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syrath

Tauntauns, action economy and balance

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I've heard a bit recently about how effective Tauntauns are in The game in particular often referencing action economy in that they have 7 actions or equivalent in game making them overpowered and that it has been the biggest instance of power creep. (to be honest that prize goes to both flavours of strike teams IMO , while saboteurs  were the harder of the two to pilot both led to a definite change in the meta where your only real choice was to bring 2 or usually 3 of them, if you didn't your list ended up not being competitive at the higher levels) 

Let's take a closer look at the action economy of the Tauntauns. 

Agile 1 , every time they move they get a dodge. 

This in itself sounds very powerful , but forgetting about the fact that getting a dodge on many other units is an action let's take a look at it from the viewpoint of damage mitigation which ultimately is what dodge and cover are all.about

Compare with other forms of damage mitigation

Airspeeders / Landspeeders / Speeder Bikes who have innate cover 1. This removes.1 non critical.damage from every attack landed on them, is always on and doesn't exhaust itself

Jyn Erso/ Sabine / Leia/ Rebel troopers all have nimble, this is important aa all of these have to activate and use an action to dodge first, however once on that damage mitigation recycles again and again until the end of them.

Rebel Veterans gain a dodge when they receive an order. This is a limited resource though it doesn't cost them an action. Unlike the above this is also.like the Tauntauns.

Any form of Armor has mitigation that is always on and effectively removes damage , so excepting critical and impact hits the hits are removed , even in the case of impact of through hits are removed at the dodge and cover step and no hits remain impact doesn't come into play. This does not cost an action or have any requirements to activate.

Troopers including emplacment troopers but excluding creature trooper can have a suppression token , this allows them to remove one non critical hit per attack.

While the majority of the imperial do not have then benefits the rebels get with dodges they do have better Armor and as result this.balances out against the rebel equivalent. 

The Tauntauns get no damage mitigation benefit from suppression, have no Armor keyword, have no cover keyword, all of which are permanent once active , all of which do not require an action on the part of the unit being attacked. 

The Tauntauns also get cover way less than their rebel trooper counterparts, firstly being larger and secondly anything that doesn't impede their movement also doesn't provide cover so the cover they do get would be from Line of sight blocking terrain. A correctly made table should have some of this but should have open terrain as well that you can at up near, which means melee units should be forced to  run across at least some open terrain before getting to you. If not then The table hasn't been laid out well or you have deployed poorly . If the Tauntauns can sneak about in this avoiding shots speeder bikes , landapeeders, airspeeders can also knock around getting extra cover however for an extra 10 points 2 of these units can sit in open terrain and also still benefit from full cover anyway.

So the only additional damage mitigation that a Tauntauns gets is the single dodge token they get in each move. This is dependent on the Tauntauns moving early in some way and is a limited resource, though it is possible to get 3 or 4 dodge token in a Leia list advanced positions along with no time for sorrows. Ultimately though is this any different than an airspeeder/ landspeeder with an outer rim pilot getting shot twice. Aggregate the same number of wounds get mitigated . This didn't stop DLT from taking shots at Airspeeders before because they knew they had no choice, and the Airspeeders stopped getting played because of DLT gunlines even though they had the equivalent of an always on equivalent of a dodge (and even the enticement of a second "dodge" with the outer rim pilot wasnt enough for it to see play.

So are these.dodges provided real additional action economy or are they just required damage mitigation to make them playable. Example if you removed the Agile keyword from it entirely then most shots would be going straight to saves unless the unit stood still for an action to dodge (see below for what that does). Similarly if you limit it to one dodge gained the unit then the damage will often go straight to saves with no damage mitigated at the dodge and cover step after the first bit of damage)

Now if you look at any of the other white save units, how often do you have a shot at them where they have no suppression , no cover etc, even without dodging these units always have access to a few forms of readily  available dmg mitigation whether it's cover (inbuilt or otherwise. Over a game count how many wounds get mitigated by white save units by cover, Armor era and see how much damage is avoided.

The Tauntauns get normally 2 per round removed or 1 if they are suppressed. they may get more , however that isn't a factor of.Tauntauns action economy it's a factor of the deployment or.the commanders command card, or occasionally if they get cover.

So IMO scratch this from the action economy to bring it down to 5 since it falls under regular damage mitigation which this unit loses completely without it that other units have an easier time getting it naturally.

Ahh, I hear you say they have other "action economy" as they get relentless and can attack at the end of their move. . Well to be honest so do a lot of melee cards. Vader, Chewbacca, Wookie Warriors , Imperial Royal Guard, and other melee-lite characters also get charge albeit in command cards or upgrades . Jyn Erso, Bossk even Palpatine can attack outside their actions during their activation. So this isn't unusual in itself. It is more unusual in that they get it via relentless, which Vader had and this allows them to So attack at range. 

