Wraith Witch Deneghra: 6

I had two games against Stephan last night, and I lost them both. The first game (eDeneghra Vs. eCaine) was going well, with me having lost just one model while wiping out half his list (without using my feat). Then I said “I’ll have to move Deneghra back and inch to be safe“, but after doing a victory dance due to killing eEiryss with a boosted Venom and sealing the game, I forgot to actually move her. As a rule I don’t play with take-backs, even when my opponents do, so I resigned Deneghra to her fate.

Should have listened…

There are several reasons I don’t do take-backs (even in friendly games), and I get asked about this quite often, so here they are. First of all it makes you lazy, because you can always just redo that move or target something else when the model turns out to be stealthy. This does not motivate you to learn the rules and remember every model, which will come back to haunt you when you’re playing high level tournament games. I do sometimes adjust facings on a unit I’m moving after I’ve let a specific model go, but I really need to stop doing that.

Secondly the act of losing a game because of one stupid inch will stick with me, in a way that the game never would if I had taken the move (or lack thereof) back. I would probably have won the game, and I could have patted myself on the shoulder and congratulated myself on another well deserved win, when it really wasn’t. I still remember the final game of my first tournament, where I died without ever rolling a die, because I left a tiny gap between the two heavies guarding Mortenebra, and the Coven spell assassinated me. These are valuable lessons, and you lose out on them when you do take-backs. It turned out, that I was exactly 21.5 inches away from eCaine in that game, and I died.

Game 2

The night was young and we took another game with the same lists. This time I made sure to keep way back, and the game was one the most tragically hilarious games I’ve ever had. In the beginning he had me swamped, but slowly I fought, bit, and clawed my way back into the game. “Never give up, and never surrender” will always be my motto, and then my opponent made the mistake I was waiting for and Gatecrashed the wrong way.

A minute later Stephan made a take-back, and moved eCaine the other way instead. I don’t mind opponents doing take-backs in friendly games, but I feel he’s missing out on some valuable lessons. If he had not done the take-back he would forever have remembered that Nyss Hunters ignore forests for LoS purposes when charging, as well as shooting, and after rolling the dice that ‘should’ have been eCaine died to Nyss Hunters in melee.

From that point on the universe decided to punish me for my leniency with take-backs. We didn’t keep score at first, but as the game developed both Stephan and I were laughing hard at his dice. I simply could not kill his last remaining models, no matter what I did. Boomhowlers were Tough of course, but after Boomhowlers fifth consecutive successful check (many of them on 5+ since he needed to get most of the grunts up from KD the round before) it was getting ridiculous, and in general he was making about 80-90% of his checks. Slowly he killed of my dudes, while remaining impervious to harm in return.

At one point Stephan stated “why do you bother, I’ll just keep doing this” and then saved Boomhowler three more times (yes, that’s eight consecutive checks). I counted at least twelve Corrosions that failed after I began keeping score, and the final score was something like 17 out of 20 corroded models where it failed. The Kraken was in pretty bad shape after Boomhowlers took about 30 boxes with shooting (Indeed, at dice -5 due to Harm, seven Boomhowlers did 30 damage), and he had three Forge Guard I could not stop. The first one rolled 5-6-6-6 on damage, the second one missed, and the third one rolled 4-5-6-6 for damage… no more Kraken.

There’s a Journeyman Warcaster and a Squire down back somewhere.

The game finally came to a close, when I ran out of models to contest the zone and he didn’t. This is what we had left on the table, except for the Journeyman Warcaster and a Squire hanging out in his deployment zone. I actually enjoyed the game, even though I had a couple of minutes of seething rage, but the sheer unlikely stupidity of the situation was just to amusing in the end. The list was lousy but I knew that going in, and it actually did pretty well all things considered.

The Bloat Thralls killed a disgusting number of models, and only blew up one of my own (so long Warwitch Siren). The Nyss Hunters were gods with her, and that’s worth considering for another list. The Kraken was underwhelming, as the lack of speed, MAT, and protection made it to easy to deal with. I’ll have to test it against a few other casters of course, but so far I’m not as impressed as I thought I would be.

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14 Responses »

  1. To be fair I don’t think the gatecrash would have cost me the game, after thinking about what we talked about I realized that the Nyss didn’t need 9’s but 11’s. So that 4 chances at 11, and if they failed (which they would have with your dice) he would have just gunned them down anyway as he did the following turn.

    • I’m fairly certain I could have gotten MFD on him where he was. That was what I was calculating anyway, and I assumed you were as well when you said 9+ (the Deathripper had it’s Arc Node intact, and the three Boomhowlers guarding it were not immune to KD).

      But to be fair, that could have failed as well, and I didn’t roll those dice :D

      • Also, he would be toeing a forest. So if you managed to kill two boomies and powerboost the jack, then run it past half my dwarves and old Rowdy, overextending Deneghra over the wall and cast your spell to hit on a 12 … It seems far fetched, but yeah, it could be done with good dice :-) I’m just not convinced that all that is worth doing for 4 9+ attempts at even hitting Caine.

  2. Not sure where I stand on “no take-backs”

    On the one hand, I see your point that it can encourage laziness, (and it certainly is debatable whether an opponent will learn more either way) but there is the flipside – the experience for the other player. See, for me personally, if I face off on somebody and they make a mistake like that which costs them the game, when I win as a result, the victory feels considerably more hollow.

