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Old October 19th, 2014, 06:38 AM
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VC and NHSD (2014)

Well, it was another NHSD in SoCal, and there are three important take-aways AFAIC:
  • We actually managed two more participants this year than last year. Still only a total of 10 folks, which is less than a third of what we could expect in the game's heydey, but it means that our attendance is up for the first time in years.
  • Since I supplied armies for 70% of the attendees, most of them included at least one VC unit, and at least one (mine) was 100% VC start-to-finish.
  • I contributed an extra Van Nessing, plus high-quality card provided by Xorlof, to our prize table. This year it was the only prize we had other than the cash we get out of entrance fees, which we typically divvy up into piles of decreasing amounts. First place in the tourney gets their pick of whatever prizes we have, second place gets pick of what's left, and so forth. This year our grand prize winner, who had an all-classic army, chose Van Nessing over the biggest pile of cash.
I choose to interpret this as proof positive that VC is having a positive impact on keeping Heroscape alive.


Highlights from the VC armies:


I brought the only all-VC army:
  • 055 Kursus
  • 315 Gorillitroopers x3
  • 150 Beakface Sneaks x5
  • 520 Total
The 'troopers are the highlight of this army. Kursus is mainly there to round out the points and provide a bonding option should one be needed. The Sneaks serve a similar function to rats: get in the opponent's way and screen the 'troopers. They're not quite as effective at this as rats, of course, but they get the job done. Evasive means they can survive the opponent's range attacks, and Flocking keeps them scrambling around the board, as long as they can keep attacking.

The 'troopers have that great option of bonding plus a strong melee attack, or go for the ranged attack, and then decide whether to stay put and shoot twice, or jockey for better position but only shoot once. This makes them highly flexible, and their Tough makes them hard to kill. Their primary weaknesses are being a two-man squad (somewhat mitigated by the possibility of being able to shoot 3 or 4 times), and a moderately short range (5) and average move (5).

Kursus is mostly useless. Using the bonding means giving up the chance to turn 2 melee attacks into up to 4 ranged attacks, and his stats just don't warrant it. Certainly he's never worth putting an actual OM on. And, with 3D and 3 life, he's not gonna stick around long. And his primary power is a (potentially) suicidal SA. However, once I figured out from the first couple of games how unlikely he was to be much of a factor, I actually felt much better about taking the risk with Sonic Fists. I mean, why not? If he dies, he's not really any less useless than he is just sitting over there playing target. In the last game of the tourney, I lept onto Thorgrim's head, dealt one wound each to both him and Alastair, and took out 3 MacDirk Warriors. Of course, he died the very next turn, since he was at that point surrounded by the enemy, but it was so worth it.

Now, understand one thing: I am a strictly mediocre tourney player. I love the game, but I'm never a threat to anyone in competitive play. In my six previous tourneys, the only times I didn't come in dead center of the pack were the time I came in dead last, and the time I came in next-to-last. This year, I came in fourth out of 10, and I managed to beat one of our best players. Now, admittedly, he had some atrocious die rolls (his first 3 defense rolls for his KMA were all whiffs, meaning I took out the entire squad before they could kill a single one of my figures), but still: I offed 9 minions and Atlaga while only losing about two-thirds of my army. In my final game of the night, I came within 7 points of the win against the MacDirk army, including wiping out two squads of rats ... if my opponent hadn't had Isamu, I'd have won by 3. (Thus my new catchphrase: I lost by Isamu! ) In the end, I came out 2 and 2, with the highest SoS of the 2-game-winners.


My elder son's friend was playing 'Scape for the 3rd time in his life, not coincidentally attending his 3rd tourney. He went with a Nicky and the Thralls army:
  • 140 Nicholas Esenwein
  • 060 Preyblood Thrall x2
  • 090 Deathstrike Thrall x3
  • 090 Bloodburst Thrall x3
  • 140 Mohicans x2
  • 520 Total
Here, the Mohicans provide some much-needed ranged support, who also aren't afraid to get their hands dirty by charging in for melee attacks. They have no one to answer their War Cry, but their Concealment is still an important factor.

This particular thrall composition is probably not the one I would have chosen--I would have dialed down the Deathstrikes and maybe gone for one more Bloodburst--but it served our friend well. When I went up against him, I soon discovered how useless Tough is against Rupture. And Nicholas can be just as scary as Cyprien, as long as you play him more conservatively. With only 5 life and no Stealth Flying, you need to pretty cautious, especally about Overextending (in my game, our friend only used it once, and only when he knew it was the final round of the game and judged it worth the risk). But if you do play it cautious, you can take Nicky from mostly-dead to only-a-little-dead in just a couple of turns, and bring back any dead thralls you have lying around while you're at it. Trust me: I'm speaking from experience here. If the game goes to points, erasing wounds and bringing back dead figures can make a huge difference.

