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Slothrop

Strictly the Worst: Episode 9 with Vince Curkov!

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Good lord, we're approaching 10 episodes! 

Hey folks, our newest episode is available. In this one, we talk about why we focus mostly on abstract rather than concrete concepts. Then we go on to discuss some concrete concepts.

In this episode, we have a local guest, Vince Curkov. Vince is a friend of ours and has recently started up a Guild Ball YouTube series where he records commentary on games he plays around Chicago. His next video will have a game against me. We like his videos and think they'll definitely be worth your time watching!

Strictly the Worst: Would That It Were So Simple. Take a listen, let us know whatcha think!


You can follow our special guest, Vince:
Forums: @TheCurkov
Twitter: @TheCurkov
YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/hfxpyev

You can also follow the cast:
Twitter: @strictlyworstgb
Facebook: facebook.com/strictlytheworst

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@Slothrop Did I hear this right, you guys are not fans of Hooper? I'll spare you the explanation of getting him to +3 dmg as I'm sure you are aware of that, instead I'll state his versatility. By that I mean, those games where your model was never in the right place to do their thing, doesn't happen often for Hooper. The most obvious place for him us next time Tapper, but he's good as a sweeper or even out front escorting Friday and stealong the ball back after she scores. I know that I can put inf on him and he'll do something useful with it. That's Hoopers real strength imo. 

The permanent home crowd change has benefited my Brewers quite a lot, but apart from the obvious change of starting with an mp, I have found the overall pace of the game has changed because if it. I no longer feel that an auto win for initiative is more powerful than popping heriocs, defensive stance etc. In at least half my games I've chosen to go second once in them, and in the other half it was a consideration for at least one turn. Usually it's the best idea  when they are threatening the goal and can't easily get mp with the striker, let them go first and waste a turn trying. Hooper can then True Grit, smash shins, and clear the ball. Job done.

I like the abstract strategies you talk about, and it always seems to be on a subject I've been thinking about recently.  This week I've been mulling over the draft.. it's like you can see into my mind and choose the circles I've not quite completed myself. Would love to fight you guys sometime. 

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@CurlyPaul I should probably let @VanV go into more detail, him being the Brewers player. That said, my experience (mostly watching or playing against) has given me basically the opposite impression of Hooper: he has a huge potential upside of a bajillion damage, but most of the time the INF on him falls short. He can't get a lot done except in perfect circumstances particularly due to his max 3 INF, and when he wants to do damage but doesn't get the perfect set-up, his early damage is tragically unmomentous. Even against a KD'd target and with his Heroic up, 5 successes with 7 TAC is not automatic. I much prefer Stoker and Spigot for non-captain beaters in the Brewers. The only thing I REALLY dig about Hooper is the 2" melee, which is of course valuable always.

Glad you're enjoying the cast, and glad we're in sync with what you're thinking about! Draft is a relatively unexamined part of GB at the moment, but I think it has some interesting things about it. It'll probably only get more interesting as more players are added to guilds. 

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4 hours ago, Slothrop said:

@CurlyPaul I should probably let @VanV go into more detail, him being the Brewers player. That said, my experience (mostly watching or playing against) has given me basically the opposite impression of Hooper: he has a huge potential upside of a bajillion damage, but most of the time the INF on him falls short. He can't get a lot done except in perfect circumstances particularly due to his max 3 INF, and when he wants to do damage but doesn't get the perfect set-up, his early damage is tragically unmomentous. Even against a KD'd target and with his Heroic up, 5 successes with 7 TAC is not automatic. I much prefer Stoker and Spigot for non-captain beaters in the Brewers. The only thing I REALLY dig about Hooper is the 2" melee, which is of course valuable always.

Glad you're enjoying the cast, and glad we're in sync with what you're thinking about! Draft is a relatively unexamined part of GB at the moment, but I think it has some interesting things about it. It'll probably only get more interesting as more players are added to guilds. 

It's true that without a pile of buffs and a few gang ups on a pre-knocked over target he's not wiping someone out, but he's not always wasted in my games. Sub-optimatal sometimes, when compared to 24 damage, but always useful. While Spigot can certainly get damage done more reliably, I find if I use him for that my opponents just slaughter him. Stoker is fairly unexplored for me atm though.  Fire is definitely a valuable asset to the team, and he can always do something as well thanks to his ranged plays. Again not the best choice but better than throwing the inf away.

