If we're playing Darius, I'll make damn sure we actually play Darius! For the Showdown finals I was up against a Krueger2/Kromac2 pairing. I feel pretty certain that Haley2 is the correct drop here given my opponent's Krueger2 list (TL;DR it just has one shrimp), but I want to play Darius and Circle's one of the matchups he might just have to deal with. I receive Krueger2 in return and off we go.
:: Lists ::
Theme: Heavy Metal
Captain E. Dominic Darius - WJ: +29
- Squire - PC: 0
- Stormwall - PC: 39 (Battlegroup Points Used: 29)
- Lightning Pod
- Stormwall - PC: 39
- Lightning Pod
Captain Arlan Strangewayes - PC: 0
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 0
- Firefly - PC: 8
Lieutenant Allison Jakes - PC: 0
- Stormclad - PC: 18
2x Sentry Stones
:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::
The scenario is take and hold. There's a lot of defensively placed cover pieces on both sides. I win the roll-off and elect to go first. The way I see this game it's a game of attrition for me. I doubt I can win on scenario. Krueger might be able to make such a play so I have to keep my eyes open. I do contemplate going directly towards his flag but decide against it because I fear that a push towards my own flag coupled with a well-timed feat will spell GG for me due to a central rock.
:: Game ::
Stuff runs. I put up Fortify on the right 'wall and Refuge on the Stormclad.
I get a little too eager as I look for angles to wipe out Mannikins on the right and forget to allocate. That's... pretty bad. Dice agree with my though and Loki takes a real beating, losing roughly half his hp.
Krueger moves to the flag, scores 1. Feral and Pureblood try and flank me. Loki moves into the trench I believe. Megalith stays passive.
I figure if I can seriously hurt the Feral I can hopefully force the issue. Status quo is not enough for me, I need to whittle Circle down before we engage and I have to engage sooner or later to not lose on CP.
Dice are cray-cray and despite warping armor the Feral goes down. This is 20-25% likely to happen so it's not the most insane dice I've ever seen, but it sure came at the right time.
Shrimp shoots up a 'wall, getting better dice than last time. Loki is being healed by Stones, force heal etc. 0-2.
I run the numbers in Odds Machine on going directly for Krueger. As anticipated, not good. Less than 10%. I then run the numbers for the shrimp. Much better! I'll take it. Both 'walls receive max focus and I go for it. It works out and the shrimp dies. Both 'walls pod in front of the Pureblood. I figure that might be a bit of a pain to deal with. Little did I know!
I've made a big mistake on the right flank. Nothing contests my own flag. God fucking damn it I made this very same mistake last time I played Take and Hold. So stupid. The Firefly is a millimetre or two away. My opponent decides to go for a play to kill my left Stormwall. His Mannikins get pod-clearing duty. Krueger activates, feats and puts up Wraithbane + TK on Megalith. Blackclad lands Hunter's Mark on the left-most Stormwall. Megalith goes in. Poor dice however sees the 'wall survive on 14 boxes. The Mannikins activate and fail to kill either (!) pod. There are no models left to clear out both pods, which means the Pureblood has to trample (!!) to reach the Stormwall. Instead my opponent uses Loki's activation to grab 4 points. This accelerates the game a lot. I had anticipated being able to thoroughly contest Circle at 4 points, but with Megalith in my face and the 4th point coming one turn early, this looks dicey and ugly. MVP pods though! Go pods!!
With Krueger feat on my 'walls and the left 'wall having Weight of Stone as well, my mobility right now is kind of gimped. I look for openings so the rightmost Stormwall can contest and jackhammer Loki. These openings do not exist. I have to kill Loki with the Stormclad, Darius and Firefly then. Luckily he's still suffered some damage from earlier on and I just so happen to have a mine which can detonate, which I happily do.
Right 'wall runs to contest. Darius feats, casts Full Throttle (Megalith had cover and thus DEF12) and puts a boosted POW14 into Loki. Stormclad charges Loki, leaving him at a couple of boxes. Firefly luckily finishes him off. Phew!
The last Stormwall kills Megalith. Halfjacks repair everything.
The way I see it I lose this game one of two ways: I either lose the contesting Stormwall in a single turn or Darius gets killed now. There are no good odds for either. My opponent chooses the former. It fails and he concedes the game.
Tournament Victory to the Swans!
:: Evaluation ::
This game evolved mostly like I thought it would. Some sloppy plays from me here and there like forgetting to allocate top of 2 or contesting my own flag mid-game. Those things aside though it was a race against the clock for me: Could I whittle down enough to reliably contest the flag before Krueger would reach 5CP? I believe the aggressive positioning of the Feral was the opening, followed by the Shrimp going down the ensuing turn. I wonder if my opponent could've tried to exploit the central-ish rubble to greater effect, neutralizing my shooting. Loki with Shield Guard could also definitely have helped out.
The Stormwall not dying I think would not have been that big of a deal if I had not given up my own flag. I will get Megalith and my feat will be intact. We're thus left with a Stormwall and a Stormclad vs a Pureblood and Loki. With my feat intact and the push stopped, I believe this is in Darius' favour. I wonder if perhaps the Stormclad should've been on the left flank all along. Old habit to play him on my caster flank, but I think this game called for something else. 20/20 hindsight is a nice thing to have when evaluating games!
I've never played Darius before and that's a big part of the reason why I dropped him so much this tournament. I wanted to test him out. It's been a good experiment and I really enjoy a couple of the things he brings to the table. The ping-pong Stormclad is all kinds of fun for example! He does struggle from not having a pre-emptive feat. In all three games I dropped him I had plays I wanted to go for but could not. There was a legitimate risk of losing both 'walls in a single turn: Rask with insane P+S levels and upkeep removal on one 'wall, Lucant with Discontinuity, Krueger with Wraithbane galore and multiple heavies. I got to work around this through what I feel is a combination of firepower, a new and unknown caster and some calculated scenario plays (both Lucant and Krueger got to 4 CP).
Winning a tournament with Darius sure was a good start! Cygnar has so many viable options now, it's really hard to tell which is best. It's a very interesting time to build a pairing though and I can tell we're far from the only faction with this "luxury problem".