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eje005

Sorylian Advantages

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In my quest to consider what else to buy I have dived into the world of space ship stats.  I'm not the kind to do long comparisons of numbers and odds, it's too laborious and I don't like math.  But it's only reasonable to try to find the way to play a faction by looking at what they do well.  And, well, I was having trouble finding it.  I'll list the ones I spotted here and my assessment of what that means as an attempt to organize my thoughts, and collect input as well.

 

Pros:

Scatter Weapons - We kill Frigates easily.  Otherwise, unless the map has a lot of gas clouds in it it doesn't come into play too often.  In an abstract sense this encourages us lizards to hide in gas clouds, though this risks Disorder which, while not super likely does threaten the ability to link fire.

Movement - Our stuff moves fast.  Except not really that fast.  Faster but the extra inch doesn't seem to make that much of a huge difference.  Abstractly this helps us get across the table though, which is good because unfortunately we can't shunt all of our ships in.  Sometimes it helps get into a rear shot.

Devastating Acceptable Broadsides - Having a full attack value on both sides of the ship is great.  It's fun to run up into the middle of a fleet and fill the air with lead on all sides.  Except that a few people can do this, and some of them get more dice when doing it (but we have scatter), so it's only kind of an advantage.  It's acceptable, but not great.

 Boarding! - Of course the lizards are good at boarding!  Mostly.  Being limited to one assault per ship kind of sucks.  But Second Assault makes it better, except not much can actually get it.  So yeah, not a huge advantage, but an advantage none the less.  Worth noting the defensive benefits of high AP values as well so there's that.

Big Squads? - I guess this is an advantage, but at the same time we are still paying the points for those extra models.  One more ship isn't a massive deal, but it is still nice to link those cruisers together on a single target.  But...you still are paying the points, and they have to get there alive to do it so..I dunno.

Engineers - No wishy washy on this one.  It's a pretty straight up benefit, and thank the space lizard gods that it helps with corrosive.

 

Cons:

Kinda Flimsy - DR is occasionally a little low, and CR is usually average, but also occasionally low.  Hit points aren't fantastic either. The latter can be helped with Reinforced but +1 CR is a fairly unnoticeable change, but you'll be glad you have it when it actually comes down to that 1.  It's kind of small, but definitely noticeable.  

Short Ranged - You can't shotgun into space forever.  Well...you actually could considering the conservation of momentum - ok ok, it's a game, no long range shot guns.  Yeah so, short range bands.  Plenty of people have them.  Not a huge deal, but something you have to work around, and we'll often rarely get fair trades while closing.

No Toys - Aquans have laser prisms that boost and can fire around corners.  Directorate have 4chan hacking everyone's internet.  Relthoza have corrosive or biological shots, AND are spiders, AND can cloak!  Terran have a cool shield bubble.  Where's our stuff?  We just have guns.  If someone asks you what's the cool factor of Sorylians what do you say?  

Fleet Tactics - It's 1.  Where else was this going to go but here.

 

Overall:

Ok so looking across the weapon ranges we want to be in that sweet spot of 8-16.  Fairly obvious.  Except wait, we're not actually the kings of close range.  Our weapon damage is usually equal or less than others.  This is where it starts to fall apart for me, because it's here that I start looking for acceptable reasons why we're forced into close range, and then not rewarded for it.  Maybe we're tanky and can absorb a lot of stuff.  No, not really.  Average or less than average there.  Maybe we have a high tactics bonus so we get to go first more and cripple the enemy before they can react.  Also no.  We're fast, so fortunately we don't have as much of a problem getting in close (also shunting in is a very popular option as well).  But once we're there, we're not great.  Comparing to the Relthoza who also have a unique but different method of closing the distance, they have better guns (number wise and with options for increased damage with corrosive and biological) better DR and CR and HP!  

On the plus side, we get to give zero lizard craps about frigates.  Seriously, we just swat them out of the air.  That's great, but that's not really something you can plan a strategy around.  What if your opponent doesn't take any?  That's a built in advantage that you've been denied right there.

