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Is there a new Armor friendly Meta?

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Is the meta changing to the point were players are not bringing enough counters against "Armored" units?  I know this is only anecdotal (hence why I started this topic), but last weekend I was at my LFGS for a one day Star Wars Legion event and I figured I'd put together a list to include my recently painted AT-ST.  The reasons I decided on building a list around the AT-ST was first (as already mentioned) I had just finished painting, weathering and detailing my AT-ST and I wanted to use it at least once even if internet wisdom says that it is not a point efficient unit and secondly because I've been seeing a trend on min maxing troop units to gain activation advantage while saving points for the newer more interesting special units that left no points for effective anti armor.  The list I took looked as follows:

  • General Veers 80
    • Commanding Presence, 
  • Snowtroopers 48
    • Flametrooper, Snowtrooper, Recon Intel, 
  • Snowtroopers 48
    • Flametrooper, Snowtrooper, Recon Intel, 
  • Stormtroopers 44
    • DLT-19 Stormtrooper, Stormtrooper, Fragmentation Grenades, 
  • Stormtroopers 44
    • DLT-19 Stormtrooper, Stormtrooper, Fragmentation Grenades, 
  • Stormtroopers 44
    • DLT-19 Stormtrooper, 
  • AT-ST 195
    • AT-ST Mortar Launcher, DW-3 Concussion Grenade Launcher, 
  • Scout Troopers (Strike Team) 16
    • DLT-19x Sniper, 
  • Scout Troopers (Strike Team) 16
    • DLT-19x Sniper, 

Command Cards:
Standing Orders, Assault, Imperial Discipline, Push, Evasive Maneuvers, Ambush, Maximum Firepower

The Army totaled 798 points

 

AT-ST loadout was chosen to ensure there would be almost no time throughout the battle where I would not be able to take advantage of "arsenal 2" and fire two weapons every turn.  It would let me put extra suppression on the enemy's snipers early in the game while denying cover to his units once the center scrum started.  I have to say this was key in every game that day as all my adversaries brought no less than two sniper teams.  I was able to neutralize/take out their snipers early in the game and use my snipers freely in later turns.  Snowtroopers were my offensive assault units that got into the fight fast, snipers held back in defensive positions with good view of the battlefield and stormtroopers were my reactionary units to either stay back and pepper the enemy units with blaster fire or surge forward to grab objectives when needed.

 

All my opponents that day happened to be Imperial players, which I thought would give my AT-ST problems with mass DLT Impact shots coming my way.  But the threat never materalized.  Every player took one unit of "snows" one or two Imperial Royal Guard and every list had Palpatine or Palpatine and Vader in it.  Is this a trend that others have been seeing lately or is it a one-off thing that is not an indicator of a changing Meta?

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So, your AT-ST was worth it?

I faced one last weekend while I had only one laser cannon armed AT-RT, and oh my, it deleted 2 units in two turns. If your not prepared to face one, it can kill lot of your stuffs fast!

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17 hours ago, riker2800 said:

So, your AT-ST was worth it?

 

 

I'd definitely say so.  In one game it deleted a unit of Imperial Guard and put two wounds on Palpatine and kept him at bay hidden behind a building and not able to use all his force powers/tools for fear of being vaporised by the AT-ST.  My last game was on the top table and the AT-ST and Snipers put out so much suppression I was able to control the game pretty much from turn 2 onwards.  AT-ST was instrumental in taking out 3 Stormtrooper units and an Imperial Royal Guard unit.  By the end of turn 5 all he had alive was Palpatine with 3 wounds so my opponent conceded and with that I won the tournament.

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I think the local communities are so small that everyone plays whatever is new, just so they can play it. Most of experience with the AtSt in the beginning you could ignore it and play the objectives and win everytime, even with some units getting pummeled. The strike snipers help with activations once you kill a unit or two. Palpatine and royal guards are new and will be the  hotness until death guard and krennic show up.

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Some brilliant and handsome person recently addressed a very similar point on Reddit. 

