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Thread: Know your units: Episode 4, Warmaster

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    Senior Member Kletian999's Avatar
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    Know your units: Episode 4, Warmaster

    Hitting the last of the master classes before I delve into popular request for more complex units. Warriors are the units we love to hit things with. While relatively unremarkable in their base form, their class upgrades are often a team's most valuable unit. Warrior's passive ability causes their Str attacks on hit to ripple 1 STR damage to any enemy unit adjacent to the target you hit. While it may not seems like much this damage can add up over the course of a game so it deters raider shield walls, tight formations, and demands some extra consideration of where units are standing.

    The Warmaster's active power, Sundering Impact grants two benefits, first it raises this ripple damage to 1 str,1 arm/2str 1 arm/2 str 2 arm with level, second it gives, regardless of the Warmaster's Strength, the ability to hit with 100% accuracy for Str damage +1 Str + 1 Break. This means even a 1 Str warmaster can hit an 18 Armor provoker for 2 Str/1 Break when the power is used. If a 17 Str Warmaster used the power on a 10 Armor Raider, he'd do 8 Str and 1 break. This means that using Exertion to boost his regular attack is only a good idea when 2-3 Exertion is needed to kill the unit "right now", otherwise the will is better spent making additional level 1 Sundering impacts. Likewise, higher level versions of the power only make sense if you've gotten at least 1-2 ripple targets.

    One tactic with this power is to put your Warmaster in the first position of initiative. If the map is one of the smaller maps and you have the first turn (upper position on the map) you have a chance to rush the opponents opening formation for a devasting opening. If however the map/turn order/enemy starting positions are not ideal for landing an impact, then you can choose to withdraw your Warmaster straight back to safety until he's in less danger of being counter attacked.

    In combination with other units, a Strongarm can push a Warmaster into making a move he couldn't normally reach, as could a Warleader follow him with a boost to either to reach the hit, double his hits, or let him retreat after a hit. A provoker could help lure additional targets into the ripple effect. Skystikers are useful for trapping the squares that would allow for counterattacks. Raidmasters can be helpful for acting as a gate between two High strength Varls, moving out of the way at the right time so that you'll receive first strike.

    As a general team dynamic, Warmasters are good to stay back and protect archers from Raidmaster and Backbiters, capable of one-shot kills or maims.

    Stats and roles

    Min 6/9/3/1/1 Max 11/17/10/2/3. The Warmaster is capable of reaching the highest STR in the game, there's some value in a variety of stat choices

    Strength: should be as high as you can afford after setting the other stats as you like. Anything below 15 Str will be unorthodox.

    Armor: The warmaster power allows them to more useful when Maimed when compared to other high str units, so option A is to dump armor around 8 forcing your opponent to kill them quickly maybe granting you turn advantage, option B is to keep armor higher to preserve those 4+ damage hits on full armored targets.

    Exertion: Exertion allows the Warmaster the ability to not be outranged by other warriors with more of it. If using movement boosting combos you might forgo it though, as mentioned before using it on regular attacks usually pales to additional Sundering hits.

    Break: Warmasters can theoretically have a strong 3 break which would come in handy if your unit was maimed and out of willpower. How often that will happen depends on playstyles of you and your opponent, I haven't found it to be a good investment yet.

    Will: 3 will is 3 potential level 1 impacts or a combination of extra movement and higher level impacts. If you really like the aforementioned "Rush the opening formation" strategy then you'll want 5 will to pull it off for maximum effect with a rank 3 unit.

    Weaknesses: A common theme of all High Strength units is "Victory to the swift". Once your unit has been hit down to 10 Str or less it becomes significantly less threatening, and if down to ~5 Strength with only 1 break stat a warrior unit is downright a liability to be alive on your team. With your power to save you, try to conserve your will for impacts to prevent this from happening (or feed your Warmaster horn will). Resting for will can be a better move than trying for a 1 damage scratch. High armor Shield Varls or power using Raidmasters can take a Warmaster's opening hit while leaving you open to counterattack. Skystrikers and Siege archers can take advantage of your large size to lock you out of making valuable moves, even your own Siege archer can block a good target with their coals, though ultimately there are times when going from 17 str to 16 is worth it. Backbiters can easily chip off 4 Strength off you when healthy.

