Heroscapers
Go Back   Heroscapers > Official Classic HeroScape > Competitive Armies Discussion
Competitive Armies Discussion Discuss, critique, and build ideas for tournament-caliber armies.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old May 8th, 2018, 12:26 AM
OrcElfArmyOne OrcElfArmyOne is offline
 
Join Date: August 6, 2011
Location: USA-CT-Hartford
Posts: 1,123
Images: 2
OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness
Orc's State of the Meta Address

This article is meant to be read as a companion to my new set of Power Rankings.

Competitive HeroScape has changed. Despite no new content being released, the meta at GenCon 2017 was very different than at GenCon 2012. In this article, I will break down the major contributing factors to the changes we’ve seen over the past half dozen years.

Note that this piece will focus mainly on the GenCon meta. The meta is different from group to group, and unfortunately I can’t play HeroScape everywhere. I cannot accurately assess the meta of Online Scape, for example, because I have only played in a single event, and its structure was much different than that of what I am used to. I would have to play in several more events to be able to grasp more of the strategies and subtleties of non-double blind, non-RtW formats (a major weakness in my skill set), as well as the differences in the map and glyph pools.

I also am referring only to Official Classic Scape; I simply do not have the time to keep up with the excellent customs being made by the VC community. It helps that the GenCon crew doesn’t use these in any of its official events.


The Fall of the Major: The Causes:
Major Q9 was a common sight to see at GenCon 2012. I saw only one Q9 at GenCon 2017. Has the Major gotten worse over time? Have people figured out how to beat him?

The single most important factor seems to be an unspoken agreement and consensus among HeroScapers that Q9 is an un-fun figure who is also incredibly easy to play. There is a stigma that he is easy to play (which he is) and that using him is easy mode (which it is).

Counters to Q9 are more common nowadays than perhaps before. Heavy Gruts are a common sight to see (I may have played them once or twice myself) as well as “can-openers” like Eltahale, Nilfheim, and Frost Giant. Heavy Gruts are particularly interesting in that they absolutely dominate the “broken units” army of Q9, Rats, and Raelin. Disengage, Chomp, and Nerak all make it a matchup that a good Gruts player loves to see.

The skill level at GenCon is at a high enough place now among a large portion of attendees that a bad or mediocre player with Q9 will lose to a good or great player with something else.

The Fall of the Major: The Effects:
There aren’t a whole lot of major, easy-to-see effects here. Really, Cyprien and 4th Mass get a bit better as the top Soulborg and Ranged unit isn’t around. People have mostly figured out how to beat each by now however, and they still struggle in other matchups (Q10/ lots of attacks per turn for Cyprien, Phantom Knights and just generally good players for 4th Mass).


Smaller Points, Smaller Starting Zones, and the Figure Limit: The Causes:
The causes of these changes are easy to understand. No one likes it when their game goes to time; I believe I have only gone to time once (I’m a notoriously fast player), but that isn’t fun. It’s better to have the game fully resolved. Smaller points and smaller starting zones both help to alleviate this problem in the strict time limit of a tournament structure.

The most interesting change was the switch from a hex limit to a figure limit. As I understand it, this was an attempt to boost the viability of double-hexed commons, who ranged from weak (Hounds) to unplayable (Groks) in a competitive environment, as well as the Hive.

The earliest year I can trace this back to is 2013. Seems like that was the big year of change.

Smaller Points, Smaller Starting Zones, and the Figure Limit: The Effects:
In 2012, 24-hex starting zones were the norm. In the past few years, it has become common to see an 18-20 figure starting zone limit in the major formats. No longer will you run into 6x 4th Mass; instead, most common squads are ran as 4-ofs, with expensive bonding squads such as Knights and Heavies often ran as 3-ofs due to the lower point limits (often closer to 400 than 500).

