Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tourney Recap - CaptainCon Masters

So many WMW qualifiers! Today I’ll be talking about my games in the masters of CaptainCon; a local New England con put on by the same crew that covers the WM/H events at Templecon! As such, CaptainCon is sort of like a smaller, slightly more intimate and less terrifying version of Templecon, which makes it awesome! Everyone should go.

I actually ended up qualifying for Masters at CaptainCon early this year, taking it down in Friday’s Standard Issue. I’m not going to write up reports for those games, but there are some quick recaps and play-by-plays on the Way of the Swan Facebook page. Regardless, I ended up playing in all the qualifiers because it’s fun and I wasn’t particularly worried about melting my brains rolling dice until 4 AM because I’d already qualified for WMW. Twice.
This is my horn. Ima toot it. *toot toot*

The lists! I’d planned to bring the Haley2/Stryker1 pairing that I’d been playing previously at RiW and on day 1 of CaptainCon in the Standard Issue, but one infamous Tom Guan got his talons into me with some dangerous Stryker2 tech involving Allison Jakes and abusing Sprint a lot, so I brought the ‘ol boy out instead. It helped that the meta of the Masters was conducive to his playstyle. He’s also basically as fun as doing drugs but without the added benefit of disfiguring side effects and life-destroying addiction.

List 1:
Major Victoria Haley (*5pts)
* Thorn (8pts)
* Stormwall (19pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team (4pts)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)
Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire (4pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Gastone Crosse (3pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
Ragman (2pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)

Dubbed by the internet “Haley’s Heroes”, I’ve spoken volumes about this list in my previous recaps so I won’t go too in-depth here. The origin story is funny; I built it originally as a gimmick hardcore list and decided that I was on to something after it won 6 straight games at ECR. It’s pretty sweet.

List 2:
Lord Commander Stryker (*6pts)
* Lancer (6pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
Horgenhold Forge Guard (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Captain Jonas Murdoch (2pts)
Storm Lances (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Archduke Alain Runewood (3pts)
Captain Maxwell Finn (3pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
Lieutnant Allison Jakes (3pts)
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1pts)
Stormblade Captain (2pts)
Stormblade Captain (2pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)

The good ‘ol Lord Commander. About 30 points of my core list never change (the frogs, ‘Lances, BG and Gun Mages), but I keep playing around with the cadre of support/combat solos orbiting around in the back. Today, Lieutenant Jakes makes and appearance because via 2 initial attacks, Focus to boost and ghetto Sidestep (via Energizer), she can become an infantry lawnmowing machine. Then she Sprints to get deeper and can Rolling Thunder into your opponent’s favorite model. Which she then kills, because she’s a meanie. Versus a poor Fist player in the team tournament, she Sprinted off of enough Arcuarii to build a nest in my opponent’s token pile. On his board edge. Then did 10 damage to Molik Karn’s back arc with Hand Cannon shots. It was sweet.

Let’t play some games!

Round 1
I get paired up vs. Mr. Mike Ireland, a phenomenal Retribution and all around sweet guy who very nearly beats the crap out of me every time we play. Mike’s playing Ossyan and Vyros2 with his gaggle of Griffons. I drop Haley2 because she’s awesome, and Mike surprises me by putting down Ossyan. In general, Ossyan has a pretty good game vs. Cygnar with a Stormwall, due to his ability to take it off the table with a couple MHSF and Gravity Well. Unfortunately, like so many other ranged alpha-strike ‘casters like Siege or Lylyth2, there’s generally one turn when the board state is ripe for his feat, and Haley can really mess with that. Still, it’s a playable game and I need to play very cautiously lest Haley or the Stormwall get caught by the feat.

Lord Arcanist Ossyan (*6pts)
* Banshee (10pts)
Houseguard Halberdiers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (7pts)
* Houseguard Halberdiers Officer & Standard (2pts)
Houseguard Riflemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Houseguard Riflemen Officer & Standard (2pts)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)
Mage Hunter Strikeforce (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Eiryss, Mage Hunter Commander (3pts)
Stormfall Archers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (5pts)
Fane Knight Skeryth Issyen (5pts)
Houseguard Thane (2pts)

Scenario was Recon and Mike took the first turn. There was a sweet huge puddle of shallow water in the middle to make everyone’s lives miserable.

