Sunday, 17 November 2013

Southwest Steamroller Finals - Tournament Report

Time to write another tournament report. I've missed a couple of trips around the country but remembering details is slightly hard work so I'm just going for one of the most recent events.

A month or two back I went to a Southwest steamroller heat in Bath. Managed to come within the top 4 there and thus gain an invite to the Finals down in Cornwall. The event was put on by Mad For Miniatures with Matt Beer running the day and Martyn Jenkins being one of the main guys behind the whole thing. They had a lovely set-up down there with plenty of space for all the tables, enough to run a hardcore on the same day in fact. I took my Asphyxious the Hellbringer list and paired him with Warwitch Deneghra running Boomhowlers, Nyss Hunters, Satyxis Raiders and Mechanithralls as a second/third line.

Game 1, Outflank, vs Tyrant Swabs, Mercenaries

First up I was facing Tyrant Swabs and Magnus1. He had only brought down one list and thus I had an easy choice. Deneghra1 to deal with any sort of armour issues. Magnus had brought with him; Galleon, two renegades, freebooter, buccaneer, Wrong Eye & Snapjaw, bull snapper, Dougal MacNaile and Dirty Meg. I won the role and went first to get a favourable board position on the jacks.

My raiders went into the left zone and the boomhowlers to the right (every time they had +4 tough this game) with the Nyss in the centre for support. Tyrant Swabs used Magnus' feat first turn and got a renegade into each zone with the left one also having a freebooter as well. Galleon was centred and everything else was to the right of Galleon.

I don't want to feat yet though as Deneghra was still behind a load of models and it didn't quite seem the right turn. So my raiders charged into the jacks in the left zone and cleared them out with the help from Power Swell. Boomhowlers took a few shots at their renegade but did little, same with the Nyss. Magnus got Iron Aggression on the galleon and then sent Snapjaw into the right zone to kill a few of the boomhowlers and engage two of the Nyss. Wrong Eye was out of fury though as he had put Spiny Growth on Snapjaw and used submerge on himself. Magnus was then hit by the buccaneer and feigned death so I couldn't get an assassination off this turn.

No worries, that wasn't going to be the plan. I needed to get rid of the warbeasts and the best way was to kill Wrong Eye. So Deneghra moved up and feated to cover the galleon, Wrong Eye & Snapjaw and the remaining renegade. I also put Parasite on Snapjaw in case the plan to get rid of Wrong Eye failed. Unfortunately I messed up the order of activation slightly and sent in the Nyss to Snapjaw before I tried to kill Wrong Eye. Snapjaw lived and thus it became more important to kill his controller. Two Boomhowlers charged in and took him down. Then the Raiders charged the galleon and did some massive damage to him. As I had been hurting three jacks with the Raiders Magnus was running seriously low on health now. My feat blunted his counter attack though. The galleon killed a couple of the raiders and the buccaneer charged the forward most Boomhowlers but failed to damage. The renegade was engaged as well so could only knockdown one Boomhowler. Magnus ran himself behind some cover on the right so I couldn't get to him either.

However, Magnus was on about five health at this point so I got too excited and after Parasiting the galleon I sent in the raiders to finish off the game. They failed though as one did a massive strike with her whip and destroyed the colossal with two health left on Magnus. I should have sent in the Withershadow Combine first to disbind the upkeep spell and cause D3 damage. Oh, well. I attacked the renegade a little bit more at this point but he was a stubborn bugger and still contested the zone that Deneghra had moved into (Tempered Metal was helping in this regard). 1 CP to me.

Tyrant Swabs quickly ran Dougal MacNaile into the left zone to contest and continued to move around the cover on the right. He took a pot shot at a Boomhowler but not much else happened. My raiders dealt with MacNaile (tough was a slight worry) and then the renegade finally went down to concentrated fire. Deneghra camped all her focus and I passed the turn back. 4 CPs to me.

It was Dirty Meg's turn to run into the left zone and contest. The buccaneer again did his best to kill the Boomhowlers but failed and Magnus moved into the right zone. That was all Tyrant Swabs could really do but there was a slight mistake on his part. He thought I couldn't dominate with Magnus in there as well (Steamroller say when both casters would dominate only the active player scores) but Magnus wasn't dominating with all the troops in there as well. 6 CPs to me.

Things learnt:

I think the major turning point of this game was galleon having to run to the left zone to contest. Without that his guns would have destroyed a large part of the Nyss and done a load more damage to my army. I'll have to try to force that issue on more of my opponents in the future.

Game 2, Into the Breach, vs Terry Slade, Circle Orboros

Second game and things are going ok. Terry had Morvahna2 and Kaya2 to chose from but all I had eyes for was Morvahna. I thought the feat of Gaspy's and the blood witches able to remove from play, he would be the best choice. It worked and as I lost the roll I had my pick of a side. Terry's list was: two stalkers, gorax. skinwalkers & UA, tharn ravagers & WA, Druid blackclad solo, Stones & UA, two gallows groves. I lost the roll and picked the side that would put the zone in the open and the flag contained by woods.

