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Idea for Thresher Change

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Thresher witch hunt? 

First of all, all credit to @Slothrop for your incredible wins. Nothing takes away anything from your flawless play and excellent execution. 

Thresher just won the american LCQ, Nationals AND World Champs. What more does the team (Thresher, Peck, Millstone, Harrow, Jackstraw & Tater) need to do prove the team is overtuned? Win every single event in the next 6 months? Hell Alex JUST took Thresher in the world champs, he had a 8 man roster. His 6 man line up was practically telegraphed before the draft and HE still crushed every game, like literally crushed them. This weekend I attended a event (14 players, 5 Farmers). I came second, having to play the above line up 3 times in a row. I beat it twice because two Thresher players made mistakes, hell one game we even agreed with my opponent making mistakes if he had just rolled average he STILL would of won. I lost the last game to Thresher against a player who made 0 mistakes and the best I scraped was 15-6.

The whole "He's not too good, we shouldn't nerf him, he's new" is already grating on me. It's SO obvious at least Thresher, Millstone & Tater are overtuned both in their rules and the numbers they put out. Not to mention the team starting on 13 influence, being able to go to 17 without rolling a dice (Though realistically 16 as you keep one out for Tater's counter charge) and that's BEFORE you take into account passive use of goal markers (Counter-charge, Poised). 

 

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4 minutes ago, ForestRambo said:

The whole "He's not too good, we shouldn't nerf him, he's new" is already grating on me. It's SO obvious at least Thresher, Millstone & Tater are overtuned both in their rules and the numbers they put out. 

I think it's more a case of needing to see exactly which numbers need to be tuned rather than taking a knee jerk reaction to one tournament (played at a level most of us can't conceivably play at) weeks before the actual release.. 

It does seem SFG have overturned both the new s3 guilds to prevent another Hunters fiasco, but as the early s3 changes and latest errata shows, they have no problem reviewing their players and pushing them one way or another where needed...

I do think this tournament has locked the eyes of the development team on Thresher and Co. now, especially after causing his opponent to tap out in a semi final match as he could not see a way back into the game.. But I think it's too early to make any changes before seeing how they act out in the wild and what counterplay people can come up with.. I'd expect Vengeance to be the tipping point before any potential pre summer errata.. 

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1 hour ago, LeadDiceandBeers said:

Is it really Thresher that is the problem or is it having probably two of the strongest models in the game in Tater and Millstone enabling him to do what he likes?

I think it's both. Much like Season 2 Obulus or Season 3 Midas, the Thresher Dream Team is a mix of several different things that work really well together and result in a puzzlebox of scything death. You could of course ask the players have have played with and against it, or listen to the HOURS of Strictly the Worst that basically read like a love/hate poem to Thresher :)
 

27 minutes ago, ForestRambo said:

Thresher just won the american LCQ, Nationals AND World Champs.

Your forgot the 2018 British Championship Qualifier at Steamcon UK, where Henry Kay followed his previous day's exploits by threshering the field to the tune of a cool 5-game winning streak, never letting his opponents score more than 5 pts. 

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18 minutes ago, JS said:

I think it's both. Much like Season 2 Obulus or Season 3 Midas, the Thresher Dream Team is a mix of several different things that work really well together and result in a puzzlebox of scything death. You could of course ask the players have have played with and against it, or listen to the HOURS of Strictly the Worst that basically read like a love/hate poem to Thresher :)

Almost certainly the case.

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As someone who designs for other systems the balance can be incredibly hard to get right in power levels. I'd say the easiest test (but by no means defininitive) is if your opponent gets bad dice on a key play can they realistically still win with average dice and good play? If they can't what you have is probably a bit OP.

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I fear any discussion on Thresher will always have the Ghost of Obulus Past appear. Half the forum said he was more broken than Humpty Dumpty, other half said 'Get Gud'. In the end we all remember how that worked out...(after 8+ players took Obulus in the world finals they really had nowhere to go). It's made everyone very touchy about OP models - when people call OP they are more inclined to say 'yeah, but look at Obulus...'. And they might be right - Obulus was awful.

