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Heroscape Strategy Articles Heroscape Strategy Articles with discussions. Including Order Markers, Units, Game Play, etc.


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Old September 10th, 2007, 04:18 PM
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Dude, where's your X? (Order Markers part II)

Order Markers, Part Deux

A. Order Marker Classification Review
For those who didnít read my other article, hereís a short synopsis of the unit types I might refer to, with 3 strong examples of each.

Bread and Butter units (i.e. Ďtrons, 4th. Mass, Gruts) are the common squad backbone of many solid armies, and a common choice for many of your order markers.

Sharks, Menacers, and Cleanup units are offensive units. They are also a solid choice for an order marker. Sharks (i.e. AE, Nilfheim, Zombies) require perpetual motion or theyíll die, Menacers (Minions, Q9, KMA) are tough so they take less care than standard sharks, and Cleanup (Guilty, Kaemon Awa, Sonlen) shine at the end of the game.

Cheerleaders (i.e. Raelin, Marcus, Swogs) and Defenders (i.e. Brunak, WoA, Deathreavers) are useful even if you donít place order markers on them. They enable and protect other units.

Bread and Butter units are complemented well by Cheerleaders, and maybe the occasional Menacer or Cleanup hero. Do not put them together with Sharks without good reason.

Sharks are pretty lacking if you donít protect them adequately, but they have the offensive potential to blow games wide open. Menacers and Cleanup heroes are a little easier to use.

B. Take a second look at your army.
Before you start playing with your army, ask yourself these three questions about every army card in it:
1. Will an order marker on this get me a lot of offensive power?
2. If I choose not to put an order marker on this, is it still useful?
3. Is this the best possible unit to fill this role in this army for my available points?
If you canít answer Ďyesí to at least two of these questions, try to find a replacement.

C. Evaluate the battlefield (do this at the start of every round, and mid-round)

1. Anticipate your opponentís moves.

Explanation: Look at your opponentís army. Look at yours. Look at the battlefield. Which of her units are you most afraid of? Which of your units is she most afraid of? What will be the important points to control on the map? Can you get there first? Can you watch your opponent get spread out first and pounce on her scattered forces instead? Who is your opponent going to attack with her first turn or two? Can you lead her into a trap?

2. Try to guess what your opponent thinks youíre going to do.

Explanation: Sort of like above, only backwards. Or just think about what you want to do, and how to make sure it happens. Chess masters are said to be able to see many turns in advance. Luckily in Heroscape, you only need to look ahead 3-6 most of the time.

D. Some rules of thumb

1. Place your 1,2, and 3 order markers on units youíd like to be able to attack and/or move with. [Once the battle starts, youíll probably want to prioritize those that you can attack with.]

Explanation: this one explains itself pretty well. Never hesitate to kill or engage an enemy figure if given the chance, unless it will likely cause you greater losses. Bonus points if itís got order markers on it.

2. Place your X on something that you donít mind if your opponent attacks.

Explanation: If your opponent is paying attention (which many new players donít), she will focus on your figures that have order markers on them, in the hope of causing you to lose turns, or at the very least, have a less effective turn. Tough units like Menacers or Defenders are a good source for your X; if they draw fire, it allows your Sharks to do their thing. Any unit that your opponent has already been attacking and might wipe out soon is also a good spot for your X.

3. Try to place your X marker on the same card as your 1 or 2, but not your 3.

Explanation: If you place your X on the same spot as your 3, your opponent will always know where your third turn is going to be; you should at least try to make him guess. If you place your X on the same card as your 1 and/or 2, that squad or hero has already aroused your opponentís attention. Heíll likely try to kill them, which will open up a chance for a fresh attack from another squad or hero.

