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New players are scared away by the Rhino

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And now they won't play with or against it.

We've gone through a few demos with the Cult and GH boxes, talked about some of the units, and then my demoing partner and I inevitably land on the subject of the Rhino. It felt wrong to sweep it under the rug, so we talked about it. If they've played wargames before their eyes almost immediately glaze over with either dread or excitement. After all, who doesn't want to control a big nasty rhino? 

We tried to discuss how to handle it and when it comes to GH I usually just shrug. There's a couple ways I've played that can mitigate it, but outside of raw luck the strats are complicated and tricky. Faking Strength 5 hits by pulling the rhino through multiple pools (+1 Str per pool traveled through), Massive arms with the Titan, lure it away from portals, bodyblock with large bases or high armored Whelks. It isn't hopeless until you begin to realize how point and click the rhino is vs. the effort/luck involved to defeat one. And that's before we mention you can take more than one.

We've considered maybe it's the durability that makes it too much. Maybe it's the shaken token immunity. Maybe it's only Fenton that makes them a nightmare, or Toughness itself.

It inevitably boils down to Fire Nova. The single easy TN to make multiple fireteams take unresistable damage. I sometimes forget it can charge and has a respectable melee attack, because honestly when would you do that? 

Would the Rhino still be good even without Nova? It's got the durability, the mobility of the portals, the disruption of No Morale bubble, and a good melee charge. Should the Rhino be capable of AoE in the faction that already has access to mobile bombs, AoE Commander, Doomseekers, and insane mobility? 

Let me know your take, and keep in mind this is from the perspective of a GH player. 

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It's not just GH players - just about everyone I've talked to agrees that the Immolated Rhino is absurdly strong. It's got the mobility you expect of a Cult unit, combined with being extremely hard to kill and capable of tying up, then devastating units 2-3 times its cost. And it's not even a hard unit to use. At worst, you just need to flip it to Glory before it gets sniped by a rogue Railgunner or the like. After that you literally point it at what you want to kill, and let it go. 

There's definitely ways to kill it, but it's never a simple matter and it routinely takes a big investment in units and cards to take one down. It certainly doesn't help that the thing prevents nearby morale actions too, which shuts down a couple of potential counters all on its own. 

Speaking as a Cult player, I've basically sworn off using the Immolated Rhino until it gets an errata of some sort. Dropping Fire Nova is certainly a potential solution. Without it the Rhino loses most of its killing power, but it's still absurdly tough and able to hold up most units for the entire game. Hell, I'd argue that without Fire Nova the Rhino might still be undercosted, but at least it wouldn't be oppressively broken like it is now! ;)

 

As for how to deal with the Rhino now, I feel like the best solution for GH is to accept that you won't be able to kill it, and simply tie it up instead. Barbed Crawlers, Half an Armoured Whelk squad or a Devouring Eel are all about the same cost as a Rhino and should be capable of resisting that Fire Nova. The Armoured Whelk might even be able to strip a Shaken Token and prevent it getting Reinforced with its Spit Mucus attack.  Hell, if all else fails a freshly summoned squad of just about anything might work in a pinch. 

It's not a fool-proof plan. The Cult are pretty good at pulling units out of sticky situations, so chances are you won't be able to keep it there forever. But if you can at least keep it from holding an objective (remember that no morale aura) or hurting one of your more important units, I'd call it a win.

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In our community we said so a few months ago, that Rhinos were stupidly strong. I've only used it twice, the first time when they taught me how to use it and another match and as @Rathnard says I've decided not to use them unless the rival is very aware of what they do and it's experienced with his/her army, and even though I'd have second thoughts about it.

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I've tried them twice, they both died after doing nothing. My opponent was using Eels and other models with piercing. also, they drew cards with some tactic tokens and once they have a tome, just go for the kill. Maybe I played it wrong, but I've found the eel to be so much more resilient than rhinos for their 3 points (which at the end of the game were more about 15 points and tons of VP scored).
Do you wait for the Rhino to be stacked with a lot of tokens (i mean 6+) ? If so, how do you flip your other units ?

