Today I had what's likely my final practice games before Norwegian Masters this coming weekend. I got to face Trolls with Doomshaper3, a matchup I've never played before. I was thoroughly looking forward to trying out against this guy seeing as I've never played him before. My last game vs Trolls saw Caine try his luck vs Jarl and while he was indeed lucky, it was clear to me that the Troll matchup is quite obviously one I'll put Haley into. Haley2 vs Doomie3 it was then, fight!
:: Lists ::
Major Victoria Haley - WJ: +5 (Fuel Cache)Opponent:
- Stormwall - PC: 19 (bonded)
- Lightning Pod
- Stormwall - PC: 19
- Lightning Pod
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 3
Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers - Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
- Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer - Officer 2
Tactical Arcanist Corps - Leader & 2 Grunts: 4
Hoarluk Doomshaper, Dire Prophet - WB: +3
- Scroll Bearer
- Mulg the Ancient - PC: 12
- Earthborn Dire Troll - PC: 10
- Dire Troll Mauler - PC: 9
- Troll Axer - PC: 6
Troll Whelps - PC: 2
Northkin Fire Eaters - Leader, Grunt, and Pyg Buddy: 4
Pyg Burrowers - Leader & 9 Grunts: 6
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes - Leader & 3 Grunts: 3
- Stone Scribe Elder - Elder 1
THEME: Immovable Mountains - Tier 3
:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::
We were playing Two Fronts which is an interesting scenario due to many things: First of all we both have to move our squishy casters fairly far ahead in a matchup that's bound to be explosive for all parties involved. Secondly the opportunity to grab points quickly could be an issue both ways and careful play would be needed to counteract this. While my opponent won the dice-off, he opted to go second. I found this a bit peculiar due to the Tier bonuses he had, but I'd gladly take first turn and take the table. I put Stormwalls centrally, TAC on my left-hand side, ATGM right flank opposite his zone.
:: Game ::
I put Temporal on the non-bonded 'wall and ran stuff up.
Doomie runs his things up in advance... And feats! I totally did not see that coming as I believe he's better off taking a turn's worth of beating and simply wait. Furthermore the Burrowers were rather exposed...
Upon seeing his advance I immediately had a counter-play: Pod between Mulg + Mauler, Time Bomb said pod, Deadeye ATGM and remove those Burrowers to effectively buy space. I did exactly this while also taking care to play the bonded 'wall outside of the Earthborn's charge range.
So the Doomie feat is out and the beasts withdraw. Perhaps a bit overly cautious, apart from Northkin that is, who all decided this was as good a time as any to provide a distraction!
I saw a huge opening end went for it. Unfortunately, I was impatient and didn't see the *best* opening. What I did was that I cleared his zone, sent Haley in there and feated. What I should've done was to clear the zone, pod near his beasts, charge the Stormwall with Haley, Time Bomb said pod to reduce his beasts' SPD and TK myself into the zone, feating. I went to 3-0 but with implacability there was no fail-safe way for me to get the last 2. Furthermore my bonded 'wall took the Northkin bait, a huge mistake as he could've had perfect angles for charging in and helping me out next turn. ATGM started working on the Stones. 3-0.
The Axer and the Mauler gets into the zone.
So my idea here was to send the bonded 'wall into the Axer with Temporal Acceleration, have ATGM shoot up stones and the non-bonded wall into the Mauler. Somehow between this idea and the execution, the very first thing I manage to do is activate Haley and cast Deadeye on ATGM. That means no Temporal on the bonded 'wall, which means it can't reach the Axer because it's facing the wrong way, many thanks to the Northkin. I decide to continue with the original plan more or less regardless, leaving the mauler because I didn't really see any other option. At least the ATGM got the stones and the non-bonded 'Wall killed the Axer, but the bonded 'Wall failed miserably at the Earthborn, missing on 3 out of 5 attacks on 6+. I podded the Mauler so it couldn't charge me, without the +2" movement from the Axer and without the +3" from charges he would be hard pressed to do much. He could probably have taken the pod out with Doomie to clear paths, possibly getting both Stormwalls in a single turn (in which case it's game over) but it was the best thing I felt I could do, given the situation (keep in mind I had activated Haley first and thus it was 100% necessary to kill the Axer, otherwise I could've simply backed off and regrouped).
A big mistake which created a huge opening but I was lucky as it wasn't properly expoited. Mulg went into the non-bonded 'wall, the Mauler just killed a couple of models nearby and the Earthborn returned the favour of not doing damage. Quite a serious pillow-fight in that left zone!
With Mulg in the thick of it with elevation, cover and implacability there wasn't a whole lot left for me to do. Temporal on the Stormwall, charge Doomie, kill him.
Victory to the Swans!
:: Evaluation ::
Interesting game! Doomie3 is without a doubt a tough caster to face. In a way I find Doomie1 to be worse, although he doesn't have implacability he frequently gets the effect he needs, for example by having Janissa place a wall behind the beasts. Furthermore Doomie3's feat is something Haley2 can play around whereas Doomie1's feat can be completely back-breaking, doubly so with 2 Stormwalls that are extremely focus dependent in tight situations when I need to kill stuff dead.
Time Bomb is crucial here, it is my bread and butter. I set up for it nicely early on but forgot it midgame where it could -and should- have broken the game in itself. Trolls are slow and Time Bomb combined with pods gives me the perfect tool to deal with them. It requires Haley to play offensively but there are not a whole lot of threats facing her here. By camping a focus or being on hill and in a cloud, possibly with Arcane Shield up... Lots of options for sure.
The one thing that nearly cost me the game was perhaps an ill-adviced move in itself. I could probably have simply walked out of his zone, Time Bombed a beast and simply gone for attrition. I was a bit influenced by wanting to play a second game but from an ideal point of view the road I took was the risky one - never a good thing (click this link for my thoughts on the matter of risk).
We had a quick chat about the game, how it unfolded and how Doomie should probably approach it and decided to play again.