Recently I participated in a Warmachine Weekend Invitational Qualifier event run by the awesome folks from the Dark Omen gaming club, aptly named the Dark Omen Invitational (or DOI).
Originally, there were supposed to be a bunch of qualifiers for DOI, but a bunch of plans fell through, the sky fell and stuff got cancelled or re-scheduled. As it turned out, the top 3 from the New England Team Tournament (held at CaptainCon this year) as well as Boost for a Cure (I won that one too, you can read my sweet write-up about it here) as well as the top 10 from a 62-person LCQ event run the day before the actual Invitational made it into the event. I’m not going to lie, I got super scared by the showing of Factions in the Masters event; there were a TON of Cryx and Trollbloods and all I could hope was that those two Factions beat each other senseless so I could swoop in and take the prize. As bad as it was, that was plan A.
Being a Masters event, the DOI was a 3-list, D&C 1 deal, which is not one of my favorite formats. Having a 3rd list opens up all sorts of weird list-chicken issues and usually puts a 3rd Warcaster with which you have less experience on the table, which you are forced to play. I have an awkward habit of locking myself into my 3rd list in Round 4 and crapping out in the final round (another spoiler alert, I did that again). The first two lists I opted to take are from my standard SR pairing (which you can read about here). The third was some super secret tech and a bit off the wall; it features Major Markus “Siege” Brisbane, not my favorite Warcaster ever, and a bunch of random duders.
Major Markus 'Siege' Brisbane (*5pts)
* Centurion (9pts)
* Defender (9pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
Gastone Crosse (3pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)
Trencher Master Gunner (2pts)
There’s a bit of a Deneghra epidemic in the Northeast meta, and both Deneghras are championed very hard by a couple extremely strong players up here. Unfortunately, that sucks for me because I keep unceremoniously getting my own ass handed to me by them. I decided to take a stand; “this stops now!” I said to myself and the creepy spiders that live in my apartment, and asked my best buddy Jay from Chain Attack to help me out; together we put together this weird list to take the fight Denny. The only real tech is that Siege kills the crap out of Deneghra all the time and can threaten the same with Warcasters like Asphyxious2, which helps keeps those ‘casters honest. The rest of the list is just really good at killing Cryx stuff.
While it was a little cobbled together, Siege did pretty well in my practice games, beating Cryx several times even in difficult matchups, so I felt pretty good about my trio. After spending a day helping the DoGC dudes run their LCQ, it was time to throw dice!
Caveat Emptor; I was a little too busy exterminating endangered species and purging the unclean to take lots of pictures this weekend, so most of this post is just going to be bland and uninteresting walls of text.
I got a little nervous when pairings were announced; there was a lot of Cryx in the field and even with my super secret Siege tech I didn’t want to play against them. I relaxed a little when my opponent was announced; not Cryx. Still scary, though; I was playing Paul Yaeger, a player who’d qualified from the LCQ the previous day and his zealous Menites! Paul was bringing Kreoss1 and Harbinger with some pretty standard lists, but I zeroed in on the Reznik1 list he’d pushed to the back of his trio. Reznik1 is a pretty strong Warcaster in the Cygnar drop because mainly of how hard he stops a lot of Haley2’s shenanigans via Witch Hound, can feat trade effectively with her and threaten a lot of other popular anti-Protectorate drops (like Siege) with his personal threat range. I dropped Haley2 anyway because she’s A. my favorite Protectorate matchup and B. so retardedly powerful that she confounds attempts to tech against her. In hindsight I think Stryker could have played this particular matchup just fine, but I did want to save him for later. Here’s Paul’s list:
High Executioner Servath Reznik (*6pts)
* Devout (5pts)
* Devout (5pts)
* Reckoner (8pts)
* Templar (8pts)
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Visgoth Juviah Rhoven & 2 Honor Guard (4pts)
The Wrack (3 wracks) (1pts)
Vassal Mechanik (1pts)
Vassal Mechanik (1pts)
Vessel of Judgement (9pts)
Temple Flameguard (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* Temple Flameguard Officer & Standard (2pts)
Exemplar Errant Seneschal (2pts)
This is a pretty scary list without the benefit of Telekinesis or Dominate to get rid of those pesky Shield bonuses on Paul’s Warjacks; Witch Hound making most of my offensive spells pretty useless means that the Choir can sing Passage instead of Shielding with impunity, and Haley would have to spend her Focus buffing her troops instead of slinging spells at my opponent, which usually works out just fine.
