Author Topic: The Inadequacy of the Skeleton Errata  (Read 1306 times)

Fingolfin

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The Inadequacy of the Skeleton Errata
« on: September 19, 2016, 11:20:34 AM »
To test if the "+1 yellow hit box" errata makes Skeleton Infantry,  including both Skeleton Hordes and Skeleton Spearmen, actually worth taking, I thought that I would look over a number of session reports concerning the Undead. I believe that all of these battles were fought after the errata; however, I may be wrong. The session reports include 5 playtesting sessions from both the Greek Mercenaries and the Lords of Vlachold (mainly because they were convenient) and the latest 6 session reports* from the Session Reports proper, including 3 Championship Games and 1 report playtesting the proposed Rat Swarm errata. The session reports are linked below.
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,7772.0.html
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,7647.0.html
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,10431.0.html
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,10427.0.html
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,5819.0.html
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,10150.0.html
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,10160.0.html
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,10164.0.html
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,10074.0.html
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,10433.0.html
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,10159.0.html

Skeleton Infantry, are "stay-in-the-box" units. Even with the errata, they are practically never seen on the table (seriously, in the above reports, Skeleton Spearmen make one appearance and that is it). I would say that the fix was not enough, and Skeletons really need to be looked at.

My ideas for fixes would be:

A. Skeletons regenerate 1 box on your Movement and Command Phase. Theme wise, it's not hard to see. Skeletons are so easy to reanimate that raising them doesn't even require the concentration implied by a Command Action. This has the bonus that it requires no errata on the front of the card. However, functionally, it doesn't really give the Skeletons that much more staying power, so it should probably be combined with
 
B. Reanimating Skeletons heals 2 boxes. Pretty weak, so it should probably be combined with A.

C. Skeletons regenerate 1 box during the Movement and Command Phase. This might be overpowered, but it might also be what the skeletons need.

I'll be honest; I'm fine with Skeletons fighting on the level with a 175 point unit as long as it gets them out of the box and doesn't break the game. Somehow, I doubt any of my proposed changes would break Skeletons though.

*Technically, I left out a game, but it had no pictures or commentary detailing the units involved.
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NegativeZer0

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Re: The Inadequacy of the Skeleton Errata
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2016, 12:17:19 PM »
The inadequacy of the undead goes way beyond the inadequacy of the skeletons.  
The entire army is just poop.
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,10362.0.html


So fixing skeletons isn't going to help the undead.  They suffer from being one of the first armies developed and have suffered the worst from falling behind on the power curve.  The entire army needs an Undead 2.0 remake.

So basically I wouldn't worry about whatever fix you do for skeletons not requiring an on card errata because the entire army requires an errata.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2016, 12:59:00 PM by NegativeZer0 »
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Kevin

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Re: The Inadequacy of the Skeleton Errata
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2016, 01:23:22 PM »
Sorry, man.  But I disagree here.

For one thing, you get points for linking to a game I played (3rd from bottom), but did you notice that in that game my Skeleton Spearmen kicked ass!  They were facing a unit over twice their cost (Earth Elemental) mauled it nicely, then another piece of trash pinched it out of existence. 

IMHO the Skeletons are perfectly good value for their cost. The "problem" is that the cost is low.  The undead don't have any Core units in the low-mid 200s, and all-too-often the Skeletons end up trying to serve as standard infantry going up against stuff 1.5x their cost.  Goblin armies do equally poorly for the same reason, as did Persia in play test before heftier units became Core.  Anyway, since the Undead Player knows he'll be outmatched everywhere, he instead takes fancier units and then relies on the weaker stuff for "tanking."  That's a strategic problem more than a problem with point cost.

Were I in charge, I'd give the Undead a top-to-bottom remake.  Versus experienced opposition they get totally screwed because every single unit that costs over 167 points is vulnerable to spears.
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gornhorror

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Re: The Inadequacy of the Skeleton Errata
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2016, 01:32:50 PM »
I think the Undead have been helped greatly by the errata of the command cards.  Giving them +1 offensive skill at times makes them competitive.   Also the undead command deck is pretty good IMHO.

As far as the spears, why couldn't we just say they only get a +1 offensive power (instead of a +2) on the charge against any skeleton unit.  

I.E. Skeli trolls, Skeli cavalry.  Doesn't makes sense to me that spears would hurt them as much and units with "flesh" on them.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2016, 01:39:21 PM by gornhorror »
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Fingolfin

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Re: The Inadequacy of the Skeleton Errata
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2016, 03:24:49 PM »
The inadequacy of the undead goes way beyond the inadequacy of the skeletons.  
The entire army is just poop.
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,10362.0.html


So fixing skeletons isn't going to help the undead.  They suffer from being one of the first armies developed and have suffered the worst from falling behind on the power curve.  The entire army needs an Undead 2.0 remake.

