Saturday, August 5, 2017

July 2017 Errata - Analysis from our foremost experts

Howdy sports fans!  Today we bring you a special feature (at least as special as the 40 other features doing this exact same thing), rich with provocative analysis and spicy meme references.

Our commentators on this ride will be:

  • Peter Williamson, first and only winner of the Billy Wijnveld Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence.
  • David Stent, future Australasian Guild Ball champion and veteran scene analyst.
  • Handsome David Cameron, an average player in the NZ meta but a veritable god in the UK scene.
  • JS Imbeau, a man with no Guild Ball achievements of note but not bad with a pen and paper.
  • Billy Wijnveld, Football Legend. A man of few, but momentous, words.


PW: All aboard the Steamforged Errata Express! Choo Choo. The train has picked up a captains from both ends of the spectrum and moved them closer to the middle. Equality in action, under the "no captain left behind" policy. The changes for me are all positive, regardless of whether it is a reduction in power or an increase.
Whilst I feel that one captain change might have been slightly hit too strong with the nerf bat and will consequently have the adverse effect on Steamforged goal of increasing diversity,  Alchemists and Fish were slightly above the curve according to statistics, the changes should see more diversity in team selection, and this can only be good, right? On top of that I do feel like they have narrowed the gap between captain selection, on most of the captains changed.

HD: Come gather round people, wherever you roam - The 2017 errata has dropped. For some people, the sky is falling. For others, a mariachi band has been their heads since they read the news. So what do I think?

JS: A good shakeup to the game, that as usual I feel did not quite go far enough – there’s a small number of players in each guild that just aren’t really seriously considered for 10 man rosters and this likely will not change that. Alas, one step at a time.

Billy: *glares thoughtfully*


HD: The second big change is to Alchemists. This really made me do my happy dance. I don't disagree with the top brass who say that Alchemists are the top guild currently. You'll have seen my last blog post where I faced Midas, Naja, Mist, Vitriol, vKatalyst and Compound and really didn't have an answer. Well now the Steamforged gods have smiled upon poor old me.
Midas was too much. That's as simple as I can put it. Virtually unkillable at 5/1 and a 10" goal threat just put him in superhero territory. I've already heard alchemist players say that toning him down will make them consider Smoke on an equal footing, and that can only be a good thing.

JS: Perhaps a little too much in one go. I’d have gone with just the change to the heroic (the +1 ARM was basically free money) and removing Light Footed (both because it made no sense and was partially to blame in losing me a game to Stent). Losing Super Shot is probably fair in that it was very ‘win more’, but not a fan on making Lure of Gold once per turn on top of that.

Billy: Overnerfed.


HD: As for Vitriol, that's just gravy. Again, I don't think anyone would claim that nothing needed to be done. I don't think I've ever played against an Alchemist team that didn't include her. That's a bad sign in a player. Losing such easy access to high damage was a good start but removing 'Cover of darkness' was simply a stroke of genius. If she kicked off and moved into cover then her threat range was simply unfair. Alchemist players might just reconsider her status as an auto include, and that can only be good for the game in my opinion

JS: I must have been the only person that didn’t find her completely unreasonable before. She was however still a clear auto-include so a tweak was justified. She kept Clone, 2” melee and Skilled Within Shadow so she’s still pretty legit. Dunno if the health nerf was necessary but doesn’t seem too bad overall.


JS: Ox had a shit playbook (about half as bad as Jac's). Now he has a pretty decent playbook. Kept everything else that made him cool. Good stuff.

Billy: Still shit.


PW: How do I call him the worst captain in the game now? I feel so hard done by with this change, although I feel he still doesn't touch Honour in terms of sheer awesomeness. He does provide a very different play style to her now. The Heroic changing to Legendary and the character play range increase, just allows for more of a big turn, rather than my feeling of before where popping his heroic just drained even more resources. Like I said, Honour still for me will be number 1, but I feel like I can at least play him now. Congratulations Hammer, your new title is "no longer the worst".

