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Cardiology: Stand and Shoot

Decision: Should You Play Stand and Shoot?

TL;DR: 

If you're playing Thundrik's, Farstriders, or Eyes of the Nine, it's a solid out-of-sequence attack that opens up some very tricky plays when used correctly.  Ylthari's might be able to swing this one too, but everyone else should probably pass.

Factor: Season 1 Rotation:

Lifelong GW players confronting the idea of season rotation for competitive balancing.

With the rotation of S1 universals from the competitive environment, the number of playable cards that allow for extra attacks diminishes greatly.  Most notably, Ready for Action and My Turn will be rotating out - which may leave many competitive players longing for more off-activation options that allow for taking an extra swing or two at the opponent's models.  For a few warbands, Stand and Shoot provides this kind of utility, albeit in a limited fashion.  Additionally, Stand and Shoot benefits from not being restricted, so replacing My Turn or Ready for Action with Stand and Shoot frees up one of your precious restricted slots for something else.

That said, Stand and Shoot isn't a perfect replacement for either of the S1 heavy hitters we discussed above.  It lacks the raw power of either of the two S1 bombs, and it can only be effectively utilized by a few warbands.  Which leads us to our next point... 

Factor: Boop


Only a few warbands truly have the capability to take advantage of Stand and Shoot.  Farstriders and Profiteers are obvious choices, as any of your fighters can effectively use Stand.  Eyes of the Nine definitely have enough range 3+ attacks to pack Stand if they want, and Ylthari's Guardians may be able to slip it into decks effectively.  Other than that, however, most warbands simply won't have enough long range "boops" to reliably get Stand and Shoot off.

One of the major balancing factors that keeps Stand and Shoot from ascending into the stratosphere of must-have cards is the fact that - currently at least - most Range 3+ base attacks do 1 damage.  A few, like those on Thundrik and Ylthari, can do 2 damage after inspiration, but as of right now that's the top of the line for base long-range damage.  Compared to melee powerhouses like Mollog or Fjul, these attacks definitely fall closer to the "Storm Trooper" end of the spectrum than the "Wookie Bowcaster" end.  

However, there are a few upgrades and gambits that can help turn your boops into BOOPS.  Fighter's Ferocity and Gloryseeker can both apply extra damage to long range attacks, given the right situation. Spell attacks can also take advantage of Sorcerous Flourish and Damning Pact.  If combined with warband-specific cards like Empowered Sorcery, Stand and Shoot could theoretically have Vortemis one-shotting a charging Mollog before the big fungus even gets to swing.

Factor: Tricks


Stand and Shoot certainly has its limitations, but there are a few oft-overlooked nuances that may make it worth playing.   Probably the most overlooked aspect of Stand is that the attack doesn't have to come from the charged model.  So if a ranged attacker charges your Eagle-Eye but ends up next to Farstrider to do it, you can set the star-hawk loose on him before he gets to try to turn Eagle-Eye into Left-Eye.

Second, the attack from Stand and Shoot occurs between the move and attack of an enemy's charge, so it can help satisfy the requirements of cards like Keep Chopping or Fusillade (not that anyone should play Fusillade).  The relatively unique timing of the attack granted by Stand can also lead to some tricky plays that may result in your opponent flipping the table in frustration.  For example, if your opponent throws down Determined Effort or Lightning Blow on the table before they charge, Stand and Shoot gives your fighter the bonus and strips it from theirs, since your attack happens first.  Theoretically you might even be able to bluff your way out of getting charged altogether by playing attack action buffs before your opponent's activation - just beware of the consequences if your bluff fails.

With a little help, Stand and Shoot can even serve as a makeshift Quick Thinker, letting you avoid the charge completely.  The easiest way to do this is with Duelist's Speed, but there are other upgrades that will allow you to dodge away as well.  The attack action provided by Stand can't drive back your enemy (to prevent pseudo-QT plays), but any follow up actions provided by a reaction can, so cards like Rapid Reload really sing when used in conjunction with Stand.

