Tuesday, November 13, 2012

35 point Fall Steamroller Results

Sunday I played my first tournament in well over 2 months and it felt great!  While I was definitely pretty rusty, I found myself in my element and on my game, for the most part.  There was a little issue in the last game because me and my opponent were pretty tired and forgot that scoring for Incursion meant scoring each turn instead of round, but we were able to retroactively determine that I did, in fact, win the scenario.  He was a great sport and we had some good laughs afterwards about how tired we were.  So let me share the lists that I finally decided upon and then I'll briefly break down my games.

Naturally, my first list was my pBaldur list because a) it's a really solid list which can handle a variety of foes, b) it was good way to get me "out of retirement", and c) it was fully painted (meaning I got a ticket for the raffle).

pBaldur (+6)
- Megalith (10*)
- Woldguardian (8*)
- Woldwyrd (5)
Woldstalkers (5)
Woldstalkers (5)
Shifting Stones (2)
Shifting Stones (2)
- Stone Keeper (1)
Sentry Stone & Mannikins (3)
Druids of Orboros (7)

For my second list, I decided to give Mohsar a shot.  He's a solid anti-Hordes warcaster so I figured he'd be solid.  I also want to get way more practice with him since I'm thinking of bringing him to Templecon.

Mohsar (+5)
- Gnarlhorn (8)
- Gnarlhorn (8)
- Shadowhorn (7)
- Gorax (4)
- Druid Wilder (2)
Druids of Orboros (7)
Gallows Grove (1)
Gallows Grove (1)
Shifting Stones (2)
Lord of the Feast (4)
Blackclad Wayfarer (2)
Gallows Grove (1)

So how did I do?  Well the tournament was not Divide and Conquer so I had the flexibility of playing with Baldur 3 times if I wanted to, which was nice.  I like Mohsar and all, but I need much more practice with him.  There were 19 players who turned out and I managed to go 3-1, with my one loss being largely due to a poor dice roll.  Let's break it down:

Game 1 - Scenario: Gauntlet  Opponent's Army: Retribution
I saw that my opponent was most likely going to pick Kaelyssa for his list and this being the first round, I figured that Baldur was going to be my best way to start it off.  I don't remember everything that my opponent brought, but he did bring along a full unit of sentinels and a full unit of MHSF.  With both of us sporting defensive feats, I needed to really hope that I could get him to get close enough for me to pull out some threat-range shenanigans.  Sure enough, it was close but Kaelyssa got a little too close and I catapulted a shifting stone forward so that I could slingshot Megalith into her face.  I popped his animus, boosted to hit her, and with -5 DEF, she didn't survive the onslaught.  Win!

Game 2 - Scenario: A Flag Too Far Opponent's Army: Trollbloods
Game 2 was against a buddy of mine that I've played against for years now.  In fact, he was one of the first people I played when I first got into Circle and we've been old nemeses for some time.  He had the option of bringing Grim or Calandra and both warlocks were bringing only two Earthborns for their heavies so I figured the best I could hope for was bringing along Mohsar and possibly getting him to play cautiously with his fury.  The board unfortunately had a lot of terrain and that meant that those Earthborns were constantly buffed up, and my Pillars of Salt didn't help.  Or did they?  Because of the terrain I was able to use the pillars to block a lot of charge lanes and keep him at bay while I secured the flag objectives.  He had some solid reinforcements in a unit of Kriels but he also brought along some Bog Trogs.  Most people give Bog Trogs crap for being overpriced, but in a reinforcement scenario they're gold because it means they can come on behind reinforcements and mess them up.  Consequently, I had to play a little more cautiously with my reinforcements.  Fortunately, I was able to deal with the Kriels thanks to a Gallows Grove and some awesome Crevasse action, followed by a Gnarlhorn charge.  I will never discount Entropic Force ever again.  I don't care if it's only a 3" bubble, removing Tough from Trolls is HUGE!

Meanwhile, I was able to apply lots of pressure on my right flank by using the Shadowhorn to toss around an Earthborn and then put a Gnarlhorn behind for counter-charging.  Sure enough, I was able to keep him off of the flags long enough for my reinforcements to come in and deal some pain.  Lord of the Feast got some corpse tokens but he was far more useful in applying pressure and keeping my opponent's scouts from advancing too far on that flank.  In the end, I managed a scenario win since I made it very difficult for my opponent to get to Mohsar.  Win!

Game 3 - Scenario: Destruction Opponent's Army: Khador
Ugh.  I hated this game.  Again, I played against someone from my old game store and he's a great player.  His army is beautiful and he even brought along Zerkhova.  You know, the "worst warcaster in Khador."  He didn't bring her out to play against me, though.  No, he let me play against eSorscha and her Winter Guard Death Star.  Now, I'm not one to complain about dice most of the time.  When I lose, I'm outplayed by a skilled player.  I put up a good fight but when I lose it's usually because my opponent is a better player than I am.  While my opponent in this game is assuredly a solid player, I like to think that we are equals in terms of play, but this game the dice rolls were incredible (on both sides).  I much prefer games where the rolls stick mostly to the "average" range because otherwise I'm reminded of playing Warhammer where extreme luck can swing entire contests over skill.  Again, skill certainly played into this game, but there were a couple of situations where luck swung over in my opponent's favor and caused me to lose the game.

