The good news is that because Tacticon failed me, I was able to convince my wife into letting me go to a tournament this coming weekend in Denver. Should be fun. Then, the weekend after that, I will be going to the IMC. This ties in directly with why I'm writing these reports - I just wanted some experience with Cassius. Let's do the jump, after which I will explain a little better.
Alright, so for the Steamroller format, you can only take two lists. For those two, I am taking Krueger2 and Morv2, as they cover (in very broad strokes) most of the matchups I am likely to see. HOWEVER, because the IMC is a master's event, I will need a third list. Cassius seems like the right caster for an event like that, as he does have a few decent matchups.
Thing is, he's a tough caster to play well. Morv2 I've always done at least passably well with. Krueger2 is a caster I've slowly gotten better with over time. Cassius... I just need more practice. And not just for his "ideal" matchups - I want him against Cryx primarily, but he can be dropped against most dudespam armies, as well as theoretically CoC, since he can take their recursion away, they struggle with the forest, etc.
So, last night was all about getting in experience with him, even against lists I would normally never drop him against. I figured it would at least help me wrap my mind around his game mechanics, and allow me to see what works in what situations. Also, I might end up being locked into him at some point, and I can't just assume it will be against the armies I'm taking him for, specifically.
Okay, enough babble! Let's get to the games!
Spoiler: I got 3 games in against 3 casters I've never played against. That's getting more and more difficult for me to do :)
Game 1: Circle (Cassius) vs. Convergence (Syntherion) 35 Points
Real Quick: Don't worry - the other games are 50 points. This game was just a quick one while we waited for more people to show up :)
Tharn Ravagers (max)
-Tharn Ravager Chieftain
Nyss Hunters (max)
The Mission: Destruction
One 6" x 12" zone in the middle with objectives on either player's left-hand corner. Destroy the objective is 1 CP, controlling the zone is 1 CP, and dominating the zone is 2 CP. First to 5 wins. KILLBOX
**I won the roll to go first, and took it
Heh... I took my normal 50 point list and just removed the Stalker and the Gorax, as well as a Gallows Grove. Not an optimal build, probably, but this was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing, and we were trying to hurry.
My plan (since I got to go first) was to try and jam Syntherion out of the zone, and kill whatever was in it. Ravagers give me a pretty strong board presence, and will provide both some early souls for myself and a screen to advance my army behind.
Not much of a plan, but a plan nonetheless!
|See, the Nyss are starting to get some paint on them, while Cassius is essentially finished. I need to work on him a little, since I accidentally sprayed him with black instead of the Varnish the other day. Not much damage done to him, but ... meh.|
|Love the Reflex Servitors. Ian's army is nicely painted - I think this is his best army so far.|
Circle Turn 1:
Ravagers ran up the board. I made sure to spread out so that the Reflex Servitors would only be able to kill one Ravager each.
Everyone else ran as well. I made a mistake and didn't rile Megalith before I ran him. Ah well.
|Also, I didn't realize until my Game 3 that Wurmwood has Advance Deploy. Wow. Game changer.|
Convergence Turn 1:
Ian started by charging two Reflex Servitors into one of my Ravagers - his first hit and did 7 damage, the other "missed" but the blast damage still did enough to kill the Ravager. #gotasoulforit
Otherwise, his army ran up. The Perforators advanced and shot, but were barely out of range of one of my Ravagers.
|Only one Ravager dead means I only got one soul :-/|
Time to see what Hellmouth can do to Reciprocators! My goal was to kill a bunch of Reciprocators and jam Ian out of the zone. Also, I wanted to kill the last Reflex Servitor.
So, Cassius charged upward, put a boosted Hellmouth on the lead Reciprocator, and killed six Reciprocators and the Reflex Servitor. He then used his last two fury to port himself to face backwards so he wouldn't have to hit Wurmwood. Finally, he popped his feat.
Nyss went next and killed a couple Reciprocators.
