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AoS Sunclaw Starhost at UK Masters

Discussion in 'Seraphon Tactics' started by Lhurgoyf, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Lhurgoyf
    Skink

    Lhurgoyf Member

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    Posting because I saw a Sunclaw Starhost army list at the UK Masters tournament, and didn't see a discussion for it yet.

    It looks like something straight out of the battalion discussion and saurus warrior discussion threads, with a Slann to teleport the hordes, and two Priests to give charge re-rolls. Those threads implied a low/mid power level, but this did alright even at the highest level of competition. So that seems promising. Has anyone else tried this at tournaments, or know the guy who ran it?

    Here's what they ran, according to the bad dice website:

    Slann
    Sunblood
    Priest
    Priest
    40 warriors - clubs
    40 warriors - spears
    10 warriors
    10 skinks
    5 Chameleon Skinks
    Bastilodon
    Sunclaw Starhost
     
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  2. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    90 Warriors?
    Ok.... thats a pretty massive force. Surprisingly conservative, interestingly. With our teleport abilities the big Saurus hordes got a lot better.
     
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  3. Canas
    Skar-Veteran

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    Tbh that's the first time I've seen someone use multiple blocks of 40, most of those threads did focus on just 1 block. Which might be a tad bad.

    As for the actual tactic. Bringing priests does mean you can give re-rolls. which has both the benefit of giving them re-rolls for charges and saves. This both makes getting the charge easier and it gives them some much needed protection. A re-rollable 5+ only fails 4 out of 9 times, instead of 2 out of 3, which is fairly siginificant improvement, add in a mystic shield and a summon starlight and your big block might actually be capable of surviving longer than half a turn.

    Having 2 blocks does also guarantee you'l probably get at least 1 block into range reliably, they can't all be shot. Especially with the save re-roll and a possible mystic shield. Did he use the double teleport trait?

    I can see this make for a "working" bloodclaw starhost. Especially against melee armies. However, it does look relativly easy to counter with a shooty army or to just get screwed over if your initial turn doesn't turn out near perfect. Also, and this is the main flaw that the sunclaw has, the moment you start losing those horde bonusses your units lose so much power they're barely going to kill anything with a decent save. He only needs to lose like 22 saurus in total for his army to be pretty much hamstrung due to the loss of the bonusses.

    But yea, I could see a tactic like this "work" though I'd go for 3 hordes if you're going this way. Or at least get a proper third threat. Have the first 2 hordes teleport buffed and charge in damage your opponent as much as possible while the third threat can approach unharmed have the third threat wipe out the remaining survivors. It could work. Though it does require a very good first turn and an opponent who isn't shooting heavy. A heavy shooting army would probably wipe out way too many warriors too quickly.

    Possible fun variation if points allow it:
    Slann with double teleport
    Shadowstrike host led by a priest with 2 units of chameleons and whichever flyer you prefer
    Sunclaw host with at least 2, preferably 3 blocks of 40
    An extra priest, two extra if you have 3 blocks of 40 warriors

    General tactic: buff your saurus, now dump everything on top of your enemy while your slann sits back with his priests and watches the carnage :p
    Decent amount of wounds and a hilarious amount of turn 1 teleportation on top of your enemies face. It's only going to work once (if that) but it should be absolutly hilarious.

    On a sidenote, the hell are those skinks doing in that list, they don't seem to synergize that well with the tactic I'm assuming he's using. Idem with the bastilidon actually. It's not powerfull enough to really function as that third threat I'd expect and it's not going to keep up with the hordes to help with the initial onslaught ether.
     
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  4. LordRibbit
    Temple Guard

    LordRibbit Well-Known Member

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    I took something similar to the GT finals, didn't do great due to not having a starseer for re-rolls and curse of fates. It packs a punch though if you get it off:

    40 Spear blob teleport after buffing: -1 to hit, serpent staff on jaws, mystic shield, celestial rites (re-roll saves, run and charge) and teleported the astrolith bearer so they could re-roll hits
     
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  5. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    I think he is using the Skinks as fast objective claimers or perhaps as chaff to keep his priests alive.
    The thing that makes the Saurus (or any hordes) decent in the current meta is probably just that those are a lot of wounds. They suffer much less from mortal wounds than elite armies.
     
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  6. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    Oh and with Tzeentch still being quite popular in the meta I can understand how that list makes good use of that double damage for the Saurus.
    Quite scary in fact.
     
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  7. Canas
    Skar-Veteran

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    What does tzeentch have to do with anything?

    Yea, I'm curious how much of the effetiveness of this list is "saurus warriors are actually good" as opposed to just "80 wounds are just a tad much so I simply outlast you"
     
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  8. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    Some of the strong Tzeetch units have the "Chaos Demon" keyword. Saurus in a Sunclaw get double damage against Chaos Demons in addition to the rend they get from the bataillon.


