Pop n Drop!

I’m thinking about heading to NoVA Open this year (contingent on a number of factors and probably not going to happen, but I’m staying positive), and if I do I need to start practicing now. I’m starting with the basics, back to my start in Warmachine. I’m starting with one of my favorite casters, Kreoss1.

Pop-n-Drop 2017
High Exemplar Kreoss – WJ: +29
–    Redeemer – PC: 11 (Battlegroup Points Used: 11)
–    Redeemer – PC: 11 (Battlegroup Points Used: 11)
–    Crusader – PC: 10 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
Gorman Di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist – PC: 4
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist – PC: 3
Deliverer Sunburst Crew – Gunner & 2 Grunts: 5
Deliverer Sunburst Crew – Gunner & 2 Grunts: 5
Temple Flameguard – Leader & 9 Grunts: 11
Choir of Menoth – Leader & 3 Grunts: 4
35 / 35

Nothing like a classic! For the uninitiated, this list is based around aggressively winning the attrition to leave the opponent without an army to play the game. It has one “big turn” where Kreoss1 POPs his feat and then the rest of the army DROPs all the enemies (hence the name). There are roughly 3 pods at work within this list, the anti-armor pod, the anti-infantry pod and the scenario pod.

Anti-Armor Pod
This pod consists of Redeemers, Gorman, and the Choir. Gorman and the Choir represent a potential 4 ARM swing while each Redeemer can put 3 boosted POW12’s into heavy targets.

Anti-Infantry Pod
The only official presence here are the Sunbursts. While POW15 can threaten hard targets, the continuous fire and large AoE is much scarier to throw at clusters of infantry. I wish these had a bit more game or mechanics, something area-denial or scather template-y but they do work almost every turn without any support.

Scenario Pod
This is the domain of the lonesome Punch Monk and the TFG. The TFG pull double duty, screening the army from fast vanguard assaults and enemy screening units while also acting as a jamming force (14” run to engage range, 15/15 with Defender’s Ward, it’s not bad). The Punch Monk is purely for camping flags and zones. DEF18 unassisted (pushed to 20 with Defender’s Ward after enough of the TFG have died), he’s something that the opponent can’t ignore but is also tremendously difficult to remove from the table. He’ll buy me at least a turn of scenario to give the rest of the list time to kill the opponent.

I’ve already put this list on the table and it was…gross. My opponent was aware of what Kreoss1’s only game plan and she disrespected the threat. I loaded the Redeemers, walked Kreoss into feat range of almost the entirety of her army (I missed the warcaster + 2 models) and destroyed roughly 80% of her army (her warcaster, a heavy and a light were the only models left on her side of the table). While 35 point games are not really representative of 75pt games, the follow up I had (TFG ran to engage everything that was remaining alive) felt sufficient to fight another 20-30 points without any changes.

There are two 50 points versions of this list that I’m planning on taking to my next game night, one serious and one more tongue-in-cheek.

Pop n Drop 2017 v2
High Exemplar Kreoss – WJ: +29
–    Redeemer – PC: 11 (Battlegroup Points Used: 11)
–    Redeemer – PC: 11 (Battlegroup Points Used: 11)
–    Crusader – PC: 10 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
Gorman Di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist – PC: 4
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist – PC: 3
Kell Bailoch – PC: 5
Deliverer Sunburst Crew – Gunner & 2 Grunts: 5
Deliverer Sunburst Crew – Gunner & 2 Grunts: 5
Temple Flameguard – Leader & 9 Grunts: 11
Choir of Menoth – Leader & 3 Grunts: 4
Daughters of the Flame – Leader & 5 Grunts: 10
50 / 50 Army

With only 15 more points to play with, I settled on adding a unit of Daughters and Kell Bailoch. The Daughters bring several useful tools to this list. They don’t need buffs to survive while the armies close. They’re fast. They can threaten and kill high armor infantry (which is one of the issues this list has, blast damage resistance or immunity). One of the special aspects about Kreoss1 is that non-faction models still benefit from his feat. Kell is a fantastic sniper model that I’ve had success with in the past. He can soften or neuter entire heavies all by his lonesome and threatens 6 damage at 14”.

