September 26, 2017, 07:40:35 AM

Author Topic: A Pack of Canines - Straywood Beastmaster  (Read 642 times)

Borg

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A Pack of Canines - Straywood Beastmaster
« on: April 18, 2017, 01:59:16 PM »
A while ago, grga provided us with an excellent spellbookbuilder which can be found here www.spellbookbuilder.com but posting spellbooks in forum code was still a tedious, time consuming chore.
Now a "Forum export" function has been added which makes posting spellbooks on the forum a piece of cake again.

No time to waste then. Let's post another spellbook.
The reason I like this book so much is because it contains so many useful, quality spells which complement each other so well and at the same time come so nicely together in the main strategy of this book.

Since it's been a while since I last posted a book - for reasons mentioned above - I kind of feel like explaining my spell choices. So, bear with me if you will :)


At the core, this book is built around the Wychwood Hound.
A 5 mana creature with a respectable amount of life : 7.
2 dice and no armor but with the ability to add 1 attack dice and 1 armor if at least 1 other Hound is in the same zone.
Herein also lies our basic strategy already : we're going to keep our troops together, concentrated, so they keep reinforcing each other and we are going to try to bring the opponent to us more than we're going to go to the enemy.

The Hounds are also lvl1 creatures, which means our Straywood Beastmaster can move and still bring one of them into play as a Quick Action or as a QuickCast Action.


So, how do we make them stronger, cheaper and more effective overall ?

The first and most obvious addition is Redclaw.
Add him to a couple of 3 dice, 1 armor, 7 life Hounds and you get 4 dice, 2 armor and 7 life Hounds.

I'd like to mention here that even though it was possible to play a "Redclaw/canine" book since the core game was released as you had Bitterwood Foxes available there, the Hounds fit Redclaw much better imo.
To benefit from Redclaw's boost you need your canines in the same zone, meaning the Fast ability might somewhat be lost on the Foxes and the fact they only have 5 life meant the 1 armor was often not enough of a boost to make them surive a serious attack.

7 Life with 2 armor is massively superior over 5 life with 1 armor since you need 9 dice vs 6 dice on average to make a casualty with one attack.

5 Mana is not that much but we can still get much cheaper.
Add Wychwood Faerie and Ring of Beasts and we're looking at 4 dice, 2 armor and 7 life Hounds for just 3 mana. Now we're getting somewhere.


It's obvious that Redclaw plays a pivotal role, so we need to do all we can to keep him alive.

Therefore, Joined Strength should go on him. Not only does it give him a sixth attack die but every time he's attacked and damaged, one damage is transferred to your mage giving Redclaw more staying power.
Alternatively, you can play Joined Strength on an early Pet Falcon and shift the enchantment to redclaw when the falcon goes down.

Provided you have more living objects than your opponent, Meredia's Blessing can also help remove 2 damage from Redclaw every round as well as a condition marker. Keeping Corrode Markers away as well as Dazes, stuns, Weaks etc is a strong ability.

Emerald Elk Stave is not a spell I'd spend a mage action on, but played through our Battle Forge it makes sense and fits our goal. It can take another damage off Redclaw and another creature ( Pet ) every round, at a cost though.

Raincloud is just a perfect spell for this strategy.
It gives Regenerate 1 to every object in its zone. So, the more objects you have in that zone, the bigger the benefit you get from it and it just happens to be so we'd like to keep all our creatures together in one zone.
Another damage to remove from Redclaw every round.
Additionally all objects get Flame -2 and Acid -2, meaning all fire based attacks roll 2 less dice which is a pretty big deal because Zone attacks are an inherent weakness to our strategy. Ring of Fire suddenly is not as devastating anymore.
And you can remove a Burn or Corrode marker ( that's 2 markers per round potentially )
Keep in mind though : opponent's objects gain these bonuses as well.

Elephant Grass is a godsent to this book.
It can make all your non-flying objects gain the obscured trait ( thus also your Corrosive Orchid, for example ) meaning the opposition has to close in on you if they want to harm you, paving the way for your Thornlasher and Force Pushes but it also gives all your non flying animals basically aegis 2 as all attacks made against them roll 2 less dice.
Now if anything can keep a creature alive it's Aegis 2.
Not only does this make Redclaw nearly invulnerable but your 3 mana , 4 dice, 2 armor, 7 life Hounds also become very durable when you add Regenerate 1 and Aegis 2 ( not really Aegis 2 but you know what I mean ... )
Elephant Grass is so good it deserves 2 copies. One will very likely get destroyed + you may want to have a bonus terrain to take out an opposition terrain.


