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What were my mistakes and how to deal with sparks upgrade as a melee crew?


RiceP.
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Hi everyone, played a game today Misaki vs Mei Feng (second time playing Misaki, first time playing against Mei Feng). My choice for the crew were Misaki, Shang, Ototo, Crime boss, 2 torakages, tanuki and thunder archer and my opponent had Mei Feng, Forgeling, Kang, 3 rail workers, Sparks, Porkchop. Recover evidence and scheme pool were:  assassinate, breakthrough, runic binding, leave your mark and research mission. I chose breakthrough and leave your mark and were planning to scheme with Torakages, but failed heavily.  Long story short, i underestimated amount of scrap markers my opponent can place in one turn w/o any killing involved, so on first turn as a last activation Mei Feng, with a lot of focus, yeeted into my table half, killed a Shang in one hit, then i tried to hit her with Crime boss but he wiffed. Also, at some time during his activations, my opponent placed bombs on porkchop and one of the rail workers with Sparks. Second turn, my opponent wins initiative and kills Crime boss with Mei Feng, then charges and severely damages Torakage (i think he had two health with burning, but that's not really important). Then i activated Torakage and moved him out of danger with ninja vanish, while placing a scheme marker at table center. After that my opponent activated Porkchop, which  gained fast and charged thunder archer, leaving him with 3 hp and burning. I activated archer, disengaged, missed attack against porkchop, then my opponent moved rail worker. Now, what do i do? I thought that i needed to create some space with Ototo or Misaki by killing some models, namely, Porkchop, since he was really close to my archer and tanuki and would've wrecked them next turn, while Mei Feng could've move around table to hunt remaning models. After that i realised that only models i can possibly reach with either Ototo or Misaki were porkchop and rail worker with upgrade, and to kill them i would have to suffer at least 5 damage for each kill (minimum two hits and then damage from demise, and that would've been even higher if hit severe), then i got too  frustrated to play and gave up. Question is, what would more experienced  player do in my situation? Were that game even winnable?

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Its hard to say what you did wrong exactly, but one thing that stands out to me is turn 2 appeared to be a lot of you reacting to your opponent. they attacked Torkage, and then you activated it and ran away, so they attack the archer, so you activated it and ran away... Would it have been better to move the archer before it was attacked? 

 

My first thought was you should be trying to kill Sparks, as then those bombs are much less use. You should probably consider the bombs in the belly upgrade  when Mei Feng gets announced, and have a plan for it. I don't know if aggressive shadow marker placement would help, or switch to more ranged play (thunder archers and Samurai and katanaka snipers maybe) so you can sometimes either kill them at range, or kill sparks at range.  

I don't think the match up is automatically unwinnable.

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One thing I'd note is that both Ototo and Misaki have a 2" melee. 2" is 50.8mm. So they can hit things with melee attacks without suffering from a reprisal blast. Just make sure you're using the rule of intent so no one is surprised.

I'd also be curious what your 1st and 2nd turn hands looked like. Mei shouldn't be winning every duel and initiative.

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1 hour ago, touchdown said:

One thing I'd note is that both Ototo and Misaki have a 2" melee. 2" is 50.8mm.

I feel really stupid now. That's a big mistake from me. I thought for sure 50 mm marker is enough to hit model in 2", but i guess i placed Misaki little bit too close when i was measuring.

 

1 hour ago, touchdown said:

I'd also be curious what your 1st and 2nd turn hands looked like. Mei shouldn't be winning every duel and initiative.

Well, i had a good cards, on turn i had two 12, two 10 and some low ones. Used one twelve turn one when trying to save Shang but my opponent cheated 13, then used other one when trying to force a hit with crime but, again, my opponent cheated 13. Turn two i, again, had a very good hand (had to use ss to redraw), now even better one, two 12, 11 and two 10 from the previous turn (and a six i think), however, it was  not better then my opponent's. He cheated 13 on initiative, then 12 and RJ when attacking Boss, then he flipped 10 when he charged Torakage. 

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57 minutes ago, Adran said:

Would it have been better to move the archer before it was attacked? 

