Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hordes: High Command game played 12/3/13

Managed to get in a four-player game of Hordes: High Command yesterday.  I chose to play Skorne, with the other 3 factions taken by an individual player.

My deck was:
Archdomina Makeda
Tyrant Xerxis
Void Seer Mordikaar
Blue Detachment
Purple Detachment
Yellow Detachment

I honestly have no idea how well these work together, since I have only played a few games of this so far.  However, there were plenty of Void Spirits in my deck, as well as plenty of Titans.

I didn't really bother keeping notes of the game; I just wanted to make some general observations.

The player to my left was a Circle player, who managed to consistently rush Army cards to several locations throughout the game.  He regularly had two or more cards at two different locations.  Well, our Troll player basically ignored him, and our Legion player occasionally stepped in to slow him, but most of the game, I tried to stop him from scoring (unsuccessfully, mostly).  It was not a good strategy for me, I had too many expensive cards, which could only go out and stall for a turn before getting killed.

I definitely enjoyed the Void Spirits, however.  They are only in the Purple Detachment, but man, they are a great way to stall at a location.  I don't know what I could use to support them, however.  I feel like the Titan Gladiators would be nice, because the Void Spirit would definitely be there by the time the Gladiator was put on the table... but the Gladiators have such a low Strength that I can't really kill anything.  Why is all of the Skorne stuff so low strength?

Anyway, Rob ended up winning with Legion, with (I believe) 23 points.  I ended last, with 13.  Not such a good game.  Honestly though, I don't know what I could do differently, but maybe after more experience playing High Command, I could think of something.

Gaming on 12/4/2013 (Maelok vs Syntherion)

Ben and I played a game last night.  I've been trying to throw a lot of new casters on the table, just to get some exposure to them, and yesterday Maelok the Dreadbound was my guy.  I haven't used him yet, but I've enjoyed playing my Minions in general, so I expected that to continue. I only have a limited selection of models, so we played 35 points.

My list:
Maelok, the Dreadbound
* Bull Snapper
* Blackhide Wrastler
* Ironback Spitter
Gatormen Posse (Leader and 4 Grunts)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (Leader and 1 Grunt)
Croak Hunter
Gatorman Witch Doctor
Totem Hunter

Again, I only have a limited selection.  With that said, pre-game, I wished I had owned a second unit of Gatormen Posse (something I feel more strongly about post-game).  I'd have no problem dropping a few solos even for a min unit of them.

Ben decided to take Convergence.  His list (and I may have some things wrong):

Forge Master Syntherion
* Diffuser
* Mitigator
* Cipher
* Inverter
* Monitor
Obstructors (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex
Attunement Servitors

Ben is a little limited on choices as well, since all of the releases for Convergence aren't out yet.  I feel like I may have some of the jacks messed up, but I think I'm close.  It was definitely 3 heavies and 2 lights.

Ben won the roll, and chose to go first.  I chose the side of the board with a wall just inside the Killbox (we were playing the first scenario- Destruction, I believe?).  Ben's side of the board had a nice large hill.

My game plan was basically to get the Gatormen stuck in early, pop my feat soon after, and charge the Gatormen past Ben's first line into his caster, hoping for the kill that way.  I could use Revive to bring back a Gatormen or two, should they fall, and put them in great position for the feat turn.

Our first turn was pretty boring.  Ben ran everything forward and put Reconstruct on his Inverter, and Hot Shot on the Monitor.

I ran forward as well, putting Death Pact on the Gatormen Posse, and Malediction on Maelok.

Ben's Obstructors were a bit concerned about the Totem Hunter facing them (on my right), so spread out to limit here I could go.  He spent his second turn taking a lot of shots at the Gatormen, with unfavorable deviations, and did no damage.  He also cast Synergy, in preparation for getting engaged.

I start my turn by putting the Totem Hunter into the Obstructors, killing two.  My Spitter shot at one of his Light Inverters, hoping to catch the Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex who was standing behind him.  I hit the Inverter, and deal a lot of damage, but with the boost, I only manage to get 3 damage on the Optifex (not enough to kill him with the potential Corrosion damage).  My Gatormen Posse charge into his lines, dealing pretty minor damage to his jacks, but killing a few more Obstructors (I killed 5 of them this turn).

