Friday, 29 November 2013

Blood & Oil - Tournament Report

Hi everybody. Time for another tournament report. Last one for a while though. I went up to Leicester to the Blood & Oil tournament held there. It was a 50pt, three list masters event with 66 players. I went up with Deneghra1, Skarre1 and Asphyxious3 as my lists (on the forums here). I hoped to win three games out of the six played as that has been my previous experience in masters events. That didn't happen though so do read on.
Oh, terrain didn't play a part in any of these games. It was limited to four per table and always in each of the corners leaving a football pitch in the centre of the table. The organisers know this is an issue and they say it'll be sorted for next year. We'll see when I go back.

Game 1, Close Quarters, vs Richard Padget, Circle Orboros

So the draw for the first round went up a couple of days early as people had submitted their lists a week before hand. So I knew I was up against Rich Padget, a host of Alpha Strike Radio, a good opponent and a great laugh. I've been listening to his talks on the podcast and he's been having a couple of issues with tournaments recently, but anything he brings can be trouble. He could choose between both Kruegers and Morvahna2. Krueger1 has been the popular choice verses Cryx because he can clear infantry like nobodies business but Morvahna2 has been used against me a couple of times now.
No matter what his choice was I was going to play Gaspy3. Yes, Chain Lightning is going to be an issue but hopefully I can strike first and hard and not loose too many troops along the way. Krueger2, well, I'm speedy enough to get around his feat and I don't have much shooting to worry about stormwall and Morvahna2 is good but I can hopefully attrition better, especially since my game in the Southwest Finals gave me an idea about what she can do.
The final choice was Gaspy3 vs Krueger1 and as I lost the roll to go first I choose a side that had little effect on the battle. Rich's Druids moved up and put up clouds. Gators moved up behind with the ferals and stones (2 units) behind them as well. Gators had Lightning Tendrils put on them and that was about it. I tried to charge my raiders at the druids but they were half an inch out of reach range (well done Rich). They then spread out and had Ashen Veil put on them from the Deathjack. Blood witches went up the middle as well and Nightmare went right, Deathjack left.

The gatormen came up and with re-rolls they killed a couple of raiders but left most still around for the counter-strike. Druids put up clouds again and everything else clumped up behind. So I sent in the raiders and took three of the gatormen down with Power Swell helping greatly (Carnage as well to get around the druids' clouds). Blood witches again came up behind and went incorporeal this time to limit damage.

Rich timed his feat pretty well, doing a mass amount of damage to both satyxis units. My raiders were entirely gone and the witches left with three or four members. Oh well, at least I got a load of corpse tokens for them. Gators moved up and so did two ferals to threaten my heavy stuff. Time for me to feat and deal some damage. The blood witches moved in on the gators and took one out. Gaspy moved to the closest flag, camped six focus and feated. Then I screwed up with Nightmare. I thought he could walk and attack a feral but it was out of reach, so he used his one focus to rip up a gallows grove. Bugger, that will cost me. The Deathjack moved close to Gaspy and put Ashen Veil on him to make him even more difficult to kill.

This was a great turn in some ways for Rich. He used a feral each to destroy both my jacks and the blood witches were taken out of the picture. His third feral ran to engage Vociferon to ensure no arcing scenagians. and that's about it. But this was also a great turn for me as I used Gaspy's twenty focus that turn to kill a feral, cast Carnage and still camp at around twenty-five armour. Then, charging mechanithralls took care of the feral that took down the Deathjack and the last gator. I even managed to clear the flag and score a control point.

Rich was running low on his deathclock now though and he ran Krueger across to start scoring his flag while sending in stones to contest mine. Fortunately, mechanithralls can easily destroy shifting stones. Over the next couple of turns Rich did some very good work at killing mechanithralls with his last feral and a couple of devourings from the druid overseer but he ran out of time on the deathclock with the final CP score being 4-3 in my favour.

Things learnt:
I wasted Nightmare by not checking out the distance to the feral carefully enough. Deathjack was also misused as a feral could easily get to him. I should have jammed up his middle feral more to help protect him. Next time will be better.

