Part One can be found Here
First note. This thing is super long.. Apologies for that.
So three games in and I’m surprisingly 3-0. I’ve also used the same list all three games in this two list DnC1 event. Only sixteen undefeated players remain and it’s a bit of a shark tank. Still I somehow fluked a bit of a win vs a WTC player last round. How bad could it be?
Round 4 vs Patrick Dunford
Doomy3 vs Haley2 (Recon)
Right, so Pat was widely considered the favourite for the tournament coming in to the event. He’s won back to back Smog Con events. Is Captain of England Team 1 for the WTC and is in the discussion for the best player in the world. (Though, he probably wouldn’t agree with that statement. He’s way too nice!) I’d actually played Pat at the start of April at the WTC Team England selection day as my scheduled opponent was running late. He’d demolished me that day with Haley2 into my Grissel2 (Power of Dhunia) list and I was left feeling a bit out of my depth that day. Unsurprisingly I’m getting a very similar feeling once again.
The correct attitude in a matchup like this is to relax and treat it as a learning experience. You’re much more likely to play well if you’re relaxed and worse case scenario you see your weaknesses exposed and you come out of the game a better player. I did manage this eventually, but the adrenaline from the rest of the day meant I was pretty nervous early on. It also didn’t help that this game was being recorded. There will be a copy of it on the Internet eventually and it worried me that I might get demolished again, but this time with a captive internet audience.
In regards to list selection my Doomy3 list was constructed in response to losing to Pat last time. He told me didn’t think Trolls had a good answer to Haley2 and after discussing it I decided that the ability to nullify teleport, plus a time walk feat was all I needed for a fairish fight. That’s the theory at least.
Pat is running Haley2 list in the Heavy Metal theme, it’s super in vogue right now and leads to slightly strange lists as Cygnar players are trying to get four free solos, but that means spending exactly 100 Jack points. Haley has exactly 25 battlegroup points so if you try and play a point down you miss out on a solo. So Pat’s list was:
Haley2 (Heavy Metal)
I don’t really understand why this list is considered better than the Storm Division list, there is probably a lot of nuance to the debate and it’s potentially based on the current Meta. What I will tell you though is that Troll beast bricks would much rather player against this than Storm Lances.
Terrain wise there is a quite large building in the middle of the Recon zone, we both look at this and decide it’s not really fitting for the scenario so we move 5-6 inches to the side. This puts it about 1 inch from the side of the Recon Zone and means it will still be relevant without being ridiculous. Pat wins the dice roll and chooses to go first and I choose the side where I have a wall on one flank and a forest behind the building meaning the Earthborn would be able to sit in the zone and be within 2 inches of both a building and a forest, which seems really good.
Pat goes first and runs everything at me, the Hurricane is on the opposite flank to the building. Pretty much everything else is behind the building on his left. Haley is pretty central though.
I know that the Hurricane can charge 12, but there is literally no way Pat would charge it in on the MK as we both know he couldn’t one round it with just the Hurricane so I move within 12 so the two huge bases are staring off on that flank. Mulg is also sitting on the far side of the MK with Admonition up behind the wall. On the other side the Storm and Earthborn are playing further up the board. The earthborn is using the building as cover so he can move into the zone and contest next turn if Pat decides to feat. Everything else is sitting behind the cloud wall.
On Pat’s second turn he contemplates that he could run Thorn into my clouds and then try and spell assassinate me, but he realises this is unlikely to kill me so thinks better of it. It seems I moved my MK too far up the board so Pat can Energizes the Stormclad 2 inches up the board and then charges the MK. He does 20 boxes and importantly he kills almost all the whelps that he spawned due to electro leaps. He then TK’s the Stormclad out of melee range of my Mountain king and feats meaning I get no retaliation. I also make a mistake in whelp placement and he kills two more of them using the Hurricane’s AOE gun. Finally he shoots down the Stormtroll with the other Hurricane shots and the chargers. There was literally no reason for this beast to be in front of the cloud wall, pre feat.
Ok so I’m locked down by Haley’s feat. I achieve very little, but I get the Earthborn in the zone so it is getting +2 speed and Armour. I counter feat giving me a turn of protection, but I’m too passive and should be moving the Mountain King and Mulg as far as possible. I would even suggest I should have given Mulg Rush and walked him the full 6 inches.