It's fighting the capital ships that I find the struggle here.  Get up close into that range band two and then still find ourselves out gunned and out armored.  We have more AP but not really a startling amount.  And what does that mean, you get a success and a roll on the sub systems table one time because you can only assault once.  Now to the positive, that can some times be the key that opens the lock and turns the tide of battle.  But if the assault fails now what?

So I guess the main issue is a lot of the general advice for Sorylians is to get close, shunt in, and get into the good range band.  But my problem is when you compare the stats of other factions weapons, they out gun us or put out an equal amount of fire while having more shields and defensive capabilities.  So what's our advantage?  What do we have that we can hold over our enemies heads and use to take them apart?  I can't really find it.

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Sorylian advantages are hard to quantify because they're asymmetrical, are based around squad size, and mostly live in the battle log scoring mechanic rather than ship stats.

+AP values get you T2 ships more often than just about anything but a built to purpose Directorate fleet.  I walk away with an opponent's cruiser about half the time, and it's not unheard of that I take two.  That's a pretty frequent +2 battle log bonus.

+squad size makes it much easier to FSD out a crippled squad and deny your opponent the large net battle log swing of complete destruction of a squad.

+squad size also keeps the points out of your budget to buy more activations, which reduces your overall battle log exposure.  Compared with your average Dindrenzi fleet at 800 pts, a Sorylian fleet will have at least 6 points less battle log exposure on the table.  That's huge. 

 

That's not to say that I think there aren't some things that need to be tweaked, but I don't think it's as bad as advertised.  Take a look at the war log.  Our performance among the factions with a statistically significant number of games puts us around the middle.  I think Sorylian players feel like they're losing for a significant amount of play time, they just don't actually lose on the points.  All of that goes out the window when you play on a victory points basis.  I'd be really interested in seeing differences in fleet performance if players scored the game both ways when reporting results.

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I had noticed that my Battle Log tended to go down less frequently, but when it did go down it often felt like a significant blow so I hadn't really thought of it as an advantage.  My intent was never to pitch Sorylians as bad per say, just that on the battle field there's nothing that stands out as the "use this part to your advantage".  Normally in a lot of games there's an 'average' army that doesn't do anything well but can hold some kind of advantage over one of the more specialized factions.  The specialized fleets generally have to sacrifice something, providing a window for the all around fleet to take advantage.  It was kind of confusing when I looked over the stats, expecting Sorylian stats to be 'all arounders' due to the underwhelming nature of the numbers, yet looking further and it just kind of seems like they're just a little bit worse than almost everything.  Like I said, it's not that I'm saying they're unplayable, just that if what you said is true the way I would categorize that play style is to "Not Lose Really Hard".

Also worth asking, if the advantages are in battle log points would it be a bad idea to use accompaniments?  Putting some light frigates with a T1 gives away 3 easy Battle Log points.

The comparisons that do enrage me a little are when you look at Relthozan stats compared to Sorylians.  This one baffles me.  They're just...better.  Everywhere.  For the same amount of points. 

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If Sorylians have an advantage it's in Battle Log Manipulation.  Large squads plus a general resilience (from multiple factors like experienced engineers, some shields, etc.) allows effective use of FSE to avoid BL loss from destruction but the hard part is getting the timing right on this tactic.

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So Sorylians are more of a hit and run kind of fleet from that perspective.  Jump in, make a strong favorable attack on valuable targets, and get out before losing too much.  Not exactly the vibe that the lore gives off, but not necessarily counter to it either.  Guerrilla tactics are certainly an old form of war by then.

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@eje005. I think your analysis is spot on.  The Sorylians don't have anything that really makes them stand out.  Stat-wise, it looks like they should be the "Mario" in FSA, but they're really not, because they don't even have baseline stats in some areas (like Shields and RB3-4).

The only thing they really have going for them are large squadron sizes, which is why both of the active Sorylian forum members pointed it out... And how it is also a weakness.  A small number of Activations + FTB 1 = having no control of game tempo.  Game tempo is one of those subtle things that's hard to understand, but I've learned it's really important for Dindrenzi to control, due to having many Activations + FTB 3.

This has led me to try and figure out why this happened, and it basically comes down to this.

In 1.0, where all weapons were the same, and best at RB2, Soryilians were dominate due to large squadron sizes.

