There are some models in judgement which have high base output in judgment, they do their job (whatever it is) at level one without items or fate and do it well, I call these models low priority models. Then there are other models that at base level kind of suck but when invested with items, fate and assistance from other models suddenly become unstoppable forces and turn games themselves, I call these models high priority models. The models with high base output also benefit massively from having actions, fate, items and levels invested in them but never to the same level as high priority models.

Barnascus is a fantastic example of this. Left alone Banascus starts of with some serious problems. He has a 1" melee range and a 6" gun. He needs to be close to the enemy but really hates taking free strikes at AGI 3 and can't disengage by pushes if engaged further than 1" away. A typical Barnascus turn without any support involves him taking a free strike and taking around 2-3 damage then taking two shots at (RNG 7 vs AGI 4) 2-3 dice (cover, engaging models etc) and doing around 4-5 damage or walking up and making two low dice melee attacks. This is a pretty crap turn and playing him like this would lead you to believe the model is crap. However there is an alternative. Barnascus starts the turn just behind your lines, in front of him is a defender who is protecting him with their defender ability, stopping models from engaging him and pushing those that make it out of melee and into aiming positions. You then have some other dice fixing in your army, knock downs, poison, Retarius, telekinesis or styx swaps to get models out of cover and on top of that you get Barnascus the Heart Seeker. Now Barnascus aims, goes to RNG 9 and starts rolling 5 dice at that agi 4 model or gets the poison or knock down and rolls even more dice. With 5 dice and three shots Barnascus is averaging 12 damage and setting a model on fire. This is without fate and you can get up to 15+ fire on a single model with some more assistance. And it gets better, now that you are investing into setting Barnascus up maybe you use those pushes, telekinesis or styx swaps to push two models within 2" and aiming range. Barny loses a dice against both of them but assuming they are AGI 4 you average 9-10 damage each and set both models on fire. That's approximately a 20 damage turn and we aren't talking about a lot of moving pieces here - Kvarto/styx and Barny both activating late in the turn can easily set this up. Then you have the rest of his kit, Barny can provide knockdowns on the charge for other models and hand out 3 auto damage to multiple models that ignores res as well as heal himself up to 8 hitpoints in a turn.

A good example of a low priority model is Fazeal. Fazeals job is simple, get damage and conditions where they need to be using his mobility and funnel souls from models he kills into sturdier models and eat souls your opponent intends to harvest that you can't pick up. Now you could say with priority you can get Fazeal to decap by adding dice but in our vs AGI 4 example Fazeal needs 4 extra dice just to get a 50% chance of decap. That's 4 dice for 3 damage (half of the extra 6 you get on a decap crit charge). In our above Barnascus example we got an extra 7-8 damage (which was an average taking into account your chance of rolling hot fire and crits) just by pushing a model into the open near another model. And while Pestilence costs a fate and makes it hard for your opponent to soul gaze, easier to hit and dish out less damage it's not as powerful as say rolling 2d6 and killing the model.

When I build a warband I like to think about where models are going in these categories. Good low priority models are Skoll, Don, Marcus, Thorgar, Fazeal, Bastian, Saiyin, Kruul, Svetlana, Xyvera, Jaegar, etc.

Then you move into mid priority models, Kvarto, Zhonyja, Allandir, Istariel, Loribella, Haksa, Kogan etc. These models can still do a job with no assistance but it isn't quite as good as the above models. Without fate for example Zhonyja generally does less damage than Thorgar and without the heartseeker Kogan doesn't quite roll enough dice to be a ranged fiend.

The you have high priority models. Brok, Rakkir, Thrommel, Nephenee, Viktor etc. Build around them, get them items, get them levels, save them fate and they will carry the game for you. Don't and Nephenee will charge and do 6 damage then die.

