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Statistical Analysis of the Shieldbash Factions

 
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ElectricPaladin



Joined: 24 Sep 2014
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:03 am    Post subject: Statistical Analysis of the Shieldbash Factions Reply with quote

I had some time on my hands, and I was trying to wrap my head around the Shieldbash factions and what makes them unique (other than their Racial Ability), so I decided to crunch some numbers. The result is far, far from a comprehensive analysis of the factions. I am only considering how often special abilities and characteristics of various levels appear, and in what combinations they exist or at what cost they can be added to your army. Nevertheless, I think I’ve discovered some interesting things.

Here we go!

True Atronians

My number crunching revealed the following:
• Most models have a Skill of 13, with a large concentration of Skill 14 and Skill 12. This makes the Atronians the second-most Skilled faction, following the Elvorix and the Vidaar.
• Might peaks at 2d6+1, with a slight bias up rather than down (ie. more models with Might 2d6+2 and 3d6-1 than 2d6 and 2d6-1).They also have access to the highest Might in the game (3d6+1 - actually it’s tied with a theoretical blue-scaled Ki-kak Pa-onwa, but more on the Ki-kak later). This makes them among the mightiest factions, on par with the Jaarl.
• The most popular Toughness in the faction is 5, with a significant number of 6s. This makes the Atronians one of the tougher factions; they are tougher than the Elvorix or the Vidaar, but less tough than the Jaarl.
• They are definitely the fastest faction, with a common MA of 5 and more models with MA 6 and 8 than any other faction.

Combined with their Racial Ability, this seems to describe the True Atronians as a very powerful aggressive army. The combination of individually very powerful pieces and the ability to always know exactly how far you can push your luck is a very tasty combination. They want to move quickly towards the enemy, and know how to both take hits and dish it out. At a glance, I’d be tempted to describe them as the most powerful army in the game - I can only hope that there are some balancing elements that I can’t see from this number-crunchy perspective.

The Steadfast Elvorix

Here’s what my number crunching showed me about these dudes:
• They are clearly the Skill faction, with the distribution peaking at 14 and the highest number of 15s in any faction.
• Their Might is merely average - a fairly flat curve that peaks at 2d6 and 2d6+1 - putting them at slightly less mighty than the Atronians and Vidaar.
• They are among the less tough factions, with a Toughness that peaks at 4 and 5. Overall, this makes them slightly less tough than the Atronians and the Vidaar, and much less tough than the Jaarl.
• Like almost everyone, their MA peaks at 4, with a significant number of MA 5s and almost no one who moves faster.

Between their shieldwall ability, tendency towards good Shield benefits, and Shields High! Racial Ability, the Elvorix seem like they want to play a fairly conservative game. Advance as a group, supporting each other, each buck relying on the bucks around him for defense, and hoping that it is enough to balance out their mediocre Toughness so that their superior Skill can carry the day. More than any other faction (except, perhaps, the Jaarl) they will suffer quickly as they take casualties.

The Savage Vidaar

Interesting stuff here, I think:
• Only slightly less skilled than the Elvorix, with a skill peak that is split between 13 and 14, but with a single 15.
• Despite their name, they are only a little mightier than the Elvorix, with a Might distribution that peaks at 2d6 and then extends, with a little fewer models, as far up as 2d6+2.
• Their Toughness distribution is nearly identical to that of the Elvorix, with a slight preference for Toughness 5 over 4. This makes them slightly tougher than the Elvorix and a little less tough than the Atronians.
• Their MA scores are nearly identical to the Elvorix.

Overall, I think this shows me a faction that wants to strike a balance between the Elvorix and the Atronians. Their Racial Ability tells me that they want to move up the field fast and rush into combat, but unlike the Atronians, that’s a check that they can’t necessarily cash. A Vidaar player will need to strike carefully in order to overpower his opponents, while the Atronians seem to have the tools they need to just rush the opponent and carry them down through sheer might.