Game 2, Outflank, vs Aaron Kenny, Cryx

I'm feeling pretty good. I've won one game and I get matched up against Aaron Kenny, the guy who beat me in the finals of the Midlands Steamroller. Oh dear. Anyways, he had both Skarres and Terminus to use against me. Last time we played Gaspy3 got destroyed by Skarre2 but I think my Deneghra list can deal with most of Aaron's lists. The major issue is that all of Aaron's lists had bile thralls and I needed some accurate shooting to deal with those before they wrecked my troops. Deneghra1 was chosen and Aaron picked Terminus with; Kraken, bane thralls, mechanithralls, two necrosurgeons, biles, withershadow and a few other sundries.
I went first to gain board position with Boomhowlers on the left, Nyss centred and raiders out to the right zone. Aaron put Terminus front and centre with mechanithralls all around. The kraken went to my left and the bane thralls had to run to the right, around a building.
Time to start shooting biles then. Dougle went first and used his mini-feat to get extra range. Boomhowlers moved up and shot a couple of biles with the Nyss making sure that three of the buggers died. An arc node ran infront of Aaron's army to cast venom at a mechanithrall and caught both necrosurgeons. Unfortunately even with boosting I missed one, but one got put into the dirt. Less mechanithralls coming back now. Finally the raiders made it really difficult for Aaron to get into the right zone. Slightly a bad move though.

Aaron started his turn by camping everything and thanks to the raiders getting too close to Madelyn Corbeau a bile moved closer to my Boomhowlers, crap. Terminus feated and charged into combat killing a couple of raiders and a Nyss. Nyss failed command but Rockbottom was there to keep them active. The mechanithralls did a little bit of damage to the extended arc node but it was still active. Then the biles moved forward and killed a couple of Boomhowlers and Nyss. The kraken charged in on the Boomhowler that survived but he passed both tough checks and the bane thralls also attempted to kill some raiders but failed. Thanks to the corrosion Terminus gained nine souls from his feat turn.
I needed to destroy the kraken and the remaining biles in my turn. The mechanithralls nor bane thralls couldn't do much to me as they were jammed up by the raiders. So with Deneghra I moved slightly to get the kraken within feat range and stay more than 9" from Terminus so he can't hit me in combat. Deneghra feated and cast Parasite on the kraken then sent in the Boomhowlers while she camped three focus. Boomhowlers killed the kraken with their charges and the Nyss finished off the bile thralls. Finally over on the right the raiders moved to engage as much as possible and cause damage were they could.

Aaron decides to go for the assassination. Corbeau moves Terminus closer to Deneghra then Aaron does his best to clear a route so he's not screwed by stealth. A couple of the mechanithralls I had moved in to run interference for this reason went down to two of the withershadow's spells but Tremulus (the puppet master one) was whipped by an engaging raider. Then Terminus activates and boosts three Hellfires at Deneghra. Needing 12s he hit one of the three and did some damage but Deneghra survived. As I didn't want to take another hit like that I used Deneghra to scourge Terminus to the ground, Parasite him and move away. Then multiple shots from MacNaile, Rockbottom, nightwretch, etc. killed Terminus.

Things learnt:

My major mistake was moving the raiders into range of Corbeau's ability to move other models. Early in that turn I had thought I'd better not do that and I paid for that mistake with the lose of five or six models.

Game 3, Destruction, vs Christopher Wills, Circle Oroboros

Christopher had Kromac, Baldur2 and Morvahna2 to choose from. I could go for either Skarre or Gaspy as either isn't really effected by druids or Kromac but as Gaspy3 is great against hordes I stuck with him. Christopher chose Kromac who was running; two stalkers, gorax, wold guardian, woldwatcher, woldstalkers and two units of shifting stones (one UA of course). As I lost the roll I chose the more open side to pincer Christopher's early advance.

