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Two Ship Dominates: Final Regionals 2018-2019 Data Analysis

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Weird that the MC80 command is so unpopular. That might be the most surprising single point of data you showed. Not so weird that the AFmk2 isn’t quite up to snuff. 

 

I have to admit that I’m happy to be wrong about balance (overall and for specific variants) after seeing regionals data. I was right when I’ve griped on- and offline about Chimaera getting too many goodies, but it isn’t nearly so bad as I thought.

 

God do I dislike Pryce’s existence though. 

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First off, thank you so much for your work on this. In all my years of gaming I've never seen this kind of dedication to data collection and analysis.

Now, can we please stop pretending this game is the pinnacle of balance? Personally speaking, I played Imp 2 Ship for the first time last night in an attempt to help a buddy prepare for Adepticon. It was not only my first time playing that archetype, but my first time using MMJ. I tabled him and lost nothing. Now that is typically hand waved away by saying it's anecdotal and different regions will vary, but now we have hard data from around the world.

Squadrons, specifically Aces, are too effective for their cost. `Activation trump cards like Pryce are not a healthy way to shake up the activation game. It's almost like we need some change. A new wave or perhaps a rule revision?

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Looks like some pretty good analysis to me @Truthiness!

41 minutes ago, Church14 said:

Weird that the MC80 command is so unpopular. That might be the most surprising single point of data you showed. Not so weird that the AFmk2 isn’t quite up to snuff. 

I don't know if it's that weird really. MC80 Command is a big slow squad pusher, but there are better and more cost-effective squad pushers out there generally for the Rebels depending on what you're trying to achieve (Yavaris, Gallant Haven, Peltas, Flotillas). Meanwhile the MC80 Assault combos well with Ackbar so will see more use that way. 

12 minutes ago, IronNerd said:

 Squadrons, specifically Aces, are too effective for their cost. `

I certainly wouldn't mind seeing some more advantage to generics and even mid-level squad numbers. That seems to be what the article the other week hinted at so could see something coming out of this week's announcement. 

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6 minutes ago, Akhrin said:

I certainly wouldn't mind seeing some more advantage to generics and even mid-level squad numbers. That seems to be what the article the other week hinted at so could see something coming out of this week's announcement. 

Preferably nerfs for Aces rather than buffs for generics. Squadrons do not need to be more powerful.

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Posted (edited)

While I do agree with the aces problem, I'm not 100% sure how to solve it. Simply limiting the number of aces you can take will make us see more generics, but we will see a sharp decline in "generic aces" as they are not as effective as aces with defense tokens so why would you spend an ace slot on them, and I would like to see all options viable.  I think the defense tokens on aces are undervalued and aces should probably all have a slight point increase across the board, but I dont see that happening. I think a soft/felxable cap on squadrons would make for intersting list building something like "You may only have a number of aces equal to your total fleets squadron value cut in half, rounded down."It could become a balancing act if you want to take more aces you need to take more ships.  Two ship would still get 4 aces but that is half their squadron wing. Then you get into the problem of the "generic aces" maybe you don't round down, but if you have 3.5 the .5 can be a "generic ace" though I don't want to make list building overly complex. I'm really not sure how to fix the ace value issue, they could do a complete rework, but I doubt that would happen unless we are getting a second edition.

Edited by xero989

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4 minutes ago, xero989 said:

...Simply limiting the number of aces you can take will make us see more generics, but we will see a sharp decline in "generic aces" as they are not as effective as aces with defense tokens so why would you spend an ace slot on them, and I would like to see all options viable. ... Then you get into the problem of the "generic aces" maybe you don't round down, but if you have 3.5 the .5 can be a "generic ace" though I don't want to make list building overly complex. I'm really not sure how to fix the ace value issue, they could do a complete rework, but I doubt that would happen unless we are getting a second edition.

Technically, the generic squadrons you're referring to aren't aces - they're "Uniques".  You could simply state that your limit applies to squadrons with defense tokens....

