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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: What should my team look like? Individual character roles in a team build

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    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    What should my team look like? Individual character roles in a team build

    Disclaimer: I do not pretend on being 100% right on my thoughts, in fact Iíll be grateful if someone would point me on mistakes Iím doing in my theorizations. So, vast discussion is appreciated.

    Being more theorist than a person able to apply knowledge in general life and most games/activities, Iíve thought a lot about team building, especially how different character classes harmonize with each other and contribute to the team success. In the following extensive block of text I will try to share my visions of how I distinguish different classes by their team roles and combine them in a full-fledged team.


    We can try and use general gaming attacker/defender term at first. Seems logical, but in fact we donít have any clear defenders in the game, cause there is nothing to defend - the only win clause is to kill every enemy character. Situationally though some ďdefenceĒ is possible - whether it be positional defence to hold ground for allied troops to move through or active defence to protect enemy forces from reaching your valuable character. But no unit is clearly used solely for that purpose, because of the aforementioned ďkill them allĒ paradigm - you are simply losing stat advantage, when enemy hits your characters, and you donít hit his.

    The most obvious and simple criterion for splitting the classes here will be whether they are armor breakers or plain damage dealers. You can clearly spot some characters among your proving grounds that fulfil one of these - for example 9/17 Warmaster is surely a damager more than any other unit in the game, and the same can be said for 4ab Shieldmaster as a clear armor breaker. These are quite obvious, but some classes are not. Where could you put a 18/10/2/1/1 Provoker here? He doesnít deal any break, nor he is a huge damage dealer. So we should think about more detailed role list.

    Introducing a ďdisruptĒ role should fill the gap and include those classes that are effective either at helping allies or sabotaging enemy plans. That Provoker guy lies here - he prevents some selected enemy character from using his/her ability, moving and attacking for one turn. Skystriker implements similar scheme except that she actually allows enemy to move into her trap. Warleader is a whole different disrupter, cause instead of dealing with enemy he changes the turn mechanic itself, bringing some allied character up in queue.

    With all that mentioned you can already have a general idea of what a team should consist of. Using some game/sporting terms, particularly football ones, there are piano players and those who move that piano. The same is with Factions teams - you should have both those who can deal good strength damage, cause thatís the ultimate goal, but you should also have armor breakers to allow damagers do their task. Supporters/disrupters are generally combined with either of those two - Skystriker being able to deal both break in early game and damage with the help of puncture later, Warleader being great armor breaker etc.
    Last edited by netnazgul; 03-28-2013 at 04:15 AM.

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    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    Lets now have a closer look on what role every class can be in the game.

    Raidmaster
    Being able to resist damage early in the game, raidmasters are generally used as early front-runners who then are able to deal substantial armor break for 2 or 3 turns after. More likely you will want your raidmaster to have 12arm and 3ab and then have a choice between strength and willpower, moving his role bias between damager and breaker respectively.

    Thrasher
    Mister RNG Guy as many players call him, Thrasher is one of the most versatile classes in the game. His main strength lies in his ability which is still (and especially) dangerous even when he is maimed. Most people like 12str thrashers being early game hitters - he can seriously maim archer or low-armored warrior that way.

    Backbiter
    He was greatly nerfed lately with his max strength lowered down to 10, but nevertheless backbiter can still be used in different situations. He still can have high armor, vast armor break (3ab + 3wp), that combined with his ability to cover the most ground among the melee makes him a sturdy fighter, armor breaker and archer maimer. (I had little practice with him, so can’t actually tell a lot about his use, BB are requested here)

    Shieldmaster
    He is your armor breaker, no doubts about that. His ability allows him to prevent enemy melee from hitting him or regret it. To use it at maximum he should have 4ab and high armor (up to his max) to survive longer.

