Archive for June, 2013

For some reason Strakhov is the caster I just keep thinking has phenomenal potential. Here is what I have been thinking and is somewhat of a brain dump so please forgive the (likely) fractured and rambling nature of this post.
 
Once more I have to thank OrsusSmash on the Muse forums for getting me to think a bit deeper about our casters.
 
 
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And yeah, he looks pretty bad ass which is reason enough to want to use him. 
 
Strakhov has great movement options both personally and for his force, both through feat as well as overrun and superiority and, in a somewhat limited fashion, battering ram (you could charge or overrun at an angle and push something into a better charge lane or something for instance). This is a game where speed really matters, and he brings it to khador.
 
Another recent epiphany to me and my group is that PP does a pretty fantastic job of using the background to inform their rules design. Lately I have been just kind of “going with it” and looking at the fluff of a model and seeing how that informs their play on the battlefield. Strakhov’s background is all hit and fade and deception, from a faction that doesn’t really do that. At first glance it would seem that he doesn’t have the pieces to support this style, but he kind of does – especially if you look at the other aspect of him – he is an elite special forces kind of guy. For that sort of thing, you should bring the A-Team, we all know their names, they are definitely the special characters.
 
 
What this means for practical tourney play is that your off list should definitely be one that either doesn’t need many characters at all, like Irusk1 or one with a definite skew for something that Strakhov would struggle even more with like maybe Vlad3 or Butcher1.
 
If we embrace this philosophy and just open up all kinds of shenanigans we can look at the choices available and what would get the most benefit. First there is the obvious “Strakhov Flow Chart” that is both beloved and hated, accurate and inaccurate, that ensures short games one way or another.
 
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Now beyond that silliness this background,for ‘jacks, means things like Beast09 with hyperaggressive and reach as well as a fantastic imprint which makes him a bit more focus efficient than otherwise he might be. Torch also looks pretty good behind able to overrun and set a caster on fire is a legit threat or just charge and yoyo back also works well. Sustained attack at PS18 also gives him a bit more focus efficiency in that you don’t have to worry about hitting after the first. As an aside, I am going to have to try Torch with vlad3 – 9 inch charge, 2 side steps and then auto fire 6″ spray seems pretty brutal. The fact that he has both an extra mat and rat  helps a tiny bit (though in all honesty you will likely still boost to hit when it matters). Even Black Ivan is interesting – def14 and Dodge (possibly def 16 to range with a ternion cloud) mean that hitting him is far from certain and you can dodge to some interesting angles for the following turn – though at this point I am going to not include him,  I am going to consider him further.
 
He doesn’t really have the focus to run two jacks, but both of the jacks don’t need to be running at full efficiency all the time. A couple of ways to improve on this is to include Sylys and the Koldun lord. This means dropping the war dog, but it seems that if you put Strakhov way up the field the dog just gets killed fast anyway, and the signs and portents is nice for both battering ram and the rift that you will only ever cast in the direst of straits. You will likely leave sylys behind but the fact that he only needs to be within 9″ for the upkeep and range booster ability make him workable. Beast’s imprint mean that even with a single focus, combined with reach means he can do a number on most living warrior models regardless of their defense (superiority puts him at mat9). Also, he can run for free during the early game making it easier to cast the upkeeps.
 
The Koldun lord will likely just power boost, but he might try and pull off battle wizard on occasion – also, ice cage can help your other models hit – particularly when looking at a higher def beast or caster. While the obvious default for battle wizard is the spray, throwing an ice cage further up the field can be good. Also if something is disrupted or has overrun out of Strakhov’s control area, you can use the battle wizard action to give it a focus point. Situational, but sometimes that is exactly what you need.
 
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This makes me look at the Greylord ternion. They get the same battle wizard as the koldun lord, with mostly the same spells, though throwing a cloud further up field could be pretty sweet, especially to possibly block a charge lane – a solo or other single model could be in position ahead of time to receive that cloud. Obviously it could be dangerous to depend on it, but it is still an option work considering. It is seeming like that is Strakhov’s niche – having lots of options and potential.
 
The majority of our units are fairly self sufficient – at least enough so to all be considered viable with strakhov. Great Bears with occultation and threat of feat could make my opponent think twice about their positioning, Ayanna and Holt bring the ever popular Kiss of Lyliss to increase damage even further, and since I am looking at playing a distance game, the inclusion of Valachev is intriguing for that extra 3″ range of harm (though admittedly he would likely be the first to go when it came to cutting points). It is also another magical spray to help against jammers.
 
