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Old July 27th, 2018, 03:18 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, skill influence, and army construction as a whole impact the success of figures. Hatamato Taro has more Gencon titles than the Marro Stingers after all. But the other half of competitive army building, army archetypes, is valid for RtW. Gencon Main Event is probably the most-prepped for Heroscape tournament, with many concepts unique to it, and it seems sad to let all of the ideas behind army selection be hidden behind closed doors. So this thread exists to demystify for the public, and serve as a record for the participants, of the different sorts of armies that have had success in RtW tournaments.

If an event is not listed, it is the Gencon Main Event. Online Con (and in a couple months ScapeCon) are also listed; feel free to have your own opinion about whether they should be.

Splash

The term & main event usage was pioneered by the infectedsloth group. In 2014, Major Q23 brought 1x Mezzos as cleanup in his Dwarf army that he took to Day 2, as the beginnings of the splash concept. Splash has probably become the most popular style of Main Event army; I know the OEAO and maybe IS argues that there are many sub-army types within Splash, but to me, the average player probably sees them all the same (ie: gets a little confused when you hand all the pieces to them). The defining features of these builds are low amounts of commons, wide variety of pieces, and difficult order markers. With Raelin and well-constructed Splash builds you can make pretty much anything work.

Spoiler Alert!


Figures You Personally Are Very Good At

This is kind of a hard archetype to class because I can only really do it if someone has success with a figure multiple times, and that figure doesn’t see the same success or plain isn’t even attempted by other people. The three that I think of when I think of this are ISB3 with Cutters, dok with Nagrubs, Matthias with Spiders. The most defining feature of these armies is that they are mechanically intensive to play with and against, in terms of subtle positional situations, which grant large advantages to players very familiar with situations these figures end up in.

Spoiler Alert!


Bread and Butter

Instead of traditional army structure of one coherent whole with filler, these armies have one melee part and one ranged part. This concept doesn’t really need a name, but it’s probably second to Splash in terms of continued success by variety of players, although dok has had particular success with it. Where Splash armies reward 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.

Spoiler Alert!


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. 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 and I each had pretty successful runs with this concept in 2018 and 2019. There really aren’t many unsuccessful runs at this concept, but people just don’t do it very often. It takes a lot of confidence in the army you’re bringing to intentionally play under.

Spoiler Alert!


Ping

These armies use Raelin, and some range, but doesn't want to move 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. They can really make things awkward for Splash builds and other slow paced armies that people like to play in RtW, but sometimes they don’t have enough damage to take out bigger things.

Spoiler Alert!


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. People are always going to want to break these out, and try out variety of figures that don’t get to see the table in standard Heroscape events.

Spoiler Alert!


Fast and Fragile

These armies are hard to classify. 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. 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. But it can go the exact same way for your opponent if you get on top of them before they're situated.

Spoiler Alert!


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. 1x Glads is a fun innovation that tones the army down; it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it appears on paper since you’re not losing attack activations.

Spoiler Alert!


Uniques Mostly

R˙chean plays this every other year it feels like. 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. This is maybe a legacy archetype at this point, since the RtW meta has shifted weaker since 2016 and many of these Uniques are just quite good.

Spoiler Alert!


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; June 15th, 2021 at 07:10 AM.
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Old July 27th, 2018, 09:55 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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Old July 28th, 2018, 03:21 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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Old July 28th, 2018, 07:18 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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Old August 5th, 2018, 10:45 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, 11:27 AM
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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, 01:02 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 09:32 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, 09:53 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, 03:53 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, 01:09 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, 07:53 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, 08:04 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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