    Strongarm
    All shieldbangers are generally what they are - shieldbangers, armor breakers. But this guy became a great lategame attacker because of his passive ability, strength and armor combined (you are playing 14/14 one, aren’t you?). He can deal with any warrior one on one, especially left unharmed to the end of the game. His active ability can be surprisingly useful to boost allied movement - watch those Tirean’s streams and SRM/WH combo!

    Provoker
    True disrupter, Provoker attracts enemy and saves your other characters from being hit. That’s why he has a lot of armor (17 or even 18) on him to be able to withstand a lot of punishment. Enemy archers are more likely to concentrate on him also, as they will burn willpower to deal a maximum armor break.

    Siege Archer
    She is the most out-of-conception class here. Having damage dealing puncture, ranged 2ab (and up to 5 break with willpower) and coals spreading, she can actually belong to any of the 3 general roles mentioned above. High armor (mostly 9arm) greatly increases her survivability at the front lines.

    Skystriker
    Good for armor breaking (with wp use) and damage dealing (8str + puncture), skystriker is nevertheless famous for her unique trapping ability. It sure needs a lot of thought put in it, but when you can stop any unit on the tile you want him to be and then deal a good blow with upcoming warrior - it’s very powerful.

    Bowmaster
    A true glass cannon, she excels on archer mastery and ability to deal puncture damage on 7 tiles radius. So in general you want her to be 8str and highly protected (either with armor, or even better - with good positioning and move-blocking). Just bring some enemy armor down, and she will harvest a lot of kills.

    Warmaster
    The most powerful unit in the game, having 17str maximum. Basically he is used 8/17 with 2ex and being able to cover half the map and deal a serious strike on any of possible opponents (with some exceptions like 18arm Provoker). His ability also allows dealing some spread armor break, which should not be taken lightly, as he deals both arm and str damage together.

    Warleader
    Not a popular choice among players and a difficult character to control, Warleader can have a lot of different configurations. Mainly he is a good armor breaker (4ab+3wp is the maximum armor break you can get), and his ability can be both powerful (those double tempesting warhawks are madness when not dealed with before that) and harmful (swapping turn queue so that enemy can attack your valuable character before their turns).

    Warhawk
    Famous for being rookie-smasher. Mostly he is another glass cannon, and is almost useless when maimed, but when carefully positioned and at full strength, he is a game-changer. 9/16 2ex is a popular choice for him as he has a lot of movement and exceeds 1ex warriors that way

    You can of course try whole different stats for each of them if it fits your game plan (I myself successfully ran a pair of 11/15 Warmasters and will try them in my new build iteration), those are the general uses among players.
    Last edited by netnazgul; 03-25-2013 at 12:12 PM.

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    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    So moving from individuals to teams now.

    When making a first draft of your team, you should consider the main thing - how are you going to deal damage. This quickly leads to the question of armor breaking, as you canít hit too much strength without lowering enemy armor first. Thus we have a choice - who will deal break, and who will go for a strength hit. Itís a very basic approximation, as you can have a lot of multi-purpose characters (like 10/11/4/2/2 Thrashers I like to utilize), but you still need to think about it. Giving that you canít choose a different selection judging by the team your enemy fields, you should be able to deal with each and every threat - high-armored builds, quick damaging builds and so on. An extreme example would be 2WM 3BM team (donít do this, but for the sake of explanation this will go) - roughly itís 5 damagersí team, so you must compensate this with having high-break raidmaster and 2ab on your archers, as they wonít be able to deal any substantial damage without it.

    Also you should have a plan on the situation where one part of your team is no longer able to fulfil itís role (breakers killed, damagers maimed and so on). If you allow your breakers to die early (or itís your strategy) then they should deal a sufficient amount of break for your damage dealers to be able to clear the field without further help. The opposite is also true - when attackers are maimed, your other units should still be able to substitute then. With that example we have - with your warmasters maimed archers will fill the role of maiming/killing enemy force, and if your enemy concentrates on archers and kills them - they should deal enough break for warriors to mop up.


