Meta Crunch 05 – Vienna Masters 2014 Battle reports

WARNING: Very long and wordy battle reports ahead!!!

It has been almost one year since the last foreign tournament I have been to… Me and my gaming buddies got a bit rusty during the summer, so when we got an invitation to the Vienna Masters a few months back, it seemed the perfect opportunity to re-focus on Warmachine/Hordes and get ‘back into shape’.

The Vienna Masters is a 32 players Steam roller tournament (mainly to keep the broader choice of scenarios) with 3 lists required (Divide and conquer 1), 60 minutes Death clock and no Painting requirements, that took place on February 1st and 2nd 2014 organized by Stefan Riegler at the WoW Keepers club. The tourney still used SR 2013 rules, since SR 2014 didn’t come out until after a deadline the TO set up in advance (January 6th 2014), to allow participants to be familiar with the scenarios.

Our little contingent was supposed to be just like last time: me with Khador, S’tan with Cygnar and Weef with Trolls, but unfortunately Weef ‘failed his tough roll’ and fell ill the day before we were supposed to depart for Vienna, so only 2 of us made the 4-5 hour road trip to Austria, to test our mettle in an unknown meta…

 

The lists:

Our main hurdle was that we have always played ‘2-lists games’, but now we were required to use 3 lists, which spreads characters even thinner and could create annoying list-chicken situations if we brought more heavily skewed lists… So many factors to consider in the ‘Dojo’! To avoid analysis-paralysis I just started with my 2 most played and fine tuned lists: Vlad 1 gun-line and Butcher 2 Max aggression lists:

pVlad’s BBR Gun-line (Boring But Reliable)

Vladimir, The Dark Prince (*5pts)
* Conquest (19pts)
Greylord Outriders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)
Tactical Arcanist Corps (4pts)
Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (4pts)
Winter Guard Rifle Corps (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich (2pts)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Gorman de Wulfe (2pts)

Vlad1 is my generalist list, with the widest array of ‘Silver bullets’; Ayanna and Holt for magical weapons on demand, Eiryss2 for Upkeep removal, Outriders for fast magical sprays, Rifle-corps for accurate long range shooting, Tactical arcanists for the smoke wall (usually with Zephir from Valachev to move back out of the clouds, thus surviving longer and offering no targets for sprays, AoEs or electro leaps and such, but I ended up needing Valachev in the third list).

Generally with this list I can handle most single colossal/gargantuan lists and infantry heavy lists and is specially tuned to counter several popular Cryx and Menoth tricks (Song of Passage on jacks, Zealots with Greater destiny, Paladins with Vilmon, Incorporeal/Stealth troops, ecc…). That said, my pVlad might struggle a bit against double colossal lists or Armor skews in general (like Doomshaper2’s beast brick), so…

Butcher 2’s Max Axe Mk2

Kommander Orsus Zoktavir (*6pts)
* Beast-09 (11pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Doom Reavers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
Doom Reavers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
Great Bears of Gallowswood (5pts)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Black Dragon Officer & Standard (2pts)
Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (4pts)
Iron Fang Kovnik (2pts)
Kell Bailoch (2pts)
Madelyn Corbeau, Ordic Courtesan (2pts)
Man-o-war Drakhun (with dismount) (5pts)
Saxon Orrik (2pts)

To compensate for Vlad’s ‘softer punch’ I’ve always used Butcher2 out of tier (mainly because you can’t get mercs, snipers and pathfinder in the theme list). As you can see, the list is crammed with all the higher end infantry melee punch I could get and a few sniper shots to clear charge lines and get some feat tokens at range. This list can chew armor like a boss, but is heavily hampered by control casters (Saeryn, Haleys, ecc…), so for my third list I decided to bring another generalist combined-arms list with a little more melee punch and survivability: Irusk1.

pIrusk’s Meat-grinder list

Kommandant Irusk (*6pts)
* Behemoth (13pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
* Koldun Kapitan Valachev (2pts)
Greylord Outriders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Black Dragon Officer & Standard (2pts)
Tactical Arcanist Corps (4pts)
Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (4pts)
Iron Fang Kovnik (2pts)

My earlier drafts of the list had more single wound infantry instead of the outriders, but my games used to drag out a lot and I felt I would death clock myself that way, so I chose the greylord ponies as my front-line tarpit, rather than flanking skirmishers. I realize they are an odd choice, since the feat does not buff their magic attack rolls and they are only 5 models as opposed to 10+ small base infantry, but I really like Iron flesh on them, advancing 8”, casting the freezing aura on themselves (Winter’s wind) and light cavalry move 5” into the enemy front-line during Irusk’s feat turn: Def 18 on the approach, Def 16 Vs melee attacks, 4+ Tough and Steady…

 

The road-trip:

We departed from Ljubljana around 3 PM on Friday 31st of January, with Stan driving and me navigating (aka trying to make sense of the GPS we borrowed from Weef, since he was the originally appointed navigator), just in time to avoid getting caught up in one of the worst snowstorms that swept our country in decades (our newspapers have been calling it a ‘Natural catastrophe!!!’).

