Montag, 11. August 2014

Khador 2014 Part 09 - Spell Draft

There will be a Spell Draft tournament (eight participants) happening in my town at the 13th of Septembre. In this blog post, I'll talk about my initial thoughts on the matter, and probable Khador choices both army-wise and 'Caster-wise - and which one I can manage with my assortment of models.

Join me after the break, and let's find out if this end like some other "initial posts" I've made:

That's what you get for googling "Spell Draft".

Alrighty then, first things a-firsty. (which isn't a word, but internet!)

What does "Spell Draft" entail?
   This special (PP introduced, no less) format has you build your army as regular. Then, all spells/animi are wiped from all Warcaster/'Locks, Beasts, Journeyman Warcasters and lesser Warlocks. Players then perform a draft - each gets a stack of eight spell cards (or a card featuring eight spells). They pick one, and pass the deck over to the next player (or jot down a spell and cross it out on the card before passing it on), then they take the deck they're given, and proceed until all spells are taken. Your 'Casters/'Locks spell list is made up out of a number of the spells you picked (FOC-1, afair).

Basic Issues
   If you ever drafted M:tG (the card game that gave birth to this way of playing (a way of playing I'd recommend for every starting M:tG player instead of just buying booster packs)), you might know where this is going. Drafting presents you with certain... ...issues. Sure, you may have that great idea (I'll go all black!), but then... maybe the cards you get don't support the idea you have. Maybe some very good ones show up that you'd like to have, but don't fit your idea. Or maybe, there's a card you just don't want anybody else to have, even if you can't use it (this is called (to) hate-pick). Probably, it'll be all at once. And I soundly believe the same holds true for WM/H Spell Drafting as well, and this believe will be echoed in the 'Caster roundup below.

More specific issues
   Spell Draft is not limited to a certain number of players. There is an additional layer of pressure, though, when such a tourney reaches 8+ participants - that spell deck ain't gonna come back no mo'. On top of choosing between sth that helps you, sth you want to deny, sth that's downright awesome you're also faced with the issues that you'll not see any of those spells again (most likely - they may show up in other decks again). Also, due to the great number of different 'Casters/'Locks, the format had to be balanced against, say, the Harbinger. (FOC 10, auto-hitting melee weapon... what could possibly happen? (Answer: Blood of Kings AND Engine of Destruction, for example.) I thusly suppose that a good number of absolute bomb spells will not be in those spell decks (Temporal Barrier, Signs&Portents, Eye of Menoth, Mage Blight), especially when they have to put Animi on those cards, too. (Sorry if I don't go into detail about the process involving Hordes, and assigning Animi... I've got enough to do with WM and Khador)

Basic Considerations
   How do you choose your 'Caster and Army then, knowing you'll only get to keep the feat... oh, yeah, that. Obviously, the feat is a strong aspect in building your army, and a factor for the 'caster. The other one, I think, are his special abilities. And the last one is, (ironically?) his spell list (i.e. the one he WON'T have). And they all balance against each other. See, you might choose pick a self-sufficient (or non-Caster buffing) army, take a 'Caster with a great feat, and see all the spells as bonus. (Madrak1 or Grissel2 come to mind) Or, you take a 'Caster with great special abilities, and pick spells supporting either those or your army. Or, you pick a 'Caster with a great feat and a number of abilities, and try to get spells that help the issues he usually has. Along the same train of thought, you'll want to stay away from 'Caster/'Lock that are either defined by their spells or work awesomely in a holistic way. You may want a high FOC 'Caster/'Lock for awesome rng CTRL spell action, or a low FOC 'Caster/'Lock for more hate-picking-without-regrets action.