Terry advanced very aggressively with his ravagers leading the way, skinwalkers behind and stalkers right in the back, in the stones though. My Raiders get into the left forest to contest the flag and blood witches run into the zone while going incorporeal. Erebus, Deathjack and Gaspy all take position behind a handy wall.

At this point I find out what Ravagers can do to infantry, especially when under the influence of Carnivore. They killed my front line of raiders quite handily and collected a couple of corpse tokens (which you can't do as Carnivore always removes from play, but I didn't realise, opps). Anyways, I sent in the blood witches and raiders to kill as much as they could and for the next turn or two we had a brawl in the centre of the table. All of our units where heavily damaged but Terry still had a feat in play.

The next photo shows what's been happening quite well. Erebus is in the centre doing what he can to help out my satyxis and Deathjack and Asphyxious are chilling in the back with Gaspy's feat activated. Unfortunately I did that too soon and only got a couple of souls from it. So it goes.

While my feat was up Morvahna also moved towards the flag and feated five of her troops back into the melee. At this point I saw a chance to spell assassinate and Vociferon had his route cleared by Deathjack, ogrun bokur and Ragman to run into range of Morvahna. Hex Blast happened first to remove Fog of War but the Boneshakers only got her down to 2-3 health. I messed up here as what I should have done is use Blood Boon to cast the Hex Blast (there was a skinwalker right in front of me) and boost the hit. Then cast as many Boneshakers as possible (with the remaining eight focus, poor feat turn). So it goes.

I'm now sat there with no focus and ready for the slaughter. A gallows grove was there ready to channel Sunder Spirits but Terry decides to kill Vociferon with Morvahna and score a control point while his stalkers finish off Erebus and his troops do mine in. At this point though I was going to have a fairly good chance at killing a large proportion of his troops with my mass of mechanithralls. Instead I go straight for the head of Morvahna. Deathjack clears the way of a ravager and Gaspy moves into reach range of Morvahna and a gallows grove. Swing at the tree so I can cast Carnage for free and then purchase seven attacks at Morvahna, needing sevens to get through the four fury. Not one of my attacks missed and thus I had two focus left at the end. Totaling up the army points killed we had both done in 35 points of stuff, but my score included the warbeasts. The attrition was not in my favour.

Things learnt:

Read the caster's cards. I've had this before but I am often too cocky it seems. Also I need to pick Asphyxious' feat turn better. I got two soul tokens from that, one from an upkeep and the second from the blackclad spraying down my troops. Not the best way to play him.

Game 3, Close Quarters, vs Alun Evans, Protectorate of Menoth

Third game and things are getting difficult. Alun Evans is my next opponent and he can choose between Thyra and her theme list or Severus1 with a Judicator, Blessing of Vengeance, two Vessels of Judgement, full zealots & UA and Eiryss2. Oh, and the choir. Deneghra has a load of squishy troops same as Gaspy, but he has the advantage of Erebus and Deathjack. So I picked him to deal with Severius and thus not be so threatened by Thyra's army. Alun picked Sevvy and the three huge bases. Hmmm, this will be interesting.

As I lost the roll to go first I picked the side with plenty of walls to advance behind, hopefully protecting me from Alun's shooting.

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Alun moved everything forwards with the zealots taking the right flank and everything else coming up the centre/left. With advanced deployment I managed to get a raider captain in range to shoot the monolith bearer and with a bit of luck he died stopping their turn of suffering no damage. The rest of the raiders took position in the forest with the sea witch hiding right at the back. Erebus ran to the far wall and was joined by some blood witches. Meanwhile Gaspy and Deathjack held hands behind a far safer centre wall.

The zealots moved up a bit more but even with fervour (the +2 hit and damage thingy) they couldn't hit the raiders directly. But the Vessels did a brilliant job on Erebus taking out his cortex easily and a few of the blood witches from the bounces. The judicator joined in as well and with some good deviations ten of the blood witches were dead, leaving only the blood hag. Bit of a bugger that. So I used Erebus as a speed bump, pushing him out in front of everything. The raiders went into the zealots killing most of them and hoping to survive thanks to Ashen Veil. Gaspy and Deathjack camped the wall again.

The vessels finished off Erebus and the blood hag whilst the judicator tried to burn the raiders but only getting one or two. Not much else happened from what I can recall so I gave the raiders Scything Touch and sent them against the right-most vessel of judgement. Thanks to that and their mini-feat the vessel was destroyed leaving Severius exposed, he had to move up due to killbox being active. Gaspy and the Deathjack moved up to the flag with the bokur in support. I was keeping Deathjack back so to have something to threaten the judicator. Gaspy also feated and thanks to the zealots dying Vociferon was sitting on three souls. 1 CP to me.

