Monday, November 24, 2014

The Slow Burn: Round One - Durgen Madhammer vs. Kreoss2

Slow Burn Tournament Round 1: Atlantean (Mercenaries) vs. Dweomer (Protectorate of Menoth)


THE MATCH-UP


Atlantean and Dweomer faced off against each other for their November tournament game. Atlantean's lists were Durgen Madhammer with an Earthbreaker and Damiano with a Nomad plus a ton of guns. Dweomer's lists included Kreoss1 and his "Three Amigos" (Reckoners) and Kreoss2 Crusaders of Sul Tier 4. The Scenario was Outflank. On one side of the table, one zone had two linear obstacles bordering a zone with a forest reaching into the second zone. One the opposite side there was a distant hill and a single, central linear obstacle. Atlantean dropped Durgen Madhammer and Dweomer dropped Kreoss2.


THE LISTS


Durgen Madhammer (Highborn Covenant)
- Ghordson Earthbreaker
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution
First Mate Hawk
Goblin Tinker
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator
Thor Steinhammer
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages
- Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer
Lady Aiyana and Master Holt
Press Gangers (10)
Press Gangers (10)


Grand Exemplar Kreoss (Crusaders of Sul Tier 4)
- Fire of Salvation
Knights Exemplar Seneschal
Exemplar Errant Seneschal
High Exemplar Gravus
Exemplar Bastions (3)
Knights Exemplar (painted)
Knights Exemplar (white)
Knights Exemplar (grey)
Exemplar Errants (10)
- Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard
Daughters of the Flame (silver bases)
Daughters of the Flame (black bases)


KEYS TO THE MATCH


Going into the matchup, Dweomer was hoping Damiano would get dropped because he was planning on putting Kreoss2 down. In his head, he thought the threat of purification would nullify the utility of Primed on the Press Gangers in the Durgen list. While at the same time, the presence of Sure-Foot would nullify the Kreoss1 knock-down feat. The connection he failed to make was Purification would strip out Sure-Foot as easily as it would Primed. He also forgot (but should have remembered!) that the Primed Press Gangers are a diversion made of garbage*. To be on the safe side, while he hoped to see Damiano, he plotted out a strategy for dealing with the Earthbreaker and garbage pirates. The priority for Dweomer was to leverage the dispel on Fire of Salvation and Gravus (specifically Gravus on turn 1) to knock Primed off the lead Press Gangers. The second order of business was to engage and cut down the Gun Mages. His focus was going to be on a scenario victory.


Atlantean was nearly certain that he was going to see Kreoss2. He came to this conclusion because he did not think that Kreoss1 would have enough to deal with the Earthbreaker list and this being a non-killbox scenario it would be harder to assassinate. Atlantean did not want to drop Damiano into this matchup because on the off chance Kreoss1 was played by Dweomer purification is very hard to deal with and with Kreoss2’s feat he did not think Damiano could win attrition. Durgen also has Inhospitable Ground and the Earthbreaker with rough terrain so he felt he could sandpaper enough of the army away to have a controlling position in either assassination or scenario. Keeping the gun mages and the Earthbreaker safe were the keys to his plan.


(*The 12 points of pirates in Atlantean's list are garbage. If you don't deal with them, they kill you. However, if you deal with them, you are spending resources you will need later, and it does not greatly impact Atlantean's ability to wreck your day - the very definition of garbage. -Dweomer)


DEPLOYMENT


Mercenaries won initiative (and was very happy about it) and elected to go first. Gloom and doom began to set in for Protectorate. Menoth selected the side of the table with the forest and two linear obstacles - primarily to deny those features to the Mercs. Visions of a line of Gun Mages hiding behind a wall that non-reach warriors couldn't reach over was enough to make Menoth want to deal with a forest mucking up list unpacking.


