While I'm eagerly awaiting the next encounter with Circle (see this link for more info) I thought I'd put up a game I played a couple of weeks ago. This was my first encounter with Morvahna2 and prior to the game we had taken exchanged lists so I could read through what she does etc. It immediately struck me as paramount to get a scenario lead if possible because I think she has a better attrition game so I have to pressure Circle into engaging on my terms.
:: Lists ::
Major Victoria Haley - WJ: +5Opponent:
- 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
Morvahna the Dawnshadow - WB: +5
- Gorax - PC: 4
- Warpwolf Stalker - PC: 10
Blackclad Wayfarer - PC: 2
Reeve Hunter - PC: 2
War Wolf - PC: 1
War Wolf - PC: 1
War Wolf - PC: 1
Gallows Grove - PC: 1
Reeves of Orboros - Leader & 9 Grunts: 10
Tharn Bloodtrackers - Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
- Nuala the Huntress - Nuala 2
Warpborn Skinwalkers - Leader & 4 Grunts: 8
- Warpborn Alpha - PC: 3
Shifting Stones - Leader & 2 Grunts: 2
:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::
We were playing Incursion and Circle grabbed the initiative. I pre-deployed the Stormwall centrally, intending to use it to contest the middle flag and pod whatever strong flank Circle had. Circle committed in a fairly symmetrical manner with a bit of open space on the right. I sent ATGM to the left + TAC + Haley: The terrain here favoured me and I gathered I could go for the left and maybe the central flag. Alexia + Thorn went on the other flank with B13th nearby. Bloodtrackers went on the right with AD and I sent Eiryss on the left to help bolster my strong flank (and keep away from the jacks!).
:: Game ::
Circle moved up T1 and put up their concealment thingy. The Skinwalkers gained a buff as well.
I decided I wanted to force the Bloodtrackers into some action. Gaining souls on Alexia early here could be crucial to getting points on the right flank. I cast Arcane Shield on him and moved up, putting covering fire in front of him. Alexia went behind the building for cover and the B13th waited nearby. On the left I had a bit of a cautious advance, screening Haley with TAC. Deceleration went up.
Thorn was preyed. This was something I kept in mind, but with Arcane Shield + Deceleration I was sitting on DEF15, ARM23. On average I think the Bloodtrackers shooting was supposed to deal around ~6 boxes of damage or so. Lo and behold some utterly crazy dice: Thorn was actually destroyed. Wow. That is a bad start to say the least. The rest of the Circle lines advanced.
The good news was that I had a really good spot for feating and Alexia could gain souls before activating. However I made a grave error with regards to scenario: I forgot that you can't dominate the flags for 2 points in Incursion. As such I spent 5 focus on Temporal Acceleration + Telekinesis on Haley to get her to the left flag, which Eiryss for example could've taken easily.
Regardless it was a good turn: Alexia + B13th got a lot of work done on the right flank. B13th were prayed but at this point in time they were largely there to feed Alexia souls and I didn't think the Bloodtrackers could kill them all off before this was achieved.
Circle replies with a jamming move. Not much to do here really given the distance to the Haley-flag.
However, in jamming up the B13th my opponent has made a grave mistake: Not only can Ryan shoot Mage Storm in melee, she is immune to its damage as well! Furthermore this gives her Stealth in the ensuing round -and- grants Alexia souls. My, my: Great opportunity. I manage to clear off most Circle units on the right flank this way and score a point for the flag there as well.
On the left flank I move up aggressively: Stormwall takes out a few Skinwalkers and ATGM blast things away, scoring me a point for that flag as well while Haley moves back to safety. 3-0.
Basically I can't take another turn of attrition/jam. This has to happen now. I've lost too much firepower and Haley is sort of exposed. I did consider leaving the left flag and simply running Haley the full 12" behind the stormwall wreck (though way closer to my back field) and hope Alexia could score double. It's not impossible with the amount of Thralls. The problem is that I think he can get too many things to jam up and if I do that I have no more shots.
Instead I opt for the instant win: Some of the jamming Skinwalkers on my left have few boxes left. There are "only" 4 Bloodtrackers keeping the right flag jammed and I have tons of Thralls, Alexia + aiming Ryan to clear with. I reckon that with casting Telekinesis thrice and Thunderbolting I should have a chance.
I start on the right side with Alexia + Ryan. I don't remember why but I moved Ryan instead of aiming with her. Anyway I manage to kill off all the contesting models and move B2B with the flag. 4-0.
It's down to Haley and the shooters on the left. I hit on all 3 TKs and shoot a skinwalker to death. Eiryss kills another. So far, so good. It all boils down to 4 ATGM having to push out 3 Skinwalkers. I need to avoid 1" pushes which I do and I win by scenario!
Victory to the Swans!
I enjoy playing tricks vs tricks and Circle in general and Morvahna2 in particular definitely belong in this category. It's demanding but rewarding! Very few lists apart from some MMM-variants are able to go toe-to-toe with Haley in the game of attrition but this one certainly has the upper hand. This forces me to play the scenario hard and early but it worked out (barely).
Thorn going down T2 was a calculated risk. In hindsight what I should've done was to pod and Mage Storm said pod for an additional +2 DEF. At that point I think it's madness for the Bloodtrackers to go at me. Indeed they were lucky to kill him: A few were in range of Morvahna's re-roll and one of them got a 6, 6, 5 for damage, taking out the Shield system as one of the first shots. However, given said re-roll it's not that unlikely for him to lose his arc node, at which point a lot of his utility drops. Hence the need for Mage Storm to give him concealment which I didn't consider at the time. Sometimes calculated risks backfire though and it's a part of the game.
The Stalker having a huge charge threat range also kept my Stormwall in check. It can deal enough damage to effectively render the Stormwall inefficient or even destroyed with a few spikes. Losing Thorn made this part even harder: Usually I can Time Bomb to completely kill off this angle but there's no way Haley can get that close (trust me, I looked for angles).
Speaking of Haley. The T2 move was disastrous. 5 focus is a huge waste on achieving something I don't even need! Furthermore, because I sent her all the way over to the flag I didn't catch as many thing as I'd hoped for with her feat. This is obviously a mistake but it's good I made it in a friendly because I sure will remember you can't dominate for 2 points in Incursion!
In my T3 I'm temporarily blinded by the tasty, tasty targets in front of the Stormwall and I forget my primary objective here: By putting lots of focus on the big boy and slaughtering Skinwalkers I'm not really helping my overall game plan much: I could've podded close to the Stalker here and Time Bombed with Haley before my move. If the Stormwall had shot the Stones instead then the Skinwalkers would not have had enough power to bring him down. Essentially I made a move that is more favourable for attrition when I was clearly playing scenario. With Morvahna's feat killing off 3-4 models doesn't really matter that much anyway. I need to remember what my goal is and play accordingly.
Throughout the game Alexia was a complete disaster for my opponent. Getting souls on her before activating 3 turns in a row was just massive and when I could summon Thralls in the back arcs of the Bloodtrackers to hit them on 6s instead of 8s they just suffered massively. Giving up Thorn was an unnecessarily steep price for winning the flank but all in all the right flank worked out well for me.
Lastly I will note that I chose the wrong side. A central hill is worth a lot for my list but I chose the side I did because I thought I'd be able to dominate the left flank during feat turn and then have the elevation in support.
It was a great game and I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to playing vs Morvahna2 again in the future!