lørdag 22. april 2017

2d6 Internal Affairs Mk. X: Doubles

:: Prologue ::

Games in my meta tend to be competitively oriented. Every once in a while we enjoy taking a little break and doing something for fun. That doesn't mean we'll get our SUSS-casters out necessarily, but rather that the format itself makes the game so crazy that we'll just drink beer and have fun. The last time we did this was back in October. You can read about that adventure here.

Today we had a similar setup. The only difference was that this time around we allowed teams to form beforehand. As such everyone was basically expecting cheese to the max. I paired up with Christian, my team mate from last time, and we dojo'd Cygnar + Protectorate things. We looked at offensive variants like Stryker2 and High Reclaimer, ARM-skew variants like Amon and Stryker1 and shooty variants with Sloan and Severius1. Eventually we landed on Reznik2 and Haley2. Together these casters create insane threat ranges, they have a lot of control and most importantly a lot of denial. Let's see how our day went by!

:: Lists ::

Cygnar:
Haley2, Heavy Metal
- Stormwall
- Thorn
- Squire
Junior
- Firefly
Protectorate:
Reznik2, Creator's Might
- Scourge of Heresy
- Templar
- Templar
- Hierophant
Mechanik
Rhoven
Max Choir

:: Game 1 ::

We faced a pairing consisting of Stryker1 and Helynna. Back-to-back ARM feats. Interesting! The tournament used SR2017 CID week 1. The first game was on The Pit II. We had first turn and the plan was easy: Force a bottom of 1 feat and play from there!



Stryker1 feats first. We dominate out Disco and kill her.


Helios enables various pushes to kill a Templar in return, despite Haley2 feat being up.


We kill the Stormwall under Helynna's feat. We take a commanding scenario lead.


Our opponents are able to take out the Stormwall but they are in horrible positions to contest. We are up on attrition as well but win the game on CP.


:: Game 2 ::

The second game sees us face a Krueger2/Vayl2 pairing in Standoff. Again we go first and again the plan is to apply pressure asap.



Our opponents end up putting up a Carnivean with Admonition. It's very hard for them to do much here with our extreme threat ranges.


We send in Reznik first. If the Carnivean Admonitions away we have Haley as backup. He elects to stay and Reznik kills him. Repos out, TK etc. Feat. Reznik has Lamentation up.


We don't want our stuff being pushed by Krueger2 feat!


Our opponents look for openings on Reznik through assassination as this game is quickly turning to shit for them. They find a 25-30% run. Lamentation prevents so many angles it's not even funny. They don't get the dice they need and we win the game!


:: Game 3 ::

Our last game of the day is against a Coven / Severius1 pair on Spread the Net. We go last and choose the side with the most defensive terrain. The idea is take it slow and react to our opponents. We have superior threat ranges, but their feats back-to-back could be problematic.



By having Reznik feat and the Stormwall + Firefly fire we can clear a lot of Satyxis on the left flank. We can also stay clear of most melee threat ranges. It's all going so well until we realize we've messed up with Scourge. For some reason we thought Arcane Vortex was 4", not 3". Because of this we don't get both Haley and Reznik within his denial range. Reznik's camping 4 so we go with Haley.


Unfortunately for us the magical barrage is too much and Reznik dies.


:: Evaluation ::

Doubles is a fun format and I highly encourage everyone to give it a go once in a while. On the tables around us we saw so many interesting variants of cheese, from Caine2 / Ravyn (next level Snipe, feat, go?) to Stryker1 / Damiano. I love it. It's pretty clear that the game was never meant for stuff like this, but it's good fun none the less.

SR2017 scenarios look really interesting. They appear to favour attrition plays and "shock scenario plays" are a thing of the past I believe. I think that's good for the game.


fredag 21. april 2017

List Musings

The last two months have been crazy. Following SmogCon I've been dojoing like mad, trying to find our optimal pair. I've played a ton of games and spent countless hours tweaking, reviewing, thinking, discussing and cursing because my list doesn't add up. I finally landed on a pair I really liked. My main concerns were meta-benders I didn't know beforehand and lack of experience against crucial matchups. Towards the end of the process I had no time to write about my findings and my rationale. Now, however, I do. As such I want to detail the journey from SmogCon to Lund and explain in-depth why I took the lists I did. Make no mistake, not a single choice in either list was random!


Let's rewind a bit. Prior to SmogCon we were told that Heavy Metal would not be playable. The hype was all about Storm Division then. It turned out that Heavy Metal was indeed playable, but that's another story. Patrick Dunford showed us all that Stryker1 and Haley2, both in Storm Division, was the pair to beat. He went undefeated throughout the weekend, which is an amazing feat considering the huge field!

