Confessions of a disgruntled Khorne player
After blazing through two rounds of the tournament with my 12 score immediately objectives and every +1 damage ploy under the sun, I headed into my third game in awe of my own talent and skill. As I lost the roll-off for board placement, I joked about how lucky I was to get three objectives (top banter). That was when my opponent did something unexpected. He lined our boards up with the short sides facing each other. As I struggled to comprehend how my opponent planned to score annihilation by turn two with the boards barely touching, we began deployment. My opponent began deploying at the back of his board?! These were spawn hexes I’d never even registered before! The number of hexes between our models was higher than I’d ever managed to count. As I began to use the fingers on my second hand to try and make sense of this madness, the game began.
4 actions, 4 models, 4 moves, 4eva. Ughh the first turn was dull. My opponent spent the turn drawing cards (didn’t know you could do that but why would you?) and lining his models up next to eachother (pfft not gonna score any glory like that!). At the end of turn 1 I’m in range for a charge at the top of the next round. Suddenly my opponent plays a ploy, he says its called great concession or something. I remember seeing the card when I bought farstriders, but there was a lot of text on it and nowhere did it say +1 damage so I figured it was trash. Suddenly there’s 2 more hexes between my models and his! And if that’s not enough, apparently there is a point for lining your models up! I look at my 4 upgrade hand I didn’t mulligan because I expected to have killed his models twice by now. Pathetic.
I win the roll off for the first activation, all part of my fool-proof plan. One model is still in charge range, so I fly in with my leader to paste the sucker. As I pick up my dice my flustered opponent drops a card out of his hand, I relish watching him panic. Then he starts moving his fighter out of range of mine. I refrain from pelting his smug face with my dice as he gives me the dropped card to read. I slowly read Quick Thinker, before quickly overreacting to the slow pace of the game. I spend the rest of my turn watching my leader get gangbanged cause apparently, he still counts as having charged. I furiously discard Total Annihilation, which I’d been holding since turn one, along with Denial and Contained and end up drawing Victorious duel, Annihilation and Pure Carnage.
I don’t want to talk about Turn 3.
I go to my next game and I’m matched against an objective Sepulchral Guard deck. Finally, an honourable opponent who knows how to have fun.
Breaking the Bulwark
Defensive decks have become as popular to hate as Justin Bieber, maybe even Jedward. You look at them and wonder how on earth they are allowed to be successful. This article looks more specifically at how to build your objective deck to be prepared for the passive scourge. I’m looking to write additional articles on the power deck and actual in game strategies to employ once the deck has been built.
It’s importance to emphasise that decks are built on a spectrum from defensive to aggressive, and this article assumes the opponent is batting pretty heavily for the defensive side. It’s also important to remember that whilst a deck can put you at a specific point onto that spectrum, how you choose to play with that deck can alter things even more! The purpose of this is to give some ideas on how to adapt an aggressive deck to beat a defensive one. I’m also just one player with my own experiences, so read my suggestions and take on board what you find useful, but please don’t take it as gospel. I should not be trusted with that kind of power.
Anyway, vague disclaimers out of the way, lets get into the objectives to include!
If you only take one piece of advice from this article, I reckon it should be this. Get your 12 objectives out in front of you. Which ones can you score on turn 1 if you don’t get into a fight with your opponent? Escalation’s out. Master of war isn’t going to happen. In most decks you’re begging to draw ploymaster, which you can’t score because all the ploys in your hand are reactions which depend on fighting! You will not stand a chance if your deck cannot reliably score glory on turn 1. This means having a few backup objectives just in case the rest of your deck fails to propel you into a successful combat from the off. If you can get into combat early and start the snowball then wonderful, you’re off to the races! But if you struggle, you can at least score 1 or 2 glory for that “Ready for Action” activation next turn.
Generic cards that fit the bill for most people
- Ploymaster – Reliable and rewards you for doing what you already want to do! I’m kinda stealing material from the next section, but it is worth considering whether you have a high percentage of ploys you can reliably play. You’re not getting ploymaster if you’re opening hand is twist the knife, trap, ready for action and my turn when your opponent is 6 hexes away! Just weigh up the pro’s and cons of having lots of “gated” ploys
- Alone in the Darkness – two points for a card that requires nothing exceptional from you, and a bit of luck from your opponent. If only there were ploys which could tip the odds in your favour…
- Escalation – This is a great passive objective, I just want to highlight some concerns about it. Escalation gives you points for upgrades used in the action phase. If no one is fighting, then most of the glory will be spent in the end phase (unless your opponent is also trying to score escalation). So save your glory and spend it when it will score you more (if it’s safe to do so). This card still isn’t one to hold onto turn one against a defensive deck unless you are certain you can get stuck in.
Generic cards to consider
- Multiple fronts/Blooded/Scent of Victory – If you are running shardgale anyway these are free points, feel free to run any combination of the above. Shardgale has multiple uses into defensive decks – but more on that later!
- Supremacy – I find this card difficult to include. You already have limited activations to make it into combat with the enemy. It’s difficult to justify “wasting them” getting onto objectives when there are a lot of push cards that defensive decks are likely to be running. However if you can work it into your deck it is a juicy 3 glory that can be scored at any point.
- Skirting Danger – Two can play at this game! Especially if you’re on a long board setup its easy to approach the enemy whilst remaining on edge hexes! The enemy is unlikely to see this coming from an aggro deck, and so will unlikely use pushes to get you off the edges. If you want to score it against an aggro deck then you might have to set up the long board and hide turn one. If this doesn’t fit with your deck then you might have to bin this card when you draw it in those matchups or just not include it.