A once-incredible army was hurt by the smaller starting zones: Glad/Blast. Although some have found success running smaller numbers of them in more unconventional pairings (dok in 2014 Main Event with 1x Glads/2x Blasts, Deroche in 2015 Main Event with 2x Glads/2x Blasts and having to drop 3 figures, Dysole in 2017 Main Event with 4x Blasts), it is no doubt weaker than it used to be. This leads to, once again, Cyprien being stronger than he used to be, with both the Q9 and Glad/Blast matchups being far rarer.

Conversely, a once-niche and borderline-unplayable unit, the Marrden Hounds, found new life in the switch to a figure limit. Whereas before taking 4x Hounds filled up your starting zone, now you could take 5x Hounds at 450 points and 15 figures. This is decidedly stronger as you don’t have to drop any figures. Hounds also have a better chance against meta armies than most non-A units because Plague can devastate commons run in smaller amounts. 4x 4th Mass and Sgt Drake SotM vs 5x Hounds is a decidedly better matchup for the Hounds than say 6x 4th Mass vs 4x Hounds and Major Q10 (although that isn’t terrible, but that has more to do with the strength of Q10). It’s also huge for Hounds that Glads/Blasts and Major Q9 aren’t seen much anymore because these were previously two absolutely horrific matchups for Hounds.


A Few Thoughts on the Reverse the Whip Meta:
The Knights of Matthias (infectedsloth, I.S.B.3, Major Q23, and myself), along with others, have pushed forward a meta wherein splashing is a very common and effective practice. Splashing is the usage of commons run as 1-ofs or 2-ofs, often times as tech. Teching is the including of a specific unit in an army to counter a specific weakness or bad matchup of the rest of the army. These armies are Order Marker intensive and reward tight formations and high-skill play. Raelin (RotV) is often a crucial element to making these work.

I have specifically included some examples that have AT LEAST THREE essential pieces that you need to balance Oms on to make the army effective. Note that you do not need three essential pieces; I have simply included some extreme examples.

2x Mezzos, Frost Giant, MWs, 1x Rats, Heirloom, Oto- Q23, 2015
2x PKs, 2x WoA, Eltahale, Concan- Orc, 2015
2x HSBs, 1x Mezzos, Kozuke, Tarns, Raelin- IS, 2017
3x Drones, 1x Mezzos, Alastair, 1x Rats, Raelin- Q23, 2017

It’s safe to bet that we, along with others, will continue to bring this type of army-building to RtW events in the future.


Final Thoughts:
Hopefully, this article is a helpful companion to my new, updated Power Rankings that reflect the changes we’ve seen in the meta.

Feedback welcomed! Happy ‘Scaping!

Last edited by OrcElfArmyOne; May 9th, 2018 at 07:56 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old May 8th, 2018, 02:01 AM
Dysole's Avatar
Dysole Dysole is offline
PuppetMaster & #1 Ranked CoNner
 
Join Date: March 17, 2008
Location: Oregon Eugeneish area
Posts: 14,216
Images: 250
Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth
Observations

Just a couple quick hits.

I think you missed a factor in Q9 seeing decreased play especially in the main event. You'll have to play against him. Q9 is good and is very difficult to screw up and sometimes you can play optimally against him and he will just not die. That's a big risk to take when building an army you have to play against. (I brought him to an online take 2 tournament with obsidian guards, tandros, and a single attack VC figure against an army designed to be reselient to Q and those armies were pretty well balanced)

Figure limit absolutely mitigates squad scape and it hurt a couple niche units like vipers, ashigaru, and cutters (while myself and ISB3 had success with some of those units in main event, they are significantly worse if you have to play fewer squads). Ultimately, I think it makes heroes more viable and makes it harder to run an army of nothing but squad X which I think is very healthy for the game. Plus the bonus of shorter games.

I think splashing is certainly not a bad army building practice and I know I've done it before, but you have to be careful not to build an army that plays like a wave army. I've actually had relatively straightforward armies order marker wise the past couple years and made up for it with armies that are weirder to play (stalkers and straight blasts). Having played a lot of events where your opponents can play your stuff, I find that there's multiple ways to build armies that you know how to play that your opponents might not and that's really the key to any kind of reverse the whip, bring 2, etc.

