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An Oldie and a Goodie: Greyscales vs Sakana

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It’s a little odd to have this discussion half way into the season 3 release, but with the addition of Hag into our selection choices our 8th/9th pick becomes harder than ever. Personally, I had largely written off Sakana in lieu of Mr. Scales. This week’s Episode of Strictly the Worst prompted this write up as Jordan has some really good points drawing me back to Sakana. I decided to attempt to think a bit more empirically about the topic and this is what I came up with.

Method: Define relevant categories and rate each model on a relative 3 point scale. If the models are tied in a category they each get a 0. If a model extremely outshines the other the better model receives a 3.

Categories: Open Field Goals. Goals from Scrum. Positioning/Movement. Low End Playbook. High End Playbook. Momentum Generation. Short Term Survival. Long Term Survival.

Open Field Goals: Somewhat self-explanatory. Straight up goal runs. Greyscales has a 1 inf 11” threat, 2 inf 15” threat, and 3 inf 17” threat. Sakana has a 1inf 14” threat, 2inf 16” threat, 3inf 18” threat with the possibility of free cover reducing the cost by 1. This one is pretty clearly in Sakana’s favor due to the extra inch and potential influence savings, but not earth shattering. 1.5 points to Sakana.

Goals from Scrum: Meaning when the model you want to score with is engaged or requires some sort of wonky placement (aka Jank). Greyscales ability to split his move outside of a single advance gives him this category fairly squarely. Sure Sakana can disengage via attacks, but nowhere near as efficiently as a simple Where’d They Go. 2.5 points to Greyscales.

Positioning/Movement: Aside from scoring, how well does the model move around the pitch for engagements and other desirable locations? Sakana – 0 inf 6”, 1 inf 8”, 2 inf 10” again with the possibility to reduce by 1 due to natural cover. Greyscales – 0 inf 5”, 1 inf 9”, 2 inf 11”. Other than a Jog Greyscales has this in the bag again due to Where’d they go. Of course there are times when some free cover will help Sakana be more efficient, but even in the best scenario he only gains an inch of the old guy. Originally was 2 points, but due to corner cases/efficiency, only awarding 1 point to Greyscales.

Low End Playbook: This is easy as the first 3 columns have 4 of 6 identical results. Greyscales has non-momentous double dodge on 2 and momentous WDTG on 3. Sakana has momentous weak point on 2 and momentous weak point with damage on 3.  Situationally on 2 successes I will most often take the momentous 1” dodge regardless, but a 2” dodge is probably more valuable than weak point due to some corner cases and counter attacks. WDTG from the playbook is probably a little better than 1 damage weak point as well. However, due to anatomical precision, Sakana is hitting his results more reliably against most models. No points awarded.

High End Playbook: 4th and 5th columns. Greyscales has Balls Gone and a Momentous Push Dodge, which lets admit it, are kind of crappy high end results. Sakana has momentous double dodge which is great but a little high up to count on without charging. Double Push Double Dodge is cool, but probably overkill. 2 Damage with weak point is reasonably relevant. Sakana wraps are slightly more likely as well. Going to award Sakana 1 point.

Momentum generation: Mr. Scales has it kinda pretty rough here with the relevant results being the single dodge and WDTG. Sakana has the same single dodge and hits it more reliably. We did previously consider WDTG slightly better than 1 damage weak point, but as WDTG is once per turn its not quite as relevant for a pure momentum generation point of view. Double Dodge on 4th column is almost certainly preferred to Push Dodge on the 5th. Youth is wasted on the young. 2 points to Sakana.

Short Term Survival: 2” Melee unpredictable movement is hard to beat. Poised doesn’t quite make the cut as 2 inches of separation can’t be relied upon. The ability to lock out a lot of 1” melee characters is obviously strong, and I guess Decoy technically exists, but Sakana does have the 1 armor so it’s not a total sweep. 2 points to Greyscales.

Long Term Survival: Once unpredictable is gone the old man tends to melt like butter. 13 to 15 health boxes is actually fairly relevant as is the armor over time. Sakana needs an extra 2 damage hit, but they still both fall to the same number 3 damage successes. Let’s be honest. Neither are going to tank much in the long run. 1 point to Sakana.