Ignoring the normal first turn running, mostly because I can't remember it that well. The first strike happened when a stalker teleported in to destroy the Deathjack, with the help of Primal and Wild Aggression. Crap. So I used Death Field from Ragman and destroyed him with the bokur and the blood witches. The raiders then put some damage on the far left objective with the help of Power Swell and destroyed all of the woldstalkers, leaving their stone keeper alive though. Oh, and one of the UA'd stones was killed. Gaspy moved past the wreck of Deathjack up towards the central zone and feated.

Having taken out most of Christopher's units and with Gaspy's feat up not much happened in response as I think Christopher didn't want to fuel my feat. I got couple of soul tokens from a spell and a boost but that's it. The last stalker did come in to do a bit of damage but berserk can only do so much without spending fury. Christopher also clammed up the remaining stones to protect Kromac from any odd charges and such. So with the little I gained from my feat I sent Nightmare into the wold guardian (who was protected by Inviolable Resolve) to cause damage. However, as I'd used prey on Kromac (stupid me) not much damage was cause. The blood witches and mechanithralls did manage to destroy the stalker and put some damage on the little wold as well. The raiders took care of the druid wilder and tried to take down the objective, but their whips couldn't do that much.

Christopher used the wold guardian to put some massive hurt upon Nightmare, removing both his arms. But his cortex and movement still worked at the end of the punishment. The woldwatcher cleared off the mechanithralls around him but couldn't move to safety unfortunately. Kromac started to use rift to deal with the troops but the sea witch was alive and the raiders survived while a couple of blood witches went under. My turn and my mechanithralls started to turn the battle. As Christopher was left with Kromac and easy to hit stones and wolds mechanithralls are very useful at that point. The swamp gobbers were killed by raiders and the mechanithralls took care of multiple shifting stones and the far right objective. Nightmare used his crippled arms to scratch at the small wold but that was ineffectual. 1 CP to me.

Running really low on stuff now so Christopher send casts rift again at my mechanithralls then moves off to feat and leap into melee range of a necrosurgeon who died on his axes. The wold guardian finishes off Nightmare and the woldwatcher kills a couple more mechanithralls. My turn comes around again and I wanted to get this finshed as fast as possible. Kromac was quite far from Gaspy (I was staying over 13" away at all times) and camping a fair few fury so I didn't want to try an assassination. Instead Gaspy moved up and struck the far left objective from the game and made sure he was in the zone to dominate. The mechanithralls then charged in to kill as much as possible. At the end of my turn all Christopher had was Kromac and a wold guardian with one box in spirit left. 4 CPs to me. Christopher activates the wold guardian to kill a mechanithrall and beat back into the zone but boosted initials fail to hit and the final purchased attack also misses. 6 CPs to me.

Things learnt:

Christopher killed off my raider captain in his first turn by teleporting the woldwatcher and shooting her on the advanced deployment line. That could have been the sea witch which would have been a major problem. Watch out for similar in the future. Also Wild Aggression and Primal counter Ashen Veil quite well so try to be more careful with heavies/casters.

Game 4, Into The Breach, vs Jun Chan, Skorne

Jun Chan, the guy who I beat in the Southwest steamroller finals (link). A great guy who I've played against a few times now. Always knows what his stuff can do and plays it well. But his club is missing a regular Cryx player and as such things can surprise him.

Anyways, this time he had brought Hexeris1, Xerxis and Morghoul1. Hexeris was played against Gaspy3 at the Southwest finals and I didn't think he'd go for that match-up again as his list had changed. Morghoul doesn't really like Cryx and after chatting with Jun I had the feeling he would choose Xerxis. So I went for Deneghra1 to both cut through his mass of medium bases and shoot as much as possible. Jun did choose Xerxis and as I won the roll to go first I took the advantage. Xerxis had a max unit of Cetrarti, two min units of incindiarii & arcuarii, gladiator and archidon.

Raiders ran front and centre to put pressure on Jun while the Boomhowlers went left into the zone and Nyss up behind the raiders. Jun moved everything forward in a big clump with incindiarii shots coming in to set a couple of troops on fire here and there. Cetrarti at the front with Defenders Ward on them. So I debated about either holding back my raiders another turn or charging in to cause issues. After putting Crippling Grasp on the cetrarti I charged in with the raiders and took a couple of them off the board. Boomhowlers and Nyss moved up again but that was it.

