So last weekend I attended my first ever ETC. I was representing my local club Warlords of Walsall and we sent two teams that were generated randomly by drawing names out of a hat.
My Team: The People’s Democratic Republic of Walsall
- Doomy 3
- Grissel 2
- Una 2
- Butcher 3
- Strakov 2
- Deneghra 1
- Skarre 1
Overall we have five generalist lists that try and cover most matchups. We’re bringing Wurmwood and Ghost Fleet Deneghra who ask pretty serious questions, but we’re lacking other Meta Bogeymen like Cygnar, Fyanna2 and Vlad1 rockets.
The team designated me Captain as no one else really wanted the job though in reality we talked through all decisions for matchups and it was a mostly democratic affair, as our team name suggests.
Round 1: Vs Glaswegian Bobsled Team
Doomy3 vs Haley2 (Ross Harkin):
This is the Scotland WTC Team 2 and they were a lovely bunch of lads. We paired me into Haley2 as I feel like Doomy3 plays well in the matchup when the list is in the Heavy Metal theme. We also paired our Ghost fleet into their Skorne and we felt neither list had good answers. We paired our Khador into their Trolls as he was running Doomy3 and Gunnbjorn and I didn’t feel he had a very good answer to Strakhov2. We also paired Retribution into their other Cygnar list. Our Ret player, Graham used to play Cygnar and he knows the faction pretty well so he was fairly confident. Finally we matched our Circle into their Ret player. I’d say we felt favoured in three of the matchups and even in the other two, so overall we were pleased.
Ross was running the fancy new Time Storm version of Haley2 in Heavy Metal. It concentrates on lightning guns and the Storm styder and absolutely mulches infantry. I hadn’t seen it before he handed me his list and actually felt it was slightly worse into Doomy3 than the previous version with the Hammersmith and two chargers.
He went first and ran. I ran and actually intentionally left my Mountain king in charge range of his Hurricane without feating. My thought was that he wouldn’t be able to kill the MK with just Hurricane if he hadn’t softened it up first. I also knew that a Haley2 player wouldn’t want to send a Hurricane in on his feat turn, because I could counter feat and he’s left in melee with me, basically meaning he loses the Hurricane on his feat turn. I obviously assumed he would just feat and shoot me. Instead he decides that he wants to send the Hurricane in, which I’m obviously delighted with. He fires a few shots and I spawn a whelp without thinking. The next shot has Lightning generator and we randomize which whelp it jumps to and it’s the one I just placed. The next nearest target is the stone. It leaps and kills it and I fail the tough check meaning I just lost stone aura for the turn. He sends the Hurricane in, which kills the Mountain King and I’m left feeling pretty stupid. It’s very easy to not think about things like whelp placement, but you really need to take care and just spend an extra couple of seconds thinking through what could happen.
The rest of the game is actually remarkably close. I hang on and he struggles to kill me as I’m constantly lightning immune. He is close to clocking and then I forget to place the animus on me one turn meaning he goes in for the kill and I’m left feeling a bit dumb.
In the rest of the matchups Graham gets an assassination victory after his opponent accidently crit knockdowns his own caster while shooting at a target in melee with the caster. Jacob’s circle gets a scenario win and Chris’ Khador struggles into Doomy3 as he dropped Butcher 3, which as we discussed last week is a good matchup for Doomy. This is completely on me as Captain though. I put Chris in the matchup and didn’t explain why. A few moment of chatting to him about why I thought it was a good matchup would have potentially changed the result. As it was, it came down to our 5th match between Ghost Fleet and Skorne. Nick finally clocked their Skorne player in a nailbiting finish and we just about get through the round 3-2 despite my best effort to mess it up.
Round 2: vs Powerfist Gaming 2
Doomy3 vs Abby2 (Andy A)
Powerfist is the nearest club to Walsall and we play these players a lot. This is their second team, but that doesn’t really mean much as they’d defeated the defending champions Scotland A in the previous round. They are also playing with a Ringer Ghost Fleet player from England Knights due to having a player drop last minute. I wanted to avoid Dan, one of their legion players as his Saeryn list is pretty nasty for me with its grievous wounds, I haven’t played his new battle engine version so it felt like something to steer clear of.