- Change of Tactics – I’m including this because you still score the point even if your charge gets quick-thinkered. Therefore technically you don’t need a kill. If you have a fast model in range turn one (or the ability to buff their move so they get in range) – then you can score a glory immediately. This then opens the gates on Master of War and potentially Escalation! Just be aware, if you put a model on guard, you may as well put this objective face up on the table for your opponent to see. Also be aware that you will most likely have a model out of position after charging – but more on that in the strategy section!
- Master of War – This can be difficult to score turn one as you need that upgrade, but if you happen to be running spoils or you get some cheeky glory mid turn then this card is nice and easy. Turn two and beyond it should serve as another point on the superior tactician tally.
- Swift Advance – This objective does commit you to at least 3 move actions on your first turn, probably 4. It also can be difficult to get everyone past the halfway point on turn 1. Having said that at some point in the game you will most likely have your warband on their side of the board, so this is probably a free point turn 2 or 3. It can just be difficult to make the mad dash turn 1. It’s worth knowing there is no model limit for this objective, like conquest, your last man standing can score you this.
- Plant a Standard – A little easier than supremacy as you only have to keep one model on an objective. If your opponent doesn’t wise up to what you are doing then this is relatively easy to score, but a stray great concussion or distraction can cost you the point. Plus moving onto the objective in the first place probably cost you the opportunity to gain the maximum distance to the enemy. Consider banging sidestep in your deck if you’re running this one, and try and place an objective your max move away from a spawn hex so you don’t have to make any difficult decisions later on.
NEW LEADER CARD ALERT
- Bold Advance – Absolutely free glory BUT only scorable turn 1. Having not tested it I don’t know if its worth the risk. You could be forcing yourself to bin some very good objectives as you dig for this one, with no guarantee of drawing it in time. Personally, I feel this is probably forces your opening hand too much to be worth including. There are single point cards that are only marginally harder to score that don’t have the turn 1 restriction.
- Shining Example – Depending on the warband you are running, and if you are running inspire ploys, this card could be another complete freebie. I think fiends will want this due to the 2 inspire ploys, farstriders due to the free inspire they get against defensive decks, possibly dwarfs as they are built to inspire fjul, and skaven cause inspiring skritch is (relatively) EZ. Orcs can get it with self-damaging ploys. Only reavers, steelhearts champions and our old friends the skellingtons will struggle getting this one.
- Well-Guarded – Might be scorable as you advance toward the foe, but this will probably get more difficult as you fling your models in with movement ploys. Might be worth considering if you prefer a more measured advance.
Specific Warband Objectives
- Rivers of Blood (Magore’s Fiends) – Shardgale isn’t everyones cup of tea, but if you’re willing to risk the 7 years of bad luck caused by some atmospheric mirror shattering then this cards a dream. 2 glory for playing a ploy! Of course you need to find that ploy in your deck – get digging!
- Brave but Cautious (The Farstriders) – If you’re playing against a defensive deck you barely even have to be cautious,.
- Honed Survival Instincts (Skaven) – I don’t play a lot of skaven, and with 5 base movement you may be in a position to smash defensive decks that can’t make use of a third board to put at the back of the second. However if you find yourself unable to score aggressive glory turn 1, this may be a freebie.
- Coward! (Garreks Bloodreaver’s) – I mean just to shout this as someone quick thinkers away is gonna give you some catharsis. COWARD!
- (There is only slaughter is probably a more reliable passive objective, but I wanted to put COWARD!!! In all caps)
- Consecrated ground/Sigmars Bulwark (Steelhearts Champions) – these two should be easy to pick up on the long walk to combat
- March of the Dead (Sepulchral Guard) – assuming your playing some aggressive skele’s this one will earn you some dollah as you start the long and probably futile march across two boards
- Dere’s more of us (Ironskulls Boyz) – I’ve tried to keep the advice general as any warband can play defensive, but chances are its going to be Steelhearts Champions. This is a free point, and still half decent against other warbands.
- Unstoppable Advance (Fjuls’ Stunties…?) – I have never played dwarves, and playing against dwarves I have seen a mostly defensive approach being taken to them, so I admit I’m pretty far outside my comfort zone here. Nevertheless if you’re planning on gunning for the enemy, defensive decks aren’t going to deny you the two glory for making it onto their board. Also Martin won a grand clash with this card in his deck so it must be good.
Come the end of turn 3 you can try for a big cash injection of points. If you’ve managed to hold the enemy in their board (watch out for a cheeky end game hidden paths!) you can cash in on denial. Plus if you’ve managed to nab a kill and a few of your passive objectives then superior tactician may be in your grasp.
Be aware defensive decks score easy glory but have a much lower total glory cap. They will spend the whole game trying to contain your income from a distance, and playing against these decks is all about trying to break away and get the snowball rolling. Turn 1 is the turn you have to endure, but if you can through it with a couple of points, then your combat upgrades and ploys can start to tip the odds in your favour afterwards.
Obviously when building an objective deck make sure there is a degree of coherency and that it is versatile. If you’re planning on winning some glass you are going to come up against a variety of strategies and you need to be able to adapt to them. As this article has stretched on longer than the board you dread playing on, I’m going to leave it here for now and write my power deck advice at a later date. I hope I’ve managed to be at least slightly though provoking and convinced people to consider some new objectives in there deck. Always remember you don’t have to wipe out the enemy, you don’t even have to score every objective in your hand. You have to end the game with more glory than your opponent, make your decisions accordingly.
Thanks for reading and let me know if there are any questions or advice for the future! I’ll take any help I can to get me across the board and into the battle!
See you next time!
( I put so much time and effort into that featured image that i have to use it. I acknowledge i probably could have asked my cat to take a better picture, but I’m in way too deep now)