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DrDoak

S4 - Alchemists vs Butchers

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I squared off against the Ox Butchers tonight (first game vs. them in S4) and was wondering how other people generally play versus them in S4.

  • Do you prefer to kick vs. receive?
  • What lineup(s) do you like?
  • General strategy?

I ran Smoke, Flask, Venin, oKat, Mercury, Calculus and chose to receive. I lost with the final score being 12 (Butchers) to 8 (Alchemists). My thoughts after the game:

  • I ended up getting engaged in a scrum earlier than I would like. Butchers have tremendous range and even with fire it is hard to control the distance against them. I think the adaptation is to either play very cagey (i.e., run Compound and stay WAY back) or spread out wide across the pitch.
  • In my comp Smoke's attention got divided between enabling the condition game or playing the ball. I think in the future I would sub out at least one member (likely Calculus) for another ball handler (Crucible, vCalc, Vitriol)
  • Venin is a beast, but you have to be careful because Butchers with Ox have great tools for punching through armor.

I'm interested to hear your thoughts!

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Played this matchup a few weeks ago, but had crucible instead of calc. Found the exact same things you pointed out. I agree with the point about venin as well.  I'd like to leave him on the bench, but his heroic is so important for dmg throughout the game. 

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My lineup when kicking is: Smoke, flask, oCalc, oKat, Venin, Vitriol. When receiving I swap Vitriol for Mercury.

Generally I prefer kicking. Vitriol has great kickoff pressure, she has more threat range than almost all butchers, and means they have to spend time avoiding her threat, giving you time to set up. Rarely will Vitriol get a goal, but forcing them to play around it is the real objective. If they do go in on Vitriol, you can usually punish whoever does. Also most importantly, kicking gives you last activation with Smoke.

My goal with smoke is to do last activation to first activation, and kill at least one player, (preferably ox) and then run away. Butchers are not especially hard to kill, so she can kill whoever you're infusing, and between conditions and legendary, get others low enough for oKat and Venin to kill. Vitriol can continue to pressure the ball.

Calculus is the queen of efficiency, and I'll typically just hang back and throw out character plays for free with her trait and beaker keeper.

Generally I end up with 4 kills, 1 goal. But if Vitriol gets a turn one goal, then 2-2 is the game plan.

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1) I prefer to kick off (with Vitriol).

2) For the love of God, spread out. Seriously. The Ox aura is death.

3) I favour a team that can disengage and recover the ball over one that wants to punch (on almost any level). Either Katalyst looks like a terrible option to me by your mileage may vary. I prefer 2-3 goals and cleaning up the rest with condition chip damage and take outs that don't jeopardise multiple of my players.

4) I still take Venin but he's used as a condition/INF battery and to lure in a player to force over-extension. 1v1 we lose the brawl. 3v1 they go down hard.

5) Run away. A lot. Be patient, make them close the gap and force bad positioning. 

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11 minutes ago, Fujin said:

For the love of God, spread out. Seriously. The Ox aura is death.

I had to laugh, as this is all too true. I was excited to try to get multiple enemies stacked with conditions, but Alchemists have no ability to hang in a scrum with the Butchers once they get close. It's way too easy for them to efficiently kill models and generate momentum to stall the condition damage.

 

13 minutes ago, Fujin said:

Either Katalyst looks like a terrible option to me by your mileage may vary.

oKat seemed decent, but was hindered by his 1-inch reach in the scrum. When they engaged, he wasn't able to stop them from getting to my other models due to their range, so I wondered if he would be needed if I avoided the scrum.

32 minutes ago, Fujin said:

Run away.

Point taken. I'll try that and kicking off. My reluctance to kick off was mostly due to wanting the ball for scoring and not to give the Butchers the ball so they can easily close the gap. However, the Alchemists are more of a threat of ball stealing and I have also wondered if it would "distract" them by forcing them to put resources into handling the ball as opposed to killing my models.

 

Venin is great, but Butchers can carve him up really easily. I was really surprised when my opponent dropped Venin T1 with "They ain't tough," Ox aura, and some Boiler attacks.

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4 minutes ago, DrDoak said:

Venin is great, but Butchers can carve him up really easily. I was really surprised when my opponent dropped Venin T1 with "They ain't tough," Ox aura, and some Boiler attacks.

