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Cavalry Redeux - What to Do, What to Do, What to Do!?

Posted April 13th, 2009 at 11:10 AM by kolakoski
Well met!

My friend Chas, the Technically Challenged, has been trying for days to become a Site Supporter and start his own Blog. After numerous back-and-forth emails, I called him on the telephone, and walked him through the process. Then we spent a couple hours talking 'scape.

During this conversation, the subject of the new "braves" came up, and we wished for Native American horse archers. This naturally led us to the problems associated with mounted troops in Heroscape thus far, and what might be done about them.

I suggested giving cavalry squad units 2 lives. Chas thought it such a good idea that it deserved its own Blog entry. (I did some research in the Forum, and found a House Rule to help the Templars by making "dismiss the rabble" apply to ranged attacks.) Chas suggested that Swog Riders were supposed to be horrifying Wolf Riders as in LoTR and should be similarly augmented. I am sure the idea of adding to cavalry units' defense or lowering its cost has been posited somewhere. In general, we agreed that under-pricing a unit, and seeing it played often, is better than over-pricing it, and having it be relegated to the shelf. At this point, we came up with a few questions for the community at large:

1. How do we make cavalry units "competitive"?

2. How do we make any unit "competitive"?

3. How open is the manufacturer to changing existing cards, and under what circumstances?

I wonder if a mechanism for doing any of these things exists or could be created (perhaps similar to that used to designate certain customs as "approved"). In any event, the issue of competitive unit stagnation in tournaments could be addressed.

I know I have ranged a bit far afield here, but each question/solution seems to imply another. More anon.

Total Comments 12


ollie's Avatar
The easy answer to 2: add Q9 and rats to the army (or the A+ pod of your choice, or even better, some strong units that complement the underpowered one). I placed equal second in a 500pt tournament with Q9, Rats x2, Templar x2.

I've been pimping this post of mine quite a bit recently, but I think there it is a genuine and widespread misconception that tournament armies are not varied. Do you have data for tournaments in your area?
Posted April 13th, 2009 at 12:34 PM by ollie ollie is offline
kolakoski's Avatar
Well met!

The army may be competitive, but the Templars are not. From reading the Tournament Armies Played, Competitive Armies threads, and Spider's Power Rankings, it seems clear to me that there is a widespread consensus (not 100%, of course) that there are too many units that need fixes to be competitive. Your Q9, Raelin, Templar army winning a tournament in your area, and your chart of units played in winning armies, only speaks to the quality of the armies/players in your area, and not to the issue at hand. The Templars, as is, are too vulnerable for the price. For the same 240 points as 2 squads of Templars, you can get 4 squads of Stingers. Any kind of cheap screen for them, especially Deathreavers, Romans or Orcs, and your army is toast. Dok took me to task in a similar manner recently when I suggested that he needn't leave his Grok Riders on the shelf. It is a cryin' shame that cool units such as these cannot be justifiably used in a high level tournament setting as viable alternatives to existing units, as opposed to a self imposed handicap.

Posted April 13th, 2009 at 02:12 PM by kolakoski kolakoski is offline
Einar's puppy's Avatar
One word. Bonding. If Templars could bond with Dupuis, they'd be much better. If groks had a hero that was strong enough to engage enemies first, and fast enough to keep up with the groks, they'd be much better too.

The main problem is people not willing to take risks with armies. They don't want to bring a low ranked unit because they are two afraid of losing. If you ask me, the player makes the army. Bad player=bad army. Good player=good army. I've seen Taelord win a tournament.

Though, I personally never dip bellow the B- mark...
Posted April 13th, 2009 at 03:01 PM by Einar's puppy Einar's puppy is offline
R˙chean's Avatar
To answer number 3.) WotC nor Hasbro are up for changing any cards beyond the already published erratas. They will not go back and make Groks have more defense or the Templar have a lower price point. It simply will not happen.
Posted April 13th, 2009 at 03:06 PM by R˙chean R˙chean is offline
ollie's Avatar
I think it's a leap to go from "some units are less competitive" to "some units need fixes to become comeptitive". We don't need all units to be competitive and almost all of them can be used competitively anyway which is pretty amazing. Some units are stronger than others, but picking a strong army is a different skill than picking a bunch of strong units. (Note that my Templar army used rats x2 and not Raelin: rats hold units in place to be charged at---that is, they have genuine synergy with the Templar---whereas the Templar tend to charge out of Raelin's aura and not benefit the most from it. The rats weren't a random way to spend 80pts strongly, they were chosen as the 80pts that best complement the Templar.)

