søndag 22. januar 2017

NM Warm Up Game 3 (#404): Nemo3 vs Magnus2

:: Prologue ::

For the last game of the day I faced Magnus2 Kingmaker's. Usually a strong list, but this caster got a serious implicit nerf in the power attack changes in the recent errata. To be honest I figured this would be a walk-over, he projects next to 0 threats vs Nemo3 and I just shoot anything he has dead really quickly. His pairing was Thexus, I think Mercenaries need Ossrum to deal with my list. Anyway, let's get to the game!

:: Lists ::

Cygnar:
Theme: Storm Division
(Nemo 3) Artificer General Nemo [+25]
- Storm Chaser Adept Caitlin Finch
- Squire [0]
- Firefly [8]
- Firefly [8]
- Firefly [8]
- Dynamo [18]
- Lancer [10]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Storm Lances (min) [12]
Major Katherine Laddermore [8]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
- Firefly [8]
Opponent:
(Magnus 2) Magnus the Warlord [+28]
 - Buccaneer [6]
 - Renegade [10]
 - Nomad [11]
 - Nomad [11]
 - Nomad [11]
 - Freebooter [9]
Trencher Infantry (max) [16]
 - Trencher Infantry Officer & Sniper [5]
Trencher Infantry (max) [16]
 - Trencher Infantry Officer & Sniper [5]
Dirty Meg [3]
Kell Bailoch [0]
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor [0]

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

We are playing Extraction and our beloved Swans have seized the initiative. Magnus2's feat is scary so I need to overwhelm a flank, keep him from it and ensure I contest the other half of the map. To this end I go for a strong center, small (!) lances on my intended strong flank and a Lancer + Firefly with them. Rest go opposite. Magnus deploys more or less like I thought he would, the majority concentrated on my weak flank. Hard for him to leave the big Lances free to roam here, he could end up being severely pinned down.


:: Game ::

The small Lances are key, I hold them  back. Big Lances rush into the center and receive Arcane Shield. 2 Fireflies go right, 1 middle, 1 left with Lancer. Dynamo with Electrify.


Some Trenchers move up to try and start the job on a Firefly. A solid CRA is dealt, but no systems down.


I want to clear Trenchers! 1 Lance on the left runs up to rob the outermost guy of Dig In. 2 on the right charge in and kill a couple + reposition to sparknode. The Fireflies start boosting on the lances and the lightning generators do glorious work. Nemo finishes off with arcing Chain Lightning on the left. In total I've killed like 12 Trenchers. I have 2 Fireflies contesting the right flag and tons of strategical depth and positional flexibility. Bring it, Magnus.


The cloudwall advances again and Magnus feats (models caught marked with red tokens).


Dynamo blasts the objective to bits, I clear Trenchers and keep the right flag contested. 2-0 and my feat is still online.


Magnus' goal is to get a Nomad into Dynamo. However a lot of clearing has to be done in order to do so and not just die as a result. Dice don't cooperate, some subpar rolls on top of the terrible matchup for him and really nothing is accomplished this game. The long story short of this turn is that Magnus needs to get a lot of work done but without Calamity up from before he doesn't have enough focus to allow his only models capable of work left (read: Warjacks) perform said work.


With my feat I break the back of his army now. 3 heavies and a ton of support go down and I take a massive scenario lead. The clean-up lasts for another round or two but the game essentially ends here:


Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

Another amazing matchup for Nemo! True, Mercs without Ossrum is a sight I don't really expect these days... But seriously, how strong is this list? It keeps making a complete joke of a number of the other fairly decent casters in this game and honestly I'm just loving it more and more. Interestingly, some of the choices I get the most questions about are the Fireflies and the Lancer. Look at this game, they are totally MVPs! I didn't note it in the report but to rid me of the annoying Unyielding Field Marshal I used my lights to headbutt jacks here. The flexibility and durability is insane.