Equipment :

Most of our equipment is supposed to be played through the battle Forge but I don't cast BF right away.
I like to play BF a little later and throw a Falcon Pet at my opponent first to give him something to do and thus increase the survival odds of my BF. Standard opening ( see later ) BF in R3.

Packleader's Cowl can let you put a guard marker on a 6 dice rolling Pet Hound for just 1 mana or a 7 dice rolling Pet Timber Wolf for just 2 mana. Staple Equipment card for the Beastmaster.

Special mention here goes to the nice synergy between Battle Forge and Hunting Spear.
Hunting Spear has good synergy with this strategy as it can keep an opposing creature in the Hounds' zone with its Cripple effect ( on 7+ (50%) if using the ranged option )

Letting the Spear go back into your book has a few advantages :
1- Spear cannot be destroyed while hidden in your book
2- Letting the BF bring it out during Deployment costs you only 4 mana from your mana supply and it doesn't cost your mage any action
3- It keeps your BF involved and active all game

As a key weapon, you need back-up though, thus 2 copies.


Conjurations :

We've already mentioned and explained Battle Forge, Raincloud, Meredia's Blessing, Elephant Grass.
Obviously we don't leave the house without Pillar of Righteous Flame either.
Another card that has good synergy with a packed zone, Porce Push, Chant of Rage and the Thornlasher's Snatch.

Corrosive Orchid also benefits from trying to stay within 1 zone.
It can remain useful over a longer period of time as it (supposedly) will have a target to shoot at every round, it's a free bonus attack that can reduce an opponents armor with corrode markers, thus making your Hounds' job easier and can stay alive longer by benefitting from guards and the Raincloud's Regenerate 1.
The Obscured trait obviously also helps.

We round out the Conjurations with a pair of Wall of Thorns ( synergy with Force Push is common knowledge )
a pair of Tanglevines and 1 Tooth and Nail.


Creatures :

The only surprise here may be the Thornlasher but if you consider its ability to Snatch and pull an opposing creature into your death zone, it makes sense, I suppose.
One Rouse the Beast is meant for the Thornlasher, the other for the Timber Wolf.
Timber Wolf is meant to be played as a Pet at some point. Pet Hound and Pet Falcon are also great options of course.


Enchantments :

Bear Strengh, Brace Yourself for your Mage.
Rhino Hide, Regrowth for Mage or Redclaw.
Joined Strength for Redclaw.
Glancing Blow for Wychwood Faerie.
Wolf Fury for the early Pet Falcon.
Tangleroot on a high dice threatening opponent.
Marked for Death ( can raise the Hound's attack dice to 5! ) Poisoned Blood and Rust for the opposing Mage
Chant of Rage on ...


Incantations :

No surprises here.
2 Disarm, primarily to be able to neutralise the Paladin's and Warlord's Champion's Gauntlets a couple of times and get to their weapons/wands.


Attacks :

No surpises either.
3 Acid Balls to handle Armor in addition to Tooth and Nail and Rust.
Finisher Hurl Boulder.
Utility Surging Waves.


Standard opening :

R1 19    Wychwood Faerie - FD Brace Yourself or Glancing Blow
R2 23    Move (to C3 after Faerie-from C4) Ring of Beasts - Pet Falcon
R3 24    Move (to NC after Faerie) Wychwood Hound - Battle Forge (in C3)
R4 22+1  Packleader's Cowl - Redclaw - Wolf Fury (on Pet Falcon)
R5 12+1  Leather Chausses - Meredia's Blessing (in B4) - Move (to FC after Faerie) - Wychwood Hound - Guard on Hound
R6 10+1  ...


Thanks for reading this far.
Hope you got something out of it.

And finally ... the book.