Now it is time to look at the “mainstay” unit. As I said above, many of our choices are fairly self sufficient. Keeping in mind the idea of an elite unit, I am going to choose the Iron Fang pikemen with the Black Dragon UA. My reasoning for this is that they are another good target for stealth, they are fearless which is always a plus and the thing that really did it for me, was their precision ability. This lets them not necessarily need to kill a jack in order to minimize it’s effectiveness. Popping out the cortex really hurts jacks. You can take the spirit out on a beast, but the healing mechanic means that it isn’t as big of a deal, though it does force a potential order of activation issue as well as taking fury from the caster.
 
This leaves 8 more points for a standard 50 point list and I am not sure where to go with this. The iron fang kovnik lets me get up the field quicker in shield wall which is nice, plus is an extra weapon master attack. I could do him and 2 eliminators, or him and a unit of doom reavers, or a unit of doom reavers with UA. Or Gorman and a couple of something else’s, etc. I am really open on that and will likely just pick something randomly and see how it goes and then make adjustments from there. I think the first round will be Eyriss2, Gorman, and a unit of eliminators just to really do the A-Team thing.
 
Please feel free to point out any flaws to my thinking.
 
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Oh yeah, he is probably gonna lose this fight, but it is a cool picture.
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Scenario 4, aka Ammunition Run, is another fairly common scenario at tourneys so it pays to spend a bit of practice time with it. Let’s take a look at the this and plan our path to victory.

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This is another Assault Scenario which typically means a mashup in the middle. In fact, there is just a single rectangle zone that is 6″x12″ in the dead center of the table. There are also 3 objectives in this scenario –  a friendly objective to each player which is a bit off on the right flank and near the middle of the table (20″ from deployment table edge) as well as an objective in the middle of the table that is an enemy to both players.

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As the tactical tip so helpfully informs us this “enemy” objective in the zone means that neither player can control the zone until it has been destroyed. Since I brought it up, let’s take a look at the objectives next (all three are the same).

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I made the card big because there is a lot of text on this one and my eyes are old.

Like all objectives in sr2013 they are models on large (50mm) bases. The other generally shared characteristics of objectives, are immobile so it cannot be knocked down or moved, is automatically hit in melee, cannot be engaged nor can it engage, immune to continuous effects, and cannot be damaged or targeted until the 2nd players 2nd turn.  Again, those are not really unique to this scenario, just to all objectives so it is worth remembering.

As an ammo dump it is only fitting that if your caster dominates the objective (pop quiz: how close do we need the caster to be to the objective and how far must enemies be to dominate? *see below) that ranged weapons of friendly models within 2″ of the objective gain +1 RNG. I know that +1″ doesn’t seem like a huge boon but ranges tend to be so short in this game that it can often mean the difference between being in charge range of an enemy or not. You shouldn’t risk yourself going for it, but it can be a nice bonus and is certainly worth considering.

Speaking of risks, we note that this objective has the rule “Explosive”. When the objective is destroyed models within 2″ (the same distance as those who were getting the bonus range) suffer a POW 12 magical damage roll and the Fire continuous effect. For those of you fortunate enough never to have seen the horror of a model set on fire before, let me tell you from first hand experience that it kills casters dead. In a nutshell, you test during the maintenance phase but only after your have dumped your focus to 0 if you are warcaster (you knew that happened, right?) On a 1 or a 2 it goes out, if not you take a pow 12 damage roll. Don’t think you warlocks get off much better than casters – remember you don’t leach fury until your control phase so if your beasts are maxed out you can’t transfer to them and you still have to have a fury on yourself. It is a very high risk proposition and since in this particular scenario you can’t get control points by dominating the friendly objective, unless you really think that 1″ will make the difference in the game, I would suggest you not dominate the objective. Dying from fire in a game you are otherwise winning is very frustrating. You don’t even get control points for dominating the enemy objective so just destroy it (which is how you get the control points).

How hard is it to destroy you may ask? This particular objective is not too hard at all. It is armor 15 with 15 boxes. It will take some effort, but not a ton. Also, this is an objective you really want to destroy with ranged weapons since, with a few exceptions, the longest ranged melee weapons are reach weapons at 2″ which means that they take a pow 12 hit and get set on fire when destroying the objective. It might be worth it to sacrifice a model or two but make sure that decision is intentional, not an “oops, I just killed 5 of my own Iron Fang Pikemen” move.

So, how do we actually get control points and win this one (without fiery death of a caster)? Let’s look at the rules.

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You only get control points based on the objectives being destroyed if they are enemy objectives. The practical application of this is that generally you should try and take out the middle one first. You can always get the far enemy objective later and that gives you a control point that they can’t make up by destroying yours. The exception to this is if their warlock/warcaster (or some other low or medium armor high value target)  is within 2″ of the objective it might be worth it to try and blow it up to set them on fire (assuming they aren’t immune).

The other two ways to get control points, of course, are by either controlling or dominating the zone. Remember you can’t do this while the objective is there, so don’t forget that, but also remember that it is fairly fragile and your opponent might waste an infantry model or two wrecking it and then dominating the zone, so don’t count on it to be your linebacker.

