søndag 24. januar 2016

Battle Report #71-72 - Haley1 vs Durst

:: Prologue ::

As part of my endeavour to see if there's something in our arsenal that can deal effectively with ARM-skew and Legion (Lylyth2 ADR in particular), I've been looking at Haley1. Double Arcane Shield on colossals combined with Temporal Barrier sounds like a good start. While her feat is underwhelming compared to her other incarnations, being in ADR herself allows me to tweak her lists to better counter the various problems she's intended to face out there. Furthermore, as I believe Caine2 will be my other caster he'll get a lot more flexibility as well!

:: Lists ::

Captain Victoria Haley - WJ: +5
- Squire
- Stormwall - PC: 19
- Lightning Pod
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 3
Gastone Crosse - PC: 3
- Galleon - PC: 18
Ragman - PC: 2
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt - Lady Aiyanna & Master Holt: 4
Tactical Arcanist Corps - Leader & 2 Grunts: 4
Apart from the colossals, junior and squire, there are 10 points left. The basic list is 2x Vanguard (on Gastone) and 2x Gobber Tinker. In specialists I have Ragman, Aiyana + Holt, TAC, ATGM + UA and Dougal McNaille. The basic list is Legion-tooled, the variant above is the anti-arm configuration and if I need to maximize my shooting, ATGM + Dougal fit in nicely.

Anson Durst, Rock of the Faith - WJ: +6
- Hierophant
- Templar - PC: 8
- Reckoner - PC: 8
- Crusader - PC: 6
Avatar of Menoth - PC: 11
Vassal of Menoth - PC: 2
Wrack - PC: 1
Reclaimer - PC: 2
Vassal of Menoth - PC: 2
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution - PC: 3
Holy Zealots - Leader and 9 Grunts: 6
- Monolith Bearer - Monolith Bearer 2
Choir of Menoth - Leader & 5 Grunts: 3

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts ::

I have played Durst once before, quite recently in fact. In that game, I fielded Haley2 with double Stormwalls and took a quick win in Outflank when I managed to score in his turn. In this game I was anticipating the Zealots to jam me hard. I was hoping I'd be able to find angles to pull jacks in with the Galleon and pummel them one at a time.

:: Game ::

Unfortunately there aren't a lot of pictures available for these games. I'll describe the broad strokes of what happened.

In both games I deployed the Colossals centrally but was quickly forced to deal with mini-feated Zealots which swarmed me. Haley was constantly hard-pressed for focus as I absolutely needed to keep up Temporal Barrier. I also forgot that Chain Lightning actually works vs Zealots under their minifeat. SPD5 Colossals without buffs of any kind is really hard to get where you need them but my experience with Stryker1 allowed me to get a bit of work out of them regardless.

The lack of control spells/abilities meant that Menoth was often able to set up screens, either with models or terrain, so that I couldn't drag any of the jacks in with the Galleon. Passage from the Choir also meant that I had to use Aiyana to cast Lurynsar's Touch instead of Kiss of Lyliss when I tried for these openings.

Menoth was able to gradually walk the jacks up, putting them in a position where I'd at most get 1 Colossal in, which is a bad trade as I'm unlikely to get more than one, at which point the rest will easily kill said colossal between Battle from Choir and double Vassals (which are essentially 2 more focus).

The left Stormwall is a proxy for Galleon
So sooner or later, as the picture above shows, the jacks are in a strong position and with Durst's feat up I can't reliably hurt anything else than the avatar. Also note the Zealots that swarm me.

The right Stormwall is a proxy for Galleon
In the second game the same thing happened, by and large. Here, the Avatar sacrificed himself to take out ~half the boxes on the Galleon but in the process he also kept me locked down (the black marker with yellow text is its wreck marker), unable to move away from my area. Again Zealots were also a real pain.

I lost both games because I had nothing to jam with and couldn't either clear out my area nor get to his jacks fast enough. We played out a couple of variants in the second game for fun, including one in which I auto-lost because I dragged the Avatar in with Galleon while Gaze of Menoth was on, not getting him in melee range (since he stopped in a piece of terrain) but getting him close enough to Haley so she couldn't back up. The second variant saw me get an assassination opening on Durst which worked out after Haley scrambled the screening jack and the Galleon pulled him in while Ragman's Death Field was active.

Regardless, both games were clearly in the Protectorate's favour and my opponent delivered 2 strong games to sink Haley1.

:: Evaluation ::

Immediately after these games I thought this matchup was simply clearly in Durst's favour but the more I thought about it the more I realized I could've done differently. Not having jammers myself is an issue, but then again my Haley2 list doesn't either. While Haley1 doesn't quite have the same control elements, the basic counter-play from Haley2 when it comes to contesting stuff is to pod or put a Colossal there. This list can do exactly the same, so what is really the difference?

Interestingly enough, it is connected to why I couldn't pull in his jacks and why the Zealots were the MVPs in both games. I don't have the tools to clear counter-jammers. Now that, on the other hand, is something my Haley2-list does wonderfully, but this Haley1-list does not. I believe there is a solution here in my ADR: By taking out Ragman and TAC (I really need Larynsar's Touch for the Galleon to threaten stuff at a distance) I can include ATGM. They don't need True Sight in this matchup really and between Haley's deadeye, Snipe and Thunderbolt, they add in basically everything I need: Accurate shooting at a distance to threaten Zealots, pushing stuff around to open angles for the Galleon and give me scenario strength. Lastly it also allows me to counter the inevitable surge when Durst gets his jacks so far up that Temporal Barrier no longer keeps my jacks safe: I can push away some of them and handle the rest (Avatar for example, which doesn't benefit from the feat).

So to conclude the matchup isn't nearly as bad I initially thought. There are loads of angles, tricks and choices I could've made to improve my position. I need to practice more with Haley1 because the ADR potential is insane. Against arm-skew she can get the Galleon up to the effective equivalent of P+S25 (between kiss and death field), against Legion she has double Shield Guards, Arcane Vortex and Drag which is just nuts when combined with Temporal Barrier. Menoth, ironically enough since I've always considered them one of my better matchups (with Haley2), are probably among one of her harder ones to face but I'm sure this can be done as well.

My main objective when designing a list pair is to ensure that all matchups are playable. I believe Haley1 + Caine2 with ADR has the potential to do this and I look forward to practicing them some more!

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