Friday, September 30, 2016

Tourney Recap - WTC 2016



Arguably the most crucial competitive weekend of the year is now over and now that the dust has cleared on the 2016 World Team Championship it’s time to take stock of the aftermath!

Let me start by first saying that this was my first WTC and it was an incredible experience, far beyond my expectations in all honesty.  The event was run so smoothly it was occasionally terrifying; when we arrived neatly organized team folders containing our printed lists complete with country and faction logos emblazed on the header were handed to us; all the games were recorded super quickly for the website and all the rounds started on time.  The judges and volunteers that made the whole thing run so smoothly were absolute champs all weekend and the amount of preparation that into making the event so incredible was immense as well.  All in all, a fucking great weekend.

With that aside; let’s talk about some crunchier stuff.  I was paced on the USA Team White during our selection process; it was an inauspicious posting; teams Red and Blue were meant to be made up of the country’s heavy hitters and White was really only there to fill out the rest of our 15 spots.  Players for the other teams were picked first, so White was made up of the dregs that were left over at the end.  We called ourselves “the fat kids in gym class” since we were picked last.  That all sounds depressing but it’ll get better as the narrative continues, believe me.

Our team composition was made up of one Skorne, mostly in there to ask some tough questions and potentially bait out some good draws, one Circle bringing Wurmwood to scare people, play into gunlines and fight other Wurmwoods, one Legion with Lylyth3 to fight even more Wurmwoods as well as opposing gunlines, Retribution as one of our heavier hitters, a solid all-round counter, more specifically to Cygnar and then myself with Haley2 to fight Madrak and heavy spam sort of lists.  The lists I played are identical to the Haley and Sloan lists I’ve been playing recently, but I’ll go over them super quickly for everyone who may have missed it.

Major Victoria Haley [+25]
- Thorn [13]
 - Stormclad [18]
 - Dynamo [18]
 - Squire [5]
Journeyman Warcaster [4]
 - Firefly [8]
Arcane Tempest Rifleman [4]
Arcane Tempest Rifleman [4]
Gun Mage Captain Adept [5]
Black 13th Strike Force [10]
Ragman [4]
Alten Ashley [5]
Gobber Tinker [2]

Haley is mostly an all-rounder; the basic idea is that most of the troopers can pull double-duty killing heavies or infantry.  Dynamo and the Stormclad blow up heavy armor and with the feat it can hopefully get enough work done to cripple an opposing force.

Captain Kara Sloan [+28]
- Stormwall [13]
 - Cyclone [18]
 - Cyclone [18]
 - Hunter [11]
 - Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator [4]
Journeyman Warcaster [4]
 - Sentinel [8]
Gun Mage Captain Adept [5]
Captain Arlan Strangeways [4]
Gobber Tinker [2]

This one was designed to be an all-rounder that focuses a little more on shooting infantry than the Haley list; especially Stealth infantry that the Haley list falls down to a little.  In hindsight a little skewier of a gunline might have been a better call just to force matchups for the pairing process but unfortunately I realized my mistake a little too late.

Caveat; the event was 6 rounds so this is gonna be a long one.  Also; I forgot to take pictures over the course of the event.  My bad. :(

Round 1 – Norway Blue

In the first round we’re paired against the legendary Norway Blue.  They brought a Madrak2 player to the table, so we tried out best to get me paired with them… and succeeded!  So I sat down to my first round of the day against the lovely Mats Aubell and dropped Haley2 into Madrak on Incursion.

Madrak Ironhide, World Ender    [ arcane wonder ]
*Madrak Ironhide, World Ender - WB: +28
- Mulg the Ancient - PC: 19 (Battlegroup Points Used: 19)
- Troll Axer - PC: 10 (Battlegroup Points Used: 9)
Fell Caller Hero - PC: 5
Troll Whelps - 5 Whelps: 4
Fell Caller Hero - PC: 5
Stone Scribe Chronicler - PC: 4
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress - PC: 3
Swamp Gobber Chef - PC: 1
Trollkin Fennblades - Leader & 9 Grunts: 15
- Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer - Officer & Drummer: 5
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes - Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
- Stone Scribe Elder - PC: 3
Trollkin Fennblades - Leader & 9 Grunts: 15
- Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer - Officer & Drummer: 5

 I was a little worried about the mass of Fennblades in my opponent’s list; in most scenarios it wouldn’t be too much of a problem but their long threat range and ability to jam on a scenario as live as Incursion scared me a bit.  Fortunately, I got to go first.

My opponent skewed his deployment very heavily to my left, where the flag was in a forest and Madrak could be relatively safe while controlling it.  The BG and one unit of Fennblades went there while only one Fennblade unit was opposite the right flag.  With the right as light as it was, I felt like my best bet was to pressure that side really hard and try to grab some cheeky CPs.

With that in mind, I moved my ‘jacks toward the left and send a lot of my anti-dudeguy firepower to the right, including the B13 and Firefly.  The mass of Trolls inched forward a bit, staying out aiming range of my guns; the Fennblades on the left running up behind the forest.

Round 2 the guns began to sound; Haley Accelerated the Firefly and 2 shots from that little bugger along with a bunch of other sweet guns and a few well-placed Arcane Bolts put down 10 Fennblades from the right unit, including the Officer.  Alten moved up and took a pot-shot at Mulg, getting lucky and putting 8 damage on him before contesting the left flag to make my opponent have to commit some stuff to clear it.

Moving Alten up may have been a mistake, since for the most part my army was still out of range and I wouldn’t have received any other casualties this turn.  I’d make a little mistake misjudged Mulg’s threat range with Lanyssa, putting the Stormclad just within it to kill off a couple Fennblades with his cool lightning gun.  Fortunately, I got Lady Luck out of this real sticky situation in South America one time and she still owed me one.  Lanyssa missed her Hunter’s Mark and the Stormclad got to survive unpummelled.  Better lucky than good!

Also; the situation would’ve been contained pretty neatly if I hadn’t put Alten on the flag, as I don’t think there were any other targets close enough to trigger Warpath off of.  Even if Mulg had killed off the Stormclad the game wouldn’t have changed significantly (spoilers!); Dynamo was in position to kill Mulg in return and didn’t actually end up accomplishing anything the next turn anyway.  If that had happened the line of engagement would’ve pushed farther towards my table edge and made it more difficult to contest the left flag, but who knows if that would change the actual outcome of the game?

