Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The ETC in Review (Part Three)

ETC in Review (Part Three)

Victory and Shame.

Round 3, and if the train isn’t off the rails yet it is seriously teetering on the brink. Ashes humiliation followed by successive defeats against teams that traditionally play at the level that we want to (and believe we can) compete at.

Surprisingly I didn’t have a ridiculous hangover after my beaker-delivered rakia exploits from the night before. Obviously I was just burning all the rocket fuel I had ingested, as I went skipped breakfast and went straight to planning my pairing against the morning’s opposition: Northern Ireland.
Let’s face it, this was the draw we all wanted, and the draw the team needed. Confidence was at an all-time low throughout the team, and the only thing that was going to get that train chugging along again was a win for the team and some strong individual performances.
For once I was also coming into the pairings with a stronger than average pre-pairing prediction. The northern irish guys soon had us down as their worst team to play against pairings-wise, and we came out of the pairing process with a low-mid 90’s predicted score. Absolutely no excuses now, we had to execute.

Not wanting to dwell on being beaten by an Orc and Goblin army the round before, I paired myself with Orcs and Goblins. 3 on the bounce. Other pairings were:
Ivan (Empire) vs VC (0)
Nick (DE) vs HE (0)
Jamie (DoC) vs DoC (+)
Alex (Skaven) vs ChD (+)
Akhter (O&G) vs Dwarfs (-)
Sam (ChD) vs Ogres (+)
Mick (HE) vs WoC (+)

Ferraro contends with the might of Barry!

Deployment was pretty similar to normal, although my opponent opted not to deploy completely in the corner, instead anchored his line on a piece of impassable terrain, with the savage orcs and trolls spread between that and the board edge in a diagonal. A unit of night goblins guarded against units coming around the terrain and getting in behind.

Big mistake. I vangaurded the sisters forward, got first turn and had my mage safely behind the terrain from turn one. No more rock lobbers killing my mage thank you very much. Kevin admitted that he hadn’t realised quite how quick my army was going to be, so didn’t see the impassable terrain on his side of the table as a viable hiding place for my units. Purple sun went off in turn two, and I had a choice to make; send it through the warmachine line and eliminate any real ranged capabilities, or put it into the savages and trolls and go for the throat.

A quick consultation with Roy confirmed that things were generally going okay across the tables and that I should play the match up steady as she goes, so away went all the war machines. Not much else to say about this game. I camped my Deathweaver an inch from the savages for the next 4 turns and tried to cast Purple Sun but couldn’t get it through. I made a couple of silly small errors that cost me a couple of battle points, and a foot of gork came down literally 13-14 times in the last turn and cleaned up a couple of units. I’d cleaned up everything but the savage orcs by this stage, but couldn’t drop them below half strength with final turn shooting so had to settle for a 12-8. It’s a score I shouldn’t be unhappy about given it is in my predicted range of 12-14 points, but given the strong start I really wanted to crack on with it and bounce back properly from my last game.
Couldn’t be unhappy for long, because the train finally got away from the station! Wooo wooo!

99-61 against the Northern Irish, not quite a cap, but close enough really. Treble and Ivan both exceeded predicted score, Mick pulled his game out of the fire and got a good 9, and Akhter’s strippers for battle points incentive program continued to work wonders as he absolutely stomped the world, getting a 16 out of a dwarf army. Boom.

Tails up, happy times. Couldn’t have hit a better time to play the Kiwis. Didn’t matter, still lost.
Match ups were really close, Tom Dunn did really well designing them a program so that his old man couldn’t stuff it up. He still tried to, probably because he’s too old to use a computer properly. After half an hour of Pete Dunn typing in the match ups with 1 finger we were good to go.
Pairings were:
Ivan (Empire) vs Lizards (+)
Nick (Dark Elves) vs DoC (0)
Akhter (O&G) vs Dwarfs (-)
Jamie (DoC) vs Dark Elves (-)
Alex (Skaven) vs Empire (0)
Mick (HE) vs Skaven (-)
Sam (ChD) vs Ogres (+)
Myself vs WoC (+)

So dead even, 3 +’s, 3-‘s and some 0’s. Also for the first time I wasn’t going to be playing Orcs!
My opponent was Dan Butler, we’d played his team in the New Zealand Team Championships earlier in the year but I hadn’t played him personally. Top guy and we had a really good game. His list was basically a  tzeentch lvl 4 and a bsb on daemonic mounts, 2*8 trolls, 2*3 skullcrushers, some marauder cav and a bunch of chariots.

