Monday, October 27, 2014

Tourney Recap - Boost for a Cure 2014

Another Boost for a Cure is over, and a good one it was! For those who don’t know, this awesome tournament is a charity event run by the Dark Omen Gaming Club for a member of the local WM/H community suffering from an unfortunate malodorous malady; this year the event was to benefit the Connecticut Epilepsy Foundation in honor of Sarah McGaw, who has been an incredibly supportive helping hand in the past two years of Boost for a Cure. While this was the third year of the annual event, it was only my second year in attendance, and you can read my report of my games at the previous year’s tournament here.

Unlike last year, B4AC 2014 was a qualifying event for the Dark Omen Invitational, or DOI. In it’s first year, DOI is a Warmachine Weekend Invitational qualifier taking the top 16 players from several other New England events (this year it was East Coast Rumble and the New England Team Tournament) as well as a Last Chance Qualifier event, who will battle for not only a WMWI ticket but paid expenses for the convention as well! Pretty exciting.

Looking to at least perform better than my mediocre showing last year, and at best grab one of the three available DOI qualifier spots, I took some shiny new, teched out lists to the event. I wrote all about them and what they do in a previous post (which you can read here [linky linky]), so I won’t go into it too much but for the sake of completeness I’ll post them here:

Major Victoria Haley (*5pts)
* Thorn (8pts)
* Stormwall (Bonded) (19pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard (3pts)
* 2 Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunner (2pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord (2pts)

Lord Commander Stryker (*6pts)
* Lancer (6pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team (4pts)
Horgenhold Forge Guard (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Captain Jonas Murdoch (2pts)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)
Storm Lances (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Archduke Alain Runewood (3pts)
Captain Maxwell Finn (3pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)

Armed with some false confidence, shiny, new, mostly unpracticed lists and unfounded conviction, I set out with some friends on the long haul to Connecticut to take part in the event!

Round 1
Arriving almost fashionably late I found that I had been paired against John, playing his Khador. He’d brought some Sorscha2 and Butcher1 to the table today, and not just any Butcher1; Tier 4 Claws of the Dragon, featuring no less than 32 Iron Fangs duders! I know an anti-Cygnar list when I see one, so I expected John to drop down Claws of the Dragon and so put the Lord Commander down on the table opposite the reds. Fortunately for Stryker, Rebuke is absolutely brutal for Khador, almost completely regardless of their ‘caster choice and Gun Mages and Storm Lances give him the accuracy to punch through even Iron Fleshed models, making Stryker2 an easy anti-Khador drop. John took the Butcher of Khardov in response.

The Butcher of Khardov (*6pts)
* Devastator (9pts)
* Kodiak (8pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Great Bears of Gallowswood (5pts)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Black Dragon Officer & Standard (0pts)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Black Dragon Officer & Standard (2pts)
Iron Fang Uhlans (Leader and 2 Grunts) (7pts)
Iron Fang Kovnik (2pts)
Iron Fang Kovnik (2pts)
Manhunter (2pts)
Manhunter (2pts)

The scenario was Outflank and I won the roll the roll for initiative, choosing to go first because that’s what I do vs. Khador stuff. Unfortunately, Claws of the Dragon totally gives all the Pikemen Advanced Move, which sort of confounded my devious plans.

Turn 1, everything ran; it was pretty boring. The Lancer got up close for some sweet, sweet Rebukes next turn, ‘Lances on the right, Gun Mages and Frogs on the left. John’s IFP, starting 16” up the table thanks to the theme benefit, received Shield March and advanced, getting a lot farther than I wanted them too. Instead of the “run forward T1 and then get Rebuked” plan I wanted to enact, I had to deal with ARM 18 IFP for a whole turn!

Crappy pictures are crappy, sorry!

So, my stuff advanced cautiously, mostly staying out of Khador’s threat ranges; Stryker told off the two IFP units and the Lancer ran over to the right flank to hold down the zone on that side while a couple dwarfs put some IFP into the dirt to limit their movement. The IFP were pretty sad about being told off so harshly and durdled around for a little, waddling forward and looking confused; the right-hand IFP decided to pop Iron Zeal. The Uhlans, who had taken up residence on the right flank tried to charge the Storm Lances, but ended up being out of range, looking similarly confused.

