What’s up guys, it’s Trevy the Great from Way of the Swan with my first post on this auspicious blog! I’d like to thank Phatasian and all the Muse crew for deciding that it was a good idea to allow me to share my incoherent mewling with you all! Anyway, I’m back from my long, arduous training for the New England Team Tournament to talk about some of the lessons that I learned over the course of my games…
Recently, I’ve suffered a series of seriously debilitating defeats. Most of my losses come from practice games that I’m playing using a new list with which I am not only extremely inexperienced but which also requires an incredible amount of finesse that I’ve thus far disregarded in a primitive attempt to use it as a blunt club with which to brain my opponents. Of the remaining losses, I’m able to attribute a large number to my responses to my opponent’s lists and ‘casters.
What I mean by this is that there is a quantifiable change in the way I play based on my knowledge of my opponent’s ‘caster alone. “That sounds like a commendable attribute,” I hear you cry (albeit in far less facile and eloquent terms), “obviously it means that you can adapt your play style to your opponent!” Unfortunately, it’s not that awesome; it’s not even really a conscious decision. I’m bad at explaining things, so let me give you an example; I recently played against a pDeneghra player in a practice game using my eHaley list. For some reason, I decided that Cryx was a good Faction to start with to unfortunately pDenny was my first ‘caster and as such I know exactly what kind of awful, dirty and perfectly inhuman things she can do. I was acutely aware of the assassination threat that Denny had (22” range from an Arc Node is the magic number) and playing with that in mind, I kept Haley extremely far back and tried to pick off as many Arc Nodes as I could get my hands on.
A battle report of the game will be up shortly on my YouTube channel, but the short story is that I played far too conservatively with Haley, saving her Feat to stop a potential assassination run in the future rather than using it to allow me to play my army more aggressively without fear of retaliation. If Deneghra’s Arc Node is caught in Temporal Shift and more than 15” away, Haley is almost Denny-free. If both Denny and the Node are caught, Deneghra activates first and can’t get the Arc Node in range of anything important. Both of these were possible in my game, but I was playing so timidly that I did not take the facts into account.
So that brings me to my point; our preconceptions of how a game will end up wildly change how we play certain matchups; ‘casters with long assassination threat can force us to play unreasonably far back while ‘casters with a strong attrition game can sometimes surprise us with interesting assassinations. Speaking as a Cygnar player, eCaine and eHaley are great examples of this: eCaine is widely known as a powerful assassination ‘caster, but his attrition game is extremely strong and in some cases almost stronger than his assassination run. If you’re playing your ‘caster too far back, Caine’s ability to attrition becomes all the more powerful. eHaley is likewise known as an attrition and scenario focused ‘caster, but is deceptively powerful in the late-game as an assassin. At P+S 13 with a possible 9 Focus and the ability to gain a reasonable 15” threat range, she herself can take down an unwary Warcaster while they’re least expecting it, while Time Bomb and Telekinesis can set up an assassination for her other models.
The way to counter these preconceptions is simple; take your time during your turns. Math things out, look at all possible problems and solutions. Think about it, look closely at the game state, weigh up your options. Going too fast will only create holes in your plans that get filled by these preconceptions and lead to poor gameplay. If you can, play the matchups beforehand; some ‘casters sound really bad on paper and their reputations alone can leave less experienced players wondering how to win the game before the dice even hit the table, but in reality are perfectly beatable.
I’ll certainly be taking my own advice to heart in future games prepping for the New England Tournament and I hope it helps you as well!