Sunday, 1 September 2013

Midlands Steamroller - Heat 2. Tournament Report

I'm probably writing this too late for any sort of detail as the event happened over two weeks ago. But hey, it'll be fun for me at least and that the main point of writing this blog :D
So I went to the Midlands Steamroller Heat 2 in an effort to test my lists for Master style events and qualify for the Midlands final. There was a load of these style events last year but this year London is missing theirs (booo). Most of the time the top 4 players from each heat get to go to the final and battle it out for the top place in their local area. Lets see if I can qualify again this year.
I took my Deneghra1 and the Pirate Boat list together with Gaspy3 and the Satyxis to keep a wide range of match-ups available to me.
Game 1, Chemical Reaction vs James Brown, Cryx
James is a great laugh to play against and chat to as well. He beat me in the expo masters this year with the Witch Coven who he had brought today, as well as (somebody else). Looking at his lists I think Deneghra has the best chance to hide in a midst of small bases and deal with his army. James decided upon the Witch Coven and two full units of Soulhunters with Bane Knights and plenty of arc nodes. Oh crap, that's how he killed me last time. The board had a hill on my left, mostly outside the zone there, shallow water in the bottom right that would stop me from moving up that way and a wall or two in the center to add a bit of fun.
He took the first turn and moved one unit of soulhunters far on my right and one just to the right of the center. Arc nodes up both sides and Bane Knights were attacking the left zone. I respond with the Sea Dogs center left, Press Gangers center right and the solos up the middle. Deneghra hid behind the objective and that's about it.
James' soulhunters come in and kill a couple of Sea Dogs but not much else happens as everything else moves up again. I feat and kill about 6-7 of the bane knights with the sea dogs, a fair chunk of the second unit of soulhunters with venoms and some good damage on the front unit with press gangers. End my turn and feel fairly happy. Until I notice this nice little channel for an arc node to run along, straight to Deneghra.

James had apparently been willing me not to look in that direction and his Jedi mind tricks worked. So little things here and there happened like Puppet Strings going on one of the witches and an arc node running into position before the assassination happened. Two fully boosted Stygian Abyss spells later and Deneghra is on one health. That was really close. My turn and James has one arc node left that I cannot reach. So I concentrate upon blocking line of sight to that bone chicken (including engaging it with a warwitch siren) and continue killing the rest of his troops. Bane Knights are pretty much down for the count now and the soulhunters left are busy protecting the Coven from charge lanes, so I kill as much as I can lay my hand upon. Meanwhile, Deneghra is camping every single bit of focus she can.

James is now losing the attrition battle and scenario is about to come into play as I have plenty of solos around. He goes for an assassination by moving up Egregore and clears a good portion of the area around Deneghra but the Witch making the attacks couldn't get LoS to cast the Stygian Abyss at me. So I just shoot Egregore with everything I can to kill the Witch Coven.

Things Learnt:

Stop leaving lanes for things to attack my caster. I didn't even make James work for that assassination route. I just got tunnel vision about what was happening in the centre of the battlefield and lost track of the rest of the tabletop.

Game 2, Incursion vs James Stark, Khador

It seems that a couple of the Birmingham guys have made a deal to never use the same casters at any of the Midland Steamroller heats. So that day Jimmy was borrowing Mike's Khador using Butcher1 and Karchev. I chose Deneghra again as the best to match up against those two and Jimmy randomly rolled Butcher1. From memory there was a building on my right just beyond the flag there, a wall or two in the centre of the board and a forest on my left. I had first turn and after deployment I was facing against shocktroopers and demo corp on my left, boomhowlers in the centre, conquest on the right with support from a drakun and a min unit of Greylords on horses.

I move forward with each of my Pirate units in-between the centre flag and their side flag ready for whichever of the flags disappears and an arc node on either flank as well. Jimmy runs forwards with the Men-o-war and boomhowlers but only moves the Conquest to shoot its big gun at me and lay down some of the blast damage templates in my way. We then roll for the disappearing flag and the one on my left is removed. This is pretty good for me as the Men-o-war have to travel through a forest to get to the centre flag and that's going to take a couple of turns.

