Just watched the vassal world cup championship match. Angryewok lived up to his name and had some choice things to say about moralo eval, specifically his recurrence problem. It is a problem. There are documented ways of getting him to trigger 20+ times a round. I propose a change to reign him in a tiny bit. Same trigger but instead of move and attack, "toggle his activation slider." He would no longer attack during squall or fct. Just a thought.
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Star Wars: Armada
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I really enjoyed the vwc coverage.i think its clear some tweaks would be healthy as Realveers himself pointed out.
I Ithink as a minimum, strategic should work instead of attacking, and only when you activate (so not off squall, fct etc) (this also reigns in sensor net etc token farming which is basically an auto lose if you arent super teched against it). This alone might sort moralo out?
@Pakinlead Yeah, you make good points and I think we're on the same page on a lot of things.
Thanks for your kind words! I can understand being a little intimidated by the Vassal World Cup but I would highly recommend playing in the upcoming "Who's the Bossk" tournament if you have the time! It's a very relaxed setting and looks really fun! http://cannotgetyourshipout.blogspot.com/2021/04/whos-bossk-inaugural-tournament.html?m=1
@Bertie Wooster Congratulations on competing in VWC2021! I have neither the competence nor the confidence to attempt such a thing. :) I like the list too! I've never seen a ship- & squad-killing SSD before, and I like the double support Raiders. It's a cool build! Your explanation makes sense to me, and I agree with your points that Moralo is both unforgiving on slip-ups and difficult to balance thanks to the multitude of ways to get more and more activations. It's a weird juggling act: high skill floor, but when he works, he does work. The point I was trying to make and didn't phrase well enough is that parts of the discourse I've heard around Moralo being a major issue is that Moralo made RealVeers' winning list, well, win. And I disagree. RealVeers had a lot of strong and more consistent components in his list like you mentioned above, e.g. Squall, Maarek & Mauler. Singling out Moralo seems strange, but I'd guess that it's a result of AngryEwok's...particular phrasing in belittlement of specifically Moralo and by extension RealVeers' close yet impressive win. I kind of think this thread is a result of Ewok's intense dislike of "unrealistic" multiple activations (he's expressed his disdain for people using squadron Ahsoka, and I do not really think she's even in the same ballpark as Moralo. Heck, I normally consider Ahsoka as one of the less powerful Delta-7b aces, and I've used her alongside FCT) in a game about plastic starships carrying along space wizards. Still, I don't hate that this thread is here. Moralo is problematic game design and has now been shown that he can be problematic in the right hands. But he isn't illegal to use, nor is he dishonorable (unless you're specifically playing Moralo so your opponent misses their bus or something :P ).
@Pakinlead I faced BigPoppaPalpatine in my first game and lost 10-1. His list really makes effective use of Targeting Beacons (obviously the must-pick objective) for dice control; his ships got a lot of doubles against my ships. I didn't feel like his list was overpowered by any means; my loss was due to my own mistakes.
I suspect he didn't get nearly as much practice with his list as RealVeers (I was in the tournament just for fun and had practiced 0 times :P). He was only triggering Moralo about 3 times per turn despite me being squadless. Which is probably why he didn't do terribly well in Swiss (no shade intended; he obviously played better than I did).
This highlights something that puzzled me before: on the old forums, I wondered why Moralo lists weren't always doing so well in practice, since he looks so good on paper. Tokra more or less answered it for me: Moralo is not forgiving of player mistakes. If you're not careful you'll end up with a bunch of 6-5s. (Not his exact words; I'd have to look it up.)
@Bertie Wooster I agree with you that Moralo alone is not what makes RealVeers' and Tokra's lists so good. Out of all the noise that the VWC2021 final brought on, I have not seen anyone mention BigPoppaPalpatine's list, which had 7 deployments, an 18-pt bid, Moralo, 2 Lambdas, a focus on killing squads that could disrupt the plan, and 4 Fighter Coordination Teams, all on Squadron 2 ships. BigPoppaPalpatine finished 31st and was arguably more focused on utilizing Moralo's ability and Strategic than RealVeers'. (This is not meant to disparage BigPoppaPalpatine on his finish. Congrats on Top 36 and on the unique list!) Moralo does need a change, yes, but as RealVeers noted in his talk with IrishMadCat, his list could perform well going first or second and with or without objective tokens. Tokra proved that in Worlds 2019 with a functionally similar list, and 187-Leon performed very well with a variant of that as well. Moralo was there to make it stronger. I don't know if we'd ever see much of a change to any of the cards that make this list tick outside of points changes, especially with Aflac/MechaMauler (Phlac-Arphocc) and the Triumphant Venator title confirming that Mauler and Centicore effects will be staying around, for better or worse. Sloane is strong, but I think @The Jabbawookiee is right; MMJ will be ubiquitous with or without her. Only the specialized squadrons that already underperform in the face of all-rounders and better flak will take the hit. And if MMJ takes a major hit, say, by rewriting Maarek's ability or changing Jendon to something like squadron Ahsoka or new Yavaris, then Empire loses out on basically the only multi-role core in the faction, so something would have to be done to fill that void.