I played this game without making major mistakes I think. A few techical issues here and there. I did what I tried to do and followed the plan. I also struggle to see what Magnus could've done differently. Perhaps he could've tried overloading a flank, but I don't see how he does that with this many shots. He could conceivably try and make a wall with his jacks and have the Trenchers behind so as to be fairly safe from electro leaps, but truth be told I just think the entire battlegroup evaporates on my feat turn. I recently destroyed a Hyperion with Inviolable Resolve and Discordia with imprint with a unit left to activate, these Nomads aren't tougher than that for sure.

A great set of games to prepare for NM! After 3 rounds we were 2 players with 3-0 records, myself and a Protectorate player with Amon and High Reclaimer. Neither of us felt like playing a 4th game to determine a winner so we let it be up to tie break scores. He had 1 SoS more than me and ended up taking the event while I took second place. Nemo's impressing me so much that I'm considering him for a spot in a 2-list pairing. NM should be interesting, but I can't wait until it's over so I can start playing Haleys again!

NM Warm Up Game 2 (#403): Nemo3 vs Wurmwood

:: Prologue ::

The second game of the day saw me draw Circle: Wurmwood and Una2. I had little doubts my opponent would choose Wurmwood here and indeed I was correct. I naturally dropped Nemo3 and off we went!

:: Lists ::

Cygnar:
Theme: Storm Division
(Nemo 3) Artificer General Nemo [+25]
- Storm Chaser Adept Caitlin Finch
- Squire [0]
- Firefly [8]
- Firefly [8]
- Firefly [8]
- Dynamo [18]
- Lancer [10]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Storm Lances (min) [12]
Major Katherine Laddermore [8]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
- Firefly [8]
Opponent:
(Wurmwood 1) Wurmwood, Tree of Fate [+27]
 - Cassius the Oathkeeper
 - Pureblood Warpwolf [17]
 - Megalith [20]
 - Feral Warpwolf [18]
Reeves of Orboros (max) [16]
 - Reeve of Orboros Chieftain & Standard [4]
Wolves of Orboros (max) [11]
Shifting Stones [3]
Sentry Stone & Mannikins [5]
Sentry Stone & Mannikins [5]
Swamp Gobber Chef [1]
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew [2]

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

We were playing Outlast and Wurmwood got first turn. I would love to go first here, but the terrain was interesting: I figured I could likely sweep wide on both flanks, really force the issue on scenario and have a solid center. Magnetic Field is such an important spell in this matchup, letting me play fairly aggressively in the middle here. Wurmwood goes centrally, I skew right because I figure he can't counter that play and off we go!


:: Game ::

Fairly standard turn 1: Beasts go about as far as they can, Strange Growth is put up.


I don't need to contest yet, what I need to do however is to establish the flanking positions Wurmwood will hate. Oh, and get control of the center of course. Lancer + 2 Fireflies take the Center, Lances sweep wide on either side. On the right I run Lances up with Electrify and Dynamo covers Nemo. With Arcane Shield he should be solid.


Consider the position above, especially how bad it really is for Wurmwood. Incredibly hard to find openings, my forces are so spread out and no matter what he does he cannot cover everything. Very interesting position.

In the end Wurmwood decides to go far left, more or less give up the right zone and LoS-block his Reeves. However the LoS-block doesn't extend to the central forest. Lots of juicy options for me...


The first thing I start looking at is the assassination angle. Wurmwood has 2 Fury and 0 souls. I do the math in Odds Machine and end up with way above 70% (too many attacks, couldn't calculate all). I do look at other openings but there are none as good as ~80%+ to win the game. Attrition options like feating for Megalith + Feral sure exist, I can also run stuff up in the middle to get a ton of Reeves while moving to 1-0, however this assassination is just crazy.

Unfortunately I brainfarted. Electro Leaps are voluntary. Lighting Generators are not. This of course means that throughout my run, Wurmwood's armour will increase. Luckily for me, a couple of crazy rolls made up for this and the tree was cut down!

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

Nemo keeps impressing me. The angles he can create and the wide nature of his playstyle really appeal to me. I had so many options this game, tons of interesting plays. Of course my opponent's inexperience with the matchup matters a great deal, but what could he have done? Turn 1 I find hard to improve. Turn 2 might've seen an aggressive feat in the center, but to what end? He won't get an alpha and it won't set him for scenario just like that either. I can probably wait him out.

