VS LAB Alpha Discussions

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  • arwaker wrote:

    DE should change their names to something else. Roman is our theme!
    DE seem to fit ancient Greek better. But then Rome adapted so much from the ancient Greek that it is sometimes hard to differentiate.

    Though in mathematics it's much easier. The Greek developed mathematics for it's own purpose. The Romans only adapted the mathematics they thought to be helpful, especially for waging war.

    Guess I'm disgressing here... :whistling:

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  • To be fair, DE theme is italian city states, which are quite different from Romans, but I concede that from someone unfamiliar with our culture it may come across as similiar.

    Anyway, here are some of my thoughts on ALL units in the codex:

    Ruinous Dictator:

    Extremely cool unit, very customizable (something the last iteration sorely missed), but EXTREMELY list warping. If you field it, you know your opponent will do anything in its power to blow it out of the table. However, it has the tools to protect itself, between solid defenses and occultism.

    Vermin Senator: while at a first look it seems a subpar choices, it has D7 and Vox Populy, which point to it as the Discipline anchor of the army. Expect to see a lot of those hiding in the backlines with a Crown.

    Bloodfur Commander: a decent combat lord, with some side benefits with Discipline, and a lot of options. The Triumphant Palaquind is extremely good, but you'll have to sacrifice the extra discipline provided by the Senator to field it.

    House Prefects:
    1. Fettish Fleshmaster: a good secondary combat lord, expecially on a palanquin, its special ability shines in dedicated list, which I'm not sure will be very viable.
    2. Skorchit Alchemist: a fire-and-forget hero, it serves as a buff to an important unit. Can provide a bit of extra firepower, since it seemingly can move and shoot even with a canister launcher.
    3. Rakachit Technocrat: quite clearly a support unit for shooty lists, sadly its ability to reroll Misfires does not apply to us.
    4. Stygian Overseer: a very flavorful option, this comes with situational unility once all your tunneling units have entered the field. Also has a couple of interesting magical items to pick from.
    Swarm Priest: combined profile, so I will examine them apart, including the mount option.

    1. Pantheon: this one will probably be our go-to choice, with an army benefitting heavily from Witchcraft. Still a good mage, even if we lost our more shooty-oriented magical items. The Bell is a very strong piece, HEAVILY undercosted. It has the same defensive profile as our Dictator, but is slotted into a unit. Also provides protection to nearby units and a bit more magical oomph
    2. Cult: I must say, I really disliked this one initially until I realzied that characters do not have the same limitations as other Cult models in choosing their unit. Occultism is really useful for us, considering the generally abismal WS of our troops. However, it is a VERY squishy mage, completely changing it from its latest incarnation. The Pulpit: It kinda forces you to play a very specific setup (Disciples with Poxblades), which imho isn't really worth it, as we already got plenty of sources for massed STR3 hits. Also costs a LOT.
    Duskblade Assassins: character hunters, made even more dangerous since you kinda don't have to place them until you want to, and they can be almost anywhere. Huge pain in the butt, expecially since they can provide an extra kick to a unit locked into combat, even if that unit hasn't got a character in it. Arguably, when facing off against a character, it's easier to just blow all your assassins in the enemy unit and break it thatn to take a fully geared hero face-to-face.

    ---------- Core ------------

    Velites: cheap expendable troops, they can't take a banner, which kinda slots them into the "sacrificial screen" role. Still, they cost next to nothing so they can be a decent filler to reach your quota core.

    Legionaries: basic rats with decent options. Can also take Without Numbers to be extra annoying. Spears have the potential to really hurt low res high armor enemies, and they got a decent armor save for such a cheap unit.

    Blackfurs: bread and butter of any army, as far as I know. They can do anything you want, hold a flank, whittle down an unit, bring down heavily armored monsters (if you take the upgrade) and so on. Phalanx is an awesome rule, allowing you to move around in relative safety and then unleash the hurt. Even in line formation they still pack a punch due to Cohort Coordination. An excellent target for an Alchemist.

    Vermin Slaves: you know them, you love them. Throw them into the meatgrinder while a Senator stands to the side and whips them into proper discipline. With huge numbers, they ain't gonna lose Steadfast, and they ain't gonna break easily either. Also enjoy the tears of your opponent when he has gotten halfway through the unit and another 40 slaves pop nearby.

    ------------ Special -------------

    Shadowfur Stalkers: a really really interesting unit. Don't let yourself get confused by the poison attacks, these are flankers and harasser. Pistols look very good on these ones, expecially since they can mow down target blocked by slaves.

    Plague Disciples: tbh, if you're not taking a pulpit, skip them. Blackfur do everything they do, but better: higher stat, better saves, better agility, more attacks (remember Cohort Coordination). They cost a little less, but Blackfurs are core.

    Giant Rats: an affordable screen, and can in some lists be upgraded to pack a little more of a punch. Not sure how much I'll use the upgraded version, but the basic ones have an honest prize for the job.

    Fettish Brutes: a weird unit, they are meant to be fielded in huge numbers. The 2 attacks each are a bit strange, expecially paired with their low Offensive skill.

    Murmillo Brutes: completely ridiculous. Cost less to field a basic unit of these than an unit of Fettish Brutes, with higher stats. On a purely melee role, they outclass the brutes (thanks to a good save, better discipline and a ridiculous amount of Str6 AP 3 attacks at a relatively high initiative). They can also get shooty, although I don't think i'll use the jezail much. The other options all seem quite good (and without overcharge you can basically ignore the misfires on them).

    Drill Team: interesting but too limited by the units it can take along. Could be better if it allowed said units to start the game in Tunnel Reserves and/or if it also did impact hits.