Basically, the AT-ST has a fundamental problem with lack of offense. In general, you can replace it with three trooper units and get at least twice the damage output. (That logic does break down a little when you start to hit army-building caps per unit type, but even here—you could fit an IRG and another unit of Stormtroopers with a full suite of upgrades.)

The only time the walker’s offense breaks even is when you’re using the grenade launcher to pry enemy units out of cover, so my thought is you have to keep its build as lean as you can and play it very aggressively to get your points back  

It also suffers from the fact that Veers is bad and the other two Imperial commanders are two expensive to synergize very well with it. 

But with all that said, yeah. It looks to me like people aren’t really teching against armor at all. That means an AT-ST only really needs to worry about Vaders, Lukes, AT-RTs with Laser Cannons, and being poked at by DLTs (and now bowcasters).  Those are all things whose attention you’d happily draw for a few rounds, so I think it’s an okay play—if you can find a way to really maximize its offense.  

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Actually, point-wise, the most efficient build is the Weiss everything build, which really surprised me. It's actually not far off from most other units in terms of raw efficiency. It can absolutely delete a unit a turn when played properly. Is it the tippy top of the meta? Maybe not, but for my play style it has by far been the best/most fun thing I've run.

Check out the Never tell me the odds post about it (which is what converted me to the idea.

https://swlegionodds.com/2018/08/25/at-st/

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The problem with the AT-ST hasn’t been that it’s been getting destroyed by anti-armor, it’s that it doesn’t have enough offensive power. So the meta doesn’t really change how effective it can be. I think the smartest thing to do against an AT-ST is just ignore it anyways, so I don’t think it really matters as far as anti-armor not being present. In the case of AT-RTs maybe the meta will instill a change, but for Atst I don’t see anything that’s changing it’s competitiveness at this time

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Yeah it's offensive power just isn't great, the 2 white dice make it so random and if you do have an aim token there's a fair chance it's used on the red or black dice without surges. Really should have been 2 red and 4 black to help even out the randomness. 

The 88 lightblaster is average and the grenade launcher is short ranged but seems to have more impact on a game.

 

Unlike the snow speeder which has great guns but limited staying power for its high price and really needs a points reduction I feel the AtSt needs better guns to actually feel like a scary threat.

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3 hours ago, buckero0 said:

Add pierce to its weaponry and then it will start scaring people since ffg won't reduce points

Yeah. I have no idea whether this is in the intended scope of errata, but replacing Impact 1 with Pierce 1 on the 88 cannon would make a huge difference.

They could also publish a new hardpoint upgrade that did something similar, of course—or heck, have it add just two white dice, but give Pierce 1 and the frag grenade’s “while this is in your pool, surge to crit.” I’d run that at 15-20 points. 

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Veers is bad? That is an interesting analysis since he is the winning-est competitive imperial commander at Maximum Firepower events.  ATST's are never played correctly imo.  They need to be hyper aggressive and push opponents off objectives.  Getting the arsenal 2 off with a foot stomp (4 reds) and a normal gun attack (2 reds, 2 blacks, and 2 whites) is devastating. 

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On 12/25/2018 at 6:55 PM, DarkTrooperZero said:

Yeah it's offensive power just isn't great, the 2 white dice make it so random and if you do have an aim token there's a fair chance it's used on the red or black dice without surges. Really should have been 2 red and 4 black to help even out the randomness. 

The 88 lightblaster is average and the grenade launcher is short ranged but seems to have more impact on a game.

 

Unlike the snow speeder which has great guns but limited staying power for its high price and really needs a points reduction I feel the AtSt needs better guns to actually feel like a scary threat.

20 points for a red, black, and white die with impact 1 is average suddenly? 

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6 hours ago, Derrault said:

20 points for a red, black, and white die with impact 1 is average suddenly? 

it is if the platform it's placed on is 20pts overpriced to begin with.

