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LeperColony

"Okay, but then they'll just bring X and you're screwed"

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When discussing lists, I frequently see someone say something to the effect of "okay, but then they'll just bring [counter] and you're screwed."  It's made me wonder how many people play in such a meta, to what extent the developers assume you will, whether or not that assumption is valid, and if it's good or bad.

Malifaux does have a bit of a paper-rock-scissors dynamic.  It's obviously not that deterministic, but an important part of model balance is this concept that there are going to be unfavorable match ups.  But this mode of balance assumes that players have access to, and knowledge of, the entire universe of options.  Is that realistic?  Of course, there's rarely just "one counter," so even less than total understanding may still be sufficient to find the counter.  But even so, the game balance relies, to at least some degree, on players understanding the potential for these match ups.

At a high tournament level, I suppose everyone does know these backwards and forwards.  But in my experience, even quite active players frequently lack this kind of thorough game knowledge (I know I don't have it).  

How many of you play in local metas where these picks and counters are extremely important?  In every local group I've been a part of, most players have a rather small master pool, and they tend to play their favorites quite often, even in the face of "bad match ups."  In fact, in the past I have intentionally avoided picking known counters because it seems somewhat unsporting at times.

  

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If you're looking for input on gameplay effectiveness, it's prudent to assume your opponent has access to their full toolbox and has a baseline knowledge of it's mechanics and how they relate to you.

Obviously not every opponent is going to have full knowledge of how every mechanic counters every other mechanic, but assuming that they don't is a good way to "gotcha" yourself.

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Each Master telegraphs a little bit ofwhat you are going to bring:

  • Hoffman will have Armored Constructs.
  • Hamlin will have swarms of Rats.
  • Molly will have terrifying undead.

The trick is to know what your opponent will expect and try to counter to that.

Back in M2e I would run Perdita with almost an entire construct crew. People usually expected the Family models, but throwing in Hunters, Guardians, and Wardens threw off people's expectations. 

It's not a strategy beginners need to know to be viable. Most crews aren't complete hard counters, but some crews will have mechanics that you'll need to have at least one counter for, such as shockwave for horde crews.

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I'm not sure how much of the balance depends on the existence of unfavorable match ups.  There is a fair amount of "This model is situational.  But remember that hiring crews is Step F of the game."

22 minutes ago, LeperColony said:

When discussing lists, I frequently see someone say something to the effect of "okay, but then they'll just bring [counter] and you're screwed." 

How much of that list discussion is getting biased towards discussing a list on the presumption that you don't want to change any elements of it?  When discussing list building, "So you've declared Rasputina and the other player's going Euripedes" is a fair topic.

Disclaimer:  A lot of these discussions have a "I'm bringing my favorite knife to this gunfight" component, rather than "My life is on the line if I lose this game" component.  :ranged:melee

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2 minutes ago, solkan said:

How much of that list discussion is getting biased towards discussing a list on the presumption that you don't want to change any elements of it?  When discussing list building, "So you've declared Rasputina and the other player's going Euripedes" is a fair topic.

There's nothing unfair about picking favorable match ups or models you think are going to perform well.

My question was more about how common metas that see a high degree of variability really are, or ones that really utilize the selection process to its full potential.

Since balance does rely in part on counters, it seems potentially useful to wonder to what extent people actually do counter.

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6 minutes ago, LeperColony said:

There's nothing unfair about picking favorable match ups or models you think are going to perform well.

You're missing my point.  How much of those list building discussions that you're looking at (or participating in) are trying to arrive at a fixed list for the player to use?  I'm asking because that's part of the answer to your question.  

6 minutes ago, LeperColony said:

My question was more about how common metas that see a high degree of variability really are, or ones that really utilize the selection process to its full potential.

Since balance does rely in part on counters, it seems potentially useful to wonder to what extent people actually do counter.

From the way you're asking the question, you seem to fixed on "counter" as "the only meaningful choices are at hiring" instead of "counter" as "there are things during the game you can do about this".  The game balance does rely in part on counters.  There's more to counters than hiring.

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49 minutes ago, solkan said:

You're missing my point.

You're missing my point.

Model interactions are one of the balancing factors Wyrd uses.  But it presumes that the playing environment is one in which players both know of all these interactions and have access to them, and I'm asking how common this is.

49 minutes ago, solkan said:

you seem to fixed on "counter" as "the only meaningful choices are at hiring

Since I specifically put "in part" in bold and italics, your analysis is highly questionable.  

I don't know why you're consumed by the word "counter," but since it does trouble you, I'll replace it with "presumptively favorable match up."

The issue is not that presumptively favorable match ups exist.  What I'm asking (for the third time) is how many of you play in metas with high degrees of master selection and model hiring based on obtaining presumptively favorable match ups?

I assume the higher you get in skill, the more important it is.  But at the level of the common player, I wonder if finding presumptively favorable match ups is a significant factor in crew selection.  And if it's not, I'm questioning what implications that has for balance.

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2 hours ago, LeperColony said:

You're missing my point.

