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Maniacal_cackle

Pre-game analysis: identifying key areas.

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After playing for a few months, I thought I'd start some discussions on strategy! For this post, I wanted to focus on one particular aspect of pre-game strategy: identifying key areas of the board.

The basic idea:

During every pre-game, I identify all the spots on the board where either player can score points.

It is a very basic thing to do, but often I find people (including myself) forget to take into account where points can be scored and instead just run their crew towards the other crew.

I try to hold in my mind all the relevant parts of the board in mind during the game. If an action doesn't help me control one of those parts of the board/score points in some way, it might be a waste of time.

The parts of the board where scoring tends to matter are strategy locations, scheme locations, and where your enemy will be. You can deduce where your enemy will be by knowing they will be at one of the places where points matter (strategy location, scheme location, or where your crew is).

One thing to note here is that in many cases, you have a lot of control over where your enemy is going to be. Since often Malifaux requires interacting with the other crew, you can sometimes ensure the enemy comes to you.

An example:

Suppose a game with this setup:

  • Reckoning - standard deployment
  • Claim jump
  • Breakthrough
  • Hold up their forces
  • Deliver a message
  • Vendetta

Some might say Vendetta and Hold Up Their Forces are likely good picks here, since you can score three points off them while doing your main mission - killing the enemy crew.

However, in my view, Claim Jump and Breakthrough are extremely powerful schemes in this scenario.

The reason for this is that victory points can only be scored at the following locations:

  • The centre of the board for claim jump.
  • My deployment zone (for denying the enemy breakthrough).
  • The enemy deployment zone (for my own breakthrough).
  • Wherever the enemy is/wherever I am.

There is a very strong incentive for each player to put their crews close enough to the centre to deny claim jump, which in turn makes it a good place to score Reckoning. If a player thinks they will win a fight in the centre, they should possibly take Claim Jump. 

Breakthrough also has important strategic implications, but they are similar. I'll jump to examples instead.

Example: Dreamer vs. Titania

If I was playing this scenario as Dreamer, I would very highly consider taking Claim Jump. Dreamer is a crew that gets unstoppable late game, so Dreamer could spend the first few turns laying siege to the centre. His important models would be near the back (including the claim jumper), making it dangerous for the enemy crew to go after anything other than the cannon fodder. He would also be well positioned to defend the base by teleporting Lord Chompy Bits back to eat scheme markers.

Titania might look at this setup and realise she needs to gain the advantage early and fast. If Dreamer did not take Coppelius for scheme denial, I would probably take Vendetta (Lord Chompy Bits) and Breakthrough. Turns 1-3, I'd use my superior killing power to try to gain a Reckoning advantage and to kill Lord Chompy. With him down, the opponent would be in a much worse position to take out my Breakthrough markers. And with the high mobility of Titania's crew, she could force the game to be about scheme markers for turns four and five. Dreamer, with his deck being at full power turns 4/5, does not want to be spending actions interacting instead of killing. And if he only used weak models or himself for interacts, that makes those models vulnerable to being killed for reckoning. Titania could also be in a safe position turn 4 so that turn 5 she could take the last activation to rush the claim jump model and deny a point. She would just need to wound it below half health.

What are your thoughts?

What would you take in this scenario? How do you go about analysing where the battle will take place; do you do it all? Was this useful, and should I write more?

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I know what I would do against either of them, but I don't play Neverborn....

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Well depending if i chose Outcast or Bayou, on Reckoning in would pick Hamelin and The Brewmaster, respectively.

Hamelin vs Dreamer would be interesting, because summoning models next to my stuff that cause Blight when you activate next to them saves me a step. Would have to do Claim Jump and Breakthrough as I have too many Insignificant models to pick a valid Vendetta or Hold Up Their Forces... and Dreamer's too slippery for Message.

Hamelin vs Titania would be hard I can't get rid of the terrain, but I can also limit the amount of models I even hire to count towards Reckoning point, countering the whole Strategy, as well as whatever Rats kill do count towards the Strategy still.  same Schemes as above for the sane reasons.

 

Brewmaster vs Titania is easy mode.  Can eat all the markers a beeline to her and Message her through cover in a moment.  So much poison and burning Reckoning will just happen, so much healing Reckoning won't happen to me, easily get Hold Up Their Forces in my sleep with this crew and the slow aura.

I don't know how Brewmaster & Dreamer would mix..... haven't delved into him in 3rd enough yet for how that nuance would go, but I remember hearing something about it being bad for Brewmaster.  Guess I'll have to get punched on the face and find out!

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@Jesy Blue neat insights. I don't know those crews, so was very interesting!

Brewmaster vs. Titania, I don't know the matchup, but what would you do if she just avoided combat and tried to snag her schemes? Are you maneuverable enough to stop that/got good scheme denial?

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....oooooooh yesssss....

Golem is Nimble, Gamin push 1" for every point of poison on them, Fingers switches enemy markers to friendly markers, Emissary is Unimpeeded with a 12" push and eats markers it rolls over, and as Bayou 1 to 2 models will have 12 Cups of Coffee which pushes a model with that upgrade 1" at the end if every model's activation.

We good on that front.

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So I think you are right that you want to plan out which sections of the board you need to control and when, and if this is the same for your opponent.  For example in Turf War I may want to turn my back two markers early, but fully expect them to be neutral/enemy controlled by the end of the game.  By that point I should have centre then as many of the enemy markers as I need. 

How you are going to do that is really going to be crew vs crew dependent.  For example a few models scattered around which can do mass pushes to get everyone away for claim jump.  Hence in your example that may be something to bear in mind on the strength of taking claim jump or not.   If we both have breakthrough, I may need to get a model there by moving, they may have models which can 'teleport' there.  Hence they are not going to need to provide a 'safe corridor' for their model.  Hence the premium placed on Soulstone Miners in Arcanists.

In short I think it's always worth evaluating these questions during deployment, and making notes as such to reflect on with a specific crew.  However I think this needs to be something you iterate on with a specific crew, rather than able to build a general framework if that makes sense?

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9 hours ago, HowNot2Wargame said:

So I think you are right that you want to plan out which sections of the board you need to control and when, and if this is the same for your opponent.  For example in Turf War I may want to turn my back two markers early, but fully expect them to be neutral/enemy controlled by the end of the game.  By that point I should have centre then as many of the enemy markers as I need. 

How you are going to do that is really going to be crew vs crew dependent.  For example a few models scattered around which can do mass pushes to get everyone away for claim jump.  Hence in your example that may be something to bear in mind on the strength of taking claim jump or not.   If we both have breakthrough, I may need to get a model there by moving, they may have models which can 'teleport' there.  Hence they are not going to need to provide a 'safe corridor' for their model.  Hence the premium placed on Soulstone Miners in Arcanists.

In short I think it's always worth evaluating these questions during deployment, and making notes as such to reflect on with a specific crew.  However I think this needs to be something you iterate on with a specific crew, rather than able to build a general framework if that makes sense?

Agreed, I go through this process not just for each crew, but for every new game. If you're taking into account what your opponent can do (as much as you can, no one has played against all the masters!), then you're going to develop a much more solid game plan.

This is actually just one step in a series of considerations for me, but I thought this a good size for a single post xD

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