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hobgoblinclub

Stopping Murderhost in Scorched Earth

32 posts in this topic

hobgoblinclub    480

In the last week or so, one of the big talking points has been the Scorched Earth battleplan.  There's real concern that certain lists, particularly Khorne armies featuring a Murderhost, can put the game beyond reach on turn one.  Because the objectives are at the very edge of each army's deployment, preventing any units being set up in front of them, a particularly eager Murderhost can bound across the table, burn all three of their opponent's objectives, and find themselves up to 12-0 up, before the blood hits the dirt.  

This has caused such concern that I know of at least one tournament which has already made alterations to the battleplan (by moving the objectives back 3", if I remember correctly).  Does Scorched Earth need to be 'Escalationed' and get an FAQ overhaul.  I hope not.

So TGA, how can a Murderhost be stopped in Scorched Earth?  Here's my ideas.  Feel free to add yours.

Chaos

Pink Horrors: Deploying a thin line of Horrors across the edge of the deployment zone would allow you absorb the Bloodletters' charge and then split twice as many Blue horrors into the space vacated by the dead Pinks.  Outnumbering the massive regiments of Bloodletters post-splitting would still rely on massed ranks of something like Tzaangors sitting behind the thin pink line, ready to deal out retribution.

Ungor Raiders: A unit of forty Ungor Raiders on 25mm bases can be deployed in a thin line the full width of a six foot table, all the way along the edge of your deployment zone.  The key: Ungor Raider move before the game begins!  They won't simply shield your objectives, the Ungor Raiders could be up to 13" (+1 to run and pile in) preventing any Bloodletters from even entering your half of the table in turn 1!

Skaven Night Runners: Like Ungor Raiders, Night Runners get to make a bonus move before the game begins.  Take 40 and fan them across the entire board again.

Order

Seraphon Shadowstrike Starhost: This battalion could the bane of the Murderhost's tournaments.  Much like Ungor Raiders and Night Runners, the key here is the move after deployment but before the first turn.  The great thing here though is that the whole battalion moves!  It's only 2D6, so not as far as UR or NR, but it's potentially two banks of 40 Skinks strung out across the table.  If the Murderhost chews through the first one, they'll likely have another Skink safety net to fall into!  Better still, the battalion's unit of Terradon Riders or Ripperdactyls can set up 3" from the enemy in the movement phase, effectively giving you a third Murderhost blocker!

Those are my thoughts.  Any others?

Steve.

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I like your thinking but my personal opinion is that if you need one of a select few units to be in your army just to be able to stand a chance in a battleplan then there is an inherent flaw. 

Time might tell, but for now I would be interested to hear about the armies that can reliably draw or beat a murderhost in this battleplan. 

As a Fyreslayer Allegiance player there is nothing I can take including available allies that can defend against this. I just have to sit there and hope my opponent fluffs a lot of rolls. 

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hobgoblinclub    480
1 hour ago, The Jabber Tzeentch said:

I like your thinking but my personal opinion is that if you need one of a select few units to be in your army just to be able to stand a chance in a battleplan then there is an inherent flaw. 

Time might tell, but for now I would be interested to hear about the armies that can reliably draw or beat a murderhost in this battleplan. 

As a Fyreslayer Allegiance player there is nothing I can take including available allies that can defend against this. I just have to sit there and hope my opponent fluffs a lot of rolls. 

I see what you're saying. My instinct is always to find a way to outplay an issue rather than change rules or tweak things. Can you see it being as it is in six months time? 

 

1 hour ago, Charles said:

Would taking the first turn not work?

If you can, yep. A Murderhost means your opponent is dropping all his battleline, and possibly other units, in one go. There's a good chance his army is going to be on the table pretty quickly

30 minutes ago, Double Misfire said:

Freeguild Archers and Ungor Raiders baby! :D:D:D 

99120202026_HuntsmenArchersNEW03.jpg

 Yes! The archers! Good call. 

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Double Misfire    1,279
1 minute ago, hobgoblinclub said:

 Yes! The archers! Good call. 

Also Shadow Warriors but they're elves and so obviously not as good.

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Thomas Lyons    837

The issue is that any list that can basically auto-win a scenario at the top of turn 1 with no actual play from the other play and requires you to build against it in order to not autolose is what competitive play calls a Tier 0 list.  These are lists that are so heavy that the very meta (i.e. how lists are build) warp around them such that every list has to either have a counter directly to that list or be that list itself.  This is what's going on.

