This isn't intended as wish listing but will probably end up going that way. I gave up on pigs completely about 18 months ago, I haven't used them since except where people asked to play against them- with the inevitable massacre. If Thornfall gets a CID in the next few months, I probably won't be at home to do battle reports and on top of that the CID periods have been very short. I'd like a discussion now so we can think about the direction we'd like the theme to take.
I'm pretty concerned about things coming out of the changes being noticeably underpowered as they will unlikely be fixed, like Croak Trappers or Warspears. We also don't want stuff being busted and causing game-wide issues like the Lord of the Feast and Supreme Guardian.
Rather than starting at the endless rabbit hole of model changes, what do you guys think of the Thornfall Alliance theme itself? The benefits are a bit rubbish as we know, what would be thematic instead? Are there any models that could or should be added to the theme? What should it be good at and weaker at, and what bases does it need to cover in the context of the faction?
I think what thornfall needs above everything else is more options. We saw with sturm and drang that a couple of releases can raise a bottom tier caster up considerably without changing the caster themselves, and I feel like Midas, Carver, and Helga are in a similar position.
As far as the theme benefits should go, ambush definitely should just be innate to commandos, and retaliatory strike should go in favor of something that benefits infantry. Or make the free models for every 25-30 pts of farrow models rather than for every 20 points of warrior/battle engines models. This would allow warbeasts to count towards free points making it possible to run beast heavy or combined arms without being penalized for it. There is precedence for this in the talon charter theme so it wont be new to the game.
Outside of that we just need slight points decreases in a few places as most of our models do work, they are just too expensive.
Edit: Oh and allow swamp gobber models/units to allow river raiders and bellows crew.
The theme benefits as they are are actually pretty cool. I think if you expanded the theme options to include all of the solos that aren’t gators/croaks/trogs/other wet guys, it would become a lot more playable. Probably still underpowered, but more playable.
Post by darkangeldentist on May 11, 2019 21:10:26 GMT
It's been a while since I last played Minions and although I've always leaned toward Farrow, I don't think I've ever fielded the theme because it was so actively bad for pretty much every warlock I wanted to play. Farrow have a lot of models that need attention but keeping strictly to the theme force I would like the see the following changes.
For every 25pts of Farrow models you can take one CA, solo or weapon crew for free. Free models do not count towards free points. (Similar to the current rule but more flexible and thus a higher threshold.)
Farrow warrior models in this army gain rise. (Nearly everything Farrow has tough and this is one is a benefit in other themes where this is also the case so it's hardly setting a precedent.)
Friendly Farrow warrior models in this army gain the "Bacon" special rule. "Bacon" when this model is destroyed, each living warbeasts base to base with this model heals D3 damage points. (This one is admittedly potentially a counter-productive rule since it can end up healing the enemy but it's also potentially quite powerful and for goodness sake, they're all pigs!, they should have this rule!
I like your suggestion for adding bacon to the warrior models. I think a theme needs to add something unique to give a faction more of an identity. Bacon does a good job of that. Another way is to go the route of Gators and make a change to a base unit- posse get heartier. Maybe give slaughterhousers some HP. Or give a sweeping change to units, everything costs 1 pt less.
Blindwater is more oriented on heavy infantry supported by light infantry whereas Thornfall is entirely light infantry that are generally competent at fighting with every warrior unit bringing some way to buff accuracy, damage, or both. They are pretty different as is even though both are infantry themes.
I generally rate Farrow's infantry rules pretty well as base rules, they do kill things when they can make it there. They just overcosted and lacking support to thrive. Look at praetorian swordsmen, before you add the UA the unit looks pretty sad with just 2 pow 9s or 1 combo strike pow 12. They get better with the UA minifeat and granted effects, but the warlord is no slouch either. The key difference though is that praetorians have access to better support from their casters, the krea aura, and other support models like the tycom that protect and super charge them.
Or looking at gators they have options to deny areas with husks and trapper from longchops, they have better spell support with access to the blindwalker, boneshrine, and the soul slave, and they also have more anti magic options with the sacral vault, void leeches, thrullg, and hex blast on calaban or arcane interference from Rask.
