Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Abilities and Ways you can Counter Them

This will probably not be exhaustive, but when you get down to it, there are a lot of nasty abilities in WarmaHordes. Part of the game is finding a work-around for them.
The way I see it, there are usually two types of counters to any given ability:

1) Hard Counter
You explicitly deny the enemy the use of their rule, usually with a special rule of your own.

2) Soft Counter
You find a work-around for the problem. Your work-around does not explicitly say 'ability X that I hate does not work' but you nonetheless achieve the desired result. That being said, I'm going to start a rundown of some of the common abilities I know folks hate.

Nya! You automatically miss me with your puny ranged attacks over 5" away! Man, is this bloody annoying when you brought a lotta guns to the fight. Suddenly, they're not so useful. What do you do?

Hard Counters
There are a few things that explicitly ignore stealth, among them:
-Eyeless Sight (Legion FTW)
-True Sight
-Spray Attacks (one of the MANY things they ignore...)
Soft Counters
-AoE Attacks work against lower-ARM troops, which are usually the things with stealth. Even a POW7 blast damage roll has a good chance of killing ARM11-13 guys
-Melee doesn't CARE about stealth at all
When you get down to it, the easiest way to soft-counter stealth troops tends to be just lobbing lots of explosives in their general direction. If you didn't bring a lot of guns, then honestly you don't much care about stealth, and it becomes an ability the enemy paid for and isn't using. The problem lies in dealing with high-ARM stealth models; you either need a hard counter or melee as the blast damage won't cut it.

High Defense
Face it, sometimes you'll just run into models that you can't friggin' hit. DEF10-12 models tend to be very easy to hit. DEF 13-14 starts getting rougher and requiring higher-level MAT/RAT. Once you start seeing DEF15-16+, you're running into problems. DEF17 casters simply REQUIRE specialist kit to realiably deal with, assuming a high-end RAT/MAT of 7. Your average 2d6 roll is a 7.5; your average on 3d6 is an 11.5.

The other issue to consider with defense is the source of it. Is it a natural defense? Is it granted by a spell? Is it something that comes from terrain? This also tells you how you counter it.

Hard Counter
-Defensive Debuffs. Not the easiest thing to find outside of Cryx
-Knockdown. You can get knockdown by throwing things at high-def targets, slamming models through them (incluidng your own), or various weapons WITH knockdown effects. You only need one good hit to reduce them to DEF5 versus ranged and bypass an attack roll altogether in melee.
-Stationary. Sorcha's on to something there...
-Sustained attack. Hit a harder-to-hit target with this once, and then you move straight to damage rolls on later attacks. You do have to hit the first time, though, but if you can hit hard enough you tend to do just fine later on. Or, you just buy a bunch of damage rolls and hope the job gets done.

Soft Counter
-AoEs. They don't roll to hit; they roll to damage. If the high-DEF target is within the blast radius for a direct hit on a low-DEF target, then you can solve the problem (especially if you can boost the blast damage on a target with wounds)
-Boosts. Not always the most reliable or available ways to do it, but rolling 3d6 versus 2d6 DOES help you. However, it means you'll have fewer attacks available to get the job done, and means you're generally looking at warjacks, warbeasts, casters, or rarer abilities.
-Combined ranged/melee attacks. This requires getting enough of the unit into a position where they can exploit the ability, though.

-Setting them on fire/corroding them. It may take a hit the first time, but next time around there's a 66% chance they'll eat an automatic point of damage from corrosion or a POW12 from fire.

Honestly, I don't think high DEF counters break down as cleanly as others might into 'hard' and 'soft' counters, but I'm pretty sure the preceding are all viable ways to get around it.
High Armor
Sometimes, it's just bloody hard to scratch the other guy. High ARM is a pain in the butt, and sometimes a strength of the other guy. There are many sources for it, from raw stats, to buffs, to orders like Shield Wall.
Hard Counters
-Debuffs. Again, not something you often see outside of Cryx and Everblight, but it's there.
-High POW attacks of your own. Power on through to them.
-Boosts. Like high POW, just batter your way through their defenses.
-Damage buffs of your own
-Armor-piercing attacks. Even a Hunter's POW7 gets nasty when a Khadoran jack has ARM10 against it. Throw a boost in there and suddenly that's a column and change off of a hefty target.
-the Decapitation special ability. Double your damage that exceeds the armor? Ouch.

Soft Counters
-Effects do not require a damage roll, like 'Sniper' special rules. Tends to be more effective against single-wound infantry.
-continuous effects like Corrosion (good for single-wound models) and Fire (can get around Shield Wall and other effects that require an activation to bring up)
-ask yourself if you really and truly have to engage and kill the target. If it's in a place you don't want it to be, you can always try to throw/slam it. Or, you can always go for the scenario win or caster-kill
All that hard work you did is for nothing on a 5+, at the cost of the target getting kncoked down. Granted, this gets more annoying when the enemy has a workaround for the knockdown.

Hard Counters
You need a specifically-worded rule (IE: Take Down, Decapitation, Grievous Wounds) or something that denies healing. Tough explicitly states that the disabled target is healed one damage box and knocked down.
Soft Counters
-Volume of attacks. Hit 'em 'til they fail the tough checks.
-Continuous effects like fire and corrosion. Put 'em down this turn, then make them take the check AGAIN next turn.
-Another way to confound a unit with Tough is to try to force tough checks on all of them in the front rank (assuming they can't work around the knockdown effect). Force the enemy to waste time moving around them, or get spread out after having to move around their slow-poke buddies.
Honestly, Tough falls more into an 'annoying' ability than a 'OH GOD' ability. Frankly, it's got a 33% chance of working, which isn't that hot. Sometimes the enemy has good dice, sometimes they don't.
At this point, I think I'd call this a work in progress. I'm sure there are other nasty things people would love to know how to counter, but I'm not sure what they are at this particular moment in time. That being said, I would love some comments/feedback on what I've missed here, since this one is incomplete for the moment.

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