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4thstringer

Games more fun with lower powered masters?

Which type of game do you prefer  

27 members have voted

  1. 1. Which type of game do you prefer

    • Any sort of master at any time
    • Low powered master against Low powered master
    • High powered master against High power master
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I was listening to the newest Max Power podcast, and Travis (I think quoting his friend Casey) suggested that the game is more fun when you play with the lower powered masters rather than battles between the top tier masters.  What are your thoughts on that? Do you agree?  disagree?

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I personally prefer cutthroat competition and trying to create the best crew and most delicious combos I can.

One of the things that I like about malifaux is that the power difference between best and worst is relativly low and that you have a lot of models that fills the same role in different ways. So what is powerful for one person might suck for another as the model just doesn't fit his play style.

For example I loathe stitched together, they always seem to let me down when I really need them and two of my opponents are way too fond of using obey on them, or even worse, Yasunori.

I will admit that I often have a hard time justifying it to myself when I bring any other neverborn master than collodi, as I almost always look at a scheme pool and think "collodi can get 10 pts here for sure".

 

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I'm fond of including random chance, but eliminating as much randomness and therefore risk as possible is how you optimize, so.

Lower powered games for me by default.

That and I think Phiona is the only optimized piece of Guild I got to work in less than a half-dozen outings. Give me something corner-case and construct, I'll make it sing; give me the auto-includes and I stumble. :( 

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I usually have fun games no matter what master my opponent is playing. Most masters have strengths and as long as you play to those strengths I don't think you're handicapping yourself that badly.

I prefer playing lowly rated masters because it gives a feeling of trying o unlock a puzzle where others have failed. When people say that you have to play this or that to win I usually stay away from it on purpose, not only masters but models in general. Despite not always taking auto-pick models I usually have really engaging games even when my opponent picks high octane masters or models.

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If I'm playing, I'm happy. 

Sometimes I'll handicap myself against newer players by taking non-optimized lists (for me) or taking Schemes that are harder to score with what I'm running. Then I can go all-out during the game and let the cards fall where they may.

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2 hours ago, Ludvig said:

I usually have fun games no matter what master my opponent is playing. Most masters have strengths and as long as you play to those strengths I don't think you're handicapping yourself that badly.

I prefer playing lowly rated masters because it gives a feeling of trying o unlock a puzzle where others have failed. When people say that you have to play this or that to win I usually stay away from it on purpose, not only masters but models in general. Despite not always taking auto-pick models I usually have really engaging games even when my opponent picks high octane masters or models.

This is why I've been getting fairly decent with Mei Feng (Arcanist). Local Arcanists shrugged her off, local 10T is focused on Shenlong, Asami, and that direction in general.. leaving all the playspace for me. It also means that the first time that many of my opponents ever see Mei Feng on the table is against me (while I've been practicing against people who are trying to figure out their tournament crews), so it becomes a more interesting puzzle for them as well. Aside from the sticker shock of "Vent Steam does what?!" against a cast/shoot heavy crew, that is.

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1 hour ago, spooky_squirrel said:

This is why I've been getting fairly decent with Mei Feng (Arcanist). Local Arcanists shrugged her off, local 10T is focused on Shenlong, Asami, and that direction in general.. leaving all the playspace for me. It also means that the first time that many of my opponents ever see Mei Feng on the table is against me (while I've been practicing against people who are trying to figure out their tournament crews), so it becomes a more interesting puzzle for them as well. Aside from the sticker shock of "Vent Steam does what?!" against a cast/shoot heavy crew, that is.

Lol- there are crews I have made that Mei is such a kick in the teeth......

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With me it varies greatly. For example, I went to a tournament last weekend, and when I saw the strats and schemes, my first thought was that I could use a single  Kaeris crew all 3 rounds... (Note: I did so, went 2-1 and ended up 6th out of 18.)

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On 8/8/2017 at 0:04 PM, 4thstringer said:

Lol- there are crews I have made that Mei is such a kick in the teeth......