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I've used a single Rhino in my last 3 games and yeah they're pretty strong. I don't think it being super tough is the problem, they are definitely killable. To me it seems like Fire Nova is the problem. A non resistible AOE from an insanely mobile faction seems oppressive. I'd personally be happy to lose that ability altogether and then I think it would still be very good, but not broken.

There's always a possibility of making them rare 1 to prevent Rhino spam too?

I have a couple of games coming up this weekend so I'm gonna try a single Rhino without using Fire Nova and see how that plays

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I've not used them much currently just cause of how powerful they seem, and I enjoy competitive games. Eels too seem stupidly good value.

In both cases I feel a fair amount of bite is removed if they do not take assets. They are still really strong in this scenario, but at the very least they have the initial 2 pens taken of them. This makes them much more vulnerable until they begin to stack tokens. Which yes they can do, but that means the tokens aren't being used elsewhere.

Rhinos allowing assets but without firenova? I hadn't actually considered that, I actually quite like the idea. That means they become a very sticky unit becoming more like 5man fireteams, and also feels more in-keeping with the cinnamon ability.

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@bedjy I don't typically "let" them stack tokens, usually 2 or 3 is enough to last them a few turns. Not sure how youra are dying so fast but it could be a combination of high Strength attacks, lots of card draw, intense (and I mean really) focus fire, or perhaps just bad luck.

I by no means think the rhino is unkillable, and there are a few ways to deal with it even in GH faction, but my main concern is the awful taste it leaves in someone's mouth. You see this amazing sculpt, for a cheap cost, and it draws you too it. You play it, and now your opponent either refuses to play with rhinos again, or just doesn't believe in the balance anymore.

Eels aren't immune to a balance pass either, Reinforcements should only block 1 damage, not the whole thing. But even so, the eel doesn't benefit from Endless Numbers, also requires lots of tokens. It USES the tokens it gains to split (hence weakening it for a time), and it can, at maximum, kill one fireteam per turn barring stratagems.

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@bedjy read all the crap we have written in the forums about them, believe us, they are absurdly powerful and don't require much setup. One I don't have any answer to is the Cult player gets the create a new portal turn 1 stratagem, has the rhinos completely hidden in contact with a Stalking Portal and gets Horomatangi/Fentom to shaken 1, the Rhino gets the second shaken from Concentrated Effort and can already appear anywhere to deliver it's payload thanks to being able to drop a portal. Also, your Rhinos should ALWAYS have toughness, having a tome means shit when you have to punch through 2 shaken tokens AND the Toughness upgrade. 2 Rhinos with Toughness will set you back 7 script and they will do a shit ton more than any 7 Script unit from any of the alligiences would ever hope to achieve.

The eels are also stupedly good, but they are single target pieces at the end of the day so I can't really muster a fraction of the hate Rhinos get from me. Rhinos are single target, OR can use the best attack action in the game by far while also having the goddamn Cinamon aura which absolutely castrates any option of playing missions near them and makes a lot of actions become unusable in the same deal (in King's Empire all the good ways to deal with them are based around morale actions). This while also being in the most mobile faction in the game and still being tough as nails. It's a model that literally does everything, so the first thing they have to decide on when they decide to nerfbat the hell out of it, is what the intended role for the damn thing is supposed to even be and once that's clear you can start removing stuff in the proper direction. But yeah, it's a model that probably requires to be outright redesigned.

Thing is, the game really needs another round of Errata, The Rhino and Eel are miles away too good, the Marauder is ok for it's cost and the Artillery team is shit. Kassa Okoye has multiple dodgy interactions that make her be the most effective resource battery in the game when played in King's Empire and Electrocutioners are waaaay too mobile while also dealing their pulses. Abyssinia generates waaaay too many cards, Cult is waaaay too mobile and Cult and King's Empire seem like they need to bring stuff from the other factions to compete. I've pretty much accepted I'm playing a King's Empire/Abyssinia force because the difference between having Kassa and a unit of Mechanized Infantry and not having them is night and day, you go from absolutely starved for cards and Ta tokens to being able to actively mill your hand during your turn while being able to save some tokens for Stratagems and doing missions.

I love the core mechanics and I intend to stick with the game, but my god does it need a second very critical pass when it comes to the profiles. Hell, a few units have actions that I'm really wondering why they don't have a "Once per activation" clause in them like the Electrocutioner teleport which just seems like the idea was to use once for positioning and then use the other actions, but just for the chance to nuke objective markers while splashing damage everywhere ignoring defenses doing tripple teleports is so worth it.

