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KoW Spitballing balance fixes

Discussion in 'Salamanders Discussion' started by Negator, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. Negator
    Saurus

    Negator Member

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    Units with approximated price overage and suggested stats fix in order of how blatant the deficiency is:

    *Ghekkotah warriors (5/10/15)- add nimble
    *Ancients on foot (10/20)- add elite and +1 nerve
    *Clan lords (10/15/20)- +1 attack/+1 nerve for flying lord
    *Komodon (lol)- D3+1 blast
    *Fire Drake (20)- add pierce 1(?), swap TC for CS, +1 nerve
    *Ghekkotah Skyraiders (lol)- +1 defense, +4 attacks (and or/option to swap blowpipes for TC1)
    *Ember Sprites (?)- +stealth, 8/16 attacks
    *Ceremonial guard (5-10)- add headstrong
    *Ghekkotah Hunters (10?)- add stealth, +1 pierce or bows for 10 points.
    *Clutch warden (lol)
    *Anklydon battle platform (?)
    *Tyrants (10)- +1 speed
    *raptor mounts (5)

    NOTE: all math is done vs +4 defense or against units hitting on 4s and without pierce/crush.
    NOTE 2: The last thing to do is to frame these changes in the context of the whole army. Ideally, nothing is made obsolete, but i have yet to put in the thought to ensure this.

    Suggested fixes:
    *Ghekkotah warriors*: add nimble, possibly something else. Will add character to the army by allowing ghekkos to play the intended role of skirmishers to the heavy infantry (salamanders) in the center instead of blatantly overpriced and rarely used meatshields (see ghouls that are 65/90/150 for identical stats, or any number of comparably priced units that are 4 offense and 4 defense). Ghekkos either need to be pushed into the utility realm via a non combat skill, or the meatshield realm by making them tougher.

    *Ember Sprites*: +stealth, 8/16 attacks: Other factions comparable units (orclings, tidal swarms, EoD Swarms) all feel slightly lacking as well, but more focused. The inclusion of a Breath weapon is what complicates things. They arent cheap enough to strictly sacrifice, the horde does .18 wounds/10 points where the tidal swarms do .4, the EoD swarms .3, and the Orclings .5. They also require the least amount of effort to kill between the 4 units, with Tidal swarms requiring .72 hits/10 points, Ember sprites needing .63/10 (ignoring waiver chances), Orclings .88/10, and EoD swarms about .83/10. Including stealth and upping the breath to 8/16 would bump their "to kill" efficiency to .93, balanced by their much lower melee "to kill", and their ranged killing efficiency would jump to .37. These changes would also be in theme (sprites hiding, flitting about, and being generally hard to hit).

    *Tyrants*: +1 speed. Tyrants stack up decently against its contemporaries but it simply doesn't have a role when you can get prime hordes or fire elementals. Its just more of the same but slightly more expensive. Against Goblin trolls, it trades +1 speed, regen +5, and 10 points for fury, brutal, and +1/+1 nerve. Not a good trade. Against Ogre warriors, again +1 speed, +1 melee, 10 points for fury, +1 CS, and +0/+1 nerve. Again, just slightly undercut. Against Guardian Brutes, +1 speed, +6 attacks, +2 TC in exchange for 20 points, +1 CS and brutal. Not a good trade at all. Against Cave trolls, Tyrants pay 5 points for -1 CS, no regen 5 but get fury and brutal in return. Terrible. Against dire fangs with gifts (270), you are 60 points cheaper for -1 speed, -12 attacks (66%), -1/0 nerve, and strider. Not bad I suppose.

    *Ancients on foot*: add elite, and +1 nerve. Will solidify them as a usable veteran anvil unit and will no longer be overshadowed by prime hordes in efficiency, or by other factions "hard hitting veteran unit". Elven palace guard are 20 points cheaper for -1 defense and 15/17 instead of -/17 but ALSO gain +1 move and elite. Looking at the difference between salamander primes and unlbooded for +1 defense AND pathfinder, you see a 25 point gain for a regiment. Ancients should be 155. There are also several unit comparison for what points value -/17 should be over 15/17, such as spirit walkers vs longhorns; in short, its 5-10 points.

    *Kasienor lancers*: Add something with an indirect impact, like strider. Vicious was a nice addition, but still leaves the unit without much of a role beyond "suicidal unit that hits kind of hard but not really hard enough".

    *Clan Lords*: add firebolt for free. This will reinforce the 'fire' theme and give flexibility. The clan lords melee abilities are "adequate", and while makign them much nastier would be nice, i think giving you more tools is more interesting.