    Generally speaking I want to win a game because I outplayed an opponent, took risks, made the right moves, target priority and the like, not because they forgot something crucial (an activation like power booster, allocating focus and the like). So often I am happy to let them “take-back” the odd decision* here or there, because I find we both have more fun that way. Particularly if it’s been a long day, people have not slept well, had a few drinks, need to eat something and the like…If that makes any sense?

    *Obviously there are limits, and it usually depends on how easy it is to reverse something (going back too far gets tricky obviously), how casual the format is and the player in question etc etc.

    • I can see your point of view but there’s also something to be said for learning to take proper advantage of a mistake. I’ve heard it be said that at high levels of play with evenly matched players and armies it comes down to the first person who slips up that loses, or in some cases putting your opponent into positions where they make mistakes, forcing that advantage. In my group we’re still learning all of the rules and their interactions, so we’re fairly lax, but I wholly anticipate that once we can leave the books at home that there will be a lot more to be learned from letting your opponent make that mistake than letting them take it back. It’s going to help you recognize your opportunities and like Lamoron said, it’s going to make your defeats all the more memorable.

      In my second game with Terminus I was so focused on the pending assassination run following feat turn that I lost all sight of the scenario. I parked Terminus 1″ outside of a zone that he could have easily and safely entered, all because it made lining up a charge lane a little easier. I can tell you now that because my opponent kept his mouth shut and won with a single activation on his turn I now consider the scenario in every turn that I take. It’s memorable because of the absolute binary nature of my mistake.

      I think take-backs belong in reviewing your game as it’s easier to look back and say, “I made a mistake here and instead I should have done X, Y, and Z.”

      • There’s an old chess proverb that says “the loser is the player who makes the second to last mistake”. I think that’s very apt in Warmachine as well.

        Personally, I’m currently fine with takebacks, as I’m playing casually and trying to feel out the game and as many positions as possible. When I know I did something retarded, I’ll usually ask to take it back, because I know I can learn from that, AND learn the right play as I move forward along a path that keeps the game interesting.

        In remotely serious play I’m zero tolerance on myself and opponents. Consistency is a big part of tournament skill, and if you brain fart and throw a game on your own stupidity, too bad. Hopefully next time, you’ll train yourself to avoid it and focus better, which really only comes from playing a lot of serious matches and tournaments.

        I don’t know whether I’ll get back into the serious aspect of this game this year, but if I do, I hope I do better than I think I will. :p

  3. Stephan.

    Ghostwalk on deathripper. Siren power boosts the xbixken. Chicken runs up to Cain past counter charge threat of Ol’Rowdy. Tremulus ties a puppet string around Dennys leg. Denny casts a Marked for death and a fully boosted venom on Caine, so 1 hit from Nyss would be enough to fully eliminate and reanimate the Gunslinger.
    It still fails about half the time when rolling the 12+ Marked For Death, but it is definitely worth a try if you are in a tight spot. The 4 9+ rolls afterwards has been seen to miss, but one of them should hit their mark.
    Did Caine have blur on him since the Nyss did not shoot Caine in this thought of example?

    • Wouldn’t have worked Jan. I purposely didn’t bring a Skarlock to see how much I would miss him (a lot), and remarked to Stephan how much that fucked up my activation sequences. I still think I could have gotten him through, but not as easily as that :)

      The Nyss didn’t shoot because Cylena was dead, so it would be 9+/11+ to hit as well, but with way less damage as a result. We didn’t roll the dice for all the other events, and with the way my dice were failing and his were flaming, it probably would have failed anyway.

      • I want to bring Nyss with edenny instead of raiders/ua but they seem much more frail and I give up jam potential to go for the scenario in return for more assassination pressure. I find with raiders I have a more balanced list between attrition, scenario and assassination. Also I can’t find a captain in my list unless I replace gorman (thinking about it heavily) so that weighs in the Nyss’s favor. Thoughts?

        • The Nyss were really bloody good with her. There’s no such thing as ‘the best’ unit with a caster like eDeneghra, but the Nyss are certainly a viable option.

  4. I don’t allow them at tourneys. But for a learning/training game I think they’re okay. Lamoron declined taking one in the first game, even though he was welcome to do it and I do understand his point on becoming lazy. For me it’s more important to see how the game plays out without errors during these training games.
    If I deploy my army, move it forward and then lose Caine to a random blast or direct hit because I’ve overextended him, I won’t learn as much about my or my opponents army as if we just agree that he would die in that position, move him half an inch back and play the game.

    • Well, that’s where we disagree. The brain does poorly at storing information unless it’s tied to something. This could be a smell, an image, or a feeling. If you just go ‘oh, my bad‘ and move it around your brain will not tie it to anything and retrieval will be hard.

      There are no games without errors, so why train for those :D

  5. I’ve always played with no take backs. For me it’s a carry over from when I played competitive Magic. I find that making a game losing screw up and playing through it teaches you more than fixing it. Besides the lesson sticking with you, it also gives you the chance to learn to repair mistakes when they happen. If you always play like you never made a mistake, you’ll never learn how to play around them.

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