mandag 14. november 2016

ClogCon: European Invitationals #2 (#345): Haley2 vs Sloan

:: Prologue ::

I got in a good night's sleep and following a solid breakfast I was ready for day 2. The first game of the day was streamed live (I will edit this report to include a link to the game on YouTube when it's put up there). My opponent was Ben Thomas from England and we played Haley2 vs Sloan. Ben qualified by finishing second in the UK Nationals. Patrick Dunford won that tournament but he was already qualified for the European Invitationals so Ben got the spot. Although he is an avid fan of Maddox (his second caster for this event), Patrick taught him what Haley2 does to Cygnar melee lists at the UK Nationals and thus he dropped Sloan this time.

This game was streamed by and you can find the video here.

:: Lists ::

(Haley2) Major Victoria Haley - WJ: +25 Fuel Cache
- 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
Ragman - PC: 4
Storm Lances - Leader & 2 Grunts: 12
Captain Kara Sloan - WJ: +28
- Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator - PC: 4
- Defender - PC: 16 (Battlegroup Points Used: 16)
- Defender - PC: 16 (Battlegroup Points Used: 12)
- Grenadier - PC: 9
- Grenadier - PC: 9
- Hunter - PC: 11
- Hunter - PC: 11
- Sentinel - PC: 8
Trencher Infantry - Leader & 9 Grunts: 16
Field Mechaniks - Crew Chief & 3 Grunts: 3

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

The scenario is Entrenched and Ben wins the roll-off, opting to go first. He deploys very heavily towards my zone. In most cases, this is a decent play against Haley2 but given the terrain and his list here I struggle to see how he can capitalize on this move without just auto-losing on scenario. Regardless I don't commit to the scenario play in deployment as a heavy shift of his AD elements can see me countered and that's bad news. The Trenchers and Grenadiers go down opposite my zone as well though and now I positively don't know what he intends to do to stop the Haley scenario train. At least his deployment is hyper-aggressive and my motto is "when in doubt, push!" so I'm a fan of how he approaches the matchup!

:: Game ::

Sloan's advance is cautious but the Hunters swing -way- left and quite far up. I think the better play here is to swing slightly to the left with the main force and leave the Hunters a little further behind while the Trenchers run to cover more ground.

Intent on punishing the Hunter play I start proxy-basing things and indeed Thorn can run up to arc Domination on a Hunter and pull it towards me. I pull from the Squire and follow up with TK as well. Lanyssa lands Hunter's Mark (oh the irony) and I have TA on the Stormwall. However I'm hoping the rest of my list will kill the Hunter so that the 'wall can run. Indeed the Lances get the job done and the 'wall runs. Ironclad takes up cover. Haley is outside of pre-measured threat ranges.

Sloan pushes up slowly and her army takes a few potshots on the Stormwall and Thorn. Thorn loses shield but nothing else. Stormwall loses 15 boxes or so? The contesting pieces in my zone are significant but given the state of the board it's irrelevant as Haley cannot move there anyway. The remaining Hunter on the left flank toes the zone, outside of 13" of the second Lance.

My original plan is to put Haley 16.1" from the Defenders and within 18" of Sloan to shut him down. Ben is then kind enough to remind me that the Defenders threaten a maximum of 18", not 16". I am so used to the 14" range of the Stormwall's big guns that I forgot this despite playing Defenders with Sloan myself. I really appreciate this from Ben! Haley has to find another solution. It ends up being a TK on herself to charge a Trencher which leaves her "stuck" behind the impassable where no jacks see her and her feat covers Sloan's entire list. Stormwall is fully fueled, Lanyssa lands Hunter's Mark on the objective, The Hunter is TK'd around, Lances kill it, Firefly kills objective, Stormwall shoots off the central elements so that contesting is theoretically impossible. The Ironclad simply runs to be a problem. 2-0.

Ben plays for points, the objective is taken out along with the Ironclad and he thus scores 2CP. Since he cannot contest his own zone I move to 3CP which means I just have to run Haley in to win the game.

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

This was a very clear-cut textbook game of how Haley2 is a huge scenario monster. Entrenched is one of her better scenarios. I think Sloan's only shot to win this game, outside of getting an assassination angle, is to simply swarm her own zone and drag the game out. Even then, I struggle to see how she'll win the attrition game. The Stormwall is just so incredibly tanky. Hunters and Defenders at minus 7, Sloan at minus 8, on top of that all the usual Haley shenanigans by Thorn, pod disruption and so on.

It was a great game to play as Ben was a very good sport about everything really. 2-0 thus far in the Invitationals and things were looking good! Next game was against a dreadful list pairing though...

For a spoiler-free series, read about my next game in this tournament here.

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