mandag 4. juli 2016

Battle Report #209: Sloan vs Vyros2

:: Prologue ::

The first thing I noticed when I saw the full decks for all the factions in Mk. 3 was that Retribution and Khador looked like top dogs. Cygnar isn't exactly the worst faction off either, but those 2 really stood out to me at least. From what I've seen so far I still believe that to be true. I won't lie I've seriously considered picking up Retribution myself as a secondary faction. Anyway, I believe Cygnar has the tools to deal with these now. The main problem is perhaps that it's more of a list chicken situation than it used to be. In a list musings piece I wrote a little while back (link), a commenter asked how I feel about Sloan into Vyros2. Most "vanilla" Vyros2 lists (read: Non-skewed variants) I believe are fine, and this report with Sloan vs Vyros2 (link) shows the dynamics quite well I believe. I decided to give this game a go because I appreciate the feedback and discussions that arise from the reports that I write. I can't promise to always playtests ideas and problems but this time it suited me well.

:: Lists ::

- Reinholdt
- Defender
- Defender
- Hunter
- Hunter
- Firefly
- Firefly
Katherine Laddermore
Storm Lances (max)
(Vyros 2) Vyros, Incissar of the Dawnguard [+27]
 - Griffon [8]
 - Griffon [8]
 - Aspis [6]
 - Imperatus [22]
 - Griffon [8]
Dawnguard Sentinels (max) [18]
 - Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard [4]
Dawnguard Sentinels (max) [18]
 - Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard [4]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

Both the Sloan list and the Vyros2 list is a little different from what I'm used to. However I feel a little caveat is needed before we move on: If Vyros2 wants to he can build a list that steamrolls Sloan. There is no doubt about it. Look at the list I faced on Saturday for example (report link): 4 heavies including Discordia + Imperatus. Sloan can just forget about shooting through that, it's just too much. On the other hand a more well-rounded list is perfectly playable. This, then, becomes a question of whether this specific Vyros2 list falls into the first or the second category.

Kai, the reader who commented on the musings thread and the one who proposed this problem, largely determind the lists we played. He said he used max Lances and Laddermore instead of my setup so we went with that, as well as the double max. Sentinels for Retribution. We played Outlast because it truly is a difficult scenario to handle for defensive lists when you are faced with this much pushing power. I really wanted to stress test the matchup. Retribution seized the iniative.

:: Game ::

Retribution runs up.

Upon seeing Vyros2 skew like this I am expecting him to commit to the right zone. That gives me a couple of options. Most importantly I need to control his Sentinels to the right. I take care to position everything outside of 15" of them (so as to avoid vengeance + jam) and start shooting them up with Fire Group + Guided Fire. I deny the left Sentinels Vengeance by simply not killing a single one. The problem with the max. Lances compared to 2x min becomes apparent as I would've wanted Lances further right but deployment wouldn't let me because they take up too much space and I couldn't commit the entire unit to a flank either.

Sentinels run up and Vyros feats with Deceleration up and cover from the obstruction.

It's a harsh reality. I have to kill lots of models and thus trigger tides of war many times. The good news is that the Sentinels on the left flank can't be moved. I immediately realize that my biggest threat here is scenario. The only way I can quite reliably contest the left zone in his next turn is to sacrifice a Hunter. That really hurts as I need as much damage output as I can get but there's no way around it. I just have to try and weather his feat and ensuing retaliation. I make a mistake as I forget to put one of my light jacks in the right zone to contest. That kind of hurts from a scenario perspective. I feat to kill Sentinels and continue pouring shots into jacks with my activation. One of the Defenders move up to sacrifice itself on the Altar of the Imperatus, mostly because I needed its melee potential more than its shooting. At the end of the day I wipe out the right Sentinels but I've sacrificed nearly all my Lances + Laddermore and a Defender to do so...

The Sentinels on the left flank are faced with a dilemma: Enter the fray or try and play the scenario to their advantage? A single Sentinel is within 7" of my Hunter but if he wants to move that over there his Officer has to stay in the zone and the others can't charge the center. My opponent opts to do this and Sentinels still hurt Lances without Charge bonus. I lose a couple of Lances and Laddermore but Imperatus rolls crap despite synergy +3 and fails to kill the Defender. Vyros also fails to kill a Lance there so he doesn't score. That kind of makes up for my mistake with not moving one of the lights into the zone. The Lance which jammed him on the left did a lot of work, forcing the majority of the Sentinels to stay there.