This year, our friend (who came in dead last his first year and middle-of-the-pack his second) came in second place overall, with 3 wins, tie on SoS with our other 3-game-winner (that would be the minion/KMA army), and right around 100 pts to edge him into near-victory.


The remaining armies with VC components didn't fare as well: our Quahon player didn't manage to replicate on the field the fearsomeness she's ascribed here in the forums, and my elder son couldn't get his points worth out of Mok, in both cases no doubt due to the giant targets painted on their backs. Still, all-or-significantly-VC armies pulled 2nd and 4th place, and that's not too shoddy IMHO. And I think some of our diehard classic-only guys may be rethinking their stance on VC units.

I'd love to hear anyone else's experiences with VC units on NHSD!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Vasel
And I've seen some people on the Internet seem to have a problem with mixing this with the rest of the game, which makes no sense to me, because, I mean, you already are having knights fight robots, how is throwing Spider-Man into the mix that big of a deal?
You should not read this blog.

Why I Left the C3V
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  #2  
Old November 7th, 2014, 11:02 PM
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Re: VC and NHSD (2014)

Fun reports!

In Colorado we played "bring 2", where you and your opponent draft your matchup out of the four armies that you have collectively brought to the game.

Both of my armies had a decent chunk of VC:
  • Ebon Armor, Tagawa Samurai, Izumi Samurai, Tomoe Gozen, Eldgrim the Viking Champion
  • Beakface Sneaks x4, Mezzodemons x2, Axegrinders x2, Darrak
The Ebon/Samurai/Tomoe army is one of my new favorite VC combos. Tomoe Gozen makes the Tagawas and Izumi a lot more potent, and in the right matchup the Ebon can keep coming back... and back... and back. Unfortunately my opponent stole it from me the one time I really wanted to play it... I ended up playing against it twice and never picking it.

The other army was sort of a dok special - throw a bunch of stuff together and rely on OM juggling to get things playing in favorable circumstances. It was a bit too intimidating and nobody else ended up taking it, but I played it twice. The Beakface Sneaks did very well in one game, preventing microcorp troopers and krav from getting a strong position. Even when I played them in the matchup against my other army, the sneaks were handy for glyph grabbing and taking out Eldgrim and (the first incarnation of) Ebon.

I also played with my opponent's VC-incusive armies twice. Once with a truly nasty Havech Eradicators x2 + Vulcanmech Incendiborgs + Marro Warriors + Marcu + Isamu build, and the second time with Death Knights x4 + Skull Demon x3.

One of the other players who does not have VC talked about how one of his favorite things about this format was getting to play with the the new custom stuff.
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Old November 7th, 2014, 11:16 PM
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Re: VC and NHSD (2014)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dok View Post
One of the other players who does not have VC talked about how one of his favorite things about this format was getting to play with the the new custom stuff.
That's what makes any Bring 2 Variants, such as Cut The Cake, so fun.

Cut the Cake was a big hit at our event for this reason!
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Old November 11th, 2014, 05:02 AM
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Re: VC and NHSD (2014)

First off, thanks everyone for chiming in with your reports!

Secondly, for reference, I've posted all the armies from this year's SoCal tourney over in our tourney thread. I think it's nice to be able to have a place where we can refresh our memories as to exactly what we played (and played against).

Quote:
Originally Posted by dok View Post
In Colorado we played "bring 2", where you and your opponent draft your matchup out of the four armies that you have collectively brought to the game.
:
:
One of the other players who does not have VC talked about how one of his favorite things about this format was getting to play with the the new custom stuff.
You know, that's an excellent point. We should look at doing something similar next year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaSilver View Post
That's what makes any Bring 2 Variants, such as Cut The Cake, so fun.

Cut the Cake was a big hit at our event for this reason!
Oh, yeah? What's "cut the cake"? Tell us, tell us!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Vasel
And I've seen some people on the Internet seem to have a problem with mixing this with the rest of the game, which makes no sense to me, because, I mean, you already are having knights fight robots, how is throwing Spider-Man into the mix that big of a deal?
You should not read this blog.

Why I Left the C3V
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  #5  
Old November 11th, 2014, 08:13 AM
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Re: VC and NHSD (2014)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xotli View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaSilver View Post
That's what makes any Bring 2 Variants, such as Cut The Cake, so fun.

Cut the Cake was a big hit at our event for this reason!
Oh, yeah? What's "cut the cake"? Tell us, tell us!
Basically, everyone brings 2 armies. Then, the two players dice off, and the highest player either chooses the two armies that will be used in the game, or defer that choice to the opponent.

Once the two armies to be played are chosen by a player, then the other person chooses which of those two armies he wants to play.

Now, the full description with game example:

Spoiler Alert!