They started by dropping their ghost fleet player so we dropped Graham’s Ret and Jacob’s Circle. These were two of our three Ghost Fleet drops, the third being me, who had good answers later in the draft. Their Cryx player, Andy chose Graham’s ret as he no doubt didn’t want to play into Wurmwood. This left our circle player on the table, into which they offered their non Haley2 Cygnar player and Saeryn Legion player. Jacob chooses the Cygnar player meaning. Saeryn is sitting their staring at us. I immediately know that out of their three remaning lists I’m happy into the other two, so we put forward Ghost Fleet and our Khador player. They feel Saeryn is their best remaining Ghost Fleet answer and so take that matchup and I get my choice of their Legion player with Fyanna2 and their Haley2 player. Our Khador player doesn’t want the Legion matchup and I’m pretty happy into it so I end up playing into Abby2.
This can be a tricky matchup for Trolls as Abby alpha’s pretty hard and Proteus can deny my feat with his grievous wounds. It’s definitely playable and he didn’t really want to drop Fyanna2 into me either as Doomy3 eats that for breakfast. The scenario is Recon and my opponent wins the initial dice roll to go and chooses the side with a building on one side of the zone. He hopes to abuse flight to threaten the zone. The game mostly consists of me threatening the zone and my opponent playing way too safe. He gets put in a position where he needs to contest the zone on his 3rd turn, but struggles to ever proc alpha hunter. I eventually make a mistake and drop a whelp, which he sends Abby in on, but this means he doesn’t slipstream Proteus and he ends up giving him away in the zone. I have my pic of the beasts but decide to get the job done with the Mountain king and a double spray killing Abby.
We ended up squeaking through this round 3-2, because our Butcher3 player passed a tough check against Haley2. It really doesn’t get much closer than that.
Round 3: Vs The Good the Bad and the Cross
Grissel 2 vs Malakov2 (Marcus Steffan)
Cross is the one of the UK’s best known clubs. Even with the likes of Pat Dunsford not playing as he was getting practice on one of the England WTC team, the team still boasted Norbert Brunhuber, WTC Lynchpin and current England WTC player, Toby Nathan: England WTC 2016 and Ben De Bosdar England WTC 2016 team. Also with that quality of players to practice against you can bet the rest of their team know their stuff as well.
We managed to get our Cryx player into Toby’s Trolls which seems playable as he had Calandra and Doomy3 pairing and a complete lack of any RFP. We through our Khador player under the bus a bit as none of the rest of us wanted to face Norbert’s Vlad1 rocket spam. We pitched our Ret player into Ben’s Menoth and our Circle player into Dave’s Legion. This left me playing into their second Khador player. We actually felt we lost the pairing process this round.
I must confess I was worried about the pairing process and tired from a long day and I didn’t really look at my opponent’s army lists. This probably happens more than you think, but usually the lists are kind of what you expect so it isn’t a huge deal. Trolls are after all usually pretty telegraphed in what they drop. One of the quirks of England is that all the Khador players seem to play infantry spam. You see lots Strakov 1 and 2, Vlad 1 and 2, Butcher 3 etc. What I almost never see is Karchev or Harkevich so when I saw Marcus’ lists I glanced at them. I assume I read the lists, but I didn’t really take any of it in. I didn’t see Karchev or Harkevich so I assumed I’d see lots of troops and dropped Grissel2.
It’s only once he’s deployed that I realise he had Malakov2 with six heavies. Not only will I struggle with the firepower to chew through 6 heavies, but I have almost no assassination game due to Malakov’s sucker ability. I try and shoot down a heavy early on with Grissel and the bomber, but it survives and runs to the back to get repaired. He stands in front of me feating and the whole thing just goes badly. I even try a janky assassination on his feat turn which fails miserably as I hit him he can’t be knockedown and then he runs behind the cloudwall for the rest of the game. Not only did it not work, but it keyed my opponent into how much danger he would be in so he would never come out from behind his Fuel Cache cloud again.
I’m feeling pretty low on my chances when Jake, our Circle player, walks by and asks how things are going. I remark it’s pretty bad and he tells me that although he had won the other 3 matchups were also going badly. This weirdly cheered me up as if we lose 4-1 it’s not really my fault anymore as we’d still lose even if I had won my match. I relax and play slow grindy warmachine. I lose my army mostly over a few turns but consistently contest the flags on this scenario (Extraction) and just play through. He does go for an assassination at one point, but he can’t get it done and I clear the jack off the next turn.
