Posts Tagged ‘Strategy’

Best Play Recommends: Victory or Death

Posted on February 22nd, 2017 under , , , , , , , , , , . Posted by

TL;DR What: A dense, asymmetrical strategy game that pits two against two Players: 2-4 Time: 90-150 minutes People: You’ll need at least one serious player to drive things along Available: Originally on Kickstarter, but now listed on Amazon Why we recommend it It’s Christmas Eve 2016, and most of my immediate family have gone to bed. It’s late – 3am, in […]

The post Best Play Recommends: Victory or Death appeared first on Best Play.

Undiscovered Power Lists: Archaon Rotbringer

Posted on December 13th, 2016 under , , , , , , , , . Posted by

Welcome to the second part of our list-tech series, wherein I explore the dark apertures of a mind so insidious, even the Lords of Chaos can’t come up with lists as broken as his. I refer of course to the mystical augur we know only as ‘Jim’.

Jim comes up with thematic, non-legacy lists that we haven’t yet seen from the international tournament scene, or at least are not as prominent as we feel they could be.

Last time we looked at a badass, Dragon-Riding ‘A(e)lfa Strike’ list. You can check out that post here.

This week, Jim  gives us something far more sinister. Kneel, mortals, before Archaon Rotbringer.

The Destroyer of Worlds is blessed by all the Dark Gods, often taking on their different aspects – including Nurgle.

Archaon Rotbringer

Archaon has been seen on the tournament circuit, but seldom, if ever, gets to a podium. Despite his intimidating stats, he is quite unwieldy, and can get taken out more often than is appropriate for a Destroyer of Worlds.

This list will work probably better with small Archaon, but our goal is to find ways to make non-legacy warscroll lists viable. We think this is a great way to get value out of big Archaon.

The basis for this combo is Archaon’s ability to trigger the Command Abilities for all Chaos Heroes nearby, and the fact that the effects of abilities can stack.

It should be noted here that some tournaments add a house rule that stops abilities from stacking, so if you are looking at running this list, check the Player’s Pack well beforehand!

The List

  • Archaon – 700
  • Festus the Leechlord – 120
  • Harbinger of Decay – 140
  • Harbinger of Decay – 140
  • Harbinger of Decay – 140
  • Harbinger of Decay – 140
  • Chaos Marauders (x10) – 60
    • Mark of Nurgle
  • Putrid Blightkings (x5) – 180
  • Chaos Warriors (x10) – 180
    • Mark of Nurgle
  • Chaos Warshrine – 200

Leaders: 6
Battleline: 3
Behemoths: 2
Number of models: 32

TOTAL POINTS: 2,000

The Combos

Deployment

As a unit-heavy list, you have 10 deployments, and are unlikely to get the choice of first turn. This leaves you vulnerable to turn one alpha strikes, so deploy cautiously when up against alpha-strike lists by bubble-wrapping your heroes with the Marauders.

Command Abilities

Let’s crack straight into Command Abilities. Archaon’s Warlord Without Equal ability allows all other units in the army to immediately use their own command abilities. In order:

  1. Harbinger of Decay uses Morbid Vigour, allowing each model within 7” to ignore wounds and mortal wounds on a roll of a 5 or 6.
  2. A second Harbinger of Decay uses Morbid Vigour, allowing each model within 7” to ignore wounds and mortal wounds on a roll of a 5 or 6.
  3. A third Harbinger of Decay uses Morbid Vigour, allowing each model within 7” to ignore wounds and mortal wounds on a roll of a 5 or 6.
  4. A fourth Harbinger of Decay uses Morbid Vigour, allowing each model within 7” to ignore wounds and mortal wounds on a roll of a 5 or 6.

Let us pause here to explain how this works. In AOS, there is no such thing as a ‘Ward Save’. Listed above are four separate abilities, each of which lets each model within range ignore all wounds suffered (after saves) on a 5 or 6.

For example; Archaon is within 7” of all four Harbingers. Say he gets hit by an arrow, and fails his 2+ armour save (he has Mystic Shield on of course). Now he has four more chances to ignore the wound on a roll of 5 or 6 – once for each Morbid Vigour ability in affect.

This means that after Archaon fails an armour save, 19%, or roughly one-in-five wounds are actually going through. Effectively you would have to inflict 100 wounds to him to take him down. If you do factor in his save, which even up against -2 rend is a 4+ with Mystic Shield – that is 200 wounds he can statistically absorb. Plus he gets the extra save against mortal wounds thanks to the Chaos Runeshield.

