Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Steamroller Prep: Scenarios

There is a 35 point "Steamroller" (because there's no Press Ganger yet) tournament at my LGS coming up on April 15th that I plan on attending.  Since I really enjoy the process of planning for tournaments, I figured that I would take this opportunity to use my own preparation as an example for others when faced with a similar situation.  I'm pretty excited about this tournament as it's the first in which I will be participating in this area and it'll be a great opportunity for me to get a few games in and meet some of the locals!  Let me share with you my thoughts and process of preparing for just such an event.

Fortunately, the club that is hosting this tournament is just getting into Warmachine/Hordes, so it's a great opportunity for me to meet some of the newer players and the tournament will be a bit more relaxed than what I'm used to.  Normally things can get pretty tense at my old game store when these tournaments come around, and there haven't been many participants lately.  Some new opponents will be refreshing!  Also, since this is a newer crowd, the scenarios have already been posted, along with some other information:

35 Point "Steamroller" 2012
Casual time limits (100 min. rounds, 10 min. turns, 5 min. extension)

Scenarios (randomly determined):

Close Quarters

Command and Control

Casual time limits will be a nice change!  What this means for me is that I can afford to take warlocks that are normally fairly time-consuming, that I might be worried about taking otherwise (a.k.a. pKrueger).  Also, the three scenarios that will be played are very familiar to me, especially Incursion (as it's the only one I remember when people want to play something different), and since each scenario is focussed on the center of the board, my two favorite tournament warlocks will be perfect since my opponent won't be able to avoid me.  This means that with two lists being optional, I'll probably end up taking my beloved pKrueger list and, at 35 points, I'll have to settle with pBaldur since I don't like eBaldur at 35 points.  They offer the flexibility and denial, respectively, that I need to dislodge my opponents in each of these scenarios.  Also, with so many newbies, I might be able to snag an assassination with pBaldur - but I won't rely on it.

So let's take a look at each scenario quickly:
Incursion deployment.  At the end of round 1,
one of the flags randomly disappears.
Incursion is fairly straight-forward and I've played it many times.  The key with this scenario is to push hard in the middle but maintain the flexibility to shift to a flank should you need it.  Even if the flag in the middle is the one that disappears, you'll be able to shift your entire force to whichever side you need, at worst.  I'll need some mobility here so having a slow-moving battlegroup can be a huge liability in this scenario.  Also, infantry are not really needed for a scenario like this since it's a flag and not a zone.  A warbeast will be perfectly capable of manning a flag and keeping enemies at bay.  In short, my choice will really depend on what my opponent is bringing.  If my opponent features a good amount of infantry, my pKrueger list can finish them off quickly while maintaining a strong threat on either flag with mobility.  If I'm seeing lots of warjacks/warbeasts, then pBaldur will be well-equipped to deal with those kinds of lists since his feat can really shut down alpha strikes.  My biggest worry, though, is a Legion airforce, as flight isn't affected by my feat.  It seems that the meta at the store is more warmachine focused, so hopefully this won't be an issue anyway.

Close Quarters.  Kill Box is in effect.  I need
to control the opponents zone while my
warcaster/warlock is within a zone (either)
Close Quarters is another great scenario for my tag-team, depending on what my opponent plans on bringing for lists.  Generally, I think that pKrueger will be much better in this scenario, depending on the terrain.  Between Skyborne and his feat, Krueger can easily keep the opponent from getting into the control zones.  People often forget that pKrueger's feat also effectively lasts for multiple turns, so I can really make it punishing to get into those zones and isolate their forces.  Again, if I see lots of heavies, pBaldur will be the man with the plan, since two units of Woldstalkers can punish enemy heavies at range - especially when they're moving through rough terrain to try to get back at me.  Baldur is also pretty good at projecting a 12" bubble of "don't get too close or I'll kill you", so I can more easily keep their warcaster/warlock out of their zone.  If there's some forest terrain in favorable positions, I might choose pBaldur over pKrueger, but that will also depend on what I'm facing.

Command and Control.  You must control the zone
in the middle and also have a warcaster/warlock contestone of the flags around the edges.
The Command and Control scenario will be fairly tricky, but again I think it's a great scenario for my two warlocks of choice.  Knowing that my opponent needs to be in a certain area for victory makes my job easy with pKrueger, and he'll love staying back near any of those flags anyway.  I'm not sure how pBaldur will do in the scenario, depending on the terrain, but being able to throw a 4" forest into the middle of that big zone in the middle might be enough to slow down my opponents.  Unfortuantely, they're warcaster will be far from the middle, so it means assassination with pBaldur is practically out of the question.  One advantage, however, is that his theme list allows placing the Sentry Stone and Mannikins 20" from either board edge, meaning that I can apply pressure super early.  Once again, it will depend on whom I'm up against, but with everything in the list gaining Advance Deployment or Advance Move except Baldur himself, I feel confident that I can get into that zone early and maintain dominance with my feat and heavies.

I'll share what I'm thinking for lists tomorrow!

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