Having played with Thresher and against him I would say this - I had not played a single game with Thresher (Millstone or Buckwheat) prior to Steamcon and managed to go 4-2. I'm not that great a player. I'm not surprised that an excellent, practiced player such as Alex (who deserves the credit for more than just play - top table play is a pressure environment, every distraction a nightmare and he kept it together and smashed it) was able to smash players. Yeah they probably hadn't seen Thresher played much - but these are the BEST players in the world and they folded like a wet paper towel into Thresher. They probably knew what he could do.

My opinion: The Thresher TEAM is is just too optimised (Thresher himself is just a piece of the puzzle) and has a solution for everything. Conditions? Millstone absorbs so you don't care, Counter charges from Tater, Thresher's easy Tackle and 8" kick making goal runs pretty easy, extra influence far above other teams for free, Millstone being a master of all trades (MOM DMG 3 on 4 with a short playbook?? Hello wrap city), Buckwheat being a better striker than some Strikers in the game (*cough Hunters cough*). They get too much for free and have a solution to everything.

I think if I was driving the bus, Thresher would drop to DEF 3, Dont Fear proc range drop to 2" (all Reaper abilities trigger from too far away in my view), Poised range reduced to 2" & uses up the Marker. I might also consider giving him Hearth's ability - ie melee 2" with 3" on legendary (and maybe 5/7 MOV). Tater Fork Off reduced to 2" and uses up Marker, Millstone Take One for the Team reduced to 4" and OPT, lose MOM 3 DMG on 4 (make it 2 with a push), drop INF to 2/3. Buckwheat reduce to 1/6 KICK, Carrot & Stick reduced to 2" Territorial uses up marker.  

But that's just my opinion.

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I would love to see the win % of the Tresher team only. Farmers have a 54,5% win rate (3rd best and only 1,5% behind alchemists) and we need to remember there are Grange games there and that team is WAY more managable. 

 

EDIT: The changes EpicChris suggested all seem fine, but together they might be  too much. 

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However I don't think Blacksmiths are anywhere near as optimised as Farmers. Blacksmiths have that 'NEW' factor and for them I think it's genuine ('wait how many models have a 3/8 KICK??') but when you actually play them they have very obvious weaknesses and are also quite fragile (unlike Farmers). Once your opponent knows what Iron & Ferrite can do, has seen Alloy etc, they aren't THAT scary and they are much harder to play - the skill floor for Farmers is extremely low, the floor for Blacksmiths is almost Hunter high. Blacksmiths are an interlocking puzzle that both the BS and the opponent need to solve - no one player is above the curve (Ferrite is very good but I think on the curve overall) and they can't roflstomp opponents that know what they are trying to do. They are good but not Farmer Team good.

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I'm of the opinion that Thresher is on a similar level to Shark and Midas from early in Season 3. I didn't think either of those particularly needed nerfing much either (though they were definitely some of the top captains), but if SFG are willing to hit Midas/Shark at that point they're probably willing to hit Thresher in the January errata release also.

If I had to nerf Thresher I'd probably make him 5/7 MOV, 3/6 KICK and/or remove Poised or Scything March. They're all nice benefits but they aren't the core of the character.

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1 hour ago, Edek said:

I would love to see the win % of the Tresher team only. Farmers have a 54,5% win rate (3rd best and only 1,5% behind alchemists) and we need to remember there are Grange games there and that team is WAY more managable. 

1

We will get to there but first some personal things before the main course.

- I played 20+ games with or against Thresher (I won all of my games with him)

- I consider myself a wargame veteran with a decade of experience in three systems, I usually play competitively and with good success rates both in national and international events

- I'm a Farmer player and would like to play with Thresher

- I like Guild Ball a lot, I'm a Pundit and my goal is to bring the game to the highest possible levels and the widest possible audience

The previous points are here because I want to make clear that my below opinion is a) based on actual play experience, b ) not a knee-jerk haters gonna hate reaction, c) is not about "witch hunting" Thresher so that I can finally get some wins without the need to "git gud".

So here are the aggregated statistics of the 10 most played captains in the 3 main events of the recent Steamcon US (mirrors not included): 

thresher.jpg.109a92de7ffbbfed9a96a8989bb3023b.jpg

As you can see, Thresher was oppressive. All the rest makes a pretty good spread around 50% with the exception of Shark who had a really bad weekend. (Maybe that nerf was a bit too much?)