    Leveling:
    Warmasters gain plenty of benefit from having extra stats in Armor, Exertion, or Will. Using high level powers well is a rare opportunity but blissful when it occurs. There's no shame in leaving them at level 1 either.
    Last edited by Kletian999; 04-18-2013 at 12:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Shiri's Avatar
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    Sundering impact: at all ranks, +1/+1 (1 armour, 1 strength, in that order) on top of normal strength attack damage on main target at all ranks. This generally means 1/2 when maimed.

    Against adjacent targets, 1 armour 1 strength at rank 1, 1 armour 2 strength at rank 2, and 2 armour 2 strength at rank 3.

    This means rank 1 on single targets is pretty fantastic, ESPECIALLY when maimed, but ranks 2 and 3 are only worthwhile when it's going to echo to at LEAST one additional unit, and probably more, since the value of the rank 1 is so high that it's usually better to spam that multiple times than to use the higher rank one once.

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    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    Really good analysis. IMO Rank 2 ability is the best, but feel free to go to Rank 3, get the extra stat and still use Rank 2 ability

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    Senior Member Kletian999's Avatar
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    Thanks to Shiri for helping me correct power description.

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    The abundance of 2WM builds, made me look into Sundering Impact. I ain't gonna say it's IMBA (it might be), but it scales weirdly with rank. Here's the facts:

    Damage on target-unit is constant, for all ranks, and equal to 1ARM / BaseDamage@100%+1STR. So, the minimum damage (when WM's STR is below target ARM), is 1ARM/2STR.

    Damage on units adjacent to target scales with rank as follows, based on HI:
    • Rank-1: 1ARM/1STR
    • Rank-2: 1ARM/2STR
    • Rank-3: 2ARM/2STR

    Lets move on to the problems & suggestions:

    My first point is this: Why is the ARM damage to HI-hit enemies higher than the one suffered by the target enemy, for rank-3? It would make somewhat better sense if Rank-3 SI did 2ARM damage to target as well...

    My second point is related to the fact that a maimed WM hitting isolated enemies doesn't have any reason to use higher-rank SI. An incentive to use higher-rank SI would be min-damage was 1/1 - 1/2 - 2/2 to target enemy at ranks 1-2-3, i.e. the same as SI-boosted HI. So, at rank-1 we have a damage of 2 + HI (if any). That change would be in-line with nerfing "the other" nasty ARM-bypass ability: Thrasher's BF should hit 3-4-5 times (not 4-5-6), doing an average of 2.66 damage + adjacency bonus (which is double, stat-wise, considering the Shieldwall bonus). Siege-Archer's SnB is quite balanced because it does "only" 1/1 to enemy, but one should also factor in the AoE-damage, coals & 5-range!

    What say you?
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

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    Senior Member Kletian999's Avatar
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    I agree that there's little motivation to use rank 2/3 of their power, especially compared to a Warhawks rank 2/3. Then again, many other rank 3 powers are almost bad ideas to use unless you have will power to burn, and those that aren't rely on "the golden moment" (provoking into Sky Trap, 3+ warhawk targets, a puncture shot at 8-9 squares away). If you've positioned your warmaster into performing a HI that hits 4-6 of your enemy's team, the extra WP is worth it.

    If Stoic in general wants to downplay the "Uber-ness" of rank 3 powers; then the way things are is probably for the best. I don't get your second point very well, I don't think nerfing single target use is serving anyone's interst. If rank 2 and 3 for single targets needs more value, then it should be 2-2 and 3-2 for ranks 2 and 3.

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kletian999 View Post
    I agree that there's little motivation to use rank 2/3 of their power, especially compared to a Warhawks rank 2/3. Then again, many other rank 3 powers are almost bad ideas to use unless you have will power to burn, and those that aren't rely on "the golden moment" (provoking into Sky Trap, 3+ warhawk targets, a puncture shot at 8-9 squares away). If you've positioned your warmaster into performing a HI that hits 4-6 of your enemy's team, the extra WP is worth it.
    There's plenty of offensive abilities that scale quite well with rank: BF, SnB, BR, BtP. Others, especially positioning-related abilties (RoA, Tp, BoP, Ma, RT), aren't really worth except in that "golden moment". I do think that SI, a naturally offensive ability (WarMaster! ), should scale better with rank, for the target unit.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kletian999 View Post
    I don't get your second point very well, I don't think nerfing single target use is serving anyone's interest. If rank 2 and 3 for single targets needs more value, then it should be 2-2 and 3-2 for ranks 2 and 3.
    Perhaps you haven't met the recent plague of 2WMs I proposed to nerf rank-1 SI only to have the ability --when used on single target-- reasonably scaling with rank from a WP-economy perspective. On that note, having rank-3 SI deal more Break than Strength damage (as you propose) ain't so lore-friendly to me. On the other hand, increasing the min-STR-damage above 2, for the single-target, (i.e. 1/2 - 2/2 - 2/3) seems quite IMBA.
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kletian999's Avatar
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    Our definitions of scaling well must be different. Blood fury only gains 1 random damage per WP, but the first WP is 3/4 damage; Bring the Pain just keeps pace with adding Exertion to Break. You are correct about Battering Ram and Slag/Burn, but you support my point when only 2-4 abilities being "always good ranked" out of 12.

