Going into game 3 I had one goal: Don't overlook stupid things like for example what a feat does... I drew Cygnar and I was actually looking forward to play a mirror matchup as it rarely happens. My opponent had Caine2 and I put down Haley2. Civil War!
:: Lists ::
Major Victoria Haley - WJ: +5Opponent:
- Stormwall - PC: 19 (bonded)
- Lightning Pod
- Thorn - PC: 8
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 3
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team - Lynch, Ryan & Watts: 4
Tactical Arcanist Corps - Leader & 2 Grunts: 4
Captain Allister Caine - WJ: +5
- Stormclad - PC: 10
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator - PC: 1
Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers - Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
- Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer - Officer 2
- Hunter - PC: 6
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team - Lynch, Ryan & Watts: 4
Rangers - Leader & 5 Grunts: 5
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt - Lady Aiyanna & Master Holt: 4
:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::
We were playing Destruction. Destruction is a funny scenario in the sense that it tends to go one of two ways: Either the matchup is explosive in which case the control points start ticking awefully quick, or it's drawn out in which case it's almost completely irrelevant that there's even a zone in the middle. Given the glass-cannon nature of both our armies, I was expecting the former of the two.
Having played a tournament with Caine2 only last weekend and practiced with him prior to that I'm well aware of his tricks. In this matchup, it's by far Magic Bullet that's the killer and that's what I need to beware of. Of course there's the feat, but he has no way to deal with Deceleration and the map has ample cover.
I deployed everything behind my own objective with B13th towards the middle. My opponent won the roll-off but elected to go 2nd. Part of the reason why I wanted to deploy so much behind my objective, despite getting Fuel Cache bonuses for Thorn and Stormwall, was because he had a hill directly opposite me and I wanted to put pressure on it so Caine couldn't dominate the battlefield from that position. My opponent deployed largely behind the hill anyway.
:: Game ::
Part of the reason why I had B13th centrally was to run then up behind cover where they're fairly safe. The rest of the army ran up as per usual, hugging the woods where I could. Deceleration went up.
I realized right after I clicked the turn over that Haley was just within 4" of the Stormwall. I made a mental note to ensure this wouldn't happen again. Luckily my opponent was focused on other things, like getting Blur up on Caine for example. One Magic Bullet did go up however but it was spent to try and tag a TAC-guy through a hit on Thorn. It failed to roll high enough to kill him. The rest of my opponent's army was very afraid of the Stormwall and hid well away.
So I had one thought in mind: Don't get the Stormwall within 4" of Haley and cast Arcane Shield on my caster to keep her safe in case Caine's forces can find some obscure angle. The TL;DR of this turn was that I got so preoccupied with killing the ATGM and getting Haley intro a central position that I forgot -both- of these. So Haley was left on 0 focus, no shield, within 4" of the Stormwall...
My opponent didn't let this opportunity slide and this time put up 3 magic bullets. However, like last game, the dice gods decided it wasn't time for my stupid mistakes to bring me down just yet. Haley was left on 3 boxes or so.
The problem with having Haley so low vs Caine is many-fold: I have to spend focus to heal and even then I'm exposed to assassination because of his insane damage output. All it takes is a couple of shots to go through. Because of this I cast Arcane on Haley. The table was very open so I reckoned that if I could control the zone and take the objective now I could risk the Stormwall for Caine's feat and dominate it with my feat the round after that again.
Stormwall killed objective and I cleared out the zone. Haley healed 9 and got Shield, taking care to stay properly away this time.
Caine decides that the intimidating presence of the Stormwall has reached its end and feats it out of the sky, helped by Kiss from Aiyana. However he does struggle to get models into the zone and even the left flank isn't completely wiped out. I think I'm still up but time is running away from me: I won't win this by attrition.
Having my feat intact here is almost unheard of for Haley2 (her 4th activation!) but it's a direct consequence of my opponent's defensive movements and my lesson from game 1 that the feat sometimes have to be saved for later.
This was a perfect moment because clearing the zone was trivial and there isn't a lot my opponent can do to jam it when I feat. Killing the Stormwall is a bit of a mixed blessing: It provides Haley with an excellent spot from which she can dominate the zone.
I do just that and the remaining TAC engages and jams B13th. I also take care to avoid magic bullet angles.
Having never played against Haley before is a pain. Caine takes a lot of time to think but eventually concludes that there isn't a whole lot he can do at this point in time. Basically you have to set up for the feat in advance and the green cygnar forces weren't positioned properly bearing in mind the middle zone and the state of the control points (4-0 in my favour). He jammed with what he could but due to me dominating the Stormclad last turn it couldn't reach the zone. Caine casts Blur on Aiyana & Holt.
I put a couple of focus on Thorn. Haley charges Aiyana and kills her. I then dominate the Hunter out of the zone, Arcane Bolt the Ranger blocking Thorn and Thorn proceeds to charge and kill holt. There's no-one left in the zone.
Victory to the (blue) Swans!
:: Evaluation ::
The opening here is a bit off. TAC needs to be more central and put up clouds further to the right T2. Journeyman and Squire also have to ensure they get further to the right. Given Caine's forces' deployment I was pretty sure I could establish myself on the right flank trivially which proved to be correct. Granted his ATGM were played a little carelessly but lightning pod + mage storm makes the wall very treacherous for him.
The magic bullet assassination run that should've (statistically) succeeded is inexcusable. I even reminded myself at the start of my turn. I have to somehow stop making these kind of mistakes. Not reading Butcher's feat properly or taking a long time vs Minions because I've never faced them before is one thing but not remembering what to do vs Magic Bullet in the course of 5 minutes. Well, if I want to compete with the best these mistakes have to go.
Strategically Caine approached this game extremely cautiously. I believe he should've tried to find an opening on the hill and simply swarmed areas in front of him because the way the game developed I had way too much space and time. I made a little mistake T1 with the Stormwall positioning: While I will very rarely commit the Stormwall T2 I can if I must/should. My angle was a bit off in the sense that my own objective was blocking a charge trajectory towards Caine's hill. Half an inch to the right and he'd be good.
Yet again lady luck saves me. How long can this last?