lørdag 19. desember 2015

Internal Affairs Mk. I Game 2: Haley2 vs Krueger2

:: Prologue ::

For the second game I drew Circle (pairing: Krueger2 + Kromac2) in Destruction. Without Bradigus it really is a no-brainer what I'll play in this matchup and so it was Haley's first game of the day!

:: 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 ::

As I've said before I'm quite comfortable playing Haley2 into Krueger2. Don't get me wrong, it's not an auto-win game, but I know Haley has the tools to play this and if I do things right I believe I have the upper hand. Destruction is a classic Haley scenario because the scenario coupled with her feat T2 is just crazy. Suddenly I'm in the zone, clouding Haley up and feating my opponent out for a 3-0 start with the Stormwall bashing up the objective. What remains then is but to clear the zone in the following turn to win 5-0. It's not as easy as it sounds but sometimes pulling it off is surprisingly effective and the sheer threat of it forces an opponent's hand. So anyway, my opponent wins the roll-off and goes first. This is risky business in destruction for sure, see the reasoning above, but I can see where he's coming from given that taking the middle in this particular matchup T1 is absolutely crucial to shape how the game evolves. 

I put my Stormwall centrally and had Haley + B13th + TAC on my right flank with ATGM, Thorn and Alexia opposite them.

:: Game ::

I keep looking for ways to punish Krueger from going at the very front of his army T1 but I haven't found any yet and as such my opponent keeps putting him there with Storm Wall up to effectively negate an entire turn's worth of shooting from me. The rest, obviously, stay behind.

In response I put up Deceleration and measure 15" from his lines with most of my army. This is the threat range of TK + Hunter's Mark + charging Ghetorix/Stalker. I'll get back to this in the evaluation. Alexia ran to the left, eager to get in position for souls. Thorn kept a defensive posture, toing the woods just in case any harm were to target him. B13th ran wide with Eiryss going even wider.

Circle plays the passive game and this highlights the conundrum that is Haley going second in Destruction: If he does not protect his zone sufficiently I score easily, 2-3 points. A Rotterhorn is the poor sacrifical lamb.

Krueger has taken care to be within range of targeting Haley if she goes for toing the zone in the lower-right corner. Since my TAC were overly cautious T1 (again, more on the threat projections under evaluation) they were in no position to cloud her in there either. The plan then was a bit on the cautious side: Have something else than the Stormwall take out the objective and let the Stormwall deal with the Rotterhorn. It's not as though I had a lot of other choices either. I make a big mistake with Haley as I feat with Ghetorix barely being within her feat... Alexia also only got 1 soul: I couldn't pod a Druid to get the second because of Elemenal Protection. B13th + TAC + Junior blew up the objective. 2-0.

So, Krueger TK'd Ghetorix out of Haley's feat. The thing is that in trying to keep Haley safe I forgot that he essentially has nothing that threatens her during my feat. I should've advanced to the hill instead, covering more area to the left and ensured that he couldn't have simply TK'd Ghetorix out. However he made a grave mistake as the single Bloodweaver in range of the Stormwall was blocked. As such Arcane Shield was still on and while Ghetorix hurt (he always does) it wasn't disastrous as I still lived. Regardless, being charged by a beatstick while feating with Haley: You're doing it wrong 101.

When something like this happens, the situation on the board needs to be pretty extreme for the Stormwall to live. This was not such a case. The idea then was to clear the zone this turn, whatever the costs, and hopefully spend all my focus TK-ing stuff out etc next turn for 5 CP.

4 Focus on the Stormwall: Headbutt -> boost -> hit hit dead Ghetorix. A little lucky but I had more tools for this guy if need be. TAC then took care of some stones and the Rotterhorn aided by junior and B13th while the ATGM went wide to clear Bloodweaver and grant Alexia souls. The Thralls were spent to clear out the remaining stones in the zone. I had 1 left which tried to get lucky against a druid but it was not to be. 3-0 though.

Gorax and Krueger charge Alexia. Warpwolf kills Stormwall. Krueger's feat pushes stuff out of the zone but there is one TAC left and the objective isn't even damaged.

So, Krueger, Gorax, the Warpwolf in cover and elevated... They all need to be removed. And I'm feated, -2SPD. I make a big mistake first as I forget that Thorn can toe my own hill and thus negate the elevation of the Stalker. This would've made my life easier. Eiryss has spent some time getting around the back and even enabling my crazy plan relies on taking out Counter-Magic. Krueger spent his focus dealing with Alexia and thus did not cast Storm Wall. Eiryss takes out the Druid Counter-Magic leader, so far so good.

Haley misses the first TK (needing 12+) despite the Squire re-roll. I am all-in at this point so I try again and this time I hit, taking him out. I spend 2 more on Deadeye on ATGM. While there is a fairly trivial solution to when I should shoot Krueger and when I should shoot Gorax I mess up which makes it way more exciting than it should've been. Still, I get them both out and the zone is free, giving me 5 points. Yes, I did forget that Warlocks don't contest...  Anyway:

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

For some time I've played vs Warpwolf, Ghetorix etc based on their maximum threat range. However they threaten 11" as a start and while Telekinesis can always boost this to 13, landing Hunter's Mark is by no means trivial. Another question is what targets it's worth going ball's deep against. A single TAC guy for example? Hardly. Based on this I have to re-consider my perhaps over-cautious approach to get more out of my T1 when I move as the second player vs Krueger2, doubly so when the scenario is this intensive. I think the key lies in letting some targets approach closer but making sure he can't alpha Thorn, Alexia, Stormwall or Haley (though Haley is typically safe due to DEF16 base). 

This game was largely shaped by 2 mistakes: By not realizing I should've moved to the hill when I feated Ghetorix gets an opening he never should have. Furthermore, with my opponent blocking out his own Bloodweaver with a Druid said Ghetorix can't quite bring the Stormwall down because Arcane is up. That's 3 less damage on every single one of his attacks. It's a part of the game and I hope I've learned my lesson! 

My last turn was clumsily played. Ignoring the fact for a second that Warlocks and Warcasters don't contest, I had a plan ligned up to push Gorax and Krueger out trivially. I mess up the order however and this requires all attacks to hit. I do, but that's kind of lucky indeed. Also, had I remembered that Thorn could've toed the hill to ignore the Stalker's elevation and that Krueger doesn't contest this turn would've been trivially easy I believe. 

Regardless though it was a close and interesting game. I was less in control than I should've been but that happens! While I believe Krueger typically relies more on precise play in this matchup, Haley can certainly mess up for herself as well and the only reason I got back in this game was because my opponent returned the favour (of messing up, that is). 

Lastly I'd like to note how useful Eiryss ended up being here. With her wrapping around it can be hard to protect the vital counter magic druid!

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