Several players warned of Moralo implications early on - and were pretty much laughed at/told that it wasn't a problem until it's a problem. It is very good that it's now been shown to be a problem.
But really, what you/we think is irrelevant. The game is what it is. Moralo works the way he works. Use/abuse at your leisure. No worse than running Ackbar and tossing tons of reds. Or using Sloane. Or Onagers.
In the end, only AMG can change how he works. We can only play.
@Bertie Wooster I generally agree with your points, though the Intel nerf and pandemic make the squad meta poorly understood right now. Even though he plays in an unusual, strategic (no pun intended) way that we haven't seen before, Moralo's biggest problem is that he's a situational NPE that hard-counters otherwise viable squadless lists. Newer ship designs seem to be either slow or wanting to go slowly, and I worry Moralo and the Onager will prevent them from reaching their full potential.
"3. Squall. It's much too cheap at 3 points, especially compared to new Yavaris at 5 points. I don't understand why Yavaris and Avenger were so heavily nerfed and yet Squall was left untouched in the 1.5 update. Squall should be at least 6 points, or nerfed. Anyways, obviously Squall+Lambdas+Moralo is bonkers."
I agree it has too much utility for its cost right now. I love the early game alphas and late game strategy it requires, and how it encourages the Quasar not to be a relay node. Suggestion: limit it to squadrons with Swarm. "4. Sloane. RealVeers suggested that Sloane should only work with Swarm. He felt that Sloane working with Maarek and Lambdas was stupid. This seems too heavy-handed to me; I think Sloane should definitely work with Phantoms (no one takes them otherwise), and I don't think Sloane Lambdas were a problem in the meta before Moralo came along. I like the idea of Sloane not working with Maarek though."
There's a pretty important balance to note here. MMJ is ubiquitous (even without Sloane), Moralo is there but janky and matchup-dependent, and... most of the other Imperial squads are either specialists or bad. People might envision taking Sloane with a cloud of TIEs, but those days are gone. The SSD mulches an entire wing with minimal effort, the Hawk-2 does the same but also with Walex, and now the CW ships murder squadrons just fine as well (I haven't gotten enough games to conclude through experience on this, just staring at those flak values and salvo tokens.) If Maarek is going to be nerfed, which is not unreasonable in a vacuum, I'd hope for some suggestions of what exactly is going to replace him in the brave new world where most things seem to have great flak. Defender spam is reasonable under Sloane (and scatter aces, naturally), but both are pretty terrible for the cost elsewhere. "5. Maarek and Mauler. IMO giving squadrons guaranteed damage with no downside is bad game design. (Lando doesn't bother me as much because he needs to discard a brace.) Some have suggested increasing their points costs, but I would rather see their abilities reworked like Rhymer."
As above. Though Lando is ...at least very strong, with both an objective to restore his brace and Jan to replace the effect more reliably than the actual token ever could. "6. Strategic. It limits the objectives you can take competitively if you don't have Strategic in your list. Even if Moralo didn't exist, Planetary Ion Cannon can be negated, Intel Sweep can be flipped on you, etc. Not to mention Fire Lanes and Sensor Net. I would like to see Strategic changed, perhaps in a way that limits first player's usage of Strategic somehow."
Let's talk about Strategic fleets without Moralo's major build-warping influence. If you've made a list with Strategic, you simply can't assume your opponent will give you first-player value out of it at the time of building. So you want objectives that can award you a lot of points in exchange for making your squadron wing bad. Fire Lanes, either a blue with tokens or Superior Positions (which is unbalanced with squads anyway,) and a red you've worked hard to make unpalatable like MW or AG. This means you have a serious threat compatible with your reds, a committed but not combat-optimized squadron + carrier presence and/or dedicated ships with movement shenanigans for your blues, and a bid because you want to play your objectives. Even if it was worth modifying hundreds of list points to nullify PIC, the fact that Contested Outpost exists means that choice risks being a false hope anyway.