Model interactions are one of the balancing factors Wyrd uses.  But it presumes that the playing environment is one in which players both know of all these interactions and have access to them, and I'm 

The issue is not that presumptively favorable match ups exist.  What I'm asking (for the third time) is how many of you play in metas with high degrees of master selection and model hiring based on obtaining presumptively favorable match ups?

It may be too early to ask this question. In my meta for the most part people are still learning their Keywords, so often just play the Master's box + some extra enforsers. 

There are a couple people for whom counter picking is begining to see prevalance, but even people like me, who play a lot only own like my master + one extra box. So like, if they pick Raspy I'll bring my Willie, but if they pick Hoffman I'll bring Neil + SS Cache because I dont own Sparks or the Mecharachnid. Does that answer your question?

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At a casual level, I think it important to keep in mind relative collection sizes.

If one person owns one crew and faces someone who owns a faction... Counter picking is pretty unsporting.

You also get some weird accidents... I started with other new players. Two of them picked Kaeris and Rasputina. I picked Molly. We then later found out what an enormous advantage I had.

At most other levels, you can deal with counter picking with good sportsmanship/balancing number of options for players.

At new player level when everyone has one crew... It sucks when one person accidentally picked a massive advantage against some of the other players.

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I guess it's early to know... Players with 1 or 2 keywords will have few room to adapt to anything (this is our case). I'm with @Maniacal_cackle here, if a guy owns an entire faction counterpicking isn't fair play in casual play (and also counterproductive, smashing newbies is a terrible practice if you want your pool of players to grow)

If 2 players own a faction then there are 2 factors: how synergistic the picked crew is (some keywords are better for going OOK than others) and how much that player knows the other crews mechanics (and the entire enemy faction), to know what to expect and how to counterpick. There is also an interesting trade off: Going OOK make you lose some synergies in your crew and costs extra SS; however going OOK let you get tools to deal with other player's mechanics and adapt at an higher cost and usually without the ability to support those models as well as in their own crew.

I think the metas are still too green but I see a very big potential for counterpick versus mind games at hiring to avoid counterpicks or punish them; but it requires 2 players with full factions and knowledgeables about the other player faction.

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At a competitive level... I think that counter picking is probably going to play a big role. But not in the master sense - after all, you declare your masters at the same time.

Rather individual models can help gain an advantage or negate bad matchups. For instance, I hear Molly is really bad against Shenlong because of the - flips becoming positive flips. If I declared Molly and saw Shenlong, I'd probably consider taking some of Kirai's models or even Kirai as a second master to avoid having hard to wound (if I owned or could borrow those models).

I think to be competitive, you'll need to have access to at least:

  • the best counter and niche picks in your faction.
  • some models to negate weaknesses in your crew(s) when you end up in a bad matchup.

Every Resser player should probably own Archie if conditions are a big part of a meta for instance. Every Kaeris player should have enough versatile/out of keyword models they can deal with seeing a Molly across the table.

This is part of what influences my 'pay-to-win' concerns. Malifaux isn't pay-to-win per se, but each 'level' is pay-to-play.

If one player is playing at a level of owning just their crews, vs. another player who owns all the best counter picks... There is a financial component to success (even if it is not the largest component).

I know that debate has been had, but just trying to tie together how these concerns overlap in my view.

Ultimately I think a big solution to all of these issues is communication and good sportsmanship. In casual games, be aware of what level of counter picking is appropriate, or even talk about it. For casual tournaments, talk to the TO. For cutthroat tournaments... Well, be brutal, as long as everyone is happy ;)

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I agree with the first part; the game seem to be balanced faction to faction; not master to master. So owning at least the tools for your faction to make your favourite masters adapt to all game situations is needed (for a more cutthroat play).

8 hours ago, Maniacal_cackle said:

This is part of what influences my 'pay-to-win' concerns. Malifaux isn't pay-to-win per se, but each 'level' is pay-to-play.

If one player is playing at a level of owning just their crews, vs. another player who owns all the best counter picks... There is a financial component to success (even if it is not the largest component).

I know that debate has been had, but just trying to tie together how these concerns overlap in my view.

Ultimately I think a big solution to all of these issues is communication and good sportsmanship. In casual games, be aware of what level of counter picking is appropriate, or even talk about it. For casual tournaments, talk to the TO. For cutthroat tournaments... Well, be brutal, as long as everyone is happy ;)

However I don't share your concerns here. With what it costs a 2K points Warhammer army you'll have almost a entire faction. Malifaux models are more expensive model by model and in M3e there is an small increase in it tho.

Here with a "small" investment you can own an entire keyword and a few versatiles. That's enough to play, and if you are good enough, maybe even to have a fair chance competitively.

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My meta is usually quite casual, and most players have an idea of the list they want to play well before seeing their opponent, schemes and strats. Any counter-picking will usually be changing a model or two rather than the entire list. And if someone is changing their entire list it is more likely to be the result of the scheme pool simply not working for the crew they had in mind before.

This casual wibe suits me perfectly, but it has made me a bit reluctant to play Hoffman in M3E as the match will likely be a bit unfair if your opponent does not have anything to break armour.

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