Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

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Azeebo
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Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by Azeebo » Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:46 pm

Hey guys,

So before I begin, I would like to say that Always Strikes First is not something I want to go completely, but elements of the rule need to change because as it stands, ASF is literally the single most powerful rule in Fantasy second to none...in fact nothing even comes close.

Lets begin with what it actually does: it lets every single elf unit strike first in close combat. That is great. It lets fragile elves get a couple of swings in before they get a bloody nose. Secondly, if you have Always Strikes Last, then you cancel out both effects and strike at initiative order. Again, this is great. Elves are notoriously low strength, not quite able to match the big hitters of other armies, so being able to have your big hitters hit hard, and fast, is a nice boost. Now, if the rule stopped here, then I would not have a problem. This one rule, currently gives elves 2 good abilities that combined give you a very solid core to your army.

Then it gets silly. The last part is: If your initiative is equal too, or higher, you get to reroll to hit. Why? Why is this a thing? That 1 thing is literally game changing. In a game that is in some part about luck due to dice, why does 1 (ok 3...) army have an unmatched ability to consistently weigh the odds in their favor? At the very least, they are hitting 75% of the time. But they are elves, so against most armies, they are hitting 90% of the time...with their most basic of troops.

Again, why? I honestly don't get it. Elves are fragile, and expensive? Well...not really. Lets put this into consideration here: Your basic elf comes in at under 10 points, has a 5+ armour save, above average stats in everything but S and T, and those stats are average. A warriors of chaos comes in at almost 15 points completely naked. Upgraded you can take more than 2 elves for every 1 Warrior and what difference is there really? A pip of S and T, a 4+ armour save? T4 is worthless when anything that is actually designed to kill stuff is S5-6. 4+ armour is negligible when you are getting at least -2 to it most the time, giving you a token 6+ save, or none at all. Do Warriors get rerolls to hit? NOPE. The pip in WS is not even a factor when ASF rerolls give the same chance to hit on a 4+ as a 3+ without.

But of course, we are comparing an Elite Core to your basic Core...well Elven Elites are STILL cheaper than the Warrior, have stats equal to, or better than the warrior and still strike before, or at the same time as him. It is CLEAR that elves are NOT expensive. There is no such thing as the Elf tax anymore since everything is so much cheaper in the more recent iterations, and the benefits this 1 rule gives massively increases the fighting capability of your units to a level beyond things twice their cost. It is madness.

And like I said before, Elves are fragile? No, no they are not. Well, yes, they are only T3, yes their armour is typically light with a shield or heavy and no shield. But most armies suffer from this lack of armour situation on their core troops, and most elites only have heavy armour. Toughness is not an important stat when your killy units are S6 in most cases (INCLUDING ELVES)...so why do elves get this treatment? And let us not forget 2 out of 3 elven factions can take heavy cav packing a 2+ save...which is hardly fragile now is it?

Frankly, they do not need it. Elves are no longer expensive, elves are no more fragile than any other race in Fantasy, and lets be honest, there is already a rule that gives rerolls...and that is Hatred. And Hatred only lasts 1 round. Fantasy is currently existing in the Age of Elves, and 9th edition will HOPEFULLY change ASF to remove rerolls, because as it is, Elves have an advantage that is completely unwarranted. Rerolling is king in a game with luck. Dwarf Warmachines are so good because they can reroll pretty much everything...but that comes with a heavy premium (100 points in fact...). Elves have no such premium. Drop rerolls, keep everything else. Simple as that.

That is just my opinion though. What are your thoughts on ASF? Should it change?
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Re: Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by Kovlovsky » Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:53 pm

Yes, I agree with you that the part of the rule that allows you to reroll if your initiative is equal or higher than the target has to go. It's just too much. It's not like the Elves haven't any means to boost their strength to compensate their low base one and it means that you can make a elven Lord or heroes hitting and wounding almost constantly. As a fellow player with a universally low initiative army (O&G), I very much understand your point. I'm pretty sure it's Matt Ward's influence that is to blame, because as we all know his elven fanboyism was only surpassed by his own Ultramarines fanboyism.
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Re: Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by ParanoidEngineer » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:37 am

*mumbles something about Ward getting better towards the end of his GW career*

The problem with ASF and Elves is not so much the rule itself in my opinion, but the ubiquitous distribution of it. EVERY Elf strikes first. EVERY Elf, even those with great weapons. That's completely ridiculous, and makes it incredibly hard to fight an Elf unit in close combat. I think that a re-write of that Elven rule is in order; maybe give the great weapon/two-handed weapon wielding Elves a rule to let them strike at Initiative order without ASF? Remove it from spear-wielding Elves but add some core/elite troops with duel hand weapons? I get that it's a fluffy rule to give them all but when Spearmen can strike before an avatar of the Blood God, the undead ruler of Nehekhara or even the high king of the Dwarfs, you have to throw your hands up and ask "what the hell guys?".