So I run up an arc node to infront of the conquest and Crippling Grasp it. Now that I don't have to deal with that for a good few turns (SPD 2 with no running) the sea dogs move up on my right to just outside the blast damage templates and take a couple of shots. The press gangers take postion around the centre flag to ensure that Jimmy can't score there and that's about all that happens. Jimmy moves up the Greylords on my left to spray a couple of my guys removing the Machine Wraith from the table and then backs away. The Drakun attacks the arc node on that side but misses and Boomhowlers shoot at the Press Gangers taking a couple of them off the table but I've also got a pistol wraith in there to stop Jimmy scoring. Conquest moves up and again lays down the templates of blast damage whilst the Men-o-War are almost outside the forest.

My third turn and I better start scoring some scenario points before the Men-o-War arrive to mess up the centre of the board. So Deneghra moves up and feats upon the Boomhowlers, Drakun and Greylord Horsies. I missed the rest of Jimmy's troops for two reasons, I couldn't move Deneghra up because of all the pirates and also I didn't want her too far up the board. Dougal shoots off a couple of the Greylords whilst the sea dogs shoot off the rest. My warwitch moves up to base the right flag and power booster the arc node. The nightwretch then moves out of the Drakun's melee range (the free strike missed) to base the flag as well. One boosted damage later and the Drakun is dead clearing the flag for me to score. Press gangers then go in and mingle with the boomhowlers to jam up that area further. 1 CP to me.

Jimmy has finally cleared the forest with some Men-o-War and the demo corp charge my left hand arc node which has been doing nothing. But only one got there and no damage was caused. Boomhowlers attempt to fight back against the press gangers but under feat they couldn't do much at all. Finally the conquest lays the blast templates over the flag and in the way of the sea dogs again. 2 CPs scored. My turn and I'm fairly confident now. The Warwitch moves first and shadow binds the conquest preventing it from stopping me scoring. The sea dogs and press gangers clog up the centre area making sure that nothing can get to the right hand flag whilst Deneghra moves to the right to be closer to the flag but far enough away from the conquest to not be threatened by his guns. 3 CPs to me.

Jimmy finally gets the Butcher into the centre and an Obliteration is cast but the Pistol Wraith, who has done nothing at all except stand there, survives. Boomhowlers and the Men-o-War smash into the centre in full force now but nothing moves up to the right flag at all. 4 CPs and the win as I just end my turn straight away.

Things Learnt:

In total only 15 points of both our armies where killed. This wasn't a bloody battle at all because I was able to control his movements on the board. So if I'm facing something like Deneghra, Haley or any other the control casters I need to make sure that the scenario isn't going to be a cake walk for my opponent.

Game 3, Ammunition Run vs Brian Clarke, Legion

Brian has got Saeryn and Lylyth2 at his disposal. Crap. Both are very scary to me as Gaspy is melee centric so doesn't really want to see Saeryn and Deneghra is really scared of being shot by Lylyth ignoring her stealth. Oh well. Time to see how Gaspy does against hordes again. Brian chooses Saeryn, bugger. The only pieces of terrain that seemed to have an impact was a forest directly in the centre of the board and a building close on my right flank between my board edge and the objective that side. That forest is going to be an issue for me.

Ok, so yes, I'm over egging the match-up. Gaspy3 is fine versus hordes and though Saeryn has many tricks her average list can't really outlast my current build. Brian got first turn and moved forward aggressively. So aggressively that Saeryn used up all her fury and charged the objective. This gave me a real pause. She had Tenacity up but I could get a boosted Hex Blast, boosted Bone Shaker and two hand cannon shots on her very easily (Deathjack with Mobility, Vociferon to arc for Gaspy and the Raider captains have hand cannons). Rather than risk the Deathjack in an all in manoeuvre I decided to move up a captain to shoot Saeryn. If it work then I'd do the rest, otherwise all I've lost is a 2 point solo. Due to force barrier and Tenacity I needed a 12 to hit and I wasn't that lucky. So I moved up in my normal manner with Ashen Veil on the Raiders out in front and my heavy hitters protected behind their lines.