Following SmogCon I started dojoing and practicing with Stryker1 in Heavy Metal, Nemo3 in Storm Division and Haley2 in both. I came to the realization relatively quickly that Stryker1 didn't work with double 'walls. Nemo3 had some glaring weaknesses and I found that whenever I had him in my pairing I would have multiple issues neither of my casters handled well, which I expected to be present at a tournament. I love playing Nemo3 but unfortunately I realized quickly that he wouldn't make my pair.


One of the lists I tried out with Haley2 was the Electrobots-variant. Running 4 heavies in total backed by 2 Fireflies and Thorn took her damage output to the next level. In some matchups she was a pure battery almost, spending most of her stack simply fueling her jacks. This was a strong list with some amazing matchups. However I struggled with its defensive capabilities. Games against casters like Krueger2 and Fyanna2 showed me this and made me miss my Stormwall. Speaking of which...


I ran Stryker1 in heavy metal with double Stormwalls for a while. It was a pretty solid build. I did find two things however which I could never get around: The first was that I thought I had the defensive tech to whether mostly anything in melee on feat turn. That turned out not to be the case and I had multiple games where I simply couldn't play as aggressively as I wanted in fear of the 'walls going down despite Stryker1 feating. The second was that the more my opponents got used to fighting double biglies, the more they found plays which made life miserable for me. The list is inherently inflexible and you can be forced to spend a disproportionate amount of effort to rid yourself of small problems. The last nail in the coffin for me was a game against Iron Mother (link), which showed me Stryker could not even handle Convergence, something I had really hoped that he could seeing as Haley2 struggles against Iron Mother.


I next set my eyes on Sloan while at the same time evolving my Haley2 list further. I believe in trying out extremes and experimenting. Read more on my thoughts about army list creation here. As such it was natural for me to start Sloan at all out shooting. My first game with her featured 5 Hunters and a Stormwall (report is here). It was pretty much the cookie-cutter Sloan list which builds itself and everyone has found it. Through a series of iterative steps I realized that the main problem with this list was its inability to deal with jam. I think that whether you have 4 or 5 Hunters is largely irrelevant in a shooting matchup. I very much doubt that -that- difference is what makes you win or lose the game. On the other hand, adding more anti-jam elements would greatly help me in a number of matchups where the shooting simply isn't strong enough. The first list change saw a somewhat... unorthodox choice being picked up.


The Hammersmith is a piece which multiple players have asked me to try out. Incidentally, before I picked it up with Sloan I had tried it with Haley2 for a few games. While it was decent with Haley2 (more on this later), it truly came into its own with Sloan. You see, people don't like having Sloan's Hunters keep shooting. One of the ways to do stop them from doing so is to engage them. A Hammersmith is very good at getting models disengaged. Even if you don't kill your target they will be pushed or slammed away. Unlike the Ironclad - which is the natural alternative assuming you want a beatstick - the Hammersmith has equally good weapons on both L and R. This means that a spike in one column won't render it a lot worse. On the contrary the Hammersmith can still largely fulfil its role with a single weapon system intact. It's not ideal, but it's doable. SPD4 is a bit of a pain, but in practice I've found that ARM19 often makes up for it. It becomes just tough enough to shrug off most harm intended for it. Sidekick is better with DEF12 in a nutshell, but the base of 13/19 really has become a thing with the Hammersmith. It's a piece which is very hard to prioritize with all the Hunters around. Indeed you use it as a mobile shield in many matchups. The ability to move it out of activation with Energizer means it can often fulfil this role very well.

I've gotten a few questions about the 4th Hunter being on Junior. What I've experienced with Sloan is that often times, I want my non-Hunter light jack to operate aggressively and sometimes a bit away from my strong flank. This has lead to Junior hardly ever being in range because he'd be too jeopardized in those positions. At the same time, the Hunter on Sloan mainly has one advantage over a Hunter on Junior and that is the feat shot. Sloan has 7 focus and Arlan provides an 8th. If you don't need guided fire (which you do, very often!), you can boost her 2 shots, the Stormwall's 2 shots and 4 Hunter shots. However you almost always want Refuge on Sloan and/or camp, which means that in practice I hardly ever allocate all of her focus. As such the difference is one unboosted Hunter shot by and large. By comparison the Firefly doesn't need a whole lot but he really likes the feat shot. He's there to enable me to deal with volume and an extra shot really lets him do so. Overall this is a battlegroup change I've been really happy with.

The ensuing Sloan list I took to Lund was optimal. Given what I knew about the meta and the preparations I did, I could not have found a better list. I've been critisized by some for not just going with 5 Hunters. Quite frankly I think that is sub-optimal. In theory you lack punch when melee inevitably happens. In practice I have many games highlighting the MVP Hammersmith getting work done. If I were to highlight a single game where the Hammersmith was crucial it would have to be this one: Sloan vs Vayl2.