Fortunately the roads were just wet (not frozen), so we made it trough without accident, killing time speculating about what the Austrian meta might be like, what newer lists might appear (how many Butcher3s and/or Denny2 new NQ theme lists…) and general BS…

We got to our hotel in Vienna around 7.30 PM, checked in, rested for a bit and around 11 PM went out to find some sort of dinner and settled for a nearby pizza-place. After supper we went on an exploratory walk, to scout out the route to the venue we were planning to take the next morning. It went all well up to 80% of the way there, when I noticed I lost the note with the full address of the venue and since neither of us remembered it even vaguely, we gave up for the night and went back to our hotel around 1 AM.

 

The first day:

The next day we got up awfully early (compared to what we are used to) and got to the venue around 9 AM (I didn’t lose the note this time). Since we had an hour before the start and most of the people weren’t there yet, we went for a coffee in a nearby sports bar to shake off the morning drowsiness. When we got back to the venue we got to meet people from Austria, Germany and Slovakia and socialize while we waited for a few players that were running late. Around 10.30 everybody got there and the first round started at 10.45…

Game 1 (Process of elimination) – Thomas Werlee (Invader) with Khador

I never get to play against Khador in my meta (since I am the only active Khador player) so I was excited to play a different faction that usual. My opponent’s 3 lists were: pSorscha, Old witch and pButcher. Out of his lists the one that had the most crippling ‘trick’ for my infantry heavy lists was pSorscha, so I decided to take the list that was least susceptible to it: pVlad (mainly because she can’t Freeze my colossal, Outriders or Vlad if he’s hidden from sight behind the TAC smoke wall) and he did indeed drop his pSorscha:

Kommander Sorscha (*5pts)
* Spriggan (10pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Greylord Ternion (Leader and 2 Grunts) (4pts)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard (2pts)
Iron Fang Uhlans (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (4pts)
Winter Guard Rifle Corps (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios (3pts)
Widowmaker Marksman (2pts)
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1pts)

1 Game 1

I won the roll off and opted to go second, to pick the side of the table without obstructions (it is very limiting for my colossal otherwise) and have the first chance to score on scenario.

Deployment: Invader deployed his IFP, Spriggan and caster to advance down the middle, while his Rifle corps would cover my left flank (going around a large piece of impassible terrain in front of his deployment zone) and his Widowmakers nd Uhlans on my right flank, so I counter-deployed my rifle corps on my laft flank to battle his light infantry, while my outriders would cover the right flank and annoy his cav, while Vlad’s bunker of rolling smoke (TAC) and retinue of assorted supporters (Gorman, Ayanna, ecc…) kept a central position beside my Conquest.

Turn 1: My opponent spent his first turn moving aggresivvely up the board, threatening the right zone with the heavy cav, keeping the snipers and Eiryss back in the forest, while running up the Spriggan and IFP down the middle, blocking LoS to Sorscha, who stayed right behind her Jack, casting Fog of war and Wind rush (0 camp), while the rifle corps run around the obstacle in their way to my left flank. In response I rolled up my dwarven smoke screen, cast Signs and portents with Vlad advancing just a couple inches to stay behind the smoke wall but far enough from any of the dwarfs in the clouds, not to be Knocked down by a random Tempest blast damage. Conquest advanced and shot its main gun at the spriggan, hoping for a crit that didn’t come, but causing 9 damage to the jack and 3 to Sorscha. My Widowmakers moved to the forest to my right, just out of Uhlan’s charge range, took a few pot shots at enemy IFPs and then I moved the Outriders right behind the snipers with Winter’s wind on themselves (so that if he ran to engage me, he’d become stationary), while on the left flank Eiryss moved to my extreme left (to possibly keep out of the incoming Sorscha’s feat) while kovnik Joe gave the Rifle corps boosted attack rolls (if the enemy feat was coming, the whole unit would get frozen and be dead or useless for the rest of the game, so I didn’t bother with Tough) and they shot 3 or 4 enemy Riflecorps, a couple of IFPs and 2 Widowmakers.

