lørdag 11. juni 2016

Battle Report #173: Haley2 vs MacBain

:: Prologue ::

Time for a game again! I haven't been able to play as much as I would have liked to lately because of reasons, but I was able to grab one last game before the rules are officially out (speaking of which: I must say I'm excited!). I was playing against a friend fielding Mercenaries and the matchup ended up being Haley2 vs Drake MacBain. Let's get to it!

:: Lists ::

- Squire
- Stormwall
- Thorn
- Charger
Gobber Tinker
Arlan Strangeways
Storm Lances (max)

Drake MacBain
- Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker
- Galleon
- Vanguard
Alexia Ciannor & the Risen
Kayazy Assassins - Leader & 9 Grunts
- Kayazy Assassin Underboss
Kayazy Eliminators
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt
Devilshadow Mutineers
Lord Rockbottom
Kell Bailoch

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

The map was Incursion and Mercenaries went first. I knew I'd potentially struggle with the scenario so I hatched a plan hinging on the Stormwall moving centrally with my right flank having Storm Lances (whose purpose it was to clear said flank and ensure I won it) and the Charger having a possible suicide-contest-duty on the left flank. Counter Measures and MacBain's feat are both hard to work around with this list as I can no longer mow down infantry at a distance like I did in Mk. 2.

:: Game ::

Mercs run and Fail Safe is put up on the Galleon.

Stormwall receives TA and moves up to start pinging boxes off of the Galleon. I also pod near Bailoch who's hanging out in the Trench on the right hand side. Storm Lances move to e-leap off of the pod to kill Bailoch. The Charger takes out one of the Mutineers on the left. Jr and Thorn are safely tucked away. To kill the guy on the left with the Charger I had to TK him so no focus for Deflection.

The lack of Deflection was keenly felt as the Galleon put 3 (!) unboosted hits on the Charger, crippling its movement and cannon. Luckily no other serious harm was inflicted but losing out like that on the Charger this early is not good. Kayazy run up with feat + Counter Measures and I regret forgetting to place the Covering Fires. They would have been big in this situation.

Ok so I have a tough call to make: What to do with the Stormwall? If I delay pushing it forwards I am seriously compromising my ability to contest scenario mid-late-game. If I push it forward I lose out in terms of tactical flexibility. I end up deciding to take a turn and hope that I can contest at least 1 point under the cover of Shift. Lances clear the right side, Charger contests left, I get 2 pods + Gobber Tinker on the central flank and the Stormwall keeps pumping boosted POW15s into the Galleon.

The Galleon keeps getting work done as it clears out the Tinker with shooting despite said Tinker having DEF18. Oh well, not much one can do about that. The Charger also died to the Galleon's shooting and my opponent was thus able to move to 2-1.

With my opponent having 2 points and the Charger dead on the left flank, I was anticipating at least 3 points in his ensuing turn as I had no realistic way to contest the left flag. Instead I hatch a plan to keep him at "only" 3 points as I hoped this would give me the time necessary to attrition him down before he could win on scenario. The Lances start doing work in the middle and up top before they reform to stay close to the flag. Thorn went in and cleared out the last remaining obstacle for the Stormwall. Haley TK'd a model preventing the Stormwall from reaching the Galleon, cast TA on said Stormwall and kept in cover. Ragman went up and with his help the Stormwall downed the Galleon. Big relief. I also killed a model on the left with a pod while contesting the flag. 2-1 still.

Mercs found an opening on the right flag: By using jack hammer + energizer MacBain was able to kill the Lance with the Vanguard before said Vanguard could assault and by doing so get B2B with the Lances on the flag. The Kayazy and Alexia1 took out the rest of the contesting Lances and thus I was suddenly down 4-1.

This turn was pretty clear: Contest middle + left with Stormwall, contest right with Thorn + whatever solos could get close. Alexia1 made a bit of a mistake when her Thralls didn't block the Stormwall as I was now free to block both the flags with it. At full health it was basically an invulnerable piece at this point in time. On the right flank the Vanguard went down to TK + shooting + Storm Lance assaulting (the eleaps took out the remaining Kayazy as well) and I could place Thorn in a position to contest the flag.

With no real way to take out neither Thorn nor the Stormwall my opponent had one shot at the game and that was an assassination run on Haley with Holt. He needed box cars to hit and despite Fortune he couldn't make it and the Mercenaries conceded the game.

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

Wow, what a game! I felt like this was a pretty bad matchup for Haley2 up front. I faced MacBain with my shooty Haley2 list in Mk. 2 and that was playable but a large part of that matchup's playability was the ATGM with Deadeye taking out Kayazy at a distance and Thunderbolting stuff to give me angles. With that option gone I knew the Lances would have to do a lot of work. While they did do so, it's different and I can tell that the list is clearly better at struggling with fewer pieces than what was presented to me here.

I think the main problem here, i.e. nearly losing on scenario, came from the fact that I played my Stormwall from the get-go to contest 1 instead of 2 flags. That might be a strategical mistake and I will consider my approach to it in later games of Incursion for sure. It's also worth noting that I ran out of pods, which was kind of annoying.

Sloan is definitely the right drop here. Countermeasures is a thing for her for sure, but she can also handle key elements at a distance and threaten assassination. In general I think Sloan might be more of a generalist in my current pair which means Haley2 is delegated to a problem solver duty, much like I played her when I ran double Stormwall on her in Mk. 2. Lots more playtesting needed of course but with Haley2 losing out on her ranged game I can see the matchups she has to play change quite a bit. Her control elements are stronger than ever with Domination working on character jacks and power up helping out her greedy nature in terms of focus, but in matchups like this those buffs just don't matter that much.

Lastly it should be noted that if my opponent had been able to block off the Stormwall from contesting the left flag I might have lost the game. By spreading out Risen for example I may very well have been unable to contest both the left and the center flag. 

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