Here is the resulting Sloan list I took to Lund:

Cygnar - Firing Solution v4
Theme: Heavy Metal
4 / 4 Free Cards 75 / 75 Army
Armory - Steamroller Objective
Captain Kara Sloan - WJ: +28
- Squire - PC: 0
- Hunter - PC: 11
- Hunter - PC: 11
- Hunter - PC: 11
- Stormwall - PC: 39 (Battlegroup Points Used: 28)
- Lightning Pod
- Firefly - PC: 8
Captain Arlan Strangewayes - PC: 0
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 0
- Hunter - PC: 11
Lieutenant Allison Jakes - PC: 0
- Hammersmith - PC: 12

 

While I initially liked the Electrobots, I found it to be a "win harder" kind of list. It plays the good matchups extremely well, but the list doesn't help me in the iffy matchups where I feel Haley really needs help. Examples include Lylyth3, Krueger2, various mirrors and Vlad1. At least, possibly more.

I knew I wanted to get back to the Thornwall build I've come to love. The question was, how do I build around it? For a long time now I've been a fan of a Firefly in this list because it adds so much utility. I could not find a decent list with it though. Due to Haley2 having +25 warjack points precisely it's so much harder for her to make these things add up than e.g. Sloan. Following various group chat dojo sessions I ended up with a draft without the Firefly though. I must admit it didn't look half bad. I also decided to test the Hammersmith. The idea was that with "only" two heavies and a colossal (as opposed to the electrobots' 4 heavies) I wanted more volume. Against almost any target in the game the Hammersmith has more damage output than the Ironclad. While SPD4 indeed is problematic I've found that with Haley2 in heavy metal her feat is often to set up for a play rather than to cover a play. As such the third piece tends to run anyway. The aforementioned benefits of ARM19 and double weapon systems indeed apply to Haley2 as well. I've found that in some games the Hammersmith's taken an amazing amount of punishment before eventually going down. For Cygnar this is very valuable. As a rule of thumb we attrition really well. Our ability to do so comes from our ability to preserve pieces. The natural toughness of the Hammersmith makes it more forgiving as an aggressively played piece.

Here is the resulting Haley2 list I took to Lund:

Cygnar - Technical Death Metal v4
[Theme] Heavy Metal
(Haley 2) Major Victoria Haley [+25]
- Charger [9]
- Hammersmith [12]
- Stormwall [39]
- Thorn [13]
- Squire [0]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [0]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
- Charger [9]
Lieutenant Allison Jakes [4]
- Stormclad [18]



As opposed to Sloan, my Haley list could have done with more playtesting and tweaks. To be fair a couple of the issues I've found her to need help against have been virtually non-existant in my meta lately so in reality it would've been impossible for me to get the necessary practice games. However now that I've been abroad and seen what people play I sure do have a few ideas. The main idea, as always, is to see how far we can stretch this list before it's too much. More specifically I want to make Haley2 shooty. The question is how shooty can she be without losing out against ARM-skew variants? A lot of her matchups really hate Cygnar shooting. First off though I must test the limits. There's no way I'm taking Haley2 without tools to deal with ARM-skew variants such as Amon and Karchev for example.

I have a feeling I'll want to swap 2 Chargers for a Stormclad, but here's the Haley2 list I indeed to playtest:

Cygnar - Technical Death Metal v5
Theme: Heavy Metal
4 / 4 Free Cards 75 / 75 Army
Armory - Steamroller Objective
Major Victoria Haley - WJ: +25
- Squire - PC: 0
- Thorn - PC: 13
- Stormwall - PC: 39 (Battlegroup Points Used: 25)
- Lightning Pod
- Cyclone - PC: 13
- Firefly - PC: 8
Captain Arlan Strangewayes - PC: 0
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 0
- Charger - PC: 9
Lieutenant Allison Jakes - PC: 0
- Charger - PC: 9
- Charger - PC: 9

I've also played Darius a bit. Sadly, I found him lacking. There's too much power around now to rely on his feat. He was a lot of fun to play and certainly has a few dynamics which make him a lot more suited for double colossal builds than e.g. Stryker1. If only he had the +5 ARM feat... One can dream! Nemo3 received a couple of honorary games at Lund as well. I have couple of heavy metal ideas for him revolving around Firefly spam. I hope to get around to fielding it in the not-too distant future. Nemo3's a caster I really enjoy. He's different and his feat turn is so destructive by Cygnar standards. As always I'm looking for Haley3 variants as well. Temporal Distortion and Echoes are very strong, surely there must be something here.

