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PartyPotato

Potato Wisdom - Was the Rhymer Nerf too harsh?

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Watching the forums for some time and there has been a question that comes up on a regular basis that I want to weigh in on. 

That is…

“Was Major Rhymer nerfed too hard?”

For those of you that want the short answer.  No.  No he was not.  I think he was nerfed just the right amount.  Here’s my argument for why.

 

 

I don’t think it was ever really argued against that Rhymer may have been a touch too strong.  There has been endless discourse and debate on how to best utilize and defend against Major Rhymer.  In the beginning when constructing a list it was considered good advice that you had to ask of your list how can this combat Demolisher and Major Rhymer?  Sadly, sometimes the answer was bringing a Major Rhymer of your very own!

 

Opinions abounded as to how to correct the Rhymer problem and if it even needed correcting.  Do you leave him be and introduce other powerful options or do you bring out the “Lucille” and pull a Negan on Major Rhymer?

 

Looking at the popularity of the good Major shows that FFG probably did both.  I’ll even give them the benefit of the doubt and say they did it intentionally.

 

Looking at the data shows how popular Rhymer was from the very beginning.  The chart shows the percentage of Imperial lists with squadrons that included Major Rhymer over time.  Rhymer's popularity has always been strong reaching a high of 45% in mid 2016.

Rhymer1.png

But what I found interesting was that he was already on the decline before the nerf bat dropped.  Where people just losing interest?  From the end of 2015 through October 2016 Rhymer inclusion was range bound around 40% of lists with squadrons.  Then Maarek Steele happened.  Had a better option arrived?  Well maybe not “better” but at least a strong alternative that didn’t require the Major to be successful.  The below chart seems to show a pretty strong correlation of Maarek steeleing (see what I did there?) some of Rhymers spot light.  Maarek isn’t the only guilty party.  Popularity of older squadrons naturally drop with every release of new squadron content, but Maarek was certainly the most pronounced and worth mentioning.

Then the Bat fell and brought Rhymer from 25% to ~9% where he has hovered ever since.

 

Rhymer2.png

 

Now bringing a squadron from 45% all the way down to 9% is overly harsh.  FFG has gone too far!  At this point I’d like to hold a moment of silence for the red headed step child of the Imperial squadrons…

YV666.png

 

So that may not be the most fair.  YV-666 have been awful since their release and the masses only hate them more as time marches on.

 

What about the most popular squadron?  Compared to the Tie Fighter the decline of the Major seems pretty bad.  As a side note.  I believe it’s a huge win for the game that the Tie Fighter has held in as well as it has.  Although, It’s pretty clear that FFG has made it a priority with Admiral Sloane and other upgrades/synergies to keep the humble Tie Fighter relevant in an ever evolving meta.  I kept the YV-666 on there just so no matter how bad it gets at least its not “that” bad.   I found myself wondering if any squadron should be as popular as the generic Tie Fighter?  The Tie fighter is dirt cheap, iconic, thematic, and pretty good for its low price when synergized with Sloane etc.  But there was even a period of time when Major Rhymer was more popular than the Tie Fighter.  So if it should be less popular than the Tie Fighter, but more popular than the YV-666 then whats the right number?

 

Rhymer3.png

 

In conclusion, I believe this last chart is the most compelling.  What has been the median % of popularity across all Imperial Squadrons?  It’s ~9%, putting the Major right smack dab in the middle of the pack.  Half are more popular while half are less popular.  From that perspective it seems like a pretty balanced squadron to me.

Rhymer4.png

 

It’s also worth noting that the Median number comes down naturally with the release of every new wave of squadron options.  Naturally, the introduction of more options reduces the popularity of the older squadrons. 

In the current meta it’s a worthy question to ask why any squadron is well above or well below that median line.  Its also a valid point that just because something is popular doesn't mean its in need of scrutiny or the "Lucille" treatment.  But I'd argue its a pretty strong indication.

 

As always, feel free to put me on blast as to why I’m wrong.

‘Til next time.  Happy Gaming.