Summary: So I actually had no intention of this, but they tie 5.5 to 5.5 (at least in my opinion). Boo. Your selection mainly depends on a few factors. Sakana is probably your go to for influence efficiency and solid all-around-flexible gameplay. If you like to snake in and slip out without a scratch Greyscales is going to be your pick. It’s just whatever you happen to value - you might weight one category as more important than another. For instance Momentum generation is probably more important than high end playbook results. As always, nothing happens in a vacuum in this game, so it probably heavily depends on how you play your captains too. I think it is going to be hard to justify both on a competitive 9 man list so perhaps more science is required.

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I think you're undervaluing Greyscales' playbook. In particular, when you're making an attack, you usually either need momentum (to go first, heal, or whatever) or you need to move fast (dodging out on a counterattack, reaching the ball, etc). It's pretty rare that you need both at once and are able to actually get enough hits on Sakana for him to get that M<< result. It's usually no better than a M< from his first column, whereas Greyscales' << on the second column really makes his counter attacks and mobility impressive.

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I think you're valuing efficiency too much and sheer utility not enough. Usually if you're going for an open goal, or trying to disengage, spending 2-3 influence to do so isn't a problem, since it's so valuable. Actually having a chance of getting out in the first place is more important, which Greyscales wins at.

Sakana also doesn't have any way of not provoking either a PB or a CA if he's B2B with an enemy, which is not a good position to be in.

Both of them have a M< on the first hit, so most likely they're even on Momentum - they can both pretty reliably turn influence into momentum 1:1. Greyscales is disadvantaged against models which are 5+/1 or something, but I don't think that comes up often enough to be a problem. (if you're farming momentum off Midas with heroic or Brisket, something has gone very wrong).

IMO you only want to take Sakana if you have some way of making use of Weak Point (i.e. you actually want to beat down and aren't otherwise influence hungry). Otherwise Greyscales just does the job better.

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I prefer Greyscales (though maybe prefer is not strong enough) largely because of flexibility. He's a crutch but also a safety valve since he can snake in for the ball or if he doesn't get a chance then he can just turn the INF into MOM. Sakana is also great at this but I find he needs more more to position flexibly.

With the addition of Hag I can see only keeping one, and I feel like Sakana is the one to go for me, but it's close. 

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25 minutes ago, Gauntlet said:

I think you're valuing efficiency too much and sheer utility not enough. Usually if you're going for an open goal, or trying to disengage, spending 2-3 influence to do so isn't a problem, since it's so valuable. Actually having a chance of getting out in the first place is more important, which Greyscales wins at.

Open goal would not really require a tricky disengage (except compound I guess). If you need momentum you are just going to stay at 2" and take the one inch dodge so it's a bit of a moot point. Obviously scrum goals he is advantaged, which is why I awarded him accordingly :)

25 minutes ago, Gauntlet said:

Sakana also doesn't have any way of not provoking either a PB or a CA if he's B2B with an enemy, which is not a good position to be in.

True, Maybe he deserves more in the positioning category, but we've already awarded 2 points for short term survivability which is kind of what you are discussing. At the end of the day GS's non momentous double dodge is still a 50/50 chance versus the average defensive stat.

25 minutes ago, Gauntlet said:

Both of them have a M< on the first hit, so most likely they're even on Momentum - they can both pretty reliably turn influence into momentum 1:1. Greyscales is disadvantaged against models which are 5+/1 or something, but I don't think that comes up often enough to be a problem. (if you're farming momentum off Midas with heroic or Brisket, something has gone very wrong).

I really don't think this is the case at all. Of course momentous dodge on 1 is shared and they can probably both convert 4 to 4 in this manner, but I think your comment ignores the relevance of the result. Personally I've had plenty of games where I go "momentum 1" dodge stand still" with both models.  The option of weak point / 1 damage momentously is actually relevant to the board state and that makes the difference. If your game plan is to win without damage, sure its kind of irrelevant, but -1arm can still matter. Corsair certainly appreciates it. Furthermore simple dice odds give Sakana a 15% increased chance per attack to even hit that 1 result. 30% increased chance of the 2nd result. 32% increased chance of the third result.

