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MasterShake2

First Annual State of the Meta Address

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The objective of this is pretty straightforward:  A thought experiment for myself to current options vs. known upcoming options to assess the relative value of elements in the game a theorize on potential changes over time.

 

For that, though, first we need to look at a few key things-

 

General Lack of Player Experience-  This is very likely wildly throwing off player's assessment of various factors and is probably the cause of at least some of the more disparate assessments of value.  As this changes over time, the general player consensus will likely settle into something more consistent.  A major extension of this is that most players have very little idea how to set up a board.  I've seen a lot of local players (and a lot of players in battle reports) that basically have giant "no man's land" sections of the table with no terrain and barricades on either side.  While this hands a small advantage to Imperial players as they currently have access to more long range options, it also removes mobility from the table to the point where both armies just hunker in their trenches tossing rocks until one side runs out of rocks.  Something I've recommended to everyone and that's resulted in more dynamic games is to place at least 2 line of sight blocking terrain features along the center line of the table and making barricades more than range 1 from the DZs so that a single move action won't generally get your troopers in base contact.  Some good OP guidelines in terms of terrain setup will help, but what will do a far better job of driving less static terrain setups will be the alternate corps, Snowtroopers and Fleet Troopers.  Both of them are capable of considerable damage up close, so their release will give at least some incentive to any army that uses them to have at least something to break up the middle of the table and facilitate movement. 

 

Armor-  It's quite possible that the Armor keyword is at the worst it will ever be right now.  It's hard to say for certain, but let's break it down.  Every heavy weapon that your corps can equip either has at least Impact 1 or produces such a high dice volume that's it's likely to hard roll a crit, meaning any squad with a heavy weapon, regardless of type, can reliably hurt things with the Armor keyword.  The Commanders both have melee attacks that have both solid impact and pierce numbers allowing them to cripple AT-RTs in single swings or pose a serious threat to an AT-ST.  The T-47 is fairly resistant just because of Immune to Melee, but can still lose a wound to two to an angry saber throw.  What about the Support?  Well, the Speeder Bikes have Impact 1 each, combined with 6 dice, they should average 2.75 crits a shot with an average of 2 crits punching through per shot.  The AT-RT has access to the long range impact 3 laser, but also has the Rotary Cannon with surges to crits that still gives it a decent chance of rolling into multiple crits.  Then you have the heavy support, both of which have 6 dice attacks with Impact 3.  It's hard out here for some Armor.  Then again, looking forward, The Fleet Troopers can still fish for crits with a lot of dice if they get at close range, but the Snowtroopers are next to useless against Armor, Leia, Han and Veers just have to fish for their surges to crits (but even with 3 dice, they only average .75 crits a shot), Veers has a once per game shot that's will average about 2 damage to a vehicle and we haven't really seen any crazy good anti-armor for the Commandos (or even passable anti-armor).  Pretty much everything on the release schedule is resolute "meh" in dealing with Armor, so as these elements become more common and dilute the incidental anti-Armor of the initial wave, the keyword is likely to become more valuable.

 

Cover- As of right now, options to ignore cover are borderline non-existant.  We have concussion grenades, the AT-RT Flamethrower and the At-ST grenade launcher.  Only 1 of those breaks range 1 and even then only hits range 2 and, to top it off, many of them are options that are rarely even taken.  Cover is, mostly absolute right now outside of melee attacks.  Looking ahead, though, that changes drastically.  All 3 commanders spoiled has Sharpshooter (at least 1 with Leia having 2), both corps choices have a weapon with the Blast Keyword (Fleet Trooper Grenade Launcher even appears to have Range 3 and the Snowtroopers have a flamethrower) and the Commandos also have Sharpshooter.  This is a massive change from the core wave with cover 1 being casually ignorable, sometimes even at long ranges.  This seems like a move that will also help to facilitate more movement and LoS blocking terrain as, when they ignore the barricade or most of it anyways, you might as well throw a building in the way.