Regardless, Madrak gets on the left flag and scores a CP.  In response the Stormclad gets bulleted in to contest the left flag and cripple Mulg.  I clear the center and right flags and Shift, going to 2 CPs.  From there the game wraps up with solos scoring the two right flags again, forcing Madrak to do something drastic.  He’d already axed the Stormclad so as a last-ditch effort he feats and spins through a bunch of solos, getting as close to Haley as he can (she’d backed up quite a ways after Shift).  He gets there with enough Fury to throw an Eruption her way, which deviates onto her but fails to kill.  She’d been on a 0 camp from allocating out to stuff but easily could’ve been on 1 from kicking the squire’s last point, which I’d been saving in case she needed to boost a TK on the las turn.  Hindight being what it is she should’ve camped 1 and turned that particular assassination off, but I guess I’ll settle for incredibly unlikely.

I go to 5 CPs at the end of Trollblood turn and the first game is mine!  Two of my team mates win their games and we take down the first round 3-2.

Round 2 – China Eggroll

Team Eggroll not only made me hungry but also brought a Madrak2 player that I was paired with, this time on Recon.  So I sat down vs. He Jiang and his slightly more traditional Madrak2 list:

Madrak Ironhide, World Ender    [ effigy of valor ]
*Madrak Ironhide, World Ender - WB: +28
- Mulg the Ancient - PC: 19 (Battlegroup Points Used: 19)
- Troll Bouncer - PC: 9 (Battlegroup Points Used: 9)
Fell Caller Hero - PC: 5
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress - PC: 3
Stone Scribe Chronicler - PC: 4
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes - Leader & 3 Grunts: 6
- Stone Scribe Elder - PC: 3
Trollkin Fennblades - Leader & 9 Grunts: 15
- Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer - Officer & Drummer: 5
Trollkin Warders - Leader & 4 Grunts: 17
Trollkin Warders - Leader & 4 Grunts: 17

I won the roll to go first and chose to take the first turn; in hindsight I’m not sure this was the right choice as going second lets me control where the Fennblades are early game a little more, but first is fine.  My opponent deployed with his Fenns in a line in front of the Warders to spread out shield guards with Mulg on left edge of his army.

I ran up very far on my first turn, probably too far in all honesty.  The goal in this matchup is to try and pick off the Fenns without Shifting, but since I ran so far forward the Fennblades were close enough that I’d have to Shift or risk losing pieces to a charge.  Fortunately, Mulg had advanced far enough up that I could get the Stormclad on him with a TK, so that gave me an excuse to feat early.

Stuff focus-fired attacks onto individual Fennblades to eat up shield gaurds, the Stormclads bulleted in and killed Mulg and I was also able to get most of the Fennblades dead under my feat.  Unfortunately, the remainder was able to gum up the Stormclad pretty well.  I don’t think I played the follow-up to the feat turn particularly well; I was super worried about Madrak getting on the Stormclad so I spent most of my resources TKing and Bombing him to keep him out of threat range of the Stormclad.  In hindsight the best plan should’ve been to deliver the Stormclad to the Warder brick and kill as many as I possibly could before forcing Madrak to deal with the Stormclad.  At that point I could afford to spend the FOC to keep Madrak away and go for a scenario victory.

Instead, I only succeeded in killing a couple Warders with guns and finishing off the rest of the Fennblades.  On my opponent’s turn the Stormclad was in position to get charged by a couple Warders (3-4 because there was rough terrain in the way), but Madrak was behind the brick so it had to activate first to give him a way through and no one got Bloodfury.  The Warders attacking the Stormclad rolled pretty poorly and only ended up scratching the paint, even though the other unit succeeded in killing off the Firefly.  Madrak fueled the stone and finished off the Firefly, standing in the middle of the zone and threatening just about everywhere.

I got a little scared at letting Madrak get so aggressive.  In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have worried; I could TK/Bomb him again and set about murdering Warders, but I saw an opportunity to take him out and end the game early before he does something crazy.

My opponent had made a mistake and filled his only remaining Warbeast on Fury to keep Madrak topped off (thinking about it now he would’ve been topped off with spirit bond Fury from Mulg… #justmk3things), giving me an opening.  He was sitting behind a clump of 3 Warders that needed to die; I had most of my army to shoot at them as well as a couple swings w/ Death Field from Thorn so I felt like I had a pretty good shot at killing them.  With those models gone, Haley could TK Madrak in, away from the rest of his Grim Salvation targets to get murdered by Dynamo.

So with that in mind, everybody set about shooting bullets at Warders.  If I remember correctly the dice weren’t great and my opponent was good about using Shield Guard to spread the damage around, but I did succeed in killing one Warder and leaving the other two on ~2 HP.  Thorn went in to finish them off but rolled pretty poorly; missing an attack that required a boost from Future Sight to hit and flubbing a couple damage rolls, leaving one Warder alive.

Normally I wouldn’t be super worried about Madrak getting to shunt (probably) one attack, but my target priority had been off a little bit with Thorn’s attacks and the one Warder that was alive blocked off the optimal spot to move Madrak to, putting him in range to one more grim salvation target and forcing Dynamo to spend focus to charge.  At this point I probably should’ve scooped on the plan and focused on killing Warders, but I kept with it.  Haley TK’d Madrak in and Accelerated Dynamo and the Stormclad failed spectacularly to kill off Madrak’s last Grim Salvation option besides the Warder in front of him.  Looking worse and worse…

So Dynamo charged in, killed off 2 Warders via Grim Salvation, and missed an attack.  He did roll spectacularly on the one damage roll he got through, leaving Madrak on 3 boxes.  Womp womp.  In response, Madrak charged away, using Grim Salvation to ignore free strikes (oh boy is that tilting) and surfed through my solos with his Feat to get closer to the right side flag and killed off the Stormclad with his remaining Focus.