In 1.5, several changes were added to differentiate the factions (basically new toys and abilities for everyone else), but Sorylians were still strong for the same fundamental reasons.

Then 2.0 comes along, and the game mechanics were altered quite a bit.  I can't summarize all the politics and arguements the play-testers were having (many are still on the forums, like here), but the end result is the Sorylians basically kept the same stats from 1.0  through 2.0, and no extra abilities like everyone else.  Well, they gained Scatter, but the advantage of Scatter is very situational, and since the game generally favors Capital Ships, its rarely something a Sorylian player is glad to have.

The end result is you asking a question which highlights a fundamental flaw with one of the 6 Core Races.  It's definately not a big flaw, but certainly a head-scratching flaw, and why I didn't pick up Sorylians when I started playing FSA.

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I was thinking along the same lines as to the cause.  It's a wonder that they didn't really alter them that much.  Some factions like the Dindrenzi changed quite a lot stat wise, and some changed a lot with lots of MARs like the Aquans.  Why the pass on pimping out the space lizards I wonder?  

With FSA 3.0 allegedly on the way here's hoping they don't overlook them for improvement.  I like their aesthetic and the lore is cool enough.  I rarely buy table top items based on their in game stats, it's all about the style for me, but a bone would be nice.  Something to define the faction in a unique way.

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The Sorylian situation is mostly one of benign neglect.  They were the best, so little attention was paid.  Everyone else got better, but they didn't really change.  It just happened that everyone else got so much more better that the Sorylians ended up being less than the middle of the pack.  I actually think it is less an offense and movement issue than a defense issue (see my analysis here http://community.spartangames.co.uk/index.php?/topic/16146-sorylian-speculation-and-conjecture-thread/&page=4#comment-288659).

 

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1 or 2 of the following would certainly help them defensively:

- Retractable Plating P/S

+1 Shields

- Reinforced P/S

Making Sorylians the fastest Core fleet would also work, but it would be best to just swap Sorylian/Aquan Move values.

I think Gasological's game vs Aquans highlights this last fact.

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Thank you, you've saved me posting the exact same post. I've played them for 2 years and have barely won a game. It's one thing to have a decent size swuad but at 60 points base and 10 points for experienced engineers and another 10 for a shield puts you into heavy cruiser points for most races. A net list going around for directorate I've played against using multiple cloaks & special forces, how do I counter that, in order to hit them I'm 16" away, oops I'm boarded, playing against dindrenzi I limp into range & the gun racks are basically trading the same dice, also have a decent ap. Aquatic just keep you at range and run away, also have large squad sizes, their beams mean they're re rolling 1s. I just don't see the point of them. I've never lost with aquans though

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On 6/26/2016 at 9:02 AM, alextroy said:

The Sorylian situation is mostly one of benign neglect.  They were the best, so little attention was paid.  Everyone else got better, but they didn't really change.  It just happened that everyone else got so much more better that the Sorylians ended up being less than the middle of the pack.  I actually think it is less an offense and movement issue than a defense issue (see my analysis here http://community.spartangames.co.uk/index.php?/topic/16146-sorylian-speculation-and-conjecture-thread/&page=4#comment-288659).

 

Not just this, they did get downgraded a bit in attack dice,range bands and firing arcs. Also figure in for a virtual price increase since after all those losses to downgrading, their price didn't go down, and Experienced Engineers which used to be an automatically included MAR, now you have to pay for the upgrade.

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So looking forward, is there any hope for a hotfix before 3.0?  An updated list pdf that makes drastic changes perhaps?  Are there any community/player suggested overhauls?  I'd be happy to venture a go at it, but I don't have a ton of experience.

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Sorylians don't need drastic changes just some minor tweaks:

  • Capital Ships add +1 Shields to whatever they have now -or- Retractable Plating on Scatter P/S for everything armed this way.
  • Everything with the option for Experienced Engineers gets them for free.
  • a 1"-2" Mv boost to most units, making them comparable to Aquans
  • Option to upgrade all Forward-Fixed Weapons to Kinetic

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3 minutes ago, Ryjak said:

 

Sorylians don't need drastic changes just some minor tweaks:

 

Well I mean drastic as in it would make the released Kurak book completely void.