Was thinking about the draft in terms of tilt.. if I'm kicking, my opponent will probably put their mascot down first, if I respond with my captain and give up the advantage it just says "I'm so sure I have this I don't even care if you know what I'm playing first". The potential advantage from mind games seems as powerful as being able to adapt to your opponents choices imo.

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26 minutes ago, TheDrunkenMald said:

After listening to this episode I realized I lack critical thinking skills to be a top table competitor :(

It took this long for you?  I had that epiphany during ep. 1.  Lol.  I think it mostly comes down to practice and, at the moment, that's kind of hard to come by except 1-2 times a week.

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Practice is a huge part of it, definitely. I feel a very clear dip in my play during multi-week stretches when I can't play as much. Unfortunately this type of game simply demands a lot of free time to improve at, since matches are so long. 

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3 hours ago, TheCurkov said:

@Slothrop thanks again for having me on and the video with Alex in it can be found here.

Looking forward to watching the video, like the look of the format. I have so many bat reps on my you tube page and not enough time to watch when all

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I tried out the Blood Bowl computer game recently and it started me wondering ... would a computer be good at playing Guild Ball? We know that computers are good at playing chess, because they can calculate thousands of moves ahead. But I wondered whether the free positioning possible in Guild Ball might mean that computers couldn't compete with human players ... would there be too many options to calculate? Would be curious to hear the Strictly the Worst take on this on a future podcast!

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Just started listening, and the discussion of the difference between alternating model activations and alternating player activations makes me ask: is this why there's a trend towards out-of-activation abilities (Pin Vice legendary, Bonesaw passing, Rage Bloody Coin etc)?

The proliferation of these abilities blurs the line between model activation and player activation.  Obviously the board position still matters much more than in true "player activation" games, but they do reduce that impact.

21 hours ago, ADG said:

would a computer be good at playing Guild Ball? We know that computers are good at playing chess, because they can calculate thousands of moves ahead.

Two things:

  1. As you say, continuous rather than discrete positioning means that the number of possible board positions is close enough to infinite to be no different from it
  2. Use of dice means that outcomes are also uncertain; a chess computer knows exactly what the outcome of a move is. The only unknown is how good the opponent is, and how likely they are to make a particular move in response. A GB computer could only know what's most likely/expected outcomes of its own moves, and still has the "mysterious opponent" issue.

 

Taking those two together, it isn't possible to "solve" guild ball (that's what it's called when we enumerate all possible moves and counter moves).  There's nothing to say that a dedicated AI couldn't be very good at guild ball, but it would have to use some heuristics and stochastic approaches to optimise for "the best move I can make" where "best" is some function that maximizes the chances of you winning while minimizing the chances of the opponent winning.  An agent that learns from its opponents actions and adjusts its own moves to force the most likely errors would be the best performer IMO.

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21 hours ago, ADG said:

So, computers can win at chess, and they have recently won at Go ... but maybe the answer is for humans to invent more sophisticated games like Guild Ball!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35785875

 

A computer has already been designed for Guild Ball. It's faster, more efficient, more calculating than the best human player in the world. It "has excellent mathematical skills for both precise calculation and on-the-fly estimation. It also has what I would call great respect for the results of these calculations, and uses them to determine the most likely path to victory". 

385bf72.jpg

Its only weakness is the inability to make 2 die shots on goal.

 

And this is why, in spite of their mathematical perfection and stunning good looks, the machines will never take over.

Because at the end of the day, at the finish line, what stands between them and total domination over the human race, is an insurmountable and timeless ghost which takes many forms, one of which is that of an intoxicated German going full YOLO: the Human Spirit.

 

Terminator 8: The Jordanating.

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On 1/20/2017 at 5:56 AM, JS said:

Because at the end of the day, at the finish line, what stands between them and total domination over the human race, is an insurmountable and timeless ghost which takes many forms, one of which is that of an intoxicated German going full YOLO: the Human Spirit.