Overall, I felt like I was in pretty good position.  My Gatormen were mostly engaged, as well as Zombified.  ARM 20, multi-wound models with Tough- should be tough to get rid of all of them.

Thrullg was in position to charge in as well, and my Bull Snapper and Maelok were right behind as well, spreading out a few Spiny Growths on the Gatormen.

Ben starts off by popping his feat, giving his army Weapon Platform, as well as free charges.  He then proceeds to start beating Gatormen down. By the time he's done, he's managed to wipe out the unit.  He even had attacks to spare!  Not good.  After considering conceding, we continue on.  His Obstructors kill the Totem Hunter easily, and he shoots some more, to no real effect.

I'm a bit unsure how to proceed at this point.  I don't really have a good way to fight his heavies- the Wrastler could kill one, maybe, but I'd lose him next turn.  My beasts haven't taken any damage thus far, however, but I decided my best bet was to try for the caster kill.

I start by activating Maelok, who pops his feat, walks forward towards one of this light inverters, kills it with a melee attack, and then casts Venom at Syntherion, dealing a few points of damage.  Thrullg then charges through his army at Syntherion, dealing a bunch more.  My Spitter activates, walks forward, and shoots at Syntherion as well, dealing even more damage!  At this point Syntherion is down to about 6 health, but he's Corroded.  Unfortunately, I'm out of attacks to throw at him.

I have my Wrastler charge one of his heavies, hoping to wreck it and keep Maelok safe.  I fail to kill him, however, and the systems I knock out just get auto-repaired away.

However, Ben's inverters are really slow, and can't get to Maelok.  They do manage to kill the Wrastler without a whole lot of effort, however.  He throws the Obstructors around the Spitter and Maelok, trying to tie me up so I can't make another play at Syntherion, while his jacks get into better position.

Well, I'm still desperate at this point, although I'm pleased I have another turn to do try for the win.  I start by having the Witch Doctor Sac Strike (using a Swamp Gobber) an Obstructor off the table, giving me room for the Spitter to walk out and attempt a shot at Syntherion.  Unfortunately, he misses, hurting my plans.  I have Maelok throw a double boosted Venom at Syntherion, bringing him down to about 4 health.  With 2 fury left, I debate my options.  If I try for the Venom, and fail, there's not much doubt his inverters can kill me.  But even with the fury on him, it's looking bleak.

I decide to go for it.  I need to roll a 9 to hit, which I get.  He's got 4 health, but it's also dice-8 for damage.... but then I roll an eleven on two dice, bringing him down to one!  With Syntherion corroded, it's just a hope that the effect doesn't expire...

...which it doesn't.  Syntherion dies, and I take the victory.

This is the first time I've ever killed a caster by Corrosion, but yeah, it was a really really long-shot victory.  With that said, I did have a lot of fun using Maelok, and I'm genuinely excited whenever I see Convergence on the table.

This matchup was really tough though- I mentioned before the game that I thought this would be a really really tough matchup, which still feels true.  I could have definitely played better- when I lost all of my Gatormen, it's because I threw all five up them up into the engagement.  Had I kept one back, I could've revived some over the course of the game, which may have dragged the game out longer, but certainly have kept it more even until the end.  Next time I put him on the table, I'll keep that in mind.

After this game, we played a game of Hordes: High Command with Rob and Brad.  I ended up taking Skorne, and I came BADLY into last place.  I'll talk more about that at my LCG blog, Kneel, Exhaust, Corrupt.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Current Holden Deck (Romance of the Nine Empires)

So, after my first 8 games of R9E, I've decided to try to work on the decks a little, just to cut my teeth on deck building for this game.  I decided to start with Holden, who I've been having a blast playing, and because I think their starter deck felt a little weak.  These are just small changes to start, but as I try different things with them, I'll post updates.

So let's get to it.