The Scenario was Balance of Power, which I was a little sad about considering that a scenario win as a late game plan would be extremely difficult. Paul won the roll for initiative and chose to take the first turn, deploying his Vessel in the center of the table, the Templar and TFG on (my) right, Reckoner and Devouts on the left. He started by running things forward haphazardly.
Judging by how far the Vessel had moved this turn (it’s full distance), I knew the Stormwall could shoot this turn, so I kicked the Squire, dumped 3 into it, Accelerated it and Decel’d. My troops all ran up, spreading out to try and mitigate the effectiveness of the Vessel’s Admonishers; the SBI on my right across from the TFG and Pistoleers on my left. Eiryss went on an extreme flanking maneuver to the far right and missed a TFG. The Stormwall laid into the Vessel with his guns, the Devouts Shield Guarded two of the hits, one big damage roll ripping the shield off one of them the third dealing a little damage to the Battle Engine itself.
Paul spent another turn running stuff forward, the Vessel blew up a Stormblade and caught a second one with the Admonisher, vaporizing 2 dudes, the Mechaniks repaired the Vessel for a little and the TFG received the Shield Wall order and popped their mini-feat.
The Reckoner had advanced a little this turn, and with how far up the Stormwall had advanced in this previous turn I judged that I was in range to punch it; the Devouts were a little in the way, though, so some Thunderbolt shots from the Pistoleers lined them up nicely and killed a few Choir with Sniped for good measure. Haley pumped 4 Focus and Acceleration into the Stormwall again and Feated, catching just about my opponent’s entire force in her control. The Stormwall sprinted into melee, but I wasn’t sure on the distance to the Reckoner, so I opted to charge one of the Devouts instead, figuring that even if I missed on the Reckoner I could take the two Lights out as consolation. Reach was good on the heavy, though and some stellar dice (two sets of boxcars for damage on the big guy!) put both the Reckoner and Devout into the dirt! To add insult to injury, I podded over even more Choir boys. Last but not least, the Stormblades Assaulted into the Vessel, dealing nominal damage.
Under Temporal Shift this turn, Paul’s army durdled for the most part. Unable to escape the melee range of the Stormwall his Vessel was unable to shoot but his remaining Devout took some swings at the Stormwall and did a little damage; I made a mistake and allowed Reznik to activate first and Ignite the little guy, dealing even more damage! Reznik Feated to deny my Stormwall Focus and the TFG reinstituted their Shield Wall.
My turn again! With no Focus to allocate, it was time for Haley to start slinging spells! The Stormwall took a free-strike from the Devout to get out of dodge and survive another turn, shooting at the Vessel and dealing a little more damage. The SBI Assaulted again, this time under Deadeye from Haley, who put a boosted Time Bomb into the Vessel (one of the only things I could actually throw spells at) and putting more damage on it while the SBI finished it off with Assault shots and a couple charge attacks. Eiryss took a shot at the Templar to disrupt it.
With my Stormwall safely back on my side of the table, Paul had little recourse but to continue advancing, his troops taking out the majority of the remaining Stormblades but failing to kill Thorn, who was staunchly holding the zone against the surge of advancing Menites.