4. Place your 2 and 3 order markers on your healthier units.

Explanation: If you think that a squad or hero might die, but youíd still like to attack with it (especially if it might kill its assailants), you might try putting your 1 on it (or your X). Any squad that is reduced to just 1 or 2 members has also lost a great deal of effectiveness; even if itís not wiped out, only 1 or 2 attacks is often a wasted turn.
This is why common squads are often a safe bet. Your opponent needs to kill an awful lot of them before they actually hurt you. Similarly, this is why placing all 3 order markers on a Deathwalker is a very risky move. Sure, they might not die that often, but if it happens early in a round, your opponent will make you pay for it- Deathwalkers are never really Ďhealthy.í Any hero at less than half strength is also considered weakened.
When using a bonding squad that bonds with multiple different heroes, it is sometimes a useful trick to keep one squad member back behind a ruin or some hard to reach part of a map, to avoid losing a turn. If thereís nowhere to hide, put your 2 and 3 on the hero instead of the squad.

5. Assume that you won't win the initiative roll.

Explanation: Unless you've got the Glyph of Dagmar, your opponent is just as likely to go first as you are. If your opponent going first will cause great damage to your sharks, don't put more than one order marker on them. Try to set up your order markers in such a way that your first move will be a good one whether you go first or not.

6. Be ballsy from time to time, but not too ballsy.

Explanation: Feel free to break any of the above rules from time to time if you think your opponent wonít expect it. Sometimes an apparently stupid, risky move will pay off. But be careful, even when doing something tricky, itís probably not a good idea to put your 3 on something that will be dead.

Example 1: Just yesterday I was playing a 2v2 Winterís Holdout game on Forsaken Waters before anyoneís reinforcements had arrived. (Very small armies weíre talking about here- 160 each). I had an unwounded Krug and only 1 member of my Venoc Viper squad still remaining. At the start of round 2, I placed my 2, 3, and X marker on Krug. I placed my 1 on the Venoc Vipers. I lost initiative. My first opponent moved Isamu who couldnít engage anything yet. My second opponent actually disengaged his Marcu Esenwein that was next to my Venoc Viper to go use the Healing Glyph (He wanted to make sure that Krug didnít use it later). On my turn with the lone Viper, I slithered across the water and killed a 4th. Mass guy. Then I frenzied and killed another. Then I frenzied again- I didnít kill one, but I did engage two. They shot him the next turn, but it was awesome.
Although there was quite a bit of luck involved, there are a few important points. First of all, my opponents were using Marcu and Isamu early in the game, when they could have been using their 4th. Mass and Sacred Band instead. Furthermore, Marcu had an easy chance to kill my Venoc Viper, but chose not to take it.

Example 2: I was playing that goofy 3- player Thaelenk Tundra scenario where the glyphs are ridiculously strong. I got the AE to drop early, and I wreaked havoc with their 7 dice from height for awhile, and I pissed off everyone else at the table. My one friend had been putting his 1,2 and 3 on his Armoc Vipers and his Aubrien Archers- they were largely out of the range of my AE who were stuck with glyph-squatting. His X was continually on Raelin. When I least expected it, his X on Raelin was actually a 3, and she swooped in and killed my guy standing on the Brandar (Crazy Tripling) glyph. He won.
This is a pretty clear case of me not backing up my sharks. I had Marcus, some Marrden Hounds, and 4th. Mass, but they were all way on the wrong side of the glacier mountain. Also, using a Cheerleader or Defender as an offensive figure can often be a startling move, especially if they fly.

E. Examples, Q&A style

I'll start with a few typical questions about specific situations that I'd expect, and I'll answer them. Feel free to ask your own, and I can see what I can do about providing satisfying answers.

Q: My Airborne Elite are down to two members, and my nearest opponents are some Knights of Weston backed by Alastair McDirk. They're just 4 spaces away and I don't have a height advantage on them. What should I do!?

