Okay, I actually got to play in a small tourney this past weekend using the Strongholds scenario. It’s definitely a fun and very challenging scenario, it really shakes up how you’re used to playing. I went more to have fun, so I put together an entertaining list that was a lot of fun to play, but I’m not sure it was the best for this scenario. I ran:
2 x Gutter Runners
2 x Ratling Gunners
1 x Zombie Dragon
1 x Grave Guard
1 x Banshee
Command cards: Intimidate, Chosen Champion (the one that gives your hero fear), Dark Majesty, Invocation of Nehek
Anyways, I got four games in, one practice and three counted. Here’s a bare bones list of my impressions:
1. Think about cover when you’re placing terrain, ESPECIALLY up close to your enemy’s watchtower. You do NOT want a three dice three damage per success hitting your disks. Trust me.
2. Be mindful of the siege range of the watchtower, and remember, it’s high ground, so it is not obstructed by anything that blocks line of sight. This means you must not deploy with disks on top of each other or risk them getting pinned by a crit (which is more likely than you think when you are chucking three dice around).
3. Dwarves have a silly advantage for this scenario because of their miners and high toughness. We had four players in our tourney, two dwarf players, 1 orks/skaven, and me. The two dwarf players tied for first (2 wins 1 loss each). Both of the Dwarf players used their miner(s) to tie up your watchtower by reinforcing to it at a critical point, leaving their watchtower free to bombard you. Plus, the fact that they have miners forces you to have a high attack disk protecting your tower at all times.
4. It is actually really important to have first player, you really want to win ties on command cards. Losing ties means they get a chance to shoot their watchtower first, so unless you completely outguess them with command cards every time, that will be bad news for you.
5. This scenario is particularly bad for Vampire Counts since their heroes are pretty much the linchpin in the army, and having a linchpin that can be so easily activated at a bad time by a crit is bad news.
I was frustrated several times by crits on my units, particularly a key one on Mannfred, it absolutely lost me my final game (if they hadn’t critted him, I would have been able to reanimate my zombie dragon and contested their tower, as well as killing at least one dwarf, leaving me able to easily mop up his force).
As fun as my list was to play, I don’t think it was optimal for this scenario, I think a pure VC army with Kemmler and Mannfred working together, along with at least one Black Knight, would have served me better, then I’d have multiple possibilities for a good reanimate.
I also learned that it’s really tempting to play too aggressively with Ikkit, a mistake I made twice. However, the ratling gunners really shined for me, I did have some good ranged rolls (actually rolled three successes in two different games), three dice ranged is a very good thing.
Overall, the scenario really does change up the game and adds some extra fun, but also some frustrations based on the crits from the watchtowers. Hopefully the crits are in your favor!