Author Topic: Rematch: Vlachold vs Wuxing  (Read 1230 times)

Hannibal

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Rematch: Vlachold vs Wuxing
« on: July 24, 2014, 02:08:45 PM »
This week we decided to have a rematch of Vlachold vs Wuxing, with me playing Wuxing this time.  I wanted to take a couple of the still-undercosted Jun horse archers, but it didn't work out that way.  There was a concern raised about People of the Borderland + Voivoide Knights = too good at "king of the hill."  Specifically, they could grab a hill and then be D:4/3 and that was frustrating.

For reference, the rule is:

Quote
People of the Borderlands:  A Vlachold unit gains +1 MC when in terrain other than Roads, Stakes, Hedges, Low Walls, or Fences.

The rule was put in place to give Vlachold a little nudge in mobility, but not blazing fast on an open field.  It was patterned after the medieval Eastern European armies that tended to fight more guerrilla warfare, making use of ambushes and raids rather than open battle.  From herein, I'll abbreviate it as PotB.

When we were choosing scenarios, we got Key Objective on map 4C.  This is the map that has the giant hill arranged perpendicular to the deployment zones.  It has 3 levels with the top level accessible only from the 2nd level (i.e. the unit's flanks are protected).  We decided to try this out as this is far and away the most favorable situation for PotB + Knights.


Wuxing:  2 Terracotta Swordsmen, 2 Terracotta Salvaged, 1 Jade Nobles, 1 Jun Horse Archers, 1 Shanzhi Monks, 1 Jade Dragon.

Vlachold:  4 Voynik Swordsmen, 1 Voynik Hillfolk, 1 Kraynik Lancers, 1 Warriors in the Mist, 1 Voivoide Knights.

Vlachold units for reference:

Voynik Swordsmen - Core - 195 pts
O:(5)5/5  D:2/2  Rge:-  Cge: 12  Mv: 3.5"  3G/5Y/2R

Voynik Hillfolk - Core - 222 pts
O:(5)5/6  D:1*/2  Rge:-  Cge: 12  Mv: 5"  3G/5Y/2R
D:+1/+0 vs ranged attacks.

Kraynik Lancers - Standard - 242 pts
O:(6)5/5*  D:2*/2  Rge:-  Cge: 11  Mv: 7"  2G/2Y/2R
Cavalry.  O:(+0)+0/+2 and D:+1/+0 when charging.  Red Harvest. Drain:  7" range.  May not Drain Voivode Knights or Tepes Lords.  Blood Powers:  Blood is Life.  (Note: they have 1 Blood Point box)

Voivoide Knights - Elite - 436 pts
O:(6)6/5*  D:3*/3  Rge:-  Cge: 11  Mv: 6"  3G/2Y/2R
Cavalry. O:(+0)+0/+2 and D:+1/+0 when charging.  Red Harvest. Drain: 6" range.  Blood Powers:  Blood is Life, Inhuman Frenzy, Unholy Aura.  (Note: they have 3 Blood Point boxes)

Warriors in the Mist - Elite - 283 pts
O:(5)4/8  D:4/0  Rge:-  Cge:-  Mv: 3.5"  4G/4Y/4R
Terrifying.  Always has the "Close" Standing Order and may not be given a Standing Order Modifier or be directly controlled. Passes all Courage Checks. You may not play Command Cards on this unit.  No Perserverance box.


Deployment


Vlachold (L->R):  Swordsmen (in front of Lancers), Swordsmen, Warriors in the Mist, Voivoide Knights, Hillfolk, Swordsmen, Swordsmen

Wuxing (L->R)
Front Row:  Swordsmen, Jun Horse Archers, Swordsmen
2nd Row:  Salvaged, Jade Dragon (front), Salvaged
3rd Row:  Shanzhi Monks, Jade Dragon (back), Jade Nobles


I know the glare makes it impossible to make out the Vlachold units.  Sorry.  Really though, the only thing you need to know is that the units on the hill were (left-to-right) Warriors, Knights, Hillfolk.  Those three units fought this game.  Literally no other unit on either side got into combat this game.

My plan was pretty obvious:  go for the quick-tap.  The Jun would race up the hill and delay the Knights, allowing the Jade Dragon to come along after and claim the hill.  The Terracotta units would shuffle sideways to create room for the Shanzhi Monks and the Jade Nobles to move onto the hill and protect the flanks of the Jade Dragon.  The Monks would also tie down the Warriors in the Mist.

