Wednesday, 26 March 2014


So I left my board on top of my jeep as I drove away from G3 last night.  I'm a genius.  Luckily I recovered the board and it's surprisingly undamaged (probably because I was only driving at about 15 mph when it fell off the roof).  It just needs some repairs around the edges that I was going to do anyway as it got chipped against a door frame about a fortnight ago.  I just need to do more repairs.  I was pleasantly surprised at just how durable the board was.

Besides my board though, I got to play against Colin and his Temple; me with my dual-shisai debuff spamming list, against LEJ's Masters list since Colin is a gimp and netdecks!  The scenario was the Envoy, Colin chose Sakura and I chose his Rice Farmer as the VIMs, but we called it towards the end of turn 3 as he lost both kami and Suchiro in a single turn balanced against my single dead Temple Bushi.  I did get to spread a massive amount of blinds, stuns, and poisons all over his key models so Colin was hesitant to bring his fighting models forwards at the risk of them getting Falcon Punched by Kenzo.  I still think the quick 1 Ki "Psychic Venom" spam is worth every penny, and the two shisai did a LOT of heavy lifting in this game (not to knock back Naoko's contribution either, she was a star).

There's a weird stressing point I can see in Temple when I'm playing against them, and it's usually when a lot of different models are taking damage - quite often through the sheer amount of poison I'm throwing out.  I don't tend to stack them all on one target, but spread them across as much of the enemy warband as possible.  Aiko spends all her time trying to shore up the damage, so her Prayer tokens aren't being used to manoeuvre around or do more damage, they're only being used to heal damaged models.  Essentially I start to seize the initiative simply because there's too many debuffs on the table and most Temple lists starts to collapse as the internal synergy starts to get disrupted.

Very happy to have a game where my shisai can see enemy models on turn 1, though it didn't really come into play in this game since it was a corner deployment scenario, so the distance between warbands seems much bigger.  Distinct rise in their performance compared to previous games anyway.  Both shisai were doing things with their activations rather than just generating Ki and moving it around.  No game pencilled in next week just yet, but I'll see what I can do and who else wants to play against the crazy amount of debuff.

Oh yes, Suchiro rather ironically suffered the Way of the Exploding Fist from Kenzo and my massive SL2 damage roll (4 damage, 1x Poison 2 token) to instagib the monk at the end of the turn.  So satisfying.  So far 2-1 with the dual-shisai.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Six Gates, No Pylon

Well Greeny has admitted defeat in the shisai argument, perhaps leaving me as the last man standing as dual shisai proponent.  In all honesty, I do feel they are overcosted, they're both about 1 rice too expensive.  Ayako is probably 1.5 rice too expensive, you can compare her to the Cult's Taka at 8 rice, who can summon Wrath and has a really powerful offensive Ki feat debuff.  Even overcosted however, I do get a lot of use out of them, and I really baulk at the idea other people don't get similar results.  Oh, the things I could get with 2 more rice in the list...

I had two games using my newly revamped shisai/debuff list over the weekend against Jim's Cult of Yurei, and I don't feel I got as much use out of the shisai as I could have done, as we played Ninki (which I won on turn 6, and in which only 1 model died (Taka)) and Botoku (in which I got humped simply because Cult can flood the zone so much faster than I can).

In Ninki, Sakura sat at an objective and prayed for half the game, then rotated the objective back to Friendly, Ayako had to do all the legwork by herself.  On turn 6 I used Naoko to "Slither" forward and then killed Taka, preventing Jim turning an objective back, and so I ended up scoring the final available VP.  Until then though, no models died.  Everyone's defence dice were crazy, and quite frankly, trying to hit either Nezumi is an exercise in frustration.

In Botoku something similar happened, and I pretty much lost on scenario as soon as the game started, but I think I could have been a lot more aggressive with my shisai if I'd planned how to move my models a little better: I managed to block off a good chunk of my own movement avenues by having Kenzo and Naoko too close together so all my small based models couldn't get past them and my shisai couldn't see anything that didn't have Camouflage.  I'm getting really tired of seeing Breath of Yurei in every game too.

So, less than optimal results in my last two games, but the Cult of Yurei are probably the faction I have the hardest time with at the moment - between Breath of Yurei, Camouflage, and Souless, my poor shisai are just Ki batteries for a while, yet I get better results than I do using fighting lists.  Now to pencil in more games against other factions, right after the seemingly endless demo games I'm running.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Artosis Pylon

"When ahead, get further ahead." - Artosis

My blog recently had a rather unusual spike in traffic, which I would normally attribute to an advertising bot, but looking at it people actually come visit from the Bushido forums.  So... hi!  I hope there's actually something useful in here that you guys find worth reading.

The Ito Clan forums seem to be having the revelation that early scenario play is important and some people are trying to gravitate away from straight up face-punching lists.  Face-punching lists have always been the least interesting lists for me to play but I do wonder at how other people have been playing scenarios.  Over here most games tend to be low-scoring (1-0 or 2-0 at most) as everyone tries to hotly contest the scenarios straight away.  When we first started, some people would consider letting their opponent score and try to conserve their efforts for later scoring, but we quickly found many of the scenarios have a snowball effect: once you're in the lead, you just build on that lead, and there's very little your opponent can do about it.  Ryodo is probably the main culprit of this as the scenario points do not reset at any time, but certain 'Idols' variants suffer the same problem.  So people quickly learned to rush into the zones Warmachine/Hordes style, and contest them like there's no tomorrow, anything less and you end up playing from behind.