Yeah he has to play the distance game very carefully and not over-expose himself just to pulse out a chance Coagulation. I'm not convinced that he's the best choice but he's got cute new rules and I can't help but field him for now.

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I went 12-4 into Ox butchers over the weekend with Smoke/Flask/Crucible/oCalc/Venin/Vitriol. 2-2 plan. Mobility is the name of the game. 

oKat is a trap, you can't beat the Butchers in a scrum. Venin is there mostly to provide conditions and slam his heroic. He'll fold eventually, but he'll put anyone who's nearby beating on him on death's door pretty quick in return, allowing Smoke to pop her legendary and put the final nail in the coffin. 

Biggest MVP? oCalc. Blind did SO MUCH WORK. Turned Brisket completely off and stranded her downfield where she was easy pickings. Helped keep Boiler at bay, as well, keeping him split up and outside of the aura and from landing much. 

 

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Against Ox now I've started looking for Snakeskin. When the Butchers start throwing out axes and dirty knives and marked targets, that -5" range plus her high defences are exceptionally useful, plus she's fast enough to stay safe and either come in, steal the ball and dodge away or stab things for poison and extra momentous damage. 

The Katalysts do feel like a trap. Against season 4 Butchers, you want to keep your defence values as high as possible because otherwise they will cut straight through you. 

Mercury makes it for me as his Burning aura can screw with their distance maths, particularly their 1" models. They have to plan for losing 2" movement due to Burning on the way in and if you've spread out properly, they can't do that. 

Smoke has been the star in this matchup for me every time. Butchers want to cluster up around The Owner and she makes them pay dearly every time. Last time out she got an 8-point activation - set up all the conditions and first tick of condition damage end of turn 1, 5 momentum off Watch the World Burn, take first activation of turn 2, kill Boiler, accidentally kill oBrisket too (I used the Legendary and didn't realise she was low on wounds!), retrieve the ball and score.

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Hey guys I think the butchers match up is one of our best but there are a few key things that need to be done to make the match up playable. 

1. Play compound and play compound well. This is a bit harder than I am making it sound but Butchers have always struggled against counter charge and there buffs did nothing to rectify this...PLAY COMPOUND!

2. Play Calculus 1. Calculus one is the payer in the guild closest to staple status. She is the best battery in the entire game right now. She does so much work for 0-1 influence. Blind losing range hurts but it is still incredibly strong. Being conditioned can be a death sentence so poison is stronger than it has ever been.

3. Pressure Ox's life total. There are almost no guilds in the game that can comfortably do this other than alchemists. Everyone else has to get too close, but smoke going up putting two shots into him then jumping back to the safety of counter charge is difficult for them to deal with.

 

Lets talk about overall game plan in this match up. Smoke is inevitable. She will win the game if given enough time, so our goal will be to make the game last as long as we can. So no taking early goals. Sit on the ball until it wins you the game. This also means we want to prevent them from spending as much of their influence as possible. Blind is really good at doing this, but the range decrease means it doesn't kill influence on its own. A great way to solve this is to blind a model from within the protection of counter charge. Go as late as you can afford with Smoke in order to guarantee that conditions stick around for the maintenance phase, but don't be afraid to go early if you can kill influence. 

My personal roster is Smoke, Flask, Calculus, Compound, Mercury, Venin. I like mercury and Venin but any two work models will do. Mercury is great because the aura can often prevent a model that is coming into him from getting to compound to prevent the counter charge. I like Venin due to his high damage output and fantastic stat line. 

So to recap: Play compound and Calculus, pressure Ox, and prevent them from interacting with you.

-Vincent

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Heed the wise words of TheCurkov 

Haven't played against Butchers yet but figure falling back to a pseudo season 3 long(ish) range MOM limiting hit and run style falling back goalwards to enable Compound to counter-thump and pick off low HP

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Thanks for the input, everyone! That's some really great information.

It does seem like the task is still to draw out and control the engagements, at least against Butchers. I'll need to be much more conservative in my play. I can see how Compound could be critical, because S4 Butchers have such long threat ranges it is hard to control distance well. I thought oKat might help with that, but he wasn't enough of a deterrent.

 

 

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On 11/17/2018 at 2:26 AM, TheCurkov said:

Hey guys I think the butchers match up is one of our best but there are a few key things that need to be done to make the match up playable. 

