Ah Line Breaker, the Scenario that gets the absolute most hate out of the entire packet for being boring, "dead" and an "auto-win" for gunlines.
If, by the time you have finished reading this post, you want to go out and give this maligned Scenario a try, I have done something right.
I should start this with a disclaimer - if you are not going to be using 8 pieces of centrally placed terrain, Line Breaker really will be a boring, nightmarish, not fun scenario.
If, on the other hand, you use plenty of LOS blocking terrain in the middle of the board as you should be, this can be one of the most dynamic, strange games you will ever play.
Going First or Second:
I will almost always choose to go second on this Scenario. It's actually a far more live Scenario than the forums would have you believe.
Reasons to go first:
- You get to move up the table first.
- You're playing against Haley 3 and want to deny her the opportunity to do anything meaningful until after your second turn.
- You're playing Haley 3 and you need to get Future and Past Haley out as fast as possible so you can actually do things turn 2.
Reasons to go second:
- You get to pick the table edge most protected by terrain
- You get to score first (this one is a big deal).
- You get to counter-deploy to your opponents' deployment (this one is also a big deal).
Game Plan for Going Second:
Yes I'm doing this out of order. Understanding what the second player needs to do is crucial for the first player, plus the second player gets to control the game on this Scenario so writing about it is more fun!
Look at where your opponent deploys, and then skew REALLY hard opposite them, preferably protected by a central forest, building, or other LOS blocking terrain element.
Run at the flag opposite your deployment. You need to cover 20" of space in 2 turns starting from your deployment line or 14" starting from your AD line in order to get to that flag turn 2.
If you have guns, preferably boostable guns, you need them up the field as well. Their job is to get that objective dead turn 2.
It's not a bad idea to leave a cheap solo hanging out in the backfield, all by themselves. This would preferably be something with Stealth, Incorporeal, or some other way of not getting blown up from range very easily. They will have one job - contest the flags on your side once your opponent realizes what you're doing.
You need to score this turn. It doesn't matter if you took an alpha from a warjack or warbeast, kill it with what you have available, run a unit or solo to the flag you've chosen, and do your best to destroy that objective. Generally speaking, if you've deployed correctly and your opponent hasn't read this article, you won't have to clear much off of the flag and will be able to destroy it pretty easily. If you can get your warcaster to within walking distance of the flag for next turn, that's even better.
Put some damage on that objective, even if you don't blow it up, and get ready to kill it next turn.
You should be at 1-0 at this point.
Your opponent has done one of three things now.
1) They've started running their dudes over to contest your flag.
2) They've sat back and shot at you.
3) They've made a beeline for the flags on your half of the table.
And you should respond with:
1) Kill what they've contested with, kill the objective, dominate the flag, going to 4-0.
2) Kill their objective, make sure they can't assassinate you, dominate the flag if possible. If they're sitting back and shooting at you, you've already won the game barring assassination.
3) This is what you want them to do. You've already got a lead, you can contest with your solo(s) that you've left behind for a turn, and if they abandon their second flag, you can get 4 points the following turn to close out the game fairly easily.
I've played games on this Scenario where the second player has won on the top of 3 on Scenario.
Game Plan for Going First:
If you play this Scenario passively, you will lose if your opponent knows how to play this Scenario and they don't give you free opportunities to assassinate their warcaster/warlock.
They're going to laser beam the models around the flag they've chosen to death and then win on Scenario a couple of turns later.
I'll go over what to do about a player that knows their way around this scenario, and if you run into someone who doesn't, follow the advice I've given for player 2, just starting on your second turn.
You need to immediately run the bulk of your army to the side they've skewed to. It doesn't matter at this point whether or not you're set up to kill a ton of their models turn 2 or not, but denying them the scenario play is the most important thing you can do here. Also consider sending a small, self-contained module of models to their opposite flag, it should be relatively free. Good examples of this would be a lesser warlock/warbeast, an elite unite like Daughters of the Flame or Bloodweavers, or a fast unit that can re-engage with the main part of the table quickly like cavalry models.
Alright, they should have done one of two things after you skewed really hard to the side.
1) Backed off and started to go around the terrain to your other flag.
2) Charged ahead full bore.
If they do:
1) This is a good thing for you, but don't let yourself get complacent. You now have to fight a hard attrition game to get through their models that are in your face and you also need to be careful not to let a solo or small unit get over to the less protected flag and start scoring.
Keep contesting the flag they've chosen and send your little module of flanking dudes deep if they've left their flags undefended. You might be able to score on their turn if you're lucky.
Stay fluid at this point, you cannot commit too hard to a part of the table with all of your heavies, units, etc. without still getting trapped on a Scenario game.
2) You've been jammed with their chaff and a good player will have their more powerful pieces sitting right out of your threat ranges, waiting to prey on whatever you send at them. This is even more true if they are playing a control caster like Haley 2, Wurmwood, or Deneghra 1, all of whom can make your counter-attack really poor by using Feat and Spell to keep you at bay.
Use minimal resources to clear off their stuff, but remember, you want to keep them fighting right where they are. You have a small selection of models sneaking off to score on their flags, and if you can keep them occupied in your area without letting them score, you can start to pull ahead significantly on Scenario.
Obviously, every game is going to play out differently depending on what the other person is playing, what you are playing, and how the terrain is set up. Remember, this Scenario can be boring beyond words or it can be one of the most dynamic, interesting Scenarios in the packet. The terrain and player choices will make the difference.
Don't play passively. If you play passively and your opponent does not, you lose. If they play passively and you do not, they lose. If you both play with an engaged pre-game strategy, things get interesting, and that's the best way to play this game.