søndag 17. januar 2016

Norwegian Masters 2016 Game 6: Haley2 vs Durst

:: Prologue ::

With my game 5 loss I was out of the run for the title. However I was determined to do my best for the last game regardless. The difference between 4-2 and 5-1 was important to me. I shook off the disappointment from last game and prepared myself for one final struggle. After 5 games that all felt like real nuts to crack, I finally found myself in a position I'm much more comfortable with. Menoth in Outflank. Haley2, you're up!

:: 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
Anson Durst, Rock of the Faith - WJ: +6
- Hierophant
- Judicator - PC: 18
- Reckoner - PC: 8
- Reckoner - PC: 8
Avatar of Menoth - PC: 11
Vassal of Menoth - PC: 2
Wrack - PC: 1
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution - PC: 3
Choir of Menoth - Leader & 5 Grunts: 3

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

My opponent had Harbinger + Durst. I was expecting the former but given my 2 Colossals I can understand the need to fight fire with fire so to speak, in the shape of ARM-skew. I also find Harbinger's feat to be relatively easy to counter with this list, I can't remember it having caused any double-wall lists serious trouble.

So anyway, Outflank. I went first and pre-deployed the bonded Stormwall on what I was hoping would be my strong flank. His slight skew of Judicator in return in fact told me that this was likely the case. I followed up with ATGM on the strong side and Haley + TAC in the middle. He positioned himself centrally.

:: Game :: 

Outflank is Haley's scenario in 9 games out of 10 in my experience. Her feat is absolutely brutal here and often times it doesn't even matter if she's first or second. To capitalize on this, I wanted to establish a skewed battleline so I could simply physically block him out T2 and push out annoying things with ATGM. I put up Temporal Acceleration on the bonded 'wall which ran up 14" and the other Stormwall ran 10". Haley charged Judicator and thus stopped in the house. I also had decel up because why not.

Menoth replies with a Reckoner on each flank (proxy base because 3D hills can be a pain), judy on the left and Avatar on the right.

4 focus on the bonded Stormwall, 1 on the other. Bonded Wall is within 9" of the Reckoner by my Haley-based estimation. It walks up with its 4 focus and kills it. Haley casts Temporal on the other guy, walks into the zone and feats. ATGM push out the Avatar so it can't contest and the non-bonded Stormwall walks up to close the gap and make it impossible for him to get anything to contest me with.

Picture taken by the tournament organizer and added afterwards. Interesting to see how different the game looks like from the opposite perspective!

Based on my opponent's long time to think I believe he didn't see this coming. In the heat of the moment he also forgot that I was actually scoring now. Based on that he decided to start shooting the Stormwall without Arcane Shield (non-bonded) with basically everything he had. This meant that Eiryss and a Reckoner was all that was in the left zone (!). Durst feated. Avatar walked B2B with Judy and activated Gaze of Menoth.

Picture taken by the tournament organizer and added afterwards. This is the start of my opponent's turn and he's contemplating what to do with the pod. 

2 focus on bonded 'wall, 3 on the other. Bonded wall walks up to avatar and throws it away, killing a wrack behind the lines just for good measure. Haley casts Temporal on the other Stormwall which walks up to the Reckoner, Throws it away (both throws were boosted because why not) and pods Eiryss with boosted damage. My heart skips a beat as the boosted rolls on Eiryss come up crappy, but they are -just- not crappy enough to prevent me from killing her (2, 2, 3).

5-0 in a signature Haley T2 feat move.

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

Outbricking Haley is hard. Those that can do it, for example Trolls, typically manage to get to absurd levels of survivability. While Durst' jacks can take a lot of beating and there are many dozens of high-arm things to go through, there just aren't any shenanigans here. Haley decides when, where and who fights in so many ways it's not even funny (feat, TK, domination, time bomb, thunderbolt). Truth be told I'm not sure how Durst should've approached this matchup. It kind of felt as being on the opposite end of what I've had happen to my Stryker1 double-wall list some times: While it is hard as nails and hits like a truck it lacks in the shenanigans department. Mobility and board control are in my opinion among the most important elements to have in this game and pure brick-lists like this Durst variant or the aforementioned Stryker1-list often fall short in those departments. That hurts. 

Finishing the tournament with such a classic textbook Haley2-game was a great way to end the weekend. 5-1 ended up netting me a 4th place, 2 SoS behind the podium (50-60 people in total). I am happy with that performance, especially because the top field was quite hard and I'm looking forward to besting myself in 2016. 

Post-tournament evaluation will come soon! 

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