onsdag 17. februar 2016

Battle Report #94: Haley2 vs Krueger2

:: Prologue ::

2nd game and I'm up against a caster I fear significantly more than I do Kromac2: Krueger2's Storm Wall has completely ruined my game before and threatens to do so again. Bring it!

:: Lists ::

Major Victoria Haley - WJ: +5
- Squire
- Stormwall - PC: 19
- Lightning Pod
- Thorn - PC: 8
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 3
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution - PC: 3
Gastone Crosse - PC: 3
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile - PC: 2
Lynus Wesselbaum & Edrea Lloryrr - Lynus & Edrea: 3
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt - Lady Aiyana & Master Holt: 4
Tactical Arcanist Corps - Leader & 2 Grunts: 4
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team - Lynch, Ryan & Watts: 4
Krueger the Stormlord - WB: +5
- Druid Wilder
- Gorax - PC: 4
- Ghetorix - PC: 11
- Warpwolf Stalker - PC: 10
Blackclad Wayfarer - PC: 2
Una the Falconer - PC: 3
- Rotterhorn Griffon - PC: 3
- Rotterhorn Griffon - PC: 3
Blackclad Wayfarer - PC: 2
Gallows Grove - PC: 1
Druids of Orboros - Leader & 5 Grunts: 7
- Druid of Orboros Overseer - Overseer 2
Shifting Stones - Leader & 2 Grunts: 2
- Stone Keeper - Keeper 1
Shifting Stones - Leader & 2 Grunts: 2

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

Leaving ATGM at home means the list is somewhat lacking in the true sight department. Lynus & Edrea help a bit here. If I'm desperate I can Deadeye them and have Edrea shoot first, after which Lynus can follow up with Collaboration so she gets 2 shots (because of Applied Knowledge) boosted. The problem against Krueger is obviously the -5 RNG which means they'll have to get extremely close -> Not likely to happen.

Again I was first but this time I got the other side of the table. Same scenario, same map. This time I made sure to have Dougal more centrally. I estimated that Krueger would hug the trench with his center and put A+H left with B13th and Thorn, TAC + Haley right.

:: Game ::

Haley2 vs Krueger2 is all about the middle. I rushed up my Warjacks as far as I could and probably should have advanced further with the shooters as well.

Krueger takes it slow and puts up clouds with Druids in front.

The aim of this list is to play attrition. However due to being too passive with the shooters T1 they are not in a position where they can aim. Without said aim they will be hard pressed to hit DEF18 and Storm Wall makes predicting the distances quite hard as well.

What I end up doing then is back off the Stormwall, fire off a pod and Time Bomb said pod with boosted damage rolls. Unluckily for me the second Druid survives. The Stormwall is now in a position where Ghetorix + Stalker can possibly both get into melee with it, but it's kind of a dicey move as it's close to 15" for both of them and even then it's not a given that the Blackclads are in range for Hunter's Mark.

Eiryss contemplated aiming to kill the last Druid which Time Bomb failed to take down but chose to run instead. Ghetorix could charge the objective and try for Eiryss at the same time but DEF16 is a bit risky.  

Ghetorix gets lightning strike and kills objective + eiryss before moving back. Krueger moves up, 1 druid is in the zone and the Rotterhorn moves in to make it 2-0.

I see an opportunity to give him a real headache: Take out the Druids centrally, the Rotterhorn and the objective. Put Haley behind the zone, cloud her up and feat on his entire army. I do just this but the DEF16 on the Rotterhorn is just a bit too much as my attack rolls are miserable, it survives on 2 boxes and I only score 1 point. This is a bad spot to be in and the game will be uphill from here. To add insult to injury I only got a single druid. The main mistake here was putting 4 focus on the Stormwall because I wanted a Rotterhorn behind the objective, which simply used Watcher to get away. I could've done with 1 focus to make sure the objective died and cast more Deadeyes.

Krueger counter-feats and sets up.