And if one throws 2 Lambdas or VCXs in anyway, they've still wasted 30 points if objectives don't happen to favor them, or any squads whatsoever are on the table regardless of initiative. If you're casually using objective tokens and still worried, bring a screen; the fleets that would swat it aside are taking second player anyway. We're post intel nerf, post ace nerf, with new toys for generics to play. Strategic isn't broken, it's a matchup headgame and a treacherous one to enter at that unless you're committed to second player outside a mirror.
It seems to me that Moralo alone is not the only problem with the VWC-winning list. (RealVeers himself thinks Moralo and other elements in his list are problematic. He had an interesting interview with IrishMadCat in which he shared his thoughts. I'll share mine.)
1.Deployments. RealVeers has 9 deployments and can deploy Squall and Centicore last. (If he really wanted to be a jerk, he could find points for Corvus on his lifeboat Raider, but since it's usually flying in the opposite direction this wasn't necessary.) This is used to be an issue with Rebel lists with 3-4 flotillas and infinite relay. I don't know what the solution to this is (it would probably require a whole RRG rules change), but it seems unfair especially now that Clone Wars factions have no access to flotillas.
2. Centicore. Although Relay has been nerfed, Centicore stacks with Relay. In my opinion it shouldn't. It allows the whole list to stay in the deployment zone and not fight, which was the whole reason for nerfing relay in the first place.
3. Squall. It's much too cheap at 3 points, especially compared to new Yavaris at 5 points. I don't understand why Yavaris and Avenger were so heavily nerfed and yet Squall was left untouched in the 1.5 update. Squall should be at least 6 points, or nerfed. Anyways, obviously Squall+Lambdas+Moralo is bonkers.
4. Sloane. RealVeers suggested that Sloane should only work with Swarm. He felt that Sloane working with Maarek and Lambdas was stupid. This seems too heavy-handed to me; I think Sloane should definitely work with Phantoms (no one takes them otherwise), and I don't think Sloane Lambdas were a problem in the meta before Moralo came along. I like the idea of Sloane not working with Maarek though.
5. Maarek and Mauler. IMO giving squadrons guaranteed damage with no downside is bad game design. (Lando doesn't bother me as much because he needs to discard a brace.) Some have suggested increasing their points costs, but I would rather see their abilities reworked like Rhymer.
6. Strategic. It limits the objectives you can take competitively if you don't have Strategic in your list. Even if Moralo didn't exist, Planetary Ion Cannon can be negated, Intel Sweep can be flipped on you, etc. Not to mention Fire Lanes and Sensor Net. I would like to see Strategic changed, perhaps in a way that limits first player's usage of Strategic somehow.
7. Moralo. Even if all of the above were changed, Moralo's ability is silly and ought to be changed. Allowing multiple activations or pseudo-activations is really difficult to balance in this game (No surprise Adar Tallon is the most expensive Rebel officer). Many suggested changes to Moralo have been made; I like Truthiness's attack-only suggestion the best.
My suggestion would be to change it to be similar to Morna Kee but without Morna's recur. "When an objective token at distance 1-2 and not on an obstacle is moved or removed from the play area, you may spend 1 defense token to move up to distance 1 and attack as if you were activated." This caps his activation potential to usually 1 per round but 2 maximum in dire straits, because as Nekzous noted Moralo could theoretically activate 20+ times, while not completely taking away his ability's identity. In addition, this would make him a bit more squishy because he only has the one brace and Asteroid Tactics is incompatible with Strategic. However, this also means that the Empire would really not be able to safely get a Cmdr Grievous or Cmdr Luminara ability.
My suggestion would be to change it to "move up distance 1 OR attack".
Obviously I think it would be best for the game if Moralo was simply removed altogether. I've never seen him played on a real table, if only because people are afraid of being spat on.
My preferred solution is one I read on the FFG boards. Change the ability to:
"When an objective tokenat distance 1-2 and not on an obstacle is moved BY AN ENEMY or removed from the play area, you may move up to distance 1 and attack as if you were activated."
That way you can trigger him a few times intentionally (removing objective tokens), but you can't set him off just by having a few Lambdas playing ping-pong with a token. Mostly it will limit how the enemy can act.