It’s Saturday, a new day and time to stop being a mistake making dork! I failed pretty miserably at champions and was determined that I at least tighten up my play and not make the ridiculous number of mechanical errors I made the previous day!
For those that don’t know; Masters is a 3 list affair and it’s still Divide and Conquer 1, meaning that each list must be played once over the event but the event is split over 2 days. The First day is 4 rounds with a cut to top 8 for day 2. So I could play one list all day today but I would be severely limited if I made top 8 for the next day.
For my 3 lists I went with something more familiar; Dreamer in Dark Menagerie (this is a Pat Dunford list I’ve been using lately and quite like), Old Witch in Bump and Child in Menagerie. I really didn’t have much plans on playing Child on the first day as I haven’t played her since I started with the faction, it’s just that I’m cold on Heretic for the moment (need to try him in Dark Menagerie or Skinny Bump). Dreamer was the main list with OW covering whatever I was concerned about for Dreamer, which to be honest isn’t much, she’s amazing.
First round of a 122 player event and I get one of my wtc team members round 1! lol, oh well, Alex Dunn is a great guy and I always enjoy my games with him. he had Haley 2 in Heavy Metal, H3 Grave diggers and Nemo 3 in Storm division. He went with Nemo 3, which didn’t completely surprise me but the irony is that PP had JUST announced that nemo would be getting a bit of a nerf in the next dynamic update!
For me, I had discussed this match up with some other grymkin players and they had given me excellent advice on how to mitigate Nemo 3 and I was eager to see if I could put it to good effect.
Something else that was funny is that the rows were organised in rows of 3 tables and my entire row had nemo 3 players all on the same side of the row!
Anyway, back to my game! Alex won initiative and took first so I took the side that gave me some defensive benefits for the early/mid game, primarily for the gorehounds. I had taken Shroud and Sacrifice for my arcana and planned to use them turn 2 and 3 or possibly 3/4 respectively. My trump would not be terribly useful into this game but that happens quite a bit with Dreamer. Plan was to brick up and head for the intersection of the Left circle zone and the central zone, and jam with hounds.
Alex moved up with a pretty even deploy and I deployed centrally in a giant brick. My turn (wish I had taken a picture) and I moved up dropping out mirage on a skin and moans and bricked up insulating the brick with gremlin swarms to soak electro leaps and 2 gorehounds took a slice out of each crabbit putting them at 6 and 1 box respectively so that anything that hit them directly would kill them immediately. Dreamer camped 3 and was behind a wall of stuff.
Alex’s turn 2 and if he shot anything directly he would kill a crabbit and proc shroud, so with very few options he decided to position and wait till he could leverage maximum volume of fire under shroud. He did take a zap with a storm caller on a gremlin swarm that failed to kill it.
My turn and the brick moved up into the central zone, front 3 heavies in the artifice insulated with swarms and the damaged crabbits ready to shield guard themselves dead. The gore hounds ran full tilt to engage both units of stormlances and one hound killed the storm caller that zapped and sprinted to engage the left strider.
Alex’s turn and he feats, kills the gorehounds with the stormstriders and charges with the left lances into the death knell. I shield guard the first assault shot and proc shroud. The charges and one shot that hit leave the death knell on 7 boxes. Dynamook moves up to be in 5 of the lead cage rager and blows him away. The right lances can’t finish the death knell due to free strike issues from a skin and moans so they charge into the moans and leave it on 8.
My turn and it’s time to unleash hell! Dreamer wraith walkers, drops mirage and artifice, casts Manifest and camps a ton, hiding behind the death knell. I kill all the storm lances, a rager removes Dynamo and with a little help from a gremlin swarm to buffer the push effect, a skin and moans wrecks the left storm strider. Something crippled one of the fireflies as well. I run the phantasms to base the death knell that dreamer is hiding behind. I clear the middle zone and score 1. Felt pretty good about the game having removed some 60pts of electro freaks in one turn.
Alex’s turn and with me holding Sacrifice his options are kill a skin and moans or the death knell, he opts for the skinny and I proc sacrifice healing everything up. Nemo and Finch book it to the right and I think a couple gremlin swarms die.
My turn and I clear the left zone and middle zone to score to 3. With all the cav gone Alex can only score the right zone with nemo and he’s not close enough yet. Dreamer casts artifice and mirage and camps 3, still hiding behind the knell.
Alex’s turn and the right strider moves up and destroys the Death knell in spectacular fashion zapping both phantasms but doing no damage to the Dreamer. Nemo runs to the right zone and scores it, squire contests the left zone, 3-1.
