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Classic 'Scape Strategy - February 2016

Posted February 6th, 2016 at 02:51 PM by HS Codex

Unit Strategy Review
Unit: Goblin Cutters
Author: Dysole


The Goblin Cutters live up to their name by being fast, fragile, and annoying as all get out to kill all of them. However, using the cutters is not immediately intuitive, and they require some finesse to squeeze every last ounce out of them. So today, we will be looking at the short little buggers. First, we will look at their stats.

Analyzed Statistics:
Size – Small (Concealable/Vulnerable)
Life – 1 (Squad)
Move – 6 (Fast)
Range – 1 (Melee)
Attack – 2 (Poor*)
Defense – 1 (Frail)
*Mob Attack: A figure engaged with 3 or more Cutters subtracts 2 from its defense when attacked by a Cutter. (Tactical Advantage: High)
*Scurry: If a Cutter dies to a normal attack, you may move 2 Cutters (and take no leaving engagement attacks) and all unengaged Cutters have no visible hit zones for the remainder of the turn. (Tactical Advantage: High)
Scale: A cutter adds 2 to its height when moving up or down levels of terrain. (Tactical Advantage: Medium)

In-Depth Analysis:
Each unit is complex, and must be well analyzed to be truly understood. For the Goblin Cutters, let us begin with their cost. By cost, we refer mostly to their value in points, but also to their importance in your army. To simplify analysis, Agatagary has created several categories of cost, based off of chess, for comparison and nomenclature. For reference,
  • Pawn class (expendable: units that can be useful, but are not worth enormous trouble to protect)
  • Bishop class (more useful than a pawn, but still somewhat expendable)
  • Knight class (units that are interestingly powerful and can have a significant impact on the game in and of themselves; it is advisable that they be kept alive, but if absolutely necessary they may be sacrificed)
  • Rook class (units that almost inevitably have a significant impact on the game, and whose death should be avoided as much as possible)
  • Queen class (devastatingly powerful or important units that should be protected at all costs)

Class:
The Goblin Cutters are pawns. After all, one of their key powers requires that they die. However, because cutters work best as a horde, you need to work to maintain a critical mass of cutters working together as long as you are putting OMs on them.

Survivability:
With only 1 defense, Cutters will not be standing up to too many attacks. However, Scurry offers them an excellent way to withstand multiple attacks by not allowing your opponent to make them. Once one Cutter has been sacrificed for the turn, you get to move two and be immune to ranged attacks. Against normal attacking ranged units this means that your opponent will really only get to kill one per turn if they play as they normally would against such units. A clever opponent will likely sacrifice one of their ranged units by engaging multiple cutters with that unit and then attacking at unengaged cutters, forcing you to possibly kill one. If an opponent takes this tack, you will need to adjust your strategy accordingly. Non-bonding melee squads might be able to manage two with some clever positioning, but will most often be trading with your cutters. Since cutters cost 12.5 points per figure, this is a trade you should often be willing to make. Do note however, that the turn referenced in Scurry is the figure’s turn and not your opponent’s, so bonding and frenzy powers will reset the Scurry trigger. It also means that with bonding figures you will either want to avoid the bonder, or focus on killing them early rather than going after the squads so you can win the war of attrition.

Offense:
Two attack is nothing to write home about even on a four man squad. However, when it is fairly easy to drop your opponent’s figures down to 1 and 2 defense dice, 2 attack becomes much more palatable. Still though, Cutters tend to be more death of a thousand paper cuts then death by a massive fist.

Strategy:
Due to Scurry and low attack (albeit with Mob Attack) the Cutters are designed to win a war of attrition. It is very important that you always have reinforcements nearby, so slow rolling with Cutters will usually allow you to have plenty of figures ready and able to replace their fallen comrades. You shouldn’t lose too many during the initial push since Scurry will protect your forces unless your opponent has a special attack. Once you’ve engaged with the enemy and they are actually attacking you, you’ll want to mob as best you can but even more important is to make sure that you don’t engage too many figures at once, utilizing Scurry to help bring reinforcements in to the front line. A clever opponent will make it so you can only Scurry away 2 of your 3 engaged goblins, so keep a close eye on who you’re engaging and how many you stand to lose if the mob fails to kill the targets. If engaging with four cutters would allow your opponent to take out two next turn, it might be better to just keep moving up from the back to more advantageous positions. Cutters love every bit of additional attack or defense they can get.

Choosing targets wisely is important. You will want to make sure that your targets do not have too many reinforcements nearby or, if they do, that it is very difficult or impossible for them to kill more than one goblin. Sometimes this may mean taking a single kill and foregoing attacks with other goblins to allow you more goblins for future turns. Ganging up on a good solid hero (who won’t immediately slice the cutters apart) can be a wise choice, but squad figures usually end up being a better choice with all else equal since a dead squad figure means that, unless your opponent engages those cutters, they become invisible after Scurry hits.