The Earthbreaker was center because it needed to be able to threaten either zone. The Gun Mages lined up on the right (left in the picture) because they cannot shoot through the forest and thunderbolting and sniping was their main game plan. Durgen and Aiyana and Holt lined up with the linear obstacle. The Press Gangers and solos advanced deployed so after seeing the Protectorate normal deployment the pirates split leaving an Earthbreaker sized gap in their lines and Gorman deployed near the linear obstacle. Hawk and Eiryss deployed behind the left (right in the picture) unit of Press Gangers. The Durgen/Earthbreaker Posse (Dougal, Reinholdt, Thor, Gobber Tinker) all bunched near the Earthbreaker.


On the Protectorate side of the table, Fire of Salvation took the left flank. Bastions, Kreoss, and Gravus lined up behind the left zone. The KES took the right flank, supported by a unit of Knights (white). The Errants set up shop in the forest with the EES behind them. The remaining units of Knights deployed in the center and the daughters lined up in the backfield behind the left zone and center of the table*. All of the Knights Exemplar receive an Advance Move after deployment. Also, the entire deployment zone for the Tier List is extended 2".


(*I have given away so many units of Daughters in my haste to get up the field. Starting them in the back and running 14" on turn 1 still lets me drop them right behind my front line and plan for an acrobatic charge in subsequent turns. It gives up the run to engage strategy but often leaves me with functional units later on. -Dweomer)




ROUND 1: MERCENARIES


Atlantean:
There was no allocation to the Earthbreaker. Durgen advanced and cast Primed on the left (right in the picture) unit of Press Gangers and cast Inhospitable Ground, I considered casting Red Line instead of Primed or Inhospitable Ground but my plan was to keep the Earthbreaker safe so I decided against it, may have been a mistake. Dougal activates, advances and gives Artillerist to the Earthbreaker. Thor activates, advances and uses Tune Up for damage (because why not). The Earthbreaker activates, advances and pops off 2 rough terrain templates with rerolls to try to stick them as far up as possible.


The Press Ganger units run, the right (left in the picture) run further into the zone and give some respect to the Errants due to ranged attacks and Pathfinder. The left (right in the picture) pirates run to toe into the zone, they are basically bait so I try to leave enough space that they won’t take huge losses from the Errants next turn. Eryiss runs behind them. The Gun Mages, Aiyana and Holt, and the rest of the solos advance/run. I forget to activate Gorman (happens a lot when I Advance Deploy him, sigh).




ROUND 1: PROTECTORATE


Dweomer:
The Primed unit is on my right and did not move as far forward as I wanted. This is good in a way, as all of my dispel abilities are central and left. I commit to shooting pirates with the Errants and running the rest of my army forward. I know that his feat turn is going to see a lot of dead Menites, but is going to have to be one of those storms you just weather. The Earthbreaker didn't come screaming up the table at my wall of weapon masters, so I have at least a turn or two to get ready for it. I also want to position Gravus in such away as to maximize my knockdown protection coverage. Third - I need to get Kreoss up the table for feat, but I need to keep him as far back as possible because of accurate AOEs.


I allocate 1 to the Fire of Salvation. The Errants advance and start shooting. They manage to cut down the front ranks of the pirates, but several toughs later only three of them have been shuffled off the table. The lead elements are on the ground, however, so I am mostly safe from counter charges. The Knights White run, and I a place one within charge range (on purpose) … need to start building up that armor. The KES runs to toe into the zone. The EES assault shots and misses a pirate (out of range).


In the center of the board, the Knights Painted take the lead, running forward into the zone. I like to put three forward and hold three back in order to hit the sweet spot with Bond of Brotherhood. The Knights Grey take the center in the same three up / three back formation. Gravus runs into the pocket behind the Greys. Kreoss advances and puts Inviolable Resolve on the Knights Grey and Sacrosanct on the Errants. IR often goes on Daughters because they are not fearless, but I felt like I needed a little more of a bump in the armor road for my second wave unit of Knights.


The Fire of Salvation runs, as do the Bastions. The Daughters filter in behind the front lines, waiting for their special moment.



