decent but there aren't world beaters in there like many other lists. When they work well as an army it's because you can develop good synergy between units and spotter helps to build that style of play. Without it, my worry is that they just become too much of a split list; goliaths, mole mortars and siege master style play (probably more competitive) or bikes and infantry for more aggression but a lower win rate. Spotter helps balance the two styles.

PS - Rug my guess is that the bikes are 30cm to make standardisation with the trikes easier. Does sit a little oddly as thematically, Squats (being master engineers) should make way better engines, lightweight alloys etc thant IG and Orks. Plus 35cm does seem to be the standard. Not the end of the world though.

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 Post subject: Re: Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:57 pm 
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Yeah 30cm - my thinking is go in low, negotiate ;)

I feel like 30cm spotters on gyrocopters would be fine. They are just as fast as recons, are durable and have decent shooting. Remember they are scouts, so only need to risk one unit ahead of the rest to spot - the others can be 20cm away behind terrain. Let your opponent assault them if he wants, it is actually quite a risky move when only 1 can be killed. Likewise, your opponent knows that shooting that single unit won't break a formation of 4. This is how recons work, you would be surprised how many times that one little recon gets ignored despite being < 30cm from half the army. I agree 30cm would work less well on overlords, for whom to get within 30cm would be both more difficult and more risky and on a more expensive unit.

To be fair markerlights seems similar but it's not really used in the same way, like you point out. Its big benefit is not really the spotting for guided missiles, it's the +1 to hit on everything. Guided missiles are cool and the only "artillery" the Tau have, but they are very ineffective. I actually had a relatively large number (proportionally) in my list for the cool factor but they rarely kill anything. MW barrages they ain't. So probably best not to compare directly, but rather just think about what is an appropriate risk/reward ratio for what they give to the squats. Personally I think it is a quite powerful rule (being able to fire indirectly when doubling) because the shooting unit can do two things at once (most artillery has to sit on an objective). A decent level of risk is therefore appropriate IMO. Overall though I too like the synergy it creates in the list, which units far apart from each other working together.

I don't think I have any complaints about the overall power of the list based on our game. All armies have some nasty toys, the key is just to get the right number of them with the right internal balance. It's always going to be difficult to balance something like spotter, whose value is shared with the units they spot for. Glancing at the list, berserkers look a little useless (6+ armour CC troops are only really much good against very small weak formations), OK they're cheap and core but they still seem underwhelming. Maybe something like that could be boosted if it were needed to counteract a reduction elsewhere.

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 Post subject: Re: Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:20 am 
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For me, Bezerkers are waaay better than warriors (100 pts more for 3 extra models, 4 more shots, lower close assault) - also again they're about synergy. If you can hit a unit hard with an overlord/WE and mop up with Bezerkers great, alternatively keep near a bike co, use commander and suddenly your 2 ok units are a 20 strong assault with 4+ close assault, inspiring and a couple of macros for good measure!

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 Post subject: Re: Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:55 am 
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Quote:
I think a key thing to stress though is that Squats, as they stand are decent but really not a top tier army. I defy pretty much anyone to make that case. Maybe in 1-2k they're strong. At 3k it's easy to do a lot of damage with them but pretty tough to actually win games (especially by big scores) so we need to be very careful about just taking stuff which strenghtens the list out.


I think they'll be a mid-tier army once they get into the EpicUK rotation.

About same win rate as Steel Legion, nothing too controversial. Will benefit from the new army bump like what happened at the 2k tournament, but soon people will figure out what to do against it.

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 Post subject: Re: Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:51 pm 
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i don't think they're currently as strong as Steel Legion. Better at rallying/shedding bms but less mobile, less powerful assaults, can't soak up damage as well, more expensive artillery, less TK/MW options. A selective example, 400 points gets Squats 15 warriors & 8 Rhinos or Steel Legion a mech co (12 units with 7 chimeras & likely a commissar plus upgrades like Hydras & Griffons) - no brainer.

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 Post subject: Re: Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:57 pm 
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Since we're talking about Squats versus the Steel Legion in terms of power settings, how about we do some comparisons,? Based on the games I've played and my views about what makes a good epic army:

Cheap effective supporting(Scout) Units
Best examples: SM(scouts and speeders), Eldar, Tau
SL(Steel Legion):4 Squats:3
Iron eagles are very good, but matched by Vulturrd. Guard get cheaper screening options and more versatility with Sentinals and Rough Riders.

Anti-Aircraft
Best examples: Eldar
Imperial Guard: 3 Squats: 3
Neither get a fast, 44+ AA squad like falcons, or effective AA WE's, but decent above average AA. The ability to take CAP fighters and slightly more durable hydras matches the Squats cheap and long range Thunderfires and great all rounded Overlords.

