Monday, June 30, 2014

TexasGamescon wrap-up part 1

This last weekend was Texas Games Con (previously WarGamesCon, previously BOLScon), which is always one of the events i look forward to during the year. I played in it back in my 40K days and have been doing the Warmachine side for the last 3 years. it's gotten bigger each year, and this year the warmachine side had as many players as the 40K tournament! All in all the weekend was amazing, one of the most fun 'cons I've been to.

I wanted to write up a set of battle reports from my weekend. I know some people love them and some people don't, but I'm one of those guys who will read any battle reports i can find, so hopefully others will enjoy seeing a few from me.

The one big disappointment from this year's event was the basic format of the events. In previous years this con followed what i think of as the standard Con format, where you have 3 or 4 events between Friday and Saturday that qualify the top X players for a Masters on Sunday. everyone who didn't qualify can choose to play in a side event, usually one of the fun alternate format events like tiers only, flanks, who's the boss etc. For whatever reason, this year the events were quite a bit different.

Day one (Friday) was Iron Guantlet followed by an evening Mangled Metal. Saturday was an open format Masters which uses 3 lists like masters but you don't have to qualify in, you just show up. the evening event was highlander. then Sunday instead of having the main event had a 35 point steamroller and a doubles tournament. it was fairly anti-climactic and seemed to be going backwards. the biggest event (the very first IG of the season) was on Friday which is the hardest day to attend due to travel and work. Sunday was lackluster with no big event going on. But hey, people came and had fun so i guess it all worked out.

This post will cover day 1 of the event, which was the Iron Gunatlet (IG). I won't go into detail on the format, but if you haven't seen it yet, there are plenty of discussions on the new way of doing IG. if you don't get top 4 it's really just a steamroller with painting requirements and a high likelyhood that you'll be list-locked in the last round.

Due to the almost certain list-lock (since we were almost definitely not going to have enough players for 4 swiss rounds), I decided to go with 3 lists that felt like good generalists instead of my normal 3 list pairing (which i ran on day 2). My lists were:

- Archidon
- Raider
- Krea
3 Ancestral Guardians
Saxon Orrik
max immortals
max nihilators
min paingivers
swamp gobbers

this is my main list, Zaal is still my best caster. this one is a good armor cracking list and is my preferred drop against a good number of hordes matchups or vs melee-oriented lists in general. even when i get behind with this list there's always the possibility of pulling something out.

Archdomina Makeda
- Krea
- Karn
- Tiberion
- Gladiator
Totem hunter
max nihilators
min paingivers

Makeda is a good generalist, this particular list is very character heavy. it's designed to be good vs shooting and as a counter for pHaley or similar lists. walk fast, get the alpha, keep Makeda from dying.

Lord Arbiter Hexeris
- Drake
- Krea
- Bronzeback
- Gladiator
- Bonded Shaman
max incindiarii
max swordsmen + UA
min paingivers

The anti-infantry list. still has a bronzeback/gladiator to deal with armor, built as a infantry-killing machine with incindiarii, black spot and ashes to ashes to remove as much from the table as possible and light the rest on fire.

Round one I was paired up against Craig Conroy. I had never met him before, but felt like the name was familiar. I just didn't know why. He was rocking Cygnar, with both Haleys and pStryker. I was expecting a Haley and felt like i had no option but to drop pMakeda. He ended up going pStryker, which seemed like kind of an odd choice. I am guessing he was hoping to save the Haleys for later rounds. the tournament as a whole was pretty stacked, especially since it was 3 list painting required and on a Friday.

I lost the roll to go first and chose sides. no real advantage there, as terrain was pretty even and not real relevant to the scenario (Destruction this round). His list had pStyker with Rowdy and a Lancer, full longunners, full nyss hunters, full Blazers, pEiryss, Jr, stormcaller, Gorman and possibly something else I'm forgetting.

Turn 1 he runs up, I run up. I get def ward on the nihilators and feat turn 1. Makeda ends up in a cloud with a krea, but not in shield guard range of Tiberion (who is protecting Molik who is behind a wall). Makeda is camping 2, dumped 4 to the agonizer. totem hunter is preying the blazers and runs towards them.

He looks at it and decides to go in for the kill. lancer runs up, has LoS to Makeda due to me not really thinking about early assassination relying probably too much on the cloud + krea + transfers. he hits her with a earthquake and follows up with a arcane bolt, doing some damage. the blazers go and get on a hill on my half of the table. they all take brutal shots at her, but one misses on snake-eyes and the other four at dice - 8 only manage to do 1 single damage in all.