ROUND 2: MERCENARIES


Atlantean:
I want to feat this turn for a few reasons: 1. My pirates are still far enough away if I do my ranged attacks first and don’t get terrible deviations 2. Dweomer is probably going to feat next turn and his feat’s strength is directly proportional to the number of models he has available (fact! -Dweomer). Target priorities are to kill the Errants because of ranged attacks and Pathfinder, and I want to kill at least 1 unit of Knights Exemplar dead. I also want to push back and knock down Fire of Salvation and push back or kill the Bastions. Once all my ranged attacks are done I want to jam with the pirates to hopefully buy another turn of shooting.


I do not upkeep Primed because the left Press Gang (right in the picture) are not going to be able to really use it and I want the focus available. I do not allocate to the Earthbreaker because Tune Up and Durgen’s feat should be good enough. Dougal activates, advances gives Artillerist to Durgen and uses Double Powder Ration. The Gun Mages activate, advance and try to Thunderbolt the jack, several hit but no crits (more on this later) so it is not knocked down, the rest snipe and kill some Knights and damage the Bastions. Thor activates, advances and does Tune Up for damage. Reinholdt activates, advances and gives reload to Durgen. Durgen activates, advances and feats. He aims at the Errants first and gets good damage rolls (POW7+3D6) and with rerolling deviations gets good blast damage. Durgen casts Inhospitable Ground and Primed on the right (left in the picture) unit of Press Gangers.


The Earthbreaker activates and advances and rolls a total of 5 rapid shots (3 one side, 2 the other). With the extra die on the hit roll the Earthbreaker puts the rough terrain in good spots and with POW7+4D6 blasts a lot of stuff dies. Eryiss advances to the hill and pops a Knight. Aiyana and Holt activate and advance and Holt shoots at Knights and kills 1. Hawk charges a Knight (last of one of the units) so she is in range to give an extra die to the Press Gangers melee attacks. The Primed Press Gangers run/charge at Fire of Salvation, Bastions, and Knights with Primed, Gang, and Hawk they kill basically everything in melee except 1 Bastion and the jack. The other unit of pirates also does a run/charge but only 2 can charge and both miss (MAT5 with no Gang or Primed). The tinker advances in front of the Earthbreaker and Gorman advances and clouds. This was a great turn but I took way too much time, I really wanted the jack to be knocked down but other than that I am on plan.




ROUND 2: PROTECTORATE


Dweomer:
Ok. That was a bloody mess. I knew it was going to be bad, but I didn't know it was going to be quite as thorough. Primed has been switched over to the left zone pirates. The right zone just has a few tough pirates in it. I am going to feat this turn to clear the zones and score three. I check my clock. Atlantean has burned up a chunk of time doing all of his deviations. I decide to give myself three minutes to think through what I want to accomplish on the turn. On further reflection, moving Kreoss towards the Earthbreaker and the Gun Mages seems like a terrible idea. I discard going for three points. Now I am going to score two points. All I have to do is kill a Gun Mage at the very back of the left zone and a pirate at the back of the right zone. On the right, I have a quickwork short and an assault shot to attempt to get through two tough checks. Risky, but necessary. On the left I have a Bastion with eight inches of charge and two inches of reach. I measure my control area a whole bunch. I think I have my activations ready and then I remember Inhospitable Ground. The whole left side plan goes out the window. I cannot, in any way, reach the Gun Mage. Ok. I settle for 1 point and clearing as much of the left zone as possible. Whew. That took four minutes.


Righteous Vengeance does not give me any distance to move because of the pirates in my face, but I do get a swing on one of them. I connect and Primed goes away. Hooray for MAT 7 on a jack! Kreoss activates and slowly moves to the right, measuring his control to the most distant pirate after every inch. He feats. Everything that matters this turn is in the feat.


