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Descent: The Road to Legend» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Attacking the "softies" - What softies? rss

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Slyvanian Frog
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I love talking strategy, and I'm conceptually up against a bit of a wall here. I admittedly have not sat down and pondered heavily on this - I'm just throwing out some basic thoughts.

My opponent (the heroes) has Corbin, One Fist, Sir Valadir, and Tahlia. I am the Sorcerer King, and I have Snipers. We are in the Copper Campaign stage, no monster upgrades yet.

I have previously posted about how the Tahlia/Leadership/Ranged Weapon combo seems a bit much.

One of the common responses I see around here is to "target the softies, avoid Tahlia."

My response to this now is, "What softies?"

My opponent was smart enough to buy armor. With the inherent two armor on each of these characters except Sir Valadir (who has the 16 hitpoints of a tank), each of these characters has at least two more armor points through cards.

Now an ordinary skeleton, supposedly one of my deadliest characters, maxes out at five damage on the blue and green die (six if you count pierce taking away one point of armor).

I am trying to figure out who the "softy" is here to target.

Corbin, who has four armor, plus effectively an additional armor point as he gets to ignore a wound?

One Fist, who has four armor points, and thus takes at most two damage from the best possible roll the skeleton can make (a roll that just is not going to happen that often)?

Or Sir Valadir, who has three armor points, but 16 hit points, meaning that at least six maximum effective attacks would be necessary to kill him.

The characters are killing even master monsters with each individual attack, so assume that I'm basically getting about one shot per monster before it is dead (if even that).
 
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Andre Wichmann
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Hi,

I hear you! I face a similar situation, and it can be very frustrating to fire volley after volley of missiles from my skellies without making a dent in any of my heroes...

Everyone says "upgrade your eldritch to silver!", but for that you have to kill some heroes first to get the necessary CTs. What can help is to spawn a beastman war party behind the skeletons; the command from the master helps to get through. Apart from that, I have to rely on other means than my skeletons: Dark Charm, Curse of the Monkey Gods, Ferrox...that's not a lot of options though. Traps are of no use most of the time, because they don't kill a hero, only wound him.

I don't understand why your skeletons get only one shot before being killed though. With snipers, their range is incredible, plus they have good speed (5). Depending on the dungeon, I can fire 2-3 shots per skeleton usually before the heroes can kill them - remember that they can still move after shooting, and (again thanks to sniper) can hide behind other monsters and still shoot.

-Kylearan
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Slyvanian Frog
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Kylearan wrote:
Hi,

I hear you! I face a similar situation, and it can be very frustrating to fire volley after volley of missiles from my skellies without making a dent in any of my heroes...

Everyone says "upgrade your eldritch to silver!", but for that you have to kill some heroes first to get the necessary CTs. What can help is to spawn a beastman war party behind the skeletons; the command from the master helps to get through. Apart from that, I have to rely on other means than my skeletons: Dark Charm, Curse of the Monkey Gods, Ferrox...that's not a lot of options though. Traps are of no use most of the time, because they don't kill a hero, only wound him.

I don't understand why your skeletons get only one shot before being killed though. With snipers, their range is incredible, plus they have good speed (5). Depending on the dungeon, I can fire 2-3 shots per skeleton usually before the heroes can kill them - remember that they can still move after shooting, and (again thanks to sniper) can hide behind other monsters and still shoot.

-Kylearan


I am actually basically fleeing with them. But the reason I mentioned they get one shot before dying (admittedly a bit of an exaggeration) is because the "blocking monsters" only take one hit as well. Nothing that I have really stands up to the heroes enough to prevent them from getting into the backfield and delivering carnage.

Note as well that except in narrow corridors (which are pretty quickly cleared out) and monsters with grapple, monsters in Descent don't really seem capable of "blocking." They don't have zones of control that stop heroes from just moving past them, and they also die in a hit if they do try to stand in the way. Basically, rather than serving as true "blockers," I'd say my melee monsters have just served more as light snacks that temporarily divert a hero before killing the skellies.

Remember (I'm trying not to belabor this from the other thread I wrote, but it does come into play here), that with Leadership, Corbin can, for example, take two move actions and also put a guard action on himself or Tahlia.