 

It would be nice to see something done with Scatter.  It's an interesting type, but not something that stands out as 'cool'.  Being able to kill small ships isn't really a big hurrah.  Something like having them not suffer the -1 to targeted systems might be neat, but also probably way too strong.  Maybe they just force a hazard marker on a ship they damage?  Like corrosive, but slightly different.

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I think the general concensus on the forums is Sorylians would benefit from an increase in defenses (shields or retractable broadsides) and a bump in speed.

 

giving more fixed kinetic options would be popular but I think that could stomp on Dindrenzi strength.

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5 hours ago, Captain Frederic said:

giving more fixed kinetic options would be popular but I think that could stomp on Dindrenzi strength.

I don't see how, since Dindrenzi have a lot more dice in RB 2-4, and cost less points.  Each would still have a distinct playing style, which is what really matters.

That's why no one seems upset by the Kinetic weapons Sorylians already have.

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I think if Sorylians had more kinetics standard Dindrenzi players would start to be bothered.

 

while it may not be actualized fully I think while Dindrenzi and Sorylians share an emphasis on positioning there is a perception Dindrenzi  sacrifice manueverability and some resilience for big AD at long ranges.  

If Sorylians get too many range options while still being perceived as resilient then Dindrenzi may seem diminished by comparison.

 

i'm not saying Sorylians wouldn't benefit from more range just when adding those options they need to be looked at in terms of how they relate to other fleets outside of combat as well (i.e.: during fleet selection).

 

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6 ad kinetics at rb2 is a bit op I would say, knock it down to 4 I would say, keeping the broadside, or changing to beams even, kinetics fit the fluff better, experienced engineers free on all fits well or drop cruisers to 50 points. Problem with retractable playing is it doesn't help with trying to close with the enemy 

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8 hours ago, Pads1982 said:

...Problem with retractable playing is it doesn't help with trying to close with the enemy 

This is a common misunderstanding about Retractable plating,  It actually helps every arc while in effect.  Arguably it would be perfect for Sorylians because it wouldn't change their close game it would only help them during those turns they have to spend moving into position.

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I dunno though.  The Retractable Plating just makes it easier to come across the table.  It doesn't address the fact that our ships are inferior to nearly everyone else's even in our optimal range.  Relthoza cruisers have more guns than we do at 16.  Directorate have as many dice as we do but also have beam which means better range bands, more dice in up close range bands and rerolling 1s  in those optimal range bands.  Aquan's also have beam and almost similar dice and are cheaper.  Terrans have a lot of shields and are cheaper.  In fact the only people that I think Sorylians have a chance at beating in a straight broadside fight would be Dindrenzi, and thank God for that.  How embarrassing would it be that the faction with strong fore weapons would beat us in a broadside duel?

Retractable Plating doesn't address the fact that at their best, playing Sorylian ships in their correct range bands, will lose to every faction.  Getting them across the table is a good start, but once they're there and the Plating goes up they're back to being at a disadvantage.  Our boarding is good, but is it good enough to close the gap?

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23 minutes ago, eje005 said:

[...] The Retractable Plating just makes it easier to come across the table.  It doesn't address the fact that our ships are inferior to nearly everyone else's even in our optimal range.  Relthoza cruisers have more guns than we do at 16.[...]

I'll just take this first point and say

What? :huh:

You should re-count your guns. Its             Sorylian                                                                          Relthoza

Cruiser                 8" 16" 24" 32"   8" 16" 24" 32"
Starboard / Port 6 8 3                 -   6 8 4             -
Fore (Fixed) 4 6 1                  -   3 6 2

             -

heavy cruiser                  
Starboard / Port 8 8 4                  -   8 9 4              -
Fore (Fixed) 7 7 5                  -   5 7 3              -

 

Which ships do you compare?

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That looks like it's the same as far as cruiser broadsides are concerned, and that they have more as far as heavy cruiser broadsides are concerned.   I guess regular cruisers have mines and the cloaking field and stealth systems too.  All for the same points cost.  In the end, were we to factor in the Retractable Plating suggestions, they'd be fairly equal, with a slight favor to Relthoza once you start buying upgrades thanks to Corrosive.

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