    I think the latter plays the bigger part. With the Sunclaw buffs and the Sunblood's buff Saurus become decent but still not THAT great in damage.
     
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  9. Canas
    Skar-Veteran

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    Ah, as such, that makes sense. Yeah if we're facing largely demons, and especially squishy demons, that'd solve a lot of the issues that saurus have as their baseline stats then become far better.

    Mwah, in a horde with sunclaw buffs and a sunblood they have good stats. Issue is just that they have those stats for like 1 turn before lossing 11 units and 50% of their firepower.... If they didnt lose the buffs so quickly they'd actually be decent.
     
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  10. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    I wonder how that will work against Nurgle. From what we have seen from the new Battletome they receive quite a buff, but demons become more dominant than in current Nurgle lists which more often seem to focus on mortals.
    Seraphon have quite some units that deal extra damage agains Chaos Demons...

    But yeah, they lose their synergies so quickly.... I wish they were more like Dryads, getting their bonus at 12 instead of 20. And then maybe get the second bonus at 20 or 24 instead of 30.
     
  11. Canas
    Skar-Veteran

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    to be honest, I just wish they'd get rid of horde bonusses all together in this form. A hard cut-off point will inevitably lead to this issue where it'l suddenly lose soo much power. The only one I've seen that seems to be "decent" is one of the skaven units (stormvermin?) getting the bonus as long as they outnumber the target. That at least makes the horde function reliably against none hordes.
     
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  12. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    Hmmm not sure I agree, I kinda like that some units get stronger because they are there in masses, I don't think the horde discount on points does that really justice.
    For example the aforementioned Dryads, I love how the fluff explanation for their buff is that they form a thicket of interlocking branches and stuff and they get +1 on their saves.

    EDIT: Same for other units that form shield phalanxes or so. The whole point of the Phalanx in real life was that forming a good line adds a lot to the defensive. A single hoplite or a small group with those long spears were pretty crappy.

    ...that's a defensive ability though. I think you have a point concerning offensive abilities. Why should a Saurus hit harder because a buddy is next to him?
     
  13. Canas
    Skar-Veteran

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    In the case of the skaven ability the fluff was something like "with more skaven it's easier to backstab your opponent" so it can work well with the limit of there just being more.

    As for a hoplite formation, again, you mostly just need enough people compared to the opponent and enviroment. A phalanx doesn't need X people, it just need enough people to form a block so the backrow can help the front and enough people to not be flanked immeadiatly (or a wall to protect their flanks). Technicly two guys in a doorway could use the exact same formation and recieve all the benefits using the walls to keep their flanks save. So again, the whole horde thing doesn't entirely explain it (admittadly, a phalanx of 2 guys on a open field would be laughable).

    Anyways, it's not so much that hordes get bonusses as much that the trigger for it is have X models alongside the fact that their base-stats tend to be fairly abysmall that I don't like. I want the minimum unit size to also be a decent-ish unit, but 10 skinks or saurus warriors aren't going to win any fights thanks to their reliance on that horde bonus for stats. Basicly, I want decent base stats, for the bonusses to not be as extremely powerfull and the cutoff points to not be as steep and high. E.g. saurus warriors have abysmall base-stats so 10 of em are useless, the bonus is extremely powerfull by giving an extra attack it doubles their firepower, the cutoffs are at 50% and 75% max unit strength, which is high and the cutoff is all or nothing so it's very sudden when it does happen, going from 30 to 29 models reduces their firepower by half, despite only having lost 1 guy.... I want those things fixed. Giving a bonus to hordes in itself isn't an issue.
     
  14. Seraphage
    Stegadon

    Seraphage Well-Known Member

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    "..getting the bonus as long as they outnumber the target.."

    I actually like the thought of this a lot. It makes sense. After reading the fluff it makes super sense but still, maybe they should indeed do something about the whole 30 to 29 model thing. Or, if this would be too much of a chance and our warriors are maybe the only ones suffering that much, just rewrite the warrior warscroll a bit and make them viable ?
     
  15. Canas
    Skar-Veteran

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    Warriors might be one of the ones suffering most yeah.

    • Skaven clanrats come in blocks of 20, and are intended as fodder. So losing the horde bonus isn't as important and it's easier to get the bonus as it's either 20 or 40 of em, not 10,20,30,40. Also, the bonus is less extreme.
    • Stormvermin just get it as long as there's more of em and the bonus isn't as staggering, also stormvermin actually have decent base-stats
    • Tzaangors have decent base-stats, they need to suffer more damage before losing a bonus, their bonus is tiered into 3 steps instead of 2, and they have better defenses thanks to their magic shields.
    • Plaguebearers only have a defensive bonus, it's not as powerfull and kicks in at 20, not at 30. Plus they're vastly more resilent making it more difficult to remove the bonus.
    • Skeletons and zombies can ressurect, making them the only ones capable of regaining the bonus
    • Freeguild guards dont get as massive a bonus, and again 3 stages to it.
    • Chaos warriors have decent base-stats, are sturdier, and the bonus isn't as significant.
    All the ones I could quickly find seem to be less dependent on their bonus or at have an easier time maintaining it (or both if you're chaos apparently..). The only ones that compare, statwise, are skinks, and at least skinks still function effectivly as a screening force thanks to their wary fighters rule even if they're never actually going to do any damage without their horde bonus.
     