With one and the heavy dead, I was pretty sure that my Stormwall had the ability to close this game out, I just needed to shut down the one heavy long enough for my ‘wall to get in there and punch him. Unfortunately, I was running kind of low on time and my real win condition wasn’t exactly clear yet. I might be able to close the game with the Stormwall but I’d probably need to kill Reznik before I ran out of time. I contented myself with filling up Thorn with Focus, taking a couple of shots with the Stormwall at the Devout, inflicting some serious damage before sending the little guy in to scrap the other light and knock the Cortex out of the Templar while Eiryss and the Pistoleers killed off the remainder of my opponent’s Choir. The last Stormblades received Deadeye and made one last, heroic charge into the TFG and one last rash of good rolls killed off several of the Menites with their gun’s blast damage, despite needing 11s.
I thought that my stuff was pretty safe this turn; Reznik was cowering like an infant from Eiryss, and the Templar had no Cortex, so what could go wrong, right? Nope! I’d forgotten about the Reclaimer! With two Mechaniks still lurking around the back field, Paul was able to put the Templar’s Cortex back on line and fill him up with Focus with the Reclaimer’s souls! Whoops! This easily could have been avoided if I’d just settled for just disrupting both Warjacks rather than scrapping the little guy and knocking the Templar’s Cortex out; a single swing from the spear would have made this a non-issue, but I got big eyes. Silly me.
Fortunately, Paul’s dice came to the rescue, and the Templar rolled two boosted 7s in a row for damage! While that was pretty bad, a solid shield hit combined with the other damage the Stormwall had accrued over the game stripped it of its right side weapons systems. Not to be outdone, Reznik camped a couple Focus and finished Thorn off while the TFG killed the remaining Stormblades.
With Reznik up in the mix, I needed to try to finish the game this turn before he ate my Stormwall alive, so Haley filled the big guy up with 4 Focus and Accelerated him, but my Gun Mages were too far up to Deadeye, so Haley ended up charging her Squire for some imagined slight, scrapping the little bugger and successfully Deadeyeing the Gun Mages. One of the Lightning Pods my Stormwall had littered the board with previous was in melee range with Reznik, so my Gun Mages tried to shoot it to death, but the stupid thing refused to die! 3 shots later, the I finally started Thunderbolting Reznik out of the Wreck markers he’d been hiding in, but pushed him too far and he engaged a second pod! That one as well proved two tough for the Pistoleer tasked with killing it, but Junior game to the rescue with the bellowing sound of trumpets, Arcane Bolting the offending piece of detritus with panache. With that Eiryss took a shot at the Executioner, stripping his Focus but dealing no damage when I opted not to Sniper. Lastly, the Stormwall activated and lit up the big Menite… leaving him on one box when the smoke had cleared. If only I’d Sniper’d!
That was all my firepower, but Reznik needed to put the Stormwall in the dirt this turn or things were going to go badly for him. The last two TFG CMA’d Eiryss to death and the Templar got another turn of wailing on the now Arcane-Shield’less Stormwall… leaving it alive. Unfortunately, Reznik couldn’t risk another round of shooting from the big guns, so he decided to finish it off himself. While heroic, that move put him dangerously close to Haley, who, put his head on her spear after a TK into charge range.
*Whew!* What a game! While I admit that I rolled very well several times during that game, Paul played through it and very nearly took the game from me. If I hadn’t been able to deal as much damage to Reznik as I had the previous turn, things could have gotten much worse for me. It was a great game, and I hope Paul and I get a chance to play another time when dice don’t hate him as much.
This round I get paired up against Alex Buganski, fellow Cygnar player and Dark Omen member. He’s bringing Haley2/Stryker2/Haley1 to the table, and given that he’d put down Stryker in his previous round, I was expecting Haley2. Without my trusty Darius to save me I wasn’t really sure what to drop; Haley2 is a solid play but the scenario (Destruction) had a Killbox in it so I wasn’t too happy with that. I dropped Stryker, because he had enough late-game potential that Haley sometimes has trouble dealing with him, especially with the list archetype Alex was bringing, which included a Stormclad and Thorn:
Major Victoria Haley (*5pts)
* Thorn (8pts)
* Stormclad (10pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team (4pts)
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard (3pts)
* 1 Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunner (1pts)
Anastasia di Bray (2pts)
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios (3pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord (2pts)
Stormblade Captain (2pts)
I won the roll to go first despite Corbeau and gleefully chose to take initiative, ceding Alex a sweet wall for the chance to actually get into the scenario zone. I deployed my Storm Lances on my right flank, Pistoleers on my right with my BG, Frogs and solos in the middle. I was confident in my Forge Guard’s ability to weather the storm of shooting that was going to be directed at them to get to grips with my opponent, but the rest of my army was going to be a little fragile.