My intention isn't to say farrow need straight copies of these rules but to highlight how many models that are considered good are benefiting from model interactions that thornfall currently lack. Playing farrow feels like an army where nothing interacts well; most of thornfall's solo choices are combat solos with no leadership abilities, and two solo options are specialized as anti-hordes models. Notably two of our solo options refuse to work together at all. On the unit side bonegrinders can give some much needed range to our channelless casters, but beyond that are mostly magic weapons and grievous wounds on a short threat stick unless an enemy warbeast walks into their threat range. Valkyries are great but aren't enough to deliver our pigs where they need to go. For warbeasts we have 2 animi of 6 that aren't range self. The splatter boar can provide some wildly inconsistent cloud coverage though. The BE provides concealment and bulldoze, though with the game seeming to lean towards defense skew lately I feel like most lists wont be scared of a bunch of defense 14 pigs. As I said in my previous post I largely like our casters where they are now, but they also demonstrate some of the inconsistent design of the faction. The only ability/spell that screws with magic in theme is on midas, decel on sturm and drang doesnt protect our single wound infantry that well (it helps are warbeasts a little though), defenders ward is good, but like both decel and concealment it just doesn't seem like enough anymore (shout out to brigands with defenders ward around a thresher. Those can be annoying to remove.), and Arkadius and Carver are hard core warbeast casters who want to be in WWFF instead.
Bacon would be cool but I think I'd rather it just be added to the warbeasts rather than a theme benefit. Rise is simple and effective. Feign death (without Rise?) would potentially be more thematic? I was thinking something like small and medium base Farrow can ignore line of sight when declaring charges- a thematic advantage of pigs is they have have the best sense of smell in the Iron Kingdoms.
Ambush on a Commando unit is ok but Commandos are just an awful unit. I think this is alright as a theme benefit so long as commandos are not balanced around being Ambushers. Personally I love my ambushing Blood Witches in Cryx because they're a good unit that people are actually concerned about. I think we'd all love to see the 'everything gets AD' theme benefit back but I kinda doubt that would happen. I think every single theme in the game outpaces Farrow in their board position at the end of turn 1 and that is an issue to be addressed.
The free points is a sticking point. Do we want to try for mixed arms like Talion or be an infantry theme? I personally don't think mixed defence armies work (as in, light infantry+heavies at 50/50 split) but if the theme is designed that way we can build what we like. What if it stayed as is, but Valkyries were allowed as a free option? Ternion, Battle Mages and Initiates are free options in their respective themes now. Valkyries cost a bit more than those, but, well, this is Farrow. It is nearly impossible to break a Farrow army.
IT kind of needs to be made into a better ranged game faction or get some better beasts. Competing with blindwater for infantry seems unlikely.
Focusing more on the idea of 'Brigands skirmish and shoot things, Slaughterhousers mop up' is probably the aim. Blindwater is designed as the heavy infantry theme with the light infantry available to support it, so competing with it shouldn't be a problem.
I don't know if there is a theme in the game that focuses on skirmish infantry and actually works? It would be hard to design.
I think every single theme in the game outpaces Farrow in their board position at the end of turn 1 and that is an issue to be addressed.
I believe this is it in a nutshell. I have nothing but good words to say about the offensive output of pigs. With zero 'caster intervention the lowest Mat any pig unit can get to on its own is 8, most do respectable damage, and almost every single Warlock we have increases both accuracy and damage in some way (Sturm and Drang excepted, although getting Helga's to go off is far too fiddly to rely upon). That is honestly exceptional. Where pigs fall apart is that they have no board presence, poor threat ranges, and victim stats. This costs them all control of the game and renders them purely reactive, making them extremely prone to being locked out of the scenario game. This may be a personal feeling, but even in good match-ups where the pigs are seriously advantaged I don't enjoy the game because I have no capacity to set the tempo or force particular engagements.
