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Easy versus Strong and Tricky versus Weak

Posted February 17th, 2011 at 01:36 PM by dok
This distinction is something that's come up a few times recently in forum discussions, so I've decided to blog it.

There's a tendency for people to say that armies that are strong are easy to play well, and armies that are weak are hard to play well. That's obviously true in a certain sense and to a certain extent, because it's easier to win with strong armies than weak ones. However, it misses another way of looking at armies: that is, "did I get everything out of the army that I could"? In other words, to what extent did you avoid mistakes and play the army to its fullest. The question of how easy an army is to play well is actually a completely different question than how strong that army is when played well.

To give an example: I think Marro Drudge x8 would be a very easy army to play well. Sure, all the normal concerns of height advantage and common squad cohesiveness apply, but there's really no extra degrees of difficulty. There's no positional concerns, no auras to stay inside, no adjacency issues to contend with, no tricky special powers to navigate... nothing. That said, you're going to get killed in any 400 point tournament with that army, because 3 attacks of 2 doesn't really scare anybody, and a defense of 2 isn't worth much either. So it's a good example of an army that's easy to play, but bad.

On the other end of the spectrum, take an army like, say...

80 Raelin RotV
50 Marro Warriors
100 Krav Maga Agents
120 Greenscale Warriors x2
170 Moltenclaw
520

That's a pretty formidable army. Everything is an "A" or "A+" except B+ Moltenclaw. I don't think anyone would be shocked to see this army as a tournament winner. Yet playing this army forces you to make a ton of decisions that aren't necessarily easy. Do you lead off with the Marro Warriors or save them for cleanup? Do you spend an early OM putting Raelin on a perch, or do you place her at the front of your startzone and snipe from your end? When is it worth it to risk GSWs by moving them out of the auras to attack? How do you mix your OMs between the Krav and GSWs in midgame in order to keep the Krav from getting engaged and get the most out of your activations?

So, this is an example of an army that is fairly strong, but also fairly tricky to play well.

Obviously, there are also examples of armies that are weak and difficult to play well - most hodgepodges fit into that category. And there are also examples of armies that are strong and easy to play.

There are also armies that vary widely in how tricky hey are to play, depending on the opposing army and the map. Ratpodges are a good example of this. If you are playing an all-melee, all-normal attacking, non-disengaging opponent, then playing rats is usually pretty easy - just set up your shell and scatter away. On the other hand, if your opponent has a bunch of range and special attackers, then playing rats can be a real challenge, with lots of thought needed to make sure you're getting your order markers in the right places and repositioning rats when necessary. Rats are usually still good in those situations, but they stop being easy to play.
Total Comments 4

Comments

Old
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
Mohicans are another odd fit in your [open-ended] categories. They appear as easy to play (ranged, with bonding) and rather weak (attack of 2, defense of 1), but in actuality can be quite tricky, while being very rewarding in their output.
Posted February 17th, 2011 at 03:36 PM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
Old
kolakoski's Avatar

Strong and Tricky

Well met!

130 Tagawa Samurai Archers x 2
120 Kaemon
90 Feral Troll
80 Raelin
80 Deathreavers x2
500

My Deathreavers x 2/Raelin armies generally fall within your Strong and Tricky category, although not the strongest by many lights.

120 Kaemon
120 Hydra or Siege
100 Mindflayer or Iron Golem (you'd take the Krav )
80 Raelin
80 Deathreavers x 2
500

You like 3 x Deathreavers & Q9, I know. My armies have 1 more card than yours, making them trickier, closer to your Moltenclaw example. Trickier also means more flexible in terms of the kinds of threats, both offensively and defensively. In that sense, it's not so tricky, as the terrain and opponent's units make which units to play when fairly clear.
Posted February 17th, 2011 at 03:50 PM by kolakoski kolakoski is offline
Old
dok's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FtC
Mohicans are another odd fit in your [open-ended] categories. They appear as easy to play (ranged, with bonding) and rather weak (attack of 2, defense of 1), but in actuality can be quite tricky, while being very rewarding in their output.
Mohicans are fairly tricky to play well, particularly with Brave Arrow and without a screen. I honestly think they are one of the best-designed figures in the game. I'm not sure I'd call them weak in any context - they may appear weak if you just look at base stats, but their powers carry the load.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kolakoski
100 Mindflayer or Iron Golem (you'd take the Krav )
I would take the Krav there, because neither the mindflayer or the IG has much of definable role in that army. The Krav are an answer to ranged commons, which is what that army desperately needs. The choice of Krav versus Mindflayer/IG isn't really a "tricky versus easy" choice; it's more of a "strong versus weak" choice. Neither option is making your OM management easier, but the Krav fill a clear role and make the army better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kolakoski
You like 3 x Deathreavers & Q9, I know. My armies have 1 more card than yours, making them trickier, closer to your Moltenclaw example.
I wouldn't say the Q9/ratsx3 build is one of my favorite building blocks overall, but it's definitely a less tricky build than Kaemon/Krav/ratsx2. Against many opponents, Q9 sort of combines the roles of both Kaemon and the Krav into one package.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kolakoski
Trickier also means more flexible in terms of the kinds of threats, both offensively and defensively. In that sense, it's not so tricky, as the terrain and opponent's units make which units to play when fairly clear.
That's true to some extent, but you can't always get the matchup you want. You might want to blast screening figures with Kaemon and then run the gap with a Hydra, but who's to say your opponent won't move the screen during the intervening order marker?

Armies with a ton of different figures for different uses often suffer when facing a relatively monolithic opposing army. You'll probably have some figure that wins the matchup on a point-for-point basis, but if the rest of your army doesn't, you'll probably lose on attrition.
Posted February 17th, 2011 at 05:47 PM by dok dok is offline
Old
wriggz's Avatar
I think this is something that irks me about the game. Sometimes it feels like the Strong/Easy armies are Stronger than the Strong/tricky armies.

The 10th vs 4th for example. Any one who follows Jexik's flow chart can play the 4th well, it is that easy. However I would expect the trickier 10th would have more of a pay off due to the skill required to field them, but they don't.
Posted February 18th, 2011 at 03:11 AM by wriggz wriggz is offline
 
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