Hello lovelies, we’re back with the first installment of what I hope to be a series of interviews from Age of Sigmar players from all over (fingers crossed people get back to me..), focusing on their playstyles.
Following up from some thoughts I had about my own I posted a week or so ago here.
My hope is to explore the subject more and give people food for thought when considering their own. Understanding yourself is key to improving basically anything you are attempting and I’ve found it very useful appling that approach to my games of AoS.
Introducing my first interviewee: Laurie Hugget-Wilde!
When I first mentioned on Twitter I wanted to see more thought given to the subject of AoS playstyles, Laurie was one of the first to chime in, expressing the same interest.
I have encountered Laurie a fair few times over my AoS career (is it a career? Sounds a bit knobby that doesn’t it?) on and off the table and I think it’s fair to say we are quite different in our approach.
He’s always had my gaming respect for his continued love of Sylvaneth, posting consistent results that have gotten him multiple Masters invites as well as a 6 Nations Captaincy for Team England despite having the smallest eyes on the scene (I thought Daryl from the walking dead had the smallest eyes I’d ever seen until I met Laurie.. ). So what better way to start the series of interviews than with my good, very articulate and well groomed friend Laurie.
Q1: Hi Laurie! How are you doing? Thanks for agreeing to share your thoughts on playstyle.
Lockdown is slowly getting to me – seems the last week it’s swapped from bearable to being quite tough! Getting not a lot of hobby done, but have just bought a new isolation army to try out contrast paints (inspired by your contrast Skinks) so hopefully that will kick start things.
When I saw your tweet I got in touch about the thoughts of adding my own two cents. With the change in the way in which Sylvaneth have played in the swap from one tome to another, it meant I had spent quite a bit of time dwelling on my playstyle.
Q2: So, tell us about your playstyle! How do you like to approach a game or army? What are the benefits of your style?
My own playstyle has a strong early doors emphasis, and the ability to scramble near the end of the game. One of the main things I’ve realised in the change to the Sylvaneth tome and in the other armies I’ve dabbled with is that I like early board presence and being able to get up on the score early doors.
The press and board coverage that I tend to gravitate towards lends itself to playing the scenario very well. If you look at my recent results (and even non recent results) I tend to have very low kill points despite good positioning. This is reflective of the armies I take that are about getting good board and point position early on and scrambling to keep control. Any scenario that relies on a number of objectives or fast movement I tend to love.
Q3: Interesting! Why do you think you like to play like this?
I think it’s a case of nature vs nurture, whether you are naturally inclined to a certain playstyle or whether your experiences have just drawn you to one. Certainly for me it seems clear that my early experiences of AoS having been so Sylvaneth focused has had a large impact on the way I like to play. This supports my view that you can ‘learn’ to play differently and develop a different playstyle – but only by accepting that you’re going to have a difficult period to begin with.
For me this realisation over the last few months has really made me consider what I’m looking for in an army. What I’m looking for is any army that gives me early control and allows me to then press that advantage. I found by looking at my personality traits (even the less favourable ones) I understood my playstyle a little more.
Q4: So, what sort of lists have you used in order to play like this?
In the old style of Sylvaneth this was quite straightforward. When the change in tome happened, I had to adjust. A lot of the new wargroves work in a very different way – Winterleaf for example focused on giving lots of damage output potential, suiting a more patient and grindy style. I didn’t get on with it. This is why I eventually settled on the Dreadwood list I came 3rd at finals with, it allowed me that ability to get up on points.
Dreadwood also identified the other element of what I like in a list, the ability to scramble in the end game. As the first part of what I look for an army normally involves me sacrificing models and units for board positions and points, I’m often in a weaker position later on. As a result I want an army that can help me claw some vital points in the final couple of turns. The teleport offered by Dreadwood offered this, whilst in old Sylvaneth it was stringing between Wyldwoods.
Q5: What do you think are the main downsides of your playstyle?
