søndag 20. desember 2015

Battle Reports #40, 41 - Haley2 vs Krueger2 (50)

:: Prologue ::

I had 2 quick games against Circle today, same opponent and lists as yesterday's tournament game 2. Due to the nature of the games I've chosen to make a single report and I'll refer to both in the evaluation below. These games highlight why I'm generally comfortable dropping Haley2 into Krueger2. Read on to see what today's endeavours were like!

:: Lists ::

Major Victoria Haley - WJ: +5 Effigy of Valor
- Squire
- Stormwall - PC: 19 (bonded)
- 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
Krueger the Stormlord - WB: +5
- Ghetorix - PC: 11
- Gorax - PC: 4
- Warpwolf Stalker - PC: 10
Blackclad Wayfarer - PC: 2
Blackclad Wayfarer - PC: 2
Gallows Grove - PC: 1
Una the Falconer - PC: 3
- Rotterhorn Griffon - PC: 3
- Rotterhorn Griffon - PC: 3
Druids of Orboros - Leader & 5 Grunts: 7
- Druid of Orboros Overseer - Overseer 2
Shifting Stones - Leader & 2 Grunts: 2
Tharn Bloodweavers - Leader & 5 Grunts: 5

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

We were playing Outflank and I won the roll-off. Outflank is a scenario where I'll often consider going 2nd. Circle is an exception to this because I value controlling the pace and dynamic of the game more so than the wombo-combo T2 feat-dominate-for-2-points move which I so often perform with Haley. Based on the map I put my Stormwall slightly to the right with Haley + TAC + B13th on the same flank, ATGM centrally and Thorn + Alexia flanking left. 

:: Game 1 ::

I spread out a lot and send the Stormwall 14" ahead to a dominating position.

The Circle reply is to go towards the left zone.

I take a moment to consider whether I should bide my time or go for gold. In the end, I believe I can get quite a few druids and max. souls on Alexia while both making it hard for him to contest without risking his things -and- make it nigh impossible for him to kill much back. I send ATGM up with Deadeye, Stormwall gets 2 focus to shoot stuff dead and Haley charges Alexia (too far away, obviously) while feating, catching his entire army.

As I expected this situation was pretty grim for circle. When almost all my ATGM can shoot Druids T2 and the Stormwall's in his face with my feat up this is just an incredibly up-hill battle for him. Instead of playing on then from such an impossible situation we started a new game.

My take away: Circle has to be extremely cautious as to where they'll go. Too close and Haley's feat will utterly devastate them T2.

Going into the 2nd game I had the same pre-battle thoughts as last and my deployment was as identical as I could get it.

:: Game 2 ::

This time Circle skewed more to the left. As a result I was a little more cautious with my ATGM but given his lack of nukes this is probably a mistake. If they stay all clumped up I don't think he can hurt them anyway.

Experience from Game 1 shows as the Circle lines this time around are way more conservative and flanking away from me.

One problem though is that Alexia is in command range of a couple of Druids this time. I give the Stormwall 2 focus with which it blasts away the Blackclad and Gallow's Grove near the hill. With Krueger2 going so wide I can get my elements around his Storm Wall and the demise of the Blackclad and Grove this early is proof of that. I cast Deadeye on ATGM and 3 went up to kill 2 Druids, granting Alexia souls. Haley moved conservatively up after TK-ing a TAC guy. They clouded her in. B13th moved up and put down mage storm just to make life miserable with a lucky scatter. Alexia ran off to Haley.

Now consider this picture for a moment. Circle can surely score 2 points now, but what then? If I move Haley up and feat, I score 2 in my own turn while contesting his easily for 2-2. The bigger problem is that I don't think Circle can contest me in the ensuing turn, which basically means I automatically win the game.

So Circle move up, clear the zone, but can't get enough things near my zone, as predicted. Besides, had he done so I'd have my entire army ready to blast away with. Krueger feated, true, and the situation was like this:

Apologies for the blurry picture
I explained the predicament my opponent was in to him and he called the game again.

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

For the last X games where I've faced Krueger I've had to go second. This is a completely different dynamic and significantly harder for Haley. It all boils down to the beatstick positioning: With Circle going first the Stormwall is essentially confined to a very small place in my deployment zone unless I'm either willing to feat or tank Ghetorix + Stalker to my face. As you can see from today's game, if the Stormwall and ATGM come up to the middle of the table first Circle simply has to respect their power and likewise stay back. Giving Haley board control is absolutely lethal and while capitalizing on it isn't as trivial as it might seem, the option is usually there to take a commanding position T2.

As far as Circle is concerned, Krueger doesn't keep me up at night. Bradigus does, and to an extent, Morvahna. From what I hear though Krueger2 is supposed to be a strong drop against Haley2. Having played this game for only a few months I realize that we have tons to learn still, but based on my games now, of which there are many vs Krueger2, I fail to see how this is in any way good for him. I'd call this matchup as in Haley's favour, probably not by a landslide but still clearly in her favour. I think 65-35 is a decent number. I'd love to hear some Circle experts' thoughts on this matter so please leave a comment if you have any ideas of what can be done to improve the situation here.

This Haley list is one I've played a ton and I've grown quite comfortable with it. However it does have a few distinct weaknesses and choices that are way overpriced in certain matchups. Alexia for example has a number of matchups where she's almost like dead weight. I'm looking into other configurations as well, but perhaps it rather hinges on the pairing I bring with Haley. The trouble is covering all areas from Bradigus and Legion to Retribution and MMM-spam. The one I'm currently most intrigued by is Haley2 with Stormwall + Hurricane paired with maybe Caine2 but this naturally hinges on the Hurricane actually coming out. The idea behind such a change is to have Haley move more towards an anti-arm approach and let Caine deal with stuff like Cryx, Retribution etc. More musing will surely follow :)

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