Jugglervr posted a very interesting blog yesterday about Control vs Beatdown and how it relates to Monsterpocalypse. Really, what his post did for me, more than opening a new line of thought, was expand on some ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for a while now. My philosophy of play, by which I mean my overall strategy, turn-to-turn tactics, and short/long term goals in-game, has been in a state of flux.
My wife and I recently watched the movie Moneyball. Even if you care nothing for baseball, the movie tells a very interesting story about shaking up the preconceived notions of how the game really works. It’s hard to describe succinctly, but for me this opened a new line of thought on MonPoc. How do you really win games of Monsterpocalypse?
The obvious answer is by killing the enemy monster, but how do you do that? Dealing damage, of course. However there’s a deeper level here: You have to deal damage without taking it yourself. The theory I started toying with is that the key to winning every game of Monsterpocalypse is board control, because if you control the board, you control the game. I convinced myself that if I could control the board, stop my opponent from having units in any sort of useful position, destroying their base and their support, and prevent any coordinated assaults, then I could waltz my way to victory at my own pace. In essence, I fell in love with the idea that control wins. It’s only after reading Jugglervr’s post (and losing pretty badly in an attempt at testing the theory) that I see that I’ve been missing half of the picture.
Control is definitely viable. I expect to see a handful of “control” lists at MonCon next week, particularly coming from Lords of Cthul and possibly from the Protector and Collaborator agendas. However, I don’t think my preferred faction can play that way, so I’m left wondering, what am I? Of course, I’m referring to the faction and more specifically the monster and list I’m going to run. So to rephrase, what is Anglax? What are the Invaders?
I wish I could put my monster into a metaphorical box, but the beauty of MonPoc is that all of these monsters can do everything to some degree. Alpha and Ultra Anglax can play control by running the unit-general angle, spamming units and depending on Leach and Command to keep her safe. On the flip side, she can go aggressive with the Mega or taking advantage of her fantastic power stat and Command to make big plays at a key moment. The Invaders have Mire, Power Gorge in spades, and all sorts of mobility tricks which could be thought of as control, but at the same time they have Explosion with Tow, Armor Piercing, and enough boost dice to hit anything they really want to target so they can be aggressive just as easily.
At the end of all of this, I’ve not come to any new revelations about MonPoc or my figures. I’m sure that my best bet is to “go with the flow” and learn to better recognize when I should be playing for control and when I should be aggressive. It seems like such a basic idea, now that I’ve written it, but in essence that’s what separates the Masters from the rest of us regular players. They knew when to go for broke and when to wait it out. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I may go back and watch some old commentaries on top tables with these “new” ideas in mind.