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Old July 27th, 2018, 04:18 PM
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Reverse the Whip Army Archetypes

I don't think you can really do a "Power Ranking" for Reverse the Whip, despite some figures definitely being better choices than others. It's too hard to take into account how much personal preferences and skill influence the success of figures. But the Gencon Main Event is probably still the most-prepped for Heroscape tournament, and it seems sad to let all of the ideas behind army selection be hidden behind closed doors. So I'm going to write down some of my thoughts about Main Event army archetypes and their successes.

Splash!

This is the freshest archetype in the main event and leads to some interesting armies & games. Splashing refers to the usage of single common squads, but splash armies typically feature low numbers of other common squads in addition to the inclusion of single commons. Raelin usually finds a way in there too. AFAIK, the term & main event usage was pioneered by the infectedsloth group. In 2014 at a 425 point total, Major Q23 brought 1x Mezzos as cleanup in his Dwarf army that he took to Day 2, as the beginnings of the splash concept. Splashing had its first resounding success last year, with infectedsloth taking a pure splash army to the Main Event finals, and some other splash armies finding success.

Major Q23 2014 (made Day 2)
Axegrinders x3
Darrak Ambershard
Heirloom
Mezzodemos x1

Major Q23 2016 (made Day 2)
Axegrinders x3
Darrak Ambershard
Mezzodemons x1
Frost Giant
Tandros Kreel

infectedsloth 2017 (made Finals)
Horned Skull Brutes x2
Raelin
Kozuke Samurai
Tarn Viking Warriors
Mezzodemons x1

vegie's dad 2017 (5-0 day 1, made Day 2)
Romans x2
10th x1
Raelin
Marcus
Me-Burq-Sa
Theracus

Major Q23 2017 (made Day 2)
Drones x3
Raelin
Mezzodemons x1
Alastair MacDirk
Rats x1

The army functions in similar ways to jexik's "A+ junk" archetype, but the junk isn't A+ anymore. They are usually hard to order marker manage and threat sequence. Now that the roulette wheel has become weak enough to allow for these armies to be played, I expect them to continue to find success.


Bread AND Butter

This concept doesn't really need a name, and it's mostly only been used to success by dok. I think it's more accessible to the general public than Splash armies are though. Instead of traditional army structure of one coherent whole with filler, these armies have one melee part and one ranged part.

dok 2016 (made semifinals)
Mohicans x3
Brave Arrow
Deathstalkers x2
Raelin
Sam Brown

dok 2017 (winner)
Romans x2
Me-Burq-Sa
Red Wyrm x3
Black Wyrm x3
White Wyrm x1
Raelin
Otonashi

Where Splash armies rewards long term game plans and using all of the different pieces in your army well, these armies reward short term flexibility and responding to how well your figures are surviving. I think people shy away from these armies because they are a bit boring to come up with (it's not interesting to see the pieces of your army as melee and range, usually we want a unified army concept), but they are good. You can tune the army to pretty much any meta strength, because there are lots of ranged and melee squads.

Short but Good

Playing strong armies with strong figures that are under on points is a fairly underutilized archetype and I don't think it should be. AFAIK the only examples of playing under are from 2016, when the point total was 600, but I think it's viable any year. Most people are familiar with the structure and playstyle of Tier 1 armies. Playing an army that you know well and have won other tournaments with just leaving things out of it so it can be beaten by worse armies allows for comfort with your own army.

Matthias 2016 (3-2, missed Day 2)
Axegrinders x4
Mogrimm

ISB3 2016 (Winner)
Cutters x4
Major Q10
Eltahale
Zetacron

These kind of armies allow for you to break out your tournament staples without playing too strong.

Ping

This archetype probably wouldn't make it if it wasn't me writing the article but I am and so it will. Matthias's famous "REALLY wait then fire" championship loss where he never moved his Redcoat pod changed the way I viewed Raelin for a few years. These armies use Raelin, and some range, but doesn't want to move them out too far out of the start zone. The goal is to repeatedly push out threatening damage from long range and make your opponent's plans awkward; you may not be able to follow up with a ton of damage once they get to you, but you hopefully have disrupted them enough that they don't have enough left to put the hurt on you when they finally get to you.

vegietarian18 2014 (made semifinals)
Arrow Gruts x3
Mimring
Swog x3
Raelin

vegetarian18 2015 (made Day 2)
10th x2
Marro Warriors
Raelin
Taelord

vegietarian18 2016 (made Day 2)
Ulginesh
Raelin
Jorhdawn
Arkmer
Chardris

Dysole 2017 (made Day 2)
Blastatrons x4
Raelin
Krug

This concept is about the right power level and hard for your opponents to play against. I think it's probably just a bit too easy for them to pick up and play well on day 2.

Mediocre but Whole

This is by far the most common archetype of Main Event army. Pick something that's an okay base, and fill out the points making the best build possible for it, Raelin if she works. There's almost too many to list but I'll try to put some important examples.

