Skip to main content

Cardiology: Distraction

Decision: Should You Play Distraction?

 

TL;DR:

Almost Certainly.

Factor: Opening and Closing Distance

Perhaps the most obvious use of Distraction is to open or close distance between models.  Simply put, Distraction effectively increases the range of one of your attacks by 1, or decreases the range of your opponents' attack by one.  As we will find in many cases throughout this article, this effectiveness of Distraction here correlates directly with the skill of the player playing it; this effective change to range can be utilized either as a 1-time effect to set up a single attack or as a multiple use effect.  For example, if you use Distraction to push a model into charge range, you get to make one attack against that model that you wouldn't have been able to make normally.  However, if you use Distraction to push a model adjacent to one of yours, you may get to make several attacks that you normally would not have been able to make.  If we compare Distraction to, for example, Commanding Reach, we'll find that Distraction is the better card in almost every way. 

Similarly, using Distraction in different ways may result in avoiding a single attack or many.  Again, when compared to a card like Darkness Descends - which has the potential to save you from a single attack - Distraction handily comes out on top in almost all situations.

Distraction's effect is simple, and to an extent it may feel small.  However, it's important to remember the range of the card's usefulness expands with experience and play skill.  The better you get at Shadespire, the better Distraction will feel to you.

Finally, it's worth noting for this particular use of Distraction that warbands with lower movement scores benefit more from Distraction than faster warbands.  This is simply because Distraction's push represents a greater change in relative board state for slower warbands than faster ones.  For example, Distraction represents a 33% increase in effective charge range for a petitioner (3 to 4), while it represents only a 14% gain for Skritch (7 to 8).

Factor: Lethal Hexes


If you (or your opponent) are fond of using boards that have lethal hexes, you gain additional utility from Distraction, as you can use it to push models into them.  In the example board above, you can use Distraction to push any one of the dopey dwarves into the fire.  This board represents what is probably the highest degree of utility for this strategy, as the 16 "dopey" hexes make up 42% of the total occupiable hexes on the board!

The other lethal-hex boards represent less utility gain on this front for Distraction players, but still provide options for pushing models from dopey hexes into lethal hexes, as follows:




9 dopey hexes: 25%



10 dopey hexes: 28%







12 dopey hexes:  31%



One last thing: don't plan to use this strategy against the Thorns of the Briar Queen, you cup of baby carrots; you'll get laughed at.

Factor: Objective Disruption

With the recent rise of "mid-range" decks that tend to play passively in the early stages of the game then come out swinging with highly upgraded models later on, early game objective disruption is more important than ever.  Many of the passive objectives used by these kinds of decks are positional, and can be disrupted with Distraction.

Some of the most obvious choices for this kind of disruption are power objectives like Supremacy and Extreme Flank, but there are many other objectives that can be disrupted with Distraction.  There are so many, in fact, that it's easier to provide a picture than a list.  So, courtesy of Underworld's Deckers, here's a picture, and a link!


For those of you who are curious, that's 32 objectives that are easily and clearly (no intricate machinations required) disrupted by Distraction - representing just shy of one quarter of all the universal objectives!

Factor: Adjuncts


In addition to disrupting your opponent's game plan, Distraction can also be used to set up a few objective scores of your own.  Denial and Contained immediately spring to mind, as they are heavy hitting 3-glory scores in the 3rd end phase.  However, just like with the disruption strategy, there are a lot of objectives that get a boost from Distraction.  Once again, I've included a link and picture rather than attempting to list them all:


Please note that, contrary to prior policy, I've included cards like Ploymaster and Master of War here.  Normally, I don't consider these cards to form "combos" with most ploys, because literally any ploy will work (Spoils of Battle and Master of War being an exception).  However, I'm including them in this case because Distraction is so easy to play, that you'll never end up holding on to it if you don't want to.  Unless you've killed literally every enemy model - in which case you're probably not worried about scoring Ploymaster - you always have a target for Distraction.  In total, the above objectives represent 17% of all of the available universal objectives (23/132).