A very interesting game and the picture after my turn 1 really shows Wurmwood's dilemma here: He cannot commit with the feat and get meaningful work out of it. That is very, very problematic. Given the souls he got assassination might not have been the best option, but I had plenty of other openings as well. I'm confident that I can drop Nemo3 into Wurmwood and at least have game now. That's huge, in my book.

NM Warm Up Game 1 (#402): Stryker3 vs Amon

:: Prologue ::

Final practice games before Norwegian Masters in a week. One of the guys at our club organized a small, 3-game, warm-up tournament today. Excellent! First up was the new Protectorate super-pairing: Amon in theme with High Reclaimer. I figured my opponent might drop Amon so I took a risk and dropped Stryker to get him out of the list-lock. I got lucky and got Amon in return. Game time!

:: Lists ::

Cygnar:
(Stryker 3) Lord General Coleman Stryker [+28]
- Thorn [13]
- Gallant [17]
- Squire [5]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Storm Lances (min) [12]
Trencher Infantry (max) [16]
Trencher Infantry (max) [16]
Archduke Alain Runewood, Lord of Fharin [4]
Opponent:
Theme: The Creator's Might
(Amon 1) High Allegiant Amon Ad-Raza [+29]
- Dervish [7]
- Dervish [7]
- Dervish [7]
- Dervish [7]
- Devout [9]
- Templar [15]
- Crusader [10]
- Crusader [10]
- Crusader [10]
- Crusader [10]
- Hierophant [0]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]
The Covenant of Menoth [0]
Vassal of Menoth [0]
Vassal Mechanik [1]
Vassal Mechanik [1]
Wrack [1]
Wrack [1]

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

The scenario was Entrenched and luckily I won first turn. The idea was to claim as much table space as possible and ensure he couldn't jam me. Interestingly my opponent chose a rather aggressive deployment pattern with a lot of jacks opposite my zone and Amon centrally placed instead of aiming to go for his own zone.


:: Game ::

I put up Fury on big Lances in case Amon wants to take it slow. This ensures that anything move on my right flank will likely get smashed without me having to spend my feat. Iron Aggression is put up on Gallant and Escort goes up, of course.


Amon replies with an all-out move, sending most things in my face.


Feat turn! I make a little mistake here. A big one, actually. The Dervish on the far left (the one behind the objective) is one I can charge with 2 Trenchers, however without feat I likely won't do a lot. I thus have a choice: Do I send Stryker further towards the middle to lend his feat power to them or do I send him into the zone? I choose the former, should have chosen the latter. I also forget that the Templar with Fortify has Enliven so the would've game-breaking Gallant charging in gets but a single swing at him before he steps away. Together with Thorn he does a bit of damage to the 2 Crusaders there, but it wasn't quite what I had hoped for.

The Trenchers and Lances kill a couple of jacks and it's not looking too bad, but I'm concerned that my own jacks are exposed in the face of this synergy madness. Scenario pressure sure would've helped.


Thorn and Gallant are destroyed, some Lances and Trenchers die.


I can clear his zone fairly easily. The rest are sent into his central heavies. I go to 3-0.


The heavy jacks centrally trample to reduce Trenchers, however tough rolls are there and roughly half survive. Stryker was just out range, luckily. Poor play from me not to check that.


I clear out the Crusader in my zone with the remaining Lances and Alain. This leaves Stryker to try his luck vs the Templar. I have a back arc charge angle so I switch Fury around and charge him. He kills the big guy and repositions back. Trenchers move in the way and one clouds up to deny the Dervish and Amon LoS to Stryker. 4-0.


With Mobility the Devout can run and contest my zone. It does do so, but in the following turn I can both try and clear my opponent's zone and kill the Devout. Any of these is a game-winning move. The first works out and I move to 5CP!


Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

I sure was lucky not to get HR in return! Ok so this matchup is interesting, both sides have a lot of options. The first turn is so big here because it sets up for who gets the scenario pressure. I did, however, waste a lot of potential when I grabbed the initiative. T1 was decent, a few sub-optimal positions but overall fairly good. However T2 was very bad, both strategically (not putting Stryker in my zone) and technically with forgetting to charge the Dervish behind the water etc. It does show how brutal Stryker's feat is though.

