Thursday, September 26, 2013

Clash for the Cure, Third Time's a Charm

This weekend is one of my favorite Texas events, Clash for a Cure. This is their third annual event, and will be the third time I attend. It's pretty cool to see how much the event has been growing in just 3 attempts. The first year was a single-caster event on an afternoon in a local gaming store. it was a very fun event,even though I lost quite badly. I was trying out Naaresh for the very first time (he had been out for a bout 2 weeks), and had not really dipped my head into the Texas competitive scene. The event has now grown into a full con-length event with 3 days of gaming!

I have not done very well in the Clash events in the past, losing badly to one of the Road to War guys my first year, then not making it to the Masters after losing to 2 Austin guys my second year. Hopefully this year I can pull things together and at least make it into the Masters event. That's easier said than done, especially with how much the tournament scene in Texas has grown in a few short years.

My first chance to qualify will be Friday afternoon in the doubles event. Only the top 2 teams qualify, but being Friday afternoon in Waco there will likely be fewer people playing. Team tournaments are always a bit strange and it's very hard to plan for what you might face. you just have to throw together some sort of combo you think will do well and then go for it. I've only done one team event before, at Adepticon when I paired with my wife. pMorghoul and eKaya with a combined 6 heavies sounded fun, but we ended up losing badly to an eVayl/pDenny combo and pHaley/Moshar. ouch. I didn't see that last one coming, but let me tell you, it's a nasty combo.

The Clash team event will be a little bit different than the one at Adepticon. first, there is only one scenario, Supply and Demand. this one is not a very common scenario win, due to the giant middle zone and the requirement to kill the enemy objective before dominating the zone. so we should go into it looking for assassination wins. second, Clash is not allowing both casters to feat on the same turn. this helps with some of the mean combos (siege + sorscha), but I don't know how necessary that little change was. in any event, you can't build a list based on stacking 2 mean feats, so you should have a plan to make the most of 2 feat turns in a row.

I can think of a couple of dirty combos for this, but unfortunately none that involve models that my partner or i own. the best I could think of would be an old witch Harbinger combo, with 2 anti-movement pow14 feats in a row. it should really make it hard for the opponent to get anywhere near the zone and might actually lead to a scenario win. but alas, we're playing Skorne and Legion.

What we did do was look at stacking 2 generally good casters with some good assassination potential. eHexeris and eVayl. there's nothing too special about the lists, they look like what you would expect. both have very legitimate spell assassination feats, and all of eVayl's stuff gets way better with access to a Krea animus and Puppet Master. yeah, you thought Vayl had a good feat before? how about some re-rolls?

Still, top 2 teams is going to be difficult, so I'm not banking on this one. Day 2 will be the main event. there are 2 tournaments going at the same time, either a 2 list divide and conquer or a 1 list event with specialists. I chose the 2 list event, but unfortunately so did most of the other players. Rich from Clash posted to names of the competitors on facebook in each event. not only does the 2 list event have 16 more people than the 1-list event, but it also has almost all of the big names I recognize. Names don't mean everything, but when two of the guys in the pool are going to the WTC the next weekend, it won't be an easy slog.

for this one luckily, I just have to get in the top 6 to move on. I'm going to need to bring my best lists and have a whole lot of luck moving through the day on Saturday. I'm going to be sticking with my old faithful, Zaal as my A list. I am changing things up slightly, replacing my usual swordsmen with immortals and bringing a Cyclops Raider instead of a Drake (I don't remember what else I tweaked to get the last point. I think i may have had marketh in my old list). I am also going to be considering a game-day swap of dropping either a soulward or willbreaker to make room for Saxon Orrick. Clash has traditionally been known for having way more terrain than average on their tables, so if there are a bunch of cluttered tables I'm gonna need that pathfinder more than a few re-rolls. that's what last stand + feat is for.

My second list is one I thought long and hard about. I went back and forth between Makeda 1 and Makeda 3 probably 6 or 7 times. I like either one as a second to Zaal, but for different matchups. in particular I feel that Makeda1 is a great Menoth matchup, especially vs Harbinger. Carnage helps counter Awe, and the threat ranges on stuff gets so long that Harby has trouble keeping safe and still being in range to Martyr anything useful on the front lines. on the other hand, I like Makeda 3 against any sort of collosal/gargantuan, cygnar, and any list that doesn't have a ton of tough models.

In the end I went with Makeda3 partly because she's really strong in almost any matchup in case i get locked in to her (she handles infantry swarms and heavy armor very well), and partly because I've been playing her a ton and am feeling very comfortable with her right now. when in doubt go with the one that you know best. I haven't gotten in nearly enough reps with pMakeda lately, which is something I want to fix soon. just not during the last con of the year. I also tried out Makeda3 against a Harbinger list and she did pretty well for herself which makes me feel a little better about that matchup.

If I somehow make it into the masters event on Sunday, I will likely use my same two lists (possibly with tweaks if i find i'm having trouble with something in particular). I might swap in pMakeda when we're switching to 3 lists. My third list is either going to be pHexeris or eHexeris using the same exact list. it will depend on how many eLich and e Morvhanna players make it into Masters.

If I don't make it into Masters (the more likely scenario), I'll be playing in "the eliminator". It's some sort of a mash-up of Mangled Metal and highlander, where you bring one of each of those lists at 20 points. i'm not sure if you have to pair MM against each other or if you might have a mix, so I guess we'll see. My Mangled Metal is one that I've run for several Speedmachine events at our local store, winning one of them. It's Xerxis, Gladiator, Bronzeback, Archidon. they have no problem at all removing other jacks/beasts, but may have issues if they go against a highlander list. I might swap the archidon for a rhinodon just in case I need some infantry removal/reach. my highlander is one I'm still trying to figure out. right now I'm looking at eMorghoul with nihilators, willbreaker, Karn, Gladiator.

And finally, on Saturday night is Who's the Boss. pretty sure this will be the most fun of the weekend. I loved it at Lock and Load, and I'm hoping to have some more fun this time. unfortunately I can't use my same list this time, since the lists will be 5 points shorter. so no Mammoth in who's the boss. instead I'm going for a balanced list that will hopefully gain from whatever caster I get. looking at Bronzeback, Gladiator, Nihilators, Marketh, Agonizer, willbreaker, paingivers.

on the side, I'm also going to dip my foot into the painting contest. I've never entered a painting contest before, but I thought i might give it a try. I finally have a model that I'm proud of and that has been getting a ton of compliments, so i don't feel bad showing it off in a contest. Unfortunately (not really though), Texas has some really amazing painters. the onyl way I'm getting anything from that contest is if some of the good painters happen to not have any huge base models this year. otherwise my poor mammoth will look sloppy next to their perfect models. but hey, if that's how we all think about the contest, no one new would ever enter. so here goes nothing. I spent a couple evenings this week touching up and finishing the Mammoth and hitting it with a Matte finish. it looks as good as I can get it at this point.

If I'm not totally brain dead by the end of the weekend, I will try to write some battle reports next week. at least some highlights, maybe even some pictures. of course the more i win the more likely i will be to want to spend time writing battle reports!

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