Following a twitter-discussion on Harkevich I encouraged one of my Khador opponents to play a non-theme list variant against me. The idea with playing Harkevich out of theme is that you get crucial choices like Orin, Ruin and Bokurs. I disagree because Haley's Lances get too much space and the WGI really help to negate this. Furthermore no advanced move gives up too much table space. In any case I got to try it out!
:: Lists ::
Vanilla Haley2 SDOpponent:
- 3x Kodiak (proxied by Drillers)
- 1x Ruin (proxied by Centurion)
- 1x Juggernaut
- 2x Marauders (proxied by last 2 heavies)
:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::
Outlast and Khador seized the initiative. I deployed fairly symmetrically, a little skewed towards the opposite side of my opponent. The idea here was to look for angles to wrap around and force him to abandon his clouds.
:: Game ::
Khador tramples and clouds. I run wide on both flanks in return with key pieces centrally. I really don't know where Harkevich will go from here.
Harkevich opts to leave me with a free zone. He needs time to set up. Ruin is out behind a cloud on the right flank. My opponent's idea is to let me have the first two points, but jam the zone so hard that I'll never make it to 5. To ensure that I can't go to 3-0 Orin is placed on the left flank.
I look for 3-0 options. Basically if Laddermore can leap twice and kill Orin it's game over. I decide not to go for it because it's a very dicey play and I like my position quite well! I dominate out a Kodiak, TK it even closer and kill it. No models are in big threat ranges (e.g. 'wall outside of Ruin) and I'm 2-0. Lances on the left flank sacrifice a couple to keep his Kodiak's busy.
The jam happens on the right with feat. Crucially my opponent does not score a point in the left zone this turn. I should have contested that one better for sure.
Counter-feat time and I need to start clearing stuff. I kill 1 jack I think and seriously damage 1 or 2 more. It's hard for Harkevich to keep all in feat since it's an aura, not a pulse.
Harkevich clears the left zone and moves to 2-0. On the right flank he jams as well as he can.
I have a devastating turn of attrition where I capitalize on the damage I spread out last turn. Harkevich has but 2 Kodiaks left, one of which is disrupted and down to a dozen ish boxes. There's also a surviving heavy which contests me I believe, also on just a few boxes.
Last desperate play: Jam the Cygnar!
I dominate a Kodiak away and kill the other. The Stormwall runs to contest. 4-4.
Victory to the Swans!
:: Evaluation ::
This wasn't a perfect game for any of us by any stretch of imagination. Given the Bokurs and lack of Advanced move on the Kodiaks I think my opponent needs to run top of 1 and have both Shield Guards basically ready to sacrifice themselves if the 'wall elects to shoot. As this game shows Khador simply ends up so far behind if they don't, too much table space for Cygnar. A more central deployment might also help alleviate this but sooner or later Harkevich has to break up 2 Kodiaks on one side and 1 on the other, at which point Haley can adapt.
The thing is that Thorn cannot reliably take a jack out from behind the cloudwall without being covered by feat. Because of this it hardly matters if there's an Orin behind the clouds or not. When Cygnar goes in, if this happens this way, Temporal Shift must be up. If Temporal Shift is up, said Orin will likely be very dead against a pod. Ruin is nice, but he struggles with feat and Thorn. I have lost count of the times I've simply put Ruin out of play with Thorn. In this game I just flat out killed him, which also happens fairly frequently.
Despite the flaws I struggle to see how it's not better to take Harkevich in theme. The Rockets and POW12 Blunderbuss really help out against Lances, which are so crucial for Cygnar in this matchup. In my experience it's the repeated POW16 shots and PS15 charge attacks from the Lances which turn the grind. If Haley is unable to keep them going turn after turn Harkevich wins. If she is, he loses. Without WGI the Lances get so much space and can take up super strong positions. In this game I even made a number of technical mistakes with them, not getting nearly as powerful shots or as good positions as I could have.
Haley2 vs Harkevich is an interesting matchup and I'm sure both skill, experience with the matchup, scenario and terrain matter a great deal.