Thunder Rolled on the subsequent turn; the Frogs rocketing into the left-hand unit of IFP, obliterating them utterly while the Pistoleers pushed the Devastator there out of the zone. The Storm Lances charged into the IFP and Uhlans on the right flank, killing most of them and using the feat movement to pull back to safety. The dust cleared and I’d scored one point on the left side.

My opponent, now bereft of most of his infantry, did as much damage as possible, killing off one of the Storm lances with a Manhunter and charging a few IFP into the Lancer, but failed to take the little ‘jack out. The Devastator ran into the left zone, only to be pushed out again by the Pistoleers while Stryker armored up and Dominated the zone, putting me at 3 points. Butcher was able to clear the right zone for two points of his own, but it was too little too late, and some more thunderbolts later Stryker had Dominated for the 5 points necessary to win!

A solid round 1; Stryker is utterly devastating to IFP-heavy Khador list archetypes, and it showed in this game. Without Shield Wall, a 13/14 statline is just not enough to keep them safe from Gun Mage shots and the zounds of POW 10s a Cygnar list comes with, which is sad for the,

1-0, on to Round 2!

Round 2

… Khador again

This time vs. Bron, a great guy I had the pleasure of meeting during the Midnight Madness at CaptainCon. He was bringing some Sorscha2 and… more Butcher action. Butcher3 this time, who is admittedly a little scarier than Butcher1 because of his personal threat; although a lack of Iron Flesh is nice to see across the table. Given that the scenario was a Killbox I expected Butcher to be the drop, so put Stryker down once again. The matchup was indeed Butcher3 vs. Stryker2 in Supply and Demand.

Kommander Zoktavir, The Butcher Unleashed (*4pts)
* Beast-09 (11pts)
* Berserker (6pts)
* Kodiak (8pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Black Dragon Officer & Standard (2pts)
Kayazy Assassins (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Kayazy Assassin Underboss (2pts)
Kayazy Eliminators (Leader and Grunt) (3pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Iron Fang Kovnik (2pts)
Kell Bailoch (2pts)

Fortunately, I love this matchup and feel that it is heavily slanted towards Stryker. I won the roll to go first and again chose to take the first turn, my opponent (ostensibly) taking the table side with a wall on it. My Frogs and Lancer went in the center, with my Lances taking the left flank and Pistoleers on the right.

Things went pretty smoothly to start with; I ran my stuff, my opponent ran most of his stuff and Shield Wall/Marched his IFP. On the top of turn 2 I got a Rebuke off on the IFP and Butcher (one dog was in front of the wall to threaten Vengeance, I didn’t kill it) and tagged a couple IFP behind the Berserker, shooting them out of Shield Wall. The Lances RBA’d into the Berserker, doing minimal damage but e-leaping two IFP and 3 Kayazy to death. Super tech.

My opponent responded by fully fueling both Beast and the Berserker, feating early with Butcher to get the FOC to Energize both of them forward. Beast beat on the Arc Shielded Lancer for a bit but decided that discretion was the better part of valor when he remembered that it was slowly killing his brain cells (“THIS IS YOUR CORTEX ON SHOCK SHIELDS!”;) and dealt little damage with 2 attacks. The Berserker wasn’t so cautious, charging into the objective, taking it out and pulverizing Watts in the process. No one was sad. We were sad that the ‘jack wasn’t vaporized in an enormous explosion afterwards, though. The IFP durdled forward and Iron Zealed to bring them back up to a reasonable armor while the Kayazy took out a Storm Lance on the left side.

There were a bunch of ‘jacks in my face, so I decided to kill them. Butcher got Rebuked again, Beast got Kissed, Pos Charge went into the Lancer and Thunder Rolled. Between the damage I’d inflicted last turn and the Berserker chassis wearing reinforced paper mache for armor, a trio of ‘Lances took the ‘jack out while another went into the Kayazy and killed two of them. Guns and a couple Frogs scrapped Beast while the Kodiak was pushed away by Thunderbolts and all-but crippled by Rolling Thunder moves. The remaining IFP were rinsed by Hand Cannons and all-but annihilated.