It's worth to mention that the 71% win rate was reached with a lot of not so experienced or overly competitive players. They usually switched between Thresher and Grange during the tournament which I consider a clear sign of not being supercompetitive.

Lets check the most common arguments of the camp who think Thresher doesn't need some "looking into it":

1. It is too early to decide about this yet

Thresher and his Co. are out from about early May or so. The most eager (competitive) players could and did test him extensively for a long time. He is definitely not a fresh toy that popped out of nowhere last weekend.

2. It is stupid to nerf him just because he won an event or two.

Actually he won 4 out of 5 major events in the last two weeks. This in itself should flag him but the way he achieved these wins, the extent of his domination on the top tables is what makes this a valid concern.

3. He hasn't even released yet to the general masses, give some time and the meta will come up with the necessary solutions, adjustments.

Last weekend was probably the strongest show in view of accumulated player strength. In Chicago the best of the best faced each other. Make no mistake, most of these guys made their homework and tried to come up with something against Thresher. They tried and failed. Most of the time they were washed over the board without any chance. It was depressive to watch. So what is the chance that in a few months Average Joe will solve the problem what happened to be unsolvable by the best players of the world?

Finally my fears and concerns about Thresher:

- He is too good with Millstone and Tater. That triangle of doom gives too much upper hand for a player who knows what he or she is doing. The Thresher team is OP in that way. (A good player still could and most of the time will beat a Thresher player if the later is not on the same level of experience, skill.)

- Without some tone down, he will dominate and terrorize big events and local metas where he is in the hands of a good player.

- The sooner SFG realizes the need for change the better will be for the community as a whole. I think we could not afford a year and wait for S4 to solve this because that will damage the player base a lot. (Fun fact: I was a KS backer but did not play the game until S3 when a sudden interest arose locally. At that time I was on the verge of not committing to it because I saw the results of the 2016 World Championship aka the World Obulus Ball final.)

AND A BIG DISCLAIMER AT THE END:

With all that said I'd be the last person to deny or even minimalize the fact that @Slothrop played a stellar weekend. He is one of the best players out there and no one should make any connection between this topic and the value of his win. Congrats to him. Well played, mate!

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But the nerf on Midas was high to the point almost every Alchemist players use Smoke nowadays. 

the great problem for me is seeing that footballer or brawler the choice is always Thresher. 

The nerf should be in a point of fine tuning, creating games for one and for the other. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Rvianarpg said:

But the nerf on Midas was high to the point almost every Alchemist players use Smoke nowadays.

Except when playing against Tresher ;) Smoke does almost nothing against a team with Millstone and Harrow :P And I say that after playing this matchup with the Watch the World Burn GIC ;) 

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Looking at the data at the moment, using the Steamcon UK date as the starting point for when Thresher was released, Farmers are at 57% win rate, which is in a similar position to that of Fish and Alchemists during the first half of Season 3 (pre-nerf) which is also a similar position to where Fillet was in S2. Farmers are also consistently top ranked whether you look at UK or US metas. 

I think that indicates that there's some evidence building here for a nerf. However, there has only been about 1/10th the number of games played as there was between the start of S3 and the errata, so it's also fair to say that more time is needed.

If you look at the season 3, pre-errata data and split it roughly in two, you see the Alchemists and Fish being similar (57%ish) and Union close behind at the start of the period, with Alchemists staying strong, but fish dropping to below the score union were at in the first half, and engineers joining them. Also over this period, the number of games played by Alchemists increased but the number of games played by fishermen decreased, as a percentage of all games played.

This suggests a that the meta was able to adjust somewhat to the dominance of the Fishermen's guild, probably by increased use of engineers, but not the Alchemists. IIRC, there was a change to the OP pack that happened about half way through that probably hurt Fish more than anyone else, so this may be the effect of this rather than a change in the meta adjusting.