HD: Hammer is now categorically better. Again this balances the captains so he might get a look-in compared to Honour. Small enough tweaks that there doesn't feel anything specific to comment on, but big enough that he will certainly see more play. Good for the game, likely bad for Morticians.

JS: Verdict is out on the playbook changes (seems better to me), but that Legendary is very good. It’s basically choosing between Hammer being Ox, Spigod or Kicking Support activation by activation.

Billy: Might be alright.


PW: Yup he is the captain I feel that got hit overly hard with the changes. The changes to his legendary are certainly justified, but the changes to his third play book result are staggering (sorry). It just feels like a trash ability that you would only ever take if you just happen to roll 3 successes and don't need to do anything with that influence.  Stagger and a dodge would have been a better result in my opinion. With this change I just feel that Corsair will become everyone's default drop if they are not dealt Knee Slider and even then... why? The choice between the two was really close, but now it feels like Corsair is just a more all round solid drop.

HD: Shark had a minor range reduction on his legendary play, and Gut&String replaced with the less useful Stagger (arguably even less useful than a KD option). This was perhaps further than people expected them to go but it seems fair to me. Steamforged's reasoning that a combination of both plays led to a Haley2 level of "negative play experience" is something that rings true. No one needs that level of movement reduction. I empathise with those people saying it went too far - why not word the legendary play such that opposing players suffer "Gut&String"? That way it couldn't stack with his character play and a balance is still maintained. A further kick in the teeth is that Gut & String isn't gone from the game. Granite retains it as some sick taunt of what the Fisherman used to have.
My biggest fear regarding this nerf is that it will drive Fish players into the waiting nets of Corsair. My Morticians always seem to come up against Shark Fish, and I'm used to dealing with him (see earlier blog examples for my "Shark cage"). I'm far less used to dealing with Corsair, sad face.

JS: Most people thought Shark was weaker than Corsair before already (once you knew how to protect the ball) and this cements it. The Legendary range reduction is entirely justified, and -8/-8 (ie. not doing anything for an activation) was pretty traumatizing so don’t mind that being gone. I don’t think they hit the right lever in just removing G&S entirely though as that was a core part of the character and playstyle for me (moreso than the legendary).

Billy: Dead.


PW: Totally legit change, what more needs to be said. I feel like she still does everything she needs to, just has that threat ever so slightly reduced. It's not a huge change, but reasonable. Although Siren1 could always punch pretty hard too, so i guess this a reduction in damage for her as well as the following.

Billy: Well I never liked Siren1 anyway.

JS: Fine. It limits her potential ceiling, which was extremely high before. Now I can just miss 3+ DEF models with Seduced and not have 1 useless INF sitting on her. Thanks SFG. Still a strong model.


PW: It's a total blow to Corsairs main source of damage, The damage becoming non momentous is not that big a deal, but the extra column in the playbook, that's where the real sore point is. She just doesn't wrap as easily as she used to. So charging or having a lot of crowd outs her damage is severely reduced. All that said, you will still pick a Siren, they are both a mandatory pick, so dry your eyes petals, they are still way above most players in the game.

Billy: It's a fair change.

JS: Also fine, her momentous damage was very high with just a small amount of set up. Her damage output did go down the drain though as a result of the longer playbook, momentous or not. But she still does basically all the other cool stuff she did, so still has her place.Still in the roster.


PW: To be honest, I never felt that Theron was that bad, he had some real control elements to him and having snare on every attack makes him a good set up piece. His biggest weakness to me was that he wanted damage, rarely rolled the 3 hits on the first attack to get it. The momentous 1 now is unbelievably his biggest buff. After playing him he just feels like a strong captain now, he still sets up the rest of his team, but now he can hit people and influence the field with his heroic. My actual problem with the guy now is. Where the hell do i find the influence to put on him?

Billy: I didn't know what he did anyway.

