So how do we play against the big bad wolf. Just like we play all our other matchups. Respect their threat while we whittle them down and then we mop up what is left in one big alpha. That is the general tactic of the list. There are somethings you have to respect when facing Wurmwood though, primarily his scenario threat.
Lets break down some threat ranges. With stones he can threat 18,2" with a heavy against a heavy. Not that dangerous for us since his heavies cost more then the seraph/lights we will let him take. Without stones that number is 17" and Hunters mark makes that into 19". The good thing is that this does not work on a feat turn. So you can generally get around this by forcing him to feat the turn you are close enough for him to do it.
The other number to look out for is the 20,2" from the Sentrystone. It can kill a dude and then create it within cmd 6. Then it can walk 5"( yeah I know mannikin got 6 in speed but can't move that far since it has to stay in sentrystones command) and sprey 8".
Cassius run 12" and then arc strangle hold 10". Groves move 5". So 22" and 15" respectably.
These threat ranges are in the ridiculous to the are you fucking kidding me range. So how do we deal with it :D By having our 31,6" lady work. All game long she works. Taking away the threats slowly and steadily.
Her priority list is more or less:
Cassius>Heavies>one Shifting stone in each unit>Sentry Stone>Bokur and the shamblers>what ever is left.
DeploymentSo how do we change our deployment against Wurmwood. We make sure that the Hell Mouth is in a safe position. There is no margin for error here. Our game hangs on Vayl2 doing work and there is no fucking way she can do enough work without the free arcnodes. At the same time you need the Hell Mouth to contest scenarios since the rest of your list does not always want to do it. At some boards 3 tentacles will just have to be good enough contesters. The Hell Mouth does not contest anything when it's dead.
So what ways does a wormwood player bring to kill the Hell Mouth. Usually there are Sentry Stones. Manikins charge with pow 11. So average expected damage is a point each. Same with stranglehold. Then you have the Pureblood sprey at pow 14. So not really any big threats. Until you factor in Curse of shadows. Then all of this becomes a really big deal. A single spike can then just happen to kill the Hell Mouth. So keep it out of threat and keep killing everything that can kill it.
Vayl2 top of oneI got a question about what top of one and what that meant. Top of one is first players first turn. Bottom of one is second players turn one and so on. I think this comes from magic? At least that's where I first heard it.
If Vayl2 starts you can see what your opponent decides to give you. So far no one has put everything outside of 33,6" of Vayl2. When it happens I will laugh all my way to the bank and put up occultation, admonition and boundless charge at them. What you should bolt is decided for you by your opponent.Go for the order given above. If your opponent is inexperienced with the matchup and places Cassius anywhere in the AD line you have to kill him. If you can get Cassius and two shifting stones top of one then the game is more or less over at that point. The feat will not threaten the scenario zones enough and you can just coast through.
I think there are three possible options generally. Kill a sentry stone. I do not prefer this since you can usually get them for free on turn 2. There is some value into feating to get both. This creates a problem for the Wurmwood player. He can't build the same fort Wurmwood turn 2 and might be forced into a premature feat. This since if Cassius is anywhere in the AD you can probably get him.
Second option your opponent might give you is to kill 2 shifting stone make sure to slipstream a deathstalker to shoot if you roll low on the damage. If you slipstream both deathstalkers up they can tag team a stone with 3 damaged. This puts them in the danger zone though and might not be worth it.
Put some damage into a heavy. I prefer to get the Feral> Ghetorix>Stalker. Do not bolt the Pureblood since it will just warp spellward next turn and then you cant finish it.The negative with this is that you give Wurmwood something to do with his fury. He can heal the damage you did. Leaving you without any value.
If your opponents list does not have a Gorax then I think there's some value in just putting a boosted 12 and 13 into Wurmwood. Sure he will transfer but if he wants to have 7 fury next turn he has to cut and therefor you do some damage into the heavies and he takes a couple of points. This since the expected damage into a 5/18 is a lot higher then into a 14/17. The psychological pressure that you are after his caster is usually worth something but not much. The negative thing with this is that both heavies gets to regenerate and that means we deal less lasting damage.
I think its killing shifting stones>sentrystones>dealing damage to heavy. If you get to pick among all options.
It's really important to run the AA into a threatening situation. Remember the AA is not a threat if he can stranglehold it. So do not let it happen without him having to burn his feat to survive. You can not avoid him teleporting up the tree then stangleholding you. What you can do is make sure he dies if he does it without a feat.
We win this game by killing the heavies. It's not like Wurmwood can kill a heavy alone so just getting the heavies dead is how we win the grind. There is no way we can bolt an arm21 Wurmwood to death. So burn the feat to kill a heavy. Preferable a knocked, shadow bound or flared heavy so all the spells hit and deal the expected 20 damage.
Keep Deathstalkers back and use them to contest scenario zones later in the game. If you walk them up early all you do is give sentry stones sprays value. They are models that can keep Wurmwood from scoring scenario points later in the game.
We are okay if he uses one of his tricks to kill the seraph. Then we get to kill what ever kills the seraph with our shooting and keep out of his threat. This is great value for us. Since we have more work in our lists and Admonition becomes a better and better spell the less models in the game. At the same time him using hellmouths as threat extenders costs him models.
