Thursday, November 21, 2013

Realizing you're not any good as a player

  Ever play like, twenty games in three weeks, and win 80% of them?  You roll the last three dice against the enemy caster on Sunday evening before work starts up Monday morning, and you kill him with a few dice points to spare.  You look at the board and it's a fairly decent win.  You pushed hard, forced his hand, pressured the right weak points of his army, controlled the map, made use of the terrain, and won the game.  The dice had it's ups and downs, but that's normal.

  Then all of the sudden that quits and you lose 80% of the games.  The lists you carved out aren't working, in fact, they almost seem to hamper you more than they seem to help.  Bad matchups are prevalent, you drop the wrong list in a tournament, and you get caught by all the tricks each caster has to offer.

  I started off with Kraye, and really quick, I figured out that I could launch a Minuteman 17'' Turn 1, and do it again with Stormclad later on for the assassination, and I pushed that strategy a long ways.  I focused on Kraye completely, and built his lists with one purpose in mind.  To open a lane for a stormclad and make it as easy as possible for him to kill the target.  Most of my game wins are by assassination because of this.

  For my second caster, I got into eStryker.  Same strategy, except now I have 6 focus on my bullet, and he can get up to PS33.  Six focus and PS33 ends most problems, and I won a lot of games with him.  Then this all pretty much stopped.  Two things.

  1.  My meta changed.  I graduated from playing newer people and easier lists to people with experience and solid strategies, and worse, knew what my lists were capable of whereas I did not.  Legion kicked my butt the first five games I played against them, but anymore, I'm fairly confident against legion.  I know their tricks.

  2.  I got married, and my meta changed again and Player 3 entered the game, being Vassal.  Because I wasn't heading to the shoppe as often, I got into Vassal, and Vassal's a solid way to lose interest in this game.  I watched a guy roll  land a 1 in all of his dice rolls, 7 rolls in a row, and it wasn't surprising at all.  

  Between Vassal and the experience change, I'm getting my list handed to me in broken pieces, and mainly on Scenario issues.  Both assassination lists struggle against Scenario.  Also, with Vassal, I've been introduced to a lot more factions (It's not all just the program's fault)  My normal players in the meta were Legion, Khador, Menoth, sometimes Circle.  Once in a blue moon, I'd see Retribution.

  Vassal has changed that, and widened the casters considerably as well.  The level of experience is far higher as well.

  So is this something you've noticed as well?  It's fairly difficult to not be discouraged.  Part of you wants to blame the dice completely, and for some games, that's completely cool.  My average on Vassal is running around 4.5 right now.  If I need a 5, I'll boost.  Only on Vassal can I miss a KD troll with eCaine 3 times.

  For the most part though, I have nothing to blame but me.  Let's lay it out there.

  1.  I love assassinations.  I'm good at them, but they don't win tournaments because it doesn't get me any CPs.  This means that I suck at scenario, and SR2013 loves scenario.  Half the time I forget there is a killbox.

  2.  I don't know how to piece trade.  I play my Jacks way far back until it's time to roll and hate to lose one.  This means they're back too far to do me any good.  I finally figured out how to use tarpits, so this lets me play a bit tighter, but at the end of the day, I've usually tied my jacks up too far back to be of any good.

  3.  I don't know my opponents.  I generally chalk up my first game against a new caster as a loss.  After playing this game for a year, I should know them considerably better than I do right now.  This would also factor into my ability to pick a list when going down in tournaments.

  4.  I don't know my own cards half of the time.  I know my Hunters all have parry, and forget it, quite often.

  5.  General gameplay.  I quite frequently find my caster too far back when I need him forward, my jacks tied up, and my on-the-spot tactical decisions need work.


  1.  Batreps are great.  I've been reading, watching, listening to batreps, now podcasts, trying to watch people play scenario, and I always play scenario myself.  The problem is my lists aren't built for it and quite frequently, I give up on it very early in.  I need to rebuild my lists.  My 50pt Kraye list changed drastically this week when I decided to drop the blatant assassination gimmick and actually focus on taking scenario.  I may actually play Hunters and Stormwall in a Kraye list.  Who knew?

