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Thread: Are Raidmasters really just better Backbiters?

  1. #1

    Are Raidmasters really just better Backbiters?

    I know there has been discussion about how much people favor Raidmasters over other choices, and I was just thinking about how/why people used them and what role they filled. And it occurred to me that their role(or at least one they are capable of) overlaps considerably with the main role of a Backbiter and in some ways they can execute it better. Let me lay out my thoughts.

    BACKBITERS

    Backbiters were designed to be mobile and go after weak targets. Archers hiding in the back or other units your opponent wants to stay out of the fight until later.

    They have a high base movement and their ability allows them to move further and through enemies. If you're willing to blow a lot of will power you can attack a unit 10 or 11 spaces away from where you start, that's pretty powerful.

    They can also have high break (3) to stay a threat without willpower.

    BACKBITER WEAKNESSES AND HOW RAIDMASTERS DO THE SAME THINGS BETTER

    Having a super move and being able to attack any unit on the first turn is great, but usually a bad idea. You will be left on your own behind enemy lines and usually an easy target, taken out without much effort. Obviously smart players don't do this. But it does mean that Backbiters need cover from other units while they advance, usually moving twice instead of wasting the will power on one long move.

    Raidmasters have the same base movement, so if a Backbiter is advancing without using their ability they'll advance at the same speed, but the Raidmaster doesn't need other units for cover. A Backbiter alone in the middle of the board is just asking to get maimed, whereas the Raidmaster is a nuisance which forces the other player to decide how to deal them.

    Where a Backbiter running up the middle will probably get maimed, a Raidmaster will probably start his second turn full health and able to move far enough to attack most units the Backbiter would go after. Even though his ability can't go through units.

    He also has a higher strength 12 instead of 10. Granted the Backbiter can essentially do a 12 strength attack with their ability (2 break + 10 strength), they have to use willpower to do it. A Raidmaster could just use their will power to boost their normal attack to 15 instead. Which knocks an 8/8 archer down to 1 strength.

    They both have a 3 break so as to remain a threat without willpower.

    I attached a picture to illustrate this next point, the rest of it is not meant to be accurate just there as an example.
    Vinn.jpg
    Different units can fill different roles, some can fill multiple roles with different stats. But there is a reason to use each one depending on what you need that slot on your team to accomplish. I feel like there is a lot of overlap in how these units can be used. Moreso than other units overlap. They may have other ways that you can use them and fill other roles, but I think the core issue is that the Raidmaster is able to do most of the Backbiter's main role at least as well if not better.

    I'm going to use a fighting game analogy to illustrate another point. Imagine two different characters that are exactly the same, have the same moves, do the same damage, etc. But one of them has rather complex inputs to do their special moves where as the other has relatively easy inputs. There is really no reason to play the more complicated character if your are concerned with winning and not just showing off or something. Even if you are very good at the game there is no reason to put yourself in the position where you could make a mistake in a pressure situation. I feel like since there is a lot of overlap in roles this is an apt analogy. You may be a skilled enough player to perform very well with a Backbiter but you have to do a better job of decision making than you would if you had a Raidmaster. Since there is less strenuous decisions a mediocre player will get a lot more mileage out of a Raidmaster than a Backbiter.

    What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    It's a fair analysis, Jude. I mostly agree.

    But what's the point?
    Just satisfying your nerd side?

  3. #3
    Pretty much. Just trying to understand the game as much as possible. I'm finally going to have time to really dive into the game more in the next few weeks, so expect to see more.

  4. #4
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Backbiters are currently the most underpowered raiders, for sure. Underpowered as in 'difficult to play with'. Raidmasters and Thrashers are much simpler, and they also have a comparative advantage: their actives synergize with their passive, which is not the case for the Biters.

    You know, BBs used to be the most used units in the first days of Factions when you could have all melee (2+4) teams and --most importantly-- because they had 12STR max! You rarely saw any other raider, really After their overzealous nerf (12 down to 10, instead of 11) they kinda fell in disuse. Their high mobility and their ability to traverse through enemy lines is still awesome, but you gotta take extra care not to have your BB maimed. It's all really fragile.

