Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Warmachine Batrep 30: Circle at Feast of Blades, Day 1 (D&C event + Iron Gauntlet), Lots of Pictures!

Whew! Just got back from Feast of Blades, and I'm kind of wiped out! I played a total of 14 games, and took pictures for all of them! I won't spoil the results for you all, so you can be in suspense the whole time :-p

I'll be writing up three different posts: Days 1, 2, and 3. It'll take me a while to get through all of the games, but I'll get there! I only took three different lists, though I think that at least one of those will be changing in the future. I'll let you figure out which one for yourself, haha ;)

Let's get to the jump, and we can begin to unpack the SIX games I played on Day 1 of Feast of Blades.



I've copied my goals and such from my last post here:

Here are my goals for Feast:

  1. Win all my games and events and be tournament champion
If Goal #1 isn't met, I'll attempt to be satisfied if I can at least do some/all of the following:
  1. Qualify for Masters
  2. Qualify for Finals of Iron Gauntlet
  3. Get a ton of really awesome learning games in to help me get better
  4. Go above .500.
    1. This may sound a little "meh", but I have no idea how many games I'll be playing this weekend, so saying I want to go at least "13-10" doesn't work. Having a winning record is good enough for me for now. Soon enough I'll start to get a little more greedy.
  5. Win some sort of prize for being awesome (i.e. NOT a "learn to play better, or choose a different game because you lost all of your games and you're the worst player here" award)
With that, here's a list of the events I plan on playing.

Friday:


  • Divide and Conquer
  • Iron Gauntlet Qualifier 
(this means I could play a maximum of 8 games in one day, but hopefully fewer, heh)

Saturday:

  • WM/H Team Tournament (with my good friends CJ and Donald, who have not been practicing even a little bit)
  • HOPEFULLY: Iron Gauntlet Finals
    • If not, Commander's Crucible
Sunday:
  • HOPEFULLY: Masters
    • If not, Flanks for the Memories
This all means that I could potentially play a total of 19 games, with somewhere around 15 or even fewer being more likely. At any rate, I intend to take pictures of all of my games, and even if I don't do reports for ALL of them, hopefully most of them will get some love :)


So, Day 1 is all about the Divide and Conquer for me, with Iron Gauntlet Qualifiers after that.

Event #1: Divide and Conquer

I took two lists. Here is a picture of my armies first:

Krueger looks like he decided to break dance a little bit.

My Lists:

List 1:

Krueger2

-Ghettorix
-Warpwolf Stalker
-Gorax

Tharn Bloodtrackers (max)
-Nuala
Druids of Orboros
-Druid Overseer
Shifting Stones
-Stone Keeper
Stoneward and Wold Stalkers (Shrimp!)

Gallows Grove
Blackclad Wayfarer

List 2:

Morvahna2

-Warpwolf Stalker
-Warpwolf Stalker
-Gorax

Tharn Ravagers (max)
-Tharn Ravager Chieftain
-Tharn Ravager Shaman
Warpborn Skinwalkers (max)
-Warpborn Alpha
Shifting Stones
-Stone Keeper

Gallows Grove
Gallows Grove
Blackclad Wayfarer

The Divide and Conquer event would be my main hope of qualifying for Masters, since my team was probably not going to be good enough to win all 4 rounds of the team event, and I wasn't sure, but knew it was a possibility that not many people would be playing in the Iron Gauntlet, and I might just be able to fall into the semis without much effort. While that would be nice, the Semis just happened to be at the same time as the Commander's Crucible event, which would be my only other real shot at qualifying.

40 people ended up showing up for this event, and only about 7 for the Hardcore, which ran at the same time. They shifted the numbers of qualifiers for masters, which meant the top 6 from D&C would get into masters. My goal of course was to just win all my games so that I didn't have to worry about tie breakers :)

Mostly, I just hoped I would get someone relatively new to the game so that I could ease into the tournament and shake off whatever rust had accumulated over the week.

Game 1: Circle vs. Collin Miller's Trollbloods

His Lists: (only the Grissel and Doomy ones)


No real notion on what Grissel or Calendra do. Heh.

Pairing Debate:

This wasn't much of a debate for me. I was fairly certain he would pick Doomy1 against me, since I've heard he's what you're supposed to drop against Circle if you're Trolls. Even if he dropped Grissel, I wasn't too worried about it. It was one of my easier choices this weekend. I picked Krueger2, while Collin picked Doomy1.

The Mission: Outflank (dominate a zone for 2, control a zone for 1, first to 5 wins)

**I won the roll to go first, and took it.

Pre-game thoughts:

First off: damnit, damnit, damnit! Collin is one of the best players in our area, and while I hadn't had a chance to play against him yet, I knew that he had a few impressive tournament finishes under his belt, including his recent(ish) victory at the Clash for Colorado. This was going to be a rough game for me from the beginning.

I knew that my Druids would be key in this matchup. The Runeshapers would not be able to use their magic stuff on my models within the 10" bubble of counter-magic. While that was clearly important, it was equally important that Doomy not be able to cast spells on my beasts as well.

My plan was really just to get up in the zones and threaten them as best I could, while looking for opportunities to drag his various beasts to their doom with my Druids. One thing I did have in mind was to facilitate the clearing of one zone or another, then getting Krueger into it to dominate it. This would mostly rely on my use of Stones and keeping them protected.

Deployment:

His deployment looks far more organized than mine!

Circle Turn 1:

I put up Storm Wall, everything advanced as quickly as they could, and I passed my turn to him.

Prey was on the Axer. Notice the two extra walls Colin has there - the little clear grid things. Bleck, such a good list!

Trolls Turn 1:

Colin mostly just ran up and tried to target my Bloodtrackers with his Runeshapers. I had already explained the counter-magic thing to him, but it seemed that he missed part of it. :-/

His heavies hung out behind some walls, and I had very few easy targets for my next turn.


Going first is sad sometimes because it means you can't score on your second turn.
 Circle Turn 2:

I decided to take what I could get, which was mostly Runeshapers.

Shrimp went up and managed to kill two Runeshapers on their own, via Aiming + Zephyr.

Bloodtrackers also managed to kill two Runeshapers on their own, due to being badass weapon masters.

Druids walked up and put up Counter-Magic (I did this in all my turns in every game, and I won't say it often, just FYI), and their clouds.

I kept my own Heavies behind the clouds - my thought was that if Doomy got a heavy into me, they'd at least be -2 to hit, which helps a bunch when I'm already DEF 14.

Krueger put up Storm Wall for fun, and camped 4, because I knew that Mulg might be able to get to me.

Looks like maybe I killed 5 Runeshapers this turn, not 4. Hooray for me!

Trolls Turn 2:

Collin thought for a while and decided that he thought he might have an assassination vector on me. He also let me know that transferring under Doomy's feat would also result in Krueger taking d6 damage. Ha! I still wasn't too concerned, but high spikes could kill Krueger easy enough.

Doomy went, and put Fortune on Mulg, then popped his feat, meaning that anytime I spent fury, I would take d6 points of damage for each fury I used, both in his turn and in mine.

Axer went and put Rush on Mulg.

Initially, Colin was going to trample with Mulg to get behind my Druid screen, but after a moment of contemplation, we decided that he wouldn't be able to get behind them, even with Rush up.

Instead, Mulg charged a Druid and killed him, then forced to be goaded into moving up to hit my Stalker. He wasn't going to be able to get to Krueger, but maybe he could kill my Stalker. However, the cloud effect from the dead Druid reduced his MAT by two, and Mulg was unable to finish my Stalker off, despite having Fortune for rerolls to hit. I believe I had one or two boxes remaining at that point.

Other things happened, such as the the Runeshapers targeting my Shrimp from across the board to scatter them into my Druids or Bloodtrackers, but Storm Wall helped me keep the deviations from ruining my day too much.

Earthborn and Mauler both moved up into the middle of both zones, behind the walls there.

It was a scary position to be in - I couldn't use too much fury, or I'd die from Doomy's feat, but I also had to deal with the heavy beasts threatening me at every angle.

Not a wonderful position to be in right now, but at least my Stalker lived. 
Circle Turn 3:

I wasn't going to score this turn, but I needed to make something happen. Namely, Mulg needed to die.

