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AoS Aggression Balance

Discussion in 'Seraphon Tactics' started by Draconder, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. Draconder
    Saurus

    Draconder Active Member

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    Hello all

    I was wondering if anyone can offer some advice or perhaps point me to a guide to manoeuvring troops and aggression.

    For a while I had been very aggressive with my army pushing forward to try and get to the opponent's army and to inflict damage in close quarters. Faster units like Ripperdactyl Riders would find themselves isolated and quickly overrun and in ignoring the objectives in the bloodlust means I will most likely lose.

    Friends taught me how to best castle up and making the most of units supporting one another both in terms of abilities and unit placement. This has helped me reduce casualties and even won more games. However, I have taken this too much to heart and I end up losing the objectives quickly.

    Thing is capturing objectives, especially the ones in the middle of the battlefield, requires myself to take risk and push forward and let the enemy charge me. I am worried that my Saurus Warriors and dinosaurs might be simply overwhelmed.

    So yes, the question is, is there a good balance between aggression, table and objective control? When should I switch between castling up and pushing forward and how much should one commit to a flank?
     
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  2. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    I think that's one of the hardest things in the game. In fact I think that's the thing that separates the really good players from the decent ones.
    Overextending or playing too bunched up, both can hurt you.

    I have played quite some games now, and I still make errors in that. Sometimes I instantly spot them, sometimes I only see them when looking back at the game.
    There is no standard recipe, it hugely depends on the mission and the opponent you are playing.
     
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  3. IronLizard
    Skink

    IronLizard Member

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    I tend to differentiate between aggression in terms of movement/controlling the table vs aggression in terms of actually attacking your opponents units.

    In objective based games I will always make a move to contest an objective unless I’m 100% sure there is no way my opponent can contest it between now and when the points for controlling the objective are assigned - basically if at all possible I try not to let them have any objective uncontested (whether that’s trying to kill the enemy unit or just putting bodies close enough to deny control). This often leads to my army being stretched all over the table, units being overwhelmed etc, but to be honest with summoning as it is now I don’t really care as I’ll just bring more bodies in later. The most important thing is to keep the scoreboard ticking over/slow down your opponents rate of scoring, and to not worry about the body count!

    Kill point games I try to make as much of my army arrive at effective range simultaneously as possible, and try to hit your opponents line in a way where as much of your stuff hits as little of his as possible - this is a lesson I learned the hard way playing Orks in 40k; if you let your fast stuff hit the enemy line turn one/two, then mid-paced turn three/four, and then slow turn four/five you’re pretty much feeding your units to your opponent in manageable chunks. Quite often I’ll stack one flank in deployment or use double teleport to make this happen, and if I’m managing to create 2v1’s in my favour in multiple places in during a turn then I’m usually pretty happy! There are exceptions to this obviously, for example taking the chance to remove a key buffing unit early, or if you can see a good trade (ie I’ll wipe your 250 point unit with my 150 point unit knowing my unit will be killed next turn, but that’s fine as i’m 100 points up in that trade). The other big exception is against gunline armies where I just try to tie up as many enemy units as possible as quickly as possible, but that’s much more applicable to 40k than AoS.

    I think this is taps into what I think is probably the biggest problem we face as Seraphon players - we can make builds that are brilliant at objectives (teleports, summoning, MSU skinks etc) and builds that are good at kill points (Kroak, Sunclaw, buffed big dinos), but trying to build a flexible list often ends up being worse than average at both - this makes it hard if you don’t know what you’re facing in advance and this may be why Seraphon don’t seem to be contesting tournaments so much these days.

    Sorry for the wall of text! I find the non-army specific tactics side of things really interesting, and I think there are tons of players who are so interested solely in what’s in their battletome and how that works that quite often the ‘how wargames work’ fundamentals are totally ignored - this is why we’re stuck in this current (and in my opinion pretty boring) era of ‘the meta’, netlists, ‘hot new unit/codex/stratagem’, 40k now being a glorified game of rock/paper/scissors etc.
     
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  4. LizardWizard
    Kroxigor

    LizardWizard Well-Known Member

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    Your question touches on one of the most important aspects of the game.

    Like @IronLizard mentioned aggression is not always fighting. Anytime you take an action ask yourself, does this make the game more difficult for my opponent? Learning how to create pressure on your opponent and training yourself to withstand pressure from your opponent is what turns skilled players into terrifying players.

