Author Topic: Vlachold gunline vs Hawkshold close & hose.  (Read 2323 times)

Hannibal

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Vlachold gunline vs Hawkshold close & hose.
« on: April 16, 2013, 12:05:45 AM »
As part of the post-World Tour testing, the #1 unresolved question I had was whether or not the Vlachold stand & shoot build was broken.  So we decided to test it out.  We played Breaking Point on Map 2A, with the Well Prepared subplot.  This was a fairly good situation for the gunline:  the board was open so he couldn't shield an advance with terrain, the mission rewarded a build that could run up the score early, and the sub-plot meant I'd get to start with the three best cards out of my deck (Fatalism, Fatalism, and Dogged Toughness).

Hawkshold:  2 Militia, 3 Swordsmen, 2 Great Swordsmen, 1 Pikemen, 1 Knights

Vlachold: 4 Voynik Crossbowmen, 3 Curteni Heavy Archers, 1 Tepes Lord

Vlachold units for reference:

Voynich Crossbowmen - Core - 247 pts
O:(3*)5/5  D:1*/2  Rge: 14"  Cge: 12  Mv: 3.5"  3G/5Y/2R
Ranged attack is LOS.  O:(+2)+0/+0 and D:+1/+0 when engaged.
The crossbow is the national weapon of the Vlachold, as it is rugged and requires far less skill to master than the bow.

Curteni Heavy Archers - Standard - 223 pts
O:(4)5*/5*  D:1*/3  Rge: 14"  Cge: 11  Mv: 2.5"  3G/3Y/2R
O:(-0)-1/-0 and D:+1/+0 when engaged.
Defenders of the ramparts and camps, these are men of broken souls.

Tepes Lords - Standard - 304 pts
O:(5)6/6  D:2/3  Rge:-  Cge: 11  Mv: 3.5"  4G/3Y/3R
Red Harvest.  Drain:  3.5" range.  May not Drain Voivode Knights.  Blood Powers:  Blood is Life, Inhuman Frenzy, Unholy Aura. (Note:  they have 2 Blood Point boxes.)
The high peaks and mountain holds are ill-suited to cavalry, and so even the dark souled nobility of the Tepes Mountains fight on foot.


We both ended ~30 pts left, and we both chose to not spend it.  Because, if you have 1 Command Card worth of points left, you should not draw it and instead choose to go first:  you'll end up getting 2 net CAs than your opponent (meaning 2 CCs).  A minor hole in the game.  As it was, I had 8 more unspent points and so I got the 2 CAs.


Deployment


Vlachold:  (L -> R)
first row:  4 Crossbowmen
second row:  3 Heavy Archers
back row:  Tepes Lords

Hawkshold:  (L -> R):  double-stacked Militia, Swordsmen, Swordsmen, Swordsmen, Greatswords, Greatswords, Pikemen (bakced by sideways-facing Knights).

I managed to get pretty much exactly what I wanted:  his slow moving stuff on the right flank where he couldn't flank me quickly, and the softer targets right in front of me.  He is set on Close while I'm using Ranged with unit objectives on the left Swordsmen and the center Swordsmen.


Marching in the Shade


The Hawkshold line advances and the Vlachold line shoots.  The Knights redeploy to fill whatever gap will invariably open.

The Vlachold shooting forces a check on the left Swordsmen, who Disrupt despite having Bravery.  Triple score:  he loses Bravery and he has to expend 2 CAs to keep his line intact.


A Gap Opens


A few turns later and after relentless fire, the center-Swordsmen are destroyed while the left-Swordsmen have a single red box left.  At this point, we had a bit of a sinking feeling as the right-Swordsmen will get pinched if they charge in.


Desperate Gambit


On his turn, Scott DC's the left-Swordsmen to not final rush.  Instead, they slide sideways to occupy space and prevent me from pinching the right-Swordsmen, who charge in along with the Militia.  The Swordsmen are just trying to buy time for the Knights and the Greatswords to get there.

Sadly, they can't even catch a break as right-Swordsmen fail their Red check, mainly because of sneaky git card play by me:  during the M&C Phase, I play Punish their Mistake on my Crossbowmen.  Now he can't play Blue cards on the Swordsmen this turn...but I have no limitation on my Heavy Archers who pour fire into the Swordsmen unit.  He basically has to take 8 dice where I can play Command Cards and he can't, plus 5 dice where he can't play Blue cards.

