There have been rumblings (hehe) regarding Royal Rookie Rumbles
from many sides. This one is a tricky one, because as much as everyone else I strive to avoid saying "I was wrong" and yet here we are. So we're here to discuss how, where and to what extent my dismissals were wrong. Also, maybe, how not to go overboard with our reaction to stars.
First things first. What is a Minimal Star/Stunty Build?
Please note that every time someone mentions MSSBs somebody else gets the idea to try their hand at them, and it's increasingly annoying for some of the Royal Rookie Rumble Regulars. Well, MSSBs are teams built on purpose below the usual starting TV of 1 million or thereabouts, with a plan in mind to use Inducements regularly. Think Goblins needing a couple bribes, or Halflings starting at 700-800 to get a Chef and something else according to the match-up, but dial it up to 11.
MSSBs are not news, people have been creating TV700 Halflings for tournaments since forever, what's new is that some of them are now much more effective, due to Low Cost Linemen, plus cheaper, better Stars. Which ones exactly?
Well, 32 rumbles have concluded so far in [C], of which 10 have been won by MSSBs, plus another one that could be controversially termed as such; more on that later.
The 10 winners are 6 Snotling teams (out of 35 attempts) and 4 Ogre teams (out of 10). The former play the infamous combo Morg + Hakflem most of the time, while the latter enjoy Morg + Griff, and both benefit from having loads of cash and fans, Low Cost Linemen, cheap fouls etc. Snotlings excel at damage with Swarming, ATC reroll, bombers, while Ogres can be considered safer due to Griff's statline and skills. The extra team mentioned above is Elyod's Goblins, who never had the same star in the 4 games they played, and therefore probably don't fit the bill.
Only 2 of those 32 rumbles are totally starless. In the remaining 30, Morg appears in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM
and also for around 1/4 of the matches played. That is astonishing.
Hakflem showed up for 21 of those 30 rumbles, Griff for 12, no other star got past 5 MATCHES (matches, not rumbles) played.
It seems you can't enter a rumble without stepping on those three gentlemen's feet. The current ongoing one looks like it could have two minimal Ogre teams facing off in the finals.
Other teams tried to join Elyod's gobbos up there in the glorious Olympus of variant MSSBs. Some of them mine. None of them succesful. They were 10 Halfling, 7 Underworld, 2 Goblin, 2 Norse, 1 each of Nobility, Pact, Owa, and Chorfs. There could be one Khorne in there too but they didn't get to induce any stars due to running into one of the aforementioned Halflings.
The data seems to say that Morg, Griff and Hakflem are overused, and therefore could be called "the problem", and no other star comes close to their popularity. Also, just two rosters are consistently able to exploit the "minimal build" bug (or feature).
The consensus seems to be that playing these teams gets boring fast, for the one coaching them, and even faster, for people facing them often. 3/4 of match ups are just too easy, the team itself has close to no progression, and just a handful of teams seems to be able to cope with such opponents.
Storr put forward the proposal that "regulars" should stop using them, which is also what our living history book AD said will eventually happen, comparing it to something called "Rent-A-Count" that used to be similarly exploited long ago. Not sure that will happen this time, the new toy is very shiny.
On the other hand Kinks has, for a long time, argued for a hard cap of 200k, or even lower at times, on Stars being used in rumbles. I disagree with that because it's not supported by the data, and hits everyone equally, when it's clear that the problem is 2 specific teams and 3 specific stars.
Aside from a hard cap on Star price tag, that anyway leaves out the excellent goblin stars available to all the best evil teams, a hard cap on unspent treasury is useful only for game one, unless you also try to regulate mass firings and TV trims. To me it looks like a never ending regulation spiral. "No stars at all" feels wrong as well, for a variety of reasons, maimed actual teams being one.
I don't know what the Tournament Head Honchos intend to do to "fix" the Rumbles, but it seems that something needs to be done, or at least a lot of people are now convinced of it, myself included. My proposal based on the data, and you could probably guess it already, is a surgical ban on the Super Duper Point&Click Immortal Killer (Morg) and his two companions the Stupidly Reliable And Unbelievably Mobile Ballers (Hakflem and Griff). It basically recreates the old RRRs environment where you could maybe get a blodger, or a decent big guy, but nothing as powerful as those three.
Until some fix is implemented, though, we'll continue to see them pop up in the two LCL teams, or, if you're feeling original, in other teams, which to be fair have never been succesful with such a strategy. It's difficult to make stars work with a short bench and few, if any, rerolls/positionals. Based on the numbers, quite a few people thought Halflings could be as good as Ogres, which didn't turn out to be true, so there's a challenge for you.