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Budgernaut

Lethal Berserkers

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I was just thinking about the Lethal keyword and how if you could stack enough of it, you could guarantee wounds to the target even if you blanked out on your dice. It got me wondering just how much we can stack it up. So far, Uthuk sources of Lethal include:

  • Bersekers unit ability -- suffer 1 wound to receive Lethal 1 up to two times per melee attack
  • Serrated Spines (Equipment, 4 points) -- gain Lethal [stable energy]
  • Bloodrage Conduit (Heraldry, 4 points) -- exhaust X Bloodrage Conduits to add Lethal X to your attack

Well, it just so happens that a 2x1 Berserkers unit can take one Heraldry upgrade and one Equipment upgrade. With that, we've got a 24-point unit that can really put the hurt on. Let's say you put 4 of these in an army for just under 100 points. You could theoretically max out at Lethal 8! That's Lethal 2 from the Berserkers, Lethal 2 from Serrated Spines (if two stable runes are showing), and Lethal 4 from exhausting all Bloodrage Conduits. That's enough to one-shot a Rune Golem before you even roll the dice!

Now, this setup does have some problems. First is that you could "waste" your Lethal if you end up rolling hot. Since abilities preceded by a melee attack icon happen when you perform a melee attack, it seems you must choose to use the ability before rolling dice.

Another problem is that half of your list is contained in very small units that are easy to wipe out. If the Berserkers use their ability all the time, they will die that much faster. Plus, you need to ready the Bloodrage Conduits to keep up the damage. On the plus side, if the units die fast, the remaining ones get their Bloodrage Conduits ready faster.

And, of course, we need to talk about cost. This half of your army may require 4 boxes of Berserkers and 4 boxes of Spined Threshers. I say "may" because it's possible we get two Serrated Spines in the Spined Threshers box, but I'm betting the facedown equipment in the Spined Threshers spread is a Wind Rune or Fire Rune.

Perhaps playing with larger units, like 2x2, would be a better way to go, but I kind of like the idea that you can use Lethal Berserkers for half your list and still have 104 points to to try a completely different strategy with your remaining units. If you did go with larger units, you could get three 2x2s for 105 points. 

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Analyzing loadouts seems like a fine job for the tactics forum! The Bloodrage Conduit does straddle things a little though.

So I clearly do not understand the timing on the Berserkers' ability. You are correct that it triggers when making an attack, and when is defined as occurring at the moment the specified event occurs, but that's tough because an attack has so many steps. The best interpretation I can think of is right as you announce it? But that creates some strange possibilities. For starters, we don't have the full wording of the Lethal keyword, but right now the only time you actually do damage is during step nine of an attack. If, during step three, there are no dice to roll, the attack is cancelled, so by this timing you could add damage to the "damage pool" only to have the attack cancelled before getting an opportunity to assign that damage? In fact there is no point at which the rules allow you to spend damage in the "damage pool", and depending on the wording it might in theory be in a separate bundle than damage from hits, meaning it wouldn't interact well with Defense. I very much expect this not to be the case, but it's finnicky. Hopefully the expansions that introduce Lethal tell us more.

I'd love to hear more insight on the timing side of things.

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I, too, would like to know more about the timing of these things. When I first began conceiving this idea, I was very excited because I thought that the timing would allow you to roll the dice before choosing whether to use these abilities or not. As I wrote out the timing to justify my interpretation, I found that things weren't written as intended, so I had to scrap that part of my post. I'll go ahead and dive into a little now, but I hope that the main point of the post -- stacking the Lethal keyword -- will not get lost in the rules discussion.

All three of these abilities begin with the melee attack symbol.

1.1 " If a unit’s ability is preceded by a melee ( ? ) icon, it can use that ability when performing a melee attack ( ? ) action."

83.5 "A “when” effect occurs at the moment that a specified event occurs and cannot occur again during that instance of the event."

83.6 "A "while" effect is in effect for the entire duration of the specified event."

So we see that 1.1 uses the word "when," but does that make it a "when effect?" Later in section 1, we read, 

1.3 (first bullet) "Abilities preceded by a surge ( ? ) icon are associated with either a melee ( ? ) or ranged ( ? ) icon. To use such an ability, a unit must spend the appropriate number of surges while performing the corresponding attack action." [emphasis added]

There appears to be a conscious distinction between "when" and "while" in the rules about Abilities, which makes me think that 83.5 does apply to 1.1. To counter that, 1.3 uses "while" but 83.3 says that surges can only be spent during the "spend surges" step, which is contrary to how I would interpret "while performing the ... attack action."

But as you say, @Bhelliom, that creates some strange interactions. If you can roll dice before choosing to use these abilities, it will make them that much more powerful because you won't be suffering wounds and exhausting cards for unnecessary excess damage.

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1 hour ago, Budgernaut said:

But as you say, @Bhelliom, that creates some strange interactions. If you can roll dice before choosing to use these abilities, it will make them that much more powerful because you won't be suffering wounds and exhausting cards for unnecessary excess damage.