In conclusion, if we look to the story of Alchemists in Season 3, we can potentially see that being slow to act with an errata led to an increase in the problem. However, you could also argue with fish that the meta adjusted itself to compensate, and that in the errata changes to Fishermen weren't needed (although maybe the OP pack change did the trick, and the data on whether the nerf hurt the fish after this is also inconclusive, as it seems to have in some metas but not others).

Not really trying to argue a point in one direction, but trying to clarify some points with actual data, for what it's worth.

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Honestly, I don't have a huge issue with the Farmers tech. The main problem is that it's too easy/resource efficient to set up. Millstone is the biggest issue overall but also the primary example of this efficiency. With one influence, she extends threat ranges by 2" and drops a harvest marker in addition to the free condition protection that she provides passively. On top of all that, she helps make up for Thresher's lower than average influence generation and is on of the most annoying models to attack. That's a lot of benefit for extremely minimal investment.

My thought is that even the combination of all of these benefits isn't that bad but it needs to require more of an investment from the Farmers player. For example, making her condition protection a Heroic Play rather than just a Trait would go a long way towards balancing her out. This would mean that not only does Millstone have to activate early every turn to really get a ton of benefit out of it, the Farmer needs to grab some momentum either with her activation or risk conditions being handed out before she gets it up. In addition, forcing her to generate harvest markers either through her playbook 

It would interesting to see how a change like that would impact Thresher. It would certainly make his turn one set up a lot easier to disrupt if the Farmers have to kick off and would make activation order a bit more of a challenge to manage.

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13 hours ago, LeadDiceandBeers said:

If we see a spike in the number of Farmer's players in the meta we should probably also see an increase in Honour Mason's, Corsair Fisherman's and Obulus Mortician's to counter it.

We will see a spike as it's a new team and has a close retail release, and of course 'the pro's' are playing Farmers so some will jump on the bandwagon. I'd love to see Morts making a comeback as an anti-Farmers team, and Hunters supposedly have game against them, which should boost player numbers for them. I hope new teams come spread out enough that the meta can adjust, change and flow to keep the game fresh.

13 hours ago, LeadDiceandBeers said:

What we don't need is a knee-jerk 'nerf Thresher' witch hunt.

If I were religious, I'd say amen. Instead I'll say hear, hear.

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A couple of things I think need to be considered:

1) The top competitive players are not the only market for Guild Ball.  It is bad for SFG's business model if Thresher is nerfed out of the box for more casual/local players who haven't been proxying for him for six months the way the competitive crowd has.

2) Ignoring the competitive scene is ALSO bad for SFG's business model.  Competitive players are a major part of SFG's sales, so they need to do their homework and keep those people happy, too.  It would be impossible for Steamforged not to have their eyes on this at this point.  What they're going to have to decide is how much to adjust and how much data they want before making said adjustments.  We will all have to be patient, wait, and see.

3) While it's reasonable to assume the top players in the world would be anticipating Farmers/Blacksmiths at the two Steamcons, because they knew the boxes would be available, it's also reasonable to assume they may not have anticipated the prevalence and as such may not have gone into the tourneys assuming they needed to really specifically work "anti-Thresher tech."  I would be stunned if Thresher is as successful in the next few major events, as people will now know he's the boogeyman of the season and will have to prep an answer to him (Warmachine has gone through this with Denny1/Ghost Fleet over the last year).

4) If adjustments are necessary, it probably makes more sense to adjust Thresher rather than the rest of the Farmers, as weakening/altering them weakens Grange's team composition as well, which nobody would consider OP.

5) It's important to remember we're coming up on a major wave of releases in the forms of the minor guilds and the rest of the Blacksmiths.  If the Farmers need to be brought in line, SFG may be using these as opportunities to do so.  They have access to a lot of future data we don't.

6) Most importantly, people need to be civil- people need to not try to use Farmers (or anyone else) to beat their opponents into a blubbery paste just so they can feel good about themselves, and those playing against Farmers need to remember that there are plenty of people who just like the guild and aren't playing it for any perceived power level or brokenness and avoid complaining about their opponent's models in a way that will make that person feel bad.

