Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pete Lite Comp - The Skullcannon Conundrum

Most of the discussion around loosening the warmachine cap has centred on whether in conjunction with this Skullcannons should be 0-1 in a Daemons of Chaos army.

Now given that the Skullcannon is one fugly model I am not unsympathetic to that train of thought, however I do reserve doubts that such a restriction is needed.

Most of the "compers" cite the fact that Ironblasters are 0-1 under Pete-Lite and centre their analysis on a comparison between the two. Local gamer Hamish Gordon has written a very readable analysis on his blog which you can access here

However I don't think it is necessarily the best analysis to consider the unit in isolation. Rather I think you need to look at the situation as to what units add to the overall competitiveness of the army.

Here are my thoughts on Ogres and Ironblasters taken from the FOB comments:

There has to be variation between armies and Daemons unlike Ogres, for instance, are much more susceptible to Magic (ref: Hellheart, Dispel Scroll, Feedback Scroll, Rune Maw). 

Does DoC having two Skullcannons break the game? No. Personally I'd only use one as points are spent better elsewhere.

Does OKs having two Ironblasters break the game? A lot of people said yes last year, hence the restriction.

Now I have both dogs in the fight. I own Ogre Kingdoms and steered them very successfully in 2012. I will say that running two Ironblasters lifted them from a good army to a great army, their only real weakness being Warriors of Chaos during that time.

Recently I have played Daemons and used one and two Skullcannons. Neither army in the guise I ran it is as strong as an OK army with all the toys, limited to one Ironblaster.

Now that's not to say there may not be builds that are at this level of competitiveness. The Nurgle Beast build backed by Epidemis and two Skullcannons was cited by Hamish as potentially all-conquering. However I think we have to see this in practice rather than by internet analysis. Tournaments are not won purely based on Theoryhammer.

Should we see a string of wins by the 2 Skullcannon army and people flocking to build such an all-conquering build then perhaps that is the time to start limiting Skullcannons.


  1. I think 2 Skullcannons are too powerful. They might be negated by Dragonbane/Dragonhelm, but that still leaves a wealth of other juicy targets for them to shoot.

    Mobile cannon platforms are too powerful for this game in my opinion, they're literally main battle tanks in the modern sense. They combine firepower, protection and speed in a package that's too hard for fantasy armies to deal with.

    Ironblasters, Skullcannons and Steam Tanks should have some limit on their ability to move and shoot their S10 d6W weapons. As they don't I believe they should be limited to 0-1.

    The same logic should apply when the next Dwarf book comes out with it's inevitable big kit of a Runic Golem with cannons for arms.

  2. I don't really mind if it is put to 0-1 or 2. I've played against two before and wasn't all that bad. The WS is OK (nothing to laugh at mind you but still OK) and the STR 10 D6 wounds are just like any other other cannon so not much to be said there, it has one less wound to the Abram tank (Ironblaster) but then again, most of my warmachines all have 4 wounds so its hard for me to complain about that.

    Yea, the only real threat I can see with that thing that it is mobile and has a WS. But it can die to other WM just as fast (never rely on the 5+ WS or your just gunna have a day). However, the Ironblast could move and shoot as well and I didn't have a hard time facing to (I was kind of sad to see it get restricted to 0-1) it was such a cool model and I liked seeing lots of them being played.

    So in fact, the only thing that is substantially different from this model to the ironblaster is that it has a ward save, and it's only 5+

  3. I'm bringing 2 Skullcannons to kill Screaming Bells, Doomwheels, Aboms, WOC DPs, Slaan, Demigryphs, Skullcrushers, K'daii, Salamanders, Dwarf cannons, empire Cannons, Magma Cannons, etc. All that fun stuff. I didn't like the Skullcannon models, so I converted up some.

    Wonder what the Dwarf Mecha will look like...

  4. your not going to do much against a K'daii, they have that lava skin rule thing

    1. Show me where my Chaos Dwarfs touched you Sam lol...

      Was it that time where I castled in the corner with them and then my rocket zoomed in with intent, great accuracy and killed your great smelly one or daemon prince or whatever that thing was.

    2. Measures had to be taken. You're not even going tho?

  5. Since High Elves have won the last 2 tournaments don't you think they need comping. I can think of one restriction already.

