Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dealing with Bullshit

A large part of WarmaHordes that differs from 40k/Fantasy is the prevalence of power combos. Lash of Submission and Obliterators are one of the primary examples from 40k. A decent power and a great unit used in combination can lead to an even greater result than either used in isolation. This sort of thing is much more common and every faction has access to differing amounts of what I affectionately call "Bullshit". The definition of Bullshit can vary from person to person, but usually it consists of multiple parts working together to not only have a synergistic effect, but to have an effect to such an extent that it usually elicits rage, whining, or even complete surprise from an opponent. If you pull off something and your opponent's response is something like this.....

...then you probably managed to pull off Bullshit. Sometimes individual models in and of themselves can qualify as Bullshit to some people. Now Bullshit is not a negative term. Other people may refer to it as "tricks", "combos", or "synergies", but our local vernacular uses the term Bullshit. Some armies win games with balanced lists and solid play which is a perfectly acceptable method of winning. However certain armies will make judicious use of these tricks.

Before a friendly non-tournament game starts, it is usually common courtesy to exchange cards and inform your opponent of certain types of Bullshit that your list is capable of. In a tournament game you should expect that your opponent will be experienced enough to have an idea of what is coming and as a result informing your opponent beforehand allows for a more competitive experience from even a friendly pick up game. I'll list some examples of Bullshit below and give some thought to how one could attempt to counter it.

 1) The Molik Karn Magic Bullet (eMakeda, Molik Karn, Titan Gladiator)

eMakeda casts Leash and Rush(the Gladiator's animus) on Molik Karn and advances bringing him 3" closer to the designated target. Then Molik Karn activates charging a nearby target which will allow him to Side Step to another target who he in turn hits with his other base attack getting a second Side Step. If this gets him into position of an enemy warcaster/warlock it is usually lights out at that point as a MAT 7 Pow 13 Weapon Master and Future Sight who still has yet to have any fury placed on him is a very efficient killer. The Bullshit from this setup comes from allowing a character heavy warbeast with great killing power to effectively charge a target who last turn was as far as 16" away (3" Leash+ 6" speed+2" from Rush+3" charge+2" reach). The subsequent two Side Steps for 2" a piece effectively allows him to reach a warcaster/warlock who was as far as 20" away and was previously thought safe.

The MK Magic Bullet is a pretty scary concept at first. One second you could be doing fine and next thing you know a character beast travels nearly half the board and assassinates your caster. However there are some ways you can stop this. The passive way to prevent this would be in how you setup your screening models. Molik Karn only gets Side Step with his initial attack or a special attack. You can't expect small based models to effectively save you as he can trample through them. On the other hand you'd have to have multiple warjacks/warbeasts adjacent to each other to make sure the Side Step move wasn't sufficient to reach your caster. However, if you use a certain tactic that may be familiar to 40k players then you can help offset a good deal of his Side Step shenanigans. What you do is you put a line of infantry to shield your heavy beasts/jacks which in turn shield your caster. 40k players know this as bubble wrapping. If Molik Karn charges the infantry up front then he won't get the necessary Side Steps to reach your caster. If he tramples through the infantry then he stops at your wall of jacks/beasts and will only get his single Side Step from the trample. Molik Karn will then be able to start buying attacks on your Jacks/Beasts, but he will have trouble killing more than one heavy if that, especially if he wants to use his own animus to try and escape from the sticky situation. Molik Karn is known for his efficiency and agility, not his raw hitting power.
Pictured above: the nightmare of many new players who have faced
The more aggressive way of dealing with this issue besides the obvious(killing the Arm 18 beast with only 28 boxes) is to debuff Molik Karn's speed. This isn't available to all factions, but any spell or ability that debuffs speed prevents charges, slams, and tramples. A simple -2 speed debuff will reduce his initial scary threat range from 16" to a merely good 11".

2) The Kromac Assassination Run (Kromac, various Warbeasts)

Warbeasts that are able to move up behind Kromac push him 1" forward to close the distance between him and his target. When Kromac activates he moves 6" and gets to place himself another 5". Kromac then proceeds to unleash 2 initial attacks along with 7 fury worth of MAT 8 Pow 14 hell on a caster before he uses his feat, takes 7 damage, and unleashes ANOTHER 7 fury worth of beatdown.

For a grand total of 14 fury worth of furry beatdown.