I had a couple other thoughts for how to spend the 15 points. One consideration was upgrade the Crusader under Kreoss to a Redeemer and spend the 14 points on something else but I’m not comfortable running without a heavy in the list yet. Another thought was to run a junior with a light or two (be it Durant1 with another Redeemer or Gastone with Buccaneers). Each of these serve to either upgrade firepower of the list or enable the firepower currently in the list. I settled with the Daughters + Kell because it addresses something the list doesn’t handle well.

The troll version of this list is just stuffing it full of Redeemers.

Pop n Drop v2.b
High Exemplar Kreoss
–    Redeemer – PC: 11 (Battlegroup Points Used: 11)
–    Redeemer – PC: 11 (Battlegroup Points Used: 11)
–    Redeemer – PC: 11 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
Gorman Di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist – PC: 4
Initiate Tristan Durant – PC: 4
–    Redeemer – PC: 11
–    Redeemer – PC: 11
Deliverer Sunburst Crew – Gunner & 2 Grunts: 5
Deliverer Sunburst Crew – Gunner & 2 Grunts: 5
Choir of Menoth – Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
50 / 50 Army

This list has…issues and I probably won’t be putting it on the table.

Hopefully I’ll have enough free time to actually make it to game night and get a game or two with the new version!

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Meta-Benders

In contrast to my last post (which was a hybrid monstrosity of critiquing Privateer Press, reviewing Durant2 and redesigning Durant2), this post is going to be largely positive. Its also about Una2 (and meta-benders in general), so bear with me.

What is a “meta-bender”? Put simply, a meta-bender is a release that causes established meta to shift. A “meta” (actually M.E.T.A.) is “most effective tactic available”. Its slang that has grown to describe the common game environment in which we theory-machine/compete in.

Humans are extremely efficient problem solvers (read: lazy). Once we find a solution to a problem, we’re unlikely to change that solution unless something else changes. One of the desired results of playing and participating in a game is to win and because humans are lazy, we’ll gravitate to the path of least resistance. For a tabletop wargame, this results in the development of the “meta gamestate”. While a meta is not an inherently bad thing to have in a game, it is quite easy for a meta to become toxic and stale.

After the initial release frenzy had died down, mkIII Warmachine settled into a fairly stale meta with surprising speed. Competitive players brought two archetypes of lists to tournaments, gunlines and armor spam (there were a few outliers here, but the majority were gunlines or armor spam). The online communities, the groups of people looking for their meta solution to Warmachine (i.e. a win with the least possibility of loss), latched onto the competitive meta. In factions where the models no longer supported the meta, morale plummeted and positivity vanished (hi Cryx players!). It turns out that thinking is hard and complaining is easy (6 months in people are starting to discover that Cryx has some pretty potent game, but I digress). What was most shocking to me is exactly how quickly the meta crystallized. Any discussion with players basically got the same answers and nobody wanted to try new things. Partially this is on PP, as I’ve mentioned previously the first two waves of Warcasters were incredibly bland, timid in scope and uninspired (I understand their timidity and I’m not advocating that it was unreasonable, I’m just saying that the first 6 months of mkIII didn’t live up to the hype). Basically, by not releasing powerful, dynamic casters that force people to think about the meta, PP doomed the meta to its state of rapid stagnation.

Now we have Una the Skyhunter. A Circle warlock that does a fairly specific thing very well (which is running light warbeasts into an army and murdering everything dead) that is completely outside the scope of the current meta (gunlines and armor spam), she forces the meta to change (to gunlines, armor spam and Una2 counters). As players adjust their two list pairs, it causes new thoughts and ideas to occur. Because of these new thoughts and ideas, lists change even more and new strategies form. The meta warps irrevocably and we have a completely new environment to play in!

