mandag 20. februar 2017

SmogCon: Masters A #5 (#426): Haley3 vs Stryker1

:: Prologue ::

There were 4 people left undefeated: Circle list-locked into Kaya3, Cryx and a fellow Cygnar player. I would be very comfortable with both of the two former, but the Cygnar mirror I saw very much as an uphill battle. Not only did my opponent have Stryker1, my opponent was Patrick Dunford. For those of you who don't know him Pat's basically schooled me on Cygnar since SmogCon 2016 (which he won). As I'm sure you'll have guessed by now I did not luck out in the pairings and indeed drew Pat. Fuck.

:: Lists ::

(Haley 3) Major Prime Victoria Haley [+25], Bunker
- Grenadier [9]
- Grenadier [9]
- Thorn [13]
- Defender [16]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Trencher Infantry (max) [16]
Journeyman Warcaster [4]
- Charger [9]
Ragman [4]
[Theme] Storm Division
(Stryker 1) Commander Coleman Stryker [+30]
 - Charger [9]
 - Stormwall [39]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
 - Firefly [8]
Major Katherine Laddermore [8]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [0]

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

The scenario was Recon and I contemplated for a long time what to drop. Normally Haley2 is my dedicated Cygnar drop but I don't see what on Earth she does against Pat's Stryker1 list, especially not on Recon. Pods ensure contest so flags are impossible to win by taking. Furthermore Cygnar's really bad at dealing with an ARM22 colossal and the ARM27 variant Stryker can bring is quite simply impossible to kill for Haley2. On top of that he has Arlan for repairs and better shooting and protection to win the war between the Lances.

I decided to drop Haley3 because I didn't see how Haley2 could get the necessary angles here. The way I see it the only way for me to win this game is to kill Stryker. Neither Haley2 nor Haley3 have any other win conditions in my opinion. It's late, fatigue is a thing, people tend to be stressed out about Haley3 so I hoped Patrick would make a mistake and give me an angle. Getting first turn would surely help, so I took that out of the equation by rolling a '1' to Patrick's '2'.

:: Game ::

Lances run up, Arcane Shield on both. Blur on Laddermore.

I deliberately keep the clouds far back. I want Patrick to commit if he wants to leap onto me, getting me those angles and starting the stress which Haley3 does so well. The Defender received a focus and tried its luck on Laddermore. I connected with the 11+ needed to hit her, but the 12+ to unhorse her sadly wasn't there.

Snipe on the Stormwall allows 14" Covering Fires. I could see it coming from a mile away but what do I do about it? If I had gone first there might've been options but now I just have to sit back and take it. The 'wall also pods and the leaps into my lines start. Patrick is running the worst series of dice I've seen in a while though, between something like 5 leaps and a lightning generator the net result I think is 6 boxes to a Grenadier.

This game is slowly turning against me. I am not getting anything done so I have to create something. By putting Past in the zone there's a an issue for Stryker to clear the zone and score. She's also very hard to take down and hopefully, just hopefully, this can give me something to work with.

Patrick goes for a play to kill Past by Earthquaking a Lance next to her and having Arlan provide the Stormwall with magical attacks. Odds Machine puts this move at 67% to kill Past and given the nature of this matchup I'll take that. Stryker obviously feats but if he Past doesn't die there are some legit angles for me. However Past -does- die, but even though she does Patrick messes up his positioning and there's a very clear line to Stryker, who's camping 0 focus...

I can get both Grenadiers, the Defender, Future and Prime onto Stryker. This sounds like a lot, but 16/20 with 17 boxes is no joke. Odds Machine says it's basically a coin toss. This is easily the best chance I'll ever get so I go for it. I make a technical mistake by carelessly not putting Future exactly on the proxy base I had for her so she engages a Lance. My mistake so I take the consequences of losing the couple of shots she had. Unfortunately the run fails and Stryker survives. We roll out Future's dice to see "what if" and it still fails. Oh well, at least I tried.

Sadly, a Loss to the Swans. 

:: Evaluation ::

Quite obviously Stryker1 is super legit in the mirror match. As I wrote about recently in a Cygnar Musings blog post, I have a lot of faith in Stryker1 but simply haven't had the time to play him. I was confident others would test him and help me understand him. Patrick certainly did that and in hindsight he should've been a part of my 3 lists for sure. Patrick's a great player and it was awesome to finally play him. He won SmogCon last year, and this year he went undefeated throughout the entire event: Securing his place in the Sunday finals by beating me, winning the Iron Gauntlet Qualifier on Saturday and then winning the whole Masters on Sunday. Amazingly well done!

I was obviously disappointed by not securing a qualifying spot. I did manage to get an opening following a big mistake on my opponent's part (seriously, everyone makes mistakes) and that made it interesting. It came down to dice. Last year I could not believe how much luck I had in major events. This time it was not to be. And you know what? That feels perfectly fine. Sometimes the dice are in your favour, sometimes they are not. It was a good game anyways and I did what I could do. Thanks for a great end to day 1 Patrick and congratulations on your win!

I'll admit that even these few games made me think a -lot- about my lists and the meta. I had a new chance to qualify on Saturday and after luckily being loaned a couple of models I needed to try something out I was ready to go again...

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