~Dysole, going for straight glads this year, naw just kidding or am I?


This sentence has exactly seven words.
This sentence doesn't have exactly seven words.

Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old May 8th, 2018, 10:56 AM
Sir Heroscape's Avatar
Sir Heroscape Sir Heroscape is offline
Sir Formerly Known As adoney
 
Join Date: September 14, 2015
Location: U.S - Idaho - Idaho Falls
Posts: 2,663
Images: 71
Sir Heroscape is inducted into the Halls of Valhalla Sir Heroscape is inducted into the Halls of Valhalla Sir Heroscape is inducted into the Halls of Valhalla Sir Heroscape is inducted into the Halls of Valhalla Sir Heroscape is inducted into the Halls of Valhalla Sir Heroscape is inducted into the Halls of Valhalla Sir Heroscape is inducted into the Halls of Valhalla Sir Heroscape is inducted into the Halls of Valhalla Sir Heroscape is inducted into the Halls of Valhalla
Re: Orc's State of the Meta Address

Good read. I’m interested to read more. Can’t say much on it myself though since I’ve only been to GenCon once.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old May 8th, 2018, 02:43 PM
OrcElfArmyOne OrcElfArmyOne is offline
 
Join Date: August 6, 2011
Location: USA-CT-Hartford
Posts: 1,123
Images: 2
OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness
Re: Observations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysole View Post
Just a couple quick hits.

I think you missed a factor in Q9 seeing decreased play especially in the main event. You'll have to play against him. Q9 is good and is very difficult to screw up and sometimes you can play optimally against him and he will just not die. That's a big risk to take when building an army you have to play against. (I brought him to an online take 2 tournament with obsidian guards, tandros, and a single attack VC figure against an army designed to be reselient to Q and those armies were pretty well balanced)
Actually, I'm talking about overall throughout events. GC was already RtW Main Event by 2012, and even before then (I believe 2010 was the first year of it, but I'd have to check.

Quote:
Figure limit absolutely mitigates squad scape and it hurt a couple niche units like vipers, ashigaru, and cutters (while myself and ISB3 had success with some of those units in main event, they are significantly worse if you have to play fewer squads). Ultimately, I think it makes heroes more viable and makes it harder to run an army of nothing but squad X which I think is very healthy for the game. Plus the bonus of shorter games.
Agreed that they were made worse, but they were never particularly amazing in the first place. The above is certainly not a comprehensive list of everything affected, but rather touching on some major ones.

Quote:
I think splashing is certainly not a bad army building practice and I know I've done it before, but you have to be careful not to build an army that plays like a wave army. I've actually had relatively straightforward armies order marker wise the past couple years and made up for it with armies that are weirder to play (stalkers and straight blasts). Having played a lot of events where your opponents can play your stuff, I find that there's multiple ways to build armies that you know how to play that your opponents might not and that's really the key to any kind of reverse the whip, bring 2, etc.

~Dysole, going for straight glads this year, naw just kidding or am I?
I was hesitant to even put in this section, but I figured it at least warranted being mentioned. The KoM will definitely be covering specifically the Main Event more in the future.

Thanks for the input!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old May 8th, 2018, 04:08 PM
dok's Avatar
dok dok is offline
GenCon Main Event Champion - 2010 & 2011
 
Join Date: October 9, 2008
Location: USA - CO - Denver
Posts: 20,767
Images: 108
Blog Entries: 17
dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth dok is a man of the cloth
Re: Orc's State of the Meta Address

I agree with Dysole that the biggest source of the decline of Q9 is just the metagame created by formats where you might have to play against your Q9. It's really nothing except that - well that, and some social stigma about playing Q9. But if I had to play against an an alien for the survival of the human race, and it's double blind prebuilt armies, I'm bringing Q9, full stop.