Brian brought a couple of feralgeists with him and I soon found out the reason. They moved into position and the Scytheans charged into the back of them to trigger Bloodbath against the infantry. Which would have worked very well against the average infantry but Ashen Veil helped a lot. Brian also moved his Hex Hunters far off to my right, ready to charge into my flank next turn, or possibly the objective there. Saeryn feated this turn preventing the counter attack but I can't remember much else happening.

My turn and there's not much I can do. So I choose my best option, bait out the attacks on my stuff. Gaspy camps all his focus and moves forwards as far as he can to feat. Deathjack casts Ashen Veil on the Raiders who spread out to cover most of my army, the Ogrun Bokur filled in the whole between the house and objective and that's about everything I could do. Oh, I think I took a couple of hand cannon shots at the objective but I only dinged it for a couple of points.

My bait worked and Brian moved his scytheans in to attack Gaspy but he survived with a little damage. An angelius armour pierced Deathjack and a feralgeist moved very close to Erebus who was inside the zone. The Hex Hunters charged the objective and the Bokur but didn't kill either, which was a shame as Vociferon could have claimed a couple of souls from them as the objectives explode. Saeryn also made a charge, this time against the central objective. She killed it,setting herself on fire and one of the scytheans attacking Gaspy. 1 CP to Brian.

Rather than prolonging the game I decided to go for the assassination. Gaspy goes first and with mobility moves next to Saeryn and a shepherd. I did take a couple of free strikes from the scytheans but even on triple sixes they couldn't get through my boosted armour. One boosted hit against the shepherd and Carnage was cast due to Blood Boon. I could now attack Saeryn quite a few times. So she died.

Things learnt:

Never charge your Warcaster/Warlock forwards on the first turn of the game without serious protection. But then I can't remember the last time I did that. From what Brian did with charging the objective I need to remember to check the scenario over just to ensure that I haven't missed anything.

Game 4, Into the Breach vs Dean Hubbocks, Legion

On to the final game and I'm facing my club mate. Somebody who I chat to a lot about my games and strategies and vice versa. Dean had Saeryn and Lylyth2, same as Brian, so I chose Gaspy3 again as I was sure he would pick Saeryn. The terrain didn't play any part as far as I can remember but I had first turn.

Into the Breach is an interesting scenario, pretty much everybody piles into the zone as it's where you can score the most control points whilst keeping your caster slightly safe. I was ready to send in both units of Satyxis and I manoeuvred Gaspy slightly off to my right towards the flag in case I could score a cheeky CP. Dean had other plans and an angelius and scythean moved in that direction as well. Bugger that plan then. Saeryn feats and kills a few Satyxis. I feat and gain a few souls but not that many to make much of a difference as Dean played safe with Saeryn.

The battle rages on after both our feat turns but with Scything Touch, Ashen Veil and Carnage I had the tools to survive and kill Dean's warbeasts and clear the zone once to dominate especially with the Deathjack to help out as well. Dean moved a couple of solos into the zone to stop the total scenario loss but my blood witches charge in to the solos and Saeryn herself. I kill absolutely everything with Saeryn dying last. Win via assassination.

(sorry for the scatter remembrances of the final battle. I really can't remember that many details unfortunately)

Things learnt:

This wasn't really part of something that happened in the game but came out of the chats on the way home. 1. Watch out for Saeryn chucking her deathspurs at Gaspy. They have Grievous Wounds and really can stop my feat turn working as it has done in the past. Of course this leads to her being within 10" of Gaspy and Brian can attest to how well that works out. 2. If the legion player has Vayl2 it is probably going to be a really different game. Dean and I think that's the only Legion caster that can give my Gaspy list a run for its money. I must try that out before Rotterdam.

After all of the battles have ended I was given a shiny first place coin and Dean got second place. I've also got an invite to the finals of the Midlands Steamroller on the 26th October. Looks like I've got a bit of planning to do before then. As usual Mike ran a smooth tournament with varied terrain and great people to play against.

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