We also suppose you could "negate" the charge by killing the charging model - but what fun is that?

Factor: The Greatest Boop

With a little creativity and a truly ludicrous amount of luck, you can actually pull off some mind-boggling momentum shifts with Stand and Shoot.  Let's take a look at just one, using some commonly played cards and a "lightning-strikes-a-bullet-in-flight" level of improbability.

Let's say you're playing Farstriders against their release-schedule nemeses, Magore's Fiends.  It's the last activation of the last round, and you've struggled all game.  Your opponent is up 14-1 in glory, and their fully-kitted Magore is in a position to charge your very last shooty-boi.  Given that it's the last activation of the game and you've got a measly 3 power cards in hand, your opponent thinks haughtily to himself "What could go wrong?"  He passes his option to play a power card.

You spend your teeny-tiny one glory to equip an Overcharged Bolt-Storm Pistol, hoping to at least score What Armour and narrow the glory gap - seeing as how the game's deeply stupid tiebreak system is still based on glory differential.  He passes again, and so do you, preparing for the inevitable axe-shaped snack about to be delivered to your Sigmarite teeth.  Magore charges - but wait!  You slap Stand and Shoot down on the table, even knowing full-well that the 4 health Magore isn't going to care about a point of damage before he eats your ears.

Your opponent chuckles derisively, "Sure, mate..." he says, rolling his eyes.  Later on, in an implausibly detailed battle report, he'll claim that he rolled crits with both eyes.

You announce your Overpowered Boltstorm Pistol attack, and hurl 3 dice onto the field.  Sword-Single Support-Double Support (2.7% chance). Things are looking grim, but you drop Branching Fate and Warning Shot to bring the glory totals to 14-3.  You smile as you play your last power card - Rapid Volley - and pick up two new objective cards.

"Okay...." your opponent draws his words out over a smug grin, placed tauntingly between his cup of steaming tea and an "I am Brexit" baseball cap.

You pick up your dice and prepare another Overcharged Boltstorm Pistol attack; this time you roll triple crits!  What are the odds?! (0.46%)  "So, one damage then?" your opponent asks smugly.  You confirm the minuscule nature of your boop, but mention that you will also drive Magore back, preventing the charge.  As you do so, you drop Peerless Fighter, One Fate, and What Armour onto the table.  14-8.

As you draw up three fresh objectives, your opponent begins to write a W across from his name on the scoresheet, but his eyes and ornate fountain pen fall as you lay Combination Strike, Great Gains, and Hoarder on the table in front of him.  He looks at his objective hand, and a single solitary tear streams down his face.  You win, 15-14.

Now, obviously this is an improbable situation.  If you use a hypergeometric distribution to determine the chance of you drawing everything you need for objectives (0.002%) and powers (0.008%), things look quite grim.  Overall, even if you're packing all of these cards and everything lines up to pull it off and your opponent is dumb enough to charge you with nothing to gain, you'll only be able to swing this unlikely upset about none percent of the time.  Seriously.

To give you math-heads a comparison: the percentage chance of being able to pull this amazing play off is roughly equal to the percentage of a light year made up by the distance an out-of-practice American can walk in half an hour.  It's not great.  To use another analogy, you're roughly 500 times more likely to generate a perfect College Basketball top 64 bracket by throwing super bounce balls in a room full of garbage cans with pictures of mascots taped to them than you are to line up all of the coincidences you'd need to make the above haughty Brit cry into his crumpets.

Still, the chances of pulling off some of the tricks mentioned above with Stand and Shoot are relatively good, so if you've got the ranged attacks to support it, you might as well try it.

Summary:

Tricks are great, and Stand and Shoot opens up the possibility of some really tricky stuff.  However, in order for us to consider it a good pick, it's also got to perform reliably in a non-tricky situation - which it does.  If you're playing a warband that can support it, you should probably be playing Stand and Shoot.

Comments

  1. Hello
    This was a helpful article. As a beginner player I learned a lot.
    With one objection.
    Charging character cannot be driven back with the stand and shoot :-/

    ReplyDelete

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