The Errants activate and charge/run. The Flag runs to occupy a second of the zone facing the Earthbreaker. The Officer charges and kills a pirate and takes his Quick Work shot on the troublemaker in the back. He hits, boxes, and the pirate fails to tough. Looking good. Then the EES kills a pirate - and at this point I discover that the EES does not have quick work! Whew. I was banking on that as a backup. The Knights White activate and chop down the remaining pirates. The last one toughs, but then fails his command check. Instead of charging it with the KES, I run the KES towards Eiryss. This might have been a huge mistake because I overlook the part next turn where the pirate could rally and contest without assistance.


On the left side, the FoS kills another pirate but the third one near him toughs. The Bastion kills his target, and then the remaining ten daughters go to work. One attempts to get to a Gun Mage and fails, the rest use their three auto-hitting anatomically precise attacks to force tough checks for days. The pair that landed next to Hawk slice her to ribbons. And when the hacking and slashing is done, all the garbage pirates have been mulched. The Knights Grey run slowly forward towards the Earthbreaker, and Gravus runs slowly around a forest to line up a charge for next round. With the right zone uncontested, Protectorate scores the first control point of the match.


SCORE: MERCENARIES 0, PROTECTORATE 1




(Unfortunately at this point, Dweomer forgets to keep taking pictures. We were streaming the game, but had technical issues post game and lost the video. The rest of the report will have to be in the theatre of the minnnnnnd)


ROUND 3: MERCENARIES


Atlantean:
I knew the pirates were going to die. I did forget about Dispel on Fire of Salvation but that is fine. Having that last pirate fail his command check is rough because the more resources they eat up the better. I need to start making a play for scenario. I want to clear the left zone (by knocking down and back Fire of Salvation, killing everything else) so I can start to dominate. I have lost a lot of time because of my last turn so I need to be quicker. I don’t allocate to the Earthbreaker but I need it to continue to attrition the right zone. I activate Durgen’s posse and then Durgen himself, he aims and shoots at the Daughters killing most of them. He then casts Inhospitable Ground. This is my first big mistake because I really wanted to put red line on the Earthbreaker so he could advance 6” toward the right zone.


The Gun Mages activate, some advance and others aim and then shoot at the jack knocking him back but unfortunately he doesn’t get knocked down and he is still in the zone because the terrain stops the push. They also kill the remaining Bastion. Aiyana and Holt activate, advance and Holt shoots at the remaining Daughters but misses. Gorman advances and kills a Daughter with Acid Bomb. This was a mistake, I should have blinded the Knights that are in between the zones. Earthbreaker activates, advances toward the zone and shoots at Knights and Exemplars in the right zone. Eryiss activates and snipers a Knight. The lone Press Ganger again fails his command check to rally (boo). The Gobber Tinker runs to the right zone to contest. I once again take way too much time and now I am in trouble.


SCORE: MERCENARIES 0, PROTECTORATE 1


ROUND 3: PROTECTORATE


Dweomer:
Another round of shredding passes. At this point I have the following resources:
Left Side: 1 Daughter, Fire of Salvation
Right Side: Kreoss, Gravus, one Knights Grey, two Knights White, EE Officer, EES, KES.
The lone surviving Daughter and the Fire of Salvation are all that remains on the left side of the board. The odds of me contesting this zone for very long are not good. I take my Righteous Vengeance move and decide to advance on Gorman. This may be a mistake. At the moment the FoS is against a wall and in the zone. The Gun Mages would have to make a weird move to get the proper angle to knock the FoS parallel to the wall and out of the zone. However, Gorman is like … right there. Plus, I think if I can get deep enough into the zone, maybe he won't be able to push me all the way out of it. I advance on Gorman and come up very short due to Inhospitable Ground. Kreoss manages to allocate 1 to the FoS.


The last Daughter charges Gorman and takes him off the table with some good dice. The FoS charges Holt, and just makes distance, but he whiffs on his attacks. The Fire of Salvation is now standing about four inches in from the edge of the zone … he is going to get knocked out into the other wall and not be able to toe in. But at least he won't be blind.