This assassination move doesn't rely on as many moving parts as the MK magic bullet as Kromac is perfectly capable of just doing it himself. Each successful push manages to add another 1" to his already great 13" threat range. Dealing with Kromac is a bit easier then dealing with the long ranges of Molik Karn, however 14 possible fury for putting out attacks makes Kromac a bit more reliable in pulling out the assassination when he gets there. When trying to prevent Kromac from getting to your caster you need a slightly different mentality for blocking him. His place ability(Jump) effectively allows him to get past a line of guys as long as there is room for his base to be placed. Since he is a medium base you can spread out the models around your caster to prevent a large enough area to land and to keep him from reaching within 2" of your caster.

While debuffing his speed is still a possibility as speed debuffs prevent his Jump ability it will also be much harder to pull off due to his spell Bestial which prevents spell casting and channeling in his control area. The other option though is dealing damage to him before he can pull off his feat. His feat requires that he takes damage in order to gain the fury and if his health is low enough he may not be able to get back the full amount. If you can gain the upper hand in a match and sufficiently threaten him where he has to use his feat defensively then you have severely hindered his ability to personally assassination your caster.

3) An Inconvenient Pitch (Vayl, Typhon)

A Juggernaut through careful positioning, Boundless Charge, or Tow manages to get the jump on a Ravagore. Vayl's controller pulls out the tape measure and checks her control area to see if the Juggernaut was within 5" of her. He was and the Juggernaut's turn is interrupted to allow for Typhon to move up from the side and make a free fully boosted attack on the offending warjack. Two 3s and a 5 are rolled on the attack roll resulting in a critical hit. The Juggernaut suffers a little more than a column worth of damage from the attack but is thrown away from melee and into another warjack causing both to be knocked down. When the other warjack activates he has to spend one of the focus he was allocated to stand back up and to be denied his charge by an inconveniently placed warjack.

The reason my girlfriend won't play
WarmaHordes with me anymore.
 Vayl's Dark Sentinel and all the wacky hijinx that go along with it is a defensive example of Bullshit. When an enemy model ends it's normal movement within 5" of Vayl once per turn she gets to move one of her beasts and make a fully boosted attack with it. The most common use is to have Typhon move up and attack. If Typhon crits then he gets to throw the enemy model which almost always spells the end of that model's attack run. If the model is thrown into another model then a whole extra layer of ugliness in the form of collateral damage and knockdowns take place. Using Typhon and hoping for a Critical Pitch is unreliable, but can be devastating if pulled off. Another possibility against low defense targets(to offset the in combat shooting mod) is for Vayl to have a Nephilim Bolt Thrower shoot at the enemy model which will be pushed a d3" away if hit and knocked down in addition if it crits.

Pictured above: the wet dream of many new Legion
Dark Sentinel can be very annoying but it is manageable. The most common method for dealing with it is to make sure you can charge with multiple units/beasts/jacks before making any offensive action against her brick. Charging in with infantry first may be a wise move as if you can tie up Typhon then he will have to eat free strikes to reposition himself and as a result may not have a good target for his breath weapon or his bite attack. Another method of getting around Dark Sentinel that is less common is through place effects. If you have models that can close in on Vayl's beast brick without using normal movement(such as the aforementioned Kromac) then you can avoid Dark Sentinel completely. Also remember that due to the 5" prerequisite for Dark Sentinel, Vayl will often keep all her beasts very close by. If her beasts are base-to-base with her then she becomes an amazing target for sprays and scattering AoEs. If her beasts are given a little bit of space away from her then its entirely possible that models with reach can hit some of the beasts without being with in 5" of Vayl.


This is just a small list of the Bullshit that Hordes armies can pull off. It doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the tricks available in WarmaHordes. When you are the victim of Bullshit there are a few things I recommend. First off, don't get into the mindset that what they just did was overpowered, unintended, or unfair. That is the path to stagnation. After the game is over ask your opponent to describe the components of the Bullshit that managed to defeat you. Finally, take the information you have gained and see if you can find a hole to exploit in the combination of moves necessary to pull it off. Every thing in the game whether its a warcaster, warbeast/jack, infantry unit, special rule, or power attack has a counter. Its usually a matter of going back and reading up on it in either the main rulebook, the faction book that the model came from, or your own faction book in order to see if you have any solutions to it.

In the next article I will cover some examples of Bullshit from the Warmachine side of the house and ways you can start working on coming up with Bullshit of your own.

Follow us on Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...