Following an intense game 1, my opponent made a couple of changes and we were ready for round two!
:: Lists ::
(Haley 2) Major Victoria Haley [+25] (Fuel Cache)Opponent:
- Thorn 
- Stormwall 
- Squire 
- Ironclad 
Journeyman Warcaster 
- Firefly 
Captain Arlan Strangewayes 
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress 
Storm Lances (min) 
(Rahn 1) Adeptis Rahn [+26]
- Hyperion 
- Chimera 
- Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker 
Elara, Tyro of the Third Chamber 
- Discordia 
Arcanist Mechanik 
Arcanist Mechanik 
House Shyeel Battle Mages 
Stormfall Archers 
Mage Hunter Assassin 
Mage Hunter Assassin 
What I learned from Game 1: Thorn is probably better off camping out closer to Haley in this matchup. I also need a less valuable piece to contest with if needed so the Firefly likely gets flank duty. Also, Ironclad needs to be protected more.
:: Game ::
One MHA on either flank. Hyperion makes a curious choice to go slightly to the left, meaning it can't contest the right zone without running/trampling. Discordia is now far right but Rahn is still far left.
I'm a bit puzzled as to why my opponent is sending the majority of his army right and the Hyperion left. This essentially makes it impossible for him to create scenario pressure. At least he's put his army out of harm's way bottom of 1. Almost. The left MHA is within TA + Trample + Firefly leap range. I decide to go for it as taking out this litte bugger could be big. It fails and he's left on 2 boxes. Ironclad and Haley stay defensive on the right flank, Lances are probably a bit too cautious and Thorn is kept fairly central.
The Hyperion moves into the left zone to contest. He shoots the Stormwall for 4 boxes. The real game-changer however is his MHA rolling 4, 5, 5, 6 for its damage roll on the Stormwall. With decapitation that's 20 boxes:
The reason this is a game changer is because I simply cannot have the Hyperion charge the Stormwall now: I'll likely die. Consider the picture above though: I can TK the MHA backwards and likely pull off a charge-mha-target-hyperion like I did last game with a Battle Mage. I let my opponent know and he TKs the MHA away. On the right flank the Chimera moves to cover with 3 focus, 4 Battle Mages contest and Discordia chills out.
I make a bit of an analysis fail. A big fail. Given the current state of the board the scenario angle is dead for Retribution. As long as the Stormwall's alive Rahn won't score in the left zone. If Stormwall dies, it doesn't matter what happens as the game is over (more than likely). Rahn can't score in the right zone because he can't get there. As such, I should go for attrition myself instead of trying to force a scenario angle on him.
I don't though. I go for the scenario play. To do this I need to kill the four contesting Battle Mages. The only way to get this done is by arcing bolts via Thorn. I know this will expose Thorn but I'm hoping it'll be worth it. I do it and feat, making sure to catch Chimera, Discordia and Hyperion and the right MHA. What I should have done, given this show of aggression, was to push the Ironclad up further as well. If Rahn goes for Thorn I doubt there's enough power to get the Ironclad as well under feat and all. Anyway, it works well. The Stormwall shoots the Hyperion for a few boxes and kills the spiking MHA.
Hyperion stays still since he cannot get outside of 9" regardless unless he backs off directly north-east (which leaves him not contesting me at all this turn). It shoots up the Stormwall instead. Rahn takes out Thorn with the help of Battle Mages, SFAs and Discordia.
Losing Thorn under Shift and not even have Rhan himself feat is obviously bad. I was hoping I could get back from it as follows: Hunter's Mark the Chimera, TK one Lance (so they'd all be within 15" and assault it do death). I also needed to deal with the Hyperion who was shot up a bit from previously. The Hunter's Mark failed to connect however I I would only get one Lance on the Chimera. A second Lance combined with the Ironclad to take out Discordia. The Stormwall + Junior left Hyperion on 1 box following Haley's TA on it. I podded near the Arcanists and had the Firefly shoot the pod. Unfortunately it only bounced one so he had one Arcanist left alive.
Leaving Haley in the open on 2 focus was a risk. It basically came down to whether or not he could clear the Lances and thus get the Chimera in range. As the Hyperion survived on 1 box and he had an Arcanist left he could use its shooting as well and that proved to be -just- enough to clear them out. Chimera ran up, Rahn feats and it's down to dice. Unluckily for Rahn, the assassination fails and Haley2 lives on 8 (!) boxes. That was after 2 chain blasts, a TK, 2 force bolts and 3 SFAs with Snipe.
I clear up and win on Scenario.
Victory to the Swans!
:: Evaluation ::
This game for me largely boils down to one mistake and that mistake is sacrificing Thorn on feat turn. With one more TK I can get him to safety behind the obstruction in the middle.
Apart from that I end up more or less having to make a risky play. I could possibly have kept Haley further back but I risk losing the Stormwall without TA (The Hyperion wasn't that hurt).
Again a very interesting game and Retribution deserved to win, but when the dice disagree there's nothing you can do.