The way the game developed it was back and forth there for a little while. The initial beating from Gallant and Thorn eventually let me grind down the Crusaders and the Templar with depleted forces. Had they been full health it would've been a much bigger problem.

Interesting game, lucky I got the right drop and somewhat lucky it worked out following my second turn. 1-0 and Stryker was gone from list-locking me!

fredag 20. januar 2017

Battle Report #401: Nemo3 vs Wurmwood

:: Prologue ::

Rematch time! For the second round we wanted a more aggressive Wurmwood, ensuring he would claim table space and really force Nemo to consider a thing or two under feat.

:: Lists ::

Cygnar:
Theme: Storm Division
(Nemo 3) Artificer General Nemo [+25]
- Storm Chaser Adept Caitlin Finch
- Squire [0]
- Firefly [8]
- Firefly [8]
- Firefly [8]
- Dynamo [18]
- Lancer [10]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Storm Lances (min) [12]
Major Katherine Laddermore [8]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
- Firefly [8]
Opponent:
Wurmwood
- Pureblood
- Feral
- Megalith
Blackclad
2x Sentry Stones
Shifting Stones
Max Reeves
-UA
Max Farrows

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

Deployment is largely the same.


:: Game ::

Wurmwood's positioning's a lot better this time around.


I go for a bit of a cheeky play, sending the Lancer up to try and fry some Reeves. I wanted to see how it affected my position, focus camp etc. Conclusion: Don't think it's worth it, too risky.


Reeves shoot the Lancer and Wurmwood gets up further with his feat this time, taking care to stay out of important threat ranges, pressure scenario and keep me on my toes all at the same time. Luckily arc node is still intact.


I move to 1 CP ahead again but I have to be careful. I spread out Fireflies and advance Lances to create lots of angles to respect and provide Nemo and Dynamo with strategical depth so Circle cannot try and claim the table far up.


The Pureblood moves in to try and kill the Lancer. Turns out DEF13 is legit against Circle heavies without MAT-fixing and he survives! This game, as opposed to the last, the LoS denial is there. 1-1.


The Irony in the Lancer surviving is that Dynamo has to kill the Feral for me to get the most out of my feat. This means the Lancer must tank a free strike. The Pureblood misses and I'm just amazed of how insane my position just turned out to be.

I get some more work done on the left flank, Dynamo kills Feral and I seriously hurt both beasts, infantry and even Cassius (leaving him on 2 boxes) due to feat. 2-1.


The Feral takes the objective and the Sentry Stone on the left flank which simply won't die contests me. LoS-denial is put up again, 2-3 in Circle's favour.


Luckily for me I am significantly up on attrition so even though scenario kinda looks iffy I can wipe out the remaining models with punch in the Circle army relatively easily. I contest him heavily and move to 3-3.


Looking for angles neither of us can find any. It's getting late so Wurmwood concedes again, which I think is more than fair given the state of the board.

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

This game was a -lot- better than the first. Wurmwood found a position which was tons more aggressive. However his feat turn is tricky, really tricky. If he pushes too hard he risks Nemo consolidating and refusing an alpha whilst at the same time possibly getting work done due to the Lancer and spark-noding myself. On top of this a hyper-aggressive feat risks Lances wrapping around. This matchup is one where the feat range nerf makes a huge difference.

What made this game so much more interesting was that due to Wurmwood's ability to claim more space earlier he pressured scenario harder, found a solid los-denial post-feat. Going for the Lancer was probably a mistake, even if he had died he'd lose the Pureblood for his troubles which means it's worth feating for (for me). My right flank could not have held out forever but at the same time the left flank was again heavily won by me. If the Sentry Stone hadn't been the luckiest piece of stone on the tabletop then it would be even worse.

Overall this is a very interesting matchup which I think can go both ways. Magnetic Field is huge, Lancer is so important (to threaten key pieces) and the list just spreads out so well. I can see centralized scenarios (Recon for example) being an issue, but as long as I can sort of swarm the table at multiple points it feels good.