The rotten cherry on top of this disease-ridden combo is the Chaos Warshrine, adding an extra save on a six thanks to Protection of the Dark Gods.

The Chaos Warshrine could then activate, allowing all units within 16″ to re-roll failed Wound rolls with the Favour of Nurgle.

Festus can then heal D3 wounds on one of your models with his Delightful Brews, Splendid Restoratives.

The Putrid Blightkings can also heal nearby units D3 wounds with their Virulent Discharge.

Magic Spells

If you need to make Archaon invulnerable, Mystic Shield goes on him.

Festus’ Curse of the Leper is a nice debuff that can make key heavily armoured opposing units softer and softer. This combos very well with the Putrid Blightkings, who need the extra help with their lack of rend.

Movement

If you want to make the most of the protection combos, you need to keep your units pretty tightly grouped within range of the Harbingers. This is a disadvantage for when you have to divide your force for objective play, so you could divide the Harbingers between a few smaller pods if required.

Marauders are a fantastic ‘chaff unit as they have Move 6, and can be very fast on the retreat, allowing you to block charges and then move on to contest objectives. As mentioned, they will not die in a hurry.

Shooting

None to speak of!

Combat

There isn’t much to say here. The synergy of the list is that the Nurgle units will not die. All units benefit from the combat buff from the Warshrine, but again it’s the protective synergies that are taking you the distance.

Army Cost

This is a bit more of an expensive army to put together using the correct models. Archaon is the single most expensive model in the game at the moment (though if you can obtain the small version that might be an option), and the Harbingers are Finecast direct order only models. You can get around this by maybe converting some Chaos Knights. As is, however, the RRP is £321.50, and you will have 10 Marauders and 6 Chaos Warriors left over from their boxes.

Unit Substitution

This list could work well with a variety of Nurgle units. Epidemius is a great choice – hide him in your backlines somewhere. You could drop a few Harbingers for some more mobile troops like Plague Drones if the confined nature of deployment is too restricting. The Glottkin could be useful to double the amount of wounds the Marauder chaff can take to 100. You can even run the small Archaon if you want to be even cheesier than Jim –  as long as he can trigger the Harbingers, you’re golden. Or at least a sickly shade of green (it’s Nurgle after all).

Fitting in the Plaguetouched Warband battalion adds some nice synergies (such as -1 to hit in combat army-wide) at the cost of some points efficiency, but would allow you to get your whole army down in one deployment. This would also give the whole army the Everchosen allegiance, allowing you to take Varanguard as battleline.

The list would scale very well up to Warhost sized games.

Weaknesses

Once the heroes start dying, your synergies fall apart. The good news is, this is very hard to achieve.

Tactical flexibility is a big issue. To maximse the synergy, your units must all be in close proximity, relinquishing a lot of battlefield control. One way around this is to split your army into two pods, sending two Harbingers with each.

A well-timed Hand of Dust or Curse of Years will also bring tears to your eyes.

On the Table

Jim and I had a game play-testing this list. My army consisted of:

  • Nagash – 900
  • Wight King with Black Axe – 120
  • 5 Black Knights x 120
  • 20 Skeleton Warriors with Sword and Shield – 160
  • 20 Skeleton Warriors with Spear and Shield – 160
  • 20 Skeleton Warriors with Spear and Shield – 160
  • 20 Grave Guard with Great Blades – 320
  • Legion of Death Battalion – 60

We played the Blood and Glory battle plan. It ended up being a poor example of how the Rotbringer army could play. Jim moved Archaon too far out of reach of the buffs. He charged some skeletons and fluffed all his dice rolls. I retreated my skeletons onto his objective, and charged him with my Grave Guard. Over the next few turns I was able to take him down, as he did not have the benefit of the Harbinger buffs. Plus his dice luck failed.

I almost won the game, but missed a run roll with Nagash which would have allowed me to claim all four objectives. As a result, Nagash wasn’t involved in the game at all. Jim stayed in the game somehow, using his marauders and Harbingers to sneak through my army lines with canny use of retreats and piling in, and was able to snatch all four objectives by turn 5. An incredibly exciting and tactical game, which I’m still buzzing about, but not one that shows off the main synergies of Archaon Rotbringer!


I am keen to hear from anyone who has tried this! Please let me know your thoughts in the posts below. Can you think of any other counters? Would you be keen on giving the army a try?