The WGDS didn't really scare me too much, although they were pretty annoying on my flank advancing towards the Monolith.  Their annoyance is well documented so I won't talk about them.  I was arguably more annoying on the other flank with my Sentry Stone and Mannikins, constantly popping out and engaging the Widowmakers.  He kept clearing me out with some solid to-hit rolls but I would just keep popping more out and holding them off as long as I could.  Meanwhile I was able to get the jump on Beast 09 with some clever shifting stone placement and managed to wreck him and the Guardian was sitting with full boxes at ARM 22.  Sorscha pops feat and charges with everything and manages to kill him.  I know her feat is good and all, but at ARM 22 he shouldn't have died - even with the charge from one of the great bears.  Sorscha should have, on average, dealt only 8 points of damage to the beast and even with the +3 STR from Kovnik Joe, he and the Great Bear should have crippled but not destroyed the Guardian.  First stroke of bad luck.

The second stroke of bad luck occurred the following turn when I thought I could get to Sorscha.  I had Megalith pop his animus and I charged him towards Sorscha, snagging him in the -2 DEF net of his animus.  At that point, I had a doubt, and didn't think I could get Baldur in range to teleport over there.  I checked my control and saw that Sorscha was just out of my control range, while I could double-jump him over with the stones to give me ~2", I was worried I wasn't going to be able to get her since I could only jump about 9" from that point.  I totally forgot that my threat range with Baldur and the stones is, in fact, 11" because he has Reach.  Ugh.  Instead, I teleported him off to the side and surrounded him, hoping that Megalith could survive the attacks from Sorscha and her cronies since she already popped her feat.  My mistake.  Megalith was sitting on 9 boxes left when Sorscha made her final attack.  Even with the boosted damage, she didn't have a good chance of killing Megalith.  Then my opponent rolled 18 for damage.  SONOFABITCH!

Alright... fine.  Now Baldur is in range, teleports (me now realizing my mistake in not teleporting the previous turn) and swings away.  Boost to hit, nails her, dropping her to DEF 15 (stupid war dog) and dealing solid damage.  Buy attack, boost to hit, deal more damage.  She now has 2 boxes left.  Buy an attack, boost to hit (needing an 8 on 3 dice) and I rolled a 7.  DAMMIT!  REALLY!?  I had an 84% chance to hit.  Okay, well one more attack should do the trick, right?  It's not as great but a 42% chance to swing is still pretty reasonable.  Nope.  I can't manage it.  I concede.

Once again, I'm not usually one to blame losses to dice in Warmachine, but it definitely happens, and this was one of those times.  I do want to say that my biggest mistake was that I got a bit psyched-out and I should have been able to kill Sorscha the turn before since I was definitely in range and she had -2 DEF on her at that point so Baldur could have dropped her to DEF 13 and then I could have just bought more attacks instead of boosting to hit.  Ugh.  My rust was showing.  At least he took lots of pictures (if I find them I'll make sure to post them).  Loss.

Game 4 - Scenario: Incursion Opponent's Army: Circle
After Game 3 I was feeling a bit dejected.  Sure, I was rusty, but even then the odds should have been in my favor in multiple places (Woldguardian, Megalith, and Baldur).  Oh well.  This next game I played against someone I'd never played before and he was a nice guy.  Apparently there was an internal dispute and so the members of the Circle were feuding.  He had a pKrueger list and an eKaya list (standard tournament fare for Circle) and with Mohsar on my list, I knew he couldn't risk taking eKaya and so I knew he would take pKrueger.  So, I figured Baldur was the way to go again, since we weren't playing Divide and Conquer this tournament.

This game was sloppy.  It was the end of the day and both of us read the scenario wrong (spoiler: you score control points at the end of each player turn, not round).  It was generally a bloodbath with my Mannikins annoying the crap out of his Bloodtrackers and the Woldwyrd punishing them for having Lightning Tendrils on them (I love Purgation!).  He did bring along the Gatorman Witch Doctor so it was interesting to see Tough Bloodtrackers but he didn't really pass many Tough checks anyway.  Of course the middle flag disappeared so we were stuck spreading ourselves out thin.  So we didn't keep track very well because the scenarios are awefully inconsistent on when you check for control points.  After a lot of figuring things out we realized that I indeed did win a round earlier, but that we forgot to count me scoring on his turn.  In short, I hope that Privateer Press simplifies SR 2013 so that scoring is always done the same way in every scenario so these situations don't come up again.  Interestingly, something similar happened at one of the other tables where one of the players didn't realize that you score twice if uncontested for a turn.  In my opinion, this scenario should require you to win by having 2 or more points than your opponent because otherwise it's just too easy to get confused and lose for something really stupid.  I still managed a win.

In the end I went 3-1 and got 4th place despite having 6 control points at the end (I think strength of schedule had something to do with it).  I'm still fairly proud of myself considering how rusty I was.  I was also really pleased with Mohsar and I'll definitely need to play with him more.  He's a real solid tournament warlock and I think the list I have plays to that strength even more since people are afraid of things like Counter Slam and the Shadowhorn is also a little frightening when people realize what he can do with leaping and throwing things around!  I think scaling him up to 50 points will be huge and I'm eager to play with him some more!
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