Turn 2: Invader apparently felt under pressure (since my colossal out-threats his jack and my army with S&P could out-shoot his), so he decided to go for a long odds gamble: he charged Sorscha at a friendly IFP, but forgot to activate Wishnayler and Reinholt beforehand to buff her Freezing grip (and admirably did not want to take it back, to teach himself that lesson); because of that he was a bit out of range and ended up using Wind rush to advance 2” further forward, pop feat (catching 3-4 Rifle corps, 1 Dwarf and a few snipers; Vlad and support were safely behind clouds) and Freezing grip the whole Winter guard unit (ended on 0 camp again), so that her Rifle corps could riddle them with bullets. The heavy cav and Spriggan just shuffled around to get in range of some more significant charges for next turn. I was rather perplexed by having Sorscha in front of the rest of her army with no focus on top of turn 2…Now the obvious approach would be load up Conquest, cast S&P, pop Vlad’s feat and just splatter pSorscha into a bloody sorbet, but due to Wind rush, she was Def 18, so I needed 12 to hit her in melee (def 20 if I tried to shoot her due to Fog of war, not counting the wall she was next to). Boosted attack roll + S&P should hit that in at least 1 of 2 fully boosted attacks, but that plan still left a 35%-ish chance of failing, so I started considering power-striking or throwing my own models at her from point blank range, but due to her feat freezing all my infantry within running range of her, while the Uhlans were in the way of the outriders that could have ran in an appropriate position. I spent 5-6 minuted internally debating these options in my usual paranoid fashion, until I snapped and decided to do it the ‘old Khadoran way’: just bring axe to face, no fancy tricks. I allocated 3 to Conquest, cast S&P and used Vlad’s feat for the free charge; then my colossal charged in far enough to get around the wall Sorscha was hiding behind, boosted the charge attack roll and rolled: 1 1 3 3!!! I have to admit that my heart sank, since my paranoid predictions were coming true… Anyway I boosted my second initial attack and thankfully hit this time; since I wasn’t very likely to hit an extra attack needing 12 without boosting, I just used the 3rd focus to boost damage needing a 7 and rolling a 13! GG

After thoughts: Ok, I think I got a few gray hairs in my beard from that… After the game I asked Invader why he exposed Sorscha like that and he explained that he didn’t see the attrition going favorably for him and gambled on baiting the assassination run, hoping to survive it and then try assassinating Vlad while my army was out of position. Fair enough.

 

Game 2 (Outflank) – Erich Hochauer (Erich) with Skorne

We actually knew this guy; we met Erich last year at the HET. Back then he played Trolls, but this time he brought: eHexeris, Xerxis (Theme list) and Mordikaar. Looking at his 3 lists I felt this was my chance to drop my Butcher2 list, since he didn’t have any ‘control casters’ that would directly counter my melee threat: Butcher with Fury and Ravager could single handedly annihilate the Xerxis list (he can one-shot Cetrati in shield wall with Defender’s ward and daisy chain his way to Xerxis, no-sweat…) and has the punch to deal with Hexy’s Mammoth, plus the Lord arbiter could not Ashes to ashes my Doom reavers directly; I doubted he’d drop Mordikaar, so I felt fairly good about my match-up regardless of his list pick. Eventually he chose his eHexeris list:

Lord Arbiter Hexeris (*6pts)
* Basilisk Krea (4pts)
* Cyclops Raider (5pts)
* Mammoth (20pts)
* Titan Sentry (9pts) – Bonded to eHexy
Nihilators (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Extoler Soulward (2pts)
Mortitheurge Willbreaker (2pts)
Mortitheurge Willbreaker (2pts)

2 Game 2

I won the dice off again and this time I chose to go first, to set the line of engagement in his half of the table and try to push him out of the scenario zones, but that meant he got to chose sides and obviously took the side without the big obstruction just outside of the deployment line (that will be relevant later…).

Deployment: He first pre-deployed his mammoth on my right flank, so I set up Beast 09 and Great bears directly across from him, set Butcher in the middle and IFP on my left flank. Then he deployed the rest of his army with his battle group and support (Beast handlers and Willbreakers) on my right and his Nihilators on my left, so I finally set out my Advance deploying Doomreavers to threat his beasts, while my snipers would cover the Nihilator’s side.