I've played into Tara crews and Lynch crews that were absolutely hamstrung. Their biggest beaters were The Nothing Beast and Huggy respectively.. and it turns out that everything they do is a cast action. :blackjoker:

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Gotta find the value of focus or spending a stone for positive flips to get around vented steam. The +flips (from focus) carry over to damage, so just getting through the negatives to actually hit means that when you do, damage should be vast. 

Took me a game or two to figure that out against Mei Fang, otherwise its an impossible bubble to approach. 

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While Travis is using the term "low powered" I think it doesn't quite describe what he's talking about.  Actual low powered is really miserable to outright boring.  There are low powered masters that do less than some Enforcers and they're frankly dull as dirt.

I think what Travis is reacting to is some of the extreme damage/extreme threat range aspects of the game.  When you've got models threatening the board length turn one with the ability to kill almost anything, the game turns into a weird game of chicken instead of something interesting and tactical.

I definitely like the game best with powerful, dynamic masters, but I can also do without the game of passing for activation control until someone gets to send Nekima/Howard/Yasinori across the board to end the game before it really begins.

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Other than von Schill, I'm curious to know what other Masters you rate below Enforcers. Not that I don't believe they exist, just curious what sort of stuff makes a model that bad.

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To elaborate: once a higher-powered gamer gets bored with the game as it stands, what does that person do? Revert to using lower-power models, happily? I've started at lower power and kept in reserve the option to pick higher-powered models once I get bored.

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10 hours ago, Fixxer said:

Gotta find the value of focus or spending a stone for positive flips to get around vented steam. The +flips (from focus) carry over to damage, so just getting through the negatives to actually hit means that when you do, damage should be vast. 

Took me a game or two to figure that out against Mei Fang, otherwise its an impossible bubble to approach. 

A single vent is no biggie but you can stack it as high as many times as you want. Mei can railwalk up and put up two-three vents so tat even with a built in positive and focus you are still at negatives. 

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3 hours ago, Gnomezilla said:

To elaborate: once a higher-powered gamer gets bored with the game as it stands, what does that person do? Revert to using lower-power models, happily?

That happens quite frequently, yes.

Exploring whacky choices/combinations, extremely fluffy crews, etc. are all valid, too.

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I started with a mid tier master experimented with original lucius for a challenge and the probably highest rated master I have used is Lilith who is awesome and quite fun.

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8 hours ago, Ludvig said:

A single vent is no biggie but you can stack it as high as many times as you want. Mei can railwalk up and put up two-three vents so tat even with a built in positive and focus you are still at negatives. 

I typically see vented steam twice in a single turn, which means that you'd need to use a henchman, focus and burn a stone to get to that straight flip for the duel. (I use McTavish or Angel eyes typically)  OR if you are lucky enough to have a master that hands out obey or focus, you can set yourself up for success. 

I see what you are saying but 3x vented steam is overkill and eliminates Mei Fangs ability to really do anything else AND dictates her having to activate  early/first.  I was just offering the counter to that gimmick which most newer players overlook (myself included). I dont see a lot of focusing outside of 10T and never see people using stones to add a +flip, typically its a suit. AND when the Mei Fang player knows that you know how to get around their 1 or even 2 vents, they play differently with her which is the edge in defeating her "castle" play style. 

 

 

 

 

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As for the topic, I think most has to do with player skill and the crew support choices. Some masters arent as good in themselves/alone/solo but have better synergies with other models. 50 stones leaves quite a bit of room for flexibility as to who you bring with a "bad" master. Sure some have to be better than others but with so much variation a skilled player will find a way. 

The game of chicken is typical in most war games I've ever played. Those models do die, can whiff, and cannot be everywhere. If you think that's boring, dont bring expensive beaters and try the being everywhere strategy with smaller models. Luckily due to schemes and strats, I see both approaches completely viable. 

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10 hours ago, Gnomezilla said:

To elaborate: once a higher-powered gamer gets bored with the game as it stands, what does that person do? Revert to using lower-power models, happily? I've started at lower power and kept in reserve the option to pick higher-powered models once I get bored.