The good news is I'm still in the game. The bad news is it's not looking too bright. The one way I can see a way out of this is if I kill the Sentinels and start working on the jacks in the center. I kill the Sentinels and the Arcanists and start working on the jacks. Again I forget to contest with a Hunter on the right flank, so annoying.

The Defender I put up behind the wall took care to stay more than 2" away from said wall, which kind of makes life a little hard for Imperatus, doubly so with models still alive around him. My opponent has yet to score and I'm kind of winning the attrition game now actually. He does finally clear out the right zone and get to 2-0, however the Sentinels fail to kill the Hunter (!) in the right zone. That is crucial.

Sloan shoots Imperatus and deals massive damage. The Defender on 3 focus moves up and kills the rest of it in melee. The Fireflies kill the Griffon and the Hunter kills the Aspis + scores the zone. 1-2!

In my opponent's turn Vyros runs over to the other zone, assuming his Sentinels can kill the Hunter now. As I made sure not to trigger Vengeance none of them are within 10" of the right zone and he's thus unable to contest me there so the Hunter scores another point. While the left Hunter does finally die and Vyros moves to 4-2, I can simply allocate focus to my jacks and have Sloan run into the zone. I place a Firefly to contest his zone and it's 4-4, looking like this:

Sentinels kill the Firefly and Vyros moves to 6, but again there are no pieces to contest me with so I move to 6 as well. In the ensuing turn I simply move a jack into his zone and go to 8-6, finally winning on scenario. What a game!

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

Immediately after the matchup we both agreed that Vyros is definitely up here. I think my opponent's main mistake here was failing to capitalize on his scenario power. If he had commited more to the left zone and started scoring earlier this close call would've been a loss. A single point more and that 4-2 move would've been 5-2 and thus end of the game.

It was a little closer than I had thought though. Getting this many Sentinels on the table costs a lot of jack power and without having multiple jacks beating up Cygnar models with max. Synergy is actually fairly inefficient. True, the Sentinels are painful to deal with but the lack of jacks is quite welcome. For every box you take off of the Sentinels that is less damage in return, for jacks it's just not the same, especially considering how durable Griffons are.

I do prefer the double min Lances a lot and they would've granted me way more flexibility in this game. I also found Laddermore lacklustre as the shooting is more of a nice bonus for the Lances than a primary tool. In a way it's cute being able to bring them to POW16 with the Firefly as well but it's just not their role in this list. A GMCA would have been a lot better to bring down the DEF on his jacks (I found I had to aim a lot this game as Sloan wanted to allocate focus and thus couldn't get Guided Fire off). Alten Ashley would've been brutal vs Imperatus, making it significantly easier to deal with for me.

All in all a fun game and I'm glad I took the challenge. I would like to repeat though that Vyros2 can be tooled to steamroll Sloan, no doubt. As such it's often a matter of list chicken vs Retribution and I have not found a list that solves this particular problem. It's a fact I'm starting to accept even though I don't like it.

2 kommentarer:

  1. Hello Jarle,

    thank you very much for realizing this game and beeing so detailed about your thoughts and approach. It is very interesting for me to see the way you approached this particular matchup.

    The first and biggest difference I realized between our playstyles so far, is that you commit the right amount of troops, especially of your Jacks, to buy time, scenario but also positionwise, for the remaining battlegroup.

    I am still lacklustre in sacrificing my jacks for the greater good and thus loose the Sloan games I loose mostly on scenario. But I believe I need to learn a better decisionmaking in this regard to step up. In the end it boils down to the difficult position game Sloan has to play, which you mentioned quite early in one of your list musings.

    I am currently acquiring my second unit Storm Lances, so I will be able to play double Lances to try their flexibility in terms of positioning, with you exact list.
    However I still like Laddermore, so I will later try to switch one Firefly for her. The Firefly has more hitpoints benefits from Sloans feat, but is in all other regards inferior to Laddermore, without even calculating the Rat/POW boost for the Stormlances in.

    I will keep you updated how I am progressing with you list against my Ret opponent.

    Best regards

    1. Hey Kai, glad to hear you found the game interesting :)

      Getting the balance right between giving things away and keeping things alive/shooting is one of the hardest things to master with Sloan. I'm getting better at it. The Defenders are key here.

      Let me know how you do vs Retribution in the time to come. Also, don't be afraid to try other casters. If Vyros2 brings Discordia I don't think Sloan stands a chance. Haley2 on the other hand loves playing Vyros2 ;)