Turn 1: I started by shifting my Doom reavers sideways to my right dispersed on the hill just outside of the scenario zone (trying to minimize the incoming Mammoth blasts impact), while the rest of my army advanced forward to form a unified front a couple inches out of both scenario zones, with Butcher having cast Fury on Beast and camping 2 focus behind the obstruction. In response Erich advanced his line forward, using Nihilators with Ashen Veil to contest the zone to my left and the Mammoth’s main cannon (with Far strike from ‘Red rocket’) shooting at my Greatbears by the obstruction, boosting to hit one of them, but failing to kill on the direct damage roll; he also boostted the blast damage rolls for the other 2 bears putting some damage on them and causing one tough roll on the unit leader (passed). The Mammoth then bought one moe attack with the gun, but failed to hit (since the GB have steady from their fellow and the IF Kovnik nearby) and didn’t roll enough on un-boosted blast to harm them any further.

Turn 2: Ok, that went better than expected, lost only a few Doom reavers to Red rocket and blasts. Rolled 4 focus for Butcher, so he just upkept Fury and kept the rest. I started by spreading my Doomreavers across the right zone, to hopefully distract the opponent from my Great bears… My Widowmakers on the left flank just aimed and sniped the 3 closest Nihilators and Shield-wall advanced the Black dragons just outside of the surviving Nihilator’s charge threat… And here is my biggest mistake of this game! When I advanced the IFP I did not leave enough room for Butcher to move between them and the obstruction for next turn’s Feat!! This was a problem I noticed only toward the end of my turn when I had only Butcher left to move. If I sent him around the right side with Beast, Great bears and 9-10 Doom reavers the opponent could just focus entirely on the left zone and possibly overrun my flank, so I just ran Orsus up to the left flank of the IFP line, running Madelyn just behind the Pikemen line to hopefully trigger her 3” move next turn to get Butcher around the ‘corner’ of my own unit so he could charge in the fray. If only I’d kept Beast 09 in his control area, this could have been a solid plan…

Anyway, Erich on his turn sent the rest of the Nihilators to Jam by IFP and charge a few Doom reavers in front of his beasts. The Raider killed another berserker and cast his animus on the Mammoth, whom in turn advanced to toe-in the zone and went back to shooting all his ammunition at the Great bears again, causing 3 more tough checks (2 passed one failed on the leader), flanked by the bonded Sentry and with Hexeris getting behind his meat mountain for protection. To avoid giving me easy scenario points he ran his Krea in the left zone engaging Kell and contesting.

Turn 3: I rolled 7 Focus for Butcher!!! I have Nihilators nearby to trigger Madelyn’s ability and he can get 3-4 easy feat tokens himself… While considering my feat plans and target priorities I noticed to my dismay that in last turn’s panic run with Butcher Beast is out of control and can’t be allocated any focus… That screws up my chances of removing the Mammoth and Sentry with my feat (the most sensible thing to do). Even so I can not back down and postpone my feat turn, since by then half of my army will be gone along most of his models I could gain feat tokens from; Butcher2 is a caster reliant on aggressive tempo, so I have to make it work this turn or I’ll lose either way! With that in mind I get Butcher in position with Madelyn, activate him first, pop feat and charge in a scattered cluster of 4 Nihilators in front of my IFP, making sure to engage only one at the time, to gain the most movement out of Homicidal maniac and manage to ‘daisy chain’ him to get Beast 09 back into his Control (important because Transferred rage +2 Mat/Spd gets activated on jacks if they start their activation in his Ctrl, after he killed stuff). With that taken care of and 3 Rage tokens in the bank I activated the rest of my army targeting all my attacks at warrior models I could kill easily to gain more feat tokens, while the Great bears and Beast 09 ran full distance toward Hexy (who was camping 2 fury); at the end of my activations I had 8 tokens that went to Beast the 2 surviving Great bears. The Bears went in first, circumventing the melee reach of the beasts in front of Hexy and putting 5-6 damage on him (hit only 1 attack out of 3) and then Beast followed, unable to avoid taking a free strike from both the Sentry and Mammoth (this is where it could all fail); the Sentry does 8 damage to column 5 (damaged the right arm but not disabled yet) and Mammoth hits (no critical, thank Menoth) and does another 11 damage to column 2; no crippled systems so we’re green to go! I take 3 swings at Hexy, needing 6 to hit (hoping for a Critical) and rolling Dice + 8 (so needing 5 or 6 to force transfers). I hit all 3 attacks and roll 6 or more on all 3 damage rolls, burning trough his transfers and ultimately killing Hexy. GG

After thoughts: Oh, boy that was a close call. I had one more Great bear with 2 tokens to go if Beast failed, but I really lucked out with those free strikes and thankfully I managed to roll better than with the first Great bear. Admittedly Erich was a bit tilted by my Great bears survivability and the unexpected assassination run from downtown (he was expecting me to focus on his beasts, which as I mentioned would have been the correct way to play out the match, if I didn’t screw up my set-up on turn 2), but he was a great sport about it.

