Scenario Breakdown: Drop Some Knowledge
In this ongoing series on scenarios, I’ll share my thoughts on each scenario. We’ll consider the scenario’s effect on Deployment, the BattleLadder, the End Phase, and each champion.
Knowledge is a very weird scenario. People tend to have strong feelings about it one way or the other. It is the only scenario where the end phase rules do not alter the objective hexes. Instead, the player who wins each turn is penalized with a shorter Battle Ladder. As the game progresses, end phase steps gain importance relative to plot and clash phase steps. As a result, Knowledge is all about protecting banners.
This is easily the best scenario for guardians. Knowledge is a knife-fight over a postage stamp. The most resilient warbands with the best tools for keeping banners on the board have the advantage. That's not exclusively guardians, but the blues dominate this scenario like no other.
There are non-guardian things which matter in Knowledge as well. Since there is no way to alter the placement of objectives through the scenario rules, warbands which can do this using their skills enjoy an advantage on Knowledge. Since things get bunched up rather quickly, champions with place mechanics will have more freedom of movement than those with high speed stats. The ability to reposition emeny models is also very useful. Although you can't score as many steps from KOs as the game goes on, there is quite a bit of combat in this scenario because the map tends to bunch models together.
Here is the losing player bonus:
In the end phase of each turn, the player who won the turn moves their warband token a number of steps closer to the middle of the battle ladder equal to the number of victory points they just won.
Winning a turn causes your side of the Battle Ladder to shrink! The more VPs you have, the lower your score ceiling gets. The ladder only starts at 8 steps, so you feel the squeeze quickly. This effect is cumulative and permanent throughout the game. This means that in turn 5, if a single guardian has a safe banner and the opponent does not have any safe banners, all clash phase scoring is meaningless.
We've got two lanes which are very far apart. This is a tough scenario for lane-changing. The objectives are in a unique double slash pattern which puts each objective hex 2-4 hexes from the edge. We're on strictly back row deployment. The closest objectives are only 3 hexes away from the deployment zones, though, so a lot of champions can claim on turn 1.
It's only 8 hexes and shrinking fast. Only Quest and Chaos have shorter starting ladders. Champions who like to score lots of steps during the turn will be sad. Sorry, Maelstroms.
This is the scenario where Guardians really dominate. Knowledge is possibly the most specialized scenario of them all.
Finvarr - Yep! He'll have a great time pushing and snaring. This is a scenario where his ability to reposition banners will really shine.
Halftusk - This is a great time for the Troll. Knowledge tends to be a close range slug fest, so the regenerating brawler will be right at home. The Froglodytes will probably deny some claim actions by clogging up the already tight objective lanes.
Helena - This is probably the best Helena scenario. Her weakness is that she can't score very many steps in the plot and clash phases. That matters less in this scenario than any other. When you really need a safe banner in the end phase, the uncrushable banner is a good thing to have.
Jaak - He'll probably want to team up with another champion in his lane so that his healing abilities really shine. Jaak's speed is maybe less useful here than in other scenarios, but he'll still be very good. His ranged claiming allows him to be one of the rare champions who can change lanes in this scenario.
Mourneblade - This is a good but not ideal scenario for MB. The Knightshades will cause a lot of problems for opponents as usual. He also has lane-changing potential in Knowledge, which has value. His Undying trait matters less here than in other scenarios.
Rodhri - Yes, please. Rhodri loves Knowledge. Bannerfall is devastating in this scenario. No one wants to be in a war of attrition with the games toughest dwarf.
Blackjaw - So sad. The big, explosive Firestorm can't help you in the late turns. He can't get KOs or protect banners well. Look for other options.
Grimgut - Nah. The Retchlings can clog up approaches. It will be ahrd to get Rolls off, though given the way the board is laid out. He's also too squishy.
Jeen - She can change lanes and help reposition, which helps in the all important banner game. Her lack of offense is less important here. Her ultimate is great in this scenario. She is a bit too killable, though.
Luella - Not great. Luella relies less on big scoring explosions than other Maelstroms, so maybe she can drip feed you 4 steps per turn and help that way. Linear moves are hard on this board, though, and she relies on them.
Titus - Not terrible, I guess. He's too killable for this brawl of a scenario, but Roar of Battle will be great. He can certainly pack a punch.
Kailinn - Nope. Do not bring her. Banners are everything in this scenario and she cannot crush them.
Raith’ Marid - We are sad to report that Raith is elite in all scenarios. Undertow is wonderful in Knowledge. He has place mechanics to get past enemy banner defenses. Tsunami will still win you a turn. He's surprisingly durable, even in a slugfest. As usual, the wet dragon is excellent.
Lilly - This is is just speculation, but I love Lilly here. I admit I have never played Lilly on Knowledge. She is new! She does look to do well here, though. Her ability to pull a hex away from the cluster will be very useful. Nature's Visage will also be huge when things start to bunch up, as they usually do on Knowledge. Her ultimate could be devastating, particularly in the late game.
Nia - This is a good spot for her. Growing hexes is very nice for creating safe banner spaces. Safe banners win Knowledge games.
Rattlebone - I can see it. Speed blights are good. Her lack of offense matters less here. Her ultimate will probably affect a whole lane.
Shayle - Oh yeah. Avalanche is crucial in this scenario. Earthquake will also keep banners safe. Safe banners are what you need.
Styx - This is a good Styx scenario. Haunt is amazing on Knowledge. The Reaping will also save a banner. The Hounds' ability to threaten banners from multiple angles shines on this scenario.
Keera - Not great. Her lack of banner crushing will matter. Her team's attack volume is normally a strength, but this scenario de-emphasizes it. This scenario involves getting up close and personal, which Keera detests.
Lorsann - Nah. Her banner crushing will be nice, but she's too soft for this rock fight.
Maxen - Not terrible. Scavenger is good when people protect their banners from conventional crushing attempts. He can dish out some pain and cheekily re-position at range. He can't really get on banners well or take too many hits, though.
Morrigan - Sure! With the right boons, I can see it. With the amount of beefy champions that see the table in Knowledge, I bet you could even throw a lucky snowball. Her ultimate will be really devastating.
Rangosh - Yeah. This scenario involves getting in each other's faces. Do you want to be in Rangosh's face? Probably not.
Sneaky Peet - This is a good Peet scenario. Leap will work wonders, and his dodge-tank style will make him really hard to take down for some champions. The matchup will be key, but when isn't it?
Skullbreaker - Hes good here. This is another champion you really don't want to get next to. Skullbreakier excels at area denial, and area denial is the name of the game on Knowledge. His ability to walk through followers helps, too.
This is a very weird scenario, but it's also one you can't ignore. In draft formats, Knowledge is less of an issue because you can select a team well-suited to the conditions. In a fixed list format, this is a scenario that can really flummox someone with a generally good list that didn't have Knowledge in mind. When putting together a fixed list for a tournament, I always try to know who my 3 will be on Knowledge. This scenario probably skews your list building more than any other.
That doesn't have to be a bad thing, though. The diversity of scenarios is an asset to the game. If you embrace it, Knowledge can be power!