    Second consideration you should have about your team is turn order. Itís a bad practice to have your BMs (who have 1ab) move first and expose themselves in the front while your breakers await their turns. Even worse is placing those BMs behind, so you waste your first cycle for them - you could move raidmasters/shieldmasters to the front and cover the ground instead.

    That is where unit synergies come up. Some characters are more effective when moving one after another in particular order. For example you move Raidmaster and deal 6 break on 8/17 enemy Warmaster. Next turn your 8str Bowmaster can either move up or use puncture to deal 9 damage to him.


    As a working example I can present my first iteration of Team Orangey
    (stats are as follows armor/strength/willpower/exertion/break):
    • Raidmaster 12/9/4/1/3
    • Raidmaster 12/9/4/1/3
    • Shieldmaster 15/10/2/1/4
    • Skystriker 7/8/7/3/1
    • Warmaster 10/16/3/1/1
    • Bowmaster 7/8/7/3/1


    Main idea behind it was to deal some break to the enemy and protect the Bowmaster to the endgame, where she kills low-armored enemies. Warmaster is used more as a spread-break and bait unit here - most of my enemies concentrated solely on maiming him and leaving, though he dealed a lot of break/damage with his ability afterwards. Raidmasters are rather high-strengthed here so that they are also useful in the late game, if enemy concentrates on Warmaster/Bowmaster.
    Some problems arose around my archer's maim, especially by high-armored backbiters - cause in the end game when my warmaster and bowmaster were maimed I couldnít deal any substantial damage. I started experimenting around the base concept, trying to find better character combinations either to defend my Bowmaster more careful, or to be able to deal damage without her.

    ***

    So to sum this whole wall-o-text up, I would say that there is never an end to experiment. There is no ideal unbeatable teams (just maybe some that can be too easy to use and thus more powerful when player skill is not taken into account). Invent your own units combination, tweak it to the level you are comfortable to play with and you can be the one to win a tournament and present a flavour-of-the-week build, so that everyone would guess how to beat it!
    Last edited by netnazgul; 03-25-2013 at 12:34 PM.

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    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    Senior Member Kletian999's Avatar
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    This is a great thread idea. I had some thoughts that might be useful to the discussion:

    1. Move value- when AI for games like Chess are built, they often rank each possible move and assign it a numeric value, then it chooses one of the highest ranked. In human terms, you can rate your turn based on how much STR or ARM you take away with your actions/will spent as a very simple metric- like you should try to do at least 2 damage with no will or 3 with 1 spent.

    If you have time consider other factors, give bonus points to actions that lower the highest value move of your opponent (preventing him from doing more the 2 points) such as moving your units to a place the can't be counterattacked by other units while still hitting your target, killing instead of maiming a high will/break unit, or lowering the str of a unit that exceeds your armors. Even a tactical retreat to prevent a armor broken yet still good str unit from being "archered" may prove more valuable than making one last attack with them in the end.

    To get back to team composition. one thought is to prepare each unit for how they'll do their 2+ value moves. High break/exertion will is one strategy for when str is down, or the class abilities that function regardless of str. This can extend to how you plan to protect the high str/low arm warrior via unit positioning or anti-archer tactics.

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    Senior Member Kletian999's Avatar
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    2. Unit synergies. The Strongarm can give any unit a 4 move boost if he immediately preceeds them at the cost of 1 armor, boosting a raidmaster for no armor even over enemies lines. Strongarming a provoked target makes them fail to even swing which can safe a broken provoker. Likewise, Strongarming over Siege coals is free bonus damage, even more if the unit stops and starts turn on top. Strongarming a unit closer to your archers can give them Pierce bonus they might have missed.

    Raidmasters help create narrow paths and encourage enemies to walk past them into skystriker traps. A skytriker's trap can help the siege archer run in close for a big aoe or shield your heavy melee from being bonked to normal. 3 Raiders + Shield Varls =Phalanx Defense but don't use against Warhawks and Siege Archers.