This is why I like Una2 and meta-benders in general. They represent new problems on the table, new puzzles to solve and new tactics to emerge. All of these things are signs of a healthy game (and it makes things far more interesting than any of the battle box casters or junior 2s have). So good on PP for releasing Una2, I look forward to more meta-benders and more puzzles in the future!

Afternote: I’m aware that Una2 is the last caster in the junior release cycle, she’s just so starkly different from the rest of them that she might as well be her own release cycle.

Time to Durant-y (Caster Remake, Durant2)

…That’s just an awful pun…anyways.

The Review

Today I was planning on a caster review. About halfway through i got frustrated and rewrote it into this post about Durant2! This guy here is probably my least favorite caster in the game and it took me a long time to come to that conclusion. It’s not because he’s particularly bad or broken, the reason main I dislike this caster is that Sovereign Tristan Durant is boring (and not wonderfully designed, but I’ll get to that in a moment). Nothing on his card screams out “Use me! Build a list around me! Break your opponent into little pieces with me!” He also doesn’t have the gumption to suck badly enough to get a remake…Chances are that Protectorate is going to have this lackluster caster until mkVI lands. This is a problem that deserves a little bit of attention because it isn’t isolated to Durant2. The first caster release cycles of mkIII casters have been completely…tame. There’s nothing exciting about them (the two cycles being the mkIII battle box casters and the journeyman promotions). I’ll ramble more about why this is such an issue in another post. Anyways, I’m going to sort through why Durant2 is so unoptimal, then redesign him to be better.

The front of the card is a great place to start. Clearly Durant2 has no business being anywhere near anything aggressive. Like a good support caster, he needs to be sheltered away from the enemy until the game is over. Certainly with such an unimpressive front, the back side of the card should be worth something, right?

And the first words are Field Marshal [True Sight]! An amazing ability for ranged jacks…And this is Protectorate where our ranged jacks don’t care (Revelator, Sprays), suck (Judicator) or are overpriced (Vanquisher). This ability would be golden in pretty much any other faction with a strong ranged presence. He also has True Sight personally which is….something (he has no good offensive spells to cast or any ranged weapons). Also critical dispel on his spear, because flat dispel was too good?

Time for the spells! Surely Durant can redeem himself here! First up, a bad nuke! Strictly inferior to Hex Blast in every way, but it’s not like he’d be casting it anyways (and everyone has a bad nuke). On to the next spell! It’s incredible! Another bad nuke! Well that’s roughly a third of his spell slots allocated to spells he’ll never see any use out of. Spell number three, Hand of the Creator, has a bit of promise, it says “heal everything within 14” of Durant d3”. Too bad PoM’s heavy infantry are trash and d3 won’t actually save any heavies from dying. That just leaves Inviolable Resolve (an unimpressive armor buff) and the reason Durant2 isn’t a complete dumpster fire, Manifest Destiny. Manifest Destiny is a spell you can build a list around but it isn’t an exciting spell. It basically just gives every jack 2 bonus focus on each attack and that’s just not really exciting. It also doesn’t let pillow fisted jacks actually kill things, a boosted P+S13 still will only scratch ARM20.

Perhaps his feat will save the day? Nope. It’s one of the most clumsily written feats in the game and it forces the player to load up on jacks or else play the game essentially without a feat. That’s right ladies and gents, if Durant2 doesn’t bring a bucket of jacks he basically has no feat.

So that’s a brief summary of Durant2, the caster I dislike the most in the entire game. Now, it doesn’t help things to just complain about them, so I’m going to pick apart why Durant2 is a poorly designed caster and how he could’ve been designed better (which isn’t the best way to spend my time but since I don’t have any power with PP to affect change).

I’ll start with the big one, Durant2 isn’t a focused nor synergistic design. He has a jumble of spells and rules as if someone threw him together at the last minute and didn’t want to break the game (remember this phrase, I’ll be talking about it in another post).