Pat goes into the tank for five minutes and decides to full on retreat. He TK’s the Stormclad back out of combat with the MK, throws a Time bomb at the bomber and moves the Hurricane back the full ten inches. He contests the zone with the Stormclad that has Arcane Shield on it and everything else is another six inches back. This is punishing my passiveness last turn as if I am far enough forward I would kill the Stormclad, his objective and score 3CP while the Mountain King was out of range ready to threaten whatever he sends in to contest. Alas this doesn’t happen due to poor positioning the previous turn. I manage to still charge and kill the objective with the Earthborn but all I can manage is to move the MK round my objective so I am not longer blocking myself and get one fully boosted shot on the Stormclad which does ok damage. I also move Mulg up so he is directly between the Hurricane and the Mountain king, the idea is that he would not be able to charge the MK as Mulg was in the way, but if he charges Mulg then I just Admonition away.
Pat has a plan to kill the Earthborn and then charge the Stormclad into the Mountain king again. I start spawning whelps when he does this that keep going into his proxy base landing spot and engaging the stormclad so that even after the Earthborn is dead the whelps are DEF 16 against shots and in the way of what he wanted to do. He finally manages to kill the last one, but at this point he has the Hammersmith in the way of his Stormclad’s charge lane so Haley has to activate and TK it out of the way. All this extra work leaves Haley on 1 Focus sitting about 4-5 inches behind his zone. He sends the Stormclad in and gets a lot of work done on the already hurt Mountain king. He leaves it on six boxes so with his last activation he moves the Hurricane up to finish off the MK. Unfortunately he moves within 6 inches of Mulg who admonitions directly towards his caster. Pat has no other choice but to kill the Mountain King and pass the clock.
Before we go any further I need to point out this is the 4th game of an extremely long day and Pat looks shattered. Remember how in my first three rounds I got super quick assassinations. I definitely feel that my freshness helped me get into this situation. It’s a great example of just how good Admonition is though, even great players forget about it sometimes. So I spend a good 10 minutes asking every single question available. “Do you have any defensive tech other than Set Defense?”, “Are you definitely camping only one”, “Does the Hurricane or Thorn have any on hit effect like crit knockdown?” The questions keep going until I’m happy that this is real life and I haven’t missed anything.
So Mulg will need rush to get over the wall and make distance. He will use 1 fury to charge and take one free strike from the Hurricane and Thorn. Assuming they don’t cripple anything I’ll get to Haley with 2 initials and 3 fury with the stone strength aura. I charge in and he takes the free strikes and luckily nothing is crippled. Pat then asks me if I want to boost my first attack, I immediately panic as it’s 11’s to hit due to set defence. I don’t boost the charge and decide to boost the offhand attack roll and then buy and boost to hit one more attack. I found out afterwards this is a 53% assassination run. Miss the un-boosted 9, which is expected. Boost the off hand attack, needing a boosted 9 and miss it! So that’s no damage and two fury left, I’m staring at two options. Buy two attacks and hit hard nines or buy 1 attack and hit the hard nine and hope for a boosted 15. Either way nothing seems likely. I buy the un-boosted attack and get the 9 to hit. I decide to boost the damage and unsurprisingly don’t get the 15 to kill her. At that point it’s trivial for Pat to kill my caster and I somehow finish one of the best games of my life without killing a single model and scoring 1CP.
So that’s the end of the first day and I’m 3-1 which I’m obviously super happy with. I have killed less VP than almost anyone else in the entire tournament due to my Assassination based gameplay, but I’m propped up with an amazing Strength of Schedule, which is only going to get better as assumedly Ryan and Pat keep winning.
Round 5 vs Matt Goligher
Grissel2 vs Nemo3 (Incursion)
Right, so a bit of a moan here, I know that when you are in the unbeaten bracket at a big national event you’re going to run into very good players, but this is getting a bit silly. Matt is the 3rd member of the England WTC Team 1 I have played in a row (They only have 5 Members!). He’d be unfortunate and run into another WTC England player round 1 and so was Submarining his way through the X-1 bracket. This happens though, all you can do is play your best against whoever is in front of you.
His pairing is Haley3 in Storm Division and Nemo3 with no theme. I decide I can’t deal with either force very well so my best option is to do what I’ve been doing all tournament and just try and get an assassination off. He drops Nemo3, because electro leaps get past my feat and he has a no knockdown spell to handle Grissel’s assassination threat.