That said, this is circumstantial.  The only reason this list is of such significance in this instance is because of how this very scenario is built.  The very easy workaround is to simply slightly adjust the scenario.  This means either moving the objectives back a couple inches, making it so objectives can't be razed when opposing models are within x", or even just not letting objectives be razed on the first turn.  All of these would resolve this situation.

The reason this is a scenario problem is that this problem could easily crop up again with another army and another movement combo.  The issue here is the scenario, not the lists.

There are a handful of potential soft counters but not all factions (like Fyreslayers for example) have access to those counters.  Are those factions supposed to be automatically handicapped in competitive play since they don't have a particular allies set?

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Bjarni St.    154

The only difference between Murderhost and any 9" away drop army is that the charge to get on the objective isn't necessarily as difficult. 

Tweaking the scenario to make it feasible for most armies to contest it without gutting the scenario is a pretty simple matter: Both moving the point back and stopping burning on T1 work although both have some minor side effects. 

I think at some point GW do need to take a look at the mobility creep that's been so pervasive in AoS. Both this and Escalation are totally fine with 'standard' movement armies but break down with some of the more extreme movement potential out there (not even requiring edge case lists.)

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I'm yet to play the scenario, so take this with a pinch of salt, but most armies could:

a). Place a cheap chaff unit on the line to absorb the charge and then deploy a hammer 1" behind to pile in after the chaff is killed.

b). Place two lines of units on 25mm bases, similar to above and if the front unit gets wiped out, the second can pile in and get bodies closer to the objective than the Blood Letters can manage. This would allow shooting or magic heavy armies to bring the big guns to bear in their turn one.

It potentially warps lists that didn't include chaff units, but, as they are by definition the cheapest units available, this should not be too much of a tax. I think every army can manage a chaff unit, or at least ally one in, for 100 points or less, which, if you're trading it for 270 points of Blood Letters plus some of the 120 point cost of Murderhost, seems like a pretty reasonable deal.

As mentioned, I have not yet played the scenario, but this was my original thought.

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HobbyHammer    697

Just deploy your army out of charge range of the murder host, that way, unless the murderhost get a massive 4D6 roll they won't get near the objective and therefore can not raze it. 

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Killax    806

As per this disussion in other topics I think the "speed move issue" could as easily be stopped by adding another sentence to this part of the Victory paragraph. So turning this:
 

Quote

Each player scores 1 victory point at the end of each of their turns for each objective they control. Alternatively, they can raze an objective they control in enemy territory, scoring D3 victory points instead of 1 but removing the objective from play.

Into
 

Quote

Each player scores 1 victory point at the end of each of their turns for each objective they control after the first turn. Alternatively, they can raze an objective they control in enemy territory after the first turn, scoring D3 victory points instead of 1 but removing the objective from play.

It's common practice in many games such as Warmachine, Hordes and Malifaux to not have armies/warbands interact with objectives on the first turn. This is done exactly because it would otherwise reward high movement more then might be wished for.

However since this is still 1 out of 6 Scenarios I don't think it has to be a massive issue but I do think the game in itself would benifit from having these objectives only available to interact and or score with after the first turn, this way the victory point scoring isnt just "a race". 

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Nico    1,859
Quote

Just deploy your army out of charge range of the murder host, that way, unless the murderhost get a massive 4D6 roll they won't get near the objective and therefore can not raze it. 

I've been thinking about this; and a rough counter to the Murderhost would be as follows:

Leave one objective empty as you mention; and divide up your melee forces between the other two objectives. You will want to have a unit that does a lot of damage in a single activation, rather than MSU. If you have any units that have -1 to hit debuffs then even better. Assuming that the Khorne player makes it in with two blocks of 30 Models, he will activate one first and delete your melee unit(s) on one objective. You then get to activate your unit and will be hoping to kill at least 11 and hopefully more like 20 Bloodletters - they are single wound 5+ save models. Then when he activates this depleted unit, it doesn't do much without the +1 to hit for 20 models. At worst, he scores 2 D3 + 3 points.

You then destroy all the Bloodletters on your side of the table and hopefully get a double turn. You score 2 points from your remaining objective. You then grind him down over the next 3 battlerounds and eventually burn all 3 of his objectives at the end. It will be a close run thing, but it may be doable.

This is leaving aside all the harder counters, like take a single drop army and go first; use -1 to hit debuffs, use a horde of 25mm chaff, use Fanatics, use Freeguild, use Ungor Raiders, use the Changeling.