I don't like to put a warband down without at least 1 high priority model. I usually have 2 in my 7 and 1 in my 5. Then I will build out the core with low priority models and depending on how many high priority models I have I will add a sprinkling of mid priority models (noting also the categories aren't exact). Having a 1 high 1-2 mid and 2-3 low gives you a good balanced warband at 5s. You can spend all your resources on your high priority model early then late game when you have a lot more fate you have some other models you can kick up a gear to help end the game. Once you start having 3 or more high priority models you start having to play at least one without any help and these models output drops of a cliff. You are losing half or more of their damage output and doing way less damage than Thorgar or Fazeal would do, or you aren't able to use the special abilities which were why the main reason you put them in your warband.

Anyway that's the way I think about it. Feel free to disagree or scream at me that Bastian should be a min priority model (maybe). What I kind of want to get through to people out there struggling with a hero is - try building for them. See what happens, there are some models that will just win games like this. Also try giving the model you've been building for nothing at all and see how that goes. I'm not always right about these things (I am in fact kind of a dingus), some models I put in high priority can probably do a job without help if you use them right. If nothing else it is super fun having a model you love go off their nut and just tear through some dudes and it will help you figure out how to play your models, constuct warbands and find combinations that work.
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 Great write up Tort. Thanks for posting.

Agree with a lot of it however it is interesting how different players view heroes, particularly the hybrids. It is probably counter intuitive when you consider their MEL and RNG stats however I tend to use Barnascus more as a melee guy and Kogan as a ranged guy. The fact is thought, I like them both and they are high priority picks for me at the moment.

I am looking forward to my next Barnascus game, I get a buzz out of playing him lately, particularly as he is flying under the radar somewhat.
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I think the only part I'd question is Xyvera being low priority. Its not in the game though that I would disagree, but with how you have to build a list around her. Another discussion for another thread though perhaps.
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I find your analysis to be solid, maybe a little favorable rounding here or there, but nothing egregious.  You do point out Barnascus’s true strength flamethrower (RNG duel wield).


My main critique of your argument is I’m not sure how you proved Barnascus is not the worst model.  Basically with the right circumstances Barnascus performs well, which is true of all models.  I would argue every other model fulfills their roll with less required set up and/or has secondary abilities that they can fall back on. Barnascus does not.  I ask, If Barnascus is not the worst model, than who is?


It seems that being labeled as the worst model likely stems from from Barnascus being mislabeled as a Hybrid. Barnascus really plays like an aggressor.  Hybrids typically have unique active abilities and flexibility in battlefield role:


Jaeger has retarius with the ability to strip souls

Kvarto has mind control and Telekinesis and solid magic attack.

Piper has duplicate self, solid melee, mage hand, Taunt at later levels.


Of the current range, the closest analog seems to be Kogan, who was probably viewed as the worst aggressor before Patch 1.7.  (Even after Patch 1.7 a Kogan could be argued as the worst aggressor without a similar dedication of resources as Barnascus).  In general Barnascus and Kogan could be swapped depending on warband composition without too many issues.   


In general Barnascus is fine, and it’s unclear what change could be made without unbalancing in the other direction.  Barnascus basically is more versatile but just a little less good than other aggressors at any one thing.


In summary, Barnascus is probably the ‘worst aggressor’ which is fine. In a game this balanced being the worst model is not that bad.


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Currently my main issue with Barnascus is that you have to play to him like an aggressor but he really only get hybrid levels of work out of him. 
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with patch 1.7 Kogan is where he should be, with the odd fate for Battle Cry he can damage output anyone. I did 8 with chainsaw in my last game. as for Barny under patch 1.7 I find he is very much a low level aggressor but hybrid enough regarding himself (duel wield flame thrower, self heal, +1 damage and dice on a charge, gives out true damage (Grind, Lightning Shield), can KD and cause Fire, gives ectra damage with a J, and finally the steady ability. the negstives mentioned by others are of course still there, however he is an annoying aggressor with self hybrid abilities. lightning shield set up by a friendly hero followed by grind.....nasty 
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Judgement - The 54mm scale, MOBA inspired, table-top miniatures game