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    Senior Member Butters's Avatar
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    Thanks for a great thread. Many good things in there, and in Kletian's response too (esp. the synergy part).
    Regarding your unit builds post, a lot of if makes perfect sense but do not take into account numerous alternative builds. I think the most interesting thing about teambuilding is finding novel uses for units and unexpected synergies between them, so I'll try to add my 2c on the subject.(...when I'm not typing on a phone).

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    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kletian999 View Post
    This is a great thread idea. I had some thoughts that might be useful to the discussion:

    1. Move value- when AI for games like Chess are built, they often rank each possible move and assign it a numeric value, then it chooses one of the highest ranked. In human terms, you can rate your turn based on how much STR or ARM you take away with your actions/will spent as a very simple metric- like you should try to do at least 2 damage with no will or 3 with 1 spent.

    If you have time consider other factors, give bonus points to actions that lower the highest value move of your opponent (preventing him from doing more the 2 points) such as moving your units to a place the can't be counterattacked by other units while still hitting your target, killing instead of maiming a high will/break unit, or lowering the str of a unit that exceeds your armors. Even a tactical retreat to prevent a armor broken yet still good str unit from being "archered" may prove more valuable than making one last attack with them in the end.
    Yes, when I'm thinking about my next turn (by the way, a good practice is to think your turn on your enemy's and think about enemy moves while you are moving, hence acting one turn ahead) I try to consider main dangers I'm facing at the moment judging by their range, strength and abilites. Having the list of imminent threats in my mind, I then look up for 2-3 of my next characters and look who can deal with what on their turn. After all that, current character to act is left with 1-2 actions to choose from.

    Quote Originally Posted by Butters View Post
    Thanks for a great thread. Many good things in there, and in Kletian's response too (esp. the synergy part).
    Regarding your unit builds post, a lot of if makes perfect sense but do not take into account numerous alternative builds. I think the most interesting thing about teambuilding is finding novel uses for units and unexpected synergies between them, so I'll try to add my 2c on the subject.(...when I'm not typing on a phone).
    As I was writing all this, thread became too extensive and hence too shallow to cover all the issues, so I made a general view for every unit instead of more detailed stat description, not to impose fixed stat selections and rather to give an insight on it.
    I like to experiment with non-conventional use of characters, like aforementioned defensive 11/15 Warmasters. Tanking Raidmasters, especially with the help of Strongarm, could be an interesting selection. High strength Shieldmaster was seen several times in battle. Warleader is a unit yet to have his potential discovered. Thrasher has a lot of uses... So on
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    Senior Member Butters's Avatar
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    I was going to describe how some units can fulfill different roles than the ones you mentioned. But after some time to think about it, I'd like to take a different approach that is actually much more in line with the thread : why not compose a team based on unit roles, and only then select the right classes for the job ?

    For that, let's define what those roles can be. You actually did most of the work already, and I fully agree to the three main distinctions being Strength, Break and Utility. By utility I mean pretty much the same thing as you do with "disruption" (controlling the board by preventing or enabling movement mostly), except I'd like to extend it to include things like the TH and WM abilities, which are not disruptive per se, just neither Strength nor Break. Any unit should be either a Breaker or a Hitter, but should be good at a second role for versatility. Strength units in particular need another role (usually Utility, some Break) to fall back to when maimed. A jack-of-all-trades type trying to be all three will most probably end up being good at none, so should be avoided. Point allocation towards the second category (break on a warrior, to take an obvious example) should be avoided unless good results can be achieved with little compromising on the first role of the unit. The only counter-example I can think of is break on a BM, which I personally always use.

