Friday, 18 October 2013

European Masters

I've written about my lists for the European Masters. I've written about my practice for the tournament. Now let's see how well I did at the event.

I didn't win it. In fact I came 44 out of 69.

So, if you wanted top notch commentary of the best games this isn't what you are looking for. It will be about how I saw the games going and hopefully why I made the mistakes I did and the successful plans I carried out.

Game 1, Destruction, vs Cees Jan Stam, Retribution of Scyrah

So the first game I get drawn against Retribution. Not a bad match up mostly but they can do plenty of tricks. Fortunately one of my major tournament buddies used to play Retribution a lot so I know what stuff can do at the very least. CJ had Kaelyssa, Ossyan and Vyros2 for his selection and I was fairly certain he would pick Kaelyssa. I went for Deneghra1 as the pirate boat can cause plenty of issues for the unprepared. He did take Kaelyssa with banshee, pheonix, Sylys Wyshnalyrr, sentinels, strike force, Skeryth Issyen, Lanyssa Ryssyl, assassins, arcanists and a soulless.

As written above the scenario was destruction so four objectives covered the entire middle of the board and left no space for terrain. After the normal movement shenanigans (run forward) we started shooting at each other. CJ feated first and protected himself rather well with the assassins on either flank and the dragoon running up my left. The strike force were in the centre and the sentinels centre left. My shooting was going to be heavily restricted by Kaelyssa's feat but pirates are fairly fast so I just moved up and shot up as much as I could with Crippling Grasp and feat helping out on the strike force. The dust settled and only 3-4 strike force remained. I ignored the sentinels on my left and just let my feat protect me from the counter-attack.

At this point the details get hazy and I can't quite remember exactly how things happened. The strike force and sentinels came at me and killed most of the pirate units over a couple of turns whilst I killed them back. Skeryth Issyen had an extreme flanking manoeuvre and managed to engage a few of the mechanithralls in my back line and a Necrosurgeon. Using ghost walk I charged the pheonix supporting the dragoon and at a similar time I killed the banshee as well. Now that took place over a few turns and to be honest I took far too long over one or two of my goes. Pretty soon CJ had Kaelyssa Skeryth Issyen and a sentinel or two whilst I had Dougal MacNaile, Rockbottom, Deneghra and a few mechanithralls. With my last couple of turns I killed the two enemy objectives and the sentinels but Skeryth Issyen lived. I ended my last turn with 7 seconds and gave CJ the game.

Why? Because I didn't want to play so loosely that I was moving things too far or mis-measuring this and that. I messed up with my time so I decided to end it there.

Things learnt:

Deathclock allows that extra time during the important turns but I really should have kept a timed turns ideal in my head and not wasted too much time during the game. So keep playing fast even with the flexibility that deathclock allows.

Game 2, Close Quarters, vs Klaas Luyckx, Cryx

Game two and I am facing the mirror match. Well, mirror of a sorts as Klass had Asphyxious3, Mortenebra and the Witch Coven. Some lovely lists and when I saw Mortenebra I exclaimed that I loved playing her and started to chat with Klaas a little bit about that. He decided to play her so I asked if he wanted to select my list in return. A little bit of thought later and Deneghra was facing off against Mortenebra's theme list. Must be a collaboration to collect those pirate souls or something.

I believe that Klaas had first turn and ran pretty much into my face. I advanced to a level with my flag, slightly lagging with my sea dogs on my left and forwards with the press gangers on my right. I put an arc node on a hill on my right close to the press gangers and ended my turn there.

Klass then took advantage of Terminal Velocity to get Deathjack into combat with the arc node (charging a press ganger) and wrecked it. So now I had Deathjack in my lines, on a hill and in a wreck, with a harrower following up the other flank and a bloat thrall shooting 5" pie plates into my lines. At this point my brain didn't think in the best way and I feated with Deneghra but only covered Deathjack and a reaper on the right flank. The Sea dogs guns did well to damage Klaas' jacks on the left flank but nothing died, especially as they were not under Deneghra's feat. The press gangers did charge into Deathjack to try to damage them but Hawk was out of position and they failed their command check (Hawk makes them fearless in her command range).

Klaas send in a Harrower to kill a few models on my left flank with a slayer in support. Mortenebra hangs out behind a wall for protection and the Deathjack eats a few press gangers to devour their souls. His bloat thrall gets off another shot and corrodes a few more pirates. My turn and again I have a major brain fart. The sea dogs and press gangers do their best to damage the nearest jacks but very little happens. I take out most of the harrower but it's still standing and the Deathjack takes one or two damage at most. Deneghra moves closer to the centre of the table and some of the pirates move up to cover slight lines to her but that's about all I do. I don't even check Deneghra's distance to the Deathjack and that's where my major mistake was.

