May 26, 2024, 07:11:09 AM

Author Topic: Tempo for making swarm work?  (Read 9447 times)

Moonglow

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Tempo for making swarm work?
« on: January 26, 2016, 04:33:16 AM »
I've been trying a couple of the white spires books amongst others to try an explore some winning concepts (rather than just battle of attrition). 

I got a version of Westlock angels working really nicely, I guess the main concept was pretty obvious.  The group I was playing with were well impressed with the mana economy and the clever use of enchantment transfusion (I maxed it out).

The one I've been really struggling with, however, is the straywood beastmaster - http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=14540.0

This really bums me out, as its got the best play description of all of them. 

The trouble is I really struggle with the tempo and placement of the main support conjurations.  My efforts to date have maintained the main strategy of rushing to centre, casting Lair and popping out Falcons as fast as possible.  So far, however, a wizard with akiro's hammer or wizards tower has torn apart my falcons and/or lair before I've gotten much pressure on them. 

Rajan's Fury and Etherian lifetree both increase pressure and sustainability of my attack, but it feels hard to time them right - too soon and I'm not getting the falcons onto the enemy mage, too late and everythings dead :/  Again, renewing spring should be the source of healing, but its another mage action to cast it and with a falcon dying almost every round, not getting more out takes the pressure off and leaves me more vulnerable.

Any advice?



Halewijn

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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2016, 05:51:46 AM »
I think this build was very strong in another meta, but right now I believe people tend to play much more aggressively and there are many counters vs flying creatures.

How I see it, one of the greatest strengths of this build was that it was something new and unexpected. Opponents were not prepared for the flying swarm and couldn't handle it. Since this book was a great succes, most people thought of some way how to deal with it.

If you want to make it work, I would suggest giving it a new flavor.
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ringkichard

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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2016, 06:15:30 AM »
Don't let you opponent Wizard play with Akiro's Hammer, it's Warlord Only.
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Boocheck

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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2016, 06:20:18 AM »
So far, however, a wizard with akiro's hammer or wizards tower has torn apart my falcons and/or lair before I've gotten much pressure on them. 

[mwcard=FWJ01]Akiro's Hammer[/mwcard] is Warlord only. //Edit-Typing for too long, ringkichard pointed that out.

To be contributive, Halewijn is right. Straywood Aviary was something new and completly unexpected. I would compare it to a first usage of new technology on battlefield which now still have its power but there was a time for others to develop counter strategies or at least get used to it. Moment of suprise.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 06:55:51 AM by Boocheck »
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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2016, 07:28:45 AM »

So far, however, a wizard with akiro's hammer or wizards tower has torn apart my falcons and/or lair before I've gotten much pressure on them. 

[mwcard=FWJ01]Akiro's Hammer[/mwcard] is Warlord only. //Edit-Typing for too long, ringkichard pointed that out.

To be contributive, Halewijn is right. Straywood Aviary was something new and completly unexpected. I would compare it to a first usage of new technology on battlefield which now still have its power but there was a time for others to develop counter strategies or at least get used to it. Moment of suprise.

To be honest, I've been starting to wonder if the straywood beastmaster is designed to typically play a bit differently than we realize. His totems and his lair show he's clearly meant to swarm, or at least to summon a lot of creatures, but his battle skill means he wants to be up front attacking alongside his animals, but his pet ability seems strangely out of place for a swarm and more fitting for a buddy build. If he's quick casting a lv1 animal and deploying an animal every round and melee attacking every other round, he's only got one action every other round for casting other spells. I suppose he could wait until all or most of his creatures are summoned before doing other things more than once every couple of rounds, but that seems very action-inefficient.

Looking at the nature school, we notice it's very heavy on enchantments. And yet a swarm is unlikely to be enchanted, preferring arena wide effects instead. Animal swarms are much easier to kill than undead swarms or plant swarms since they don't have regenerate or resilient, and correct me if I'm wrong, but before academy, there were no level 1 animals in the nature school which had armor. The first level 1 animal with armor was guard dog which was released in battlegrounds domination, and isn't nature school.

