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Special: Four-Times Charge Aggro

Special: Four-Times Charge Aggro

 TL;DR: 

Aggro is dead - long live aggro!

Introduction: Simpler Times

When our playgroup participated in our first Grand Clash at Gencon 2018, we had no idea what to expect - after all, we'd only been playing the game about a month.  Aggro was king at the time;Great Concussion had effectively killed hold objective, and Michael Carlin's defensive style hadn't gained popularity yet.  Tim Casey - the eventual winner of the event - was playing aggro Magore, built on one simple principle: always charge.

We were feeling nostalgic for the days of charging with every activation today and got to thinking about ways in which we could quantify the various warbands' ability to bring the aggro game.  So we're going to try something new with this article: we're going to make up some math.  Hopefully, in the end, we'll have something that somewhat accurately stratifies the existing warbands by aggro viability.

For clarity sake: just like at Gencon 2018, we have no idea what we're doing here.  The goal of this article is to spark conversation among the community, not to slap down a rigid heirarchy of good and bad warbands.  So lets get started.

Four Charges

In honor of Tim's win, we're going to start evaluating our aggro warbands by looking at their ability to make four charges in a round.  Of course, you can't win with aggro if you can't hit, so we'll start by looking at accuracy.  For this section, we'll be looking at accuracy a little bit differently than usual (remember, we're making it up as we go).  It's naturally difficult to compare sword and hammer attacks, but there are ways we can do it.  In the past, we've often used the idea of a random average defender to work out the relative effectiveness of disparate attacks, but - frankly - that's a lot of work.  Let's see if we can do something a bit simpler.

In essence, an attack's accuracy is determined by how many faces of the dice result in successes: 3 for hammer attacks and 2 for swords - per die.  So could we simplify a 3-hammer attack into a simple rating of 9?  Of course we can, the question is whether that accurately represents your chance to hit your opponent.  One way we can check this is to look at two different attacks that would be simplified to the same number.  A 3 sword attack and a 2 hammer attack would both receive a simplified score of 6.  So if this system holds up, these two attacks would have very similar chances of success in practice.  Here's what those two attacks look like in the real (fake, warhammer) world:


1b2b1d2d3d1gAvg
3 Sword55.0%43.0%58.0%48.0%40.0%55.0%49.8%
2 Hammer54.0%39.0%59.0%47.0%37.0%54.0%48.3%


Turns out that the two attacks do have very similar chances of success across the board, resulting in a difference of only 1.5% on average.  That's good enough for us, so we're going to call this simplification method a success.  Now let's look at how the warbands themselves stack up using this method.  For our aggro evaluation, we're going to be looking at the best four attacks in each warband, representing four consecutive charges in a round.  And so that everyone is showing their best side, we're going to be looking at the inspired side of the warbands. One final note: Mollog/Brimstone Horrors and Rippa fighters break the rules a little bit, so we're going to try to incorporate that fairly into our evaluation: Mollog/Brimstone will get to use their best attack twice, and the Rippa puppies will get to throw in their bite attacks.  (We've also tried to account for attacks with inherent rerolls.)


#1#2#3#4Total
Garrek's Reavers (GR)666624
Steelheart's Champions (SHC)669
21
Sepulchral Guard (SG)999633
Ironskull's Boyz (IB)966627
Chosen Axes (CA)986629
Spiteclaw's Swarm (SS)666624
Farstriders (FS)666
18
Magore's Fiends (MF)996630
Stormsire's Cursbreakers (SSC)996
24
Thorns of the Briar Queen (TB)666422
Eyes of the Nine (EN)1286632
Zarbag's Gitz (ZG)999633
Mollog's Mob (MM)664420
Godsworn Hunt (GH)666624
Ylthari's Guardians (YG)966627
Thundrik's Profiteers (TP)666624
Gashrak's Despoilers (GD)666624
Skaeth's Wild Hunt (SWD)966627
The Grymwatch (TG)866626
Rippa's Snarlfangs (RS)131010
33
Lady Harrow's Mournflight (LHM)866424
Ironsoul's Condemnors (IC)996
24


Now, those are some numbers!  Each one a shining example of numeric representation.  Unfortunately, they don't mean much at this point.  We need to get to the crux of aggro - killing the other guy.

Killin'

So far, we've got some idea of the effectiveness of a warband when it charges four times (the Four-Times Charge rating - FxC).  Now we need to take the damage of the four selected attacks and factor it into the above numbers.  That will give us an idea of the lethality of the four charges - how likely the are to result in a kill.  Without further ado, the Four-Times-Charge-Kill chart, or FxCK for short.