Take True Sight and Manifest Destiny, one supports ranged, the other demands melee. In Protectorate, we don’t need True Sight, we need a gap closer or a threat extender. What else seems unimpressive about Durant2? I think his stats, his weapon, his feat and his spells…Pretty much the whole caster.

Before we start putting the pieces back together, there are a few important questions to ask: What is Durant’s role in the faction, what makes him special and what makes him unique?

The Rwork

Protectorate already has 3 obvious jack casters, Feora2, Durst and Amon (and a little bit Sevvy2, but it’s not the same demand for jacks that the other three have). From these 3, we have two 2 “speed” casters and 1 brick caster. From his set up, it seems that Durant2 was intended as an attrition caster.

Hand of the Creator is the first thing I want to address. D3 boxes are not going to stop a jack from dying. Unless the opponent is bad and is spreading their damage around, Hand of the Creator actually reads: “Uncripple the systems of every faction friendly jack in this caster’s battlegroup.” So that’s exactly what I’m changing. 2 Cost, Ctrl RNG, DUR Turn, Warjacks in this caster’s battlegroup ignore the effects of crippled systems.

Next, Inviolable Resolve. Probably on his card because it’s sort of like having Fortify from his first incarnation. It gets junked in favor of Polarity Shield. Why? Three reasons, first it fits ones of PoM’s themes, denial. Second, it still gives him a spell that can benefit non-jack things. And third, it helps compensate for the lack of a threat extender.

Now for the bad nukes. Since he lacks any sort of ranged ability, it’s important for him to have a bad nuke, the other one is getting scraped for Fog of War. This is a spell that hasn’t been seen in PoM before. While not the most amazing spell for heavy jacks (especially the Ashen Veil heavies) it helps balance out the difference between the Ashen Veil and non-Ashen Veil heavies. Light jacks love it and most importantly, Fog of War is pretty huge for our troops choices.

For the other bad nuke, swap it for Hex Blast. Hex Blast is mechanically superior since it strips on hit instead of damage (and forces Durant to decide what spells he needs to cast). To curtail the inevitable “Chasten costs 2, not 3” – argument, it has to deal damage, to strip jack/high armor buffs you’ll be boosting (and sighing as you lowball the damage roll and fail to strip buffs).

So I had a couple thoughts for the field marshal and I finally settled on Field Marshal [Relentless Charge]. This respects what the other jack casters do, while simultaneously fixing some of PoM’s jack issues.

Junk  his personal True Sight, replace with Iron Sentinel. While this does let Durant skew his DEF to 18 against ranged shooting, he has to buddy up to a jack to use it and let’s him play up the field but leaves him open to some counter-play.

Finally, remove crit dispel and replace it with Disruption. It’ll still probably never get used but it’s interesting. Crit:Dispel is just wasted ink (especially with Chasten or Hex Blast on his card).

Now his feat. Potentially this feat could be a huge amount of focus (on paper we’re talking about 28+ focus on a single turn). But it’s not an exciting feat (he has no exciting output for his personal focus, but it lets you cast both Hand of the Creator and Manifest Destiny with 7 fully fueled warjacks. I’m junking the whole thing. It encourages jack spam and can be difficult to use. I’ve had a few thoughts about what would be cool/fun/good to use (which I’ll chatter about below).

Flash Point – While in Durant’s control range, when a friendly Faction model is hit by an enemy melee attack, immediately after that attack is resolved the attacker suffers 1 point of fire damage and Blind. Flash Point lasts for 1 round. (A model suffering blind cannot make magic or ranged attacks, suffers -4 MAT and DEF, and cannot run charge or make slam or trample power attacks. It must forfeit its Normal Movement or Combat Action during its next activation. Blind can be shaken.)

