Following the Sloan-vs-Vyros2 request it was time to play a classic matchup I've been looking forward to try for some time: Haley2 vs Issyria! Issyria certainly got a few interesting buffs in Mk. 3, both explicitly and implicitly. In Mk. 2 I found this matchup to be heavily in Haley's favour. Let's see if the same holds true in Mk. 3!
:: Lists ::
(Haley 2) Major Victoria Haley [+25]Opponent:
- Thorn 
- Stormwall 
- Squire 
- Ironclad 
Journeyman Warcaster 
- Firefly 
Captain Arlan Strangewayes 
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress 
Storm Lances (min) 
(Issyria 1) Issyria, Sibyl of Dawn [+29]
- Hyperion 
- Imperatus 
- Chimera 
Houseguard Halberdiers (max) 
- Houseguard Halberdier Officer & Standard 
Houseguard Thane 
Mage Hunter Assassin 
Mage Hunter Assassin 
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress 
Arcanist Mechanik 
Arcanist Mechanik 
Arcanist Mechanik 
:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::
The scenario was Recon and I had the first turn. Going first here is a little dicey as I don't think I can prevent him getting a scenario lead. The question then becomes, how do you get back from that? Another big problem is that Hyperion more or less one-rounds the Stormwall even with Arcane Shield. He's effectively dice +3 with Issyria's feat + concentrated powe rand Lanyssa (with a free charge even) so that's 4 attacks landing an average of 10 damage each and and the charge attack averaging a little more. Follow up with just about anything and that's a dead Stormwall. That -is- a problem. Anyway I deployed so that I could threaten a move that was too aggressive, or so I thought, with Haley on one flank, the Stormwall centrally placed and the Lances spread out.
:: Game ::
I run up, Thorn + Lances on the left flank, Ironclad centrally and the Firefly behind the cloud from Fuel Cache. The central terrain piece was Rubble (rough + cover) and I knew this would be a pain for the Ironclad.
Issyria gets a really, really sweet position behind a wall, camping tons of focus and being within 3" of both the heavy hitters. This is a problem because the Ironclad + Stormwall was supposed to threaten this part of the map but they effectively are not because the Imperatus has Admonition and I can't land Hunter's Mark because of Arcane Vortex. Well played.
This is one of the worst turns I've planned in a while. Looking away from the fact that I spent 18 minutes on this turn, I still ended up throwing away Lanyssa's potential as well as the Ironclad. My opponent had placed a Mage Hunter assassin to Haley's right in his last turn so I needed to move away from my obstruction. Since my opponent had not put up Inviolable Resolve on the Hyperion (he needed the focus to cancel Haley's inevitable TKs + Hunter's Mark) I decided to move the Stormwall to a position where the Hyperion couldn't charge me unless my opponent killed his own objective and then shoot said Hyperion 3 times with boosted damage. As I couldn't roll more than 8 the damage wasn't quite what I had hoped for but it was a start. I got down 2 covering fires to keep the Halberdiers at bay somewhat and the Lances charged in to kill a couple of them.
My opponent notes that not only is Hyperion within range of Thresher Cannons on Haley2, but Imperatus can side step twice on the objective and be within melee range of her. With Issyria's feat this is basically game so we "mini-feat" Haley away to a position she could've reached regardless (I discard the 2 focus I had camped because the new position would've required a TK.
Lanyssa is parked directly behind Imperatus and she is exactly 16" away from my objective. This is a problem because she won't be in Hunter's Mark range if she has to move around said Imperatus so basically it's impossible for it to get a free charge and the +2" move. Largely because of this my opponent elects to get the Hyperion into the objective instead so that he can take out the Firefly, save his feat and move to 3-0. He does this and Imperatus takes up a defensive position with Issyria. Halberdiers move in Shield Wall to be troublesome, blocking the Stormwall among other things.
It is quite rare, indeed I don't know if it's ever happened, that I'm down 0-3 on scenario with Haley2. Granted it followed a string of mistakes on my part (more of this under evaluation), but still. On top of that I had the Hyperion - now with Inviolable Resolve - in the middle of everything and I desperately needed to kill it.
The plan was to have the Lances remove the Halberdiers blocking the Stormwall from charging it and then send in all 3 jacks and Haley herself on full focus to kill it. I naturally had to feat this turn, no doubt about it. However one of the Lances failed to kill a Halberdier and the eleap wasn't enough either, I even tried to hit one of my own Lances in the back so as to eleap on him but missed. It was so crucial to get him so Haley had to spend her focus casting an Arcane Bolt on him instead of casting Temporal on the Stormwall. What a mess. Haley charged Hyperion as well, that's when you know shit's hit the fan. Lanyssa marked the Hyperion and the Stormwall charged. It did a little over one side (and the shield of course) and the Ironclad managed to finish it off. This was pretty sweet as it left Thorn to run towards Issyria, setting up for Headaches under Shift. The Stormwall had killed Lanyssa with a pod which contested that crucial point, preventing him from scoring in my turn and keeping the tally at "only" 0-3.