 

Game 3 (Incursion) – Bern Hard (Bernhard) with Cryx:

I’ve seen this guy play against my buddy S’tan in round one (since my game ended early and they were playing on the table right next to mine) and pretty much schooled him in the ways of Terminus Vs Cygnar (in S’tan’s defense we’ve never seen Terminus on the table before…). Bernhard had Terminus, eSkarre and Gaspy2 as his 3 lists (Gaspy was the only unused list at that point). Looking at his lists I guessed he should not feel threatened too much by my Khador line-up and probably opt to use his 3rd list (eGaspy) just to unlock all his lists for the next day, which was the same thing I was planning to do, so I quickly considered that match up and dropped my pIrusk list, hoping he would not drop eSkarre (there was a Blood hag in there…) and he used Gaspy as expected:

Lich Lord Asphyxious (*6pts)
* Cankerworm (5pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
Bane Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
Bane Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Bane Thrall Officer & Standard (3pts)
Bile Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Bane Lord Tartarus (4pts)
Pistol Wraith (3pts)
Pistol Wraith (3pts)

3 Game 3

He won the initiative and chose to go first, so I picked the sides with more ‘forward positioned’ forests to maybe take advantage of with Widowmakers and Nyss.

Deployment: Bern deployed one unit of Bane knights and one arcnode on each flank, while the Bane thralls, Biles, Cankerwork and Gaspy were holding the center of the formation. To counter that I deployed my Widowmakers and Outriders on my left flank and the Nyss on the right, with IFP, TAC, Behemoth and Irusk holding the middle.

Turn 1: As you can see in the picture, on his first turn Bernhard ran his banes forward, circumventing the big obstruction in front of his deployment zone (that seems to be the theme of this tourney…), keeping the biles back, with only one grunt intermingled with the front line of banes and using Gaspy’s clouds to block LoS to the Bane knights on my left flank, where my snipers were. On my turn I advanced-Zephyred the nyss 10” forward and took some shots at the Bane knights on the right flank but failed to break armor on all attacks and forfeited the last 2 shots from the unit (pointless to give them vengeance by killing 1 model in the unit). Then the TAC advanced and made the cozy Smoke bunker for Irusk, that before moving cast Superiority on Behemoth and Iron flesh on the Nyss. Behemoth advanced forward and lobbed some bombard shots at the Bane thralls and managed to clip 2 of the forward-most Bile thralls and boosted damage just to be sure (ok, 4 more to kill). On my left I just Dispersed the Widowmakers with the Outriders with Winter’s wind cast just behind them, to freeze models running to engage and the IFP just advanced in Shield wall. At the end of the turn we rolled for the flag and the flag to my right disappeared (between Bane knights and Nyss hunters).

Turn 2: Bern started by running the left Deathripper in B2B with the left flag and activated Gaspy, whom advanced getting in position to Excarnate a Bile thrall at my Shield walled IFP, but misses the attack roll and is forced to use his remaining focus to teleport back to safety. With that rather crucial attack failed he ran/charged the rest of his force forward as far as he could without getting frozen by the Outrider’s auras on the left flank and failing to hit any of the Iron fleshed Nyss on the right and sent a few Bane thralls around the middle flag. He kept Tartarus, Cankerworm and his remaining Biles back for the second wave, while his 2 Pistol wraiths positioned menacingly to Death chill the Behemoth next turn.

This was obviously feat turn for me, so I upkept Superiority and Iron flesh for 1 Foc (1 free upkeep from ‘Wishnailer’), gave 3 to the Behemoth’s Subcortex and kept 3 for an Airburst. Wyshnalyrr activated first to give Arcane assist to Irusk, then The Tac prepared a new cloud bunker and then Irusk advanced, popped feat and cast his Airburst at a Pistol wraith on my right, causing some damage but not killing. Next the Nyss activated: the engaged ones aimed, while the others shifted toward the middle flag, then Valachev Zephyred, disengaging the aiming Nyss and pushing the more advanced ones in range of 2 other Biles; with an above average rolling spree the Nyss hunters managed to eliminate 6 Bane knights, 2 Biles and a Bane thrall on the right flank. Good start! After that I activated my Widowmakers and Outriders that Eliminated another 4 Bane knights and a Bane Thrall and a Pistol wraith on the left flank. The Black dragon IFP popped their Iron zeal mini feat and charged the enemy arcnode and other nearby troops, CMA-ing on the light jack and disabling its arcnode (Precision strike) and 2 more Bane knights, while Behemoth advanced into contesting range of the middle flag and lobbed some more bombard shells at the Biles, removing another 3 from the unit (only 1 left!!!). That was a good turn for attrition; now can Gaspy come back with his dreaded feat?

