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PartyPotato

=Week 6= Demolished

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You want content do you?  There will be many preaching the opinions of men mingled with data.
 
If you're curious about my other posts and haven't read them.
 
Ever since I started looking at the data from WarlordFleet builder I have wanted to take a look at Demolisher.  I don’t think there is a named ship card thatis as prevalent in Armada as Demolisher. Nor has a ship struck as much fear into the hearts of its opponents as a Demolisher with first turn initiative and more activations than it needs.  That’s because its broken as hell.  But, that may just be my opinions clouding my judgement again.

No ship hits as hard, moves as fast, all while costing as little as a fully kitted Demolisher. Point for point it’s the best in the game.  Which is exactly why I have hated it, I guess hate is too strong a word… disliked with the utmost intensity. It very well could be that it’s a very well balanced title that is no more popular than anyof the hard hitting titles out there. Turns out no other named ship title even comes close to matching the Empires golden boy.  This statement is not entirely true, the rebels have one title that comes close, but more on that later.

The below are questions that I answered looking at over 60,000 lists built on Nevetz Warlords Fleet Builder.  So huge shout-out to him and go support his awesome work on Patreon.

So how popular is Demolisher and how does it stack up  to the rest of the Empire’s named ships?

Roughly 40% of all empire lists in 2016 included Demolisher.  This isn’t a perfect metric as a lot happened and a lot was released in 2016.  So looking at a time series we see that the popularity of Demolisher has trended down over time to roughly 28% in 2017 year-to-date (YTD).  What surprised me about the numbers is how dominate the top three named titles are. 

 
Taking a grand total of all named titles that were used, Demo represents 25% of them while the top 3 (Demo, Avenger, and Relentless) represent 52% of all named ship titles taken in Empire lists.  The other 12 representing the remaining 48%.  Some of this can be attributed to the general dislike of the ship itself.  IE data shows VSDs are not as popular as other ships, ergo if the ship isn’t that popular to begin with it naturally translates into the unique title cards having a poor showing as well.  I think the title “Warlord” represents this well as I personally think it’s a great title but still not well loved.  The chart also shows that universally everyone pretty much agrees that Devastator is absolute garbage.  Which really is a disappointment given that its Vader’s iconic flagship.
 
Title%20%25.png
 
Moving back on topic and taking a closer lookat how Demolisher trends over time we see its popularity trending down as new waves hit the market.  What’s interesting here is that after the steep drops Demo seems to claw its way back up (Chart below).    It seems as people excitedly get the new wave like the Interdictor and come to the realization that it costs too much for what it does they inevitably go back to what works and more importantly what gives the best chance of winning…trusty Demolisher.  I believe you can support this assertion even further by looking at Smitty’s regional data and seeing how Demolisher has been holding up in the competitive circuit. 
 
To me it’s disheartening to see that despite 3 full waves of new content and all the opinions out there that there are all ofthese new “soft” counters to the imperial poster child the popularity of Demolisher hasn't budged and is significantly higher than the Warlord data set.  Seems all of those new counters to Demos dominance are “soft” indeed.  Bottom line if you want the best chance of winning as the empire… take Demo.  I must caveat this as Wave 5 regionals arestill going on and so the final outcome may change the below chart, although Idoubt it.
 
Smitty.png
 
It’s also worth pointing out that at least from Warlords list building perspective the Correllian Campaign has had the most impact on lowering Demos popularity.  I mainly attribute this to campaigns of 3 imperial players only being allowed to have a single list with the title.  It’s also worth noting that with the decline of Gladiators in general it appears that all of this new stuff is eating away disproportionately at non Demolisher titled Gladiators more than Demo itself as the percentage of Gladiators that are Demo has actually gone up over time, although again Correllian Campaign brings this down for the afore mentioned reason.
 
Demo%20Time%20Series.png
 
In Long Winded Conclusion
 
After all of this Demo bashing I feel I need to extend an olive branch and further explain some of my thoughts and opinions.  Do I think Demolisher is unbeatable?  No I don’t, but I do believe it’s not balanced, hence why it’s so popular. Let’s face it, this is a game where one player wins and the other loses, so how can I expect my opponent to handicap themselves by not taking the best tools at their disposal?  But Demo does not make a list unbeatable nor does it break the game.  I think with enough strategic thinking you can beat any Demo list with a bit of luck (sometimes a lot of luck is needed). 
 