Ravagers went next. I had three charge into the final Reciprocators, and kept the other three back to get one last glorious charge off next turn.
I wasn't sure what Syntherion's feat did (Ian did tell me, I'm just terrible about hearing a thing and remembering what it was later - I'm much more visual learner). I hoped it wasn't something that included seeing through the forest and giving pathfinder to everyone, haha!
Convergence Turn 2:
Ian was mostly unable to get into my force, due to my huge forest. Instead, he concentrated on killing my Ravagers that he could get to. Unfortunately, Ravagers in a forest are tough to hit (DEF 15) and one of them was behind a wall. Ian also rolled poorly, and in the end, even with Synergy up, he was only able to kill one Ravager.
|Well... I'm in an alright situation for one more turn at least.|
Circle Turn 3:
My goal this turn was to kill most of Ian's Perforators, potentially kill one of the heavy jacks, and kill the objective to dominate the zone.
First, I shifted Megalith up to within 1/2" of the Monitor with some stones.
Megalith activated, and put Curse of Shadows on the Monitor. He then proceeded to wail on the Monitor until it died. However, there was a spell on the Monitor that essentially said that if it was disabled, it could be placed anywhere within 3" of its original location, and have one box on each of the systems repaired. So, that happened, and Ian shifted outside of Megalith's reach.
Ravagers went next, and they managed to kill three Perforators and put some damage on one of the Lights.
Nyss all walked up, and I did a 6-man CRA (that was all who were in range) on the Monitor, hitting and (thankfully) killing it for good. Whew!
However, I was unable to hurt the objective at all, so no scoring for me. Kind of a huge oversight :-/
Not sure what Cassius did, actually. Something important, I'm sure. Oh yeah, he put Stranglehold on something. Probably the Monitor. :-p
|Still in a good position. I missed a good opportunity by not killing the objective though.|
Convergence Turn 3:
Syntherion and Co. decided to get the synergy chain going. Syntherion charged Megalith and put some damage on him, through poor rolls. He camped a bunch, leaving him at ARM 23 or so. I believe this was the turn he popped his feat.
Other things walked up and punched me, but the Ravagers mostly lived, mostly because of poor rolls on Ian's part.
One of them shot some Nyss, killing two or three of them with a puncture AOE.
|Can I kill Syntherion this turn?|
Circle Turn 4:
Syntherion was in B2B with Megalith, but I wouldn't really able to hurt him much, since he was ARM 23.
Instead, I decided to go for the scenario victory.
Ravagers punched some stuff, finishing off the Perforators.
Megalith put Curse of Shadows on Syntherion, then punched him a couple times, boosting the paltry damage.
Nyss also jammed hard, and a few of them did a CRA to the objective for about 5 points.
Cassius charged the objective and killed it with a few swings (turning it into a 3" forest, HA), then teleported himself back next to the tree to dominate the zone.
I scored 3 CP this turn.
|If Ian can't get into my zone next turn, then I win.|
Convergence Turn 4:
Ian wasn't really able to get into my zone. He ended up killing a couple more Ravagers AND Megalith, but didn't get anything into my zone.
As such, I scored another 2 CP, for a total of 5, and the game ended.
Results: Win for Circle via Scenario!!
I was going to be in big trouble if I didn't win right there. I had zero beasts, meaning I would need to cut for more Fury every turn. Not really a good list for 35 points, honestly.
It seems like Ian was surprised by how fast my army got up the board. With first turn and the way our terrain was positioned, it kind of bottlenecked Ian from getting into me and into the zone. If he had rolled a little better, or gotten first turn, I think the game would have been far closer. As it was, I was the one rolling well, and I had the positional advantage.