You get 1 control point for controlling the zone and 2 control points for dominating the zone. Remember, the first to 5 control points wins. That means there can be an incredible 4 points gained on a single turn – destroy both enemy objectives and dominate the zone. That 4 point swing could put you up so far that your opponent has to scramble just to not lose immediately.

*Answer to the pop quiz “an objective is dominated if there is a warcaster/warlock within 2″ of an objective that an opponent does not contest (any enemy models within 2” of an objective contest it). But you knew that, of course. Give yourself a gold star.

We are looking at one of the classic sr2013 scenarios today – Close Quarters. Close quarters is a a staple scenario for tournament play and is a great scenario for pickup games against a new opponent. It doesn’t require any zones nor does it have interactable objectives – just two 40mm flags.

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Close Quarters is one of only two scenarios that have neither zones nor objectives. The table setup for this one looks like this:

Scenario3 Deployment

As mentioned in the previous post on the Supply and Demand scenario one of the first things you want to look at when you see a scenario are the scenario win conditions. In a 2 (or more) caster tourney, the win conditions will often inform your choice of caster almost as much as your opponent’s force.

Look for things like hills, walls, forests, and other defensive options within 4″ of a flag (since that is the range to contest). Also you might want to look at the approach to the flags – if you are playing melee heavy with few pathfinder options you might prefer to take the clearer side to get you across the table quicker since you know you aren’t going to have to go much further than the center line for most games. Conversely, if you are a shooting force you might want to look at fire lanes and where you want to end up on turn 2 in order to give you maximum coverage. As always, remember that the player going second will have the first opportunity to score the flags and plan accordingly.

Let’s look at the specific rules for this scenario now:

Scenario3 Rules

Like the previous  scenario this one also has the Kill Box artifice. Basically, this means if you end your turn with your caster completely within 14″ of ANY table edge that your opponent immediately gets 2 Control Points. Sometimes it can be worth it to give up 2 points to save your caster, but make sure if you do that it is a conscious decision and not a game changing accident. It is also worth noting that, unlike CPs gained via control or domination of flags/objectives that Kill Box is only scored once per round.

This scenario uses “flags”. Let’s take a look at what the means in sr2013:

Flag (40 mm base): All flags are models with the following qualities: Incorporeal, stationary, immune to all game effects. They do not activate and cannot be targeted, damaged, moved, placed, or removed from play.

A player controls a flag if he owns one or more models that are not immobile, fleeing, wild, or inert B2B with a flag that an opponent does not contest. There are no additional requirements for solos, warjacks, or warbeasts.

If the model B2B with the flag is a member of a unit, the unit must contain 50% or more of its starting number (rounding up) and all those remaining models must also be within 4 ̋ of the flag. 

So controlling a flag with a full unit can be problematic as the entire group must be within 4″ of the flag AND be at or above 50% of the starting size. Solos and small units are good choices for controlling a flag, but aren’t typically great at clearing out contesting models which still having one in base to base with the flag. Ranged solos are a decent option for controlling once the area is cleared out as they will still be able to influence the game while scoring on a flag. Solos also tend to be kind of quick and you can often get a surprise control by running the solo to claim the flag if it the zone is cleared or just unmanned – keep that in mind as you are moving your solo on the flank – it is worth setting it up for a turn or two down the road. The down side of using a solo for this is that they tend to be much more fragile.

A warbeast or warjack is also a decent idea for controlling an enemy flag since they are usually a bit more resilient, but often your opponent will be able to see this coming and will direct more energy to killing a warbeast or warjack.

To dominate the flag a caster needs to be in base to base with it and no enemy models (other than other casters) within 4″. Since flags are models, another model cannot end their movement on it. This really helps mitigate the threat of assault from non-reach troopers since the number of models that can end up in melee with them is reduced by 40mm worth of space. The flag doesn’t block LOS and is incorporeal so it doesn’t do anything vs. shooting, and it also means that models can move completely through it and still attack you as long as your model doesn’t leave their melee range before they move through it. This is an odd interaction of charging that is worth knowing. Once a charging model has its target in melee in must keep it in melee until the end of the charge. In a nutshell, what that means is since LOS is typically the front arc a model can only move until the middle of their base is at the point furthest from its initial charge. Models always move directly forward on a charge. If there isn’t room to place their base in that location due to the flag the charge is likely a fail.

This scenario is a staple for a reason. It is a lot of fun to play and the combination of Kill Box, the ability to dominate one’s own flag for control points, and the central-ish location of the 2 flags typically mean there will be a big mashup in the middle. This is one of the scenarios that it really pays to think of the long game in. Once you get the number of models down dominating the zone gets pretty powerful and since enemy casters are unable to contest and it is possible to score on both flags getting an actual model advantage is extremely valuable.

