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Old February 15th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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If Deathchasers can win a tournament, why can't Macdirks?

The title of the thread says it all. I want to compare these two units, since one of them, while new, is thought of to be pretty competitive in the tournament scene (even already scoring a couple wins!), while the other is shunned almost completely, however I see quite a few similarities between the two squads.

Here are the army cards for reference:





OK - let's look at their base stats:

Points per Figure - 18.333 vs 20
Move - Equal
Range - Equal
Attack - 4 vs 2*
Defense - Equal
Attacks per turn - 3 vs 4

Now the special abilities:

Taskmaster Bonding vs. Human Champion Bonding - let's call this Equal for the moment (though I don't think it is). Here are the heroes involved though:

Taskmaster
Nerak
Me-Burq-Sa
Ogre Pulverizer
Ogre Warhulk
Swog Rider

Human Champion
Sir Gilbert
Alastair Macdirk
Sir Denrick
Finn
Thorgrim
Eldgrim
Sir Hawthorne

Orc Battle Rush - Obviously this is a distinct advantage that the Death Chasers have over the Macdirks. They get a 5-space head start, bar none.

Highland Fury - I think this is where a lot of players really get hung up on why the Macdirks are perceived so poorly. It's really a tricky ability to get the most out of, and it depends entirely on keeping one hero alive. IF the Highland Champion dies, the Macdirks are disheartened at 2 attack. Though as long as it's active, the Macdirks attack value is probably at least equal to the Death Chasers, and could very well be higher. On average, I don't think it's a stretch to say that Highland Fury balances out the higher normal attack of the Death Chasers.

So, in theory, the question then becomes "Why are Death Chasers better than Macdirks when all of their stats are virtually the same, and the Macdirks activate one more figure per turn?" The answer I've come to so far is "I'm not sure."

Orc Battle Rush is nice, for sure, but the Macdirks have access to Sir Gilbert who grants an outstanding boost to movement. He is easily the best Human Champion, and therefore I think a must in any Macdirk army. I think this is the players' first mistake - not including Gilbert.

"But the Death Chasers have Nerak, who boosts their defense for only 50 Points." This is true, and is probably a point for the Orcs. However, the Macdirks do have Thorgrim to boost defense, though I really don't recommend using him. I'm going to suggest instead that the Macdirks need to also play Raelin to help out. Of course, the Orcs can do that, too.

However, the Orcs are typically going to want at least one other bonder besides Nerak. Normally this is going to be an Ogre or MBS, or both. That means the Orcs are paying 50+at least 100 on champions, and the Macdirks have thus far only spent 105, so they're even making up the difference in Points.

But, what about Alastair? Is Gilbert going to just be your Highland Fury champ? What if the opponent ignores him? Again, all valid questions. Gilbert could be the Highland Fury champion for certain, though you have to depend on your opponent to attack him. Instead, I think it's wise to include a champion that can ensure he is wounded. I'm not talking about Alastair though - I'm talking about Eldgrim. For 30 Points, you can hide Eldgrim in the back corner of the starting zone - far away from the conflict - and overextend him twice in the first 2 rounds to boost your Macdirks up to 4 attack. On all other turns of the game, Gilbert is your bonding champion.

This means that, after just one round, the Macdirks (at 3 attack, and that assumes Gilbert isn't adjacent) are throwing as many dice per turn as the Death Chasers are, can attack more targets, and are catching up to the Orcs even in map position through Jandar's Dispatch. After two rounds, they're throwing more dice at more targets, and probably make up the difference that the Ogre or Me-Burq-Sa is adding to the Orcs' offense, without the Ogre drawbacks or MBS' fragility. I really think this strategy can work for the Macdirks to allow them to compete in a tournament environment. I do admit that it's tough to come up with an army at 500 points that works, though. 455 and 535 seem to be the beginning sweet spots:

Sir Gilbert - 105
Raelin - 185 (I'm interested to see if just more Macdirks is better)
Eldgrim - 215
Macdirk Warriors x3 - 455 (add another squad at 535)

vs.

Ogre Pulverizer - 100
Nerak - 150
Raelin - 230
Death Chasers x4 - 450

I really don't see a huge amount of difference in those builds using the above MacDirk strategy, and I think many will agree that the DCoT build is solid. So why isn't the MacDirk army solid?