So he fails the rout check and the right Swordsmen are destroyed.  The left-Swordsmen, having only 1 box, are predictably destroyed.


Preparing the Final Charge


The Knights are a hair out of charge range (Hawkshold can't catch a break it seems) and so Scott DCs them to be within 5" but beyond 3.5" so he can't be pinched or Punish their Mistake'd.  The Greatswordsmen move up, but alas are also +.01" past their final rush range.  On the left, Militia are DC'd to slide out and back slightly (you can't see it in this pic) so they're no longer backing up the Militia which are destroyed this turn.


The Flower of Hawkshold Knighthood


With Militia protecting their left flank and Greatswords protecting their right flank, the Knights charge in and just thuuuump the Voynik Crossbowmen, who, despite having a +2 Cge and Perseverance, blow their rout check and are utterly crushed.

This is when I realize how badly I screwed up:  all of my Heavy Archers are on Ranged.  Stupid, stupid fat man.  I needed them on Close to have them step forward and deny the Knights a charge.  D'oh!!


The Wilted Flower...


No your eyes do not deceive you.  Yes those are routing Knights.   8)

Since I had to charge, I figured I'd use the Crossbowmen as they had better Courage and better offensive stats.  This is where the oft-maligned Tenacity cards came into play:  I had two of them guaranteeing me that opportunity to do at least 1 pt of damage two times.  I did 1 lucky point with my charging Crossbowmen, and still had my Heavy Archers to attack.  I dropped Tenacity on their ranged attack and did a minimum of 1 pt, forcing the Yellow check...which he failed.  On free strikes I did 2 more points, but he passed his red check.

On the right, the Tepes Lords charge the Greatswordsmen, figuring I could beat up on them before I got pinched.  Unfortunately, those two times I played Punish their Mistake and denied him the use of command cards while I shot at him with 2-3 ranged units that could play command cards meant he had a wide selection of Blue cards, which he used to blunt my attack.

On the left, I charge the Militia, knowing that on his turn he will have to slide sideways to line up with me and thus expose his flank.


Endgame


This is two turns later.  He rallied the fleeing Knights and stood there while my Crossbowmen pinched and destroyed his militia.  His Knights absorbed a lot of shooting and were reduced to their last box, but could still charge.

On his turn, he did so.  He smashed into the Crossbowmen and killed them outright, and with his bevy of Blue cards reduced me to 3 attack dice, needing 1s to hit and 2s to wound.  Out comes the oft-maligned Tenacity, meaning I automatically did at least 1 point.  Down go the Knights.

On the right, the Tepes Lord failed to destroy or rout the Greatswordsmen (despite putting them in the red) and so get pinched for the trouble.  the Tepes Lords pass their pinch check but are destroyed in the combat.


That's more than 1200 pts of Hawkshold destroyed and so the came ends.  We eyeball it at a 4-2 win for me and tally it up.

963 pts of Vlachold left on the table. 

>1,000 pts. 

A Draw.

 :o


We run it as though it were Ticking Clock:  1.24 ratio.  A draw.  Huh. 

We try to figure out what would happen with Total Warfare, but that proves to be counter-factual.  I mean, just looking at it, it's easy to say "it's 5 units to 3," but he's got units on my flanks and I'm going to have reposition with 2.5" moving Heavy Archers before his Greatswords can final rush.  Probably still a win, but I'm betting I only have 2 units left at the end of the game.

Basically every way you look at it the results end up the same:  somewhere near a draw, either just above or just below the threshold between "3-3 Draw" and "4-2 Win."


Analysis:  This is pretty much the optimal situation for the Vlachold gunline.  I get an open board with unobstructed view, a favorable scenario, and I get the deployment I want where I can take his heavy hitters almost out of the game until its basically decided.  The result, a close win.

