Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Top Ten - Highlights from Clash for a Cure

Clash for the Cure was a blast! Four of us from Austin (me, my wife and two of our friends from our local club) made the trek up to Waco last weekend for the last big event of the year (for those of us too poor or too strapped for vacation time to make it out to Warmachine Weekend this year). We weren't the only ones from Austin up there, but the showing from our club was definitely less than it has been in other years.

I ended up playing in a ton of games. it was a whole lot of fun, and unlike my back-to-back L&L/Wargamescon adventure this one didn't leave me totally burned out on playing the game. Between the 4 events I played in, I ended with a total 12-2 record. Not bad for the caliber of opponents in the pool this year! While it's tempting to write up some battle reports for the games I played, I don't think it's going to happen this time. I have zero pictures from the event, and don't have all the details in my mind on some of my games. there were also a few games that would make for some pretty boring/short battle reports.

So, I decided instead I would go for a top 10. My top 10 favorite moments from Clash for a Cure.

10. seeing greater Texas friends

The social aspect is definitely one of the big draws of going to conventions regularly. I've finally gotten to the point in my Warmachine career where I'm starting to see the same guys at every event and getting to spend some time chatting with some of the really great players in Texas that i only see a few times a year. The greater Texas community is a really good one, with several highly competitive metas and a whole bunch of great folks. It's also great to see some factions and lists you don't see much in the local Austin meta (we are really lacking in Cygnar and I never have any Skorne opponents to play against).

We are getting closer and closer tot he goal I have heard from several clubs to have enough state-wide tournaments in texas that you could go a whole year not leaving the state and still get in a full season's worth of con-level tournament play. I may not be here long enough to see it come to pass, but the community is strong and growing, which is an awesome thing to see.

9. Clash grab-bags are sweet

Clash has some really good support from all over the hobby being a charity event. it's cool to see how much it's grown in the last 2 years from the little tournament in a store front. the grab bags were really cool this year. a popular favorite were the feat tokens (shaped like feet), and the smaller versions that were labeled "mini feat". also got some great magnets, the good old Clash bandanna, some modelling stuff and the infamous "Clash Dice".

for those not in Texas, the Clash Dice have a reputation for rolling stupidly good during clash, but only at Clash. the dice this year looked really nice, i like the green/brown mix instead of last year's orange dice. I quickly swapped mine out as soon as I pulled them from the bag. and true to tradition, we saw quite the dice spikes in the team event... pretty sure in our last round between the 4 players involved only 5 or 6 attacks were missed the entire game.

8. My wife has a blast playing. and winning

One of my favorite things about Warmachine is that I finally found a tabletop game that my wife not only understands, but comes with me to play at tournaments. she burned out a little bit in our epic roadtrip to Lock and Load, but still gave clash a shot. Turns out she had a blast playing. over the course of the convention, she went 5-6 which she was really proud of and shows some serious growth since last year. Her highlight of the weekend was winning 2 games against epic Haley, both by assassination and one during Haley's feat turn!

7. eHexeris + eVayl is awesome

The team tournament was a ton of fun. I teamed up with our local Legion player, and fellow BoLS writer Caldera. his fiancee and my wife teamed up with their Harbinger/eKaya partnership as well. We put together a eVayl/eHexeris list and did pretty well with it. We got off to a bit of a slow start since we didn't stop and think through the tiebreakers very well. the first round we went against pMadrak/Calandra and just couldn't score any CPs. we did kill Madrak with eHexeris in melee, using my feat to pull 7 fury off of the kriel stone leaving madrak outside the aura. then eVayl shot down Calandra with a single Oblit rolling exactly enough to one-shot the crazy troll. so we won, but with 0 CP.

second round we played against Terminus and Karchev with a ton of jacks. we pulled off a great combo on this one, tossing rush on 2 legion heavies and puppet master on an Angel. with the huge threat range and puppet master, we managed to force Terminus to make a tough check one turn 2. he then ran away and healed a bit. then when we checked killbox at the end of round 2, we found that ALL FOUR casters were out of the killbox, one on every side of the table. so we instantly went to 4/4 on CPS and then killed the objective for a win. kind of a lame finish to a fun start.

And finally we played against eDoomshaper/Kromac and got to see just how rough Bestial was... no chanelling for Hexeris and Vayl is rough. it was the best game we had all day, with a lot of slugging back and forth. eventually kromac killed Hexeris, but the last aNgel was able to repulse everything else out of the zone and win on CPs. Overall it was a really fun event, and our team-up worked just like we envisioned. we ended up only taking 4th though, since there were 4 undefeated teams and we had the least CPs. still, very very fun.

6. I qualify for Masters

Finally! I hadn't qualified for a Masters event all year, and finally got in on the last event of the year. I took my good old standby Zaal and threw in my new favorite Makeda3. they both worked very well, even with some last-minute changes to Zaal's list.

