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[Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and BL

 Post subject: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and BL
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:19 pm 
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Next up are the "independent vanguard", the bugs that are on the planet before the main invasion sewing discord and confusion. Given that, all these guys will have scout as it will allow them to garrison despite what move we may assign them.

Lictor

I'm going to preface my breakdown by saying that these guys are going to be LVs, not INF. The SM/TL models for them (while out of scale) are big enough to be classified as such, they're normally based one per stand (not a legal INF basing) and both the prior champions wanted them as LVs. This is one of those things that I'm not looking to debate.

40k5e has them as fleet and SM/TL had them with a move of 15cm, both point to a move that's greater than your average infantry so I'm thinking 20cm here instead of 15cm. Thoughts? Either way they'll definitely have Infiltrator as they've had it in all of the 40k editions and SM/TL.

For armor, they had a 6+ in SM/TL and in 40k they're pretty close stat-wise to an attack bike (just a worse save but more wounds). Given that we're somewhere in the 5+/6+ range. I think they should keep their invulnerable to help represent their stealth ability, so what do people think given the invulnerable? 5+ or 6+ armor?

On close combat, we've tested these guys in at least 20 games with 2@CC3+ first strike (one being sniper) and have found them insanely good. I'd really like them to keep first strike (representing their speed and ambush) but they don't need two attacks being only a single model. They've had 15 or so playtests with the Onachus stats (1CC3+ sniper) and they are still a terror but usually only to characters (thanks to CC sniper) and small formations where they can hope to kill most of the units before they're hit back. We definitely found them more balanced at this level and I think it fits their fluff pretty well too.

For FF, they have a 6" shot with their fleshhoooks in 40k, and had a shot with them in SM/TL as well. They're definitely a FF only weapon but given their extreme short range should they just be abstracted into CC or should they have a FF6+ shot? If they do have a FF6+, should it be First Strike as well?

Finally, Teleport makes this unit what it is and should be kept.

Genestealers

While they had normal infantry movement in SM/TL they're fleet in 40k which is what I've been interpreting as a speed of 20cm. They also have infiltrator too so I think that's another no-brainer for their EA stats.

Save-wise, 5 of them are on par with 5 Orks in 40k (5 wounds, T4) so 6+ fits.

On the CC, I think it should remain first strike given their speed/ambushing but again two attacks with first strike proved way too good in our playtests. In 40k they are on par with Assault Marines (10 attacks at S4) just with better WS and rending. Given that, 1@CC2+ First Strike has worked pretty well for them in Onachus. Zombo and I compromised here before we sent the stats to Jaldon, I wanted 1@CC3+ and he 2@CC4+. Now that I've played them at 1@CC2+ I think they're still worth it but not over-powered anymore.

Brood Lord

I think keeping this guy as a Character works well. Leader is definitely warranted given his better Ld in 40k, but what are people's thoughts on inspiring as well?

Both Zombo and I aggreed to Leader, Inspiring, Invulnerable Save when we sent them to Jaldon, along with an Extra Attack First Strike in CC. I think that abstracts what they are in 40k to EA pretty well.

Deathleaper/Ymgarl Genestealers

I'm of the opinion that the regular Lictor and Genestealer stats cover these.

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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:43 pm 
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Dave wrote:
Next up are the "independent vanguard", the bugs that are on the planet before the main invasion sewing discord and confusion. Given that, all these guys will have scout as it will allow them to garrison despite what move we may assign them.

Lictor

For FF, they have a 6" shot with their fleshhoooks in 40k, and had a shot with them in SM/TL as well. They're definitely a FF only weapon but given their extreme short range should they just be abstracted into CC or should they have a FF6+ shot? If they do have a FF6+, should it be First Strike as well?

Finally, Teleport makes this unit what it is and should be kept.


I'm agnostic on the balance issues of giving Lictors a FF value. It would certainly help their engagement range, and make them a bit more expensive to firefight: both helpful in giving them a bit more survivability.

The fluff rationale for giving it to them is that their enemies shouldn't necessarily know exactly where they are, even when they are on the board -- so they can't simply be FF'd to death with no risk. I.e., their range ought to be the physical range of the fleshhooks + an 'error term' to reflect the fact that they are elusive buggers.


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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:49 pm 
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Aren`t the Fleshhooks only there to drag an opponent into CC-range? Do they even inflict any damage alone?

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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:55 pm 
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Genestealers have never been overpowered IMO, and I don't think they need a downgrade without a commensurate points drop.