A1: Sacrifice them. It is unlikely that attacking the Knights will cause much appreciable damage to them, even with grenades. Depending on what else you have, you might want to sacrifice the AE to the Knights. If you place your X, or perhaps your 1 and your X on the AE, you'll most likely buy your other units some time to put a hurting on the Knights.
A2:Try to save them. Don't put any order markers on the AE. Hopefully, your opponent will ignore them and focus his attention on what else you are using on that turn. Those two Airborne Elite might turn around and make a great cleanup crew later.
A3: Trick your opponent. Place just your 3 on the Airborne Elite. Your opponent might expect you to have put your X on them (as in A1), trying to lure him away from your other units. Once he turns and runs after your other squads, run a bit further away and shoot the Knights in the back. This might even work better than A2 at saving them, depending on how aggressive your opponent is, and how pissed he is at your Airborne. This works even better if your 1 and 2 were 4th Massachusetts or something, and you've got your X on them.

Q: I've got one set of Menacers, and one set of Sharks out there, leaving me with only two places to put my order markers. What are some good configurations?

A1: 1,2,X on CardA and 3 on CardB. This looks remarkably like going 1,2,3 and X, which is what you want your opponent to think. If they expect the 3, this becomes pretty risky.
A2: 1,2,3, X OR 1,2,3, X. Just go to town with whichever squad is healthier. I use the second option pretty often with Nilfheim, Braxas, and other big sharks.
A3: Try 1,X 2,3 OR 1,3 2,X and their inverses if you want to keep your opponent guessing and both units are comparably healthy.

Q: What should I be using my order markers to kill?
A:
1) First and foremost, attempt to eliminate any enemy Cheerleaders. If there's an Erland glyph on the map, don't summon your own guys; summon your opponent's Raelin and beat the stuffing out of her. When faced by a horde of Arrow Gruts and Swogs, kill the Swogs, [especially if the swogs are adjacent to the gruts- taking out a lone grut now and then is still a good idea].
2) Next, weaken your opponent's shark squads and do your best to kill their shark heroes. They are easy to kill, and have an easy time killing you.
3) Bread and Butter units are next. It might be a slow process, but you've got to eliminate your opponent's horde of commons if he's got them.
4) Menacers are pretty scary, but they shouldn't always be your priority target unless you've got a really good shot at them (like Braxas being Queen at killing high defense squads, or slithering some Venoc Vipers at some KMA).
5) Avoid attacking Defenders unless you have a unit which is particularly adept at doing so. (i.e. Special attacks against reavers and most special defenses, ranged attacks against samurai and WoA, etc.) Ignore this rule if they are standing on a particularly important glyph such as Attack, Move, Initiative, or Defense. Don't ignore this rule against reavers. I hate reavers: the most insidiously awesome unit ever.

Lastly, remember what I wrote in the first rule of thumb: you should always prioritize attacking over movement. What I mean is that if Raelin is 12 spaces away and not providing the benefits of her aura to anyone, don't go chasing after her. Attack the sharks or squads near you, especially if they've got order markers on them. When deciding who to attack, start at the top of the list and see what's within your threat range (movement value+range value). Like most things I mention, there are always exceptions, but this will provide you with a good start.

F. Parting thoughts
Constantly evaluate whatís going on. Watch what your opponent is afraid of and do your best to eliminate any threat, no matter how small. Never, ever, put your 3 and your X on the same card unless youíve got a good reason to do so (like if your army is all Gladiatrons and Blastatrons, or you have a good trick up your sleeve). Another consequence of these mind games is that despite the overwhelming power and order marker effectiveness behind a strong bonded army, there really are no surprises for your opponent.

Iím open to feedback and suggestions. Flames are welcome.

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 11th, 2007, 07:55 PM
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This is a very interesting read - I'm looking forward to anything else you may post in the future!

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Old September 12th, 2007, 04:18 PM
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Shiori may be a plausible candidate for the 3,X combo. If you only want to use her on turn 3, she gets +1/+1 for that turn.
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Old September 12th, 2007, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Multicron
Shiori may be a plausible candidate for the 3,X combo. If you only want to use her on turn 3, she gets +1/+1 for that turn.
Yep. There are definitely some fun order marker mind games to be played with Shiori. One could probably write a whole page or three just about her, but I don't think I'll do it.