Here's some simple math for reaching middle objectives: a small base model needs to move 10" and a little bit, medium base models need to move just under 10", and large base models only need to move a tiny fraction over 9.25".  If you have to run to get these distances, figure out if your opponent will arrive at the centre line able to fight or not, as if you had to run and are now exhausted, you're already down 2 dice and getting into a fight will probably not be a good idea.  This most often comes up against forward deploying factions such as Temple or Cult.  If you think you can survive quite adequately, just get your models up there.  There are other methods to help avoid losing the early game but going into every possible option would take more time and text than I'm willing to put in just now, instead I'll talk about the Ito Clan for now as that is my main faction.

As an Ito Clan player who loves his shisai, I usually try figure out what the lynchpin of my opponent's list is for early scoring and hit them with Ayako's "Hypnotic Gaze".  It's won me games simply because the key model would be out of position on turn 2.  Of course, it does fail, but the reward for success shouldn't be underestimated.  However, crafty opponents bring things like Darkness and Yurei's Breath which means I can't target anything on turn 1, in which case I bring all the Temple Bushi I can squeeze into a list - I take them simply because they have movement boosts and I find them to be more flexible than models like the Jade Mamba Guard.  By giving them some Ki (3 Ki to one Bushi, 1 to the other) I can quite comfortably boost my movement high enough to penetrate quite deeply into enemy territory.  Once again, be aware of having run and being exhausted at the same time while still being in the opponent's threat ranges.  There's no point contesting your opponent if they're just going to flat out kill your over-extended models.

A real dynamic duo of the Ito Clan is Kenzo and Naoko.  Both come on medium bases, and have a base move speed of 5, meaning they can walk twice and quite comfortably reach objectives on the centre line.  Kenzo is one of the best all-rounder models in the game, and Naoko, while Impetuous (sadface), brings copious amounts of Blind and a high level of Fear.  Between the two of them, they should be able to either reach an objective first, or get enemy models into their zone of control so that no scenario actions can be taken.  Both are fairly intimidating to enter melee with, one having First Strike and good melee skill, the other one having Fear 5 - even better is that they both have Side Step Defence so can contest more of the scenario zones/objectives.  When Yatsumata arrives, it presents an additional early option with its high move speed, large base, and fearsome combat abilities.

If you want to go down the more face-punching style list with lots of ashigaru and try to get the early scenario lead, then Sakura combined with Satoshi provide some very powerful options.  MattT on the Ito Clan forums tried this type of list, and I've tried it several times, I found that it has a great turn 1, and then starts to fall apart quickly after that.  His results indicate a similiar result though he was playing Reikan (a VIM scenario).  It's worth noting that all my testing was prior to the Special Cards, so I'm willing to give it another ago to see how it works out with those - Satoshi pretty much requires an Elixir of Vigor so that he can use his Order on turn 1 and then still be relevant on turn 2 rather than still on your board edge, miles away from the ashigaru he wants to help out.

This post is already quite lengthy, so I'll end it here for now and bring up more general scenario techniques in the next post (and hopefully a battle report if there's time).

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

More Like Beige Secrets

I'm really quite enjoying my Temple of Ro-kan at the moment, and I've ordered a few more models to help fill in the gaps in my lists.  I really want to try out double Fire Kami so I can just obliterate models like Taka from miles away (dice willing).  However, we'll have to see how that works out, there are still some other things I'm wanting to try out first - such as Riku, Suchiro, and Kenko all in one list.  I saw LEJ's Masters winning list and it's very well rounded, it certainly made me think a lot harder about scenarios and how to get the early scenario points in.

To that end I looked at my Ito Clan force where I sacrificed a model (dropping down to 6 models at 50 rice) to get some special cards.  However, the Special Cards aren't quite the pay out I hoped to get with the Ito Clan: let's use Dark Secrets as an example, it has the power to win games in the right circumstances but it can be simply nullified through a bad dice roll.  When it works, it effectively gives a 4 activation swing - my opponent loses 2, I gain 2.  However, if I had to ditch a model to get it, I've lost 8 activations total in a 6 turn game - my model activates twice a turn for 6 turns, and that's assuming the Dark Secrets card worked and wasn't resisted.  Unless the game is over by turn 2 then I was better off with the extra model.  So it's back to making 7 model lists and seeing if I have any points left over.

I very much enjoy my shisai/debuff list, it is by far the list I like the most.  I've tried out a large variation of Ito Clan lists now, and that is the one that just sticks with me.  I'm tempted to drop Chiyo down to a normal Temple Bushi and take Orochi's Shadow (1 rice version) so I can try to drop a massive poison bomb on a key enemy model early in the game in an effort to kill them without any additional effort on my part, or just drop her down to a Temple Bushi and upgrade Kazuhiko to Hitoshi so I have a good number of MS 3 models.  Hmmm, that may be the next list I try out, on turn 1 I can have just about everyone at move 5 with a tiny bit of channeling, and throw out some minor poisons while I'm at it.  I should really get Hitoshi painted up so that this variation of my shisai/debuff list will be fully painted too.

Shisai/Debuff List v1.2b:

Ito Ayako
Ito Kenzo
Temple Bushi
Temple Bushi