mandag 17. april 2017

Battle at Lund: Warm Up #1 (#487): Haley2 vs Vlad1

:: Prologue ::

Battle at Lund is a 3-day convention in Sweden which includes the Swedish Masters tournament. Last year we were 3 Norwegians who took the 7-hour drive down there to participate. We had an absolute blast and I managed to win both the Swedish Masters and the Lund Invitationals. For me that was the first major win I had in Warmachine. This year we were quite a few more Norwegians making the trip, 11 in total, and I was really looking forward to this event.

Together with 3 other players who drove the same car down, I went to the local club for one last chance practice game before we hit the road. My good friend Leif was kind enough to bring is Khador and field Vlad1 against me early in the morning, despite not going to Lund. I had decided to bring almost my entire collection of Cygnar with me, but had to settle on an initial pair for the event and went with Sloan and Haley2. While I've played Sloan extensively recently, Haley2 is a different story. As such, getting a final game in with Haley2 was just what I needed.

:: Lists ::

"Technical Death Metal"
[Theme] Heavy Metal
(Haley 2) Major Victoria Haley [+25]
- Charger [9]
- Hammersmith [12]
- Stormwall [39]
- Thorn [13]
- Squire [0]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [0]
Journeyman Warcaster [0]
- Charger [9]
Lieutenant Allison Jakes [4]
- Stormclad [18]
(Vlad1) Vladimir Tzepesci, The Dark Prince - WJ: +28, Winterguard Kommand
- Juggernaut - PC: 12 (Battlegroup Points Used: 12)
- Juggernaut - PC: 12 (Battlegroup Points Used: 12)
- Marauder - PC: 10 (Battlegroup Points Used: 4)
- Marauder - PC: 10
- Marauder - PC: 10
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich - PC: 4
Winter Guard Rifle Corps - Leader & 5 Grunts: 8
- Winter Guard Rocketeer - PC: 2
- Winter Guard Rocketeer - PC: 2
- Winter Guard Rocketeer - PC: 2
Winter Guard Rifle Corps - Leader & 5 Grunts: 8
- Winter Guard Rocketeer - PC: 2
- Winter Guard Rocketeer - PC: 2
- Winter Guard Rocketeer - PC: 2
Winter Guard Rifle Corps - Leader & 5 Grunts: 8
- Winter Guard Rocketeer - PC: 2
- Winter Guard Rocketeer - PC: 2
- Winter Guard Rocketeer - PC: 2
Winter Guard Field Gun Crew - Gunner & 2 Grunts: 0
Winter Guard Mortar Crew - Gunner & Grunt: 0
Battle Mechaniks - Leader & 3 Grunts: 3

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

We were playing Take and Hold. I won the roll-off and figured this game would probably be harder if Vlad went first, so I let my opponent start. I picked the side with some decent cover pieces and played Haley behind my flag with Jakes flanking on the left.

:: Game ::

Watchmachine online!
Khador runs up and Rifles go B2B with each-other to deny LoS to rockets. Thorn running up to let Haley arcane bolt down rockets is a thing and my opponent knew it.

In my eagerness to start getting work done I decided to go for a play where I would Time Bomb the rifles in tight formation on the left flank. I figured that with Thorn and Jakes here life would be a lot easier without all the shooting to worry about. My opponent toughed with 4 out of the 5 I hit though and I decided to follow up with arcane bolts to kill them rather than cast Force Field.

Leif decides to feat and jam me in return. I haven't placed anything in threat range of his jacks, apart from a single jugger which can charge the 'wall, so it's not a spectacular feat. It does buy him a ton of space so that he can move onto the flag, puts the pressure on me and doesn't let me neither get up the table with an alpha nor go for the shooting with my focus (because Haley has to spend her efforts dealing with the wall of ARM20 in her face).

I start dealing with what's in front of me while the Chargers and Junior slowly start clearing stuff on the right flank. Jakes is in a terrible spot I realize but that's due to deployment and there's not much I can do now: Her 'clad needs to get work done. Haley feats and catches a lot and the Hammersmith and 'wall start working on the central jacks.

Due to feating aggressively and jamming, Vlad gets a very good shooting turn against the 'wall this turn. He threatens to take it out next turn if I'm not careful though. It turns out I haven't actually contested my own flag due to being pushed so aggressively by his feat (I could of course have done it but simply failed to realize it) so Vlad moves to 2-0.

I clear up the stuff near my jacks and repair the 'wall. I just hope it'll survive the remaining heavy and shooting. Chargers are starting to thin out the shooters. Junior has to run away to stay alive. I decide to put Jakes in cover but since I elected not to upkeep Sidekick I don't get to go all the way to DEF21.

The Rifles finally get a shot at Jakes with S&P and CRAs and she goes down. I should probably not have gone for it. The remaining Jugger and rockets go for the 'wall, but much to my relief it survives. Vlad goes to 3CP.

I clear out the Juggernaut easily enough and wipe out various shooters. Vlad's really thinning out now and although he can go to 4 CP, he can never get to 5. We call the game here:

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

This Vlad list is dangerous, fast and has tons of hitting power. The combination of S&P and shooting does a ton of hurt and as Cygnar you have to be really careful to not just lose all of your important pieces. In this game I committed Jakes and Thorn too much on the left flank and that cost me both in terms of flexibility (I couldn't bring Haley's power to bear on the right flank bot of 1) and in terms of Jakes' longevity. I've learned that with Sloan Jakes typically goes on my strong flank. This is certainly a principle which seems to hold true for Haley as well, at least given strong shooting opponents (Haley can usually keep her safe from melee threats).

Vlad's play for scenario is the correct one I believe. His feat lets him start working on the 'wall, but more importantly it forces my hand on my own feat turn. If you can anticipate how Haley has to play her feat turn you have a big advantage and indeed the firepower my 'wall had to tank on my own feat turn nearly broke the game.

All in all this feels like an even-ish matchup which can swing both ways. Very interesting and a very good last practice game to get in before we left for Lund! 

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