Lets take a look at the reasoning behind this because the reasons are important. Tauntauns are cavalry, highly mobile and able to move quickly over the battlefield. Vader is a slow mover. If he didn't have relentless he would have to stop every now and then if you wished to attack with him. Without his two moves he won't get anywhere. So he needs relentless to be useful. Now let's imagine the supposed most mobile living creature unit in Star Wars If you remove relentless. Yes it moves at movement 3 (7inches) and Vader moves at movement 1 (3 inches) so a double move Vader moves at 8 inch or so and the single move Tauntauns move 9 inch ( for reference the occupier moves faster). So if they have to stop to attack or if they have to stop to dodge they get about an inch further than Vader once you take into account bases. So the supposed fastest unit in the game outside of speeders is no w nearly as slow as Vader 

Again this shows the necessity of relentless on the unit.

Moving onto reposition, r ead the above but apply it to ATRT who cannot reposition. This makes sense that they should be able to be as maneuverable as a normal trooper in the film they could turn on a dime, so to speak, however the vehicles get to be less maneuverable by virtue of their extra resilience in their Armor. So this is to make the unit realistic in that it can turn easier than other creature troops may be able to, but not as easy as perhaps troopers, since you cannot rotate more than 90 degree .  This doesn't make them better or worse than trooper or vehicles just different with the movement somewhere between an ATRT and a standard trooper. The trade off is.resilience.as you go trooper Tauntauns - Vehicles losing maneuverability as you go.

So really when it comes right down to it the thing that annoys most people is how effective they are.

I've established that the move 3 is necessary and with it the Agile ( to provide some damage mitigation that it loses over other white save units), reposition let's it move about the battlefield like light cavalry , even relentless is necessary since they are essentially light cavalry able to move and attack  quickly. Remove any of this and they are no longer light cavalry moving only just faster than Vader and still slower than a heavy tank. 

So what makes people annoyed with them, only two things are left their attack (including then RAM keyword) and their ability to displace. Now any large base unit in the game that isn't an emplacment trooper does this, so it cannot be that so it must be the fact that they combine speed with an impactful attack. Black Black White or their red red isn't anything to write home about , ultimately it's similar to what Jyn Erso has with red red white as a shot and 4 black in melee (which is better even counting RAM. 

Summing up an ATRT is like heavy cavalry the Tauntauns are light cavalry comparing a single Tauntaun with a single ATRT, the Tauntauns get maneuverability, the ATRT gets to plod along behind it and is way more robust and does more damage either ranged or melee. the ATRT is 10 points more per figure though.

To sum up people just haven't figured them out yet IMO. I can understand why people jump on its "action economy" but outside speeder bikes we haven't seen light cavalry in the game yet and certainly they are the closest relatives in the game, with a similar skill set, and even similar.damage, one is more suited to ranged attacks, the other gets more into melee

In fact if you look at speeder bikes in comparison

Ability to move and attack

speeder bikes can take 2 speed 3 moves and can still attack (can opt out the attack for more moves if needed)

Tauntauns can take 2 speed 3 moves and can attack but cannot do more than 2 but speeder bikes cannot reposition without using a move

so Bikes are better in a straight line and can travel further if the forgo the attack

Wounds and damage mitigation

bikes get 3 wounds but have always on cover

Tauntauns get 4 wounds and require to move before getting a dodge or two (which can mitigate 2 wounds over all the attacks they recieve)

So this is completely dependant on how many attacks received

bikes do better shooting into armor, but are limited to frontal firing with their best weapon though they lack sharpshooter and roll 2 black instead of red, but they can split fire. Hard to say which is better. 

Tauntauns are better in melee, Bikes can't but can still shooting melee.

Bikes are immune to suppression

Tauntauns lose half of what they can do as a result of it

bikes 75 pts Tauntauns 90

I don't see the reasoning behind the hate of the Tauntauns "action economy" since that economy is effectively mirrored in the bikes. The differences being 4 wounds vs 3 , repositional vs higher top speed, 90 pts vs 75, and suppression vs immunity to it. 

the only difference beyond that is the Tauntauns ability to melee, and the bikes ability to fly over terrain and units. 

edit auto correct messed up a lot 

Edited by syrath

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Not exactly. It's just that equivalent "action economy" exists in the game. Action economy is when a unit gets a benefit from it having to take a action to do something so relentless is action economy, since it allows them to both attack and move which is to be expected of them since they are light cavalry. the free dodges are not action economy however and here is the reason why

- All other units have damage mitigation built into them in some way, remove damage by suppression, remove damage by cover keyword remove damage by armor, remove damage by red saves (unless your are Bossk), outside of this you only have cover , which is designed for you to stay in it mainly or move between areas of cover. Other units have recycling dodge tokens, and one gets a dodge token via getting an order all of these also get advantaged by suppression from this point of view. Tauntauns are unique in that they start off with no damage mitigation that covers them like this, their only mitigation is to keep moving. So prior to moving they have nothing round to round, except the odd time they may have cover  ( in which case they would be better staying out of LOS entirely since most cover they get will also be LOS cover.)

So in general they start the round with no additional mitigation every round, all other units have some form of this inbuilt . Tauntauns HAVE to move to get it. Without the move they get none of the other mitigation benefits other units get built in. That isn't action economy , since they are having to move to get the mitigation other units already have so they only achieve parity by moving not gaining a benefit. The only real benefit they actually get from their move over other units is range not "action economy" and on that they are essentially on par with bikes that cannot be suppressed and 15 points cheaper. (I know Tauntauns have other benefits ). Early on Bikes were popular in the meta but they can be countered.