In response, Alex deployed his (far superior) Pistoleers on the left across from mine, his BG in the center as well and his SBI on the right, across from my Lances. With that, we shook hands and the game was off!
I began by very aggressively moving my troops forward under Deflection; I was sure that my Lances and Frogs were pretty safe from early shooting (especially with the Lance’s Immunity to Electricity!) and wanted to threaten Alex’ important AD solos that he’d deployed pretty far up the board.
Alex responded in kind, Eiryss advancing a little to Death Bolt a Frog, Decel going down and Arcane Shield going up on the Stormclad, which ran into the zone. Ryan deviated a beautiful Mage Storm right in front of my Forge Guard and the Pistoleers flanked out hard on the left. He decided to save Temporal Shift for a future turn; with how aggressive he had positioned I’m not sure I agreed with that move; a Feat this early would have stopped me from Alpha’ing this turn and gotten him board presence, but my Stryker list is mobile enough that it can simply back away and wait until next turn, especially when faced with slower troops such as Stormblade Infantry. I decided to take advantage of the charge while I still could.
The Lancer ran up and arced a Rebuke and Positive Charge, the Storm Lances charged in and dealt severe damage to the Stormclad, luckily cripping its Cortex. The Gun Mages I had run forward sacrificed themselves aiming to try and take out Eiryss while they had the chance; fortunately the first one connected (even under Decel) and took the elf out without the others even needing to try. The Forge Guard ran up, several of them staying back toed into the zone with the rest skirting Ryan’s Mage Storm to run headlong at Anastasia, who had advanced forward to threaten an Espionage if Stryker came too far forward. Thunder Rolled and the Storm Lances broke the back of the Stormblade unit, dealing even more damage to the Stormclad while one of the Forge Guard scored a hit on Anastasia and took her out of the equation as well. The rest of the army took cover behind defensive terrain to weather the storm as best they could.
Alex wasted no time in fighting back admirably, Deadeyeing his Pistoleers to shoot down most of my unit, Ryan putting a Mage Storm into a cluster of frogs, rolling four hard nines in a row to kill them while the Stormblades tried in vain to kill the Storm Lances engaging them but without the ability to charge they were having trouble. Still, Thorn, a couple B13 shots and a boosted Arcane Bolt from Haley were able to take out my objective, scoring Alex his first CP of the game.
Several of my ‘Lances had fallen to the Stormclad but the remainder fought back admirably, Assaulting into the remaining Stormblades and killing all but one of them, including the attendant Captain. Another Positive Charge went down onto the Stormclad which buffed a couple boosted Lancer swings and a single Forge Guard charge that took out the big ‘jack’s sword arm. A Stormcaller broke cover to fry Thorn’s Arc Node for a turn, but the rest of my army clung to a forest and trench on my side of the table, hiding from Haley’s far superior ranged capabilities.
On his turn, Alex was able to take out my remaining Forge Guard and Lances, his Pistoleers taking pot shots at exposed models and advancing, but left with not much left to do. Without his ‘jacks to deal damage and not wanting to advance with Haley to cast spells, the Lancer cheekily sitting in the zone was becoming a problem for my opponent. We were transitioning into the late game now, and without the benefit of Eiryss to keep him honest, this is where Stryker begins to shine.
Arcane Shield shifted to Stryker at this point and he decided to get his hands dirty; the Stormclad and Thorn were my opponent’s only models in the zone, so Stryker Overloaded for a single die, rolling something like a 3 for both Strength and damage, hoping to take out the Stormclad (who was left teetering with around 6 boxes left) and the objective this turn to threaten a scenario victory. Unfortunately, it was not to be and some poor damage rolls left the Stormclad on a single box. Fortunately, a Kiss from Aiyana and the combined shooting of my remaining Pistoleers, Holt, Finn and several Black 13th members were able to take the light Warjack off the board.