Not sure. I don't consider myself higher-powered, even though I play Arcanists and have Sandeep, Ramos, all the showgirls, and Myranda. I go with the 'rule of cool' idea where I play the stuff I like the look of (mostly). When I figure out that something might be a little too high octane/intense for more casual games where someone is trying to figure something out about their models or the rules, it goes on the bench and more interesting stuff comes out. For the most part I play masters and crews that many others might dismiss on paper (wisdom of the internet kind of stuff) because it's fun for me, interesting for my opponent, and makes for a good game. Sometimes, especially during tournaments, I set aside the let's make an interesting game motive and drop something that is reliable, stable, and capable.

 

Which ties into the OP topic: "fun" is relative. Some people find their fun in trying to break the hobby of others. Some people find their fun in pushing models around a table while enjoying tasty beverages and interesting conversations. My idea of fun is a game where my opponent and I don't know how the game will turn out until the dust settles when the flip to continue fails or time is called. This makes interesting games fun for me; games that are a blowout in either direction are less so because I already know the outcome, I'm just settling the differential (win or lose).

12 minutes ago, Fixxer said:

I typically see vented steam twice in a single turn, which means that you'd need to use a henchman, focus and burn a stone to get to that straight flip for the duel. (I use McTavish or Angel eyes typically)  OR if you are lucky enough to have a master that hands out obey or focus, you can set yourself up for success. 

I see what you are saying here but 3x vented steam is overkill and eliminates Mei Fangs ability to really do anything else AND dictates her having to activate  early/first.  I was merely offering the counter to that gimmick which most newer players overlook. I dont see a lot of focusing outside of 10T and never see people using stones to add a +flip, typically its a suit. AND when the Mei Fang player knows that you know how to get around their 1 or even 2 vents, they play differently with her which is the edge in defeating her "castle" play style. 

 

The interesting thing about Vent Steam is that it lasts until she activates again. So she can activate when she needs to in later turns--typically when her front line needs to advance further than her bubble currently reaches.

One thing to bear in mind is that if Mei Feng takes Vapormancy, she gets a trigger to Vent Steam on her claw and kick attacks, so she can actually do work and get Vent Steam up. It potentially gets uglier if she's using her Emissary's Conflux for another attack. So she can still be doing stuff and get to triple Vent Steam (if the cards are right), Railwalk to frontline node, take built-in trigger to kick, trigger for Vent Steam, then Vent x2 or go to town with attacks.

My regular opponents are learning how to work around Vent Steam, but I'll still use it when there's shooting/casting in the opposing crew. For 1AP I force every hostile Sh/Ca action to have a Focus or Soulstone tax. For 2 AP I mess with everything that's not coming from something that can Focus twice. That being said, it's not a total shutdown. My opponent can still flip high and I can still flip low. If you're on triple negatives to cast a Lure and pop the Red Joker? Well, unless your target had Counterspell, they're going to be leaving the bubble.

Now I'm not going to tell you that Mei Feng is lower powered; she is under-represented in my local and regional meta. Last large event I went to I saw players from multiple states who had never seen Mei Feng on the table, including a Guild opponent that dropped Perdita into me like he was expecting armor. She has some things that she does really well but there are also things that she will need a miracle to pull off.

 

As for the metric of rating masters against enforcers or henchmen.. eh.. If you grade a fish on its ability to climb trees and measure it against a monkey, the fish is going to suck. I don't know why someone would rate Von Schill as lower than an enforcer, unless they're trying to use him to do something that that enforcer is good at and he is not. He's not Ashes and Dust, but at the same time A&D is not VS. I've only ever played against him, and when he's being used to buff his crew and be a disruptive element, he's a solid take. He's also really hard to put down unless you build your crew to kill him, which might limit your ability to deal with the other things he's bringing to bear and complete the schemes--which disrupts you without even needing to flip cards.
If he's not being used for his strengths and synergies, he might seem a little lackluster. The same thing can be said of other masters. If I'm using Toni Ironsides and not trying to get mileage out of Hand Picked Men or Mei Feng and Vent Steam, I'm missing out on a major ability. Sure they can potentially beat stuff down, but they're not A or S tier beaters. They're not going to threaten murder the way Howard Langston does, but Hank is never going to support the rest of the crew and modify the board state the way that those two masters can.

