Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Steamroller Scenario Play

Playing a scenario is very different from playing without one.

If you're looking at this post, chances are you already know what Steamroller is in the context of Warmachine/Hordes. But if not, it's basically the scenarios given out by PP every year for scenario/tournament play. 

How it works is simple. Whoever gets to 5 CP wins based on scenario. It used to be 3 but now it's apparently 5 because 3CP made games really short at times. 

So why play Scenario? Because it offers a valid alternative to pure assassination or attrition games. There's no denying that certain casters/faction are much better at others for assassination/attrition, especially with dreaded gunlines, temporal barriers and what not. Scenario helps to mitigate some of that. Also, it helps reduce the amount of time needed per game usually. 

However, playing with a scenario isn't quite as simple as playing withOUT a scenario. There are a few things you have to keep in mind if you want to play scenarios successfully

No Camping

Now, this is a huge deal because chances are if you've played only non-scenario games before, you may tend to do a fair bit of this. But in general, this doesn't work so well in scenario play. Mostly because if you hang back too much, you may end up conceding CP to your opponent because you have no models to contest the zone/flag because a)they were all killed or b)you didn't even more them up in the first place. 
I'm not saying gunlines are not a viable choice in an army, but you're going to need to be able to go up and contest zones with things that are either too numerous to kill or just too damn hard to kill off in one turn. That means getting down and dirty with the rest of them. 

Solos are King

Due to the rules of Steamroller 2013, you can only control a zone if your model/ whole unit is in it and the unit must be at 50% of its original starting strength at least and not fleeing. For a flag, the unit needs to be within 4" of it and a unit must be base to base. Unfortunately, clustering that closely together is usually suicidal if your opponent has ANY decent AOEs at all. 

So what does this mean? It means that solos are suddenly your best friend because they can control zones/flags by themselves without needing to use other models to do so. Technically jacks can do this as well, but jacks tend to cost more but are also more durable. However, solos tend to bring more abilities onto the field while jacks require focus to really be able to function efficiently. Unless you're playing Menoth that is.

Infantry Machine

Instead of Warmachine, sometimes the game is more infantry machine. Which brings me to my third point. Sometimes you just needs huge masses of infantry to just block your opponent from controlling a zone. Since you contest zones as long as one model that you control is within it during the end of the turn. Unfortunately, solos aren't that great at contesting zones most of the time due to the fact that once they're dead, you don't have anything left to contest the zone with. What you really want is either a large heavy warnoun to contest it, but things die all too easily in warmachine and anything can be brought down with enough fire on it. 

Hence, why having enough bodies is fairly important. Because losing one of an infantry unit hurts a lot less than losing a solo/warnoun most of the time. Mostly because they're costed a lot lower than solos/warnouns. Yes that 1 model can contest. So having enough bodies to contest is important.  

Play the Scenario

This is fairly important. Each scenario is slightly different but the variation is enough that you have to plan out how you're going to win. In general, it's almost always better to play the scenario and try to win via CP than anything else mostly because CPs are also used in case of tiebreakers. 

At the start of the match,you probably should determine how you're going to get your CP, how you're going to block your opponent from getting CP and deploy your troops accordingly. Sometimes it can be worth it to give up points if you know you're going to make them back later but those are really based on your own individual judgment. 

Also note if the scenario has killbox because you generally don't want to play super squishy casters in killbox scenarios *coughnemocough* and you also don't want to give your opponent free points. Or killbox yourself twice. In a row. 

Also note, in case of ties in terms of matches won and lost, Scenario points are the first tiebreaker. So again, they're pretty important. 

When All Else Fails....

Remember, caster assassination is still an option. And so is killing off his entire army, but that might not win you the game while caster-killing will. So if you're backed into the corner, about to lose, just go for it. Who knows? This is STILL a dice based game after all and weirder stuff have happened. Frequently. Like that one trollblood player making tough on his warlock 7 times in a row...