    *Clan Lords on Flying Drakes*: +1 attack and +1 nerve. The elf dragon has 25% more attacks (and 3 CS instead of 2 CS+1 TC) and 2 more nerve or 20% more survivability (elf dragons require 36 non CS hits to kill with a nerve roll of 7, Drakes require 30) but only costs 11% more. If we average the difference in offensive and defensive power to 22.5%, the Drake should cost around 260. If we up the drake's attacks and nerve by 1 while keeping the price at 280, (11% less offense and 9% less survivability) we come up with a unit that is proportional equal to the elf dragon.

    *raptor mounts*: drop to 15 points. +1 TC is nice, but irrelevant to the herald and mage. Call it a free faction bonus.

    *Ceremonial Guard*: add headstrong. This will give you a more focused anvil instead of something that you will struggle to get a return on your investment in phalanx, given that they dont come in hordes and enemy cav can just "attack something else". Currently, prime hordes are just a better investment.

    *Clutch Warden*: stealth by default, +3 attacks, +1 CS or piercing. Not sure how this guy passed QC at 85 points.

    *Ghekkotah Skyraiders*: +1 defense, + 4 attacks. Skyraiders suffer from having no role whatsoever. They have *some* melee and *some* ranged but do neither well, preventing the player from best utilizing them. On top of that, they are "special" troops that generally get a BONUS in other factions because they don't provide unlocks; the fact that they are worst unit in the list is special is sad. Adding just enough survivability will let them do *SOMETHING* with +1 def, and adding attacks makes them an actual threat. I didn't math out any reason in particular for +4 attacks. 16 base attacks means the unit does .23 wounds for every 10 points it costs, which is still exceptionally low (elven silverbreeze do .14, and a regiment of primes do .28). By comparison, herd Eagles do .37 wounds/10 points. Firebolts would also make for an interesting option, but might not be balance-able on a 10 move flying unit. TC as an option could be interesting as well

    *Ghekkotah hunters*: These guys are in a strange position. They have a number of nifty abilities but lack the staying power or punch to get anything out of them except as a speed bump. Their price also means that simple speed bump hurts. Other factions similar units (silver breeze, mounted scouts, night raiders, etc) all give you the option to make their points back in an offensive manner via threat range, pure offensive output, or area denial. Hunters dont do any of that. With bows at 120 points, these guys do .12 wounds/10 points and .15/10 points with blowpipes. Silver breeze do .14 and are harder to kill (+4 def and 11/13 vs +3 def and 10/12), Scouts with bows are .11 and .15 with pistols, Night raiders are .16/bows and .19 with throwing weapons. My gut says stealth should come stock, with either pierce 1 or bows as a free or 10 point option.

    *Fire Drake*:
    +1 piercing, +1 nerve, +1 CS for TC. For the same points, varangur get , -6 breath, - vicious, -1 defense, +nimble, +pathfinder, +strider, +stealth, + 2 attacks. Loads more utility and threat for a slightly worse breath attack. Brotherhood Forsaken Beasts are 20 points cheaper for +1 CS for TC, +1 nerve, -6 breath, -vicious, and +ensnare. Or, swap ensnare for vicious and you are looking at 35 points cheaper for better nerve, better melee for a whopping 6 breath. Beasts of nature with breath and vicious are 15 points cheaper for +1 nerve, +1 cs for TS, pathfinder +1 melee all for -1 attack. Bottom line is that the fire drake is garbage for its points. +1 pierce maintains its "character" and +1 nerve, +1 CS allows it to stay relevant after the inevitable "1 breath then melee until death". If +1 pierce doesnt fit the "fire breath" theme, pathfinder or strider would allow it to breath fire where it needs to.

    *Komodon*: 3+1 blast or 4 attacks. Currently the Komodon does about .15 wounds per 10 points, Ogre shooters do .21, Elven archers do .23, Elven bolt throwers do .22. In short, you need 1.5 komodons to be on equal footing with comparable shooty units. +1 blast moves it to .23 wounds/10 points, and 4 attacks moves it to .20 wounds/10 points.