First, I had the Druids go. They healed the Stalker for enough to get him back to "operational, if barely", and put up their clouds.

The Stalker walked up a little bit and punched Mulg with his initial attacks, and called it a day, fearful of the feat.

Stones teleported Ghettorix over to Mulg.

Ghetto took four swings to kill Mulg (so, two initials and two bought attacks, which resulted in about 9 damage total).

Bloodtrackers managed to kill two of the Krielstone unit, and another couple Runeshapers. I think I even got a throw in at the Axer, but it didn't do much.

Shrimp stood still and shot the Earthborn, but didn't do much damage.

Krueger decided to pop his feat to keep the Earthborn from charging Ghettorix.

Not a terrible turn for me, all things considered.

Trolls Turn 3:

I had thought that my push would keep the Mauler from getting to Ghetto, but after we very carefully measured it out, the Earthborn (with Rush) was just barely barely within .5" of Ghetto. Still, he didn't get the charge, which was relevant, as you'll see.

After someone gave the Earthborn Rush, he took a bunch of swings at Ghetto. Collin spiked some reasonable damage rolls, but failed to kill Ghetto. The charge dice might have been the difference-maker, actually. Both of my Wolves were now on life support.

Not much else happened. Most of Collin's models were unable to move far enough to do much, and Counter-magic kept them from casting many spells.

Games with Trolls are such slogfests!

Circle Turn 4:

I needed to kill the Earthborn this turn. I also really wanted to kill the final Runeshaper in the left zone so I could get two points for dominating it.

Shrimp went first and finished off the Runeshaper.

Druids fumbled around for a long time to push the Earthborn Troll away from the Wall to get rid of its defensive bonuses, but I kind of just failed a lot. One of them healed Ghetto to get him all the way healthy.

Both of my Heavies took a bunch of swings at the Earthborn but epic failed on their rolls, and the Earthborn was left on a couple of boxes.

Enter Krueger, who charged in and killed the Earthborn on his first hit, and stayed in the zone so that he could dominate it.

Bloodtrackers managed to kill off more Runeshapers (so many of the damn things!), and put a few points of damage on the Axer. I made sure to keep them contesting the right zone.

I dominate the left zone for 2 CP.

Score: 2-0, advantage Circle

Game is looking promising for me - I have both heavies, while Colin only has his Mauler, who I out-threat.

Trolls Turn 4:

Colin obviously didn't want me to dominate the left zone again, so he put a bunch of the Krielstone unit behind a wall  and toeing the zone.

The Axer saw his moment of glory, and asked Doomy to put both Fortune and Rush on him.

Doomy complied, then killed a nearby Bloodtracker, and camped lots.

Axer charged Ghetto, and his Thresher attack manages to kill both of my heavies. Ah, damnit. Didn't see that coming!

Mauler ran back to help Doomy threaten both zones.

I was now in a lot of trouble, as my only beast left was a Gorax, who wouldn't be able to help me much. The Mauler was going to be free to run rampant. Yikes.

Score: 2-0, advantage Circle


Really not a great turn for me. To complicate things, my clock is running out!

Circle Turn 5:

I didn't have a ton of time left on my clock, but I did see an opportunity to score another couple points. I really needed to kill the Axer this turn as well though.

After a bit of contemplation, I decided that I couldn't do both (kill the Axer and score), but that of the two, the Axer would be a much more significant kill in the long-game. Not that there was much more of a long game to have, as my clock was really ticking down.

I had the Bloodtrackers go first, and they did the majority of the possible damage to the Axer with their thrown weapons (remember, they had the Axer as "Prey").

Krueger scooted back and took a boosted shot at the Axer and finished him off. I shifted Prey to one of the remaining Runeshapers.

Shrimp mostly just missed their shots at stuff. I did knock down the Krielstone itself, but Collin passed a few toughs. Doh!

Druids moved up and tried to push the remaining three models out of the zone, but with the wall there, they only succeeded in pushing one of them out.

Score: 2-0, advantage Circle

Killed the Axer and that's about it. Starting to really really run out of time now.

Trolls Turn 5:

Collin sensed my weakness, and ran the Mauler into the left zone. He maanged to kill a couple of my infantry as well, but didn't overall do too much. He made sure to jam as much stuff into the left zone as possible.

Oh yeah, he put Banishing Ward on the Mauler, so I wouldn't be able to push or pull him with Druids or use TK on him to get him out of the zone.

Score: 2-0, advantage Circle

Circle Turn 6:

I had the opportunity I was looking for - I could dominate another zone this turn. I also needed to set up my next turn by killing as many of Collin's models as possible, and as quickly as possible.

Bloodtrackers went first, and easily killed the one Runeshaper they had Prey'd, then cycled Prey to the other Runeshaper in the zone. They killed him, and suddenly the zone was clear!

Krueger walked into the Stones, and the Stones teleported him into the right zone to dominate it!

Other things happened, such as me missing a lot of shot with the Shrimp, but also killing a couple more models.

I dominated the right zone for 2 more CP.

Score: 4-0, advantage Circle

I have about 5 minutes left on my clock.

Trolls Turn 6:

The question was whether or not the Mauler would be able to run into the right zone or not. I had run my Gorax up to block his run path, but it wasn't quite enough. The Mauler ran into the zone, as did Janissa. Gorax got a hefty free strike off on the Mauler, but not enough to do much.

Everything else just jammed the left zone hard. Colin was very clearly just trying to clock me out, which was valid.

Score: 4-0, advantage Circle

I have to either kill the Mauler (no spells on him) and do something about Janissa, or kill five trolls in the left zone, a few of them behind walls. Note that one of the models in there is Doomy, who I do NOT need to kill or push out of the zone in order to control it.

Circle Turn 7:

I had 5 minutes left, and I needed to make something happen.

After a second of contemplation, I decided that killing the Mauler AND TK'ing Janissa out of the zone was going to be too steep an order for the models I had on hand. So, I decided to get Krueger into the left zone, and clear it.

Shrimp went first, and killed a couple of the Krielstones, who passed their CMD check.

Druids managed to push the last Runeshaper out of the zone, as well as pulling the UA out of the zone as well.

Krueger ran into the Stones, and the Stones ported him into the left zone, which was now clear, and he dominated for another 2 CP.

Really damned close game.

REALLY damned close game. That's 8 seconds remaining.


Results: Win for Circle via scenario!!

Post-game thoughts:

Um, wow. 8 seconds left on my clock. Maybe I should stop taking pictures during games? Would that help somehow? NAH.

Even now I'm surprised I won that game. Looking back at it, popping my feat when I did was a little bit early. The only thing that could have happened was the Dire Troll charging, and I *should* have been able to kill it with the Stalker next turn anyways. As it was, the feat would have helped with SO MANY THINGS later in the game, when I wanted to dominate various zones.

I was happy with my composure throughout the game though - as the clock wound down, it would have been easy to panic and make poor decisions. I think I mostly made sound (if not perfectly efficient) decisions down the stretch.

Collin is a great player, and a fun opponent. I was unlucky to draw him as my initial pairing, but he ended up going 4-1 in the event, with myself as his only loss. Having a tough game like that right out the gates is rough - I hoped that I'd get a mediocre player in Game 2 to make up for my bad draw to start the tournament.

Game 2: Circle vs. Vlad's Protectorate of Menoth

His Lists:

Little bit hard to read, eh? :) One is Harby, the other is Kreoss3
 Pairings Debate:

Kreoss3 and Harby are an odd pairing, mostly because Kreoss3 is odd as a tournament caster, especially for a good player like Vlad. I suspected he would drop Harby on me, but at this stage in the tournament, I was still a little unclear whether or not we'd be playing 4 rounds or 5. I would normally want to drop Krueger2 against any Menoth, but I figured Morvahna would have game against Harby, since my infantry would be able to force a lot of martyrdoms on Harby, or just clear them out entirely.

I decided that if it was Kreoss3, Morv2 would be fine, since even though I didn't know much about Kreoss3, I knew that he's not generally considered to be a very strong caster. And, it would be good to get both lists dropped so that I had freedom to maneuver the rest of the tournament.

I dropped Morv2, while Vlad dropped Harby.

The Mission: Into the Breach (dominate the zone for 2, control the zone for 1, dominate the flag for 1, and destroy enemy objective for 1. You'll see pictures of it.)