My turn and Dreamer wraith walks, upkeeps artifice and casts Manifest. A rager wrecks the last storm strider, I clear the left zone and constest the right scoring 5-1.
With only nemo left Alex conceeds scenario loss.
Well the advice I had received from some of the best grymkin players in the world helped a ton in the match and gave me a clear plan and method to approach. On Alex’s end, his attempt to kill the knell was sound and if his dice had agreed it would have denied me something to hide Dreamer behind and made my remaining beasts a lot easier to kill and he might have bagged the skinny the other cav unit had charged. I think he played it decently but in our discussion afterwards he decided that he could have played it a little more cagey and used distance and the width of the scenario to his advantage.
This game was against a very nice gentleman from montreal I’ve played before; Jean Nicholaus. He had magnus 2, Ashlyn and Ossrum. I was kind of expecting Ossrum or Magnus and thought Dreamer would be best as OW can have trouble with the armour of Ossrum and didn’t have arcana or place effects to try and counter Magnus’s game. Jean went with Magnus and won the roll for first so I took the side where I thought the forest in the middle wouldn’t affect my LOS as much.
Jean’s list was 6 heavies: 3 Manglers and 3 Nomads, talon, eliminators, Ayana and Holt, Dwarf mortar, ragman, kell, eryiss, Anastasia and Hutchuk. All the utility! We both took pathfinder for our objectives, I took the Shadow and Sacrifice for Arcana.
Jean’s turn and he cast escort and blistered up the table.
My turn and I knew the feat was coming and had to stop the scenario loss, I briefly considered planting a skinny in each zone with a rager behind them but was concerned about the knell not being able to cover both sides and the giant opening it would leave in my middle. In retrospect, this would have been a better play but I opted to throw 2 gorehounds and 2 gremlin swarms on the far flanks and brick up in the middle. Mirage went on the far right skinny and I put an artifice in front of that brick. I also put enfeeble on the left mangler. The gorehounds ran to the brick to give me shadow procs and the Dreamer positioned accordingly. Also in retrospect I should have left at least one gorehound on the wide to lock down one of the outside zones.
Jeans turn and he managed to get the right mangler and nomad in on the right skinny and kill it. I did proc shadow on that side. On the left the mangler and and a nomad went in on a cage rager and killed it. He also gave one nomad on that side magic weapons and charged the gremlin swarm on the far left but missed the 7.
My turn and between the shadow, an abysal gate to position a nomad so the right rager could hit it, manifest destiny and a bunch of boosted damage rolls from the gorehounds I managed to kill 1 nomad and cripple the other 3 heavies (no arms!). The far left gremlin swarm ran into Jean’s zone but there was no way I was clearing my zone of that much beef. No one scored and I felt good about that.
Jean’s turn and the left nomad walked in and beat up my other skinny taking it down to 4 boxes. The crippled jacks did very little but a fresh nomad charged in and took the objective, I proc’d sacrifice on that and healed up the gorehounds and skinny. He cleared his zone with Magnus and cleared both the infantry zones to score 4!
Oh boy, that was very bad, the odds of clearing 2 fresh jacks and 3 crippled ones was very slim to score my zone and there was no way I could stop him from scoring at least 1 or 2. I had to try to assassinate. Good news is that Magnus was on zero camp and was in charge range of 2 gorehounds. I would need to clear the two crippled jacks in front of them but I had a skinny and I loaded him, cast manifest and the skinny easy removed both of the crippled jacks. I then started to try and find a way for the third gorehound to get a charge lane but it was impossible as there was an eliminator that was in the way. At this point I confirmed magnus’s defensive stats: Def 14, ARM 17 + 2 for unyielding, +2 for escort! ARM 21! jesus, dice of 9, even with manifest is bad.
I asked what was giving him the escort bonus and it was the talon about an inch and a half from magnus, I confirmed the range for the benefit; 3″. I briefly considered whether the 3rd gorehound could wreck the talon but that was highly impossible as it was arm 20. I went into the tank for a couple minutes and then a light bulb went on! Gorehounds have pull on their attack! With that I moved up the 3rd hound and pulled the talon out of escort range.
Ok, I had done what I could, it was time to send in the hounds! First one charged needing manifest 8s, I might have raw dogged most of them but either way it took both of them and a boosted 17 damage to get magnus down 1 box. I had 2 fury left on the lst hound and opted for unboosted 8s as if I could nail the first one I could boost damage and be almost certain of success, if I missed I would have a shot at another 8 followed by an 8. I got the hit, boosted damage and finished Magnus.