FxCDamageFxCK
Garrek's Reavers (GR)2410240
Steelheart's Champions (SHC)2111231
Sepulchral Guard (SG)339297
Ironskull's Boyz (IB)2710270
Chosen Axes (CA)2912348
Spiteclaw's Swarm (SS)247168
Farstriders (FS)187126
Magore's Fiends (MF)3010300
Stormsire's Cursbreakers (SSC)247168
Thorns of the Briar Queen (TB)2210220
Eyes of the Nine (EN)328256
Zarbag's Gitz (ZG)338264
Mollog's Mob (MM)2012240
Godsworn Hunt (GH)249216
Ylthari's Guardians (YG)277189
Thundrik's Profiteers (TP)249216
Gashrak's Despoilers (GD)248192
Skaeth's Wild Hunt (SWD)278216
The Grymwatch (TG)269234
Rippa's Snarlfangs (RS)3310330
Lady Harrow's Mournflight (LHM)2410240
Ironsoul's Condemnors (IC)248192

Now, before everyone gets bent out of shape because their chosen warband is above or below some other warband, let us explain a bit further.  These numbers aren't particularly useful for direct comparisons (ie, Mollog is a better aggro warband than Eyes of the Nine, but it scored lower on this rating).  However, with a little manipulation, these numbers might be useful to examine in terms of broad categories.

Terciles

Instead of looking at direct warband-to-warband comparisons, it might be more useful to look at the FxCK ratings in terciles.  Essentially, we'll divide up the scores above into one of three categories: the best FxCK ratings will be in the first tercile, while the worst will be in the last tercile.  This should give us a reasonable idea of which warbands are likely to succeed using the Four Charge strategy, based on their identifying tercile - good, moderate, or bad.  Below you'll find the warbands sorted by their Four-Times Charge/Kill Identifying Tercile: FxCK IT.

Top Tercile: "Good" (In order of release)
  • Sepulchral Guard
  • Ironskull's Boyz
  • Chosen Axes
  • Magore's Fiends
  • Eyes of the Nine
  • Zarbag's Gitz
  • Rippa's Snarlfangs
Middle Tercile: "Moderate" (In order of release)
  • Garrek's Reavers
  • Steelheart's Champions
  • Thorns of the Briar Queen
  • Mollog's Mob
  • The Grymwatch
  • Lady Harrow's Mournflight
 Bottom Tercile: "Bad" (In order of release)
  • Spiteclaw's Swarm
  • Farstriders
  • Stormsire's Cursebreakers
  • Godsworn Hunt
  • Ylthari's Guardians
  • Thundrik's Profiteers
  • Gashrak's Despoilers
  • Skaeth's Wild Hunt
  • Ironsoul's Condemnors
So how do we feel about those lists?  There are some obvious discrepancies.  Mollog belongs in the top tier, and Gitz/Eyes/Guard almost certainly don't.  The FxCK system seems to put too much weight on rerolls, as all of the warbands with innate rerolls ended up in the top.  And it would appear that large warbands with a few solid attacks (Gitz, Guard) probably benefited too much from the selection of the top 4 attacks - their multitude of junk attacks weren't factored in at all.  Finally, we probably should have come up with a way to account for movement - Guard and Axes are unlikely to be able to pull off 4 charge attacks in a round, simply because they can't reach 4 enemies.

That said, we've got some interesting data among the chaff.  Magore's and Snarlfangs both landed in the top tercile, where we would have guessed they belonged before all this made up math.  And while Orcs are decidedly bad right now, charging four times a round is probably the thing they are the best at.  Similarly, warbands that really don't do four blind charges very well - Ylthari, Spiteclaw, Wild Hunt - all ended up in the bottom.

And we can even learn from the warbands that didn't end up where we expected them to.  In short, we can see that the FxCK IT strategy - charging four times a round - probably isn't very viable any more.  The warbands that really do that well (with the exception of Magore) just aren't winning very often at the grand clash level.  Far more often, we see warbands with the ability to score without killing fighters, make multiple attacks with their best fighter(s), or flex between multiple strategies coming out on top.   

So what do you think?  Does our rating system suck - and if so, what would be a better way to do it?  Did your favorite aggro warband get unfairly underranked?  Will Rippa's Snarlfangs mark the return of pure aggro? Should we stick to analyzing one card at a time, or would you like more of this kind of odd content?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on facebook and we'll do our best to respond!

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