The Southern Ontario Open was this past weekend in Hamilton Ontario and it’s a great warmachine Con that has been running for 6 years now. I’ve been for 4 of those years and every year it’s a great time and it’s only getting better as it draws in people from the wider meta. Beermachine, moosemachine, folks from, New Jersey, Western Canada, Various parts of North Eastern US, Montreal and even further out east. I talked to one group of guys that endured a 16 hour drive from Fredericton! It’s truly shaping up to be a very wide reaching North American Con and if you haven’t been I highly recommend it for next year.
On friday is the champions event, which goes all day (6 rounds this year!), and is a very interesting format in that everyone only has 4 casters to chose from in their faction. This greatly limits the field of play you have to tech for and can make room for creative list building. This year I’m playing Grymkin (Just till September, when I can return to my beloved Circle) and their ADR roster looks like this:
Now, the default selection would normally be Old Witch in Bump and heretic in Dark menagerie but I wanted to evaluate that based on the casters my opponent would have available to them, So I drew up a list of expected pairings and came to the conclusion that if I wanted my main list to be Dark Menagerie I would be better with Old Witch as my caster and Heretic as my bump caster.
The Lists shook out like this:
The idea was that OW would pretty much play the field and that Heretic would cover a bunch of Cryx and Retribution. This was based on the (faulty) assumption that Arcana was important to the Cryx match and that an infantry swarm with charge denial would counter Elara.
I did practice both of these lists, playing the heretic list about 12 times and the Old Witch one only 3. I was still a little unsure about the heretic one as I hadn’t had a ton of success with it but I was determined to see the idea through.
Heretic vs Elara 2, Recon 2
A friend of mine from our local store, Ray Ray, was my round 1 opponent and he had, surprise, surprise, Elara 2 and Rhan. Dropping Elara he felt he lost list chicken but I think my Heretic list would do ok into Rhan with spell immunity on my caster and Ellish to mess with mittens. I lost the roll for initiative and prepared to contest his zone and flag while making a strong effort to take mine.
My memory of this game is a bit sketchy but I put up a fire wall and dropped desolation on the left to mess up the Halbs turn 2. I also got a rattler with glimmer imp support into the swordsmen in turn 2 but Ray toughed like a boss and the rattler killed 2 so no spree for him. My guns were more effective as they clipped out a good 4 of the swords dudes but I didn’t get the one guy contesting my flag so I don’t score. In the back right field the crows came on and killed a heavy rifle team, an arcanist and the gun from the other heavy rifle team.
I did make a horrible mistake bottom of two when I popped up my first trapper to contest his flag and zone; I made an attack on the chimera, forgetting about retaliatory strike and Ray hit the 8 so I had to run the hollowmen in a turn earlier that I wanted to contest.
Rays turn and he did a good job clearing his zone, feating and with shooting and a slam from the chimera, took out my ragers spirit and knocked him down, so he wouldn’t be doing much in my turn. I used pandemonium to shut down the halbs but they press forward and clear the hollowmen in the zone. On the right the swordsmen went in and killed a few models and jammed. The banshee went in on the rattler easily killing him. Ray scores 2.
My turn; on the left the cage rager gets healed and I beat back into the zone killing the chimera, the remaining hollowmen go into the zone to contest. On the right the hollowmen and longfellow mop up the swordsmen and the neighslayers get fury and wreck the banshee. In the back right the crows clean up the support and one even charges elara. I clear my flag and zone but then realise that I didn’t walk heretic in so I miss out on another CP, DERP!
Rays turn and shooting kills the cage rager in combination with some halbs who also clear his zone making it 4-1. I reckon the halbs and Ray puts Eryiss in my zone and she taps the glimmer imp dead. Elara does overtime and kills all the crows.
My turn and I unleash the rattler on the halbs and he remove almost all of them. The second trapperkin does contesting duty and I easily clear my zone with hollowmen and neighslayers popping the crabbit in to score. It’s 4-2 though and my early scoring losses are hurting!
Ray takes out my objective with a few halbs and shooting, the cricket easily kills the rattler and the remaining halbs do in my objective. 5-2.
My turn and hollowmen all but finish the halbs and take out the lyss healer. The heretic and remaining neigh slayer kill his objective and it goes to 5-4.
Rays turn and he decides against an assasination attempt, but clears his zone and flag putting it 6-5.