On the other side of the battle, the KES charges Eiryss with an unexpected speed six. The first swing misses, but the second connects and she dies to a POW 11 Weapon Master. With the Earthbreaker nearly in the zone, the rest of the crew begin the daunting task of scrapping it. First up, the last Exemplar Errant, the Officer, kills the Gobber. I forget to take the Quick Work shot which is unfortunate because some of the Merc support was nearby. Then Gravus charges the Earthbreaker and spends four attacks (he had three souls) chipping paint. Three of them do ok damage, but one bounces off the armor. The EES contributes his attack (having wisely self-sacrificed the bannerman during the Merc turn). Dice off eleven on a Weapon Master charge puts a few more points on it. The Knights White kill the last pirate (and I lose a potential attack because the pirate dies right away). And the remaining super-solo Knights Grey puts a POW 16 Weapon Master charge into the side of the Earthbreaker. It feels good, but I haven't even caved in a side yet. Kreoss runs to dominate and Menoth scores two more points.


SCORE: MERCENARIES 0, PROTECTORATE 3


ROUND 4: MERCENARIES


Atlantean:
Losing Eryiss was bad, I did not know the Knight solo was SPD6 and honestly they all look the same anyway so I just didn’t see it coming. Now I am in a serious time crunch. I have to dominate the left zone, I have to get the Earthbreaker into the right zone and I have to get something else to contest in there. Because of the time pressure I activate a Thor before allocating. I really want the Earthbreaker to trample into the zone and I am about 0.5” out of casting distance for Red Line which would have made all the difference with a 9” trample. Holt backs up and the free strike from the jack misses, Aiyana puts kiss on the jack and Holt shoots it doing some damage and kills the last Daughter.


I activate the Gun Mages and pile them up in line to Thunderbolt the crap out of Fire of Salvation, getting him out of the zone (still no knockdown!). I advance Durgen into the zone and cast Inhospitable Ground. I run Reinholdt to the right zone behind the forest to contest. I walk Dougal into the left zone (should have run him toward the right zone). I walk the Earthbreaker to toe in the zone eating a free strike from Gravus and taking some MAT6 slaps at the Errants and Knights in melee, causing a self sac from the Errant UA. I dominate for two and pass turn.


SCORE: MERCENARIES 2, PROTECTORATE 3


ROUND 4: PROTECTORATE


Dweomer:
The pressure is on now. Durgen is starting to score in the other zone, I have very little that can stop him. Honestly, I have nothing left that can hold him back. I need all of my resources to clear my side of the fight. I have about six minutes left on my clock. Atlantean has one. I either have to contest strongly and play for clock, or focus on my zone and go for scenario. I decide to go for scenario. It means putting about thirty points of damage into the Earthbreaker (it took a bit from the free-strike it took to move into the zone). I also need one attack to kill the contesting Reinholdt. This is a makeshift reconstruction of the situation in the zone (actual locations are approximate):


The FoS attempts to move back into the zone, however Inhospitable Ground puts him about a half inch short of contesting. That was expected, but I had to try. Time for the main event. Gravus smashes the Earthbreaker - he has no souls on him because of the self-sac the previous turn, therefore no followup strike. The Knight Grey smashes the Earthbreaker and the dice spike hard. The EES adds a scratch. The Knights White throw their charges on the pile and then the KES charges. The first hit drops like a ton of bricks, the second hits nearly as hard leaving the colossal on two boxes. At this point, I completely forget about Chain Attack: Smash. All I have left (in my mind) is Kreoss and he still has to deal with the Goblin.




I can't see the Goblin from where I am. I can't reach him through the forest. I suppose I could advance into the forest and shoot him with a spell, but I would like to save my focus for the Earthbreaker. I measure and measure and guess while my clock burns ever lower. It gets to about the two minute mark and I pull the trigger.