JS: Things get pretty cool when you remove the Skornergy. Basically he’s the same as before except actually works efficiently – early activation, put out snares, get a bit more momentum doing his thing… enough to drag Hunters out of Hunter tier IMO.

Maybe this would have fit better under Midas than Hunters


PW: Hmm interesting. He's certainly a better piece, but I do wonder where he fits into the Hunters. I just have to experiment with the guy some more. He still makes a really terrible control piece. But I guess now you can fail that first roll and cry a little when you take singled out. I think his heroic change to allow himself a free skewer is a big deal. Does he replace others?  Not sure. Certainly will go in the 10 now.

JS: Similar to Theron, some Skornergy removed with the change to Blessing of the Sun Father and getting a momentous Singled Out. Now a valuable early activation that gets out debuffs and sets your team up.


HD: Avarisse & Greede. Wow. What to say. The best advice I've heard so far is from Jamie Perkins; forget the old A&G, we have new models. It's not a tweek. It's not truly an errata. It's a top down reboot, and it's welcome.
Removing their insane turn 1 goal threat is welcome, as it was rather predictable route that Steamforged seem determined to steer away from. Some people seem terrified now about Avarisse's ability to set up effective TAC8 with +1 DMG and whilst it does seem extremely powerful, it doesn't seem necessarily catastrophic. Expect to still see them. Expect to still fear them. But it'll be an easy 2 points for them, rather than an easy 4 points.

JS: A second radical rework for these two, their goal scoring ability was almost entirely removed in exchange for captain level damage. Walk up to someone, put Greede out in melee, Single Out or hit with Avarisse (in either order), then proceed to pump momentous damage into the target and have Greede jump back up. Easy.  Influence hungry but 5 INF for a bunch of momentum and a dead enemy player is usually a good trade. The flexibility of two simultaneous activations is still really strong as well.
Saying that, in my only post errata game, Greede got me the game winning goal, tapping in a goal following a teamwork dodge from an Avarisse pass. SeemsGood.


JS: Essentially removes Harry’s Crazy and equally stupid damage potential, thus refining him as a tank/brawler and set up piece. Still very good at that though.



PW: Overall Predictions

Alchemists: You almost forget these guys can take Decimate...(take her, she's easily the best union choice). I see a shift to a more Vet Kat style of play. They don't really have 2 bruisers now, but still have so many set up pieces for Vet Kat. Will be interesting to see if Midas or Smoke wins out, but I think it will be Smoke. Though I foresee a lot of A&G being a straight swap for Harry.

Butchers: Still Fillet all day every day. Ox's play style is just too slow, compared to Fillet's. That said, think we actually see Ox now.

Fish: Corsairs reign of terror begins a new. Damn...

Masons: Still Honour... Hammer will at least see more play now though! Overall they are still a solid team, and probably the nerf to Alchemists and Fish is more of a boost, rather than the buff to Hammer.

Hunters:  Hard to say. I think they are certainly in the pack now. I don't think anyone can use the phrase "Hunters are shit" now. There are now only shit Hunter coaches :). I am not sure which captain will actually be played more, I believe some will still prefer Skatha, whilst others will prefer Theron. Your personal preference in playstyle will determine the captain choice.

Union: Roster is so deep, will see frequent amounts of A&G, Harry will probably disappear for a bit, but will come back.

HD: Rather drastically changing the most popular four models in the game less than a month before a major tournament? It's a bold move cotton. Ironically this will hamper both players and opponents as they struggle to remember new threat ranges and abilities! I can't pretend to be totally impartial but I judge these changes as balanced; nothing too extreme and all in the name of the overall health of the game.

Am I upset that Morticians didn't see a bump? Not really. I understand why, and wouldn't want every model to be errata every year. That doesn't mean they aren't being looked at, but does mean that nothing on the spooks roster has been inarguably "too much" and in need of toning down. I'm content for now.

Wish me luck at the British Nationals!

JS: Wish Handsome Dave luck at the British Nationals!

David Stent: Buff Vileswarm please.

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