mandag 14. november 2016

ClogCon: Steamroller #1 (#342): Haley2 vs Karchev

:: Prologue ::

I arrived at ClogCon later, Friday night. I've been struggling with a cold for a while and was tired so I decided not to play any games that day. Instead I slept in on Saturday and figured I would try and get in a quality game or two before the European Invitationals started at 21:00.

Luckily for me it turned out that there was a steamroller starting so that I could get a couple of games in before the Invitationals. It was dubbed the "shark tank steamroller" because everyone participating there was also playing in the Invitationals.

For my first round I drew Olov Winroth, which inevitably meant Mad Dogs. This was near perfect. I say near because truth be told I believe Olov is one of the best players with one of the strongest lists. Thus, if I make it all the way through my thinking was that I would meet him sooner or later. I did not want him to learn the little secrets about this matchup prior to the Invitationals as that is such a big deal of this game. Anyway, that aside I could not have asked for more: Quality opponent, insanely strong list. Furthermore, both of my previous encounters with Olov have resulted in janky top of 2 assassinations (1 for me, 1 for him) and this time I was hoping we would get a good game. Indeed we did, I think this was the best game I had all weekend! Let's get to it!

:: 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
Karchev the Terrible - WJ: +30
- Mad Dog - PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
- Mad Dog - PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
- Mad Dog - PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
- Mad Dog - PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
- Mad Dog - PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 2)
- Mad Dog - PC: 7
- Mad Dog - PC: 7
- Mad Dog - PC: 7
- Mad Dog - PC: 7
- Mad Dog - PC: 7
- Mad Dog - PC: 7
- Mad Dog - PC: 7
- Ruin - PC: 17
Gobber Tinker - PC: 2
Gobber Tinker - PC: 2

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

I have encountered the mad dogs a handful of times ish in total. I have also witnessed them in action a few times. I think the cardinal mistake people do against the Mad Dogs of War is that they commit heavily on an early alpha. In many ways the dogs handle such a play just like Haley3. The alpha is simply absorbed and there is no relevant damage dealt. Let's say you kill something ridiculous like 8 mad dogs. Chances are it won't matter because what's left will kill you and you lose.

The key to this matchup is in my opinion to keep your cool, hold the fort and make the mad dogs come to you. Haley2 has an excellent array of skills to make this happen, drawing the game out and forcing the mad dogs to commit on your terms instead of the other way around. If I can do this I think I'm favoured. Also, I need to protect the other jacks and let the lights do work. Thorn's PS16 and the Firefly's PS15 (with death field) really help grind these jacks down.

The scenario was extraction. Olov won the roll-off and let me go first. I think this is the right decision considering that going first here isn't necessarily favourable for Haley and one side of the table was littered in rough terrain.

:: Game ::

Stuff runs up. I intend to use the impassable on the right flank to help protect the Ironclad, let the Stormwall use the central wall as a tempo controller and hold the other flank with lights and cav. The forest on Karchev's side also meant I assumed he would be unable to commit heavily to deal with the Ironclad.

Battle Charged is cast and the dogs converge a lot more on the Ironclad than I had thought they would be able to do. However this provides me with breathing space on the left flank so I guess I'm ok with it. Karchev sprays Thorn and deals a few boxes to him. Also, KD of course.

What I need to accomplish here is quite easy. In theory anyway. I need to ensure my opponent cannot score, I need to start grinding dogs and I need to save my feat. I try out a ton of different ways to drag in 2 mad dogs but it simply cannot be done so I pull out one and decide to try and shoot another.

The one who gets pulled in is killed easily enough. The one I decide send all my firepower into survives on single-digit boxes.

One dog goes into the Ironclad and rolls fairly well, doing double digits boxes. Luckily no systems are crippled. 2 dogs try and slam-jank me in the center but the attack roll misses. The one I hurt so much with shooting moves to the back lines, tail between its legs, to get repaired by a tinker.

This is a feat turn. The Mad Dogs have committed themselves and I consider my position at this point in time fairly favourable. It takes like forever to set this up properly because of counter-charges, commitment, angles etc but in the end I get away with a fairly good grind and a solid setup for next turn. The lights are also in a perfect position, they are getting so much work done and the Firefly's +2 to electrical damage rolls is boss, as per usual.

Karchev consolidates. Considering my insane angles and the way I have literally every single piece set up in a solid position I believe this is the correct play. The board space does look good for me though which mainly tells me that so far I've been finding the plays I need.

I need to wipe the rest of the dogs on my side of the table, disrupt Ruin to prevent fuck-ups, set up to kill Karchev if he goes #yolo on the Stormwall and ensure my position is solid. I manage all of this and I'm now really happy with where I'm at.

Karchev opts for a play where he moves to kill the Ironclad without feating. Interesting.

I am slowly running out of time and the scenario score is still 0-0. I don't have the time I need to ensure that I solve this optimally, I just need to play now. The solution I end up with is to clear the middle with the Stormwall, set up as best as I can and have the Squire score my flag.

Karchev feats and kills the Stormwall. This is a very dicey proposition actually. The Stormwall was 100% intact at this point in time. Odds Machine puts the odds of 7x PS19 attacks boosted killing the Stormwall at 34%. Granted Karchev has an open fist as well but the chances of the Stormwall surviving and having cortex + weapon system intact are fairly significant. Of course Karchev has no choice at this point in time so it's the correct gamble. In return I clear my flag again and establish myself on the left flank. 2-0.

A part of being low on time is not considering all the angles. Unfortunately I left junior within 16" of Karchev which means the bad boy can simply move up and spray him to death, which he does. That leaves the Firefly inert. Damn.

I TK Karchev around, move Haley out of his threat, dominate the Mad dog away from me and run Ragman over to the opposite flag. 3-0.

Karchev tramples towards "my" flag and runs the mad dog to contest ragman. A tinker contests the other flag. Luckily for me I have pinged the objective every now and then when I've had the chance so it's fairly low. Haley finds a place where Karchev doesn't engage her and kill the objective with a Hand Cannon and Arcane Bolt before finishing the Tinker off with another Arcane Bolt.

5 control points.

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

Oh my God, what a game! This is without a doubt one of the most interesting games I have ever played. It certainly was a big change from my previous top of 2 assassination encounters with Olov.

I managed to execute my strategy well. The wall in the middle acted as the tempo controller I needed it to and I kept getting Mad Dogs out to slowly but surely win the grind. Sure there were things I could have done better here and there but you cannot play 100% all the time.

As the game reached the end even Olov got pressed on time here. We were both down to a few minutes when I finally won, I had like 2 minutes left on the clock I think when the Tinker bit the dust. It ended up being closer than I had thought it would be. Obviously Karchev killing the Stormwall is a huge part of this but I think the "oh shit" moment was when Junior died. Firefly was the MVP of this match, he did so much work throughout and if I had managed to keep Junior alive I don't think the end would have been even close.

An amazing game and a great start to my ClogCon 2016 experience!

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

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