    Utility roles can be broken down as follows :
    - Blocker : Movement & attack disruption. Anything that prevents enemy units to go/attack where they would be most efficent. Most prominently the SS with RoA and the PK with Malice. Also the RM's ability, and to a lesser extent the SA's coals. A high armor varl also does this pretty well just by standing in the right spot.
    - Looming threat : a more subtle form of territory control. Prevent enemies from entering a territory where they would get whacked. That's the Utility aspect of a(n unmaimed) high strength warrior, which I find is often overlooked. The mere presence of a 16str WH will let you control a lot of the enemy's movements, especially if it has 2 exertion.
    - Bait : A unit whose role is to put itself in the line of fire to draw out enemy units into a trap. You should make sure that you can survive the hit if the baiting is done in early game, and that your unit can stay useful after being maimed. A good candidate for this is the SA, who has high enough armor to take a good hit and can still SnB just as effectively with 1hp (and break with wp, maybe). Later in the game, you can willfully have that unit slain if it's not useful to you anymore. Regarding the trap itself, a big break hit from an archer + a mace to the face from your SRM should be enough to KO most raiders walking into the trap, leaving your archer comfortably behind while your SRM is strong enough to sit on the front line. Such a trap allows you to keep a globally defensive stance while making sure you don't waste your turns. I think it's a clever to spend your first turn. Of course a good player may see right through you, so you should always have another set of moves planned if your opponent doesn't bite.
    - Punching bag : Similar to bait, but with a slightly different motive. Here you do not bring an enemy unit into a trap, you just want your enemy to focus fire on this particular unit (preferably blowing a lot of wp in the process) while the rest of your team can advance. Netnazgul's WM is a perfect example of this.
    - Black Knight (in the "'tis but a scratch" sense. yes, silly, I know ; couldn't come up with better) : units that stay a threat even when maimed. TH, SA and WM. To a lesser extent, all breakers kind of have this property too. This makes the unit a target for killing, giving you turn advantage. REDACTED : come to think of it, this is actually not a role as I understand it. It's the property that will make a unit good as either a Bait or a Punching Bag.
    This leaves out some special abilities like Forge Ahead, Ramming allies, etc. which are too unique to fall into a particular category.

    So, what role composition can/should a team have ?
    You clearly need a decent balance in break/strength : 3/3 or maybe, at most, 4/2 either way.
    EDIT : with the notable exception of "whittler" (SA/TH) centric builds, which can forego break altogether, and possibly other builds too, as rightfully pointed out by sir Tirean.

    Even then, only 2 breaker units seems risky, especially if those units are of the kind that tends to die quickly (BB, RM). Similarly having only two big hitters seems risky too ; if they get maimed early, you're going to have a bad time. So really, including "hybrid" specs, I think you should have at least 3 of each in any build. I cannot think of any successful build that does not follow this rule (but if you do, I'd be glad to hear about it !).
    Then, ideally, all units should also have an Utility role on top of their main assignment (or be able to do both strength hits and break well, in a few rare cases). These Utility roles is where true unit synergy will come into play.

    So here is my breakdown of the classes in term of roles as defined above. Some will appear in both categories.

    The Breakers :
    - Raidmaster : Breaker is his most straightforward role. His Utility is (mild) movement disruption. Netnazgul covered that. He can also be used as punching bag ; if you spec him to do two 6 break attacks, he'll then be spent and highly expendable (and probably beaten up at this point). But still being able to do 3 break and some blocking should make him just enough of an annoyance that he will get killed, giving you turn advantage.
    His synergies are with other RMs mainly (they work well in pairs) and with the SRM for launching behind enemy lines.
    - Shieldmaster : again, pretty straightforward. His utility is also mainly movement disruption, just by standing there. He doesn't have much synergy with anything. I personally dislike this class so there's not much I can say about it.
    - Backbiter : Can be used in a similar fashion to the breaking RM with 2/3 exertion. His special makes him more vulnerable but offers much more possibilities your opponent has to account for, multiplying your chances to find a juicy opening. I can't find a lot of synergies for him either.
    - Siege Archer : 2 break on them is a no brainer. 2 exertion on top of that give the ability to do a 4 break when SnB is not a good option, making them good in breaking roles. SnB is great to chip at and restrain enemy varls. They naturally make excellent bait material. They synergize well with each other and maybe with a SRM that can punt enemies over the coals.
    - Warleader : he can theoretically have the highest break in the game, although I have yet to find a spec that would make him worth the spot. The fact that his ability is mostly useless (until proven otherwise) is of course not in his favor. He could synergize with a warrior for a blitz attack, but punting with a SRM usually works better.
    - Provoker : with 3 native break he can me a decent breaker, while being very good as a utility class. Malice on archers late-game has saved my bottom many a time. He also makes a fine punching bag with his high armor.
    - Bowmaster : I'd say the BM makes a decent job as a breaker, even though her main use is of course as strength hitter. 2 break and 3 exertion gives to possibility to make one or maybe two big breaks in the first turn(s), before switching to punching holes into people with (long-range) Puncture.
    - The others (SS, SRM, WH, WM, even TH) I consider useless at breaking.