But what I do feel Demolisher does to Armada as a whole and to the detriment of the community and ultimately the profitability of FFG Asmodee is that it suppresses the creativity of players to come up with varying yet equally competitive lists.  This is most apparent on the Imperial side as I feel the rebels enjoy a vastly more balanced selection (although not perfect either) allowing them to create a much more richly diverse competitive meta.  When I play against a rebel list I really have no idea what I’m going to be up against and I love this.  This is something I feel Imperials are grossly lacking.  For me at least there's really only so many times I can play against an imperial list with Demolisher before I start to lose interest in the game and this is bad for business.  I may be the only one that feels this way but I strongly believe there are others out there that think and feel as I do.
 
I don’t hate Demolisher for what its capable of.  I hate it because its holding people back from bringing something new to the table.  But I don’t blame anyone for using it, in fact I expect it to the tune of 40-60% sure based on how competitive the environment/person is.  But I do blame FFG for not addressing it after 3 waves.
 
Having a card that is too powerful is a far more difficult problem for FFG developers to fix than an botched underpowered card.  Understandably FFG won't come out with a "our bad we messed up" statement and ban a certain card from competitive play.  It looks bad and gives the impression that the developers don't know what their doing at worst or didn't bother play testing at best.  From their perspective its much easier to just assume that "Yes we fully intended for a card to be that awesome" and continue the omniscient position that the developers know whats best for the game.
 
Having said that I think there is an easy way to help non competitive cards.  In this article I'm focused on Unique ship titles.  (Side rant... why hasn't FFG come out with non unique ship titles? Super easy fix for crappy non optimally balanced ships)  FFG is sitting on a really easy way to not only help the diversity of the game but to make easy money as well.  FFG should introduce card only expansion packs.
 
By simply issuing a 15-20 card expansion pack for $5 would allow them a very easy and profitable avenue to reissue cards.  Lets look at Devastator for example.  No one uses it.  Why?  Because its overpriced and the ability really isn't that great.  So reissue the Devastator in a card only expansion pack.  Lower the price or tweek the ability to make it more appealing and call the card Devastator 2.0 or alternate or don't change the title at all.  Both cards can remain perfectly tournament legal, you can only field 1 Devastator in a list etc... but now nerds all across the galaxy can breath a sigh of relief that now they can actually field Vader's iconic flagship without handicapping their lists ability to compete.  There is already a precedent for this looking at the two unique vader cards.
 
I really like this idea for a couple reasons.  It doesn't directly impact Demolisher (or other popular names at all), allowing all of the diehard defenders to keep their precious, yet allow the rest of us some more options to choose from.  It also creates another easy product for FFG to profit from.  A win win for all parties involved.
 
Well, hopefully this creates some controversy.  I love reading me some drama.
 
At the beginning of the article I mentioned a rebel ship title that rivals Demo.  Its Bright Hope.  So cheap its an auto include on any transport.  Below is the chart for the Rebels for all of you that are curious.
 
Title%20%25%20Rebel.png
 
 
 
 
 

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I've said that directly nerfing cards like Demolisher is an unlikely solution. Yeah, I'd buy a second chance to get over/underpowered cards right. But it's not really at the level of the Imperial Assault "four-by-four," which is the precedent for an FFG nerf.

The preferred method, as you identify, seems to be the soft counter. Flotillas, Targeting Scramblers, Reinforced Blast Doors, Damage Control Officer, powerful new objectives, and the meta of high activation count all try to punish the GenCon Special all-out rush for the enemy's soft underbelly. It's softened Demolisher's dominance in the competitive scene for sure. But those things haven't been the thing to validate new 

New toys are the answer! We just need something equally attractive, but not compatible. Captain Jonus doesn't quite replace Major Rhymer, but he's cool. Arquitens are all over the tournament scene, for about the price point of Demolisher. Jerjerrod finally gives you a reason to pick something other than Motti, and he manages to undercut him on points too. These aren't going to completely wipe out the Wave 1-2 meta, but they're nice new options and I think they're the right direction. They may continue to develop roles.

What I'd like to see is for Demolisher to remain strong, but for new ships to get boosted up to be great options as well. How about a viable second title for the Gladiator? See the title contest thread for some ideas. How about a viable second TIE Bomber ace, that can also be the fulcrum of a bomber wing while not just making Rhymer better?

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One thing about demolisher is that it still has lots of weaknesses, and even at close range when it can't get away, things like a Neb and a Pelta can overwhelm its defenses.  

But yes, deployed correctly into a flank and with high activation advantage, Demo is pretty good.  

And yes, many of the other titles are huge crap.  And that's what I wish they would buff. 

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My complaint with many of the upgrades is that you're making your ships more expensive to have a soft counter.  Targeting scramblers is a good example.  Great concept with poor execution.  Interdictor with Targeting scramblers is a 100 pt ship... all to have a soft counter to a 90pt ship?

I was hoping that smittys regional data would show the popularity of demo going down because of all these new toys... but its not.  Demo is making as strong of an appearance as ever.