Updated 20 april 2017

A Pack of CaninesA Straywood Beastmaster Spellbookbuilt by http://www.spellbookbuilder.com
Equipment1 x Chitin Armor1 x Eagleclaw Boots1 x Emerald Elk Stave2 x Hunting Spear1 x Leather Chausses1 x Leather Gloves1 x Packleader's Cowl1 x Regrowth Belt1 x Ring of Beasts Conjuration1 x Battle Forge1 x Corrosive Orchid2 x Elephant Grass1 x Meredia's Blessing1 x Pillar of Righteous Flame1 x Raincloud2 x Tanglevine1 x Tooth&Nail2 x Wall of ThornsCreature1 x Mountain Ram1 x Redclaw, Alpha Male1 x Thornlasher2 x Thunderift Falcon1 x Wychwood Faerie6 x Wychwood HoundEnchantment1 x Bear Strength1 x Brace Yourself2 x Chant of Rage1 x Glancing Blow1 x Joined Strength1 x Marked for Death1 x Poisoned Blood1 x Regrowth1 x Rhino Hide1 x Rust1 x Tangleroot1 x Wolf FuryIncantation1 x Crumble2 x Disarm3 x Dispel1 x Dissolve3 x Force Push1 x Lesser Teleport1 x Remove Curse2 x Rouse the Beast2 x Seeking Dispel1 x TeleportAttack3 x Acid Ball1 x Hurl Boulder2 x Surging Wave
Total cost: 120 pts
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 07:21:51 AM by Borg »
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bigfatchef

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Re: A Pack of Canines - Straywood Beastmaster
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2017, 02:28:46 PM »
Nice write down borg!
I run a canine swarm book as well and love it. There are so many good synergies in it. I have to say thank you for pointing out even more!

I think your book looks absolutely thought through and more rounded up than mine.
Since you ate totally planning a death zone the only thing that would bother me with that book is how to make sure the enemy mage ends there. I see 3 force push, 1 teleport and a slasher. Oh and Chant of rage could do the same job. With some effort he could still keep outside?! What about a second teleport or a teleport trap? Or has that been no problem in your hand so far?

Anyway thanks for sharing!

Sailor Vulcan

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A Pack of Canines - Straywood Beastmaster
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2017, 06:54:34 PM »
Have you considered including call of the wild? Gives all animals in the Arena plus 1 attack die for the round.


Also you could try using a battering ram pet? Would help against conjugations like deathlock, mordok's obelisk and akiro's hammer, plus it could push enemy Mage into teleport traps. Or you could just armor up your Mage leave the kill zone and go after the conjurations and teleport the enemy Mage to your kill zone yourself.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 07:06:51 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Borg

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Re: A Pack of Canines - Straywood Beastmaster
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2017, 07:20:12 AM »
Since you are totally planning a death zone the only thing that would bother me with that book is how to make sure the enemy mage ends there.

The way I look at it is there are essentially two possible situations.

You are either facing a mage that is looking for contact as well. That's the kind of opposition that suits your strategy best.

Or you're facing a mage that wants to avoid contact.
This is a situation where you might have to maneuver your troops somewhat more than you'd like.
It may not be possible to keep everything together at the end of a round all the time but it's a fun challenge to try to deal with these kind of situations.
As you mentioned already, the Force Pushes play a key role into getting the mage to you, as well as the Walls who can potentially cut off an escape route ( unless the opposing mage is willing or armored enough to walk throught hem ) Tanglevines obviously also shine in that regard but I rely more on the Spear's Crippling ability to pin the opposing mage in one place.

The Spear has two big advantages imo :
1- you can use it to try to cripple an opponent every round if you want to and your opponent can't Teleport away every round ( at least you shouldn't let him :) )
2- Cripple conditions are not automatic drop-offs at the end of the creature's action but have a 50% chance to stick around for another round so ultimately you should be able to pin your opponent down.

Another positive about the Spear that I didn't mention in the OP is that it is a great way to remove Flying from flying creatures and drop them straight into your horde's lap.

A Teleport Trap I have not considered for this book but who knows, 25 posts from now a situation may arise that makes me consider it anyway. That has happened before, right ;)


...you could try using a battering ram pet? Would help against conjugations like deathlock, mordok's obelisk and akiro's hammer...

I needed some time to think this one over.
There's quite a few arguments against the Ram but in the end I think he would be an upgrade and a potential star in the right situation.