**Vlad won the roll to go first, and took it.

Pre-game thoughts:

Well, this was going to be tough. I'd played against Vlad once before this, in the "championship" game at a Steamroller a little bit ago. Here's a link if you're interested.

The last game we played, Vlad killed all but two of my models, but lost because Krueger2 is a bandit at scenario play, and Incursion is awesome for him. This time, the scenario was going to be pretty rough for me.

My plan was mostly simple: do as much damage to the Exemplar Errants as possible, and force Harby to take a ton of damage for Martyrdom, then feat my models back to life and keep punishing Harby. My Stalkers would be reserved to kill the two heavy jacks or fill in where needed.

I didn't think that holding the zone would be very feasible - with Awe and Martyrdom available to Vlad, I thought that perhaps the cards were stacked against me too much. But, I *could* get a few points on the flag, and hopefully clear it each turn easily enough. Otherwise, just try to win via attrition. Tough to do against Harby, as it turns out. You'll see :)

His Blurry Deployment:

Better pictures to come, don't worry!

My beasts are skewed to the left in order to help Morv clear the flag there.

Retribution Turn 1:

He ran forward, and put tough on the Errants. No feat this turn.

My favorite turn in Warmachine - Turn 1, where none of my stuff dies :)

Circle Turn 1:

I put Carnivore on the Skinwalkers, and Fog of War up as well. I knew that Harby was going to probably just purify them both off, but I wanted to make her spend the focus on that instead of healing herself.

I got some of the Ravagers into the forest in the middle of the table, and my Shaman missed his shot at an Errant, despite a reroll from Morv.

I tried to get my models into as good a position as I could, since I knew I'd likely still be there next turn, due to Harby's feat going off almost certainly on Vlad's Turn 2.

Calm before the storm...

Menoth Turn 2:

Tough went on the Errants, and they charged my Ravagers, but didn't do a ton of damage (with forest walker, the Ravagers are DEF 15 in the woods).

Avatar used Gaze, and the Reckoner shot at my Gorax. He SPIKED the damage and did a ton, then used an ancillary attack which killed my Gorax. Two shots, and the Gorax died. Huge swing there. Should have just hid him behind the linear obstacle, heh.

Harby advanced, cast Purification, and popped her feat, catching essentially my entire army in it.

Not a huge amount of damage this turn, but I did feel like losing the Gorax was going to make this game much more difficult in terms of killing his high-armor jacks.

He's set up to make my life a little more difficult next turn. This is about the time I wished I had Krueger, to pop my own feat and keep him from charging me next turn. Ah well. :)

Circle Turn 2:

I didn't have a lot I could really do.

Ravagers stayed mostly where they were (they did move a bit laterally), and killed a couple Errants while also putting some damage on Harby through Martyrdom.

Morv walked over behind the linear obstacle the Gorax should have been hiding behind, and put up Fog of War again. She also put Carnivore on a the Skinwalkers again.

I had one Stalker put Lightning Strike on the other Stalker, and ported the Lightning-Struck Stalker to barely within 2" of an outside Errant. He managed to kill the Errant (who was outside of Martyr range, and could use Sac Pawn if he wanted, but he knew I would then just be able to kill an extra Errant that way, and just took him off the table), and sprinted back into the Stones.

Harby took about 11 points of damage this turn. Not awful - she wouldn't be able to heal it all away and cast Purification and stay safe.

I was ready to take his Errant's charge on the chin, but I wasn't overall very worried. Not yet :)

Calm before the real storm.
Menoth Turn 3:

Vlad killed a lot of my Ravagers, but wasn't really able to do much more than that. It was time for me to kill a bunch more stuff, if possible.

He did manage to kill his objective, giving him a point.

Score: 0-1, advantage Menoth

Sorry for no play-by-play, but after 14 games, this one is a little fuzzy. I'll get more specific soon enough!

Circle Turn 3:

Without the feat up, it was time for my Skinwalkers to get some work done, and for me to regrow my Ravagers, and really get some damage done on Harby, who had healed herself a little bit, but not too much.

Vlad hadn't Purified my stuff, so, I upkept Carnivore and Fog of War.

Skinwalkers went up and really really whiffed bad. They needed 6's to hit, and I only hit a couple times, despite lots of attacks and rerolls from Morv. Just... really really bad rolls here. It didn't help that Vlad got some crazy tough rolls this turn. You'll see in a minute. I seem to be saying that a lot in this report, heh!

Ravagers went and killed a few more Errants, but didn't do enough damage, generally.

I had one Ravager kill his Errant solo, only to be informed that he could only be removed from the table at the beginning of the maintenance phase, and only if I didn't kill any more Errants in his area.

I needed to kill another Errant though, so I set about it. I had both of my Stalkers attack and hit that Errant every single time for 7 straight swings, and Vlad passed every single tough check: 7 in a row! He wasn't even knocked down, due to the Book saying "no knockdown".

Morvahna went and popped her feat, bringing back all my Ravagers, who were needed to help tie up the advancing heavies. I also had a Gallows Grove pop into the backfield and shoot the Vassal with her Sunder Spirit a couple of times, forcing Harby to Martyr still more.

I'm actually not sure how Harby wasn't dead at this point. I should have watched Vlad do the life thing with Harby more - he didn't roll a lot of "1's" for damage to her. Ah well. One of the reasons I really hate it when opponents use War Room.

Score: 0-1, advantage Menoth

I'm going to need to do something next turn to kill one of his heavies, and also need to keep plugging away at the Errants. 

Menoth Turn 4:

Vlad had a really, really good turn. He managed to kill most of my Ravagers again, and spiked some insane damage rolls against my Skinwalkers. I believe that only three Ravagers and three Skinwalkers remained after the onslaught. Seriously high spikes :-p

Still, I wasn't too worried. Perhaps I should have been?

He did put Enliven on the Avatar, which was really threatening my heavies. I would need to kill him next turn, or the game would essentially be over.

At least the stupid Errant solo guy was dead!

Score: 0-1, advantage Menoth

As you can see, my initial plan is a little bit out the window at this point. Just need to kill more of his stuff and see what happens.
Circle Turn 4:

I needed to kill the Avatar this turn, no question.

Vlad had killed one of my Stones last turn, so I wouldn't be able to use them to shift anything. I could, however, use them to block the Avatar out of enlivening himself out of trouble.

I had one Stalker walk up and hit the Avatar some, and the 2nd Stalker managed to finish the job, also doing some damage to the Book.

Ravagers killed two of the character unit I hadn't known was in the list until they started punching me (hard).

Stalkers (despite having Carnivore) again mega-whiffed, and didn't do much damage.

At least the Avatar was dead. I was content with losing one of my Stalkers to his Reckoner next turn in exchange.

I moved Morvahna over to a hill to threaten the zone and keep Harby out of the fight.

Score: 0-1, advantage Menoth


I'm still not quite at panic mode yet. If both Stalkers die this turn, I'll be in serious trouble, but otherwise, I think I still have some game.

Menoth Turn 5:

Vlad again spiked some ridiculous damage, and managed to kill off all the rest of my Skinwalkers with his Devout and (and this is important) Harby casting Cataclysm.

His Reckoner finsihed off one of my Stalkers, but he didn't manage to kill the other.

A couple of the Errants from the zone ran and engaged Morvahna, which was going to complicate matters a bit.

Score: 0-1, advantage Menoth


Two weapon masters engaging my Stalker, and two of them engaging Morvahna. Harby is on about 12 health, and only about 4 camped.

Circle Turn 5:

I had an assassination vector from Morvahna, and I was for sure within my 13" threat range. It was very possible to kill her this turn, but I needed to clear off one Errant.

To that end, I pre-measured from the Errant to Harby, and said "do you agree that he's not within Martyr range?" to which Vlad replied "yes". Otherwise, I would need to trample the Stalker into melee range of Harby and hit her with his sword, which was also extremely doable, but slightly less likely to work than Morvahna charging in and doing it herself.

So, I set about my turn. Blackclad walked up and sprayed a couple of models tying up the Stalker, and Harby had to Martyr to keep them alive.