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I do wonder how the SSD will mess with the ace-heavy meta. An assault prototype with Kallus/QLT/Annihilator/maybe PDR will do a serious number on squads. Vs Morna double tapping with Jendon, that's blue-black counter + blue-black counter + red-blue+black flak. Add any kind of squad presence (Mauler/Ciena?) and it gets ugly very quickly for aces.

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1 hour ago, Akhrin said:

I don't know if it's that weird really. MC80 Command is a big slow squad pusher, but there are better and more cost-effective squad pushers out there generally for the Rebels depending on what you're trying to achieve (Yavaris, Gallant Haven, Peltas, Flotillas). Meanwhile the MC80 Assault combos well with Ackbar so will see more use that way. 

Yavaris has a legitimate selling point over MC80C. Double tap is definitely a good thing.

Gallant Haven has no selling point except for the title and cost. It is worse in every meaningful way otherwise. If the lower cost is a selling point, then the Pelta is superior (IMO).

Flotillas and Peltas provide cheaper options. But if you want something that isn’t just a specialized carrier, the MC80C is it. 

 

As for Ackbar working better with the MC80A, that is a perception issue. The different in a single red die at long range isn’t that much. You get the same effectiveness at close-medium. 

 

The selling point for the MC80A is only the second defensive retrofit. Which, is actually a serious selling point if you are only bringing the MC80 for combat. So I get the MC80C being the more popular MC80 variant. I don’t get the MC80C being the least popular of any variant of any ship. 

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Posted (edited)

I also think @Truthiness evaluation of two ship is spot on, its something new that people don't know how to play against.  I have played a lot of two ship as I find it to be a fun archetype, but have gone on a Rebel stint recently and in the past month, I have Tabled two ship consistently. 

Raddus is a scary matchup for 2 ship, winnable, but a scary one.  Any list that can put pressure on both the ISD and quasar to activate first is also a scary position for two ship.  Taking an escort squadron to absorb the alpha strike against your squadrons can be annoying for two ship.  

 I put Pryce on my ISD, I know some put it on the quasar, but I can't tell you how many times I have Pyrced turn 2 and my the other player gets a ship to close to my ISD I had multiple games where I get a medium range gunnery teams shot off end of round 2 and kill 2 ships, then top round 3 kill 2 more. 

I think as people learn to play against Pryce things will get better, if they Pryce turn 1 or 2 you have to play defensively or you will get eaten by Pryce, Raddus is probably the only exception to this rule, and maybe Reekein to use an undead ship to trap/block the ISD.  The strength of two ship is that it can put so much weight in a single activation that it can really swing the game you need to play in such a way it can't take advantage of all that weight. Play defensively before the Pryce turn denying engagement, Raddus and Reekein might be an exception to this. Once Pryce has triggered put pressure on both ships if possible if you can block/keep the ISD from getting away all the better.

And thanks @Truthiness for all the work you put into this, and thanks for everything you do for the community!

 

 

 

Edited by xero989

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50 minutes ago, Church14 said:

As for Ackbar working better with the MC80A, that is a perception issue. The different in a single red die at long range isn’t that much. You get the same effectiveness at close-medium. 

 

The selling point for the MC80A is only the second defensive retrofit. Which, is actually a serious selling point if you are only bringing the MC80 for combat. So I get the MC80C being the more popular MC80 variant. I don’t get the MC80C being the least popular of any variant of any ship. 

Yeah, it's less that Ackbar gets more from an MC80 Assault cos of the dice, his ships are there to fight so the second defence slot is huge, while the offensive slot on the MC80 Command for Ackbar isn't anything I'm hugely excited about. I mostly rely on EWS for my anti-squad but guess I could imagine some kind of mixed MC80A/MC80C Ackbar list where the Assault variant is the bigger hitter, while the Command one provides the second wave and pushes disruptive squads around.