    A few points to consider:

    *Salamanders dont have much of a theme. Nothing about the list jumps out at you and says "take me". The units with character are garbage. The infantry are just "kinda different lizard with +1 CS".
    *the RC would prefer to adjust units instead of points. The addition of firebolt on several units indicates someone THOUGHT it could develop into a theme, but didnt implement in a way that worked. I think there is real potential with firebolt for this army, as it is in character, AND isnt OP like lightning bolt was. 18" is a whole different ball game than 24", and gives you the feeling of a "jungle-y" fighting force that never had to use pure long ranged firepower, but just enough to support the heavy infantry pushing through lush vegetation.
    *some units are blatantly over-pointed
    *some units pay for the ability to do several things, but this plays against the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts" idea, as well as the ability to apply combat multipliers. For instance, a unit of hard hitting melee flyers can give you a return on your investment GREATER than your investment if you engineer a flank charge, or combo charge, utilizing the agile nature of the fly special rule. A unit of skyraiders when used in the same role, will not see the exponential gains tat a dedicated melee unit would.
    *some units do not have useful roles at all, or their profile ATTEMPTS to be characterful, but just doesnt meet the threshold of effectiveness to ever use them. Skyraiders, again, are the perfect example of this. A flying unit with 12" range and 12 vicious shots doesnt scare anyone for the points you have to invest.
    *The army "special rule" is +1 CS. Ironically, the Fire drake and Clan Lord on fire drake lack the +2/+3 CS of its contemporaries but have TC instead. strange.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
  2. Qupakoco
    Skink Chief

    Qupakoco Keeper of the Dice Staff Member

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    I like where you're headed with this. In general, does the Salamander army feel that much overpriced compared to other armies?
     
  3. Negator
    Saurus

    Negator Member

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    Yes, the units I listed as overpriced have several direct comparisons that show this. The rest of the units pay for having both a combat profile and a ranged profile that are both inefficient compared to their single role contemporaries. If you follow tournament standings, you will see that salamanders are bar none the rarest army to show up, rarest to place, and rarest to be taken to competitive events.

    For instance, a komodon has a bad melee stat line that may or may not actually get used, and when it is, will die anyways. This means its ranged profile (point for point) one of the worst in the game. For example, a horde of goblin archers will inflict .20 wounds (against a +4 def unit) for every 10 points it costs, an elven bolt thrower .27 wounds, and the komodon .13 wounds. The Komodon's melee profile will inflict .14 wounds per 10 points. Compare that to a greater fire elemental that does .20 wounds, a horde of primes that do .36 wounds, or a regiment of ancients that do .31.

    So you have a unit that basically can do 2 jobs, each half as good as a dedicated shooter or melee unit. The problem here is that a komodon has 6 turns to EITHER shoot or melee, but for the points you could buy 2 units that each specialize in that role and you could get BOTH 6 turns of shooting out of one AND 6 turns of melee out of the other.
     
  4. Itepixcauh
    Ripperdactil

    Itepixcauh Well-Known Member

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    I agree on the the Ghekkotah, both Warriors and Clutch warden. It's not so bad on the warriors but the Warden is just stupidly overcosted not just 5-10 points, just compare it to a Dwarf ranger captain or an elven master Hunter and it's just ridiculous.


    I strongly disagree with the Lancers, they are an amazing and cheap shock cavalry specially now with Vicious. The problem with the Hunters is not that they are supposed to be multirole, it is just that they should have Stealthy as standard or shoot on 4+. They are great as a kind of shooty fast cavalry, I actually like them even if they feel a bit overpriced.

    Again I don't agree with the GFE, I love it. It has everything you need, it's surgeable, pathfinder, movement 6, CS4, good Nerve and it's cheap. Breath Attack may seem pointless but combos well with surge even if you just make 1 wound, sometimes one more wound is all you need.

    Tyrants have a really good synergy, hit hard have brutal and fury. perfect. They have a big problem though, they should be faster. Movement 5 is stupid.

    The Ankylodon is the key unit here, it's shooting is not good enough and it's paying a really big tax for that ridiculous ranged attack (that being said more than one time i've wavered or killed chaff / heroes with it). The rest of the profile is great, it's almost unkillable and hits really hard but I think Mantic were influenced too much by GW on this one.

