mandag 22. august 2016

Iron Moot: Iron Gauntlet Semi-Finals (#270): Haley2 vs Rask

:: Prologue ::

For the semi-finals of the Gauntlet Rounds I drew Rickard and his Minions. My experience against Minions is limited to a couple of games against Arkadius basically, however Rickard's rumour preceeds him and I knew he was all about throwing a snake around and that his list was bricky as hell. He had played Rask in all of his 4 games thus far and as such he was locked. Due to my mind-game mistake in game 4 I had dropped all of mine however and could thus tool the Haley2 drop as needed (I didn't even consider neither Caine nor Sloan for this matchup). I took out the Minuteman and got Lanyssa back in because I figured solid alphas and threat ranges would be big here.

This game was streamed live with two commentators. I recommend you watch the video as well as read this report. The YouTube link is here (this game is from the start until ~1 hour).

:: Lists ::

Major Victoria Haley - WJ: +25
-    Squire - PC: 5
-    Stormwall - PC: 39 (Battlegroup Points Used: 25)
-    Lightning Pod
-    Thorn - PC: 13
-    Ironclad - PC: 12
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 4
-    Firefly - PC: 8
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress - PC: 3
Captain Arlan Strangewayes - PC: 4
Storm Lances - Leader & 2 Grunts: 12
Rask - WB: +27
-    Targ - PC: 4
-    Blackhide Wrastler - PC: 16 (Battlegroup Points Used: 16)
-    Blackhide Wrastler - PC: 16 (Battlegroup Points Used: 11)
Wrong Eye - Wrong Eye & Snapjaw: 17
-    Snapjaw
Dahlia Hallyr - Hallyr & Skarath: 17
-    Skarath
Totem Hunter - PC: 6
Bog Trog Mist Speaker - PC: 4
Rorsh - Rorsh & Brine: 15
-    Brine
-    Battle Boar - PC: 7

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

Ok so he has one super-strong spell on Rask and 2 different animi which stack with it which makes any of his beasts single-handedly capable of one-rounding a Stormwall (assuming Rask can land his shot to strip Arcane Shield). I have no idea how I'll deal with all his heavies considering that his feat completely kills long threat ranges -and- Thorn's ability to make Haley's presence felt. Anyway. I put down my models so that I can make a push for his flag (we are playing Take and Hold) and possibly force out a scenario angle. I go first so at least I'm getting up the field!

:: Game ::

I have no idea how far he can get the snake actually so I settle for the strategy not to bother with it and just be safe. I stop behind a wall which is ridiculously far away. If he manages to bot of 1 assassinate me here I'll just take it I suppose. The left flank sees all my jacks barring Thorn pushing hard.

Minions move up. Veil of Mists are put down to protect the center with Rickard pre-measuring his models 2.1" away from it so I can't TK him in and charge with Lances. He also pre-measures the left-most Wrastler to be over 15" away from the Ironclad...

Rickard has a problem however. The Wrastler does have Admonition up on it so I can't alpha it regardless, but by TK-ing it out and Hunter's Marking it I can get the Ironclad into melee with Wrongeye! That's a pretty huge win so I go for it. I make an uncharacteristically poor mistake as I don't take care to turn the Wrastler around properly, it ends up having the Ironclad in its front arc. At the end of the day it doesn't really matter as it has Admonition and could thus have turned around anyway though. In any case the Ironclad kills the Wrastler. I run the Firefly up to the flag with Junior behind and Stormwall nearby as well. Lances set up to threaten the center and Shift is up.

Unfortunately, and this is a biggie, I made a big mistake with Haley here: I did not move her far enough up and thus I didn't get his annoying little solo behind Rask in my feat. It turns out said annoying little solo was able to run within 4" of the flag, denying me a CP. That is so bad. The different is that if I move Haley correctly I can go to 1-0, move Haley to the flag and thus be 3-0 followed by an immediate 5-0 if he doesn't contest me (which can be really hard given the state of the table). Oh well. Anyway Rask feats and switches Admonition to the other Wrastler.