I wanted to save Torakage because he was important for scheming, and i also thought that Porkchop wouldn't be able to reach me, as he was standing really far, so it was basically a choice between who i will leave to die.

 

1 hour ago, Adran said:

My first thought was you should be trying to kill Sparks

I thought of it too, but Sparks was in my opponent deployment (since he was handing out upgrades turn one). I guess you are right, i could've tried to reach him with Misaki, i was too scared of that he would've just scampered away from me.

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44 minutes ago, RiceP. said:

Well, i had a good cards, on turn i had two 12, two 10 and some low ones. Used one twelve turn one when trying to save Shang but my opponent cheated 13, then used other one when trying to force a hit with crime but, again, my opponent cheated 13. Turn two i, again, had a very good hand (had to use ss to redraw), now even better one, two 12, 11 and two 10 from the previous turn (and a six i think), however, it was  not better then my opponent's. He cheated 13 on initiative, then 12 and RJ when attacking Boss, then he flipped 10 when he charged Torakage. 

That's brutal. Sometimes the cards just go against you, and you just have to accept it.

35 minutes ago, RiceP. said:

I thought of it too, but Sparks was in my opponent deployment (since he was handing out upgrades turn one). I guess you are right, i could've tried to reach him with Misaki, i was too scared of that he would've just scampered away from me.

I think one problem is that your opponent was dictating everything. This is usually bad, but it's even worse for Misaki which is a crew designed to be the aggressor. After Mei's activation in turn 2, you should have been looking for where you could strike to put your opponent on their back heel, or disrupt their plans. If there was no option for this, then your mistake(s) were positioning and planning. Unfortunately the hardest part of the game to learn. Of course you didn't realize you could somewhat safely attack models with Bombs in Yer Belly, so that would be a big change to what you were thinking I'm sure. However, even if that wasn't true. As one example, looking to pop Misaki out of a shadow marker, doing 2-3 lighting strikes and making sure she was protecting something with extended reach. That's not an idea Misaki activation, it's obviously much weaker than her Bisento, but it would let you switch to aggressor and start dictating where and what's happening.

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2 minutes ago, touchdown said:

I think one problem is that your opponent was dictating everything.

Yeah, that's true. I lost my first Misaki game vs Reva the same way. Overextended turn two, got Misaki in the open  and my opponent tabled me. I really like Misaki but i think i really have to learn how she plays.

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As always, I caveat my answers with "I am new and have no idea what I am doing." That said, I have a fairly decent record with Misaki over ~15 games, and recently picked up Mei Feng ~3 games, so I've seen both sides of this equation. In your game, you didn't say if you were playing the full 5 rounds, or stuck to a 2-hr time limit. That's important context - most of my timed games end on turn 4, sometimes 3, rarely 5.

In many cases, I simply echo what was said above:

  1. Many of your models have Extended Reach. This is a powerful weapon in of itself as it stops you from being charged. You should make full use of the 2" melee range, and models without 2" have to spend 1 action just to walk to you before attacking (e.g. Ototo doesn't have Extended Reach but does have 2" melee... freaking 8' tall giant with a club). It also just happens to get around the Blast damage.
  2. Try not to play a Reactive game. Instead, take a minute at the beginning of the round to set a game plan for what you want each model to do (at a high level). So in your example, the Torekage was attacked. So what? He can leave any time he chooses. Instead, focus on your higher game plan and get other models into a position beneficial for you. Only deviate when you know it's to your advantage (e.g. opponent accidentally opened up an important model, or you can grab a Strategy marker early to guarantee the point).
  3. Points. Focus on Points. While sure, the Strategy in your game required killing other models, you also had 2 other schemes to achieve. Many of my wins will have me at more points but fewer models
  4. Misaki is a beast. Take full advantage of "Abandon Honor" when she's on the table. Keep in mind that she can either Scheme or Scalpel models out as you need, and isn't on the table unless you want her to be. Knowing how and when to use her is a tough one.
  5. Kill Mechanized Porkchop. My god that pig has been my MVP in all 3 games I've used it, even in the game where he died Turn 2 (thanks to Bombs, he did 7 damage to the model that killed him).