He stays back but manage to score two flags early on, but he tears through my Fennblades with electro leaps. My earthborn is on the central flag with the +2 arm from the wall. His Thunderhead one rounds it without much trouble and I realise I’ve kept Grissel too far back. I quickly lose an attrition battle and he plays incredibly safe the whole game.
In hindsight it feels like I dropped the wrong list. Electro leaps might get around the feat but I’m still not sure he can chew through all the armour in the Doomy3 list with leaps alone. I was also too passive. If you want to assassinate you need to be thinking a few turns ahead. I feel part of the problem was that I didn’t believe the Earthborn would die as easily as it did and once it fell it was a lost game.
Round 6 Vs Charles Hamilton
Doomy3 Vs Maddox (Take and Hold)
Oh look, Cygnar for the third round in a row. Welcome to Europe! The final was Cygnar vs Cygnar btw, just like at Smogcon. Charles has Maddox and some other caster with troops (it’s probably ADR), but I decide that I’m playing Doomy3. He can’t trivially remove the Mountain King and if I can survive his feat, I should be in a good place to win the attrition battle.
I lose the dice roll again and my opponent chooses to go first. Writing this account has made me question if I won the dice roll at all this weekend. I think I might have won it once, but I definitely lost it at least six times out of seven. Don’t let these things tilt you at the table btw, you can’t control if you win dice rolls or what factions you play against, so why worry about it?
He runs up both units of Storm Lances and threatens me if I move more than 2-3 inches out of my deployment zone in that special way that Storm Lances do. I give the MK rush and it assaults the unit of Storm Lances on my left. They have Arcane Shield, which is kind of important. My plan is to boost the hit, but not the damage on the leader meaning he will be deafened and lose drastically decrease the power of his alpha strike. All I need is a boosted 8 to hit and then to roll less than a nine on two dice. I miss! It’s not the end of the world, the MK is in charge range of one unit, but hopefully I should be fine with the Earthborn (who is once again getting two armour from a central wall) and Mulg (With Admonition) in the centre. He can probably get six storm lances in on the Mk and I don’t think that kills it. I choose not to feat, because if I do he’ll literally just back off and the dead nature of the scenario means he can do it without being punished in any way. He feats and moves Maddox ready to charge in with all the lances. He charges the first two Lances in on the Mountain King and I flip the clock and activate Admonition. Mulg moves into the space one of the MK’s would have been and within charge range of the zero camp Maddox. My opponent measures the range from Mulg to his caster and immediately shakes my hand and concedes. I’m 4-2…
Well actually I’m not. I look at the board and I explain to him that he could probably at worst jam my Mulg up and he still had a chance and that I didn’t think it was as hopeless as he seemed to think. My opponent looks unconvinced, but decided to try and kill Mulg. He gets four charges onto him and we realise I’ve actually placed Mulg outside of the stone aura with the place. It’s less than 0.5 inches and it’s going to be big. He gets four charges onto Mulg, kills him and things start to fall apart.
I would argue one of my strengths as a player is not tilting most of the time. I don’t pay attention to dice going well or badly and I expect every Tough to fail so I’m not particularly concerned when I don’t pass any toughs in a round. At the start of the first part of my write-up I told you how I had got very close and folded under the pressure trying to get to 4-3. Here I was starting 3-0 and then playing very hard opponents and I got offered that 4th win, 4-3 at the very worst with a chance to go 5-2 and I talked my opponent out of it. He literally said “you’ve won” and I said no. I’ve seen players lose games they were hugely favoured in, because of poor mind-set and that’s what happens here.
Lets take a look at our situation. I have a basically full Mountain King, all I’ve lost is Mulg. He no longer has a feat and I’m about to feat meaning he realistically won’t kill anything next turn. The scenario is dead and I’m up on clock. Ironically after the way I’ve played this tournament the only way I can lose this game is by assassination. I use the MK to kill 4 Lances using bulldoze to get into melee with 3 of them and then kill shotting a 4th. I also hit but don’t kill the leader meaning he is deafened.
Whenever I play Shamans, I place down two proxy bases and place the rings around them before I activate anything. This way I make sure I know where my caster will end up standing at the end of the turn. Tilt makes you do silly things though so I activate one Shaman and move him up to put down a cloud. Before I know what’s happening I check the other and realise he is too far away. This is ok though, Move the second shaman so the cloud touches the forest and sit in the little nook, no problem. I create the second cloud and then activate my caster, I stupidly hand out Rage to both the Axer and Storm Troll so they can kill a Storm Lance each in melee, I feat and then when I go to position my caster behind that cloud, I remember it’s Kill box. I can’t stand there, the scenario might be dead, but not if my opponent scores 2 on my turn. I move into the forrest sitting in plane view of his list hoping my feat keeps me safe, camping 1 fury. Long story short it’s not enough, he kills the leader of his Storm Lances promotes a new leader and gets one on to my caster which combined with some boosted guns mean I die and fall to 3-3.