Does this mean the gunline is broken?  I'm not sure.  I don't want to pass judgement one way or the other yet, as I want to play a couple more games and see.  But one thing we did at the end of the game was similar to what we did with the 2 Voivoide Knight build:  compare it in power level to another build.  For example, is 2 Voivoide Knights (with Voyniks Sword/Spear & Thralls) more or less scary than 2 Death Knights + 9 Zombies & 1 Abomination?  Our answer is the Undead build was scarier.

So we asked ourselves this:  what is scarier, the Vlachold gunline?  Or this Dwarf gunline: 1 Battleaxemen, 3 Bowmen, 5 Crossbowmen?  My feeling is that either the Dwarf gunline is scarier or they're on par, but the Vlachold one is not the scarier of the two.  (Scott disagrees:  he thinks the Dwarf gunline is out-and-out scarier).

We'll keep testing it and see.  At the moment, I'm concerned like I was with the Voivoide Knights.  But like I said, I want to see it one or two more times.


The one thing that this game did help with though is that Punish their Mistake has a big (and unintended) trick:  the ability to play it on one unit, and then pour supporting fire into that same unit where you can play command cards but he can't was not intended.  I'm thinking of changing the card from this:

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Play during the Movement & Command Phase .  One of your units gains +1 MC and O:(+1)+0/+0 this turn.  You may not play Command Cards on the unit this turn.  If you are engaged with only one enemy unit, that unit may not be affected by Command Cards  this turn (already played Command Cards are unaffected).

to this:
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Play during the Movement & Command Phase .  One of your units gains +1 MC and O:(+1)+0/+0 this turn.  You may not play Command Cards on the unit this turn.  If you are engaged with only one enemy unit, that unit may not be affected by Red or Blue Command Cards during engaged attacks this turn and may not be affected by Green Command Cards this turn (already played Command Cards are unaffected).

Thoughts?

GoIndy

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Re: Vlachold gunline vs Hawkshold close & hose.
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2013, 10:12:49 AM »
First off, I don't get it...who in the world thinks the Tenacity card is bad?  I'd argue it was really freaking strong, personally.   If I had a deck of nothing but those, I don't see how I'd ever lose a game. 

OK...on the other card thing, the punish the mistake.  You seem to be really hung up on the no card thing.  I can see why YOU shouldn't be able to play another card, but can't see why it is necessary to hamstring the opponent.  Adding a die and a movement class is a really good card as it is...

I have a suspicion this stand and shoot is better than you think, and since bowling is about to be over on Fridays soon, I'll be able to try it out on Marcus or Brook soon.  I already have some BS for any stand and shoot I am going to unleash just to get it banned anyway.

Hannibal

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Re: Vlachold gunline vs Hawkshold close & hose.
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2013, 11:00:22 AM »
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First off, I don't get it...who in the world thinks the Tenacity card is bad?  I'd argue it was really freaking strong, personally.   If I had a deck of nothing but those, I don't see how I'd ever lose a game.


Because a card that is an auto-damage isn't all that useful for your beat-stick units.  Its only really useful when you have a disproportionate matchup (like Knights vs Crossbowmen).


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  I can see why YOU shouldn't be able to play another card, but can't see why it is necessary to hamstring the opponent.  Adding a die and a movement class is a really good card as it is...

Because the card is massively weak otherwise.  Seize the Initiative is two units getting +1 die and +1 MC and you can still play cards.  Aspect of the Wolf, among other things, gives you +1 MC and you can still play cards.

Losing the option to play Red or Blue cards for +1 Mc and +1 die is way weak.  And as good as +1 MC can be if you get it at the right time, if you draw it late game, it's much less useful.


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I have a suspicion this stand and shoot is better than you think

Do you have any particular reason for that?  I mean, we set up a pretty good situation for Vlachold and they came near a draw.

But more to the point:  do you really think its better than the Dwarf gunline?  I'm starting to think that the Dwarf gunline is better.


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I already have some BS for any stand and shoot I am going to unleash just to get it banned anyway.

Well, I think its good for you to keep that bias against gunlines in mind when you test.  You personally may not like them (I'm not a big fan of playing them either), but that shouldn't sway your opinion of their balance.

RushAss

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Re: Vlachold gunline vs Hawkshold close & hose.
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2013, 11:26:34 AM »
I like the fix for Punish their Mistake.  Like Tim, I had reservations about not permitting opponents to play cards for that attack.  But if you remove that ability, you basically make PTM a Lash in command card form.  May I suggest that the command card effect of PTM prevents opponents from playing defensive cards for the attack but they can still play offensive ones?