As it was, it was fun to play against another Convergence army/caster, and I was impressed with Ian's paint job. Good game Ian :)
Game 2: Circle (Cassius) vs. Skorne (Rasheth)
Tharn Bloodtrackers (max)
Nyss Hunters (max)
Rasheth (Tier 4 Chain Gang)
Gatorman Posse (max)
The Mission: Outflank (two 12" circular zones - control a zone for 1 CP, dominate for 2 CP, no killbox)
**Vince won the roll to go first, and chose to take it
Well... that's a lot of Titans. Four titans, two pre-loaded Agonizers, and some Gatormen. Lots of really tough stuff, really. I love this tier, it seems like a lot of fun! Rasheth's spell list is really impressive too, though is defensive stats do leave something to be desired.
My plan was to focus on one of the zones and clear it out, while I merely kept the other zone contested. Rasheth wouldn't dare to come far enough to get into a zone, and if he did, I'd be able to jump on him and his turrrrible defensive stats. I would wait and see which zone presented the most challenge to clear, then make my decision.
I thought I'd try Bloodtrackers this time instead of Ravagers, and was therefore running one point short. I put prey on the Bronzeback, since I knew that Vince couldn't afford to play coy with him if he wanted to win the attrition battle.
If this was a 3-list event, I think either Krueger2 or Morv2 would be my drop, depending on a few different things :)
|Honestly probably the most intimidating Skorne list I've faced thus far.|
|Heh, my force seems so... small... this turn.|
Skorne Turn 1:
Everything ran up.
Rasheth put Carnivore on the Gatormen.
Gatormen prayed for Pathfinder and ran into the forest.
Everything else just ran up, just like I said, haha :)
|Slow army is slow.|
Circle Turn 1:
I ran up. Nyss went up to try and bait the Gators into killing a couple of them so that I could counter-charge and wipe them out.
Bloodtrackers played a little coy with the Bronzeback, waiting for him to charge them and kill a couple.
Everything else went up as well.
|Did I move up far enough to threaten Vince's stuff?|
Skorne Turn 2:
Vince immediately pointed out that the Stalker was in charge range of his Sentry, which I hadn't realized. Thing is, I'm used to playing against Skorne's other heavies, which don't have reach. I was definitely outside of their charge ranges. This was the first time I'd played against a Sentry, and his Halberd kind of... surprised me.
First, the Gatormen charged in and killed a couple Nyss.
Krea advanced and (it has eyeless sight, did you know that??) shot at my Stalker who was toeing the hill. Vince needed a "12" to hit, and failed.
Rasheth then went and cycled Carnivore onto the Sentry, and popped his feat, dropping my ARM and STR by 2. Ouch!
Vince buffed the Sentry with Enrage and Rush.
Sentry charged my Stalker, and with boosted rolls to hit and damage, I died in two massive hits. Kind of a game changer, right there.
Agonizers went up and projected their auras.
Bronzeback charged and killed two of my Bloodtrackers.
Cannoneer shot a Stone and killed it.
And with that, it was my turn, and most of my models were -2 STR. Yikes.
|Really painful turn for me. I should have popped my feat that turn...|
Circle Turn 2:
I had a possible assassination, but I wasn't sure if it would work. Doing the math in my head, I thought that I had a pretty good chance to make it happen.
First, I had Megalith trample up near the Cannoneer. I was a little sloppy though, and didn't trample in a way which would allow me NOT to be free-struck by the Sentry. Vince hit and rolled a gnarly 12 to my 5, which was the EXACT perfect roll to take out my spirit, making me unable to force.
...sigh. I should have been less sloppy. Gorax might have been able to throw him or something instead.
My plan was to get Curse of Shadows on Rasheth, only needing an "8" to hit him. Now, the assassination was dubious, but I was committed.
My intact Stones unit teleported Wurmwood 8" + his base size up toward Rasheth.
Cassius activated and took all 5 souls, giving him 11 Fury.
He cast Unseen Path on himself, teleporting anywhere within 2" of Wurmwood, closer to Rasheth.