Alternate Path: Sidestep


Comparison of Sidestep and Distraction is damn near impossible.  They're both so versatile and flexible that there are nearly infinite situations in which they could each be used.  However, for simplicity sake, we can examine the above mentioned factors to some extent.  For starters, Sidestep will open and close distance in essentially the same manner as Distraction, so we can call them equal there.  Sidestep can't be used to push enemy models into lethal hexes, but it can be used to bail your model out of dopey hexes, so it's probably a wash there too.  As for adjuncts and disruption, we could essentially switch the two lists and maintain a fair degree of accuracy; Sidestep is less useful for disruption, but more useful for helping you score your own objectives.

In the end, it's that last factor that should determine which you play.  If you're more concerned with scoring points (Goblins) or moving your own models into specific places (Farstriders/Dwarves), you should probably play Sidestep.  If you are more concerned with preventing your opponent from scoring (Defensive Sigmar) or pinging damage (Cursebreaker Spellswarm), you should play Distraction.  But honestly, you should probably play both.

Summary:

Distraction is a fantastically flexible card that can fit into literally any deck.  While it may, at first, appear as filler for this reason, we don't think it's an exaggeration to say that you really should be comparing literally every other ploy you choose to it; when you select a ploy for your deck, ask yourself :"Is this ploy really more useful to me than Distraction?"  We think you'll find that most of you will end up answering that question with a "no" at least once in your decks.

Comments

  1. Should you play 2 distractions though? (Universal and fraction one for warbands that have it)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think again, the question to ask is: Will X card serve me better than Distraction? If you can answer no for 2 of your cards, play 2x Distraction. =)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Cardiology: Double Feature! Branching Fate/One Fate

Decision: Should You Play Branching Fate/One Fate? TL;DR: Do you stride far? Then you should probably be playing Branching Fate.  Other warbands with high dice counts should consider playing Branching as well.  If you can manage to regularly roll 3 magic dice on spell attacks, One Fate is quite good.  Otherwise, pass on it.
Prelude:Double Feature! This week we're taking a look at two different cards for Cardiology; rest assured this departure from standard operating procedure is for good reason.  Namely, the math required to analyze One Fate is very similar to the math required to analyze Branching Fate.  We couldn't see a reason to stretch the same work into two articles, so this week you're getting a two-for-one special.
Factor: Warband In order to score either of the Fate objectives, you've got to be rolling three or more dice on attack or defense.  Rolling three dice on attack is pretty common (defense - less so), but some warbands definitely come naturally better eq…

Special: Las Vegas Open Recap

SPECIAL: LVO RECAP
So the Call It Shadespire playgroup headed out to play in the Las Vegas Open last weekend, and this article will focus on our experience there!

Factor: The People I want to start out by saying that the people playing Shadespire at the convention were - universally - awesome.  Everyone there seemed out to have a good time, and all of my matches were fantastic, no exaggeration.  I'd like to give a special shout out to the Canadians there - especially Sam, Justin, and Kaptain Murder - who were all friendly to the Albuquerque crew, even putting up with our appropriation of Canadian culture in our team names (on Friday we were LETTERKENNY, on Sunday we were DIRTY DANGLES). 

My opponents were all super cool, and I honestly had a blast every single game.  It's been a long time since I played a tournament and didn't have a single game that felt bad.
Factor: Las Vegas
For real, hanging out in Las Vegas involves a lot of walking - and this is coming from a nurse.  …

Cardiology: Hunting Aspect

Decision: Should You Play Hunting Aspect? TL;DR: It really sucks to say this, but probably not.
Factor: The Numbers At first glance, this card is incredible.  Numerically, it's out of this world; no other card gives four characteristic points.  Essentially, Hunting Aspect combines Great Fortitude, Great Strides, and Enchanted Collar into a single card.  Let's take a closer look at what those stat points actually do for us.

To start, Hunting Aspect hits us with +2 move.  Lighaen - the only legal target for Aspect - starts with 5 move, so Aspect will bump him to a truly impressive seven move.  This allows you to move Lighaen from almost anywhere on the board to almost anywhere else.  This point is probably better made with a visual representation.  Let's say your beginning setup looks something like this - with your hunters represented by the blue circles and Lighaen positioned in the back. 


This kind of setup would allow us to play very aggressively with the hunters, all…