9 hours ago, Vorpal Sword said:

They could also publish a new hardpoint upgrade that did something similar, of course—or heck, have it add just two white dice, but give Pierce 1 and the frag grenade’s “while this is in your pool, surge to crit.” I’d run that at 15-20 points. 

A new hardpoint released with another tank/armor type vehicle is what I was thinking. If the occupier tank came with a card that had Pierce but was not limited to ATST only or Occupier tank only.

 

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9 hours ago, weebaer said:

Veers is bad? That is an interesting analysis since he is the winning-est competitive imperial commander at Maximum Firepower events.  ATST's are never played correctly imo.  They need to be hyper aggressive and push opponents off objectives.  Getting the arsenal 2 off with a foot stomp (4 reds) and a normal gun attack (2 reds, 2 blacks, and 2 whites) is devastating. 

Veers is the “winningest” because he’s cheap. When you see people running him with trooper lists that literally can’t use two of his command cards, you should know there’s something up. 

I agree the AT-ST isn’t played aggressively enough in the games I’ve seen, since it’s at its most efficient when the main gun is used with the grenade launcher to pry enemy units out of cover. But that doesn’t make it easy to use, and doesn’t mean it’s a better plan that just bringing 2-3 additional trooper activations instead. 

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1 hour ago, buckero0 said:

it is if the platform it's placed on is 20pts overpriced to begin with.

A new hardpoint released with another tank/armor type vehicle is what I was thinking. If the occupier tank came with a card that had Pierce but was not limited to ATST only or Occupier tank only.

 

That would still be cheaper than the 45 points for the same from a pair of speeder bikes.

And it would be more resistant to degradation than the same.

So, again, what exactly do you think is more point efficient than the cannon? Please show the math you’re basing the statement on. 

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2 hours ago, Derrault said:

That would still be cheaper than the 45 points for the same from a pair of speeder bikes.

And it would be more resistant to degradation than the same.

So, again, what exactly do you think is more point efficient than the cannon? Please show the math you’re basing the statement on. 

For some reason you're looking at the marginal cost of the 88 cannon, instead of seeing the total cost of the AT-ST with the cannon.

Starting with the base model:

  • You suggested bikes as a comparison. 2 units of bikes cost 180 next to the walker's 190, so--naively assuming for the moment that all other things are equal--we'd like to see the same offense.
  • But the two units of bikes roll a total of 4 red, 4 black, 4 white with surge to hit. That's 7.5 damage on average, with reasonable confidence that the result will lie between 6 and 9.
  • The walker rolls 2 red, 2 black, and 2 white with no surge. That's 3 damage, with a likely range from 2 to 4. Cue the sad trombone: against most targets, the walker does 40% less damage! 

But that doesn't count Arsenal 2, of course.

  • So let's look at the most obvious addition: the 88 cannon, which is just more of the same of the main gun. Now the walker costs 220 and rolls 3 of each die, for an average of 4.5 damage (and a likely range from 3 to 6). 
  • But wait! As you suggest, let's add one extra bike at 45 points to approximately make up the difference, even though that's not something we can really do in-game.
  • Now it's 225 points to 220, the bikes average about 9.4 damage, and the walker still does about 48% as much damage as the bikes. It's a small gain in efficiency but it's still so, so far behind.

(You come to the same conclusion if you look at trooper units, by the way.)

Of course everything isn't equal: the AT-ST is extremely durable, can camp in a way bikes can't, etc. But it's hard to overlook the fact that the AT-ST is currently one of the least efficient ways to spend points on offense, unless you spend 250 points for the General Weiss version, and then only on the turns where you activate Weiss. (And at 250 you're close to three units of bikes, or four units of stormtroopers with DLTs...)

The AT-ST is underpowered. A better hardpoint upgrade would do a lot--as I said, if I were designing, I'd take something like 2 white at range 3, with Pierce 1 and the frag grenade's effect, as my starting point.