*goes deeper down that rabbit hole and starts list building*

22 minutes ago, xero989 said:

I think as people learn to play against Pryice things will get better, if they Pryice turn 1 or 2 you have to play defensively or you will get eaten by Pryice, Raddus is probably the only exception to this rule, and maybe Reekein to use an undead ship to trap/block the ISD.  The  strength of two ship is that it can put so much weight in a single activation that it can really swing the game you need to play in such a way it can't take advantage of all that weight. Play defensively before the Pryice turn denying engagement, Raddus and Reekein might be an exception to this. Once Pryice has triggered put pressure on both ships if possible, if you can block/keep the ISD from getting away all the better.

This. My Regionals winner was Pryce on an ISD squad-pusher along with Demo. It was all about having knowledge of where everything was going to be, and at most 1 activation between your ISD's two shots. I've seen a mix of people having no clue how to deal with Pryce, trying to act like she wasn't going to do much at all, or even over-thinking her and messing up their own game plan. She's a disruptive element, and I'd definitely not understate how useful she is in that type of list, but it was something of a sudden rise for her with Regionals mostly taking place before people had started adjusting (at least by my feeling on it). 

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14 minutes ago, Akhrin said:

This. My Regionals winner was Pryce on an ISD squad-pusher along with Demo. It was all about having knowledge of where everything was going to be, and at most 1 activation between your ISD's two shots. I've seen a mix of people having no clue how to deal with Pryce, trying to act like she wasn't going to do much at all, or even over-thinking her and messing up their own game plan. She's a disruptive element, and I'd definitely not understate how useful she is in that type of list, but it was something of a sudden rise for her with Regionals mostly taking place before people had started adjusting (at least by my feeling on it). 

*sigh* Please don't tell me that, even with this data, our response is just going to be "git gud"? Imp 2 Ship is very powerful. It's been around for long enough that good players have practiced against it. It's also been around long enough that there are some very good players that have extensive practice WITH it, and they've practiced against your counters. Something like this doesn't become ubiquitous just because of the surprise factor...

I'll go out on a limb and predict that a version of either Aceholes or Imp 2 Ship wins Worlds. If that happens, can we please finally admit that some things aren't healthy for the game?

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20 minutes ago, Akhrin said:

Yeah, it's less that Ackbar gets more from an MC80 Assault cos of the dice, his ships are there to fight so the second defence slot is huge, while the offensive slot on the MC80 Command for Ackbar isn't anything I'm hugely excited about. I mostly rely on EWS for my anti-squad but guess I could imagine some kind of mixed MC80A/MC80C Ackbar list where the Assault variant is the bigger hitter, while the Command one provides the second wave and pushes disruptive squads around.

 *goes deeper down that rabbit hole and starts list building*

Taking this to new thread since we are derailing a bit:

 

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26 minutes ago, Akhrin said:

 

56 minutes ago, xero989 said:

I think as people learn to play against Pryice things will get better, if they Pryice turn 1 or 2 you have to play defensively or you will get eaten by Pryice, Raddus is probably the only exception to this rule, and maybe Reekein to use an undead ship to trap/block the ISD.  The  strength of two ship is that it can put so much weight in a single activation that it can really swing the game you need to play in such a way it can't take advantage of all that weight. Play defensively before the Pryice turn denying engagement, Raddus and Reekein might be an exception to this. Once Pryice has triggered put pressure on both ships if possible, if you can block/keep the ISD from getting away all the bette

This. My Regionals winner was Pryce on an ISD squad-pusher along with Demo. It was all about having knowledge of where everything was going to be, and at most 1 activation between your ISD's two shots. I've seen a mix of people having no clue how to deal with Pryce, trying to act like she wasn't going to do much at all, or even over-thinking her and messing up their own game plan. She's a disruptive element, and I'd definitely not understate how useful she is in that type of list, but it was something of a sudden rise for her with Regionals mostly taking place before people had started adjusting (at least by my feeling on it). 

Spot on. It's strong, for sure, but not the unassailable beast people are making it out to be. It spiked right as Regionals season was kicking off, and people have been learning how to deal with it since. 

There are a lot of counters and counter-counters floating around out there right now, so I think calling a Worlds winner archetype is pretty premature.