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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:55 pm 
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Playtests around these parts have demonstrated that genestealers with 2@cc4+ are indeed overpowered. Not only are larger infantry formations still vulnerable to losing engagements against even to heavily weakened genestealer formations, but I've taken out a full-strength warhound titan with 2 bases of 'stealers with a broodlord character upgrade. That just wasn't right. I'm not saying genestealers shouldn't do heavy damage to whatever they get into BtB with, but you shouldn't have a high expectation of winning engagements when you're down to 2-3 bases. Scout and infiltrator make up for the nerf in cc stats in that you have a versatile, dangerous engagement fm that can deal out a lot of damage and kill some special units (w/infiltrate) with regularity. Giving them another attack in cc allows them to do this AND do it repeatedly. Genestealers are more of a powerful throwaway fm than a durable one.

As for lictors, they do not need a FF attack, based on the playtests I've seen. For example, with the old stats two of them (i.e. one fm of 2 units) were able to slice and dice their way through a near-full strength IG infantry company which was in cover. If there are enemy fm's within engage range of lictors, they almost are required to engage them because of the threat they represent. Burning up an activation to ff them, even with no retaliatory ff attacks, is expensive enough, to borrow Carrington's term.

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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:26 pm 
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captPiett wrote:
As for lictors, they do not need a FF attack, based on the playtests I've seen. For example, with the old stats two of them (i.e. one fm of 2 units) were able to slice and dice their way through a near-full strength IG infantry company which was in cover. If there are enemy fm's within engage range of lictors, they almost are required to engage them because of the threat they represent. Burning up an activation to ff them, even with no retaliatory ff attacks, is expensive enough, to borrow Carrington's term.


It's a fair point -- they may well be balanced as they are. I guess my concern is that they tend to be 'eggshells armed with sledghammers:' not a particularly survivable formation. Against most armies with a high Strategy their main utility is

A) a force in being, pre-teleport and
B) a surrogate for an initiative reroll -- they teleport, the enemy activates to kill them, then you get the next activation.

In general, I'd be uncomfortable with too much certainty -- 'oh, I'll need to expend one activation to wipe these guys out.' This especially because the feel of the formation should tend toward uncertainty.

But it's a question of balance, and rebalancing them is probably a fairly low priority.


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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:44 pm 
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Dave wrote:
Lictor

I'm going to preface my breakdown by saying that these guys are going to be LVs, not INF.


I disagree, but I'll not fight you on this one.

Dave wrote:
I'm thinking 20cm here instead of 15cm.


Interesting. No particular opinion on speed.

Dave wrote:
what do people think given the invulnerable? 5+ or 6+ armor?


5+

Dave wrote:
On1 close combat, we've tested these guys in at least 20 games with 2@CC3+ first strike (one being sniper) and have found them insanely good. I'd really like them to keep first strike (representing their speed and ambush) but they don't need two attacks being only a single model. They've had 15 or so playtests with the Onachus stats (1CC3+ sniper) and they are still a terror but usually only to characters (thanks to CC sniper) and small formations where they can hope to kill most of the units before they're hit back. We definitely found them more balanced at this level and I think it fits their fluff pretty well too.


Again, I agree that they could probably do with a downgrade in CC abilities from their 9.2.1 levels, but the next step isn't to halve their CC abilities. Work iteratively, changing their power one level at a time, so 2xCC4+ is the next level to try them at. That's the basics of good list management.

Dave wrote:
For FF, they have a 6" shot with their fleshhoooks in 40k, and had a shot with them in SM/TL as well. They're definitely a FF only weapon but given their extreme short range should they just be abstracted into CC or should they have a FF6+ shot? If they do have a FF6+, should it be First Strike as well?


I'm ambivilent on FF, either 6+ or nothing is fine.

Dave wrote:
Genestealers

While they had normal infantry movement in SM/TL they're fleet in 40k which is what I've been interpreting as a speed of 20cm. They also have infiltrator too so I think that's another no-brainer for their EA stats.

Save-wise, 5 of them are on par with 5 Orks in 40k (5 wounds, T4) so 6+ fits.


Yup, I don't think you'll get argument on these.

Dave wrote:
On the CC, I think it should remain first strike given their speed/ambushing but again two attacks with first strike proved way too good in our playtests. In 40k they are on par with Assault Marines (10 attacks at S4) just with better WS and rending. Given that, 1@CC2+ First Strike has worked pretty well for them in Onachus. Zombo and I compromised here before we sent the stats to Jaldon, I wanted 1@CC3+ and he 2@CC4+. Now that I've played them at 1@CC2+ I think they're still worth it but not over-powered anymore.


Honestly I really don't think they need any downgrade at all, 2x4+ is fine, but I can probably accept 1x2+ if you're flexible elsewhere.

Dave wrote:
Brood Lord


Note that CC2+ on genestealers makes these guys a lot better...

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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:18 pm 
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I liked Lictors as they were. Please keep the 'sniper' ability as it was very different. If they have a FF value, then 'sniper' should also be used with this. I am with Zombo regarding the Lictors other than LV. I agree on the LV status. LV cannot use cover however so I believe an Invulnerable Save is also in order to represent cover.

Genestealers: These never survive past the first round in our games and are usually the first unit broken and hunted. In fact I cannot recall ever getting these guys in combat. Due to this, I do not really see a point in their downgrade, but if you are to do it, make it small. The example given by captPiett is just that, an example and a lucky one at that - it is definately not the norm and nor should it be. Anyone that finds themselves being attacked by Genestealers base to base without any prep fire has either been very unlucky, or has made a tactical error. In defence genstealers are crap (FF combat) so they are not really all that IMO. I guess the real test will come when I take them en-masse in the Genstealer cult list.

Broodlord: Never found this guy to be an issue

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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:56 pm 
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Quote:
Lictor


Lictors also operate quite independently, as an added justification for being LVs.

I think only one attack is fairly justifiable for a lone Lictor - they have three attacks total in 40K. They're surprise precision implements, rather than blunt threshing machines.

I'm not sure on abstracting the fleshhooks into CC. Carrington's abstraction is very abstract, but at the same time it feels kind of appropriate. Then again, the fact that they get wiped out if people see them would (to me) be a feature, not a bug. Lictors are fire-and-forget terror weapons that force the enemy to either deal with them or ignore them and take losses.

I think Contest Only is worth keeping as well. Lurkers don't capture things, they make other things' lives unpleasant.

Regarding their armor save...5+, or a special rule letting them use cover and 6+.

Quote:
Genestealers


Your assessment makes sense.

Quote:
Brood Lord


Zombo's comment re: Genestealers to 2+ making him better seems a fair one. If Genestealers improve, definitely leave out Inspiring (IMO). Or rethink his cost.

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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:08 am 
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A quick note, LVs get cover saves in the 'nid list thanks to Mobility. I asked Chroma and Jaldon awhile back on this and they confirmed, although no FAQ/rewrite was ever put through. When we get to special rules it's one of the things I'd like to clarify.

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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:10 am 
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i like the idea that lictors are only able to contest, but then they should be able to contest from even further away (cause lictors are terror weapons, you cant leave them at your back, even if they theoretically cant hurt you)
i dont think they should have a FF ability, they should just be fast enough to countercharge a decent amount
they should definitely have a 5+ save and invulnerable

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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:15 pm 
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I don't think special rules for only contesting are needed, and they're GT scenario specific.

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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:18 pm 
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frogbear wrote:
Genestealers: These never survive past the first round in our games and are usually the first unit broken and hunted. In fact I cannot recall ever getting these guys in combat.

So if they rarely (if ever) get into an engagement, how can you tell if they are overpowered or underpowered in engagements?

A healthy FM of genestealers makes a meal of most things, and rightly so. However, having 2xCC attacks keeps them combat effective even in a very weakened state, which is a problem.

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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:24 pm 
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Quote:
So if they rarely (if ever) get into an engagement, how can you tell if they are overpowered or underpowered in engagements?

A healthy FM of genestealers makes a meal of most things, and rightly so. However, having 2xCC attacks keeps them combat effective even in a very weakened state, which is a problem.

It's not a problem unless you can show in playtests that it's a problem. Until that point, it's just an opinion.

I've played with and against Tyranids scores of times in the last few years, and I can tell you the Genestealers are underpowered and do not need Dave's proposed downgrade.

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 Post subject: Re: [Xeno-Biostatistics] Independent Vanguard - Ls, GSs and
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:35 pm 
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Evil and Chaos wrote:
Quote:
So if they rarely (if ever) get into an engagement, how can you tell if they are overpowered or underpowered in engagements?

A healthy FM of genestealers makes a meal of most things, and rightly so. However, having 2xCC attacks keeps them combat effective even in a very weakened state, which is a problem.

It's not a problem unless you can show in playtests that it's a problem. Until that point, it's just an opinion.

I've played with and against Tyranids scores of times in the last few years, and I can tell you the Genestealers are underpowered and do not need Dave's proposed downgrade.

Ok - I invite you to peruse the battle report forum. I'm not just pulling this stuff out of my posterior or making unsubstantiated assertions; Dave and I have been playtesting various flavors of 'nids for the past 3 years, and he has extensively documented it over there.

Based on that experience (both facing and using 'nids), genestealers are way too combat effective even after taking a pummeling. They should be a glass hammer, not a durable assault fm.

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