 

Terminator 8: The Jordanating.

This is nothing short of magnificent.

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Here goes the Hooper rant


Ultimately, I think Hooper is a niche piece in a team that can almost never afford to spend a slot on including one. While his maximum theoretical damage output is crazy, I’ve found it hard enough to set up that it is almost never worth it. Especially against better players, I find that the normal outcome of a Hooper activation is generally sub par compared to other Brewers like Stoker, PintPot, and even Spigot. If you opponents regularly leave models KD within 6’’ or 9’’ of Hooper then I feel like it’s more a failing of your opponent not a strength of Hooper and don’t really feel like that plan scales well against better players.

His Playbook essentially has only three points that matter during most activations, the >M on 1, the KDM on 3 and the 3M on 5. Unfortunately, the only one he can reliably do without heroic or charging is the >M…  Even if he uses his heroic he’s only 50/50 to hit the knockdown on a 4/1 player and the results at <3 hits are largely underwhelming when taking in light of using heroic to hit them. As a result Hooper often ends up either using momentum, influence or both inefficiently in anything other than nearly ideal cases since he almost always needs to charge, heroic or both.

I’m not going to argue that against a KD singled out target with one or two damage buffs Hooper isn’t amazing, the problem is weighing the additional cost of getting him to that point vs the alternatives. The thing that really convinced me Hooper was unnecessary was the realization that even in the ideal situation he’s only incrementally better than Spigot, a player most people already have in their lineup anyway. Spigot has the same or better threat range than Hooper, a comparable buff against KD models and also brings all kinds of utility to the team between his heroic, Tooled Up, and Football Legend.

All of that isn’t to say Hooper is bad or has no strengths, he is reasonably hard to take out and is one of the few 2’’ melee models brewers have access to. In my mind though he’s lost a lost of what made him unique in the past now that Stoker has been buffed. Magical brew plus his 3/2 stat line makes him comparably hard to kill and handles conditions even better than Hooper.

That leaves one reason to take Hooper, 2in melee and that I can’t argue with. On the other hand, I’ve found I can get by without it most of the time between Tapper and then Harry if you decide you need a second 2’’ model. I know I didn’t mention Mash when talking 2’’ models, it wasn’t an accident.

All that said I still have in some of my 9 man rosters but he almost never makes the 6 that get played. There are only a few matchups where I actually want Hooper, generally the Brewers mirror, Masons and very occasionally Alchemists. All of this may come down to personal preference and that’s fine by me. 

 

Edit for context:

I'm nominally a Brewers player who strongly leans toward Tapper which definitely influences my opinions on lineups, at this point my 9 player roster doesn't even include Esters if that tells you anything. As result most of my Hooper complaints come from the point of view of an almost exclusive Tapper player though Esters was definitely my preference in S2.

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I think there are a few points favoring hooper that you touched upon briefly but may be worth a second look.

2" melee cannot be understated as a strength. Hooper can engage targets that stoker has little chance of ever touching (e.g., any unpredictable movement model). While in a tapper lineup with harry you don't necessarily need the extra 2" melee, it is still an advantage. Additionally, esters will want that 2" melee even more so. I know you don't play esters much personally, however it is important to consider Hooper's role in the team overall, rather than purely in a Tapper lineup.  

Although there certainly are situations where stoker and hooper are equally survivable, hooper still has the edge in many situations - e.g. any turn he uses tough skin, against 2" melee models, against most sources of incoming damage with the exception of conditions. 3/2 armor on stoker and his strong counter is excellent, however that counter does not help vs. 2" melee or accessible knockdowns. 

His damage buff seems comparable in setup to stoker's. While stoker can set himself up, it costs either an influence and reliance on single die rolls (or bonus time), or comes at the cost of 4 health and requires him to get base to base, lowering his threat range. You mention that relying on opponents to leave KD models within range is not a solid plan, but I am not sure I see much of a difference in that vs. an opponent letting models stay on fire within range of stoker. Brewers have the best access to KD in the game, so utilizing that to force your opponent into bad choices seems to be what the Brewers are aiming to do. Additionally, Hooper's is self synergistic (i.e., setting up Hooper by knocking down a model increases damage output both by activating his damage buff and increasing the number of hits he will get), while stoker's is not. 