    The Hitters :
    - Warhawk : pretty obvious. Hang back, run, spin and watch them fall. As mentioned before, his role as deterrent is also quite useful. I see a lot of people running him with 1 exertion, which I think is a mistake: you want him to be as mobile as possible. He's not as useless maimed as people make him out to be ; if he can get to two adjacent enemies, doing a garanteed 2&2 str hit for 1 wp is pretty powerful (and very comparable to the 2/1&1/1 of the WM in the same situation). He has very limited synergies, although he works well with THs and SAs to soften his targets. Of course, there is the SRM punt (a move I like to refer to as the "Cowabunga!")
    - Warmaster : Same as Warhawk, good glass cannon and scarecrow. Also makes a nice punching bag. Also limited synergies.
    - Strongarm : at 14/14 or 13/15, he's almost as scary as a WH or WL, but much less squishy. Of course his limited movement is a big drawback, but it usually allows him to stay fresh until late game when he could just laugh his way through a maimed enemy team on his lonesome. His ability is possibly the most versatile of all ; while not always useful, can be a game changer. Synergizes with the WH, RM, and possibly others.
    - Bowmaster : the go-to heavy hitter for late game. Puncture at long range will decimate your enemies - if you manage to keep her alive, which you should focus on doing. If maimed, she can still do one or 2 decent breaks before throwing herself as bait or even meat shield. No particular synergies I can think of.
    - Skystriker : same hitting power as a BM, without the added range and not as good at breaking, but with a powerful -if unreliable- disruption ability. I personally dislike this class, so there's not much I can say about it. No good synergies I can think of.
    - Trasher : usually able to land a good strength hit before he starts to flail his arms around and annoy everyone in the general vicinity. Him being a danger even on the brink of death makes him a natural front line soldier and a good damage magnet. Make sure to burn through all or most of your wp before you get killed, and don't be afraid to flail that shieldbanger if you're going to go down anyway.
    - Raidmaster : He can actually be spec'ed for strength, but preferably at rank 2+ (something like 10/12/5/2/1), when he can afford to do a rank 2 stonewall to compensate for lower armor on his advancing turn. Then he should be in a good position to do a 12+1/2 str attack where it hurts.
    - Warleader : Can be spec'd as a heavy hitter, but I see no good reason to take him over a WH or WM then.
    - The other classes (BB, SM, PK, SA) I consider mostly useless as primary hitters.

    Sorry for the wall of text thanks for taking the time !
    Last edited by Butters; 03-26-2013 at 09:46 AM. Reason: Typos ! Typos everywhere !