The Forsaken Jaarl

The first faction that isn’t mostly meant to be the same race… this is going to be interesting:
• These guys are definitely less Skilled than the factions we’ve talked about so far, peaking at 12, with a significant population at 13.
• The Jaalr are slightly less mighty than the Atronians, with a similar distribution that leans just a little bit lower.
• The Jaarl are certainly tough bastards - the toughest in the game - with a Toughness curve that peaks at 6 rather than 5, and a relatively large number of 7s.
• They are just a little slower than the other factions we’ve discussed, but only because they lack any MA 8s (no cavalry of any kind). Most of the models are still 4s, which means they are more or less on par with the Elvorix and Vidaar.

Combining their high Toughness and Racial Ability to recover from Discombobulation while in contact with their fellows, this is clearly the tank army. Like the Elvorix and the Vidaar, they want to advance as a unit, but unlike the Elvorix, who want to support each other for survival and use their high Skill to push their luck with their various Skill-sapping special abilities, and the Vidaar, who need to be a little more aggressive and use their unity and speed to strike at the most opportune place and time, the Jaarl seem to focus on sticking together, weathering the storm of the enemy, and winning through retaliation and attrition.

The Unending Kuld

On paper, these guys are overall mediocre:
• Although Kuldish Skill peaks at 12, which makes it seem as though they are on par with the Jaarl, they are just as strongly situated in 11 and 13 (whereas the Jarl peak at 12, but are stronger in 13 and 14 than they are in 11 or lower). In actuality, the Kuld have the lowest Skill, overall.
• Surprisingly, the Kuld are not all that mighty. Their might distribution strongly peaks at 2d6, which means they are slightly below average. They do have the largest proportion of models at 3d6 of any faction… but that’s just two models.
• The Kuld don’t impress in terms of Toughness, either. They peak at 5 and cheat slightly upwards, which makes them firmly average.
• The Kuld are actually kind of slow. Their MA peaks at 4, with a significant number of 6s, but they totally lack any 8s.

Overall, the Kuld are definitely exactly what they were designed to be: a horde army. Lots of mediocre pieces - and a few stronger pieces - with a high frequency of the Wave of Flesh power, which keeps them advancing forwards despite the large number of models (which would otherwise make advancing very Surge-intensive).

The Vengeful Ki-kak

Ah… the sad Ki-kak, afflicted by the Curse of Upgradeable Mediocrity:
• The Ki-kak’s Skill curve is pretty flat, and peaks evenly at 12 and 13, making them slightly more skillful than the Kuld, but less skilled than everyone else.
• The Ki-kak are slightly below average in terms of Might, peaking at 2d6.
• Toughness - slightly below average, peaking very strongly at 5, but with a smaller proportion of 6s than anyone else.
• Move. Also slightly below average, for the same reason as Toughness. Peaking at 4 with fewer 6s and 8s.

So… like I said, the Curse of Upgradeable Mediocrity. Even more than the Kuld, the Ki-kak look awful on paper. However, with their ubiquitous eight-point upgrade of skin color, any of their stats can go from mediocre to among the best in the game. With the yellow skin upgrade, the Ki-kak go from Skill 12/13 to 14/15, which would make them the most skilled in the game. With the blue skin upgrade, their average Might goes to 2d6+2, which makes them the mightiest. With green skin, their Toughness goes to 7, which makes them the toughest faction in the game. And, with red skin, their MA goes up to 6, which makes them even faster than the Atronians. And all that isn’t even considering potent the special abilities that come with those stat boosts!

It’s also important to remember that the Ki-kak are balanced around nearly army-wide Skirmisher, which means that every time one of them is hit in combat, there is a chance that the Ki-kak will escape consequences and deny the opponent the chance to try again (without spending more Surges to get back into base contact).

What does this mean? The Ki-kak are a highly flexible force and can be very powerful… if the player is able to get the right Ki-kak with the right color into the right position.

Of course, this isn’t a full analysis, just a look at the distribution of different stats within each faction. I’m curious to read the community’s response!
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headzombie
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Joined: 06 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is all almost spot on! Glad our intent comes through...

Some things to note: Shields are really, really important often reducing chance to hit by 20-30%.

