If you haven't seen the guide for Scenario 1: The Pit II, check it out!
Standoff is one of the more interesting Scenarios in the packet, balancing an extremely large amount of scoring area (you can score five points in one turn theoretically) with making most of the elements fairly easy to contest.
A note - this Scenario without a central, Line of Sight blocking terrain piece is extremely different than it is when there is a piece of terrain in the middle. Most of my experiences with this Scenario are from games with a forest or building in the center of the board, and I will generally be assuming there is for this article.
A couple things to keep in mind:
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.
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.
Alright, let's get to it. As always, we assume here you win the roll off and get to pick first or sides.
Should I go First or Second?
In general on this Scenario, I'm going to recommend going second because you have an easily scored zone right in front of you, it's fairly easy to contest with a random guy on the other ones, and you also get to choose favorable terrain.
With that being said, here are some reasons to go first.
- If you have ambushing units that you want to get into play top of 2 (or alternatively if your opponent does and you don't want him to be able to). Ambush is very relevant on this scenario since the circular zones start a mere six inches from the table edge, so most ambush units can threaten the majority of the zone.
- If you have a fast list that needs to alpha on your opponent to win the game, such as Vindictus with vengers, any of the Retribution lists with double advance moving Halberdiers, etc.
- If your caster relies on getting upkeep spells out turn 1 or needs to go focus dry for some other reason and you want to keep them safe.
- Your opponent out threats you, but you can mitigate that by controlling the zones with your threat ranges.
- Your opponent has not really built a list capable of controlling the various zones, and so you don't need to worry about losing on Scenario. (Example: a mostly jack or beast list with a unit or two of support models).
Other than Scenario, you should go Second if:
- You have no ways to mitigate terrain and you need to choose the side without problematic terrain pieces.
- Your opponent has few ways to mitigate terrain and you can make their approach difficult.
- You are playing a long-range gunline which can force your opponent to advance cautiously with some of his army by controlling portions of the table.
- You have some way, either defensive feat or spells or terrain, to prevent your opponents alpha.
- And just to re-emphasize, if you want to take a compelling scenario lead turn two and have a chance to score the last points on turn seven.
Game Plan for Going First:
Since you're going first, you get to move up and determine where his models get to go. Lists with extremely fast moving elements can be halfway up the table without too much difficulty.
Turn 1, defensive/support spells out and get up the table. Most lists cannot threaten halfway up the board with a significant amount of models, so it's usually safe to move up as far as you can.
Turn 2 is where you really need to make some choices. First of all, make sure that you have your rectangular zone controlled - this is important. If your opponent lets you score at the same time as them on turn 2, you switch from a slightly disadvantaged scenario game to a fairly advantaged one.
Contest each of the Circular zones. It's pretty safe to have a couple of models toe at the back or to have a solo hiding behind a forest or rough terrain.
At this point, I almost always throw something away to contest their rectangular zone if I can, since that will at least require them to devote some resources to scoring on their point.
Some lists, like Harkevich in Jaws of the Wolf for example, play enough Armor and are fast enough to just run with a pile of heavies and set the line of engagement in the enemy rectangular zone - this can almost guarantee you score on yours and can push the tempo very far in your favor if the opposing player cannot clear their zone.
Again, each game plays out differently, so be aware of what your opponent can and cannot do.
A sample game!
Here we have a good example of a typical turn 1. The Grymkin player is completely outthreatened by the Legion players army. Scytheans with Overrun and Slipstream threat 17 inches, and Kallus' feat can make them threat 3 more.
This doesn't matter so much once the lines of engagement have been set, and turn 1 the Grymkin player sets up to threaten the entirety of both Circular zones.
In order to be relevant and not get completely pushed out of the Scenario, the Legion player has to come up, and then the Grymkin player is able to get a partial alpha, killing the Seraph and screening his important models.
The Legion player responds, but now his entire army is well within charge range of Neighslayers, a Cage Rager, and Hollowmen.
Game Plan for Going Second:
You chose the side, so you should have some sweet terrain to abuse.
Turn 1, set up and make sure you are not getting alpha'd on if you can help it. Losing models early in the game is not great. Shield guards are great for this against guns, walls and rough terrain against a lot of melee armies.
If you're definitely going to get alpha'd, set up so that you have a counter-punch, with some staggered lines behind your front row of sacrificial models. Sometimes, it won't be worth it for your opponent to come in and you can get some breathing room.
Turn 2, if you can contest both the opposing rectangular zone and one of the Circular ones with a single model, that can be quite good. You shouldn't rely on a single model to contest the Circular zones though, since you can spread out quite a bit here and prevent your opponent from clearing them.
Make sure to clear and take your own rectangular zone - it is one of the main reasons to go second after all.
Let's have a look at a sample game.
The first couple turns are pretty simple. Player one runes up, player two runs up.
Turn 2, Player 1 tries to eliminate what threats they can and contest their zones as best they can, and player 2 jams in with some models.
Note the Gorehound contesting two zones at once - things like this are critical to playing this Scenario well.
I recommend going second much of the time on this Scenario. While more evenly balanced than several of the others, the second player typically gets to score a point on turn two fairly easily while denying the opposing player the chance to do so.
This is another Scenario that can easily go long, as most games will revolve around each player alternating scoring on their rectangular zone while trying to clear the circular zones to score.
Thanks for reading! Up next: Spread the Net