I still love the list. Interesting and rewarding to play and it's just so insanely lethal once it gets going. I pick up learning points here and there as well, always a good thing!

Battle Report #400: Nemo3 vs Wurmwood

:: Prologue ::

Ah, dreaded Wurmwood! At least I got a couple of more practice games before NM, which is in a week. The Stormwall hypothesis failed its Wurmwood-test. Badly! I was eager to test the Firefly-swarm instead.

:: Lists ::

Cygnar:
Theme: Storm Division
(Nemo 3) Artificer General Nemo [+25]
- Storm Chaser Adept Caitlin Finch
- Squire [0]
- Firefly [8]
- Firefly [8]
- Firefly [8]
- Dynamo [18]
- Lancer [10]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Storm Lances (min) [12]
Major Katherine Laddermore [8]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
- Firefly [8]
Opponent:
Wurmwood
- Pureblood
- Feral
- Megalith
Blackclad
2x Sentry Stones
Shifting Stones
Max Reeves
-UA
Max Farrows

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

We were playing Extraction and Wurmwood went first. I wanted to secure a flank and found the left one to be his least probable approach seeing his deployment. Big Lances there, small opposite for contest duty. Fireflies spread out, Lancer and Dynamo centrally.


:: Game ::

Wurmwood ends up blocking a lot of his own forces with Reeves and he's too paranoid for electro leaps. Sure, I have some pretty sweet angles but losing Lancer top of 2 is rarely worth it. Doubly so because I expect Wurmwood to feat top of 2 as well.


I run stuff on the left to electro leap Mannikins to death. Reducing their numbers here should greatly help me win that flank early. The big Lances receive Electrify, Dynamo receives Shield. I am cautious of Reeves in the center, possibly too cautious. So many Fireflies. On the other hand, if he can't shooting anything what's he gonna do? Not feat? That sounds iffy.


Wurmwood moves up and feats. Due to the turn 1 jams and cautious advance he doesn't get a lot of table space. It's not the worst feat in the world to deal with.


I clear out the left zone and run up Junior's Firefly to score. Note to self: Against Wurmwood Junior's Firefly can quickly get out of control. Not sure if this can be helped. On the right flank I set up to contest, the middle chills out outside of heavies' threat ranges. I really love Magnetic Field, it's a huge enabler in this matchup.


Wurmwood tries to connect Fuel Cache's cloud with Cassius forest and Strange Growth to create a huge line of trees I cannot see through. It doesn't work out 100% because the pre-measuring isn't there: Assumption is the mother of all fuckups. 1-1 on CP.


I clear out the left side, do horrible amounts of damage centrally with feat, Nemo is safe and I have jammed the right flank comfortably with the big Lances on the left flank all safe and sound. Wurmwood concedes the game as it's effectively over.


Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

Finding the right balance between proper aggression and respecting Nemo3's threat ranges is something I experience just about all of my opponents struggling with. It has to do with not knowing the matchup. In this game Wurmwood's simply too cautious, ends up not claiming enough table space and Nemo forces out a scenario angle which in turn means Wurmwood feats in a relatively passive position (rarely a good thing when he's pressured on scenario) and I simply consolidate to take the win once feat is done. Circle should've gotten further up with a more aggressive feat.

Obviously the LoS-denialmistake was big as well, but truly I'm not sure if it mattered that much. Indeed the left flank was thoroughly lost and Wurmwood was running out of bodies for souls/trees.

Once Nemo3 gets decent vision on feat this is just brutal. Dynamo makes a mess of Circle heavies, especially DEF10 Megalith!

mandag 16. januar 2017

Army Lists And You

People ask me, "should I copy list X or make my own?" The debate on army lists comes and goes every now and then. Recently I saw a somewhat heated variant and decided to write a few words on the matter. The thing about army lists is that they're a learning process and despite your skills improving you will often find yourself back in the same cycle. Note that all of this is based on my experience and is solely my opinion. Of course.



My first advice when it comes to creating a list is... Copy someone else! That's right. Don't re-invent the wheel. Go online. Find your favourite list from discount games' tournament overview, watch your favourite youtube channel or read your favourite blog to name but a few examples. See what others are doing. Try and understand what makes it work. If possible, read a report or watch it in action in a video.