So basically I wouldn't worry about whatever fix you do for skeletons not requiring an on card errata because the entire army requires an errata.

Sadly, I doubt Undead 2.0 is ever going to happen. I do disagree that fixing Skeletons will not help the Undead. The Undead currently have 3 dead units; Skeleton Horde, Skeleton Spearmen, and Rat Swarm. Fixing these units will at least give the Undead more options in army building.

Sorry, man.  But I disagree here.

My point with the session reports is that practically no one field Skeletons. Ever. Even if they are a fine unit in the absolute sense, the context of their army means that they rarely see the light of day. I want to fix that.

For one thing, you get points for linking to a game I played (3rd from bottom), but did you notice that in that game my Skeleton Spearmen kicked ass!  They were facing a unit over twice their cost (Earth Elemental) mauled it nicely, then another piece of trash pinched it out of existence. 

Your report was the only one to feature any Skeleton Infantry, and they had a pretty much ideal situation. They were up against a large opponent that hit them on 2's. Then, you had a streak of luck on your rolls. I suppose that you could say that this points to them being a situational unit, but I am not buying it.

IMHO the Skeletons are perfectly good value for their cost. The "problem" is that the cost is low.  The undead don't have any Core units in the low-mid 200s, and all-too-often the Skeletons end up trying to serve as standard infantry going up against stuff 1.5x their cost.  Goblin armies do equally poorly for the same reason, as did Persia in play test before heftier units became Core. 

The problem is that skeletons don't serve a purpose in the Undead army. They don't tank as well as Zombies. They are worse* as light damage units than Ghouls.

That's a strategic problem more than a problem with point cost.

Yes, but it's a strategic problem that leads to Skeletons never being used. I say fix the problem somehow.

My argument is really that the data shows that Skeletons are very rarely used. This implies that they are either sub-par or a bad fit for the army, both of which make them "stay-in-the-box" units. Given the premise that "stay-in-the-box" units are bad, then we should fix the Skeletons.

Were I in charge, I'd give the Undead a top-to-bottom remake.  Versus experienced opposition they get totally screwed because every single unit that costs over 167 points is vulnerable to spears.

I would say that that is a weakness (intentional) of the army. To my mind, the perfect solution would be to make Skeletons useful in ordinary games while keeping this weakness.

I think the Undead have been helped greatly by the errata of the command cards.  Giving them +1 offensive skill at times makes them competitive.   Also the undead command deck is pretty good IMHO.

As far as the spears, why couldn't we just say they only get a +1 offensive power (instead of a +2) on the charge against any skeleton unit.  

I.E. Skeli trolls, Skeli cavalry.  Doesn't makes sense to me that spears would hurt them as much and units with "flesh" on them.

That is all well and good, but it doesn't address the situation of the Skeleton Infantry.

*I say this because you see ghouls a lot more than skeletons.
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Kevin

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Re: The Inadequacy of the Skeleton Errata
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2016, 03:54:24 PM »
Easy "fix" is to make them 2/2 or 3/1 or something like that. (At a higher cost of course).
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BubblePig

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Re: The Inadequacy of the Skeleton Errata
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2016, 04:22:00 PM »
Sort of echoing Kevin and Brook here: My undead 2.0 would assume that the lack of soft squishy parts is equivalent to armor/toughness. That would preserve the 'flavor' of vulnerability to spears. I am a bit dubious about that being a significant part of their faction flavor, though. Most M&M units got the same problem.

RushAss

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Re: The Inadequacy of the Skeleton Errata
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2016, 04:43:59 PM »
I was a fan of the Skeleton fix when it first occurred, but it really didn't fix the problem like we thought it would.  That problem being that Skeleton units simply lacked the durability to last in their initial role as a line unit.  Adding a yellow hit box was nice, but they really needed an additional hit box.  IMO 2G/3Y/3R may be enough to keep them around as long as they need to in order to be viable as a line unit.  At some point I'd propose actually charging for them for that.  This means that the Skeleton Horde would cost 170 points while the spears would cost 190 points.  Still pretty affordable.  Now this is just my initial opinion on how to the fix the Skeletons.  Corey and I have discussed a very possible need for Undead 2.0 but we haven't gone into detail as to exactly what we'd like to do.  But yeah, rest assured that Skeleton line units would be a primary priority. 

1 cool thing that should be mentioned about the Skeleton Spearmen is that they are an amazing deal for the damage they can potentially inflict on Large/Colossal units.  Bonuses for holding Spearmen are great and all until they blow their fear check and that bonus goes away.  That never, EVER happens with Skeleton Spears.  The bonus is guaranteed.  And for less than 200 points!
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Hannibal

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Re: The Inadequacy of the Skeleton Errata
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2016, 04:56:45 PM »
If you searched the initial Skeleton Fix, Niko & Chad were talking about +1 G and +1 Y box for the same cost.  It got way watered down IMO.