Tahlia, with her guard action, can move twice and then move and attack again during the monsters turn.

But primarily, I just meant that if a skeleton is attacked, it dies in one hit. Yes they move five, but with a fatigue the heroes can pretty easily catch them and kill them (also remembering that the heroes have ranged weapons).

Right now I'm basically playing a game of ring around the citadel, running away as fast as I can from the heroes (and splitting up my forces, to try to get the heroes to have to split up themselves). Since the level boss is a master sorcerer (and thus not made for melee), I figure the best strategy here is to play a delaying action and cycle as many cards as I can while forcing the heroes to stay on this level. I certainly do not have the ability to block them from obtaining any items, treasures, glyphs, etc. if they want to obtain it and concentrate their forces.

So basically, I'm the George Washington/Fabian of Descent - harrying tactics and avoiding a pitched battle.
 
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Andre Wichmann
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Hi,

Indygnome wrote:
Drop them in pits and just about any other trap you have to buy you time.

This is something a lot of people say, but I've never quite seen how this helps much. Traps are useful for killing off characters when they're wounded from attacks, or to wound them if you know you can attack (and kill) them next turn. I won't play a trap causing 4 wounds if I know the character can simply down a potion next turn, losing only 50 gold in the process.

If all characters are tanks, the only thing pits and other traps do is slow them down, but only marginally - by the movement points you need to get out of the pit, plus another one maybe to drink a potion, that's all.

Quote:
concentrate on just 1 character at a time and hit him/her with every single attack you have and dont let up.

I don't want to crunch the numbers, but my guesstimate would be that if you have 8-10 skeletons, all they will do to a tank is about 2-3 wounds overall. Again, this is worth only 50 gold for a potion and gives you 0 conquest tokens.

Quote:
If your guys on one level are little more than scenery then turn them into the keystone cops and run around like headless chickens so they last longer and let you pick up more tokens ready for a bigger assault next level.

Smart heroes will then simply ignore them and move on, knowing they won't be able to cause any harm. And my heroes are smart, and from what I've read, SlyFrog's are too...

-Kylearan
 
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Marc Mistiaen
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I basically agree with Mr. Skeletor and Indygnome.
I think part of the problem might be that you feel too tied to your skeletons. I know you're playing the Sorcerer King and you have upgraded them somewhat, but at low level they are not simply going to be terrific monsters.
I don't know either if you've been playing basic Descent before Road to Legend, but I would consider using such an experience. In particular, skeletons are not the monsters who're gonna put a hurt on the heroes. You have other monsters to do that. Since all of your monsters are copper level still, I wouldn't trust the skeletons to do the job but rather beastmen or sorcerers, to name commons monsters.
Also, I always have much success with traps as well. I always try and play Trapmaster and spawn master kobolds, but of course that may not work so well in the smaller levels of Road to Legend. That being said, I definitely trust in traps to hurt the tanks, because they ignore armour, which is key. I soften the heroes with the monsters who can (as mentioned earlier) and then drop several traps on them. That doesn't work every time of course, but remember they can only drink one potion per turn.
 
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Slyvanian Frog
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Good advice, including some stuff I have been doing intuitively.

In the current dungeon, for example, I previously played the power card that increases trap card damage and makes it one threat cheaper to use.

I set up a combo on One Fist where I played the trap card that permits you to have him attack himself, followed up by an immediate attack by a master skeleton (he was already slightly wounded). It was based on a moment of opportunity, and had I seen it earlier, I wish that I would have played the other trap card I had that would have dropped him into a pit, but missed adding that on.

Unfortunately, that extra trap probably would have been the difference maker - having him attack himself brought him to 11 out of 12 hitpoints gone, but unfortunately the master skeleton attack did not punch through and he was able to get back to town and heal everything up over a couple of turns (well, almost everything, he now has 11 out of 12 hitpoints).

I actually had beastmen on the map, but they also die quite quickly. The problem is that the heroes can generally set the terms of engagement, due to their superior options for movement/combat. I have been doing my best to offset that by making them pay the price for it (e.g. if they set guard orders too often, simply fleeing and cycling more cards in the process).

Right now, for example, I've got a couple of blood apes, a couple of beastmen, a regular and a master dark priest and a level boss sorcerer out blocking the path to a copper treasure chest. I will be interested in seeing what results.
 