1. Play compound and play compound well. This is a bit harder than I am making it sound but Butchers have always struggled against counter charge and there buffs did nothing to rectify this...PLAY COMPOUND!

2. Play Calculus 1. Calculus one is the payer in the guild closest to staple status. She is the best battery in the entire game right now. She does so much work for 0-1 influence. Blind losing range hurts but it is still incredibly strong. Being conditioned can be a death sentence so poison is stronger than it has ever been.

3. Pressure Ox's life total. There are almost no guilds in the game that can comfortably do this other than alchemists. Everyone else has to get too close, but smoke going up putting two shots into him then jumping back to the safety of counter charge is difficult for them to deal with.

 

Lets talk about overall game plan in this match up. Smoke is inevitable. She will win the game if given enough time, so our goal will be to make the game last as long as we can. So no taking early goals. Sit on the ball until it wins you the game. This also means we want to prevent them from spending as much of their influence as possible. Blind is really good at doing this, but the range decrease means it doesn't kill influence on its own. A great way to solve this is to blind a model from within the protection of counter charge. Go as late as you can afford with Smoke in order to guarantee that conditions stick around for the maintenance phase, but don't be afraid to go early if you can kill influence. 

My personal roster is Smoke, Flask, Calculus, Compound, Mercury, Venin. I like mercury and Venin but any two work models will do. Mercury is great because the aura can often prevent a model that is coming into him from getting to compound to prevent the counter charge. I like Venin due to his high damage output and fantastic stat line. 

So to recap: Play compound and Calculus, pressure Ox, and prevent them from interacting with you.

-Vincent

The lineup you mentioned earlier (smoke,flask,ocalc,compund,venin,mercury), it seems great if receiving, with sticking to the bal in countercharge buble, what do you take if kicking? Feels like we need kicker (which should be a striker I guess) other than smoke, scarificing squaddie in that lineup? Retrieving ball from brisket in cover is awfull for smoke

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I play the exact same lineup when kicking. I’m actually experimenting with choosing to kick since it gives smoke last activation on turn 1. I kick with calculus, keeping her as far back as possible, and put forward no kick pressure allowing them to have the ball unmolested.

So what I am about to cover probably has a lot to do with the meta I play in and might not be correct for you. Kick pressure rarely pays off. Most of my opponents don’t give me a goal run with vitriol unless they miss a pass or something goes wrong. When they do let me have a goal it is a massive tempo loss. I go in with vitriol score my goal then they hold her hostage across the turn line giving them access to loads of momentum and last activation. This goes against smokes gameplan and gives them a lot of agency in the game. Then once vitriol comes back on she does almost nothing to support my game plan. 

The list I put forward is a 1-4 denial control list. By including vitriol or another kickoff pressure model you are shifting the list to a 2-2 shock and awe plan which the team does not do nearly as well. 

 

-Vincent 

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I see your point and I like it. I was playing a lot kicking smoke with flask,okat,venin,vitriol,crucible but found that it tends to scrum while strikers are doing nothing (mostly against beater teams, against more goal-oriented teams it works better).

Just felt that alchs will be more 2-2 oriented guild this season, strikers look quite nice and given influence can get the job done.

It will feel a bit weird for me I think, having no kickoff pressure, but I will try that, especially against beater lists. Thanks!

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17 hours ago, momentarily_inspirated said:

I see your point and I like it. I was playing a lot kicking smoke with flask,okat,venin,vitriol,crucible but found that it tends to scrum while strikers are doing nothing (mostly against beater teams, against more goal-oriented teams it works better).

Just felt that alchs will be more 2-2 oriented guild this season, strikers look quite nice and given influence can get the job done.

It will feel a bit weird for me I think, having no kickoff pressure, but I will try that, especially against beater lists. Thanks!

You are correct. Against most teams we are comfortably 2-2. One of our superpowers tho is we can pivot to 3-0 or 1-4 with nearly any list at the drop of a hat, but there's something to be said for going in to a match knowing that 1-4 is a better plan, which it is becoming apparent with the Butchers, and picking proactively for it. 

It's good to know, too, that most of us were on the right track with this match, now that we have The Word from on high. It means the way we're intuitively playing them is correct.  

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On ‎11‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 9:11 PM, TheCurkov said:

Kick pressure rarely pays off. Most of my opponents don’t give me a goal run with vitriol

And what about kicking with Crubible instead of Vitriol?

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