My force had begun to break cover, so Haley’s ranged supremacy could once again come to the fore, but with only a slowly dwindling unit of Pistoleers versus my army, things were looking grim. Getting forward and finally Temporal Shifting to stop Stryker from killing her, Haley once again Decelerated and Deadeye’d her Pistoleers, who took out Aiyana and Holt, Ryan and some of my Gun Mages. Not to be outdone, the Journeyman Warcaster moved up and took a shot at Runewood cowering in his trench, rolled the 13 he needed to kill the aging aristocrat and capped the gentleman in the head. It was very sudden.
Stryker was a little sad without his Pathfinder buddy, but without any remaining threats on the board he wasn’t particularly scared. A boosted damage roll with Quicksilver trashed the Stormclad and a couple shots finished off the objective. My last 3 Pistoleers rounded the corners of their forest, took their best gunslinger stances and, with a cry of “Remember Runewood!” killed all three of my opponent’s remaining Gun Mages. My Journeyman decided to face his grief with a more direct approach, killing my opponent’s Journeyman in an epic gun battle. With that, I scored 3 points and passed the clock.
Things looked grim for the other nation of Cygnar at this point; Stryker and his Lancer were still stalwartly in the zone, Stryker hovering around the 23 ARM mark and now both of them sat in a wreck marker. Haley decided to try and take matters into her own hands, Accelerating a charge into Stryker, but wasn’t able to roll the 10 to hit her charge attack. Her second attack hit, but dealt no damage at dice -10, so Finn cleared the last contesting model in the zone (Watts) with a burst from his mini gun and I ended the game 5-1 on scenario.
Another long, hard fought game; dice went crazy both ways in this one; from killing off Eiryss early to losing Runewood and a lot of Forge Guard, it certainly made for an interesting match. Alex played a little too aggressively and gave me a strong alpha-strike, which I capitalized on as best I could and gave me a solid edge towards the end of the game.
Round 3The age of dodging Cryx had to end at some point, and that point happened to be in Round 3 of the Dark Omen Invitational, when I was paired up against Michael Klinger… better known as “Granite Fistmeat” for some reason. I thought to myself; “at last, a chance to drop my super secret Siege tech and totally not lock myself in in the final round.” Unfortunately, my heart fell a little as the scenario was announced; Fire Support, not a great one for Siege. It fell even more when I looked at the Warcasters Micheal was rocking; Denny1, Terminus and Skarre1; he’d already dropped his Denny list twice and locked himself out of her, and I don’t like Siege in either of the other matchups. So I sighed, resigned myself to being locked in for the final round and put down Stryker2 vs. Terminus:
Lich Lord Terminus (*4pts)
* Stalker (4pts)
Bane Riders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 9 Grunts) (5pts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 9 Grunts) (5pts)
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls (2pts)
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls (2pts)
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Satyxis Raider Sea Witch (2pts)
Soulhunters (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Darragh Wrathe (4pts)
Satyxis Raider Captain (2pts)
To make matters worse, Micheal’s list was EXTREMELY fast, featuring Satyxis Raiders with the Captain, Bane Riders and Soulhunters, a nightmare on Fire Support. As if things couldn’t get any worse than that, he won the roll to go first, meaning that I’d be on the scenario back foot for most of the game and could get easily jammed out of the area of the flags. I was pretty sad.
Micheal deployed most of his troops in the center of the table, with his Bane Riders flanking on my left and Soulhunters with Darragh on the right. I deployed my slower Forge Guard across from my objective on the left, my Storm Lances on the right with the hope of holding off scoring on my opponent’s flag and everything else in the dead center, ready to shoot as many Satyxis as possible.