Stuff ran turn one; Quicken went down on the Halberdiers and Shatterstorm on the Strike Force. Said Strike Force ran forward to threaten the Stormwall and be generally annoying. In response, I had to play the Stormwall relatively far back so it just advanced, staying out of Ossyan’s charge/feat range. I was able to pick off a couple Strike Force with random pot shots and a drifted Time Bomb. I made a little bit of a mistake and took an Eiryss shot at a Halberdier, hoping to knock Quicken off and start sandpapering the unit down, but needing a 6 she missed. Without Quicken I would’ve been able to clear out all the Halbs in charge range, but as it stood I was only able to kill one, leaving one or two in range to charge into Eiryss.

The skirmishing continued for another turn; charging Halberdiers mini-feated and killed Eiryss for her impudence, engaging Gastone and Holt as well. The Banshee and Strike Force shot at Thorn, but between Gorman’s cloud and Decel he only took a few points of damage. At this point, enough stuff had pushed forward that I felt that I could get enough work done under Shift to protect the Stormwall, so Haley moved forward and feated. Alexia made an army of undead minions who charged forward to engage Strike Force and the Stormwall pushed forward, Poded a couple Strike Force and filled Alexia up with Souls again. More guns killed all but 3 or 4 Strike Force as well as some Riflemen. The biggest slap fight ever between Holt, Gastone and the Halberdiers began as they started a long and storied tradition of not killing each other that would continue for basically the rest of the game.

Gorman’s cloud had moved back to protect Haley from random guns and Decel wasn’t up on my feat turn, so the Banshee was finally able to score a hit on Thorn, slamming the little guy into the objective and killing him. Strike Force attacks and Rifleman CRAs killed off most of the Warrior Thralls (the MHSF reformed out of my cleverly-placed Covering Fire, silly me). Skarath Issyen, not caught under Shift tried a charge on the Stormwall, but ended up being out of range.

Back to me! I was feeling much better about the Stormwall’s survivability, given that the Strike Force had been mostly neutralized and I had souls to shut down Aiyana’s Kiss. The B13 and Stormwall killed of Skarath and the big robot started pushing up the table, putting some damage on the Banshee with a cannon shot.

At this point, Mike went for a scenario play, running Ossyan to the right flag and camping 4 Focus to score 1 CP. The Banshee shot at Alexia and missed (she was hiding in Thorn’s wreck) and the Halberdiers continued to try to fight my solos on the right, managing to land a hit and kill Ragman. Aiyana tried to Kiss my objective but the spell was Vortexed, and Stormfall attacks started dinging it up.

At this point the game devolved into a scenario trade; I contested Mike’s flag for one turn with a lightning pod while clearing his remaining troops off. Ossyan Feated and killed my Objective, but next turn, I cleared the left flag and scored it with Haley (camping a bunch). The Stormwall punched what was left of the Banshee and the Objective to death, killing off the remaining Riflemen with e-leaps, scoring me up to 3 CPs. Mike cleared his flag again and went to 4 CPs, contesting both the zone and flag with troopers. I was able to clear both and get Gastone around the edge to contest Ossyan’s flag, winning with 5 CPs to 4.

A great game to Mike; he had a strong scenario plan and executed it perfectly. Still, going for scenario like that was a risky play; I strongly considered trying to kill Ossyan when he first moved over to the flag; he was hovering around the ARM 18-19 range for most of the game and the Stormwall’s three big cannon shots as well as a double boosted Hellfire from Alexia would probably do the trick. Given how well the attrition game was going for me I decided against dedicating the resources, but the threat was always there. Still an awesome game and Mike was, as always, an awesome opponent to play against. On to Round 2!

Round 2
Vs. Mr. Paul Rogers and his Mercenaries. Paul is a sweet dude who I played first at ECR, where he almost killed Haley with a rag tag rabble of Deadeyed Mercenary solos. Today he was playing an ADR pairing of MacBain and Ashlynn, both with a boatload of infantry. Time for Stryker to come out and play; Paul dropped MacBain!