I always thought Tenacity was a good card, who's maligning it?
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GoIndy

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Re: Vlachold gunline vs Hawkshold close & hose.
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2013, 12:07:40 PM »
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Because the card is massively weak otherwise.  Seize the Initiative is two units getting +1 die and +1 MC and you can still play cards.  Aspect of the Wolf, among other things, gives you +1 MC and you can still play cards.

OK...you mean massively weak compared to the ludicrously ovepowered dark elf card.  However, if you removed that card and replaced it with a mithril (or pretty much any other really good card), how would that game have went?  It's a really good card, whether anyone can play cards or not.  You could kick out any card whatsoever in the Wuxing, and replace it with that version, I'd take it every time.  (And I suspect....everyone would)  I've read all of these game reports, and I can remember you several times commenting on how one card saved your bacon, and that without it, everything is differnt, or you are hosed. 

As for the stand and shoot thing, I think you are misunderstanding.  I have a setup I think will be ludicrous, and it would work out great with your heavy archer dudes.  It's not the archer dudes that are overpowered, or stand and shoot, but the combination can lead to something silly.

RushAss

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Re: Vlachold gunline vs Hawkshold close & hose.
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2013, 02:03:43 PM »
That's why we pay Tim the big bucks.
"You can never break the chain - There is never love without pain
A gentle hand, a secret touch on the heart
A healing hand, as secret touch on the heart"
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Hannibal

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Re: Vlachold gunline vs Hawkshold close & hose.
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2013, 03:16:10 PM »
OK...you mean massively weak compared to the ludicrously ovepowered dark elf card.

Actually, if you look, I also compared it to the Aspect of the Wolf (or whatever Ravenwood card that gives +1 MC).  If you're willing to trade not playing any of your Command cards (Blue or Red) for +1 die, I'll gladly give you a deck-full of that card.   ;)

But even when comparing it to Seize the Initiative:  we can debate how good that Dark Elf card is, but any card that is exactly half as valuable is weak.  The way I know is because without any prohibitions on cards, PtM is Lash.  Which is less good in most cases than a card.


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It's a really good card, whether anyone can play cards or not.

No it's not.  It's Lash.  And Lash is not a good card.  Its sometimes better than a card but most times worse (i.e. how most army abilities should be).


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You could kick out any card whatsoever in the Wuxing, and replace it with that version, I'd take it every time.

See that's not a fair comparison, because cards exist their context.  Their value is relative to their context.  For example, a +1 Toughness card is a weak card.  But if every unit in your faction is already Toughness 3, then it becomes more valuable.

One of the weaknesses to Punish their Mistake is that you can't play any command cards.  In a faction with a lot of Cge 12 and Cge 11 units.  And weakens the card a lot. 

Yeah if you put it in Wuxing, it's going to be better, because Wuxing don't take rout checks.


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I can remember you several times commenting on how one card saved your bacon, and that without it, everything is differnt, or you are hosed. 

Yep, but that's the case in almost any game.  Ironically, Punish their Mistake has determined the game outcome twice.  In about 20 games.  One of those times was recently, when it did exactly what it was designed to do.  The other was this game, where it did something it's not designed to do (and thus we're changing it).


Quote
As for the stand and shoot thing, I think you are misunderstanding.  I have a setup I think will be ludicrous, and it would work out great with your heavy archer dudes.  It's not the archer dudes that are overpowered, or stand and shoot, but the combination can lead to something silly.

Cool.  What is it.  I'd like to see it in action.  Or at least you can describe it to me (even better is snap a picture).


May I suggest that the command card effect of PTM prevents opponents from playing defensive cards for the attack but they can still play offensive ones?