Micheal ran everything forward in true Cryx fashion; the Satyxis Raiders getting way up the table to stop me from getting into the flag areas, Mechanithralls following behind them and the cavalry units fanning out on either side. Terminus put Malediction on himself and charged forward towards the left-hand flag.
I tried to take out as many Satyxis as I could, shooting with my Gun Mages and B13 but only taking two of them out. The Lancer ran forward and arced a Rebuke onto the Raiders and Soulhunters, slowing the worse of the jam.
Undeterred, the Raiders advanced forward, Power Swelled and took out a Forge Guard and did a significant chunk of damage to my Lancer, knocking it down with a critical hit. Everything else ran forward; one of the Bane Riders getting into my Forge Guard’s face to stop the unit from skirting the left-hand objective and chasing down the rest of the Riders. Terminus ran forward, almost on top of the left-hand flag (no doubt licking his lips at the prospect of all the tasty Forge Guard souls) and Darragh popped Beyond Death and walked over to protect the Soul Hunters towards the right.
Terminus had gotten very far up the board; almost on the mid-line of the table and I immediately measured Stryker’s control at the beginning of my turn; the distance between the two Warcasters looked like it was about 15.5-16”, well within a triple Velocity-charge range, but not enough to be super comfortable about an assassination run. I was desperate enough to consider going in for the kill, though; because despite how glorious my alpha and Rolling Thunder was going to be, Terminus was going to glut himself on a dozen Forge Guard souls and become an unkillable god for the remainder of the game. So I went for it, clearing the models in the way using Stormcalls, aiming Gun Mage shots and the Black 13th. Stryker received Path to Victory and Lucky Charm, Rolled the Thunders, Velocity’d for 3 Focus and charged, staying as far to the left as he could to skirt Darragh’s Beyond Death bubble.
I Overloaded for the dreaded 3 dice, rolling an 8 for both strength and damage (a fair trade), Lucky Charmed my Path to Victory’d charge attack and connected, dealing a healthy 12 damage at straight dice. At this point, I had 4 Focus left, I needed a 7 to hit and 8 to force a Tough check on the big guy, so I opted to take that chance and leave 1 Focus to force a second Tough check if I needed to. The boosted 7 connected, but my boosted damage roll came up 1,1,1.
Butt clench time! I bought an attack with my remaining Focus, hit the 7 I needed and rolled the 5 I needed to force a Tough check, which Terminus failed! As a backup plan, I had 3-4 Forge Guard charges+Feat moves that could get into contact if I needed to, but they were still pretty dicey (7s to hit and 4D6 13s to damage). Rolling triple 1s was pretty scary!
A short game, but a stressful one nonetheless. Micheal admitted that he hadn’t had much experience against Stryker2 and his bonkers assassination potential. While I rarely go for assassinations like that and don’t advocate that other players rely on them as a game plan, the scenario was bad enough for me that I was willing to take just about any route available to me. Just about any other situation and I would have played the game out to its natural, attritiony conclusion, but Micheal was putting so much strong scenario pressure on me that I felt I had no other recourse!
Round 4Slightly dazed and not a little sweaty from my previous game, I moved on to the final round against Andrew Lericos’ of the NJ SOBs Trollbloods. Andrew struggled through a rough bracket of Cryx players to get to the final table, and did so without locking himself in! He was bringing Grissel1, Madrak2 and Grim1, all lists with lots of infantry and few beasts, which my only available list could deal with, so I felt a little better about locking myself in to Siege. In the end, he chose to field Madrak2 against my line of guns.
Madrak Ironhide, World Ender (*5pts)
* Slag Troll (6pts)
* Troll Impaler (5pts)
* Trollkin Runebearer (2pts)
Kriel Warriors (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* 3 Kriel Warrior Caber Thrower (3pts)
* Kriel Warrior Standard Bearer & Piper (2pts)
Krielstone Bearer and 5 Stone Scribes (4pts)
* Krielstone Stone Scribe Elder (1pts)
Pyg Burrowers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Trollkin Fennblades (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer (2pts)
Fell Caller Hero (3pts)
Fell Caller Hero (3pts)
Fennblade Kithkar (2pts)
Fennblade Kithkar (2pts)
The scenario was Incursion, which I didn’t feel terrible about given a Trollblood army’s propensity to cluster around in the middle; my Siege list is pretty mobile and has tons of solos to cap flags when possible, so I could force engagement on my terms by threatening scenario. Andrew won the roll for initiative and chose to take the second turn, choosing the side of the table with a beautiful wall.