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Last edited by killercactus; February 15th, 2011 at 02:40 PM.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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Re: If Deathchasers can win a tournament, why can't Macdirks

Quote:
So why isn't the MacDirk army solid?
I don't know, play them at the next tourney and find out!
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Old February 15th, 2011, 01:43 PM
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Re: If Deathchasers can win a tournament, why can't Macdirks

I'd say the biggest issue is that the Eldgrim-as-champion thing is relatively high-risk, low-reward. You don't get to 4 attack until the first turn of the second round (you can only overextend once per round) and after that, one shot from a figure that breaks into the back lines neuters your army for the rest of the game.

Still, I agree that there are a lot of similarities and the fourth attack is significant, for sure.

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Old February 15th, 2011, 01:46 PM
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Re: If Deathchasers can win a tournament, why can't Macdirks

Quote:
Originally Posted by dok View Post
I'd say the biggest issue is that the Eldgrim-as-champion thing is relatively high-risk, low-reward. You don't get to 4 attack until the first turn of the second round (you can only overextend once per round) and after that, one shot from a figure that breaks into the back lines neuters your army for the rest of the game.

Still, I agree that there are a lot of similarities and the fourth attack is significant, for sure.
But, are you really planning on attacking much with the MacDirks before the first turn of the second round?

Secondly, if a figure can get through all of those MacDirks to the back of the starting zone to get at Eldgrim, then they deserve to win. There are potentially a couple of problem figures like Cyprien and the AE, for instance, but I'd think most figures would have some trouble getting through 16+ attack dice per turn.

I agree though that one shot at Eldgrim basically ends it, but I think that's better than spending the points on Alastair only to run him away (if you're lucky enough to run him away before he dies).

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Old February 15th, 2011, 01:51 PM
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Re: If Deathchasers can win a tournament, why can't Macdirks

I never thought that the MacDirks were as bad as their ranking. I always viewed their ranking from the perspective of this question, "Why take the MacDirks when I can take the KoW?"

In much the same way, I don't think that Marro Drudge are "D" units. Outside of a swamp map, when would you take the Drudge instead of Stingers?
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Old February 15th, 2011, 02:02 PM
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Re: If Deathchasers can win a tournament, why can't Macdirks

I think the 4th attack is less important for a melee squad than a ranged one, and that Orc Battle Rush more than makes up for the lost 4th movement, because you basically get 9-15 free moves frontloaded at the start of the game.

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Old February 15th, 2011, 02:04 PM
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Re: If Deathchasers can win a tournament, why can't Macdirks

Quote:
Originally Posted by killercactus View Post
Sir Gilbert - 105
Raelin - 185 (I'm interested to see if just more Macdirks is better)
Eldgrim - 215
Macdirk Warriors x3 - 455 (add another squad at 535)

vs.

Ogre Pulverizer - 100
Nerak - 150
Raelin - 230
Death Chasers x34 - 450
Fixed.

Since you're not hiding your bonding hero with the DCs, they'll usually get at least as many attacks per turn as the MacDirks, if not more-Double Attack from the Pulverizer or Flail Hurricane from the Warhulk can bump them to 5+ (depending on the love your d20's giving you).

Since the DC's bond with someone who boosts their defense from more than 1 space away you don't have to spend as many attack-free OMs moving Raelin.

The DCs don't have to wait for their attack to be 4-they come with that out of the gate-and they don't lose it if someone dies.

I think that the DCs' bonding heroes generally play better with them than the MacDirks' do. The Ogres are more comfortable being in the thick of things than Sir Gilbert and your recommended use of Eldgrim, and Nerak's aura is significantly better than any of the human champions, imo.

Lastly, Battle Rush is HUGE-especially on what is the current standard tourney map size and style. You get to bring out everyone, and you know what you're getting, whereas with Sir G you only get to move one squad and you're reliant on the dice (works for my brother, not me-I've never rolled more than 3 symbols, he pretty consistantly gets 4-5 )

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Old February 15th, 2011, 02:08 PM
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Re: If Deathchasers can win a tournament, why can't Macdirks

The biggest difference is Nerak and the extra move. Extra move = height (often) = extra defense

2 defense in melee is just horrible. When we were play-testing the DC and I used them w/o Nerak and / or Raelin they just fell like flies. But with Nerak and / or Raelin I knew they were going to be very competitive so I'm not surprised at all by how well they've done.

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Old February 15th, 2011, 02:12 PM
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Re: If Deathchasers can win a tournament, why can't Macdirks

As a rule of thumb it's always seemed to me that consistency is a good thing.

The default Stinger Drain position is 'off', right? You need to manipulate the variable of wounds-on-your-champion to maximize the MacDirks. Not so for the DeathChasers, who come out of the box ready to rock and roll.

