The Road to WTC (Part X+2): Locked….and Loaded (Part 3)


Changing pictures is for chumps.

(Assume usual inserted thingy here about footnotes and the suchliike)

Alright, I’ve gotta get done with this lock’n’load stuff. There’s been too much going on to be stuck four weeks in the past!!
So….there are two preceding articles to this one and since you’re bored at work, you should probably (assuming you havent already) go ahead and read those first.

Onwards, to game three.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to do this game justice. It was an intense game, the closest I’ve ever played in and almost certainly the closest I ever will.

For those of you who watched the live stream of the final, believe me when I say that was NOT the closest game that Jay played in that day. I kid you not.



I’ve played against Jay once before, at the Warmachine Weekend Iron Gauntlet, where we met in what turned out to be the semi-final. He was playing double cygnar that day and I was playing double circle.

This time around I was playing eLich/eMorvhana and he was again playing double Cygnar, Seige and eHaley.

Last game we’d played his Siege list against my eMorvhana list and I’d gotten away with a turn two or three1 assassination. I’d put some thought into that matchup and felt like if we played it again I could play it considerably better, so I was ok with that.
I’d just played against eHaley and that had gone well…right? So clearly I didnt need to worry about that, plan take it in the face had been proven in battle3 so that seemed ok.

In reality I simply wasnt confident of playing eLich into his eHaley, it being one of the matchups that I know most eHaley players have played a lot. I felt like my best chance rested on the back of a goat and so that’s the path I chose.

He obviously also didnt feel that our first play-through of Siege vs eMorvhana was worth repeating, so he went for eHaley.

Back again eh?10

Back again eh?8

His list was substantially different from Daniel’s (my previous round opponent, victim of plan shovel) and included a bunch of solos. I didnt recognize one of them until about mid-way through turn one when I had a sneaking suspicion that I should recognise her.

Dammit look at those knives, gotta watch out for them I bet!

Dammit look at those knives, gotta watch out for them I bet!4

He did include a bunch of storm-nouns, gun mages, two jacks, gorman, Stacey and some other bits and pieces, if you want the full list reported accurately, you could probably go read his battle reports from the event in the privateer press main forums. Which I could totally link to right now.

The scenario was Fire Support (two flags and two objectives)

Again I will try to limit the report to the things of interest (to me, if not to you):

So Turn one we both ran and set up to engage in that sweet sweet dance….again. I think I did a better job of positioning in this game than the one against Daniel, since I respected his threat a little more. He also didnt have murder ponies, which made me feel a little better.

At this stage I was still pretty much playing plan take it in the face (victorious in round two, UNDEFEATED PLAN!) though I was trying to limit the rate at which I took it in the face better than the previous game.

Plan 3

His turn two was primarily a setup turn with a little bit of damage put out, but a feat that stuck me in a minor hole. Anastasia was in a position on one Chiriboga that I couldnt get a kill-shot to. Gorman was over there with her. Most of my army was under feat (though Morvhana was not) and both the jack’s were on the opposite flank (where morvhana also was). It’s a killbox scenario so there was a limit to where I could put morvhana, given that eHaley is NOT a caster you wish to killbox yourself against due to her propensity to just up and win on scenario.
So I didnt want to leave morv in threat range of jacks (which is a LONG threat range under Haley) and I really wanted her in position to harass Haley herself (on the other flank)….but doing so would mean giving up the espionage….

So, in the finest tradition of plan take it in the face….I ran directly accross field into the espionage threat.
Crucially I couldnt get quite as far as I thought I could, which left me standing about three inches away from my own stalker, not as far into a forest as I wanted to be.

I killed a couple of things, realised that it seems Bloodpack can ALSO get around eHaleys feat (Sacrifice action to the feat, call assault and battery, shoot, move)and moved skinwalkers up to try and scare anastasia or the stormnouns…or anything really. Apparently I bought my non-scary skinwalkers with me this game.

