Author Topic: Greeks vs Monsters & Mercs: Chosen Ground, 2000 pts  (Read 1006 times)

Hannibal

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Greeks vs Monsters & Mercs: Chosen Ground, 2000 pts
« on: January 05, 2014, 01:42:32 AM »
We've tested the Greeks in a lot of fairly even matchups, so we started looking at ones that were good or bad pairings.  The most obvious one is Monsters & Mercs:  a faction full of Large guys against a faction full of pointy sticks?  Bad times for the Monsters.

I took the challenge and decided to play Monsters & Mercs, with a build in mind.  When we sorted out scenarios (3 scenarios + terrain map, each player gets a veto), we ended up with Chosen Ground.  After dicing off, Scott chose to pick the terrain, which was fine with me because I wanted the extra 100 points.

Monster & Mercs:  4 Half-Orc Swordsmen, 1 Healer Mages, 1 Earth Elemental, 1 Red Dragon

Greeks:  2 Theban Hoplites, 1 Corinthian Hoplites, 1 Perioikoi, 1 Boeotian Cavalry, 2 Thracian Warriors, 2 Rhodian Slingers



Greek units for reference:

Theban Hoplites - Core - 254 pts
O:(7*)5*/5*  D:2/2  Rge:-  Cge: 12  Mv: 3.5"  6G/3Y/2R
Phalanx, Ponderous.

Corinthean Hoplites - Core – 295 pts
O:(7*)5*/5*  D:2/3  Rge:-  Cge: 12  Mv: 3.5"  6G/2Y/2R
Phalanx, Ponderous.

Perioikoi - Core - 274 pts
O:(7*)5*/5*  D:2/2  Rge:-  Cge: 13  Mv: 3.5"  6G/2Y/3R
Phalanx.

Boeotian Cavalry – Standard - 198 pts
O:(4)5/5  D:2*/2  Rge: 3.5”  Cge: 12  Mv: 6"  3G/2Y/1R
Cavalry, Javelins.  No Lock Shields box.  D: +1/+0 when charging.

Thracian Warriors – Standard - 205 pts
O:(5)5/6  D:1*/2  Rge:-  Cge: 13  Mv: 5"  4G/2Y/2R
Impulsive (At the start of any turn Thracian Warriors are within 7" of an enemy unit's center point, its orders change to Close).  D:+1/+0 vs ranged attacks.  No Lock Shields box.

Rhodian Slingers – Elite - 100 pts
O:(3)5*/6*  D:1*/0  Rge: 7”  Cge: 11  Mv: 5"  2G/2Y/2R
Skirmisher.  No Lock Shields box.  D: +2/+0 vs ranged attacks.  O:(-0)-2/-3 if engaged.


Deployment

(Sorry for the fuzzy pic)

Greeks (L->R):  Corinthians, Thebans, Thebans (in front of Perioikoi), Rhodian Slingers in front of Thracian Warriors, Rhodian Slingers in front of Thracian Warriors.  Behind these two stacks were the Boeotian Cavalry.

Monsters & Mercs (L->R):  Red Dragon, Half-Orcs (in front of Earth Elemental), Half-Orcs & Half Orcs (in front of Healer Mages), Half Orcs.

All the yellow dice in front of my units were objectives for my Half Orcs to slide sideways.  I move capped them at 2.5" a turn to keep them from running ahead before I want.  The yellow die in the center is an objective for my Red Dragon.  The yellow dice on the right were for his skirmishers to roll out to flank my line.

Scott's plan was fairly easy to see:  the phalanxes move forward while the Thracians flank my line.  Both the Thracians and Rhodian Slingers were Pow 6 to put a hurt on the high Toughness units in my faction.  The Perioikoi and Boeotians were there to corral Hill Giant that Scott was sure was showing up.

But he wasn't ready for a Dragon.    8)

My plan was summed by up three words:  "dragon fire" and "ponderous."  I needed to take away the advantage of green boxes that Greeks had, and I figured two turns of (5)6/7 ranged attack would do the trick.  The other thing was to get him to chase my flying dragon with an army that took 2 CAs to change their orders.  The Half Orcs & Earth Elemental were purely there to grind the enemy until the Dragon could do the work. 

