Wednesday, 5 March 2014

NZTC Report: Game 2

This is the second part of my NZTC report. If you've missed out on part one you can read it here.

Round 2 vs The Beauty and the Beasts

Due to our geographical proximity to our Victorian friends who were occupying the top of the table the organisers decided to let us play some people we hadn’t met before, which was a nice gesture although I had a feeling it was likely to be a temporary reprieve and that we would be likely to play them later on anyway.

Beauty and the Beasts offered up a really tough mix of armies. They had a dark elf avoidance army that contained Morathi and two peg riders, with a bit of combat punch coming from a horde of executioners and another of corsairs. Shooting, 4 levels of shadow magic (as it turned out) as well as two soulblights and two doombolts. Their WoC list offered up 23 trolls, a fully kitted slaanesh DP, Throgg, 3+ ward exalted and two skullcrusher units. An Epidemius DoC (basically Sam’s list with Epidemius) and an empire list rounded out their team. This meant there were three armies that worries us match up wise, the Empire (which Sam and I needed to avoid), the DoC (which I couldn’t go anywhere near) and the Dark Elves which could pose us problems with potential access to purple sun, mindrazor as well as soulblight and doombolt.

We went through their likely match up strategies and figured they were likely to lead out with their Daemons who really only had 1 bad match up (our Empire) or with their Empire. With this in mind I gambled a little and lead myself out, this could have gone badly if they retained both the empire and the DoC in their hand, but would give us an advantage if they didn’t. They lead DoC, I lead HE, we offered up DoC and Empire for them to choose from, while I was offered Dark Elves and Empire, the latter of which I declined and bounced down Greg with his DE. They had the tough choice between our empire playing their WoC or their DoC. We were later to find out that they rated the warriors against our empire as a good match up, so they chose that and allowed the two filthy DoC players to play a mirror match.

We took a risk and I think it paid off pretty well. I rated my match as a fairly close one if both players played well, and then we had 3 advantageous match ups. It would be up to me to hold my points and trust in my team to win us the round.

So that left us with:
Myself: High Elves vs Dark Elves
James: Empire vs Warriors of Chaos
Greg: Dark Elves vs Empire
Sam: Daemons of Chaos vs Daemons of Chaos

Game 2 vs Nicholas Jebson

Morathi Master: Dark Pegasus, Lance, Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak, Charmed Shield, Talisman of Preservation,
Master: Dark Pegasus, Lance, Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak, Dawnstone
Master: BSB, Sword of Might, Enchanted Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, Heavy Armour

31 Black Ark Corsairs: Additional Hand Weapons, Full Command, Banner of Discipline
5 Dark Riders: Spears, Crossbows, Light Armour, Shields, Musician
5 Dark Riders: Spears, Crossbows, Light Armour, Shields, Musician
29 Executioners: Full Command, Flaming Banner
3 Reaper Bolt Throwers
5 Shades
2*5 Warlocks

An interesting game that I had rated as a draw when analysing the armies, however this wasn’t going to be a draw where I could sit back and corner-hammer for a 10-10. For one my list doesn’t really do that, with all my ranged damage coming from my mage, but mainly because he’d just shoot a bunch of stuff off from range and I would lose. Realistically I saw myself as being able to kill the executioners and the corsairs as well as a couple of the cavalry units, but be unable to catch most of the army. I’m always likely to take casualties, I just had to ensure I was killing at least as much as I was losing.

Morathi rolled three spells on shadow magic, and got Mindrazor, Pendulum, Enfeebling Foe, her dark magic spell she swapped for Doombolt. This could have been a lot worse, no miasma to swing combats, no pit of shades and no death spells. I got fiery convocation and another spell that doesn’t matter.

I deployed fairly wide across my deployment zone in an attempt to reduce the places Nick could hide his fast cav. A pheonix wide on the left, another closer to the middle, then the dragon princes, the silver helms central and the dragon off to the right. On my left to righ Nick placed his two peg masters, his corsairs in a building, a row of warlocks and two DR units with his executioners, Morathi and a bolt thrower behind them, then a bolt thrower and the second warlock unit up against my dragon. Rather advantageously in this game I won first turn and it was all ahead full ramming speed!

The leftmost Pheonix went up and beside the building to hide from bolt throwers, offering a charge to the masters in attempt to entice them. The rest of my army basically went straight forward as fast as possible, bringing as much pressure on Nick’s main line as possible.

The Ellyrion Reavers provide cover for my Dragon Princes with their bodies.

Magic involved a pair of 6’s to cast Fiery Convocation on the executioners, burning about half the unit and sending my mage into the realm of chaos. Useful damage, although I’d been hoping to scroll the inevitable mindrazor later in the game.