It can be very tiring! Because you tend to be relying on having gained enough points in the first few turns you very rarely tend to have ‘safe’ endings to the games you play. Instead you’re often frantically rushing across the board trying to guarantee those last few points to make your lead enough. Also mine is not a playstyle that leads to tablings – as well as being one that often leads to you having not a lot left!
You are also always going to hit certain armies that you just can’t do it against as well, which really makes it tough. I always hated old Changehost (who didn’t?) because it’s mortal wound precision damage combined with equal movement versatility made it very hard for me to play against.
Q6: Have you used any lists which didn’t suit your style? Did you have a feeling beforehand or did it come as a surprise?
There’s two really good examples of this, one really obvious one less so. I recently took a list with 24 (!) Kurnoth Hunters with bows, copied from Dan Bradshaw, to Brotherhood. It was a solid team list, but I absolutely hated playing it. It was very boring and the elements of it that were important – deployment and measuring precisely your ranges in that stage – doesn’t appeal or play to my strengths at all. Alongside that it also relies on the end game rather than anything else, which I also dislike.
A potentially more surprising one for me was that I disliked using DoK at 6N. The army was super strong, reflected in my 5-0 showing, but again it relied really on damage output and taking your opponent to pieces by the end of the game. As a result of this it didn’t really appeal to my nature of a clever board wide army that concentrated on the objectives. This isn’t to say I couldn’t do well with it, but is quite a good example of when a very strong army just doesn’t ‘sit’ right with a playstyle.
I’ve since accepted that something that requires patience and steady application of pressure, before a killing blow, is not my way. I do think this is in part because I’m not practiced with armies like this, which can lead to a cycle of similar armies. Linked to this, I also wanted to emphasise that even if you do identify and feel comfortable with a particular way of playing it can be negative to view that as the only way of playing.
Q7: What playstyles do you like to play against/avoid?
In addition to Changehost, any playstyle which pushes hard and early. I’ll happily admit to having a poor record against you, as your style of grind and push is a very good counter (that’s why, clash of playstyle, not him being a better player, no.) The army that you mention in your write up, nurgle Archaon, represents this well. It was super fast and in my face but also all very hard to kill, so I couldn’t make a dent in any of the bodies or key pieces. Not good.
In terms of likes, I like playing against players who try to spread and secure too much – if I have a player who is spreading their army across the entirety of their deployment it means I can normally pick a point to focus on and pick off whilst getting key points
Q8: Thanks very much Laurie! It was really interesting to hear your take on this. To finish off- what are your AoS plans for the future?
I’ve been considering the prospect of ‘unlearning’ my current playstyle and trying to develop a new one. If I forced myself to take a slow, grindy army (OBR or Slayers) perhaps, that is never going to get all the points on Battle for the Pass (for example), could I force myself to change the way I’d like to play? Maybe whenever GH2020 drops…
Wrapping up and what’s next!
Thank you Laurie for your time, I was looking forward to seeing a completely different take on playing AoS compared to myself and you haven’t disappointed! I’ll be watching to see how you get on relearning the game with great interest – good luck!
If you have enjoyed reading about Laurie’s take on his playstyle, or have any feedback, you’d be most welcome to leave a comment or two below.
I’m planning on doing more of these interviews, aiming for one domestic plus one international player per month for the foreseeable future. To try and build up as many unique perspectives as possible for the benefit of all (maybe…).
Next up I’ll be asking Australia’s very own Ash Mcewan. The Oz scene for me is one of the most interesting scenes to follow. Their love of using anything and everything, even in the top flights of competitive play resonates with this Bruce deeply and for me Ash is the epitome of this approach.
Lastly I would just like to thank a few people for their help recently. Firstly Laurie himself, for helping me to edit a few of my previous pieces. I’ve subjected him to many grammatical errors in the past. Also Dan from AoS Shorts fame who has always been super enthusiastic when I’ve mentioned a project. He’s helped me a fair few times as well, cheers Dan.
I’ve given these fine chaps some time off, so thanks Simon Weakley, who has kindly edited this and will be helping me with the rest of the series.
If you’ve gotten this far, you trooper, thanks for your time, I hope it was well spent.
Love Dazza x