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  #1  
Old September 19th, 2007, 11:25 AM
Elginb Elginb is offline
 
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Competitive Drafting Strategy

I can't recall ever seeing a comprehensive discussion of drafting strategy on this board. I guess a lot of folks play with pre-formed armies (especially during tournaments), but for me, this is just about the most important part of the game. At the end of the games I play, when you discuss why you won or lost, it quite frequently comes down to effective or faulty drafting.

Now, I don't have any grand insight into this. The only thing I regularly do when drafting is try to get my opponent to eat up more points more quickly than me. If I start off choosing all my cheap support figures first, it's not uncommon for my opponent to have bought his entire army while I still have 15% of my points-alotment leftover, giving me lots of flexibility to respond to his choices.

But that can be a risky strategy, because it means that my opponent has a better chance at getting the real solid units (like Q9 or the 4th Mass) and building a solid army around them.

If I feel like I have to commit to an expensive unit early, then I'll definitely focus on drafting super cheap units immediately afterward, to try to gain back the points-alotment advantage. It's very important to have in mind not just good counters for any particular unit, but the cheapest effective counter.

Anyway, that's the only explicit strategy I can think of. I'm interested in hearing what you guys do, particularly when playing games of 3 or more people-- I usually play 1-on-1 games, so when I play more folks, my drafting strategy is the first thing I have troule with.

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  #2  
Old September 19th, 2007, 12:28 PM
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Jexik Jexik is offline
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If I go first, I almost always go for one of my favorite unique units that works pretty well in most situations.

Of course, it depends on the map, but about 75% of the time, I'll grab Nilfheim first. He's just so versatile and powerful that you really can't go wrong. Especially since in most of the drafting games I've played, people tend not to go overboard on commons, I don't have to worry too much about his achilles heel, which is probably a block of 4x 4th. Mass.

The Airborne Elite and Braxas are also popular choices of mine. On maps like Migol's Tomb, or castle maps, taking control of the higher ground is extremely important. Krav Maga Agents are another popular do-it-all unit. Q9 would probably be another, but I just don't like him all that much.

Although Nilfheim, Braxas and Krav Maga Agents might not be the best 500 point army for tournament play, it works rather well against random stuff that people might pick during drafting.

Another strategy I like to employ sometimes is to start out with a particular idea in mind and do my best to get that army. My first pick would be Marcus Decimus Gallus or Arrow Gruts or something, and I'll slowly try to build one of my favorite 500 point armies. Marcus is great because he has synergy with so many units, you can always draft something else that he's good with. This works very well if the other player is just going after really good units (the first strategy I name.)

The 3rd way to draft is just to play spoiler. Choose units that either directly counter your opponent's choices, or pick some that deliberately use the same synergy (clearly this last part only works if you are playing from a limited common pool. If everyone has 10 Swogs, this won't work.) As a counter, Morsbane might not be used in a premade army very often, but if you see that your opponent has both Krug and Mimring, it might be time to bust him out.

I've contemplated the idea of just passing my early rounds by taking Isamu or Marcu, but I always just grab Nilfheim instead. A friend of mine once took Deathreavers as his first draft (back when we only had one set) and he later regretted it when he only had 35 points left and would have really liked something more offensive.

One thing that I sometimes try to keep in mind is how I look at Order Markers (see my sig)- trying to keep a balance of offensive, defensive, and support figures. I'll tend to play more offensively in drafted games however, as I mentioned. Nilfheim, Braxas, and AE are pretty common for me. I don't think I've ever had a drafted game go to the end of the round limits. Either I win quickly, or die quickly.

It probably depends a lot on what your opponents like to pick (among my group we don't have more than 2 of most commons- this probably lends unnecessary strength to unique units), but this strategy has worked pretty well for me, primarily the first one I mention.

