The One Ring

Powerful Heroes and Board Control
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Author:  mr. dude [ Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Powerful Heroes and Board Control

About a month ago, I was in a doubles tournament where my partner and I (both quite fond of making the game as entertaining as possible in combat) just took as many big hitters as we could. I had Bolg, he had Buhrdur and a Cave Troll, with the rest being an assortment of Hunter Orcs and regular Orcs.

Game 1 was Domination, and while we ended up losing it, there was a balance that we were playing with all game: where do we want the scary guys to go? Did we want the combat heroes in combat, or did we want them chasing objectives?

We went for the latter, Bolg, Buhrdur and about ten Orcs went across the board to claim three objectives. No one wants to fight Bolg or Buhrdur, let alone both at the same time, so securing the objectives was very easy. The Pain Train From the North (as we dubbed it) would move up to an objective, our opponents would run, we'd deposit a couple of Orcs there and move to the next one.

Of course, the knock on effect of not having the combat heroes in combat is that we had a lot less hitting power and were easier to break, so several objective-holders did run away and that cost us big time, but I found the setup interesting.

So now I'm curious what others like to do with their combat heroes in objective games. Do you use them for the threat that they provide to control how your opponent moves ("if Aragorn is going to the right, I'm moving left" now you've dictated where I can go just by sending Aragorn somewhere), or do you just try to stick them in without worrying about the psychological side of it? How do you balance the two?

Pitch in your thoughts

Author:  Ring_of_Gyges [ Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Powerful Heroes and Board Control

My main goal is to minimize the big heroes impact while taking out the rest of the army.

There are lots of options for minimizing heroes impact. Magic is obvious. Heroics are less obvious. Big heroes tend to have very little might for their cost. Take Bolg with a warg, he's 175pts for 3 Might (58pts each). At the other extreme a nice efficient trio like Gorbag, Shagrat, and Ghrishnak have 9 Might for a similar cost (160pts if you give them shields). If your opponent has beefier heroes he'll often have less Might. A heroic move means you can go first and force his 200pt death machine to spend the turn doing nothing more than fight a single 6pt orc. Meanwhile the rest of your army has a 194pt advantage fighting the rest of his. He can counter that with might of his own (either on heroic moves or heroic combats) but if you've got double or triple the Might he does he won't be able to keep that up for long.

Another option is killing their mounts. With a lance and a horse, Boromir Captain of the White Tower has 4 dice to win and 8 strikes at +1 to wound. If everything goes his way he can kill 8 infantry in a round. A couple good rounds and he's swung the game. On foot he's got 3 strikes needing 5's or 6's against a lot of enemies (so say, 1 kill without might). You just can't win if your ~200pt super hero is killing one Morannon a round. If the enemy has auto hits that ignore 'in the way' (like Legolas or Black Darts) it is very difficult to keep the mount alive and the super hero killing. You can screen some shooting with warriors, you can take some of the higher defense or multiple wound mounts, but horses and wargs are vital and you should build lists with a couple options to exploit that vulnerability.

Mobility is related to mount killing, but separate. The old joke about the Balrog was that it kills anything it gets into combat with but only gets into combat with its opponent's permission. There are a lot of reasons the Balrog doesn't see the tabletop, but a 6" move is one of them. A flying dragon which can go where it wants and kill most anything it fights is fantastically hard to deal with, a troll chieftain walking around is far easier to sideline.

I tend to feel like if I can do the above, hit them with magic, tie them up, kill their mounts, and outmaneuver them, I don't have to worry about ceding big portions of the battlefield to them. If Aragorn is heading to the objective you need I tend to feel you can't give him the kind of power that goes with thinking "I don't dare get near him", you need to go take that objective.

Author:  Dikey [ Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Powerful Heroes and Board Control

Another option is killing their mounts. With a lance and a horse, Boromir Captain of the White Tower has 4 dice to win and 8 strikes at +1 to wound. If everything goes his way he can kill 8 infantry in a round.

4 tops. He does not get 8 strikes, but 4 strikes against knocked opponents so each strike is doubled on a single target.

Anyway, killing the mount is always the way to go. Even better than removing bonus (there are so many heroes who have many either on foot or mounted) the loss of mobility can make a difference. A hero that moves 10" can be where he needs to when he needs. A hero that move 6", not so much.

My opponent actually blocked my Mounted Boromir by spamming so many enemies against him that he couldn't hope to kill all of them even in the best case scenario and he'd still be unable to move out in the next turn. Of course, this strategy requires a very heavy toll, but sometimes a couple of turns are all a player needs.