Overall, you have the tools to win that game. You just need to push for the early advantage and points, because a Mei Feng list hits harder overall (damage track is stupid on a Rail Worker for 5 points), and is far more mobile than you in late game.

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I've only been in the Misaki side (and I've faced Mei Feng, but with other masters). Aside of the other good advice given here (don't react too much, focus on points, get good use of 2'' range...) a topic not discused yet: List building was probably part of the issue.

Mei Feng and her crew are FAST; and versus these you need either a bubble able to support each other or each model should be able to stand on their own. In a list with lots of vulnerable models like yours, things like that could happen when the other player get a good back to back activation.

I'd had leaned towards triple or quadruple Henchman with a good cache in that match up (Ototo, Yamaziko, Minako and/or Fuhatsu). Minako may remove scrap in a pinch and both Katashiros are good versus armor for the ping damage and can be used to scheme (tho they can also drop scrap); also anything that attacks her will lose Armor versus her irreducible damage and give some minor card draw. Yamaziko is super versatile able to stall a fight, give you resources, defend/support other models or be an schemer (yes, Mv4 but she has Nimble) and if Mei Feng go balls deep too early, Master Tactician can leave her without a hand considering her Wp of 5 (then just crush them with all your Focused, and remember Misaki has an Execute trigger if they have also few SS); Fuhatsu could also be a good pick here if he is given Focused. All those can stone to reduce damage on top of it; that offers few good targets for Mei Feng.

Then 1 or 2 Tanukis staying safe in the back to load Misaki, Ototo and/or Fuhatsu with Focused (about Tanukis, mind they can remove Focused from enemy models, specially those with average Wp like Mei Feng). Sun Quiang is the fancy version of Tanukis, that could also be a good fit here if paired with models with H2W (or models with Silent protector) to give the crew good backbone.

Expensive minions I'd consider versus her would be the Wokou Raider or Samurais (and maybe Kabukis, but that's just me liking the Distraction aura too much, so don't mind that XD): Those are the ones that may hope to survive if jumped (and hence the ones that can get things done). The Wouko is more annoying and scheme Focused, the Samurai has a better ranged attack (with a :+flipthat will help versus the concealing auras), bonus healing/focused and a mele that ignores armor. Any other expensive minion can be killed at will by a crew as mobile as Mei Feng'... For Archers is a really bad match up as they have limited option when engaged.

Another small utility pick is a Terracota, these are cheap, can copy the good tactical actions from Misaki or Ototo (that can make things as good as giving Misaki an extra charge or place a shadow with an AoE slow effect) and he can become Sang later if the fox is killed (something likely versus a crew that fast). The terracota could be killed, but I don't think the Mei Feng will expend a lot of resources chasing it.

And of course, use 2'' plus rule of intent to avoid bombs in yer belly:

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15 hours ago, RiceP. said:

I wanted to save Torakage because he was important for scheming, and i also thought that Porkchop wouldn't be able to reach me, as he was standing really far, so it was basically a choice between who i will leave to die.

 

I thought of it too, but Sparks was in my opponent deployment (since he was handing out upgrades turn one). I guess you are right, i could've tried to reach him with Misaki, i was too scared of that he would've just scampered away from me.

There are lots of good answers in the topic, Remebering 2" can avoid blast markers is a very strong one, use execute triggers on low damage flips to try and avoid demise can also work, as can general anti demise tech which I think TT is best at (thanks to charm wardens). 

Other things to remember will include that whilst the foundry crew are quick, they are slightly telegraphed for that movement, and they don't get to attack when they rail walk. Some way of removing scrap markers would be somethin to consider. This might be as simple as the obsidian statue, or even hiring in a rail worker to turn the scrap they just jumped to into a +1 or +2 bonus on your attack, or using Meinko to summon from that scrap. 

Hazardous terrain and anti charge effects can also hamper their mobility. Drop a dust devil on the scrap marker they were planning on using to get to you, and that's at leats 2 damage they take to use that marker. 