I do like your idea of following up a big pick with a smaller one. Maybe I'll pick Marro Warriors or Deathreavers after Nilfheim next time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fomox View Post
(I've also played many matches with great, fun people who were using Q9. So using Q9 doesn't make you a tool. But being a tool sure seems to make you use Q9.)
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Old September 19th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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Well, I'm the resident Heroscape "pusher" in my area and circle of friends, so when we don't use premade armies, I usually let everyone draft before me. If it's a multiplayer (3 or more) game and two of the others want the same unit, they roll for it. When I get around to picking, I just cobble together armies of units I've yet to use, which is still a lot because: I'm relatively new to the game; I have most of a complete set; and I don't get to play as often as I'd like. My method has made for some really bizarre armies.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 02:41 PM
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When drafting, I tend to think of an army theme first (usually built around 2 or 3 army cards), then try to fill it out with supporting units. The order I draft the units in depends on the liklihood of my opponent(s) drafting them first. For instance, if I'm the only one drafting a Marro army, I might take the Marro Warriors right away (because they're a good squad regardless of the army they're in), but not pick up Ne-Gok-Sa until a later pick (because his main special ability only affects Marro, he is less likely to be drafted by my opponents). Point value has little to do with my drafting order, except for "What do I do with my last 40 points?" type of scenarios. However, my collection (while not as big as many board members) is large enough that it is rare for two drafters to want the same figure, at least in my experience. I rarely counterdraft, both because it often is more effective to make my army the best it can be rather than worrying about the other guy's force, and because it seems like a "cheap shot."

Drafting is very important to Heroscape strategy, and I find the best way to become a better drafter is to be familar with the units. That way, you will know what kind of units to look for, and the synergy between them.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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One thing I come into while drafting is the concept of counter-drafting. This happens when your opponent takes a Queen class unit and you draft a unit almost solely for the purpose of killing their Queen, and also trying to spend less points than they did on their unit. There could probably be a thread devoted only to this, but I'll list a bunch of the Queens and some of my counter-drafts to them:

Cyprien Esenwein - > Major X17 + Theracus for 140 points, or an army of Gladiatrons and Blastatrons if possible. X17 and Glads take away Cy's best attributes - Chilling Touch and his 8 move with Stealth Flying.

Q9 - Krug for 120, Airborne Elite for 110, Kozuke Samurai for 100. Krug's 8 life means he can sustain enough Queglix shots to survive, and his massive attack can pierce the Major's armor. The Airborne Elite firing 4 shots with 4 dice should at least wound Q9 to the point that your other units can finish him. The Kozuke are effective if you can position them such that they can rush in and get the first strike. If you allow Marvel, Spider-Man and Venom are excellent choices, since they can Web-Swing behind Q9 in the middle of his Queglix and both have enough attack to bring him down for less points.

Braxas - Marrden Hounds for 90 points, or 180 for 2 squads, Krug for 120 points. They render her Acid Breath useless due to their size and wound her with attacks and the Marro Plague. For Krug, see Q9 and also know that he is immune to Acid Breath as well.

Nilfhiem - Valguard for 110, Major X17 for 100, Krug for 120. Nilf is extremely versatile, but one way to deal with him is to tie him up with a durable hero while you fire on him with ranged support. Once tied up, his Ice Shard Breath is much less effective, and Nilf will usually use his normal attack of 6 on the hero. Valguard can rush up, punish him once with 5 and then take the abuse with his 7 life. X17 can wound him with 4 attack and his 7 defense against a normal attack should keep him alive long enough to let the range kill him. Krug - see above with Q9. Same story really.

Charos - Krav Maga Agents for 100, Airborne Elite for 110. Charos is best taken down at range, and the Krav can outmove and outrange him (assuming the terrain isn't too hilly). The Airborne Elite can land in sucn a position that allows Charos to engage one at a time. They can then fire with 4 dice at him multiple times. Charos is another very versatile unit - he isn't afraid to take disengagement swipes to engage someone else.

Raelin - Airborne Elite for 110, Isamu for 10. Raelin may not be a Queen, but she is definitely a unit you want to get rid of quickly. I've found the Airborne Elite are excellent for landing within range of her and injuring her badly if not killing her. They cost more, but we all know Raelin is worth more than 80 points. Also, Isamu can be sent directly at her at the beginning of the game, and can hurt her if he gets lucky with Vanish. Attacking with 5 dice per turn is formidable.

Krav Maga Agents - Deadeye Dan for 60, Marrden Hounds for 90, Iskra + Rechets for 100, Deathreavers for 40. Deadeye is my favorite counter-draft here (he's a great counterdraft overall for others like the Nakitas, Minions, Zettians, Tagawa Samurai, etc). He has enough range to get shots off at them quite often with his special. The Hounds are fast enough to catch them and durable enough not to die on the way in. Iskra can send the Rechets far enough into the fray to engage the agents. The Deathreavers, with 6 move and Scatter, can also catch the agents and force them to attack rats. Also, if they can gain height, they can kill the agents. If my opponent combines the Krav and Raelin and has other squads I don't like, I will often counterdraft Braxas to deal with all of them.

There are probably more counterdraft options for those units out there, and more units that people want to see counterdrafts to, but thats a good start.