Drake MacBain (*6pts)
* Nomad (6pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
Kayazy Eliminators (Leader and Grunt) (3pts)
Kayazy Eliminators (Leader and Grunt) (3pts)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)
Press Gangers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Bosun Grogspar (2pts)
First Mate Hawk (2pts)
Gastone Crosse (3pts)
Kell Bailoch (2pts)
Lord Rockbottom (2pts)
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor (2pts)
Rorsh & Brine (9pts)

I won the roll for initiative and chose the first turn, running a bunch of stuff forward and hurling a cheeky Lightning Storm into the zone. The froggies went to ground to avoid Kell’s shot.

Paul played very aggressively on his first turn; the PGs avoided my clutch Lightning Storm and surrounded the zone. MacBain pushed forward and Feated for 10 models on all the PGs and Grogspar and putting Failsafe on the Nomad. Brine moved up with an advance and a Diversionary Tactic from Rorsch and threw Grogspar further up the table (hilariously he deviated into the Lightning Storm and took a bunch of damage). The other models fell in behind the Press Ganger jam and Paul passed the turn.

With a bunch of invincible Press Gangers in my face, there wasn’t much to do but try to contest the zone and hold on for dear life! My Pistoleers Thunderbolted out a hole in the line of screaming seadogs for the Lancer to occupy. Stryker took out Hawk with another clutch Lightning Storm and Rebuked the Press Gangers to put an end to their shenanigans. A couple frogs and a Storm Lance jammed up to keep them in place and I prepared to give up a couple CPs.

At this point, Stryker was pretty far back but on a 0 camp after spending most of it on legit Lightning Storm action, so Paul spent a couple minutes contemplating a very convoluted (and slightly dicey) assassination run involving a Diversionary Tactic’d double-handed throw and a couple long-bombed spells from MacBain, but decided against it. Instead, Rorsch destroyed my objective, the Nomad (with the help of a few Jackhammers) pulped all my froggies that had made it into the zone and Grogspar pitched the Lancer out, scoring Paul 2 CPs.

Fortunately, most of my troops had held back away from the scary pirates, so I was in a pretty good position to reciprocate. Hard. A couple of offending Nyss had pushed forward to jam the frogs, so Stormcalls, a few well-placed Pistoleer shots and a couple swift stabs from Jakes followed by a Sprint cleared them out. PC went down on the Lancer and thunder rolled. By the time the dust had been cleared, I was able to take out all the Press Gangers, both heavies, both units of Eliminators and about half the Nyss, putting significant presence in the zone to avoid any more cheeky scoring. Stryker hid in a trench behind a crowd of Pistoleers to head off any more silly assassination runs.

Stryker’s alpha hits hard, but unfortunately he doesn’t have particularly incredible staying power. The gaggle of solos still left in MacBain’s backfield were able to get some serious work done; Kiss went down on the frogs and guns blew most of them off the table. Shots from Rorsch, Gastonne and MacBain himself wiped out the Storm Lances and plinked the Lancer. Fortunately, with Stryker’s personal damage output and the firing squad of solos and Gun Mages arrayed in the back, I was in a solid position to take down the game via attrition.

The Pistoleers broke cover from the trench and advanced; pouring a hail of gunshots into the remaining mercenaries, wiping out the Nyss. A couple charges from the remaining Forge Guard killed off my opponent’s objective and I was able to score the zone, putting the score to 2-2. Also, Jakes continued her reign of terror and killed both Aiyana and Holt before sprinting.

Paul was running out of models at this point, so MacBain decided to get down and dirty. He and Rorsch charged into the Lancer, dinging it up a bit and crippling its spear arm. Gastonne killed off the remaining Forge Guard but at this point it was a forgone conclusion. The Gun Mages advanced and killed off MacBain’s remaing solos, Jakes bested Rorsch in an epic duel and I scored my 3rd point. MacBain finished off the Lancer and Stryker killed him for his trouble, concurrently scoring me my 5th CP.

We had some discussion after the game about whether or not Paul had Feated with MacBain a little too early. The biggest issue in the matchup is that Rebuke and Pistoleer shots can take out MacBain’s light infantry early, which makes it really tough for them to get into the fight. Feating early protects them and makes for a really strong jam but leaves the solos more vulnerable later on. Still, Paul played a great game but it’s on to round 3, the semi-finals!