Potentially.  I was removing all command cards so that it could be played defensively on occasion, but I could see it going that way.  Something like:

"Play during the Movement & Command Phase on one of your units.  That unit gains +1 MC and O:(+1)+0/+0, but may not play Command Cards while attacking this turn.  Enemy units engaged with that unit may not be affected by Green Command Cards this turn (already played Command Cards are unaffected) or by Blue Command cards while your unit is attacking this turn."
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 03:29:31 PM by Hannibal »

GoIndy

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Re: Vlachold gunline vs Hawkshold close & hose.
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 09:09:43 AM »
Quote
See that's not a fair comparison, because cards exist their context.  Their value is relative to their context.  For example, a +1 Toughness card is a weak card.  But if every unit in your faction is already Toughness 3, then it becomes more valuable.
You don't seem to have any problem whatsoever comparing these cards to Dark Elf cards, or Ravenwood cards.  Not real sure how a movement class upgrade with an attack die is really strong on the Wuxing, and is viewed with disdain on the Vlachold.

If I was playing the monsters and mercs, and all the card did was add a movement class..no attack die...no effect on cards...nothing else....I'd want it in the deck.  If I was playing High Elves...I'd want it in the deck.  Rome, Carthage, Umenzi, Hawkshold, or Brook's Gnome/Fey faction.....I'd want it.  That to me is the absolute definition of good.  If 'Lash' was a card in any of these factions, it'd be freaking awesome.  As awesome as this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdXQJS3Yv0Y

Now..is it as good as every other card out there?  No.  I don't get why it has to be.  I definitely don't want to be using Dark Elves as the basis for anything in the future, or we'll be redoing 50 more cards for faction creep again.

Hannibal

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Re: Vlachold gunline vs Hawkshold close & hose.
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2013, 09:48:30 AM »
Quote
You don't seem to have any problem whatsoever comparing these cards to Dark Elf cards, or Ravenwood cards.  Not real sure how a movement class upgrade with an attack die is really strong on the Wuxing, and is viewed with disdain on the Vlachold.

Because when the number one weakness of a faction is Courage, and I play a card that plays to my own weakness, its going to be a weaker card.  Note, I'm not viewing it with disdain.  I'm saying a card is weaker in this Vlachold.  Its still a very good card.

Put it this way:  let's say I have a card that is (+2)+1/+1 but I take a rout check on the turn I play it.  Which faction would it be more useful:  in Undead or in Lizardmen?

The weakness of PtM is that you can't play Blue cards, which double as your Courage boosting cards for this faction.  That means that its a riskier card (with more drawback) than if the card was part of the Wuxing deck:  because Vlachold has a bunch of Cge 11 and Cge 12 units, whereas Wuxing doesn't.

I think you can compare Ravenwood & Dark Elf move bumps because many of their units are 3.5" movers, the same as with Vlachold.  Its closer comparison because the two statlines are closer to an apples-to-apples situation.  But if the weakness of the card is that it makes it easier to be routed, comparing its effectiveness to a faction that doesn't rout isn't apples to apples.


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.I'd want it in the deck.  If I was playing High Elves...I'd want it in the deck.

Seeing as they already get Sprint, that'd be a particularly bad card.


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If 'Lash' was a card in any of these factions, it'd be freaking awesome.  

Well...then there's not much point of conversing further on this subject.  Because I think you're so massively wrong that the best we're going to do is agree to disagree.

Sorry, but if you think Lash is a good card, then I'm not going to find any feedback you have on Punish their Mistake helpful.  So why don't we table it and you tell me about that Super Secret Archer Build you have? :)
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 09:56:58 AM by Hannibal »

GoIndy

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Re: Vlachold gunline vs Hawkshold close & hose.
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 02:19:38 PM »
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Seeing as they already get Sprint, that'd be a particularly bad card
Or particularly awesome, if you could do both.  (And generally, faction abilities and cards are able to be used together)

Let me find some cards at work to take a picture and send you, I'll show you what I'm thinking.  Again...it's not that archers or crossbowmen are particulary awesome, it's just a ridiculous setup can be done which makes no sense.


Hannibal

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Re: Vlachold gunline vs Hawkshold close & hose.
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2013, 03:02:26 PM »
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Again...it's not that archers or crossbowmen are particulary awesome, it's just a ridiculous setup can be done which makes no sense.

Okay, I'd love to see it.  Mind you, if its something that you can do with (for example) Dwarf Crossbowmen + Archers, then I'm not overly concerned.  If its a Vlachold-specific problem, I'm more interested in finding a solution there.