His turn hurt a lot….but it didnt really cripple my army, particularly given my upcoming feat. Gorman walked up and tried to blind the stalker, missing and scattering away to nowhere. The stormnouns killed a couple of skinwalkers and the jacks did in for a couple more. Anastasia walked up and espionaged, catching most of his army which brutalized a bit more of my force….but Haley was standing completely empty of focus in the middle of the field, opposite Morvhana. Which meant next turn I could walk up and enact plan shovel, double sundering for the win.

Of course Gorman activated a second time also….DOUBLE THE FUN!

So stacey makes him ROF 2 hey? Awesome.

ROF: 2 GOrman, even more fair!

He missed my stalker again, rolling a ten….which I pointed out missed because the stalker was engaged by Anastasia. Good call Colin. The black oil scattered….directly onto Morvhana (And still hit the stalker…thanks Black Oil!!)
That shut down my assassination the following turn with a naked Haley directly in range. Mildly frustrating.

So instead I had to feat and work with bloodpack, who made a damn good attempt and left Haley on 3 health after two shots hit…then the rerolled charge attack missed unfortunately. He was MAT 9 thanks to carnivore, but Haley, like all good power casters, has a random rule or three thrown on her card to give her the edge on random occasions. In this case the relevant rule being set defence. 5
I’d put a lot of jam back on the table and had a swing at the assassination, but the failure had left Morvhana a bit in the breeze, with about 3 boxes left and two transfers. But I’d obviously terrified Haley, she backed up and went for the scenario/clock play. (I had burned a LOT of clock on the preceding turns2)

I was amazed to find myself still alive the following turn and began trying to finish the assassination. I had another shot at her (camping everything and on 3 health) and I believe I got her down to 1 point, while my army did a decent job of tying up his entire force and killing off the gun mages. (Morvhana healed to full12 through carnivored bloodpack eating gunmages and carnivored skinwalkers eating stormguys).

At this point I was down to 5 minutes or less (I think Jay probably still had 15 or so) and he left haley on the opposite flag (out of walk and sunder range), full camp plus arcane shield, ARM 25. I probably SHOULD have gone for scenario since my Chiriboga was completely open now….but instead I went for the assassination one more time.9

I got to use a sweet piece of tech gifted to me by he-with-the-massive-head Moorhouse early that day, which is my favourite kind of tech.13

My stalker ran (My bloodpack also went for the linebreaker achievement, not only getting out the way, but running for victory points by making it into his deployment zone!!14) and Morvhana charged it in the butt, stabbed it, light cavalry moved towards Haley and then sundered her. Which is something I’d not realized I was able to do (cast spells after the light cavalry move) and which probably fits in that list of “stupid random rules that good casters get to make them better”.10

Unfortunately in my haste I’d failed to orchestrate the entire thing correctly17, I upkept Carnivore, then purified off arcane shield, only leaving 3 fury for the sunder spirit….so I couldnt boost the damage. I did this on the basis that my carnivored Warpborn Skinwalker Alpha, who was going to get a charge on Haley…would get the job done.

Of course when I purified….I lost the Carnivore, thus making it a dead fury. Compounding that problem was the inability to boost damage on the sunder spirit….so I had two shots at rolling an 11 to win. Which I failed.

The Alpha charged, needing an 11 to hit….he missed, I rerolled to a HIT!
Now he only needed a 9 to kill her….wait, what’s that beeping sound?

Sure would suck to be the guy with 0...wait. Oh.

Sure would suck to be the guy with 0…wait. Oh.

That’s right folks, with my dice in hand about to roll damage….my deathclock expired. Unfortunately in death clock you dont get to finish your attack.

Of course we rolled it (who wouldnt?) and the boxcars that came up was super-sweet.

So what did I learn?

Respect the clock, fool.

Respect the clock, fool.

I need to work on my clock-usage, for the sake of my WTC performance at least. I’m happy18 with losing tournaments for myself due to wasting time early on conversation and such…but if I’ve got a team with me I’m not willing to make that decision for them. So working on my clock is something I’m going to have to do.

And then, counter-intuitively:
I need to take the time to make sure my current plan is still the optimal plan at the start of each turn. In order to do that I need to still HAVE time available…refer point one.

Finally I need to play the eHaley match some more. I’m going to keep on running into it and getting a well rehearsed response in place will certainly make me feel better about the match and speed up my play in early turns.

