Well, it’s been a long time dear readers. Suffice to say that life with two small children and a wife that keeps breaking parts of her body makes life pretty busy. However, I’m back as mediocre as ever and ready to thrill you with another resounding tale. This time I’d like to go over my results of the past year, what I’ve learned (I think) and how I plan to use what I’ve learned (supposedly) to improve my play in the coming year.
Last year, I focused mainly on my Protectorate forces, taking them to all of the tournaments I attended and tried to improve my play through experimentation and practice against the rest of my meta – who to be honest are quite the competitive group. To help me maintain objectivity regarding my play, I recorded my games in the IronGrudge app so that I could make notes regarding any mistakes or gotchas, where my weak points are and what I did that was particularly effective. This may seem a bit anal retentive but I’ve limited time available for gaming. This means that to become a better player I need to extract the most knowledge from my play experience that I can.
So let’s look at the numbers. I played 65 games last year using The Protectorate of Menoth. The majority of my games were played using Intercessor Kreoss and The High Reclaimer, with occasional forays with other casters. I had an overall win percentage of 39%. Eep! not even 50%. I suck. Rather than wallow in my own sucktitude (okay, I did a little bit) I chose to look at the numbers a little closer. I examined my game results according to scenario, opponent, opponent faction and caster used. Using that data I came up with three main points I’d like to talk about further:
1. I lost damn near every game against Nick. This tells me that clearly, Nick has loaded dice and cheats. Alternatively I need to improve my game against him, but that would mean my poor results when playing Nick are my fault – so that is clearly untrue.
Further regarding my results versus Nick, I think that a few things are glaringly obvious. Nick has a better grasp of the game than I do and/or has my number. I would do well to practice against him and pick his brain regarding my play-style and areas I can improve. This should have the benefit of improving my game play and having him avoid me as time goes on. Either way my overall win percentage goes up. Additionally I’d like to lump these results in with my overall “win” percentage. I think that if i spent a bit more time becoming a “student of the game” (stolen from Chain Attack) would help me improve my results as well. Having a more solid understanding of the core mechanics and the rules of my opponents’ pieces will only serve me well in the future.
2. My win percentage last season with The High Reclaimer was 99%. This does not necessarily mean I’m the ubermensch with him, but the results are worth closer examination. The High Reclaimer was my cover drop used to fill the gaps left by my main list, namely against high volume shooting lists, Bradigus’ Theme force and similarly composed armies. Right away that means that Silent Bob is going into favourable match-ups. Additionally I think that THR’s playstyle is very much in my comfort zone: a crenelated defence with a brick style advance up the board – keeping the lines solid. As well, my results from last year noted that I had a tendency to play my casters too far forward. The High Reclaimer’s cloud wall protects my caster despite my apparent inability to learn to keep my caster back.
3. My win percentage last season with Intercessor Kreoss was 27% OUCH! Granted 3Kreoss isn’t the best caster in the Protectorate, but he is far from the worst. So what caused me to have such issues? I made many notes about the games I played using K3 and the vast majority of my losses were because I got assassinated. The comments I left regarding those losses are things like “left him open”, “got distracted doing x”, “had Kreoss too close to”, “poor placement relative to” etc. When taken together the notes suggest that I had a bad habit of playing Kreoss a touch too far forward and had placement issues regarding his large base and keeping him protected. With some of the other comments I tracked I am going to have to face the music: Intercessor Kreoss, while a good caster on paper is not suited to my playstyle and/or I have a specific learning disability which prevents me from learning to play him competitively. Either way, he’s going to have to hit the shelves for awhile.
So what does this all mean? Well, if I want to become a better player I need to spend more time paying attention to the “greater meta”. That is, look for what’s competitive, what some of the new combinations are and what some of the new rules interactions are. This applies not only to the Protectorate of Menoth, but to all of the factions. As well, spending some extra time getting a solid understanding of the core rules and lesser known interactions would not be a waste of time. I want to be clear that I’m not going to take extra time away from my family to become a better player, this is just a game after all but I can find the time I need to improve my game. Breaks and lunches at work are as good a time as any to open up War Room and look at some cards. There are a plethora of games on YouTube and Twitch that I can watch or have on while I do other things. Additionally, I plan on taking more detailed notes and pictures during the games I play. Whether I post them here or not, the notes will help me to find weaknesses in my play, identify my strengths and hopefully to point out the areas I need to improve in so that I can have better results this year.
To follow up the long-winded paragraph above, I’ve decided that I need a break from the Protectorate. I need to get rid of my flawed “muscle memory” regarding my Protectorate play and I think that the best way to do that is to shelve the faction for a while and come back to it fresh at a later date. Therefore, during the 2015 season I’ll be playing Trollbloods. I think that they are a good choice for me in that the volume of medium bases will (hopefully) help me work out my spacing issues. As well, Trolls favour a brickier (yes, that’s a word) style of play which with respect to my comments regarding The High Reclaimer should only benefit me. Additionally there is a plethora of good information on Trolls around the interwebs so I will not be going in blind. I’ll do my best to detail my progress here on Combo Smite and feel free to chime in should you have anything to add! 2015 is going to be a good year. I’ve nowhere to go but up!