Whew, that was an exciting but very dangerously risky assassination and I needed to re-evaluate my approach to this type of list if I didn’t want to find myself in that situation again. Also if Jean had hit that 7 on the gremlin swarm I would have immediately lost top of 3 as I wouldn’t have been able to contest his zone. Jean played a very tight scenario game and I chose attritional advantage over shutting down that scenario play, big mistake but a bit of luck and manifest destiny saw me going into round 3…
One thing I just realized now is that I could have created the large phantasm from one of the crippled jacks to possibly move the vanguard out of escort range but I’m doubtful it would have had the speed to bulldoze the vanguard out AND get out of the charge lanes. I still could have used phantasms more effectively during this game but creating them on Magnus’ feat turn wouldn’t have helped much as they would have been locked down.
ROUND 3: OW 3 vs THAGGS 1: PIT 2
It’s always a pleasure to play Jake, he’s sharp as shit and a gentleman to boot, so I was really looking forward to this. I think he had, Thaggs 1 in children, that degenerate kallus list and Rhyas in Oracles. I played OW mainly because I was concerned about my other two brick lists getting swarmed by kallus and Jake dropped Thaggs.
I went first and Jake took the side with good forward terrain and a defensible forest. I deployed my hollow men off on the left thinking I could sweep them around the back of the central forest to threaten anything in that area but that proved a mistake as it let Jake counter deploy his infantry so that I wouldn’t get much for them to shoot at. I moved up as aggressively as I could, putting respawn on the rager and windstorm up.
Jake ran all up, using as much of the defensive terrain as possible and positioned in a manner that said “you need to put serious shit in the zones otherwise I’m scoring 3 next turn!” It was a poop sandwich but I decided to park my rager contesting the central and right zone. I then proceeded to kill as many hex hunters as I could and even got two raptors that had parked too close together.
Jakes turn and he puts twisted form on the rager (sad day) and goes in with Azreal and Zuriel but doesn’t finish him (missed Azreal’s charge). His mind and spirit are out so he’s not doing much in return. he also got in with some raptors and hex hunters and killed some infantry. Typhon parked it in the left zone for the long haul.
My turn and I have to kill a heavy, and zuriel is the only one that I can realistically get to. Problem is the cage rager is my only real (or so I thought) way to rfp him and his mind is out so he can’t even hit him! Also if I kill zuriel I’m seriously concerned that Azreal will just charge OW if I leave her in 11″. So I charge with the left neigh slayer, miss 2 of the attacks and do a decent amount of damage. I then decide to run OW away, which turns out was a big mistake, but I was running out of transfer targets and I was seriously worried about getting stabbed. I then used Longfellow and he actually killed Zuriel, which was good/bad as he would be coming back shortly. On the right things went well as I killed the remaining raptors with cask imps, ambushing murder crows and some neigh slayers and ground down the hex hunters a little bit. On the left I hit Typhon with a couple cask imps and charged the objective with hollow men putting it down to 8 boxes.
Jakes turn and Azreal kills the rager and he clears out a fair bit of stuff, including all the neigh slayers but still hasn’t scored. He feats Zuriel back.
My turn and I’m in a super bad spot now, I don’t have the tools to kill Zuriel or Azreal and the long term game is bad. With few options I boundless OW, charge typhon, scourge him and kick him to death but it takes my stack (he didn’t have excessive healing because he frenzied last turn). The hollowmen take out the objective and I score 2, but azreal and zuriel are well in range to get witchy. Longfellow kills Bael.
Jakes turn and he clears off some stuff with thaggs and shoots witch twice with azreal and charges with zuriel and easily takes her down.
I talked with Jake about the game after and he said he expected me to charge zuriel with the neigh slayers like I did, scourge Zuriel down after repos, curse him and then use the rager to rfp him or the spells from the twilight sisters to rfp him. I thought that sounded like a great idea but that I obviously wasn’t smart enough to think of it! He also mentioned that he didn’t think Azreal was a realistic threat to OW as I still had the frightmare to transfer to and he didn’t have much, if anything to take it out.
Anyway, good game and good learning experience, always a pleasure to play Jake!
ROUND 4: DREAMER vs SLOAN: SPREAD THE NET
Jeff had, nemo 3, Sloan and something else. I decided, from my round 1 experience that Dreamer was my best bet and that with phantasm creation I should have a leg up in the scenario.
Jeff went with Sloan and she was in storm division with what you see there. Oddly enough he gave me first and I picked the side with a decent forest for Dreamer to hide behind and good jump to defensive terrain for the gore hounds. I assumed that Jeff wanted a bit of shooting bottom of 1 or have opportunity to score first after he had murdered some of my stuff with his feat. For Arcana I took shroud and Sacrifice as the stormstriders didn’t ignore stealth.