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  #6  
Old September 20th, 2007, 01:43 PM
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Our group never drafts. We just bring pre-made armies and get right down to it. Still, this seems like a very interesting discussion and I'm betting that sooner or later, we're going to give drafting a try, just for the sheer novelty of it.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wytefang
Our group never drafts. We just bring pre-made armies and get right down to it. Still, this seems like a very interesting discussion and I'm betting that sooner or later, we're going to give drafting a try, just for the sheer novelty of it.
It definitely allows you to try some different units that might not always take in a pre-made army. The only real downside is that it adds time to a game that can already take a little while to set up and get going.

In the spirit of KC's post, here are a couple other counters:

Krug- Warriors of Ashra (or 2x) for 50 (or 100) points. Ninjas of the Northern Wind for 110. Defensive agility and disappear can really annoy him. Templar Cavalry can also put the hurting on him with 3 attacks of 6 dice.

Zettian Guards- Izumi Samurai for 60. An Izumi-engaged Zettian Guard won't be doing much for awhile.

Airborne Elite- Sentinels of Jandar or Minions of Utgar each for 110. While not fast enough to catch up to the Airborne in an open field, they can stand on height while waiting for them to drop. Both of these squads have enough defense to survive and offense to eliminate the AE without too much trouble. Krav Maga Agents are also a good counter, although they can counter just about any ranged unit effectively.

I would also add Marcu Esenwein to the list of potential Cyprien counters. At 20 points and with 6 lives, chilling touch isn't terribly useful against him, and with 4 attack, he stands a decent chance of at least wounding Cyprien a few times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fomox View Post
(I've also played many matches with great, fun people who were using Q9. So using Q9 doesn't make you a tool. But being a tool sure seems to make you use Q9.)
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Old September 20th, 2007, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wytefang
Our group never drafts. We just bring pre-made armies and get right down to it. Still, this seems like a very interesting discussion and I'm betting that sooner or later, we're going to give drafting a try, just for the sheer novelty of it.
For my group, it's the exact opposite. We always draft, and if we play multiple games, we frequently stipulate that none of the units used in earlier games can be used again. This forces us to get to know more of the units than we might otherwise.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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Here's some more counters!
Stingers: High defense heroes without multi-striking abilities (Q9 comes to mind, as he is in fact a fairly reliable counter) and the Sentinels/Zettians are liabilties due to Stinger Drain. Instead, rely on any unit that can reach them faster than their threat range of 10. There are quite a few units that can do this, namely the Krav, Syvarris, Aubriens (who ironically enough benefit from the sworn enemy of Marros, the Venoc Warlord), and any other squad with a better threat range. In particular, when facing them, you do NOT want to send melee in against them- that's what they want and will promptly Stinger Shoot them into oblivion. As said before, heroes with multiple attacks make the Stingers pee in their pants (Deathwalker 9000 being an exception, due to a potential 5 attack dice). A good Stinger player will play them aggresively, though, so if you fail to kill them all, they'll make you pay. Also note that they undoubtedly have multiple squads in tow back in the starting zone, so kill them as they come. In summary, don't charge them unless you have a better threat range (or are Krug)- sit back and wait for them to come to you, and hit them with ranged, and hope you kill them all (you have to kill at least two, and be aware that they love spreading out as if they were melee units avoiding attacks like Explosion). The 4th Mass in particular are some opponents to watch out for against these guys- they'll absolutely nail him.
Okay, that was one really long counter. But it was close enough.

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Old September 20th, 2007, 07:40 PM
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Drafting is great, but if you know all the cards really well, and the other guy doesn't - you have a big advantage. I draft 2 armies a lot and let my friend pick the one wants. WHo ever loses then drafts another army to take on the winning army. Goes faster then both redrafting or me making up 2 armies. Plus it is easier to pick a army to take on a specific army then when you are drafting and not sure what he will pick next.

Drafting is an art - to bad tourneyments don'e have drafting ( it owuld take to long I think )?

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Old September 21st, 2007, 11:24 AM
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I love drafting. It makes it so damn fun and interesting being forced to use mixed units.

Through drafting, I have been able to learn about and liken such units as Jotun, Brunak, and others, basically because we decided to switch up the armies each game, and limit 1 marvel hero per person.

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Old September 21st, 2007, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wytefang
Our group never drafts. We just bring pre-made armies and get right down to it. Still, this seems like a very interesting discussion and I'm betting that sooner or later, we're going to give drafting a try, just for the sheer novelty of it.
Drafting is insanely fun. It's also the only way you will likely use certain figures.
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