mandag 28. mars 2016

Battle at Lund: Swedish Masters #1 (#121): Haley2 vs Skarre1

:: Prologue ::

Swedish Masters was an open tournament with 60 participants running on the first day of the Battle at Lund convention. Its format and size was similar to the Norwegian Masters we had in January (if you haven't read them I recommend the reports from that tournament as well, especially games #2, #5 and #6: link) but obviously a lot of players and lists I've never seen before.

My very first game was against a really nice guy, Markus, who brought his Skarre1 Bane Knights spam. What an excellent way to start the tournament (and no, I don't mean that ironically). Naturally, facing Cryx, I dropped Haley2.

:: 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
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator - PC: 1
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt - Lady Aiyana & Master Holt: 4
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team - Lynch, Ryan & Watts: 4
Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers - Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
- Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer - Officer 2
Pirate Queen Skarre - WJ: +6
- Skarlock Thrall
- Helldiver - PC: 3
- Helldiver - PC: 3
Satyxis Raider Captain - PC: 2
Darragh Wrathe - PC: 4
Bane Knights - Leader & 9 Grunts: 10
Bane Knights - Leader & 9 Grunts: 10
Bane Knights - Leader & 9 Grunts: 10
Satyxis Raiders - Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
- Satyxis Raider Sea Witch - Satyxis Raider Sea Witch 2
Necrosurgeon & Stitch Thralls - Necrosurgeon & 3 Grunts: 2

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

Markus had not previously faced Haley2 so we had a little pre-game walk-through of what the various things in my list can do in general and Haley herself in particular. I've never faced Skarre1 before but true to form I put up his list in War Room and went through her things. Her feat is infamous enough but her spell list was interesting. Dark Guidance and +D6 focus in particular stood out as Gotchas. I made a mental note to play Eiryss conservatively.

We were playing Recon and I got to go first. I placed Haley on one flank to feign a scenario move, perhaps evident by putting too little shooting near her, but my overall plan was to play for attrition. I was hoping to hold my feat until T3 and simply wipe out enough to deny him a scenario opening on T2. My Haley feigned flank seemed to work as he deployed a unit of Banes opposite her.

:: Game ::

I continue playing the feigned left with Haley by moving her, Gastone and A+H towards the flag. The rest move up in the middle. As I really don't want him swarming the zone (because this makes it hard for me to not feat T2 because of scenario angles) I put down a pod to mage storm and covering fire on either side.

Banes run up, Satyxis place themselves neatly in formation behind the Pow12 fields I put down.

This is totally doable. The idea is to place Thorn to contest the zone, have a covering fire in front of him and wipe out the Raiders. I put up 2 deadeyes on B13th + ATGM. Thorn activates, moves to the right and Haley moves back before double-boosting an Arcane Bolt with Lucky Charm to take out the Satyxis' UA. Thorn Reaction Drives back to contest position. ATGM + B13th follow up with wiping out every single Satyxis after Eiryss takes out 1 (I figure her position is conservative enough). 

Somewhat shocked at my ability to seemingly trivially remove a unit of Satyxis my opponent thinks out loud and tells me he has to feat if he is to have any models left after round 2. I agree of course, he's in a bit of a pickle with the Raiders down this early. He goes with Darragh first and tries to get some Knights into charge range of the Stormwall but as I've made sure not to give him Vengeance (what shots I had left I tried for Darragh with despite him being behind Effigy of Valor) he can't reach him with more than 1 guy. The damage is insignificant, while Skarre's feat makes those Knights super scary a single guy won't bother a Stormwall with Arcane Shield.

The idea is to remove all the closest models in the left-most and middle unit and not kill a single guy from the right unit of Knights. If this works I'll face minimal damage from Vengeance + attacks since I will of course feat now. I put 4 focus on the Stormwall as I intend to use Metal Storms with boosted damage to remove Knights. However between A+H, Gastone, B13th and Thorn I remove so many Knights that I actually simply forget to boost with the Stormwall.

The remains of the 2 units in the middle and on the left move in to try and engage and jam me. The unit on the right goes in as well to try and jam atgm. Thorn loses a few boxes but nothing vital.

I'll let this picture speak for itself. TL;DR - Deadeye ATGM with aim and Mage Storm on a pod. 

With no infantry left Skarre goes for some CP for tie breaker purposes. I head up to my flag and eventually win the game on assassination after he runs in to kill my objective (which fails).

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

The plan worked out perfectly. There are technical mistakes like forgetting to actually use my focus etc but overall this was a game where I felt I always had control. I think this is a difficult proposition for Skarre1 but 2 mistakes stand out which makes my life easier: First of all giving away Satyxis is huge as their high defence forces me to spend a lot of focus to deal with them effectively. With mini-feat and feedback they are absolutely lethal. I think my opponent should literally have played them behind his Banes. The second mistake it not mixing the Banes up. By having 3 distinct "formations" running at me I can (and did) scalpel out the elements that threaten me without giving him vengeance. If it is instead one huge swarm of Knights moving at me this becomes exponentially harder - if not impossible.

A great start to the tournament with lots of tie breaker points!

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