    Finally, there was a guy a year ago that won a couple of Tourneys with a BB-WL(r3) based strategy: He had a WP-packed BB on first slot who walked up to an enemy unit and broke him or ran-through him. Then, his WL forged the BB ahead for another go, so that he could exhaust his WP and do a massive break or RT, in case he wasn't maimed. So, while the enemy was busy killing the BB (you don't want a 3AB unit alive in your back-yard) you could engage with the rest of your team and also benefit from some turn-advantage. Here's a recorded match against him: https://www.twitch.tv/aleonymous/v/46910952 (combo takes off at 9m15sec).
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  5. #5
    I actually was thinking about trying something similar with a Warleader the other day. Not sure how I should stat them though, I just need more points.

    I didn't know that you could run through/or get knocked through posts. That's good to know.

    I knew that Backbiters used to have 12 strength and can definitely see how that would have been too strong. I feel like it would be difficult to balance them against the other raiders in a way that makes people use all three of them. Thrashers have their own thing going on which is fairly distinct from the other two. But because of how Backbiter's and Raidmaster's roles overlap one of them will always be a little better at it then the other. The ideal solution would be something that makes people want to play the Raidmasters differently, not quite sure what that is though.

  6. #6
    Backer Tyrael's Avatar
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    I agree totally. And I think it makes Raidmasters overpowered and Backbiters underpowered.
    Interesting video Aleo, I might steal that from him. I really like Backbiters.

  7. #7
    Backbiters are probably one of the best units at keeping a warrior away from any of your units. They are also one of the most dangerous units at the end game, keep a Backbiter full HP and Armor until around 3vs3 and you will see how quickly it can deal with the enemy lines.

    I honestly feel all the Raiders are pretty even with each other in terms of strength. Now in terms of putting which unit into which composition that is when the Backbiter is lacking against the other 2. You don't want a backbiter in some teams which rely on heavy front pushing and covering of your archers.

    It is a shame the meta is so focused on RM + BM combos to actually show what we used to do back in the good ol days.

  8. #8
    Backer Tyrael's Avatar
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    What instead of that did you do?
    I think my main problem with RM is that there simply is not enough room to retreat from them. It will cost some willpower, but in the end one can eventually push forward as he likes to with RM in the front.
    I'm thinking sometimes that they maybe should not withstand as much armour break as they do on strength damage.

  9. #9
    As Tir mentioned, everything is related. RMs wouldn't feel so overpowered if archers, esp. BMs, weren't so powerful in the meta. Unfortunately, the meta is what it is since there are no changes and no patches for Factions.

  10. #10
    Backer Tyrael's Avatar
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    Actually I think its not even him being overpowered or not that bothers me most - since I agree that BMs are overpowered as well - but that two of them force you into only one possible behaviour, or there is a strategy I dont know of. If you dont happen to have a Provoker and the RM player does not make mistakes there is no way of breaking the RM, that would be worth it. You can sacrifice a warrior, using his WP to take maybe half the health of one RM or you can run away at exactly the right distance. If you run too far you allow the RM to replenish WP, if you dont run far enough, the RM get first strike with the rest of his units still in reach to attack you as well.

    Maybe I'm just not good enough of a player , I have never really used RM, but whenever I win against those builds it is due to mistakes of my opponent I can spot and the RMs make the beginning of every match the same, every single time, for 1-3 rounds of nothing but running until I reach the edge of the map.