Another Unseen Path put the tree close to Rasheth, and the final Unseen path put Cassius in Rasheth's back arc with 5 fury. However, he was only POW 10 due to Rasheth's feat, which meant he had 6 swings at dice -4 to kill Rasheth, who had one transfer. That averages to about 15 damage, which wasn't really enough. I would need to get lucky. If I wanted, I could put Curse of Shadows on Rasheth, which would actually put my average damage at 10, after a transfer.
I had one other option - if my initial attacks didn't go well, Cassius could teleport Wurmwood out of harm's way, and even teleport himself out of harm's way, then pop the feat, *probably* giving me another turn to try and kill Rasheth.
I decided to just swing a few first and see what happened.
My first swing did 7 damage, and Vince transferred it. 5 attacks left.
Second swing did 5 damage.
Third swing did 7 damage.
Fourth swing did 3 damage.
Fifth swing did 3 damage.
I would need a "6" to kill Rasheth on my final swing.
I hit and...
...got the six, killing Rasheth and turning him into a forest.
|I took a much closer-up picture as well, but it apparently didn't save. :-/ You can see Cassius way the hell back there though, haha.|
Results: Win for Circle via Assassination!!
Wow, this game was crazy! Cassius actually has a decent assassination threat on him, though I doubt it would work against too many casters out there. As it was, I got fairly lucky, though had I gotten Curse of Shadows off (which was likely), the assassination becomes extremely likely. I will need to try this assassination thing out again, haha :)
Anyways, Vince played a great couple turns - he applied some ridiculous pressure, and essentially "won" the piece trade. Had the Stalker lived, I still had a really rough time coming, as his Feat debuff, Agonizer debuff, Krea Debuff, and Cannoneer Debuff made hurting any of Vince's heavies really unlikely.
I need to keep better care of my Stalker. You may have noticed that I've done a better job of keeping my own caster safe lately - it's been a long while since I got "randomly" assassinated. So, that part of my game has definitely improved. HOWEVER, the same cannot be said of my Stalker. I don't know why I don't protect him better. He hits hard and is a powerful model, but I just let people kill him for free in many of my games. In this case, things were slightly excusable, as I was playing against a model I had zero experience against. However, I could have still taken the time to be more careful.
Actually, aside from Cassius carrying the entire day for me (I killed a single model this game, aside from a Bloodtracker I trampled over, haha), the Sentry ended up being the man of the match. Not only did he kill my Stalker in two hits, but he also managed to keep me from getting Curse of Shadows off on Rasheth. via an EPIC roll on the perfect damage spiral.
I really like Rasheth, and will be trying to convince Vince (conVince, HA) to take him more often.
Cassius threat range with intact Stones w/ 5 fury remaining (we're saying small base = 1" and large base = 2") = 10 (teleport Wurmwood) + 3 (Unseen Path Cassius) + 4 (Unseen Path Wurmwood) + 3 (Unseen Path Cassius) + 2 (Reach) = 22"
22 inches, with 6 attacks at the end of it, and the ability to move in a non-linear way.
Game 3: Circle (Cassius) vs. Josh "Newbstomp" Nordstrom's Khador (Irusk2)
Tharn Bloodtrackers (max)
Nyss Hunters (max)
Black Dragon Iron Fang Pikemen (max)
Winter Guard Mortar Crew
Winter Guard Mortar Crew
Iron Fang Kovnik
Mission: Incursion (three flags in the middle, one outside flag disappears at the end of Round 1. Dominate outside flag for 2, control outside, and middle for 1, dominate middle for 1 CP. NO killbox)
**We rolled for first turn, and I won, electing to go first.
Well, this is not a list I normally want to face with Cassius. That was apparent before we played, but after discovering what Irusk2's feat did later in the game (you'll see), I was even more surprised.
My goal was to win via Scenario, though I thought I had a reasonable shot at out-attritioning Josh's force as well. The Mortars were a little sad-making, but I knew I could spread out enough that they would only kill a couple of my infantry each per turn, which would at least give me some souls.
I just wanted to see what would happen.
|I put "Prey" on the Pikemen.|
Circle Turn 1:
I ran forward, but not as recklessly as I usually do.