As it's been for a while, it's exciting to play the Swans. I'm looking forward to trying them out in SR2017. From what I've been able to theorymachine out the scenarios should fit my lists quite well. Practice will tell whether this is correct. I can hardly wait...

mandag 17. april 2017

Battle at Lund: Invitationals Finals (#501): Haley2 vs Stryker1

:: Prologue ::

The Invitationals Finals saw me face my good friend Olov Winroth. Olov and I frequently talk all things Cygnar and we've faced each-other three times previously in tournaments. Since ClogCon last year he's been fairly inactive though and just recently getting back into things. He played a Stryker1/Haley2 pair. His Haley2 list is virtually identical to mine whereas his Styker1 list is a vanilla Storm Division variant. I recently played Haley2 vs Stryker1, ironically on the very same map we had now: Extraction. I know that this is a very good matchup for Haley2 and I had experience. Sloan on the other hand is not trivial to play vs Stryker1 SD and she can certainly struggle against Haley2 as well. I chose to go with Haley2 because it felt like the stable option: No matter what Olov dropped I wouldn't be down in the matchup. I was very, very relieved to see Stryker1 in return!

:: Lists ::

Cygnar:
Cygnar - Technical Death Metal v4
[Theme] Heavy Metal
(Haley 2) Major Victoria Haley [+25]
- Charger [9]
- Hammersmith [12]
- Stormwall [39]
- Thorn [13]
- Squire [0]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [0]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
- Charger [9]
Lieutenant Allison Jakes [4]
- Stormclad [18]
Opponent:
[Theme] Storm Division
(Stryker 1) Commander Coleman Stryker [+30]
- Firefly [8]
- Stormwall [39]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
- Charger [9]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [0]
Major Katherine Laddermore [8]

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

I won the roll-off and elected to go first. I believe that if I do so there is no way Stryker1 can get any kind of game without feating bot of 1. If he does that I counter-feat and pick off a few Lances. If he does not I simply consolidate my position and pick off a few anyway with little-to-no damage in return. Due to a lack of pathfinder in his list (I guess), Olov chose a side which gave me plenty of terrain to hide important pieces behind.


:: Game ::

I run the Stormwall up max, put up Force Field on Haley and hide jacks in cover.


Full spead ahead! Stryker's Lances run up and he feats. Arcane Shield on both units of HORSIHORSI.


The rightmost Storm Lance is outside of feat so I figure Junior's Charger can pick him off. There's a Lance on the flag on the right side which Jakes' Clad can get to without Jakes being within 18" of the Stormwall (you know, Snipe and stuff is bad) and still have the 'clad in her control. I figure I TK away the Lance jamming my 'wall so it can move up and get more work done.

I make a couple of technical mistakes here. I had intended to run the Hammersmith up so that it would only be in one of the Stormwall's arcs of fire. The idea was to reaction drive Thorn away following the TK and block off LoS to Arlan with him and the Hammersmith with Thorn having Evasive Action (which is kind of hilarious when combined with Dodge). Since I messed up the Hammersmith positioning and the reaction drive I figured I might as well give Olov a juicy target in the shape of Arlan in cover. If he goes for him there's a good chance my jacks escape with everything intact and I hardly need to remove disruption on either the Hammersmith or Thorn in this matchup. Losing repair could be bad but losing the Hammersmith is so much worse.


Indeed the Stormwall goes for Arlan, luckily for me DEF16 proves sufficient and no damage is done. Phew! Bad plays but saved by dice. The various models who can shoot try and get some work done on the Hammersmith but ARM19 keeps all systems go.


I clear out a ton of Lances and move Thorn into the 'wall to prevent Stryker's Stormwall from getting an alpha. When I end my turn I am very happy with my position.


Hilarity ensues as Olov tries to kill one of the pods blocking in his Charger on the left flank. Junior Hand Cannon, Stryker Arcane Bolt -and- a Stormwall chain cannon all fail to do so. I am quite frankly amazed that it's still alive. Stryker disrupts Jakes' clad.


Time to get work done on the 'wall. I send in the 'wall after I killed the last jamming Lance together with the Stormclad. Really poor dice sees not even a full side down. I run Haley's Charger to the left flag to score a CP. I forget to activate Thorn because I literally did not see him behind my Stormwall.


Stryker's Stormwall hits me back but fails to impress as well. It's a sad fight as our two colossals stand there and punch each other with neither doing much work.


I forget to repair my 'wall with Arlan. Stormwall and Stormclad fully fueled still do not kill his 'wall. Wow. 2-0 CP.


Another round and his 'wall finally dies. There is no assassination angle and no scenario play and I eventually get to 5 CP!


