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UPC Strategy Lesson 4 - To Disengage or Not to Disengage...

Posted June 25th, 2007 at 01:46 PM by UranusPChicago
Updated April 23rd, 2008 at 11:56 AM by UranusPChicago
This strategy discussion kind of ties together a couple of previous topics of mine “Don’t Forget to Move!” and “In Game Point Value” where I introduced the concept of IGPV (in game point values). On a high level, it is nothing more than a dissertation on the importance and value of a figure’s placement on the battlefield in relation to everything else that is going on in the battle. However, I specifically want to focus on when Disengaging might be the best thing for you to do during a game.

First off, I want to start off with a couple quick hits…

“No one escapes the Cyberclaw!” If you are currently engaged with a figure that has the Cyberclaw Special Power (currently Major X17 and Gladiatrons), then Disengagement is not an option for you.

“There’s no crying in Heroscape!” It is rarely a good idea to attempt to Disengage from a figure who possesses a Special Power like A Coward’s Reward that allows additional dice to be thrown for Disengagement Strikes when Disengagement rules apply.

However, if your current turn involves a unit that has Disengagement, Ghostwalk, Stealth Flying, or any other Special Power that allows you to avoid Disengagement strikes, then Disengagement should always be the first movement that you think of taking.

Why such confidence in my previous statement, you ask?

Firstly, your opponent more often than not has failed to remember that your figure has the ability to Disengage and has not taken it into consideration when making his/her movements. It is always a good sign when your opponent whispers “Oh crud, I forgot about that” under their breath as you destroy their best laid plans from the previous turn via a simple disengagement.

Secondly, a figure’s IGPV is most greatly affected by its position on the board. Here are a few examples…
Raelin’s IGPV is greatly diminished if there aren’t any figures taking advantage of her Defense Aura because of her location on the battlefield.
A figure able to attack or defend with height advantage is more valuable than one without the advantage.
A figure standing on a glyph is more valuable than one not standing on a glyph.
A figure blocking an advantageous route from the enemy raises its IGPV.
…and so on.

Do notice that three of my examples do not involve necessarily “offensive” mindsets. Forcing your opponents hand on who and what to attack and when to attack generally assures victory. Heroscape, most of the time, is an “offensive first” game, however, do not forget that controlling your opponent’s offense is sometimes your best defense.

Thirdly, conversely, you should not let your opponent control your offensive strategy. If you are playing an experienced opponent, they are more than likely in the process of battlefield management themselves; moving figures to where they are most valuable or at the very least to where their apparent value is greatest or even moving to places that diminish your own unit’s IGPV. Generally, it will involve engagement of some sort (be it adjacency for melee units or “in range” for ranged units).
If the unit that you are about to move has the ability to Disengage, then always make sure that on your turn you assess the situation on what is the best strategy for your whole army and not simply reactionary to something that your opponent is pulling you into.

Now, to apply the original question of this discussion to units that do not have the ability to Disengage…

The definitive answer is that “it depends.” There are honestly too many scenarios to even comprehend that help to determine what your answer might be in a particular situation. But again, I will give you a few things to think about.

A Disengagement Strike only works half the time. It is a fairly obvious statement, but one that is often over looked. Is the glass half full or half empty? If Disengagement only works half the time that means that you can get away with it half the time as well.

An uninjured Charos should never hesitate to disengage from a single figure if moving somewhere else is going to be more beneficial to you. As he begins to accumulate damage, the decision should become more difficult.

An uninjured Krug should definitely think about disengaging from a single enemy figure. The worst thing that can happen is that he gets angry…

Be much more hesitant with high defensive, low life Heroes when contemplating disengagement (Major Q9, Brunak, etc.). Their strength is in their ability to avoid damage, don’t remove that strength by giving away Life Points when unnecessary.

Fodder units are just that, fodder. Most, if not all fodder units are Common. Hopefully, you are fielding enough (multiples) of the unit that losing one or two to Disengagement Strikes is outweighed by the placement of units that have successfully disengaged. Don’t be afraid to have some figures “take it for the team.”

Over all, the final decision is in your hands. The more games you play, the better information that you will have to base your in-game decisions on.

Good luck and good gaming!
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