Inch by inch, Kreoss moves around the forest and reach being the amazing ability that it is, after five inches of crawling, I get to Reinholdt. I have seven focus. I have to hit. I boost the attack, and spike the Goblin hard. Then I turn my six focus on the colossal. He is range of Castigate, I spend three to cast it, needing barely anything to hit. I boost the damage leaving Kreoss on two for a non-boostable, dice minus eight Chasten backup plan. Castigate is dice minus six. I need eight on three dice. Roll the dice, it comes up somewhere in the teens and the Earthbreaker goes down. The zone is clear and I dominate for two points and the victory. In the other zone, Durgen scores two more points bringing Atlantean to four control points. When we tally the army points destroyed, he is at 31 and I am at 40. Atlantean has 4 CP and 31 points which puts him exactly one army point destroyed ahead of the next player on the tourney rankings.


SCORE: MERCENARIES 4, PROTECTORATE 5


VICTORY FOR MENOTH!


Thoughts on the Match:


Dweomer:
Getting the harder drop and then losing on initiative put me on my toes. I knew the pirates were garbage, but I also knew I had to take them off the table. The last time I faced this list (also courtesy of Atlantean), there was only one unit of Press Gangers. The second unit puts so much forward pressure on the table. When I face up against an Earthbreaker, I usually try to win without dealing with it. That has often involved Harbinger and a full double Bastion package. I knew at some point I was going to have to have something left to crash into the thing. I was going for scenario from the start while at the same time trying to keep any sort of pressure on Durgen and play my turns as quickly as possible. We both ended with a sliver over a minute left on our clocks. My primary goal in this tournament is to get better at clock management. I think Kreoss2 has a ton of game if you can deal with not having much in the way of guns. I made three mistakes in the game:


  1. I should have cleared out the last pirate instead of running at Eiryss. That would have forced him to commit to the zone (even though he did) and would have saved me an activation in the following turn. Eiryss would have been able to get another attack off, but the pirate would not have gummed up the lanes for both of my white knights.
  2. I should have advanced FoS against the wall and toed into the zone to stop the knockback shots. It would have forced him to come forward to wreck the jack. Durgen would have still accomplished it, but it would have prevented one round of scoring.
  3. I completely forgot about Chain Attack smite. That was the third attack I needed to wreck the EB without needing Kreoss to clear both enemy models. Honestly, that was the first time I have had a KES survive to get work done. He usually sucks down enemy resources and experiences undeath before being lifted off the table.


Things I did right (in my opinion):


  1. I used the feat turn to clear out the pirates, and I used the Fire of Salvation's Righteous Vengeance to get the Dispel hit on the Primed Pirates. Clearing Primed without using a normal activation set up my entire feat turn.
  2. Remembering Inhospitable Ground before committing to a scenario plan was also huge. I went from planning on three points, to squeaking out two, to accepting one. But I picked the plan that worked and did so before burning any activations.


Overall, we played a tight, clean game. The streamed clock worked well and for those that watched the stream, they said it gave context to the scene and conveyed an excellent sense of pressure. I think everyone who wants to stream games should have one. Thanks for another awesome match, Atlantean.


Atlantean:
This was the matchup I expected and I won initiative which was all according to plan. This was not the matchup I wanted and seeing weaponmaster spam is never fun for a Colossal list. I have played this matchup before against Soldrath and I gave up the Earthbreaker too easily. I lost it again this time so it is certainly something I have to work on. Dweomer stuck to plan despite his heavy losses and finished strong, I give him a lot of credit for that. Here are my mistakes:


  1. Not getting up Red Line: the Earthbreaker could have been up further and I could have prevented the first round of dominating.
  2. Forgetting to allocate: I forgot this twice in a row when Durgen was completely safe but had focus left on him.
  3. Positioning: I should have positioned Gorman and Eriyss better, they could have lived longer.
  4. THE BIG ONE: Play Faster: I felt good about where I was until round 3 where I had taken way too much time, I really need to get better on the clock.


Things I did right (in my opinion):


  1. Keeping the Gun Mages safe: I didn’t lose any of them.
  2. Using the Pirates as unignorable garbage: I love Primed.
  3. Target Prioritization: I was able to kill what I wanted, when I wanted.



Quick Addendum: This is a screenshot of the stream with the clock




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