Scott's plan was simple:  charge.


Race to the Top


This is after each side has taken 1 turn.  The Jun Horse Archers have moved up 6" and the Voivoide Knights have moved 6".  Note, if they didn't have PotB, they would have moved 5" and been only about an inch further back.

Elsewhere, my Terracotta units clear the way.  The Monks use Air Stance to get up into position quickly.  The Jade Nobles are a little slowed down because the Terracotta units can't get out of the way quick enough.


Jun Sacrificed


This is after both sides have taken 2 turns.  The Jun got right up in the Knights' faces, preventing them from grabbing the top of the hill (and lowering the die by 1).  The Knights charged them and blew them up immediately.

At this point I'm actually hosed.  Because those Voynik Hillfolk on the right side of the hill have merrily raced forward 5" and if I move my Jade Dragon up, I'm going to get pinched.  If I don't, I cede the hill.  So PotB made a huge difference in this game...just not on the Voivoide Knights.

But...here's the thing, it mattered because I made mistake.  I was so tunnel visioned on getting my Jade Nobles into the fight that I let this happen.  Had I just sent the Terracotta Swordsmen forward rather than had them shuffle sideways, I could have protected that flank.  So yes, PotB mattered here, but I could have prevented it from impacting the game.  If the Jade Dragon had taken the hill, the Voivoide Knights would be 4s and 3s on the charge turn but then 4s and 1s after that.


Jade Dragon Pinched


This is the end of the Wuxing turn[1].  I moved the Jade Dragon up, accepting that I'd have to eat a pinch.  And that's what happened.  Scott played the two best Command Cards he had and put the unit all the way down into the Red.  This is where Feign Inferiority, Beyond Defeat, or No Calamity Fear would have been useful.  Or heck even some Hardened and/or Mettles.  But I had none of those cards.

Elsewhere, the Warriors in the Mist charged and the Shanzhi Monks failed their Terrifying check, meaning they did little damage.  Also, they were still in Air Stance, which I'd used to get up the hill to defend the flank of the Jade Dragon.

[1]  The brass die on the hill is the counter for Key Objective.  It is mistakenly at "1" because we moved onto the the next round before I realized I needed to snap a picture.  At this point the counter still is at "2."


Endgame


On my turn, I flipped over the die to "1" which would end the game.  The points were not likely to get better for me at this point.  And in fact, I would lose if the Jade Dragon died.

The Jade Nobles pinched the Hillfolk, but they passed their check.  In what has become a pattern, the Jade Nobles proved to be constructed by the lowest bidder.  Out of 7 dice, I rolled three 6s, meaning that despite needing 7s to hit, I missed with one. I played Opportunities Multiply, getting 3 more hits.  So I'm rolling to wound with 9 dice, needing 4s.  I get 2 wound...one of which is negated by Fatalism.  So grand total for charging, flanking, pinch Jade Nobles attacking a D:1/2 unit is one wound.

With the Jade Dragon I played Beyond Defeat, attacking to Hillfolk to my side and getting 2 "wounds" which would negate 2 wounds to the Jade Dragon.  I then promptly lavished Blue cards on the unit to keep it alive.  I managed to only take 1 wound after it was all said and done, meaning the Jade Dragon lived and claimed the hill.

Elsewhere the Shanzhi Monks, now in Fire Stance and with an Accuracy, did 5 wounds to the Warriors in the Mist, putting them into the Yellow.  The Warriors did nothing back, since they needed 1s to hit.

Final score:
Wuxing:  494pts.
Vlachold:  520pts.

A draw.  Had I not ended the game when I did, the numbers would have only gotten worse for me.


Analysis:  Basically, I messed up.  I was so eager to get good matchups, that it cost me the game.  As for People of the Borderlands, here's our take on it.  This is offered without conclusion either way, just stating facts:

--Voivoide Knights:  PotB didn't matter for them.  If they didn't have it, they would have moved 5" up the hill and been 1" further back when the Jun got in their face.  The Knights would then have advanced to the same spot, because the Jade Dragon ended up where he did because he had to march uphill.  But even if that wasn't the case, the Knights would not have gotten the uphill bonus either way.