The Stalker went, and took a couple free strikes, but stayed at full capacity. He walked over and started hitting the two Errants in B2B with Morvahna. Specifically, he tried to kill the one blocking Morvahna from charging Harby.

But when I hit that model, Vlad was like "okay, I'll Martyr".

When I asked him how he could when he was outside of range to do that, he said, "oh, I thought you meant the other Errant next to him". At this point, my clock was running down, and calling a judge wasn't going to work.

So, we measured with a spray template, and it was just about a millimeter inside of 10". This effectively screwed me out of killing the Errant, since the Stalker missed all but one more attack, and Vlad just used Sac Pawn to kill the other nearby Errant.

I advanced Morvahna, took a free strike which had to be transferred to the Stalker (who died from it and put Morvahna on 1 health box left), and put a couple of Sunder Spirits into Harby. The first missed, and I had enough fury for one more fully boosted Sunder Spirit into Harby.

It hit, and we did the math: if I got a "10" on three dice, she would die, and I would win. Otherwise, I would lose. I couldn't even use Scales of Fate to reroll it, due to only having one remaining box.

I rolled, and... it was like, a 4. Didn't even hurt Harby.

I had 18 seconds left, and conceded, frustrated at the whole thing.

Pretty shitty to lose this way.

Results: Loss for Circle!

Post-game thoughts:

I had a really great opportunity to kill Harby here, and spent my entire turn trying to facilitate something that we miscommunicated about, when I had another really great option to kill her otherwise using a trampling Stalker.

Just kills me to lose like that. I'm fine with being outplayed, but after I even went to great lengths to make sure I could do something with my opponent, losing like that is like a punch to the gut. I don't think that Vlad was lying about his perception of matters, but it's still pretty damn frustrating. Even now, as I write this, I'm a little bit upset. Worst way to lose a game, in my opinion.

I'd honestly just rather not talk about this game any more. Sorry, take from it what you will - I'd much rather just get on with it. No offense to Vlad here, I don't think he was trying to jank me. I actually do like him, it's just that even cool people can be part of frustrating situations sometimes.

One thing I will say is that Vlad went 4-1 on the day, and qualified for Masters. So, that makes two opponents in a row that went on to go 4-1. Not what I'd call an easy start to the day.

I would need to win the rest of my 3 games in order to qualify for Masters in this tournament, and I had already lost one. Things were looking grim, but I wasn't about to give up yet!

Game 3: Circle Orboros vs. Casey Campbell's Legion of Everblight!

Here's his lists (sorry, they're sideways - it's Saeryn and Lylyth2):


Nobody likes you, Legion of Everblight!

Pairings Debate:

I know that both casters are going to be rough, mostly because Legion is pretty rough for Circle in general. That said, Krueger2 is still available to me, and I see no reason I should risk an opponent I've already played once (who picked Saeryn in that game) picking a different list against me. Especially because he annihilated me in that game. Here's the link, if interested. Even if I was sure he was picking Lylyth, I still think that Krueger2 is the better choice. Morvahna is entirely screwed against Saeryn (my build is, at least), but Krueger2 has lots of shooting to mitigate Saeryn's feat.

Easy enough choice if you ask me. I dropped Krueger2, and Casey dropped Saeryn. I hoped that I could give him a better game than I did last time.

The Mission: Close Quarters (control enemy flag or dominate your own flag for 1 CP, dominate enemy flag for 2 CP)

**I don't remember who won the roll to go first, but Casey ended up going first.

Pre-game thoughts:

I really wasn't in the mood to play against another really good player. Casey is one of the best players in our area, and he absolutely destroyed me in our last match.  I wanted someone who was middle of the road, who was going to provide a challenge, but not someone who had already established himself as someone who could curb-stomp me like the noob I am.

But, I'm pretty good at keeping my composure (if I do say so myself), and I started to think about this game and how I could beat Casey this time. I had already given the Saeryn matchup a lot of thought, and I knew that I needed to be aggressive and pop my feat on a turn before Saeryn had already popped hers.

The thing is, I knew that my beasts really presented a big problem for Casey. They weren't going to be killed easily by his, as Casey had no way of getting past their DEF 14 (i.e. he'd have to either boost every attack to hit or pray for natural 8's), and they would in turn kill Casey's heavies easy enough. I needed to press that particular advantage, but only before or after Casey had popped his feat. Until an opportunity came, I would keep my beasts behind the wall near my own objective and try to delay him with my infantry and feat.

Not specifically a plan, but I didn't really think that anything I planned early on would hold true.

To throw a little uncertainty/suspense into the mix here, I will add that Casey did qualify for the Masters event on Sunday, though I won't spoil if it was from this tournament or not. :)

Deployment:

I put Prey on his white Angelius, and his Totem Hunter put Prey on my Druids. Again :)


The weird piece of terrain in between the flags is actually a forest. FYI :)

Legion Turn 1:

General running advance was had. Banishing Ward was put on the Scythean, and Tenacity on the white Angelius. Not much else.

Hate that I'm giving up this kind of board position, but I do really like this wall I have. This won't be an easy scenario for either of us to win without massive casualties on the other side.

Circle Turn 1:

I cautiously advanced, and put up Storm Wall. I kept the Bloodtrackers all within 10" of my Counter-magic Druid, but forgot to put up my cloud effects, because I'm a little dumb.

This turn was all about me making Casey wonder if he should pop his feat or not. He wasn't going to get a lot out of his Feat if he did pop it now (he'd mostly just have to run up and jam me), but if he didn't, I had the tools to take advantage of his position, and probably score easily in my 2nd turn.

Gotta be cautious here. Legion is tricksy!

Legion Turn 2:

Casey advanced cautiously, and sniped out four of my Bloodtrackers and a Druid. He did not pop his feat, but he was certainly threatening my own forces at this point.

He's not contesting my flag. Is it a trap?

Circle Turn 2:

Well, he hadn't popped his feat, and I wanted to give Casey a reason to hold off on popping it again next turn. After looking at the board for a long while, I decided to try to just trim his forces a little bit, score a point, and use my feat to put him in a situation where he wouldn't be able to hurt me too bad in return.

I had the Bloodtrackers go first, and a few of them charged the Deathstalker on the right, while the others ran. They managed to spike the "9" they needed to hit, and kill it on their first swing. Sweet!

Shrimp advanced, then Zephyr'd up to target the other Deathstalker. They also needed 9's to hit, and eventually got there. Their other shooting at the Ravagore didn't do much.

Druids also did something, but I don't really remember what, besides their usual of Counter-magic and Elemental Defense.

Krueger moved up to the flag and dominated it for a point, then popped his feat, which caught most of the beasts and Saeryn, but not all of the infantry models.

I scored a point and turned it over to Casey.

Score: 1-0, advantage Circle


His Beasts won't be able to get to Krueger easily, right? If they do, he has a bunch camped to transfer.

Legion Turn 3:

Casey decided to settle for killing more of my Bloodtrackers and Druids and Shrimp, without popping his feat.

He ran the Raek over to contest the flag, and Saeryn cast a spell on him (via spell martyr) that put a 5" AOE over him, which killed two Bloodtrackers.

Scythean meandered up and killed all of my Shrimp. Poor fellows :(

Painted Angelius managed to kill off one of my Stones, taking away my ability to teleport.

A Ravagore shot to the face made Krueger transfer the damage to Gorax.

At the end of the turn, Casey had contested my flag, and scored a point of his own, while whittling away my models. And, he still had his feat in reserve.

Score: 1-1, advantage none


His beasts are still a little distant, but most importantly: he put Banishing Ward on Saeryn instead of one of his beasts.
Circle Turn 3:

No feat meant that I had a lot of thinking to do. How could I kill an Angel and the Scythean this turn? Would it be possible?

After some thought, I decided that I could probably kill both of them, but that it would not be safe to try and kill the Raek AND get another point. The beasts were more important that scoring this turn.

I would really need to get the order of activation right here though.

Druids went first, and pulled the Scythean closer. I even used the Overseer for this purpose, forgoing elemental protection.

Gorax walked over and put Primal on Ghettorix.

With the Druids out of the way (physically), Krueger went next and TK'd the Raek to face backwards. He then moved back behind the wall and TK'd Ghetto 2" to the left, to make him able to bypass the fence to be able to charge.