To end this battle report slightly quickly, Klaas shoots the bloat thrall one more time into the pirates between Deneghra and Deathjack killing the ones blocking a trample end spot. Mortenebra feats and sends in the Deathjack to eat Deneghra. A few rolls later (and one re-roll) I've lost, taking away 0 control points and 0 army points killed. But I have enjoyed every single second of the game.

Things learnt:

Why did I have such a brain fart on two separate turns? I've no idea but I made some major mistakes there. The Deathjack should have been killed by Mechanithralls rather than press gangers and scourge followed by crippling grasp would have help massively in that. I should have given Klass more space on my left so I could sweep into my right flank shooting all the time with the Sea Dogs. My feat turn was effectively wasted as well I just got terrified by the Deathjack screaming across the table at me. Something I've done to others just never happened to me. In my previous game I lost partly because I thought too long about what to do, here I didn't think things through at all. Both resulted in a loss.

Game 3, Outflank, vs Sergi Pons, Retribution of Scyrah

So the tournament isn't going that well and I get my second Retribution player of the day. No worries, Sergi is a fun guy with Kaelyssa, Ossyan and Rahn. I pick Deneghra again whilst Kaelyssa is chosen again. Slight rematch it seems. This time around Kaelyssa had infiltrators, stormfall archers, sentinels, banshee and a pheonix.

The sentinels went on my left moving behind a forest and the infiltrators ran to just within the right zone. Sergi is slightly cautious it seems. I ran my press gangers into the right zone, just enough to tempt in the infiltrators and the sea dogs moved up the centre. I think that I took first turn but Sergi feated as he moved up.

So Sergi has used his feat in the previous turn and charged the infiltrators into the press gangers taking them all out with the mass of attacks. The sentinels moved up with the pheonix in support, all the while the stormfall archers were taking pot shots into my lines. So I responded with Deneghra's feat, sprayed a venom across the nice line of infiltrators and killed most of them. The press gangers finished them off (except one) while the sea dogs killed the sentinel officer then as many of the grunts as possible.

Sergi now has very little he can do as I made sure that my feat covered his warjacks and Kaelyssa herself. The banshee on my right moves back slightly and probably takes a shot at my troops while the pheonix engaged the arc node on that side. A bit more shooting from the stormfall and it's my turn again. The way is clear, Sergi doesn't have enough left to effectively fight back so I cast Crippling Grasp on the banshee, move into the zone and clear it to dominate. Mechanithralls charge into the banshee but fail to cripple it in any real matter thanks to the wailing (no orders within 5").

Sergi clears off Crippling Grasp thanks to Banishing Ward and tramples the Banshee into the zone and moves the pheonix out of the left hand zone. That's about it though, so I manoeuvre the mechanithralls around so that a load can charge from outside 5" and rust the banshee before scrapping it. Then I clear the left hand zone of sentinels and score three control points to take my total to five.

Thing learnt:

One thing I haven't talked about in this game is that fact that we screwed up the deathclock. A bit into one of my turns and it turns out that I've been using up Sergi's clock. We called over a judge who modified the clocks by taking off ten minutes from my clock and adding ten to Sergi's. Not the best solution but it seemed to work. Though the game is long gone by now, if it had ended with Sergi clocking out I would have given him the game as we were in a bad situation.

So the thing that was learnt is pay attention to the clock. Amazing how the first three games have involved something like that. Maybe I could do with a wee bit more practice or something.

Game 4, Incursion, vs Marvin Desmet, Protectorate of Menoth

Ok, Menoth. Something that can be difficult to deal with. Marvin had Harbinger, Feora2 and Severus1. I'm expecting Feora2 so choose Skarre1 to deal with any armour issues. Instead, out comes Severus1 with a guardian, reckoner, Blessing of Vengeance, zealots and errants with their respective UAs.

I took first turn and ran forwards with everything leaving one or two Bane Knights out ahead. Zealots (on the right) and jacks (centre) run forward as well. The errants move forward (on the left, in to a forest) and one shot later they have killed off a bane knight from my left hand unit. Wrong move there. Oh, and of course the middle flag disappears.

My second turn and it isn't quite right for a feat. It would mostly be defensive but with Eye of Menoth around my feat isn't going to be a total place of safety and I can only attack the errants. So I vengeance forward on the left, move up the Kraken to be threatening in the centre and cast Dark Guidance to cover the errants. A few of them die from charging Bane Knights and most of the rest are engaged. The right hand unit spread out to avoid zealot bombs and thats about it.

Marvin gets the Blessing of Vengeance to the right hand knights and six die to an Ashes To Ashes cast from Severus while the zealots claim the right flag for a control point. On the left the errants kill a few knights but I'm still contesting the flag. In the centre the jacks move slightly closer to me.