I was low on time and needed to end the game quickly, so the GMCA Shadow Fired one Warder in the front of the brick to give Thorn LoS.  Haley TK’d the Bouncer out of Madrak’s control and hit him with a Time Bomb, boosting damage to finish him off.  Boosted 8 to force a tough check; she rolls a 6, which I boost… and roll a 1, leaving him on 1 box.  I try to get some other stuff in range but there’s nothing he can’t Grim Salvation and I clock out.

A disappointing game to say the least; I think I made some strategic mistakes early on; moving too far forward so I had to feat prematurely and not focusing as much on killing Warders as I needed to.  I also played kind of slowly and was at a significant clock advantage.  At the end, I think 2 Arcane Bolts are mathematically a little better than a single Time Bomb as well, so that may have been a better plan.  Still, my opponent played well and the rest of my team won their games, so we won 4-1 and moved on to round 3!

Round 3 – Scotland Irn

We were pretty trepidatious going into the third round; Scotland was a very strong team and we were the only US team still pushing forward in the winner’s bracket.  To make matters worse, the match was being streamed!  No pressure.

Irn had a super strong lineup of lists and there weren’t many I wanted to see; our captain put me into what was probably my best matchup out of the bunch; Billy Cruickshanks w/ his Convergence of Cyriss.  The scenario was Outflank and we settled into Haley2 vs. Lucant.

Father Lucant, The Divinity Architect    [ bunker ]
*Father Lucant, The Divinity Architect +28
- Corollary 6
- Inverter 15
- Conservator 12
- Conservator 12
- Conservator 12
- Conservator 12
- Conservator 12
Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex 2
Optifex Directive 4
Clockwork Angels 5
Clockwork Angels 5
Clockwork Angels 5
Objective: Bunker

Side note; I adore this list.  I think it’s cool AF.
I lost the roll to go first which was a pretty big deal given all the high DEF Angels on the other side of the table.  Things progressed pretty normally from the start; the Angels ran up into terrain and Lucant Deflected to make them DEF 1 million.  Vectors ran up all over the place.

I set about trying to kill as many Angels as I could before they jammed the crap out of me.  The firefly shot Alten Ashley in the back to get some leaps into a unit behind a wall, only killed 1 Angel but rolled the 9 to kill Alten.  Not a great start.  Haley did succeed in Arcane Bolting a few of them however.

In response, all the Vectors ran forward and Lucant Feated.  Exciting stuff.  I figured an early Shift would be fine as long as I did significant damage to a bunch of the Conservators; so Haley TK’d 2 of them closer, Dynamo ripped half of one off and the Stormclad advanced in the center between the zones and did a ton of damage to another.  The B13 contested the left zone from a patch of rubble and the right had a million Warjacks in it.

With only some flimsy B13 dudes in the zone, Billy seized his chance.  One Conservator on the left walked over to another and got thrown in between the Lynch and Watts (Ryan was hiding outside the zone) and squishing them, putting Billy at 1 CP.  A great play to score on Haley’s Feat turn!

I was kicking myself for not charging the Stormclad to toe into the left zone and prevent scoring, which it could’ve done easily.  Still, “Operation: kill more robots” was still in full swing.  Ragman walked to the middle of all my stuff and Death Fielded; the Stormclad and Ryan contested the zone, killed one of the Conservators and left another on 1 HP while guns finished off the one Dynamo had laid into previously and Dynamo got to kill another.  Haley TK’d all the threats to the Stormclad; a Conservator an the Inverter away so it was relatively safe… or so I thought!

Lucant made an aggressive play; hiding in a forest in the left zone, zapping Ryan with a Dissolution Bolt and putting Positive Charge on the near-death Conservator.  The other remaining Conservator in that zone trampled and bought a couple attacks into the Stormclad, dealing enough damage that a couple charging Angels were able to finish it off, putting Billy at 3 CPs.

Things looked grim; I was feeling pretty confident about the attrition game; I’d already killed ~4 heavies and still had Dynamo and Thorn standing, but at the cost of being significantly down on scenario.  Lucant had played aggressively, however; going down to a 0 camp to clear the zone.  He had 3 Shield Guards and Watcher meant that I couldn’t afford to move stuff too close (so no Firefly bonus for Dynamo mainly), but enough TKs solve just about any problem.

So Haley charged in, finishing off the damaged Conservator and TKing Lucant forward as well as two of his Shield Guards away.  At this point he could only shunt off a single hit to the Corollary.  The GMCA tagged him with a Flare first, which the Corollary took, then all the guns opened up.  Junior cranked a damage roll, dealing ~10 and Dynamo was able to kill the big guy with attacks to spare.

Another nailbiter of a game!  I’d liked the matchup initially but giving up CPs on my Feat was a silly mistake.  Billy played a great game and showed me the power of throws, even under Shift; something I’ll have to keep in mind.  Two of my team mates won their games, with some great plays from what I heard, putting us to 3-2 and 3-0 for the first day!

Round 4 – Sweden Nobel

The team was getting progressively more nervous as we went into day 2 of the event.  We were meant to be the crappy no-good newbies of the US… why were we undefeated?  Then we beat Scotland, one of the favorites to win the whole thing.  It was a weird and crazy twilight zone.

Nobel played the list-selection game extremely well.  Once list selection was done I felt like we’d been outmaneuvered pretty handily; none of our matchups seemed super good; winnable, but not great.  I jumped on a grenade for my fellow team mates and was paired with Andreas Holm… playing Ossyan.  Queue Linkin’ Park and eyeshadow.

Lord Arcanist Ossyan    [ bunker ]
*Lord Arcanist Ossyan - WJ: +28
- Discordia - PC: 18 (Battlegroup Points Used: 18)
- Moros - PC: 11 (Battlegroup Points Used: 10)
Arcanist Mechanik - PC: 2
House Vyre Electromancers - Leader & 2 Grunts: 8
House Vyre Electromancers - Leader & 2 Grunts: 8
Stormfall Archers - Leader & 3 Grunts: 9
Stormfall Archers - Leader & 3 Grunts: 9
Mage Hunter Strike Force - Leader & 9 Grunts: 16
- Eiryss, Mage Hunter Commander - PC: 6
Mage Hunter Strike Force - Leader & 9 Grunts: 16

I dropped Kara Sloan and crossed my fingers.  The scenario was Extraction (not good for me) and my opponent won the initiative roll and took the first turn (also not good for me).  The terrain on this board was actually very interesting; on one side it was relatively clear with a trench angled towards one flag; on the other movement was hindered by a pair of obstructions on each side and some rubble in the center.  I chose the side that would obstruct my movement; I’d have to broadcast the Stormwall’s positioning by putting it in between the obstructions but at least there were lots of places for Kara to be safe.