I think your overall point is pretty accurate. However, I would venture that perhaps a good portion your decision to often leave hooper on the bench comes from being a purely tapper player (as I understand it) rather than esters, and thus not needing the 2" melee as much within your team.  Thoughts?

 

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6 hours ago, VanV said:

Here goes the Hooper rant


Ultimately, I think Hooper is a niche piece in a team that can almost never afford to spend a slot on including one. While his maximum theoretical damage output is crazy, I’ve found it hard enough to set up that it is almost never worth it. Especially against better players, I find that the normal outcome of a Hooper activation is generally sub par compared to other Brewers like Stoker, PintPot, and even Spigot. If you opponents regularly leave models KD within 6’’ or 9’’ of Hooper then I feel like it’s more a failing of your opponent not a strength of Hooper and don’t really feel like that plan scales well against better players.

His Playbook essentially has only three points that matter during most activations, the >M on 1, the KDM on 3 and the 3M on 5. Unfortunately, the only one he can reliably do without heroic or charging is the >M…  Even if he uses his heroic he’s only 50/50 to hit the knockdown on a 4/1 player and the results at <3 hits are largely underwhelming when taking in light of using heroic to hit them. As a result Hooper often ends up either using momentum, influence or both inefficiently in anything other than nearly ideal cases since he almost always needs to charge, heroic or both.

I’m not going to argue that against a KD singled out target with one or two damage buffs Hooper isn’t amazing, the problem is weighing the additional cost of getting him to that point vs the alternatives. The thing that really convinced me Hooper was unnecessary was the realization that even in the ideal situation he’s only incrementally better than Spigot, a player most people already have in their lineup anyway. Spigot has the same or better threat range than Hooper, a comparable buff against KD models and also brings all kinds of utility to the team between his heroic, Tooled Up, and Football Legend.

All of that isn’t to say Hooper is bad or has no strengths, he is reasonably hard to take out and is one of the few 2’’ melee models brewers have access to. In my mind though he’s lost a lost of what made him unique in the past now that Stoker has been buffed. Magical brew plus his 3/2 stat line makes him comparably hard to kill and handles conditions even better than Hooper.

That leaves one reason to take Hooper, 2in melee and that I can’t argue with. On the other hand, I’ve found I can get by without it most of the time between Tapper and then Harry if you decide you need a second 2’’ model. I know I didn’t mention Mash when talking 2’’ models, it wasn’t an accident.

All that said I still have in some of my 9 man rosters but he almost never makes the 6 that get played. There are only a few matchups where I actually want Hooper, generally the Brewers mirror, Masons and very occasionally Alchemists. All of this may come down to personal preference and that’s fine by me. 

Are you that other guy?

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1 hour ago, JS said:

Are you that other guy?

Yeah, I'm the third mystery person that says 'like' too often and makes a lot of dumb mistakes :)

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3 hours ago, dtjunkie19 said:

I think there are a few points favoring hooper that you touched upon briefly but may be worth a second look.

Thanks for the the thoughts, I always like discussing brewers especially since there aren't many local brewers players.

I think you have a few really important points I could have addressed more thoroughly. I definitely made my usual mistake of not getting outside of my head to provide adequate context for people who don't otherwise know my opinions. I think you're definitely right that Hooper plays a more important role in an esters team and probably gets taken in a number of matchups just for his 2'' melee. Interestingly, Esters' reliance on Hooper and to some degree Harry as her 2'' melee options is a significant part of what I dislike about her. Essentially, I think Tapper does more for Hooper than Esters does given commanding aura and a significantly better KD, not to mention Old Jakes. So I guess while I agree Hooper is more important in an Esters lineup I mostly view that as a negative of Esters more than a strength of Hooper.

The Hooper and Stoker comparison is something I've been think about the last few days as I struggle somewhat to deal with Shark and Midas. There are definitely situations where Hooper is more survivable, no question. I can definitely see flaws in my assertion that their survivability is similar but I'll try to elaborate on how I got there. First off, I'll admit I don't find myself using tough skin very often so that is a potential difference. I generally feel like spending influence on plays like tough skin has questionably value on average even though it's situationally strong. Additionally, this could well come down to meta differences where by playing with Nach, Botts and Friend Zach I frequently find myself in critical momentum races.