One thing that I've found after a year of playing the dice charge is the effectiveness of the D:2/3 statline.  It makes Half Orcs (a borderline stay-in-the-box unit with the Pow charge) a fairly useful unit.  Yes they're still a Cge 11 unit with 4/2/4 hit boxes, but a Toughness 3 means that, for all their dice, the hoplites would only being doing about 1 point a turn.


Dragon Fire


The Greeks race forward while the Half Orcs slide sideways to hit their objectives, allowing the Healer Mages to Aura Cleanse every unit by the time the two lines hit.  I did a little "order of operations" manipulation to make the auto-close Earth Elemental slide sideways thanks to the Indirect Path rule.

The Dragon flew forward and breathed fire on the Thebans, doing 4 wounds out of 5 dice.  This not only erased the Green box differential with the Half Orcs, it put my Half Orcs ahead!


Greeks Charge


The Greeks cross the distance and charge in on three places along the line.  On the far left, the Corinthians went on Hold against the inevitable charge of the Earth Elemental.  To their right, the "slightly singed" Thebans slammed into the Half Orcs and were put in the Yellow, but passed their rout check.

On the far right, the Thracian Warriors hit the Half Orcs and get the better of the fight, aided by the 6 dice from the Rhodian Slingers.  However, those slingers ended causing a little bit of a traffic jam that held up the other unit of Thracians, creating a gap in his line.

Meanwhile, behind the Greek line, the Boeotian Cavalry began moving sideways to tie down the Dragon, but it looked unlikely to get there in time.


Dragon Airlines Touches Down


The Dragon lands behind the Corinthians as the Earth Elementals charge.  The Earth Elemental takes 3 damage from charging a phalanx on Hold, but the Corinthians are about to get rear-charged by a freaking dragon!  The Boeotians and Perioikoi are simply too far away to do anything.

To the right, the Half Orcs and Thebans each do enough damage to cause a rout check.  Both pass, with the Half Orcs needing to use their Spoils box.  On the far right, the Half Orcs pinch the Thracian Warriors, which are destroyed.  This exposes their flank to the other unit of Thracians, who flank charge the Half Orcs. 

I'm okay to trade units here, because it holds up the Greek flank attack.  That combined with the Toughness 3 and the Healer Mages, makes it so that I can hold up in this grindfest with the Greeks.


Greek Collapse


The Dragon rear charges the Corinthians, who pass their first check but fail their second when they're put all the way into the Red.  To the right, the Half Orcs destroy the Thebans, ironically leaving me with a bit of a traffic jam in that I have too many units and not enough targets.  Greedy, I know...   ;D


Playing for the Draw


At this point, Scott knows the game is essentially over, barring some really lucky rolls.  The Half Orcs pinch the Thebans, who are cut down.  The Red Dragon turns to face the Boeotians. 

On the right, the Half Orcs are destroyed by the Thracians who flanked them while the other Half Orc unit charges the Rhodians.  I drop a crad to do extra damage, but the Rhodians pass their rout check.


Caution to the Wind


In the center, the Perioikoi charge the Half Orcs (they are not being pinched...yet), but the Half Orcs pass their Red check.  On the left, Scott let the Boeotians charge the Dragon because it wasn't worth the CA to stop them (the Dragon was out of charge distance of the Perioikoi, so delaying the Boeotians got him literally nothing).  Predictable, the 700 pt monster destroyed the 200 pt cavalry.

On the right, the Thracians flanked and destroyed the Half Orcs.  It wasn't the flanking move he'd envisioned, but he got some value out of those Thracians.


Endgame


My Half Orcs pinched the Perioikoi and cut them down when they failed their Red check.  The Dragon took flight to go hunting for skirmishers, in case Scott felt like drawing it out.

He didn't.  Given that the Greeks had only 1 real unit left on the table, and that I had Healer Mages, and that there was no way that (even fully healed up) I had enough points to get a 5-1, we pretty much agreed to call it at a 4-2 win for the Monsters & Mercs.  With the Healer Mages, it was highly unlikely Scott could do enough damage to make it a 3-3 (which means >320 pts on the table).