Andreas moved forward very aggressively on the first turn; the BG moved into the trench on the right side along with the UA-less MHSF and the Electromancers on the left and everything else in the center.

I knew the game was basically going to come down to how many Ret duders I could kill before Ossyan got to feat and blow the Stormwall off the table, and my opponent ran enough of his dudes forward that it looked like I might have a shot.  So Kara feated bottom of 1 and when the dust had cleared the guns had killed off 10 of Eiryss’ Strike Force unit.  The Cyclone on my right was in danger of being shot at by some Strike Force dudes, but it had Evasive Action from Arlan so I wasn’t super worried about it.  Everything else was either out of range of significant damage or behind cover.  Seems good.

With most of my force out of range, the Retribution counter attack was pretty minimal; the Cyclone on my right got dinged up a little from MHSF but jumped around enough with Evasive and didn’t take too many shots.  Stuff sat on the flag so I had to contest on my turn and Moros hopped over to the left flag to contest.

I continued the plan on my turn, crippling Moros, wiping out a Stormfall unit, half of the remaining MHSF unit and a couple Electromancers, positioning to they couldn’t get easy lightning generators on Kara, who was sitting behind a rock camping 2.  The GMCA contested the right flag and a Cyclone sat on the right.

Andreas had lost enough troops that he felt assassination was the only option; with that in mind, Ossyan walked up w/ Quicken, got Kara in range and between his gun, Disco and some Stormfalls was able to kill my objective to give Mage Hunters LoS to the Sentinel.  The Strike Force then killed off the Sentinel to deny Kara her Shield Guard.  The plan hinged on one of the Electromancers hitting an unbuffed 10 to Pulse Fire Kara and hopefully eat through her available Reinforces before finishing her off with lightning-generators from the other guys.  Unfortunately they all missed and my opponent conceded.

An interesting game to say the least; I consider Ossyan to be one of my worst matchups but a combination of lists (I don’t think the double Strike Force is particularly strong, especially with access to some of Ret’s incredible melee options and they’re especially susceptible to Kara’s shooting), favorable terrain with lots of cover and my opponent’s aggressive play giving Kara the first shot helped me out quite a bit.  All told I was very happy to win the match even though the rest of my team lost and we went down 1-4 for our first loss of the weekend.

Round 5 – Sweden Bofors

Sweden again!?  A perfect chance to avenge our ignominous defeat in the previous round!  This time the pairings go well for us and I get faced off against Niklas Bergmark and his Trollbloods; Niklas has bringing an interesting Madrak2 list with Bushwhackers but he dropped Borka1 instead vs. Haley2 on Hold the Line.

Borka Kegslayer    [ bunker ]
*Borka Kegslayer - WB: +28
- Keg Carrier
- R?k - PC: 21 (Battlegroup Points Used: 21)
- Dire Troll Mauler - PC: 15 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
- Troll Axer - PC: 10
- Troll Bouncer - PC: 9
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress - PC: 3
Wrong Eye - Wrong Eye & Snapjaw: 17
- Snapjaw
Fell Caller Hero - PC: 5
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes - Leader & 3 Grunts: 6
- Stone Scribe Elder - PC: 3
Northkin Fire Eaters - Leader, Trollkin Grunt, and Pyg Grunt: 7
Northkin Fire Eaters - Leader, Trollkin Grunt, and Pyg Grunt: 7

Niklas got the first turn and ran everybody forward; I spent my first round trying to take out as many Fire Eaters as possible but they’d taken up defensive positions around some good terrain and I was only able to take 3 of them out.

In response; more running.  The Bouncer moves up to contest my flag, Wrong Eye moves back and hides with Submerge and the rest of the brick stays relatively far back.  Borka puts Arcane Ward on himself and hides within walking distance of his flag.

A couple TKs later and the Bouncer and Mauler were dragged into range to get murdered by the Stormclad and Dynamo respectively. Shift went down and the little guns picked off the remaining Fire Eaters and began to pick away at support models.

Stuff durdled under the feat, the heavies stayed pretty far back so as not to be threatened by the scary heavies.  Borka walked to his flag and scored his first CP, camping a bunch of Fury after being topped off the by the Keg Bearer.

Borka was in a pretty safe position at this point; he was pretty exposed, but with Arcane Ward and stumbling drunk he was actually pretty safe.  So I engaged plan win on scenario before Borka does; Haley moved over to the flag and shooting killed more stuff (I think Dynamo blew the Axer off the table) and the Firefly contested Borka’s flag.

Snapjaw was out of range to attack anything, but he made his way over to the flag to contest.  He got murdered the next turn and I scored again but Wrong Eye contested the turn after.  Things were winding down at this point; the Stone was dead and Borka was down to just Rok and the keg bearer and couldn’t contest Haley on the flag.  She was blocked off by Warjacks and there was no landing spot for Borka even with his feat.  He went in to kill Thorn anyway but I think the little guy dodged out and I scored to 3 CPs.  Guns and TK cleared the opposite flag (Rok didn’t stumble back in to contest fortunately) and a Rifleman scored to put me at 5 CPs for the victory!

Unfortunately, my team fell down in their games and we lost the match 2-3 for our second loss in a row of the weekend (and our second loss to Sweden).

Round 6 – Germany Red

Despite being 3-2 going into the final round, this match was the last chance Team White would have to bring ourselves back up to a winning record, so it had some special significance for us.  Germany Red had an interesting lineup including 2 Protectorate players.  We tried to match me up with Madrak2 once again, but instead Trevor; our Skorne player had to take that matchup and I was given the choice between both Protectorate players.  I took Hinnerk Fischer and his Severius2 so our Circle player wouldn’t have to deal with that.