Interesting. I always assumed you'd roll dice first, factor in threat, then add Lethal damage. I wonder if there was an article that gave me that impression. I just don't think it makes sense that you have to decide before seeing how much damage is done. It makes it a very costly ability because you could take damage for no reason, meanwhile Reanimates get figures back for no reason. Kind of lopsided, if you ask me.

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Looking at the timing section, you see that abilities that change the number of dice happen during the "Roll Dice" step. This apparently clarifies the section on blight that states you spend the token "when performing an attack." So "when" is either misleading, or these are not "when" effects.

If you keep reading in the timing section, you see that abilities that add dice icons or modify dice happen in the "Modify Dice" step, while surge effects are resolved during the "Spend Surges" step. By this logic, effects that add damage to the damage pool should happen during the non-existent "Damage Pool" step.

If I were revising the rules, I would have players spend hits to add damage to the damage pool in step 9, rather than having them spend hits to cause the defender to suffer damage. At the end of step 9, the defender would suffer damage equal to the amount in the damage pool. So abilities like Lethal and Protected would resolve during this step of combat.

It'll be interesting to see if this is how it ends up working.

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I don't understand how you have lethal 4 from blood rage conduit.  You have 4 blood rage conduits?

oh an threat doesn't multiple lethal right? Only hits.

lethal is added on after hits to modify your total damage

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5 minutes ago, Ywingscum said:

I don't understand how you have lethal 4 from blood rage conduit.  You have 4 blood rage conduits?

oh an threat doesn't multiply lethal right? Only hits.

lethal is added on after hits to modify your total damage

Correct. You have 4 Berserkers, each with Serrated Spines and Bloodrage Conduit. When one Berserkers unit attacks, you exhaust all copies of Bloodrage Conduit in your army. Since I have 4 Berserkers with Bloodrage Conduit, I can get Lethal 4 from that upgrade on the first attack. You could get more by going with 8 of these 2x1 Berserkers, but I'm not sure how such a one-trick army would do. Maybe it would be awesome.

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On ‎7‎/‎28‎/‎2017 at 8:22 AM, Budgernaut said:

Correct. You have 4 Berserkers, each with Serrated Spines and Bloodrage Conduit. When one Berserkers unit attacks, you exhaust all copies of Bloodrage Conduit in your army. Since I have 4 Berserkers with Bloodrage Conduit, I can get Lethal 4 from that upgrade on the first attack. You could get more by going with 8 of these 2x1 Berserkers, but I'm not sure how such a one-trick army would do. Maybe it would be awesome.

8 bloodrage conduits with 8 2X1 berserker units.....  lol I think it would be aweful but now I have to try it at least once.

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From the Latari Box: During the "spend hits" step of an attack, the attacker spends hit icons to cause the defender to suffer damage. Before the defender suffers that damage, it is added to a damage pool. Some game effects, like the "lethal" and "protected" keywords, can modify damage in the damage pool before it is assigned to the defender.

  • If both the attacker and defender have effects that can modify the damage pool, the attacker resolves his effects first.
  • The damage pool only exists in the "spend hits" step of an attack.

So it ends up working very sensibly and within the rules framework. Unfortunately, as written, it seems you need to use the Berserkers' ability before rolling dice. Now a distinction I hadn't thought of is that using their ability only gives them the lethal keyword, it does not directly add results to the damage pool. That happens later, when the lethal keyword takes effect in step nine (since it is a while effect).

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On ‎8‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 1:15 PM, Bhelliom said:

From the Latari Box: During the "spend hits" step of an attack, the attacker spends hit icons to cause the defender to suffer damage. Before the defender suffers that damage, it is added to a damage pool. Some game effects, like the "lethal" and "protected" keywords, can modify damage in the damage pool before it is assigned to the defender.

  • If both the attacker and defender have effects that can modify the damage pool, the attacker resolves his effects first.
  • The damage pool only exists in the "spend hits" step of an attack.

So it ends up working very sensibly and within the rules framework. Unfortunately, as written, it seems you need to use the Berserkers' ability before rolling dice. Now a distinction I hadn't thought of is that using their ability only gives them the lethal keyword, it does not directly add results to the damage pool. That happens later, when the lethal keyword takes effect in step nine (since it is a while effect).

I guess to me it doesn't seem that this implies you have to do it before you roll dice. In fact it seems to be the opposite.

To me the ability adds to lethal which adds to the damage pool and the damage pool only exists in spend hits; so , you choose to do the ability at the spend hits section because that's the only time that you can add to the damage pool.

Lethal adds to the damage pool and it doesn't hold and wait, it specifically says "the damage pool only exists in the 'spend hits' step of an attack." And lethal only adds to the damage pool so therefore lethal can only be created in the spend hits section.