Look at last year's Gencon results. Several formats contain draft elements or reverses or have specific army-building restrictions that make using Q9 really hard. Leave those out, and you've got 4x400, 4x300, assassination, uniques, and team-up. Q9 was in the winning army of two of those, and second place in two spots as well... in just 5 events. No other figure was as prevalent in the top 2 spots in those events, and this is despite relatively few players using Q9.

On "splashing" -- there are two common themes in every army I've ever played in the main event. One is Raelin, of course. The other is that I make armies where to be successful you have to juggle OMs between different offensive pieces. IMO, if you're trying to make an army tricky to play, requiring this sort of OM management, even between just two places, is more important than the raw number of OM options available.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old May 8th, 2018, 04:42 PM
OrcElfArmyOne OrcElfArmyOne is offline
 
Join Date: August 6, 2011
Location: USA-CT-Hartford
Posts: 1,123
Images: 2
OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness
Re: Orc's State of the Meta Address

Quote:
Originally Posted by dok View Post
I agree with Dysole that the biggest source of the decline of Q9 is just the metagame created by formats where you might have to play against your Q9. It's really nothing except that - well that, and some social stigma about playing Q9. But if I had to play against an an alien for the survival of the human race, and it's double blind prebuilt armies, I'm bringing Q9, full stop.

Look at last year's Gencon results. Several formats contain draft elements or reverses or have specific army-building restrictions that make using Q9 really hard. Leave those out, and you've got 4x400, 4x300, assassination, uniques, and team-up. Q9 was in the winning army of two of those, and second place in two spots as well... in just 5 events. No other figure was as prevalent in the top 2 spots in those events, and this is despite relatively few players using Q9.
Agreed on Q9 still being powerful. My point was that he isn't played across the board nearly as often anymore.. he just floats to the top when he is played.

It is definitely a stigma thing as well; I should elaborate a bit on the "unspoken agreement" part. That's why you don't write an article over a series of months without at least jotting down the points you want to hit...

Will update to include, thanks!

Quote:
On "splashing" -- there are two common themes in every army I've ever played in the main event. One is Raelin, of course. The other is that I make armies where to be successful you have to juggle OMs between different offensive pieces. IMO, if you're trying to make an army tricky to play, requiring this sort of OM management, even between just two places, is more important than the raw number of OM options available.
Agreed here too. I simply provided a few extreme cases that also follow the rule you gave. Again, will definitely cover RtW specifically sometime hopefully soon.

Thanks for the feedback!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old May 8th, 2018, 04:45 PM
lefton4ya's Avatar
lefton4ya lefton4ya is offline
PDFin' sweet self spammer
 
Join Date: December 22, 2008
Location: USA - OH/KY - Cincinnati/Florence
Posts: 3,863
Images: 126
Blog Entries: 1
lefton4ya is a penguin with a machine gun lefton4ya is a penguin with a machine gun lefton4ya is a penguin with a machine gun lefton4ya is a penguin with a machine gun lefton4ya is a penguin with a machine gun lefton4ya is a penguin with a machine gun lefton4ya is a penguin with a machine gun lefton4ya is a penguin with a machine gun lefton4ya is a penguin with a machine gun lefton4ya is a penguin with a machine gun lefton4ya is a penguin with a machine gun lefton4ya is a penguin with a machine gun
Re: Orc's State of the Meta Address

I think we need a completely separate ranking based exclusively on RTW format, in which case the "more complicated" units that are normally B- to A- would be ranked highest. Look at Gencon and other RTW tournament results from the last 6 years and pick out the units in the most winning armies.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old May 8th, 2018, 04:53 PM
vegietarian18's Avatar
vegietarian18 vegietarian18 is offline
Online HS Season 10 Champion
 
Join Date: September 5, 2011
Location: USA - IL - Peoria/Champaign
Posts: 3,892
vegietarian18 is hot lava death! vegietarian18 is hot lava death! vegietarian18 is hot lava death! vegietarian18 is hot lava death! vegietarian18 is hot lava death! vegietarian18 is hot lava death! vegietarian18 is hot lava death! vegietarian18 is hot lava death! vegietarian18 is hot lava death! vegietarian18 is hot lava death! vegietarian18 is hot lava death! vegietarian18 is hot lava death! vegietarian18 is hot lava death!
Re: Orc's State of the Meta Address

