As Dionysus’s followers, Maenads can decide the game by making their opponents rave. This can make their opponents lose on the second move, but at the end of the day, they are still mortals until their power triggers. So how should we take over our opponents with madness?
At the end of your turn, if your workers neighbour an opponent's worker on opposite sides, that opponent loses the game.
Whenever Maenads threatens to win by using her special ability, we shall refer to that as sandwiching the opponent. Maenads' ability only happens at the end of their turn, so if the opponent moves so that he is sandwiched by Maenads, the game continues.
If the opponent places their workers first, they must be very careful not to lose right on the second move. If the opponent starts with neighboring workers on the nine central squares, Maenads can win in the next move by sandwiching the opponent (exercise for the reader). This fact all by itself already indicates that the opponent should avoid having their workers close by. Furthermore, in order to “force” the opponents to the center, Maenads can try to build in the center, even if she is allowing the opponent into a seemingly good position. However, she must be careful not to overbuild the center. For example, if Maenads build a level 2 in C3, the opponent might build in C3 and create a dome for the rest of the game. This dome in C3 will make it harder for Maenads to sandwich the opponent.
The concept of double attack also applies to Maenads (similarly to what happens with Bia). Maenads can create a different type of double attack from most powers. She can threaten to win by moving up to a level 3 and by sandwiching the opponent. Here’s an example of a position where Maenads delivers a double attack:
Maenads play a4-b5, build A4(3), which carries two threats, moving up to B5 and sandwiching the C5 worker. Since only the B3 worker can defend A4, the game is over for the opponent.
If we associate the late game with a phase in which several domes have been built, then Maenads are much weaker in this phase (especially if the domes are centrally placed). Less squares on the board means less ways to sandwich the opponent. If Maenads cannot sandwich the opponent, they are useless.
Aphrodite “forces” Maenads to stay close to her workers, but that’s exactly what Maenads wants. Hence Aphrodite might have some trouble in this matchup.
This hero-god combo is an interesting combination and the win can go either way.
Although Maenads is in general stronger than Bia, Bia is more effective in this matchup as she can play with her workers far away from each other and Maenads will have some trouble trying to sandwich her. Moreover, if Maenads loses a worker, she is left with no power and her winning chances turn unrealistic.
This is a tricky matchup because it can end very soon. Nevertheless, Maenads stands stronger.
Europa & Talus
Europa can use Talus to keep Maenads away and also to prevent her from sandwiching herself. These factors lead to Europa being a good counter in this matchup.
Graeae has one extra worker, which means that there are more ways to sandwich the three sisters. Anyway, Graeae shouldn’t be scared of Maenads and should try to stay close to the perimeter.
It might seem that Hermes can easily avoid Maenads, but he isn’t free to move wherever he wants when he moves up or down. Therefore this matchup might not be as clear as it seemed at first and Maenads has some really good fighting chances.
Maenads just seems dumb in this matchup and Hippolyta has a clear advantage.
Who will kill who first? My bet is on Medusa, but Maenads can still try to win if she doesn’t lose one of her workers (otherwise she becomes a mortal).
It is appealing to have a power which can kill a worker, especially against a power which only works if both workers are present. However, until Theseus gets an opportunity to kill Maenads, they will be too active and it will feel like Maenads are facing a mortal. This will result in a difficult game for Theseus.
Many times it is not intuitive what the correct move is to play against Maenads, since her ability allows her to win in several configurations. Nevertheless, it is the case that many times the opponent can still go on with their plan by choosing a different route. It can be scary to play against a power which threatens to win in most of her moves, but Maenads is not overwhelmingly strong and you might find yourself preferring to play on the other end.
Tier ranking: B