Hierarch Severius     [ armory ]
*Hierarch Severius - WJ: +26
- Blessing of Vengeance - PC: 13 (Battlegroup Points Used: 13)
- Reckoner - PC: 16 (Battlegroup Points Used: 13)
- Reckoner - PC: 16
- Reckoner - PC: 16
- Dervish - PC: 7
- Redeemer - PC: 11
Vassal Mechanik - PC: 1
Anastasia di Bray - PC: 3
Vassal of Menoth - PC: 3
Choir of Menoth - Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
Visgoth Juviah Rhoven & Honor Guard - Rhoven, Gius & Cassian: 9

I drop Haley2; the scenario is Entrenched.  I win the roll to go first and run everything forward, TK’ing the heavies to get them farther up.  Hinnerk runs forward too; making sure to keep his Reckoners outside of 12” of the Stormclad and Shielding them.  Blessing and Roven & Co. moved around towards my zone to threaten some sweet, sweet scenario scoring.

Haley TK and Accelerated the Stormclad and filled up both heavies on Focus.  Thorn used Reaction Drive to get a charge on one of the Reckoners and knock its Focus off to shut down Oracular Vision.  The Stormclad went in and rolled like a minor god, annihilating the Reckoner Thorn attacked and crippling the nearby Redeemer as well.  The GMCA flared another Reckoner and Dynamo ripped half its boxes out.  Shift went down and I was feeling pretty good (despite scaring myself for a second thinking I’d opened myself up to a non-existent assassination run.

Stuff durdled under Shift; the Reckoners got some shots into the Firefly and did a bunch of damage.  Anastasia came in on my right side to kill off a Rifleman but the dice flubbed and she left him on 2 boxes.  In response, the Stormclad and Thorn got busy, finishing off the Redeemer and a second Reckoner while Dynamo and the B13 blew my opponent’s objective up, letting me control my opponent’s zone and putting me to 2 CPs.

Without Shift up, it was time for the Protectorate ‘jacks to get to work!  Unfortunately, they’d gotten off on the wrong side of the transport wagon that morning.  Severius Feated to kill Ragman and Lynch, blew Arc Shield off the Stormclad and the last Reckoner did a bunch of damage to it, unfortunately missing 2 attacks and leaving it alive.  Blessing got a charge on Thorn and was able to finagle a sweet back arc attack, but snake-eyed its last attack roll and left the little dude alive.  The Dervish went in and killed off my objective, putting the score at 2-1.

I moved the Firefly back to be repaired by the Tinker, cleared my opponent’s zone again and killed both Blessing and the Reckoner between my ‘jacks.  A couple solos ran into my zone to help contest and scored up to 3-1.  Haley ran back behind a forest within range to run into my opponent’s zone on the next turn.

I’d lined up my ‘jacks to block the lane between my opponent’s only models in range to contest (the choir); and his zone.  To clear this, Severius cast his free Creator’s Wrath and went in to lay the beatdown on my remaining Warjacks.  He rolled pretty poorly but was still able to finish off both Thorn and the Stormclad after spending all his focus.  The Choir contested my opponent’s zone and the Dervish and Rhoven and his buddies tried to clear out my zone, but unfortunately failed.  With that; the last couple dudes into the zone got cleared out and Haley ran to score the last two CPs and giving me a 5-1 scenario victory.

Team White ended up taking down the final round in a closely contested 3-2 match that came down to a close game right at the end.  We were happy to have won such a close and memorable match at the end and left the event with a 4-2 record!

In a funny twist of fate; our early wins and especially our win over Scotland Irn (we were their only loss) gave us some excellent tiebreakers and put us in a respectable 13th  place.  That left us far above the other US teams, who placed 19th and 21st.  Not bad for the awkward crew of misfits nobody wanted on their teams!

Personally, I was very happy with a 5-1 record; especially since my one loss was due in large part to some poor dice.  Cygnar has some very poor matchups in the current meta but the WTC format helping me cherry pick out the worst ones helped a lot.  Seeing some of the new meta contenders on the table gave me some good ideas about how they play and how to fight them.


Overall, the weekend was great; the team environment was fun to play in and the terrain, tables and organization was superb.  I’m definitely going to be applying for the team next year and plan on trying to attend the even, even if it’s only as a solo competitor.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Tourney Recap - NOVA Open 2016 Masters



What's up guys!?  It's Trevy here again and I'm two conventions down in the last two weeks so I figured it's time for a writeup of some sort.  At the end of August I played in Templecon 2016 Masters and didn't have a particularly exciting go of it; losing in round 2 to Mike Ireland and his rascally Retribution but squeaking in at 2nd place purely on strong tiebreakers.  Honestly I don't feel like I deserved the position and kind of resent the fact that the Masters format doesn't include top table scoring so finalist Andrew Briggs could've placed higher, but thems the (tie)breaks, I guess.

The week after Templecon was another relatively local convention; the NOVA Open in Arlington, VA.  NOVA has been a steadily growing WM/H con for the last couple of years, sporting both WMWI and IG qualifiers since last year with a steadily expanding player base (this year was over 90 unique WM/H players from what I understand).  One of the unfortunate consequences of Templecon's move from the start of the year to the summer is that these two conventions will compete to some extent.

The NOVA Open Masters event qualified from a set of two preliminary heats; 3-round events that each cut the top 8 players to duke it out in the finals event.  I ended up 2-1 in the qualifier, learning the hard way in the first round that Mk3 Vayl2 got Boundless Charge!  I still placed top 8 by winning my two subsequent rounds on scenario and squeaking into a qualifying spot on tiebreakers.  With that, I sat down to come up with some sweet lists to play!