I think you can also do a lot by playing it in a way I don't see often in batreps or on stream. Be hyper-aggressive, pry people out of cover or just walk on them for suppression while you shoot someone else, and use it as area terrain to screen the approach of other close-range units like snowtroopers, royal guard, or even full units of scout troopers. But those are all situational, and take a lot of practice to exploit. (I'm certainly not there yet.)

Edited by Vorpal Sword
Fixed bulleted list.

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5 minutes ago, Vorpal Sword said:

For some reason you're looking at the marginal cost of the 88 cannon, instead of seeing the total cost of the AT-ST with the cannon.

Starting with the base model:

  • You suggested bikes as a comparison. 2 units of bikes cost 180 next to the walker's 190, so--naively assuming for the moment that all other things are equal--we'd like to see the same offense.
  • But the two units of bikes roll a total of 4 red, 4 black, 4 white with surge to hit. That's 7.5 damage on average, with reasonable confidence that the result will lie between 6 and 9.
  • The walker rolls 2 red, 2 black, and 2 white with no surge. That's 3 damage, with a likely range from 2 to 4. Cue the sad trombone: against most targets, the walker does 40% less damage! 

But that doesn't count Arsenal 2, of course.

  • So let's look at the most obvious addition: the 88 cannon, which is just more of the same of the main gun. Now the walker costs 220 and rolls 3 of each die, for an average of 4.5 damage (and a likely range from 3 to 6). 
  • But wait! As you suggest, let's add one extra bike at 45 points to approximately make up the difference, even though that's not something we can really do in-game.
  • Now it's 225 points to 220, the bikes average about 9.4 damage, and the walker still does about 48% as much damage as the bikes. It's a small gain in efficiency but it's still so, so far behind.

(You come to the same conclusion if you look at trooper units, by the way.)

Of course everything isn't equal: the AT-ST is extremely durable, can camp in a way bikes can't, etc. But it's hard to overlook the fact that the AT-ST is currently one of the least efficient ways to spend points on offense, unless you spend 250 points for the General Weiss version, and then only on the turns where you activate Weiss. (And at 250 you're close to three units of bikes, or four units of stormtroopers with DLTs...)

The AT-ST is underpowered. A better hardpoint upgrade would do a lot--as I said, if I were designing, I'd take something like 2 white at range 3, with Pierce 1 and the frag grenade's effect, as my starting point.

I think you can also do a lot by playing it in a way I don't see often in batreps or on stream. Be hyper-aggressive, pry people out of cover or just walk on them for suppression while you shoot someone else, and use it as area terrain to screen the approach of other close-range units like snowtroopers, royal guard, or even full units of scout troopers. But those are all situational, and take a lot of practice to exploit. (I'm certainly not there yet.)

The bikes attrit at a rate of 3 damage per 3 dice, each bike providing 3 dice of offense; so if we lose one bike it’s effectively had 45 points of value removed.

That’s the key difference, the Walkers damage doesn’t suffer any reduction in efficacy until receiving more than double the number of wounds a bike can receive.

So, yes, the bikes deal more damage per point...but only while supplies last. It’s entirely possible to lose both bikes in a single round, the same is incredibly unlikely to occur for the ST.

If they had the same offense, there would be only the speed advantage to recommend the speeder bikes, because their defense is essentially nonexistant, worse than having units of troopers in cover (at far less cost)

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9 minutes ago, Derrault said:

The bikes attrit at a rate of 3 damage per 3 dice, each bike providing 3 dice of offense; so if we lose one bike it’s effectively had 45 points of value removed.

That’s the key difference, the Walkers damage doesn’t suffer any reduction in efficacy until receiving more than double the number of wounds a bike can receive.

So, yes, the bikes deal more damage per point...but only while supplies last. It’s entirely possible to lose both bikes in a single round, the same is incredibly unlikely to occur for the ST.

If they had the same offense, there would be only the speed advantage to recommend the speeder bikes, because their defense is essentially nonexistant, worse than having units of troopers in cover (at far less cost)

I’m aware of attrition, and if you do the math, you’ll note I’m not suggesting parity or anything even close to it.