Ghetorix is in a stone triangle. The idea is to time bomb + telekinese him out so that he can't do much. The problem is that I fear counter-magic is blocking my access to him so yet again, I have to kill me some Druids. B13th and mercs fail spectacularly and the Stormwall has to move over to kill Druids, which kind of makes the idea moot because from that position he can be TK'd by Krueger and simply walk back in/be teleported by Stones regardless. At the very least I finally kill the Druid with the Stormwall and take out another couple of models instead. Haley Time Bombs + TKs Ghetorix. Thorn finishes a fail of a turn by not killing the DEF12 Druid who has already soaked up my entire left flank's worth of firepower (-2 DEF from Time Bomb which clipped him).

At this point in time we are both down to a few minutes left on the clock as the game has gone completely out of hand. In committing the Stormwall I know the attrition game is lost so I'm playing now for an assassination opportunity or simply have my opponent clock out before me.

Krueger TKs Ghetorix into the Triangle. Hunter's Mark lands on the Stormwall and both heavies charge in under Primal. Naturally the colossal goes down.

I spend this turn setting up for a last, ditch assassination effort. We are now both very short on time, down to a couple of minutes each. Due to Ghetorix and the Stalker auto-frenzying from Primal I can move stuff up a bit more and I get a few angles.

Circle went to 4 points by TK-ing Dougal out and clocked me over. I had 2 minutes left and Krueger was exposed: With infinite time here I probably would've found an angle but with all the stress involved I just had to throw models at him. When I clocked out he was sitting on 5 boxes and the last attack was transferred with the last fury.

So close, yet so far away.

:: Evaluation ::

What a game! This was truly intense. Those Druids absolutely refusing to die in the middle of the table really broke me. However in revisiting the early turns, we see that I could've done more to set up against them by simply playing more aggressively. While it's true that I had some miserable rolls for them, DEF18 is nothing to joke with when I lack the true sight presence of ATGM. By putting the Mercs + B13th up further T1 he has to beware my options for aiming + collaboration on Holt for example, which with Dougal mini-feat can often counter Krueger's Storm Wall.

Why is it so important to take out Druids early? Contrary to what it might look like, the clouds aren't the biggest problem in this matchup I believe. Counter Magic is. Denying Haley her usual tricks when combined with Krueger's feat, TK himself and Stones makes the matchup a lot harder than other Circle casters when it comes to the game of control. Think about the cascading effect in this game from the Druid which didn't die to a boosted Time Bomb T2: If he dies he is always down 1 Druid (assuming he wants to keep the same cover for Krueger) which means my Stormwall never commits and dies because I -can- TK + Time Bomb Ghetorix without killing any Druids (as it turned out I could anyway but the distance was -really- close and not worth gambling with). This brings me to another issue with this matchup and that is the Stones. Finding an opening for them is hard, but if it can be done it should be taken. For this reason I shall look into playing more aggressively with non-essential pieces and look for throw power attack openings to help me out.

I knew when I moved away from ATGM that this matchup in particular would be hard. Without Storm Wall I believe my list can deal with Druids decently. Lots of attacks like Fire Beacon, Mage Storm and Edrea's shots become live when they don't have -5 range. I still believe it's playable but it's harder, for sure.

Lastly I'd like to note that this is the first game I've lost due to clocking out. While it's true that I was definitely down at this point, I believe an assassination opening was there when I started my last turn. My opponent was really short on time as well (around 1 minute left) so if I had a decent shot at the end that was largely due to him being stressed. Going for attrition with Haley2 I feel is inherently risky because finding the right moves with so many options takes time. It's good practice and something I can improve a lot on. Furthermore I need to have a clear mindset when to do what: In this game I wasted quite a bit of potential on my feat turn as I got greedy with the Stormwall and tried to do too much (killing objective + Rotterhorn): With more careful play I could likely have secured those 3 points, i.e. switching to scenario because the situation called for it, as killing off a Rotterhorn outside of the zone is kind of irrelevant. By not moving up so far I could probably also have gotten further left so as to boost a pod on the other Rotterhorn, which on top of another Deadeye out -probably- would've secured me the zone for 3 points.

All in all a great game where I learned tons. I like the way this list plays but making its threats come live against Krueger is hard.

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