My turn and the heretic furies himself and kills the cricket camping 2. My trapperkin moves into the zone and the hollowmen race left. 6-6
Ray Ray can’t realistically keep up on the scenario so goes in with Elara to assassinate Heretic but leaves him on 2 boxes, Heretic easily kills her.
A grind of a game and I really don’t feel I deserved the win, I made numerous errors that cost me scenario points and forced me to make sub optimal plays and several times I needed some luck to bail me out. All in all the list performed okay into it’s target even if Ray’s list was much more of a balanced list that the 3 halb version I had planned for. Ray played an excellent scenario game and I felt his play and decision making were better than mine.
OLD WITCH vs ZEXAAR, Pit 2
This was my first game against Corey Burns, a western WTC player, and it did not disappoint from his end, he is super nice and subtly hilarious. On my end, I made more mistakes than I could afford to and was super disappointed with my thoughtless sloppy play.
This time I got to go first which, was great against derp turtles, and I pushed up, I was planning on using the central forest to facilitate an alpha on the left turtle while continually blinding the right one.
Corey moved up putting in a few shots and backing up out of threat.
I took my turn to assemble my “difficult choices” bunker, offering Corey his choice of Cage Rager on the right, while offering him a crabbit and frightmare on the left.
Corey decides to go in and takes the frightmare and crabbit but only fails to kill the rager, taking out his spirit and knocking him down so he won’t be doing anything in my turn. Zaadesh 1’s beasts take the objective and zone on the right. Sexy Xexy feats to cover the left hand turtle.
My turn and OW feats, blinds the right turtle, curses the left one and boundless charges the three skin and moans. The Corpse cart gives the left hand skinny 2 corpses, I sabotage the left turtle and then I make a trinity of terrible no good, very bad mistakes. First I forget to enrage the skin and moans going in on the left turtle, then I charge in a way that not only gets me into the agonizers aura but denies my second skin and moans a landing spot. I do all my attacks, missing one re rollable 6 and leave it on 4 boxes with no way to finish the job. If I had done ONE of those three things it would have been dead and the game all but locked down. Pretty stupid, and sadly indicative of my play that day!
In the middle I put the central skin and moans into charon and do a bit of damage but nothing serious. On the right the third skin and moans kills both of zaadesh’s beasts.
Corey’s turn and I pay a heavy price for my stupidity as he kills the left skin and moans with derp turtle, kills the central skin and moans with charon and some stuff and jams some other lights in the way of my remaining heavies getting to the damaged left turtle which he healed to like 8 or 10. Zaadesh moved to the corner of my zone on the right.
On my turn the cage ragers and skin and moans kill Charon and the right turtle, I use OW to boundless but forget to use her gun to blind the left turtle (when will my stupidity end!) I desperately charge it with the death knell but it doesn’t even come close.
Corey’s turn and the left turtle kills my battle engine and he puts the shaman in my zone as well, my memory of the late game is a bit sketchy but he did an excellent job of exploiting every one of my mistakes and leveraging as much advantage as he could from it.
By the end game I finally killed the left turtle with OW herself but Corey had expertly positioned models and blocked advance lanes to shut down my scoring opportunities and I was left at the bottom of 7 with needing to score 3 elements but only having the models to get 2. I scored the two elements I could after thinking about it and shook hands. I felt the game was mine to lose as the match up and terrain favoured me but I made too many mistakes into a seasoned and expert player who turned every single on of them into a pointy stick that he jammed into my side! Well done Corey!
Heretic vs Denny 2 Dark Host, spread the net.
My apologies for the lack of pictures from here on out, I’m usually really good about documenting my games. I was playing Brad from Fully boosted and we had just played the same match on Pit 2 at OTC but this time my list was different, double hollowmen instead of double piggybacks.
I went first and I deployed fairly evenly with a bit of a weight to the right of center. I ran my trapperkin to get them deeper for doors next turn and Brad jumped a stalker in to kill the right hand one and also ran up an arc node, pulling my Ruin arcana for a hellmouth. This is where I realised that arcana and even Ruin in DM are just an early soak for playing against cryx. Against a caster like Denny 2, she can spam so many spells a turn that you are quickly out of magic defences. Anyway, I get an arc node for the trouble so that is something. Brad also expertly used the forest on my right that shielded his flag somewhat from charges to work his cavalry behind and layered his bane knights effectively on the left.