I have absolutely no idea what Rorsh and Brine and doing like way out on the right flank. I am however very thankful that they are there and not in a more central position because this allows me to go for an interesting play on the left flank: If I can kill both Wrastlers I have an opening for sure. It's not that far off either to be honest because the Lances can jam in the Wrastler with Admonition so that it can't get away. I originally try and run them but the leader was in Dahlia's control area and she had the "rebuke aura" up. I was however able to move them far enough up by simply walking them and this had the added benefit of dealing quite a bit of damage to it as well, between so many attacks at PS12 and PS13 some of it got through. The Firefly moved up to beat the second Wrastler (everything counts and getting it within 5" provides +2 damage on all electro leap rolls from the Stormwall) and did a few more boxes. Haley would optimally have gone on the hill but I was afraid he would be able to find an angle to throw the snake on me there so instead she went behind the wall. I would have to score double now to have a scenario angle anyway. The Stormwall goes in and it's so incredibly close, but I manage to barely kill both Wrastlers thanks to the Firefly and its +2! Thorn stabs the snake as much as he can and cripples mind I think.

Rask shoots off Arcane Shield and puts up +3 STR and Boundless Charge on the snake. Battle Boar Primals the snake and it takes the Stormwall down to a single box. Careless positioning of Thorn allows it to charge without tanking a free strike, so annoying. Targ has ancillary attack however and that means the Stormwall is going down. I forgot about Boundless charge and the Ancillary Attack but at the end of the day it wouldn't have mattered because I had to go for the play I went for anyway. Rorsh primals Brine and smokes him further up. He starts beating on thorn and I'm hoping he'll miss one of the early attacks because Rask has nothing left to transfer to but it was not to be. Adding insult to injury all the Lances die as well.

The situation however isn't nearly as bleak as it looks. Both the snake and Brine are primaled so they won't be doing any work anytime soon. The snake is on full fury so Dahlia can't transfer damage to it either (Rickard claimed to have 1 fury token on her but there was no token present. We had a brief discussion about it. After seeing the game on youtube afterwards I noticed that the fury token was actually there after her activation, but it disappeared when he hit it with a dice and discarded it. Luckily it didn't matter as the snake was full anyway. Tokens represent the state of the board and it's not that I don't trust Rickard but I can't back-track what happened a full turn earlier when the token isn't there). The Firefly boosts a shot onto the pod behind her and she cut herself for 1 which means it's 4+ to kill. I make the roll and she disappears along with the snake. Lanyssa moves up to deny the Totem Hunter pathfinder (first time I've ever cast that spell!) and Haley runs to the flag. 4-0.

The Totem Hunter has jump and Lanyssa is preyed. He reaches her and sprints to contest me. Brine kills Targ with Frenzy.

I have to kill the Totem Hunter to win. I TK it around so that Junior can charge if Haley fails (Firefly was disrupted by Rask), however she stops and deals the killing blow herself, Echo's taking her to PS13 being a thing!

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

When in doubt, push! Going aggressive with Haley2 is often the right choice and indeed it paid off here as well. The opening move which allowed me to take out Wrongeye and Snapjaw was a huge enabler and if I had caught his solo in my feat as well the game would have been a lot easier I think. Not knowing exactly what he can and cannot do with the snake I imagine is a lot like playing against Haley2. Throughout the game though I was pretty certain that he was unable to reach me. After all it's the stacking of throws which makes said snake ridiculous and there was never a chance to get the ball rolling on this.

The Wrastlers going down was a huge deal and the game could possibly have broken here. I think committing everything here was the right play. It was extremely close and at this point in time I kind of wished I had brought Ragman instead of Arlan. My thinking in ditching Ragman was that the list would be too fast for him. While arguably true, he might be a highly valuable for the post-feat action. I'm not sure, again my experience against Minions is very limited.

A great game and luckily for me another win for the Swans. Next up I had the finals against the worst skew list I have ever seen...

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