Xerxis wasn't too bothered about his front lines being crippled though as martial discipline allowed his troops to move through each other. Xerxis came out and attempted to look big and strong infront of his men but had to purchase some extra attacks to hit the dodging raiders. He them moved back slightly, camping one fury. Then the rest of his troops came forward and killed off most of the raiders on the front lines. Jun's turn ended with Xerxis in surrounded by his troops, a gladiator slamming into a knocked down Boomhowler (who didn't move) and a Nyss dying to an incindiarii shot.

My turn and I could keep fighting the attrition and see if I can grind the mass of troops down. Instead I go for the throat and try to assassinate. My raiders move to the edge of reach on a cataphract but did little damage. The allowed me to move my last arc node up and be fairly certain of being outside of engagement. Deneghra then moves up enough to get Xerxis under her feat, casts scourge on a cataphract in base contact with Xerxis then Parasite on Xerxis himself. MacNaile moves up, gives out Double Powder Rations and starts shooting Xerxis. Four shots later and the only transfer has gone (double six on damage). The Nyss then combine their shots and Xerxis was dead.

Things learnt:

After the game Jun and I were chatting away with some others and they made the following point. If you are playing against Cryx, 1. Kill their arc nodes, 2. Kill their arc nodes, and 3. if you can't follow 1 or 2 engage the arc nodes. Jun didn't do this and thus I'm fairly lucky. I need to make sure he couldn't have run and engage my bone chickens next time.

Game 5, Incursion, vs Dan Cunningham, Protectorate of Menoth

Day two of the tournament and thanks to my friend Chris I'd had a chance to skim over Dan's lists in the Menoth forums (linky dfafad). Which was handy as it gave me a clue as to what Dan would choose to play against me. We'd also been chatting over twitter Saturday evening and both of us faced a choice. Play Skarre1/Feora1 this match or be locked into them for the final game of the tournament. As my Skarre list has been designed to deal with Menoth my choice was easy. Dan's seemed to take a little while more, but it did end up with Feora1 vs Skarre1.
I won the roll and went first. The kraken went up the centre with each bane knight unit up the flanks. Dan sent the dwarfs to my left, clensers centre left, reckoners centre with Feora behind and zealots and knight exemplar seneschals up the right. Then the centre flag went away.
Seeing an easy way to kill one of the exemplar seneschals I loaded up the kraken with two focus and using its hellblaster it killed the seneschal and three of the zealots. Other than that I made sure to contest each flag with one bane knight so I could try for venegance if he scored off a flag. Instead Dan jammed with mini-feated zealots on the right and was reserved with everything else in his army. Up until the final move of his when the remaining seneschal ran to be infront of the kraken.

I didn't see a route to Feora and was slightly worried about the reckoners taking out Skarre or the kraken so Skarre used her feat and camped four focus. Bane knights charged in to cause heavy damage on what they could then the kraken trampled and got a reckoner down to one movement box left. I then cleared up the seneschal with Tartarus and passed the turn over.

Dan didn't move anything. He paused and looked at the game state. We chatted about the fact he was going to try and kill me when I asked a question I should have done at the beginning of the game, "what P+S can she get up to?"
Turns out the answer is 19 and when my armour was 24 Dan only needed a couple of hits to land and I was in real danger of losing. He cleared the route of a bane knight (who was quite dodgy and needed a lot to die) did every thing exactly right including having the kraken miss its free strike. Then the dice said no. He only hit twice out of five attacks. He feated to set Skarre on fire which didn't go out either, but Skarre survived with one or two health left and ten focus to play with. Dan called the game there.

Things learnt:
Many a time in writing these reports I mention I should always look at the caster's cards. Do I? Nope. I need to do this to stop being caught out in this manner. It was a good assassination chance that shouldn't have been given to Dan.