Turn 3: Bernhard does his Vengeance moves and spends a few minutes considering his options. He starts by moving his engaged arcnode out of melee, prompting several free strikes that scrap it on the spot (he just wanted to get the pikemen disengaged), then charged Tartarus into 3 IFP (also Cursed) threshing and killing all 3, but 2 of them pass their tough checks and only 1 Bane thrall gets created. Next Gaspy charges into the clump to cast a boosted Excarnate on an IFP, but the tough check denies his Bile thrall trick, so he is forced to use eGaspy’s feat in a clustered position, summoning 8 Bane knights and 2 Bane thralls, before teleporting his caster further back into his line and spending the next 10 minutes resolving the charges of his survivng troops plus feat models… By the end of his turn he killed 1 Outrider, 6 IFPs and Valachev and Had Cankerworm in B2B with the middle flag with some Bane thralls ‘jamming’ in front, but nobody scored any Vps yet due to both having contesting models. On my turn I upkept my spells and gave 3 focus to the Behemoth’s regular cortex and proceded to clean up as best as I could. On the Left flank the combined efforts of Widowmakers, Outriders and Iron fang Kovnik killed off Tartarus, 3 Bane thralls and 3 Bane knights, ensuring I would start scoring Vps from that flag. On my right flank the Nyss cleaned off 3 more Bane knights and tried to kill off a Bane thrall standing in Behemoth’s path to the Cankerworm, but the undead bugger just refused to die. I spent the rest of my disposable attacks trying to finish it off, but it kept passing his tough rolls, which was quite tilting, until after the 6th or 7th tough check he finally failed and Behe could charge Cankerworm, missing all but 1 attack and scrapping half of it; its bombards though hit the last Bile thrall, removing the purge threat from the table. With the attrition battle greatly in my favor and my forces set up to start scoring first, I just ran Irusk to my left, camping 2 focus toe in a forest, hoping not to get killed by some random spell-assassination and score 1 CP from the left flag.

Turn 4: We both knew the only way for Cryx to win the game at that point was to assassinate Irusk, so he took 5 minutes to measure distances within his control area and decided to use the spare arcnode to push eGaspy 1” forward, then Gaspy charged an IFP and finally managed to Excarnate successfully, summoning a Bane knight (from the left hand side unit with only 1 bane left) within 3”, behind by front line of IFP in range of Irusk. Then the Bane got to charge Irusk, rolled the hard 9 to hit him and caused 14 bloody damage on that charge attack, leaving Irusk on 3 health (my heart nearly stopped then and there)!!! Fortunately for me he did not have any more attacks to send my way, so his surviving Pistol wraith just Death chilled Behemoth (so he could not charge Gaspy) and passed the turn. By this time I had roughly 8 minutes left on my deathclock, while my opponent had 10, so I hastily allocated 3 focus to the Behemoth subcortex (forgetting Gaspy was engaged with my IFP…), quickly activated Irusk to give Battle lust to the surviving IFP and tried to kill off the bane engaging him, but failed to hit (getting slightly panicky now). The 4 surviving IFP shield wall into position and I decide to do 2 men CMAs, rolling double ones on the first attack (good thing I did not make 1 big CMA) but hitting and causing 7 damage with the second one. Then the Outriders tried to hit Gaspy with their sprays but failed and Behemot just stood in place lobbing shells at the few Banes scattered around, while the Nyss tried to get that bloody Bane knight off of Irusk. In the end Wyshnalyrr had to charge the bane and manage to kill it off, getting me to score 2 more Cps on both flags (since Gaspy was the only remaining Cryx model contesting the middle flag). If I can survive 1 more turn I win on scenario!

Turn 5: After surviving the counter punch of my IFP Bernhard decided his best course of action was to Deathknell one of the IFPs, that was the furthest back in the shield wall clump (so that the blast damage on the other models would generate in their back arcs, thus negating the armor bonus), before moving in position to try and sling one last spell at Irusk and maybe get off those last 3 wounds on him… Unfortunately he misses the attack roll, which ruined the ‘blast from the back arc’ plan, so he tried to move out of combat and ‘tank’ the free strikes, but the very first attack roll was a critical that knocked him down prematurely ending his ‘Hail Mary’ spell assassination 2nd attempt, so he conceded! GG

After thoughts: That was a pretty intense game! Most people (me included) watching the game were surprised by how one-sided the attrition battle went (eGaspy basically getting tabled, getting only the points for half of the IFP and a couple solos). I guess it boils down to those 2 consecutive failed Excarnate attempts to bring forth the Bile purges…

Anyway, with that the first day of the Vienna masters was over with me at 3-0 and S’tan with an unexpectedly bad record of 1-2. Since we were both still tired from the day before, we just went for dinner at the same nearby pizza place and back to our hotel to get some rest for the next day.