Edited by syrath

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Haha, nice that I could at least help inspire the need for your post.

I would argue that dodges are far more useful than Cover 1, as enough units in the game exist with sharpshooter that Cover 1 is rarely an issue, and cover doesn't help in melee.  Dodges on the other hand, most certainly do, and high velocity units are relatively rare (limited to snipers and the AAT, if memory serves).  If they had cover 1, which comparable units like the speeder bike or BARC have, I wouldn't have half the problems I have with their current system. 

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I don't understand the idea that Tauntauns either have no cover or total cover (LOS-blocking). What kind of tables do you play on?

 

Also, getting a free dodge out of a move IS action economy, because other units hve to spend an action to get that Dodge token. The comparison with bikes is not that good IMHO - while bikes do get Cover 1, they need to spend one of their actions to get the benefit of both Dodge and cover (and it's even more difficult to claim cover from terrain for them). So, comparing actions of the two units, the bikes can do one of the following:
- move twice and get a single Dodge
- move once, get a Dodge and attack
- move twice and attack

On the other hand, the Tauntauns can:
- move twice, get two Dodges and attack

Also, the Tauntauns can be Engaged, which is the best shooting protection the game has to offer.

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The issue I see with tauntauns is not their action economy (which is indeed good), but the weird way they interact in melee.  They can be engaged, but also can disengage freely while overlapping everything in the process.  They should have some sort of disengage condition, like spur, where they can do it but costs them a suppression or something.  Alternatively allow them to be shot at if engaged at least.  

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18 hours ago, Dosiere said:

The issue I see with tauntauns is not their action economy (which is indeed good), but the weird way they interact in melee.  They can be engaged, but also can disengage freely while overlapping everything in the process.  They should have some sort of disengage condition, like spur, where they can do it but costs them a suppression or something.  Alternatively allow them to be shot at if engaged at least.  

Trye, they get all the benefits with none of the drawbacks.

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The funny* thing with Tauntauns in melee is: Tauntauns can withdraw with a full move from a hand-to-hand combat and get a Dodge. Then they can Reposition, come back to engage the same unit again, displacing them to issue a Suppression, and receive a second Dodge. Then they benefit from Ram and get two garanteed crits.

It would be soo dumb just to aim and attack as all other units in melee do! Instead of 1 Aim
you get 2 Dodge, 2 garanteed Crits, make a Suppressive attack.

And to imagine how Tauntauns always run full speed over trooper units to stomp them into the ground is ... funny.**

 

* If you think it's funny may depend on your sort of humour!
** Are you still laughing? Watch your back, there comes a Tauntaun!

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13 minutes ago, Triangular said:

The funny* thing with Tauntauns in melee is: Tauntauns can withdraw with a full move from a hand-to-hand combat and get a Dodge. Then they can Reposition, come back to engage the same unit again, displacing them to issue a Suppression, and receive a second Dodge. Then they benefit from Ram and get two garanteed crits.

It would be soo dumb just to aim and attack as all other units in melee do! Instead of 1 Aim
you get 2 Dodge, 2 garanteed Crits, make a Suppressive attack.

And to imagine how Tauntauns always run full speed over trooper units to stomp them into the ground is ... funny.**

 

* If you think it's funny may depend on your sort of humour!
** Are you still laughing? Watch your back, there comes a Tauntaun!

You can't leave and reenter melee with the same unit in an activation. You also can't engage a unit in the same movement where you displace them.

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31 minutes ago, arnoldrew said:

You can't leave and reenter melee with the same unit in an activation. You also can't engage a unit in the same movement where you displace them.

Why?

Okay, I looked the Displacement rule up and found that you're right. You can't place the minis in base contact. But why shouldn't you be able to reenter into engagement after leaving it? Can't find an entry for that in the RRG.

Edited by Triangular

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1 minute ago, Staelwulf said:

Cause the RR says so on p. 48 "melee"

Ah, okay! Found it. Thank you very much. So you would need two enemy units to run over and back again! Still funny! And not too hard to find with two moves at Speed 3 and Reposition.

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5 hours ago, Triangular said:

Why?

Okay, I looked the Displacement rule up and found that you're right. You can't place the minis in base contact. ...

That should not be a problem though. If you move in basecontact with a mini of the unit and displace another one or two miniatures that are not the unit leader, everything should be fine.

The displaced miniatures are first placed out of basecontact according to the displacement rules and then have to be replaced in basecontact according to the last bullet point of the melee rules on page 48 of the rules reference.

 

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6 hours ago, M.Mustermann said:

That should not be a problem though. If you move in basecontact with a mini of the unit and displace another one or two miniatures that are not the unit leader, everything should be fine.

The displaced miniatures are first placed out of basecontact according to the displacement rules and then have to be replaced in basecontact according to the last bullet point of the melee rules on page 48 of the rules reference.

Huh, I could have sworn it was specifically prohibited, but I just checked the relevant entries in the RRG and I can't find any trace of anything to indicate that. Thanks for the correction.

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