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Andre Wichmann
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Hi,

Indygnome wrote:
NP, if it doesn't work in your game then fine. Just trying to suggest alternate ideas that might provide a little extra choice for an Overlord who is struggling to damage the Heroes.

And I appreciate that, thanks - rereading my post, I realized it sounds harsh and dismissive, which wasn't my intention. Sorry for that.

-Kylearan
 
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I agree with Skeletor, just grind them down. On the plus side, those blood apes should be able to stall them for a little bit -- they have a healthy number of hitpoints. Then you can just shoot at them while they are engaged in melee with some angry apes.

By the way, I have reached the same problem as you, but our campaign just moved into gold level. My monsters are -- for the most part -- nothing but a formality.
 
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Jeff Long
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I have a question for you, Mr. Frog:

How exactly do your Heroes have so much armor?

They do not have the overpowered goon that is Nanok - so as far as I can tell, their options in armor should be limited. There are only 2 suits of chain mail in the shop - even assuming they got lucky and pulled the Platemail very early, there should still be one character who is stuck with the mage coat or leather armor or some such. This is one of the primary weaknesses of taking an 'all beefy-character team' - there simply isn't enough good armor to go around.

Secondly, through their character choices, it seems to me the Heroes have put you in a situation where you are best served by NOT using the 'traditional' strengths of your Avatar. Silver skeletons combine excellent mobility and range with medium damage. This makes them ideal for repeatedly killing the group's weakest member, but not very useful against tough characters. When ALL characters are tough, they will not do you much good. In other words, do NOT get Silver Eldritch as your first monster upgrade. I would highly recommend getting Silver Beasts instead. Then send Alric to Tamalir and go for the win. By picking an all-melee team (although I could say more for certain if I knew their skills), they will not be able to beat his soaring Silver Razorwings. Meanwhile, Silver hellhounds and nagas in the dungeons should help stop the bleeding a little bit (particularly as nagas are the hardest-hitting creatures in the game).

That would be my advice in any case.
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Bill Allen
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The_Immortal wrote:
They do not have the overpowered goon that is Nanok - so as far as I can tell, their options in armor should be limited. There are only 2 suits of chain mail in the shop - even assuming they got lucky and pulled the Platemail very early, there should still be one character who is stuck with the mage coat or leather armor or some such. This is one of the primary weaknesses of taking an 'all beefy-character team' - there simply isn't enough good armor to go around.


I'll add that if they are all melee adventurers, they are going to find themselves up against treasure decks diluted with magic and ranged weapons, armour and others ...

Also, I seem to recall something about a limit on the number of powe ride upgrades of each type which will limit them.

As such, they will find it harder to 'ramp up'.
 
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Slyvanian Frog
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The_Immortal wrote:
I have a question for you, Mr. Frog:

How exactly do your Heroes have so much armor?


I don't know. It does not seem that hard to get armor at even the early stages of the game.

First, each of them starts with 2 "natural" armor except for Sir Valadir, who only has 1.

Then, between them, they have purchased or found the following (this is all armor they have in total across all 4 characters):

2 x Chain Mail (+2 armor for each)
2 x Leather Armor (+1 armor for each)
2 x Iron Shield (exhaust for a wound cancellation)
1 x Ring of Protection (+1 armor)
Wizard's Robe (swapped out occasionally with a leather armor, dependent on circumstances)

So, right there, with just the chain mail you have 2 of the "2 base armor" characters at 4 armor. The leather armor plus shield brings Corbin to 3 armor "+" (I add the "+" because the ability to exhaust the shield plus Corbin's ability to subtract a wound from any hits is pretty much like having 4+ armor, only better, because piercing does nothing against the wound subtraction ability). The other leather armor (or Wizard's Robe) plus Ring of Protection brings Sir Valadir to 3 armor, as I mentioned.

Most of this stuff is pretty easily available in the "general items" deck, no? It also seems pretty cheap, when you consider that one gold pile from a dungeon alone is 400 coin.
 
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Corbon Loughnan
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Mapboard them to death.

Take the Lieutenants that have flyers and seige Tamalir.