Ghetto charged the Angel, and with POW 21 and Primal up, he killed the Angel in three or four hits.

Blackclad walked up and shot the Scythean with Hunter's Mark, giving me an extra 2" of charge distance and a free charge on him.

Stalker took him up on that offer, and charged the Scythean 11", getting in easily. He needed 4 swings, but also got the job done efficiently.

My Stoneward (who had watched in horror as the Scythean slaughtered his little herd of stones) ran up and contested Casey's flag.

My Stones moved to block Krueger from getting jumped on by the Raek, while the Keeper went close to the Raek and shot him with a Rockhammer, doing a little damage.

Bloodtrackers also shot at the Raek, and managed to take out his Spirit.

That turn took a long time, haha!

Score: 1-1, advantage none


Glad to have killed two of Casey's beasts - I figured that Primal was a good choice, since Saeryn essentially had to feat next turn anyways.

Legion Turn 4:

Casey had the Shredder go first, and kill off my Stoneward.

Ravagore charged Ghetto, but didn't do much damage.

Angel and Raek combined to clear my flag of models and sit down on it to get another couple CP total for the turn. However, Nuala was barely within 4", so he only scored a single point. One casualty of this was sadly my Gorax. :(

Totem Hunter ran to get into B2B with the Druids.

Saeryn then finally popped her feat.

Score: 1-2, advantage Legion

This game is getting rough... FYI Casey, notice how two of the Bloodtrackers are in the Angel's back arc, like I said? :)

Circle Turn 4:

I needed to kill his Angel this turn, or I'd really really struggle to win the game.

Luckily, I had my Bloodtrackers and Krueger to shoot it.

Krueger went first, and aimed to shoot the Angel accurately. Three shots later and the Angel was close to death, and Kruger had 1 fury remaining.

Bloodtrackers, who had picked it as Prey at the start of the game, did enough to finish it off and cycled Prey to the Raek, who they injured further but failed to kill. I had them reform 4" from the flag so that Casey wouldn't be able to control my own objective without some truly problematic circumstances.

Stalker walked up and got the Shredder, Shepherd, Ravagore, and Forsaken inside its melee range.

Druids went next, and the Overseer shot his 4" AOE at the Totem Hunter, which killed it. Hah!

Score: 1-2, advantage Legion

Not a bad turn for me, but this game is still pretty intense!

Legion Turn 5:

Shepherd needed to get out of the way, so he took a free strike from Ghetto, who killed him.

Ravagore moved over to the Stalker, and with the help of the frenzying Shredder, killed off my Stalker.

Forsaken ran up and killed a Druid.

Raek advanced and swung at some Bloodtrackers but missed, because he couldn't be forced.

I'm not sure if Ghetto was in contesting range or not, but I don't think we counted this turn as Casey scoring.

Score: 1-3, advantage Legion

Game is getting intense!

Circle Turn 5:

I needed to kill the rest of Casey's beasts, or things were going to go poorly for me.

Krueger went first, and charged Raek, killing him in two boosted hits, and coincidentally getting onto the flag to hold it.

Bloodtrackers shifted Prey to Saeryn.

Ghetto went and killed the Ravagore and Shredder easily, also making sure to contest the flag by Saeryn.

Bloodtrackers went and ran to contest Saeryn's flag.

Druids were a little dumb and got out of the Forsaken's melee range to shoot it, but whiffed horribly.

Score: 2-3, advantage Legion

Not sure where the picture is, sorry :-/

Legion Turn 6:

The forsaken went first and ran up to Ghetto and used an ability I didn't know existed - she did an auto-hitting POW 8 with 2 dice PLUS the number of fury on him. That meant it was 6 dice at damage minus 11. It didn't kill him, but kind of shook me.

Desperate, Saeryn ran from her flag to my flag, not sure if she could dominate it or not.

Nuala saved me, as she was just inside of 4" of my own objective. It wasn't something I was trying to do, so I got lucky. Otherwise, Saeryn dominates my flag for 2 (Krueger can't contest it), and wins the game, 5-3.

We called a judge over to measure it, and she was just within 4" to contest.

With that, I scored another point, and in my own turn I scored another two (Krueger dominated one, and Ghetto walked up to control Casey's), ending the game.

Wow, didn't even consider Saeryn doing that! I could have had my Stones shift up and at least contest the flag!

Results: Win for Circle via very scary scenario!!

Post-game thoughts:

Wow. Just, wow. This game was pretty intense, and I actually had to get lucky in order to win. The move Casey pulled at the end there wasn't even on my radar, though I have since been sure to guard against it.

Other than that, I was happy enough with my play here. I took advantage of Casey's non-feat turn to kill his beasts, and was patient before that, waiting for a chance to get an advantage.

I definitely could have kept my Gorax safer (which is actually a theme for me at Feast of Blades, as you'll soon see), and having my Druids walk out from engaging the Forsaken was a truly terrible move on my part, as it let the Forsaken loose to run up and punch Ghetto.

Still, I beat an excellent player who did eventually make it to masters on Sunday and who had just trounced me in our previous game with the exact same list pairings.

With that, I moved up to 2-1, with a small hope of getting another couple wins to qualify for masters. The dream hadn't quite been strangled - yet :)

Game 4: Circle Orboros vs. Mike Benton's Cygnar!


His Lists: (both Caines!)



I've never played against either Caine

Pairing Debate:

I honestly wasn't sure what to think about this pairing. I knew that the infantry in the Caine2 list would be tough to deal with with my Krueger2 list, but that the Ol' Rowdy/Galleon combo would be difficult to deal with with my Morv2 list. I tried to get a gauge of what my opponent was going to take by talking to him, but he didn't really seem sure himself.

In the end, I knew that my Krueger2 list could deal with infantry, though it would be a slog, while the Morv2 list might honestly have a little too much to deal with if they ran into the Galleon + Ol' Rowdy. Mike seemed to really be enjoying Caine1, and I prayed that he would continue to enjoy Caine1.

Instead, he picked Caine2, while I chose Krueger2. I afterward discovered that he thought that Divide and Conquer required him to play each list he took twice, and he wanted to make sure that he was free to pick which list he would take in Game 5. I offered to let him switch, but he said he was fine with it as it was :)

The Mission: Fire Support (destroy enemy objective or control a flag for 1 CP, dominate a flag for 2 CP, KILLBOX)

**Mike won the roll to go first, and took it.

Pre-game thoughts:

That's a lot of infantry. Like, a ton. None of my models were really well suited to killing that many infantry, though none of them really sucked at it either.

I decided that my advantage this game was going to be my heavies. Mike had brought nothing that I could see that could really take down a heavy besides Caine's feat or the Precursor Knights' mini-feat.

As such, I decided to just play the game and try to win via attrition for a while. Mike was going to struggle to kill my own stuff as well, and I figured that with my feat, I'd hopefully have an advantage. But honestly, who really knows? I had played one meaningful game against Cygnar before this, and it wasn't against Caine2. Hard to really tell how things will go in that case.

Deployment:

I chose the Precursor Knights as my Prey. In hindsight, I should have chosen the Boomhowlers, but for some reason I didn't notice that he had the Junior in this list.

Units are a little blurry. Boomhowlers on the left, Precursors, then Gun Mages, then Nyss on the right.

Cygnar Turn 1:

Mike just ran up. I had been hoping he would be a little more conservative in his advances, but he pretty much just ran up full-bore.

Thing on the top right is a forest, by the way.

Circle Turn 1:

I put up Storm wall, and got everything up as far as I dared.

Bloodtrackers shot at some Boomhowlers, but failed to do any damage. Druids did their cloud things.

I hid Krueger behind a wall, because I was afraid of Caine's feat.

Shrimp decided that they'd be more help against the Nyss, so they relocated themselves awkwardly.

And... not much of a productive turn for me.

Cygnar Turn 2:

Boomhowlers charged the Bloodtrackers, but didn't do much to them, needing 8's to hit.

Nyss with their UA tried an Assault on me, but only killed one of my Druids.

Gun Mages killed another of my Druids.

That was about it. The slog had begun.

And so we come to the beginning of the grind.
Circle Turn 2:

Mike had clumped up a bunch of infantry in the middle, and I decided that I wanted to take advantage of that. In particular, I was worried about the Gun Mages, who could really mess with my heavies (push/pulling them, etc.)