Post-Game ThoughtsThat's how a faction of Large guys beats a faction of pointy sticks.

After the game we talked about it a bit and Scott felt that there just wasn't an answer to the Dragon, and that the best plan was to go forward, draw a bunch of cards, and try to get a breakthrough.  I disagreed.  I spent 2-3 CAs on Direct Control for the Dragon (mainly to make sure I could breath fire without a move & shoot penalty).  He could have used the Periokoi to match that.  Plus, if he put the Boeotians on Close with the Dragon as an objective, they could have shadowed the Dragon all game.  That way, wherever I went, the Boeotians would flank charge me and pin me down when I land.  Yeah, he'd probably still lose those units, but if his 500 pts tied down my 700 pts, it's likely still a win for him.  Then if he wins somewhere else, he can roll my line up and then go dragon hunting.


One thing we think is that the Greeks are definitely not broken.  They're scary, with their 6 Green boxes and 7 attacks, but they're incredibly fragile   Most of the army is Courage 12, and they have no Courage boosting cards.  That is entirely by design, because if they did have a courage reroll, I fear they'd be too good.  Also, large parts of the army are D:2/2.  This means that they're actually vulnerable to shooting, which was an issue for them.

Finally, those 7 attack dice are very expensive but they can be trumped really easily.  In particular, phalanxes have a real hard time with Toughness 3.  The Spartiates bring a Skill 6 unit to deal with high skill factions, but they don't really have an answer for T 3 units.

Another interesting thing is that the Greeks are actually kind of a swarm army.  Yeah they have a bunch of hoplites in the 200-300 pt range, but they also have a bunch of very affordable units Thracian Warriors are a very nice Pow 6 unit at 205 pts.  Boeotian Cavalry are actually very impressive for the 198 pts they cost.  Illyrian Spearmen are a neat little unit of spears + javelins at the low price of 207 pts.  The Rhodians are a very affordable way to get 3 dice at Pow 6.

Which is actually good.  The point is that if a player really wanted to line up a Greek alliance with 7 phalanxes led by 2 beefy Spartiates units, he or she could.  But if the player wanted, he could also go with 5 phalanxes and some fast stuff to work the flanks.

Finally, this marked the first time we used Perioikoi without requiring Spartiates.  Although they didn't do much, I think its a good change.  With that requirement, it wasn't worth fielding Periokoi.  Having to take the Spartiates drove up their cost, and if you're going to spent 25 pts to upgrade Thebans to Perioikoi , you might as well spend a full 40 pts to make them Corinthians.  But only having to spend 25 pts is absolutely worth it.

I will admit, it feels weird to have them there without Spartans (from a purely story perspective), but I stick with my justification that those are true Spartan Perioikoi.  They're actually a unit of drilled mercenaries, hired by the general.  Their increased Courage and lack of Ponderous represents the fact that these guys are professional soldiers who have fought in many campaigns.

RushAss

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Re: Greeks vs Monsters & Mercs: Chosen Ground, 2000 pts
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2014, 05:40:14 PM »
Pretty nice use of the Dragon here, and I totally agree with you about the Half Orcs.  Using a Healer Mage to make them equally grindy with the phalanxes was  a wise choice.  Is it just me or did the Dragon make it through this unscathed?
"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: Greeks vs Monsters & Mercs: Chosen Ground, 2000 pts
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2014, 05:46:19 PM »
When I originally cooked up this list (at 2,000 pts), I came to 1900 pts exactly.  I was contemplating dropping the Earth Elemental to a Half-Orc Sword to get the Healer Mages.  But I was really torn, as having a fearless T4 to eat a pinch could come in handy.

And yes, Smaug the Lesser had narry a wound on him.  Of course, the only enemy that actually attacked him was the Boeotian Cavalry.  And needing 1s to wound is just rough.

I'm telling you, with the dice charge, T4 is just as scary tough as Def Skill 4.  And its more common...