    I will suggest my own fixes:
    • Ghekkotah warriors: I Agree with Nimble
    • Clutch Warden: I think making him similar with the Skylord would make a lot of sense, Shoot and melee on +3, Stealthy and +1 of nerve is ideal
    • Skyriders: I think they need to have defence 4 just to start talking and then 2 more attacks each size so 8 for the Regiment an 14 for the Horde. Having an option to exchange Blowpipes with TC(1) or adding TC(1) as an option would be great in both Skyriders and Skylord
    • Ankylodon: I think that adding +1d6 attacks to it is the perfect solution.
    • Fire Drake: I think Piercing(1) as standard is needed on both the Hero and Standard versions.
    • Hunters: Stealthy as standard or shoot on +4
    • Tyrants: Movement 6
    • Komodon: This is a hard one, but I think Blast(D6) or hit on +4 shooting should fix it
    • Price for the Raptor should be lower on the Herald and Mage
    • Ember Sprites: I actually like them but they should be movement 6 as every other Elemental in the list.
    Can't speak for the Ancients on foot, although I like them or the ceremonial guard (I just don't like phalanx in general). All this moaning sounds really bad, and might make everyone think all is lost but the truth is the army plays well and you can win consistently but there are options that simply are not competitive. In the end you might only be around 30 points behind a top army like undead or elves but those 30 points can make a difference.
     
  5. Itepixcauh
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    Itepixcauh Well-Known Member

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    As i've said not really. Not for me at least.

    Main problem is that some options are not competitive enough, but I really think the list can win consistently it's just not a no-brainer like undead or Elves, and the 30-35 points you are "under" can make a difference sometimes, but trust me is not that bad.
     
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  6. BAE
    Razordon

    BAE Well-Known Member

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    I kind of agree. The main issue is that the ranged units waste points on melee and vice versa, which then makes every unit feel slightly over-costed even though unit for unit they are very similar when comparing with other armies. Still, it isn't so much that is isn't fun to play in the way that many WFB armies were. There is just always the feeling that for however well you played any particular game, you have to play better than your opponent would have had to to get the same result. Still, I think the differences are marginal enough that other factors (player skill, mistakes, non-random dice (I'm looking at you, Chessex :shifty: ), etc.) make Sallies' marginal overcosting less important. In cases where it is a little more pronounced (Tyrants, Ghekkotah of all descriptions, Komodon) it just means people take them less often, in preference to the standout units like Lancers and FEs.

    p.s. disagree with the mount price being too high for the Mage-Priest. Individual with charge range 16, 2 attacks, CS(1) TC(1), hitting on 4s with Elite can be a god-send to disorder flyers if you're in a pinch. It also allows you to move 8 inches to get into surge range, which is especially useful if you want to set up a double-surge. 20pts for a Kaisenor on the Herald, however, is ludicrous. The only way I could see that ever being worth it is if you ran a Lancer-heavy army and he just needed to keep up.

    p.p.s. The Battle-Captain should absolutely be allowed a Kaisenor, even if it was 30pts like for the Clan Lord
     
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  7. Itepixcauh
    Ripperdactil

    Itepixcauh Well-Known Member

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    I agree with everything you said here.

    On the subject of dice, i'm about to order a set of custom dice from chessex, are they really that bad? because I can cancel the order as long as I don't make the payment. I don't want to spend that kind of money and get rubbish dice in return, cool factor is alright but not worth if you roll crap.
     
  8. BAE
    Razordon

    BAE Well-Known Member

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    While Chessex are definitely the most irregularly-shaped of the popular gaming dice companies (Reference 1 & 2), I can't claim to know just how much this affects the dice rolls. Essentially, standard playing dice production involves being put through a rock polisher three times (first to break off the sprue connection / imperfections, second with coarse grain to take the top later of paint off (leaving different coloured dots), and third to smooth and polish). Each of these abrades the sides and corners of the dice unevenly, so even if the casting sprue was absolutely perfect (which is not the case as many opaque ones can have air bubbles in them), the resultant die will have sharper and more-rounded edges and more- and less-regular shaped faces. Also, if you check Youtube for people floating dice in salt water you can see proof that uneven density is a feature in non-precision dice. If a corner is more rounded, it is easier for the die to roll over it, preferencing certain faces. Also, the longer it rolls (which rounded edges will also make it do), the more likely that the centre of gravity (whether from certain faces being larger or smaller, or from plastic density / air bubbles in casting) will show will affect the outcome. This is why casino dice have ridiculously sharp edges and are measured to an extraordinary level of accuracy on every side (and cost about £10 each!).

    All of the above is fact. It's the level of effect this has on the dice rolls themselves that is more debatable. Different shapes are definitely used by individuals looking to 'load' the dice, and they only shave microns off to raise their chances of winning. Every one of the shapes explained in Reference 3 can be caused by the dice production method as explained above, and any of these will automatically preference certain faces over others. These tricks are done by people who earn their living from cheating the dice, so common sense would suggest that they must have enough of an effect to make a difference. This means each die might tend towards rolling 'well' or 'badly' and that a group of dice together will generally roll non-randomly. This is shown in References 4 & 5 that suggest GW and Chessex dice to be the least random (and preferencing 1s as well!). If true, this means you could actually go through all of your dice to test them and pick out the ones more likely to give you 6s, or remove those more likely to give 1s, should you so wish and have time to roll each die hundreds of times. As you are buying some custom dice you may even get a load of 'lucky' ones that tend towards rolling really well for you!