The second half of survivability I think differ on a bit. I'm not actually convinced that their survivability is meaningfully different against 2'' melee models most of the time. Hooper has an underwhelming counter-attack at best in my eyes. Like any low def model, if they have a reasonable KD the counter is mostly bad but even if they don't, he can really only threaten models that are within the last 1'' of their melee range. Ex 1'' model thats not B2B or a 2'' model 1.1'' away. Otherwise, his odds of hitting a useful counter is quite low. Stoker on the other hand, is similarly vulnerable to KD but slightly more difficult due to the extra armor, but more importantly in my opinion is the potential counter. Normally all it takes for a 1'' melee model to ignore Hooper's counter is get B2B, meanwhile Stoker is a constant threat to 1'' models that don't have easy KD access. Essentially, they're both vulnerable to 2'' models in my mind while Stoker has somewhat more game against 1'' models.

Finally we get to damage output. To put it bluntly, I don't expect to get Stoker's damage buff very often but I also don't think it's necessary as often as Hooper's. You mention opponents leaving models KD vs models on fire for Stoker but I think the only time that's happened for me in season 3 is pKatalyst. I generally play Stoker as if the only buffs he'll get are commanding aura? and possibly Quaffers and I still find inf on him to be more efficient on average. My major problem is that to get the the result you actually want on Hooper it's significantly harder than it is on Stoker (3M on 5 vs 3M on 4, both tac 5 without other investment).

In my eyes, Hooper is kind of a player without a niche and I actually think there's one simple change I would advocate for to change that. This could be a result of my time as a Masons player but I find the non-momentus Smashed Shins on 3 to be an almost completely useless result on Hooper as it stands. I'd Love to see the 2 dmg on 2 and non-momentus Smashed Shins on 3 swapped to allow for Hooper to be a true defensive midfielder and give him something to be good at outside of having 2'' melee.

 

 

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For what it is worth my own view of hooper is that he is a very marmite player. I feel out of love with him season 3 and frequently dropped him for gutter. She provided the additional 2" melee I wanted along with anatomical, which gave me a way of dealing with armour. Also due to her healing mechanics she was pretty tanky. However with the change in season 3 I am now finding avarice to good to drop. Which then leaves my 2" options to Mash and Hooper. Both of these players are capped at 3 influence max, which I find a real bind at times. But I generally like a minimum of 2x2" melee in a team as it deals with so many issues. Mash isn't my favourite option as I just find the guy to be so slow that I rarely get him up the pitch,  which then brings me back to hooper. His survivability is pretty important to me, although I totally agree with him needing the stars to align to be optimal. Pintpot now offers an interesting option as a main non-captain beater.

As a curiosity how are people dealing with Corsair? 

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@VanV to be fair I agree with all of your points, yet I still think Hooper is a solid choice. Surely a sign of an interesting game?

Since the Season 3 changes, I have him normally with one inf. If it looks worth it, he'll get the 2 from Old Jake's, or the single inf gets used to tough skin somebody who is about to get hit. Mid-turn inf generation opens so many options, across the entire team not just Hooper. Of course now we have Pintpot, who has the even more versatility in terms of resource allocation, but has a finite limit on those resources and is realistically only doing damage, where Hooper does have easier access to KD, Tackle, and if you can reach it, Smashed Shins. If you don't reach it there is also the Tackle or KD to choose.

Agree that going for +3 on either Hooper or Stoker probably isn't worth the investment in making it happen, but he should be able to get to +1 organically most turns (if playing under Tapper anyway) and a couple of options to get to +2, if it looks like I'm going to be able to land him a target. 

@Totes McAwesome not played against him too much, but my general plan is to remain accutly aware of Rough Seas at all times, spread out and pick off his strikers while waiting for a chance to sneak the ball past him. I'm undecided on whether it's worth the cost of killing him or not yet. Scalpel ruins his day with Tormented Agony because of his low defence, but I know you are playing Union lately, would Rage get him with Concussion often enough in one turn?

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