Party-Potato

 

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I think your forgetting that Maarek with Jendon and Sloan is a very strong combo against ships you want to strip the brace on.  That is one reason for Maareks rise to popularity.  I see why they nerfed Rhymer and I agree with it.  He still has his uses but its more niche now instead of OMG

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19 minutes ago, ripper998 said:

I think your forgetting that Maarek with Jendon and Sloan is a very strong combo against ships you want to strip the brace on.  That is one reason for Maareks rise to popularity.  I see why they nerfed Rhymer and I agree with it.  He still has his uses but its more niche now instead of OMG

To clarify I included Maarek as an example of how other powerful options had began to displace Rhymer before the nerf.  So not Maarek in isolation.  There were numerous factors but Maarek was a good proxy to illustrate it.

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I thought rhymer was unbalanced since the start. From fighter range 1 too ship medium range? And all bombers within 1?

Sure it's one squadron but, with escort and intel he was very hard to take down and he allowed bombers too shoot past fighter screens that made said screen pointless.

Now he is balanced. Not great and not bad, wich of course means unplayable for alot of people... But that's their problem.

Demolisher is a bit too good as well, but I can handle just demo or just rhymer. Pre nerf rhymer ball + demo and pre nerf rieekan made me think of quitting armada since that was 90% of the lists I faced.

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12 minutes ago, PartyPotato said:

To clarify I included Maarek as an example of how other powerful options had began to displace Rhymer before the nerf.  So not Maarek in isolation.  There were numerous factors but Maarek was a good proxy to illustrate it.

But just image what would have happend when Rhymer was not nerfed.
Stele + Jendon + Sloane + Rhymer (not nerfed). 

The nerf was necessary. With so many good squadron boosts, he would have been way to good. 
It was already insane enough to attack with Stele on medium range. A range most ships could not even attack back. They (Stele + Rhymer) created a death area for ships that was way to big.

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Order of precedence of imperial squads...

1 Marek jendon (first 41). Always unless you are just being stupid/cute

2 Saber (53)

3 or 4Valen (66)

4 or 3 Ciena (83)

Dengar (?) (103)

At this point (after already locking in 6 / 103 points of squads) then you are forced to choose between the equally terrible and unviable options of

Double shuttle (133)

Or

Mithel (108) 

Howlrunner (123) or

Bossk (131 with mithel no howlrunnerer)

Unnerf rhymer and he just slots into number 8 to make the above even more completely stupid.

At no point do you even consider generics over aces

Yes the imperial squad complement is in a seriously unplayable position.

Mithel is the 7th pick for gods sake.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Ophion said:

Order of precedence of imperial squads...

1 Marek jendon (first 41). Always unless you are just being stupid/cute

2 Saber (53)

3 or 4Valen (66)

4 or 3 Ciena (83)

Dengar (?) (103)

At this point (after already locking in 6 / 103 points of squads) then you are forced to choose between the equally terrible and unviable options of

Double shuttle (133)

Or

Mithel (108) 

Howlrunner (123) or

Bossk (131 with mithel no howlrunnerer)

Unnerf rhymer and he just slots into number 8 to make the above even more completely stupid.

At no point do you even consider generics over aces

Yes the imperial squad complement is in a seriously unplayable position.

Mithel is the 7th pick for gods sake.

 

 

I mean, sure... you’re throwing a lot of dice at medium range with Rhymer in that instance....

 

....

but almost all of them are single damage capped 50/50 blues...

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I still think his ability should have been restricted to bombers. We dont see many tie bombers or firesprays these days. Both could use some love, and none of them would be op with sloane. But with the promo card out with the new wording, I doubt theyll touch him anytime soon.

 

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@CaribbeanNinja  Definitely a correlation with Rhymer and the Tie Bomber declining in tandem.  Not as severe, but definitely still there.  Also interesting is the decline of the Tie Advance is very pronounced.  I'm figuring out the best way to slice out 34 squadrons on a chart to show everything with out an overload of lines.

So more Imperial goodness coming next week!  Then I'll switch focus to Rebels.

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If the point of the nerf was to remove him from play, then no the nerf did not go to far.

I'm of the opinion personally, when you nerf a card it should still be desirable, otherwise you may as well just remove it from the game.

So as I originally stated, best change would have been to limit him to Tie bomber only, still good in situation, but removes completely all the shenanigans that would have been going if they had left him as was.  