Round 1 I played against a Hunters Grimm list from Houston and dropped Zaal. the game was incursion, and zaal was just better set up for that scenario on a terrain heavy table. I was able to send a full unit and an AG towards each flank with the rest walking down the middle. he focused too much the one side and the center and had trouble contesting the right flag (the middle vanished of course). the huge turning point was one turn where boomhowlers failed a command check twice in a row, and I killed off Rok with a soulward shot, zaal's lazer eye and a shot from a raider. after that he just couldn't bring enough pressure and got pushed back every turn.

Round 2 I played a newer player running eDoomshaper on outflank. I dropped Makeda3. this one was really not very close, he had a list with only about 10 models on a split scenario. Makeda got herself into one of the zones early and camped out with Molik, killing anything that came that direction. he couldn't clear the other zone and couldn't throw enough at Makeda.

Round 3 was Makeda3 again, this time against a feora2 with judicator. Not a normal drop against Skorne, but he didn't have Harbinger or Kreoss (the only two i usually see in a tournament). Skorne is already fairly resistant to shooting if you don't have purification, and the table we played on ahd a bunch of cover on it, making things even worse for him. the Incindiarii proved their worth against menoth, lighting up most of the zealots on mini feat turn and taking down some flameguard. totem hunter and molik finished out the infantry screen, and the agonizer got one big turn where it caught the judicator and both other jacks. the next turn the bronzeback and molik took down the judicator and makeda took down a repenter and walked into the zone to finish on scenario.

Round 4 was a hilariously over-populated terrain table with a bunch of forests and a huge river going right through the middle, with into the breach as the scenario. naturally the water covered half the zone. we were both locked in, so it was sorscha2 vs zaal. I am super happy i swapped in Saxon, since it meant i had pathfinder and he didn't. it was apparent pretty early to me that this game wasn't going to end on anything other than time, as we both had a ton of infantry moshing their way around the zone, and both casters were hidden behind LOS-blocking walls (Zaal just shoots through walls, and Sorscha cyclones back every turn). his infantry was Boomhowlers, full winterguard death star, highshields and a bunch of merc solos.
The big swing factor in this game was one turnt hat took him too long, which happened to be Sorscha's feat turn. he had caught Hakaar, an unhurt AG and the gladiator in the feat. he killed Hakaar, popping a kovass. then he rolled poorly on the gladiator (who was in a gobber cloud and a krea bubble) with all his winterguard and highshields, leaving it on half health. then the boomhowlers went to finish things off and failed their cmd check for coming too close to the Kovass. so he had wasted a bunch of time and I didn't lose anything important. the kovass started being a pain, dropping a dessicator cloud over most of his highshields for a few turns. we generally ground around for a bit and he eventually ran out of time. it's not a cool way to win, but it was the first time I had successfully forced a deathclock win in a tournament, and it meant I was 4-0 on the day.

5. Harbinger is broken as **** with Skorne

On the second night, we played a Who's the boss event. I love Who's the boss, it gives some really fun combos. there weren't enough points this time for my Mammoth lists from Lock and Load, so i went with a very generic list of Bronzeback, Gladiator, paingivers, nihilators, marketh, willbreaker, agonizer.

So of course my first round I pull Harbinger. I've never used Harby, but i play against her all the dang time. it felt so good to use her on my side for once! turns out when she runs with Skorne she plays a very different game than she would normally play. I never cast purification, i was never close enough to martyr anything. but crusader's call on Skorne is silly good, and having a ton of fury to just sit way back and heal my beasts was nice. also, Marketh is super helpful and cast guided hand every turn. Nihilators with that spell are really really good. they killed all of his infantry and finally got the caster kill on Gaspy3. the game wasn't even sort of close. it just proves why hordes should never get a 10 Fury warlock.

4. Actually, Morvhanna ain't bad either

My next Who's the Boss game I sat down and started talking to the other guy. he was super stoked with his draw, he had pulled Xerxis with trolls. and he just so happened to bring the sort of trolls that made Xerxis work like Xerxis should. he had warders, kriel stone, Moses, Rok and an Impaler. Defenders Ward + Kriel Stone + Battle Driven makes warders pretty rough. and 5 damage dice on the charge on feat turn ain't bad either. I had drawn Morvhanna1, who i have never seen on the table and never even read the card for. I started looking through her stuff and felt a litte disappointed. the feat looked pretty lame, especially vs trolls. the spells looked interesting even though I didn't really appreciate them right away.

So we set up our models and started the game. I quickly realized just how strong Morvhanna can be, especially when not fighting against purification. My one unit of 10 nihilators just would not go away. Regrowth is a super cheap revive spell that would bring back all of my nihilators in charging positions every turn. it took them a while to chew through the high armor of the warders, but they eventually got the job done. rok died early to one of my heavies which didn't help his case. the MVP of this one was Marketh. Regrowth is pretty good, but in a normal game Morvhanna would waste some of that Fury upkeeping her three spells. Marketh made it so that she could get all three active on turn one which was nice. then every time a nihilator died Marketh got a soul. then used those souls to upkeep, letting Morvhanna spend all of her fury on regrowth or healing beasts. then the nihilators would die again and give yet another soul to Marketh. it was a thing of beauty. this is the sort of thing that makes me love Who's the Boss. getting a caster combination that was never intended that has some sort of huge advantage you never even considered before seeing it on the table.