    1. read: "High Elves have won 2 events. 1 with comp that changed the basic dynamics of the game by giving dragons a free ward and immunity to instant death(monstercon), the other had a restrictive comp pack that heavily penalised the main counters to monsters - big units, monsterous infantry/calv, and artillery (Panzerschrek)"

      Joel v

    2. No. Just because something wins an event it doesn't need comping.

      The whole basis of Pete-Lite is to be permissive rather than restrictive. Rather than looking at comping something that causes you trouble people should be looking at their list and tactics and then deciding how to combat it....or as I like to say "NEXT TIME PLAY BETTER".

    3. High Elves dont need comping sam just needs to harden up and divert the banner unit.

    4. I'm sure he'd say the same to you re Skullcannons :-)

    5. Remember Sam, I didn't have the banner ?
      Waste of points if you ask me, High Elf players can just play better.
      So can daemon players if High Elf players choose to take it.

    6. Re: Joel, I know the comp was much varied the last 2 tourney's High elves have won. My Comment was an offhand remark to gauge the defensiveness of people regarding high elves. I was fishing.

      Re: PeteW, I know you didn't have the banner and played the high elf army you had exceedingly well without crutches. Hats off to you. What do you think of Hugh Dixon's list for CTA?

      re: Hamish, only so long you can divert a unit with a skilled general, ie; SamW's Cold one bus of Doom. It's obviously not going to be comped, But I've found my Banner diversion for next tourney. 8 Beasts. Undercosted banner with Stubborn (white lions) and 2+ ward against everything in my army versus my undercosted beasts. Trade off. I've built my army for CTA to face skaven(because the top players play them) and my rock-scissors-paper army (high elves). Everything else I will tailor my strategies on the day.

  6. Thanks for the kind words Pete, the blog write up was a little hastily assembled but not altogether terrible!
    Your right about isolation though, I was going to compare the empire steam tank, empire cannons, Dwarf cannons and Chaos Dwarf artillery as well but I was just a little 2 tired on Sunday night to do that!

    Don’t get me wrong if Skullcannons were appropriately costed at say 250 points or it was a "move or shoot" monster I'd be alot less concerned about it... but at 135 I'd take 2 in every army i played if they were available!

    Maybe I should extend on my blog and do some theory hammer and compare the current net list or Sam's list vs the current ETC/competitive ogres list and see who's more busted ;)

    As for cannons in general I think they need to either make them D3+1 wounds or alternatively remove the duel hit on rider and mount and go back to the old 1-4 you hit the mount 5&6 you hit the rider or give the riders ward save to the mount for cannon shots only(that ways way out there though) ;)

    1. We're going to have to disagree.

      The point of Pete-Lite is not to try and mythically balance the books. Unlike a lot of comp systems it doesn't profess to even attempt that. What it does do is seek to be permissive and allow people to bring the models they want and only restricts what are commonly perceived as the most egregious builds.

      As a by-product it seeks to preserve the diversity in the books by not limiting the things that make them different. WoC are very strong in combat and only really susceptible to high Str shooting and magic. That is an inherent characteristic of the army. By removing cannons and the like you are mitigating some of their weaknesses. That sounds wrong to me from a balance point of view and from an opposing player pov.

      I think people should look more at strategy and tactics rather than comp and list building. 8th Edition is far more balanced than the previous edition where in a no-Comp environment you'd make a case for most races to be in with a shot of doing well - given scenarios and the vagaries of the draw.

  7. Its not about a Daemon army with 2 cannons winning a tournament to prove that they are broken.
    Dwarfs and Empire get their warmachines capped and whens the last time they won a tournament in NZ. You cap the warmachines for other reasons besides does it break the army as a whole.

    If its all about power level and why it should be capped - Ogres have gotten drastically weaker over the last year with all the new released books and the way the current meta is played. And are no where near the power level they were when they first came out so maybe they should be allowed 2 Iron blasters now to?

    Well no the shouldnt because Ironblasters are obscene. They are to good for the points you pay.

    So for me, irrelevant of the armies power level. The Skull cannon is as good if not better AND less points. So should be limited 0-1.

    If its not then I think you are being unfair on the Ogres players saying they can only have 0-1. (But just so we are on the same page Ironblasters should be 0-1)

    The simple fact is mobile cannon platforms are broken (For the points they are).
    And the skullcannon and Ironblaster are the same. You are comparing apples with apples.
    So either make then both 0-1 or both 0-2.
    They are both part of strong books, so I cant see why or how they can be differentiated.