Most theme forces have a "set-up" benefit, i.e. something related to initial deployment. "X unit ambushes" is a pretty common one, and it's the one Thornfall has. Commandos are pretty terrible ambushers though. They come on, they run towards the enemy with their low threat range and victim stats, and they die. Hutchuk dictates more of the game than they do, and he's a free solo compared to a 9 point min unit. Give Commandos Ambush or not as a base rule (they'd still need some other improvements I think to actually be good at ambushing), but this is the benefit I would identify as the principle one likely to shape the performance of the Thornfall theme. Farrow units gain Advance Move springs to mind as an example, to draw upon Armoured Corp, of a rule that would go a long way towards actually allowing Farrow to apply pressure. It may not be enough on its own to overcome poor defensive stats and low threat ranges, but at least you have board presence and Brigands may actually be able to use Dig In once in a while.
A few other things, like support solos able to speed up Farrow infantry, or just a fast unit base, or a Structure with some kind of battlefield-influencing effect (so many cool ideas around pig pens ), and so on would all provide a measure of help to Thornfall. But before anything else, they need a way to actually be in the game to feel fun to play.
skirmish focus will never win in steamroller, which relies on holding territory. If the skirmishers are effective enough to work in a territory hold scenario, they'll be a gunline.
I kinda disagree. I have little expectation of convincingly holding more than one zone anyway, and anything I use to contest enemy positions WILL die so having disposable chumps is good. Our disposable chumps aren't that cheap and are much too slow to easily contest. In Cryx I'll use Machine Wraiths, Scrap Thralls or infantry chumps of whatever theme. In Legion its Shepherds, Gobbers or Hellmouth tentacles. In Minions it is Gobbers in WWFF and sometimes Feralgeists or Dhalia.
I guess for me it is more a question of how do we reach the zone, how do we clear the zone, and how do we contest the rest of the scenario?
If we want to make that game plan work, essentially we need Brigands to be extremely potent as they would be the core of that playstyle. That means synergy with the army, casters that actually want that unit type, and making them better/cheaper.
I think the intent of the playstyle may actually exist in Thornfall:
-Razorbacks and Efaarit hit at long range to assist in Brigands managing prey. Either kill or weaken a target so Brigands are capable of switching.
-Brigands skirmish with targets, switching prey and hog wild to do a bunch.
-Bone Grinders go in from time to time to apply grievous wounds to keep the enemy damaged.
-With everything now damaged, Slaughterhousers now go in and mop up, reliably putting things in the dirt with Mat9 charges, finisher and take down.
For every 20 points of Farrow units, solos and battle engines, add one weapon crew unit, one Farrow Valkyrie unit, or two Razor Boars free.
Farrow warrior models gain Mark Target.
For every warbeast (or perhaps solo?) in the army, one Farrow unit gains advance move.
The army can include one non-character minion unit and solo.
Notes here: It gets a bit too wordy to explain what kind of solos can be free, and I don't think we would take them if we can get Valkyries and Razor Boars anyway.
Mark Target is because we operate over close ranges and I find RAT 5-7 just isn't that good. I also wanted something that allows Commandos to be given base ambush and made into a strong choice in Thornfall without them becoming too common outside of Minions.
Advance move is to deal with the board position issue. Not everything needs it, we just need at least some things to get up the field.
Our casters don't synergise with Farrow, and the stuff they DO synergise with is in WWFF. Everything they want is not Farrow. I think we really need to allow the Croc Pot, Soul Slave, Bone Shrine, Void Archon and so on just to get access to the models our casters demand. They don't add to free stuff, they can't be taken free, so that seems very reasonable.
My feeling is that the rules on all the Farrow models, with a few minor exceptions, are rock solid in their own right.
The entirety of the Farrow's issues rests with the Thornfall theme. It excludes the vast majority of the new minion support, enjoyed by both Blindwater and WWFF themes, in exchange for retaliatory strike on warbeasts... Warbeasts that actively stop you from maximizing the theme's potential because they cut into your free points.
The fixes are super simple. Warbeasts count towards free models, bone shrines and gobber models are added to the army composition.
Thornfall fixed. Except midas... midas needs a crock pot manned by a bone grinder...
I never felt like Midas'problem was a lack of fury/corpses. I always just took 4 lights and between their first deaths and his feat he was never starved for corpses on the turns that matter. My problems playing midas is that by the time armies engage I've lost most of my army to shooting/control effects or flat out being alphaed myself.
Edit: also if we get spell support I'd rather see something that helps Carver and Helga too like a free upkeep or a way to get a free spell or harmonious exaltation.