TNT Practice Analysis & List-Building Insight
Back once again with a couple more games with Abyssal Dwarves under my belt, and I wanted to talk a little and analyze a couple TNT practice game. I also wanted to put out my opinion on list-building. It's a bit long, so strap in!
With the recent additions to my army, I was pretty excited to actually use them on the table. At the same time, a couple clubmates and I wanted to try out some lists for TNT. I decided to use this as an opportunity to use those new Abyssal Dwarf units I painted up. Here's the list I chose to bring:
Instant issue I had with the list = too many "foot-sloggers." What I mean is more than half of this army is Speed 4 or Speed 5 (with half of it not being able to move at the double). This was in instant red flag in my mind, as my low-speed would easily be abused by faster and more maneuverable armies.
Another issue is, with all of the actual units, there was no room to properly include Ba'su'su without losing an inspiring source for the faster units. While Brakki is there and sort-of fulfills the same role, Ba'su'su is just significantly better (in my opinion) and generally has the option to go and do his own thing.
Two Games & How They Went
The first game was against Abyssals with all the nasty tools that they have to offer (Ba'su'su, Well of Souls, Archfiend, Efreet with Piercing, Chroneas, etc.) in the Control scenario. With the only ranged threats being pretty short-ranged, my foot-sloggers weren't immediately shot off the board! It also meant that I really only had to worry about the fliers getting behind me. My substantial amount of units and unit strength also meant that I had a much easier time controlling table segments.
In the end, the Abyssal Dwarves managed to table the Abyssals by turn 6. Although it sounds like a pretty decisive win, I didn't learn as much as I wanted to. In this game, as long as I didn't give up flank/rear charges (which I accidentally did once... whoops), I was pretty much in the clear, as none of his monsters/units could really one-shot my units. This allows my army to punch back, and with everything practically having CS1+ (with Bane-Chant support) and Vicious, things died on the counter-charge.
The only thing I really learned is that the Dragonfire teams can easily become useless if they aren't deployed well. I think in both games they didn't shoot at anything, but I'd blame that more on my positioning mistakes as well as my opponents' ability to avoid them with ease.
The second game was against Elves in the Invade scenario, and dear lord were the weaknesses of the list exposed. I went up against a fairly balanced Elves list that leaned more towards the shooting side (even allied in some good ol' Hobbits for a couple more shooting options). It was an uphill battle from Turn 1, and there were no combats until the bottom of Turn 5.
Luckily, I had enough units survive to get to the other side that allowed the Abyssal Dwarves to win the scenario 6-4 (I believe), but horribly lose attrition. I had absolutely no answers for the amount of shooting my opponent had once Brakki was shot to death top of Turn 2. His substantial speed over me also kept my faster units at bay, so I either had to force the initiative or grab cover wherever I could (I chose the latter, as Unit Strength was very important in this scenario).
This was the game that I REALLY felt I needed to drop some of the slower options and replace them with more mobile units. I really like the Abyssal Dwarf infantry, as a little bit of CS and vicious makes them dish out a lot of damage. However, the golems were the MVPs in my game, as any damage he could possibly put on them were just healed off anyways. The downside of Golems, though, is that I feel you need to build a list around them, which I'm not too fond of.
What else did I learn? Ba'su'su needs to be in my lists 100% of the time. He is way too good not to include and fulfills a lot of roles that Abyssal Dwarves would, otherwise, have trouble with.
So, What Does All of This Mean?
These practice games with Obsidian Golems really got me thinking about list-building and how you, sometimes, can't effectively put "cool" units into your list if you also want it to be effective. While a tough, foot-sloggin' army looks good on the table with how many actual units it includes, it absolutely does NOT respond to my area's meta very well. For example, the Obsidian Golems worked really well against the list with close-range shooting, but didn't do much of anything besides live against the Elves (which allowed him to focus on the other parts of my army). Not only do I think I could've saved some attrition points with different (and faster) unit options, I'm also nervous to test them against a nasty Goblins list filled with Alchemist's Curse and Catapults!
This concept definitely applies to other armies I play as well. For example, in Ratkin, I'm one of the few crazy people who like Scurriers. I could NEVER use them in our area, though, as they're free attrition points for my more shooty opponents.
The units in Abyssal Dwarves that stand out to me that would be most effective in my area are 1) Units that can take damage and initial charges and survive, and 2) Tough, mobile individuals. Luckily, the army supports both of those and actually gives you more than one option per choice (Dwarf infantry vs Golems, Halfbreed Champions vs Ba'su'su). If I am to do well, I think I need to not overcommit on, for example, units that can take damage and survive. I need to find a certain balance that I'm content with, which I'm hoping happens in due time with more practice. I'm also jealous of the people whose lists are not only extremely effective but also consist of the units they love to play with!
So with that, welcome back into the army, Ba'su'su! Your stay is most welcomed! That's also all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed the read, and I'll talk to you very soon!
Until then.. Let's Go To War!