onsdag 26. oktober 2016

Battle Report #332: Haley3 vs Wurmwood

:: Prologue ::

Due to some delays today my much anticipated date for 2 games against Wurmwood had to be cut down to 1. However, it was quite the game though with tons of learning points! Let's get to the action.

:: Lists ::

Major Prime Victoria Haley - WJ: +25
- Haley Past
- Haley Future
- Grenadier - PC: 9 (Battlegroup Points Used: 9)
- Grenadier - PC: 9 (Battlegroup Points Used: 9)
- Thorn - PC: 13 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
- Ironclad - PC: 12
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 4
- Charger - PC: 9
Ragman - PC: 4
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord - PC: 4
Storm Lances - Leader & 4 Grunts: 20
Trencher Infantry - Leader & 9 Grunts: 16
(Wurmwood 1) Wurmwood, Tree of Fate [+27]
 - Cassius the Oathkeeper
 - Pureblood Warpwolf [17]
 - Warpwolf Stalker [19]
 - Megalith [20]
Shifting Stones [3]
Shifting Stones [3]
Sentry Stone & Mannikins [5]
Sentry Stone & Mannikins [5]
Wolves of Orboros (max) [11]
 - Wolves of Orboros Chieftain & Standard [4]
Wolves of Orboros (max) [11]
 - Wolves of Orboros Chieftain & Standard [4]

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

We are playing Incursion and Wurmwood won the roll-off, opting to take first turn. I choose a side which denies Wurmie any woods to play around with and provides me with a nice, central impassable for Prime to stay safe behind in a central position.

:: Game ::

Wurmwood's sentries go on one flank each and I immediately realize I've picked the wrong side. With the sentries able to contest the flags on both flanks from behind obstructions I will basically never score relevant CPs but furthermore it will be very hard for me to prevent him from scoring. Anyway, what's done is done and I reckon that with an army this big and so many models to move around I can practice playing the very worst case possible in this matchup: Fairly poor terrain (I fooled myself in denying him the woods), terrible scenario, hard list to face. I considered forfeiting and asking for a re-rack but decided instead to try and improve one aspect of Haley3's game which is crucial: Winning on time.

In order to win this game on time I have to slow it down. The early turns are crucial for me. I do not want to get stuck in a position where things happen too quickly. The idea then is to pretty much forfeit the early scenario and try and get an edge in terms of attrition, letting him get some easy CP. In any case, having learned from my mistake at WTC I take care to not let any important pieces within 3" of the clouds and advance behind the 'wall.

A couple of sprays on Trenchers are attempted but no success for Circle. Wolves run to jam, however Wurmwood holds his feat. Instead, Cassius kills two Wolves in the middle to "forest up" the beatsticks. I probably played my first turn too passively with jacks etc. One thing is slowing down the game but this is giving away too much space, doubly so with the perfect positioning of the sentry stones on the flanks.

Thus far Circle has played the best game and I need to do something. There are multiple problems here, mildly speaking. My plan is to try and shut down the right flank by feating to kill the Sentry Stone with 3x Chain Blasts and have Thorn contest the flag. I figure I have to leave the other 2 flags open and maintain the cloudwall. I feat but the rolls are absolutely miserable and the right sentry stone lives. I lose my concentration and move Thorn too far away from the flag. In the center I have to commit the Ironclad to a position where I'm not really happy with him because I cannot for the life of me kill the last Wolf there.

The TL;DR of this turn is that Wurmwood plays conservatively, feats and moves to 3 CP.

I didn't make things nearly as hard as I had hoped to but from here on out it's all in. Present Circle with as many problems as possible to force my opponent to spend a lot of time and cover a ton of angles. I fully fuel Thorn on the right flank to kill the Sentry. The plan is to jam the middle with basically everything I have and run a Ghost Walked Grenadier over to the left flag.

The turn starts off terribly with Thorn failing to kill the Sentry stone. I had 3 focus. This is getting ridiculous. I kill a few Wolves and jam things up. I'm fairly happy with how many models I'm forcing Circle to try and kill.

Luckily for me my opponent does spend ages trying to clear up this mess. Furthermore he scores 0 CP and when he clocks over to me he has only a couple of minutes left to my 15.

All I need to do now is keep Prime safe. I move her away from danger, summon Past and cast Temporal, camping 2. I kill a few models here and there and clock over.

My opponent cannot clear out 2 flags quickly enough (in fact he doesn't clear any of them as he has serious fury issues and this time the dice are failing him) and I win on time.

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

One of my main problems playing into Wurmwood is figuring out what angles to worry about and what my overall strategy needs to be. At the WTC I made some elementary level mistakes such as clouding up top of 1 and letting the Ironclad get pulled into a cloud to have a Stalker subsequently beat it to death and sprint away.

In this game I decided I would try and keep the Lances tight, as I have learned to do in other matchups, and beware Hellmouth angles. I did however, as noted, choose the wrong side, and this cost me dearly. I am pretty sure I could've taken the top side and kept Prime safe in the rubble or whatever (depending on Wurmwood's positioning). This also would've given me more time. Letting him get 3 CP in a single turn was disastrous, there are no two ways about it.

The problem with keeping all jacks super-safe is that my threat ranges are too small and Wurmwood gets too much space. I need to find the balance between not letting him have anything (and getting too much space) and giving him too much (which means I lose attrition). I think that in this matchup the answer might be Lances, i.e. playing them further up closer to the clouds. Going for the Lances early leaves the warjacks intact and to be honest reviving Lances isn't a half-bad play here. Given that Prime is safe from assassination I'd even consider going Arcane Shield on them (as any Wolf wanting to get work done on Echoes will likely have Wraithbane anyways).

This matchup is incredibly hard yet so rewarding when you pull it off. I did have some truly shitty dice here (seriously, 2 chain blasts from Past and a fully fueled Thorn doesn't kill a Sentry Stone?), but dice happen in this game and I basically set myself up to rely on dice in the first place. Granted, in some matchups that is unavoidable but that was not the case here.

I hope I will get more games vs Wurmwood soon. I feel I keep improving and learning every time I play this matchup. I still don't know whether it's actually a 50-50 or if one side is up, I do know however that it feels like Wurmwood has the upper hand early and Haley gets more and more game the longer it goes on.

I'll finish this rather long evaluation with a positive take away: I did play a worse game than my opponent but I did manage to land my win condition. Playing the clock aggressively is a legit strategy for Haley3 and in this matchup in particular I can often see that being a winning play. Despite the various mistakes I made, that is something I'm happy with.

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