Then there's that legendary cat from Academy, Slavörg. It costs 2 less mana for each animal in your discard pile. And there are a lot of ways to make animal swarms stronger attackers, but the only good way to protect an animal swarm from dying that doesn't waste actions or require them to sit in one spot for too long, is etherian lifetree. Maybe animal swarms aren't meant to be kept alive? Maybe the level 1 animals are meant to get a couple attacks off the enemy Mage and then get replaced by another critter when they die? That could explain why the pet market can be reapplied for so cheap (level of new pet +1) while eternal servant has to pay half the cost of the servant to reanimate it or pick an entirely new one, and tree bond doesn't come back at all. Because if the pet dies you replace it with another one. Of course, I'm not sure where the bigger animals and enchantments should come into play here, since the beastmaster can't reuse enchantments on creatures that die, and bigger animals can't be summoned as easily with the lair. Thoughts?
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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2016, 08:15:17 AM »
Then there's that legendary cat from Academy, Slavörg. It costs 2 less mana for each animal in your discard pile. And there are a lot of ways to make animal swarms stronger attackers, but the only good way to protect an animal swarm from dying that doesn't waste actions or require them to sit in one spot for too long, is etherian lifetree. Maybe animal swarms aren't meant to be kept alive? Maybe the level 1 animals are meant to get a couple attacks off the enemy Mage and then get replaced by another critter when they die? That could explain why the pet market can be reapplied for so cheap (level of new pet +1) while eternal servant has to pay half the cost of the servant to reanimate it or pick an entirely new one, and tree bond doesn't come back at all. Because if the pet dies you replace it with another one. Of course, I'm not sure where the bigger animals and enchantments should come into play here, since the beastmaster can't reuse enchantments on creatures that die, and bigger animals can't be summoned as easily with the lair. Thoughts?

you have an error in your pet /servant assumption, you have to pay the casting cost +lvl1 so ethernal servant is defenitly cheaper. and costs you no action, therefore it is a smaller buff (piercing+1) but also saves spellpoints.

First the meta had change, i'm not sure but aviary swarm at gen con was pre hurl rock, which on avg kills a falcon. but from time to time it still works nice. Also alex did admit he was lucky in some round at a chain lightning etc, in general people were no well prepared for the swarms.

I feel having a lair and see those falcons as a distraction the enemy has to deal with and then you get some bigger creatures out, Slavörg due to the low mana cost is defenitly something.

But one feeling i never lose, the druid is the better nature mage.

Halewijn

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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2016, 08:18:39 AM »
How I see it the beastmaster always has 3 options in terms of action efficiency:

- Lair and fighting along his creatures
- [mwcard=MW1C13]Fellella, Pixie Familiar[/mwcard], and fighting along his creatures
- None of the above and let the creatures fight.

All of these could be combined with a battle forge.

Maybe try the falcon build without the lair? summoning 1-2 birds every round during the opening?


« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 08:21:44 AM by Halewijn »
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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2016, 11:16:33 AM »
Straywood is my main book, love the mage and how he plays. It's all about reading your openings and preparing accordingly. If your opponent gives you time to build up then yeah you use a more conservative build up so long as you're not letting the opponent build towards something stronger. If however they come at you hard and fast then you can use some smaller creatures to distract while you armor up and try to wear them out. You want a good mix of low level creatures such as falcons with some beaters like a bear. Wolves are bridge creatures and can be used to slow enemies down while having enough umph to last some.
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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2016, 11:56:12 AM »
I would highly recommend checking out the 'Beastslinger' by Coshade as an effective way to play the Straywood Beastmaster.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvhx6sPH850

Additionally, since the onset of Academy there are a number of cool ways to use the beastmaster.  One which I've been exploring a little is using [mwcard=MW1J02]Animal Kinship[/mwcard].  If you have 3 of these out and one Darkfenne Asp and one [mwcard=MW1C04]Bitterwood Fox[/mwcard] and one Steelclaw Cub you have Armor +3, Melee +3 and Tough -6 all of which can be replaced with quickcasts to make your mage a tanking machine.

