tirsdag 24. november 2015

Battle Report #12 - Haley2 vs Lylyth2 (50)

:: Prologue ::

With the first game vs Legion being over so early, we had time for an extra game. Since watching the WMW-finals I've really wanted to try Haley vs Lylyth2. I think the matchup might be more playable than people give it credit for. It does however hinge on a few, key moves and whether Cygnar can pull them off. Read on to see what happened when I tried out my theories in action!

:: Lists ::

Major Victoria Haley - WJ: +5
- Squire
- Stormwall - PC: 19
- Lightning Pod
- Thorn - PC: 8
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 3
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution - PC: 3
Alexia2 - PC: 4
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team - Lynch, Ryan & Watts: 4
Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers - Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
- Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer - Officer 2
Tactical Arcanist Corp - Leader & 2 Grunts: 4
Lylyth, Shadow of Everblight - WB: +5
- Succubus
- Angelius - PC: 9
- Angelius - PC: 9
- Naga Nightlurker - PC: 5
- Ravagore - PC: 10
- Ravagore - PC: 10
Blighted Nyss Shepherd - PC: 1
Blighted Nyss Shepherd - PC: 1
Croak Raiders - Leader & 9 Grunts: 8

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

My opponent, as you can tell, is fond of double Angelius + double Ravagore. This combination really gives Legion flexibility and punch against hard targets, but they lack control elements and the ability to swarm the table, which is of course good for me as it lets me play to my strengths without having to counter those things as well (I "only" have to worry about their raw damage output). 

So: Onto my theories. I believe Haley has to manage a few key things here: The feat has to catch every single heavy beast. Preferably also Lylyth herself. The beasts also need to be locked down on feat turn. Angelii are a problem because they have reach, however the beauty of Ravagores without place-spells is that they can easily be locked down by my jacks without having the ability to attack at all in the ensuing turn. To accomplish this the idea was to find a protected spot early and use TAC (who are immune to most things that shoot in this Legion list) to physically block off Haley. When feat turn comes around, charge out and catch a ton of Legion stuff: Get the Stormwall into a favourable position and lock down/TK the rest. 

We were playing Recon and I won the roll-off, taking first turn. A big thing about getting T1 here is that Lylyth can't get up Shadow Pack, Pin Cushion etc. She is simply too stretched so I can afford to put my Stormwall "out there" for a turn, effectively taking control of the game. I deployed Haley on a flank with a piece of impassable terrain, intending to "wall" her off with TAC b2b with said terrain piece. Alexia and Thorn on the opposite flank with ATGM centrally placed. Legion responded as per usual with a symmetrical deployment. 

:: Game ::

T1 I made a couple of blunders. I'll touch on these later. Stormwall moved up big, Alexia and Thorn following closely behind. Haley threw up Deceleration and moved towards the house as planned. ATGM took the wall with Eiryss vs the Croaks (proxied by Legionaires). B13th ran wide. 

Legion had a bit of a conundrum already: Go for the Stormwall? If so, what does Lylyth cast? What risks does she take? My opponent decided against it and instead cast Shadow Pack. The beasts inflicted minimal damage, taking a box or two off the Stormwall while the Ravagores tried their scatter luck on ATGM (2 died). Lylyth put up Pursuit on the Stormwall.

This was a pretty big opening for me. I did however realize that Thorn might just be in a little bit of a weird spot: With him having to run around my objective and Pursuit being up on the Stormwall it would be iffy for me to get off everything I wanted to. For me it boiled down to having to cast Temporal on the Stormwall instead, which meant I'd have to be happy with 1 TK because I wanted 4 focus on the Stormwall. 

The problem was that my TAC weren't really positioned for this and their slow, poor asses wouldn't allow me to place them where I wanted them. This in turn made me doubt Haley's resulting position. I started executing but Haley's position ended up being really awkward and I didn't catch more than 2 beasts in my feat: The Ravagore even died to the Stormwall... The second one tanked a free strike to get away, out of my feat. ATGM cleared Croaks but Alexia ended up having to be a bit of an emergency bodyguard since Haley was in a poor spot. Instead she should've ran up and gotten souls with which to negate spells. 

