Applying Pressure: Proactivity in the Faux Place

Before getting back into Tabletop gaming I played an immense amount of MOBA games and I still follow eSports avidly. One of the concepts that I became more familiar with in this genre of game is applying pressure. Building up a strong force on one side of the map that must be dealt with, and simultaneously attacking the other side. Therefore putting the opposing team in a lose lose scenario. This concept is one that I would like to start thinking more actively about in Malifaux games. 

Now, obviously pressure in a game like League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm is going to look different than it does in Malifaux, so let’s brainstorm how we can properly apply it on the gaming table. This pressure can come in a few different forms. There’s the more obvious pressure caused by let say, Nekima. Whenever Nekima is in the board she has a very large projection of power/threat range where she could alpha strike something important to you. Without the proper answer to Nekima she could neutralize several of your models, or at the very least impact your decision making and game plan.

Causing pressure with a beater can be very simple, but often a fine line to draw. You want them to be aggressive and making an impact, but at the same time don’t want them to die. I find that usually my larger models are taking out more midrange threats that can’t really compete. This can become a form of AP control if you think about it, by taking out several models but tarpitting or distracting your opponent’s biggest threat you can gain activation control and eventually cause your opponent to use that beater for schemes, depending on the pool.

Scoring or denying VP is probably the other big one for applying pressure. Think about it, your opponent sends a scheme runner or two behind your line and Leave Your Mark is in the pool. At that point you are going to logically assume they’ve taken it and if you want to deny those points you must respond to that threat. Let’s say you send back a big mobile beater of some sort – now they’ve taken your large model out of the fight to respond to something you only think you know will get them VP. So potentially they could be giving up a ~6 soul stone model to distract a bigger threat of yours and maybe that turns the fight in their favor. Now of course you may not need to always send back a huge model for this but hey, the point still stands.

In the arena of denying VP think about how schemey GG2017 is. Causing pressure can be as easy as making one of your opponents scheme runners insignificant. Maybe it’s turf war or extraction and you take models with pushes, that gives you the option of pushing your opponent out of the circle to get VP. Now if they want to guarantee those points maybe they have to bring in a model off their flank who had a different job. Imagine headhunter and you want to counter the heads getting picked up, take models with large engagement ranges to more easily deny it which would then in turn cause a response from your opponent. 

 Learn how to cause your opponent to play reactively. Its much better to play proactively and cause your opponent to play around your game plan than the other way around. When you’re making your game plan think about what your goals are, the strengths and weaknesses of your crew, and do the same for your opponent, as best you can. Make note during their deployment where they may be weaker or slower as well as their main threats. Use that information to force their hand when they really don’t want to. Maybe all of a sudden you see the opportunity to cause serious damage to one of their large models, even if you don’t kill it they’re going to more than likely play more defensively with it for the rest of the game. 
These ideas can get you on top in many games. Counter their beater with a scheme threat just out of reach, counter their scheme runner with area control, perhaps by a sharpshooter like McTavish. Project your power to maybe not their main force, but a decently important model you know you can kill. These things will force their hand and cause them to change their game plan, all the while you’re getting exactly what you want. 

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!

Alan

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