Edited by Nico
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Andreas    218

Place two or three units of 30 vulkites on the objectives. All immune to battleshock (Exemplar of the Ancestors) and reroll wound roll (Runesmiter on Magmadroth). I think it could be hard for the murderhost to take a single objective from the vulkites even they are hitting first with all the buffs. This seems like a very common fyreslayer build so my feeling is that at least fyreslayers will be a hard counter.

When I think about it maybe tunneling fyreslayers could be more of a problem than the murderhost. If you take the warrior kindband and tunnel 2 units of vulkites it has low number of drop, 120 axes in the shooting phase, 3D6 reroll one and take the two highest charge roll to make 9". 10 Mortal wounds on the charge plus 2 attacks each with rend -1, reroll all wound rolls etc... And you don't kill them (as easily as the murderhost). Maybe that should be the real problem here to discuss.

Edited by Andreas
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RuneBrush    1,121
25 minutes ago, HobbyHammer said:

Just deploy your army out of charge range of the murder host, that way, unless the murderhost get a massive 4D6 roll they won't get near the objective and therefore can not raze it. 

I've not got the battleplan in front of me, but if memory serves, you raze at the end of the first turn rather than hero phase?

Keeping your army back far enough back to deny a murderhost charge is probably the best option for most armies .  However, fully maxed out, they're going to have 2D6" (deployment) + 2D6" (hero phase) + 5" + D6" (move + run) which gives them between 10" and 35" movement on the first turn.  This means that they only need to move 21" in order to claim the objective - so 16 on 5D6 (four 3's and a 4).  

It's more likely they'll not be maxed out (so won't get the hero phase move) which gives them a range of between 8" and 23", which is still enough, but more of a challenge (20 on 3D6), however it's also likely they'll have a Bloodstoker granting them an extra 3" move in that case.

Anyhoo - for me the counter is a few decent blocks of Blood Warriors.  A unit of ten will make a mess of a unit of 30 Bloodletters if you place them around the 11" line.  It's close enough that I'll always have more models within 3" unless they charge.  If they do, I should do a decent amount of damage back with my retaliation attacks

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Solaris    285

I'd just always play with screens of chaff and massacre him in retaliation if he charges my screen. I don't really see this as a problem.

For example, I will be running Disciples of Tzeentch in an upcoming tournament. If I face a Murderhost in this scenario, I will deploy units of Blue and Brimstone Horrors at the deployment line, with units of Tzaangors and Enlightened 2" behind them. If the Bloodletters charge my Horrors, I get to pile in with my Tzaangors and Enlightened and decimate them afterwards. He'd essentially throw away 60 Bloodletters and not get a single objective out of it.

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So to try and be constructive, if assuming the worst you deploy defensively with no counter and the murderhost burn your objectives turn one, you then have two turns to take all three of their  objectives or you will likely lose on average(assuming 2 VP per burnt objective)

If you take their objectives by turn three and start scoring you will have an equal VP on average by the end of the game if you burn all their objectives turn five.

So if you don't have a way to stop them your only chance is to wipe them out asap and get on to their objectives asap. Or hope they get a below average burn on turn one.

my plan with Fyreslayers is to deploy deep, in a corner sacrificing two objectives but defending the third best I can and then tunnel something offensive in to the enemy objectives and hope for the best! 

Turn 1: 9-0

Turn 2: 12-0

Turn 3: 12-3

Turn 4: 12-6

Turn 5: 12-12

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hobgoblinclub    480
22 hours ago, Thomas Lyons said:

The issue is that any list that can basically auto-win a scenario at the top of turn 1 with no actual play from the other play and requires you to build against it in order to not autolose is what competitive play calls a Tier 0 list.  These are lists that are so heavy that the very meta (i.e. how lists are build) warp around them such that every list has to either have a counter directly to that list or be that list itself.  This is what's going on.

That said, this is circumstantial.  The only reason this list is of such significance in this instance is because of how this very scenario is built.  The very easy workaround is to simply slightly adjust the scenario.  This means either moving the objectives back a couple inches, making it so objectives can't be razed when opposing models are within x", or even just not letting objectives be razed on the first turn.  All of these would resolve this situation.

The reason this is a scenario problem is that this problem could easily crop up again with another army and another movement combo.  The issue here is the scenario, not the lists.

There are a handful of potential soft counters but not all factions (like Fyreslayers for example) have access to those counters.  Are those factions supposed to be automatically handicapped in competitive play since they don't have a particular allies set?

Sounds like solid logic to me. It'll be a real shame if GW have to alter the whole battleplan so soon after release. I'm a little surprised it slipped through the net, especially considering who they have playtesting. 