List 1:
Major Victoria Haley [+25]
 - Thorn [13]
 - Stormclad [18]
 - Dynamo [18]
 - Squire [5]
Journeyman Warcaster [4]
 - Firefly [8]
Arcane Tempest Rifleman [4]
Arcane Tempest Rifleman [4]
Gun Mage Captain Adept [5]
Black 13th Strike Force [10]
Ragman [4]
Alten Ashley [5]
Gobber Tinker [2]

Haley has been my main for years, and Mk3 didn't change that.  With the emphasis shifting to focus on heavies, she completely dominates (see what I did there!?) a lot of matchups.  It's as if 60% of the meta has turned into lists that Mk2 Haley2 salivated over but never got to play into.  The list is a little weird, but is meant to play a relatively balanced game into both heavies and infantry support and most of the models in it pull double duty.  The only super weird inclusion I guess might be Dynamo, but the interaction between Multi-Fire and Future Sight making him laser-accurate is sweet, not to mention that Haley can increase both his damage output and threat range while protecting him from reprisal.  Sounds pretty cute, right?  It's not; it's fucking terrifying and Haley's Dynamo is as a voltaic god made manifest in metal and storm chambers.  Pew pew pew and stuff.

Normally I pair this list with Sloan to fight gunlines and infantry spam, but I'd been losing to stupid Ret over and over for the last two weeks and decided to make a calculated knee-jerk into playing some janky bullshit that might fight the nasty elves on a good day.  Enter Stryker1...

List 2:
Commander Coleman Stryker [+30]
 - Stormwall [39]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Storm Lances (min) [12]
Journeyman Warcaster [4]
 - Firefly [8]
Arcane Tempest Rifleman [4]
Arcane Tempest Rifleman [4]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [4]
Ragman [4]
Gobber Tinker [2]
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord [4]

The general idea was that Stryker can stack enough armor on the way in to deliver the Storm Lances through gunlines like Ossyan, or protect the Stormwall enough to get the requisite work done vs. ARM bricks like Helynna.  Also Riflemen kill Dawnguard Sentinels good, so that helps.  I just had to cross my fingers and hope that A. I didn't miss Kara and B. it actually worked.

Round 1 - vs. Legion.

Already missing Kara. :(

I was paired vs. John F. and his metallic blighted monsters.  John was the capable Legion player who taught me a lesson in the first round of the qualifying round, so I was itching for a rematch.  He was bring two very interesting lists; Thagrosh1 w/ three Angelii and Vayl2 w/ an Archangel.  I dropped Haley into Thagrosh on Recon.

Thagrosh, Prophet of Everblight [+28]
 - Angelius [17]
 - Angelius [17]
 - Angelius [17]
 - Typhon [24]
 - Seraph [14]
Hellmouth [6]
Hellmouth [6]
Blighted Nyss Shepherd [1]
Blighted Nyss Shepherd [1]


I won the roll to take first turn and chose to do so; John got a side with a helpful forest and building to hide Hellmouths behind (which he did) while I got a wall and hill.  After deployment I was able to Accelerate one Rifleman into range to shoot one of the Hellmouths but the dude was still groggy from his beauty sleep and snake-eyes'd one of his shots, leaving the thing on 5 HP.  Everything else ran up under Deflection and Thorn w/ Arc Shield.

John responded by Slipstreaming into range to take two Angelius potshots on Thorn who I'd put too close.  Still, even needing 10s to hit and at dice -9 he was able to do ~10 damage to the poor guy. :(  The third Angelius ran up so that it was partially obscured by the building but still pretty far forward.  Fog of War went up to make me sad.

Time for Dynamo to strut his stuff.  The Angelius behind the building got TK'd around the building and Dynamo was Accelerated.  Booting to get through Fog, he was able to deal most of the Angelius' damage and the B13 finished the poor thing off before Alten even had a chance to aim his gun.  One Rifleman tagged the previously damaged Hellmout again, bringing it to 2 HP and the Firefly contested the zone.

In response, John brought the aggro; one Angelius charged into Dynamo and ripped his arms off with an Armor Peirce (I wasn't able to get him out of threat range and also in range of the other Angelius) while the other killed the objective and Repulsed the Firefly out of the zone.  Thagrosh moved up to Dominate and Feated the first Angelius back to life, in front of him to protect him from TKs.  John scored 3 CPs and Typhon stayed pretty far back to be safe.

Going down 3 CPs was not great, especially on Recon where my opponent could easily win the long game by going for a flag.  Still, I was pretty sure that getting the feat out early and in a position to kill the other Angelii was probably worth it.  Stuff got TK'd, Focus was allocated and lightning happened.  At the end of the turn both forward Angelii and one Hellmouth were dead, Haley had caught the remaining stuff under Shift and hit Thagrosh and the other Angelius with a Time Bomb to shut down any other shenanigans.

Under Shift the Legion force wasn't able to accomplish much; Thagrosh and Typhon began moving towards his flag and left the remaining Angelius in the zone to contest.  From this point most of the game was mop-up. Guns blew up the Angelius and Time Bomb hit Thagrosh again so he couldn't make it too far away.  He tried running for the right-hand flag but across the forest he couldn't make it very far.  The next turn Thorn and the Stormclad killed off the objective and a Shielded Haley Dominated the zone, putting me at 3CPs as well.  The Seraph was able to get a couple shots at Haley but had to spend one shooting through blocking models and wasn't able to punch much through her Arc Shield, only dealing a few damage before getting TK'd out for the win.


The game-state at the end of the game

A much more exciting game than our last; John played a very aggressive game that had me on the back foot early on but her extreme damage output and Shift helped keep me in it.  Combined with Time Bombs stopping Thagrosh from going for one of the flags, without too much left to reciprocate it was a losing proposition.  He and I both agreed that he should've focused more on Thorn early on to stop the TKs and Bombs that wreaked havoc in the late game.

Round 2 - vs. Cryx

This time vs. Michael K., a.k.a the terrifying Granite Fistmeat!  This game (as well as the semi and final rounds) was recorded by Advanced Maneuvers, so the full-length video should be available soon from them.  I'm hoping to also be able to make video batreps of these games as well (no promises, unfortunately), so I won't go into too much detail here.

The scenario was Linebreaker... missing Kara even more.  Mike was bringing Coven and Deneghra1... neither a great prospect for my pair.  I hoped Haley could save me by bringing some sweet guns and a counter-feat!  Mike dropped Coven.