First, the name, Flash Point. Prayers of War is more appropriate to a choir themed caster that layers hymns on jacks (which is a fun concept, but for later). Next up, the effect. My Durant2 has very little in the way of mitigation for his army so a perfect place to add that in is on the feat. Leveraging the “punishment” theme of PoM, I made a feat that punishes the opponent for behaving improperly towards the holy army of Menoth! Hit me and I burn your eyesight away! How cool is that?

I had a couple of other concepts for “hit me get punishment” type feats. One version basically applied Spiny Growth to everything. Another version caused hits to proc blind in the model’s melee range. Another was based on jacks emitting the old soulstorm aura (auto 1 point of damage to enemies models within 2”). As I got towards the final version, I had one that proc’d after the hit instead of the attack, which prevented the damage if it killed the enemy model. I settled on the current version because it fits the theme better, it’s still very strong, and it allows the opponent some opportunity for counterplay. Weapon masters can still charge and kill jacks, but they die doing so. Jacks get 1 big attack. But all of this requires the sacrifice of the PoM model (or the HP of that model) to work, which is really fluffy.

Here’s a PDF for the compiled “card” (FILE:durant2_revamp) if you care to put it on the table. I’ll be giving him a spin or three with a willing victim and we’ll report back! Now begins the countdown to the cease and desist order from PP’s lawyers!

Get it Painted! (Jan 26, 2017)

That buffer of extra days really disappeared quickly. Things are picking up for me at school and I’ll probably have to slow down on painting or gaming (or both, which sucks because a number of things I’ve been eagerly awaiting are launching soon!). Anyways, I’ve only got a handful of models left to paint to actually complete this “Get it Painted!”…like 6 models.

So a week or so ago at this point, PP release the Skorne errata. I’ve already been poking around Skorne as my hordes faction (Everblight was too squishy and largely uninteresting, Circle has some game but I can’t find casters that I want to play, Trollbloods are universally on medium bases = expensive models, and the factional split in minions still exists between the casters and beasts so meh/meh there as well). Skorne on the other hand…mmm! I started looking at them and they struck me as “Protectorate sans denial with aggressive face smooshing”. With mkIII stripping a lot of the denial game and a lot of the buffing synergy Protectorate had in mkII, I’m seeing that sort of complex buffing synergies in Skorne (I like winning via silly Rube Goldberg machines of buffs). Plus some Skorne casters have debuffs! All of this really off topic rambling does have a point, let me introduce the five models that are going to bring home this painting challenge!

One Skorne Ancestral Guardian and four Scarabs! I was planning to split this into two posts but I’m too excited and all of these are ready for varnishing. Out of the Skorne errata came some buffs to the Immortal boat. The Guardians picked up a speed aura for the Immortals which enables a silly charging threat with them (something around 13″). When stacked with everything else, its really quick terrifying. Fluff-wise, the Ancestral Guardians and Immortals are how Skorne cheat death…they trap their souls in gems and implant those gems into stone statues. Those statues then come alive in times of dire need to help defeat the enemies of the Skorne Empire. I settled on a green color scheme for the Ancestral Guardians, something simple and striking and I think I got it about right. It matches the flag stone on the base quite well (and in the future, will match the ziggurat terrain/display piece I’m planning on building).

The small based models are a Skorne Scarab pack. These little guys are fairly useless when attacking, but are fabulous meat shields for a few different casters. I think they’re super cute and decided to paint them like potato beetles. Not my best work, but they’re done AND based (which is a step up from most everything else I’ve done…). Longer post than usual but hey, it is the final post for the 2017 January Get it Painted challenge! Go me!

Oh yeah, the bulb in the light I’ve been using for picture lighting burnt out and all I have is this dingy “soft daylight” build. It changes the colors somewhat in the pictures.