Air Power
Best examples: Eldar, Orks, SM
SL: 3 Squats:0
Thunderbolts and Marauders are solid, Squats have no aircraft.

Mid range firepower
Best examples: Tau, Guard, Squats
SL:4 Squats:4
Both have excellent options. The squats can possibly deal more damage whilst guard can take the hit back better, and also get some slightly cheaper mid range fire options(Shadowswords/Baneblades.)
Both are at the upper end of effectiveness in Epic in general. Squats would love tank companies and Warhounds, SL would love Overlords and Colossi/Land Trains.

Artillery
Best examples:Siegemasters,(See below)
SL: 4 Squats:5
Squats don't get anything as cost effective as Manticores+Deathstrikes for 450 pts, but are overall better due to more variety, ability to take lots of cheap artillery(Mortars/Thudd Guns) and how tough the large Squat War Engines are to take down. SL do get a spaceship though.
All the WE Artillery for Squats are excellent. Still Close.

Cheap, effective assault units
Best examples: Dark Eldar, Nids, Speed Freaks
SL: 2 Squats: 3
Squats are actually not bad here - The bikes and berzerkers with inspiring are pretty cheap, not low in numbers and effective.
Steel Legion gets a 2 for how effective Rough Riders+Commissar can be in the right situation. Neither are anywhere near the level of Speed Freaks, Nids or Dark Eldar when it comes to this.

Fast Elite Assault Units
Best examples: SM, Chaos(Terms), Eldar:Aspects, Knights
SL: 2 Squats: 1
Neither armies forte. Veterans in valkyries or the Mech Company are pretty good with a Commissar, but are still not a match for most other armies elites. Squats get a 1 for at least having War Engines that can be pretty good in an assault, if slow.

Tanking Units
Best examples: SL, Space Marines, Nids
SL:4 Squats: 3
If you want to hold an objective Squats best options are the War Engines. SL get Mech companies, large Infantry companies, Tank companies and Titans/Shadowsword fromations, all of which are expensive but can do the job handily.

War Engines
Best examples: AMTL, Skitari, Imp Guard, Squats.
SL:4 Squats:4
Neither get fast WE's that can be effective in an assault. Squats may have the upper hand in quality due to the versatility of Land trains and their WE's offering very cost effective damage and toughness for pts. SL have the advantage of being able to field an All WE list, negating the enemys AP fire entirely. (For those who read about the Exeter Entrenchment, 16 Shadowswords?)

Army wide special rules and Strategy/Initiative:
Best examples: Dark/Eldar(hit and run), Marines(ATSKNF/SR:5 Int:1), Necrons(Reanimation/Living Metal)
Steel Legion:3 Squats:2
Both have low Strategy and Initiative. Squats have the useful +1 to rally but Stubborn withdraw is a huge disadvantage for a player who knows how to play against it.
The ability to take Commisars in units of your choice is more useful than Heathguard.

Total:
SL: 33
Squats:28


Although this isn't scientific, I think it at least illustrates that Squats are not 'Steel Legion but better.'

Games I've played in involving the Squats versus the Steel Legion have also been pretty close.

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 Post subject: Re: Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:38 am 
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Quote:
Although this isn't scientific, I think it at least illustrates that Squats are not 'Steel Legion but better.'


That's a really good analysis, Mark. I don't think anybody is saying they are better than Steel Legion. SL is sitting at 31% wins, 40% losses, I expect the Squats to be the same... unless it's just you and Steve taking them to tourneys, then they'll do better for sure.

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 Post subject: Re: Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:52 am 
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carlos wrote:
That's a really good analysis, Mark. I don't think anybody is saying they are better than Steel Legion. SL is sitting at 31% wins, 40% losses, I expect the Squats to be the same... unless it's just you and Steve taking them to tourneys, then they'll do better for sure.


Surely just Tim taking them to tournaments (rather than Mark and I) will be the way to drive the win rate up!

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 Post subject: Re: Squats: Thurgrimm Stronghold v1.5 DRAFT
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:19 am 
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carlos wrote:
Quote:
Although this isn't scientific, I think it at least illustrates that Squats are not 'Steel Legion but better.'


That's a really good analysis, Mark. I don't think anybody is saying they are better than Steel Legion. SL is sitting at 31% wins, 40% losses, I expect the Squats to be the same... unless it's just you and Steve taking them to tourneys, then they'll do better for sure.


Certainly you, steve and Andy weren't, ;) I was responding a bit more to reaction we've had at tourneys, and it was worth looking at the army as a whole.

Once we've got an epic UK list we might see a few more players, seen some very cool squats/dystopian squats/chaos squats in the painting forums. ;)

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