Tournament Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

Practice makes perfect! The last con I attended, SmogCon, saw me take off with lists I had not practiced enough and with a meta I had not had the time to truly analyze and understand. The result was a bad encounter with Stryker1, indeed an identical list to what Olov played here. This time however I had done my research and played sufficient practice games to really know my lists, their strengths and by far the most of the meta benders out there. That really paid off.

This game saw a number of technical mistakes from me. In my defense this was game 15 in 4 days and I just had a very, very taxing semi-finals game. Olov had a couple as well and there's not much to say about it other than that fatigue really is a thing at cons.

The matchup itself is heavily in favour of Haley2. This game very clearly shows why I don't believe in Storm Division and why I in fact believe Lances are more than a little overrated. They have so many weaknesses defensively: Anything from stationary/kd to shooting to simply killing them in melee despite of Stryker1 feating... Problems all over the place. Haley2 is far from the only caster in this game which can trivially shut them down. Don't get me wrong, when they are strong Lances are amazing. However there are so many situations out there right now where they are more of a liability than anything else. I'm not trying to prove anything by avoiding Storm Division in my pairing, I simply believe Heavy Metal is stronger. Olov and I discussed this matchup after the game was over and he didn't know it was so much in favour of Haley2. I believe Stryker1 had his deserved time in the sun around the time SmogCon was arranged, but since then the meta has simply evolved past him. It's crazy, but I love it! Makes the game so exciting. Always things to analyze, games to play, builds to consider.

This weekend was an absolute blast. I played a ton of games, went undefeated in the tournaments and took home two big wins, defending both titles from last year's Battle at Lund. The event was great, I had nothing but nice games and got to socialize with a lot of people. Venue was spacious and food was good. I would like to thank Leif and Robin for final warm-up games. Sergei, Henrik, Cornelius, Torbjörn and Magnus for the Masters games. Michael, Henrik and Gustav for the team tournament games. Gustav, Torbjörn and Olov for the Invitationals games. Lastly a shoutout to the "Age of Cygnar" group for continuously developing lists, discussing games and improving our understanding of Warmachine. 

Battle at Lund: Invitationals #2 (#500): Sloan vs Vayl2

:: Prologue ::

For the second game of the Invitationals, which was essentially the semi-finals, I faced Torbjörn's Vayl2 again. Since last time he had ditched the Ravagore for another Carnivean, which I think is the correct thing to do as a Ravagore in Vayl2 feels like it's way too expensive. Anyway! This is a matchup where Sloan truly is key. I don't know if I like any other Cygnar caster into Vayl2. Possibly Nemo3 I guess. Anyway, this was one of the closest games I've had this year and a blast of a game so let's get to it!

:: Lists ::

Cygnar:
Cygnar - Firing Solution v4
Theme: Heavy Metal
4 / 4 Free Cards 75 / 75 Army
Armory - Steamroller Objective
Captain Kara Sloan - WJ: +28
- Squire - PC: 0
- Hunter - PC: 11
- Hunter - PC: 11
- Hunter - PC: 11
- Stormwall - PC: 39 (Battlegroup Points Used: 28)
- Lightning Pod
- Firefly - PC: 8
Captain Arlan Strangewayes - PC: 0
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 0
- Hunter - PC: 11
Lieutenant Allison Jakes - PC: 0
- Hammersmith - PC: 12 
Opponent:
Theme: Oracles of Annihilation
3 / 3 Free Cards 75 / 75 Army
Vayl, Consul of Everblight - WB: +28
- Carnivean - PC: 19 (Battlegroup Points Used: 19)
- Naga Nightlurker - PC: 8 (Battlegroup Points Used: 8)
- Nephilim Bloodseer - PC: 8 (Battlegroup Points Used: 1)
- Nephilim Bolt Thrower - PC: 11
- Carnivean- PC: 19
- Seraph - PC: 14
Blighted Nyss Sorceress & Hellion - PC: 0
The Forsaken - PC: 0
Blighted Nyss Shepherd - PC: 1
Blighted Nyss Shepherd - PC: 1
Blighted Nyss Hex Hunters - Leader & 9 Grunts: 15
- Bayal, Hound of Everblight - PC: 0
Spawning Vessel - Vessel & 6 Grunts: 7

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

The scenario was Outlast and I won the roll-off, electing to go second. The reason here is two-fold: The nature of this matchup means that it's hard for Vayl to reliably contest and thus I can possibly get a scenario opening. The second reason is that I don't gain a whole lot by going first, whereas going second means I get to choose my side and there's an awesome set of terrain pieces on one side.