Use a low-life hero, you could have problems, use a higher-life hero, you are introducing other problems. There is more risk using the MacDirks, who I think perhaps compare more interestingly with the Greenscales.


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Old February 15th, 2011, 02:29 PM
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Re: If Deathchasers can win a tournament, why can't Macdirks

Instead of only low attacks by picking Eldgrim as your champion, why not get something else and attack your champion instead of him auto-wounding himself. Example:

3x Macdirks = 240
raelin = 80
Alastair Macdirk =110
Gilbert = 105
Isamu = 10
Total points = 545

Use Isamu or Gilbert to attack Alastair and when he is close to 5 wounds, auto-wound him to prevent premature death. It is risky but worth it when fighting high defense enemies.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 02:39 PM
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Re: If Deathchasers can win a tournament, why can't Macdirks

Wow - a lot of stuff happened in the 10 minutes I wasn't looking at this. Most of you said the same thing, so I'll respond to Killometer who seems to have said the most:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killometer View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by killercactus View Post
Sir Gilbert - 105
Raelin - 185 (I'm interested to see if just more Macdirks is better)
Eldgrim - 215
Macdirk Warriors x3 - 455 (add another squad at 535)

vs.

Ogre Pulverizer - 100
Nerak - 150
Raelin - 230
Death Chasers x34 - 450
Fixed.
Thanks - I actually tried to Edit my post, but I don't think it actually went through. I'll fix it again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killometer
Since you're not hiding your bonding hero with the DCs, they'll usually get at least as many attacks per turn as the MacDirks, if not more-Double Attack from the Pulverizer or Flail Hurricane from the Warhulk can bump them to 5+ (depending on the love your d20's giving you).
I'm only suggesting that you bond with Eldgrim twice for the entire game, and one of those is likely to be before you're close enough to attack anything. The rest of the game you're bonding with Gilbert, who can attack if he wants to. And, he probably should attack more than he should with the KoW, since you're a bit less concerned about him dying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killometer
Since the DC's bond with someone who boosts their defense from more than 1 space away you don't have to spend as many attack-free OMs moving Raelin.
Conceded, though I only think Raelin is going to take 1, maybe 2 OMs away, and she takes the same amount if the Death Chasers play her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killometer
The DCs don't have to wait for their attack to be 4-they come with that out of the gate-and they don't lose it if someone dies.
Again, the MacDirks' attack is going to be 3 right away, which means they're throwing as many dice as the Death Chasers are right out of the gate. I agree that losing Eldgrim screws them, but I think there are very few matchups where that's going to be a legitimate scare early on. And against figures like Cyprien / AE, you can always still choose Gilbert as the champion, and even try to wound him with Raelin if you want when you move her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killometer
I think that the DCs' bonding heroes generally play better with them than the MacDirks' do. The Ogres are more comfortable being in the thick of things than Sir Gilbert and your recommended use of Eldgrim, and Nerak's aura is significantly better than any of the human champions, imo.
I think Gilbert is more comfortable in the thick of the battle than he gets credit for, especially with the MacDirks. He has better survivability than either the Pulverizer or MBS, and grants an attack boost. With the KoW, Dispatch is absolutely critical, but with the MacDirks it's a bit less critical and more of a bonus. Gilbert might need to be played a bit different than players might be used to, but I think he can serve that purpose, and he isn't going to kill himself or any of your guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killometer
Lastly, Battle Rush is HUGE-especially on what is the current standard tourney map size and style. You get to bring out everyone, and you know what you're getting, whereas with Sir G you only get to move one squad and you're reliant on the dice (works for my brother, not me-I've never rolled more than 3 symbols, he pretty consistantly gets 4-5 )
Conceded again that Battle Rush is a big deal. Jandar's Dispatch can be though, too. The MacDirk's are really fast when you add Dispatch - fast enough to stay out of the threat range of some figures and gain the first strike, and then they get all the other Dispatch benefits (like fording rivers, disengaging without losing attacks, bringing up reserves when you don't need to move, etc.). I think Dispatch can help the MacDirks get high ground quite often. They'll be averaging 7 move, which is pretty darn fast. And while the extra movement of a figure is probably cancelled out for the game by Battle Rush, the extra attack each Order Marker isn't.

Again - all of this is theory though. I've just started screwing around with using Eldgrim this way. Good discussion, though.

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Old February 15th, 2011, 03:02 PM
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Re: If Deathchasers can win a tournament, why can't Macdirks

I love the depth of earlier responses. The simple answer is that the MacDirks have a critical vulnerability which the DCoT lack - their Champion. Armies with critical vulnerabilities have a difficult time winning tournaments.

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