I deployed my Nyss on the left flank, Pistoleers and Rangers on the right with Siege’s BG in the middle and a healthy sprinkling of solos throughout. Andrew responded by putting his Burrowers and BG in the center, Kriel Warriors across from the right-hand flag and Fennblades across from the Nyss on the left.
I fanned out wide on my first turn, everything spreading out to cover at much ground as possible. Siege, without anything else to do with his Focus this early and not particularly worried about my opponent’s ranged capabilities, got Artillerist and tried to drift a couple Explosivos down range at the Burrowers that Andrew had spread out in front of his army.
Andrew ran straight forward, his Trollkin hordes displaying little in the way of finesse or subtlety; the Fennblades got Pathfinder and ran through a forest on the left, the Kriel Warriors did likewise on the right (although without the forest part) and moved forward and the Burrowers Burrowed.
We rolled for the flag that disappeared and it turned out to be the right-hand one. This was pretty fortunate for me, not only because the left hand flag was only going to be contested by some fast, but lightly armored Fennblades, but also because shifting troops to the right-hand flag, which was blocked by both rough terrain and a building, would have been difficult. If I had a beefier melee force the right-hand flag could have been easier to fortify, but as it stood the large swath of open ground between the center and left flags became the perfect killing ground, so the plan quickly changed to; ‘win on scenario by killing everyone on the left-hand flag 5 times’.
I enacted this plan by shooting at people; I wanted to clear out as many Fennblades as I could this turn, but my dice decided otherwise. After the smoke cleared, the combined firepower of Siege (who’d hung back a little because of the scary Burrowers), the Nyss and Pistoleers resulted in three dead Fennblades. Not a great start to my master plan. To make matters worse, the Defender began plugging away at the Slag Troll by dealing 1 damage on a boosted damage roll at dice -4 and Gastonne failed to kill any Kriel Warriors and so was stuck in the middle of no where without triggering Gun n’ Run. I was pretty sad.
Andrew wasted no time in taking advantage of my poor dice; his Fennblades getting War Cry, popping No Quarter and charging into the Nyss; one of them ran to force CMD checks on several units, of which the Rangers failed. The chargin Fennblades then put all three of the Nyss they’d charged into the dirt. The Slag troll opened up on the Centurion, dealing 4 damage with its first shot before some Blood Fury’d, War Cry’d Burrowers walked into melee, the first attack scalpling the Warjack’s shield out (I was getting saltier by the moment at this point). Two of them got into melee with Gastonne, the first attack missing (which I could have dodged but was tilted and forgot), the second one putting the Llaelese Warcaster in the dirt.
Things seemed bad, but I resolved to make a game of it and staunchly continue plan ‘kill all the dudes on the left side of the table.’ Siege, the Nyss and my Master Gunner (who was a champ all game, btdubs) blew away almost all the remaining Fennblades, allowing a Stormcaller to cap the flag for one point. The Rangers rallied, the Centurion walked up to the center flag and reactivated his Polarity Field and the Gun Mages and Stormcallers fried a couple of the Burrowers. The wholesale slaughter of a bunch of Trollkin made me feel a little bit better, so I passed the turn.
Andrew was a little on the back foot at this point; he needed to commit models to the left-hand flag, but with his Fennblades all-but wiped out, his beefiest troops were out of position. He ran a couple models over the contest but the majority of his Kriel Warrior unit was still hanging around the center of the board. The Burrowers stayed above ground, flailing helplessly on the Centurion, dealing a few points of damage along with a Slag Troll shot but contesting the center zone.
