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3rd Offensive & EI Aspects

Discussion in 'Combined Army' started by toadchild, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect

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    One of the things I've always loved about Combined Army and that drew me to it initially is the EI Aspect units. The Charontid, Avatar, Anathematic, and Skiavoro are some of my favorites in the game, both aesthetically and mechanically. When Onyx was first announced and the previews contained units like the Unidron and Xeodron Batroids, I got excited that the biomechanical horror sectorial had finally arrived. Of course, when I actually got to see it, I was disappointed; it had some of the aesthetics I liked, but it excluded all of my favorite models and required building lists in ways that I ended up not enjoying. And while I've mostly stopped playing Onyx because I'd rather play vanilla and MAF, that's not to say that I didn't have fun. A Samaritan and Xeodron Haris is pretty neat, Unidron fireteams are interesting and powerful, but in the end, I just kept on feeling like I was missing out on what I really wanted to be able to do.

    When I've commented on this in the past, one of the responses I always get is that if Aspects were in a sectorial, then nobody would play Vanilla anymore. Now, I'm not really sure that's true, but let's pause a moment and take a look at OperationS. Aleph has a lot of similarities to Combined Army, both in theme and mechanics. They're both factions controlled by AIs, and when they were designing Aleph, they clearly drew a lot of inspiration from what they'd previously done in Combined. It's hard to deny the similarities between a Combined list with a Charontid, Daturazi, Med-Tech, and Imetrons and an Aleph list based on an Asura, Myrmidons, Sophotect, and Netrods. And this is why OperationS stings so much - they started with all the same counterarguments about how you can't put all of that into a sectorial without cheapening the generic faction, except they managed to succeed. A mixed link of Dakini and Devas looks a lot like the Unidrons and Nexus/Legate team. Yes, you gain the ability to take multiple Asuras, possibly in fireteams - but you don't have any smoke, so their power is kept in check. And you know what? Onyx doesn't have access to smoke, either!

    So I guess the obvious question is, why don't I just pick up the Coldfront box and play OSS? I've considered it. But in the end, I'd still end up feeling like I'm not actually playing the army that I want to. While I'm happy to see Aleph players getting a chance to try out all their new toys, and new ways of playing old toys, I'm just a little sad that Combined Army didn't get the same treatment.
     
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  2. solkan

    solkan Well-Known Member

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    In no particular order..
    Q. Players have no idea why CB does or does not make sectorials.
    Z. Unlike Aleph, the El has a galaxy spanning social experiment to run. And knows how to employ people.
    L. It’s okay to experiment and try out the lesser developed artificial intellect’s method of killing humans.
    K. The point of vanilla having all of the cool toys and the sectorials being limited in choices is either to let game developers be mean to players, or make people make choices.
    T. Remember the Exrah.
     
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  3. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect

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    Q - very true

    Z - ... I guess? I'm not sure if you're actually making a point here; but I do recognize that Onyx was an intentional swing away from the species-specific sectorial design which has caused no end of issues for both MAF and SEF.

    L - Yeah, if I hadn't just picked up Druze in the spring I would have probably ended up picking up Aleph in the fall.

    K - What I was trying to say is that you can still force player to make choices; see all the wailing and gnashing of teeth when it was revealed that OSS lacked smoke to synergize with the Asura and Marut.

    T - Not relevant. Although seeing the Khawarij box preview did remind me of when I naively thought I was going to be playing a 5-bug fireteam of Vector Operators some day.
     
  4. solkan

    solkan Well-Known Member

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    At the point, I don’t think there are enough Aspect models to make a force out of just them. Because at the moment you’ve got a bunch of command personnel, two series of basic minions, and the heavies. Everybody else is stuff they’d conscript from client races.

    I can’t imagine how you’d flesh it out without ending up as some disappointing “Mirror Universe Aleph” army. Or being something out of GW’s Necrons reboot. Aleph at least has a reason to create human behaving human relatable troopers. What’s Aleph’s reason?

    I think that’s why we got Onyx, with the visual distinction between the client races and the robot stuff. Who’s going to care about Evil Robot Series A and the slightly different Evil Robot Series B packed together in a box?

    And the Exrah is relevant because Ugly and Alien didn’t sell and/or they couldn’t come up with good concepts they thought could sell.

    So what are you going to put in Aspects and how are you going to sell it?
     
    #4 solkan, Jan 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
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  5. Skjarr

    Skjarr EI Mouthpiece

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    On a slightly different tack, there really wasn't much mention of the Aspects in the 3rd Offensive CA fluff that I recall. They seem to have taken a slight back seat of late.

    We have the multi-purpose HI (Charontid), TO bruiser (Anathematic), MI/Command & Control support (Skiavaros) and the uber apex predator (Avatar).
    I feel the Skiavaros could maybe do with a touch up as I can never seem to find a place for it.
    Do we think there is an opening for any new Aspects?
    An AD deploying unit with Executive Order?
     
  6. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect

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    I’m not saying I want to make an all-Aspect army; I’m saying I was hoping to be able to take them as centerpieces to my (existing) techno-organic themed sectorial.
     