I've been experimenting with running [mwcard=MW1C13]Fellella, Pixie Familiar[/mwcard] first turn for actions and then drop a [mwcard=MW1J10]Lair[/mwcard] Mid-game to start spawning in your bigger creatures like [mwcard=MW1C12]Emerald Tegu[/mwcard], [mwcard=MWSTX1CKC02]Dire Wolf[/mwcard] and either a steelclaw matriach or the classic [mwcard=MW1C34]Steelclaw Grizzly[/mwcard].

Happy hunting!
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Coshade

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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2016, 12:20:41 PM »
Hey man! In general when you are looking at tempo it has to do with the current state of the game. If all they do is mana crystal they are giving up that tempo for a better later game (assuming you play a lair T1). The Straywood BM is so awesome because of the amount of different plays it can deploy. What kind of swarm are you looking for (all flying, diverse, bears, foxes oh my)!

Once you have decided  on a style check out what others have explored in that topic. Generally we have some great insight here! As Puddn has pointed out there is still a lot of strategies to be explored especially to react to the current meta.

After you've built a book feel free to post it on the spellbook builder section, that's probably the best way to dicuss gaining Tempo after we know the general strategy.
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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2016, 11:59:59 AM »
Thanks for all the great replies, interesting thoughts and I do think I was probably trying to make something work against the winds of the prevailing meta.

Coshade - I was trying to implement a particular book/strategy rather than developing one.  I was just struggling to get the balance of creatures/pressure vs strengthening and sustaining them through totems, lifetree,spring etc.

Its probably one of the key tenets of the game really and mostly I think I can see the balance fairly well, but not with an aggro swarm.  I either give the enemy too much time while I pre bufff, or go out in a blaze of glory with a swarm that's too easily burned to the ground.

ringkichard

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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2016, 06:44:15 AM »
Have you tried it with cubs or hounds?
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Moonglow

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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2016, 04:36:58 PM »
Have you tried it with cubs or hounds?

Cubs from academy? what are hounds? or you just generally mean foxes and canines?

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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2016, 10:55:31 AM »
Have you tried it with cubs or hounds?

Cubs from academy? what are hounds? or you just generally mean foxes and canines?

Steelclaw Cubs. Wychwood Hounds. Both from Academy.
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Re: Tempo for making swarm work?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2016, 09:52:00 AM »
Cubs do an insane amount of work, but swarms as a whole I think are gone about in generally the wrong way. My reasoning for this is through playing with swarms quite a bit, and seeing the different strategies my opponents will use to counteract it. I think swarm builds tend to be incredibly aggressive. They send all of their time building a creature presence on the board, that when that is countered, and sometimes, like with Gravkor against falcon punches, that creates the writing on the wall right there. Rather, the way I've started building my swarm books is to use the swarm as more of a building block, and an hourglass. If I am forcing them to deal with my little creatures, it's giving me the time to build a stronger board presence. In this way, when my swarm is ultimately decimated, I have the board presence to continue my game. I've also been playing with a Lair swarm strategy with straywood, in which you get to a point early on where you spam 3 hawks for two rounds. In this way, the opponent thinks once lair plus x drops that you are going for more of a buddy build. Bringing up a swarm quickly forces them to interact with those creatures, and even if it's a short amount of time, it's the time you need as a player to build up board presence that would otherwise be considered gote threats. Something like:
19

Lair -15
Ring of beasts -2

2

11

Mana Flower -5
enchant ring-2

4

14

Hawk from lair -3
hawk hawk -11

10

harm on lair -6
move twice

14

Hawk from lair
hawk hawk

this is just a basic idea of course, but alternating between spending time one board presence and spending time spamming divides your strategy in a way that forces the opponent to deal with one or the other.

The other way I have thought about swarms is to Swarm now, Lair later.

19

Ring of Beasts -2
Mana Flower -5

12
22
Hawk-5
Timberwolf-9
8
18
Hawk-5
timberwolf-9
4
14
Enchant ring-2
Move twice
12
22
Lair-15
Harm on lair-4
3
13

This method shifts the momentum of Lair from something you depend on because you spent all of the early moments investing in it to a strong support spawnpoint that has time to build up because of the previous creature presence. This, of course means that the build is not hyper aggressive at all, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

These are just a few of my thoughts on the matter, and I would be happy to hear what you all have to think about this whole thing.




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