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13 hours ago, Coldhands said:

I still think his ability should have been restricted to bombers. We dont see many tie bombers or firesprays these days. Both could use some love, and none of them would be op with sloane. But with the promo card out with the new wording, I doubt theyll touch him anytime soon.

 

Eh...I disagree.  TIE Defenders are 'bombers', and work reasonably well with Sloane.  TIE Defenders + Rhymer + Sloane would be...problematic.  FWIW, I liked the 'only works with Heavy keyword fighters', although as others have noted that provides an odd interaction with enemy 'Intel' units.  Not sure that's a problem, per se?  But it's definitely odd.

I suppose you could just say, outright, 'only works with TIE Bombers'.  Or, as suggested, 'only works with black dice' - that pretty conclusively guarantees there is no possible (meaningful, anyway) Sloane interaction.

FWIW, I think most folks read the Rhymer nerf not as necessarily indicating FFG thought Rhymer was too powerful as he was, but rather saw the Rhymer + Sloane + something combos and realized that it would break the game...then, given how prevalent he was...hit him with the nerf bat.  Too hard, I suspect.  But keeping that troublesome Sloane interaction out of the picture had some better options than what they did do.

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1 hour ago, TheEasternKing said:

If the point of the nerf was to remove him from play, then no the nerf did not go to far.

I'm of the opinion personally, when you nerf a card it should still be desirable, otherwise you may as well just remove it from the game.

So as I originally stated, best change would have been to limit him to Tie bomber only, still good in situation, but removes completely all the shenanigans that would have been going if they had left him as was.  

 I think there's a bit of Major Rhymer is nowhere near the "auto include" that he was before.  Ergo, he was nerfed to hard.  But the numbers still show that people out there still like him and use him.  They actually include him in their list more than half of all the other squadrons out there.  I just think now he requires more thought and skill to use.  Which I feel is a good thing, but obviously everyone will have different feelings on the matter.

I think its an interesting exercise to wonder what peoples opinion of Rhymer, as he is now, would be if they had no prior knowledge of how he was.  Impossible to answer, but fun to think about none the less.

Edit*

Here's an analogy to illustrate my point.

If I'd given you $10 you'd generally speaking be pretty happy.  But what if I had given you $100 and then changed my mind and pulled that $100 bill out of your hand and replaced it with a $10.  Psychologically speaking you'd be more upset about not being able to keep the $100 instead of the reality that you still have $10.

 

Edited by PartyPotato

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51 minutes ago, PartyPotato said:

 I think there's a bit of Major Rhymer is nowhere near the "auto include" that he was before.  Ergo, he was nerfed to hard.  But the numbers still show that people out there still like him and use him.  They actually include him in their list more than half of all the other squadrons out there.  I just think now he requires more thought and skill to use.  Which I feel is a good thing, but obviously everyone will have different feelings on the matter.

I think its an interesting exercise to wonder what peoples opinion of Rhymer, as he is now, would be if they had no prior knowledge of how he was.  Impossible to answer, but fun to think about none the less.

Edit*

Here's an analogy to illustrate my point.

If I'd given you $10 you'd generally speaking be pretty happy.  But what if I had given you $100 and then changed my mind and pulled that $100 bill out of your hand and replaced it with a $10.  Psychologically speaking you'd be more upset about not being able to keep the $100 instead of the reality that you still have $10.

 

How many of those lists are made by people who don't know about the nerf? It's kinda hard to judge THAT and potentially very crucial to know.

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18 minutes ago, geek19 said:

How many of those lists are made by people who don't know about the nerf? It's kinda hard to judge THAT and potentially very crucial to know.

Definitely hard to judge and impossible to determine with exactness.  But the volume of lists combined with the actual drop in popularity seems to point to most list builders knowing about the nerf.

Number of Imperial lists with squadrons created post nerf was ~18,000.  Of those lists roughly 9% of them included Rhymer.  If you assume that only people who don't know about the nerf are the only ones building lists with Rhymer then you could infer that as these people learn of the nerf they would stop building lists with the Major.  So over time post nerf his popularity would continue to decline.  But that's not what the numbers are showing.  The charts show a nerf leading to a drop and then he holds constant at 9%.

The counter to this is not everyone builds a list to be competitive at worlds... while true even casual gamers like to win and have a tendency to use what they feel will help them win.

