Hi everyone ! Let's see if we can go (a bit) further in our Chosen Axes for Beginners series ! So here's today subject :
Chosen Axes : Beware but Don't Panic ! Or the things you must be prepared to face while trying to inspire...
As some of you may remember, in the first post of this series (https://www.reddit.com/r/WarhammerUnderworlds/comments/c8qn9u/last_post_before_summer_chosen_axes_for_beginners/), aside from reliability, two ideas were considered to be of paramount importance : morale and inspiration, which are closely linked together... When you play Chosen Axes, because inspiring your fighters is so important, it's very easy to feel upset and to lose all your morale when your opponent counters some of your Round 1 moves. Here, the key is to never be surprised or destabilized by anything, and to achieve this, you need to know exactly what can happen and when...
Note : When it comes to cards, this symbol (°) means « Still valid Universal Card from seasons 2 or 3 », the other ones being from Shadespire card pool...
ROUND 1 / While trying to inspire your dwarves, whatever you do (move, push) or feel (safe or not, because of threat ranges), always remember the following things can happen :
A/ Your opponent using PUSH PLOYS, such as :
DISTRACTION : to simply move your fighter from the objective at the very end of the last power phase. Simple but very powerful. Distraction is a common ploy that many Aggro and Control warbands use in their decks... So painful for Chosen Axes players ! That's the reason why taking at least 3 or 4 good push ploys in your deck is always a good idea. However, because it is a Season 1 card, with the recent rotation, unless you play Open or Relic mode, you won't see it anymore. However...
DISTRACTION-LIKE PLOYS ° : … However also note that many warbands have their own faction specific version of it : Steelheart's Champions, Sepulchral Guard, Spiteclaw's Swarm, Mollog's Mob, Ironsoul's Condemnors and of course Chosen Axes themselves do. Don't forget that Thundrik's Profiteers also have a similar way to move one of your fighters from your beloved objectives with Toxic Gases. So when you face these warbands in Championship mode, always be prepared for this kind of cruel moves.
CENTRE OF ATTENTION ° : to use one of your nearby dwarves to move another fighter who's already holding an objective. In this case, be also prepared for some very nasty scything attack - Mighty Swing or very Aggro Sepulchral Guard (i've seen some !) for instance.
MIRROR MOVE ° : to counter one of your previous push or move, pushing back one of your fighters who was already sitting on an objective.
SIDE STEP ° / SPECTRAL WINGS / HIDDEN PATH : to reach you fighters early, before they can inspire and get to 4-5 wounds. By the end of the game, you will lose some of your fighters anyway, so don't despair andn try to protect your most important fighters, for instance using Vol as a screen.
EARTHQUAKE : to move all your fighters from the objectives at the same time. Very few people play Earthquake now but again, who knows ?
B/ Your opponent using OTHER PLOYS, such as :
MISCHIEVOUS SPIRITS : to mess up with your plans if some of your dwarves are already on objectives. When you face Control warbands, always expect that kind of plays... Some Chosen Axes players use this ploy with a certain success, but if you want to play it yourself, always remember it also allows your opponent to move 2 objectives : so if you already have a fighter sitting on an objective, your will lose it.
NO TIME : to prevent you from using your own precious ploys in the last activation of the round. Also quite rare.
TRANSFIXING STARE ° : which can be a very nasty move Round 1 (see below). When you don't have any push-ploys in hand, Transfixing Stare on Fjul or Tefk can be particularly upsetting...
SHIFTING REFLEXION ° : in order to teleport your still weak Tefk behind his own line, shutting him down quickly before he has a chance to become a killing machine at the end of the round. Most of the time, even if he loses a fighter, this kind of trade will be very good for your opponent.
LETHAL WARD ° : to deal 1 damage to your holding objective fighter.
ENCROACHING SHADOWS ° : to deal 1 damage to your fighter holding that fifth objective you put on an edge hexe.
SHATTERING TERRAIN : to increase the price of moving one of your fighters on an objective, by dealing him 1 damage.
C/ Your opponent using SPELLS, such as :
ABASOTH'S UNMAKING ° : to remove one of the objectives your dwarves are sitting on. Note that the (brave & gambler) caster must be within a 4 hexe range, so unless you have push-ploys, if your inspiration fails you won't be able to reach him...
D/ Your opponent using ACTIONS, such as :
ATTACKS : in order to drive your fighters back from the objectives they're holding (with the new Beastgrave rules, this is not possible if you're on Guard...). Always expect ranged warbands like Samson's Farstriders, Stormsire Cursebreakers, Thundrik's Profiteers or even Godsworn and Wild Hunts to try to shoot at you when you're on an objective... In particular, fear ranged attacks with knockback (Enrik Ironhail's for instance), as a single push ploy like the Earth Shakes would'nt be enough to help you move back. Using (quite) late activations to move on objectives will limit the number of attacks they can make...
MOVES : in order to sit on the objectives with their own fighters before you can reach them yourself, making you lose time with early less efficient attacks... Some of the meanest warbands (I look at you, Spiteclaw's Swarm player with Transfixing Stare and Martyred in hand...) may do this from time to time... So be prepared.
E/ Your opponent using SPECIAL ABILITIES, such as :
STALAGSQUIG PLACEMENT : again, in order to make you lose time. Maybe you'll never see this, as many Mollog players just don't want to give you easy glory, but who knows... like I said before, you need to be prepared for anything.
F/ Your opponent using SET-UP TRICKS, such as :
LETHAL HEXES PLACEMENT : with the new Beastgrave rules, you must expect your opponent to do that kind of move, placing a lethal hex in the middle of your set-up formation, making access to the objectives harder. However, if your set up is good, for instance if you use one of the board placements if was suggesting recently, you'll see that it will be quite hard for him to ruin your plans, as you'll always have a way to reach any objective with most of your dwarves without moving through the lethal hexe, whatever its position.
A SHORT CONCLUSION :
Here, as always, my advice will be very simple : In general, use late Round 1 move actions to reach the nearest objectives tokens and save your own push ploys in order to counter your opponent's tricks. If he doesn't do anything to ruin your plans, you can use these ploys to inspire additional fighters in last power phase of the round, or/and save the remaining ones to help you in the coming fights.
But of course...
If you have Regal Vision in hand, things are a bit diffrent, and there are two main cases - whether or not you have easy surge objectives in your hand that reward you for fighting and that you want to score by the end of the Round :
If it's not the case, move early, then use Regal Vision to inspire Fjul or Tefk, and save your push ploys to make sure you can inspire one or two of your other fighters at the end of the first round,
If it's the case, and if you have a good opportunity & feel confident (with Oathsworn in hand for instance), you can try the follwing sequence : push ploy on an objective, then Regal Vision to inspire, then charge (or even better, Treasure Lust if your target stands next to an objective...).
Of course, all these are only simple guidelines that you'll need to adapt to your own playstyle, match-ups and opponents !
Have a nice week and enjoy your first steps in Beastgrave !