January Running Tally
Skorne Scarab Pack + Ancestral Guardian: 6
The “Strength” Slayer: 3
Acosta: 1
Old Crusader!!!: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 4+5: 2
Stormguard Captain + Grunt, Captain Finn: 3
Mobius + Bane Warrior Grunt: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 2 + 3: 2
Punch Monk: 1
Knight Exemplar Grunt (1/5): 1
Knight Exemplar Captain: 1
Major Beth Maddox: 1
Woldwyrd x2: 4
31/31

Get it Painted! (Jan 23, 2017)

A bright bit of news, there’s a few people that glance at my blog and like my posts and you guys have racked up 20 likes! It was happy little alert to get today!  Second piece of bright news, I painted an entire heavy from primer to completion in 6 hours in one session! Endurance was something I’ve been struggling with, longer sessions put a lot of strain on my eyes (my current eyeglass prescription is…off, something to do with the anti-glare coating and it makes long sessions rough). This is another Cryx model, a Slayer. Currently most of what one can find online about Cryx tries to convince one that the faction is a burning dumpster fire! They’re wrong (mostly just lazy people that find complaining easier than thinking and change). Enough of that though, onto the model itself!

This has been one of my favorite models to paint…ever. It has a lot of fun, small details that are easy to pick out. Overall, it’s a fairly good looking model and it accepted my thoughts quite easily. I’ve got a few other color schemes I’d like to try other than the blue and gold (white and gold I think would be very striking) and fortune smiles on me because I’ve got one more Slayer to paint! This also brings me 3 more bases closer to that magic 31! One last thing I wanted to ramble about, the rune. This rune is out of one of the Cryx fluff books, it means “Strength” and it was probably one of the easier runes to freehand. From the pictures you should be able to see that the rune is a wonderful example of my failure to adequately thin my paints, but in this case I don’t mind it (the raised nature of the rune helps define and separate it from the blue base). Doing freehand details and getting the paints sufficiently thin to avoid that build up, but thick enough to be controllable (read: to not run absolutely everywhere) is a massive pain. It’s the primary reason that I don’t do more freehand details. Overall I think this jack turned out rather nicely! (Also Deneghra1 is still a meta-defining powerhouse. Come at me!)

January Running Tally
The “Strength” Slayer: 3
Acosta: 1
Old Crusader!!!: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 4+5: 2
Stormguard Captain + Grunt, Captain Finn: 3
Mobius + Bane Warrior Grunt: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 2 + 3: 2
Punch Monk: 1
Knight Exemplar Grunt (1/5): 1
Knight Exemplar Captain: 1
Major Beth Maddox: 1
Woldwyrd x2: 4
25/31

Get it Painted! (Jan 22, 2017)

A model that’s a little newer than my trusted and fully painted Crusader, Acosta. I haven’t had the opportunity and inclination to put him on the table yet (something that I’m looking forward to). I can’t decide if I want to just drop him into a Cygnar list and run him as a utility solo or if I want to build a merc list and actually be able to drop buffs on him. Anyways, this a post about painting, not a post about list strategy.

So I’ve got my red fabrics down to almost a science. I can replicate the techniques over and over (as evidenced on the Knight Exemplars recently and the Temple Flameguard not so recently). I don’t the right hues on hand for doing blue fabrics (or purples) so i had to cheat and do some mixing (something that isn’t advisable for multiple models because it’s difficult to match the color over and over and over). I’m fairly happy with the results but I don’t think I’ll do this again without a properly matched set of blues. Other than that, he’s matched fairly well with my other Cygnar.

January Running Tally
Acosta: 1
Old Crusader!!!: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 4+5: 2
Stormguard Captain + Grunt, Captain Finn: 3
Mobius + Bane Warrior Grunt: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 2 + 3: 2
Punch Monk: 1
Knight Exemplar Grunt (1/5): 1
Knight Exemplar Captain: 1
Major Beth Maddox: 1
Woldwyrd x2: 4
22/31

Dies Like a 10pt Jack

So I was listening to the Muse on Minis podcast (#295) and in the preamble bit of the cast, they started discussing what makes a heavy jack worth a premium points price. To quote Keith:

The ultimate reason [that I don’t want to play 18+ points jacks]  is that so often, especially when paying a premium price for a jack that doesn’t bring any additional survivability, it just adds to the burden of playing mistake free. When you bring a 20pt jack that dies like a 10pt jack, it can be removed for a huge advantage for your opponent.