:: Game ::

Vayl elects to feat top of 1 to try and clear Hunters. The one I thought I placed in cover does indeed not have cover from the angles a spawned Harrier can get. Luckily for me, Torbjörn's dice are terrible and he doesn't even kill a single Hunter.


With the threat of Vayl's feat gone I've suddenly gained a lot of space for Sloan! Torbjörn also forgot about the heavy metal +2" so while he did the math on his Carniveans not being in my threat range (Stormwall) he forgot this and didn't actually measure it. I contemplated feating to get one Carnivean out but decided against it since Sloan had no targets personally. I figured I'd just as well feat later. The Carnivean took ~20 ish boxes and the Firefly fried some infantry. Arlan repaired the damaged Hunter which hid out behind its friends in the wood.


Unfortunately for me the carniveans had a perfect angle for the damaged Hunter. By assaulting they would end up in cover in the middle and with the assault spray touching said Hunter. It thus went down and some solid dice actually enabled him to kill another one as well with some help from Vayl and a Bolt Thrower. Not good at all.


A pure game of attrition from here looked dicey. With two Hunters down and both Carniveans in cover with their animus up I was unlikely to win big in the center. Instead I decided to go for a scenario play: I could easily clear both zones and put Sloan in the left one for a 3-0 start. This would put some real pressure on Legion as contesting the left zone heavily could conceivably lead to the right zone suddenly becoming a scoring zone for me.

This meant exposing Sloan so I needed to take out the Bolt Thrower to leave Vayl without batshit angles. By covering Sloan's front with Junior's Hunter Torbjörn would be forced to deal with DEF20 I hoped.

Sloan feated and shot the wounded Carnivean to death on the first shot, putting the second into the Bolter for great justice and lots of damage. Stormwall then killed the jam and put some hurt into the last Carnivean. Junior's Hunter finished off the Bolt Thrower while Sloan's last Hunter tried to put the pressure on the remaining Carnivean further, sadly to no effect. I got my 3CP and was very eager to see what Legion would do.


After deliberating various assassination and scenario plays Torbjörn concludes that the most sensible option he has actually is to go for the Stormwall. He can get the Seraph's shots into it as well as the Carnivean charging and possibly the Naga shooting. This really can go both ways, but this time his dice were on point and the 'wall went down. He then flooded the left zone heavily.


I looked for ways to clear out the left zone and instantly win but the odds were quite frankly terrible. I had a massive lead on the clock though so I figured I could "pause" my scenario angle and play a turn or two for attrition as Torbjörn simply didn't have the time to find the optimal plays he needed to win such a close-fought game of attrition.

The Hammersmith killed off the Carnivean. Sloan and Junior's Hunter killed the Hellion. Sloan's Hunter tried to kill off the pot was but not successful.


From here the pictures were a little lacking due to time issues and a really, really tense game. Torbjörn went for Junior's Hunter which he got with the Bloodseer. The Firefly and Hunter in the right zone were eventually killed as well.


We were down to 3-3 suddenly and Torbjörn had the Seraph, a Shepherd and a Forsaken contesting my zone. Junior killed the Shepherd, Jakes killed the Forsaken and Sloan shot the Seraph. The Hammersmith was fully loaded and ready to kill the Seraph should Sloan fail, but she rolled a spectacular damage roll (cue "boom headshot!") and killed it outright (it had taken some damage previously). I ran the Squire over to the other zone and thus won 5-3 on CP.


Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

What. A. Game! This was so tense and close with multiple clutch plays, annoying mistakes and really hard positions to evaluate throughout. The game kicked off with a mistake from me. I think all Hunters need at least concealment vs Vayl2. Given the terrain here I could have given them cover as well with the building on the left flank. Most Legion players always save the powerful stuff for assassinations. However using feats etc to clear Hunters vs Sloan is a legit play I think. Indeed this game ended up being extremely close and I think that was largely due to me losing 2 Hunters early on. What if I had lost all 3? I wonder if I had could have kep the hurt Hunter from T1 alive by having him more than 3" into the forest.

The Stormwall going down was a big, big pain. It shows how strong the Carnivean is. It really is terrifying for Cygnar. I'm not sure what the math is here. The Seraph averages 2 shots which translates to 8 boxes with Blessed. Carnivean is 5x dice off 1 which is 30. On top of that we have charge and 2x dice off 3 which is another 11,5 so roughly 50 boxes in total, assuming no misses. The volume is too much for Odds Machine. It might be a coin flip, it might be 70 or 30, I really don't know. The fact of the matter is that it died, and when it did I was more than a little happy I had the Hammersmith. The reason this guy is in in the first place is that in most matchups things go south sooner or later and stuff gets into melee. When it does, the Hammersmith is so much more valuable than a 5th Hunter.