Author:  Ring_of_Gyges [ Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Powerful Heroes and Board Control

Dikey wrote:
4 tops. He does not get 8 strikes, but 4 strikes against knocked opponents so each strike is doubled on a single target.

I realize that, the 8 dice help him get the 4 kills which he can do twice a round for 8 total thanks to Heroic Combat. I apologize if that was unclear.

The point was a mounted lance wielding Boromir can kill 8 much more easily than a foot Boromir can kill 6.

Author:  mr. dude [ Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Powerful Heroes and Board Control

This is all true, but with this specific topic I was more curious about what you would do as the player controlling the big heroes.

My example was in an objective game, my partner and I placed our big heroes together and it allowed us easy access to all the objectives, but it led to us being weak elsewhere and breaking.

As sound as your points are, it does not detract from the psychological power of a heavy hitter. I base my entire gameplan around killing my opponent's big heroes, and I'm generally quite successful at doing so, but there is still a strong fear of what the hero can do if I leave it unchecked (or if part of my plan goes awry). What I'm interested in is how you make use of that psychological advantage as the player using the big hero: how it factors into your army build and how it impacts your strategies in objective and non objective games. Really just tell me stories.

Author:  Dikey [ Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Powerful Heroes and Board Control

I would not put the big guns together in a game of fast movements. If all your offensive power is focused on one spot the opponent can just avoid or stall both of them at the same time while focusing on the rest of your army.

A story of a psychological advantage created by Boromir it's in the last battle report I posted: basically my opponent was so focused on killing Boromir (whose death would not award it any points per se) that he kept Shelob on him for 4 turns when the spider would have made a much bigger impact on literally anywhere else on the field

Author:  mr. dude [ Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Powerful Heroes and Board Control

I'll quickly jump to the other side of the topic. If I see my opponent using two big heroes and they're spread out, I will try to occupy one of them with more models than it can kill in a turn, then I'll proceed to Magic/Monster/Hero/Mob the other one to death. Next turn or few turns, I kill the first hero. If they're together, yeah, I'm keeping that part of the battlefield clear and trying to focus on the rest of the army.

This is a highly situational topic, sometimes you need them spread out so your entire army holds up, other times it might be beneficial to build a fear bubble (maybe? that's what I'm trying to get to with this topic).

As for your Boromir story, would you not say that your opponent did a good job cancelling out Boromir? That's someone who can easily kill 4 models per turn, if your opponent kept Shelob on him all game and Boromir didn't do anything as a result, your opponent probably made a good move there.

Author:  Dikey [ Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Powerful Heroes and Board Control

well, Boromir could have done more but in the end he did kill a warband and a taskmaster (with 2 might points) so we still considered him the man of the match. Had shelob moved towards the center, rather than spending 3 turns on him, my opponent would have won the game or, at least, draw.

Author:  mr. dude [ Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Powerful Heroes and Board Control

Oh, well, in that case: well done Boromir!

One example that I remembered while looking through old battle reports, not quite this exact topic but very similar, was while using a Barrow Wight. I had a fair bit of success in previous games with Paralyzing my opponent's heroes then killing them, so in this particular game I had a Barrow Wight and he had Durin (we obviously had armies around them). The threat of the Barrow Wight created this bubble of pure terror that Durin refused to enter. DURIN! Rightly so because as soon as he entered, he got Paralyzed and mobbed to death. The presence of the Barrow Wight meant Durin didn't want to get in range, which gave me a blissful first few rounds of combat.

Relating that back to the initial topic, I'm wondering if a powerful enough combination of heroes could walk right through the opponent's lines and do a sort of effortless flanking/rearing. This isn't something I play with too often, but it's that idea of balance vs imbalance that you learn to tip in your favour.

Author:  LordoftheBrownRing [ Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Powerful Heroes and Board Control

I generally build armies with SOMETHING with or helping courage. Shaman/high elf heroes/random high courage models i.e. castellan/ erkenbrand or merry with hobbit horn etc.

Usually I fight a normal battle and I at the end break people off into groups of some troops with those heroes or helpers if need be for courage checks. EVERYTHING is about timing and late game stuff.

I like to balance those groups with more troops depending on the heroes. Bolg....only a few orcs probably and a Shaman probably half a dozen orcs or more etc. Legolas and a few elves. Hobbits....Ill take like 12 or more with a weak hero etc.

Basically it all depends what my opponent has near the objectives too. Theres not set thing to it. But yeah combat heroes kill till the end of the game and you have to choose the right moment.

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