3. Skorne is competitive

It was great seeing the fight that Skorne put up during this event. I'm always a little surprised at how few people play Skorne, and how little attention they get on the forums in general. We don't really have a flag-waver right now (with Watt playing other factions now), which means we haven't gotten a whole lot of top-tier representation. Clash should help go to show that Skorne is still plenty competitive in the current meta.

Of course the big one was that a Skorne player won the whole event. I had never met the guy who won, but he seemed like a really great guy from talking to him between rounds and hearing from friends who played against him.

In addition to the finals, Skorne cleaned up in the qualifier. in the 2-list event, Skorne took 1st 2nd and 3rd. If I counted right, I believe there were only 3 undefeated players at the end of 4 rounds. If that was true, Skorne held ALL of the undefeated slots in the big event. added to that, the 2-list event had 16 more people in it than the specialists event and had some of the "big name" players (including two that went to the WTC the next weekend). It's only one event, so it doesn't mean much for the national meta or anything, but it sure was nice to see Skorne kicking butt and taking names.

2. Makeda3 is becoming a thing

along with the number of Skorne players that did well, one new shiny warlock was making herself known. All three of us that played Skorne in the Masters event took Makeda3 as one of our 3 lists. Despite the initial low estimation she got from the community at large, Makeda3 is starting to take a place as one of our tournament-level Warlocks. I've said plenty about her in previous articles (I'm pretty sure I've written more articles about her than any Skorne 'Lock so far), so I won't go into too much about her right now.

Bottom line is that I am really glad I'm not the only one that thinks she is going to be a serious force in our arsenal. While my own games with her in the finals didn't go so well, I still see her as one of our top warlocks. I lost one game on a turn 2 assassination due to my lack of experience against eThagrosh (and I didn't account for Slipstream). I lost another on scenario against eVayl due to letting my opponent get an early lead in points due to a bad placement of Molik Karn and an idiot move with Totem hunter. I still came back and almost won the game (it came down to about a millimeter on a gladiator slam that would have kept him from contesting my last 2 points). so those games are on me and not Makeda. the final match between Joe and Caldera was eVayl and Makeda3, and Makeda took it home.

Much to the lament of a few of the Houston guys I chatted with, Makeda3 is definitely going to be a thing.

1. Zaal wins with Last Stand

And my favorite moment of the event. This is one that I had just been talking about during our last Wednesday night gaming night before the con. It's one of those things like saying that someday you want to use essence blast on a mammoth and blow up a caster. I was playing a practice game with my wife and was talking about how I had never put last stand on zaal himself, but that someday i was going to find a reason to do it in a tournament.

So on my first game in the Masters event, I got paired up with a circle player. I'm not really sure why I did, but I dropped Zaal. Generally I don't bring him against an army that tends to have so much magic in it, but I didn't feel like my other lists were going to be a good choice. he dropped pBaldur with Ghetorix, Warden, 3 Watchers, bloodtrackers, double stones, witch doc croc, and i think some solos maybe? the game was a rough one. there was a huge swing on my feat turn where I took out both Gheotrix and the Warden in one turn, and he was starting to run low on time.

He decided his only chance was a baldur teleport assassination (after trying to get some damage with bloodtrackers but failing with the layered range defense Skorne puts down). Baldur popped out a forrest (I realized much later that this would have been illegal anyways because of the dead Warden), teleported to zaal and started swinging. he needed 8s and I had 2 transfers and Inviolable resolve up. he went for single attacks and hit with 3 of 5 attacks and failed to kill. on my turn I used the krea to headbutt Baldur down, then used Marketh to drop last stand on zaal. Zaal charged and killed baldur with one charge attack on last stand. it was sort of a layup at that point, but it was really fun to pull that sort of move during the first round of the Masters.

and with that, the convention season of 2013 ends for me. it was a great finish, and now things are going to calm down a bit. Kind of like last year, I will likely be pulling out my Ret a bit more now that there aren't any big events coming up. We're catching up with the seasonal leagues at our local store right now, and I will probably use ret for season 4 starting in a few weeks. I also finally picked up some slingers and will be trying them out soon and seeing how i like them. they were in the 75% off bin so i had to pick them up. One of the benefits of having an area with so few skorne players, our stuff makes it into the discount bin that much quicker. I'd still rather have more Skorne players... 

Look for more articles coming soon. I think I'm going to try to do some battle reports soon, those are fun to make and people seem to like them. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a good time.
    Glad that you're writing again!