As I wrote about in my last blog post (link), this game was played to determine the moral victor of Hexcon where two of us finished with a 3-0 record. Going into this game was a new experience for me: I have relatively little experience with Scyrah at 35 points and I have barely ever played Caine2 into them (largely because I haven't played Caine2 at 50 points yet).
:: Lists ::
Captain Allister Caine - WJ: +5Retribution of Scyrah
- Ol' Rowdy - PC: 9
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator - PC: 1
Taryn di la Rovissi, Llaelese Gun Mage - PC: 2
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution - PC: 3
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 3
Savio Montero Acosta - PC: 3
Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers - Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
- Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer - Officer 2
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team - Lynch, Ryan & Watts: 4
Rangers - Leader & 5 Grunts: 5
Issyria, Sibyl of Dawn +6
- Banshee 10pc
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution 3pc
Mage Hunter Assassin 2pc
Mage Hunter Assassin 2pc
Dawnguard Invictors (max) 10pc
- Invictor Officer & Standard 2pc
Mage Hunter Strike Force (min) 5pc
- Strike Force Commander 2pc
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt 4pc
:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::
Dealing with utility solos is usually not a big deal for Cygnar. The problem in this game however is that there are so many of them and they all pose a big threat range. I won the roll-off for T1 so I chose to keep Caine2 in the middle with ATGM on my right flank and B13th on my left flank. Retribution countered with solos vs B13th and MHSF vs ATGM with Invictors in the middle of the table where they had a nice, cozy hill to chill out by.
:: Game ::
I had no good options right off the bat. AD-to-AD is 19" and with MHA having 4" reach on the charge I had to take it slow. Unfortunately this mentality also largely dictated what my ATGM would do so they ended up being significantly further away from the Scyrah lines than I needed to be. Furthermore I didn't capitalize on getting T1 properly with Caine who elected to simply advance 7" and cast Blur (Acosta), Heightened Reflexes (Ol' Rowdy) and True Shot (himself) instead of skipping a couple of upkeeps (or simply walking up towards the Arcane Wonder first) and cast Gatecrasher to put pressure on the table.
Scyrah responded by keeping the solos on the left behind the Wall, center advanced and MHSF went behind the forest. Inviolable Resolve on Invictors and Admonition on the Banshee.
My problem now is that I can't effectively deal with the solos behind the wall, nor can I take out enough MHSF. However I have to put some pressure on the map so I advance up the field. Caine's duty is to take out Aiyana with a long-ranged arcane bolt. This took all his focus before he had to Gatecrash away again (wouldn't want to get feat + mini-feat invictors with a huge CRA). ATGM took out a couple of MHSF and Acosta jammed 2 Invictors. On the left flank I tried some longshots but it was not to be.
My knee-jerk reaction T2 to simply run up the table on all fronts is largely something I did because "when in doubt, advance" which I've come to respect about this game. Anyway I was in a vulnerable spot and Scyrah knew it. Issyria put blinding light on ATGM and elected to use her feat. Most of my poor Pistoleers were shot up and on the left flank he took out a couple of util models. In the middle however his dice fluked and Ol' Rowdy was left without taking significant damage. Furthermore Acosta went out of it unscathed as he didn't sacrifice the 2 Invictors engaged with him to CRA him to death. Instead the MHA missed and I cleared out an Invictor with Dodge + Ripost.
So, a bad position for me last round but it's not over yet: My one-man-army models (most notably caine2, ol' rowdy and acosta) were still alive and kicking. The plan was to put some hurt on the Invictors to grant Caine more freedom, gave Ol' Rowdy go out with a bang and take out Eiryss + Holt on the left flank. Taryn acted as the sacrificial lamb, running into said solos avoiding their melee range before Ryan shot her up with Mage Storm, taking down the 2 others. Rangers took out the MHA there and Ol' Rowdy put the hurt on the Banshee. Caine went towards the left side and Acosta kept clearing and jamming Invictors.
The situation was looking dire for Scyrah as Caine was still alive and kicking with fairly few models left to deal with him. The targets this turn were my ATGM, Ol' Rowdy and Acosta. Acosta, yet again, dodged the attempts and killed off a model with Riposte. Ol' Rowdy went down but he'd done his job. The right flank was cleared but it didn't matter since Issyria wasn't there to score.
This is a very typical situation where I feel many players make the wrong move: It's easy to lose your head here and go all in. If Issyria moves up max. lands blinding light on Caine then he can die quite easily still to CRA and MHSF with a few lucky shots. Instead this game is about bringing it home, safely. I took a Focus from the Squire and intended to deal with the DEF18 Banshee with Caine boosted attacks. It worked a treat. Ryan Mage Stormed the objective and killed 2 Invictors, the Arcanist and put 2W on Issyria. Acosta moved towards Issyria since I forgot Admonition (he should've killed Invictors, regardless). Caine was in the zone and thus it was 1-0 to me.
Scyrah tried to contain Acosta but was again foiled by lacklustre dice. He couldn't contest my zone either to it was 2-1. Virtually over, in other words. In my ensuing turn I feated with Caine to take out the remaining Invictors and the objective, jamming his MHSF with Rangers + Eiryss for a 4-1 score at which point my opponent conceded:
Victory to the Swans!
:: Evaluation ::
My inexperience playing Caine2 into Scyrah really showed here. The deployment was ok I believe. Perhaps I should've tried more of a skewed approach to ensure that I could win one flank but the woods combined with MHSF and the fence on the left hand side makes that hard. My opponent did a great job neutralizing Caine early-game by basically fanning out his entire army so far away that I can't easily pick them apart.
Regardless my main mistake is not putting enough pressure on Scyrah T1. The left flank is ok to deal with in a slow manner due to the nasty threat range of MHAs, but the right flank should've seen me play more aggressively I think.
After Issyria feated and didn't manage to contain Ol' Rowdy the game quickly swayed into my favour. Retribution takes a fairly big risk here as a lot of things need to go right and I'm not sure I can't get back in the game even if it succeeds (most likely Caine must feat for the Banshee). Regardless, a little careless positioning on my part allowed this move in the first place: Rowdy should've been further to the center and many other models were carelessly placed.
I do struggle a bit with Vassal, gauging distance here is incredibly hard compared to real life gaming. I suppose this goes for everyone but Cygnar is such a delicate faction to play that I feel it really hampers my ability to utilize my models. ATGM in particular often end up going way too far/too short.
All in all this was a close, exciting game from which I learned tons. My opponent has a new-found hate for Acosta and will likely have learned to give up jammed models to free strikes in order to kill him the next time we face off :)