For the Kuld the ability to ignore disco and not be outnumbered is also really big. The large bases also can prevent the enemy from getting side by side and supporting each other if used well. Creeping death and vomit also add an interesting x-factor.
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ElectricPaladin



Joined: 24 Sep 2014
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking at shields as well…

The Atronians have moderately strong shields, with roughly a third of their units enjoying -2 shields. This adds to the sense that they are an aggressive, offensive army that defends and weathers attrition well.

The Elvorix and Vidaar are tied for second best shields, with -2 protection for about a third of their units and -1 protection for a few stragglers. This, likewise, reinforces their status as primarily defensive armies who need to leverage another advantage to win.

The Jaarl, on the other hand… whoa boy. Considering their shields, they take tankiness to a whole new level.

As to the final two factions… the Kuld don't have shields all, which supports their identity as the "mass of disposable goons" faction. Ki-kak, as I've mentioned, have a few weak shields, but with upgrades can become a super tanky shields-and-Toughness army.
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Crusader Twm



Joined: 29 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks pretty spot on to me, although I suspect going just by numbers in profiles you'll get a slightly skewed result, since a linebuck, for instance, will have the same weight in your analysis as a musician, even though my typical Elvorix warband will contain several linebucks and is unlikely to have a musician at all (just an example).

I think of the Atronians as sort of the epitome of an elite warband. They tend to be pricier, so low in numbers, but don't have the tankiness of the Jaarl. They do, however, tend to pack some pretty neat special rules.

I think of Vidaar/Elvorix as the all-arounders, leaning aggressive/defensive (respectively). Elvorix definitely have some awfully high-skill characters, but the linebucks and spearbucks that will likely form the backbone of a warband are still average.

Jaarl are definitely tanks, and definitely an elite army. On paper their skill may look average, but it's really only a handful of command profiles that are below 12, and a good many of their combatants are 13+ (whereas that's usually just the elite units in other armies).

Kuld make up for their lack of shields and their lack of fast models with their special rules, and some monsters that hit like a ton of bricks.

Ki-kak, well, we've done some discussion on them in other threads, but I agree. It's their upgradability that really makes them shine. You could run a swarm without the upgrades, or a partial swarm to get a numbers advantage, or a fairly elite force (although any given Ki-kak still only becomes the best at one thing - the fast ones are still average on skill, might, and survivability, etc.). I haven't been able to try my hand at them, yet, but I think of them more than anyone else as a "finesse" force.
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ElectricPaladin



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely agree that the Ki-kak are a finesse army. They're all about placement and target selection. If you can get the right Ki-kak lined up with the right model from almost any other faction, the Ki-kak stands a really good chance of winning.

The hardest thing about the Ki-kak, I think, is that they don't really play like any one thing. The other factions are pretty clearly about something - the Atronians are aggressive, the Elvorix are tactical/defensive, the Vidaar are tactical/aggressive, the Jaarl are tanky, and the Kuld are a horde army. The Ki-kak are... well, what did you paint them as? A horde of weak lizards? A tanky green army? A mighty blue army? A tactical red/yellow army? Or do you have a bunch of units that combine different kit and skills with different colors, and you try to apply each one in the way that allows it to shine?
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asgelb



Joined: 16 Feb 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does this all take into account, in terms of shieldwalls, that the Elvorax, vidaar and atronians gain the bonus for a shield wall unlike the Jaarl?
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Crusader Twm



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

asgelb wrote:
Does this all take into account, in terms of shieldwalls, that the Elvorax, vidaar and atronians gain the bonus for a shield wall unlike the Jaarl?


My breakdown of the factions doesn't, and it fails to take into account he racial special abilities and magic spells, as well.

In my experience, the lack of shieldwalls for the Jaarl isn't really too big of a deal. For starters, they're rock-solid anyways, very tough to hurt, and their racial ability also favors formations (or at least pairs), and facilitates recovery, making them that much tougher to bring down. Also, when playing the other factions, I find that I just don't use shieldwalls all that often, because I'm sending my troops off in different directions. Maybe I should try it more often, though!
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