Anyway, enough rambling, screw Rhinos for sure, but that's not the only fish that needs frying.

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So I played 2 games today with a single Rhino and I struck Fire Nova off the card for both games and it reduced its obnoxious level a lot. First game my opponent tied it up with some Mehal Safari and it did a bit of melee damage but overall the mehal and the Rhino just hit each other a lot.

2nd game was Pitched assault and it ported to an objective marker and stopped it being claimed and just sat on it the whole game

My overall thoughts were it needs a reworking Fire Nova and Cinnamon abilities both create a negative play experience, but without them the Rhino is dull and not great. I agree this model probably just needs a redesign along with a few other things. I'm hoping once the dust settles a bit on M3e we'll get a big errata

In the meantime I still wanna use my Rhino so I think I'll keep it as rare 1 and disregard fire nova from its card as a compromise

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Tieing up a much more valuable unit for the duration of the game is a good use. But yes, seems very dull. One of the things I love about ToS is that there aren't such run of the mill units, everything has that niche.

I'd like to propose making fire nova more potent but suicidal, but then Rhinos would become way too similar to breachlings. But that made me wonder how to keep them separate, and actually area damage melee attacks, with trigger for increased range of blast felt like it could work. This would still keep the unit varied, provide a negative (hitting friendlies) but still being able to hit multiple enemies (and generally fewer), and most importantly allows the defender to actually defend. If going this route the trigger blast range could be based on shaken tokens on the target, this keeps the theme of charge adding shaken, but also means aces may be placed on enemy to increase that attack potency instead of buffing defense of the rhino. 

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Yeah that could work. Or if you wanted to keep fire nova as is make it harder to go off - requiring a 10 or 11 so the cult player would have to cheat a high card or get lucky top decking it.

Or have it strength 1 but can increase the damage to a max of 3 by spending shaken tokens on the Rhino. That way you can do a stronger hit but its going to significantly weaken your Rhino. And no cheating the penetration flip.

I don't know how you'd adjust the cinnamon ability, may just have to lose it completely and give it something else. The only thing I can think of is decrease the range of the aura so the cult player has to think about his positioning rather than just sit on a marker?

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Hi,

I've tested Rhino 2 times and seems absurdly broken. In both occasions my opponent and me feel that was an extremely strong unit for only 3$.

Last time he received the shoot of 5 King Empire Fire teams, and when at last 1 of them was able to damage it, I've only needed to remove a Shaken token to preventing the damage received. Then the Rhino reached them, used the Fire Nova, and 9 enemy models was removed. 

Yes, Rhyno could die, but it's very hard for his cost. His Fire Nova is absurdly efficient because is an action that could not be resisted.

Initially we though about a more suicidal, but is true that this could make them too similar to the Breachling.

Some quick options I've thought are:

- Reduce the range of Frost Nova / Cinnamon to 3".

- Or make it more vulnerable to :tome, may be to increase the damage flips of it in 1.

- Or make it more unstable/immolated. At the end of the activation flip a card, that could not be cheated, if is a :tome if gains 1 Shaken token, If have 3 shaken tokens he explodes.

In any case the Rhino need some changes. Is too strong for his cost.

Regards,

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I think the idea that after ANY activation ends, if the Rhino has 3 shaken tokens, it explodes.  Damaging Friend or Foe.  That seems like a cool effect and a nice balancing mechanic.  

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16 minutes ago, Arli said:

I think the idea that after ANY activation ends, if the Rhino has 3 shaken tokens, it explodes.  Damaging Friend or Foe.  That seems like a cool effect and a nice balancing mechanic.  

It needs a nerf, not a reason to never hit any table anymore...

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I really don't think it needs anything that drastic. Higher TN for fire Nova or make it resistible and non cheatable. Or make it Str 0 and increase Str by spending shaken tokens therefore weakening the Rhino

Cinnamon shorten range and/or make it so all units cannot take morale actions as opposed to just enemy

Increase cost to make them a more unique unit

Most of the 3 scrip models need to be revisited.

 

 

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