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Angry Ewok

Need Kill Point Missions to Counter Spreadsheet MSU

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I am continually annoyed by the boring, spreadsheet efficient, tactically passive, list composition in most top competitive legion lists.  There are some stand outs that break out of the mold and I admire them and hope they will continue to find success.  We need ppl like them to break up the current snooze fest.  

Sadly and unimaginatively, the general formula for high level tournament success is really pretty simple if you look at the reports though.  You must take your faction's best (aka most long range) troop option, and not just a few, you had better spam them hard.  Most lists feature 5-6, Z-6 Troopers or DLT Troopers, then to further pad your activation advantage you have built by spamming efficient troop choices, you then spam your faction's sniper teams.  So now that you have filled out your obligatory 8-9 units, you then actually consider what units you like to use, or think have tactical wrinkles worth considering. 

What you don't see much of are units that exceed the 70 point range, anything above that is hard to justify when you factor in the loss of activations it represents, such a unit must offer something amazing to warrant its inclusion.  People say vehicles are bad in legion, why is that?  Because not only do they not score in every mission, but they also fall short of this 70 point or less bench mark of inclusion, and can not normally be justified as one of your above 70 point splurge units...

The end result is a bunch of lists that look basically the same, and fight basically the same, and typically not in a very dynamic or tactically deep/challenging way.   They all excel in attrition fights because as enemy units attempt to close, they must spend actions to move instead of taking other beneficial actions like Aim, Dodge, etc.  All other things being equal, the army that gets to take aim or dodge actions instead of moving will out perform an army that does.  An army with equal range and more activations will end up getting more shots on their opponent as they wait the other side out and hit them once they have moved into range.  This issue only gets worse when you factor in suppression.  An army with more units can create more suppression ( thus incentivizing activations even more).  We all also see the massive advantage of having more units/activations when setting up a Last/First attack or covering objectives once the enemy no longer can react due to being out activated.

The cover system is admittedly designed to encourage larger dice pools, but when crits get around this limitation and ALL missions are objective based, it is nowhere near enough to limit whole sale spreadsheet efficiency spam across both factions.  

As with basically any alternate activation game, having more activations is advantageous.  That is why we have the meta we currently do, a never ending parade of blah armies running the same 4-5 units over and over. 

Legion needs missions that award points for killing units.  40k is a simplistic, shadow of the tactical depth legion has to offer but they do get one thing right, to counter the overwhelming strength of MSU style lists in objective based games, kill point missions are also included in tournament packets.  This introduces risk to MSU players for spamming units.  

Imagine the list design space that opens up if players could include a mission in their battle deck that awards 1 VP for each enemy unit killed?  Or even better, if in addition to the VP's earned from holding objectives, you earned 1 VP for every 3 units destroyed.   We would see people reconsidering the ubiquitous sniper teams for sure.  Also there would be less pressure on each unit in your list to conform to the 70 or under template.  Tough, hard hitting units become less of a liability and more of a factor in list design.     

As it stands I am just not impressed or interested in going to large events and playing against people who seek to create a stand off situation and create just enough of an edge to force the other side to push forward, thereby exposing themselves to the attrition mismatch I outlined above.  The game is not 3 months old any more, all lists should not look the exact same... Put down your calculators and actually play the game, don't just tie the mission and win my killing 1 unit and hiding all game. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Man play what you want and have fun.  Its a points based game and not every game needs to be 800pts. Local store has a nice crowd growing and i see alot of either 600pt or 1200pt games.  Its alot more of the 600 than 800 locally.

 

Dont be afraid to create your own extermination objective.  As long as you and your opponent are having fun thats all that matters.  

 

As far as the super competitive meta goes efficiency is key.  People will play what they are good/have pracice with in those events.  They also play alot of strategy turn 0 thant most of us dont always consider.

Edited by The captn

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Posted (edited)

I do, I just think its sad that at the highest levels, ppl cop out and spam units because its easy to run and safe, robbing games of diversity and depth legion actually has but is often not displayed on the top tables.  Its like cut game armada all the time.  Which is not fun to watch or play.

Edited by Angry Ewok

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I think the designers thought larger/better dice pools would make people be more likely to take the more 'elite' units. Because cover/dodge is less effective against one big/hurty dice pool.

Clearly they're not 'good enough' to balance this out.

I really like the idea of a 3 dead units for 1 VP. That I think would make people think about things a bit.

...

