Chunder from Downunder – Analysing a disappointing performance

So normally most tournament reports you see are of glorious triumphs or at least tales of achieving goals. Today is not one of those reports. I will be doing my best to dissect my play, as I have been on a stretch of poor results dating back to the Super Series Finals in December. I also did poorly at Cancon and another small event.

 

There are some contributing factors:

– I have not been able to play many games lately

– I have been tending to play lists I have not been playing much in the leadup to the event

 

However to me these do not completely explain the results. At Cancon I could see a few occasions where faction inexperience cost me dearly (not knowing Banshee momentum slam was only D3 pushed a caster out of range of Kaelyssa being able to finish him off at one point), and didn;t feel I’d played too badly. The 35pt I didn’t play all that seriouesly after losing the first round to a solid opponent. Even the event yesterday I felt I played OK in stretches, but I felt it would be a good idea to try and have a look deeper and see if I could draw anything out.

My lists were:

Kaelyssa, Night’s Whisper (*7pts)
* Banshee (10pts)
* Phoenix (10pts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
Dawnguard Sentinels (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
* Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard (2pts)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)
Mage Hunter Strikeforce (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Mage Hunter Commander (2pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Arcanist (1pts)

Specialists:
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios (3pts)
Ghost Sniper (2pts)
Ghost Sniper (2pts)

Soulless Escort (1pts)

The main list here was one that was fairly successful at Cancon, which was SR2013. I had been thinking on how to adapt it to SR2013, and came upw ith replacing the Nyss or MHSF with the Ghost Snipers and pEiryss, as the solos would be handy for claiming objectives, and the auto 9 damage seemed pretty good against Colossals and the like, and could also contribute to attempted Backlash kills.

 

Vyros, Incissar of the Dawnguard (*5pts)
* Aspis (4pts)
* Aspis (4pts)
* Griffon (4pts)
* Griffon (4pts)
* Sphinx (7pts)
* Sphinx (7pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Dawnguard Sentinels (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
* Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard (2pts)
* Soulless Escort (1pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
House Shyeel Artificer (3pts)
Madelyn Corbeau, Ordic Courtesan (2pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)

Specialists

* Banshee (10pts)

I know I know its an eVyros list that isn’t Griffon spam, I’m sure somewhere Will heard a distrubance in the force and is shaking his head.

The eVyros list I used at Cancon actually had both Invictors and Sentinels in it, without the second Griffon, the solos and the soulless. I was quite happy with the lsit, but with this event being Specialists, I wanted to try that out, but with both units, I had nothing worth 10 points that I’s want to take out, giving me no flexibiltiy. I opted to remove the Invictors because it got me more points to do fun things with, but I originally had Fane Knight Skerryth in there instead of the 2nd Griffon, so on reflection I would have had the points if I removed the Sentinels.

Either way, one of the things I like about this list is its resistance to shooting. With Deflection up, both Invictors and Sentinels reach Armour 19 vs shooting, and basically laugh against Gun Mages and Nyss, two of the most common shooting units in the meta.

 

So, onto the games.

 

Round One – Sheldon Pace – Khador

 

Sheldon is a very solid Khador player, and had done pretty well at the recent Cancon tournament, which is the binggest single event in Australia. He had brought a long a pSorscha list and a pVlad list, which I had actually thought was an eVlad list. I suspected he would take the pSorscha list, and elected to take Kaelyssa. Sheldon did indeed take the pSorscha list, which was something like:

pSorscha – Behemoth, Gun Carriage, Widowmakers, Doomreavers. There was other stuff but it didn’t playa  big role in the game, it may have been a unit fo Kayazy or Nyss.

My plan going in to the game was to try and play the game in a way that would neutralise pSorscha’s feat as much as possible. I took second turn (this was something I foten do in Deathclock, which I’ll discuss later), and on my first turn I tried to position myself in such a way to make feating early tempting, but not likely to achieve enough to justify feating. I would then pop my feat on turn 2, which would greatly hamper Sheldon’s following turn, and put the feat off till turn 4, by which time I was hoping I’d have been able to turn the attrition game to my advantage. I also had the possibility of hitting Sorscha with a Phantom Hunter momentum shot from the Banshee then finishing her off with MHSF and Kaelyssa, which should keep Sorscha out of range to use her spells, helping me with the attrition. If she came forward, I’d try the Banshee shot and if it came off, go for it.