--Warriors in the Mist:  PotB didn't really matter.  Yes they got +1 MC for it, but being 3" further forward didn't help them much.  It didn't let them threaten a flank, because of the terrain.  In fact, you could make the argument that it hurt them, because by being on auto-Close they had to run right into the Monks.  If they were 3" further back, they wouldn't have been able to Final Rush the Monks and wouldn't have been put in Yellow.  Without the points for that, this game would have been a win for Vlachold.

(in all fairness, this is unlikely.  The complete and utter failure of the Jade Nobles was pretty bad luck.  So in 19-out-of-20 games I would've gotten points for putting these guys in the Yellow.)

--Hillfolk:  this is where PotB mattered.  It allowed them to move uphill at 5" a turn and flank the Dragon.  However, had I been smarter about it, I could have prevented that.

--PotB cost:  unlike Ravenwood or Runeguard, we charged Vlachold for PotB because we feel that it will usually have an impact on the game.  We in essence charge a ~2.5% per-unit tax on the faction for this ability.  This comes out to about 45-50 pts, depending.  Usually it comes in at 47 pts, plus or minus 1 pt[2].

We determined the cost of the Hillfolk had they been MC 6" (which basically is what they were for this scenario).  Them being +1 MC would cost them +16pts.  Even if you say that the Warriors in the Mist benefited from it, the cost to give them +1 MC is +26pts.  That's a total of 42 pts to make those two units +1 MC.  The cost of PotB for the units Scott took was 47 pts.


[2] We are accepting that this is an average.  If you play on an open board, then Vlachold is basically just setting points on fire.  And if you play on a super terrain heavy board, then Vlachold is likely to get more of a benefit.  We felt comfortable with this because there's already situations like this in the game.  For example, imagine if this map had come up for Umenzi?  Even the GWE only moves 3.5" up that hill.  So a player could easily run up some fast light cavalry (followed by some other unit) and grab the hill.  Yes, the light unit would die, but then the unit behind it would capture the objective and start the countdown.  And that's not even talking about if Dwarves get a hill-heavy map or Ravenwood gets a forest-heavy map.



I'd like to know what people think here.  I'm really not trying to beg the question with the above comments & data.  I'd like to know what people honestly think.  Does PotB + Voivoide Knights (or Kraynik Lancers) + hill = frustrating?  Do you think PotB is undercosted a bit?



One final bit:  some of you may ask "why didn't you just fly the Jade Dragon up the hill?"  Yes, I could've easily done that.  Even though you can't start the Jade Dragon airborne, I could have spent the CA to send it up the hill on turn 1 at 5" a turn.  Then it would land on turn 2 after moving 10" and most likely capturing the hill (or at least contesting it).  That would have left me with 202 pts to play with (and more importantly, not have to sacrifice them). 

Well...I forgot.  I simply spaced it.  Chalk this up to lack of familiarity with the faction.  I fell back on the "fast thing to grab it and then beefy 5" mover to hold it" pattern when building my army, instead of having a good understanding of how this specific faction plays.

However, this is actually okay.  Because most factions lack an affordable flying unit.  Although it was less tactically wise in this specific case, having the Jade Dragons walk up the hill actually gives a better feel for all the other armies out there.  Because while most factions lack a flyer, many of them do have a fast unit and Knight/big guy type unit that moves 5" to follow along.  So, sub-par use of units here, but actually pretty standard tactic for a lot of factions.  And thus the results here can be applied more globally.

RushAss

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Re: Rematch: Vlachold vs Wuxing
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2014, 03:17:51 PM »
Great, quick report!

--PotB cost:  unlike Ravenwood or Runeguard, we charged Vlachold for PotB because we feel that it will usually have an impact on the game.  We in essence charge a ~2.5% per-unit tax on the faction for this ability.  This comes out to about 45-50 pts, depending.  Usually it comes in at 47 pts, plus or minus 1 pt[2].

We determined the cost of the Hillfolk had they been MC 6" (which basically is what they were for this scenario).  Them being +1 MC would cost them +16pts.  Even if you say that the Warriors in the Mist benefited from it, the cost to give them +1 MC is +26pts.  That's a total of 42 pts to make those two units +1 MC.  The cost of PotB for the units Scott took was 47 pts.


