søndag 6. mars 2016

Battle Report #105: Haley2 vs Xerxis1

:: Prologue ::

Haley2 into Fist of Halaak has often felt hard because of Incindiarii and their sometimes game-breaking scatters. However I believe that part of my problem with this matchup is that I've often approached it from a scenario point of view, which inherently means that I have to get close to him and stay rather tight together. By taking out ATGM and grabbing elements like Aiyana and Gastone I should be able to spread out, keep my distance and play for attrition. How will this affect the matchup? Read on!

:: 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
Tyrant Xerxis - WB: +5
- Archidon - PC: 7
Cataphract Arcuarii - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Cataphract Arcuarii - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Cataphract Arcuarii - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Cataphract Incindiarii - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Cataphract Incindiarii - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Cataphract Incindiarii - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Cataphract Incindiarii - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Cataphract Cetrati - Leader & 5 Grunts: 10
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer - Tyrant and Standard: 3
THEME: The Fist of Halaak - Tier 2

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

I went first, We played Incoming and I deployed so as to skew a little to the right flank in case I'd need to get in the zone and put pressure from a scenario point of view.

:: Game ::

Stormwall and Thorn run up far. I spread out my shooting.

An Incindiarii scatter sets Haley herself on fire. Kind of unnecessary for me to charge her up the field, old habit from scenario gaming. Thorn is also set on fire. No other damage done.

I keep my left flank back because there are no elements on the left flank that worry me and I don't want to lose my shooters. I make a mistake as Eiryss advances on the right flank - she is incredibly valuable vs Cetratii with Defender's Ward so I should've kept her back. Regardless, the center and right flank are shot up hard with Tempporal Acceleration, Double Powder Rations and boosted/brutal shots.

With my strategically defensive position Skorne had to push. Haley got Arcane Shield and went in cover after Fire Continuous only did 1 box to her. As such the threat wasn't real just yet. The left flank was still too slow and no significant threats were there. On the right flank I lost Lynch but luckily not Eiryss.

The Cetratii had formed an offensivee line right outside my zone but they were so tight I saw no reason to engage with feat, yet. Instead I took the turn to clean up the right flank and soften up the middle with a Time Bomb on a lightning pod slowing down 3 Cetratii. The remainder would be unlikely to deal significant damage to the Stormwall. I made a mistake with TAC here as I moved them up when they didn't really have any good targets, effectively wasting them.

The attrition game is heavily in my favour and Xerxis has been in a central position throughout the game to allow the move-through shenanigans. This means he hasn't scored yet and thus I haven't been pressured to either. Now he kind of had to start making a move so he feated defensively and tried to block me off with Cetratii on one flank and shooters on the other.

The time was perfect to strike back. Eiryss shot off Defender's Ward on Cetratii, Stormwall got 4 focus and Haley had 4. 2 Cetratii are TK-d out of Shield Wall and subsequently shot to death with Kiss from Aiyana. The Stormwall moves in for the kill and mop up a few more models. I feated to reduce his ability to hit me back because he'd be hard pressed to contest and continue presenting the Stormwall with threats. I pod his zone to contest.

He manages to clear the zone and contest mine. The lack of models left that are capable of hurting the Stormwall is very clear to me though.

I target Arcuarii systematically across the board, almost wiping them out to a man, and put Haley in a safe place.

One last effort for scenario from Xerxis.

Thorn moves to contest and I move to 3 points.

Thorn is slammed by Xerxis and the Archidon charges the Stormwall. The damage is insignificant.

Stormwall gets 4 focus and move sover to kill the objective. Thorn moves back in and with that, the game is over.

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

Well, that went better than expected! I did make a couple of strategical mistakes in the sense that Gastone was unnecessarily exposed T2 (note to self: -ALWAYS- ensure moving shadows takes effect to get him to safety) and my TAC were in the wrong place. TAC feels like a weird choice but they offer a lot of damage output for their 4 points. I just need to learn how to deploy and move them according to an attrition game instead of a scenario game. Frequently I think they can flank in an attrition game and I can use Haley to TK them up if I get T1. Temporal on the Stormwall isn't essential as I'll hardly ever move it over 7" T2 regardless, furthermore I typically cast Temporal on it T2 as well because of the extra shot. 

Random scatters can be a pain but I found in this game that spreading out heavily offset a lot of what I've been struggling with earlier. Xerxis glaringly obvious lack of speed boosts for his army was something I managed to exploit to the fullest here. The Stormwall stood in a commanding position and kept shooting with all of its guns turn after turn. I even got the aiming (!) bonus with it at one point. Overall this felt like a safer and better approach to this matchup than scenario-Haley2 has in the past. 

As some of you may have noticed while reading this report, this game went on for a lot of turns. Despite this I was in good shape with regards to time, relatively speaking, and my opponent was actually coming close to clocking out. Speeding up my game is essential if I want to play attrition and this game shows I'm learning how this H2 list moves and plays. 

Lastly I'd like to note that Xerxis could possibly have pushed harder for scenario earlier on, but that creates issues on the right flank and allows me to play Haley more aggressively, possibly with feat and scenario points earlier as well. It's possibly a better option as this game clearly shows how badly Fist struggles to close in and actually threaten me in attrition (and I hardly even used Time Bomb!). Regardless I feel confident in this list's ability to handle Fist, which is a big relief to me. 

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