Welcome to the first article with real content in the series. As I mentioned in the Introduction, this article will be concentrating on controlling your opponent through denial. To be precise, we will concentrate on denying options here rather than denying board space which will be covered in another article.
There are certain ways to deny an opponent some of his options,which I will breakdown here. The article cannot cover all pieces, but I will give you some examples.Taking away options with debuffs
The first possibility for denial is directly taking away options from your opponent by using certain debuffs. The masters of this are Cryx in my opininon. Pistol Wraiths can force you to either forfeit movement or action and you cannot shake it. Cryx can also take Gorman, whose black oil bomb will do the same thing with the added effect of not being able to make ranged attacks and suffering a penalty to DEF and MAT. Knocking models down or making them stationary also falls into this category but is shakeable and therefore not as strong as the other two options.
Another way of directly taking away options, but only works for Jacks, is disrupton. Without any focus, they usually can’t charge, run or make power attacks. Crippling Grasp is similar, has some more effects and works on all models. The strongest contender here might be Absylonia’s Blight Field spell. She can deny you Focus allocation and forcing in any area in her control zone and therefore can deny you charging and running, or put it on one of her Beasts and deny you from boosting and buying attacks.
Another way of denying option is engaging ranged elements of the opposing army. While this will not work on colossals or Weapon plattforms, most ranged units will not be able to do much damage unless they free the unit up or take free strikes as the unit leaves combat. This is really good with Blackbane’s Ghost Raiders when the enemy doesn’t have many magical weapons. Freestrikes will make your raider corporeal, but most of the time he will spawn a new one, netting you with zero losses.
Then there are feats who will deny your opponent options, either by forbidding you to do something, doing damage that will certainly kill your stuff or giving you a SPD debuff so you cannot charge. The feats I can think of off hand are: Skarre2 (but she will be often using it buffing her stuff), both versions of Deneghra, Haley2, Harbinger, Old Witch, Gorten, Krueger2, and Grim.
If you are facing a list which builds on these things, there are some ways around it. The easiest thing to have is a ranged heavy list with good abilities to clear out the engaging stuff. Gorman’s black oil bomb is the only thing to really hinder your shooting. Deathchill and Crippling Grasp will not prevent you from shooting. Most of the control feats mentioned above also still enable you to shoot. As a Warmachine Player, you should also bring Power Booster to get rid of Disruption and to give the Blight fielded jack one focus, so it can boost something from its shot.
Another thing to do is killing the important pieces. A dead Pistol Wraith will not deathchill anything and Deneghra usually wants to channel Crippling Grasp, so kill her arcnodes.Taking away options through buffing
Buffing your own stuff can also take away options from your opponent. The most obvious thing here is the protection from either shooting or magic on jacks by using the choir of Menoth. Enliven from the Vassal of Menoth also falls in this category. Enliven really takes away the option of just charging in, because the jack will just leave and wreck your face back in the Menoth player’s turn.
A spell to look for here is Admonition, which is kind of a better version of Enliven.
Some options are not as obvious. They do not take away options directly, but can make certain things unviable. Stealth helps against non-AOE or non-Spray shooting that does not ignore it. Defender’s Ward + Krea Animus + Shield Wall on Cetrati makes shooting against them really unviable (DEF 16 ARM 24 against shooting). Iron Fleshed Kayazi are DEF 19 against melee and this is also one example where most things wont kill them.
Another example is Purification. Purification denies your opponent their defensive upkeeps for 3 focus or fury points. It is certainly an investement, but losing a 19 Point Stormwall because Arcane Shield was stripped off also really hurts.
This field of buffing up is a very wide field and these are only a few ways of denying options to your opponent.
When playing against this, you have to be creative. High DEF can be killed with AOEs most of the time, high ARM often needs melee to be dealt with. Enliven is counterable by either running infantry into position so that the Jack can’t leave, or triggering it by doing some damge by shooting (often you’ll need a magic weapon because of the hymn). Admonition can be stripped or you have to force him to trigger it by boxing him in with infantry. To get around Purification you either have to threaten the caster so he cannot advance forward, or forbid spells altogether.
That wraps up the denial part of the series. Feel free to ask any questions about it in the comments.
The next article will be about board control.