The Stormwall going to town on a Ravagore nearly won me the game outright: Lylyth kept tanking electroleaps and indeed was lucky I rolled high for damage on the Ravagore so it went down before I could leap more to her. She had 8 boxes remaining and I had 1 focus left. That basically meant a 12+ on boosted lightning pod would kill her and win me the game. That's about 1 in 3 but as I didn't have anything better to pod I might as well try. I rolled 11, leaving her on a single box.

The Stormwall isn't wrecked, we just found it easier to leave the proxy base since its exact position was expected to be important.
All the beasts in the world assailed my poor Stormwall, aided by the cursed Naga's Wraithbane animus. My inability to catch the heavies in my feat cost the Stormwall his life. 1 Angelius was seriously hurt as was his remaining Ravagore but with feat intact and my Stormwall gone this wasn't largely in my favour at least.

Lylyth was exposed. She'd spent 1 fury to heal up but otherwise had dealt no serious damage to me, killing a single ATGM. Since I didn't like my attrition chances here and scenario was non-existant it was time to go to town again. 

3 focus on Thorn and 6 on Haley: The idea was to arcane bolt the croak raider blocking Thorn in, reaction drive up, TK Lylyth around and deadeye ATGM to blast her up. She had 2 fury with which to transfer damage and I needed to make her spend it. The Croak Raider died but the TK failed to hit despite the Squire re-roll. The ATGM moved up and shot her up, forcing her to spend both fury tokens. Thorn then inched over to stab her. I boosted the first attack to hit, which missed, needing a 9+. I bought a second and boosted again, this time making the roll. I managed the 3+ to kill her and with that, the game was over.

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

Well, I had a plan which I believe is sound. The execution was, quite frankly put, terrible. The Thorn mistake wasn't as bad as I first thought as I needed the Temporal Acceleration movement to lock down all the 3 heavies nearby. A question to keep in mind is whether the Stormwall can make do with only 2 focus here (which still equates to 5 attacks with the free charge from Fuel Cache + Temporal Acceleration), which allows me to cast TK twice. 

The really bad stuff was the TAC, however. I was blinded by my normal approach to Recon which is to establish control near a flag and then contest the middle with the Stormwall and pod the opposite flag to gain a lead. The TAC should've ran up dead ahead. With Haley following up 6" behind she is unreachable T1 barring scatters (31" - 6" move - 6" Ravagore move - 18" Ravagore range given feat leaves 1" still), and just as importantly the TAC is set up to run and provide a perfect screen for T2-feat, allowing her to charge something and stop in them. Something like this would've enabled me to catch his entire army, which basically equates to game over given the positions we had after my T2 was over. 

The plan was good. I'm not sure how easy it is to pull off if Legion knows it's coming. I also believe Legion getting T1 necessitates a different approach as the Stormwall can't get the same, dominating position with Lylyth already having Shadow Pack on upkeep since she moves first. I have a couple of thoughts on how this can be handled as well but have obviously yet to try it out in person. 

All in all I was happy with trying this out in action. I learned a lot, as did my Legion opponent. If he hadn't been greedy with Lylyth he likely would've won the game (my T3 would be spent trying to take down 3 heavies with... B13th, Haley and Thorn more or less). I don't much fancy my chances given the state of the board. 

This is definitely something that I need to play more. I'm slowly starting to think that Haley might have more game into this matchups than I originally thought. It's a unique way to approach the game for sure, but if it works it's golden. Her feat is really strong vs Legion, the problem is delivering it and surviving the potential counter-attacks. As Lylyth rarely plays with Seraphs (in my experience) I believe this can be an interesting matchup!

EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that we played the double-handed throw rules wrong. As the model stops when it contacts the target, not on top of it, what I did was basically the safest play (I believe I could not have thrown a pod next to Vayl to hit instead).

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