Recon II is one of the most dynamic scenarios in the packet, and is the one that you least want to see Warjack spam across the table from you on.
An important note, since it hasn't really come up in any of the other Scenarios, but a Warcaster or Warlock can control multiple Scenario elements at once, and that comes into play an awful lot on this Scenario since the flag at the edge of each zone is a perfect place to put your Warcaster or Warlock and score potentially two points a turn.
This is useful information, as planning your game around the idea that your opponent will be putting their caster in that location can lead to some solid assassination runs in the mid-game.
This is one of the few Scenarios that Ambushing models can play a less significant role, since none of the Scenario elements are easily charged. They can still swing games late though if they come and contest unexpectedly.
Rectangular zones can be score by Warjacks, Warbeasts, and Battle Engines.
Circular zones can be scored by warrior model units that have the entire unit touching it.
Objectives are models that can be attacked and killed starting on player 2s second turn. They have 15 boxes, ARM 18, DEF 5, and are considered friendly faction models.
Flags can be scored by solos.
Warcasters and Warlocks can score any Scenario element.
Player 1 gets seven inches of deployment, player 2 gets ten. Some themes add to this.
And a couple more pieces of Vocabulary:
Contest - to have a model or models in the zone so that your opponent does not score it.
Ambush - an ability some models have that lets them deploy three inches from any table edge (except your opponents deployment zone) starting on your second turn.
Alpha/Alpha'd - shorthand for "alpha strike", or a decisive first blow that one player makes to begin the part of the game where models actually attack each other.
If you haven't seen them yet, my guides for Scenario 1, Scenario 2, Scenario 3, Scenario 4, and Scenario 5 can be found at their respective links, and if you haven't read my article on Deployment, Terrain, and Reading the Game I would stop reading here and go read it before coming back.
As always, this article supposes that you get to choose to go first or second.
Should I go First or Second?
This Scenario, more than any other, really depends on what you and your opponent are playing for this choice.
I think that this Scenario can be the most nuanced of the six, and it's very difficult to write about outside of specifics.
You should go first if:
- You can easily control your own flag while preventing your opponent from contesting it.
- You have to get all of your upkeeps out at the beginning of the game and will be in peril if you go second.
- You have a ton of models that are going to flood the scenario and want to control where your opponent's models go.
- Your opponent is playing an insanely slow list that you can push out of scenario.
- You are playing an insanely slow list and need to get up the table.
- Your opponent has very few ways to control the scenario elements.
You should go second if:
- You can easily blunt an alpha strike with spells, feat, or terrain.
- You have no way to mitigate terrain or your opponent has no way to mitigate terrain, and you want to choose sides according to the terrain.
- There is incredible defensive or offensive terrain that you want to abuse.
- Your list outthreats your opponents army and can reverse the line of engagement.
- You like to score points on your second turn.
Game Plan for Going First:
My general game plan for first is to get a solo on your flag and make it impossible for your opponent to contest it without letting you kill important things.
Turn 1, run everything up as usual and get your spells out. Make sure you have a solo within walk or run range on the flag, depending on the type of solo. If the model has a gun, I really like to get them up to within walking range so that I have options to move and shoot turn 2.
Turn 2, if you can throw away a model or models to contest your opponents flag, I will generally do so if they have the potential to score on it. If they do not, it's much better to play a cagey game and force them to come to you with their army. Remember, killing a controlling model is often as good as contesting.
In my experience, this game usually goes to turn limit or scenario, so get up on points early if you can and try and keep that lead.
In this game, the first player did a number of things right, but also made a few mistakes.
Check out in turn 1 how there are basically no models that can meaningfully control that flag by walking to it, and in fact there is only one solo in the list!
That being said, by the second turn (thanks to some ambushing guys), the line of engagement is set so far back that the first player can start moving their Warlock over to the flag and nothing will be able to contest it without getting blown off the table. This game ended three turns later with player one taking it on Scenario.
Game Plan for Going Second:
Going second on this Scenario requires a lot more finesse. The line of engagement is going to get set on your half of the table, and this is a Scenario where your opponent can rapidly accumulate points just by leaving an unimportant model on their flag.
Turn 1, try not to let your opponent overrun you, but it can be very useful to bait out a heavy or unit charge with something that doesn't really matter.
For example, if Mulg is the only thing in my opponents list that can reliably one round my gargantuan, I may put a heavy in his charge range so that I can clear him off the table. If Mulg comes in, you get to kill him. If he doesn't, then you can charge him with that heavy unless your opponent backs up, giving you Scenario advantage.
Also, forcing your opponent to commit on their second turn can give you a scenario and tempo advantage if you are able to clear your flag, kill a bunch of things with your counterpunch, and contest theirs.
More than any other Scenario, I would say that Recon II requires the most practice to know what the correct thing to do turn 2 is. Generally, score your flag, clear a zone (if you can) and contest your opponents flag with something unimportant. If you can do those things without overextending, the game is likely to fall into your hands.
This is a good example of player 1 doing everything right on the first couple of turns as well - they set the line of engagement seriously far forward and start scoring points ASAP.
The second player has given the pathfinderless Retribution army some really ugly terrain to navigate, and after setting up to receive a pretty brutal alpha (the Death Knell only died to a 6,6,4 and 6,6,6 damage roll pair of charges) was in a pretty good position to out attrition the Retribution army, as well as put a surprise 70% assassination run into Kaelyssa.
This game just goes to show that reacting to your opponent and the terrain on this scenario will produce a vastly different game each time you play it.
While it is difficult to call this scenario, I think going first can often give an ever so slight edge. The inaccessibility of the flags means that you can often cordon your flag off by pressing the line of engagement really far forward, and keep the Scenario equal if not in your favor.
Hopefully these have been a helpful series, they've certainly been interesting to write and have made me reexamine how I play the game. Next up, something on good spacing for contesting and controlling scenario elements, followed by a short piece on units and their uses, as well as the usual flood of battle reports and other random stuff.
Thanks for reading!