Positioning 102: Combat Maneuvers

by Counterplay Games  /  July 5, 2016

Chapter 2:
Fist of the Cricket

Ah, welcome back wise cricket! I see that your desire for knowledge is not yet sated. Stay sharp, the lessons coming before you will become more complex, narrower in scope, and ever more challenging. But fear not, for while today you are the cricket soon you shall be the mantis!

Before we begin, however, let’s pull the reference picture from last week’s lesson. For this week’s lesson you can assume that Reva represents your general in this picture:

position zero
Now there are many reasons to position your minions at specific points in relation to your general. In the interest of clear communication we will summarize these options as PushingPulling, Scouting, and Avoidant. During today’s lesson, however, we will only cover Pushing and Pulling, and briefly introduce the Scouting maneuver.

(Positions Three and Nine)

Pushing strategies are designed to either get the enemy general to move away from the minion or to attack into them. Maneuvers intended to push your opponent require you to place your minion adjacent to your and the opponent’s general. Assuming your opponent is standing at Position Six these placements would be Positions  Three and Nine. Now here’s where it may get a little tricky, cricket, so hone your senses and focus on the lesson at hand: 

If you take a close look at last week’s lesson, what the Pushing Maneuver does is take up the Offensive and Clearing Stances that we’ve learned your general may assume. To be abundantly clear, your general is standing in the Offensive Stance and your minion is standing in the Clearing Stance, both of which are the two more aggressive positions you can take. Essentially what you’re doing is limiting your opponent’s vertical and horizontal movement options while at the same time opening good attacking options for both your general and your minion.

(Positions One and Seven)

pulling maneuver

Pulling maneuvers are designed to get your opponent to move to specific points on the board in relation to you. You are effectively encouraging your opponent to move towards you instead of running away from you. This is particularly effective when you do not have good options for fully defending a minion with low health and your opponent is looking to retreat and keep a distance from you.

You can potentially buy an additional turn of them being engaged with your general, or pressure them into leaving a vulnerable minion behind. Once again I ask that you harness the energies from the Temple of Enlightenment and concentrate on what we’re about to discuss:

Positions One and Seven enable the Pulling Maneuver assuming that your opponent is at Position Six (e.g.: facing your general). Now I know what you may be thinking, o’ observant cricket. “What about Position Four? By placing a minion there you also force your opponent to make a decision”. That is an excellent question, so let us discuss the answer to it:

While Position Four technically constitutes a Pulling Maneuver, what it does unlike Positions One and Seven is give your opponent the option to either move north or south of your general, and giving your opponent this particular choice may be harmful to your strategy. Even in seemingly “it doesn’t matter either way” scenarios it is best to practice the plays that force your opponent’s hand so that when the positioning does matters you know exactly what to do and how to act.

(Positions Two and Eight)

scouting maneuver

A scouting maneuver is in most cases a worse position than the Pushing Maneuver. While it does limit your opponent’s ability to move into your side of the board and blocks off access to a second minion played away from your general, the Pushing Maneuver is still better at accomplishing these goals. There is however a specific case in which a Scouting Maneuver outperforms its competitor, and that is when you are trying to play around things like Holy Immolation or Makantor Warbeast.

Put simply, the main goal behind this maneuver is to derive information about what’s in your opponent’s hand. As I mentioned previously we are only scratching the surface of this Maneuver today as it’ll require us to delve deep into a psychological aspect of play that we’ll only fully cover in a few weeks’ time. For now I only ask that you keep yourself mindful of when you are forced to make a Scouting Maneuver and also of how your opponent reacts to this maneuver.

We’ve covered a lot of ground today, cricket! Before stepping outside the Temple of Enlightenment however, take a deep breath and try to mentalize what we’ve learned today while the warming rays of wisdom shine down upon you.

Now go forth wiser cricket, and for the remainder of this week remain mindful of what you are trying to accomplish with your minion’s positioning. Pay close attention to how your opponent moves after each of the positioning plays you make, and mentally prepare for Chapter 3: The Way of the Mantis. On this next chapter of our journey towards enlightenment we’ll cover advanced positioning involving two minions!

If you ever need anything you can hit me up here:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Goodguy_Hopper
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– James “Goodguyhopper” Hopper