The game ended up being fairly short, as Sheldon had forgotten that Phantom Hunter allowed the Banshee to shoot through the battle engine (with his girlfriend who plays Kaelyssa a lot next to him no less). I hit with the 50-50 Banshee shot on an 11, and then finished him off with the Strikforce to end the game.

Mistakes were made: I moved the MHSF up by about an inch too far on the right flank in first turn, which allowed the Doom Reavers to get in amongst them, making the Assassination Run a bit harder to pull off.

Things I was happy with: I felt the plan was a good one, and I was happy with the way I was able to go for the assassination without fully committing everything if the Banshee shot failed, as which point I’d have aimed the MHSF at starting to ding up Behemoth a bit for the attrition game. Sheldon is a good opponent and I was happy to get a win on the board.

 

Game 2 – Dmitri Sarbanis – Cygnar

Dmitri has been a bit of a nemesis of mine of late. Dimi plays the Haleys almost exclusively. His knowledge of the game in general is poor, but he plays those lists so often that he knows them inside and out, and it often makes up for his lack of knowledge of the opposing army. He has been doing quite well for a while now. I selected eVyros, and was really hoping he might pick pHaley, but he picked eHaley. Dimi is also about the only Cygnar player in existence who is not a huge fan of Stormwall, and he had two Stormclads, a unit of Stormblades, ATGM, Storm Knights, and the usual support pieces.

Another thing Dimi is known for is his awesome dice spikes, which he then trolls you off of by saying in a Dimi deadpan “Oh yeah, average dice”. This has put me on tilt on occasion, and one of my goals in this game is to not have that affect my game.

The scenario this time was Destruction, which is a pretty ideal scenario IMO for playing against eHaley, as you have plenty of time to play around the scenario before comitting. This allows you to try and pull an early feat (and Dimi is normally very aggressive with his list), limit its effectiveness, and then come back strongly through the attrition game.

Mistakes were made: I made two mistakes here, one that was annoying but fairly minor, and the other one that cost me the game. The first was that I slightly undeguessed the threat range of the bonded Stormclad, which allowed it to charge into me past the zone. I’m not too concerned with the outcome (the Stormclad outhtreats me by enough that this was bound to happen eventually, and I did want to draw it in without any other support around so that Dimi would have to feat to protect it, at which point I can jam it with lights and finish it later. The part that annoyed me was that I didn;t take the time to fully figure out the threat range and decide when and where I wanted that engagement to take place better. As it was I just gave it a nebulous threat range of big and just plopped my models down accordingly. In the end, Dimi was able to get into without a TK, which I could have ensured was needed, which would have put Dimi on 0 focus and made him less inclined to feat aggressively, or left the clad just out of threat range.

The more horrible mistake was moving Vyros forwards with a Corbeau move on feat turn to try and take out an Arcane Shielded stormclad. This had little hope of success, and was a complete waste of time. The stormclad wouldn;t be able to kill me next turn, as I shot it with Eiryss to disrupt, but it lead to…

The third thing that happened was I didn’t see a lane for the second, non-disrupted Stormclad to get to Vyros. I had a fair few Sentinels in the area under feat, and thought I’d be safe due to the abundance of potential free strikes, but Dimi was able to TK the Stormclad then walk with Temporal Acceleration to do it with only one freestrike, which doesn’t achieve much against armour 22.

 

Things I was happy with: I think the plan was good, and if I hadn’t punted with the really dumb mistake I think I could have ground it out. I also found out a good idea from Simi that I hadn;t thought of (and that veteran Ret players will probably roll there eyes at the obviousness of it). Instead of trying to shoot a shot from Eiryss to disrupt the Stormclad, I could have just moved her into the 5″ Eiryss bomb range. This can be quite powerful with the amount of jacks that Vyros has, to be able to engage first, the run her up to prevent much in the way of retaliation, so its definitely something I’ll have to plan more of in the future. So I guess the moral of the game was I was dumb, but learnt new stuff about Ret.