Game 6, Process of Elimination, vs Lewis Johnson, Cygnar

Looking at the lists I saw that Lewis had Caine2, and both Haley's. Now I haven't played against Lewis for a couple of years as he's always been doing well in tournaments whilst I wasn't. Deneghra was probably my best choice but I was really worried about the potential of a Caine assassination run. Skarre wouldn't stand upto the amount of shooting that Haley1 could put out so I went for the jack of all trades choice of Gaspy3. Lewis put against that Haley1 with stormwall, tempest blazers, storm lances, gun mages + UA, Journeyman warcaster and Gorman Di Wulfe. As I won the roll I decided to gain board position against Lewis and went first.

Raiders moved forwards 11" (enough to get up the table but not so much that I can't collect their corpses). They leaned slightly left and the blood witches slightly right. Nightmare on the right up against the stormwall (prey target) and Deathjack on the left putting Ashen Veil on the raiders. Lewis did Haley fairly early in his turn and put Deadeye on the blazers and Temporal Barrier on Haley. He then charged forwards to put the front ranks of the raiders in hie control range. Things then moved up very cautiously. The blazers then shot at three of the raiders, hitting each time, and killed six of them. They failed command and that was about it.

My turn and I am buggered. I can't engage his shooting. My troops are going to be shot off the table as there isn't much in the way of terrain to hide behind and though Haley has been aggressive, she is camping two focus so a lucky spell assassination is off the table (DEF 18 in Gorman's cloud and each focus can stop a spell). So I fully camp with Gapsy. The blood witches move forward to spread into the centre and right of the table and go incorporeal. The raiders move behind the witches and rally. Gaspy then feats and moves forward. I did think about charging but that would have put me far too close to the stormwall for comfort. Deathjack then puts Ashen Veil on Gaspy while putting a toe into the zone.

So I have protected my heavy stuff fairly well. Lewis can't kill any of the heavies nor Gaspy. Instead he goes for scenario. Haley moves, more to the left but a little forward and puts Temporal Barrier up again. He also put Arcane Shield on Stormwall while the journeyman upkept it on the stormwall. Gorman puts a cloud infront of Haley, blocking LoS. The Stormlances take out the left objective while the gun mages push Deathjack out of the zone and make sure that nothing else is contesting. Stormwall puts down some covering fire but that's about it. 3 CPs to Lewis.

It has really gone down the pan now. All I can try to do is contest the zones and survive. Unlikely as Haley has yet to feat. There was a slight hope, Haley was very close to being 10" away from Gaspy, enough to put her in Mobility and walk range. Unfortunately it was 10" and a bit. Lewis was shocked to learn the distance but as he played it safer than he thought he needed it was all good for him. Gaspy moves up to be about front and centre in the left zone. Deathjack also moves in and is surrounded by mechanithralls and stitch thralls. Nightmare takes a swing at the right objective but it's down to the raiders to give me a control point. I pass the turn back to Lewis.

At this point he feats, casts Temporal Barrier and Deadeye on the gun mages, and kills lots of things. Haley kills two mechanithralls. The stormlances kill the rest in the zone with electroleaps. Deathjack is pushes out of the zone and the bokur is kill by the gun mages. Lewis has cleared the zone and will score another two control points. He asks if it's ok to go for army points and I say "sure."

Everything except Gaspy and Deathjack dies. I didn't kill anything of Lewis'. 5 CPs to 1 in favour of Lewis and 42 points of dead Cryx. Ouch

Things learnt:

Chatting with Lewis after the game and we discussed things that I could have done differently. Choosing to go second so I can control the scenario more. Picking Skarre as my list as the kraken would be difficult to deal with. Putting prey on an objective so Nightmare gets the speed increase.

I don't regret any of my choices for the final game. However, if I went into another game with a similar situation I would chose differently. Deneghra1 should have been my choice from the outset in my opinion. Taking first would still be my choice no matter what caster, I need to get up the table with my lists. As for Nightmare's prey target, without the damage buff Nightmare wouldn't be able to do the job against an unbuffed stormwall, let alone the Arcane Shield version. It was always going to be a bloody difficult match-up with the caster being the right choice and the player being one of the best around.

So after the tournament was finished, the scores were announced and I came second. Quite a bit better then I had hoped. I enjoyed the whole weekend and will be back next time.

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