She's also kind of tough to classify. Her ability discourages placing more than 2 order markers on her, so she can't really be a shark or all that effective as cleanup. Since she's such a great location for the X, and she has a reasonable amount of power, she might be a menacer.

It matches her outfit anyway.

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 13th, 2007, 09:26 AM
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I've found for Shiori that there are a couple of standard order marker combos depending on how many turns you want her to have.

No turns - just use the X if she is in danger of being attacked. If not, don't put any markers on her.

One turn - either 1,X or only the 3, depending on if you want her to attack early or late

Two turns - 1,3 this way she'll get the attack bonus on the first turn and have the defense bonus the whole round if you lose initiative.

An interesting note about Shiori - I don't think the 2 order marker should ever be placed on her, unless you have no other choice. No matter what combination you use, if the 2 is on her, she is without her bonus for half the round.

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Old September 13th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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Another unique and great read among the steaming piles of garbled chatter going on around the boards these days. Hats off to you, sir!
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Old March 25th, 2008, 02:28 PM
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Flying in the face of D.3, I'm actually really starting to like putting my 3 and my X on the same card from time to time now.

Let's say that I have 4x Marro Stingers, and 2x Deathreavers, and Cyprien sitting back in my starting zone, more than 9 spaces away from any of the action. My opponent has the initiative glyph.

I've been putting my 1,2,3 on the Stingers, and my X on the Deathreavers for the last couple rounds, and my opponent is not engaged to any of the Deathreavers. In this sort of situation, I've often found myself putting the 2, or even the 1 on my Deathreavers, and then putting the 3, X, and whichever is left of the other two onto the Stingers.

Engagement with deathreavers requires no die rolls, and might help save a few stingers. My opponent will likely assume that I am attacking all 3 turns with Stingers and wouldn't be silly enough to put my 3 and X on the same card. If I put my 1 and X, or 2 and X on the Deathreavers instead, he would know for certain that at least one of those wasn't a bluff, and a similar thing would happen if I had instead put the X on Cyprien. He'd have no reason to fear Cyprien since he's so far away. What I want the other guy to think is that I'm taking 3 turns with the Stingers, and it's business as usual.

Quote:
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(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 March 25th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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Is there a list somewhere that categorizes all or most of the Heroscape figures in these terms? It would be a nice thing to look into, and possible include in the figure books.

Quote:
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Did you lose your saving throw vs. Fabulous?
B.U.D.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guido
Is there a list somewhere that categorizes all or most of the Heroscape figures in these terms? It would be a nice thing to look into, and possible include in the figure books.
Yes, page 6 of OM I. I list them in two ways. First, with the colors superimposed onto the power rankings, and then again broken up into the categories.

I will caution that these categories can definitely change based on various circumstances (see OM IV), and that there are some units that I have less experience using than others. Nilfheim, Marro Stingers, and a few others have also changed roles at least once, so that not all of my articles agree. (Those two were formally a Shark and a BB squad respectively, and I may change them back at some point).

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 March 25th, 2008, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jexik
Quote:
Originally Posted by guido
Is there a list somewhere that categorizes all or most of the Heroscape figures in these terms? It would be a nice thing to look into, and possible include in the figure books.
Yes, page 6 of OM I. I list them in two ways. First, with the colors superimposed onto the power rankings, and then again broken up into the categories.

I will caution that these categories can definitely change based on various circumstances (see OM IV), and that there are some units that I have less experience using than others.
Thanks, that thread and this one are quite useful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ej
Did you lose your saving throw vs. Fabulous?
B.U.D.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 03:14 PM
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Another great article, Jexik, well done!

Thankfully, I find myself using more of the good practices than I might usually admit.


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Old March 25th, 2008, 03:18 PM
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I'm glad to have seen this bumped, it was great to re-read it...
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