First, my Grove shifted up to within 3" of three Boomhowlers jamming me to negate their Tough rolls.

I had the Gorax put Primal on the Stalker, then charge a Boomhowler. He killed the Boomhowler easily enough.

Stones shifted the Stalker up near to the clump of infantry.

Krueger arced Telekinesis to the Stalker to get him farther into the circle of infantry, then forgot to move or do anything else. Big old fail on my part.

Stalker went, and warped for Berserk. He managed to kill three or four Gun Mages, along with several Precursor Knights. Somewhere in the midst of the bloodbath he put Lightning Strike on himself, and when he had run out of spendable fury, he walked up to engage three more Gun Mages. Maybe not a point-for-point trade, but he did kill nearly 10 infantry, which is a pretty good trade in this particular matchup.

Bloodtrackers managed to kill a couple more Boomhowlers (not many), and a few more Precursor Knights.

Blackclad used his spray to finish off another Boomhowler.

Shrimp advanced to be in front of Krueger to block charges from the Nyss, and managed to spike a couple 9's to hit, killing some Nyss.

Druids fragmented a little bit, with the Overseer giving Krueger a cloud to hide in, and others trying to poke some Nyss who had gotten too close. One of them even advanced to engage a Gun Mage, then put up his cloud effect to make the Gun Mage -2 MAT against him. One of them shot Murdoch, who was in the open, and killed him.

Ghetto walked up and failed several attempts to kill Nyss near him. He ended up killing one, and a magical thing happened: they failed their Terror check.

I had killed a ton of infantry this turn, but Mike had lots and lots more. I wasn't terribly displeased with my turn, but it had been far from definitive.


Lucky for me about the Nyss.
Cygnar Turn 3:

Mike hemmed and hawed for a while, trying to determine whether or not Caine could feat and kill both of my heavies in the same turn.

I actually think the math says "yes, but only if both of them are unengaged". Ghetto was engaged, as was the Stalker. In addition, it was questionable if Mike could get to a point where he had LOS and range to both of my heavies, and even if he could (and he managed to kill both heavies), he would be in a place where Krueger could probably kill him in reprisal, since he wouldn't have the focus to teleport.

In the end, he decided to settle for killing my Stalker.

First, the Gun Mages who were being engaged walked away, and one of them died to a free strike.

Caine then sat still to aim, popped his feat, and proceeded to roll poorly, but not poorly enough for my Stalker to live. He then teleported to the far left corner, behind a linear obstacle.

Boomhowlers continued to struggle against my Bloodtrackers.

Precursors charged the Bloodtrackers and had a little better luck. They killed a couple of them, and also destroyed my Gorax really really hard, which I was surprised to find I was okay with.

Nyss successfully rallied.

Eiyriss plinked away another Bloodtracker, as she did most turns.


Slogslogslogslogslog
Circle Turn 3:

My Stalker had died, which was not at all surprising to me. I needed to keep Ghetto alive though, and I needed to clear out more infantry.

Blackclad went first, and got 5 Precursors under his template. He managed to kill about 4 of them I believe.

Bloodtrackers did some "quick work" to the rest of the Precursors, leaving one standard bearer alive. They also killed another Boomhowler and tied up Eiyriss.

Shrimp stood still to aim at the Nyss, and killed three of them.

Ghetto charged some Gun Mages (I kept killing them - how big is the unit supposed to be??) and caused them to fail their Terror check. He boosted his swings, and killed two of them, but failed to engage another.

Druids helped to clear out a couple more Nyss. I believe there were only two Nyss remaining after this turn.

Krueger also contributed to killing more Nyss with his gun, I believe.

All in all, the slog is slowly shifting in my favor, but I'm not out of the woods yet. Not by a long shot.

Boomhowlers and Bloodtrackers love to tarpit against each other :)

Cygnar Turn 4:

Mike decided to take a chunk out of Ghettorix this turn.

Caine advanced and shot at Ghetto a few times, then teleported back to safety.

Not much more than you'd expect, other than the Blackclad surviving more than he should have. I think he took 4 boxes, but didn't die. First time that's ever happened with him, honestly. I've never had someone swing at him without killing him before now. Or since, for that matter, heh.

Oh yeah, Eiyriss managed to kill my Bloodtracker in melee! Doh!

Things are looking alright for me, but I need to seal the deal ASAP.

Circle Turn 4:

My goal this turn was to clear out the rest of the right side of the board and start scoring.

Ghetto charged the objective and killed it, getting the first points of the game.

One Stone shifted in between the two remaining Nyss.

Krueger charged a Gun Mage, boosted to hit (killing him), then cast Lightning Storm on the Stone, killing both Nyss.

Druids realized that actually, there was one more Nyss nearby, but four of them failed to hit him. I also managed to fail to kill the remaining Gun Mage on my side.

Bloodtrackers continued to try and do stuff, but I only had two left. One of them tied up Eiyriss again.

Shrimp ran up to screen Krueger from Caine's LOS.

Score: 1-0, Advantage Circle

So damn hard to kill all these models, and I'm slowly losing over on the left side.

Cygnar Turn 5:

Boomhowlers finally killed all but Nuala, and put some damage on the objective. Turns out they have CMA, which neither of us were aware of. Makes them much better at killing my Bloodtrackers, that's for sure!

Again, his light jack shot at my Blackclad and missed.

Caine walked up and shot Ghetto to death.

Ut Oh.

He also killed a Shrimp, and teleported back behind his wall.

The Piper of Ord tough'd himself (this whole time, he had been giving the Nyss +1 DEF - annoying as hell on a unit with 15 DEF base) and ran to contest the flag.

Score: 1-0, Advantage Circle

Gotta clear the flag!
Circle Turn 5:

After a flurry of rolls, I managed to kill the remaining Nyss, the Piper of Ord, and the remaining Gun Mage, and keep Krueger on the flag to dominate it eventually.

Blackclad, who was still alive for some reason, walked up and sprayed a couple Boomhowlers to death.

Nuala missed her swing on Eiyriss.

Krueger dominated the flag for 2 CP.

If I could survive the next turn, I should be able to win.

I should note that Krueger had been casting Storm Wall compulsively every turn, to reduce Caine's range to 7" against him.

Score: 3-0, Advantage Circle

No beasts left for me, so I'm left with hoping that Caine is out of range. I did take measures to keep Krueger out of LOS, so that Caine would have to waste shots at them before he could get to Krueger.

Cygnar Turn 6:

We were both running very short on time. I believe that Mike had around 3 minutes remaining, while I had about 5.

After measuring, Mike determined that he couldn't get to Krueger. Instead, he attacked his objective, but rolled poorly on damage, and only did a few more points.

Boomhowlers, the Squire, and his light jack all shuffled up to contest my flag. It would be very difficult to kill them all off the flag in one turn.

Score: 3-0, Advantage Circle

Circle Turn 6:

I decided not to mess around.

Krueger popped his feat, and pushed everything away 3", keeping the flag firmly within my control.

For fun, I took a swing at Eiyriss with Nuala, hit, and killed the bitch. YES!

I ended my turn, and scored two more points, which ended the game.

Whew!

Results: Win for Circle via scenario!!

Post-game thoughts:

Well, that was even more of a slog than I had thought it was going to be. Mike had so many infantry models, and a seemingly endless supply of Gun Mages/Nyss. He probably didn't have more than he was supposed to on the table (I REALLY REALLY doubt he would make a mistake like that, or do it intentionally - he was a great guy!), but it sure felt like it at times.

I was lucky that he used Caine's feat to kill my Stalker, but he's still a pretty potent shooter. I was very impressed with Caine2, actually.

This game taught me that Krueger struggles against high-DEF models (Nyss were DEF 16 all game), which actually came into play later in the tournament. Morvahna2 would have been a better pick against this list, though I do think I was right to pick Krueger2 this game. Storm wall was definitely instrumental in not allowing Caine to get any sort of assassination off on him, and like I said: I can deal with infantry in this list, it's just tough to do.

