20 February 2011

Observations on 100pt and 2 Caster Games

by Goris

I took it upon myself just recently to play my first 100pt game and my first 2 caster game at that since MKII rolled out.  While this may seem a simple exercise the actuality of completing this task is a little more daunting in a number of ways.  While the experience was fun and can be very rewarding to watch your armies’ synergy really soar, it can also be very easy to clog up your own gears if you are not careful in a few ways.  I’ll discuss my reflections and give a few tips in this write up. 

More than in most games, planning your game turn by turn is very important and in fact is much more necessary then in smaller games where it’s hard for your order of operations to really screw you too much.  In huge games not laying your buffs and synergy or even activating a unit out of turn can really screw you.  So, things to think about:

-          Take your time! Turns may ne timed but it’s better to make sure the stuff you activate did what it was supposed to do with the most potential rather then simply throwing your pieces around hastily trying not to hit the clock. 
-          Try planning your turn out while your opponent plays so you have an idea of what you want to activate and when. 
-          Your Oder of Operations is VERY important.  With so many bases moving around the tale it’s easy for you stuff to get in its own way, especially with all those medium bases. 
-          Maximize your feat turns.  Feats on this scale are much more game altering when done to the maximum effect.  This means perhaps feating a turn later then normal because you can get an entire extra unit effected or perhaps sooner to protect your army on it’s advance.  Feats are extremely important in these types of games, use them wisely.

This will make or break your game from the very beginning.  If you do not put thought and preparation into your deployment you stand a very good chance of losing the game before it begins. 

-          Take a strong look at the terrain on the board and think about where you want your army to be.  Not just turn one, but turn two and three.  Now think about how you can achieve that before you just line your models up Legion (not of Everblight) style and try to march them across the board. 
-          Your flanks NEED to be self sufficient.  The likelihood that you’ll be able to properly buff your flanking units by the time the S*** hits the fan is small.  The core of your force will likely be ramming itself down your opponents throat and the better buffed it is to survive and deal damage, the better chance you have of your flanking units surviving to see the fray.  So when you place them on the far edges of the board, you don’t fear from them getting cut to pieces or being ineffectual once they hit your opponents’ lines.
-          Don’t be afraid to bunch your army up turn one.  You likely won’t be getting hit early game so bunch your crap up if you need to ensure proper placement downfield.  Again, make sure that your unit and model placement is logical based on how you’ve planned your turn out otherwise you’ll trip over yourself and perhaps hang some of your pieces out to dry. 
-          Depending on your deployment you may have an idea of how your opponent is set up and what they intend to do.  Use this to your advantage.

Turn 1
Now, just as crucial as your Deployment was, turn one is the fruition of your entire initial planning.  So, everyone stay calm and move up the board in an orderly fashion. 

-          Get your defensive and offensive spells and abilities running early.  This means the stone and whatever beneficial spells that won’t hamper your armies’ movement across the board.  Getting these upkeeps and auras running means you are less likely to forget about, or let them drop off during the fray. 
-          Make sure that if you see any potential ranged fire like AOE’s or sprays incoming that your spread your formations accordingly and make sure to leave the key pieces of certain units, like unit leaders, standards or UA’s hanging back so you don’t simply lose their buffs early game to a wayward AOE.
-          Spread formations and tactics like hanging certain models in a unit back can be very helpful for early to mid game buffing.  It keeps your buffing pieces safe while still augmenting your forces.  Granted by doing so, you may lose one or two potential attacks, but the difference of those attacks being buffed will more then make up for it.  Also this means then other models that you may have been saving won’t be hit during the initial retaliation and will still be in proper position to be buffed.
-          Make smart moves to defend your caster.  You set up the framework of your caster’s defenses turn one so that you aren’t scrambling to prevent an assassination attempt you notice right at the end of your turn.  Never assume your caster is safe, even first turn. 

Turn 2 and On
You’ve survived so far.  Everything is about to crash into action.  What do you do now?

-          Unless you can prove to a mathematical certainty that you will cripple your opponents army right off the bat, do not just feed all your forces to him right away, just to be eaten up by a Brutal feat turn retribution. 
-          Stagger your forces.  The idea of larger games is to truly dictate the pace of the battle.  Force your opponent to react to you instead of the other way around.  Attacking in waves can be a simple and effective way of controlling the fight without a huge amount of effort. 
-          Tar Pit. Tar Pit. Tar Pit.  Use your tar pit units early and tie something big or scary up early game.  Force your opponent to deal with it before they can move on.  Then when moving up the board set up the counter charge so that once they have either failed to kill or chewed through that 6pt unit of Kriels or Pygs that you can capitalize on that move. 
-          Don’t over extend your support pieces.  Models like the Fell Caller, Rune Bearer, Stone Scribe Chronicler, and even the Stone Bearer can be easy pickings if not protected or positioned properly.  You may think armor 18 and 8 wounds is enough.  Let me tell you it isn’t.  Our synergy is our strength and if your opponent is worth anything they will be trying to get rid of those pieces just as much as they want to kill your caster. 
-          Protect your caster.  I think I said this before.  Never let your guard down.  Be forever vigilant and so on.
-          Plan for the game to go on longer then you expect.  Bad dice happen.  Tough rolls happen.  In larger games there will always be more to deal with right behind what you just killed so expect to be there longer then well…you expected.
-          Have a contingency for any risky move you take.  Play like you have a pair but if the math doesn’t work out in your head or if there is a slim chance you just won’t take out that key piece or you won’t kill their caster, make sure you don’t leave yourself hanging because there are just so many factors that you may not see.
-          The game is not over if you lose one of your Warlocks.  Their beasts go wild and run off the table but you still have all the infantry and other still under your command, so never quit.
-          Play until the last man, because even if you are getting trounced heavily there is always a chance your opponent can make a mistake and capitalize.  Our army specifically is very effective at making models that otherwise aren’t deadly very effective, so use your tools wisely and always be looking for a way to win.

There you go folks.  Short (sort of) and sweet, but just a few points in how to tackle these large games effectively without them being a chore. 

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