 

Game 4 (Into the breach) – László Vuray (MrWu) with Khador

The next day we checked out of our hotel and came back to the venue early to socialize a bit and found out that at the time there were only 3 undefeated players, including me. I was paired down against another Khador player bringing pSorscha, Zerkova and Vlad3. Like in my first round I expected my opponent to pick Sorscha, unless he specifically wanted to use Zerkova’s feat to counter my Vlad gunline. Even if that was the case I was confident that Vlad could persevere so I dropped my pVlad list again and just like game one my opponent picked pSorscha:

Kommander Sorscha (*5pts)
* Spriggan (10pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Gun Carriage (9pts)
Alexia Ciannor & the Risen (Alexia and 9 Risen Grunts) (5pts)
Doom Reavers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
Doom Reavers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)
Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (4pts)
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios (3pts)
Goblin Tinker (1pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1pts)
Saxon Orrik (2pts)

4 Game 4

I think I lost the initiative roll and MrWu chose to go first, so I picked the side with the less disrupting obstruction outside of the deployment zone.

Deployment: He deployed his Gun carriage behind the forest on my right, while concentrating his Spriggan, Alexia, Sorscha and support to go trough the bottleneck formed by the forest and obstruction. I deployed my Conquest slightly to the left to go strait for the scenario zone, with the fast Outriders covering my left flank with the forest and the Rifle corps covering the no mans’ land on my right, with Vlad and support in the middle. Lastly he deployed his Doom reavers and Widowmakers and I predictably deployed my Widowmakers in the forest to my left, ready to snipe down a bunch of berserkers.

Turn 1: MrWu Started by spreading his Doom reavers all over the zone in the left flank, advanced the Widowmakers and Gun carriage trough the forest on the right, ran the Spriggan next to the obstruction in the middle of his front-line, hid Sorscha (whom cast Wind rush and Fog of war) and lastly ran Alexia and her risen down the bottle neck, in range to collect corpses from a good portion of the Doom reavers. In response I advanced my TAC, set up the cloud bunker, cast Signs and portents with Vladd chilling out in there and the proceeded to shoot his infantry off the table: the combined efforts of Widowmakers, Rifle corps with boosted attack rolls, Conquest’s secondary guns and the Outriders (targeting each other or models further back to get around Spell ward on the doomies) removed 11 Doom reavers, 2 Widowmakers and 4 Risen. With my colossal I was careful to stay at least 12” away from Alexia and the enemy Spriggan and shot my main cannon at the jack (hoping for a critical devastation, since Sorscha was clipped by the blast). No critical, but I caused 9 points on the jack and 3 points on the caster with S&P boosted damage rolls. All in all, a good attrition turn for me.

Turn 2: My opponent first spawnined 9 new risen in advanced positions, from the corpses Alexia collected the turn before. Next he ran the last surviving Doom reaver on my left flank to cause Abomination checks on the Widowmakers (who passed) and Outriders (who failed), but ended up frozen by ending within 2” of an outrider with Winter’s wind on. Then the Spriggan advanced to toe in the zone and lobbed some grenades at the Widowmakers on the left flank (killing 1), while the battle engine on the right shelled some Rifle corps (killing 3 or 4). After that the Risen ran/charged to clog up and engage my front line and obstruct my colossal’s charge lane. Lastly Sorscha and support moved up, with Gorman eyeing my colossal menacingly… At the start of my turn I decided that if I could get rid of the enemy jack, Gorman and Alexia, he would not be able to counter my colossal and I could grind it out for scenario. With that in mind Vlad cast S&P as usual (did not use the feat, since the enemy jack and Gorman were within 9” of my Conquest) and set out to clear out the risen standing in my path. I started with Holt gun blade-ing a risen engaging him and gunning down Alexia herself (here MrWu decided not to ‘transfer the damage to risen and just removed her instead), while Ayanna just Stealthed herself (that will turn out to be very important later on…); after that the Widowmakers and Rifle corps cleared out the frozen Doom reaver, Wyshnailyrr and 6 to 7 risen (but missed a couple engaged with my colossal), so I had to use the Tactical Arcanists to blast them away and managed to put down only 1 cloud in front of Vlad. Then Conquest charged the Spriggan and (due to the damage it suffered before) scrapped it with my initials, so I spent the last 2 focus on him to buy a boosted attack on Gorman and splatter him as well. Lastly I used Gorman to put down a second cloud (touching Ayanna) to create a small coud wall on the right side of Vlad and moved the fleeing Outriders in a way to leave on touching the left edge of the cloud wall and block LoS to Vlad from that side. Right, my opponent has only his caster, Reinholt, Ayanna and Holt, Saxon Orrick and a Gun carriage. His only chance of a come back is an all in assassination attempt, but can Sorscha get it done?