This thread is specifically interested in the Main Event metagame, which is an interesting thing to talk about. Yes, people play Q9 in other events (I played him twice last year actually) but I think people prep and think about Main Event armies much more and so discussing the consequences is interesting. I don't think "RtW Power Rankings" are the right way at all: RtW is more complicated than that. True power rankings are more informative when discussing RtW anyways.

My dad's 5-0 Day 1 army last year (Romans x2, Raelin, Theracus, MBS, Marcus, 10th x1) is pretty much a splash army, although the idea was to make it cross-card synergistic as well as order marker mixing. We are a little more hesitant about armies without synergy because it seems easy to get rolled by cogent armies and that's not a fun way to lose when you only have five games.

For the most part I think that the splash army strategy is effective but I agree with dok that it's more important to have two viable choices for order markers each round than a ton at the beginning of the game. I think these specific armies do that though.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old May 8th, 2018, 05:03 PM
OrcElfArmyOne OrcElfArmyOne is offline
 
Join Date: August 6, 2011
Location: USA-CT-Hartford
Posts: 1,123
Images: 2
OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness OrcElfArmyOne wears ripped pants of awesomeness
Re: Orc's State of the Meta Address

Quote:
Originally Posted by vegietarian18 View Post
This thread is specifically interested in the Main Event metagame, which is an interesting thing to talk about. Yes, people play Q9 in other events (I played him twice last year actually) but I think people prep and think about Main Event armies much more and so discussing the consequences is interesting. I don't think "RtW Power Rankings" are the right way at all: RtW is more complicated than that. True power rankings are more informative when discussing RtW anyways.

My dad's 5-0 Day 1 army last year (Romans x2, Raelin, Theracus, MBS, Marcus, 10th x1) is pretty much a splash army, although the idea was to make it cross-card synergistic as well as order marker mixing. We are a little more hesitant about armies without synergy because it seems easy to get rolled by cogent armies and that's not a fun way to lose when you only have five games.

For the most part I think that the splash army strategy is effective but I agree with dok that it's more important to have two viable choices for order markers each round than a ton at the beginning of the game. I think these specific armies do that though.
Yeah, I had a ton of fun in my RtW match vs your dad! It was a good game; I made a few misplays that hurt. He played the Blades better than most other people I've played against, which did not help.

Agreed with regular power rankings being informative; that was really the driving force behind me creating my own. They are now what I used, and I figured that I mine as well share them with the community.

I'll definitely be covering your dad's army in the future! Thanks for the feedback!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old May 8th, 2018, 05:57 PM
Dysole's Avatar
Dysole Dysole is offline
PuppetMaster & #1 Ranked CoNner
 
Join Date: March 17, 2008
Location: Oregon Eugeneish area
Posts: 14,216
Images: 250
Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth Dysole is THE woman of the cloth
May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

Specifically in regards to RtW, I tend to think units with higher variance fare worse because of the risk of units doing poorly for you and well for your opponents can wreck really good play. Otherwise, I agree with most of the general RtW comments.

~Dysole, flipping the script


This sentence has exactly seven words.
This sentence doesn't have exactly seven words.

Reply With Quote
Reply

Go Back   Heroscapers > Official Classic HeroScape > Competitive Armies Discussion
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
State of the Union Address superfrog General 0 January 28th, 2014 10:47 PM
Does anyone have a mailing address for Hasbro? Skeletor HeroScape General Discussion 4 April 26th, 2010 01:13 PM
The Meta-meta-game Revdyer HeroScape General Discussion 10 September 14th, 2009 08:49 AM
HSCodex.com IP Address Hijacked Rasputin HeroScape General Discussion 3 March 23rd, 2007 02:35 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:42 AM.

Heroscape background footer

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.