There is less than 10 minutes combined left on the clock, when Jake walks up to me and tells me that our Ret player somehow pulled out a win. So it’s suddenly 2-2 and I am the deciding game, guess I better try and work out a win condition. We’re both low on clock, but he’s lower and I decide that is my best option. I advance Grissel and the bomber up the left-hand side trying to put assassination pressure on his caster hoping it takes him longer to work it out. I also send the Storm troll into melee with Behemoth, I boost both initials praying for critical disruption, but sadly it doesn’t come off. I also ship clock to him for every damage roll on his jacks and he starts his turn on less than 1 minute. He needs to kill the objective and score both flags to win. The objective dies and he wants to throw my beast away from the flag with behemoth so he can score the final CP. This means taking a free strike from the Storm Troll, who takes this moment to get the crit disruption. He realises he can’t get that last CP and shakes my hand as he clocks out. We did realise that the storm troll would have still been contesting the flag, but the disruption was more epic for the story telling aspect.
Somehow, we squeaked through another round 3-2 and we finished the first day undefeated. We started with 26 teams so there are 3 undefeated teams at the end of day 1, the German National Team, the Swedish Super team and us. We see the draw almost immediately and have an evening to ponder it. We’ll be facing England Lions in the morning. Of all the teams we could get paired down into that was probably the hardest. What followed was a surreal evening where we all knew there would very probably be only one round tomorrow as it was incredibly unlikely we could beat a team comprised of the 5 best players in England. We dreamed though, because it’s a game of dice and anything can happen.
Round 4 vs England Lions
Doomy3 vs Haley2 (Pat Dunsford)
We get our Khador player into their Menoth player, we get our Ghost Fleet Cryx player into their non Haley2 Cygnar player, we get our Ret player into Ghost Fleet again and our Circle player into their Khador player. This means I’m picked into Pat’s Cygnar and we get a rematch from Welsh Masters six weeks earlier. Even though they have very good players I think over all we’re pretty happy with the matchups. On a really good day we could win three matchups there. It wasn’t unlikely, but it certainly could have been worse.
Our opponents picked tables and I ended up on a table with a central forest as they didn’t want to give it to our Wurmwood player, which makes sense. Other than the central forest there was literally nothing on the board that was relevant. Pat was playing the same Time Storm list that I faced in round 1 as apparently this was the new hotness.
I win the roll to go first and advance, but I send Mulg too far forward and he gets two shots on him from the Storm Stryder turn 1. He takes half the health off him and my plan to counter feat suddenly doesn’t feel too likely. If I try and wait out another turn without using my feat I will almost certainly lose Mulg. I decide to move the MK up to contest his flag (It’s Take and Hold) and get a boosted spray onto Thorn, hoping to get rid of something important. I feat with my caster for reasons explained above and I also send my Earthborn wide so that Haley will have to get off her hill to feat on my earthborn. I’m hoping she won’t risk it and I’ll be able to send it in on the Battle Engine next turn.
Pat instead comes off the hill and caught the earthborn. He also sends the Hurricane past the Mountain king and the forest and manages to get a huge shot off which hits six stone members. This is a silly error that easily could have been avoided. As it was they were in perfect circular formation to get maximum value. I lose the middle guy but somehow pass every other tough check. I can’t express how lucky this was and in honesty I make about 90% of the tough rolls I make this game. It could have easily sent a less experienced opponent on tilt. He also kills both shamans.
The good news about this matchup is Doomy can stand in the middle of the open on zero focus and not risk dying unless he can get a jack into melee with me. Lightning fists from the Storm Troll and Implacability take away almost all the threat. This means I can stand on my flag and stranglehold the Storm Strider this turn camping zero. The reason I want the storm strider stranglehold’d is to stop it walk up and killing my stone. I also have 1 fury left out so I decide to let the Mk frenzy into the Hurricane. The idea is that at least it will do some damage. I try and protect the stone and realise he can’t shoot it with pretty much anything if he wants to kill the MK. If he doesn’t kill it I think he probably loses the game.
He has a plan to TK my stone so it will no longer be in range of my MK and so hopefully 1 round it. He nearly forgets about admonition which could have moved Mulg in the way to block Line of Sight, but he remembers it and his plan goes off smoothly. Without the stone the MK dies and the game quickly falls apart from there. It is definitely a playable matchup though and I learnt a lot about keeping my stone safe.
That last game versus Haley2 highlighted a bit of a weakness and so I’ll be making a small change to my Doomy3 list. I’m swapping out the unit of whelps for a Runebearer. This should allow me to Repudiate and then Strangehold a Hurricane on a key turn. I’m hoping this should give me more game into Cygnar.
Elsewhere our team lost 4-1. Our sole win was by our Circle player who actually went undefeated all weekend and got best Circle Player. This actually ended the event as we were the pairdown
so there was only one team left undefeated. As a club we finished 5th with the only teams ahead of us being national teams. I think we gave a really good showing and I’m super proud of us considering we randomly chose our team from our club players and we’re a small club from a small town with no WTC players.
Thanks for reading.