Border Keep - 1
Castle Holden - 1
Fortified Market Town - 1
Protected Farmland - 1
Sanctuary - 1

I switched out the Outpost and Temple of the Snail Spirit for a Fortified Market Town and Sanctuary.

Outpost feels like a pretty bad card, and it's only ever gotten destroyed very quickly in all the games we've played, so I felt that replacing it was a no-brainer.  It feels like Holden struggles with money.  Their Stronghold only provides three gold as income, and I wanted to make sure to supplement that from the beginning, so I added the Fortified Market Town.  Of course, that put me over castle points, so the Sanctuary was switched in to keep the deck legal.

Peasant Archers - 1
Veteran Men-at-Arms - 1

I didn't change these at all.  Veteran Men-at-Arms is really handy for stopping an attack, so that will probably stay for now.  I don't really struggle with food so far, so I'm thinking of dropping Peasant Archers.  Maybe replace it with another VMaA?  We'll see- I'll test it out sometime.

Alaric Buxtehude - 1
Coeli Quando - 1
Genevieve - 1
Jack Newcomer - 3
Myriad Buxtehude - 2
The Vanguard of Guild 10-42 - 3
Tuatha Dundareel - 2

So let's see, +1 Alaric, -1 Coeli, +1 Newcomer for now.  I played around with using Siter'Ath Jones in the deck, but he didn't really help me a whole lot.  I felt that 12 heroes was a tiny bit too few, so bumped it up to 13.  I never got any use out of Coeli (and still don't), so replacing him with Jack Newcomer, who I use all the time seemed obvious.  I'll probably try switching out Coeli with yet another hero at some point.  Maybe drive that raid point home with Siter'Ath again.

Exotic Mounts - 1
Extraplanar Obelisk - 1
Library - 2
Motte and Bailey - 1
Simm's Tomb - 3
The Queen's Chamber - 1
Training Grounds - 3
Valiant Squire - 3

Changes here are 2 extra copies of Simm's Tomb.  Again, my early games playing this deck really struggled with money.  Extra Simm's Tombs help a lot with that.  If you can get the Biggest Turnip out early in the game, they are fantastic money cards, that will give you some great use late game (to pull back quests).  I worry a bit about running too many properties in the deck, but so far it hasn't felt too bad, but again, we're early in playing this game.

The Apple of Life? - 1
The Biggest Turnip - 3
A Desperate Offer? - 2
Journey? - 1
A Most Peculiar Lamp? - 1
Rescue the Hostage? - 2

I switched out one Journey for  The Biggest Turnip.  Having a quest in play is such a big deal, upping the gold on Simm's Tomb, and increasing your hand size that I felt the most important thing was to increase the chances of grabbing that Turnip!  Drawing additional copies later on is hardly a big deal, of course.  It's still a four Fate value card, you can Bury it for draw, and when Genevieve is out, you'll have a quest in your buried pile that you can use to stall for actions if you need to (grab the Turnip, then bury it again to draw a card).  Even without the stalling at times, it's an additional card draw.

Journey I find I use late game, and drawing it early doesn't help me one bit (even though it is a fairly simple quest to complete).  Moving it down to one copy hasn't seemed to be a problem yet.

Blight - 2
Death from Above - 2
Lost to the Nexus - 2
Negotiation - 2
Soul of a Dragon - 2
Torrential Rain - 2
The Tree of Life Blooms - 2
Snow in Summer - 2

So here, I dropped 2 Tactical Acumen, and 1 Undermarket Dealings.  In the games I've played, I've never found a use for these cards in this deck.  Since I'm generally playing this deck super defensively early in the game, then completing quests like mad mid-to-late game, I will probably make a bunch more changes here, as I get more games on the table.  Perhaps dropping 2x Blight for 1 more Snow in Summer and one more Soul of Dragon/The Tree of Life Blooms?  We'll see.  It's going to take some more games to figure that out.

So let's see, my Holden deck is currently only 8 card slots different than the starter set, but I already feel a difference in how it plays.  We'll see what changes I make as I continue to put it on the table:)