As part of our WTC preparations I was chosen to play against Cygnar mirror. Both of us had Nemo3 and Haley2 for our pairing so we ended up with the most mirror'd game of them all: Haley2 vs Haley2 with identical lists!
:: Lists ::
Haley2 vanilla SDOpponent:
Evil Haley2 vanilla SD
:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::
We were playing Recon and I went first. I wanted to claim table space here and not get any Lances killed early on. After that? Don't really know! This is an incredibly hard matchup with tons of angles on both sides.
:: Game ::
Lances outside of evil 'wall's threat range. Haley and Thorn behind the Fuel Cache's cloud.
Evil 'wall decides to shoot my 'wall. The heresy! Haley dares to go behind the fence...
It is so tempting to try and kill evil Haley here, but I think there's a better option. The idea is to force my opponent to feat first, put pressure on the 'wall, lock him out and give him a headache to deal with. To do this I can send in 2 Lances and Laddermore against his 'wall, send my own Stormwall up and shoot him and jam Lances on both sides. I put Thorn in a good spot with my Squire blocking TK/Domination attempts on him and Haley 2.1" behind the cloud.
Part of why I made the move I did was because I couldn't see how my opponent could prioritize my objective or the scenario at all in this state. I figured a scenario opening might be key. He was able to unjam me a lot easier than I had thought, unfortunately. Thorn cleared the right flank. Laddermore tried to clear the left, which would've opened up for the Lances there to crash into my Lances/'wall, but she failed.
Counter-feat time was here! My Stormwall stood still, shot up the objective and then the enemy 'wall some. I consolidate my position and move to 3-0.
I'm heavily down in terms of Lances. My opponent runs his Lances to claim back table space. A lot of them were outside of my feat range. Thorn also runs to contest. This makes it essentially impossible for me to score the last points needed. Furthermore, with that many pieces blocking me and so few pieces left for me to play around with, I can't realistically get to his 'wall. That is a big problem because if I don't clear his pieces he can conceivably kill my 'wall. Game is hard.
I settle for trying to clear out as many Lances as possible. To do so I have the Firefly unjam a Lance on the left flank. It is in Laddermore's melee range as well but this is blocked by his friend. This Lance kills a Lance jamming my 'wall. Thorn is arced forwards following a TA on my Stormwall. He kills a Lance and disrupts evil Thorn following a TK. The Stormwall clears out Lances with shooting. Looking fairly good again!
Evil 'wall has to try and cripple my 'wall. I've lost 10-12 ish boxes from bottom of 1 shooting, but that's it. He has to roll pretty cray-cray to make it work. Fortunately for me that does not happen. The Thorns battle it out. Let me just say that Thorn on Thorn is a very sad fight: They'll knock eachother's cortices out in no time and keep disrupting, dodging and messing around for forever.
I dismount Laddermore, kill evil 'wall, put Arcane on Haley.
Evil Haley charges in to kill my 'wall which was without its shield.
I kill Laddermore and run Haley to the flag with max. camp. The only way I lose now is if evil Haley kills me.
Turns out that 16/17 with set defense and 8 camp is legit and evil Haley's desperate assassination run fails.
Victory to the Swans!
:: Evaluation ::
Most people I've heard discuss Haley2 mirror feel like this is a boring matchup. I could not disagree more! It is very, very taxing and difficult to play. Tons of angles on both sides. Indeed my move top of 2 wasn't nearly as good as I thought because Thorn and Laddermore were able to unjam on the sides. The Lances are surprisingly important here. I was of the opinion that Thorn and Stormwall would be more important pieces but now I'm not so sure.
In hindsight I think a better move top of 2 is to shoot 3 Lances with the 'wall and consolidate my position, i.e. save the jam. My opponent's objective is blocking his Stormwall from charging me. Sure, he could kill his own objective and feat. Could be an issue I guess. The problem in Recon is that the scenario can suddenly become wide open (as indeed it did here).
Interesting game and valuable lessons. Cygnar mirrors I expect will be more frequent, at least for some time to come.