Another thing I'm not a fan of with objective only missions, is that the part of tactics/strategy where you preserve your forces and destroy your enemies, is essentially ignored in the latter turns of the game. Units just rush gung ho for the objectives, and self preservation is thrown out the window (except for supression).

 

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16 minutes ago, lologrelol said:

Another thing I'm not a fan of with objective only missions, is that the part of tactics/strategy where you preserve your forces and destroy your enemies, is essentially ignored in the latter turns of the game. Units just rush gung ho for the objectives, and self preservation is thrown out the window (except for supression).

This has been bothering me a lot as well, especially as a rebel player where avoiding attrition should be a primary aim.  Maybe there should be two scoring systems that run alongside each other?  

I imagine something like 'Nam's "political victory" system could work alongside the objectives we already have.  It doesn't have to be complex- a simple point system would dissuade more reckless gambits and make incapacitating a 'hero' actually worth something in the endgame. 

The second system can then be used as a tiebreaker in tournaments. Does no-one use a 'margin of victory' system as it stands?

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I dont think kill points will help because the types of lists you want to avoid are also the best at killing stuff for the most part.

I agree something needs to change and soon because I am mighty bored with tournament play at the moment.

I think the two things that'll help are making strike teams unique and adding a pass mechanic.

Unique strike teams will still allow people to run three snipers if they want but they'll have to pay for the full commando teams for the second and third snipers drastically reducing activation spam. 

A pass mechanic will allow smaller armies more control so they aren't forced to move into range of the enemy on those early turns.

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I've always thought alternate activation games would be better if elite units came with a free pass.

I think an easy fix for snipers/sabs teams would be just making it necessary to run a normal commando/scout squad before you can take the team.

But I don't know how to fix the cost effective corps spam.

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I would support a pass mechanic as well, it takes the arbitrary activation count out of the equation and lets people focus on creating lists and including units based on their merits, not their total activation count across the list. 

Armada eventually went to a hard cap of 2 on Flotillas to stim an activation escalation tide, it helped a bit...

 

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Posted (edited)

Just as an example, in Warhammer 40k during 7th edition the ITC Mission packet had a primary mission, a secondary mission, and tertiary objectives that all combine into an overall score that determined victory. 

They weighted the primary more heavily than the others but it was possible to contest but barely loose the primary and win the game by dominating secondary and tertiary objectives.  Kill Point Objectives, in conjunction with things like slay the warlord, marked for death, and other kill unit related secondary missions tempered the benefits of mass MSU.   This could be very useful in Legion to. 

In fact, you were hard pressed to find a large, respected 40k event that does run a mission packet that only had a single "primary," win condition because of the skew it has on list design.  40k is, like I said above, a money pit game, that does not design a thinking mans game but rather a wealthy mans game, but they do have some lessons to teach legion about tournament design.

I honestly don't think Snipers, DLT Troopers, and Z-6's Troopers perform as dominantly if people cant concentrate their whole list on a target because there is little if any LOS on the table.   On tables with lots of actual LOS blocking cover they can't leverage their firepower as easily, heavy terrain opens up a lot of more splash oriented units that can not take a whole army worth of shooting, but can be dominate in a limited engagement against lesser, less specialized units.      

The Heavy weapon as the unit leader rule is what makes Snipers usable, but it is also a artificial safety blanket they don't deserve to have, Corner Peaking plus that rule make them way more effort to remove than they are worth.

Edited by Angry Ewok

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16 minutes ago, Rumar said:

Part of the problem is the scarcity of terrain, especially in tournament settings.

This seems to be the main issue.  Add some line of sight blocking terrain pieces and suddenly you don't have a situation where two gun lines are just shooting at each other with no line of sight issues at all.  I agree that in those situations, the unit with the most efficient long range weapon will dominate.  It also makes for pretty boring games.

My local group treats most 'casual' play as theory crafting sessions to test out list builds for use in organized play events.  We looked at average table layouts at events like LVO and try to replicate the general feel.  In other words, the tables all have multiple pieces of line of sight blocking terrain and generally require you to move around a little if you want a clean shot every round.  This makes for both better games and better players.  Piloting a static gun line army doesn't require much player skill.  Piloting a gun line army that can win while moving around to get shots and claim objectives requires a higher player skill.  Practicing those sorts of games improves your skill.  Practicing a static gun line doesn't improve your skill.

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53 minutes ago, Rumar said:

Part of the problem is the scarcity of terrain, especially in tournament settings.