Surveying the battlefield in a rare moment of clarity, Butcher was struck by a shocking realization; “all my dudes are dead.” Then that moment was over and he went back to being a blood-crazed maniac, charging out from behind the safety of his reinforced, Khadoran-made command fence and slaying zounds of Cygnarans with great sweeps of Lola. Just like last game, it was too little, too late, however, as the remaining Forge Guard and shots from the Hand Cannon brigade killed the remainder of his forces and he had no way to stop Stryker from scoring a second scenario victory!

Two Butchers down and I’m 2-0 going into Round 3. I quickly take stock of the number of Cryx players remaining undefeated, fortunately there aren’t many left…

Round 3

…and I don’t hit one! This time it’s… Khador again. Yay… I was paired this round against Jeff W. a local Press Ganger and all around sweet dude. He was playing Sorscha2 and Butcher1… exciting. I drop Stryker again for obvious reasons. He drops Butcher1 just to be a troll (I assume). The scenario is Two Fronts.

The Butcher of Khardov (*6pts)
* Conquest (19pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Battle Mechaniks (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Black Dragon Officer & Standard (2pts)
Kayazy Eliminators (Leader and Grunt) (3pts)
Kayazy Eliminators (Leader and Grunt) (3pts)
Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (4pts)
Fenris (5pts)
Harlan Versh (2pts)
Iron Fang Kovnik (2pts)
Saxon Orrik (2pts)
Widowmaker Marksman (2pts)

Jeff’s list has a Conquest, which is a divergence from the lists I’ve played against previously and particularly scary given the amount of light infantry my Stryker list has. My only hope is to Feat and deal crippling damage to it before Stryker has to take it down himself, because if he does so without a high enough camp random things in Butcher’s army will absolutely put the Lord Commander in the dirt.

Again, I win the roll to go first (this is a theme that I’m not opposed to) and take initiative. I put my Lancer and Frogs in the center with my Pistoleers on the left side across from my zone to push offending dudes out of it so Stryker can Dominate more with my ‘Lances on the right side.

The Conquest pre-deployed across from my zone (so the frogs deployed to fight it) and Jeff ended up putting his IFP, Marksman, Fenris and one Eliminator unit across from his zone while another Eliminator duo and his Widowmakers deployed on my left flank.

The game started up in a pretty standard fashion; my stuff ran up and then his stuff ran up. On his first turn, Jeff decided to use the Widowmakers to try and kill as many Gun Mages as possible (that number turned out to be 0) rather than the much more juicy Forge Guard, who had Gone to Ground to try to weather the storm.

Rebuke went down on the IFP (who had received Iron Flesh) on my second turn; Jeff had played pretty conservatively so I didn’t have many attacks to make; my turn was mostly repositioning a little and taking what shots I could. Stryker received Arc Shield and chilled in the back while the rest of the army positioned for next turn.

Jeff wasted no time in jamming me as hard as possible to deaden the inevitable alpha-strike; I’d taken out one unit of Eliminators at this point, but the other ran forward to gum up two pods of Forge Guard while the IFP popped Iron Zeal and trundled forward. The Conquest didn’t get particularly lucky and only killed one Forge Guard.

Time for some Rolling Thunder! I just needed to take out the annoying Eliminators; Lynch took one out but the other proved more agile and survived. Aiyanna, out of range of the Conquest, landed a Kiss on the IFP (rolled dat ‘8’ like a bauss!), which allowed the Pistoleers to take out the IFP who’d moved up to screen the Conquest with aimed shots. Positive Charge went down on the Lancer to help me take out IFP and the Storm Lances went in, all-but wiping out the unit with their charge+follow-up attack. The Forge Guard charged into the Conquest, the 5 charges I got in dealing about 30% of its health and eliminating the last eliminator. Stryker used his Rolling Thunder movement to sneak into my zone and Dominate for 1 point!

With a lot of his infantry dead, Butcher decided to take matters into his own hands and Feated this turn, scrapping the Lancer with his beloved axe and taking out several of the Storm Lances with charges from Fenris and the remaining IFP. The Conquest was able to trundle forward to contest my zone and shoot several Forge Guard to death.

With this big Conquest in my face, I decided that needed to be dealt with immediately, so Kiss went down and I started shooting. Between 3 Forge Guard charges that rolled very well and shots from the B13, Finn Holt and pop-guns from the Gun Mages, the Conquest was scrapped before Stryker even needed to get his hands dirty! I Dominate the zone for my second point and am able to take out Jeff’s objective, putting me at 3 points.