Undiscovered Power Lists: Order Draconis

Posted on December 4th, 2016 under , , , , , , , . Posted by

Despite the simple core rules, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar is a deep and complex wargame, with most of the complexity found in the unit rules, or ‘warscrolls’. Metagame-defining combos are still being discovered, hidden in plain sight within (and between) the hundreds (and hundreds) of warscrolls available.

Here in the Tron we have access to the ‘Rain Man’ of the Age of Sigmar, a mysterious figure known only as ‘Jim’. Jim has a sixth sense at finding combos, and I wanted to start a series to go over some of his list-tech.

These will be lists that we haven’t yet seen from the international tournament scene. I suppose I should qualify that by saying that it is quite possible some of these lists have been discovered, but our focus is on the competitive scene for the purpose of this series.

Without further pre-amble, I give you the first of the Undiscovered Power Lists – Order Draconis.

Carrying on ancient traditions from a world long-lost, the Order Draconis range across the Eight Realms,
searching for other enclaves, and assisting the forces of light against the Mad Gods.

Order Draconis

Aelf lists are not heavily favoured in the competitive metagame at present. We think this list is an exception, as it can be built to perform as one of the most effective alpha-strike lists out there. In Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, games often come down to one crucial turn. This list takes advantage of this dynamic, pumping up the effectiveness of all models and enabling them to take maximum advantage of it for that one turn.

The List

  • Dragonlord Host (Battalion) – 80
    • Dragon Lord  (General) – 400
      • Dragon Lance 
      • Aelven War Horn
      • Reckless (Re-Roll Runs and Charge within 10”)
      • Quicksilver Potion (attacks before other models)
    • Dragon Blades (x5) – 160
    • Dragon Blades (x5) – 160
  • Dragonlord Host (Battalion) – 80
    • Dragon Lord – 400
      • Dragon Lance 
      • Aelven War Horn
      • Quicksilver Potion (attacks before other models)
    • Dragon Blades (x5) – 160
    • Dragon Blades (x5) – 160
  • Dragonlord – 400
    • Dragon Lance 
    • Aelven War Horn
    • Quicksilver Potion (attacks before other models)

Leaders: 3
Battleline: 4
Behemoths: 3
Number of models: 23

TOTAL POINTS: 2,000

The Combos

Deployment

Three deployment drops – one Dragonlord, and the two battalions. This means you will almost certainly get the first turn. And if you don’t, it’s not the end of the world, just hand back and set up for the charge in a following turn. While this makes for a spectacular first turn charge, this army works just as well saving up for a decisive big turn later in the game if required.

When deploying, a key consideration is making sure that your units are within 10” of the general at key moments – that will be the main skill of the list.

Speed

First up, the basic Move profiles are very fast; 14” for the Dragonlords and 12” for the Dragon Blades.

Add to this the battalion ability, which allows each unit to make a full move in the hero phase. If they are close enough to charge, after this bonus move, they can do so on a 4+. However, what we are aiming for is a turn one charge, so you will be starting at least 24” away from your opponent’s models, meaning this charge will require a roll of 10+ for the Dragonlords and a 12 for the Blades. We will opt to save this ability for the Dragonfire instead – more on that later.

The army now makes its regular move. By now, the Dragonlords have moved 28”, and the Dragon Blades 24”.  They should be within easy reach of key targets. Because Dragonlords can fly, you can even get over the chaff or terrain if needed.

Then you get to do your charge, on average another 7”, but you also have the General’s Reckless ability to reroll your charge rolls within 10” of him if you have positioned carefully.

The first turn charge is a big deal, but as mentioned, you can also save the big charge for later in the game – in which case charging in the hero phase might be a useful option.

The upshot is, this army can move across the table for the turn one charge more reliably than Destruction armies using Rampaging Destroyer, and almost as well as the Lightning Strike Stormcast.

Shooting

A requirement of decent alpha strike armies is the ability to clear chaff. Chaff are the annoying sacrificial units the enemy will throw in your way to slow you down, or ‘bubble-wrap’ more important units.

This Dragonlords each get a ranged ability called Dragonfire.

Remember how we passed up the opportunity of charging in the hero phase using that battalion ability? Instead, on a 4+, the Dragonlords can use Dragonfire in the hero phase, each potentially causing D6 mortal wounds. They can then do this again in the shooting phase. Pretty decent.