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Yes, but you can gain the Lethal keyword even if it's not active. The way the rules are worded, you pay the cost by suffering wounds and gain the Lethal keyword at the start of your attack. Once you have the keyword, its effects apply to the spend hits stepof combat, as you suggest. It's just like a cavalry unit with Impact - it always has the keyword, even though the effect does not happen unless you collide with someone.

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Berserkers say: "You may suffer 1 wound to gain Lethal 1 for this [attack]. Limit twice per [attack]."

I don't know that it necessarily says when you do this, so for me it says for this attack, so I think you can do it at any point during the attack phase. It doesn't say at the beginning of anything.

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I'm just going to copy paste my two posts on this subject from the rules forum, supporting what seems, to me, to be a clear cut case of RAW supporting the Berserker ability being triggered at any point during an attack:

 

Quote

The phrase is "when performing an attack". Under RR-10 "Attack" it reads: "To perform an attack, the unit resolves the following steps in order". Each and every one of these steps is a trigger for "When performing an attack". When I choose my attack profile I am performing my attack, when I roll my dice I am performing my attack, when I modify my dice I am performing my attack, etc, etc.

"When performing an attack" is literally at any step of the attack, and this meshes perfectly with all pertinent entries in the RRG. Obviously there are some steps that make sense to trigger an ability during and some steps that don't.

For Berserkers, you would go ahead and wait until AFTER the dice pool is rolled and Hits spent to generate the Damage Pool (Step 9), at which point you would sacrifice 1-2 models, gain Lethal 1-2, and add that to the Damage Pool.

Quote

I am absolutely 100% using the RRG definition of the word "When"

A "when" effect occurs at the moment that a specified event occurs and cannot occur again during that instance of the event.

The event in question is "Performing an attack". Not rolling dice, not declaring a target, not modifying dice.

"Performing an attack" involves executing each and every step covered under RR-10, and each and every step of performing that attack is a legal trigger for the Berserker ability.

EVERYTHING that happens over the course of the attack, each and every step, falls under the umbrella of one single event, that event being "Performing an attack."

 

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5 minutes ago, Budgernaut said:

I think that is the intention, too, but it isn't clear at all.

Agree, I don't agree with Tvay's interpretation (he is blending plain language and defined terms in my eye), but do not think FFG intends us to game outcomes.

Edited by Darthain

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3 minutes ago, Darthain said:

Agree, I don't agree with Tvay's interpretation (he is blending plain language and defined terms in my eye), but do not think FFG intends us to game outcomes.

Specifically which plain language terms and defined terms am I blending?

It would be one thing if the phrase "perform an attack" were erroneous but this language is both on the card itself and used under the primary rule heading for Attack.

Since both "when" and "performing an attack" are clearly defined and delineated, I don't see the discrepancy.

Is it as clear as could be? Probably not. Is it functional? Sure.

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13 minutes ago, Tvayumat said:

Specifically which plain language terms and defined terms am I blending?

It would be one thing if the phrase "perform an attack" were erroneous but this language is both on the card itself and used under the primary rule heading for Attack.

Since both "when" and "performing an attack" are clearly defined and delineated, I don't see the discrepancy.

Is it as clear as could be? Probably not. Is it functional? Sure.

When is a defined term under 83.5, and the default keyword for timing.  The defined wording of when tends to imply use at onset. Which is nonsensical.  It is the moment the event occurs (start point, I would interpret) not any point during the event.  

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I would say when vague err on the side of generality... If they don't specifically say at the beginning of the attack part, then it can be interpreted at any time. It says for this attack, nothing more. This attack has multiple stages. I actually don't see the confusion anymore the more I think about it. It is at any time during the attack.

17 hours ago, Darthain said:

When is a defined term under 83.5, and the default keyword for timing.  The defined wording of when tends to imply use at onset. Which is nonsensical.  It is the moment the event occurs (start point, I would interpret) not any point during the event.  

the card doesn't say when...

 

On ‎10‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 9:58 AM, Curlycross said:

Berserkers say: "You may suffer 1 wound to gain Lethal 1 for this [attack]. Limit twice per [attack]."

No where does it say when.

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9 minutes ago, Curlycross said:

I would say when vague err on the side of generality... If they don't specifically say at the beginning of the attack part, then it can be interpreted at any time. It says for this attack, nothing more. This attack has multiple stages. I actually don't see the confusion anymore the more I think about it. It is at any time during the attack.

the card doesn't say when...

 

No where does it say when.

If a melee/ranged symbol is used, and no keyword, it is when.

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11 minutes ago, Darthain said:

If a melee/ranged symbol is used, and no keyword, it is when.

where does it say that? Not doubting, just don't remember seeing that.

Edited by Curlycross

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Aah I see. I reread Budgernaut's post above that has rule clarifications and now I can kind of see the conundrum. I guess I can see that it could be considered in question, but I don't think it is enough to say for sure. As I said before it's so vague, I'd rather err on the side of generality than specificity.

Edited by Curlycross

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