Mike claimed that he hadn't really played much at all lately, and I know that the internet will lambast him for taking at least a few "unoptimized" units, and for not taking Rangers. While perhaps his list could be better (I honestly don't know, but I assume that nearly every list besides the Doomy1 tier list I played against in Game 1 can get better), he played very well. Without understanding how my army worked, he played a very tight game and made great decisions throughout the game. I was honestly very impressed, especially for him not knowing the rules as well as he used to. Great guy, and great game!

I was 3-1 at this point, and was hoping for one more win to get me to 4-1! It was suddenly doable!

Game 5: Circle Orboros vs. Andrew Durso's Skorne

His Lists:

That Mak2 list looks a lot like my friend Vince's Mak2.

Pairing Debate:

I almost always drop Morv2 automatically against Skorne, but this time I wanted to think about it a bit. Morv2 is great against Skorne, but against Makeda2 built the way Andrew had it makes Krueger2 look a lot more attractive, due to his feat which will shut that list down for a turn, and the Druids, who can really mess with his beasts.

In the end, I decided that Morv2 was going to be a little stronger, simply because I knew the kinds of shenanigans Mak2 can pull (Vince has put me through that gauntlet often enough), and figured I'd be able to avoid them if I was careful. And, if Andrew decided to drop Xerxis1, I'd be in a much better situation using Morv than Krueger.

I dropped Morv2, while Andrew decided to drop Xerxis1. He mostly told me that because he was 2-2, he wanted to practice Xerxis. His "usual" drop against me would be Makeda. Xerxis1 has a lot of game though, and it would be a battle between our medium-based infantry!

The Mission: Destruction (6" x 12" zone - dominate the zone for 2 CP, control the zone for 1 CP, and kill the objective for 1 CP. KILLBOX)

**I won the roll to go first, and took it.

Pre-game thoughts:

First off, I'll set the stage a little bit. Andrew ended up getting 3rd place at THIS YEAR'S Masters event. He's no slouch.

Let's restate that: he got 3rd place at masters, with Skorne. I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but I didn't realize I'd wandered into someone as good as Andrew.

Now let's talk about my plans.

I got first turn, which is a really really big deal in this scenario. I'd be able to get my Ravagers into position to keep most of Andrew's models out of the zone so that I'd have a leg up on scenario. I wouldn't even necessarily need to kill all of his stuff, like this scenario usually requires.

That was essentially my plan. Just try to keep Morv from being sniped to death, and get as far up into the zone as possible. With her attrition feat and beasts that are willing to do dirty things to Skorne infantry, I felt like I would be in a good situation.

Beyond that, I was tired, and didn't want to think too much.

Deployment:

Love what Skorne can do to make Gatormen Posse awesome.

My non-symetrical deployment has become somewhat commonplace for me!

Circle Turn 1:

I ran everything up. Ravagers got deep into the zone, but I wanted to make sure that Andrew couldn't just charge and kill them all immediately in his turn, so my running was a little more reserved than it could have been.

Morv put up Fog of War, and put Carnivore on the Skinwalkers. Everything else moved up as quick as they could.

I'm starting to get pretty quick with this army's starts!

Skorne Turn 1:

Andrew couldn't really get too far up without entering my threat ranges, but he used the linear obstacle to limit my targets to either Gatormen or Defenders Ward-ed Incindiarii.

He did put Defenders Ward on the Incindiarii, incidentally.

In an impressive display of random scatters, Andrew managed to set 7 of my 8 Ravagers on fire, though he only killed one of them, though it was an intentional shot from the Cannoneer at my Chieftain. Doh!

I forget who gave who what, but the Incindiarii and Gators both got Tough this turn.

Lots of damage spread around on my Ravagers here. I hoped the fires would mostly go out.

Circle Turn 2:

Fires only went out once. The other 6 fires stuck around, and killed one of my Ravagers, putting the majority of the rest of them very close to death.

My goal this turn was to get rid of as many of the Posse as posse-ble (see what I did there?), and put myself into a position to dominate the zone next turn.

I did not upkeep anything, as I was planning on using Purification later.

Forgetting that particular plan, I had one Stalker give the other Stalker Lightning Strike.

Morvahna went next, and used Purification, removing Defender's Ward, continuous fire effects and... my Lightning Strike that I had just cast on my own Stalker. Useful. So good at this game! She then put Carnivore on the aforementioned Stalker.

Stones teleported the Stalker next to a few Posse. I believe that I managed to kill two or three of them with him.

Ravagers charged in and killed the rest of the Gators (despite Tough), and one of them took an Incindiarii down to one life, but he tough'd.

Skinwalkers ran to be the second punch, if possible.

Not much else happened.

Gonna be hard for Andrew to get into the zone at all next turn.

Skorne Turn 2:

Andrew decided it was time to punish me for overextending my Ravager unit. Through a bunch of attacks from the TyCom, Witch Doc Croc, Krea, etc., Andrew was able to kill off all of my nearby Ravagers. A sniped shot from the Cannoneer killed my final Ravager, ensuring that I would not be able to feat them back. Nice move, JERK!

The Incindiarii advanced and set a bunch of my Skin Walkers on fire and did lots of damage to them as well. *sigh*

Pretty productive turn for Andrew this turn - he denied my feat, and killed a bunch of models while he was at it. He did however fail to kill my Stalker who was in his front lines, which might have been a little um... risky.

Pretty crazy, I'd never had someone wipe the entire Ravager unit out in a turn before!

Circle Turn 3:

I needed to score this turn and put Andrew into a really tough situation.

I started with my Stalker, who again warped for Berserk. He killed the TyCom and flag dude, as well as an Incindiarii, AND, most importantly, the objective to let me control/dominate the zone.

Morvahna went and cast Purification to get rid of the fires and various animii Andrew had put up. She then put Carnivore on the Skinwalkers, and used her Light Cavalry move to toe the edge of the zone.

Skinwalkers went, and killed a couple of Incindiarii, as well as the Beast Master and probably some other stuff.

Stones went and shifted my other Stalker into range of some Incindiarii. He also warped for Berserk, but the Incindiarii seriously rolled some insane tough rolls, and I believe he only killed one of them. Maybe he didn't kill any. It was pretty nuts.

At any rate, I did manage to kill everything of Andrew's out of the zone, and to block his avenues to easily get into the zone. It would be difficult for him to get far into the zone, though my Skinwalkers were going to get eaten pretty hard.

Because I destroyed the objective and Morv was there to dominate the zone, I scored 3 points.

Score: 3-0, advantage Circle

How much of my army do you anticipate I will lose this turn?

Skorne Turn 3:

Andrew decided that this was the turn he should pop his feat, so he did. Xerxes went nuts and killed a bunch of stuff, making good use of overtake.

I don't remember what all went into it, but Andrew also killed both Stalkers and four Skinwalkers. Seriously decimated me - I had barely anything left after this turn. Very impressive turn on his part.

However, he only got the Agonizer and a Paingiver into the zone, along with Xerxis himself, with one fury left.

Score: 3-0, advantage Circle

Wow, look at this picture and compare it to the one above it. He killed a lot of stuff. Weaponmaster on all his models is a thing, apparently.

Circle Turn 4:

I could try to crack Xerxis himself, or I could just go for the scenario win by killing the Agonizer and Paingiver, which was a higher percentage.

I charged Morv up at the Agonizer and took a few lazy swings, finishing off the Agonzier and Paingiver fairly quickly.

With the zone cleared (Xerxis can't contest it), I ended my turn, seeing no point in using the rest of my models.

Is this the only game I played my Gorax well in?
Results: Win for Circle via Scenario!

Post-game thoughts:

Well, it was a rough one for Andrew, though he did fight back pretty well. If I hadn't won via scenario for some reason, I was going to be in a lot of trouble - he was crushing me on attrition. Of course, some of the reason I threw all my stuff where I did was to keep him outside the zone at all costs, but still! He did a great job of butchering the shit out of my stuff! He ended up qualifying for Masters the next day, during the Commander's Crucible event. And like I said, he got 3rd place, going 3-1 with Skorne and beating a very similar Morv2 list to mine in the opening round.

Overall, I think that my strategy of keeping Andrew boxed out of the zone was pretty effective. This was only something I could have done because I went first. If I went second, I would have had to be much more cautious, and try to out-attrition him. I think I could have done an alright job of that as well if I had to, but the scenario victory was obviously something that could work for me.