I know that my stats only speak for the northeast. That's one of the reason I keep referring to them. I really want to know what the situation is elsewhere. My reading of the tournament-armies-played thread combined with my experience at tournaments suggests that things are wonderfully good from the variety perspective. I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise, but it'll take some evidence.

In my opinion the Hasbro/WotC position R˙chean describes is exactly the correct one and hope they stick to it.
Posted April 13th, 2009 at 04:55 PM by ollie ollie is offline
Jexik's Avatar
1. How do we make cavalry units "competitive?"

Looking back at the expensive squads released so far, I'd say that the Sentinels and Minions did it best. Although they aren't Cavalry, I'd say that high defense for an expensive melee squad is a must.

2. How do we make any unit "competitive?"

Just practice with them and bring them to a tourney. And if it's your first tourney, don't blame them for all of your losses that you do get; odds are good that some inexperience is to blame as well.

And as Ollie said, find some complements for those figures. If you really want to bring the Groks to a tourney, or even beat your friend who came over to play a casual game, think about what they can do, and what they can't.

Groks are fast and can potentially hit a single target or a ranged unique squad pretty hard. As large figures, they are immune to some abilities, like Chomp and Acid Breath.

But what aren't they good against? Ranged commons. Pick something that works well against those, and maybe keep your cost down. Get Nilfheim, Zelrig, Q9, Raelin+Krav, or some Deathreavers.

Or, just play something other than a kill them all game. Capture the flag, or race to an objective or something.
Posted April 13th, 2009 at 07:53 PM by Jexik Jexik is offline
kolakoski's Avatar
Well met!

So, it is not only Dok who bursts my Bubble of Arrogance. Apologies to Ollie for misrepresenting his army. And respect to you all for your succinct dissection of my theories.

Posted April 13th, 2009 at 10:02 PM by kolakoski kolakoski is offline
ollie's Avatar
Originally Posted by kolakoski
Apologies to Ollie for misrepresenting his army.
No problem at all. I only commented on it because it illustrated the point I was making about strong units vs. complementary units.

At some point I plan to compile some stats from the winning-armies and armies-played threads and do some deeper analysis of the northeast tournaments. However, I'm behind on the NERV and busy at work at the moment. If anyone else who is interested in this stuff beats me to the punch I certainly won't complain.
Posted April 14th, 2009 at 06:41 AM by ollie ollie is offline
Aldin's Avatar
Jexik makes some excellent points. I'd like to add my belief that the biggest problem with cavalry is the 24 hex starting zone limit. With point values climbing toward 600, 3xGrok or Templar starts looking pretty good when combined with Rats and range. The problem is that once you have 3xCavalry you no longer have spaces for 2+x 4-member squad.
Posted April 16th, 2009 at 02:36 PM by Aldin Aldin is offline
Darkmage7a's Avatar
I agree with Aldin one of the major problems for groks and cavalry is the starting hex zone limitations. With a higher number of starting zones there is a wide variety of armies that are likely to become more playable.

I like Marrden Hounds and enjoy the unpredictability of rolling a d20 twice a turn, but with only 2 squads it uses up a half of the starting zones and still only have 6 one life units to show for it.

To put it another way the squads and figures that require a large number of spaces (6 or so) are more playable when they have room to fit on the board.

Correct me if I'm wrong but Hasbro and WotC are in control of the figures and errata. As members of the player community we are in control of the tournament rules and guidelines. I would like to expirement with a tournament style that uses a larger staring zone as I believe it is a concept that is undertested and should be approached as the tournament point limit rises higher each year.
Posted April 20th, 2009 at 10:54 AM by Darkmage7a Darkmage7a is offline
chas's Avatar
I'm not interested in tournaments, but I note that usually my start zone is the rear edge board row. However, I let two space figures start vertically, that is with one hex outside/in front of the edge hex row. So in a tournament, you could allow a two space figures to take up only one of the standard 24 hex starting zone by letting them 'push out' one hex.

Posted April 27th, 2009 at 07:34 PM by chas chas is offline
FatDragon465's Avatar
even if they aren't the most competitive, they still look cool=)
Posted February 20th, 2010 at 08:06 PM by FatDragon465 FatDragon465 is offline
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