 

Vehicles-  This subtype is massively uoverrepresented right now.  Basically your only non-vehicle options are the corps that you have to take and the commander that you also have to take.  If you don't want an army that's just a commander and 6 corps (and even then, that's pretty light on points in Rebels), you have to take a vehicle even if it's just something like a Speeder Bike unit or 2.  Rebels basically have to take a vehicle with the Armor keyword just to make points whether it's AT-RTs or T-47s.  In short, this might be the hayday of the Ion keyword.  This ratio of vehicle to trooper likely drops as soon as more trooper options are available just because troopers have a number of advantages, but this is also beneficial to vehicles as one of the best things to kill vehicles is other vehicles, so vehicles are looking like they might become less common, but more valuable and durable.

 

The Corps

Overall, the future doesn't look good for the HH-12 and Ion Trooper.  An increase in non-vehicle options and non-Armor options will theoretically open up lists where your opponent can have 0 of either models and the counterpart to both weapons is at least basically functional in the anti-Armor role, if unspectacular.  The DLT might be the most valuable now that it will ever be.  It's extra range is only matched by other DLTs, the AT ST and the HH-12.  Its reliable damage is very solid and the Impact 1 is almost guaranteed to be relevant at this point.  the commandos and Han will have a profound impact on this because they don't care about Impact, can casually get Cover 2 with Low Profile and Duck and Cover making consistent damage less important than crits and whatever the sniper does, it would be weird if it was outranged by the DLT.  If the Imperial release mirrors the rebel release, it does nothing but get worse for the DLT.  That being said, this weapon will never be bad and, so far as I can tell, will never even be mediocre.  The Range will still be useful even if it has more competition in the 4 band, the Impact still allows for good versatility and they do reliable land those hits making it, at the very least, a solid suppression weapon and all at a reasonable price tag.  The Z-6 will probably stay where it is for a while.  The main strength and weakness of the weapon is one and the same i.e. how wildly variable it can be and how good it is at fishing for crits.  The randomness can be a problem, but the upside is so high and it's so cheap, that's it's hard to see it truly being rendered obsolete.  On the whole, the better effective range of both units to their counterparts will guarantee at least some play in future lists, even if they just become base of fire units to support the assault.

 

Stormtroopers and Rebel Troopers in general- losing small amounts of value just because other options are available, but will still have a demonstrable role in the army

HH-12- Losing substantial value unless more Armor shows up on the release schedule

Ion Trooper- Same as HH-12

DLT- Losing value, but never to the point of even mediocrity

Z-6- it is what it is.  Will probably stay the same for the foreseeable future.

 

The Support

The supports both go in different directions.  The AT-RT is only going up from what I see.  It's ability to fish for crits is useful against Low Profile units.  A lower availability is only positive as the AT-RT is almost entirely reliant on the Armor keyword defensively.  In general, the future looks pretty bright or at least, they should die less often and less rapidly.  The Speeder Bikes are in the opposite camp, they have nowhere to go but down.  This is likely the heaviest Armor meta we'll see for a while and with so few ways to ignore cover, they're unremarkable save gets buoyed a good bit.  In general, they're kind of at the best they can be.  I don't see them being useless, but they probably take a different form as the game moves forward.  Their major advantage, and something players will start leaning on as they get better with the game, is their speed.  Having a unit that can chase down an enemy running away with supplies or fly off to a distant point to try and stop an opponent from getting victory points has a lot of value that it doesn't appear many players are capitalizing on.  Combining this with the releases inviting more terrain usage and, having units that don't simply have good range, but can quickly navigate around terrain may very well result in the unit seeing a lot of play, but less as a general combat unit and more of fast recon unit which would mean hitting the table in smaller numbers while being utilized more strategically.