My very first Cygnar models were Gun Mages, Black 13th, Haley2, Thorn, Stormwall, Squire and Junior. This was back in Mk. 2 and I had read tons about Cygnar before I even bought anything. I knew Haley2 would be problematic to learn but I enjoyed the challenge. Indeed the learning curve was steep but watching others play her and copying their lists taught me a lot. More importantly, it taught me what I needed to learn a lot quicker than I would've been able to teach myself. Time is -always- an issue with this game. We all have priorities and other things to do and the fact of the matter is that every single game counts. If you're not getting valuable lessons from your games your progress will be a lot slower. By maximising your "learning output" you'll become better, quicker. To do this, copy whatever you know works. Furthermore, if you do this you eliminate an important aspect of army list creation: Second guessing yourself. You know that in all likelihood the list is not at fault and thus it's all about finding the mistakes you made, analyze them and learn what you need to do differently.


After copying various Haley2 variants and learning how to play secondary casters (Stryker1 and Caine2 were my side-kicks when I learned Warmachine & Hordes) I naturally moved on to create my own lists. I'll get back to this in a second, but fast forward a couple of months and I had found a really strong Haley2 list. Probably the best list I've ever written. I struggled to find a partner to pair her with as neither Caine2 nor Stryker1, my old and trusted side-kicks, could cope with the factions Haley2 struggled against. I set out to try Haley3 but struggled so much to make her work. I then started talking to people who had great results with her, copied their approaches and suddenly Haley3 was winning me games as well. Eventually I started going my own way and at the very end of Mk. 2 I had a Haley3 list I was highly comfortable with. It's worth noting though that once Mk. 3 hit both of these casters were changed quite drastically in terms of playstyle. I did find my way with Haley2 without too much trouble yet Haley3 kept eluding me again. What did I do? I carbon copied a successful list which I haven't changed a single thing in many, many months. In the beginning I felt clumsy playing the list and indeed, if I had written this list myself I would've second-guessed the list, not my abilities necessarily. However I knew the list was amazing so I stuck with it and eventually I learned how to pilot it quite well.


Copying others is not something to be ashamed of in my opinion. Indeed, some lists write themselves and many players might reach the same list following roughly the same logic. However copying someone else in itself is rarely enough. Sooner or later you have to use your own brain. Shocking, I know. Don't be afraid to do this at any point in time! I would advice you though to keep the changes small in the beginning so as to not take away from the concept behind the army. As time goes by you'll better learn what you need to change. When you get this feeling it's time to take a step back and re-evaluate everything about the list. Is the concept itself not working? What parts work and what parts don't? You will see the changes you want to make increasing in extent the more you play and learn. This is only natural. Personally, I love this aspect of the game. It's a never-ending process. Just like every single turn I have ever played is full of small things I could've done better, army lists can always be questioned. A big plus is that this is an activity which requires nothing but time available (and preferably an army list creation tool like War Room or Conflict Chamber).


A time will come when you ask yourself something along the lines of "What if we just do this wacky thing? Could it work?". Hold on to those moments. They are rare, but incredibly valuable. In my experience, the truly amazing lists come from these moments of clarity. I'm not talking about your regular wacky mcwack ideas which we all have on a daily basis, but more the "aha" moment when you think to yourself that "Wow! This might really work. I -have- to try this!". For those of you who've followed this blog since my first successful events you're probably tired of reading about this, but the Haley2 list I took to the Battle at Lund last year was an example of this. It was the first amazing list I made and to this day the best one, I think. It has helped define me as a player and is a source of great pride and confidence. Anyway, in relation to army lists the point I want to make here is that one day when I was playing a solo circus (a.k.a. "Haley's Heroes") variant based on Way of the Swan's famous list, I found myself asking: "What if we just skip all the non-shooting models and take as much quality shooting as we can? Seriously, this could be legit!". Turned out it was. The list was deceptive in nature but once you got the hang of it... Fast forward to Mk. 3 and I found myself doing the same again. After quickly realizing Haley2 could no longer play the batshit shooty game she did in Mk. 2 I thought she needed a bigger volume of models at first. I found her lacking in the anti-arm department and considered dropping Lances to include an Ironclad of all things. This humble jack has become an MVP inclusion for both Haley2 and Haley3. At the time I wasn't sure how it would play but with a couple of more tweaks it turned out to be a solid choice. With a few more tweaks I eventually found a Haley2 list which I was really happy with.