At this point he probably should ahve abondoned the plan, but in talking after the game he said he didn't feel like shooting into feated nihilators or my heavies would do much good so he fished for some hot dice. the journeyman caster shot with a boosted hand cannon that did 3 or 4, eiryss shot a deathbolt for 3. I took it all, keeping my transfers for the CRA units. Makeda was down to about 7 or 8. the longunners moved up and did a 5-man CRA, but only 4 had LOS and range. it did little or no damage. the nyss got a 5 or 6 man CRA and i transferred the damage. to make things worse, gorman tried for a max distance black oil, which scattered into his own lancer.

On my turn Makeda got up, tucked in behind tiberion and cast carnage, healed for 1 and camped 2. nihilators with carnage killed over half the long gunners and tied up or killed all of the nyss. totem hunter killed a blazer, injured another and sprinted to tie down three of four remaining models. tiberion, the krea and tiberion got together to protect Makeda. the agonizer got into position that could deny both jacks focus. karn killed off the objective and all remaining longgunners (some that sacrificed themselves to protect the objective). Marketh swapped Def Ward to Makeda.

Stryker moved everything up, feated and tried to kill some stuff off. assassination was not an option this turn, so he killed off some nihilators, clearing the zone and almost killed the objective. i had enough within self-sac range of the objective to prevent it from dying and prevetning any points this turn.

my turn totem hunter killed some more blazers, tiberion killed the lancer, the gladiator slammed rowdy over stryker, the nihilators killed all the nyss. the only thing left in the zone was Stryker, so Makeda moved in to dominate. Orin did no spells, the agonizer prevented the knocked-down rowdy from getting focus. his turn he killed off Orin and tried one more time to spike some rolls to kill makeda with stryker, but didn't pull it off. Tiberion killed Stryker.

So bad dice on turn 2 hurt him, but i still think he should have pulled back after the blazers failed and the assassination went from likely to virtually impossible through arm18 and 2 transfers. I think he would still be in it if he went for the long game instead of throwing away his units. Talking to him after the game he still thought going all in was hid only chance and thought the assassination was all but assured. dice do that sometimes.

Round 2 was vs Mike Puryear. he had harby and Sev1 left. I have played Mike twice before, both times it was pMorghoul vs Harby and both times went badly for me. I knew he was dropping harby, especially since we were playing Close Quarters which has a killbox. I wished really hard that i still had Makeda1 for this matchup, but had to drop eHexeris instead. oh well.

To make things worse, I lost the roll to go first (something you need vs Harby on a live scenario). he was running max errants + ua, max bastions with a Seneschal (who also had a reckoner), Tristan with a Redeemer, a devout on Harby, the piper, a reclaimer, a choir and one or two vassals.

turn 1 he ran way up the field, even harby ran max distance forward. scary. I was worried about him being able to swarm my friendly flag on his feat turn and start scoring way too many points. I ran up, probably too far. nothing crazy here, everything ran i got some spells and stuff out.

Harby purified, feated and moved up. the redeemer shot into my incindiarii and killed 2 of them on some hot dice. the errants charged and rolled really well. 4 errants made successful charges on my incindiarii, 3 of them one-shot their targets and quick-worked 3 swordsmen. the last one left one last model on one health. other shots killed off most of my swordsmen.

after that turn i was left with very little infantry, my major threat in all of my fire AOEs was virtually gone, and he was pushing the line towards my table edge. it was a really back-breaking turn that i didn't see a good way out of. the devout protected Harby perfectly from any shooting or spell assassination, and she was too far back form the bronzeback to get. i killed off what i could, bouncing an ashes to ashes into the errants off of my own model killing a few. the last incindiarii shot at harby and missed her on the scatter by millimeters. I did set the errant banner, reclaimer and a bastion on fire. i shot his reclaimer with the shaman and he was martyred by Harby.

his turn felt like a mop-up, fire killed the banner but went out on the other 2. he killed my bronzeback and hurt my gladiator with his bastions and a shot from the reckoner. he started dominating his own flag, and ran/charged the errants ot kill the last swordsmen and incindiarii and tie down other stuff.