As always, thanks for reading, I hope it has been useful, and feel free to add any other tips or corrections to the comments!

 

 

Today in the SR2013 Primer Series we’ll be going over Scenario 2: Supply and Demand.

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You’ll notice that this a Guard Scenario. That doesn’t really mean anything for all practical purposes other than the bucket that the scenario is in.

Usually when you belly up to table the first thing that will stand out to you in the table setup, which is why I have chosen to cover the layout first. You can often get your first hint as to what scenario you are playing by taking a look at what is set up on the table.

In the case of Supply and Demand you will notice (in addition to the terrain) a circular zone and 2 objectives.

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So looking at the table lets us know that we will be able to score control points in three different ways; controlling the zone, dominating the zone, and destroying the enemy objective. In a multi-list environment before you have even seen the specific scenario being played, just taking a look at the table can give you hints for which caster to choose as well as whether you will want to go first or second. Going second gives you the option of choosing table side and while it is common to just choose the side you are at, this is a great opportunity to really look at what the table terrain offers you. Is there a piece of terrain on one side that will give you an opportunity to dominate with your caster from the relative safety of a wall or hill? Are there any LOS issues or places you can hide a solo completely yet still impact the game by digging in and contesting the zone? Are there any choke points that will affect your ability to bring your forces to bear?

A single zone is often more difficult to get control points out of than multiple zones and this is especially true with the large circular zone. It won’t tell you which to go for, but it can help inform your choices. It can also give you a bit of insight into how your opponent will want to win.

Now that we have taken in the table layout, let’s take a look at the special rules for Supply and Demand.

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The first thing we notice in the rule box is that this scenario has the Kill Box artifice. What this means is that if, starting at the end of the first player’s second turn, your caster is completely within 14″ of any table edge your opponent immediately scores 2 control points. Kill box combined with the single circular zone typically means that there will be quite a scrum near the middle of the table. The fact that your caster must be within 10″ of the center of the table also means that you must usually take additional precautions to protect your caster.

The active ways to get control points are to control the zone (1), dominate the zone (2), destroy the enemy objective (1), or dominate the enemy objective (2).

Let’s review the specific requirements:

The first player to get to at least 5 control points wins the game. To control a zone we need to have at least one model in the zone with no enemy non-caster models. Additionally, if that model is part of a unit it must be at least 50% in strength and all of the models must be in that zone.

To dominate the zone the caster must be in the zone with no enemy non-caster models.

Destroying an objective is fairly straight forward – starting with the second players second turn you can attack the objective like any other model. A card is included with the scenario because the objectives are slightly different in each one. The one below is the stat card for the Supply and Demand objective, (aka Supply Cache).

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The Supply Cache is armor 15 with 15 wounds making it the easiest to destroy. A warcaster dominating this objective (by being within 2″ with no enemy models within 2″) can have a warjack within 2″ charge or run for free. Of interesting note, you can dominate an objective starting on turn 1.

This objective also has a special rule with doesn’t allow a caster to dominate the zone if the enemy supply cache is in their control area which means you are probably going to want to destroy the enemy one. While there is the opportunity to score 2 control points by dominating the enemy objective this is unlikely unless you have a caster with a fairly crazy movement range and/or are willing to run to it – this will likely put you behind enemy lines but if you have a chance and are 2 control points from winning, it is worth remembering.

Conversely, if you think your opponent might try and pull this it can be worthwhile to destroy your own objective. Please note that this will give your opponent 1 control point, but if you feel that they can dominate that objective it might be better to give up that one control point than two.

In general with this scenario you can expect mass casualties. The combination of a single central zone, kill box, and single objective per player means that both players will be concentrating their forces and typically you are going to have to just grind out the win on scenario. It also means that there is a higher than average danger of your caster being threatened by an assassination. This also means if you have an assassination caster you might see some good opportunities.

It can be possible to “jam” your opponent out of the zone with particularly fast or possibly resilient pieces to score an early control point or two so be aware that is a possibility.

This is a good scenario for those  casters who like to move up and get stuff done in person anyway. Good candidates are the brick casters like Xerxis or Butcher or the ranged assassins like Ravyn or Lylyth2. Finally, since it is a single zone, some of the control casters can bounce enemy models out of the zone and win fairly quickly with a 6 point control point swing over 3 player turns which gives enough to win. Magnus2 and Kreuger2 both have feats to watch out for.

Remember that control points are tallied on each players turn and that both players can earn those points so if you can dominate the zone your opponent absolutely MUST either get a model into the zone at any cost (possibly even running and sacrificing an otherwise active piece’s activation opportunity).

Thanks for taking the time to read this and If you have any questions, tips, or want to point out something I screwed up please do!