Round 3

Of the four undefeated players going into the third round, two were Cryx players (Keith Christianson and Tom Guan), which made me sad. I was hoping those two would get paired and I could spend another round not worrying about silly zombie pirate necromancers, but it was not to be. I get paired with Tom, playing Denny1 and Mortenebra. Interestingly enough, I’ve never actually played against Tom with his Cryx, so I was excited for the pairing. I drop Haley2 and Tom brings Mortenebra to the table:

Master Necrotech Mortenebra (*4pts)
* Deryliss (0pts)
* Leviathan (9pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Nightmare (10pts)
* Deathjack (12pts)
* Nightwretch (4pts)
* Stalker (4pts)
* Stalker (4pts)
Satyxis Blood Witches (Leader and 5) (4pts)
*Satyxis Blood Hag (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)

I’ve only played the Mortenebra matchup a handful of times, so while I know what she does on paper, the vectors are a little difficult to keep track of, especially in the hands of a skilled player like Tom, so I played this game a little conservatively from the get-go. Tom went first and the scenario was Incoming (no Killbox, yay!).

Stuff ran turn 1; the Stalkers spread out wide, the Leviathan shifted towards Tom’s right flank (my left) and the rest of the BG went up the middle, skewed a little towards the Stormwall. I ran on T1 as well; the Stormwall staying back a ways so as not to randomly eat an Overrun’d heavy to the face.

Tom pushed up his arc node on turn 2 to throw a Void Gate into the Stormwall and render it mostly useless for a round. Sadface. The Leviathan took some random potshots and a couple Blood Witches killed each other for clouds, which Nightmare hid in.

Without able to allocate to the Stormwall (and Stalkers not particularly worried about camped FOC), Haley decided to activate spellslinger mode! She charged up and Shifted to allow the Stormwall to push forward with impunity, arced an Arcane Bolt into Deryliss to get rid of those pesky free spells and Deadeye’d the Black 13th. Alexia ran up and Ryan Mage Stormed Nightmare to kill 2 nearby Blood Witches and get the soul train rolling. With some help from various solos, the Stormwall spun its weapons up and blew Morty’s arc node off the table.

The Cryx ‘jacks durdled for a turn under Shift; Deathjack got fueled up and threw another Void Gate at the Stormwall, but it got vortexed. The heavies pulled away from the scary Colossal and I got to take another turn! Fortunately, it didn’t look like Deathjack had pulled far enough away from the Stormwall after throwing his Void Gate, so I fueled up the Stormwall rocket and prepared for liftoff! Alexia and Ragman got into position around the Stormwall’s landing zone (complete with some hot Death Field action!) and the big guy went off!

I felt that the math was pretty good for the Stormwall to kill off Deathjack by just boosting his attack rolls because 7s are scary and P+S 22 is legit. Normally I like to have a DEF debuff in the mix too, but Thorn was clear across the table and it would drain a ton of Haley’s resources. Regardless, the Stormwall went in and boosted his charge attack roll. He was having a bad day and triple 1s came up.
Danger Will Robinson! Danger!

The plan changed very quickly and I decided not to boost any more attack rolls; I’d need to hit all 4 attacks to kill Deathjack (at dice +3) because he has an ungodly number of hit boxes for no reason, but crippling any of his systems is a big deal. Hopefully the dice would be with me.
Nope! I hit him one time and did nominal damage. Seems bad. Fortunately, I had a backup plan; and the Stormwall dropped a pod behind the big angry Helljack. My trusty Stormcaller lined up a nice Surge across the pod, clipping both DJ and a Stalker, disrupting both. Thorn moved over to engage the other Stalker and Leviathan and Eiryss sat on top of the Helldiver marker to put a stop to any crazy plays on Haley.

Things went downhill from there; the Blood Hag (who, hilariously, we’d both forgotten about) knocked Arc Shield off of the Stormwall and Mortenebra Recalibrated. Deathjack, still disrupted, turned around and did rolled 2 sets of boxcars to deal 45 damage to the Stormwall. So much for having a Colossal. Nightmare killed it off in one swing. Super sadface.