  2.  Piece trading is still a struggle for me.  I'm getting better with the Boomhowlers.  I love throwing them way out in the front with Fell Call and letting that 50% tough make life difficult.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it works really well.  The trick is getting the juicier targets into play.  This requires sacrificing a warjack or something to the opponent in the hopes that the dare will lure out his bigger tools so I can catch them in the counterattack.  This is way easier said than done, and still requires a lot of thinking and practice on my part.

  3.  I spend a lot of time on battlecollege, but even then, I really don't get what a caster can do until I see it on the table.  I think this is more or less me not putting spells together with units.  I don't know if simply reading cards is enough, battlecollege or what.  Or just time.  Next time I see Ret Sentinels though, I'm either killing all of them, or shooting at them.  Vengeance sucks.

  4.  This is just me clearing my brain and reading my own cards.  Fairly simple, probably the easiest solved.  I need to know my own guys.

  5.  I think the biggest problem here is List Building.  Everything in my Kraye list focused on making life easier for the Stormclad when he gets his moment to shine, never holding zones, playing attrition, nothing.  The other issue is that I have refused to play power casters, and as I move forward in the meta, this isn't going to work.  Yes, I'm fully aware that a good player can work with any caster.  That's great if you're a good player.  And the Good players are still bringing Butcher3, eHaley, Gaspy, eMorv, so on, so forth.  I got smashed by eMorvahna not once, but twice, last saturday.  Brutally and efficiently, for reasons all listed above.  I still need to post the batrep, it's depressing  I built lousy lists, tied up my own units, most importantly the stormwall, and derped it.  As awesome as All-cav lists look, they don't win games with pCaine.

  This also led me to make my eCaine purchase, who will probably be one of my main casters in the upcoming tournaments.

  The problem, at the end of the day, is me.  When it's all said and done, everyone can agree that Vassal is secretly the gaming module for Glados, and hates humankind, but everything else is my own fault.  I'm not playing people with 54pts of Khador anymore, I'm playing guys who have been to lock and load and placed.  It's different, and while the sudden shift is depressing, it also helps to look back and see where the problems are and work with it.

  Is this something you've gone through?  Going through?  I've seen people hit this stage and leave the game, and while I can't say that I don't blame them, I do enjoy this game.  At the very least, I love painting, and it's become a very enjoyable pasttime with my wife, so I doubt it's going anywhere.  If you've been there, done that, or are hitting that spot, chime in.

  Those are my thoughts.  Like every other brilliant American, I'm putting them on the internet, yay me.  On the plus side, in other news, I've got a few new models painted and the folding table is finished.  Pics tomorrow!


  1. I understand what you are going through as I think a large number of our group are going through the same thing in that we have a number of them turning to being "super-competitive" and it may be hurting our meta as a result.

    I think the biggest thing is to know your models like you said. Even if you don't know what the opponent's stuff can do, you know what YOU can do and can plan accordingly.

    Most casters also have a "thing", so when you go against a new caster, you don't have to know EVERY thing they can do, just be cognicient of their "thing", be it reviving models, making warjacks crazy, etc. This will enable you to shift your priorities and not be caught so off guard when that thing happens.

    A lot of it is just time however.

    1. The meta is a double edged sword, I think. The group I play with is full of excellent players. Three or four of them placed this last weekend at WMW if that's any indication of the skill level in this group. This is great for the level of experience that can show the rest of us what to do, but at the same token, the learn curve before you start winning more than once in a blue moon against any of them is pretty steep.

      That's a fair point, and you're right. At the same token, as far as enemy casters, it might be worth just rolling through the casters with a chart that asks questions like "Top 3 tricks", and go a faction at a time. Then go back through the battlegroup models and infantry with the same mindset, then back through the casters with the knowledge you have now. It's worth trying, and reading more doesn't hurt.