But currently, note that you have to remove three bikes (of the five we’re comparing to) before the walker’s offense draws even.

So the hypothesis can’t actually be that the AT-ST suffers less from attrition; 9 damage breaks down enough bikes to draw even on damage, but it also crosses the damage threshold for the walker. Instead, you’re relying on the Armor keyword to prevent that damage in the first place.

But there’s a problem with that. The walker with 88 cannon does about half again as much damage as a unit of DLT Stormtroopers, or about 20% more than a single unit of bikes. Given the difficulty of applying damage to the walker, I’ve seen smart opponents simply ignore it in favor of units they can destroy, damage meaningfully, and/or suppress. And that’s the real cost of its massive inefficiency: there’s no real reason to engage with it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

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5 hours ago, Vorpal Sword said:

Veers is the “winningest” because he’s cheap. When you see people running him with trooper lists that literally can’t use two of his command cards, you should know there’s something up. 

I agree the AT-ST isn’t played aggressively enough in the games I’ve seen, since it’s at its most efficient when the main gun is used with the grenade launcher to pry enemy units out of cover. But that doesn’t make it easy to use, and doesn’t mean it’s a better plan that just bringing 2-3 additional trooper activations instead. 

I won a tournament earlier this year with Veers, 3 sqauds of bikes (one with HQ) and ATST with Twin Blaster and HQ with only 3 squads of DLT troopers, 2 with an extra trooper.  With the HQ uplinks and Veers 2 pip you get 4 vehicles that get a dodge and are able to dodge crits.  That wins games on turn 2.  I disagree he is bad, since most competitive armies that have won tournaments with veers involve 2-3 bikes with as much troops as possible, but I do agree that one of the reasons he is so good is because he is cheap.

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3 hours ago, Vorpal Sword said:

I’m aware of attrition, and if you do the math, you’ll note I’m not suggesting parity or anything even close to it.

But currently, note that you have to remove three bikes (of the five we’re comparing to) before the walker’s offense draws even.

So the hypothesis can’t actually be that the AT-ST suffers less from attrition; 9 damage breaks down enough bikes to draw even on damage, but it also crosses the damage threshold for the walker. Instead, you’re relying on the Armor keyword to prevent that damage in the first place.

But there’s a problem with that. The walker with 88 cannon does about half again as much damage as a unit of DLT Stormtroopers, or about 20% more than a single unit of bikes. Given the difficulty of applying damage to the walker, I’ve seen smart opponents simply ignore it in favor of units they can destroy, damage meaningfully, and/or suppress. And that’s the real cost of its massive inefficiency: there’s no real reason to engage with it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

The basis of the attrition statement is that the multiple units (that require allowing multiple enemy activations before they may be able to get their licks in) aren’t able to withstand that enemy fire and still function at theoretical efficiency. The AT-ST suffers from no such sense of urgency because it can suffer so many wounds before even the 1/3 possibility of a reduction in firing efficiency.

The same “criticism” of being ignored can also be leveled at Vader or Palpatine, why not just ignore them given how slow (and short range) they are?

The answer for the player using those units is of course: don’t let them pass those up without suffering the consequences of that choice (ie run the bruiser into the core of the enemy and mop the floor with them.)

The AT-ST is uniquely positioned as an Imperial unit that can step onto units auto-suppressing (and moving them out of cover), and simply deleting the more dangerous units without blinking.

 

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8 minutes ago, Derrault said:

The AT-ST is uniquely positioned as an Imperial unit that can step onto units auto-suppressing (and moving them out of cover), and simply deleting the more dangerous units without blinking.

But it can’t do that. It lacks the offense. That’s the problem. 

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Yeah in all reality the ATST should’ve gotten either surge or some sort of pierce. Even if there was a hard point or something you had to pay for to get it, would’ve made much more of a difference. I’ve won with the st sure but that was against worse players. You can obviously win with anything if you’re the better player or strong advantages through terrain etc.

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