Third turn and I'm going to wreck as much as I can. Skarre powers up the kraken, feats, casts Dark Guidance and charges to get to the left flag. The kraken wreaks the reckoner, takes out cortex & right arm of the guardian and kills the nearby vassal to allow a hellblaster shot into the hierophant killing him as well. The left hand unit of knights take out all but one of the errants in the forest and the right hand unit with Tartarus take out the zealots, Blessing of Vengeance and claim a control point over there as well. 3-1

Marvin's turn didn't do that much to me. In the photo below you'll see that the right hand unit of knights has been heavily reduced by Ashes To Ashes. Unfortunately he didn't move the last errant into 4" of the left-hand flag so I won at the end of his turn with 5 control points.

Things learnt:

First game where the death clock worked perfectly so I was learning throughout the tournament. For all my potential opponents out there can I suggest not just shooting one bane knight a turn. It doesn't end well that often.

Game 5, Into the Breach, vs Laurens Tanguy, Retribution of Scyrah

Okaaaay. Third retribution player of the tournament and he's packing Ossyan, Kaelyssa and Ravyn. Let's see how Deneghra does this time around. Of course Laurens picks Kaelyssa. Game on.

Right, I'm sorry about this but this game is pretty much gone from my head. I think Kaelyssa feated first and myself second. I charged the halberdiers as they were out of the feat but they were fairly resilient and Laurens had placed his models well to protect them. Strike force were killed via the Sea Dogs' guns as I let the sentinels manouver around the forest just behind the flag on the left.

After all that initial fighting I came out of it fairly well. Pirates still fighting and plenty of mechanithralls backing them up. I can't remember which turn it was but I made a major mistake. Kaelyssa was in walk and shoot range of Deneghra. As the attrition/scenario fight wasn't going to go Laurens way he took the assassination and succeeded.

Things learnt:

Oh dear. The major thing I did wrong was not moving Deneghra further back. It should have been an easy choice yet I have a major history of this. Hopefully one day I'll learn but not just yet it seems.

Game 6, Process of Elimination, vs Hennrik Vrielink, Retribution of Scyrah

Something funky is going on here. Hennrik had Ossyan, Rahn an, finally, Kaelyssa of course. Though I should have been locked into Gaspy3 the organisers had said that as this was planned to be a seven round tournament I didn't have to play each list once. Sod that. I've played Kaelyssa verses Deneghra three times now and I'm not having it a forth time. Asphyxious3 was my pick and Kaelyssa was Hennrik's.

Hennrik was running the following; pheonix, sentinels, strike force, 2x destor thanes, Skeryth Issyen, Eiryss2, 2x ghost sniper, Lady Aiyana & Master Holt and a mage hunter assassin.

I took the first turn and moved up cautiously. My raiders were on the field in front of them, Deathjack to the right and Erebus to the left with their toes in the zones. Everything else kinda moved forward to cover the field behind them.

Hennrik then moves his strike force in a line and takes a lot of shots at the Deathjack, giving out a fair amount of damage. The ghost snipers take on Erebus and take out a column easily as well. At this point I'm really happy as he's concentrating on the wrong targets for this game. Kaelyssa feats and that's about it. My second turn and it's time to take out the strike force. My raiders get desperate pace and Ashen Veil to go screaming into the strike force's line engaging every last one of them. Erebus hides behind the left objective and Deathjack eyes up the right objective for next turn. The blood witches go incorporeal and as Eiryss had taken a shot at the right hand raider captain she decided to get the sniper, then sprint behind the assassin.

The strike force fails at the raiders but Ashen Veil makes them DEF 16 (effectively) and the only way he can kill a couple is via CMA. The sentinels try to clear out a couple but have been jammed behind the strike force so miss the two they could target. Ghost snipers shoot at Erebus again and the assassin takes care of the captain.

My turn and Carnage gets cast to help the raiders. The Deathjack takes out the objective on the right while the raiders clear out the strike force in the zone. A thane had ran around the raiders so the blood witches took care of him as well as the assassin. After casting Carnage I had also moved Gaspy into the right zone so I score three control points.

Hennrik is in a really bad situation here but manages to get rid of a few of the raiders. Enough to shoot the Pheonix at Gaspy. He got the needed critical to set Gaspy on fire but the Bokur shielded the shot to take the fire on himself. At that point a ghost sniper took out the last box on the Bokur and Kaelyssa shot at Gaspy doing very little. I relax a little more as he didn't take out the left hand objective making winning a lot easier.

So I go for a scenario win. Erebus takes out the left hand objective taking me to four and Gaspy gets Carnage up again. The raiders dismount Skeryth Issyen and kill the last thane. I had also moved them slightly to make space for the Deathjack. He charges in and takes out the dragoon who was the last model in the zone. Scenario win.

Things learnt:

Taking the non-obvious caster can sometimes work wonders. Admittedly if Hennrik hadn't allowed me to engage all the strike force at once this could have gone slightly differently, but so it goes.

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