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24 minutes ago, spooky_squirrel said:

The interesting thing about Vent Steam is that it lasts until she activates again. So she can activate when she needs to in later turns--typically when her front line needs to advance further than her bubble currently reaches.

One thing to bear in mind is that if Mei Feng takes Vapormancy, she gets a trigger to Vent Steam on her claw and kick attacks, so she can actually do work and get Vent Steam up. It potentially gets uglier if she's using her Emissary's Conflux for another attack. So she can still be doing stuff and get to triple Vent Steam (if the cards are right), Railwalk to frontline node, take built-in trigger to kick, trigger for Vent Steam, then Vent x2 or go to town with attacks.

My regular opponents are learning how to work around Vent Steam, but I'll still use it when there's shooting/casting in the opposing crew. For 1AP I force every hostile Sh/Ca action to have a Focus or Soulstone tax. For 2 AP I mess with everything that's not coming from something that can Focus twice. That being said, it's not a total shutdown. My opponent can still flip high and I can still flip low. If you're on triple negatives to cast a Lure and pop the Red Joker? Well, unless your target had Counterspell, they're going to be leaving the bubble.

Now I'm not going to tell you that Mei Feng is lower powered; she is under-represented in my local and regional meta. Last large event I went to I saw players from multiple states who had never seen Mei Feng on the table, including a Guild opponent that dropped Perdita into me like he was expecting armor. She has some things that she does really well but there are also things that she will need a miracle to pull off.

Truth. 

This topic just sticks out with me in regards to Mei Fang because she can be frustrating to face for a newer player that doesn't understand certain aspects. + and - flips arent an end all either... they can go either way depending on luck. Good post. 

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1 minute ago, Fixxer said:

Truth. 

This topic just sticks out with me in regards to Mei Fang because she can be frustrating to face for a newer player that doesn't understand certain aspects. + and - flips arent an end all either... they can go either way depending on luck. Good post. 

Absolutely, she can be super frustrating to face (several local players will attest with enthusiasm). The nice thing is is that if I notice that my opponent has no idea what they're doing, I can ignore that I have her Vent Steam ability and still do stuff that will help my opponent think about positioning, threat ranges, and focusing on the scenario scoring conditions. In later games we can start talking about focusing, built-in positives, and stoning for positives and providing scenarios where it's relevant.

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@Fixxer

A player that hasn't figured out that focus is good for avoiding negative flips will probably feel that a lot of masters are challenging so I'm not sure how relevant that is to Mei's power level.

I feel you need to assume a competent player that has a grasp on basic rules as well as the master's strengths to gauge a master's power level. A master that has a gotcha the first game that no one falls for twice isn't strong. A strong master is one where you know what is going to happen and still can't counter it.

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20 hours ago, Bakunin said:

Other than von Schill, I'm curious to know what other Masters you rate below Enforcers. Not that I don't believe they exist, just curious what sort of stuff makes a model that bad.

There's been a good amount of work put in to fix them lately, but a lot of the primarily melee beatstick masters aren't really significantly more threatening than some of the high cost Enforcers as far as I'm concerned.  There's some exaggeration in that statement, especially because better Enforcers take a good chunk of stones to field, but not nearly as much as there probably should be.

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@Ludvig

OK. I understand what you mean by power level only being relevant in a game with two veteran players. I was just speaking freely on an experience that gave me the opportunity to grow into a better player. Didnt mean to insinuate that Mei was a top tier master or anything. Just that she caused frustration to me the first few times I played against her.

Our meta isnt the largest so please pardon my limited scope. Reading the cards and seeing it play out on the table are two different things... for me at least. 

But I do feel that Mei Fang is a strong master because of the - flips aura that effects her friendlies. Many masters can hand out - flips, just not to Most of their crew all at once AND for CA+SH actions. Thats heavy and  its a challenge even for a good player to figure out where to funnel AP into focus and what to target in the bubble to start taking it apart.  

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