My turn and with a bit of trouble I do take the arc node and stalker on the right and plink off a couple bane knights and a bane cav (much to brads delight)
The rest of the game is going to be a bit slim on details, but brad scored his flag and his zone but didn’t push the middle. He contested my flag with knights and my zone with cav killing a few models in the process.
My turn and I think this was when I charged the bane knight contesting my zone with heretic and put a furied neigh slayer into darraghe on the right flag but didnt unhorse him. by the end it was 2-1 for brad as I could clear my flag of all the knights.
Brad’s turn and he continues to press his advantage clearing his elements and contesting mine, feating defensively on his important models. 4-1
My turn and I bring in my crows on the left to contest his zone and kill a couple knights, I had reckoned the wraith engine in brad’s turn, so my overall plan was for the heretic to kill the wraith engine and have my rattler dive into the banes by ploughing through the arc node. I needed to wraith bane a bunch of stuff and I did unhorse Darraghe with a neigh slayer I had wraith baned. Heretic killed the wraith engine and I send in the rattler but forgot that the arc node was incorporeal and that that plan falls dead. I also finish the bane cav on the right. I do score my zone but once again can’t clear my flag from ARM 20 vs shooting and DEF 14 against charges bane knights. I do kill a couple but not nearly enough. 4-2.
Brad’s turn and he kills the rattler I put up, most of the hollowmen on the left and a pile of crows, I think Darraghe clears the flag on the right because I derped and didn’t run my rattler far enough to contest. 6-2.
I’m in deep trouble here but Brad is smart and wraith walked with Denny so I can’t gallows her in. I clear my zone and finally kill Darraghe but have nothing to put on the flag. Heretic moves up super aggressively and I desperately try to clear my flag but 3 banes is just too much to deal with apparently. 6-3.
Brad just needs to clear 6 models to score 2 and contest my zone (which with so many ghostly models is not terribly hard). He does it, runs tartarus to the left flag and scores 8-3.
Brad played scenario well and I think I made a couple of key mistakes, one was thinking ruin would make any difference against a caster which so much spell spammability and forgetting to wraith bane the rattler when he went in. Also Darraghe is a monster flag camper! A good game, my play was better even if my tech was poo but I still made some sloppy mistakes.
ROUND 4 Heretic vs Denny 2 Black industries, Outflank
I was pretty sure Drew was going to drop Denny and that OW would be better into that but if he dropped agathia I might have problems with that. The deciding factor was that I want to give my Heretic one more shot to see if it had any legs so I went with that and took ruin and shadow as arcana.
I went first, ran up and Drew respected my threat ranges. Immediately I could see how absolutely terrible this was going to be for me, I was out threatened, out spelled and after I took the alpha I wouldn’t be able to charge anything with my hollowmen as all the important stuff would be incorporeal. Seeing that I made a desperate play, heretic gallowed a slayer into range, furied the rattler and between crows and rattler I killed a slayer. I had positioned everything far away from Heretic so Denny couldn’t Damnation something else to get death jack onto Heretic but I forgot about shadow step and Denny charged 13.5 inches to dark banish heretic into the loving arms of Death jack!
Not much of a game but it was over mercifully quick, if I had remembered about shadow step I would have made the same play but not cast fury and camped 4 as a failed assassination was pretty much my only hope in that match up. I couldn’t stop death jack from getting onto heretic after he was banished but the shadow could stop another heavy from getting in and then there would be a chance of failure. Anyway, well played by Drew, who I’ve played numerous times at captaincon and is a great guy!
After this round I was 1-3 and my ride was 2-2 so we dropped to have an early night and come back fresh for Masters the next day.
A number of problems with my day:
- List and perceived match ups; while my Heretic list did adequately into Elara it was woefully equipped to deal with cryx, especially anything Black Industries (which in this case meant Denny 2, doubly bad). Overall I think the OW list had merit but the Heretic list was terrible and overall my confidence and desire to use hollowmen (outside of maybe a min with Holden when he comes out) is non existent.
- Sloppy play, not recognising game deciding moments and spending the time being meticulous. All my games I just wasn’t tight enough on my play in terms of making sure I had all the effects and tools in play before I committed. After that day, I promised myself to work a lot harder at not making mistakes like that again.