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Shen Long / Charles Hoffman


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Hello again guildmates

So, after my recent asswooping at my last tournament, I've been doing my best to just observe how other players at handling current meta. In particular, the abuse of Shen Long in tourney play. He appeared many times at my recent tourney as well as many times in the higher end tournaments such as the UK Nationals. 

My main opponent happens to be a 10T player who's pretty darned good, so we played a practice game where we randomly generated a scenario and agreed we would play Hoffman vs Shen Long. We figured these to be the 2 biggest masters from their respective faction and they're the ones dominating the meta atm (besides Arcanists in general)

So, the scenario was pretty lame from a Hoffman perspective. Flank Deployment with Turf War, with Power Ritual, Outflank, Harness the Ley Line, Hold up their forces, and I can't remember the 5th. I chose Power Ritual and Outflank. Hold up their forces was basically non completable due to the high point cost of our models and Ley Line is very difficult without a dedicated tech piece.

To keep it brief, I lost. Sent a hunter to one end and a watcher to another. Shen Long turbo charged and then shot straight at the watcher and killed it turn 1, while a Samurai and a Thunder Archer killed the Hunter by end of turn 2. Shen Long got another Uber charge off and killed Melissa KORE before being taken out by Langston. My Riotbreaker did a good job in killing the 2 peasants turn 3, as well as hurting Sensei Yu w/ blasts. Guardian straight up insta killed a low river monk which was tight. But in the end, I lost due to failing to accomplish my schemes. Takin schemes that require Hoffman to spread out is always a bad idea but in this case I didn't have much of a better one.

So with that in mind, ive learned a few lessons about how to play Hoffman better and when it's appropriate to take him (scheme wise) but I'd like some input about what would have been a good play instead of Hoffman. I've got most of Dashel and Lucius, and a decent collection of Lady J as well. So to put this into an actual question (I'm sorry I ramble so much), what crew would you have taken instead of Hoffman and how could I have handled the situation better WITH Hoffman?


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Hmm. I think with that scheme pool it might have been interesting to ignore the power ritual/outflank synergy and instead try to control one corner fully. Take Power Ritual (start something in your back corner for point two) and claim one corner with your full force, and then use a watcher or a guardian-toss'd fast model to score in your opponent's backfield. Hold Up Their Forces feels possible with a couple of wardens. If you wanted, you could send one small stone model to an opposite corner as a bluff: if Shenlong bites on that, you probably tie him up for two rounds and make him burn some chi on his 6" river charge just dealing with the threat of outflank. Meanwhile, he has to cautiously approach your murder-bubble with his smaller monks. Maybe take a ranged model or two for that? Because it's reckoning, he needs to come to you, and the murder ball IS the murder ball: if Shenlong comes in ahead of his support, he'll die to the sheer volume of attacks, even if he drops a model or two. So that takes away the freedom of his round-one alpha a bit.

I suspect you want to play the bubble a bit wide to make sure you don't get hit by blast effects (chip-away hits at armor are rough), and maybe take the Pale Rider to reposition Hoffman and let him use his AP fully on support, plus the Rider has a good ranged deterrent, incidental heals, and powerful late-game pulses.

It would help to know the fifth scheme, but looking at the first four, I'd suggest the option of the Power Ritual/Hold Up strategy. Shenlong is going to crash in, so having a Peacekeeper/anything tie him up for one point and holding up Sensei Yu or a Fermented River monk for the second seems like a real option.

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Okay. Ill be honest, I hadn't considered the Warden. Him and a watcher could be good for Hold up their Forces, I dig it!

With that in mind, strat was Turf War, and on flank deployment turf war can be a bit of a pain. I sent a Fast watcher turn 1 to claim one flank, but Shen Long managed to catapult all the way to kill him and kill him with one activation . Without Hoffman giving his armor buff, I don't think Shen Long can be tied up by anything. Irreducable damage at stat 8 is just so strong! 

With that in mind, I love the Pale Rider idea. I thought his heal was living models only but I'm very glad to be mistaken, cuz he'd be a godsend in this crew. Good mobility, can help Hoffman move around and shoot his gun until he's ready to move in and start wrecking things.

As a side note, Thunder Archers with fast from Sensei Yu is disgusting. He bonus actions to go himself blasts and then just absolutely goes to town with his 12" attacks that ignore concealment and friendly fire, with access to irreducable. Absolutely annihilates thw Hoffball if we're too grouped up.

Which was another issue. We started doing the 40-50% terrain coverage as recommended by GG, and it's ROUGH on Hoffman 

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I love that pool for Hoff. Especially with Hunters and S.S. Miners. Hunters can move over twenty inches a turn if made fast by Hoffman. Miners can pop up anywhere turn two which is great for Outflank. Guardians can throw your models 10" before they activate as well. Ley Lines and Outflank would be easy for this crew. Turf War isn't hard since a Hoff crew is so killy. 

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That's exactly what I did actually. Fast Thunder Archer that ignores concealment, friendly fire, and does irreducable damage made a complete mockery of my hunter, not to mention the samurai. The problem wasn't getting around the table, it was the fact that oncw I did, there's absolutely nothing in Hoffman's crew that can stand against the amount of irreducable damage they bring (unless Hoffman is handing out his Uber armor, which in retrospect, I wish I had on turn 1)

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