Everything was spread out, and the Nyss stayed hidden behind the forest, so the Mortar crews couldn't see them.
|Also, Wurmwood is AD. Makes my life much easier :)|
Khador Turn 1:
Josh marched his army up, and put Tactical Supremacy on the Pikemen, giving them a total 11" shieldguard march.
A few shots killed a few of my models, but nothing too crazy. 20" guns are pretty crazy :)
Actually, one of the shots did end up killing my Blackclad. So that was awesome.
|Pikemen are in a great position for me to kill most of them with Bloodtrackers this turn.|
Circle Turn 2:
I started with the Bloodtrackers. They walked up to the Pikemen and threw their spears at them. I fully expected to kill a minimum of 5, since I needed 5's to hit and 8's to kill on 3 dice. Truth be told, I thought it would be more.
I rolled well, hitting and wounding with all 8 of my Bloodtrackers. They managed to kill 3 Pikemen, as Josh immediately made 5 Tough rolls out of 8. Ouch.
Nyss went next, and I used CRA to shoot at Widowmakers. They killed one (needed 6's to hit) and (surprise) allowed Josh to make 2 more Tough checks - the one I killed was outside of Irusk's 10" CMD, and therefore didn't get a roll.
Not going well so far, haha!
I had a Grove shuffle forward, close to Kell on the right-hand side.
Cassius went, arced a Stranglehold onto Kell, and killed him with boosted damage. I then popped my feat, hoping it was enough to give me another chance to kill Josh's models before he was upon me. At this point, I still felt like it was a game :)
|Pretty epic... 7 out of 10 tough rolls :-p Really though, Josh should have passed at least 3 of them. Only a 4-model swing. Still felt pretty crappy at the time, ha :)|
Khador Turn 2:
Josh chuckled after re-reading his feat. "It's like I took this list just to beat your list," he said. His feat allows his models to ignore the forest for line of sight, and also gives him pathfinder. His models that were knocked down also got to stand up immediately. His Pikemen couldn't be knocked down regardless, but the Widowmakers got to stand up.
So, he shot a bunch, and after incidental damage and stuff, he managed to kill all but 3 of my Bloodtrackers, and put about 8 damage on Cassius (and a bunch more on the Stalker and Gorax from transfers), due to the fact that Wurmwood was charged by 4 Weaponmaster (from a spell) Pikemen.
Not a great turn for me at all, haha :)
Oh yeah, Harlan moved up and scored on the objective.
Score: 1-0, advantage Khador
|At least I have max souls on Wurmwood lol :-p|
Circle Turn 3:
So, not only was my feat worthless, it lulled me into a feeling of safety. I honestly thought that I was good to go for a turn. Instead, Josh gutted my army. Not a good turn of events.
I still wanted to try though. There were a few things I could do to potentially win the attrition battle. None of my heavies were dead, and the Bloodtrackers could still do something.
First, I needed to kill the Spriggan, and also kill as many Pikemen as possible.
Green Stones went and ported the Stalker inside of the red Stones.
Gorax put Primal on the Stalker.
Megalith went next, used his Animus, and put CoS on the Spriggan. He then advanced and punched a couple Pikemen, one of which passed his Tough roll.
Red Stones teleported the Stalker to within 2" of the Spriggan.
Stalker got out to an early lead, doing like 11 damage to the Spriggan on his first hit and knocking out his Shield. My rolls after that (at damage +3) did an average of 6 damage each hit, with the final one doing about 8 and (barely) killing the damn thing. No leftover attacks for the Pikemen nearby :-/
Bloodtrackers went and missed most of their attacks, needing 5's to hit. Doh!
Nyss went and even with aiming bonuses barely managed to finish off two Widowmakers. Poor placement on my part though. I need to stop playing them so passively.
Gobbers went, and one of them ran a crooked line to be behind a bunch of Pikemen and the last Widowmaker.