Maybe a change to ASF could be choosing between striking first or re-rolling to hit? Might make it more tactically diverse from Hatred, and create a slightly difficult decision to spice up combat.
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Re: Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by Azeebo » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:01 am

Or at the very least, make Always Strike First just that...I mean why does it need to do more than the title suggests? :P

Lets not forget that elves also get a bunch of built in special rules IN ADDITION to ASF to make them more efficient on the battlefield. And elves are dirt cheap. I mean REALLY cheap nowadays. An elf costs the same, or less than a Dwarf warrior, and whilst the warrior has better, or equal armour (based on load out) and a high toughness, I have already said why those increases are negligable. The dwarfs pay for this increase in resiliance with a HUGE initiative and movement penalty, elves have 0 penalties and get to reroll. You basic elf is massively cheaper than any daemon core, with their elites being about the same price and better. They are cheaper than Saurus, who are comparable to a chaos warrior from my first post. An elven elite is marginally more expensive than the Saurus and cheaper than Temple Guard, but will trounce either of them.

I am probably the oldest Wood Elf player on the forum, and I cannot stand that they got ASF. As a rule as it stands it is silly. It makes even the most basic of elf troops comparable to the elite of other units, and elven elite for the most part cannot be fought without great difficulty. The only unit I can even think that can fight White Lions toe-to-toe and walk away not decimated is Iron Breakers and Tzeentch Shield Warriors...and this isn't because elves are OP, but simply because their entire army hits 90% of the time and do not pay a premium to do it.
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Re: Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by Dez » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:34 am

You think it's worse than Steadfast? We need to play a game, I'll bring the Skavenslaves :)

I absolutely agree though, the reroll needs to go.
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Re: Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by Azeebo » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:40 am

Steadfast is not THAT bad... :P
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Re: Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by Kovlovsky » Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:07 pm

I just don't get why High Elves spearmen are 9 pts each. My Boys are 7 pts with a shield. Ok I have toughness 4 and the choppa special rule (+1 strength the first round of close combat). This is all good, but I'm still weapon skill 3, I don't reroll my failed to hit rolls all the time, I have a dreadful initiative, even with spears I will have one less rank of support attacks, I've less Ld and I must deal with the potentially paralysing Animosity special rule. I hate you Matt Ward!
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Re: Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by Azeebo » Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:14 pm

The thing is, even your expensive Big Un's, Savages and Black Orcs are inferior to most High Elf units, and are either more expensive, equally pointed or cheaper by a negligible margin.

Once rerolls are remove, IF they are removed, Elves will be put back in line with the rest of Fantasy, and that will be good for everyone.
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Re: Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by Kovlovsky » Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:17 pm

Azeebo wrote:The thing is, even your expensive Big Un's, Savages and Black Orcs are inferior to most High Elf units, and are either more expensive, equally pointed or cheaper by a negligible margin.

Once rerolls are remove, IF they are removed, Elves will be put back in line with the rest of Fantasy, and that will be good for everyone.
Yes I agree, it will be for the best. Still love my Orcs to death, but I'm aware of their middle tiers effectiveness.
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Re: Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by Azeebo » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:32 pm

The great thing about Fantasy is that every hardback book is competitive. I mean Tomb Kings won the US Masters for example, which is an army considered to be the weakest of the 8th edition releases. I have always found O+G to be one of the most well rounded armies. They have literally everything an army needs.
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Re: Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by Kovlovsky » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:39 pm

Yes that's right. They have a lot of variety and I absolutely love it! I think that overall Fantasy is much more balanced than 40k. I think that it has a lot to do with the fact that hand to hand fighting is much more important in Fantasy. Even units with a relatively poor weapon skill will generally hit on 4s and will be hit on 3s or 4s. Sometimes one side will hit on 5s, but in general, it tends to level the differences while some armies in 40k have impressive firepower (Eldars) and others are generally completely out shot (Orks). Morover, if you don't have at least a 3+ armor, your chances to get an armor save are very thin against shooting.
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Re: Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by Azeebo » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:34 pm