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I think it will be interesting how this panes out. I do hope we don't get another cycle of 'Git Gud' only for the model to be nerfed because 'oh actually it's OP'. The problem with Thresher is I don't think Thresher himself is OP. He's top end sure but not OP. His team makes him bonkers. It's the sum of the parts. I don't know if SFG will address this (but I believe they will) but I do think some teams will struggle to deal with his level of violence football. 

Balance is a weird thing right? Do SFG balance only to the top 1% or the 99%? Should every guild have a roughly 50/50 win rate or is imbalance between guilds fine? How long do you wait to address an imbalance if the game is moving forward at a quick pace?

Whatever happens I'm sure we will see plenty of 'How do I beat Thresher' posts soon, but I will be very interested in watching tournaments over the next few months. It will take a while for players to get proficient with Thresher so I don't expect Farmers to start winning straight away, but come February I think we'll know. My money is on a cuddling of some sort.

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Interview with Alex

Here you can read what the man himself has to say about the team. The fact that he brought only 8 out of 10 models because he didn't feel the need to bring Grange is saying something. Also the idea to reduce aura ranges to 4" is something I was thinking about as well. Most of non-legendary auras on pre-farmers guilds are 4" and they seem ok with that.

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7 minutes ago, Edek said:

Interview with Alex

Here you can read what the man himself has to say about the team. The fact that he brought only 8 out of 10 models because he didn't feel the need to bring Grange is saying something. Also the idea to reduce aura ranges to 4" is something I was thinking about as well. Most of non-legendary auras on pre-farmers guilds are 4" and they seem ok with that.

Will be listening to this no doubt :)

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55 minutes ago, EpicChris said:

I think it will be interesting how this panes out. I do hope we don't get another cycle of 'Git Gud' only for the model to be nerfed because 'oh actually it's OP'. The problem with Thresher is I don't think Thresher himself is OP. He's top end sure but not OP. His team makes him bonkers. It's the sum of the parts. I don't know if SFG will address this (but I believe they will) but I do think some teams will struggle to deal with his level of violence football. 

Balance is a weird thing right? Do SFG balance only to the top 1% or the 99%? Should every guild have a roughly 50/50 win rate or is imbalance between guilds fine? How long do you wait to address an imbalance if the game is moving forward at a quick pace?

Whatever happens I'm sure we will see plenty of 'How do I beat Thresher' posts soon, but I will be very interested in watching tournaments over the next few months. It will take a while for players to get proficient with Thresher so I don't expect Farmers to start winning straight away, but come February I think we'll know. My money is on a cuddling of some sort.

Agree.

A team like Grange, Mascot, Fallow, Harrow, Millstone, Tater can be just as scary as the Thresher one, just a bit slower in generating VPs.

I know both Tim W and Christian Metz have expressed that they feel that Grange will be viewed as the stronger pick in the next few months. 

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 I think something can't be overlooked and speaks to just how strong Thresher is right now - Alex only took Thresher (I think the only solo captain roster of worlds?). To the pinnacle of all gaming in Guildball alex viewed Thresher as so good that even if the opponent knew he was playing him, as well as his line up almost, that didn't matter and Thresher was good enough to win the match ups. 

I don't think any captain should be so good to say - Here's what I bring. I don't care what you draft against it, I'm good enough to win anyway. 

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I actually think Grange has excellent game into Thresher. Granny Murder messes Thresher up (because his 3" means he will probably end up engaging her and having to attack her), and Grange has the durability to survive Thresher and cause all sorts of problems - backed by the silly Tater/Millstone triangle. So If I were playing competitively I would definitely take both captains. Grange is very good - I think people overlooked Grange because of the Thresher missile, but with the release of Granny Murder, I think Grange is almost 50/50 in effectiveness with Thresher - so internally Farmers are not badly balanced (Millstone excepted because there will NEVER not be a reason to take her - which I think is not great design see also Meathook). Just externally.

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I'm pretty sure the reason Alex went for only Thresher rather than both captains is because Grange is also excellent when you get to receive the ball, but he has a lot more trouble when kicking, where Thresher is okay to kick with. Since you don't know whether you are kicking or not when you pick captains, if you want to avoid the worst case scenario (having to kick with Grange) then you should pick Thresher every time.

The mono-thresher list is a problem with the OPD, not one with Thresher. Not saying there aren't other issues, though.

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