My turn i pushed back as much as i could but wasn't able to do anything even remotely threatening to harby. i got black spot on the errants, feated to steal the reclaimer's souls and killed off all but one errant. at this point there was a sweet line with one errant and 4 bastions that had swung at my heavies. the drake got puppet master and sprayed over the entire line. he killed the errant and boosted 3 damage rolls on bastions. that riggered a black spot attack doing even more damage to bastions, killing 2 and leaving the rest almost dead. the shaman and gladiator finished off the unit.

Too little too late. the reckoner killed the gladiator, the seneshal and redeemer killed the shaman. something either killed or tied down the Drake. Harby went to 3 points. I had nothing left to contest his flag or kill Harby. I settled for seeing if Hexeris could kill a reckoner. He couldn't. harby scored point 4 and mike just ended his turn for 5.

it was a painful game. if i had better screened my incindiarii or held back i may have had a shot. losing first turn and then having such bad damage rolls vs my incindiarii meant it was a very rough game, especially vs an awesome player like Puryear.

Round 3 was vs our local Austin pressganger with his Convergence. we were both locked in to our final lists, so it was Zaal vs Father Lucant. not at all the kind of matchup Lucant wants. he was running a Prime Axiom, the macro-pummeler heavy, the repair light, the corollary, the medium shield-wall unit, a unit of spray dudes, an enigma foundry, a unit of angels and the optifex dudes. also has an arc node solo i think, but it never did anything much.

once again i lost the roll and went second. we both ran up turn 1 (shocker). I managed to pop off an angel with a puppet-mastered shot from the raider. inviolable resolve went on the immortals, awakened spirit on the raider. he moved up and feated moving his shield wall into one zone (we were doing Outflank) with reductors behind them, and touching the other zone with his Axiom. he dragged in and killed Hakaar, popping a Kovass near his lines. his angels killed one immortal.

With his feat up i didn't think i could kill much so i went for jamming. a couple nihilators charged and did nothing at all to medium infatry in feat and shield wall. i killed one angel with immortals, threw a few in the way of the axiom. i got something too close to Lucant and his heavy got to move closer to me, but didn't make an attack so the spell stayed up. the kovass charged in doing some damage to the light vector and killing 3 spray duded. he caught lucant and a shield wall guy in the thresher but did nothing. everything else just moved up and got ready. a feralgeist ran into the axiom-side zone.

his turn he killed the kovass, the last angel failed to kill the feralgeist. he killed off a number of nihilators and immortals, and moved his shield wall up to try to protect his heavy from my Archidon. He used the foundry to just rebuild the 3 guys that the kovass had killed. a lot of my dudes were dead, but nothing important. exactly how Zaal likes it.

My turn the immortals finished the last angel and put some minor damage into the axiom. Zaal put awakened spirit on the archidon and the nihilators got last stand. the raider managed to get in the rear arc of one of the shielded guys (he had them all turned different ways to try to get more free-strikes), and killed it on a boost. 3 last-standed nihilators killed all 4 of the remaining shield wall. two AGs killed most of the reductors. the Archidon got enraged and puppet master and killed off the heavy, using sprint for free to run away. the krea and gobbers moved to protect the archidon from being dragged in. I scored one point from the infantry side zone.

It was looking bad for him at this point, so he ended up running lucant with a full camp into the zone along with his remaining infantry. axiom killed all but one of the remaining immortals. it was a last ditch effort to see if i could kill a camping lucant and if not maybe he could get zaal. I hadn't feated yet, though, so it wasn't really too questionable to kill lucant off. i cleared the zone again and then a last standed, feated archidon killed lucant.

It ended up being a very fun tournament, though the list-locking was definitely hard to work with. i ended 2-1 with my one loss being to the guy who eventually won the whole thing so i feel pretty good about my performance.

I also played in the mangled metal event since the first 3 rounds ended well before the MM/TC started. i won't go into detail on that one, but i ran Xerxis with a gladiator, bronzeback, archidon. i won my first three in a fairly textbook fashion for Xerxis, turtling up on my flag in Close Quarters each time and feating to kill most of the enemy models.

My rounds were vs Syntherion, pVlad, eCaine and Rask

i lost in round 4 to a rask, swamp horror, double wrasler list that got a gator to xerxis from downtown leaving him on 4. the next turn Rask shot him, stole his one transfer and boosted to kill him. I was the pair-down, so that loss ended the event on round 4, leaving me at 3-1.

the next day i played in the open masters, but I will cover that in another post.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the write up. I am a novice Warmachine player and don't feel comfortable playing in a tournament setting with timed turns yet, but I hope to make it to next year's Wargamescon since I live in Austin.