A great counter to a Demo is a Demo of your very own.  

Revamping old titles is just one method.  I'd be game for adding a lot more titles for each ship.  Give a VSD title with the ability to counter attack a ship with the arc that is attacked when attacked at close range.  Probably a bad example but its a thought at least.

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I'm a newbie, I don't yet own a Gladiator, so my input would be lacking if I had any. I just wanted to give you props for your OP, professional and telling are vast understatements. Your Demolisher bashing aside, I think there is a general understanding of your facts. I read a lot on this forum as I am trying to learn the game and I do see a constant underbelly thread of Armada though retorts of Wave IV and now grasping Wave V. This thread completely supports your research: the Empire has a vary limited group of truly competitive commanders, anti-squadron mechanics, and a few ships that languish a bit in comparison to the Rebel line. The Demolisher, obviously,  being one counter to this issue, perhaps too high a counter, that obviously is the go-to due to a lack of other options. Although I am competitive only in the amazingly casual and early Wave scene, I see myself moving into the waters that you have exposed. I'm betting FFG has thought about this weakness and will attempt to issue new commanders that have possibilities for great things while not just being an OP blip on the screen; I think Jerjerrod is one such move in that direction.

 

To explain my novice, I'm currently looking at making a build with my newly acquired ISD, with Wave I and II upgrade cards, haha; Fun!

Edited by clanofwolves

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I dont disagree with you some of what you said but I feel like the issue isnt specifically with Demo its with how limited and viable Imperial builds are compared to Rebels so people tend to gravitate towards it.  My buddy and I weekly test imperial builds to find new ways to build competitive lists are with each wave we usually only come up with 1 list each that we feel are competitive.  Whenever we sit down to build Rebel lists to test against the Imperial lists I cant count how many times we have thrown together a random list for Rebels that has stomped our well thought out and thoroughly tested Imperial lists.  Demo is not an issue in my opinion right now because its a very thin thread that gives the Empire a real threat.  And in my opinion pound for pound an MC-30 loaded up with Admo/Rieekan can not only put our more damage but can survive against just about ship in the game toe to toe including the demo.

I would love to see an evaluation on the comparison of the Rebel commanders vs the Imperial commanders and their roles in competitive builds.  I think the real problem lies in how much more effective and dynamic the Rebel commanders are vs the Imperial ones.  To me that is one of the biggest issues not to mention it always seems like the Rebels fleets are much more cost effective to build.  I think we need to look at the bigger picture and stop focusing on the individual upgrades.  Good and or experienced players can mitigate or negate demo but we cant do anything about how dynamic the rebels are in competitive build construction.

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@Clanofwolves - I'm not convinced JerJer really helps against the Demo rushing in and triple tapping a VSD.  The new commander undoubtably helps one of the main complaints about the VSD but I don't see how it mitigates how fast Demo can move going from outside a VSDs firing arc to being right next to it unloading on it and then the next turn moving at speed 4 to the rear of the target ship and usually on to the next target before the VSD can even respond and thats if it even survives.  Being able to turn sharply in this instance does little to even up the match up between the two ships, especially when considering that a VSD with minimal upgrades costs more.  

 

@Overdawg - Unfortantely I don't have to data to determine which commanders are showing up in competitive play... BUT SMITTY DOES!  I'd encourage you to take a look at his posts.  In a previous post I did look at which commanders where the most popular according to warlord data but admittedly that was some time ago.

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42 minutes ago, PartyPotato said:

@Clanofwolves - I'm not convinced JerJer really helps against the Demo rushing in and triple tapping a VSD.  The new commander undoubtably helps one of the main complaints about the VSD but I don't see how it mitigates how fast Demo can move going from outside a VSDs firing arc to being right next to it unloading on it and then the next turn moving at speed 4 to the rear of the target ship and usually on to the next target before the VSD can even respond and thats if it even survives.  Being able to turn sharply in this instance does little to even up the match up between the two ships, especially when considering that a VSD with minimal upgrades costs more.  

 

@Overdawg - Unfortantely I don't have to data to determine which commanders are showing up in competitive play... BUT SMITTY DOES!  I'd encourage you to take a look at his posts.  In a previous post I did look at which commanders where the most popular according to warlord data but admittedly that was some time ago.

@PartyPotato  I have been playing this game competitively since release and trust me I am well aware of the data.  I was pointing out the issue with commanders not because I dont know the answer but because I know they are not balanced.  I am just too lazy to write up such a well put together post.  :)

One other thing to consider based on SMITTYs data is that if the Demo was so unbalancing why arent Imperial lists dominating the regional tournament circuit.  If you look at the last reported 6 regionals and the top 4 from them you will see that of the 24 lists only 8 were Imperial lists and of those only 4 had Demo and only 1 Imperial list won a regional.