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    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    You clearly need a decent balance in break/strength : 3/3 or maybe, at most, 4/2 either way. Even then, only 2 breaker units seems risky, especially if those units are of the kind that tends to die quickly (BB, RM). Similarly having only two big hitters seems risky too ; if they get maimed early, you're going to have a bad time. So really, including "hybrid" specs, I think you should have at least 3 of each in any build. I cannot think of any successful build that does not follow this rule (but if you do, I'd be glad to hear about it !).
    That is the thing I wanted to mention, but forgot somehow

    Having 4/2 is what I'm generally trying to implement now, biasing breakers to do more strength hits. For example 12/9 Raidmasters are occasionaly left untouched till the late game (when opponent concentrates on archers/warriors) where they become a good tanks themselves, cause enemy breakers are by then dead and archers maimed.
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  11. #11
    You can design teams to bypass armor breaking all together if you wish to and they are completely viable so try not to get stuck in a role of I must have X amount of Y in my team.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Butters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tirean View Post
    You can design teams to bypass armor breaking all together if you wish to and they are completely viable so try not to get stuck in a role of I must have X amount of Y in my team.
    Assuming you are talking about SA/TH builds (supported by 2 high strength WH/WM/SRM), I was tempted to talk about that as an exception to the rule, but decided against it. In my attempt at classification, I consider SA to be armor breakers (because I use them as utility/breakers, and their ability does a significant amount of break anyway). In that framework your famous tourney build (3SA/TH/SRM/WH) is actually 3/3.
    I do agree that in the end this is just semantics, and the attempt at a rule there is less than ideal. Like all theory crafting, there's an inherent risk for over-generalization. If anything this is about trying to find new ways to think about the mechanics, not limit oneself, so your point there is spot-on.
    Is there such a build that is based on something else than SA+TH ?
    Last edited by Butters; 03-26-2013 at 08:08 AM.

  13. #13
    I tend to think about it as Butters does with his "utility" roles, in terms of how the characters use the space on the board. (Every guide up until now could have been written about a game played solely on the initiative bar...) In building a team, you need to consider the extent to which you can choose where the bodies pile up. If certain opposing teams can always force you into a corner or to over-extend, you may have a problem. I definitely think about my Thrasher as potentially filling each of those roles when the opportunity arises (though only as a minor looming threat); and ditto with the SA (except as a punching bag or looming threat).

    I also think there's room for a good guide on initiative order, turn advantage and when the first big hit occurs. (I fought this great game recently where my looming threats [Varls] were set up to retaliate to hits on my raiders, but -- thanks to my opponent giving me turn advantage -- the whole plan fell to pieces, which was awesome. I want a guide that explains how plans like that work.)

    As Tirean mentioned, a build doesn't need both breakers and hitters. In the currently popular TS/SA/Warrior build (here's my version), the TS and SA are just "whittlers," rarely doing enough strength damage to maim or kill, nor enough armor damage (4 max for the SAs, at a cost of 2 WP) to set up a big hit for another unit.

    EDIT@Butters: Well, 2xSA with Raidmasters might work in a similarly hard-to-classify way...? At least the SAs would still be part-time whittlers, and 11/10/4/1/3 RMs are both threats and breakers.
    Last edited by franknarf; 03-26-2013 at 08:28 AM. Reason: reply

  14.   This is the last staff post in this thread.   #14
    Art Director Arnie's Avatar
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    Amazing, amazing thread. I may have to read it again.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Butters's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input, franknarf. I too want that guide. I'm certainly not the one who could write it though :/

    Regarding the SA and TH, I admit that they are whittlers/breakers and whittlers/hitters and not primarily breakers or hitters, therefore out of the scope of my tentative balance rule. They are indeed a clean-cut exception to it.
    Regarding your 11/10/4/1/3 RMs, they would fall into the hybrid hitter/breaker category. Although IMHO they wouldn't be very effective at either, so not something I would like to play. Does this spec work for you ?

    sorry netnazgul, I've been highjacking your thread a bit. (^^; )

    EDIT : btw, thanks for coining "whittler". I'd been looking for a term for that !
    Last edited by Butters; 03-26-2013 at 10:00 AM.