Turn 3: MrWu took some good 10 minutes (he was 15 minutes up on me anyway, since I spent most of my time killing his stuff) to carefully consider all of his options and order of activation issues. He started with Holt advancing and trying to shoot off the Outrider blocking LoS to Vlad, putting 3 damage on, but not killing it, so next Saxon had to finish it off with his rifle. Then Reinholt gave Sorscha an extra shot with her Handcannon, she Windrushed and advanced past my Conquest (propping a free strike that might have killed her, but missed her Def 18), drew LoS to Vlad, popped feat and unloaded 2 fully boosted handcannon shots into him, causing a total of 11 damage (7 health left on him). Then the final piece of the puzzle: the Gun carriage advanced far enough down my right flank to draw a line around the edge of my smoke wall, trough Ayanna, because she had Stealth on (otherwise he would not have been able to get LoS at all) and unloads its bombards into a stationary Vlad doing 8 more damage and finishing off the Dark prince! GG

After thoughts: So close!!! The outriders failing their Cmd check was probably the spark of the chain of events that led to Vlad’s demise (if the light cav would not have been fleeing, they would have easily cleared out all the risen in front of my colossal and moved out of the way, leaving my dwarves free to keep making a complete smoke bunker to properly hite Vlad from all fronts). That said, if I were more careful (less bloodlusty I guess), I could have kept the colossal back and just shot the enemy heavy again, hoping for a critical to push it back and hopefully cripple some of its systems, while my Gorman could have tried to scatter some Black oil on his enemy counterpart, if blast damage from the Conquest secondary guns didn’t do the trick… I probably should have just held my ground and continued with the ranged attrition, but ok, lesson learned.

 

Anyway, since I was the ‘undefeated’ paired down player and lost my game, the other 2 undefeated players ended up playing the actual Final game’ without knowing it till the last 10 minutes. It was a match between Adrian Weygandt (Protectorate of Menoth) and Wolfgang Zurowetz (Mecenaries) and the only merc player at the event won it all! Congratulations!

5 My Entries for Best painted

After that we had lunch and the voting for the Best painted army and Best painted single choice awards, while the TO organized the final scores and diplomas, 2 hours earlier than he planned to. Anyway, after lunch we had the awards ceremony, where I found out I won best painted army (I was glad since I was kinda gunning for that, not being too confident in my Control points scored and Army points destroyed tiebreakers) and ended up 2nd overall (mainly due to my high SoS, since 3 of my opponents won 3 games each and were 9th, 5th and 4th at the event). I must say it was nice to finally get a podium position after developing a habit of coming always 4th overall. Finally there was a big raffle, where everybody had an equal chance of getting something, regardless of tournament standings, and both me and S’tan got lucky and got some toys as well (he picked up 5 metal Cetrati for his Xerxis tier list and I picked up a min unit of Assault kommandos, to fill out the min unit I already have, since you can’t get them in blisters anymore). After all that was said and done people could play pick up games to make up for the 5th round, but since we had a 5 hour road trip ahead of us and the weather was not optimal, we said our goodbys, set off for Slovenia and despite the freezing snowstorms and poor road conditions made it back home without incident.

 

Here is a link to the official results of the Vienna masters 2014: LINKY

Here is a link to the Facebook photo gallery of the event: LINKY

All in all it has been a great experience: all clean games with great and sporting opponents and we will be sure to come back in the future and hopefully get to invite the new metas we encountered to our own little events in the future…

That will be more than enough for this article. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave a comment below. Cheers!

 

 

 

Author: Baffo

My nickname means 'mustache' in Italian and dates back to my middle school days. As the name suggests, I am a fiercely hairy fellow and depending on the haircut I can be mistaken for Chubaka, Manson or Rasputin:) I am a mix breed of nationalities from Slovenia (not to be confused with Slovakia), a very small European country between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia; our national meta is very small but has some fairly competitive players so we don't get bored. My main skills in tabletop war-gaming are sculpting, scratch-building and converting, so that is what my articles will cover... Anyway, cheers:D

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