søndag 17. januar 2016

Norwegian Masters 2016 Game 1: Haley2 vs Grissel1

:: Prologue ::

First game of my first major Warmahordes tournament - the Norwegian Masters none the less. The scenario was Destruction and I was facing Trolls who dropped Grissel1 into my Haley2. An interesting start seeing as I've never played Grissel1 before!

:: Lists ::

Major Victoria Haley - WJ: +5 (Fuel Cache)
- Squire
- 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
Grissel Bloodsong, Fell Caller - WB: +5
- Dire Troll Bomber - PC: 10
- Troll Impaler - PC: 5
Fell Caller Hero - PC: 3
Trollkin Warders - Leader & 4 Grunts: 8
Trollkin Warders - Leader & 4 Grunts: 8
Trollkin Champions - Leader & 4 Grunts: 10
- Skaldi Bonehammer - Skaldi 3
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes - Leader & 3 Grunts: 3
- Stone Scribe Elder - Elder 1
Northkin Fire Eaters - Leader, Grunt, and Pyg Buddy: 4

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

My opponent won the roll-off and took T1. I took the side which forced him to deal with a lake and a house in his approach. I pre-deployed Stormwalls symmetrically with the non-bonded 'wall closest to my objective. He deployed symmetrically as well: Champions in the center with Warders on either side. I put ATGM across his objective because I felt I'd be most likely to establish control here.

:: Game :: 

The first turn was spent with Trolls slowly advancing and me running up. I put Temporal on the bonded 'wall but due to abysmal rolling I couldn't kill all the Northkin, despite the ATGM shooting them as well. I put down Covering Fire in the zone at least.

So the Trolls have to prevent me from making something big happen. My opponent manages to jam the zone sufficiently so that I cannot kill him and score 3 while feating. To add insult to injury the remaining Northkin model kills 2 (!) ATGM models despite needing 9s or 10s to hit. This is disastrous because their job is to get around and threaten the Stones + Grissel (since the scenario angle is out), something they can't effectively do if they get reduced quickly.

I make my biggest strategical mistake in the game: Despite spending 5 minutes looking for angles to get my beloved 3-0 + feat, I know there's no way I can do that, barring crazy dice or exposing Haley to a ton of hurt. Instead I opt for jamming both Stormwalls home and start the attritioning while Haley feats behind the zone. While I take out a couple of models and pod a couple of stones, it's not enough.

In return the Trolls simply jam me up and wait for the feat to wear off.

The problem appears very clear to me now: Because of the jam I can't move out, I'll tank too many free strikes. Furthermore the positioning of the Stormwalls allows him to focus a lot on the one without Arcane Shield, which is bad news for me. I try and clear out as many Trolls as I can but at this point in time my opponent has discovered the joy of making his tough rolls, much to my dismay. I don't get as many as I need to and I know the pain is coming shortly.

The non-bonded Stormwall goes down in a display of overkill rarely seen. Luckily for me, the other one is still largely unharmed.

With the solo harassing Haley I have to take care of it as well. After Junior fails spectacularly it's up to Haley. Luckily she takes care of it easily and this allows her to Time Bomb the Warders behind the wreck to relieve the remaining Stormwall a bit.

A couple of Champions come in but deal no major damage. Bomber also fluffs.

I time Bomb again, the Stormwall shifts a tiny bit and throws the Bomber out, killing 1 Champion (another toughs) and making sure the auto-frenzying Bomber is doing work -for me- (my opponent messed up fury management, time was becoming a real factor here).

Again the Stormwall is assaulted piecemeal and I survive the worst but it has started taking some serious damage from all this trickling.

With my opponent's clock running significantly below mine and dangerously close to 0, I started considering how I could simply outclock him. As such Haley + TAC moved up, more angles to consider and more threats to beware of. Time Bomb went off twice: Once to keep Warders out, once to keep the Bomber out. The Stormwall killed 1 Champion I believe.

"The last assault" on the Stormwall begins. I fear I'm out of luck but the colossal survives on ~15 boxes.

With my opponent being very low on time I'm now fairly confident I can simply clock him. I thus send Haley back and cloud her up just to be safe while the Stormwall kills off the Champions, finally.

The Bomber frenzies again and this time charges an ATGM. I had TK'd him around so he couldn't see the Stormwall in another fury management bummer.

The Stormwall is finally free and I walk over to the right side, kill the Bomber and the Warder locking down the ATGM. I clock over with him having 20 seconds left or something.

Unsurprisingly he clocks out and I win. Although it's true that at this point in time I've pretty much "won the attrition war" based on what's left on the table, it was solely due to the stress he had from the middle of the game and throughout due to being behind me on time. There were many openings he didn't find, songs he forgot to sung and spells he forgot to cast, on top of the aforementioned fury management mistakes.

The clock is a part of the game though, an important part if you ask me. Clocking someone out is just as legit a win as taking it home on scenario or assassination. Although I came very close to losing, I got off to a good start for the tournament.

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

My T2 move was a big mistake here. Why? It's fairly straight-forward, actually. When I feat, I buy a turn (obviously) where he can't do a whole lot. If I feat too early, he can simply jam me up instead and do a lot of work in the following turn. What I could -and should- have done instead was to simply spend a turn shooting him up, not caring about the scenario (because it's not like he's going to win straight away, best case he gets 3 points and we slug it out for the rest of the game) and simply reducing him by a couple of models. In doing this and feating T3 instead I feat when he has fewer models left to jam me with. If he does jam me then he's looking at losing so many to the jam on top of what I shot down T2 that he might not have what it takes to launch a full-strength assault T4. Such a move also allows me to stagger the Stormwalls a bit, forcing the majority of the incoming pain train to land on the Arcane Shield colossal instead of on both. If it goes down I can cycle it around. 

Grissel with MMM-spam is tough for Cygnar, no doubt. I was a little over-confident in the colossals' ability to simply wade through his models but Warders are incredibly hard to bring down. Taking down 1 model per unit per turn is a much more effective way to kill them than slugging it out on many per turn as I ended up doing here. 

A real nail-biter of a game where Haley's Time Bomb was the big winner. I was lucky to take home the win as I should've lost given my T2 move but I was regardless off to a good start in the tournament!

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