    ----------------- Gunners --------

    Grenadiers: holy moly they do pack a punch. Fragile and short ranged, but even the idea of getting a S&S charge reaction from them will make most opponents think twice about charging them with chaff.

    Experimental Weapon Teams: they're there, they're good and you're going to pick some of them nearly every game. Mishaps then to cut this unit life a bit too short for my tastes, expecially with overcharge.

    Doomspark Devices: an interesting chariot that sinergies splendidly with our lores. Can be a bit random in the actual output, but its role is no longer the monster hunter. Very interesting unit to fly behind enemy lines.

    Artillery: both options are decent, if not really novel. The overcharge on the mauss cannon can be devastating but comes at an heavy price.

    ------------------- Bread and Games -----------------------

    Stygian Earthbreaker: a steam wagon with a 1+ situational armor save. A flanking piece that can occasionally tie something up in combat.

    Dreadmill Chariots: another bread and butter unit, throw them at anything dangerous and then sweep in with something else to clear up the survivors. It is not a troop, it's a guided missile.

    Arena Beast: another nice unit. Its role as a siege ram has been nerfed by the removal of Stubborn. The 2 variants are dependent on wethever you prefer a steadier movement or a random movement to avoid charge reactions/highroll things.
  • arwaker wrote:

    I think in general it is the right approach to go into alpha with a higher complexity and more rules than it is targeted for the final gold version. It helps to identify which elements are really fun and worth keeping and which are maybe disposable. Only with a lot of people playing and giving their feedback, we will be able to decide about the next steps.
    I’m not sure I agree, for two important reasons:

    1) Nobody likes having things taken away. Better to start with a slightly underpowered book and get buffs with successive updates than the other way around.

    2) A more complex book is harder to playtest. Playtesting data is always influenced by things like people playing rules wrong or avoiding units/builds altogether, and this is only exacerbated when rules are complicated or overwhelming.

    I’d prefer a weaker, simpler book which can then be built upon with updates.
  • This LAB might be the best LAB come out, disregarding its balance. This is unfortunately not that high compliment coming from me.

    I really enjoyed all the AWSR's. Especially the two pools of miniatures from which you can either summon more rats or ambush from. The items seemed fun as well, having something for everybody.

    The Hereditary seemed like a fun mini game, until I got to the point which said the whole thing would be destroyed if it touches something.
    I think it's too much of a thing to occupy your brain to just have it gone in an instant. Should be either made more permanent, actual mini game or more abstract fire-and-forget thing.

    Enjoyed the characters as well, there is a lot of variation and options to have it make feel yours, well apart for one aspect.
    I've not looked at any lists, but it seems that one can't go really magic heavy anymore? To me one of the big selling points of a rat army is this one expensive and powerful mage looking at his underlings from a high point, flinging spells everywhere.

    And the next thing that caught my eyes was the big bell, this pillar of design wonderment, this marvelous new thing which is now actually more dull and boring than in the slim book. I would ever never thought this could have been possible. ||

    And then there are the four clans. There's a lot of monsters and monstrous things for the monster house to be proud of. A lot of cool machinery (like, alot lot, like me as an ID main weeping lot) for the machinery house to be proud of... And then there's the handful of units to be shared between the poisoney and sneaky houses, which are not even that cool. The poison and sneaky houses really got the short end of the stick here, the latter not being able to even dip their throwing weapons in to the same poison they carry for their melee weapons.

    The projects MO seems to be reducing play styles and making them more unique for each faction, which somehow I don't mind with this one, apart from the reduced magic. Maybe it's because the rats have been only my 4th favorite army, and I've been just enough distanced from them (been spending most of my time being mopey and sad about the new ID) to think this new book is the best one yet.
    But it still makes me sad that it's getting harder and harder to actually have your favorite miniatures and aesthetics to align with your favorite play styles. I think losing this contrast of different play styles within a faction is a REALLY bad thing... it is this big bad shadowing the whole thing, which just makes me scared to be invested anything this project has to offer.

    Oh, and I really don't like the Roman theme. And please, someone explain to me why this game, which is supposed to be model agnostic, sometimes wants to have real laser focused theme, but sometimes wants to go as generic as possible?

    Why are rats supposed to be fantasy Romans, but ID Vassals can be whatever you wish them be?
    This is of course fine if the BG team says it so, but it still is a weird disconnect in the overall design.

    Why invisible upgrades forbidden?
    This makes the whole DL book so damn goofy with all their hooves and snouts and plumes and yawning mouths. If you say the reason is that the tourney organizers can enforce wysiwyg I just don't believe you.
  • The rats aren't fantasy Romans. They are fantasy romans, or fantasy rats, or fantasy vandals, fantasy goths, fantasy byzantines, fantasy lombards, fantasy franks, fantasy seljuks, fantasy alamanni, fantasy egyptians...

    And that's only if you want to stay within the theme. You can break the theme as much as you want, too. I'm going to, despite liking it. So can everyone else.

    And then we already have the Disciples of Ehrraman, who are fantasy Persian and fantasy Indian. Before you expand their fluff.

    I mean, the Undying Dynasties are fantasy middle kingdom egyptians, too, that doesn't stop an entire model company from making Greek Dynasties. No one is going to bat an eye either when your vrykolak isn't Greek or Slavic, despite the name.

    Why is this such a big deal? No one is going to set your models on fire for fluff violation just because they don't look ROman enough.

    And they aren't even going to be that Roman in the books. The entire point is that they are trying to be like Romans and bad at it.

    That's an extremely classical thing for Skaven. "A twisted parody of humanity" was their literal tagline.