Andrew was a great opponent, and I had a lot of fun playing him! I'm probably just lucky I'd played against Skorne so much, or I would guess I'd be on the losing end of this game!

Tournament Results:

I ended up going 4-1, which was good enough to put me into contention for Masters on Sunday, which was my goal. However, there were a total of 8 people who had a 4-1 record or better, and only 6 of them would actually get into the tournament.

As it happened, my rough start ended up doing me well, as two of my opponents went 4-1, which carried me to a 5th place finish in a 40-person event. Not quite top-10%, but pretty close.

Even more awesome than getting 5th (which didn't come with any sort of award), I also QUALIFIED FOR MASTERS!!! So awesome, I was very excited - it was my goal going into the day, and I achieved it, despite the frustrating start!

Other people who qualified included Tom Guan, my 2nd round opponent Vlad, Josh "Newbstomp" Nordstrom (who ended up going 4-0, then losing his last game, but still got 3rd place), and obviously someone else. I'm sure I know who you are, but have forgotten. Sorry for the fuzzy memory! Was this the one that Brian Marino qualified in?

Here's my final record sheet, if you're interested:

Hooray for Control Points - 20 CP in 5 games is probably one of the higher CP scores there :)


Iron Gauntlet:

Directly after playing 5 grueling games of Warmachine, I faced the start of another tournament. I wanted to play in the Iron Gauntlet event because all of my army is painted and based. I had to fill out two of the following lists:

Don't I have nice handwriting?

I decided that if I won, I'd keep playing, but if I lost, I'd drop and get something to eat. I hadn't eaten since about 5 AM, and it was getting on into the later stages of the night.

Game 1: Circle Orboros vs. Tom Guan's Legion of Everblight!

His Lists:

He doesn't have as nice handwriting as me. BOOM!

Pairing Debate:

I wasn't really able to think that well. A long day of gaming combined with the Feast organizer hiring a DJ, who was playing really loud (albeit really cool) music made thinking less possible than I would otherwise be prepared to admit. Krueger seemed like the guy to drop against Legion, so that's what I did.

I dropped Krueger2, while Tom dropped Lylyth2, whom I had never played against besides a weird game where my opponent hadn't ever used her until then, and we were using Hardcore rules, so he didn't even have time to think about his moves.

The Mission: Destruction! (see last one if you don't remember it)

**Tom won the roll to go first, and decided to let me go first, and chose the (by far) best side of the table.

Pre-game thoughts:

I just knew that Lylyth's feat was ridiculous. I knew what it did (+4 range to all of her battlegroup, and an extra shot with their gun), but didn't really understand the implications well enough to defend well against it.

So, what I decided was that I needed to keep Krueger safe at all costs. He could kill Lylyth if he got to her, though I assumed a good player like Tom would keep him farther away.

This game threw me off because the Bloodtrackers didn't have Nuala in them. Not used to that.

Circle Turn 1:

I put up Storm Wall, and ran everything forward! I put Krueger on the hill, and camped 4.

Woot.

Legion Turn 1:

Tom advanced and killed four of my Bloodtrackers. He also cast Shadow Pack, which I did not realize was part of her spell list. That was going to make a ranged assassination very difficult.

His whole battlegroup is beyond my reach this turn. This is actually not a scenario I wanted to go first in. Believe it or not, I had been eyeing that side of the board as well, and would have taken it if I had won the roll.

Circle Turn 2:

I was a little bit at a loss of what to do, so I durdled forward. I missed my shots at the Shepherd with my Shrimp, and did some inconsequential damage to the rest of Tom's battlegroup with my Bloodtrackers and other shooting.

Krueger put up Storm Wall, and stayed on the hill in order to weather the imminent feat turn.

Pretty awful turn for me, honestly.

Legion Turn 2:

Lylyth popped her feat immediately. She then proceeded to shoot six of my infantry off the table, after using her aiming bonus to hit them on 4's. She also got Pin Cushion on Ghettorix, who should have run to be behind cover, but for some reason didn't.

Her battlegroup spiked some serious damage into Ghetto, and he died almost immediately.

They then targeted my Stalker, and rolled very poorly, leaving him on 3 life.

Tom also killed all but one Bloodtracker in his turn.

Ouch - Not sure on the math of it, but it did feel quite lucky for my Stalker to still be alive after that onslaught. I needed to keep my beasts behind their linear obstacle - that would have made it far harder for Tom to hit them. I'll remember that next time.

Circle Turn 3:

I was already on the ropes. Looking at the board now, I think that the situation was far less awful than I thought it was at the time, but after losing all of my Bloodtrackers and Ghetto, and very nearly my Stalker, I felt like I only had one solution: kill Lylyth this turn.

To that end, I had the Druids go first, and one of them medicated the Stalker to have complete spirals.

Gorax went, and put Primal on the Stalker.

Krueger went next, and TK'd the Stalker forward 2", then TK'd a Stone forward as well to keep the Stalker inside the Stone range.

He then charged a Ravagore so that I'd have range to force the Stalker.

Stones teleported the Stalker to within .5" of Lylyth.

So, I have a fully healthy, primaled Stalker B2B with Lylyth, who only has one transfer. Shouldn't be bad, right?

I boosted my first attack, and hit, leaving Lylyth on 5 boxes, with a transfer.

This is where I messed up. I should have boosted my claw attack, but since it wasn't as high of strength, I figured I'd just see if I could get lucky, not realizing that even a hit with a lower STR weapon would essentially force Lylyth to transfer.

I missed.

I bought an attack, and decided to be dumb again. I tried for the natural "8", and missed.

I had 2 fury left, and I was forced to try for a natural "8" twice, or lose.

My first attempt missed.

My second attempt hit, but Tom transferred, and I conceded, as I was entirely out of position.

I should have: attacked, boosted to hit. Then, attacked, boosted to hit. Then, bought one, and boosted to hit. I'd have needed an "8" to hit each time on 3 dice, and Lylyth would not likely be alive anymore.

My own math fail. Man, I need to get better at this damn game.

Tom remembered afterwards that he had knocked my Stalker down during his shooting phase, which we both forgot. So, I'd have been down one fury anyways. Still, not an awful chance for me to kill her, even then.

Check out my Stalker in B2B with a LIVE Lylyth! I probably should have at least made him roll dice - no guarantee that Typhon and Ravagore can roll well enough to hit Krueger four different times and kill him. Probably they could have, but it wasn't impossible.

Results: Loss to Circle via assumed assassination!

Post-game thoughts:

This game seemed a lot more out of control than it actually was. If I had kept my head after Tom's feat turn, I could have had the Stalker + Krueger kill Typhon and a Ravagore, and probably taken a huge chunk out of the other Ravagore's life as well with the Shrimp and Druids.

If I had managed to kill two of the three heavies, even if my Stalker died next turn, I'd have a reasonable shot at out-attritioning Tom. Maybe not great, but not 100% awful either.

One thing that Tom pointed out, which I actually agree on - I needed to be more aggressive with Krueger. Hiding him on the hill may have prevented Tom from killing Krueger, but if I had just walked him up behind the fence with Storm Wall up, Tom would probably not have been able to do much to me on his feat turn. Yes, my Bloodtrackers were going to die. Otherwise, I think I could have done much better.

I need to use cover against Legion. It's very important! That's what I'm taking out of this game. That, and the fact that Lylyth2 is insane if you have the right list to back her. I think Krueger could have been just fine in this matchup. Just need to learn to play this game better is all.

End of Day 1:

I was tired, and had virtually no chance to advance to the top 4 of the Iron Gauntlet on Saturday, so I dropped. I ate an overpriced burger at the bar, along with a single beer that came first and got me nearly-drunk because of my empty stomach.

After that, I went to my hotel room and peed, realizing that it was the first time I'd used the restroom since just before the first game.

I'd gone 4-2 for the day, which was above .500, and had gotten 5th in a fairly large event, only losing because of a rules thing.

The team tournament would be Saturday, and my team (The Bus Throwers) had four games coming up, which I would be expected to anchor. So, I passed out, and got about 8 hours of sleep, before my Day 2 adventures began. I had one day of fairly laid-back gaming, before I was to be slapped around at the Masters.

But that, as they say, is a tale for another time.

The End, of Day 1, of the Feast of Blades.

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