søndag 29. november 2015

Battle Report #19 - Haley2 vs Severius1 (50)

:: Prologue ::

Severius is, for obvious reasons, a tricky caster to face. I have a couple of thoughts on how I can approach this matchup but it is worth nothing that these thoughts have only come to me now after I finished this game. 

Of my games of the day this one was probably the most interesting. A couple of huge mistakes early made it quite the uphill fight for me.

:: 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
Grand Scrutator Severius - WJ: +6
- Reckoner - PC: 8
- Blessing of Vengeance - PC: 7
Vessel of Judgment - PC: 9
Vassal Mechanik - PC: 1
Wrack - PC: 1
Vassal of Menoth - PC: 2
Choir of Menoth - Leader & 3 Grunts: 2
Visgoth Juviah Rhoven & Honor Guard - Rhoven, Gius, and Cassian: 4
Exemplar Errants - Leader and 9 Grunts: 8
- Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard - Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard 2
Holy Zealots - Leader and 9 Grunts: 6
- Monolith Bearer - Monolith Bearer 2
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt - Lady Aiyanna & Master Holt: 4

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

We were playing Recon and Menoth won the roll-off, taking T1. The battle engine (proxed) pre-deployed behind the right flag, which basically meant that sending Haley behind the wall and screening with TAC was a no-go because of Juviah. I pre-deployed the Stormwall a bit to the left instead, intending to establish a fire-base between the objective and the house with Thorn + Alexia or something taking the wall for cover.

The flat piece of terrain to the left of my opponent's objective is a hill.

:: Game ::

Menoth wasted no time going up and Defender's Ward went up on Errants, Vision on the arc node and Eye of Menoth on Severius.

As with the first game of the day, I was having problems approaching this game from an attriton-point of view despite this being the best choice I could make. If I had taken a couple of minutes to consider the situation I probably would've realized that taking the left flag with Haley is impossible. Likewise, Severius isn't going to score points quickly either.

The result of this was that I sent Thorn up far to take out Juviah with a boosted Time Bomb. Furthermore I forgot to Covering Fire him and lastly the Arcane Shield was on the Stormwall, which is because I've often lost boxes with him to Menoth jack shooting before. That said however those games have usually featured those ROF3 light jacks. In this situation Thorn should most definitely have had Arcane Shield. Anyway, I was super exposed. To finish things off I yet again dropped a stupid pod, ensuring the Vessel could take out Eiryss (which failed to hit the Errants with Defender's Ward and thus the ATGM didn't kill anyone, no souls for Alexia). Just great.

So the TL;DR of the next turn sums up the effects of my mistakes: Zealots mini-feat, Eiryss dies, Thorn is destroyed.

With Severius defensively positioned and no immediate threats to the Stormwall, I can save my feat and try a really long attrition-game. I don't see any other solutions because a premature feat allows Severius to counter-feat and I can't deal with that. The idea then is to take out the Menoth Fuel Cache to put some pressure on him late game (the Stormwall is out of good targets anyways) since I assume this will go on for many turns. I need ATGM to push away a couple of Zealots so the Stormwall can engage the Arc Node as well. I cast Deadeye on the ATGM and they kill off a few Errants as well with Crit Brutal. This gives Alexia 3 souls, she goes behind the wall for cover and summons 3 Thralls which -all- (!) make their 8+ attack rolls to hit and kill errants, bringing Alexia back up to 3 souls.

TAC move up to engage Zealots and all use vortex of flames, Ryan Mage Storms to create issues for them and Lynch + Watts are nearby, ready for the next turn. Overall, a good position considering where I was at the start of the turn and the Stormwall was contesting the zone after it killed off the objective (Temporal Acceleration helped him do this fairly reliably).

The Vessel moves up and blasts apart a Thrall, taking 7 (!) boxes off of Eiryss as well due to the D3 closest or whatever. The Arc Node moves out of Storm Wall's melee range and ignores the free strike thanks to Vision. Zealots kill 2 ATGM and Ryan but deal no damage to the TAC.

I think I can afford giving Menoth 3 points without risking the game. What I can't risk is losing the Stormwall, it's simply doing too much work both directly and indirectly. The plan is to wipe out the Zealots with TAC + B13th and have the Stormwall move back. Unfortunately I planned this a little poorly and the Stormwall didn't receive sufficient focus to maximise its potential (which Haley was powerless to utilize anyway). It did however wound the Arc Node with a boosted pod, disrupting it. Alexia summoned 3 Thralls which killed the Battle Engine (which had taken some wounds now and then due to boosting). The TAC utilize Battle Mages for what it's worth and take out a ton of Zealots. B13th take out the rest.

