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Bottomdecking: Seize the Initiative

Decision: Should you play Seize the Initiative?

 Author's Note: Bottomdecking is a new series of short articles where we examine bad choices that are made by reasonable people - please note that this is not meant as an indictment of any person, it's the cards that are bad, not the people.  Mostly, Bottomdecking articles are a fun way for me to cut my workload while I'm busy with real life stuff (Getting ready for LVO, in this case), and hopefully cause a couple of people to chuckle along the way.

TL; DR: 

No; unless you play a 3-model warband, in which case: still no.

Factor: Probability

At base, you've got about a 1.6% chance of rolling 3 crits on any given rolloff for the first activation.  If you happen to place all your models first at the game's beginning, you've got a 13.2% chance of pulling three crits there - still not great.  However, we should also keep in mind that during that first activation rolloff, you've got the lowest chance of having Seize in hand (50% maximum, if you mulligan hard for it). 

Overall, in the course of a typical game, you've got a 4.8% chance to roll 3 crits (that's fewer than 1 in 20 games) during one of the "initiative" rolloffs, or 16.4% chance if you were the first to place all your models. Obviously, low model-count armies are more likely to get Seize to trigger because of this.

Seize the Initiative, however, isn't content with being only as reliable as the 1978 gremlin that your great uncle's weed dealer Buster drives around Cleveland.  Instead of simply needing to roll 3 crits on 4 dice, you also have to win the roll.  Now, that little caveat isn't a deal breaker, as your opponent is unlikely to beat you if you do manage to make the necessary rolls.  However, needing to win the roll does decrease your chance of meeting Seize's requirements by about 3 tenths of a percent on each roll.  Over the course of the game, that's going to mean you're capping out at about a 3.8% (or 15.4% if you finish placing first) chance of scoring Seize.

Factor: The Helium Problem

Generally, when we look at objectives, we look at adjunct cards that help you score that objective.  Unfortunately, there simply aren't any cards that enable Seize the Initiative.  You're entirely restricted to counting on lucky dice rolls to score it.  Literally the only thing you can do to make this card easier to score is to play a small warband and hope to finish placing your models first. 

Like Helium, Seize just doesn't go with anything.  Also like Helium, the only government approved use of Seize is to stuff it in a balloon and let it go so that it can later choke a pigeon.  Finally, if you insist on playing with Seize it will (just like Helium) make you sound like Mickey Mouse's 4 year old niece discovering puppies for the first time.  When you try to justify playing Seize the Initiative to your local playgroup, just remember that you will sound like an excited toddler desperately trying to recount a particularly complicated episode of Doc McStuffins to a bunch of trauma physicians.

Alternate Path: Aggressive Commander

If you absolutely must play an objective based on winning the initiative rolloffs, you might consider Aggressive Commander instead.  It's bad too, but not quite as bad.  After all, you're 50% likely to win any given rolloff, meaning that even without the bonus from placing all your models first, you'll go first all three rounds in about 12.5% of your games.  If you play a smaller warband, you're even more likely to be able to score Aggressive.  However, playing Aggressive Commander is kind of like choosing heroin over meth - it's still a really bad idea, but it won't rot your teeth, you bucket of spare parts.


I mean it.


  1. the fact I had to even scroll to get to the end shows just how much commitment you have towards this game. I'd have put the article as : No, Just No! Move along now.

  2. Please, tell me more about "Peerless Fighter"

    1. Peerless fighter is probably bad (I haven't done any math on it), but at least it doesn't suffer from the Helium Problem above. Potion of rage and Haymaker make it much more likely to go off. And Power Surge on Stormdaddy or Vortemis' base attack could actually make it relatively reliable.


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