The Value of Annoyance - Heroes
This is the first general tactics post because I feel like typing out some thoughts about Kings of War and today it's on the value of annoyance in relation to many heroes.
Cursed Pharoah, Vampires, Herja of the Fallen, Flying Placoderm Defenders, The Green Lady and all the others available share some common traits and that is being completely annoying although they all vary. High defense, high mobility, small base size and self inspiring. Some have next to no attacks while others pack 7 sometimes. But whats important here is defense and mobility.
Often many new players go through 3 stages when looking at these sorts of individuals. First they take a few random heroes but come to the conclusion they are useless due to low number of attacks and no flanking bonus etc. I will admit doing this at first myself. Combined with the inability to hold objectives it seems these characters are literally a waste.
Then they come across a Veteran player or over time begin to piece together how the game works and soon cries of being over powered start to come out. Having whole blocks of your army blocked by a Flying Pharaoh at first is somewhat shocking. The fact that when you finally get close to killing a character like this and it just flies away to safety adds to this. When a players horde of shooters is shut down by Herja and the archers can do nothing in return is frustrating to the highest degree. Feeling helpless and frustrated because of these characters leads to the final stage.
Acceptance. The stage where you start getting your own individual hunters and characters to make use of these tools. During this stage the feeling goes towards annoyance over frustration. Yes they are still annoying but you begin to learn to deal with it.
So what truly makes these high defense and hardy characters so darn annoying? Well it's that they are so hard to kill. It requires dedicating resources to kill something that isn't really going to hurt you all that much. In most cases you cannot move around these characters but instead must fight through them. They are also the perfect counter to strong shooting or even flying heavy armies. It all stems down to KOW being a rather precise game and these characters having the highest mobility and armors available to them. Them being anywhere they need to be and catching even the fastest units in the game is a huge edge.
In short individuals ruin plans. A small package with huge results.
How to Make the most of Individuals?
Well at first it seems simple, ruin plans.
Say the enemy has a shooting horde of upgraded and bane chanted archers. They are sitting on the other end of the field getting ready to shred troops heading to a loot counter. Thankfully you have come prepared with a flying Placoderm Defender. He zooms towards the archers and on turn 2 his archers are taking wounds and becoming disordered forcing his archers to fight in melee in the vein hope of getting his archers shooting again. Already your opponent is missing a vital part of his plan and now needs to rethink everything. It also removes a huge threat to yourself.
Again, lets say your opponent is about to flank charge your unit with some hard hitting cavalry? Odds are that unit is dead and your opponent is thinking he's going to walk over them. But oh... you have a flying Cursed Pharaoh happy to either charge the knights, removing their thunderous charge and forcing them to fight through the Pharaoh (by which time your flank is safe) and if you cannot charge for LOS reasons you simply fly 1" from his base and force him to fight your first. Not only have you saved your flank but you have made your opponent rethink his plan now he cannot flank or fight your real units for at least another turn.
Standing on loot counters with a high defense individual has won me games since by late game often the heavy hitters are not in a prime position to take them. Not always gonna work but an option.
Eliminating inspiring is another great method to use as well. Force his inspiring (depending on the unit giving inspiring) to play cat and mouse until you win. Not the most efficient but leaving your opponent with no inspiring is a huge benefit.
Flyer Hunting. An individual can be flyer hunting pain in the back side. It is very hard for a flyer with his arcs and facings etc to escape an individual is almost free of these restrictions. Nothing better than slowly killing off a flyer or forcing the flyer to stay put and try beat your character.
Do not expect these tough individuals to cut their way through enemy lines but instead rely on them to do those little actions that ruin plans. Not all individuals are cut out for this, in fact many do not. They aren't needed to win games but they certainly give you an edge.
A fine Line Between Over Powered and Annoying
It is a common complaint from some that models like the Cursed Pharaoh are over powered. But lets be clear here, for many of these tank characters you are paying 200ish points on average. Thats a lot of points for something that is going to annoy you. It may shut down shooting but it will not likely kill it, it may soak a charge but it is not going to dish back a lot of damage in return.
These things are relegated to a hand full of very select jobs and when they do their job well it can be annoying, but no different to when a unit of archers does their job well or a unit of anything really.
Its one of the many tools that when used right can change the outcome of the game.
How to defend against Heroes?
Well the obvious and first answer is your own Heroes. Your heroes can choose to harass theirs or do the standard stuff.
Breath attack weapons. Back field weapons like flaming war machines or your own heroes with breath attacks etc. If you can bane chant them even better. The reason for this is because Breath Attack always hits on 4's, so you can move to get into range and target an individual whilst ignoring cover. Some piercing will go a long way to dealing with these too.
These are the 2 most effective ways to combat tank individuals I have found. The most common tactic is to slowly try beat them down with units but this is what makes them annoying in the first place.
If you have found yourself overlooking individuals or finding them useless give the above a try. Just remember they aren't killers, they are simply there to ruin plans and give you some room to breath.