Alun did his turn in a really odd way and seemed to mess up his order of activation. Severius killed a couple of raiders with Ashes to Ashes but didn't roll that all important high number. Again, the judicator tried to kill some raiders as well but mostly failed only boosting one to hit giving me one soul. Serverius had feated though stopping me from refilling my focus.

With that I decided to end the game and sent in the raiders with Scything Touch still upkept. Four of them made it to a non-camping Severius and one to Eiryss. Eiryss died and the other raiders took care of Severius. 3 CPs by the end of the game.

Thing learnt:

Alun had designed a very good shooting list there. Erebus was killed handily (when DEF 18) and so were the blood witches. I need to think about lists that could handle that amount of high power shots that can kill four models a turn. Scary prospect.

Game 4, Incursion, vs Jun Chan, Skorne

I'm in the finals of the day. Light was fading fast and thus I'm unsure how good the photos here will turn out. Jun was commanding Skorne and had chosen to bring Xerxis and Hexeris1 to the party. Xerxis had medium bases overload, possibly even his theme list, while Hexeris had two units of gators, cannoneer, bronzeback and various other helpful models. Jun had locked himself into Hexeris on the way to the finals though and I picked Gaspy as I thought he would be the best to deal with the Skorne.

I went first and took the raiders up the left side of the middle and the blood witches the right side of the middle. Deathjack behind both units and Erebus left of centre. Jun sent the possies up the centre as well with Dirge of Mists active. Cannoneer was slightly left and the bronzeback slightly right. Unfortunately for Jun the right flag went away and I saw my chance to contain him outside the left flag.

Erebus was sent to base the flag on the left as the raiders charged into the gators (Hex Blast took care of Death March). I didn't use power swell on the charge and thus only killed one or two of the gators. Managed to pass three command checks though. The blood witches moved up in support and went incorporeal whilst Gaspy moved left in preparation.

Jun activated Hexeris' feat and this was fairly successful with most of the raiders dying to either gators or their sisters turning on them. This denied me a load of corpse tokens as well. Oh well. Jun's void spirit took care of a blood witch or two, made them fail a command check and he ran something to contest the left flag, I think it was a paingiver. My turn and it was a real mistake not to use the raider's power swell. I think I could have killed a couple more of the gator with that. Having little choice left Vociferon went into the Void Spirit and with the two souls on him boosted hit and damage to take him out of the game. The blood witches rallied but couldn't do much else. Deathjack moved to just behind the centre flag and Gaspy dominated the left flag as Erebus killed the paingiver. 2 CPs to me.

Jun sent in the gators to kill the last of my living troops letting the blood hag and one blood witch live though. The raider captain also bought it as she was a speed bump protecting the Deathjack. One gator managed to contest the left flag as the Bronzeback positioned to attack the Deathjack next turn. Hexeris hung back and put Death March back on one of the gators and that was about it. My ogrun took care of the contesting gator as the Mechanithralls came in on the gators doing some damage to them but nowhere near enough. Deathjack put Ashen Veil on himself to try to protect against the Bronzeback and Gaspy dominated the flag once again. 4 CPs to me.

Jun really was on the back foot with regards to the scenario now. He ran the cannoneer into contesting range and moved the gatormen around to get two of them within 4" of the left flag as well. This had the welcome side effect of clearing a route to the Deathjack and the Bronzeback killed him with a bit of fury to spare. At this point I had two mechanithralls, two fairly complete necrosurgeon units (with plenty of corpses), Gaspy, bokur and Erebus. So I loaded up Erebus with focus and sent in the bokur against the cannoneer to do a bit of damage. The necrosurgeons put down six mechanithralls in the vicinity of the left flag, ready to to some clearing up. Gaspy moved around the flag and still based it while killing one of the gators there. Carnage was cast thanks to blood boon and Erebus killed the cannoneer in part thanks to Scything Touch. This just left one contesting Gator and five mechanithralls use combo strike and that was the end of the game. 6 CPs to me. I was really losing the attrition match up though with Jun killing 36 points of my army vs his 20 points dead.

Things learnt:

When getting the alpha strike use all the tools to ensure it is a good one. I shouldn't have held back a turn for power swell as I didn't get to use it at all this game. Oh and try to avoid being jammed out of scenario. Not likely to happen at the moment with my lists but I'm planning on switching to Skorne soon and in my games down my local I have had it happen once or twice now.

That was a very good day. I won the Southwest steamroller finals and gained a fairly big trophy for my efforts. All my opponents were awesome and very good players, they had to be to get good placements at their heats. Thanks again to the organisers and the store who ran the event. I'll hopefully be back there sometime in the future, though it is a fairly long trip for the UK.

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