    1. I've tried to explain multiple times Thomas....I believe when looked at in isolation you can make the case that they are of similar character. However I believe that in the context of their individual books two Skullcannons is less of an issue than two Ironblasters.

      The Ogre book is still very strong. I don't believe the strength of the book has yet been proven, either here in NZ or overseas.

      We are just going to have to disagree.

    2. Agreed.

      We disagree.

      I understand where you are coming from and agree that within their own books the 2x Skullcannon is not as larger issue as 2x Ironblaster would be.

      I guess where our opinion is different is that I think 2x skull cannon still provides enough of an impact to warrant comping.
      But that is a matter of opinion.

  8. Ok Pete lets not take things in isolation then, right now DoC have no restrictions and their book is much more flexible than 7th ed (if you want it to be).

    So what are the downsides of DoC right now, from my perspective its:
    1) No Dispell scroll
    2) BSB can only effect units with the same mark.
    Some might also argue that the Winds of Chaos is an issue but actually 9 times out 10 it ONLY ever effects your opponent and the db 1's issue is very nicely offset by the dble 6 rule and lets put that into perspective its only an 8.47% chance so your lucky if you ever roll it once maybe twice during a tournament and even then you still need a 6 on the unit roll for it to matter…

    Of those 2 the only one I see as a small issue is no dispel scroll and that’s neither here nor there as plenty of players using other armies skip having one altogether anyway.

    As for the BSB issue it really isn’t a concern in my opinion as DoC are Immune to Physiology (so will never panic) and their all essentially steadfast or unbreakable once their locked in combat... and why that some may ask... simple because they have the BEST break rule in the game Demonic Instability! So instead of potentially fleeing which for any other army (excluding tomb kings and vamps) if a unit is beaten and flees it literally has a 55 to 60% chance of being destroyed outright but the pursuing unit but DoC lose wounds equal to what they failed their leadership by and combat moderifers cannot reduce their roll to less then double 1’s even if their total combat res loss is -100, unlike Tomb Kings or Vamps their loses are capped to a MAXIMUM lose of 9 wounds and that assumes and 11… DoC players will then say but what about 12 my units whipped to them I say that’s an 8.47% chance and on double 1’s you get every lost wound back so STFU! 

    Lets move on, so what does this mean when you then factor that DoC are completely unrestricted and their 2 downsides really aren’t that bad… it basically means that Nurgle is King of the hill and why is that...

    1) Epidimus is unrestricted… what makes him broken Tally of Pestilence… this basically says whenever a unit Marked with Nurgle does a wound (magic, shooting or combat) add it to your tally, when you hit 7 all marked units of nurgle get +1str, @ 14 +1toughness, 21 4+ward and @ 28 re-rollable wards. And all of this is cumulative.
    2) Beasts of Nurgle have no cap and to quote you “under-costed” and you can field up to 18…wtf.
    3) Plague Bearers are cheaper than 7th ed and much better now even without Epi.
    4) Nurgle Heralds are actually good (no matter what Sam may tell you)
    And from there you have access to multiple other units which are all solid such as .
    Nurgle Furies and Plague Drones, not to mention great unclean ones.
    And to back all that up you can take 2 of the arguably best artillery pieces in the game at no determent to your army, Skull Cannons…

    1. ...so you've basically psyched yourself out about my list is what you're saying. I just have to turn up and put my toys on the table and win right? ;-)

  9. Replies
    1. Don't apologise, immune to physiology deserves a medal. Covers daemons perfectly.
      As for the overall sentiment, either you've stumbled on magic win combos or it doesn't all add up to much, otherwise everyone wd be running it instead of gravitating to warriors instead, no?
      Also, please explain the flexibility pf the book as your summary after that is nurgle with skullcannons which doesn't really support the flexibility bit.

  10. Well flexiability steams from fact your not peg-holed into one specific build, Tzeentch has its big merits and Pete provided that at Panzerscheck. Khorne also have its merits and several units are featured in almost every net list from the auto include Cannons to Hounds with ambush... when you compare 7th ed book to the new 8th there are way more options. 7th was all about 2 or 3 big units of bloodletters, herald & Billie.

    You know why ppl migrate to WoC, cuase most ppl already a WoC army or part of one (similar to HE), plus WoC are generally cheap to by compared to most GW armies due to their low miniture count especially now with the inc cost of marks and upgrades.

    Nurgles biggest back draw right now is the prohibitive cost of GW models, most ppl only had Khorne plus a small handful of other marked units like Flamers, Screamers etc