  11. #11
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    RMs are usually as dangerous as the ally units they provide cover for: If you manage to "clip" those Archers or Warriors, then they're usually tough but straightforward to kill. What I have trouble against are low-break high-HP RMs that are used both as blockers and as late-game sweepers; nasty buggers! Another comparative advantage of RMs is that you rarely need their high-rank ability, with r1 stonewall being sufficient most of the time; this counterbalances their WIL burning at early game, compared to Thrashers. In any case, Provokers are the #1 remedy for RMs, with the second place occupied by Skystrikers (or SAs); the SRM rank-3 ram bug (rank 1 shieldwalled RM takes full 5AB dmg) is a nice exploit too, but one I personally don't like using...
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  12. #12
    Bringing 18/12 PKs can also be a really nice way to soak up all of the WP of enemy archers as well as dealing with RMs, nasty buggers, not a fan of them however.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Tirean
    Backbiters are probably one of the best units at keeping a warrior away from any of your units. They are also one of the most dangerous units at the end game, keep a Backbiter full HP and Armor until around 3vs3 and you will see how quickly it can deal with the enemy lines.

    I honestly feel all the Raiders are pretty even with each other in terms of strength. Now in terms of putting which unit into which composition that is when the Backbiter is lacking against the other 2. You don't want a backbiter in some teams which rely on heavy front pushing and covering of your archers.

    It is a shame the meta is so focused on RM + BM combos to actually show what we used to do back in the good ol days.
    I definitely see how late game Backbiters would be great at cleanup. I guess, none of them survive that long unmaimed in most of the games I play. I agree that they are probably not too unbalanced with other Raiders and it is an issue of team composition. I feel like Raidmasters might just be a hair stronger (maybe not even statistically stronger, just easier to use well), which is why we see them more often.

    I wonder if it is really a question of the current meta as much as overall balance. I might be just mincing words a bit if we're using slightly different definitions, but the question is the same either way. Even if Backbiters are good late game clean-up I think archers are better at it (arguably the best) like spicykorean said. So I feel like the way the game is currently balanced leans towards Raidmasters and Bowmasters too much, even if it is only because it is easy to do. If it is really just an issue of the current meta, we just need to start winning with other units to show people that it isn't such a great idea.

    So I think the big question of the best way to counter this playstyle is whether or not the counter is good at anything else. If it can be well rounded enough to generally just be a good team, then that's great. If it only beats the Raidmaster/Bowmaster combo but loses to everything else, then we essentially just have an elaborate game of Paper, Rock, Scissors. Like everyone said, Provokers are the obvious choice for a counter, as well as Skystrikers. Or like Aleo said the Strongarm/Skystriker combo, but that is more complex and requires two units to counter one. So why are we not seeing a game full of teams with these units? Could be a lot of possibilities, I made a list of what I've thought of so far:

    1. It's not actually a good counter
    2. It's not good at fighting other teams
    3. It's harder to use
    4. The game doesn't have enough skilled players to use it
    5. It's not as good as just using Raidmaster/Bowmaster yourself


    You could probably add several more to this list. I feel like 1 is definitely not true. 2 probably not overly true. 3 Probably true, but shouldn't prohibit people using it. 4 Maybe not a lack of skilled players as much as regular players? I think 5 is the true culprit. Mostly due to the ease of use, versatility, and well-roundedness of both of those units. But all of this post really leads us to discussing balance issues which aren't news to anyone here. I'm just trying to pin down as many concrete reasons as I can about what makes the good units good, and the better units actually better than the rest.

  14. #14
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Back when the game was new and there were a lot of players experimenting with various builds, that is before a meta was "installed", there was this player (K_B) that won several Tournaments using always the same build: [Warhawk, Raidmaster, Backbiter, Bowmaster, Skystriker, Strongarm]. This build naturally had the "master-class" units you expect (and WH & SRM, each superstrong in his own way), but there were also interesting additions of Backbiter & Skystriker. These units added flavor & flexibility to his build which allowed him to cope with various situations, because at those time you fought against vastly different builds. The SS is my favorite unit (along with the Warhawk) especially in PvP, as it allows bluffing and stuff. The BB has very good Break, high mobility and "penetrability". Let's just say that he serves a different purpose than the RM. In conclusion, I am not sure who would win in a 2BB-vs-2RM situation. Maybe Tirean can do the math
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  15. #15
    I play with the K_B build currently but replaced the SS with a BM instead to fight against the 2x BM meta. Worked very well in the tournament I played where I went 8-0, but been busy with other stuff atm so trying to make that build popular not going as planned.

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