søndag 17. januar 2016

Norwegian Masters 2016 Game 3: Haley2 vs Vayl2

:: Prologue ::

"Sooner or later, you run into Legion". This has been my motto for a while now. What I've found to be universally true across all miniature games I've played is that there's nothing worse than having a ranged army and being outgunned by your opponent. It's a feeling of helplessness that's quite demoralizing. Warmahordes is no exception and Legion is one of the few factions in the game who can make Cygnar feel this way.

I've practiced a lot against Legion because I believe in playing the hard matchups over and over. Would it be enough? Read on!

:: 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
Vayl, Consul of Everblight - WB: +6
- Succubus
- Angelius - PC: 8
- Angelius - PC: 8
- Angelius - PC: 8
- Angelius - PC: 8
- Ravagore - PC: 9
- Seraph - PC: 7
Blighted Nyss Shepherd - PC: 1
Blighted Nyss Shepherd - PC: 1
Spell Martyrs - PC: 1
Spawning Vessel - Vessel & 6 Grunts: 3
THEME: Machinations of Shadow - Tier 4

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

We were playing Fire Support. In general, this is a disastrous scenario to face Legion in. It has killbox, it's slow and the position of the flag + objective makes it hard for my Stormwalls to get much work done defensively (i.e. I want to screen Haley).

Luckily for me, despite being up against Vayl's +1, I grab first turn. I deploy skewed with the bonded 'wall on the far flank, intending to run up and take control T2.

:: Game ::

I put Temporal on the non-bonded 'wall to block LoS to Haley, who charged to safety 9" away with TAC close behind. ATGM spread out on the opposite side to try and ping off his support. I put up Deceleration.

I lose a single gun mage but take no other damage.

A perfect opening: I can temporal-charge (free even due to fuel cache) the Angelius in the trees while blocking Haley off with the other -and- take out the spawning vessel (words struggle to describe how much I hate this pot). With Arcane Shield up on the non-bonded 'wall (and Vayl having purification), I had to protect this move with my feat. I think it's a decent trade because I can accomplish so much from this position. It all goes well and ATGM even take out both fury solo -and- the succubus, but then the Angelius' tenacity prevents me from taking it out despite having 3 attacks and 4 focus.

Vayl chooses -not- to take away all the fury from the engaged Angelius. It frenzies and deals way less damage to me than it could've. I suppose another beast frenzying would've been more critical. Anyway, she sends up the Ravagore with Admonition to give me a headache.

 I move to the flag with Haley, TK the Ravagore in, kill it and the Angelius and then block off Haley with the second Stormwall, who fails to do damage to an Angelius with its shooting because... You guessed right, tenacity.

As I click over the clock to my opponent I realize I've made a huge mistake: I haven't podded to block Haley off properly on the hill. Why is this a big deal? Well, Vayl's assassination angles are nothing short of crazy beyond belief and for an experienced player, this is trivial.

So my opponent sets up for the big kill. However he repays the favour of making a huge mistake as he flies his would-be "arc node" into melee range of my Stormwall. I hold my poker face as best as I can (in a friendly we'd probably call the game or play my last turn differently re: pods and blocking but this was NM after all) and when Vayl moves up, shoots and misses because +4 DEF from combat is a thing I'm beginning to see a great opportunity. She buys a second, boosts and hits (far from certain on 11+). She feats and declares icy grip on Haley. When it turns out this is illegal because you can't channel while engaged he's in trouble. Icy Grip goes on the non-bonded 'wall, Vayl casts refuge on herself, shoots me and moves back. Admonition on an Angelius which goes in and deals ~20-30 boxes to the non-bonded 'wall.

I assign max focus to each colossal. One pounds "his" angelius down, the other fails because, you guessed it: Tenacity. I knee-jerk pod to block Haley and this is a double fail: Not only does it not matter because Vayl doesn't have her feat anymore, I pod on the ground as well and with Haley on a hill it doesn't block LoS. Wow.

The last Angelius comes in and the non-bonded 'wall dies. A Seraph with Refuge manages to come up and barely block me out from auto-winning, I've camped that flag enough to be on 3 points by now.

I take out one Angelius with the Stormwall after I time bomb them both. Normally I'd need 6s to hit them then, but due to tenacity that is, of course, 7s, and as I can't for the life of me roll higher than 6s I'm lucky to even kill one off. Just wow. I put up Arcane Shield on Haley and completely surround her so nothing can land nearby.

I forgot that the Seraph can also try another angle: Tank a free strike and shoot me. Potentially disastrous but it loses Spirit to the free strike. Dodged a bullet, I'd be less than pleased with myself if I had lost the game to this move. The Angelius failed to kill off the Stormwall.

I finally, -finally- manage to kill off the birds. I cannot believe it took this long. I'd been rolling sub-par for so many turns now. I rarely complain about dice but this game was consistently trying to karma-punish me for failing to block off LoS to Haley T3.

With that, I move to 5 points and Legion can do no more.

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation :: 

Phew, what a game! This game was dominated by our 2 huge mistakes. Given the dice I had, I fear I would've lost if I had managed to block off LoS to Haley properly and he had played accordingly instead of completely messing up his feat turn. At least it was a close and tight game and I managed to execute my strategy well.

TAC do very little work here. They are extremely capable of blocking Haley off because of their immunity to fire but their low SPD + MAT means that they rarely pose a threat offensively. Compare this to the spawning vessel and the utility Legion gets out of it... Tenacity almost single-handedly won the game here.

In conclusion I believe this is playable, but uphill. I also believe this will become significantly more playable with a Hurricane because both its abilities and the last point for the Tinker helps me out a lot.

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