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Worlds will bring a lot of great players to the big stage with a lot of good lists.  So we will get a really good look at how meaningful the regionals data has been.  Sample sizes can always be a problem, and local metas can really wreck with an evaluation at the 10% level.

two forces pull against each other in evaluating the data.  In the first, the top 10% can be a fairly narrow field.  The 86 lists at 10% reflect rounding adjustments given tournament participants.  But in a lot of tournaments, you’re still talking 2-3 lists.  In the tournaments I’ve played in, places 1-6 can be “any given day” winners against each other.  So that is argument for looking even deeper than 10%, and in the past we’ve looked at 25%.  

On the other hand, the best players can often build and play lists at such higher levels, and a build mistake at the highest levels can be pretty telling, 5-6 tournament points, and I do think there’s something to looking at the break-downs among the winners, especially if that’s the level you want to compete it.  It isn’t that there aren’t answers to two ship or Pryce, it is an overall risk/reward structure that provides a powerful incentive.  In that respect, it’s pretty much parallel to other problems that have been addressed by FFG in the past.  Worlds will be revealing for sure.

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Thanks for the data crunching and analysis. I've been out of the game for a bit (new kid and home renovations can really take up time), but it's always good to have something crunchy yet palatable to see where things are if I get back in the saddle.

Plus, you know, entertainment. 

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Posted (edited)

The Pryce, 2 ship list is precisely why I brought Raddus to regionals. I am an aggressive player by nature, so I was licking my chops if my opponent decided to Price on turn 2. If you did that, it wasn't going to activate at all...

Edited by itzSteve

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9 hours ago, IronNerd said:

Now, can we please stop pretending this game is the pinnacle of balance? Personally speaking, I played Imp 2 Ship for the first time last night in an attempt to help a buddy prepare for Adepticon. It was not only my first time playing that archetype, but my first time using MMJ. I tabled him and lost nothing. Now that is typically hand waved away by saying it's anecdotal and different regions will vary, but now we have hard data from around the world.

As one the early guinea pigs for Broba's curb stomping, I absolutely respect how powerful the archetype is. I certainly got close to a few "screw it" moments. However, there are a couple of counters coming in the wings. Nathan Coda's Chicago list I think was expressly designed to counter two ship (it's Rieekan squad heavy so...yeah...that again). Broba has also showed me some tricks that have started popping up in his local meta. They seem pretty solid in test scenarios, but I haven't gotten to use them live.

I just I don't like to jump straight to "OMG THIS IS OP" immediately after a single Regionals season. Now Regionals season and, say, a top two at Worlds that are both two ship...that would start throwing up the warning flag. Snipa and I were talking, and the meta can kind of be summed up as follows: "You can take any Reb ship, but only four commanders. You can take most Imp commanders, but only these four ships." That's hardly balance, but still a considerable shift in a positive direction since last year.

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10 hours ago, IronNerd said:

Preferably nerfs for Aces rather than buffs for generics. Squadrons do not need to be more powerful.

IMHO, the problem is the scatter token, which is cancer.

It makes the entire game - and everything else that happens - pure Yahtzee levels of randomness.  Either you roll an accuracy, and voila - insta-kill!  Or you don't...and you've got to attack the thing over and over and over AND OVER to put through one or two points of damage at a time before you do that enough to kill it.  Or, hey, just roll an accuracy the first time and you win!

That's...a terrible mechanic.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, xanderf said:

IMHO, the problem is the scatter token, which is cancer.

It makes the entire game - and everything else that happens - pure Yahtzee levels of randomness.  Either you roll an accuracy, and voila - insta-kill!  Or you don't...and you've got to attack the thing over and over and over AND OVER to put through one or two points of damage at a time before you do that enough to kill it.  Or, hey, just roll an accuracy the first time and you win!

That's...a terrible mechanic.

I disagree because the vast majority of aces brought don't have scatter. Case in point MMJ by far the most common combo of Squads and yet 0 scatters between the 3. Except tycho most rebel squad wings don't bring many scatter aces either 

Edited by clontroper5

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