    This philosophy is why Seraphon are my main army. No other faction forces an opponent to adapt as well as we can. Make good use of LoSaT. Take advantage of fly (Slann's command ability is often overlooked). Leverage your unparalleled flexibility through summoning. And use chafe (a.k.a skinks) to speedbump, roadblock, and retreat past your opponent.

    My suggestion to incorporate this into your game sense is to play often and play mindfully. Observe the consequence, ill or good, from your plays and take that knowledge to the next game.

    This is what my defeats and victories have taught me; make your opponent be the one reacting.
     
    Nart, Asamu, Draconder and 2 others like this.
  5. Asamu
    Cold One

    Asamu Active Member

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    A list like this provides a good way to play aggressively with Saurus so you can secure objectives early with minimal risk by maximizing the use of teleporting and command abilities to nearly guarantee charges:

    Allegiance: Seraphon
    Mortal Realm: Hysh
    Slann Starmaster (260)- General - Trait: Vast Intellect - Artefact: Incandescent Rectrices
    Saurus Astrolith Bearer (160)
    Saurus Oldblood (120) - Suntooth Maul
    Saurus Scar-Veteran on Carnosaur (240) - Greatblade
    Saurus Scar-Veteran on Cold One (100)- Artefact: Aetherquartz Brooch
    Saurus Scar-Veteran on Cold One (100)
    40 x Saurus Warriors (360) - Clubs
    40 x Saurus Warriors (360) - Spears
    10 x Saurus Warriors (100) - Clubs
    Bloodclaw Starhost (150) (Using +d3 CP for the Strategic Mastery as per the FAQ for the Starbeast Constellation with the same ability).

    Total: 1950 / 2000
    Extra Command Points: 2 (+d3)
    Wounds: 136

    With the Hunter's steed constellation ascendant from the Slann for +1 to charge, curse of fates for +1/-1 to one roll per phase, the foot oldblood command ability for a 3" reform in the hero phase, and the cold one scar vets for more reliable charges (re-roll 1s), you can get an almost guaranteed charge from anywhere on the board to anywhere on the board after teleporting, as long as you don't roll a 1 on the teleport (with a daisy chain back to the oldblood and astrolith).
    The Carnosaur Scar Veteran, and Astrolith can buff up the Saurus to put out ~4 damage per model within 1" with 2 CP used from the scar veteran to buff the unit.

    The first unit of 40 club Saurus killed almost half of the other player's army before he was able to make any attacks in a game I played earlier because my opponent wasn't prepared for it.
    If they are prepared with a screen, your heroes and summons can hold objectives and help clean up the board after you trade off your saurus for most of the meat in their army (First unit for the screens, second for most of the meat) and lock them on their side of the board at the start of the game with the alpha strike so you are free to move up the board and start summoning on objectives without risking getting charged first.

    The downside is the lack of rend, so good saves can pose a problem. Usually units with that good of saves are slow and not great for contesting objectives though, and you generate ~6 summoning points per turn on average (assuming you cast curse of fates and summon starlight every turn), which can be used to bring on salamanders to help with rend/mortal wounds if needed.
     
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  6. Draconder
    Saurus

    Draconder Active Member

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    Thank you all for the response. I was not expecting to get so much feedback on the topic but I am glad that it has proven interesting. Interesting reading about how this is in a level of skill that separates good players from great players.

    I am going to try what you all suggested with a game I am having tonight, I'll be battling in an escalation campaign against Legions of Nagash led by Arkhan the Black. The battleplan will be Starstrike in the Realm of Aqshy (Fire). What I will try and do is take some photos of the game after each round and post them here so that people can advise in the context of aggression.

    My plan is to take @IronLizard 's advice and push forward to claim the middle of the table with a strong enough force early to control the battlefield while using summoning to fill the gaps and put pressure on objectives.

    @LizardWizard what is LoSaT?
     
  7. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    I am not @LizardWizard but I can answer that:
    LoSaT = "Lords of Space and Time". Our allegiance ability that allows to teleport units.
     
