Thursday, 27 October 2016

Reflections, Rallpoint, Rask, and Rebalancing

Yay alliteration! Usually I struggle to title my posts, so I'm feeling overly proud of this one.

The title does hold relevance to what I want to write about too; I feel just reviewing my games at Rallypoint would be a tedious exercise, though the setting and games do provide the context for what I want to muse over, which is what playing Rask is like. Rask I think presents a particular example of how the game mechanics interact, so by extension, hopefully my experience lends itself to concepts I would like to apply to the game in general.

First of all, the list I was using;

- Targ
- Wrastler
- Ironback Spitter
Mist Speaker
Dahlia & Skarrath
Rorsh & Brine
Wrongeye & Snapjaw
Bokor and Swamp Shamblers

This was by no means an original list, where it was hard to miss the general discussion on Rask running "all-the-lessers" and throwing snakes around etc. You have that basic concept in mind, and the list largely builds itself.

I paired this list with my own concoction of a Maelok list, which I was relatively proud of, because it felt largely a construction of my own design. I won't get into detail on it however, because I ended up only playing Rask all 6 rounds of Rallypoint; while I felt my Maelok list was decent and played a damn good game, Rask far out-stripped him.

Playing Rask also includes such benefits as;
finishing games early to goof around and pester teammates 

So what is it about Rask? Well, its obviously not just him, there's also the the multiple layers of play that the lesser warlocks now bring with them. But just focusing on him for a moment, one of my biggest lessons was that the damage swings he now brings easily mitigates one of the problems that tends to exist within the game today. The ease with which one can apply Rage & Fury to magically just add +6 meant most single heavy targets evaporated when I could get to them, and this has been discussed ad nauseum. Pointing this out though is to highlight that my in-game decisions then only had to focus on two things; making sure I could hit my targets, and how to deliver them.

Now Rask has solutions to both of these issues; with the afore-mentioned throw shenanigans (which I never got around to doing) and his paralysis shot gun on living targets to address the to-hit issue. His feat obviously helps deliver the army, as well as having Boundless Charge and Veil of Mists on his card. But its great that theses are mitigated due to his Fury stat, where his ability to hand out these abilities quickly becomes a matter of prioritising your resources. The damage-swings are exempt from this, due to the Wrastler being able to also hand out Rage itself, alleviating The pressure on Rasks's Fury.

Then the lessers and other elements of the list come to the foray; Wrongeye & Snapjaw present a package that can also deliver themselves due to Submerge, and them along with Rorsh & Brine also present their own solutions for threat-extension and delivery. Added to that, Dahlia & Skarrath also have in-built to-hit mitigation, and when it presents itself, Dahlia also serves as a control piece, denying infantry the charge, and essentially crippling certain units just by standing there (Iron Fang Uhlans are not happy about her). At times I was also able to use the Bokor and Swamp Shamblers as a control element, usually just to occupy board space and serve as blockers, but the cheeky stationary shot the Bokor can put out was sometimes clutch, where combined with a Disruptor shot from Rask, would switch off a warjack a turn. Even Lanyssa would get lucky, landing a crit-freeze on the occasional model (especially vs Legion, remember those double boosts).

Overall, playing the list 6 times was hugely rewarding, due to the continuous layers to explore in resolving the problems presented, when playing an attrition game. However, my initial statement about Rask solve for damage (combined with the feat to deliver pieces), also allows a pretty massive margin of error. As I explored the applications of Veil of Mists and Brine's movement tricks, I would often make mistakes in my games, but never felt that penalised for them. The ability to either mitigate mistakes, or even just ignore them, is what makes Rask and his list quite unfair. In one of my games I missed scoring opportunities on scenario that would have handily given me the game, yet I could shrug it off because I  YOLO-SMASH-FACE'd instead.

To me, there's something a bit off when that happens. This isn't to say I steam-rolled my opponents either; they played great-games, and I don't think there were too many instances where the game felt completely lop-sided. The layering of tools and options that Rask (plus lessers list) has makes for a fantastic play experience, and should stay that way. However being able to just negate armour the way he does tips things to a point I feel adjustment is required. For him, it may be to lose Fury. That can perhaps mean replacing it with an offensive debuff, where he needs to actually land the spell, and consider spending extra resources to secure it. Actually, just taking Fury off him may be fine too.

Rallypoint was a fun weekend spent with the boys in Hamilton. Shout-outs go to Casey for running the whole thing, and resolving last-minute technical hitches in a way that did not impede our play-time. Props also to him for running Rask, and killing my heavies by trampling through my feat. Cheers to my team-mates Pete and Dave, and thanks also to Dan for putting us up at his place, and providing sweet sleeping arrangements.

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