The Witch Coven of Garlghast [+26]
 - Egregore [0]
 - Deathripper [6]
 - Deathripper [6]
 - Deathjack [23]
 - The Withershadow Combine [9]
Satyxis Blood Witches (max) [13]
 - Satyxis Blood Hag [4]
Satyxis Raiders (max) [16]
 - Satyxis Raider Sea Witch [3]
Machine Wraith [2]
Soulhunters (max) [18]

Sooo much Stealth... gross.  Missing Kara even more.
I can't remember who got first turn, but I got a side of the table with a bunch of walls on it, which was pretty neat.  His stuff ran first; Mike's objective was Stockpile so between it, Veil of Mists and a big forest he was able to make a pretty impressive cloud wall sort of thingy across the center.

Stuff ran up; Mike had Deathjack behind his clouds, Occultation on the Satyxis on the left flank and Bloodwitches on the right with Soulhunters hard flanking along with them.  My Stormclad was across from the Soulhunters, Dynamo and Thorn in the center and the B13 with Alten on the far left to contest.

Early on (my 2nd turn I think) I ran Thorn into the clouds to Dominate Deathjack forward a couple inches so I could see him.  The Firefly ran up and Accelerated Dynamo blew the big 'jack off the table while still remaining out of all the Cryx stuff's threat ranges.  Unfortunately I made a bit of a mistake and Reaction Drive'd Thorn behind a wall such that his facing was against the Soul Hunters, which I was most worried about charging him.

The world after Deathjack
This let Mike get his Machine Wraith in Thorn's back arc and move him forward; Arc Shield got knocked off by the Blood Hag and a couple Blood Witches killed the poor guy.  A couple Raiders succeeded in killing off the Firefly as well.

Losing Thorn was sad but I wasn't altogether unhappy with the trade; the Soulhunters killed Ragman but started dying to guns and that left Mike with few ways to kill my two remaining heavies.  From there the game ground on for way too long; the non-scenario of Linebreaker made it impossible to score until ~90 minutes into the game.  Meanwhile the Riflemen and GMCA did massive amounts of work killing off stealthy duders while the rest of my army sat around and contested.

Eventually my Stormclad had advanced far enough up the table to be accelerated and walk to my opponent's right most flag.  The only model contesting it was a Deathripper hiding behind a wall, but with Acceleration I was able to move the Stormclad laterally and get it around the wall while still controlling the flag.  The lucky bastard hit one of his gunshots without needing to boost and so was able to finish off the bonejack with two POW 14s, scoring me 1 CP.

Mike had pushed very hard for my right flag and hadn't expected the Deathripper to go down so fast so had very little to contest.  A Soulhunter ran in that got pulverized by the Stormclad and Haley ran to the flag w/ Arcane Shield and a bunch of Focus to get me to 3 CPs.  Mike killed some stuff but wasn't able to contest the flag and I won at the end of his following turn.  There was a total of about 5 minutes left on our clocks.

This game was one hell of a grind, mostly due to the stupid scenario.  I do feel like the matchup was in Mike's favor; the mass Stealth spam is a problem for folks that aren't Kara Sloan, but the scenario gave me enough time to whittle the army down to a manageable size.  Killing DJ early was important too as it let the heavies run wild and free, even in exchange for Thorn.  All in all, a great game!

Round 3 - vs. Mercenaries

In the semi-final round I was paired vs. Liam P. running Magnus2 and a Damiano Kingmakers list.  The other table was a Retribution mirror match and I wasn't super comfortable with Stryker into my opponent's lists (although it probably would've been fine in all honesty), so I dropped Haley and locked myself in.  Fortunately I got Magnus so I wouldn't have to deal with DEF 19 Trenchers.

Magnus the Warlord [+28]
 - Nomad [11]
 - Nomad [11]
 - Mangler [15]
 - Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker [4]
Alten Ashley [5]
Wrong Eye [17]
 - Snapjaw [0]
Rorsh [15]
 - Brine [0]
Gobber Tinker [2]
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress [3]
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios [7]
Kell Bailoch [5]

Lady Aiyana & Master Holt [8]

Scenario was Entrenched and my opponent won initiative and chose to take the first turn.

I was pretty wary of Magnus' ability to force scenario with his feat and a bunch of heavy armor, so I resolved to play this game pretty cagily so I didn't get locked out and lose.  My opponent ran stuff forward as far as it could; Nomads and Warbeasts on the left towards his zone with the Mangler on the right.  Bullet Dodger went up on Brine and the gators submerged.

I thought it would be cool to start the game off with a complementary heavy free of charge, so Thorn ran up behind a wall and Dominated a Nomad forward into the Ionization bubble of the Firefly so Accelerated Dynamo could rip it off the table.  Everything else stayed pretty far back, making sure to stay out of Eiryss' threat range.

Liam took a couple shots at stuff; Eiryss moved up into my zone and killed Ryan, Kell took a couple shots at Thorn and hit one before the little 'jack dodged away.  The remaining Nomad moved behind a forest in the middle, the Mangler ran into my zone and the Warbeasts kept plodding forward, Wrong Eye Submerging and casting Starcrossed.

Based on Wrong Eye's positioning I was able to get Thorn on him and decided that killing him was worth an early Shift.  So I TK+Accelerated Thorn and used his Reaction Drive to get into charge range.  Unfortunately he had to boost to hit to get through Star Crossed and rolled some pretty bad damage rolls, only dealing ~3 damage to Wrong Eye.  Dynamo ripped half the boxes off the remaining Nomad, the B13 killed Eiryss, GMCA hit his '8' to gun down Ashley in a forest and the Firefly got a rad shot onto my opponent's objective that Lightning Gen'd through Kell and both Aiyana and Holt, killing them off.  Despite not killing Wrong Eye I was feeling pretty good.

Liam positioned very aggressively after Shift; moving both the Mangler and Nomad aggressively at my zone and Feating to protect them from Dynamo and the Stormclad.  I was able to kill Brine with Dynamo on the post-Shift turn but I didn't want to put the Stormclad too far forward lest it get beat up by a scary Mangler, so Liam was able to kill the B13 and Rifleman in my zone as well as my objective to score 3 CPs.

