mandag 14. november 2016

ClogCon: European Invitationals Finals (#347) Haley3 vs Una2

:: Prologue ::

I am in the finals. That is pretty crazy! All the work I have put over so many months is paying off and I am now within reach of one of my main goals in terms of Warmachine & Hordes achievements.

Still, this is nothing but a game. One game at a time. Always. Respect your opponent, don't think about the situation you're in, just play the game. Luckily for me, I am meeting Robin Maukisch in the finals. He is a great guy to play against. He qualified by winning the Rhurpott Masters. Unluckily for me, Robin is a really, really good player and he has an absolutely bonkers list. From our encounter the day before he realized that his angry birds need a Pureblood to help them out. Nothing could be more disastrous for my Haley3 list I think...

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

:: Lists ::

(Haley3) Major Prime Victoria Haley - WJ: +25 Bunker
- 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
Una the Skyhunter - WB: +29
- Druid Wilder - PC: 4
- Pureblood Warpwolf - PC: 17 (Battlegroup Points Used: 17)
- Gorax Rager - PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
- Scarsfell Griffon - PC: 8 (Battlegroup Points Used: 5)
- Scarsfell Griffon - PC: 8
- Scarsfell Griffon - PC: 8
- Scarsfell Griffon - PC: 8
- Scarsfell Griffon - PC: 8
- Scarsfell Griffon - PC: 8
- Scarsfell Griffon - PC: 8
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress - PC: 3
Swamp Gobber Chef - PC: 1
Sentry Stone & Mannikins - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Sentry Stone & Mannikins - Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Shifting Stones - Leader & 2 Grunts: 3
Shifting Stones - Leader & 2 Grunts: 3

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

We are playing Incursion and I am going second. That is the absolutely worst case scenario for this matchup for me. Incursion against Circle is so fucking hard and going second means I will hardly be able to get any board space at all. Well, fuck me. Let's see if we can get any work done here. It's not over yet!

My idea here is to grab a piece of impassable and play around it, hopefully establishing myself on a flank. Last game taught me Lances in the front is a good idea, well that idea goes flying out the window the second the Pureblood's on the table because sprays with Wraithbane will slaughter them no end. It's thus back to a classical Haley3 game. I'll just roll with it and see what I can do.

:: Game ::

Birds fly up. One sentry stone on each flank.

I pre-measure so that birdy-birdies cannot land and hit me. Thorn is sent out on the right flank because I want force hammer angle coverage: If he wants to jam and feat I have potentially Prime in the middle, Past on the left and Thorn on the right. I also ensure that the Ironclad is in a position to wreak Tremor Havoc.

Robin decides to play it slow. His mirage'd Bird could've gotten work done but it would've been the only one so I guess he decided against it seeing as he'd need to feat to get it up and his position is so incredibly strong.

By backing off he still remains in range to completely wipe me out in the middle if I try and contest. As opposed to last game where there was no Pureblood around an echo is auto-dead to birds if she moves up. Let's not even discuss the right side flag which I cannot even hope to deal with effectively.

However Robin makes a crucial, crucial mistake: The Pureblood is a single, exposed key piece. If I can shoot him to death the Echoes are suddenly safe again. Privateer Press naturally thought of this so they gave Una Wind Wall to protect this piece. While walking up to protect the spell ward warping Pureblood with her Wind Wall said Una forgets that Force Hammer is a thing and leaves a shifting stone basically 0.1" behind her...

I did not run the numbers at the time but I figured this was my best shot at the game. The position is absolutely brutal and I now have a fairly solid assassination angle. Thorn ironically was placed on the right flank for Force Hammer angles. He is now in a perfect spot to run up to arc Past's Hammer onto Una, slamming her into the stone and then following up with Prime doing the same. Lastly Future is within shooting range as well and her gun is magical and thus gets to pass Wind Wall. I move through all of the models in my army to see if there are any more angles, throws from the ironclad, slams from the charger or whatever. I find no such angles, but in doing this I realize Grenadiers can scatter and potentially kill Una with boosted blast damage.

Future allocates 1 to a Grenadier. Past and Prime keep all of their focus. The assassination run starts and Past misses her boosted 9+. I forget that she doesn't need to hit for Prime to be able to cast the spell and I shake Robin's hand (I had previously called that I would concede if this failed). We roll the run out just to see "what if she hit?" and Una indeed dies. Horribly. However I then remember that Prime can cast it regardless and the run is online, the dream is alive still! Her boosted 5+ luckily connects and slams Una into the stone. Future follows up with her shots. Crucially, none of my shots fluke so Robin spends his fury for transfers on the first rolls. My last shot with Future comes up a 13, meaning Una takes 11 damage. It is all up to the Grenadiers and as the dice will it, the first one scatters onto her, getting the required 12+ roll to kill Una!

European Invitationals Tournament Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

I am so happy I managed to do this, it's just an incredible feeling to win this tournament. I am simply speechless. It's hard to describe. I want to dedicate this win to my gaming club, 2d6. The amazing environment we have there is what has enabled me to get to this level and I am so very greatful for all of the games I get to play there, the endless challenges you present me with and the dozens of games against "All Haley, All The Time" which you endure so I can improve. Thank you all so much!

Robin was an amazing sport as per usual and I already look forward to the next time we meet. This time, he made a grave mistake from a position where he is massively up from. I do have a play or two to try and counter his position. I would probably try and kill the Pureblood with Grenadiers, slamming Una away with Force Hammer and shooting it. If this works the echoes are untouchable and I contest both flags at least. The right flag is still a problem of course, as is his feat + jam move. In any case I see the opening, go for it and it pays off. I do the numbers later in the day while waiting for my flight at the airport and with the grenadiers' blast damage potential the run is actually around 70% to succeed. Obviously this number drops drastically if Past misses but again the dice were with me here (and a part of that 70% is of course Past missing but the run succeeding regardless).

The matchup becomes a ton harder with the Pureblood. Prior to his inclusion I was fairly comfortable with Haley3 here. She felt up as a matter of fact. With the Pureblood it's probably uphill. That being said the scenario and going 2nd here is indeed the worst case scenario for me so it's hard to evaluate the true nature of the matchup based on this game alone.

ClogCon was amazing. I have not been there before but this was the best venue I have ever been to. It was a joy to play there, low noise, tons of space, good food, plenty of food, cold soft drinks and draft beer available literally a few feet from where we play. 10/10. I will make a blog post on my tournament thoughts overall soon, but for now what you need to know is that ClogCon 2017 should be number 1 on your list of prioritized tournaments next year (I spoke to the main organizer and they have already booked the same venue for next year).

If you've gotten this far I hope you've enjoyed my reports from ClogCon this year. Thank you for reading, and remember:

All Haley, All The Time!

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