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  16. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    The Dryads I mentioned also get their bonus (+1 save) at 12 models or more in a unit (unit maximum is 30) and they can regain it because there is a bataillon that allows to add models to a Dryad unit. I'd say those are good.
     
  17. Canas
    Skar-Veteran

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    It's also significantly less powerfull, making the loss of the bonus less of an issue and since it's defensive it helps with maintaining the bonus. It's significantly better as far as a horde bonus mechanic goes.

    But yea, the saurus warriors do seem to have by far the worst variant of the mechanic, followed shortly by the skinks (and those at least still have a use, saurus warriors don't even function all that well as a screening unit)

    It might also just be that saurus warriors have too much going on. Two horde bonusses, drums, a banner debuffing enemies, wields 2 weapons (bites + the spear/club) where most hordes have 1, rend protection, can be summoned. Thats what,6 or 7special rules/bonusses/equipment? I'm curious how much GW values each of those abilities seeing as for example dryads have only 3 special things yet they cost the same amount of points (except at 30 cuz the dryads max out there and get their horde discount, but the discount is the same proportion as the one we get at 40)

    Skinks have a similar issue, 2 horde bonusses, a ranged weapon, rend protection, can be summoned, weary fighter, that's again like 5-6 "special" aspects. And out of the once I listed earlier only the tzaangor and plaguebearers have a similar amount of special abilities, and they're part of the new and OP stuff with loads of powercreep...
     
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  18. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    Well, while a big unit of fully buffed Dryads can be scary because of their 2" range, their decent move the save bonus that stacks with cover and the wyldwood ability reducing the enemy's hit rolls they are considered a bit overpriced by many players.

    The strange thing really is that - in my opinion - Saurus are judged by all the stuff they have in the best case. And in the best case Saurus Warriors are superior to Dryads in almost every regard:
    Better save, two attacks with Spears at 2"/3+/4+/-/1 and another attack with the jaws and shield, also can be buffed with a LOT of stuff by heroes to get additional attacks, get rend, do more damage, rerolls on saves and/or hits, debuff enemy bravery, and so on.

    So as you say, they have lots of stuff going on. I think GW fears that if they improve Saurus Warrior's base stats they will be OP. And they might well be actually, since our army has such great synergies (we are one of the few armies whose synergies actually work, and not one or two but a lot of them) and more importantly:
    Right now many good AoS tactics are based on attacking first, and with full force before the enemy can act. So GW probably - rightfully or not - assume that the first attacks happen with healthy, fully buffed units so they balance the best cases against each other and not the middle case or worst cases.
     
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  19. Canas
    Skar-Veteran

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    True, Saurus in optimum conditions are devestating. It's just that optimum conditions tend to be rare in any game and thus are nearly pointless to balance around. Always hate it when that happens, some idiot figures out a way to abuse the hell out of something, but you can only do it in that specific scenario, people copy it, it gets nerfed to acceptable levels but the "proper" way of playing gets virtually broken as the nerf doesn't target the actual abusive play just reigns it in and hits far more than it needs to. E.g. lowering the damage of a guaranteed alpha strike unit so you stand a chance of surviving the alpha strike, forgetting that outside of that alpha strike the unit is now garbage and the abusive tactic still works just with slightly less overkill. Or in the case of our poor saurus warriors, bad baseline stats make the unit unusueable without its horde bonusses, but with its horde bonusses and the various buffs we can throw on them a unit of saurus warriors can viably kill nearly anything in one go by literally burying the opponent in dice. A 120 re-rerollable dice with rend and double damage can rather hurt, but how often do you see that actually happen...

    I do hope they're not balancing like that..
     
  20. Seraphage
    Stegadon

    Seraphage Well-Known Member

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    While Saurus Warriors have too many problems, I actually agree 100% Aginor. I haven't really realised but now that I've read about it, you are right. An improvement to their warscroll would make them silly OP in the proper list so I change my mind on the issue. While they do have many problems, they must indeed stay as they are.
    Maybe there is a way to take advantage of them and we still haven't figured it out. Although 360p that can vanish that quickly is a huge problem. Especially when you put them next to an Empire Gryphon for example that isn't going anywhere anytime soon and can dish out lots of damage.
     
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