The armored corps CID is up and life is…interesting. After going back and forth with some people on a couple isolated points, I am just going to put one wall of text down here.
While I want to discuss man-O-war testing, there is a more important issue on the table. There seems to be a significant part of our community comfortable with and/or rabidly behind the juggernaut’s one-point-increase. I’ve had several people ask why this is such a big deal—after all, juggernauts are still good, the battle box is still net 0-points, and community consensus says our basic beet stick heavy was undervalued. So, let’s look at why this is such an issue.
The juggernaut is an iconic jack. It sets the standard for what you want a heavy jack to accomplish—punchy fist for an extra initial—access to power attacks—a big main weapon to break armor—a nice critical affect—high strength for throw checks—MAT 7 to make those attacks hit as reliably as any non-character heavy—the highest armor and number of boxes of any baseline heavy—and a grid designed to take a beating and still remain fully functional. There is not a faction in the game that would not love that stat line. The juggernaut also sports defense 10, SPD 4, and no special rules. The protectorate’s crusader costs 10-points while sporting an only slightly inferior profile. In a model-to-model comparison the juggernaut is objectively better than the crusader so should cost more than 10 points.
The question is how much more? The next comparably situated heavy is the ironclad. It is slightly less resilient than Khador’s finest but sports 25% more SPD and 20% more defense. Also, it can drop a mass knockdown affect as a special attack while the juggy has no similar capacity. In an open field grudge match between the iron clad and the juggernaut, the ironclad wins every time. The juggy runs as far as the ironclad charges so regardless of its output, the ironclad will get the alpha.
It is important to remember that while people look at the juggernaut’s durable stat line, there’s a reason he’s so tough. Khadoran lists often have to rely on their durability to weather enemy alpha strikes before they can strike back. At defense 10, few heavies have to boost their attack rolls to hit yee’old juggernaut—meaning they get their full focus worth of attacks while the reverse is not always true. Cryx’s slayer, while considerably less durable, still requires a boosted to-hit-roll to overcome defense 13—and that’s not taking into account that the helljack sports SPD 6 base. Raw stats are important but only in the context of how the total package performs. I can build a god slaying gun on an invulnerable chassis but if it is SPD1 and RAT 0 its impact is diminished—see the current state of the Victor as an example.
Models do not exist in a vacuum. Their performance is influenced by the chosen caster, support pieces, theme lists, scenario types, terrain, and player skill with same. So, when I say the juggernaut is roughly comparable to the ironclad, I’m speaking in general terms. Is a slayer worth 10 points? Probably. How much more is it worth with unyielding and carapace? The response I get most often is that the slayer only achieves that level of crazy with one caster in one theme list. I’d be willing to accept that save that another reason I get for the proposed 1-point juggernaut tax is that Harkevich jack spam is “oppressive.” Isn’t that one list with one caster too?
The more I’ve discussed this issue the more I feel there is a double standard for Khador. The juggernaut profile isn’t just an icon for warmachine, it’s a faction defining piece. Khador’s shtick is big slow tough jacks that do not shoot well and hit like a ton of bricks. The unspoken argument I hear most often comes down to the juggernaut feels too good for its points if you’re on the receiving end because it would be more expensive in—insert another person’s faction. This is a massive double standard. The point of having faction defining elements is that they should be largely unique to that faction. That means that they should be competitively priced and reasonably appealing. Khador’s identity is based around the empire’s willingness to forego arcnodes, light jacks, focus 8 casters, any jack with a base move over 4, accurate jack shooting, alchemical innovation, and crazy magic tech. In return we are supposed to get scary medium based infantry, hard hitting durable jacks, self-sufficient troops, warcasters that get the job done without a lot of support, berserk convicts chained to cursed relic weapons, small units of specialists, lots of inaccurate AOE attacks, and a focus on the fundamentals with a pinch of winter for flavor. Khador derives a lot of its identity from what it cannot have; so, when someone says ‘X’ model feels too strong it bugs me. Look at all the things I do not get that_every_other_faction gets. I pay for that _slight points efficiency by forgoing a metric ton of design space.
The corollary to this argument is that other factions get tons of broken oppressive crap that I have to swallow because it is in-theme for them. Ambushing bears that hit harder than some light jacks? Really PP? *looks at my unit of woodsman sadly* Sloan shredding my entire army at range freeking 16 with armor piercing hunters that advance deploy and have long leash with fully boosted shots for every jack in her battle group that all have true sight??? I don’t get a focus 8 caster but Menoth gets a focus 10 caster…because reasons? I am supposed to take that degenerate nonsense on the chin because other factions should have nice things too. I’m fine with that. Seriously. If one faction getting stealthie incorporeal solos free is the cost of Santa visiting once a year then that’s cool. I am not OK with being told that the things that define my faction are too good by factions that are granted the proverbial keys to the kingdom. Call it faction envy if you want. I Genuinely do not understand why everyone else gets to be pulled up to Cryx’s current status while my faction has to pay a tax for just being what it was designed to be.
If PP is upset that juggernauts and marauders were omnipresent in Khador lists I wish they would consider why that was the case rather than trying to force a macroeconomic correction using microeconomic tools. The reason those 2 jacks see so much time is that they are *fairly* costed given their effectiveness, faction relevance, and ability to trade in the all heavies all the time world we live in. The berserker chassis was rendered unplayable to keep Karchev spam to a minimum. The grolar, spriggan, demolisher, and decimator suffer from poor design and excessive cost. That leaves 5 jacks that are reasonably effective and usefully costed—and the destroyer had to be cut 2 points to meet that standard. Of that list, the juggernaut is the only one that can consistently one-round other heavies. Is it any surprise that it showed up all the time? If we’re going to see more huge bases then the marauder needs to go up in cost but the juggernaut? I’m not saying that something didn’t need to be done. I just do not see juggernauts going up to 13 solving the larger problem.
My bigger question isn’t why raise the cost of the juggernaut. Rather I want to know why the Khador all-jack-list with 7ish jacks is a step too far. I’m not buying the “it was a negative play experience.” Cryx can run 2 incorporeal battle engines (with tough mind you) that require me to take a 12-point mercenary package to even have a chance at defending the alpha. I’ve seen a Sloan player cause a new player to rage quit the hobby on the spot. Why are those negative play experiences acceptable and my faction’s defining play style elements a step too far? I am assuming that upcoming CIDs will give the least among us more tools and corrections to current inequity. Why is it necessary to bring this one element down when presumably everyone else is going to be brought up?
I have asked this question in many forms in many forums. The discussion always degenerates into a discussion of base level mechanical interactions with no substantive answer to the big question. Why is it ok for other factions to ask questions I do not have good tools to answer when apparently the same is not true for my faction? I’m not quitting the game. I’m not trying to flame PP. I just want an honest considered answer to this question.