Round 7 Vs Anthony Shaw
Doomy3 vs Stryker 2 (Extraction)
You can probably imagine that my mindset is not the best right now, I’m mentally preparing myself for the fact that not only will I fail to reach four wins for the third year in the row, but I’ll also have to come back and write about it and admit I’m a bit of a fraud. No opponent can ever take you apart the way you can take yourself apart when you have the wrong attitude.
Four games against Cygnar in a row. I can’t really explain why I picked Doomy3 this round. It’s all a bit of a blur to be honest. It’s probably due to me not wanting to see more Fennblades dying to electro leaps. I lose the roll to go first. There is a forest in the middle of the diamond of objectives. He runs his entire unit of Trenchers and Stryker behind the forest, I realise that he will be able to use it threaten the MK all game, while being relatively safe as you can always see huge bases through forests. I hang well back and contest the two side flags with whelps. The earthborn is getting an armour buff from a wall on my left side and it has admonition this game rather than Mulg. I can’t really explain my reasoning for switching Admonition onto the Earthborn. It felt like it would play further forward and with the central forest it had a higher chance to threaten assassination if he misplayed.
He moves the trenchers into the forest and creates a cloud wall. Stryker is still threatening the MK if it moves forward and he’s contesting with a Centurion on each flag. I move the MK up and spray 2-3 Trenchers. He could velocity and then charge my MK, but then he’ll die to the rest of my force. The storm troll gets a lucky hit and kills a GCA on a hill on my left flank. The Earthborn moves up so it still gets the wall arm, it is within charge of the Centurion, but can admonition away and so that it is about 4 inches away from the central forest,
He repositions several models and then moves the trenchers, which triggers admonition with the last one, I advance the Earthborn towards Stryker. After he confirms the Earthborn can threaten 10 inches on a walk he moves Stryker back so he is outside of 10 inches. This allows me to move the MK up again in my turn and take a bit more of the table and kill a few more Trenchers with his spray. The Earthborn gets Admonition again and kills a light jack. It ends up sitting in the middle of the forest directly between Stryker and the MK.
He moves his Trenchers and asks me if I want to take my admonition. “It’s a Trap!” I do and move my Earthborn so it’s further in the forest and he now has a straight line to my MK. He overloads for 10 damage and then feats. He charges the MK with Stryker who finishes off both the Mountain King and the Earthborn which is directly next to it. He feat moves back into the forest and tries to place’s a light jack in the forest so to obscure line of sight from most of my force. He also gets Arcane shield from Journeyman. He’s camping zero and I’m pretty doubtful I can kill him. My brain is starting to deal with the idea I’m 3-4 and I’d thrown it all away.
So, we look at our tools. Doomy can get a line on him and with Minifeat I start off with a Repudiate and then throw a Stranglehold at his caster. Boost the damage on both and do some damage. It’s a nice start. I choose to feat, because why not? Unfortunately the storm troll can’t hurt Stryker so he’s useless. I get one shaman with a spray on him which also hits, thanks to the mini feat. Finally I charge Mulg with rush into the Light jack screening Stryker 2. I boost to hit meaning I roll 4 dice, thanks to the feat and I get rewarded with a crit slam which slams the jack over Stryker and leaves him on one box. I pass the turn and await the inevitable.
The problem is that Stryker is Knocked Down on one box and under the effects of Stranglehold. He can’t overload, so he can’t kill Mulg, especially under feat and wherever he goes, Mulg will trample with rush, buy an attack and take that final box.
He decides he needs to kill me as I’m camping zero. He pays to stand up, velocities to the shaman jamming his centurion and kills it. The Centurion then charges my caster, but the free strike Crit Slams, thanks to my extra dice from feat and he concedes as his caster is right next to Mulg on one box. I learn my lesson and don’t convince him to keep playing and finally get my fourth win.
Life is Good.
I’ve gone on long enough, so just to say in conclusion. I reached my goal and I’m happy. I’m a little disappointed with my mind-set and definitely think I could have gone 5-2 with the way I was playing.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading!