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Elliphino

First Game, Finally: Impressions

22 posts in this topic

The game has only been out a week, but it felt like forever before I finally got my first 100 point skirmish game in last night. A lot of my experience was similar to what others have said, but there were some things that I found fairly surprising, or that I haven't read others saying, so I thought I would just add these overall impressions.

Kari and Ardus: Not as ridiculous as I expected

There's been whole threads about how powerful these characters are, and maybe our game went a bit differently than others, but I thought they were right in line for their point cost. Kari wiped out my reanimate archers in two shots, but not before they had a chance to drop a few spearmen, add a blight token to said spearmen, and via panic cause them to be immobilized, delaying them for a critical turn while my Lancer pumped out more blight and reanimates and Ardus ground through Oathsworn on the opposite flank. Kari also failed to put the last critical wound on the Carrion Lancer that had the spearmen pinned in place, leaving them set up for a flank charge from the remaining half-strength reanimate unit. Things went downhill for the spearmen from there.

Ardus was also great, but not as amazing as I had hoped either. I played him far out on the right flank in response to my opponent dropping his Oathsworn across from my reanimates and I overestimated their threat. He got a flank charge on the Oathsworn, but only managed to drop one per round. Although critically, his early initiative attack allowed me to dial up a later-turn reform for the reanimates instead of attacking, which set them up for a sweet flank charge on the spearmen. His maneuver dial, and Kari's for that matter, was fairly limiting when it came to getting around the Spearmen/Lancer/Reanimate scrum in the middle of the board. After several turns of shifting, around the scrum, he finally got a charge on Kari in the last turn and did one wound. I'll definitely play him in a more central, versatile location in the future, but his contributions to the game were: 2 dead Oathsworn, 1 wound on Kari, and most importantly, delaying the arrival of the Oathsworn just because he kept the threat of a flank counter-charge alive out there.

Melee way more grinding than I thought

Based on what I had read about the power of threat multipliers and units losing a tray at a time, I expected combat to resolve in a turn or two most of the time. Again, there's probably some tactical ways to speed things up by bringing in reinforcements, but I was surprised how long some melees took to resolve. 4 Oathsworn stood up to Ardus and a healthy block or reanimates, having been charged by both of them, for 2.5 turns. The loan Carrion Lancer took 3 turns of spearmen, plus two turns of Kari before throwing in the towel. Blight helped an awful lot here for sure. The game ended, fittingly epic, with a 1:1 fight between Kari and Ardus. If the game had gone on without limitation, it probably would have taken 2-3 more turns to resolve.

This is not a complaint, by the way, just something I hadn't expected. Knowing how long a melee can anchor another unit, or two, will be an important tactical consideration going forward.

Upgrade Cards: Meh

My opponent forgot to use his Warcrier to return my blight tokens. I think that would have been really useful, considering how helpful that blight was for me! But really none of the upgrade cards seemed to have much pay out. The only upgrades I had were Ardus' Fury, and Trumpets. I never had a situation where I needed the trumpets. Ardus' Fury... well, I did do some re-rolls, but as you can see from above, his performance wasn't very stellar. Still, I had 4 points to spend, so why not?

My opponent on the other hand committed big to upgrade cards, forgoing a Rune Golem in order to get upgrades. As I mentioned before, he forgot to use Warcrier. He only used shield wall on one attack before he was about to drop down to one tray because up until then, he had only been taking 1 or 2 casualties per attack and it didn't seem worthwhile to blow the upgrade on that. In the end he only used it because he thought it would be his last opportunity to defend against a smaller unit than himself. He had Rank Discipline and Master Crafted Weapons on his Oathsworn. He never used the re-roll from rank discipline, which is part due to his luck being pretty good with their rolls. But he never rolled a double surge at all, making Master Crafted Weapons a total loss. Kari had the Reaping Blade but instead of using that ability when he rolled a blank, he would use Kari's precise re-roll instead, hoping to get more damage that could be multiplied by threat. He did roll double blanks once, but it still only added 1 wound. Wraithstep also went unused because once in melee, he wanted Kari doing damage, not dancing around until the next turn.

Speed isn't everything

I probably should have guessed at this, but I was so mindful of what I had read about the deadliness of the Oathsworn Cavalry, that I thought they would just use their high speed to have their way with anything they felt like. His Oathsworn were basically up against my reanimates and Ardus, the rest of the battlefield being separated by spikes and a couple of mid-field units. I kept backing Ardus up because his charge was at a lower initiative than the Oathsworn's long charge, so I figured I couldn't avoid having Ardus charged unless the oathsworn were already into it with the reanimates. We played cat and mouse with the Oathsworn just out of charge range for 3 turns until I think we both blinked, and I just happened to blink better than him. To get around the spikes he did a long 3 maneuver. I had dialed up a 2 charge for the reanimates, honestly not expecting anything to be there when I got there, but feeling like I had to sacrifice getting the reanimates charged to set Ardus up for the counter charge. I was also feeling pressure because by that point my archers were gone and all I had holding back Kari and a wall of spearmen was a lone Carrion Lancer, so I need to make something happen. Anyway, that's how I got my reanimates to successfully charge Oathsworn! The threat of the counter charge from Ardus was great enough to overcome the clear advantage of the Oathsworn's speed. Maneuvering wellaround those spikes was also a big factor.

 

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Are you sure you were using Ardus correctly?

Unless the oathsworn were defending every single turn he deals a lot more than two damage per turn on average. 

Just one of his attacks can wipe four of them.

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With Ardis I took out a blighted rune golem unit with 4 golems in it in one shot thanks to carrion worm at distance 3  and the upgrade that gives you a surge it was pretty crazy. 8 mortal strikes thanks to brutal, was well brutal 

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1 minute ago, xero989 said:

With Ardis I took out a blighted rune golem unit with 4 golems in it in one shot thanks to carrion worm at distance 3  and the upgrade that gives you a surge it was pretty crazy. 8 mortal strikes thanks to brutal, was well brutal 

That results in the table being flipped!

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20 minutes ago, xero989 said:

With Ardis I took out a blighted rune golem unit with 4 golems in it in one shot thanks to carrion worm at distance 3  and the upgrade that gives you a surge it was pretty crazy. 8 mortal strikes thanks to brutal, was well brutal 

Mortal strikes aren't multiplied by Threat right? Only damage results.

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36 minutes ago, SlaveOne said:

Not agreeing or disagreeing with you, but is your dissertation based off one game?

Yep. Small sample size for sure. I have another game tonight with a friend who has already played a couple games and we'll be doing 200 points. So I'll see how it goes, and see if I'm doing something wrong.

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38 minutes ago, Tvayumat said:

Are you sure you were using Ardus correctly?

Unless the oathsworn were defending every single turn he deals a lot more than two damage per turn on average. 

Just one of his attacks can wipe four of them.

Yeah, he dialed up the 3 initiative attack with +1 defense every turn of melee. He said he wasn't even trying to get the +1 defense per se, he just didn't think he'd live past initiative 3 to attack. But that +1 defense really did carry the day for him. I may also have been rolling crap for Ardus. I'm not super familiar with the dice yet, so I don't have a good impression of whether my dice rolls were subpar or not.

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6 minutes ago, Waywardpaladin said:

Mortal strikes aren't multiplied by Threat right? Only damage results.

My understanding is that you only multiply hits, not mortal strikes, surges, or anything else. At least that's the way we played it.

 

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1 hour ago, Elliphino said:

Yeah, he dialed up the 3 initiative attack with +1 defense every turn of melee. He said he wasn't even trying to get the +1 defense per se, he just didn't think he'd live past initiative 3 to attack. But that +1 defense really did carry the day for him. I may also have been rolling crap for Ardus. I'm not super familiar with the dice yet, so I don't have a good impression of whether my dice rolls were subpar or not.

Yeah, that sounds about right. Oathsworn can be a pain when they spam defend. Still, every other round Ardus should be able to lay in an attack before they can defend, his attack is at init 3, too.

The white die very rarely comes up without damage. 8/12 sides have at least one damage, one has double damage, and another has mortal strike, so he is going to come up with at least four damage a lot of the time, sometimes a lot more. His Ancient Technique upgrade is worth the pts if he is solo, as it gives him a re-roll on his white dice. If you buy him Reaping Blade, now his blank faces become mortal strikes and he is just a whirlwind of death. (Personally, I skip RB now just because there is only one blank on the white die)

 

 

1 hour ago, Elliphino said:

My understanding is that you only multiply hits, not mortal strikes, surges, or anything else. At least that's the way we played it.

 

This is correct.

How it technically works is that you spend each symbol. When you spend a damage symbol, you inflict damage equal to your threat. Surges are spent to resolve abilities and have their own costs, and then Mortal Strikes always just inflict one wound, etc etc for the other symbols.

Glad you guys had fun. The game has a surprising amount of depth even at 100 pts with one core box. I look forward to hearing your impressions when you dial up to 200!

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3 hours ago, xero989 said:

With Ardis I took out a blighted rune golem unit with 4 golems in it in one shot thanks to carrion worm at distance 3  and the upgrade that gives you a surge it was pretty crazy. 8 mortal strikes thanks to brutal, was well brutal 

The only way to get 8 mortal strikes with Ardus is to have a blight on the defender, your lancers in range, Ardus' fury, surge modifier, flanking for a blue die, and having your dice all come up on the double surge side. That is 8 surges meaning 8 mortal strikes meaning 4 dead rune golems.

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5 hours ago, SlaveOne said:

Not agreeing or disagreeing with you, but is your dissertation based off one game?

My dissertation of the Waiqar is off of one game playing them... And watching and reading. 

 

It is not impossible to do, you just have to have a lot of gaming experience. 

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2 hours ago, Orcdruid said:

The only way to get 8 mortal strikes with Ardus is to have a blight on the defender, your lancers in range, Ardus' fury, surge modifier, flanking for a blue die, and having your dice all come up on the double surge side. That is 8 surges meaning 8 mortal strikes meaning 4 dead rune golems.

I think he was using Threat with his Mortal Strikes. 

 

Mortal Strikes can only ever do 1 damage. 

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Posted (edited)

So, game number 2 down, and I think I should retire while I still have a perfect record :D

My impressions remain largely unchanged. I kept Ardus more central which gave him the opportunity to do a little more damage: 1 Rune Golem single handedly, a loan Oathsworn, and 3 wounds on Kari.

This guy did the same thing with Oathsworn as the last: Initiative 3 attacks and +1 defense. Those guys are just tough as nails. They had one seriously good roll against reanimates killing 6, but I regenerated 2 that same turn. Otherwise I did a much better job getting my Carrion Lancer to vomit blight on everything and that kept the Oathsworn and later Spearmen's damage to minimum. That Carrion Lancer was ace! Got him into the flank of 3 trays of spearmen and he single-handedly wore them down to nothing.

Kari was OK. She killed 6 archers before firing at my reanimates locked in combat with Oathsworn. Losing them so quickly was almost worth it just to be able to draw 5 morale cards against the last Oathsworn standing. She then went on to put 3 wounds on Ardus, so a much better showing for Kari too, although still not as overwhelming as others report.

Speaking of reanimates, I guess I'd add another surprise: I have read that regenerate wasn't very helpful, but I must have regenerated at least 6-8 reanimates tonight. It was a very effective tarpit, essentially holding up Oathsworn and Kari until turn 6... well, Kari did spend 2 early turns working over my archers, but otherwise her attention was on the reanimates where I want it, instead of on my Lancer and Ardus. Regenerate also gained me back somewhere between 4 and 6 reanimates in my first game too. So I'm calling regenerate a winning ability, despite what I've read others saying.

I also have to double down on my low impressions of upgrade cards. We played 110 points so we could field all the models and still have some good upgrades. I think the most disappointing card has to be Master Crafted Weapons. Double surge just doesn't come up often enough. I had this on my carrion lancer who was rolling two red, two blue in the flank of the spearmen and never got it to go off once. Ardus nearby was able to activate it using a double surge he rolled, but that was it: just 2 wounds the whole game for 4 points. By the way, I have no idea if Ardus' ability lets him use the surge abilities on upgrade cards. We couldn't find the answer, so we just went with a yes. If anyone definitively knows the answer to that, let me know.

I used shield wall once on the reanimates, and I do think that one use was worth it, but in the future I would load up on inspiration ahead of time to make sure I can use it more than once.

Anyway, still loving the game, and the game overall is meeting or exceeding expectations!

Edited by Elliphino
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9 hours ago, Waywardpaladin said:

Mortal strikes aren't multiplied by Threat right? Only damage results.

Just looked it up you don't add mortal strikes with your threat, so we played it wrong, but still that attack would have taken out two them and that's still pretty good.

 

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10 hours ago, SlaveOne said:

Not agreeing or disagreeing with you, but is your dissertation based off one game?

What exactly are you driving at?

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Speaking of reanimates, I guess I'd add another surprise: I have read that regenerate wasn't very helpful, but I must have regenerated at least 6-8 reanimates tonight. It was a very effective tarpit, essentially holding up Oathsworn and Kari until turn 6... well, Kari did spend 2 early turns working over my archers, but otherwise her attention was on the reanimates where I want it, instead of on my Lancer and Ardus. Regenerate also gained me back somewhere between 4 and 6 reanimates in my first game too. So I'm calling regenerate a winning ability, despite what I've read others saying.

Its been hotly debated but I think the jury is still out.  It seems to be quite circumstantial but I think the main argument is that its an ability that "either goes off and helps or does nothing" depending on battle circumstances and that there is no real good way to "trigger" or "leverage" it somehow so that it becomes something you plan for or build lists around.

I would argue since the Reanimates have the ability to Rally/Defend on initiative 4, you do have the possibility to set up a regenerate as it takes 2 hits to kill 1 skeleton likely resulting in "less than a tray" situations allowing regenerate to kick in.  But as some have pointed out (I think you discovered it as well) its typically not very effective since much of the human army can in fact attack on initiative 3.   

As for just letting it kick in when it does, its very circumstantial.  You have played 2 games and regenerate a lot.  I have played 3 games and between all three games I have regenerated 2 skeletons.  At best I would describe it as a very swingy mechanic, driven largely by luck.  I would add though I think the jury is still out on this one.

Also in regards to speed.  I believe you are right.  I don't think its quite as critical as people make it out to be, positioning definitely trumps speed and much of the undead armies speed issues can be compensated for with good positioning, which just solidifies the common consensus that the Undead army is more specialized, requiring a bit of a higher understanding of the games nuances.   They certainly don't play like you might presume them to play based on their theme.  

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5 hours ago, Tvayumat said:

Alas, Reanimates can't actually take shield wall.

Would that they could. They would be unstoppable.

Thanks for that spot! Oh well, I'd still call it a card worth taking on other units then.

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, banjobenito said:

'Circumstantial' would be an apt description of the Speaman's surge ability. Triggering and regenerating Reanimates in every single game I've played in, not so much.

Experiences differ.  I have played 3 games now and in all 3 games combined the regenerate ability has resulted in me getting back a grand totla of 2 skeletons.   Combined mind you.

As for the Surge ability of the spearmen, I agree this is also very circumstantial.  In general, rolling surges as opposed to hits is not a great trade off for spearmen.  Sure every once in a while a well timed inspiration token can save some lives, but generally I agree, this ability is nothing to write home about either.

Perhaps that's what the designers where going for.  The standard units have circumstantial/luck based abilities as a design choice.

I personally don't have a problem with it, I don't think either armies core unit has an ability around which you build a strategy (surge-inspiration or Regenerate).  They are just there as a possible thing that might kick in.  I think its balanced just fin

Edited by BigKahuna
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Totally agree Kahuna. Theyre more a bit of spice to give units flavour, than an ability to build around. Of course, who can say what'll happen as we progress?

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