The last two polls we’ve had on the sites were concerning which are the most important stats and which are the least important. I had wanted to do a write-up of each seperately, but opted to combine them into a single assessment so as not to skew the results of the later poll with my thoughts on the first.
The first poll asked people which were the most important stats, and the results were as follows:
The clear frontrunners here being Toughness, Save, & Wounds. TheKingElsar from Mind War pretty much summed up the mindset for the first two when he said in his article-esque response:
“Toughness : Resistance to damage is applicable in all 3 phases – it determines the places a unit moves to – towards or away from the enemy, in and out of cover/building/transports etc. It determines what can be allowed to shoot them with impunity…and it determines the ability to tarpit or grind a win out of combats.
Save : Determines a unit’s basic resistance to damage in addition to T (and of course W.) While a lot of people claim the ubiquitousness of cover in 5e as some sort of reason why Save is irrelevant, IMO this is a red herring. Firstly, Cover is not so prevalent as many claim. Indeed, the recommended table coverage of terrain hasn’t really changed since 2e. Use of TLoS to determine of terrain blocks a shot isn’t new either – the only new thing is the ability to claim cover for being shot ‘through’ a unit. While the default cover Save being 4+, people also claim that even a 3+ isn’t important – but it is, when facing mediocre or weak a-i firepower, such as Lasguns. The difference between a 4+ and a 3+ when shot by 7 Lasguns is significant, very much so. The difference between this and a 2+ even more extreme. Save allows you to determine what kind of situations a model can be placed in in order to gain maximum usage with minimum risk. If it WASN’T so important to have a good Sv, then TH/SS with their bog standard other stats and low mobility would be overlooked in almost all corners of the Blogosphere/Forums.”
He also had an interesting argument as to why BS should be on the list, but popular opinion ixnayed that in favor of wounds (another universal resistant stat). The long and the short of it seems like these three stats work for you in every phase of the game, and (baring low AP weaponry), always provide some sort of benefit, while the others are more situational.
On the subject of the least important stats, we get the following:
Again, three more front runners. This time we see Weapon Skill, Leadership, & Initiative getting the top (er… bottom) picks, though things are quite as clear-cut as they were with the first poll, there’s definitely some angst out there towards Weapon Skill & Leadership.
And rightfully so: there are some real snoozers in when it comes to the statline. In the days of 2nd edition, Weapon skill was arguably one of the most important stats, because it could possibly earn you a free “attack” for every point in that stat, but that all changed with the 3rd edition assault phase. Since then, WS is practically a wasted stat. You’re either rolling a 4+ to hit, or a 3+ to hit with virtually every unit in the entire game. With very few exceptions *cough Tyranid psychic powers*, there are only a couple of units that will ever require a 5+ to hit in assault: Eldar Avatars, Greater Daemons of Khorne, etc. This is the one stat that needs an overhaul more than any other.
But Leadership is a close second. The reason it was highlighted is undoubtedly because of the proliferation of units that ignore (or almost ignore) the stat altogether: fearless and stubborn units are far too common to make the stat worthwhile. The changes to assault phase modification go some way to raising the importance of the stat in 5th edition, but the special rules that ignore leadership make units like snipers almost completely worthless (though that still doesn’t stop me from fielding them).
I can’t say as I’m too surprised by the overall results of either poll though (except that one person who said Toughness was the least important stat… what were you thinking?!). Did it shape up how you thought it would?
Thanks to everyone who participated, and a special thanks to those who commented with their thought process. Also, keep in mind that there’s another poll going on the right side of the site.