When the heroes attack the Lieutenants using the flyers (Soaring) as blockers and don't ever expose the Lieutenant to an attack. As long as you have two flyers blocking access you are 100% safe from Melee attacks. Once you have a 3rd (reinforced) then you can cycle one off the front line to allow shooters to shoot through the gap then close the gap with the reserve. Eventually the heroes have to flee or die. Remember that you continually receive threat and can reinforce more monsters and spend threat on dice boosts. If the heroes try to wait you out hit them with shooters rolling 5 gold dice after you have accumulated 30+ threat. They'll probably have realised what trouble they are in before then anyway...

They'll agitate fixing (the admittedly slightly broken) Soaring rules, but you should refuse on the grounds that with an imbalanced party they have no experience of whether the rules as written are actually as imbalanced as they seem.

They chose a path that is imbalanced. It seems now that it is imbalanced in their favour and they are enjoying it. They are taking the good, make sure they take the bad as well... ;-)

The beauty of this is that you don't need any Silver upgrades or Treachery or anything. In fact the starting Lieutenant can do this on his own!

Counters for the heroes (aside form having ranged and magic attacks) are Telekinesis and Acrobat. If the Heroes do not have these skills and do not have any ranged or magic attacks then this is a no risk guaranteed win to the OL.

Next time they will have counters, probably ranged or magic characters.

Even then its a seriously viable strategy for an OL who is struggling in the Dungeons against a 'heavy' party.
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Slyvanian Frog
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corbon wrote:
Counters for the heroes (aside form having ranged and magic attacks) are Telekinesis and Acrobat. If the Heroes do not have these skills and do not have any ranged or magic attacks then this is a no risk guaranteed win to the OL.

Next time they will have counters, probably ranged or magic characters.

Even then its a seriously viable strategy for an OL who is struggling in the Dungeons against a 'heavy' party.


May I confess that I am not fully understanding the no "ranged or magical attacks" thing?

I'm not missing a rule or anything that says these characters cannot use ranged weapons am I?

Because they have a Great Bow, a Crossbow, a Walking Stick, a Mage Staff, and the by now many times mentioned Shillelagh that they have been using to hit things at range. At this stage, the one power die difference between a ranged (or magic) attack and the melee attack (for all but Tahlia, who admittedly does not have a power die in anything but melee) does not really seem to make a big difference.

Sure, they don't get tons of black dice with them, but they still can attack with them, no?

EDIT: So I'm clear, I understand Mr. Skeletor's point that down the road, these guys are going to be weak because they do not have a true magic/ranged character and therefore will be weak using those weapons. But I want to make sure people are talking about that - the post I quoted made it sound like these characters literally can not do anything other than melee attacks.
 
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Jeff Long
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First, as to armor:
That's about what I thought. Yes, that's all just shop equipment, so presumably they started with it. It's just that in my books, 3 armor is not 'tough' at all, and 4 is not so bad. It's when armor starts to get above 4 that it is a problem. I ran some calculations once and basically for every point of armor above 4, the character doubles in toughness. This makes sense, actually, seeing how most 'tank' characters are 16 HP with 4 armor, whereas the two dwarves (Corbin and Brother Glyr) are 8 HP with 5 armor. 3 armor isn't a problem, because even copper skeletons easily average 3-pierce-1. As long as you're plinking away and doing damage, even if it's only 1 at a time, you're fine. It's when you can no longer hurt them at all that things get tough.

Second, as to ranged weapons:
Yes, the characters CAN use ranged weapons. But Soaring monsters require +4 range to hit them in lieutenant battles and Reach weapons like shillelagh are of no help. Without range-boosting skills, even characters with 3 black dice struggle to hurt soaring monsters with copper or shop ranged weapons (this is in part why I'd need to see the Heroes' skills to say more). With no skills AND no dice, it's completely hopeless. I'm pretty sure the reason Soar EXISTS in the game is to prevent the Heroes from taking an all-super-melee-tank party.
 
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Jeff Kahan
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Pit trap Tahlia when she moves during a guard action
 
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Slyvanian Frog
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Oboewan wrote:
Pit trap Tahlia when she moves during a guard action


I'd need to see the card to verify, but I'm pretty sure that I have thought about doing it, but noticed the card suggests you can only use it during the heroes' turn, leading me to believe you can not use it on a guard action that takes place during the Overlord's turn.
 