Khador Specific Considerations - Casters
   Sorscha1 - Erm... No. Sure, great feat, however, she IS reliant on her spell list, especially Wind Rush (IMO), so... no.
   Sorscha2 - Better. She likely won't be having Iron Flesh, but her abilities still lend really well to her army. If it's her, I'd likely go with the "Full Assault" Theme Force.
   Butcher1 - No, unless you're going gunline, then you're not totally worried about losing Iron Flesh.
   Butcher2 - I feel like he's one of the best. First of all, he keeps his feat, which is his real thing. He will lose Ravager, but he does have a theme force where he doesn't really need it anyway. If you're no fan of the theme, he can also be a very potent Jack 'Caster with Conferred Rage alone.
   Butcher3 - Well, he does have the most rules and stuff, and the feat is good, and he wasn't about army support in the first place, and he's got an intimidating reputation, but I feel it'll be very difficult to build an army for him for those very reasons - and he can't fall back on his usual strategy.
   Vlad1 - No. His shtick is in his spells, and the feat alone doesn't make him great.
   Vlad2 - It feels like he's even more relying on his spells, but there's only HoF and Transference that really matter, and it basically boils down to HoF, because his feat just does the rest (especially since we're playing at 35 points).
   Vlad3 - The lack of HoF and Infernal Machine will be felt, as will Flashing Blade. Equivalents could be among the draft spells, but I think that's too much of a risk, so no.
   Irusk1 - I don't think you could really play him his usual style, even with the feat being as good as it is, as any damage punch from his original spell list is lost. Not sth I'd like to play, but could probably be done by sb with more guts that me.
   Irusk2 - Since his most iconic moves stem from his abilities, sure. He'll feel the lack of his spell list, but can still play his "baseline" game.
   Karchev - One the one hand, he'll lose Tow and Unearthly Rage, which is bad. On the other, you do have a 'Caster that can easily go super-solo, and pick up some awesome spells along the way.
   Old Witch - Her powerful feat and Arcnode make her a good choice, but her gameplay will spin around like crazy without her regular spells, so may take more getting used to than a tournament will give you...
   Zerkova - Here's a 'Caster whose spell list confuses the opponent, because he doesn't know what to fear. So, drop all that, and pick some awesome stuff and a nuke, and go home with their wives.
   Strakhov - Here's a 'Caster who's routinely said to not really do anything except for his feat, who now gets the chance to draft spell that DO help his army. You'll likely forgo the heavenly spear assassination (you need Overrun and a SPD buff for that), but his inbuilt immunities could come in VERY handy.
   Harkevich - No. Unless you can draft a good Jack-Support or SPD enhancement spell, Harkevich certainly isn't your best pick for spell draft, because he draws so much from his spell list, and offers so few otherwise.

Khador Specific Considerations - Army
   My take is that you'll want self-sufficient models, since help cannot be guaranteed. Which unfortunately means that Assault Kommandos are right out unless you want their defensive capabilities. Kossites, while most operating on their own anyway, are also less of a choice. And Bombardiers will still be bad. Yes, you could get lucky and draft Snipe, but I think it's a solid advice to never assume you'll draft a fixer, because if you don't, you'll be playing points down.
   Not knowing the final spell loadout of your 'Caster naturally lends itself to building a balanced army (so no matter what you draft, you get some mileage out of it), unless a skew army really presents itself courtesy of the remaining abilities of your 'Caster (Mad Dogs of War, anyone?). Models with high inherent stats or available non-'Caster buffs will also work better, and that means: Everything bar the three units mentioned above. Welcome to the Motherland.
   In making a mixed force, I'd take two 'Jacks, Pikemen, Kayazy and Winterguard so the enemy can't use a single method for all your troops, but you were likely doing that anyway.

My Preferences
   It may have become evident from what I wrote above, but I think that Butcher2 and MDoW is the easiest way to get strong in Spell Draft. However, I lack the necessary models (Butcher2 first of all). My other favourites are Strakhov, Zerkova, and Vlad2.
   If I choose Strakhov, I'll just keep finger's crossed that I'll draw a to-hit/damage fixer (preferably Carnage), maybe a Jack-buff, and the rest will be fine.
   If I choose Zerkova, I'll pick a Nuke and hope for a Show-stopper spell (that's not Icy Grip. I'd love Crippling Grasp or Freezing Grip, though). This list will likely have AK's.
   If I choose Vlad2, I'll pick a unit buff and then hate-pick. I'll have Eliminators to deal with the rest. ;)

Ever since I want to get this published now, I'll have to postpone Army composition. I can't even decide on a 'Caster right now, so I guess it's best to save that for later, relax, take a walk, and then come back around.

But until then, farewell!