Using Scurry
Despite its similarity to the Deathreaver’s Scatter, this power works best in almost the exact opposite way. With the rats, you want to engage and tie up your opponents. With Scurry, you want to run away. When using Scurry, the first thing to check is to see how many goblins are still engaged to figures that can attack this turn (if your opponent is shooting from range, you just want the total number of engaged goblins). If that number is 2, you will want to move them to safe unengaged locations. If that number is 1, move that guy and move another cutter up or to an advantageous position. If that number is 0, move your cutters to advantageous positions. (This can be a real good time to set up a good series of mob attacks on your next turn, since you’ll have about 10 spaces ( Scurry 4 + regular 6 move) to work with.) If you have more than 2 engaged goblins, you’ll probably want to examine the board and see which cutters set you up for a good turn next time. You may also want to move your goblins into such a position that, if your opponent kills the only remaining cutter they can, you will be able to use your second Scurry to set up a really good position. This way, if your opponent doesn’t kill that cutter, you win, but if they do, you then have a very good board position (and likely some really good key mob attacks).

Army Building with Cutters:
Usually if you are building a cutter army they will be your primary force. A squad or two of cutters is cute, but really not going to be as effective as a lot of other options for 100 points. Even three squads is a bit too few. Four is the absolute minimum with five being the sweet spot. At six squads, you usually start running into start zone limitations and four more cutters isn’t usually that much more helpful.

You usually want to pair Cutters up with a big hero killer or strong couple of heroes who can deal with some of the peskier squad options and the tough heroes. Essentially you’ll want units that are good against anything in the Units to Avoid list.

Raelin is not an awful choice, but cutters might be the only unit in the game that doesn’t see a significant uptick in value when paired with her. Since much of the cutter’s capability is tied up in them dying and since they don’t like having to stay in an aura, Raelin only helps them so much.

You’ll also want to make sure that your support units are not within range of your opponent at the same time as the goblins, or else your opponent will kill the one goblin that they can and focus their remaining attacks on whatever you brought along for support.

Units to Avoid:
  • Units with Multiple or Area of Effect Special Attacks: Scurry helps keep the Cutters alive and also allows you to reinforce as needed. If your opponent is able to neutralize this ability, the goblins fall as easily as the ones in the Hobbit movies. It is worth noting that multiple attacks like those of the Majors or even Deathwalker 8000 or Sharwin are to be feared much more than area of effect attacks, as you can usually position well to avoid a Zelrig or Deathwalker 9000 strike, but on some maps an early firebomb of your start zone could leave you with a lot fewer reinforcements than you thought you’d have. You’ll usually want the rest of your army to handle these guys.
  • Auto Wounds: Depending on how many wounds are launched per turn, auto-wounders can be anything from an annoying hindrance to at least as bad as the units above. Marrden Hounds might be the worst of the bunch, as the plague should decimate the cutters quite handily, but even units like Sonlen, samurai, and engagement strikers should be handled with care. Depending on the army, you’ll either want to avoid and let something else thin them out or be extra cautious about when and where you attack them.
  • Bonding Units: These units are to be less feared than a multiattacker, but they still should be able to kill two Cutters a turn. Given that Cutters work best when only one dies per turn, your horde has half the survival it normally does. This can make the game much more of a razor knife than you would want. Usually here you focus on removing the squads unless you get a good opportunity to remove a key hero or two while leaving the rest of the army for cleanup. Particularly problematic bonders include: Nilfheim + Greenscales, Grimnak + Blades/Heavies, Kurrok + Elementals (Fire Elementals are actually the least worrisome of the elementals), and (if using VC) Morgoloth + Wolves of Badru.
  • Cyberclaw: If the cutter can’t move, it can’t Scurry away and your opponent can fire away. While X17 can be a pain, he can usually be dealt with, but Gladiatrons (as long as they are packing Blasts) are going to be a long painful uphill battle.


For additional information see the Book of the Goblin Cutters.
Total Comments 4

Comments

Old
kolakoski's Avatar

With Hornskull Brutes

Well met!

What about Goblins and Brutes' Barge into Battle?
Posted February 6th, 2016 at 06:42 PM by kolakoski kolakoski is online now
Old
Dysole's Avatar
You'll have to wait for when I get to Brutes. ~_^

~Dysole, feeling that is much more useful to the Brutes strategy than the Cutter strategy
Posted February 7th, 2016 at 05:03 AM by Dysole Dysole is offline
Old
Majora's Incarnation's Avatar
Great read. Glad I bought a few of these before they started scurrying away from the stores.

Yes, I just did that.

Wish I had more brutes though. XC
Posted February 7th, 2016 at 07:23 PM by Majora's Incarnation Majora's Incarnation is offline
Old
The Grim Reaper's Friend's Avatar
Due to several factors, the Codex will resume posting in March. We are essentially skipping February. During this time, we hope to recruit several backup writers.
Posted February 20th, 2016 at 04:33 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend The Grim Reaper's Friend is offline
 
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