Amen.  Most tournaments I've seen just barely squeak in in terms of the "25%" rule.  I think that should be the bare minimum, with 33% the norm.  

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I do think with the releases we have slated we might end up seeing a change in list building. We're getting some very fast units that should help make getting into back lines easier and the emplacement weapons might give some indirect fire options. 

One rule change I would like to see though is to snipers just passing the gun off of killed. There should be a penalty for the spotter picking it up. Maybe it cuts the dice pool in half to account for the skill difference in sniper and spotter. 

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15 minutes ago, draco193 said:

I do think with the releases we have slated we might end up seeing a change in list building. We're getting some very fast units that should help make getting into back lines easier and the emplacement weapons might give some indirect fire options. 

One rule change I would like to see though is to snipers just passing the gun off of killed. There should be a penalty for the spotter picking it up. Maybe it cuts the dice pool in half to account for the skill difference in sniper and spotter. 

I'm a bit confused.  For a two man Sniper Strike Team, the Sniper is the Leader mini.  The spotter usually dies first.  If the spotter is out of sight and the sniper dies, you'd just pick up the spotter and replace it with the sniper.  I don't think there is a scenario where the spotter is left alive while the sniper is dead.  Are you maybe talking about the full size teams?

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, KrisWall said:

I'm a bit confused.  For a two man Sniper Strike Team, the Sniper is the Leader mini.  The spotter usually dies first.  If the spotter is out of sight and the sniper dies, you'd just pick up the spotter and replace it with the sniper.  I don't think there is a scenario where the spotter is left alive while the sniper is dead.  Are you maybe talking about the full size teams?

Let me clarify. Sniper is leader and is placed so he can see. Spotter mini is placed nearby behind a building. Sniper mini gets killed because he's visible and gets shot.  Spotter now gets promoted to leader and gets sniper mini. The spotter never gets killed in my experience because he is always out of line of sight to make sure the unit is never wiped out in a single volley. 

Edited by draco193

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14 minutes ago, draco193 said:

Let me clarify. Sniper is leader and is placed so he can see. Spotter mini is placed nearby behind a building. Sniper mini gets killed because he's visible and gets shot.  Spotter now gets promoted to leader and gets sniper mini. The spotter never gets killed in my experience because he is always out of line of sight to make sure the unit is never wiped out in a single volley. 

Sure, that's also my understanding.  Is your contention that you want to see a penalty be applied when that happens?

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Just now, KrisWall said:

Sure, that's also my understanding.  Is your contention that you want to see a penalty be applied when that happens?

Yep. Make it a bit more of a trade off to lose the sniper in the first place.

Downside is of course it adds something else to track. 

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, draco193 said:

Yep. Make it a bit more of a trade off to lose the sniper in the first place.

Downside is of course it adds something else to track. 

Easiest penalty to track would be to make the Spotter the unit leader. 

EDIT: But that would probably swing things too far the other way and then strike teams would see no play. Maybe additional suppression?

Edited by Caimheul1313

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2 hours ago, Rumar said:

Part of the problem is the scarcity of terrain, especially in tournament settings.

I only have 1 box of Commandos so I can't play more than 1 strike team, but I mainly hate playing them because they sit and do nothing for a lot of rounds because locally, we play with a lot of terrain, or at least I do. The more terrain the better for me. The way the battlefield looks and the complexity of it is about 40% of the enjoyment for me when playing the game. Sure they may zone out a space at the beginning of the game, but once enemy troops avoid that space and commit elsewhere, either your snipers have to displace and spend one or more rounds just moving, or they sit there and hope to get a shot off. 

More terrain!

4 hours ago, Katarn said:

This has been bothering me a lot as well, especially as a rebel player where avoiding attrition should be a primary aim.  Maybe there should be two scoring systems that run alongside each other?  

I imagine something like 'Nam's "political victory" system could work alongside the objectives we already have.  It doesn't have to be complex- a simple point system would dissuade more reckless gambits and make incapacitating a 'hero' actually worth something in the endgame. 

The second system can then be used as a tiebreaker in tournaments. Does no-one use a 'margin of victory' system as it stands?

Is going to points killed not what major tournaments do in the case of objective ties? We do that in our league and I won my last game because of it.

I desperately want to see more variety of objective cards, even if they won't see Major Serious Big Tournament Play. I will buy the AT-ST box just to get some cool cards and missions. If they released objective cards that didn't start the game on "even footing" (i.e. obj where player A was strictly defending a position and the other attacking that position), they wouldn't be allowed in Tournament Play, probably, but it would make me think about changing how I interact with this game, and would be more fun, imo.