Towards the end of the game I was able to dissect his list faster than he could dissect mine. It was unbelievably close though and I believe that with more time for Legion, I probably would have lost. A very good game and a nail-biter towards the very end! 

Battle at Lund: Invitationals #1 (#499): Haley2 vs Lylyth3

:: Prologue ::

The last day of the convention saw the Invitationals tournament kick off. The top 8 players from the previous tournaments were qualified. It was a very hard field with nothing but top players, rock hard lists and solid factions. 3 Cygnar players, 2 Mercs, 2 Legion and 1 Skorne. I chose to stay with the exact same lists I took to the Masters on Friday as I saw no reason to tool differently.

For the first game I was paired up against... Gustav! A rematch from the very last game we had played the day before. I knew he had learned a lot from that game as we discussed the matchup at length following its early end. The scenario was Entrenched which would have given Sloan Armory. Usually I'd be happy to drop Sloan here because of said Armory, but I had a gut feeling that Haley2 would be a safer matchup for me and that I'd find the necessary angles. The thing about Sloan is that it can be forced to be a dicey game and I hate that.

:: Lists ::

Cygnar:
Cygnar - Technical Death Metal v4
[Theme] Heavy Metal
(Haley 2) Major Victoria Haley [+25]
- Charger [9]
- Hammersmith [12]
- Stormwall [39]
- Thorn [13]
- Squire [0]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [0]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
- Charger [9]
Lieutenant Allison Jakes [4]
- Stormclad [18]
Opponent:
Theme: Oracles of Annihilation
4 / 4 Free Cards 75 / 75 Army
Lylyth, Reckoning of Everblight - WB: +29
- Angelius - PC: 17 (Battlegroup Points Used: 17)
- Angelius - PC: 17 (Battlegroup Points Used: 12)
- Angelius - PC: 17
- Naga Nightlurker - PC: 8
- Nephilim Bolt Thrower - PC: 11
- Carnivean - PC: 19
- Seraph - PC: 14
Blighted Nyss Sorceress & Hellion - PC: 0
Blighted Nyss Sorceress & Hellion - PC: 0
The Forsaken - PC: 0
The Forsaken - PC: 0
Blighted Nyss Shepherd - PC: 1

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

I won the roll-off and took first turn. The sides were fairly even. There was an obstruction in the middle which would hurt my Stormwall's threat projection no matter what side I chose so I figured it would be better to get up the field and feat early to get around the entire thing or stay defensive and bait Legion out. I deployed so I could do both, depending on Gustav's reply to my top of 1 moves.


:: Game ::

Stuff runs. Fort Haley is created with a Sidekick'd Stormclad b2b with the 'wall.


Gustav chooses a cautious variant. From our game the previous day he has learned to spread out and there's a Hellion solo ready to contest my zone and 1 Angelii on each flank.


By advancing max and TK-ing, Haley can catch virtually his entire army in the feat, including the extremely-far-away Hellion on the right flank and the Angelius on the left flank. Perfect! This sets up so that I'll automatically go to 1-0 in his turn, scoring a second in my own shouldn't be a problem. I had a ton of options following this play I reckoned so I went for it.

This time there was no angle on Lylyth but I had an Angelius to fool around with. I thus spent the feat turn killing it and a Hellion solo in the center.


My Hammersmith and Stormclad were placed pretty far up and Gustav was afraid of their ability to launch a devastating alpha. He backed up a lot and left a single Angelius to contest his own zone.


I TK the Angelius out of his zone and kill the objective with the Hammersmith. Haley consolidates her position and the fort is built again. I move to 4CP.


A desperate contest play is made by running in an Angelius and the Hellion solo, both of which can be TK'd out (if not just downright killed).


The other flank is still contested by a single Angelius and it's within threat range of my Hammersmith so I load it up on full focus and go in. Double Beat Back and Chain Smite leaves it just within the zone sadly, but it hardly has boxes left. Junior's aiming Charger finishes the job though as it has but a couple of boxes left. Thus, I don't need to clear my own zone to get to 5CP.


Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

This matchup is rough for Lylyth when Haley gets to go first and apply a lot of scenario pressure. I had the perfect forts up defensively as well. The main things Lylyth needs to do is spread out even more. Windwall isn't that big of a deal here because I will typically TK stuff regardless to get the beasts from DEF14 -> DEF12. Knowing when and where the feat comes is crucial. There wasn't a lot of distance left for me to work with so moving the Hellion a little further right and the Angelius a little further left basically makes my play a lot less valuable.