 

Game 3 – Tobias Ford – Skorne

Tobias is a long term nemesis of mine, however he has usually tormented me with Retribution in the past, but had returned to the Skorne he played in mark 1 for this this year. Tobias has written an article here on Muse regading his eMorghoul list under the pseudonym of Desert_Spiral. The list choice part of this game was somewhat chaotic due to not having our list sheets but wanting to get on with it. Tobias’ eMakeda list had only 3 heavies in it, and I knew his eMorghoul list didn’t revolve around heavies, so I picked eVyros, thinking Tobias might have trouble dealing with all that armour. I also swapped the Banshee in for the MHAs, eEiryss and Artificer to emphasise the armour spam further.

Tobias chose eMorghoul, and his list was:

eMorghoul – Rhinodon, Archidon, Brute, Nihilators, Slaughterhousers, Tyrant Rhadeim, Bog Trogs, Totem Hunter, Beast Handlers and Tyrant Commander.

One of the fun things of playing Tobias is that his lists are often quite different (in a similar way to a lot of Chuck Elswick’s) in that often takes models that are thought to be below par. He tends to very carefully consider each piece available to his faction, and will make sure to test almost everything. He is also very good at picking the meta, and designing lists to beat it. It is well worth having a read of his latest Muse article going through the thought process behind his eMorghoul list, which certainly fits the bill of having underappreciated models!

http://museonminis.com/thinking-outside-the-ikillibox-part-1/

The game began with me going second, and deployment wise I tried to keep my Sentinels away from the Nihilators, so my jacks largely faced off against the Nihilators with the Slaughterhousers behind them, and the Sentinels against Rhadeim, the Totem Hunter and the beasts.

 

Mistakes were made: Despite specifically noting to myself that I’d need to be careful of the Bog Trogs, I was not careful of the Bog Trogs, and gave away most of my Sentinels for no good reason. I also forgot to feat on my turn 2, though with most of my Sentinels dead, this would not have made a huge difference.

The Nihilators jammed forwards, and 5 were able to kill one of my Griffons on the charge. I could see that Tobias was trying to tie me up in such a way so that to extricate myself from the Nihilators, I’d need to put myself in threat range from the Slaughterhousers. I felt like I had a sneaky way around this however. There were two Nihiliators on the left edge of the cloud that if I could pickoff, I’d be able to rocket up the other Griffon in order to nail a couple of the Slaughterhousers. Combined with being able to pickoff one at range, I would be able to put a decent dent in the Slaughterhousers, and I felt that outside of them Tobias had little to really threaten all my armour.

I felt I made the right call here and played fairly well from here on out, but things become a lot harder to properly evaluate here for one reason: Tough. Tobias went fairly berserk on the Tough rols, and it largely made everything I attempted ineffective. This turn, I was unable to kill the two Nihilators that would have allowed me to get in and either kill or engage the Slaughterhousers. The following turn, Tobias feated, and I was trying to use the Slaughterhousers who had come in but were unaffected by the feat to help boost my Synergy to take out the Archidon and possibly the Rhinodon, though I’d have needed to be lucky to achieve that. So I ended up throwing a ton of attacks into the Slaughterhousers, which I really wanted dead anyway, but was not able to kill them as they kept passing Tough checks. I topped this off by having a full loaded Sphinx with 4 Synergy bonus utterly fail to kill the Archidon. I managed to clean up the Archidon with a 5 synergy bonused Aspis, which did more damage with a single point of focus than the Sphinx had with 3.

My inability to kill off the Slaughterhousers meant that Tobias was able to grind me right down, and he was not silly enough to give me a chance to kill eMorghoul to claw back a victory. So I felt as though I started out with a good matchup for me, which I squandered with bad play, then tilted all the way the other way on account of dice. I do not have an unbiased enough view to properly assess the impact of the dice though – I may be over-reacting on that point. I’m hoping Tobias will read this and chime in with his side of how the game went and point out if I’m being a crybaby.

Things I was happy with: I was happy with the way I knuckled down after my early mistakes and made a game of it, and managed to keep my composure through all the dice happenings and joke about it a bit.