 

You say you made several mistakes largely about underestimating the enemy threat ranges, so the likelihood is that even if you played the same list in the same game, you would not struggle as much as you did. Its one reason why I don't give up even in apparently unwinnable situations, as I like to learn what I'm facing, and surprisingly I've won several of those games because they haven't been as bad as they appear at first glance, and at the very least I'm learning what I struggle against and get a better idea how to face it later. 

 

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I'm more or less and exclusive Foundry player, so ask me w/e. Things that super annoy me that havent been mentioned yet are

A) Armored constructs. The crew can struggle against armor and their Hazardous doesnt affect constructs so they lose their ping damage. 

B) Moving me away from Scrap Markers. The crew can correct, but it takes time and effort. They have low movement so if you pull them away from Scrap it is fairly easy to trap them. The Hole in the World trigger has been used against me exactly twice and both times it lost me the game. 

C) As Adrian touched on, Obeys wreck this crew. You can Obey my models to use my Focus and consume my Scrap to hurt my own models. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I main Misaki, but Mei Fang is probably my second favorite master.  They have somewhat similar playstyles (aggressive masters that can quickly move across the board to support a somewhat independent crew.  I usually run my master as a distraction so my crews can secure the schemes and strats).  Here are my vague thoughts...

The main difference between the two, in my experience, is that Mei Fang is a bit tankier, usually doing a bit less damage (unless I'm bringing the Porkchop and the Golem).  Mei's crew is far more mobile in that after turn one or two, you probably have enough scrap spread across half the board making it easy to get to almost anywhere I need to go.

Mei going after Misaki is at a bit of an advantage.  While Misaki's crew has a bit more damage output from across the various models of her crew, Misaki's crew is all a lot more easy to kill.  Even the tougher models like Ototo are still glass cannons.  So I think the cards are somewhat stacked against you.  To win the game, I'd focus on the strat and schemes, and picking off specific targets--when possible, that will cause more damage than simply removing a model.  Another good point is trying to kill models when they're near other scrap--that way Mei is dropping scrap near other scrap--limiting her mobility a bit.

Archers and snipers are decent at maybe sniping off some of the models that could cause problems for you at range.  Misaki herself can scalpel strike a model here and there--but you don't want her activated, alone, and unprotected near scrap.  Mei or something else that hits hard could drop in and make short work of her if the cards play that way.

Torakage can give you the mobility that you need to keep up with Mei's crew.  Again though, they're a lot more squishy, so use terrain to your advantage and try to stay away from scrap markers.

Crime Bosses and Ototo all hit hard, potentially getting multiple damage in over the armor most her crew has, which is good.  They also give most options for where Misaki can appear.  Which will be good for having Misaki counter Mei.

What I would say is this; look for the anchor points of the crew. 

The Rail Workers, gaimen, and survivors are all nice cheap models that can tank some damage and move quicker than you'd think, but they don't do much for the game other than count for schemes and strats. So, look for the models that are going to help Mei win.  Porkchop, Neil Henry (kinda), the Golem, and Kang are the heavier hitters--so avoid them, or deal quick, lethal attacks against them.  Mei herself is (in my opinion) very comparable to Misaki--a glass cannon, that if fired will wreck face.  So make sure you're staying away from her.  It's hard to pin her down. and unless the model is very strong, it probably won't last Mei's activation.

Forgeling is a pretty decent totem, mostly for the scrap it can generate.  Definitely worth shooting off the board if possible. Sparks and Willie are both specific models.  Willie has never done much for me, but he's got a lot of blast markers, so kill him at range if possible.  Sparks isn't the most dangerous guy on the table, but allowing him to put upgrades onto other models, and allowing him to work his shenanigans will definitely make the game harder to win.  I'd recommend trying to prioritizing him if you can.  But like most gremlins, he's tricky to pin down and kill.

The main problem is that, even in killing models, you're usually creating scrap for Mei Fang to use.  But it is what it is.  

 

I do think that Misaki and Mei are the two strongest masters in TT (especially if you limit their crews to their keyword--they both have large, diverse keywords).  I kind of want to run a game now with these two ladies, as they are definitely going to be an interesting match-up.

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