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Jeff Long
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Nope, only condition for Spiked Pit is that the Hero has just moved into an empty space. This can be during their turn, Tahlia's guard, or an Ogre hitting them with Knockback on your turn - in all cases, they just moved into an empty space which is all you need.
 
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Slyvanian Frog
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The_Immortal wrote:
Nope, only condition for Spiked Pit is that the Hero has just moved into an empty space. This can be during their turn, Tahlia's guard, or an Ogre hitting them with Knockback on your turn - in all cases, they just moved into an empty space which is all you need.


Right as rain. Not sure how I created that faulty memory - it will teach me to post without the cards in front of me I guess.
 
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Andre Wichmann
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Hi,

The_Immortal wrote:
Nope, only condition for Spiked Pit is that the Hero has just moved into an empty space. This can be during their turn, Tahlia's guard, or an Ogre hitting them with Knockback on your turn

Oooh, using it after a knockback attack sounds great and should score a lot of style points! Thanks for the idea, I'll just *have* to try that.

-Kylearan
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Shane Hubenig
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I really do not see your position as all the bad. I have been playing overlord in campaigns for some time. I love the game, we are playing every week.

I am not having the problem you are with such tough heros, but my experience as overlord is telling me this.

1) Don;t throw cards/monsters away just bouncing them off these overly armored heros. Play a more patient game in the dungeon, load up on threat, and "beat up" on one hero with trap after trap after trap, and jump that hero with all the monsters you can to get that killing blow. I know you will tell me this that is easier said then done with these heros burning fatigue and quickly clearing out the monsters, but I am telling you you can do it. Play coy, let the heros run throuhg two dungeons with little trouble, complain about your lack of decent cards, throuhg out a cheap spawn once per level to make it look like you are trying.. then hit them hard when you have a lot of threat saved up with traps, a good spawn, and a rage/charge/aim on a killer beast to finish off a hero. I find if the going gets easy for heroes, they often start to get sloppy.

2) Are you strictly enforcing the heroes declaring there action at the start of turns? Perhaps you are already doing this. But in the long game campaign ,those little effiences the heroes can build up by resting after a good attack, or letting them change there moves or orders, WILL make a big difference in the mega game. You don;t have to be a jerk, you just have to enforce the rules. I have actully had players that played under more "relaxed" overlords tell me they they enjoyed my games more cause I WAS strict with the hereos and there orders/actions, they found it a better chalange. You MAKE those heroes spend the move to hand off a potion or iteam. You MAKE those heroes drop an iteam if they are equipting an iteam after getting a new one from a chest and already have 2 items in there pack

3) I agree about using lt's to force the issue at the capital. You make a Tamalir raze a real threat. the party must waste weeks going to root you out, this can buy you enough time for that little bit of threat to build up to get a few upgrades. Yes I know this is tough if you are not killing heroes to begin with. But even if you loose a Lt, you can waste there time and likely get a kill or two.

4) Be patient, play for the long game. As I said above. Heroes doing well tend to get sloppy. And the better they are doing, the more sloppy they will get. Also some dungeons are better then others for you, depending on what order they are hit in. A time wasting dungeon as a first draw, could be your chance to save up threat a lot, if the heros are doing well they are more likey to push to the third level with you having a mitt of cards and a stack of threat. Do a massive dansce of the monkey god on level three and send the party packing for 12-15 points.

All that being said, I truely feel that too much focus is made of conquest points. Yes theya re important, yes they are nessary. But IME either side can have up to 2/3 the points of the other and still have a decent go of things.

Also with the type of party set up you are facing, monsters are going to do the job for you less often then special effects/ traps will. Try buying some threat and going about hitting the party in different ways. use purple threat to force some cursed iteams on them, or load a deck up with crushing blows, or throw urgency in a deck and score 4 points for clearing a deck.


I just had a game where with urgency in my deck and a lucky early evil genius, I cycled my deck TWICE in one dungeon. Like I said, you have to pick your times, I drew "reflections" as one of my dungeons, and so knew with a starting time waster like that I could play that type of game. If the heroes were really thinking deep, they should have bailed ont hat dungeon after seeing urgency come up. Instead they went the distance to the third level and payed big.
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