I was going to also include Game 4 in this article, but again I’m out of time and I want to post this damn thing.
So it looks like there’s still one more article coming in this Lock’n’load series. Then one to recount Texas Wargames Con, then an update on the team….then about three articles on the various casters that I feel I’ve now dropped out of the running for my WTC pairing.


Well, please as usual comment in the forum thread, any suggestions, comments, praise, criticism etc is welcome and is read.

Soon you should start seeing fund-raising miniatures (PRO PAINTED!!) coming up for auctions to support your WTC teams. Please consider them for your hard-earned cash, we appreciate any support that you’re willing to offer and some of these models look amazing!

1 I dont recall exactly which, you can watch the game on youtube somewhere I believe. Let’s say it was turn two. He’d definately had HIS turn two, because he’d killed the bejesus out of my bloodtrackers and put me in an awkward position from which I’d decided to cut to the chase and let eMorv dig me out with an assassination7
2 I’m really really good at losing to clocks. I’ve always said I’d rather lose to clock than by making a mistake and losing with time still on my clock….but I should probably reconsider a *little* given that I went 2-2 vs the clock in Iron Gauntlet.
3 or at least plan shovel had, after plan take it in the face…well…took it in the face slightly too well?
4 Also, apparently her mum is hot. 6
5 Other examples include: Morvhana 2 having life-trader on one weapon and ram on the other, Gaspy 2 having a stupid soul-spear, Harby having awe, immunity to blind (and knockdown) and auto-hit, Grayle having sprint (ALL THE TIME!!)
6 Yeah 90s music reference using obscure abbreviation for a character that you dont refer to by that name in the article, nice esoteric humour Colin. Douche.11
7 I need a good abbreviation or catchphrase for the following plan:
Make a plan (that isnt this one), execute it turn one, have it go…ok. Execute it turn two, have it go less well than expected. Continue to execute until such time as it becomes apparent that plan is actually pretty terrible. Make sure you’re currently pretty clearly losing. Stop holding Morvhana back with your stupid plan. Win by assassination. How does “Plan shovel” sound?
8 Why didnt anyone tell me this format would be full of power casters?? – Said no Iron Gauntlet player ever.
9 Once I have a plan that hasn’t yet failed, I’m remarkably resistant to altering my path. This may well be a weakness, but honestly who expected I would need a backup plan to Plan Shovel? I mean it works 30% of the time 100% of the time!
10 Note to self: Need either a snappy acronym for this syndrome, or a known player’s name to tag it to.15 I guess it’s the opposite of rules bloat. You get lots of rules, but they are worth points and you DONT pay for them. It’s like the choir tax. Hmmm. Suggestions welcome.
11 Which reminds me, music. I said I’d put these all to music and completely forgot. Hence: Fountains of Wayne
12 Fun Fact: Saying “Morvhana heals, she’s full” is A) the most fun thing in the world to say and B) Possibly the most annoying thing you can say ten times in a single turn.
13 To clarify: The kind of tech I got the same day I’m using it is my favourite, not specifically the tech granted by Australians that would make pay-by-the-hour-Phrenologists cry with joy when they walk by.
14 Pro-tip: When you’ve got a minute or so on your clock and you’re about to try a reasonably complicated maneouvre, what you should do is make up some completely stupid reason to do something that is both time-consuming and pointless. It just adds to the drama. Had I not spent 15 seconds running the entire unit directly towards his board edge this might be quite a different battle report. I regret nothing.
15 further note to self: It’s not a note to self if you put it here. It’s pretty much a Note-to-the-two-guys-that-read-this-article 16
16 Also needs snappy acronym.
17 Though fortunately I’d nailed the hell out of that line-breaker move. Worth it.
18 Although “happy” is perhaps not the right work.

Author: bobliness

I'm an Australian living in Houston, Texas, I started playing Warmachine/Hordes in March 2012 and I consider myself to be on a continuous learning curve that I'm not sure will ever end. I play for strategy and combinations, I am in no way a qualified hobbyist or painter though I admire those that are. No, I dont know Chunky, but the other five people that live in Australia tell me he's really swell.

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