As evidenced by online games, it creates more balanced matchups overall, since you really only need to worry about balancing your two armies that you bring. If you balance your two armies well, you tend to do better overall.
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Old November 11th, 2014, 11:16 AM
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Re: VC and NHSD (2014)

Cut the cake is a variant of "bring 2". The original version, and the one that's been used in the Gencon event the last couple years, has a much more straightforward draft: one player picks any of the four armies, and the other player picks any of the remaining three.

"Cut the Cake" is one of the variants on this format that's been developed over the last few years.

I'm probably going to write an article for the next Codex release about the many army selection variants that have been developed over the last few years online. They've been a huge part of keeping the online metagame fresh.
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Old November 11th, 2014, 07:12 PM
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Flutter

Oregon/Washington NHSD was this last Saturday. It was a draft pool for several events and one on one games. I brought B-11s, Quorik Warwitch, and my favorite Time Lord Rygarn. Of that bunch Quorik Warwitch was a star in both events as her Flutter proved invaluable and frustrating to my opponents. Rygarn was great as usual and remains one of my favorite figures and while I didn't get too much great usage out of the B-11s I still greatly enjoyed them.

~Dysole, slowly but surely making others feel hatred for playing against the warwitch

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This is a CRUSADE against the UNHOLY unrighteousness plaguing our land

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Old November 17th, 2014, 04:02 AM
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Re: VC and NHSD (2014)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaSilver View Post
Basically, everyone brings 2 armies. Then, the two players dice off, and the highest player either chooses the two armies that will be used in the game, or defer that choice to the opponent.

Once the two armies to be played are chosen by a player, then the other person chooses which of those two armies he wants to play.
See, that sounds excellent to me. Because ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaSilver View Post
... it creates more balanced matchups overall, since you really only need to worry about balancing your two armies that you bring. If you balance your two armies well, you tend to do better overall.
Right, plus several other other things (some of which we already mentioned):
  • It gives people a chance to play armies/figures they wouldn't normally get to play. Not only VC figures, but there are plenty of official figures some people never get to play with, as someone just reminded me over on the Gorillitroopers thread. When I suggested they use Laglor instead of Zaeus, I was totally forgetting how many people never got a chance to pick up the flagbearers. This format gives those of us lucky enough to have an extensive collection a chance to share.
  • It injects more variety into the tourney scene, which I personally feel is sorely needed.
  • It can encourage some of the more terrain-specific units. I doubt much of anything is going to bring out yetis or obsidians, but I desperately want to put the Eilan Sidhe in an army for NHSD, but their severe deficit on treeless maps makes it completely impractical. But, in a format such as this one, I might give it a shot. (Note that I'm assuming the map choice is revealed before armies are chosen ... you didn't specifically say that, but that would make the most sense to me.)

The only downside I could foresee is the chance of sticking people with armies containing units that they're completely unfamiliar with. Do you ever find this format slowing down the play? Especially for younger players--our NHSD events nearly always feature at least one or two players under 10--I wonder how well they could adapt to this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dok View Post
Cut the cake is a variant of "bring 2". The original version, and the one that's been used in the Gencon event the last couple years, has a much more straightforward draft: one player picks any of the four armies, and the other player picks any of the remaining three.
Hmmmm ... well, I can see why that would be deprecated over the "cut the cake" variant. Whoever gets to pick first has a distinct advantage. Heroscape is already a game where the dice gods can screw you over; it would suck to feel like you performed poorly in the tourney primarily due to losing a majority of the d20 rolls to see who gets to pick first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dok View Post
I'm probably going to write an article for the next Codex release about the many army selection variants that have been developed over the last few years online. They've been a huge part of keeping the online metagame fresh.
Yep, that sounds like a cool and informative article. (Be sure and cover where the "cut the cake" name comes from ...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysole View Post
Oregon/Washington NHSD was this last Saturday. It was a draft pool for several events and one on one games. I brought B-11s, Quorik Warwitch, and my favorite Time Lord Rygarn. Of that bunch Quorik Warwitch was a star in both events as her Flutter proved invaluable and frustrating to my opponents. Rygarn was great as usual and remains one of my favorite figures and while I didn't get too much great usage out of the B-11s I still greatly enjoyed them.
I put together a Mariedian/Raptorian army that featured both a while back (B-11s, M-43s x2, Quorik, Beakfaces x3, Thorgrim == 520pt), but I couldn't quite make it gel. I wonder if subbing out Thorgrim for Rygarn and losing a squad of Beakfaces (for a nice, round 500) might make it work ... Certainly the gameplan of baiting the enemy into killing Thorgrim quickly for the boost to the Warwitch's defense (her major weak point) was a solid one, I found (because, if the enemy refuses to kill your viking, you just wander around with him, killing everything in sight, which is nearly as good). And, between Flocking and Guerilla Tactics, your mobility is nothing to sneeze at. But it's also true that OM management was the Achilles' Heel of that army ... trying to gauge exactly when the enemy was finally going to off Thorgrim so that you didn't lose an OM, knowing when to swap between lasers and wings, anticipating when to stop just moving the uniques and actually take a turn with them to get the most bang for your buck, etc. Rygarn would certainly help with all that ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Vasel
And I've seen some people on the Internet seem to have a problem with mixing this with the rest of the game, which makes no sense to me, because, I mean, you already are having knights fight robots, how is throwing Spider-Man into the mix that big of a deal?
You should not read this blog.