The clock is ticking for both of us but I'm ahead of Menoth. Severius takes the opportunity and the 2 jacks go in to strike my objective. Severius casts Vision on himself and Enliven goes up on the Reckoner. This is a bit of a problem but not hugely so: Headbutt still stops him dead. Other than killing the objective there's no significant damage dealt to me this turn.

It's time to take the attrition one step further and kill off this game. The Stormwall receives 4 focus. Haley moves up and casts Temporal Acceleration on it, feats and TKs to safety. The Stormwall headbutts and boosts to hit as I -cannot- afford to miss. I barely hit the DEF10 (!) jack with the boost, but it is knocked down. I send additional attacks into it and it loses its reach weapon. Goodie! TAC move up to kill Errants follow by Lynch. Alexia moves up to put as much pressure as possible, though in hindsight Holt isn't really doing a whole lot anyway so having him shoot me is a waste of potential.

Menoth is short on time. Severius moves on the hill to set up for a possible win by taking the flag later on. He finally feats and camps as much focus as he can but takes out Lynch with one of his spells.

The feat reaches Haley, so no focus. Ok, a quick turn then! TAC charge Severius and he loses 4 boxes or so. I send the Squire to contest the flag so he can't tank all free strikes with full focus and run for points. I do however make a bit of a mistake with the Stormwall as I spend my first attack finishing off the Reckoner instead of targeting the Arc Node with both, which at this point in time is more essential. I then finish off with 2 typical late-game mistakes: I move Haley so that she won't get cover from attacks originating from behind the Stormwall and furthermore Junior upkeeps Arcane on the Stormwall instead of casting it on Haley (there is no way Menoth can effectively deal with the Stormwall who has thus far lost 4 boxes).

As I turn the clock over to my opponent I have ~12 minutes left, he has 4. He decides to go all-in: The Arc Node tanks a free strike and moves behind the Stormwall, keeping within range of Severius' control area. Haley obviously doesn't have any focus so I'm barebones DEF16, ARM14. Luckily for me, the Free Strike kills off the Arc Node system and thus it's game over. We roll the dice to see what would've happened just because. Haley survives on 1 box, on fire. In my ensuing turn, the fire dies out. While I felt that I did play the better game after I lost Eiryss and Thorn, this final, desperate run should've had way worse odds. Regardless...

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

This game started out on the wrong note because I was unable to understand how I should've approached this given that I play for attrition, not scenario here. What I should've done was to deadeye Eiryss (with Haley and Thorn directly aligned this is trivial to do while keeping out of 5" of her), make sure that Defender's Ward goes out and focus on clearing the field instead, keeping Thorn tucked behind my Effigy of Valor or something (depending on the 3" reaction drive range etc). By not casting TK on Thorn (to get within 10" of the Time Bomb target) and then boosting Time Bomb (a combined effort of 7 focus (!)) I could've had the Stormwall shoot up a couple of models as well. So overall the strategy was flawed, but the ensuing technical errors with not covering fire + arcane shield on Thorn just sealed his fate. The pod which led to Eiryss dying was just plain stupid, luckily it'll be something I remember. 

TAC and Alexia went completely nuts in this game. Their T2-T3 counter-moves gave me a chance and the Stormwall reliably took out stuff here and there in the middle while keeping Menoth off of the scenario points. Eventually I won the attrition as my opponent couldn't deal with the ARM22 Colossal. 

Haley2 was, throughout the game, in a more or less unassailable position. What I failed to realize early on was that I could've played her more aggressively because if Severius feats to lock Haley down, he's really depending on the Reckoner to be engaged to the Stormwall to really capitalize on it. Otherwise, I can just counter-feat. As long as the Vessel is on the other side of the map there is really not a whole lot of pressure on Haley. 

While the start of the game saw a couple of really bad mistakes and I messed up by giving Severius an angle at all in the very last turn of the game, I'm very happy with my mid-game play. I think my opponent could've put more pressure on the Stormwall by moving up the Reckoner more aggressively earlier on. With the Choir giving him immunity to non-magical shooting there isn't a whole lot I can do about his immediate threat to the Stormwall, which puts me in an awkward position. As it were the slow trickle and slight time advantage on my side brought the victory home. I learned tons and thoroughly enjoyed the game :)

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