Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Game Theory: Pushers

The table is forty eight inches across, and the deployment zones take up eighteen of those (we'll handle radial scenarios some other time), leaving us thirty inches between the forces. A model with speed six, can run twelve inches in the first turn, leaving just eighteen inches between the armies. If that same unit has offensive potential, they present your opponent with a choice. If he advances more than eight and half inches, he comes within charge range, and if he doesn't he'll be left out of position. A pusher is a model/unit, that forces an opponent to advance less than he would like to. This gives you a major boost in board control, and allows you to take initiative.

In order to be a good pusher, the unit will need several abilities, but two stand above the rest: Advance Deploy/Move. If you go second, your pushers will be useless, unless they have one of those abilities, because your opponent will probably already be pushing you. If you advance deploy, the distance between your armies will be just twenty four inches, and you have the opportunity to really push, but this requires some accurate guessing. I'm not talking about guessing the right range, but guessing how far back you can push an opponent, before he goes all in.
  • You've got first turn.
  • You deploy Satyxis Raiders with AD
  • He has no AD units
  • You run them up ten inches
You're now parked fourteen inches from his deployment zone, with a unit that can reach fourteen inches with desperate pace. If you think he's just going to sit there, you're dead wrong, because you've just forced his choice. The trick with pushers is, to look at the terrain and determine, where you can make him park his army.

As a general rule, I try to reduce his general speed by an inch. It doesn't sound like much, but it really changes the way a game flows, to have him a couple of inches further from the objectives. In some cases you can push him a lot further, especially in scenarios such as killbox, but if you're not sure then stick to an inch. This means that if he has an army of predominantly speed six units, you should threaten around ten inches from his deployment zone (adjust for terrain). Most people won't put themselves in range of a charge, simply to gain two inches on the board, but you gain no matter what he does.

A pusher unit with AD and high threat, can even push before your turn even begins. Satyxis Raiders going second, can charge a target that moved more than ten inches out of his zone. This means that speed six models will need to reduce by an inch (like we wanted) and AD units will be limited to a four inch move, completely negating his AD advantage.

I hope you get the concept, because this is getting a bit text heavy. Ranged units are poor pushers, because they almost automatically end up threatening to far, and forcing your opponent forward. So what do we look for in a great pusher unit.
  • Advance Deployment
  • High offensive capacity
  • High threat range
  • Resistance to ranged attacks
  • Some way of circumventing terrain
The obvious choice in Cryx are the Satyxis Raiders. They have AD, they have power swell (giving them a round of weapon master), they have one of the longest threat ranges in the game, defense sixteen against ranged attacks, immunity to blast damage, and pathfinder. In short, they're the kings of pushing, but other units do fine. Any unit can push if you win the first round, but only a true pushing unit can do it before your turn even begins.


  1. If you count in the Satyxis Raider Captain they can push even further, with desperate pace :)

  2. It's already taken into account. AD 6", threaten 14" with desperate pace, means pushing back SPD 6 models (and any enemy AD) before your first turn even begins :D

  3. Ah ok. So you mean that SPD 6 models deployed at the very front (right in front of your Satyxis Raiders) will have to forfeit 2" of their movement if they run in your opponents first turn, to avoid being charged by the Raiders in your first turn?

  4. Exactly, and since they're AD I get to deploy them just in front of whatever I'd like to hold back.

  5. It's actually something I have never thought about before, but something I'll have to take into consideration in the future, adding it to the list of all the other things to remember in this game ^^ I guess that once you have thought about this in a game of two, during deployment and the first couple of turns, it will start to get more integrated in your play style :) At least I hope it will :)

  6. It does become easier, but since it's such a complex tool, it's hard to get it right every time.

    Assuming there's a linear obstacle exactly 12.5" inches from their deployment, they can claim cover, and the +2 defense against melee striking across it, at the same time, and suddenly our MAT 6 pushers will be the ones getting pushed instead.