He cornered up really defensively as his list had two big troll units who didn’t want to go near purple sun. A really nice move was deploying his lvl4 and bsb as a unit together so he could allocate waywatcher shots between them and so that both would benefit from the MR1 on the mage.
I spread across the board as Dan didn’t have to commit to a corner early, and I was aggressive from the start with my mage. We started fairly slowly as we had a bit of a chat before the round began, so our game was running a bit later than the rest. D&D got through turn 1 on Dan’s general, which wasn’t a huge deal, but it did make both troll units fail stupidity and stumble forwards. They didn’t want to be anywhere near my army and would probably have moved back 3 inches, so bringing them both forward was useful. I followed this up with a turn two purple sun through one of the units, dropping four of them. At this point a look either side of me told a pretty bad tale. The Ogres were running the gauntlet, so a “stable 13” was looking a lot like “I’m getting 20’d”, which we couldn’t really afford given how close things were across with the board.

Not looking so stable...

One of the things I like most about my army is that it can change gears so well. I started every game in low gear, playing things safe and just chipping away at my opponent with the aim of hitting my predicted match up bracket, which each round had been 12-14 battle points. This makes for a pretty low risk game, my mage isn’t in charge range, my units are all in LD range, my opponent can’t really do a lot and I’m in position to deal with any pressure. In a game like this even with a bit of bad luck I’m not going to get much worse than an 11, unless something colossal happens like in the game against USA.

Unfortunately in this situation 12-14 just wasn’t going to cut it. So what I did do was move up a few gears to a style of game where with even luck I would get a big win, but a bit of bad luck was going to cost me more than it normally would. I played a game that I was in complete control of and didn’t need any special dice to take it to a big win. The risk was that I put myself into a situation that I had to play perfectly. Poor dice would mean the plan wouldn’t work (an element out of my control), but it also had to be executed perfectly.

It’s also difficult to describe accurately. My mage in her bunker went out hte front of the army. I’m talking like 10 inches away from trolls, skullcrushers and chariots, with no terrain in-between. Wild Riders lunged around beside his army, and the warhawks blocked some charges. The mage fled in Dan’s turn, through my own army before rallying and running straight back out in front of the army. A skullcrusher unit got baited into the flank of the warhawks, and somehow didn’t break them (this was bad for me as it turns out), so Wild Riders into the flank of them, with another unit hitting a chariot. I used one eagle to block the overrun of the wild riders that charged the chariot, with the other eagle and the glade riders blocking up the charges of various units.

The Wood Elves move in!

Things were set up pretty well, Dan didn’t have any charges he could make on units that weren’t chaff, and I had wild riders in and around his army. Unfortunately I fluffed against the Skullcrushers and didn’t break them, meaning the wild riders (with my BSB) were stuck in a protracted fight. Dan charged and killed my chaff in his turn, and finished off the wild riders with the skullcrushers. In my 5th or so I charged a soulblighted crusher unit with the remaining wild rider unit, fluffed again but ran them down because of the rear charge bonus. The fluff cost me though, as not killing a second skullcrusher gave Dan a lot more attacks back, so he killed enough models to make me miss the overrun into the flank of the other skullcrusher unit, which meant they just wailed on the bsb.
I tried a desperate move in the last turn to win the game (and therefore the Bledisloe), which involved casting doom and darkness on Dan’s general and BSB, then killing an entire unit of 8 trolls with a purple sun and panicking the characters off the board. Got the D&D but not the purple sun. I also failed to rally with the warhawks and the sisters (sans mage) which cost me a few points.
End result totalled up to an 9-11 loss. In a way I was disappointed because I thought I played a really strong game of Warhammer and a bit of bad luck cost me what could well have been a big result. At the same time I wasn’t too disappointed by it because I don’t think I could have played that game any better, but sometimes you just have to resign yourself to the fact that it doesn’t always work. Dan was a great opponent, and this was my second most fun game of the weekend. The best is round 5 and is an absolute cracker!

NZ won the Bledisloe, Rory Finnemore did an amazing Haka in the middle of the room, watching that was almost worth losing the round, one of the moments of the ETC.

I’m off to Clash of Swords in the UK this weekend, so the next update probably won’t be until Monday or more likely Tuesday.

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