 

13 hours ago, Well of Eternity said:

Fanatics?

Yes. 

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hobgoblinclub    480
10 hours ago, Solaris said:

I'd just always play with screens of chaff and massacre him in retaliation if he charges my screen. I don't really see this as a problem.

For example, I will be running Disciples of Tzeentch in an upcoming tournament. If I face a Murderhost in this scenario, I will deploy units of Blue and Brimstone Horrors at the deployment line, with units of Tzaangors and Enlightened 2" behind them. If the Bloodletters charge my Horrors, I get to pile in with my Tzaangors and Enlightened and decimate them afterwards. He'd essentially throw away 60 Bloodletters and not get a single objective out of it.

He burns your objectives beside you get a turn though. He charges, kills the first wave of horrors. Unless you see manage to squeeze enough bodies in, he burns all three. But the time the Tzaangor pile in it'd be all over. 

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PlasticCraic    15
17 hours ago, HobbyHammer said:

Just deploy your army out of charge range of the murder host, that way, unless the murderhost get a massive 4D6 roll they won't get near the objective and therefore can not raze it. 

I like the sound of this - please can you explain exactly how the mobility buffs stack on Murderhost, so I can understand what kind of rolls they need?

I believe the batallion itself gives them 2D6" in the hero phase.  They will presumably be whipped by the Bloodstoker to give them +3" to run and charge.  I believe there are further buffs from the Bloodthirster (depending on which one they take), and possibly a Mighty Lord too.

What combos are people using to get the Bloodletters across the table so quickly?

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Thomas Lyons    837
11 minutes ago, PlasticCraic said:

I like the sound of this - please can you explain exactly how the mobility buffs stack on Murderhost, so I can understand what kind of rolls they need?

I believe the batallion itself gives them 2D6" in the hero phase.  They will presumably be whipped by the Bloodstoker to give them +3" to run and charge.  I believe there are further buffs from the Bloodthirster (depending on which one they take), and possibly a Mighty Lord too.

What combos are people using to get the Bloodletters across the table so quickly?

The Murder Host gets 2d6" (~7) pregame, and if maxed out 2d6" (~7) in hero phase, and 5" for certain in the movement. This means that they'll have traveled 19" on average.  Now, those objectives count models if they're within 3".  This means they only have to get to 21" to begin contesting those objectives.  They can either charge you with a 5 (on 2d6) if you set up on the line, or they can make a run and they'll need on average...2 or more on the run dice.  This tactic of deploying back won't be as effective as people suggesting it will be.

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tea_wild_owl    157
6 hours ago, hobgoblinclub said:

He burns your objectives beside you get a turn though. He charges, kills the first wave of horrors. Unless you see manage to squeeze enough bodies in, he burns all three. But the time the Tzaangor pile in it'd be all over. 

but you can pile in in the same close combat phase with the models behind your front line. bloodletters have a 32mm base, so if you have models on 25mm you will get more in range, with 32mm models you will get the same number as bloodletters and he cannot burn it.

I think this is the easiest solution with having a thin front line to stop the host and have some hard hitting units (or just another horde) behind, out of range for bloodletters but in range to pile in (hence the 2")

since most armies either have or can ally some chaff this seems doable

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PlasticCraic    15
2 hours ago, Thomas Lyons said:

The Murder Host gets 2d6" (~7) pregame, and if maxed out 2d6" (~7) in hero phase, and 5" for certain in the movement. This means that they'll have traveled 19" on average.  Now, those objectives count models if they're within 3".  This means they only have to get to 21" to begin contesting those objectives.  They can either charge you with a 5 (on 2d6) if you set up on the line, or they can make a run and they'll need on average...2 or more on the run dice.  This tactic of deploying back won't be as effective as people suggesting it will be.

Thanks for that - yep, you have to assume they're getting there.  

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Aelfric    17

As a Wanderer's player, I presume all I could do is send my whole army up to his end to grab his objectives and whittle him down from the sides as he makes his way back again.  try and hold his objectives as long as poss before burning them.  Guerrilla tactics.

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Nico    1,859

If you have an absolute blender unit like 6 Enlightened activating second on one objective behind chaff, then yes this will take the whole unit of 30 Bloodletters off after it kills the chaff (they do even more damage than Skyfires). They will have to get within 1/2" of the chaff screen so this will bring the Enlightened (just over an inch from the front line) into combat. In theory every army should be able to do this (Stormcast can take Skinks as Allies).

Edited by Nico

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