The shooting alpha is a legit way for Haley to set up for the game I believe. I keep defaulting to my Mk. 2 mindset with Haley2 where I expected to get a lot of work done -on- her feat turn. In Mk. 3 I keep finding that her feat is often a lot more about setting up for the following turn actually. Kind of like Fyanna2 I guess.

Battle at Lund: Team Tournament #4 (#498): Haley2 vs Lylyth3

:: Prologue ::

For the finals in the team tournament we decided to abandon our lose-on-purpose-concept. It was too late for beer bracket anyway and after all we had come this far! I was paired against Legion on Recon. My opponent had Lylyth3 and Thagrosh2. I was anticipating Lylyth3 and I had this plan with Haley2 which I wanted to try out so I went with her. Nemo is probably a safe bet here as well but I'm not 100% sure how he plays into Thagrosh2 and I think Recon is an amazing scenario for Haley2 in this matchup.

:: Lists ::

Cygnar:
Cygnar - Technical Death Metal v4
[Theme] Heavy Metal
(Haley 2) Major Victoria Haley [+25]
- Charger [9]
- Hammersmith [12]
- Stormwall [39]
- Thorn [13]
- Squire [0]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [0]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
- Charger [9]
Lieutenant Allison Jakes [4]
- Stormclad [18]
Opponent:
Theme: Oracles of Annihilation
4 / 4 Free Cards     75 / 75 Army
Lylyth, Reckoning of Everblight - WB: +29
-    Angelius - PC: 17 (Battlegroup Points Used: 17)
-    Angelius - PC: 17 (Battlegroup Points Used: 12)
-    Angelius - PC: 17
-    Naga Nightlurker - PC: 8
-    Nephilim Bolt Thrower - PC: 11
-    Scythean - PC: 18
-    Seraph - PC: 14
Blighted Nyss Sorceress & Hellion - PC: 0
Blighted Nyss Sorceress & Hellion - PC: 0
The Forsaken - PC: 0
The Forsaken - PC: 0
Blighted Nyss Shepherd - PC: 1
Blighted Nyss Shepherd - PC: 1
THEME: Oracles of Annihilation

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

I've faced Lylyth3 a few times in Mk. 3 one could say. What I've eventually come to is the realization that in scenarios where I can really bully her by scoring quickly, I believe I can aggressively feat without necessarily accomplishing much on the feat turn itself. Killing a single heavy with shooting might be acceptable for example. Thus, with my playing Gustav's Legion on Recon, I was hoping to test this out in practice. Gustav deploys Lylyth skewed a little on the left flank and I respond with the Stormwall directly across from her with most of the other jacks set up slightly to my right. The idea is to play aggressively for scenario, either go all-in hyper-aggro bot of 1 or chill until turn 2 to see how Lylyth intends to contest, depending on what Gustav does.


:: Game ::

Gustav runs up super-aggressively and in a big mash of beasts. Everything is clumped together and the Hellion solos are in front to prevent optimal TK plays.


While I can get a somewhat decent angle at an Angelius or two, I have a play here which seems completely legit: What happens if I simply go for Lylyth? She camps but a single fury and I am sure I can put the fear of God in her if I go all out to damage her and feat. I reckon my opponent will back off significantly to avoid dying the following turn which leads to either an easy 3-0 lead or a massive attrition advantage.

To do this I set up Fort Haley with a double layer of lights blocking her off (thus no bolter KD shenanigans to try and kill me while I feat) and the heavies run to position themselves for a bot of 2 scenario play. Haley then Time Bombs Lylyth and boosts damage. Gustav elects tro transfer this and is thus on 0 fury. I TK her around because DEF11 is awesome for the 'wall, and then the big guy activates. The dice I was lacking in my last game to kill battle engines certainly are back now as my colossal two-shots Lylyth for a surprisingly early end to the game!

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

Wow, that was unexpected! I'll happily admit that I didn't intend to downright kill Lylyth, merely make her game plan from here miserable and hard. I'll take it though, no doubt. The other 4 players in our teams were shocked to see our game end this early. Sadly though my team lost both of the other games and due to poor tie breaker scores we ended up in 4th place.

I think my strategy overall is legit. It might be better to try and see if you can get a heavy instead of damaging Lylyth but with only 1 fury camped that is some serious damage coming her way. How do you play against the potential damage output Haley2 has from there on out if she survives on, say, 5 boxes? Seems very hard to me. Looking at these pictures in hindsight I also wonder how Lylyth could've stopped me from going to 3CP without virtually sacrificing anything. From there on it should be easy to get to 5 and win.

This is a very experience intensive matchup. I applaud Gustav for making the aggressive play. My motto is: "When in doubt, push!" and that is certainly what he did here. The worst that can happen in such a case is that you learn where the limits in the matchup are, which makes you better suited the next time a similar encounter happens.