 

AT-RT- It can't get much worse and most of the release schedule is playing to its strengths

Speeder Bikes- While their value as a frontline combat unit can only go down, they may see an increased value as a fast skirmishing unit

 

The Heavy Support

AT-STs right now are frequently relegated to a glorified artillery role.  They're trying to not get ioned, avoid things wielding lightsabers like the plague and are generally suffering from the same problems as all vehicles with the Armor keyword, but at least have the health and range to make a good showing.  It's likely that their value increases and seeing AT-STs will be rare but notable i.e. definitely not showing up in every Imperial list, but when you do see them, dealing with them will pose more substantial problems.  They'll still suffer from simply being a single non-trooper unit for over 200pts when most of the missions don't really encourage that type of model, but they may be able to play far more aggressively in the future.  The T-47's should see a substantial bump.  They have the same advantage as the speeder bikes (high speed and reliable non-aimed dice), but get far harder to deal with as the anti-armor becomes rarer and more easy to isolate with your own units or avoid with your Armor.  Also, as LoS blocking terrain shows up and gets used more strategically, it's value as the fastest model in the game (extra base size over the speeder bikes) will propel it even further forward for hunting down problem units running away with supplies or camping an objective out of LoS.  They do have the same downside of the AT-ST in being an expensive non-trooper, but not quite to the same degree.

 

AT-ST- still has to compete with multiple troopers for the space, but the lowering of anti-armo combined with its considerable hit points will up it's value a fair bit

T-47- Again, competing with multiple trooper units is unideal, but Armor getting better and an Speed 3 becoming more valuable will up it's value a fair bit

 

The Commanders

Let's get one thing out of the way, these do lose a little value at least when other commander options are introduced, but that's not necessarily reflexive of how good they are.  Both Luke and Vader offer a substantial board presence that none of the other 3 commanders previewed do.  6 dice attacks with solid pierce number just cuts through units incredibly fast and both have ways to stack multiple dodge tokens which, with deflect make them hard to get rid of casually, frequently requiring the better part of an army to do so.  They also both offer a Courage advantage with Vader being a - and Luke being a 3 meaning substantially more suppression to make anyone around them Panic.  All of this comes at a non-trivial point cost.  So the question is, will players place a high value on this board presence or simply prefer to have more things?  I honestly can't really guess the answer to this.  It's a big floating question mark right now.  They definitely lose small amounts of value simply because of other options, but if the board presence proves to be more useful than tossing out a few dodge/aim tokens and getting extra guys, they'll probably retain a substantial value.  Luke being a good bit cheaper also makes Luke + another commadner far more viable than Vader + another commander.

 

The big question is "How important is board presence?"  If players find it to be a big deal, then these guys will be staples, otherwise, they show up a lot less.

 

 

Guessing at the meta is always a tricky thing, but it helps to get a firm grasp on one's understanding of the game and, potentially, where that understanding is incomplete.  It's always a good though exercise and you may well disagree with some of these conclusions.  That's fine, and that's what we're here for.

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There won't be a meta in this game. Everything will counter each other, terrain will always be different, deployment, condition and objective are always randomized and lastly everyone has a different play style. That's what makes Legion fun. It's the first Star Wars game without a meta and saying that there is one or that there will be, destroys the game entirely. 

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13 hours ago, Tvayumat said:

There is no meta.

I think they will appear once competitive play kicks in. It seems to me that it's a kind of arms race mentality that creates them. What's powerful and what isn't is already being discussed and by an iterative process this will result in metas (local/regional/national/world).

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We have yet to see the official tournament rules. 

For all we know it’s possible they will have something like the hardcore format from warmachine or terrain sets for competitive environments like in rune Wars. 

So it’s possible there will be a meta of sorts. 

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7 hours ago, AintNoPoser said:

There won't be a meta in this game. Everything will counter each other, terrain will always be different, deployment, condition and objective are always randomized and lastly everyone has a different play style. That's what makes Legion fun. It's the first Star Wars game without a meta and saying that there is one or that there will be, destroys the game entirely. 

Meta is not a bad thing, it’s more of an indication of where the headspace of players is at.

Once we have actual options for which units to use in each role (ie 2+ of each role) there will be more defined distinctions to say: Here’s what people are bringing to the table and here’s why.

So, until fleet troopers and Snow Troopers get added, armies are pretty much all the same compositions, with little room to point to a different style of play. 

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I believe we have a meta today for 800 points. :) Vader, 3 bike squads and fill the rest with stormtrooper options. That said, I hope we never see everyone playing an army of "Space Marines". I expect the meta to change and evolve over time. Not saying it will be reality, but if there are ever only two armies to choose from, it would be nice to see a lot of variety in OP.

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