Against :
- He's a full cast
- he's not canine, so doesn't get any bonuses from Redclaw
- just two attack dice when not moving and attacking something that is not a corporeal conjuration
- to increase his attack dice I may have to send him out of the protection of the horde

For :
- He could be an upgrade over the Timber Wolf who's a full cast as well and who's only supposed to enter later in the game, if at all
- as you mentioned already, he is a nice answer to conjurations
- as a pet and in the same zone of the BM he's got 4 dice as well and can go up to 8 dice in the right situation without any enchantment on him.

So, I think he may have more upside than the Timber Wolf in this book and deserves at least a try out.
Thanks for bringing him up.

I did consider Call of the Wild but it's one of those cards I have rarely ever cast before. I usually have something better to do. I'll keep the card in mind though and try to spot moments in a game where I wish I had it right there.

Spellbook updated.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 01:32:34 PM by Borg »
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Biblofilter

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Re: A Pack of Canines - Straywood Beastmaster
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2017, 05:09:42 AM »
Sorry for not posting earlier

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

Jacksmack´s Beastmaster in his match vs Powlich seems very similar to yours.

Wychwood Hounds are a lot better than Bitterwood Fox - in a pack anyway.

The whole idea reminds me of a thing i have been working on:
Steelclaw Cubs and a couple of Steelclaw Matriarck.

So if i replace the Wychwood Hounds and Redclaw it looks a lot like my cub book.

When im finished with the video ill come back and comment.

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DaveW

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Re: A Pack of Canines - Straywood Beastmaster
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2017, 06:20:42 PM »
My problem on using the WW Hounds has been that the first one on the scene doesn't get the armor and melee bonus. If you are bringing the enemy to you, then this shouldn't be an issue. (Also, I only have three copies, and I would want six or so if I were to include them in my BM book.)

On the WWF... when I put her in, it is for use farther to the rear of the action (a non-melee primary BM, for example)... I normally would just cast a Mana Flower instead if I felt that I might need the mana boost. Mana Flowers usually last longer that the WWF, don't have positioning requirements, don't telegraph your mage's destination zone, add mana no matter what you cast (or don't), and only cost one additional mana. You can't count on the Elephant Grass from protecting her... the enemy only needs to get to range one, and she isn't an animal so doesn't benefit from the dice reduction.
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Sailor Vulcan

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A Pack of Canines - Straywood Beastmaster
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2017, 08:39:21 PM »
@Biblofilter

He said forcemaster instead of Beastmaster at one point early on. Did they correct that?
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farkas1

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Re: A Pack of Canines - Straywood Beastmaster
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2017, 08:21:58 PM »
My problem on using the WW Hounds has been that the first one on the scene doesn't get the armor and melee bonus. If you are bringing the enemy to you, then this shouldn't be an issue. (Also, I only have three copies, and I would want six or so if I were to include them in my BM book.)

On the WWF... when I put her in, it is for use farther to the rear of the action (a non-melee primary BM, for example)... I normally would just cast a Mana Flower instead if I felt that I might need the mana boost. Mana Flowers usually last longer that the WWF, don't have positioning requirements, don't telegraph your mage's destination zone, add mana no matter what you cast (or don't), and only cost one additional mana. You can't count on the Elephant Grass from protecting her... the enemy only needs to get to range one, and she isn't an animal so doesn't benefit from the dice reduction.

I think the trick is yeah not strong by themselves but with the ring and the faerie having the hounds cost 3 is amazing.

I really enjoy the faerie.  Yea it may telegraph movement ect.  but I find her 1 die faerie punch is always what I need to bring down a wall.  Its also really awesome when she punches the mage for 2 critical.  Mana flowers are great and all but I have not seen one deal the finishing blow on a wall.   

Really like this book.  In my straywood I have included more hounds over the other lvl 1 creatures and since have put redclaw back in the book. 

Also in the early days of the book had a thornlasher.  I am going to add him back in because it is very effective on taking guards away or pulling the mage.

I usually just punch with my straywood without a weapon but my punches are usually boosted by a couple of animal kinships.  Don't run much equipment because of that.  My creatures supply me my benefits.  I do like the concept of the spear tho and may add to see if I can use it if the opponent is running.   
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