Nick wasn’t really sure how to respond to the pressure I was putting him under. His warlocks charged a pheonix and he put some dark riders in front of my screening reaver units as well as my dragon princes. The depleted executioners made a break for the building, but wouldn’t make it until next turn. The reavers did their job of offering cover to my more important cav,  which meant they got shot. Magic was ineffective as Nick opted to dispel fiery convocation, which was exceedingly sensible of him. The combat was between the pheonix and the warlocks was a bit of a stalemate, which offered me a way to open up the game and score some big early points.

In my turn I charged the dark riders with my dragon princes and suicide charged my reavers out of the way of my silver helms. This gave me a narrow charge around some other units into the executioners, which I declared and made. The other pheonix moved up into a position to threaten the executioners if they didn’t break or a bolt thrower if they did. My dragon princes slaughtered the dark riders they were fighting, but narrowly failed the overrun into the warlocks fighting the pheonix. This was a big loss as I had already fought that combat this round; the DP’s would have wiped out the warlocks in Nick’s turn and reformed, giving me a charge on Morathi pretty much wherever she went. Alas it was not to be, but I continued to try and set up two phase combats as a strategy for dealing with the speed of Nick’s army. The silver helms ran down the executions along with Nick’s BSB, and the dragon feasted upon the crew of a bolt thrower.

The Executioners and BSB are run down by the Silver Helms

Things weren’t looking great for Nick, but he had a chance to get some points back this turn. The masters both charged the pheonix fighting the warlocks, while Morathi flew around and cast penumbral pendulum through my dragon princes. A strange move which did no damage, and the dice could have been used for much more worrying spells. I dispelled Morathi’s attempt to enfeeble my pheonix and Nick failed a low dice attempt at soulblight. The pheonix was still in trouble and ended up breaking from combat but escaped his pursuers, with one of the masters getting stuck fighting the dragon princes. Shooting this turn accounted for the rest of my reavers as well as some silver helms.

My turn was fast, the silver helms killed a bolt thrower while the reserve pheonix flew in to the flank of the master. The dragon came back onto the board and started flippedy-flapping back to the interesting fights. The fleeing pheonix gracefully pirouetted in the sky, rallying to face some shades. The combat involving the pheonix, peg master and dragon princes was a draw, but the dragon princes did reform to face the master.

The Master was polite enough to hold for a turn allowing me to reform.

In Nick’s turn he decided to start trying to conserve points, the unengaged peg master began to withdraw, although some Shades moved up to shoot the recently rallied pheonix. Despite his truly beautiful attemt at aerial aerobatics he was brutally gunned down by a boosted doombolt from Morathi who remained lurking behind the building near the silver helms. Crucially in the combat phase the peg master broke after no wounds were caused, allowing me to reform to face Morathi with both the pheonix and the dragon princes.

Credit to the lass she took it on the chin, she probably could have made it to the board edge with a flee, but was generous enough to give my dragon princes the satisfaction of murdering her personally. From then on the game was essentially over. Neither of us had any meaningful magic left, and Nick’s shooting wasn’t ever going to do enough damage to score points. I managed to charge the remaining warlock unit off the board and slay one of the peg masters before the end of the game to seal the win.

End Result: 18-2.

As a team we had another good round. In James’ game he managed to shoot off the Daemon Prince and BSB early, at which point he basically retained points for a moderate win.

James lines up against his WoC opponent in what really was a good match up for him.

Greg pushed early for a small advantage against the empire, using his far superior manoeuvrability to good advantage. A cascading supreme sorceress and his general getting shot off by a cannon cost him some points late in the game, but he still managed a small win.

Perhaps I could have cropped the top of this photo better...

Sam had an interesting mirror match. Both armies were very similar however Sam’s opponent had spent points to put Epidemius in the list, however as Epidemius’ tally special rule augments all nurgle daemons on the table Sam was claiming the advantage as well, and had Epidemius’ points worth of extra struff in his army. Sam was unlucky in the final turns, pushing for a big win he failed to damage the GUO with a couple of skullcannon shots, so charged in with 6 beasts of nurgle to try and bring him down in the last turn. Papa then passed a dodgy leadership on a 6 (due to doom and darkness) before wasting all the beasts with a last turn purple sun. Lots of points down the drain in the last turn, but still a good win.

4 Skullcannons, 2 GUO's, Epidemius, Beasts of Nurgle everywhere. This table was nothing but filth.

Team Result: 58-22 (18, 14, 12, 14)

This score vindicated our strategy in the match up process. James, Greg and Sam all did their job to get winning scores despite some poor late game luck in a couple of the games. This meant that even if I hadn’t scored as strongly as I did we would have won the round. We weren’t looking to rely on any one player to score hugely every round in order to generate large scores, instead if each player could meet their match up expectations only one favourable result would take the teams score from a solid win to an excellent one.

The other victorian team didn’t win all their games 20-0 this round, but they still capped their opponents. We knew we wouldn’t have to play them until sunday, and we soon found out that our next opponents were to be The Wolfpack, a team billed as one of the best in the competition and containing some of the best players NZ had to offer. We were definitely set for an interesting next round.

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