  16. #16
    I have used RMs like that before, and they were pretty annoying for my opponent if they made it to the end game. I guess it mostly works if my opponent underestimates them and focus-fires the (seemingly) bigger threats. I just had one of my 12/9/4/1/3 RMs clean up a Warrior, SB and archer in my last game.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Kletian999's Avatar
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    I third point I had lost in a forum blip was the use of Phalanx tactics- combining 2-3 Raiders and a high armor shield varl to give you team tons of armor and the opponent limited opportunity to focus on a single unit. This tactic is severely punished by Warhawks and Masters, and Siege archers. Raidmasters can run up to a unit and lock it in place safely with your own units getting in the way. When your opponent lacks those units, the Phalanx can be a powerful aid.

    In butter's role list, I would put Siege Archers as looming threats. I know the trap is out there somewhere, and I really don't want to hit it. Opens a Princess bride style mind game (Did they trap this obvious point, or did they trap the path I would take to avoid the obvious trap?) Warmasters with their consistant 2 str/1 break+aoe ability makes them usable when maimed.

    Back to team design, I thought I'd discuss movement. Raiders and warriors can move 4 + exertion, Backbiters even farther. On the other side, shield varls move 3+much lower amounts of exertion and will; and varls in general have to waste space to get around obstacles. Archers move 3 but have lots of exertion and will usually. If the team gets overly spread out on the battle, some of your units won't have productive turns- like in chess, it's often better to move short and together so you can counterattack any hit pieces. However, the phenomenon of holding back a unit deliberately to keep it fresh can often defeat a full rush tactic.

    At endgame if it's will-less shield varls vs archers you'll probably lose from the movement difference. With this fact, my non-varls tend to focus down enemy archers so my Strongarm can sweep.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Wordplay's Avatar
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    I've always favoured generalist builds, TH, WM and SA heavy, with the recent addition of the SS and SRM. Here the roles of breaker and damage dealer shift. Early game, WMs and TH deal damage, archers break. Later, mauled WMs and THs direct damage or break, and archers deal damage. SRM can do either.

    SS can be a decent breaker with 3 WP, but has to be pretty specifically built for it. SS synergises best with another archer - trapping a Varl long enough for a companion to break and puncture.

    Sometimes overlooked is the SRM's ability to force a unit to waste a turn by knocking it into a bad position. PK and WL must hate SRM - he does both their jobs.

  19. #19
    Firstly great thread, I love these kinds of discussions, this is the type of thing we do in chat a lot, so for those that don't come into the chat you should!

    On topic, I like break/hitter builds personally. I have tried whittler builds and whilst they seem to work ok I find them boring to use and lack as much tactical depth but that might just be down to the 3xSA builds being newish at the time and lots of folks not knowing how to deal with them. Once Tirean streamed this folks staretd to learn fast
    Some breaker/hitter builds I regularly use are...
    RM,RM,SRM,SA,SS,WH or more recently RM,RM,RM,BM,WM,WH as these seem to stand up to whittler builds fairly well due to the RM's.

  20. #20
    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeadOpener View Post
    Firstly great thread, I love these kinds of discussions, this is the type of thing we do in chat a lot, so for those that don't come into the chat you should!
    Definitely Also this thread came as an attempt to structurize some of the thoughts and fragments from chat that could be useful.
    Quote Originally Posted by HeadOpener View Post
    On topic, I like break/hitter builds personally. I have tried whittler builds and whilst they seem to work ok I find them boring to use and lack as much tactical depth but that might just be down to the 3xSA builds being newish at the time and lots of folks not knowing how to deal with them. Once Tirean streamed this folks staretd to learn fast
    Some breaker/hitter builds I regularly use are...
    RM,RM,SRM,SA,SS,WH or more recently RM,RM,RM,BM,WM,WH as these seem to stand up to whittler builds fairly well due to the RM's.
    So 3RM builds are flavour of this week I see, as I now utilize it myself and seen it twice already among my opponents' builds.
    If you don't know where to put it - put it in the pillage

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