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1 hour ago, PartyPotato said:

Definitely hard to judge and impossible to determine with exactness.  But the volume of lists combined with the actual drop in popularity seems to point to most list builders knowing about the nerf.

Number of Imperial lists with squadrons created post nerf was ~18,000.  Of those lists roughly 9% of them included Rhymer.  If you assume that only people who don't know about the nerf are the only ones building lists with Rhymer then you could infer that as these people learn of the nerf they would stop building lists with the Major.  So over time post nerf his popularity would continue to decline.  But that's not what the numbers are showing.  The charts show a nerf leading to a drop and then he holds constant at 9%.

The counter to this is not everyone builds a list to be competitive at worlds... while true even casual gamers like to win and have a tendency to use what they feel will help them win.

No that's fair.  Thank you for the analysis and answering my question.

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7 hours ago, xanderf said:

Eh...I disagree.  TIE Defenders are 'bombers', and work reasonably well with Sloane.  TIE Defenders + Rhymer + Sloane would be...problematic.  FWIW, I liked the 'only works with Heavy keyword fighters', although as others have noted that provides an odd interaction with enemy 'Intel' units.  Not sure that's a problem, per se?  But it's definitely odd.

I suppose you could just say, outright, 'only works with TIE Bombers'.  Or, as suggested, 'only works with black dice' - that pretty conclusively guarantees there is no possible (meaningful, anyway) Sloane interaction.

FWIW, I think most folks read the Rhymer nerf not as necessarily indicating FFG thought Rhymer was too powerful as he was, but rather saw the Rhymer + Sloane + something combos and realized that it would break the game...then, given how prevalent he was...hit him with the nerf bat.  Too hard, I suspect.  But keeping that troublesome Sloane interaction out of the picture had some better options than what they did do.

I see what you mean with the defenders, exhausting might worth it instead of dealing an extra damage (backed up by a bcc). Considering this, lets just limit it to black die then? Would affect bombers, advanced(they could use some love) and aggressors(have you seen any at tourneys?), and few aces(no gamebrakers(Gar Saxxon seems strong, 75% to succesfully assault, but raid tokens aren't op even a bit). This solution would leave Sloane out of question, yet leaves some space in the future as well.

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10 hours ago, PartyPotato said:

 I think there's a bit of Major Rhymer is nowhere near the "auto include" that he was before.  Ergo, he was nerfed to hard.  But the numbers still show that people out there still like him and use him.  They actually include him in their list more than half of all the other squadrons out there.  I just think now he requires more thought and skill to use.  Which I feel is a good thing, but obviously everyone will have different feelings on the matter.

I think its an interesting exercise to wonder what peoples opinion of Rhymer, as he is now, would be if they had no prior knowledge of how he was.  Impossible to answer, but fun to think about none the less.

Edit*

Here's an analogy to illustrate my point.

If I'd given you $10 you'd generally speaking be pretty happy.  But what if I had given you $100 and then changed my mind and pulled that $100 bill out of your hand and replaced it with a $10.  Psychologically speaking you'd be more upset about not being able to keep the $100 instead of the reality that you still have $10.

 

I'm not sure thought and skill come in to it, one of the main gains from Rhymer was the escape of Black battery AA dice, PDR and QLT, now no amount of skill on your part allows you to negate the effects of such upgrades.

The distance gained from new Rhymer is the width of a squadron base, which makes his ability underwhelming to say the least, I cannot see myself ever using him again, I know I haven't so far. As ability's go for Imperial Aces Rhymer has to be close to the bottom of the list for excitement,  force projection / multiplier.

I have a question for you : How many people still taking Rhymer in lists are doing so because he only costs 6 more points, gets double brace and meets criteria for cards such as precision strike and nothing at all to do with his ability and its ability to shape strategy and tactics, I mean you should have the data for Precision Strike...how many Rhymer lists have Precision Strike as its red objective?

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With Sloan from wave 6 and the ability for speed 5 fire sprays from wave 5 the nerf was needed.  Just think Rhymer boba Fett and up to three more firesprays (corruptor with expanded hanger bays and a squadron token) shooting at medium range with movement speed five is 7 blue and 2 back in one round which is more potential damage then most capital ships.  If we go Sloan dropping defense tokens from range.

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