Cassius shot a Hellmouth at the Gobber, hit, and killed two Pikemen and the Widowmaker. He then charged another Pikeman and killed him, turning him into a forest, and used his final fury to teleport back into the forest.
I had been planning on shooting Harlan with a Stranglehold instead of charging, but apparently he can't be targeted by spells, doh! I did have the Grove contest the flag though.
Score: 1-0, advantage Khador
|Pretty busy turn, and without very good results. I'm glad I managed to kill the Spriggan at least.|
Josh had the Great Bears charge Megalith, which softened him up.
Irusk had a spell that could essentially give Behemoth pathfinder, so he cast it.
Behemoth charged Megalith (I had thought he was safe from the Jack's charge, more fool me) and easily punked Megalith. He then shot some AOEs and killed my remaining Bloodtrackers besides Nuala, who passed her CMD check.
Harlan shot the Grove and killed it, scoring again.
Score: 2-0, advantage Khador
|Not looking awesome... I thought Megalith would be around for another turn.|
Circle Turn 4:
Stalker frenzied and killed a Pikeman.
I had a red Stone teleport into the cluster of Great Bears and Pikemen near the hill.
Nuala went, killing her Pikeman in Melee, then threw a spear at another one, needing a "6" on 3 dice to kill him, but got a 4 instead. She reformed into B2B with the Behemoth.
Green Stones teleported Cassius to be in range of the Stone.
Cassius shot Hellmouth at the Stone, hit, and got 2 Great Bears and three Pikemen in the AOE. I boosted against the two Great Bears, but only killed one. I also only managed to kill two Pikemen, leaving Josh with one remaining. Cassius then teleported back into the forest.
Gorax ran to contest the flag on the left.
Nyss mostly ran, though one of them charged Behemoth, spiking 8 damage, randomly.
I will admit to being disappointed with my turn - if I had killed both Great Bears, or all of the Pikemen, it would have at least felt better. Ah well.
Score: 2-0, advantage Khador
I swear I took a couple more pictures, but they aren't on my phone somehow :-/
Khador Turn 4:
Josh used Behemoth to kill like 5 or 6 small-base models off of the middle objective to control it.
He then shot my already-wounded Gorax and killed him, and had Irusk run 12" and dominate the outside flag for a 3-point turn, ending the game.
Results: Loss for Circle via Scenario!!
Well... lots of things went wrong this game. Mostly, it was due to my own ignorance. I thought the Behemoth wouldn't be able to charge Megalith with Mega's animus up, but I was wrong. I thought that my feat would actually protect me and only allow me to lose about 3 or 4 models, but was wrong about that too. I only have myself to blame for it, though. Josh would have let me read his cards. I was tired though, and didn't feel like reading them. I paid the price :)
He's a good player, and knew his list well. Regardless of his awesome tough rolls (and they were awesome, trust me), I felt like there were a lot of opportunities for me to play better than I did. The Nyss were a non-factor the whole game, spending their time to kill like 3 Widowmakers. I need to be less passive with them.
Bloodtrackers... well. I thought I played them alright. They were always going to be sad about the Mortars and Behemoth, but they had their chance to kill the Pikemen, and ran into good tough rolls. Just how it goes sometimes.
This was a turrrible matchup for Cassius, and I did play some things poorly. However, I feel like I did a few things right as well. I had the Stalker kill his Spriggan, which was going to ruin my day if I didn't deal with it. I also managed to get a few clever Hellmouths off. Most importantly, I'm learning to be a little more aggressive with Cassius. He's contributing more and more, and I feel like once I hit a matchup that I like, I'll be much more competent.
Thanks Josh for kicking my ass once again :)
Overall, a very productive 3 games. Whereas I'm unlikely to use Cassius in any of these matchups, I feel like I accomplished my goal of getting more familiar with him. Hopefully familiar enough to help me out at the IMC in a week!
Thanks for reading, I think I was a little extra wordy today for some reason. Hope you enjoyed it, let me know what you think.