This quote (and the surrounding discussion) provoked some thoughts that I’ve been chewing on and turning over and over in my head. The conclusion I’ve reached is that budget heavies are severely undercosted. This isn’t round 897 of Hordes vs Warmachine which is better, but within each faction, Warjacks are too cheap, too efficient for their points. Let’s take the Protectorate Crusader. 10 points, 32 boxes, armor 19. That’s 3.2 boxes per point on the table! Even chaff infantry (Temple Flameguard, ~1 box per point) can’t match that level of efficiency. Heavy infantry is a little better with Cinerators clocking in at 1.5 boxes per point (but they suffer from a different issue which makes those HP less effective than the TFG, but I digress). A Dervish edges out the Crusader with ~3.7 boxes per point, but again, that’s too cheap!

If the Crusader/Dervish is so efficient, why bring anything else? Utility. Sometimes I need my jacks to shoot, sometimes I need them to catch a charge, sometimes I need them to protect my caster from spells. This doesn’t help the infantry versus jack comparison any at all though. Largely, the only reason to take infantry is for the damage output, certain infantry can pack 10+ attacks and after buffs, abilities, and other support can rip the world to shreds.

Interestingly, if the Crusader was 18 points, the box efficency would drop to 1.7, which is rather interesting (note: I’m not advocating that the Crusader be 18 points, rather 18-point Protectorate heavies almost match the box:point ratio of heavy infantry).

So all of this post I’ve been ignoring the effect that DEF and ARM have on a model’s boxes. I’ve avoided discussing DEF and ARM because it muddles the point I’m attempting to make. DEF and ARM serve to define a model’s role almost more than the special rules on a card. A model with low defensive stats isn’t going to be a frontliner while it’s a waste to hide DEF/ARM skewed models away where your opponent can’t spend attacks on them. Part of the problem with discussing DEF and ARM simultaneously is the fact that they are inherently different. DEF is a binary check, did this attack hit? Yes/No. Done. ARM can be binary (single wound models) but it also serves as a non-linear mitigation factor for damage (yay 2d6 probability curves!) which makes it a much more complex topic for discussion. Quick example for this, ARM17 Temple Flameguard resist roughly 60% of all POW10 attacks (I have a picture somewhere that charts average expected damage between various POWs and ARMs. Short version is 2d6 average to 7, if a model’s ARM is POW+7 higher it’ll won’t take damage roughly 60% of the time). As soon as that damage roll creeps up to 8 or more, dead flameguard. Cinerators also have ARM17, however they die to a single POW10 around 3% of the time. Each time they take damage from, their ability to not die to further POW10s drops drastically (1 box of damage more than doubled the likelihood that a POW10 damage roll will kill a Cinerator).  Why this is a problem is that POW10s are less common than POW12s (or POW15s, etc). If the attack instantly kills the model, ARM stops being important. The fact of the matter is that TFG are more resilient to high POW attacks because there 10 of them (compared to 3 Cinerators). Thats 10 attacks that have to hit the TFG. Now that we’re discussing instant death, having a higher DEF to lower the odds that the binary comes up “YES” is far more important.

The short version of all of this is, if you’re easy to hit and don’t have a ridiculous armor, you have to have a lot of boxes to be more efficient than having more bases. ~8ish boxes makes you largely immune to single instances of damage below POW16 at ARM17. The Crusader has 4 times that number at a higher ARM…

In summary, I’ve noticed that the budget heavy jacks don’t fall along the same box:point efficiency curve as infantry, heavy infantry and more expensive heavy jacks. This is probably not okay (and easiest fix would be a point cost increase of the budget heavies).