Why I Left the C3V
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Old November 17th, 2014, 08:49 AM
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Re: VC and NHSD (2014)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xotli View Post
The only downside I could foresee is the chance of sticking people with armies containing units that they're completely unfamiliar with. Do you ever find this format slowing down the play? Especially for younger players--our NHSD events nearly always feature at least one or two players under 10--I wonder how well they could adapt to this.
Well, we don't have regular players that young, but you can just ask how the army plays anyway, even during the match. Sometimes that can be part of the advantage of CtC (as that could be an advantage in any game; knowing how to play it better than your opponent).

Last edited by MegaSilver; November 17th, 2014 at 09:18 AM.
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Old November 17th, 2014, 11:59 AM
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Re: VC and NHSD (2014)

I did in fact play Eilan Sidhe in one of our "bring 2" events.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xotli View Post
The only downside I could foresee is the chance of sticking people with armies containing units that they're completely unfamiliar with.
Yeah, there's certainly that issue lurking. One advantage of the original version of "bring 2" is that a player can always fall back on one of the two armies they brought. Especially for younger or less experienced players, this is nice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xotli View Post
Do you ever find this format slowing down the play? Especially for younger players--our NHSD events nearly always feature at least one or two players under 10--I wonder how well they could adapt to this.
Well, the draft does have to play out before the game starts. Online, people routinely take two or three days to make a choice. But in live events, I've never seen the draft part take longer than about 5 minutes. Now, depending on your event structure 5 minutes can be significant, but IMO it's a small price to pay to get the balanced matchups and improved metagame that these army draft formats create.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xotli View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by dok View Post
Cut the cake is a variant of "bring 2". The original version, and the one that's been used in the Gencon event the last couple years, has a much more straightforward draft: one player picks any of the four armies, and the other player picks any of the remaining three.
Hmmmm ... well, I can see why that would be deprecated over the "cut the cake" variant. Whoever gets to pick first has a distinct advantage. Heroscape is already a game where the dice gods can screw you over; it would suck to feel like you performed poorly in the tourney primarily due to losing a majority of the d20 rolls to see who gets to pick first.
Heh. At Gencon's bring 2 event, I won all three games where I lost the dice-off, and then lost the game where I won the dice-off. But anyways, a few points here:
  • Choosing first is not always an advantage. In the Online Season 16 semfinals I just played, my opponent won the dice-off... and deferred first pick to me. It was the right decision!

    If you really want to drill into it, there are basically two strategic situations that can exist with the four armies in "bring 2". Either one army has an advantage over all the other armies, or every army of the four has at least one bad matchup among the other three armies, creating some variety of a rock-paper-scissors relationships.
    • If one army is dominant, you want to pick first.
    • If there's a RPS relationship, you want to pick second.
    The latter situation is more common than you might think.

  • Even when first choice is an advantage, and you are stuck trying to pick the best army of three others to oppose the monster, the resultant matchup is often more balanced than the matchup you get in a regular double blind prebuilt format.

  • Another variant of bring 2 we've played around with a little is the "first crack" variant. In this version, if you win the dice-off and choose to pick first, you can't choose one of your own armies. You are allowed to pick your own army if you want, but if you win the dice-off and want one of your own armies, you have to defer first pick to your opponent. This further reduces the incentive to bring super-strong, cheesy armies, and it also dulls the advantage of winning the dice-off.

    This was the format we used in Colorado for NHSD, and it went quite well. Except for poor Daniel who had one crazy-strong army (the previously mentioned Havech Eradicators x2 + Vulcanmech Incendiborgs + Marro Warriors + Marcu + Isamu) and had to keep going against it every game.

Last edited by dok; November 17th, 2014 at 12:49 PM.
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Old November 17th, 2014, 02:24 PM
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Re: VC and NHSD (2014)

Great read. Good to hear VC is doing so well and inspiring new game play.
As I watch the snow fall and sip my Long Island I am imagining the SoCal tournament being played at the beach in the glorious warmth of the sun.
Ah, sunshine my old friend.

The Take 2 format is really a great system that bridges the gap between normal drafting and tourney play and as posted before allows folks to play figures they may have never had the chance to experience. Good stuff.

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Old November 18th, 2014, 09:23 PM
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Re: VC and NHSD (2014)

This was a cool thread to read over. Thanks for sharing your experiences, guys.

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