Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Xerxis, Fury of AHURR-DURR

Even though I've broken down and analysed my play with Xerxis 2 in several lengthy diatribes, I still can suck eggs.

Last night I gave X2 another go with an out of tier list to try on how he would handle things. Bring Big Molik to the table, hoist my Willbreakers, and try out the Arcuarii as the interwebs had nice things to say about them with X2.

For all the good it did me.

How-to-play, a Befuddled guide to Warmahordes.

For the sake of thoroughness, here's the list I brought to the table:

Xerxis, Fury of Halaak 
- Basilisk Krea 
- Molik Karn
- Despoiler
- Archidon
- Gladiator
Mortitheurge Willbreaker 
Mortitheurge Willbreaker 
Min Paingiver Beast Handlers
Max Acuarii

Nikola, cobbled together a pThagrosh list with a Carnivean and Scythean, two Shepards, Warspears, Gatorman Posse, Swordsmen with UA, and Spawning Pot. Maybe there's some other stuff, but I basically looked at this army rush me and my brain just farted. H'ed moved up his infantry to jam the middle of the board, and I just did not know what to do. Mistakes were made, I was unable to properly commit to anything, and the only really cool thing that happened was sending my Despoiler trampling over some Swordsmen and then sprinting off them to plant itself next to the Spawning Pot. Otherwise it wasn't much of a game. On turn 2 I thought I could hurtle Molik into Thagrosh, but the chances of killing him on 3 transfers wasn't great. I was also of the frame of mind that it would not have made for that great a game, gunning for assassination that early.

But gunning for that would have made for a more interesting game; Committing to that would have put pressure on Nikola to respond, to put his beasts into Molik, which reliably would have been just the Scythean. Moving my force over to that side would have also mitigated the advantage he had in numbers. I even had a Void Spirit squatting in the zone I could forget about, meaning he was unable to score. So why didn't I just do this?

Well part of it was the afore-mentioned brain fart. Another thing I've identified is how I approach this game psychosocially.

How-to-social, another Befuddled guide.

This is something that I've been mulling over for a while. A big component of playing this game is the interaction you have with the opponent across the table from you. Generally they will be friends or associates, particularly considering how small the New Zealand gaming population is, and even if they aren't there are personal and social reasons for both people to have a good time. However, when I consider the other person's enjoyment of the game I tend to make dumb decisions. In the past Nikola had discussed how he hated going for assassinations, or being cornered into attempting one, because he felt it short-changed his opponent of the gaming experience. That idea was running through my head as I decided not to pinball Molik Karn towards Thagrosh. I thought attempting this would cheat us of a 'proper' game. Instead it was a non game anyways.

Not wanting to short change people has also manifested itself in my list building; I've used casters I'm not comfortable with, and built lists that were 'interesting' not because I necessarily saw some strength in their use or had a particular match up in mind that needed to be answered to, but because of some sort of stupid desire to be a snowflake with different lists. I wanted to be seen as not just relying on the tried-and-true power options. To date I think I've played two games with Gaspy2, not really liking the experience, but also wanting to avoid being just another fucking Cryx player. There's also the trap I fell into of following so-called internet wisdom on how to use and build WM/H armies, and example which can be seen in my inclusion of the Arcuarii in this list. One guy in one forum thread some where said they were awesome, and I used them expecting too much from them. Not saying they don't have game, I just would have preferred other options I have initially considered for the list. I also don't want to imply that following the example of other players around the world is a bad idea either, but that I have been to caught up in other's opinions, often for the sake of my own.


  1. Replies
    1. BAH-ROH. Not just Drakes, but now I'm thinking that anything with guns is the way to go here. But definitely going to put in an order in the new year for some gribbly fellas with sprays.

  2. It's a really valid point and something I've found comes up in my tournament games, often to my detriment - a lack of practising assassination runs in weekly Dojo games translates into uncertainty in tournament situations where you feel like you should go for it but psychologically something holds you back (either lack of confidence or some deep-seated feeling that you are ruining your opponents enjoyment factor). End of day one discussion at Lords of War (after I failed to go all in against Charlie) saw us *intend* to stop the clock in practice games to go for an assassination if we saw it, but in reality that still hasn't happened too often.

    And yet left-field assassinations and losing because your caster took a beating from downtown are a big part of why the game is so awesome.

    1. Yeah, I feel I should be focusing on scenario and attrition play more, and its something currently something I've found difficult to accomplish with Skorne. Recently my games seem to boil down to how hard I'm going to push till an assassination presents itself, and that hasn't felt like a way to improve my game.

      During some Muse podcast recently a guy mentioned how the sign of a more developed player is someone who plays for scenario and attrition, and assassinations were the bread and butter for beginners. I suppose I took that to heart, but being able to consider all 3 win conditions should be what demonstrates more 'mature' play.

      Further to that, I'm wondering if there's other win conditions people don't consider beyond those three, meaning we tend to get rail-roaded into only considering our wins in three specific ways. Like Deathclock/Timed Turns?

    2. Isn't that more the case of a more developed player , Will not put himself in a position to be assassinated? When playing against beginners, they are likely to get greedy, over extend and get punished for it.

      You've assassinated me 2 out of 2... You seem to Yank the chain just fine. Or do you reserve that specially for me?

      Love the blog by the way. Keep it up. I am interested in peoples musing on Skorne.

    3. I think there's generally a strong perception that winning on the clock is a bit of a dick move. One of the debates against timed turns is that a player can score some CPs, block/contest and play a convincing attrition game from that point, and then win on "dice down" when the round time expires (which is randomised and difficult to predict). That's harder to do with Deathclock but I suppose it's possible to build an army spamming dudes to force your opponent to roll lots of dice and wind down their clock. eSturgis + 100 McThralls?

      I feel like playing the scenario or attrition games is more beginner-ish and that feasible (i.e. not last ditch Hail Mary) assassinations require more insight and understanding of the game. It's one reason why I find playing Chris Baker so challenging - shit comes out of left-field and you're just like "whoa... what?" and it wasn't even chancy and lucky. Raaaaaaaahn!!!!!

    4. Great points all - I see what the people on the podcast were trying to say about assassinations being a beginner's way to win, if only because that's how starter games are played. Executing assassinations do require planning and redundancy. And redundancy of course applies to more than just having multiple assassination vectors and buffs/debuffs, but also having multiple plans to switch things up as required.

      Apologies for my ignorance, but PaW is Peter W? If so, those two assassinations wins I got on you are pretty typical of how those lists I ran are meant to work - Terminus just face-tanks and stomps his way to your caster. and Goreshade3 setups dudes to freeze you and send in things to kill you. Granted, that game at Lords of Ruin was me trying to finish the game as fast as possible because of my crook back. And I was lucky as shit to get it, my dice rolls were nuts :/

      And thanks for the kind words - its great to have the space to write about anything on my mind, even greater when people pitch in and turn this into a discussion.