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  7. jfunkd

    jfunkd Rebel Myrmidon Graffiti Artist
    Warcor

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    I think the difference is that there is a whole new school of thought regarding sectorial design than there was when OCF was produced. Many things like the linked Kamau sniper, wildcard troops, single HI joining LI links, versatile mixed links, etc were places that I never though CB would go with sectorials, but here we are.

    While I doubt that OCF will be amended with the EI aspects anytime soon, I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen in the future. I feel a sectorial designed around the Aspect would look a lot like OCF, so why not?

    Personally, I'd just like to see vanilla armies get a (couple of?) bonus(es) to help them compete with the order efficiency of sectorials. I think it would be be a good thing to make vanilla incentivized a bit more so it's more commonly played for all factions.
     
    #7 jfunkd, Jan 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
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  8. solkan

    solkan Well-Known Member

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    I imagine the cost for that would be losing all of the cool mechanics on those figures. If figures were excluded, it would stand to reason that they were excluded because of equipment or skills.

    Shouldn’t there be an Avatar or Anathematic or one of the major aspects around to supervise this expedition? You could spin the fluff either way.

    But Look at Onyx when it came, compared to Aleph, and justify Onyx having G:Mnemonica and Strategos When Aleph restricts Jumper/Proxy. I don’t think the wild and crazy levels have gotten far enough to fit that yet.
     
  9. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect

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    I guess I don’t feel like those abilities are that out of line given the price the models have. I’m also not convinced that any argument about them being unbalanced doesn’t equally apply to Vanilla CA. And honestly, I don’t think swapping out some other expensive models for a Charontid or Anathematic would suddenly blow the power level of any of my OCF lists out of the water. For example, I could replace the Sphinx with an Anathematic and another small upgrade, or I could drop both the Sphinx and another 30-ish point model to add the Avatar. The Avatar and Anathematic are both strong, but so’s a Sphinx and a Rodok/Noctifer/whatever.
     
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  10. Hecaton

    Hecaton EI Anger Translator

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    An EI sectorial would probably look a lot like Onyx, it's true - and I'd rather have EI aspects than Umbra in Onyx. Expensive models that die to shock, cost SWC, and narrow down your Lt choices while not granting Mnemonica are questionable. It's a good thing Onyx has other things going for it.

    If I were designing the EI Command Detachment Sectorial I'd probably do something crazy like give them Daturazi as their AVA total line troop (since they worship the EI) and have Unidrons form Haris teams with Aspects or something.
     
    #10 Hecaton, Jan 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  11. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect

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    And I’m confused what point you’re trying to make about Aleph, because OSS does have Lt 2, G: Jumper, Chain of Command, NCO, ...
     
  12. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect

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    I’d be perfectly fine even if Daturazi were excluded, just to act as a check on the Charontid’s combat output. I’m not an unreasonable person.
     
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  13. solkan

    solkan Well-Known Member

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    I think the only hope you’ve got for positive results (not necessarily what you want to have happen, but positive results) is to loudly and enthusiasticly playtest a fan written alternate sectorial.
     
  14. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect

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    Probably some truth to that. I just found myself thinking about it, is all.
     
  15. DaRedOne

    DaRedOne Morat Warrior Philosopher
    Warcor

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    You know... I don't think I want the aspects in a sectorial. Even though I do agree they'd fit in onyx, I kinda like the idea that they only work in vanilla.

    Because the truth is: A sectorial with aspects would indeed make Vanilla feel irrelevant, even if said sectorial lacked smoke. Because MSV is not everything an aspect brings to the table. Between their generally high statlines, useful skills and the fact Mnemonica makes the army virtually immune to LOL (something not even armies with cheap chain of command can claim), the aspects are actually more powerful than their ALEPH equivalents despite having slightly inferior statlines.

    I do agree we need an incentive to play vanilla armies as right now sectorials feel slightly more interesting and adaptable thanks to all the mixed links and unique profiles. In fact, I think having vanilla only profiles is a good thing.

    However, at the same token I do feel the EI aspects are slightly weak right now. I'd like to see them get tweaked to become stronger in the long run
     
  16. Hecaton

    Hecaton EI Anger Translator

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    @DaRedOne Vanilla armies still have those ridiculously cheap mercs like the cube jager and liberto.
     
  17. Leviathan

    Leviathan Hungry Caliban

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    I think an aspect sectorial would end up more along the lines of... say Druze. Very very small selection of troops and forces, but with a great deal of command and control flexibility. It would likely need only one or two new units - a MI equivalent of unidrons, perhaps - or minor reworks of the existing aspects to make it have the necessary tools.
    TBH, the Skiavoros and Anathematic could use some minor reworks as it is. Anath badly needs some form of forward deployment, or a speed boost, and the Skiavoros needs to have its Strategos skill tacked onto the LT profiles only, and removed from the others so they're a smidge cheaper.
     
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  18. paraelix

    paraelix Well-Known Member

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    Consider - the only two factions not used for 2-Player Boxes so far are Tohaa and CA. Could well see them release a box for them as the gateway to an EI Sectorial - the was Nomads leaned into TJC, Haqq leaned into Ramah, YJ leaned into that other YJ sectorial :P
     
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  19. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect

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    Haha, of course I think an EI-sectorial starter would be an even worse new player experience than the current CA starter.
     
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  20. paraelix

    paraelix Well-Known Member

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    *shrug* The Aleph one was full of Remotes...