R˙chean 2014 (winner)
Marrden Hounds x4
Arkmer

Cleon 2016 (Semifinals)
MacDirks x4
Raelin
Alastair
Thorgrimm

nicktheant 2016 (finals)
Microcorp x4
Laglor
Raelin

To be honest, I'm not a super big fan of these armies. There are some success stories but there are plenty more examples of people playing similar armies and going 3-2 to miss day 2. More than anything I think people get misled by the appropriate power level of their army selection into playing something they aren't really familiar with. These armies are also a bit easier to pick up & play than alternative army choices. I think this can be a good choice, but only if you're very confident in the specific mediocre figures you're bringing.

Fast and Fragile

These armies are hard to classify but I feel it's an important archetype. They take advantage of fast and traditionally low defense figures and squeeze as much value out of their defense as possible through aggression and making opponents uncomfortable. A bit of range is also included for matchup smoothing, but the whole army is mobile. It's the kind of army that rolls 2/3 shields when you roll 2/4 skulls a few too many times.

Mathias 2014 (made Day 2)
Wo-Sa-Ga
Nagrubs x3
Marro Warriors
Cyprien

Weesel99 2015 (Winner)
Venocs x3
Elite Onyx Vipers
Venoc Warlord
Kaemon Awa

Fomox 2017 (Semifinals)
Marro Warriors
Venoc Warlord
Armor Vipers x2
Sudema

vegietarian18 2017 (3-2, missed Day 2)
Phantoms x2
Greenscales x2
Othkurik
Me-Burq-Sa

These armies are one of the scariest to bring into the Main Event, as you can just get run over in close matchups if the early game goes poorly for you and your opponent gets situated comfortably. There's also limited choice of fast & mobile squads. But it offers a way different playstyle than the traditional Raelin-based main event army, so it can be a good choice for those looking to get away from her.

Gladblast

Not too much to say here. It's the only archetype based around a specific figure in this list, but I think it's important. Gladblast with the figure limit is about the right power level, and it has a lot of layers with Cyberclaw and 7 range and potential Blastatron activation loss and Gladiatron dice loss. To be honest, I don't think the 2x Glads vs. 1x Glads matters as much as you'd think, if you're filling out the points with good figures. It's not like you're losing attack activations with Glads.

dok 2014 (Semifinals)
Blasts x2
Glass x1
Raelin
Eltahale

Deroche 2015 (Semifinals)
Glads x2
Blasts x2
Raelin
Heirloom

This is just a solid army choice, regardless of specific implementation. It makes for hard games. I think it's much stronger in Alternating Reverse the Whip too.

Uniques Mostly

R˙chean plays this every other year pretty much. It's like Splash but different; you're still susceptible to losing activations but you have more special powers and utility that wins games like Stealth Dodge or Smoke Powder or Water Clone.

R˙chean 2016 (5-0, made Day 2)
Kaemon Awa
Sonlen
Krav
Marro Warriors
Tarn Viking Warriors

vegie's dad 2016 (made Day 2)
Raelin
Kaemon Awa
Fen Hydra
10th x2
Rhogar Dragonspire

scaper_dude 2016 (made Day 2)
Raelin
Mimring
Airborne Elite
Agent Carr
Tarn Viking Warriors
Krav

Cleon 2015 (5-0 Day 1, made Day 2)
Braxas
Fen Hydra
Marro Warriors
Deathreavers x2

These armies are probably on the strong side for the current meta, but that can be adjusted with shifts to slightly weaker uniques.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but I am tired of writing it . I would love to hear some other discussion of armies that I've missed or misclassified other potential archetypes that haven't seen historical success but could fare well in the future.

Last edited by vegietarian18; July 27th, 2018 at 04:33 PM.
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  #2  
Old July 27th, 2018, 10:55 PM
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Re: Reverse the Whip Army Archetypes

Good stuff Veggie! See you soon!

I have more to add, but I'll wait til after the con for that ...
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  #3  
Old July 28th, 2018, 04:21 AM
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Blast It All

Pure blastatrons play very odd compared to how people play blasts normally and that's why I brought it. You do want to camp out pretty early on and take every single pot shot you can. I'd argue my krav and stalker combo and my make your own 4th from the previous two years fit that archetype better than the others. Of the three, blasts were easily the least intuitive of the three and the ones much better suited for alternating reverse than regular RtW. This army is least suited to play against the punch and grab armies you mention below.

I think armies can blend across archetypes as well and some archetypes play better against others.