Combat

This is the meat-and-potatoes part of the list. Let’s assume you’ve managed to charge at least one dragon into key targets, which is quite likely. How much damage can you actually do?

Each Dragonlord has an Aelven War Horn. When blown once per game, all units within 10” gain +1 attack with each melee weapon. The wording is important. If all three blow them in the hero phase, and are within 10” of each other, that is +3 attacks with each melee weapon.

Suddenly, each Dragonlord attacks with:

  • Dragon Lance:
    • 6 Attacks, 3+ to Hit, 2+ to Wound, -1 Rend, 3 Damage
  • Dragon’s Claws:
    • 9 Attacks, 4+ to Hit, 3+ to Wound, -1 Rend, 2 Damage
  • Fearsome Jaws:
    • 6 Attacks, 4+ to Hit, 2+ to Wound, -2 Rend, D6 Damage

And each unit of 5 Dragon Blades unit attacks with:

  • Drake Lance:
    • 25 Attacks, 3+ to Hit, 3+ to Wound, 0 Rend, 2 Damage
  • Steed:
    • 25 Attacks, 4+ to Hit, 4+ to Wound, 0 Rend, 1 Damage.

Fearsome Jaws is the important one, but imagine a unit of 5 Knights doing 50 attacks! And half of them do two damage each!

Now for the fun part. The General’s Command Ability, Lord of Dragons, allows every unit within 10” to reroll all failed Hit rolls for its combat attacks.

OK I lied, THIS is the fun part; all Dragonlords have Quicksilver Potions. This is because you have two battalions in use, so you get an extra two artefacts. Most events allow duplicate artifacts (nothing against it in the GHB anyway). So you can attack with all three Dragonlords before the enemy gets to strike back. And as this is also your turn, you can even get in a unit of Dragon Blades.

And that’s pretty much it. As an alpha strike army, you are getting the charge, doing an almighty ton of damage, and hoping there is not enough left to swing back.

Army Cost

The Dragonlord Hosts as a competitive 2,000 point army is one of the least expensive to collect. RRP it costs £177.50 – less if you purchase via online retailers. That’s a pretty good deal!

Additionally, there are only 23 models to prepare, making it a good one for a beginner to get stuck into.

Weaknesses

There are some downsides that a canny opponent can take advantage of. The key one is that this army does its thing in one turn, while the Aelven War Horns, Potions, and charge bonuses are in effect. The Hit roll of the most important attacks (such as the Dragon’s) are only 4+, so anything that reduces the hit roll is going to throw a big spanner in the works.

During turns in which these guys do not charge, the lance attacks lose +1 to Wound and 1 damage. Also, there is a lack of rend for a lot of these attacks.

Objective play is a strength of the army, with a high threat range and speed.  But the army needs to throw everything at you in one go, and then go back for the objectives once they’re done. Perhaps keeping one or two units of Dragon Blades in reserve. So if you can keep out of their reach you might be able to score enough to take the game away from them. Easier said than done though.

And lastly, just outlasting them if you can. Enough chaff ‘bubble-wrap’, a few missed charges from the Dragons, and things will start looking up.

On the Table

Jim and I had two games playtesting the Dragonlord Host. My army consisted of:

  • Nagash – 900
  • 4 x Morghast Archai – 480
  • 2 x Morchast Harbinger – 240
  • 2 x Morghast Harbinger – 240
The Draconis force has been censored here due to unsightly proxies. Just use your imagination!

I had been yet to lose Nagash in a matched play game so far, spanning three tournaments and a bunch of test games, so I was counting on Hand of Dust doing some good work.

In the first game, Jim had the first turn, and by the end of that same turn I had lost Nagash and 4 Morghast Archai without striking back.

In the second game, I took the first turn, got all my buffs off, and then tried to bubble-wrap Nagash a bit better. I moved the Harbingers to take some side objectives. This time Jim charged in the second turn, and again I lost Nagash and most of everything else in one round.

Absolutely brutal!

I would be keen to hear from anyone who has tried this! Please let me know your thoughts in the posts below. Can you think of any other counters? Would you be keen on giving the army a try?

Coming Soon – Escape from 100 Million BC

Posted on December 3rd, 2016 under , , , , , , . Posted by

Here we take a look at Escape from 100 Million BC, an upcoming cooperative time traveling game from IDW Games.

The post Coming Soon – Escape from 100 Million BC appeared first on Co-op Board Games.