Plan A continued on my turn, Siege and Nyss shots blasting away the few Trollkin on the flag and starting to make headway into the big mass of Kriel Warriors in the middle. Having rallied, the Rangers started putting shots downrange and taking out a few of the Warriors in the center. I scored my second point, but made a mistake and forgot to actually move with Siege (although he laid down an epic Ground Pounder), which put him out of range to advance into b2b with the flag, meaning that I’d need to forgo shooting with him next turn if I wanted to Dominate.
Super legit photo courtesy of... someone who stole my phone, probably Zosia... at least it's not a picture of a penis
Andrews entire force had begun to gravitate towards the left flag at this point, even his Krielstone breaking cover to run over there. He was able to get a significant number of models into contesting range of the flag, the Centurion continued to get beat up by the dwindling Burrower unit and Slag Troll but otherwise the turn proceeded as previous ones had; it was simply a mad dash to try and halt the inevitable scenario grind on the left side of the table.
In his haste to contest the left flag, Andrew had only left a few models in range of the center flag, so I figured that I could win this turn if only I could clear both flags and Dominate for the victory. I started with the left flag, the TMG and Nyss shooting off the Warriors and Stonescribes that had gotten in range to contest; Andrew’s Tough Checks failed him at this point, earlier on he was rolling a lot of them but seemed to have run out. The next challenge was clearing the center flag; I Thunderbolted the Slag Troll out of range with the Pistoleers and killed everyone but a lone Pygmy and a Stonescribe. I figured that I could take the Pygmy (who was Bloodfury’d but in aiming range of the Rangers) and Stonescribe out with Rangers before running a Stormcaller to control the flag, but instead the Rangers missed 5 consecutive 7s to hit the Pygmy. So, I tried running Reinholdt to flag in order to allow the Stormcaller to zap a dude with lightning, but the little Gobber’s legs were too short. A little forlorn and super low on clock time, I went up to 3 CP.
Andrew wasted no time in running everything he could into range of the left-hand flag in an attempt to stop the Dominate coming next turn. Madrak got Pathfinder and charged into the cluster of Rangers that had tried to kill the last Pygmy on the previous turn Feating to thresher them all and turn them into delicious Fury points moving down the line and killing several Pistoleers as well as finally putting the Centurion out of its misery.
All that was left for me was to clear my flag in the ~5 minutes I had remaining on my clock, so the Nyss, TMG and remaining Stormcallers set about doing that; the Krielstone was within 4” so having to chew through several self-sac targets was an issue, however in the end the flag was cleared and Siege ran to Dominate, scoring me my 5th point, winning the Dark Omen Invitational and qualifying me for Warmachine Weekend!
This game was a pretty good example of why Incursion isn’t a good scenario; Andrew was forced to run literally his entire army piecemeal into the waiting guns of my force, which let me Thermopylae-style deny his numerical advantage. In a centralized scenario the game may have gone differently, or forced Siege to Feat and try to kill as much stuff as possible with blast damage.
Talking to Andrew about the game afterwards, he only chose Madrak because of the Warlock’s resilience to assassinations, which Siege is famous for. If we played this matchup again, Andrew said he might have taken Grissel1, which features lots of more heavily armored troops (double Wardars+Kriel Warriors) and greater mobility. Warlocks are, in general, pretty resilient to Siege’s assassination run, given that they can transfer the few big hits he can bring to bear. Still, Siege is very strong against a lot of high ARM infantry, so that matchup might have played out in the same manner, only with Siege aggressively Feating to kill off as many Warders as possible.
Still, it was a solid game and Andrew was a great opponent to play against, who was slotted into the Warmachine Weekend Invitational anyway in one of the wildcard slots!
Overall, the weekend had a great vibe and seemed like it was fun for everyone involved! The LCQ was 6 rounds, but people were enjoying themselves and very energetic throughout the whole thing! Lots of videos from the day were uploaded to the NJ Warmachine and Hordes YouTube channel, so you should go check them out! I'll be getting lists together and preparing myself for a debilitating round 1 loss in the Warmachine Weekend Invitational!