With both our Feats used and the game boiling down to a scrum between out heavies, I was feeling pretty confident I could win that.  Unfortunately I punted mildly; putting Ragman in the middle of everything to Death Field Snapjaw and hopefully the Mangler, but moved Dynamo in my own way so the Stormclad wasn't able to get the damage increase.  It was okay because he rolled like garbage and missed two attacks anyway, really only scratching up the Mangler's paint job due to Magnus' Field Marshal.  Dynamo fired into the remaining Nomad and left it on 1 box while Thorn finally stabbed Snapjaw to death.

With only one functional heavy remaining, Liam was going to be hard pressed to clear the zone.  The Mangler tried throwing the Stormclad out so that Magnus could try to kill Dynamo by himself (Ashley and Ragman were also contesting) but failed its strength check.  Lucky me!  On the second go-round I was able to scrap both Warjacks and kill off the Lesser Warlocks so an Accelerated Thorn could finish off my opponent's objective and score me 2 CPs.  Liam didn't have anything to contest, so I scored again on his turn and ran Haley into his zone the next turn for the win.

Another grindy game, but Haley has the advantage in big brawls between heavies.  I'm glad Magnus got dropped into me; heavy armor like his is traditionally pretty effective against Cygnar but Damiano's Deadeyed Trenchers was a scary proposition for all my little solo dudes.  I definitely would've wanted Stryker into that matchup, but was also a little worried about Damiano's ability to crack armor and Magnus' really powerful control shutting off the Stormwall.  An interesting game of list-chicken to be sure, but it did leave me locked into Stryker for the final round.


Round 4 - vs. Retribution

Finals time!  This time it was vs. Mike Ireland and his gross elves on Extraction.  Interestingly, the last 3 times I've played Mike in tournaments has been on that scenario.  He chose Issyria to fight me and won the roll to go first.

Issyria, Sibyl of Dawn [+29]
 - Hyperion [36]
 - Chimera [8]
 - Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker [4]
Dawnguard Sentinels (max) [18]
 - Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard [4]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Mage Hunter Assassin [4]
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (max) [19]
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios [7]

Stuff ran forward out of the gate; Mike had his Hyperion on the right along with Dawnguard Sentinels and Issyria with just the Nyss and Assassin on the left flank.  I deployed my larger unit of Lances on the right across from the colossal, the smaller unit on the left and the Stormwall centrally.  I got Arcane Shields onto both cav units and ran the right unit far forward onto a hill.  Unfortunately I made a mistake and neglected to Dirge them, leaving them more vulnerable than I would've liked.  Still, the left unit killed the Assassin with lightning off a pod.


Stuff running
Stuff running from a more exciting angle! (photo courtesy of Stephen Williams)

Mike responded with an early Feat, Blinding both the Stormwall and larger cav unit.  This let the Hyperion waltz up and blow 3 of them off the table with guns and some good dice.  The Nyss killed one Lance out of the left unit and everything else ran up.  Stupid Dawn's Light.

Losing 3 Lances was pretty sad and after the game Mike mentioned that he felt I should've feated that turn to deliver them, which is probably true but I was worried about the Stormwall's survivability later on.  I definitely should've Dirged the Storm Lances instead of forgetting to do that thing, forcing the Hyperion to roll 10s to hit them.  Still, I opted to make the best of it; killed half the Dawnguard with Riflemen and the remaining 2 Storm Lances from the large unit.  The other unit cleared the left flag and scored a point.  Unfortunately the Sniped Firefly missed his boosted '8' to kill most of the remaining Nyss Hunters and lock down that flag.  My stuff became Invincible.

In response Mike rolled forward with all his heavy armor, easily clearing the right flag and Dominating it with Issyria and Blinding the Stormwall again.  Sad times.  Nyss swarmed the left flag and killed off one Storm Lance with good dice, putting the score to 1-1.  The Chimera got Admonition and ran in front of the Stormwall to shut it down.

Mike putting Issyria so far forward gave me an assassination run; she was camping 1 Focus so I'd need to throw 2 Earthquakes, either at a Dawnguard or a pod to knock her down, then I'd just have Stryker's gun and the 2 Riflemen to shoot her because apparently Stormwalls are not morning Warjacks and are easily confused by bright lights.  It wasn't great so I opted to keep scoring CPs.  The Stormwall knocked down the Chimera and the Lances cleared the left flag for a second point.

In hindsight it might have been better to move the Stormwall away and try disrupting the Chimera, because now the big guy was in range of the Hyperion and a couple of his Dawnguard buddies.  They didn't have much trouble killing the poor Colossal and Issyria scored her 2nd CP; 2-2.

The one remaining Storm Lance had no trouble clearing the flag again for Rhupert to score; Arlan and the Firefly ran forward to jam out the Dawnguard and I contested the right flag with my last Rifleman, putting the score to 3-2.  Mike had no trouble clearing his flag again and killing my objective to go to 4 CPs.  It was technically possible for me to go to 5 points with some good dice to kill the objective but with basically nothing left there was nothing to stop Mike scoring on my turn to tie the score and winning on his following so the game was over.

Blech, Ret.  I'll admit that I was mildly tilted at the matchup and that probably influenced my play, but I honestly believe that I had very little chance in this game.  In all honesty going for the astronomically bad assassination early in the game was by best option but I'd hoped I could jam out scenario enough to make something good happen.  Blinding Light stopping the Stormwall from contributing at all is back breaking and makes the Colossal basically only good for holding down stacks of important papers.  I lost Ragman to a lucky Hyperion crit on my feat turn as well, which didn't help matters even if I were able to get something in melee with the colossal.  Still, with strong tiebreakers I secured 2nd place in the event and seeing as Mike had already qualified for the WMWI the week previously at Templecon, the spot was mine!

I'll cover more in depth why I feel Retribution is so difficult for Cygnar in the future, but the vast majority of my tournament losses so far have been to them.  I was lucky in this event to dodge the two Retribution players present until the final round; if I don't I think the event goes a lot differently for me.

Anyhoo, I hope you all enjoyed this little recap!  I apologize for the scarce photos but I'm working with the Advanced Maneuvers crew to dub over the videos for my channel, so stay tuned for those and keep it classy, folks!