 

Game 4 – Peter Sinclair – Khador

Peter is a fairly new player at tournaments, but he had beaten me at the 35pt event at the Gold Coast a few weeks prior. I was always going to play eVyros in this game, since I was well out of the running and felt I needed the practice with that list. Peter had pButcher with Conquest, Kayazies, Widowmakers, Nyss, Mechaniks, Great Bears, Gorman, and eEiryss.

I went first this time, and deployed my Sentinels away from the Widowmakers, with the rest of the list basically looking up the guts at Conquest, with the Kayazy on the right flank. The Great Bears lurked behind and in between thee two.The first turn was the usual positioning, but Peter left me with a couple of opportunities to take out some Widowmakers, which were priority targets to enable me to bring the Sentinels to bear on Conquest. I was able to kill two of the Widowmakers and tie up another. I also feated this turn (Turn 2).  Peter showed some inexperience his turn, killing only two of the Sentinels, which was going get me into his Conquest next turn. I was also able to move up a Sphinx from a feat move into charge range of the Conquest. As a last ditch effort, Pete was forced to jam in the Kayazy as far as he could to block things up. Fortunately for me he’d elected to keep Iron Flesh on Butcher, as he’d moved too far away from the Kayazies to be able to cycle it onto them.

I set about building up my Synergy chain and clearing out Kayazies. I was fairly successful, but unfortunately missed the most important Kayazy to take out, the one that was blocking the fully focussed up Sphinx. This meant I would have to Trample over them to the Conquest, which it did, and it rolled very good damage on its bought POW 23’s. I then tried to finish it off with 10 Sentinels, but Creeping Barrage took out 3, and I ended up failing by about 10 damage points, which probably either of the Sentinels not dying or the Sphinx getting on on full health probably would have fixed. The mechanics then of course repaired 16 damage, and the Great Bears scrapped the Sphinx, but apart from that I was largely OK, as the Kayazy had only gotten to rally, and the Nyss had been out of range, so I was all set to have another go at Conquest. I managed to build up only 2 Synergy this time, as I missed a couple of attacks to get some more, but still went in with the other Sphinx at a respectable POW20, which should be pretty close to doing the rest of the damage, but I fell two short.

Mistakes were made: I started just moving other models around to prepare for next turn when I realised the Mage Hunter Assassins, which I had never used before, have ridiculous threat range and could charge Conquest. Unfortunately I’d already moved one. Doh!

The second MHA went in and needed a 12 on four dice to kill Conquest, but I rolled exactly an 11 to do no damage and leave it there taunting me. The Mechaniks then of course healed 19, and Butcher came in and finished off the second Sphinx. I went guts or glory and tried to kill Butcher with Vyros, as time was running out, but the dice weren’t with me (it actually wasn’t too bad an attempt with 3 Synergy bonus).

Things I was happy with: getting the chance to alpha Conquest off the board with the loaded Sphinx and almost full unit of Sentinels is basically what the Vyros lists ideal scenario is, so I’m happy with creating that chance.

 

So, overall I had a pretty rubbish record, but I did play 3 very solid players, and I didn’t think I’d played as bad as my result suggested. What are the lessons I take away from the event though:

– I need to get better at my estimation of where Reach models can get me from. This is a bit of a hole in my game, and one that was part of what bit me vs Dmitri.

– I need to realise that eVyros is not lKreoss, and stop trying to kill heavies with him! It never works out well.

– I need to more strongly consider going first with the eVyros list if I get the opportunity, as that list really needs a bit of room to unpack, and its a lot harder going second. I tend to autopick second in Deathclock due to deployment being on the clock and it being rare to be fully ready in Australian events when the clock is started, but I rarely have trouble with the clock, so I should chill out and make the decision more on tactical considerations.

– I need to playtest eVyros a bunch to work out the list I really like. I really liked having eEiryss and the second Griffon (and after brrowing one for the event I now have a second thanks to the new battlebox), and the MHA’s have potential if I work out how to use them. I’m very torn between Sentinels and Invictors though, as both units work really well in the list and bring different attributes to the list.

Sentinels: Vengeance + feat is really good, and they help kills things that kill armour dead, which is really nice in an armour spam list.

Invictors: provide some ranged capability too the list, which for example probably would have really helped against those Nihilators and Slaughterhousers. They can still really hurt things that hurt armour, they;re just harder to apply.

I think I’ll need to test it out and see.

Author: chunky04

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