View Full Version : Raiders and shield wall

03-06-2013, 12:24 PM
So I believe everyone has played enough games now vs all the new type of builds to experience going against raiders and their shieldwall. I have a few issues with them which id like to go over.

Firstly, the raiders stacking of shieldwall. I'll use an example from my own game and how I abuse it. You have the raidmaster with his ability. If you stat him with 12 armor and then use his stonewall ability they have an effective of 15 armor. This is fine now as the raider can move forward into a forward position and warriors can still take a good chunk of their STR off. Now then you put 2 raiders next to each other and they then have 14 armor and 17 armor with ability. This makes it so that the are pretty much immune to EVERYTHING and can move as a pair safely creating a wall with them.

Then we have thrashers, not only do thrashers have an ability where if they are next to someone they get bonus damage they also gain extra armor. This makes it so every strength hit the the thrasher gains it means the shieldwall passive while they stay in formation is even harder to break through than before.

Those 2 examples show why I dislike how the current shieldwall passive is being used right now.

My proposal, make the raiders only be able to gain shieldwall passive once. This way instead of them gaining 1 extra armor per person around them they will just gain 1 extra armor total. While stuff like varl and archers can gain as much armor as as many raiders are around them.

Id like to know other people thoughts on the shieldwall passive and if they like how it is right now or don't like how it currently is. Please give a reasoning for both so we can get some constructive conversation going on.

03-06-2013, 01:39 PM
Your proposal is +1 max for raider shield joining? One additional armor doesn't seem like enough of a reason to join shields when you risk heavy impact, echo, and slag and burn damage. Joining shields does need a risk/reward mechanic and not just a total risk or total reward.

It wouldn't be a large hit at shieldwall, but capping shieldwall at 2 for raiders I think would be a bit better. I like the concept that raiders gain an advantage for sticking together rather than with other units. This wouldn't completely disrupt/discourage raider pairs. To stick together, they have to be attacking/defending from the same direction and risk aoe damage.

Seeing how raidmasters can go immune to damage while stone & shield walled, may be a different issue. It seems you either need a well placed RoA or a Strongarm to counter the RM's position, which may be fine, but seems rather limited for build variations. A less elegant solution than yours, but perhaps Stonewall could be modified to only allow +0-1 max armor through shieldwall, as the raidmaster is concentrating on defending himself with stonewall and cant assist in joining shields. This would lower his max effective armor to 15 or 16, which is still enough to block anything but the biggest of baddies. That way those big guys wont need to run a RNG in order to deal any damage.

Either way, a cap on shield wall would be nice, as allowing a raider to gain up to 16-18 armor on the front line is rather crazy.

All raiders ex. (r = raider, o = other)
+3 +4 +2


+2 +2 +2

03-06-2013, 01:55 PM
I don't think 17 armor raidmasters are broken. They will eventually run out of willpower to keep using their stonewall ability, and while they use it they can't attack. Ignore them and attack other units.

If you really want to get rid of their armor, counter with backbiters (which have 3 armor break and can easily do up to 5 armor break with 2 will), or siege archers (who have 2 armor break and can do 5 armor break with 3 will). Also Shieldmasters have 4 armor break and could really help lower the armor of a stonewalled raidmaster.

Clumping units together with shieldwall is powerful, but it also makes your units vulnerable to warrior's and warmaster's heavy impact, and to siege archers.

03-06-2013, 02:00 PM
Hi Tirean,

I haven't had the opportunity to go up against or use that many Raidmasters yet, so I don't have nearly as much experience with them as you do.

That said, even though I don't have much experience, I'm happy to speculate rampantly! :D

First, it seems like their ability is based on being able to trade position for aggression. What I mean is that they can take a very risky position without as much risk, but the price they pay for doing this is being unable to do anything against the enemy. Missing out on the opportunity to attack your opponent is huge (every misclick, every move I miss because of running out of time, etc. is really painful), so the ability should be strong enough to make losing that attack opportunity worthwhile.

Second, Raidmasters aren't completely immune. For example, anyone who can deal 4+ armor break (certain Shield and Archer units come to mind) can still deal some armor damage against Raidmasters. It's definitely not much, but given that the Raidmasters did zero damage themselves it seems like dealing any damage to them is an overall net win. The key is whether or not the player with the Raidmasters can make the positioning pay off in the long run.

(And third, I love your stream! Watching some of your past games was quite educational.)

03-06-2013, 02:52 PM
Id like to know other people thoughts on the shieldwall passive and if they like how it is right now or don't like how it currently is. Please give a reasoning for both so we can get some constructive conversation going on.

It would be a shame to provide no incentive for lining up a genuine shield wall, you know, with three or more raiders in a row. :( I don't use mine that way, but it's nice to see it, thematically. As far as playing the game goes, I like the simple solution you propose, which wouldn't much affect my play style.

[Repeating what I said in another thread, I think:] I agree that the raiders are over-powered in that they can simultaneously be "tanky" and serious threats. If we get a good way for balanced teams to counter turtling by super-low exertion melee teams (from higher-rank abilities or new units), then this problem would solve itself. If a fix is still needed, then I'd prefer just a nerf to max armor and/or boost min exertion so that BB's are generally easier to use as flankers than front-line shock troops.

03-06-2013, 03:59 PM
Remember I am not talking about the raidmasters actively ability. I am talking about the raidmasters, backbiter and thrashers passive ability :) The raidmaster was just an example of how I myself abuse the fact that I can walk up into any position with my ability + passive and dictate where the engagements happen without any care in the world. And if the guy then uses all his WP to stop that? Guess what :D Raider did its job perfectly and then you should lose the game.

So stop talking about the raidmaster ability, more talking about the passive of the raiders!

03-06-2013, 04:32 PM
I would support removal of the +1 to self aspect of shield wall. Therefore 3 raiders in a line ( X / X / X) would be +1 / +2 / +1 rather than +2 / +4 / +2 as it is now. I would not support an arbitrary cap on the current effect, as it's too confusing to explain or defend as anything other than a balance cap. You can't logically explain why the ability only gives +1 to self no matter how many raiders are supporting adjacent. Essentially the description of shield wall goes from succinct - +1 to adj. and +1 to self to ... +1 adjacent +1 self, except when the unit receiving the bonus is a raider who already has +1 from another raider...I'm already confused just writing it.

tl;dr: I would support cutting the entire passive in half so that it only gives +1 to adjacent for the sake of not having a super convoluted ability description. And also because I think cutting it in half would be an appropriate balancing measure.

Either that or nerf raider armor across the board.

03-06-2013, 04:37 PM
So stop talking about the raidmaster ability, more talking about the passive of the raiders!

I'm sorry, I'm sorry! :eek:

In terms of the passive ability, I do not think that it is overpowered. Yes, it's quite strong, but in general I think that it's working okay.

First, it doesn't protect you against armor break, so you're still vulnerable to that.

Second, you're giving up positional flexibility in order to utilize the passive ability. For example, it's harder to protect your other units if you're lining up all of your raiders in a line rather than placing them flexibly in potentially more strategic locations.

Third, you're giving yourself a positional liability. Two people next to each other are prime targets for a Backbiter special attack. Yes, the passive ability helps to protect you from the strength damage, but it's still a total of 4 armor damage plus some amount of strength damage (potentially zero). You're similarly opening yourself up to a Tempest attack, which again is partially mitigated by the passive, but if you've taken any armor break then a Tempest will still be quite painful regardless of the passive.

03-06-2013, 05:33 PM
Not to mention that you'd need 3 Raiders or 2 Raiders and 1 Archer to be able to keep up a Shield Wall while being able to attack anything but a Varl. Unless you face a lined up Shield Wall yourself.

03-06-2013, 06:18 PM
While I agree the shieldwall passive is currently incredibly strong, I'd wait until we see what siege archer rank 3 brings to the table before we start nerfing shieldwall :).

It will definitely make the 4ths/4bb problem start to go away a little bit, if you want to use mass raiders a raidmaster or two will be a must.

03-06-2013, 06:19 PM
As I played with Raidmasters/Thrasher combo often I see your point and I often used them to approach in a cubicle to hide the second row of Thrashers from archer's and / or bait archers to come in range of RM.

Some change is necessary, but what I treat as the main priority here is to keep the shieldwall tactic in game. After all it's a sacrifice of mobility, ability to do extra WP-boosted damage, complete lack of range attacks AND the absolute need to be on the offence which should be used by the opponent to your disadvantage. Also, rank 2 and 3 will see more counters to this build. All melee teams approaching in a cubicle formation should be tough, the problem is that currently they are too tough. If it was smaller by a few points they would be more vulnerable to attack by Warriors who should be the natural (rank 1) counter for that build due to the extra damage to adjacent targets.

I like the idea of nerfing max armour and giving only 1 extra armour on shieldwall, if both would be implemented a shield-wall cap of 2 wouldn't be necessary.

Another way would be to keep the max limits for armour and strength as they are BUT hinder raider versatility, maybe by setting minimums for WP or exertion a bit higher. Thus, you would have to choose between maxing armour or strength, but getting both high would be impossible due to the need of let's say +2 WP more than now and at least 1 exertion.

But to be honest, the reason why this build is also good is that it's different and people used to one way of playing do many mistakes against 4-raider formations. A few things to note from my own experience:

- when you see an all melee team in the versus screen there is really no need to put your units up in the first row (depending on build of course, It's more a rule of the thumb), the melee team needs to walk up to you and the bigger the distance the higher your chances of breaking the formation by skills or by spreading your forces or simply doing range damage as they engage

- be defensive if possible, they are the ones that NEED to advance, make them come to you and use your moves to prepare for it so your enemy is where you want him to be, rushing head-first is rarely the best approach

- raiders are tough in a cubicle, but they can't sustain this formation all the game, they can probably pull it off as they advance, encircling a raider-cubicle is the worst thing one can do when fighting raider, you want them out of the formation!

In terms of specific Raiders - I like the idea of BB's runthrough armour break was equal to base AB-1, which doesn't allow to max str and arm and still being able to do a decent break before attack. Raidmaster's special is very good and I'm happy to see an non-attack skill that kicks ass in the long term. I think it wouldn't be such a problem after base armour/shieldwall tweaks and the disadvantages are making it ok (i.e. turn advantage in the sense of damage output). In terms of thrashers I find them as great meat shields with a horrible special attack and I won't comment since I can't do that in a objective fashion due to my advanced hatred for that class (although I don't find them useless, far from it!).

BTW. Raidmasters passive protects from 3 armour damage as well.

03-07-2013, 01:49 AM
They need to come out with the next ranks before we can really start judging these things. If anything remove the bonus to the Raider and have it only give the bonus to adjacent units. I feel that once the Siege Archer gets her next level abilities that a shieldwall is just asking for AoE damage all up in their grill.

03-07-2013, 07:10 AM
Just to reiterate what I said in chat, I think the high armour you get from shieldwall is the only thing keeping warriors in check and forcing them to respect the dance to avoid getting chunked by the warrior on the other team (you already don't see shieldbanger-only teams that much). If they could consistently oneshot raiders from max things would look pretty different I think.