By Zach Bunn– July 18, 2011
In Day 25, I talked about a few monsters that take the rules of the game and push them to their limits. This included amazing stats, extremely synergistic abilities, and a slew of units that make them second to few. For Day 26, I want to discuss a few monsters that, given particular circumstances, can not just bend the rules but can turn everything we’ve learned on it’s head.
When I was first learning how to play Monsterpocalypse, few things matched the joy of discovering what Speed Zones and Teleporters did for some of my units. Suddenly I could get repair to Sky Sentinel anywhere or red radar to my units. I was introduced to Teleporters fairly early on in my Monsterpocalypse experience and because of this I think I take them for granted.
On it’s own, it doesn’t seem to be game breaking. Getting a repair vehicle to Sky Sentinel is standard fare and allows me to position myself safely all across the map. It is in this context that Teleporters rest in our minds, allowing us all to sleep comfortably at night.
Then one day you are at a big tournament and your opponent gets map choice. He drops Killer Canals on the table and you begin to see Planet Eater units. Knowing that Planet Eaters are terrible, you grin knowing this will be a quick victory. Twenty minutes later you are sitting in shock as the game is slipping through your hands.
You can’t keep a power base. You are getting hit by units every turn. All the basic things you’ve learned in Mastering MonPoc aren’t working…
More Than Meets the Eye
When you were introduced to Monsterpocalypse, the odds are that you took Teleporters at face value. Until you’ve had the chance to get obliterated by Xaxor on Killer Canals, there are few things that can prepare you for that moment (my Xaxor moment provided by Chris Young).
In General, Xaxor is one of the better Planet Eater monsters. He has 7 defense with 5 health on his Alpha and 5 defense with 7 health on his Ultra. His Ultra has a low hyper cost of 3 (allowing for efficient flexing) and Weapon Master (Blast) with long range. This means he can pretty easily hyper up, shoot you for 2 damage from long range, and then hyper down into his 7 defense Alpha.
But what does that have to do with Killer Canals?
The one thing that keeps Xaxor from being truly competitive is his unit game. The destroyer units are not very mobile and feature strong brawl attack stats. Now, Xaxor counters this a little bit by having Blue Jump, making all of his units a bit more mobile. However, this still doesn’t solve the problem of his units being generally slow and featuring a strong brawl stat. If his units cannot get to the enemy, it doesn’t matter how hard his units can hit.
Alas, we introduce teleporters in this context and we begin to see a much different picture. All of the sudden a 4 or 5 speed unit can get just about anywhere on the map. Not only that, but the Destroyers have the Razor Beetle! Coupled with Blue Charge granted by both forms of Xaxor, all of the sudden the Beetles ability to brawl something, blitz 2 spaces (through a teleporter mind you), and then brawl something else becomes substantial.
The Destroyers also have the Explodomite, a 1 cost unit with 2 natural b-die. None of these things alone have a gigantic impact on the way the game is played. However, mix them altogether and you are talking about a very lethal unit game.
Since we are here, I thought it was worth discussing what happens to Ancient Osheroth when there is access to Teleporters. The Fiend units are also some of the least mobile in the game. Even with access to Summon on their Installation, the ability to send several of their lower speed units across the map can be big for this army.
More importantly however, is the ability to send the Tentacles through the Teleporters. Osherth can move and hyper down, meaning that the four Tentalces are bundled up and all corner to corner. For all other Morphers, this can be a very serious issue. A smash or beat back without super damage does 3 damage.
For Osheroth this is likely not the case. The Dismay Tentacle has Red Hit and Run. Even if the Morpher attacks with two sets of two tentacles, it’s enough to hit and run two of the Morphers away. This is big in it’s own right. Coupled with the ability to hit and run through Teleporters, it becomes insane.
On Day 22 I wrote about Morphers in great detail. One of the few things that make them vulnerable is the ability to hit them with Disrupt or with Head-Butt. You can follow that up with a several damage attack against their Alpha form and generally get ahead on the damage curve. Hit and Run and the Teleporters allow for Osheroth to be extremely aggressive and not have to pay the penalty for doing so. Anything that makes a Morpher better is worth taking note of.
The question must immediately become what is the counter? Similar to last week, there really isn’t a definitive answer. Outside of getting map choice, it largely depends on your monster, your units, and what your macro-level strategy is. Killer Canals amplifies all of Xaxor’s strengths. It is unlikely that it amplifies all of yours.
It also changes some basic assumptions you have about the game itself. On a regular map, board control generally allows you the extra advantage of safely securing a power base. You are effectively forcing your opponent to choose between disrupting you or setting up their own power base. If I genuinely want to disrupt you, it typically means spending 1 to spawn, 1 to move, and 1 to use an action like command or tow.
On Killer Canals, even without a unit on the board I can spend 1 to spawn and 1 to move. All of the sudden I have a 4 defense unit with Cover who takes out every unit next to him if he gets killed (Explodomite). All of the sudden board control begins to mean something different on this map.
Todays challenge is going to be a blog, as usual. Discuss the following topics:
- What are the benefits your Monster / Army gets when it plays on a map with teleporters?
- What advantages does your army lose that it once had on enemy forces thanks to Teleporters?
- Does this affect your macro level strategy?
- What aspects of Monsterpocalypse in particular do Teleporters noticeably impact? Along the same lines as my board control example.
This is a somewhat open ended challenge. The idea is that you should understand your monster enough at this point to really make this a meaningful challenge. If you haven’t had a chance to play against Xaxor on Canals or against Osheroth with access to teleporters, I strongly recommend it. It is something that can catch you completely off guard in a tournament.
Anytime the major weakness of an army or a monster is mobility, put it in the context of how that army or monster would function with access to Teleporters. This brings out a much bigger point, which is simply that context is key when it comes to evaluating any aspect of this game. I know I initially disregarded the Mobile Ops Center because I was using Sky Sentinel (who has Red Radar himself!). When I started using Nova, Laser Knight, and the others with the Mobile Ops in my army, the unit started to become a lot more useful.
I’m very excited to see how you respond to this challenge. If you have any questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Best of luck,