We deployed and my plan was to take the brick up the right and push through to his flag. For the stormwall I planned to just run a miraged Skinny up to engage him and make him punch instead of shoot while setting up counters and the gorehounds went on the flanks to jam hard.
Turn 1 I confirmed my opponents threat ranges and moved everything up just outside the 22″ of shoot me face. I dropped the artifice in the spot my brick would land turn 2 and put up mirage on the central skinny so he could threat as far as possible on engaging the stormwall.
Jeff’s turn and he confirmed my threat ranges and moved everything up to create a nice focused fire death zone.
My turn and it was time to engage the plan and cross my fingers! I upkept the artifice, used mirage then dropped it. I ran the skinny in the middle to engage the stormwall and then ran the brick into the artifice. Dreamer recast mirage on the right skinny so he could threat the stormwall and then put enfeeble on the right stormstrider, camping 2. The death knell moved to cover the brick and block LOS to the dreamer. The gorehounds blistered up the table to jam, the ones on the right hopping into the trench to be as annoying as possible. No offensive work but hopefully I asked Jeff a difficult question!
Jeff decided to melee the skinny engaging the stormwall and shoot some other stuff. He started with the wall who rolled some 7’s but failed to kill the skinny by 2 boxes. The wall also dropped a pod on my flag contesting it and locking down the gremlin swarm there, He then activated the left strider and tried to take out the gorehound there but failed, which made me sad as I was ready to Sacrifice that 2 box skin and moans back up to full! He then focused on finishing the skinny and feated with sloan and knocked him out. The rest of his shots were focused on doing as much damage to the skin and moans in the artifice but I had 2 shield guards for 2 of the armour pierce shots and Jeff’s dice were very unkind and he missed like 3 shots easily. He ran a stormcaller to my zone and everything ended up being contested.
My turn and I started by using Mirage and then dropping everything. Dreamer wraith walkered and I ran the back rager so I could arc onto the right Strider that Jeff had backed up out of my threat range. I cast manifest and abysal gated the strider forward into rager charge range. I did have to move dreamer up a bit to keep the rager’s landing spot in control and she was on zero but incorporeal and behind the forest and Death Knell. The right gore hounds went in and destroyed one hunter and crippled the other. The gremlin swarms ran, one to the right flag and the other to buffer the push effect and the rager charged right through it and removed the right strider. The remaining skinny went in on the stormwall and left it on about 14 boxes taking out an entire side. The middle rager ran into charge range of the storm wall ready to follow up and finish the job. The left, crippled, gorehound put an attack into the storm wall and did a point of damage. I scored the right flag but didn’t kill the storm caller as the knell was too busy shielding dreamer.
Jeff’s turn and the storm wall got loaded again and he took the skinny down to about 4 boxes. Sloan finished the job again and I proc’d sacrifice to heal all the gorehounds and crabbits. The wall also dropped a pod in front of the rager. On the left the strider struggled to do any damage to the gorehound and the remaining hunter flailed ineffectually against the 2 gore hounds.
My turn and one of the gorehounds on the hunter frenzies, the Dreamer casts manifest, heals a gorehound and camps 3 behind the forest. The death knell charges the stormcaller and kills him (why doesn’t the thing have repo?). The gorehound finishes the hunter and one of the right rages removes the storm artillery clearing that side completely. A crabbit hops over and removes the pod blocking the central rager and that rager goes in and finishes the storm wall. I score the right flag and zone going 3-0.
Jeff’s turn and he doesn’t have many options, he can try to clear his zone but he has no way to contest the right zone and flag so we call it there as I go 5-0. I need to mention what an amazing guy Jeff is and how much fun he is to play with. We were cracking jokes and laughing the entire time and had a great time… well I did, and I hope Jeff did too!
At the end of this game, I thought I had forgot to make phantasms but then realised that everything I had destroyed (with the exception of the stormcaller in my zone) had been out of Dreamers control, that’s how terrified she was the entire time!
Saturday turned out a lot better than Champions, partly because I went 3-1 and placed 13th out of 122 but also because my play was much more on point, controlled and tight. I did make some mistakes and learned a lot from the games but I wasn’t messing basic mechanics up. My game with Magnus was very tight and I learned to approach that type of match up differently. I also learned to look deeper for more options playing Jake. All in all it was a great day, I saw a lot of friends I don’t get to see very often and played some solid games!
Thanks to everyone who went and to the event organizers for holding a quality event that is getting better with each year!