Edited by Overdawg

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@Scooterdawg - Great points.  I agree with you and Smittys supporting data that Demo is definitely not breaking the game.  But it would appear from the most recent regional results that there is an argument to be made that Demo is making players predictable and that in itself can give the opposing side an advantage.

Digging a bit deeper and extrapolating further on the recent regional outcomes.  Could it be that rebels have more tools at their disposal to bring to bear when dealing with a Demolisher?  Combine that with the knowledge that more often then not you will be facing a list with a Demo in it (if empire) allowing you to prepare accordingly.  Demo has been around for a long time and the strategies it uses to be successful really haven't changed while the options available (particularly for the rebels) to deal with it have evolved and improved.  As many have pointed out, bombers, kiting conga lines, and big fish lists all stand as big obstacles to Demos success.

Basically there maybe a bit of a paper rock scissors action going on with list composition. 

Overdawg likes this

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Interesting read and nice to see the graphs. I do think the Demo has been the standout Imperial ship for a number of waves, whereas, like others have said above, the Rebels have tended to have a more balanced array of ships.  

However, I think the Arquitens has and will continue to do a lot to rebalance some of this, only it's perhaps too early to tell.  My latest Imperial CC fleets whitewashed my Rebel counterparts and the best list I had was a Vader led ISD with double Arqs; no Demo in sight.


I would like to see some of the VSD titles improved. They've definitely seen better days, and if I use a VSD I tend to use it naked of a title.

Edited by Jambo75

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Agree with the frustration of the OP about the lack of creative variety for the Imperials. The Vic, Interdictor, and ISD are pizza with different toppings. That leaves the Gozanti (auto-include), Arc10, Raider, and Gladiator. I find I'm gravitating toward Demo or ISD bomber builds most often as I can't really build a list around Raiders (w/o Demo) or Arc10s. Exception being Interdictor, possibly.

However, while I agree that DEMO worsens this lack of diversity by being too good to pass up, it appears to also be the answer to the "Mandatory Triangle" problem. After all, take DEMO away and you're basically guaranteed to face an ISD every single game, which might also be annoying to always play against (as a Rebel) or have to always build a list around (as an Imperial). On the flip side, as an Imperial player, complaining about always having to fly an ISD is a little like complaining about having to always drive your father's tank to school.

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well I just found out about this thread (Thx Gink)

Nicely done research. It proves what everyone has been thinking for a while: Imps need love not just in terms of commanders, but in terms of good titles as well. And, I think we see Demo very often because it's one of the few good titles. Yeah it's borderline OP, but if all the other options are bad, why go with something else? At least Rebels have options: Yavaris, Salvation, Home One, Deliverance, Paragon, DD's Pride, Jaina's light, are all good but not too costly titles (or they're priced just right). That's why you don't see the same title over and over again.

 

I'm completely for the idea of a card pack that fixes everything armada related (point cost, effect, etc).

I just doubt FFG has the guts to admit to so many mistakes...

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Great research, though i don't share as strong anti demo views and never found it problematic (mainly because i always play about 134 points of squadrons in tournies), I think the graph showing the decline of demo in lists overall will keep everyone happy.

Demo has really dropped off and can no longer really be used in it's most powerful way. The tripple tap. It blows my mind that people complain about floatillas without thinking about the effect MSU has on counting demo. The sheer diversity of matchups compared to Wave 2 means that DeMSU is nowhere near as consistent as it used to be. To use Demos they are slowrolled because poking one out is a sure way to get it killed.

As for titles strongly dissagree:

Goz: Vector/Suppressor are both good

Raider: Instigator/Impetuous " " "

Arquitens: Hand of Justice is good, Centicore obviously not as useful but ok

Demo: Demolisher is staple, Insidious is not really played anymore

VSD: Corruptor is fine use it in tourney winning lists, Warlord as well, Dominator is pretty bad...

Interdictor: Interdictor is good, x2 ECM, x2 Targeting Scrambler etc...etc..

ISD: Avenger is good/Relentless is good, Devestator is much the same as Dominator though better

I've had most of these in winning lists, Corruptor, Warlord, both Raider titles, both Goz titles. I think the issue is the ships and people flying them/not flying them to be blunt.

Of course the titles are under-represented if nobody likes and always complains about playing Raiders/Interdictors/VSDs. With the exception of Dominator/Devestator every other title is well costed and or perfectly playable. Tua/DF makes things like Supressor/Slicer, Warlord, Instigator way more resiliant. Besides the two +dice titles I'd be suprised if you could muster any decent argument against any other title.

Edited by Trizzo2

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