Hello dear readers,
It’s about that time . . . the time when everybody is frantically playtesting for the upcoming Darkmoon Faire!
Maybe you’ve been playtesting since the first day they announced the map, or maybe you’ve just started. Either way, I’d like to offer some basic tips on how to prepare, starting with choosing a party.
Tip: Tailor your honor cost to the map. To keep us on our toes, UDE has introduced a brand new scoring system with this map, as I’m sure you all know. The interesting thing about this scoring system is that you only ever gain victory points in multiples of 3 or 4, which means you can try and “plan out” your route to victory a little bit more than with past maps. Let’s see what the different honor costs offer us in terms of their potential “most reasonable” routes to victory (it’s probably not reasonable to obtain 15 honor by scoring VP on ticks 5 and 10 five times and getting zero kills, for example):
15 honor: 3 kills 1 VP score or 4 kills (overshoot 1)
16 honor: 4 kills
17 honor: 2 kills 3 VP scores or 3 kills and 2 VP scores (overshoot 1)
18 honor: 3 kills 2 VP scores OR 4 kills 1 VP score (overshoot 1)
19 honor: 4 kills 1 VP score OR 5 kills (overshoot 1)
20 honor: 5 kills OR 3 kills 3 VP score (overshoot 1)
21 honor: 4 kills 2 VP score (overshoot 1) or 3 kills 3 VP score
22 honor: 5 kills 1 VP score (overshoot 1) or 4 kills 2 VP score
23 honor: 5 kills 1 VP score or 3 kills 4 VP score (overshoot 1)
24 honor: 6 kills or 4 kills 3 VP score (overshoot 1)
I personally think that 17 and 24, for example, are less than ideal, while 15, 18, 19, and 22 are particularly solid. Not that I think this is the end-all be-all, but it’s part of the total equation.
Naturally, the tides of battle are unpredictable, and you may find yourself needing to diverge from your original VP strategy. It’s good to plan ahead though! If you don’t plan on needing that many VPs from your VP spot, perhaps concentrate more on defending the VP spot your opponent scores on than going after yours.
Of course, planning your strategy to score and prevent your opponent from scoring VPs on this map is no easy task:
Tip: Examine the geography on a new map. One thing you’ll notice about this map is that it has relatively few “choke points.” You would be remiss to forget that your figures and their pets can sometimes block physical access or line of sight by occupying a hex, but there are fewer chances to do so. I’ve found this map is more about remembering to keep guys adjacent to the VP hexes to guard them, or planning your ticks so you can re-take VP hexes at the last minute, rather than blocking access to them.
So, once you’ve wrapped your head around the VP mechanics of this map, you’ll need to start figuring out which parties you want to try out on this map.
Tip: Don’t stop experimenting. One of the great things about World of Warcraft Minis is that different pieces work well on different maps. The same parties that performed well at DMF San Francisco won’t necessarily perform as well on this map, and players will be adjusting from the Koln results. Some of them are probably largely unaffected, but it’s important when noting the differences of this map to try and figure out which parties will be helped and which ones hurt by the unique geography. This map is fast and intense; a lot of guys can get right in the action right away. And with all the VP hex grabbing and guarding, stuff is frequently up close and personal.
So, Charlotte is going to be a very unique tournament. We’re still playing with the same ol’ group of blue guys, red guys, and monsters that we’ve grown to love and understand, but they’re fighting under drastically different circumstances.
However, despite everything I’ve said above, I would caution you not to forget what you’ve learned.
Tip: Sometimes playing what you know is the best thing to play. I can tell you about one scenario that I’ve seen play out in any number of games I’ve played competitively: It’s five days/the night before the tournament, and all of a sudden, your friend who is “the stone nuts at Minis” tells you to drop whatever party you’re playing because the metagame is going to be filled with party X and you guys need to play party Y because it crushes party X. So you throw the party you’ve been practicing with since the dawn of time back in your case in exchange for something you’ve never even tried before. And maybe you do well . . . or maybe you don’t even qualify for Sunday because you keep forgetting your Starfire is not that heal Action Bar card that you’re used to.
There is a very specific type of person who can switch party on a dime. Just make sure you figure out if you are one of those people before you decide to do such a thing. Sure, there are parties out there that a lot of people think are sort of janky, but I would much rather be playing against an unpracticed player playing the best party than someone who knows their “janky” party like the back of their hand. Practiced players make their moves more confidently, make fewer errors, and are literally just scarier to play against.
So! That concludes my playtesting primer for DMF Charlotte. I hope you gleaned some useful information from it,