Also, unless you're in a Competitive League and you get to play this game with friends just having a good time at your house, or your store, nothing is stopping you from creating your own mission cards! Go wild!

Also, most local store scenes are probably established by the competitive players, who want to compete, and mimic or be on the cutting-edge of lists they see at conventions. (This is at least my experience with every game I've ever played at a gaming store, regardless of my own motivations or mindset. The competitive players are always the ones organizing and in a way, shaping what people can viably play in a league where W/L are being tracked.)

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3 hours ago, lologrelol said:

I've always thought alternate activation games would be better if elite units came with a free pass.

I think an easy fix for snipers/sabs teams would be just making it necessary to run a normal commando/scout squad before you can take the team.

But I don't know how to fix the cost effective corps spam.

A Pass mechanic would make Fire Support MUCH more powerful though, since the GAR player can pass activations until it is advantageous for them to blast away with two units.

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1 hour ago, Caimheul1313 said:

A Pass mechanic would make Fire Support MUCH more powerful though, since the GAR player can pass activations until it is advantageous for them to blast away with two units.

I don't understand the argument in favor of a pass mechanic. Maybe people can explain how it would work.

If you're limited to one pass per round (because unlimited passes would be asinine, this isn't a staring contest), then it will just lead to a "pass-pass" situation, where both players pass, and the alternating activation order continues as normal.

I don't see anything to gain by passing. The player who doesn't want to pass, simply has to also pass in order to keep the game state as it otherwise would've been, thus negating any advantage to passing in the first place.

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2 minutes ago, manoftomorrow010 said:

I don't understand the argument in favor of a pass mechanic. Maybe people can explain how it would work.

If you're limited to one pass per round (because unlimited passes would be asinine, this isn't a staring contest), then it will just lead to a "pass-pass" situation, where both players pass, and the alternating activation order continues as normal.

I don't see anything to gain by passing. The player who doesn't want to pass, simply has to also pass in order to keep the game state as it otherwise would've been, thus negating any advantage to passing in the first place.

I too don't see how it does anything to "fix" the game.

Frequently I've seen it presented as only the army with fewer activations gets to pass, changing when the army with more activations "chains" activations, but I see that as almost more of an advantage for the other player overall. Plus, the relative points values of the units SHOULD account for fewer activations, by being harder to destroy/hitting harder. 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Caimheul1313 said:

I too don't see how it does anything to "fix" the game.

Frequently I've seen it presented as only the army with fewer activations gets to pass, changing when the army with more activations "chains" activations, but I see that as almost more of an advantage for the other player overall. Plus, the relative points values of the units SHOULD account for fewer activations, by being harder to destroy/hitting harder. 

I can't imagine a scenario of introducing a pass mechanic that I would be in favor of.

It's on the game designers to make more costly units more powerful/worth their points through stats, dice, etc. If they fall short of that, it's unfortunate, but is a pitfall of literally every game where costs are involved.

EDIT: Not to say that the situation is unfixable and we should just accept our lot. But, I don't see any introduction of passing as a viable solution.

Edited by manoftomorrow010

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I think this can only be solved by individual tournament organizers stepping up and adding some competitive list building criteria on top of the existing rule set - and that would take some guts because there'd be a backlash.   Something to force players out of their comfort zone and make them to use other pieces. The greater community would see that and eventually mimic ('cuz netlisting is a thing), even though regular "fun" play lists wouldn't be subject to the more stringent conditions.  I'd envision something along the lines of :

 

The Rule of Two:

1. Your 800pt tournament army list is only allowed to contain two of anything (unit, upgrade card, heavy weapon add-on, etc.), except for named characters where one remains the limit.

2. "Entourage" allows the taking of one additional unit above the stated limit of two.

3. Republic or CIS armies are exempt from this rule for corps and special forces units (until they get more options), but must split their selected units for any role slot if at all possible, and max number of corps units is 6.

 

Verbiage would have to be tightened of course. This will obviously not really fix the corps unit spam for max. activation but will force players to comfortable with all available types rather than just plunk done carbon copy Z6/DLT squads as nauseum with three sniper teams.  In fact I'd expect all lists will still contain all six corps (three sets of 2) for good while, but it would still be a step towards improving the diversity of the tourney meta and doesn't require FFG to re-write anything.

In a few years the players will hopefully see there are other units worth playing and then the constraints can be removed.

My 2 credits.

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