  8. LizardWizard
    Kroxigor

    LizardWizard Well-Known Member

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    One thing to know against any death player is to kill the Heroes. I also recommend avoiding dividing your attacks if it is crucial that one of your targets dies. Death has a lot of options for passing off and mitigating wounds. Account for needing an extra 20% more wound generation vs enemy heroes in your mental mathhammer. I recommend snowballing though heroes. Start by killing his necromancers/Wightkings and work your way up to Arkhan himself around turn two or three. Part of knowing how aggressive to be on the board is by knowing what your opponent is capable of doing. Avoid getting in a prolonged tarpit fight against his hordes, stay mobile, draw his slow hordes out of position, and continually flank and harass his heroes.

    Best of luck with your game. Focus on observing. Worry about winning second.
     
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  9. Draconder
    Saurus

    Draconder Active Member

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    Right, I have been a muppet as I was enjoying the game so much that I forgot to take photos, sorry everybody. I'll give you the breif summery of what happened as I tried to take into account all that you said. Now, before I begin I would normally hold back and form a fortress in my recent games but this time was different.

    So, my opponent was super aggressive, she claimed the first turn and so moved everything forward with the Mortis Engine and Arkhan in the middle, spirits and cavalry on the flanks. She used the gravesites to have a unit of Blood Knights and Skeletons 9 inches away from me in the first turn and charged with the skeletons against my Saurus Warriors drawing a Stegadon into the fray. They were destroyed very quickly. My first turn, with the enemy so close I had to move forward but I remembered that capturing the areas where the objective might fall was important. I remembered that you all suggested to make it 2v1 in close combat which I did. The Bastiladon and Stegadon focused fired their missiles at Arkhan reducing him to 3 wounds remaining. The combat I tied down the Black Knights and destroyed the Hexwraiths.

    Turn 2 I got the double turn so with another round of shooting I destroyed Arkhan and did 5 damage to the Mortis Engine. The objective dropped in the contested part so I had my skinks charge in and used their Wary Fighters ability to bounce to capture it with model count. By the end of my turn the Mortis Engine was down to 1 wound remaining and we simply ran out of time. My opponent happily conceded for a Seraphon victory.

    I had made sure to be aggressive in capturing objectives and not just killing enemy models. I made sure to have combats go into 2v1 situations with my units able to support each other without being isolated. I also have 17 conjuration points by the end of turn 2 ready to use, a Engine of the Gods with good health and my monsters suffered little damage so I felt like I had table control.
     
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  10. LizardWizard
    Kroxigor

    LizardWizard Well-Known Member

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    Well played!

    I recommend keeping a notebook or journal of you games. Write down a brief description of the match, the date/event, notes about your thinking, and what any crucial takeaways from the game were. This is a habit of mine I brought into AoS from years of playing chess tournaments. It can be very fun to look back at older games and how your play style evolves.
     
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  11. Draconder
    Saurus

    Draconder Active Member

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    I might do that, writing up battle reports might be another way of doing it. As for the topic of aggression, I believe my hand was forced. I did not decide to push because of my own reasoning, she had those Black Knights and Hexwraiths 9 and 12 inches away from my deployment respectively. It did not take much for me to move my Saurus Warriors, Sunblood and Ripperdactyl Riders forward to match the death cavalry and they were in my way of where the objective might appear.

    I got another game this Saturday against Dispossessed, an army less know for getting across the field fast.
     
  12. IronLizard
    Skink

    IronLizard Member

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    Sounds like you played that game pretty perfectly, which is especially impressive as it sounds like you had a whole bunch of skellies putting you under pressure right from the start!

    Did you have a good conversation with your opponent afterwards? If I’ve won I tend to ask what their plan was and what stopped it working, and if they’ve won (and especially if they really battered me) I tend to ask what they don’t like playing against, or things their army struggles against. Unless you’re going to buy every army book and learn them all, this is the best way we have to learn about other armies.
     
  13. Draconder
    Saurus

    Draconder Active Member

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    I did even think to ask those questions. I will surely see my friend later on in the week so I might ask her later should she remember. Though, my best guess is to tie my army down and prevent me from moving forward. She was hoping for the 9 inch charge with the Black Knights for sure, even re-rolling it and getting an 8.
     
  14. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    Good job, and thanks for the report!
     
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  15. Canas
    Skar-Veteran

    Canas Well-Known Member

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    An important thing to note that I haven't really seen mentioned yet, our army relies on synergies & cooperation. We have very few units that do well on their own and most get outright crushed when outnumbered. So regardless of how thin spread you are try to avoid sending units of on their own unless you're absolutly positive they can survive, and even then be carefull to not take needless damage or get stuck for ages in a random tarpit.
     
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