Army list development should happen iteratively. Start with something you know works. Another player's list perhaps, a former variant you've played yourself or something you dojo out with friends. Don't be afraid to carbon copy at this point in time, there truly is no shame in it. You will likely find yourself eventually wanting to make small changes, i.e. using your own brain to improve the list. Do it! Stick with the original for a while so you know you've learned it, but don't necessarily do it forever. Sooner or later you'll hopefully find yourself wanting to try out crazy concepts, the "what if experiments". Don't be afraid to do this! Often it doesn't work out and you might feel dumb, but when you strike gold... Oh boy. In my experience this iteration of carbon copy -> minor improvements -> experimentation repeats itself for new casters and concepts. Sometimes of course you've simply found the optimal variant and there's no more to be done. Indeed I won the European Invitationals with a list I copied 100% three months prior and never changed a thing. It wasn't for a lack of trying though but for the life of me I couldn't improve on the list. It simply was impeccable. I am indeed talking about the now infamous Swedish Haley3 list with double Grenadiers. Paired with this however was a Haley2 list of my own creation which went through all of these iterative stages.


I'd like to close this little piece on army list philosophy with a couple of thoughts on what I personally prefer in army lists. I am a hyper-aggressive player. I will jump on any opportunity presented and continuously look for angles. I truly believe this is the best way to play this game. My motto is "when in doubt, push!" and it reflects my approach to the game rather well. This has helped me find some pretty crazy plays in vital games, but perhaps more importantly it means I often learn very early on how far I can push my lists. When I lose practice games it's often because I'm asking for too much from the list I'm playing. I think it's better to go overboard and dial it down, if you take a cautious approach you might never learn just how crazy plays your list is capable of making. To this end I'm a big fan of maximising the amount of offensive work your list can do at the list creation stage. I have hardly ever fielded Sentinels for example and my initial thoughts behind taking Arlan are typically more about getting more focus than having repair available. True, no rule without exception, certain support models truly are required, but I've found that this mindset helps me find really powerful combinations. My Stryker3 experiment shows this train of thought quite well, if you look through the various reports you'll see that I'm always trying to maximise the amount of work he can theoretically get done.


People ask me, "should I copy list X or make my own?" My answer is quite simply: It depends. You'll likely find yourself repeating the iterations of copying, adjusting, experimenting. Sometimes you stop at copying. Sometimes you take it way further and find something unique which works really well. Don't be afraid to draw on the wisdom of others to help you improve as a player. At the end of the day it's the person fielding the list which matters.

søndag 15. januar 2017

Internal Affairs Mk. VII Game 4 (#399): Nemo3 vs Lylyth3

:: Prologue ::

Finals! I wasn't expecting Nemo3 and Stryker3 to make it this far. As far as Cygnar pairings go they're far from the ideal candidates. In a world of Circle, Protectorate, Khador and other Cygnar players there are a lot of obstacles, yet here I was.

The finals saw me face Legion, with a Lylyth3/Absylonia2 pairing. The first was in theme and I was fully expecting my opponent to drop it. He did and I reckon this would be an interesting challenge for Nemo.

:: Lists ::

Cygnar:
Theme: Storm Division
(Nemo 3) Artificer General Nemo [+25]
- Storm Chaser Adept Caitlin Finch
- Squire [0]
- Firefly [8]
- Firefly [8]
- Firefly [8]
- Dynamo [18]
- Lancer [10]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Storm Lances (min) [12]
Major Katherine Laddermore [8]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
- Firefly [8]
Opponent:
(Lylyth 3) Lylyth, Reckoning of Everblight [+29]
 - Angelius [17]
 - Naga Nightlurker [8]
 - Nephilim Bolt Thrower [11]
 - Nephilim Bolt Thrower [11]
 - Seraph [14]
Blighted Nyss Raptors (max) [18]
Grotesque Raiders (max) [12]
Strider Scouts [9]
 - Strider Scout Officer & Musician [0]
The Forsaken [4]

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

We are playing Incursion. Ugh. All I'm hoping for is first turn. I don't get it. Hard life will be hard! I pick the side with the best defensive terrain and hope to establish a safe zone for Nemo. If my opponent respect my damage output I won't be able to get a lot of work done bot of 1, but probably bot of 2 almost regardless.