~Dysole, who notes the current things she's looking at are in the fast but fragile or splash categories; but hey inspiration has struck before, that Ashigaru army was decided at the last minute among several options that had been ahead of it


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  #4  
Old July 28th, 2018, 08:18 AM
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Re: Reverse the Whip Army Archetypes

I definitely agree that armies can be multiple archetypes. I also think these classifications can be pretty retroactive, so that's why I posted this before Gencon.
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  #5  
Old August 5th, 2018, 11:45 AM
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Re: Reverse the Whip Army Archetypes

Matthias's 9-0 win with Dwarves x4 Darrak Hatamato Marcu seems like a pretty successful example of Short but Good armies. There may be further dissection of the results later but I think in general the splash armies underachieved this year
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Old August 5th, 2018, 12:27 PM
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Re: Reverse the Whip Army Archetypes

Wait, Mathias played Hatomato Taro? O.o

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Old August 6th, 2018, 02:02 AM
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Re: Reverse the Whip Army Archetypes

Quote:
Originally Posted by flameslayer93 View Post
Wait, Mathias played Hatomato Taro? O.o
Well... not really. That's kind of the point. He played 130 points (actually 140 points) light. In fact in most games he sat Hatamoto because he was at the figure limit and Marcu was more useful.

I didn't find this thread until the day after the main event, but I like the summary a lot. Curiously, where would you class my two TKN armies of the last 5 years (2015 and 2018)? Both semifinals losers, as is my wont.

Last edited by dok; August 6th, 2018 at 10:32 AM. Reason: I also don't see your 2014 and 2015 armies as "ping" armies, albeit for different reasons
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Old August 6th, 2018, 10:53 AM
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Re: Reverse the Whip Army Archetypes

The TKN armies you've had success with I just honestly didnt't think about; they'd probably need their own category. Might be worth creating a "player speciality with important and subtle positioning decisions on both sides of matchup" archetype for your TKN and ISB3's Cutters

I definitely see my 2014 army as ping but mostly because the meta was a lot stronger then; I needed to never move Raelin and abuse Mimring's range to win games with only 3 Swogs. 2015 is a bit more offensively potent in close range and probably more of a fishing army than a ping army
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Old August 6th, 2018, 04:53 PM
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Re: Reverse the Whip Army Archetypes

Quote:
Originally Posted by vegietarian18 View Post
The TKN armies you've had success with I just honestly didnt't think about; they'd probably need their own category. Might be worth creating a "player speciality with important and subtle positioning decisions on both sides of matchup" archetype for your TKN and ISB3's Cutters

I definitely see my 2014 army as ping but mostly because the meta was a lot stronger then; I needed to never move Raelin and abuse Mimring's range to win games with only 3 Swogs. 2015 is a bit more offensively potent in close range and probably more of a fishing army than a ping army
Yeah Mimring qualifies as ping for sure, although the gruts themselves usually don't because the swogs often move once and stay stuck. Arrow Gruts bring their own particular flavor of important and subtle positioning decisions. I consider playing them basically every year (along with TKN, and 'trons, and my usual blended armies) but the only year I did is the only year I didn't make semis, so I manage to talk myself out of it.
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Old August 7th, 2018, 02:09 PM
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Re: Reverse the Whip Army Archetypes

Quote:
Originally Posted by dok View Post
Arrow Gruts bring their own particular flavor of important and subtle positioning decisions. I consider playing them basically every year (along with TKN, and 'trons, and my usual blended armies) but the only year I did is the only year I didn't make semis, so I manage to talk myself out of it.
All in favor of me returning to the main event next year to keep @dok out, say 'aye'.

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Old August 8th, 2018, 08:53 AM
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Re: Reverse the Whip Army Archetypes

Sweet thread. Reverse the whip brings a lot of interesting and refreshing armies and ideas to the table.

I think Fast and Fragile is the biggest challenge to go with (well, unless you go overboard with Short but Good lol). But facing those armies during RtW could very well be a breeze and can be a huge success. Weesel's army impresses the hell out of me that he made day2. (Was he 3-2 or 4-1?). I do like that style of play though, often times I'm tired of Raelin and will lean towards something more aggro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vegietarian18
R˙chean 2016 (5-0, made Day 2)
Kaemon Awa
Sonlen
Krav
Marro Warriors
Tarn Viking Warriors

Cleon 2015 (5-0 Day 1, made Day 2)
Braxas
Fen Hydra
Marro Warriors
Deathreavers x2
For what it's worth I made quarterfinals/top 8 with that one, not sure if you're listing that.

Also, R˙chean's 2016 army had Nakitas as well.


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Old August 8th, 2018, 09:04 AM
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Re: Reverse the Whip Army Archetypes

Another category could be the style of just playing a really good army. When RtW was just day 2, this strategy was basically just 'make day 2, then I'll worry about it.' Now that RtW is scattered throughout both days, I guess this style is less common or isn't really a thing maybe.. It's still an idea I suppose - win strong on your own army rounds, and hope to make an upset when you use an opponent's army.

That's basically what my Braxas/Hydra/MW/rats x2 army was. In 2014 my army was the same sort've deal - Deathchasers+Raelin - was strong day 1 but lost round 1 of day 2 to ISB3's phantom knight army.


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