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right now i kind of auto pick bae-scales over sakana, but i'm going to try sakana as more of an active offensive pick when i dont think i need greyscales slippery defensive tech

 

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6 minutes ago, Napoleon said:

right now i kind of auto pick bae-scales over sakana, but i'm going to try sakana as more of an active offensive pick when i dont think i need greyscales slippery defensive tech

 

Last tournament game I played old man of the sea scored 2 goals. 2" less kick doesn't make him much worse as a goal scorer

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19 minutes ago, Frostmane said:

Last tournament game I played old man of the sea scored 2 goals. 2" less kick doesn't make him much worse as a goal scorer

oh i mean more in the Corsair murderfish kind of team. i'd never give scales up in a shark team, but there are times where i have felt like i didnt need the other bits that come with him in Corsair v certain line ups. As a goal scorer i've never had problems with T1 scales goals which are the furthest range required ever, and the Hag just makes it way easier

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Interesting analysis.  My question is, what was Jordan's points on Sakana over Greyscales? (I don't really listen to podcasts that much)

 

I used to be a die hard Sakana fan, but after finally figuring out how to play Greyscales and keeping him safe, Sakana hasn't really seen the table in a very very very long time (unless I'm playing beginners and bringing him out just for fun).

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11 hours ago, kryzak said:

Interesting analysis.  My question is, what was Jordan's points on Sakana over Greyscales? (I don't really listen to podcasts that much)

Threat range and influence efficiency basically. On 2 inf starting in cover Sakana threats 20" on goal. Greyscales takes 3 inf to only threat 17".

I don't remember 100% but I think he was referring mostly to a Shark team.

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For me its more a matter of which one is more interesting. Sakana can score and get the job done with very little flair. Grab the ball, generate momentum, score. On the other side, I've always got stories about Geryscales because he has a more interesting set of abilities. UM, Ball's gone, Where'd they go! are just that bit more interesting to talk about.

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16 hours ago, kryzak said:

Interesting analysis.  My question is, what was Jordan's points on Sakana over Greyscales? (I don't really listen to podcasts that much)

As @Megaladon mentioned it basically boiled down to his natural goal threat range being better / more efficient use of influence. He also mentions how anatomical makes him much more reliable at momentum generation. 

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I've decided Greyscales is irreplaceable for me. The one game i lost in the BTO this weekend was the one game I didn't run Greyscales, and saw a bunch of opportunities to use him throughout that game.

 In a Shark list Greyscales is the one besides Shark that I max load almost every turn. He is actually even my primary goal scorer since shark is usually just a threat for my opponent to dodge after first turn, and plays crowd control for me more than star striker. Sakana was welcome as a passive threat i rarely gave much to until Hag came along to be an inf battery. Jac is almost always in my Shark lists when I win as combined they get my 2 takeouts through pushes most of the time, and Siren is always in, so Sakana has to compete against my crutches (greyscales/siren), the guy that keeps me from being pigeonholed into the 3-0 game, and the battery that fuels them while helping Jac get into position. 

In a Corsair list Greyscales completely carries my ball game unless the opponent hands me a golden opportunity with v/oSiren or Salt. I always run Kraken with Corsair, with the Siren choice dependent on how much pulling and ball control I need. I'm also a fan of Hag again for a simple battery that still does stuff here as well.  Sakana could fit here, but since I rely on Greyscales so much with Shark and there is only room for 9 on a list it's pretty rough for Sakana unless something turns around and brewers/masons somehow dominate the meta.

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I think a really big intangible is the amount of terrain your meta uses or how much you expect to see when you are playing somewhere. I mean I feel like that is obvious. In games where you don't expect to see much (if any) obstacles for Sakana to toe for his bonus movement, I think GS is a no brainer for the most part. The old man is great and IMO if you don't have a clue of what the board is going to look like he is the safer pick. For that reason (which is tough to measure) I think in a competitive setting GS is going to get the pick on my 9 man more often than not.

That being said... I know how my store runs tourneys. I know how we run leagues. I know how much of our pretty terrain Alan wants to play with when we game and how little Jeff likes it. If you can reasonably expect there to be 4ish or more terrain pieces on the board the utility of Sakana is soooo much greater (EDIT: Greater than it is without that much terrain, not sooo much greater than the old man.) Different scalpels for different surgeries. I think this is all info the posters above have considered and are full aware of but I thought it seemed worth mentioning for someone without as much experience with one or both of the models.

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I know that I not only run both in my 9, but since I don't play attrisherman (Prefer Corsair kicking), I almost always run both on my team. I'll kick a siren sooner (and usually only against alchs since she seems to be free points to them in my meta).

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