:: Game ::

Legion advances cautiously.


I can't exactly stay still so I move up a bit and use lances to screen important models. I figure he'll likely feat for a combination of an attrition and scenario play and keep his Ambushers off the table for more scenario pressure top of 3. Fort Nemo is created but crucially I forget to cast Magnetic Field. Ugh, that's bad.


My opponent does not feat, brings on the ambushers and does not go for Nemo... Ok, so the Lances are largely shot up but I have a couple remaining. Let's see if this can be done.


Part of the reason why I love Fireflies in this list is that some opponents can deal with the Lances somewhat easily, by simply killing them, making them stationary etc. Long story short, Lances don't take incoming firepower very well. Fireflies are a lot more durable.

So, playing against a glass-cannon army like Legion I was hoping to have the Fireflies do some work now that the Lances were dealt with. Feat turn was on for sure. The idea was to take out as many Raptors as I could, have the Dynamo shoot Angelius and Seraph (boosting to hit) and let the Fireflies just rip apart as much as they could.

I tried to make a sort of half-circle wall of jacks in front of Nemo on one side but without Magnetic Field it wouldn't be worth all that much. I try to find a position for him which is safe, but the Seraph's alive, as are 2 raptors...


By trampling to the left Lylyth of course finds an angle to Nemo. My opponent declares: "I now have 23 minutes to plan this assassination!". What he needs to do is feat, bring the Raptors around to shoot and then finish off with the Seraph if need be. I was camping 2 focus.

Lylyth moves up and feats. She needs a 10+ to hit me and makes it. We later set this up in Odds Machine. If he does everything perfectly he's now sitting on a 96% chance to kill me. The follow up shots do some damage. Lylyth then forgets to reposition so that the Seraph can be forced. The Raptors follow up and when they're done Nemo has 1 box left and 0 focus. Oh-oh.

The Lance in front of the Seraph is killed with the remaining Bolt Thrower and the Seraph is free to walk in and shoot Nemo to death. Crucially, my opponent forgets that Dynamo has a 2" melee range when he lands it (despite explicitly asking about all of my melee ranges when planning his turn). In a friendly I'd let this slide any day of the week but a tournament is a tournament. This mistakes means the Seraph cannot shoot and there is no other follow-up on Nemo. He immediately concedes the game.

Tournament Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

Forgetting to cast Magnetic Field turn 1 was such a big mistake in this game. Due to Lylyth's second turn getting so many Lances out I had to make a big feat turn to get back and thus spend a lot of focus. Without a jack wall protecting Nemo it was impossible to find an angle where he couldn't simply push a jack with a bolter (or hope for a crit KD). Impossible might be a strong word, but this mistake was huge.

Legion's second turn was a mess. I think that a feat + scenario play is viable here. If I have to shake stationary I have to expend a ton of allocation focus. That means less damage in return. True, it takes assassination off the table but it seems like the better play. Given the play which was made I definitely had a chance and I think that attrition-wise I was significantly up by the time my second turn was over.

The game concluded in one of the worst ways to lose a game: A stupid mistake which could easily have been avoided. I've said it before, fatigue is a thing. There are so many things in this game that can go wrong, this time I was lucky to be on the beneficial side of it. I doubt my opponent will make that mistake again anytime soon.

This matchup was very interesting and I'd love to play it more. Maybe I will! If you remember to cast Magnetic Field I believe Nemo should have solid game into Lylyth3. That is worth a lot in Cygnar!

I really loved the games this tournament. They had a bit of everything. Furthermore, winning with this pairing was just amazing. Compared to running Haleys this definitely feels like hard mode. I highly suggest you step out of your comfort zones now and then to experiment. What's the worst that could happen?