    You are right I'm ignorant of current trends; I've been waiting for Factions to get more classes since last year. I proposed the 3 armor instead of strength damage for exactly the same IMBA reason you quoted.

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kletian999 View Post
    Our definitions of scaling well must be different.
    Here's my take on how all unit abilities scale. By "scale", I mean the added effect (e.g. more damage, range etc) w.r.t. to the base ability effect, at rank-1. Basically, it all boils down to the extra-kick you get for the +1 (for rank 1->2) or +2 (for rank 1->3) Willpower invested on a higher-rank ability.

    Archers:
    • Skystriker's RoA: +1/+2 WP deals +2/+5 damage (if trap is sprung)
    • Bowmaster's BoP: +1/+2 WP increases range by +1/+2
    • SiegeArcher's SnB: +1/+2 WP deals +1/+2 Break to target (and +1/+2 coals, if applicable)

    Raiders:
    • Thrasher's BF: +1/+2 WP deals +1/+2 damage
    • Raidmaster's SW: +1/+2 WP absorbs +2/+4 damage (if RM is attacked)
    • Backbiter's RT: +1/+2 WP increases range by +1/+2 and intermediate target-count (if any) by +1/+2

    Shieldbangers:
    • Provoker's Ma: +1/+2 WP increases range by +1/+2
    • Shieldmaster's BtP: +1/+2 WP boosts break by +1/+2 and RtF by +1/+2 (if SM is attacked)
    • Strongarm's BR: +1/+2 WP increases break by +2/+4

    Warriors:
    • Warhawk's Tp: +1/+2 WP increases target-count by +1/+2 (if applicable)
    • Warmaster's SI: +1/+2 WP increases only HI damage by +1/+2 (per-adjacent-enemy, if such exist)
    • Warleader's FA: +1/+2 WP increases range by +3/+Inf


    It should now be clear that some abilities scale quite linearly (e.g. SnB, BoP, BF, RT, Ma, Tp), without examining the strategy-related repercussions of this scaling. For example, in the case of Ma/Tp, the extra range/target is --strategically-- much more important than the extra 1 point of damage of BF or SnB. Now, other abilities scale by what we could call "quadratically", meaning that the +X WP gets a +2*X (or more) effect. That's the case of SW, BR and (approximately) RoA. The weirdest scaling ability is FA that gets a +3 and a +Inf extra range, but FA is by far the most unique ability so lets not comment here. Furthermore, some complicated abilities scale in multiple ways: SnB (more damage and --potentially-- more coals), BtP (bonus to break and --potentially-- to RtF), RT (more range and --potentially-- more targets) etc. Last but not least, comes SI that scales only in the "--if/potentially--" department, i.e. it only boosts the HI damage not the target-damage. I think that my case is now quite clear...
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kletian999's Avatar
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    Yes, quite clear. By my reckoning, any level 2 that wasn't almost twice as good as level 1 "didn't scale well", since it was twice the cost for not twice the benefit. Twice as good didn't always mean double effect though, for instance Bird of Prey getting to hit with puncture when you normally couldn't is still "twice as good" even though the range only increased 1.
    Last edited by Kletian999; 06-18-2014 at 03:50 PM.

  11. #11
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kletian999 View Post
    Twice as good didn't always mean double effect though, for instance Bird of Prey getting to hit with puncture when you normally couldn't is still "twice as good" even though the range only increased 1.
    Aye. All abilities whose scaling has to do with range-increase (or target-count) always "scale well". That counts for Ma, BoP, RT and FA (or Tp & RT). Especially in the case of r2 and r3 Malice, the opportunities arising are truly manifold, taking into account the positioning, blockers etc. On the other hand, most damage-related abilities (BF, SnB, BR etc) scale approximately "linearly", and that is well.
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

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