Things look grim for Jeff at this point; he’s able to clear his zone with Fenris and Butcher while getting Mechaniks into my zone to contest, but the Mechaniks are killed and Butcher is precluded from Dominating because of Priority on my objective. Without much left to contest my zone, the game eventually grinds out to a scenario victory in my favor as Stryker Dominates my zone to 5 points!

Round 4

Not Khador this time; Trollbloods instead! This round was against Jeff Fredrickson, a very strong player from New York playing Runes of War and Calandra’s NQ Theme Force; Elemental Evolutionism, which appears to be a very strong pairing! I select Stryker2 again, expecting Runes of War and am not disappointed.

I won’t go into this game too much because I already recorded a half-hour batrep about it:

The gist of the game is that Jeff got very aggressive with his Runeshapers early and they were methodically Rebuked and killed. He used Mulg to clear his zone so I could deliver a Lancer and a couple ‘Lances to him and take him out under Rolling Thunder, but gave up most of my Forge Guard for no gain in the process. Aiyanna missed the follow-up Kiss so I could shoot an offending Earthborn off the table, so Stryker had to take care of it himself in the following round, Dominating his zone to 4 points. Unfortunately, at this point Jeff wasn’t able to contest my zone and just failed to clear his own, so his Mauler tried to trample to Stryker to kill him and ended up being short, giving me a scenario win in an extremely close game (the final score was 5-4, iirc)!

This was definitely my most difficult and memorable match of the evening, and I think both Jeff and I learned a ton from our game! Now that I’m 4-0, it’s onto the finals with me!

Round 5

I’m paired up against Matt Cole, Mod_Gemini from the forums and the only other undefeated player at this point in the tournament. He’s playing Protectorate with Kreoss1 and Feora2 and opts to take Kreoss1 against my Haley2:

High Exemplar Kreoss (*5pts)
* Redeemer (6pts)
Avatar of Menoth (11pts)
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Exemplar Errants (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard Bearer (2pts)
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios (3pts)
Exemplar Errant Seneschal (2pts)
Initiate Tristan Durant (3pts)
* Reckoner (8pts)
Nicia, Tear of Vengeance (3pts)
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord (2pts)
The Covenant of Menoth (2pts)
Vassal Mechanik (1pts)
Vassal of Menoth (2pts)

Talking about the matchup with Matt later we determined that Feora probably would have been a better drop against Cygnar; Kreoss has Purification, which is annoying, and his assassination potential is strong, but Feora has the raw hitting power and anti-infantry capability with her bonded Judicator to play a very strong game.

Unfortunately, this game wasn’t a particularly climactic final table; it was super late, the scenario was Process of Elimination and despite winning the initiative roll and choosing table side, Matt neglected to check the Kill Box when selecting his board edge.

The first two turns went as expected; Errants deployed on my left, the Avatar on my right. I put my Pistoleers on the hill to my left and SBI on my right with Haley’s BG taking up the middle. Stuff ran forward early and I was able to alpha pretty hard on my second turn, shooting Defender’s Ward off of the Errants and laying into them with Pistoleers. Haley Feated and Dominated forward Tristan’s Reckoner, allowing the Stormwall to punch it to death and fry many of the surrounding Errants with e-leaps.

This being his second turn, Matt moved Kreoss forward and measured his killbox, discovering that the wall he’d wanted to hide Kreoss behind was just a little too far back to get behind, so Kreoss was forced forward in front of the wall… and a Stormwall. He got shot to death the next turn.

That put me at 5-0 and the victor of Boost for a Cure 2014! Despite the quick final round, the day was super awesome and all my opponents put up a good fight (Round 4 was especially difficult and I was sure that I was on the back foot throughout most of the game!). A HUGE thanks to the Dark Omen crew for putting on an event that is both for a great cause but also incredibly fun AND a competitive tournament that represented some of the toughest players in the NE meta! With this win, I automatically qualify for the Masters event at the Dark Omen Invitational... but that is a story for another time (so stay tuned!). I hope you all enjoyed this battle report and encourage everyone in the NE area to think about coming down to B4AC next year!

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