I tried in vain to fight back at this point, but it was a bit of a lost cause. Gorman Blinded Nightmare and the gunline of random merc solos left him with 1 box of movement left. The helljack retreated behind a wall while Deathjack healed himself back up to full with Alexia and Ragman. Gastonne got deadeye’d and tried in vain to hit Nightmare but missed twice, so the ‘jack was repaired back to full effectiveness by Mortenebra. I tried the blind n’ shoot plan on Deathjack too, but wasn’t able to get enough damage through his armor and he was able to heal back up to full again with another round of killing stuff. It was grim. Eventually Haley tried in vain to 1-round a Deathjack in melee and got punched to death for her trouble. 2-1.

A bit of a depressing loss, but Tom played a great game and was, as always a super gracious and fun opponent. I felt very good about my play and had my models eaten their wheaties that morning I felt pretty good about the outcome. I was out of running for the winning spot, but true swans never quit and I stayed in it for the final round!

Round 4

Vs. Dan Riker of Battle Driven fame! Dan recently switched from Trollbloods over to Khador and was playing one of the cooler Butcher3 lists I’ve seen paired with Sorscha2. I quite like Stryker2 into Butcher3 and think it’s a fun game, but I didn’t want to risk Sorscha2 getting dropped and freezing mah dudes, so I put down Haley. The matchup was Haley vs. Butcher3 in Close Quarters; I think I took the first turn, but I could be mistaken.

Orsus Zoktavir, the Butcher Unleashed (*4pts)
* Ruin (10pts)
* War Dog (1pt)
Kayazy Assassins (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Kayazy Assassins Underboss (2pts)
Alexia Ciannor & the Risen (5pts)
Press Gangers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Press Gangers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Ogrun Bokur (3pts)
Ogrun Bokur (3pts)
First Mate Hawk (2pts)
Lord Rockbottom, Expedition Financier (2pts)
Bosun Grogspar (2pts)
Doc Killingsworth (2pts)
Saxon Orrik (2pts)

The game was relatively quick and I didn’t take pictures (sorry!); stuff on both sides ran up on the first turn and got ready to fight. Dan kept his Bokors in the center to protect Alexia and Ruin. Butcher hid in a convenient trench he had just behind his flag.

I started sandpapering off the front ranks of pirates, protecting the solos with Mage Storm and Covering Fire. I got an early Time Bomb off on Alexia to thin her horde of zombie minions and slow down Ruin so he didn’t charge the things I love. The Stormwall zeroed in and gunned down the Bokor next to Butcher so that he could start working on the tougher targets later on.

Then Butcher left the Trench to Dominate his flag; he scored a CP and jammed up as much as he could with the pirates and zombies, but the covering fire wall combined with a forest in front of my flag slowed them down considerably. The second Bokor moved over to protect Alexia and Ruin.

With no shield guards and now outside of the trench, Butcher was looking pretty vulnerable, so Haley allocated a couple FOC to the Stormwall, Thorn moved up and TK’d the big guy around so that Eiryss, Watts (Ryan died to a Risen free strike), Alexia and the Stormwall could shoot at him. Butcher did not survive.

A bit of a quick game; the Trench was pretty safe for Butcher but I didn’t feel awful about the attrition game. The key vs. Butcher3 is to leave the important solos needed to kill him (basically Eiryss and Alexia, in this case) alive until he’s forced to leave his little bunker and contribute to the game. In this game, he left his bunker early and was punished for it. A good game to my opponent; Dan’s always great to play against! That left me with a 3-1 record at the end of the day and put me in 3rd place overall!

I felt very good about a 3rd place finish; I felt on top of my game all weekend and didn’t see too many glaring errors in my play (although they’re there, I’m sure). All my opponents were great sports and really made my work for my wins! The convention was even more awesome than last year; all of the issues that had been brought up to the powers that be had been addressed and the NE Privateers ran a really tight ship. They made sure that all the tournaments ran on schedule and all of the events were wrapped up at reasonable times. I can’t recommend the con highly enough; everyone should go because it’s sweet.

Anyhoo, that’s my little recap, hope you all enjoyed! 


  1. Thanks for the battle reports. That Stormwall/Deathjack battle was pretty heart breaking. Did Tom forget about Alexia2 when he tried to Void Gate the Stormwall with DJ? Either way, it was a good read.

    1. Yeah, he'd forgotten about Arcane Vortex. Not the first player to do so over the weekend, mind you... :P