Halbs jam as much as they can. My opponent casts Blinding Light on Haley through Chimera. It misses but we mini-feat a hit to see how it plays out since that'll happen the majority of the time. Imperatus receives Admonition. 0-4.
I learned in a game a long time ago that a colossal can contest both the zone and a flag in Recon. That came in handy now as I simply needed to stop Issyria from getting her 5th point. I did consider assassination opportunities by e.g. throwing something at a pod next to her and follow up with Thorn in melee but decided to go for the scenario blocking play instead since it felt safer. To do this I just had to run the Stormwall and I didn't even need TA on it. This left Haley to fuel Thorn + Ironclad (which was TK'd away to let the Stormwall through) and camp a bit. Lanyssa killed a MHA and Thorn killed the second + an Arcanist. The Stormwall ran, tanking free strikes like a boss from Halberdiers because ARM22 is ARM22, and contested both the zone + Issyria's flag. Lances + Ironclad cleared up the middle.
It was down to Issyria to kill the Stormwall + Thorn or lose the game. Without Arcanists to hand out concentrated power even her feat wasn't enough to help the Chimera + Imperatus deal with either of them and with that, my opponent had lost the game.
Victory to the Swans!
:: Evaluation ::
2 very tense, long and interesting games today. This last game was unfortunately shaped a lot by my inexperience with the matchup. The good news is that I know have a lot more of that experience though.
Let's go back to the very start of the game, that is the deployment. I make a big mistake here as Haley goes right, intuitively wanting to get behind the obstruction. However the MHAs and the linear obstacle opposite me make this a terrible position for her. At the end of the day this Issyria list doesn't have a lot of shooting so if he skews like he indeed did I am way better off simply going left, all the way behind the water. Had I indeed had Haley here, as I should've even with the deployment by charging + TK turn 1 or whatever, my second turn would have been a lot easier to play. On top of this I had Thorn + Ironclad in the wrong places. The Ironclad would be nice to threaten to send into Imperatus, however doing so requires something to deal with admonition. I came close to boxing him in but with Issyria camping tons of focus it was just not enough. Thorn should probably have been where Haley was and vice versa. That would've been sweet. The Ironclad was seriously wasted early game and I believe he should've taken the long way around. Between Arcane Vortex and the Rubble in the middle he would probably thrive going hard on the left flank where he's a long way away from having to care about giving up his life easily to Imperatus.
The 3-0 move was inevitable given these mistakes. Without controlling Lanyssa in any way the only way I could've prevented this was to feat early with Haley. If I do that I receive Halberdiers jamming the Stormwall and I probably lose the alpha. I don't by a lot of board space either I fear. Perhaps I should've gone for it. I considered placing the Stormwall where the Firefly was - which is outside of 12" of the Hyperion - but the problem here is that he can move Imperatus away, Hunter's Mark the objective and still get the 14" threat on Hyperion, thus being in melee range of Stormwall regardless. With Issyria's feat we are looking at 4 attacks at effectively PS25. That probably prevents Issyria moving to more than 1-0 or 2-0 (roughly 50-50 if the objective dies to a charge attack but Imperatus can probably afford to shoot it as well and/or have an ancillary attack) and it's possibly the best move. As we saw the Stormwall + Ironclad combined take down the Hyperion (with TA it's 6 attacks at dice minus 1 and 4 attacks at dice minus 3 for a total of ~36 + 16 = 52 boxes. With Hunter's Mark and Thorn adding in as well it should be enough with the 12 damage from the T1 shooting). Without Issyria's big lead I also have more time to work with and Arlan can repair the Stormwall. If its cortex goes though or the Hyperion spikes the game is over. An interesting option is to TA the Firefly and have it shoot the Hyperion twice. The Imperatus is the closest model to the Hyperion and Lanyssa is the closest model to the Imperatus.
A very interesting game featuring the new dynamics of this matchup. I believe it's definitely playable for Haley2 and I made more strategical mistakes than my opponent early on, which shaped the rest of the game. I also had a couple of technical mistakes with the lances (positioning, ranges and attack sequence allowed a couple of more halbs to live than I should've) which made the situation dicey. In the end the added power of the Ironclad was what enable me to bring the game home and although I wasted its early game potential I consider it the MVP here.
PS! My opponent has written up a report from this game as well, obviously from the Retribution perspective. Check it out here: link