The Focus Camper’s Bible Part 2: More Details
The previous post in this series seemed to evoke some interest, so I’m going to forge on ahead.
Basics: Camping focus is a tradeoff that every warcaster has the option to pursue in any given round. You sacrifice the benefits you would have gained by allocating or spending that focus in exchange for armor on your warcaster. In order for this trade to be beneficial to you it is necessary to place your caster in a position that allows that armor to be meaningful. A successful camp sees you lose the benefits of the focus you could have spent in the round prior and gain the resources that the opponent expended failing to kill your caster. An unsuccessful camp sees you make the same sacrifice, and either lose your caster as they break your camp or sees them disregard your caster to continue with their game plan. This latter option is the most vexing, and is the one you must strive to prevent by supporting your camp.
Camping vs. Turtling:
There’s a confusion of terms that gets me in trouble when I talk about this stuff. Camping is when you keep all your focus on your caster, and move them into jeopardy. Turtling is when you keep all your focus on your caster, and move them out of jeopardy. Fundamentally they are different things. The purpose of Camping is to force your opponent to attempt an unlikely assassination. The purpose of Turtling is not to lose the game via assassination.
Some terminology: This is just how I talk, not the hip lingo of the Cool Kids. Nonetheless it’ll help if I let everyone know what I mean ahead of time.
Camp: As a verb, this mean to hold all your focus on your warcaster and move up into a critical position. As a noun it refers to the difficulty in killing a particular caster when he’s camping. In my mind it’s also the pokemon-esque sound that camping casters make as they move up to face the assassination.
Threat: The incentive for the opponent to attempt to break your camp, and not disregard it. Essentially, this is the consequence that lies in wait if your enemy simply ignores your camping caster and keeps fighting your army.
Break Camp: To use a high p+s weapon to kill you despite your fully camped armor/defense. “The Avatar rolled 4 focus and charged my caster, broke my camp on the ancillary attack.”
Negate/Remove Camp: To remove the focus on a warcatser. “In retrospect I shouldn’t have charged Nayl, when he blew up it negated my camp”
Finesse/Bypass Camp: To use an attack that gets around the focus on a warcaster without removing it. “I hate MHA’s”
Timing the Camp: The fundamental question of a camp is a simple one. When? The answer is equally simple. As soon as you calculate that they will fail to break your camp, and you can create a credible threat to induce them to try. A last component is that you not be already stomping them. In general your threat will concern scenario, so bottom 2/ top 3 tends to be when the most camps take place. If you are fortunate enough as to be graced with a threat that concerns assassination you can start as soon as you like.
Calculating the Camp: In the previous section I mentioned that camping calculation. This is the quick math you perform to determine if a camp is feasible. It isn’t terribly difficult, but there are several components, so you want to get good at this.
First, figure out the def/arm/HP you will be camping at, and where your threat requires you to stand.
Next, determine what they can bring to bear on your caster if you stand at that spot.
Then, determine if that will be enough to kill your caster, given average dice.
Lastly, make certain you haven’t omitted any factors (in particular things that can bypass or negate your camp).
Now you know enough to determine whether you should go in. Let’s look at each in turn.
Def/Arm/HP: These are on your card. Add your focus to your arm and there you have it. The only complication here is upkeeps on your caster and any gimmicks that you might have that could affect these numbers.
What they can use: This is simple as well. You calculate threat ranges all the time, just calculate what can reach/shoot your caster. A note here, since they are going for an assassination all the normal rules are off. People can be quite inventive when it comes to assassinating a caster. Whenever you have your camp broken by a threat vector you didn’t see it’s an opportunity to learn it. Remember that they can pay any price except their caster to kill yours, so you need to take into account that the opponent is unconcerned with the next turn. He’ll run vital pieces to block LOS to prevent free strikes. He might spend all his focus and end up in melee with your assassin piece. You need to take into account the full blitz on your caster. They have no incentive to hold back. In particular, remember their feat. I once tried to camp Reznick with Venethrax.
Can they kill you: This is simple as well. In terms of calculating hits, I tend to simply figure they’ll hit half of any roll that they need a 6 7 or 8 for, rounding against myself for safety’s sake. If they are boosted I’ll figure they’ll hit half of anything from 9 to 12. If they need higher they won’t go for it, if they need lower they’ll hit all of them. In terms of damage, 2 dice yields 7, 3 dice yields 10.5, 4 dice yields 14, 5 dice yields 17.5, six dice…what’s going on? Don’t try and camp through 6 dice damage. Are you crazy?
As an example, let’s look at our man Basic Bob once again (15 def, 16 arm, 6 focus, 15 HP). If he has to camp through the charge of a unit of blood gorgers he sees that 4 can fit on him, so that’s 8 attack rolls needing 7’s. 4 are charges, 4 are not. So we’ll assume 2 charges hit, 2 non charges hit. Charges roll 23.5, non charges roll 20. His arm is 22, so he’ll take 2 times 1.5 and 2 times 0, for a total of 3 damage. He should live through this.
In terms of living through something. If the damage roll is within 3 of your life, its’ a complete coin toss. I like to have at least 7 points of difference between expected damage and HP, but that’s something you need to find your own tolerance for.
Can they change the odds: What if these Blood Gorgers are being run by Zerkova (wtf?), or more rationally scaverous. Scavs can hit you with TK, and/or freezing grip. Either or both of these will push the gorgers into the “everyone hits” range, which will double the #’s in the previous calculation. So six damage. It still feels safe, but he also has Feast of Worms. If he can get that onto you it’ll add 2 damage to all 4 charge attacks, which will push the damage to 14. Now this camp is a complete toss up. When you consider that he’s rolling damage with the Feast, and probably some Excarnates as well, it starts to look like this isn’t a camp you should be trying. You need to force him to expend his feat before you head up.