Kovlovsky wrote:Yes that's right. They have a lot of variety and I absolutely love it! I think that overall Fantasy is much more balanced than 40k. I think that it has a lot to do with the fact that hand to hand fighting is much more important in Fantasy. Even units with a relatively poor weapon skill will generally hit on 4s and will be hit on 3s or 4s. Sometimes one side will hit on 5s, but in general, it tends to level the differences while some armies in 40k have impressive firepower (Eldars) and others are generally completely out shot (Orks). Morover, if you don't have at least a 3+ armor, your chances to get an armor save are very thin against shooting.
And lets not forget, if an army has anything even remotely interesting and/or good, and is NOT a power armour space marine, it is considered broken, OP, game breaking or all of the above...Oh 40k...why you so mad?
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Re: Always Strikes First and why it needs to go

Post by Siovim » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:24 am

Seeing a lot of hate towards the elven ASF rule, and no one's putting up for the elves. So i will give it a shot.
High elves are my first army and i played them with some frequency during the years. Playing mainly against Dwarfs, Bretonnia and Skaven, never fielded a White Lion my experience is as follows. If the ASF rule wasn't what it is, the elves would be completely and utterly smashed, and even then most elf core are str3, which is worthless in todays warhammer club-fighting style (meaning initiative and weapon skill only give minor bonuses). Anything with str3 and t3 is push over when almost any faction has easy acces to high thougness or high armour save all around or both.
I saw someone mentioning Dwarfen warriors compared to Elven Spears. Warrior go at 8 i think and Spears at 9. Have you ever tried a fight between the units face to face?? Elves sure to hit a lot and all that, but then you have roll 5s to wound, beat 4+ armour and 5/6 + parry. I can garantee you that you are lucky if you kill 1 or 2 dwarfs. And then he swings back.... not as many hits, but they hit about 50%, wound on 3/4s, and have to beat a 5+ armour save (which is ridiculous for guys in mail and plate and with tower shields, looking and skaven slaves and bretonnian men-at-arms). The dwarf kills regularly 2-3 elves, even more if he's lucky, and the Spears effectivnes goes down faster because they rely on the high amount of attacks to keep them in the fight, and will sooner be affected by a drawn-out combat.
Then you could compare to the Man-at-arms for 4 points and the Skaven Clan warrior for 5 (with shield). They got worse or equal I and WS, same Armour save, STR and T. Looking at this, you should kill at least twice your number for making worthwhile, and that never happens, ever.
Now i know that the high elves have good mobility, with easy acces to cavalry, and a half decent elf-player knows that he never fights 1-on-1 because you can't afford the casualties, so that migitates is a bit, but in a straight up fight, the elven core infantry will lose to just about any other core unit in the game at the same value.
Our special choices make up for that quite well, but it's annoying to always bring your Phoenix Guard if you anybody to be left after 2 rounds of combat, and swordmasters are glass-cannons, easily destroyed by missiles or heavy armour (Knights, dwarves etc.) or swamped (skaven and Man-at-Arms).
And then there is the stupid system of Weapon Skill. Do i have an elitish army which generally always hits well and my warriors are legendary for their precision and quickness of hand. Yes. Does my enemy have a lumb of bronze strapped to his chest and a couple of planks in his hands. Yes. And do my warriors accuratly strike the weak points, avoiding any clumsy parry or block attempt. NO! It hits them square on. Again and Again. Does that brutish Orc or stinking human with an oversized club or farmtool in his hand break through my tower shield and mail made after all the arts of metalurgy on Ulthuan, a tradition preserved and improved for thousands of years? Yes, like paper.
I've so far taken examples from some horde armies and the dwarfs, but Warriors of Chaos and Lizardmen where mentioned. Seriously guys... you know that this game is all about Str, T and armour save and to the Lizardmen warriors and Chaos warriors (Chaos warriors don't belong in core) have that over the elves? Yes, on all accounts acounts. Will the elves hit first and well? Yes. Will they kill you? probably not. Will the lizardman or chaos warrior hit slightly worse and then beat the living crap out of you? probably yes.
Our special choices are our crutch, succesfully kite our distract that one block of PG or WL and you won the game, unless it's MSU which is by far the most effective aproach for Elves. PG ward save is OP, no denying that. ward save on 5+ and same price would go great lenghts to making them acceptable, swordmasters die easily enough as it is, and White Lions, well you tell me, never used one.

I apologize for the ranting at the end, i will try to be more civil to any answears :)

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