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Unpainted Minis: In Defense of Rebound

Unpainted Minis: In Defense of Rebound


To paraphrase the greatest rap story-song of 2015, "I'mma say something that you might hate to hear."  Rebound is good for the game.

We'll give you a minute to rage at your screen and curse our eyes.  Ok.  Now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about why.

 
The biggest reason Rebound is good for the game is that it provides a universally accessible reaction that punishes attacks.  In the brief period where it was banned this kind of reaction simply didn't exist.  This erases an entire aspect of the strategy of the game, as it eliminates any kind of risk for attacking.  This encourages braindead attacking on every turn, which doesn't make for an interesting game.

Rebound also provides a complementary benefit: a universally accessible reaction that can save your guy from imminent doom.    With the rotation of S1 universals, we lost not only Rebound but also Last Chance, Soultrap, and Tethered Spirit - leaving no way for you to escape the tyranny of overwhelming dice.  One of the most frustrating feelings when playing a game is to feel like you didn't get to play.  When your opponent throws down 4 ploys and an upgrade to get +6 dice on an attack and kill your most important model on the first turn, that's a real bad feeling (TM).  Full disclosure, we would have rather seen Last Chance come back than Rebound for this reason, but there really needs to be something to counter the strategy of pumping a single attack in order to lock out your opponent from the game.

Which really leads us to our next point - the superunit.  Rebound really saw a huge increase in play with the release of Mollog's Mob, and for good reason.  Mollog's entire strategy at release was to play as many ploys and upgrades as possible on Mollog and use a single model to devastate your opponent.  Unfortunately, warbands with a broader focus had a hard time competing with this, because Mollog could quickly become so powerful that the only good option was to run away.  Rebound helps to counter this strategy.

To quote Murs again, "Some men use arms cuz they ain't got hands."  The super-unit strategy becomes even more grating to play against when it can legitimately be used to make almost any model into a killing machine.  With the drastic increase in available passive early-game glory that came with S2, throwing 4-5 upgrades on a turd-rat and turning him into the king of the sewers became a highly viable strategy.  Nobody likes this.  Nobody.  Nope, not even that guy.

Essentially, Rebound punishes players for over-investing in a single attack or single unit.  This is a good thing.  In a game where destroying upgrades is almost impossible and there isn't (for good reason) any targeted unit-destruction, being able to turn your opponent's attack against them is the next best thing for dealing with super-units.  The more your opponent invests in a single attack, the worse it is for them to be Rebounded.  This encourages smart play.  And we all want to see that.

"The shooter is respected much less than the gladiator."  Well, maybe Murs, but getting picked apart by Ylthari, Stormdad, or a pack of roving methhead dwarves is no fun.   Season 1 warbands are especially vulnerable to this kind of tactic with their lack of ranged attacks and slower base movements.  As we discussed here, the main issue for season 1 warbands is lack of threat range.  Rebound helps them out by giving them a brief reprieve from the unending hail of season 2 ranged attacks.  Don't we all want S1 warbands to be more competitive?


That's not to say that Rebound isn't problematic in some senses, but the trouble with the card is often overblown.  First and foremost, this comes in the form of the hyperbolic statement that you can't win if a Rebound successfully goes off.   Yes, getting Rebounded sucks, but no it doesn't turn around blowout games.  If you've lost a game to a single card (Rebound, Distraction, Ready for Action, etc), that was a close game, and you got outplayed.  Games that aren't already close don't get turned on the corner of a single action or card; overwhelming victories come as the sum of many small decisions, cards, dice rolls, and strategies.  (We'll give Mollog a pass here - Rebound can completely ruin a Mollog player's overwhelming victory.  But they're playing Mollog, so does anyone really care?*)

Need proof?  Take a look at Ylthari's Guardians in late season 2.  Part of the reason that they succeeded in a highly combat-oriented meta was that none of their guys auto-one-shotted themselves if they got rebounded.  As long as you didn't pile on damage increases, a successful Rebound hurt, but it didn't kill.  (As the meta shifts with S3 to more Objective based, this became a less useful trait, but we predict Rippa's may see quite a bit of success partially due to the same reasons.)  In short, Ylthari's games didn't get turned around by Rebound, because their players didn't allow the game state to progress to a position where a single Rebound ruined their day.

You too, can perform this amazing feat!  Just don't pile a bunch of damage/accuracy bonuses on the same guy and hope to swing the whole game with one attack.

A lot of the salt that gets sprinkled around in competitive games comes from the idea that certain people (usually, "me") deserve to win and certain people don't (usually, "anyone I'm playing") based on something other than the actual progress of the game.  This can be seen in arguments against large top-cuts , arguments against concession rules, arguments about "lucky draws/dice," and arguments against Rebound.  If you're about to make an argument that someone didn't "deserve" to win, even if Rebound played a part in them winning, just walk yourself over to the garbage and rejoin your people in the bin.


On a final note, to reemphasize the genius of Okey Dog - and the necessity of cards like Rebound - let's take one more quote from Murs: 
 Square up, win some, lose some, might even save the day like John Witherspoon, son.
You're gonna lose some games.  You're gonna lose some games where Rebound plays a part.  It doesn't mean Rebound is bad for the game.  Losing is part of playing.  And in case you're about to overheat your keyboard typing out all your incisive responses to the above points and why Rebound should be banned, please remember:

We're all people, and being kind matters more than cardboard and plastic.

and

It only works a third of the time.

It only works a third of the time!

IT ONLY WORKS A THIRD OF THE TIME!!

IT ONLY WORKS A THIRD OF THE TIME!!!

THE CARD ONLY WORKS 1/3 OF THE TIME!

*We're kidding! We love Mollog players - just not Mollog.  Hate the sin, love the sinner and all that.

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