Just to be clear, you may want to indicate that this points cost is for an army at 2000 points.  So you are paying 45-50 points for People of the Borderlands on average for a 2000 point build.  Some folks may misunderstand this as 45-50 points per unit, as ridiculous as that sounds.
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Hannibal

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Re: Rematch: Vlachold vs Wuxing
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2014, 03:35:31 PM »
Right.  It works out to about 2-3%, depending.

RushAss

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Re: Rematch: Vlachold vs Wuxing
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2014, 04:44:21 PM »
I'd like to know what people think here.  I'm really not trying to beg the question with the above comments & data.  I'd like to know what people honestly think.  Does PotB + Voivoide Knights (or Kraynik Lancers) + hill = frustrating?  Do you think PotB is undercosted a bit?
I don't think the cost is really an issue.

Theoretically, the cavalry units with PotB strike me as an issue.  It didn't really come through here because Wuxing has both a MC 7" unit and a relatively fast big thumper unit that can back them up.  Play this scenario + terrain combo featuring something like Umenzi or Undead and they are not going to be able to get a swift unit up there and then follow it up with a unit capable of filling in for it in time.  Even scarier are the maps with large forests in the middle of the map.  Many factions have MC 5"+ Large or Colossal units representing their faster (or fastest) unit that can climb a hill alright, but that -3 MC in the forests would be brutal.  Except for Ravenwood of course 8) 

One thought I had was having PotB apply only to the non-cavalry units.  In and of itself that doesn't strike me as a bad fix, but it would drive the points cost down and there are already folks out there that already believe the Knights and Lancers are too cheap for whatever reason.
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Hannibal

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Re: Rematch: Vlachold vs Wuxing
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2014, 05:38:14 PM »
Quote
Play this scenario + terrain combo featuring something like Umenzi or Undead and they are not going to be able to get a swift unit up there and then follow it up with a unit capable of filling in for it in time.

Okay, just playing Devil's Advocate here: is that an issue with Vlachold, or with Umenzi/Undead?  Imagine Umenzi were playing this scenario vs:

Hawkshold:  Light Cavalry are a 6" mover that can grab the hill quickly.  Or they can go Scouts + Knights to "grab & hold."

Undead:  Skeleton Cavalry + Death Knights = D:3/4 on the top of the hill.

Orcs:  Wolf Riders + Axemen + 2 Lashes

Ravenwood:  Centaurs can grab the top of the hill or you can go Wolf Pack + Treant.

Dwarves:   :-\ 

Lizardmen:  T-rex.  Just...T-Rex.  Raptor Packs are an expensive way to grab the hill but it can be done...with Ancients following.

High Elves:  Bow-riders + HE infantry is an expensive way to do this, but if the game was Key Objective...

Monsters & Mercs:  Wildmen Horse Archers + so many things...  Or just take a Giant and call it a day.

Rome:   :-\  (they have the cavalry to get there, but not any infantry to follow up in time)

Carthage:  Elephants + Spanish Cavalry?  Again, getting infantry up there in time is an issue.

Dark Elves:  Slave Takers + Dusk Lances.

Persia:  Satrapal Cavalry or Persian Cavalry + Indian Elephant

Alexander:  Sarrissophoroi or Companion cavalry + Agema


So is the issue that Vlachold would outrace Umenzi GWE here, or is it that this particular layout totally hoses Umenzi against like 12 out of 15 opponents?


Quote
Even scarier are the maps with large forests in the middle of the map.  Many factions have MC 5"+ Large or Colossal units representing their faster (or fastest) unit that can climb a hill alright, but that -3 MC in the forests would be brutal.

I'm not seeing your point here.


Quote
One thought I had was having PotB apply only to the non-cavalry units.  In and of itself that doesn't strike me as a bad fix, but it would drive the points cost down and there are already folks out there that already believe the Knights and Lancers are too cheap for whatever reason.

Not necessarily.  This is an army-wide tax, representing the fact that you play differently knowing your MC 5" movers will be going uphill at 5".  Having that ability makes you much more willing to throw those Voivoide Knights forward, because they know they'll be supported (compare what just happened above).

At the end of the day, we'd be fine making that adjustment.  If folks feel that Knights (or Lancers) with PotB is frustrating to play, I'll pull it off them purely for that reason alone.