Wurmwoods bottom of oneSo in his turn he will parry what you have done. Since you have not really left him with any choices he will just have to walk up a bit and create fort Wurmwood. Generally it looks something like this:
The three dudes killing themselves for souls and the Warpwolf you probably bolted 10 damage into regenerated some of the damage and maybe stones and Wurmwood healed him.
Note this was just me sloppily playing a Wurmwood game as proof of concept. This is not the perfect placement of fort Wurmwood. (I won the game quite easily a 20" brine is stupid as fuck)
There is some merit into feating bottom of one for a Wurmwood player but then you can just back of as a Vayl2 player so do not think that is the optimal move for Wurmwood.
Top of twoNow its our turn to let our shooting kill the sentry stones and Vayl2 keeps working on killing heavies. It is important to use the 3" backwards move with the AA. This should leave AA about 16" from the heavies We can not let two heavies get into AA or let a heavy get into AA with a curse of shadows. As long as only one heavy gets into AA without curse we should be fine.
He will generally want to feat in his turn 2 so you can keep the AA a bit more aggressive then safe. Since if he wants to do the double heavy hell mouth trick he can't feat. So letting the AA stand about 14,1" away from his heavies is usually okay but can hurt if he goes for it.
If your opponent does not respect your threat ranges you can hit him hard. The AA can charge a sentry stone and still have enough power left to rip a Warpwolf to pieces. With 14" threat you can generally force him to build fort Wurmwood so far away that it is safe to stand in the zone and contest. If the seraph can apparition and walk into the forest, apply flare to a heavy, then vayl2:s feat is generally enough to get that heavy of the table.
Remember here you are favored in the long game so just keep going and late game you will win.
Bottom of twoThis is generally when the feat happens. He uses his feat to position for a huge alpha. Generally he places his heavies exactly 10.1" away from the AA. Closer if he got the strangle hold. I repeate do not let him get an easy strangle hold. Force him to use so much fury that you can then get him with bolts, seraph and backup heavy.
Dealing with the featSo this is the important part of this matchup. How to deal with Wurmwood feat? I think there are two options here. Either you let him take scenario points or you go ham.
The let him take scenario points option is rather simple. Just stay back and let him do what he does. He will take 3 points and then you will hit him hard enough that he can never take points again. Remember to use the AA to contest your zone if you go for this option since he cant use hellmouths to drag it out so he actually have to kill it to score.
The go ham option is a bit funnier. This is something you should only use if you can not use the other option. Then you sacrifice the AA to let Vayl2 bolt and the Seraph can usually walk in and finish the heavy. Apparition, slipstream and walk 7" generally they don't want to stay out of that threat range.
An important thing to mention here is that Vayl2 can see the AA through a forest. The real reason I bring it. So you can shoot the AA and then bolt things inside 3" of it. So vayl2 can empty herself and deal a lot of damage from a safe position.
If you have played perfect and your opponent has not been able to get stranglehold on the AA you have a great option here. Run your backup heavy so that the AA can walk up throw it into 2 heavies at the same time. Then the AA use his reposition 3 skill to get within 3" of the enemy. That way you knockdown both heavies and do a pow 14 into them. This lets Vayl2 bolts and the seraphs melee deal a lot more damage into them. With the bolts earlier in the game hopefully this is enough to kill two heavies. Even if you don't get two hopefully with being kd:ed they cant deal with the AA.
Turn after feat turnSo we backed off or we went ham either way we are through the feat turn. Now it is really really important to use our models so that he can not hell mouth us out of zones while still killing heavies. After the alpha strike we hopefully have him in an impossible situation where he is only left with support pieces and no business.
Adapting to going secondThis is one of the few matchups where I feel like it is better to go second. You can still do almost exactly the same plan. Without the same threat to lose on scenario. You get up there fast enough that it does not really matter what happens. You might even get some seraph/bolt thrower shots turn 1 if he gets to far forward when building fort Wurmwood. Letting you kill sentry stones earlier.
If he goes for the top of two feat remember that you can use your deathstalkers to contest and then just keep the rest of your army safe outside of threat range. Then play the same game as before.
How does Vayl2 lose against WurmwoodSo we went over how we win, a slow and controlled grind. How do we lose this game then. There are two primary ways to lose this game. First is to get caught by one of the tricks I mentioned in the Wurmwood thing and take a heavy alpha
The other option is to not contest with enough models and get your stuff dragged out of zones and then Wurmwood scores a lot of points. So remember to keep your heavies spread and in the zones enough that a single hell mouth does not pull them out. You can also use the Legion Hell Mouth to contest scenarios rather well. Especially if there is a forest/obstruction to hide behind somewhere in the zone.
Letting him stick Stranglehold on the AA/backup heavy hurts our ability to grind a lot. You can not stop it. The threat range is just to large. So you more or less have to set it up so you punish him when he does it. Which is extremely hard to do so keep outside of 18" of the tree if you can. Before you have killed shifting stones that is. If he has to do some dark path action it costs a lot of fury. Then you might be able to get him. Even if he is arm 21 with 20 boxes. We expect vayl2 feat to do 9 boxes so if he is hanging in the wind empty we still need our backup heavy to reach him. So it's hard. This is also where 2 damage into him early sways a lot of the math about how easy it is to kill him.
Strangle hold is why I'm starting to favor the carnivean over ravagore. Spiny growth makes it a lot riskier for him to stranglehold it. At the same time the stray damage from bolts makes it risky to take d3 damage from spiny for warpwolves.