    All of this research came about due to my last tournament in which ~80% of my die rolls were below average (my girlfriend was there as a spectator and she was keeping count). I'd had a suspicion for a while that my dice were loaded badly, and only after the tournament did I do all this research and realise they actually might. I'm not saying they are - it is perfectly reasonable to suggest that I just had bad luck in this tournament, and that confirmation bias is encouraging me to think that my dice are loaded badly because worse rolls generate more emotional impact than better ones. However, it made me want to try and remove as much potential non-randomness as possible so that I can't use this excuse, or feel bitter from a suspicion of unfairness. As such I was looking into buying Gamescience dice, but these are too expensive and the size variation of these is not that much different to Koplow dice (Ref 2), which are considerably cheaper. I will also only be buying their transparent dice to ensure that there are no air bubbles or other obvious internal defects.

    Hopefully that is a reasoned and balanced enough explanation for you! While I doubt that the outcome of a game will be overly impacted by such non-randomness, if people are going to complain about units being 10pts overcosted (which is only 0.5% of 2000pts in the grand scheme of things) then how much the non-randomness of dice might be affecting a game definitely needs to be considered as well as this might be having more of an effect. Make of all this what you will!

    References:
    1. http://www.1000d4.com/2013/02/14/how-true-are-your-d20s/
    2. http://www.gnomestew.com/game-mastering/tools-for-gms/analysis-of-desmets-dice-measurement-data-set/
    3. https://www.lolcraps.com/craps/fixed-dice/
    4. https://www.awesomedice.com/blog/353/d20-dice-randomness-test-chessex-vs-gamescience/
    5. https://www.dakkadakka.com/wiki/en/That's_How_I_Roll_-_A_Scientific_Analysis_of_Dice
     
  9. Jack Trowell
    Cold One

    Jack Trowell Active Member

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    The battle captain not having a mount option is indeed something that they should probably have changed in the CoK supplement, i think that it was an oversight by the RC due to the captain having started as a modified version of the Force of Nature Salamander hero who of course don't have a mount option due to kaisenors being exclusives to the Salamander list.

    Sure a mounted clan lord is very nice, but having a cheaper option to send against shooting hordes or fliers would be nice.
     
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  10. Itepixcauh
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    Itepixcauh Well-Known Member

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    I was indeed surprised when they didn't gave us that in the CoK book. It was even discussed in the forums if I remember correctly.
     
  11. BAE
    Razordon

    BAE Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking about this a bit more - the production process for custom dice might be a little more controlled. It depends on whether they do them custom batch by custom batch, or whether they put all of the custom batches of the same colour into the rock polishers at the same time to increase their efficiency. If it is batch by batch you could reasonably assume that differences in abbrasion will be minimised as they are only quality controlling 10-20 dice at a time. This could mean more equal dice?
     
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  12. Crowsfoot
    OldBlood

    Crowsfoot Well-Known Member

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    So going of what you say about dice, comps should use only casino dice or would that take the fun out of comps?
     
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  13. Itepixcauh
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    Itepixcauh Well-Known Member

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    Maybe, I will make a test once they reach here. I'm really curious about all this dice things. really interesting subject indeed

    Problem with casino dice is the inmense price cost, and even with that cost they make you roll bouncing against a wall for a reason, that is that d6 dice can be thrown with certain techniques to achieve desired results by experienced players.
     
  14. BAE
    Razordon

    BAE Well-Known Member

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    If they want to ensure fairness they would. There is currently nothing stopping players from selectively choosing their dice to give themselves more chance of preferable outcomes. There are a couple of points against casino dice though. First of all the cost, which would be extortionate. Second, they are not very nice to roll. They have very sharp edges and pointy corners which can be really quite uncomfortable on the palms. Thirdly, the reason casinos use a long table with a bouncy cushion, which dice are thrown against with some force, is because the sharp edges mean they don't roll or tumble enough if they are thrown normally. While too much rolling will cause the centre of gravity / edges to have an effect, not enough can mean dice just land the way they are thrown, also reducing their randomness.
     
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  15. Negator
    Saurus

    Negator Member

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    bump for changes.
     

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