Monday, November 4, 2013

Rallypoint - The Reckoning

2 day tournaments are soul-draining affairs, which I guess is why Cryx does so well.

Here are some quick reports from my games. I have no pictures or anything from the event, and only had a punnet of strawberries for lunch on day one. I will therefore have to keep you entertained using witty anecdotes and my own brand of bitter rage. Opponents' list have been gathered from repressed depths of my memory, while my lists were the same as Choptober except WE + Snapjaw instead of a 3rd Posse with Rask.


We left Auckland at 6:30am and got to the venue in Hamilton about 8am. Road tripping is the best part of the tournament since you can talk about how awesome you'll do on the way down and rage about how bad you did on the way back up. It is especially good when you have a Retribution player on board and they constantly talk about switching factions on the return trips.

Game 1 vs Legion (Nikola) - Scenario: Close Quarters

Faction: Legion of Everblight
Vayl, Disciple of Everblight (*6pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Ravagore (10pts)
* Scythean (9pts)
* Seraph (8pts)
* Typhon (12pts)
Blighted Nyss Striders (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Blighted Nyss Striders Officer & Musician (3pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
Strider Deathstalker (2pts)
The Forsaken (2pts)

Nikola is one of the guys who drove down with us in the car. He is a new player and a Croatian immigrant, which makes him alright in my book. I chose to play Barnabas vs Legion, and he dropped pVayl since that's the list he was comfortable with (pVayl is one of the strongest Legion matchups against Gators with Typhon due to Incite + Rampager). He went 3-1 with his Vayl list, and 0-3 with his Lylyth2 list over the tournament.

This was the only game of the tourmanent where I felt I played legitimately badly and was outplayed by my opponent and lost. This could be because I spent most of the time explaining everything on the table in multiple ways and as a result blew up my brain and ignored vital factors like scenario, threat ranges, and board control, but either way I got crushed pretty bad after my poor plans combined with  some crotch dice and lost Barnabas to a Typhon melee assassination. Typical of my tournament starts were I get nutstomped round one.

0 CPs

Game 2 vs Retribution (Chris Ford) - Scenario: Incoming

Faction: Retribution of Scyrah
Points: 48/50
Kaelyssa, Night's Whisper (*7pts)
* Banshee (10pts)
* Phoenix (10pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Dawnguard Sentinels (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
* Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard (2pts)
Houseguard Halberdiers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (7pts)
* Houseguard Halberdiers Officer & Standard (2pts)
Mage Hunter Infiltrators (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)

I am missing some filler points it seems. Maybe there was Scyir in there somewhere.

I have never played against Chris before and it was a pleasant experience. He was a good player and put up a strong game with a sweet-looking Ret army. I chose to drop Barnabas again so I could save Rask for later since he didn't have a Hyperion in either list. This made the matchup much more even than if I had dropped Rask but still in my favour. He chose to drop Kaelyssa rather than Ravyn (good call).

Barnabas spent the whole time hiding in a Swamp Pit inside my zone, and I sent a single unit of Posse to contest his zone, which they did fine vs Infiltrators for the whole game. I responded to his feat by running about ~7 Gatormans into the Halberdier wall, which then became a huge line of jam as Halberdiers and Sentinels tried to kill as many Gators as possible (they got most them). The one odd thing is he didn't use the Halberdiers mini-feat that turn, since he felt he would get to use it again more effectively later. I asked if he had played against Gators before, and he said no.

Here is a picture of a Gatorman in combat with Ret infantry.
Notice the mass casualties on the right.

I then killed almost all the Sentinels and Halberdiers with a Spitter, Totem Hunter, Croaks and a couple of the remaining Gatormans. I also charged the Phoenix with my Wrastler, death rolled boosted and rolled a 1,2,2 like a boss. GG Wrastler. Anyway, I got to 4CPs that turn and he didn't have much left, so he ran Kaelyssa into my zone to steal 3 CPs (Incoming is a pretty stupid scenario) since I forgot to leave a non-warcaster model in the zone. This minor mistake would later cost me a game the next day.

Another thing I remember in this game is Chris passing like 7 terror checks over the course of the game. It was a sight to behold as the elves stood firm to the end. Who needs fearless?


Game 3 vs Skorne (Gavin) - Scenario: Incursion

Faction: Rasheth - Chain Gang
Points: 44/50
Tiers: 4
Dominar Rasheth (*5pts)
* Bronzeback Titan (9pts)
* Titan Gladiator (7pts)
* Titan Gladiator (7pts)
Gatormen Posse (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Nihilators (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
Agonizer (2pts)
Agonizer (2pts)
Paingiver Task Master (2pts)

Obviously missing some stuff. I dropped Rask. This gap is memory is understandable given the events that followed:

Round 1, Turn 1: I run up.
Round 1, Turn 2: He runs up. He casts a Breath of Corruption through a Nihilator, killing a Gatorman.
Left flag disappears.
Round 2, Turn 1: I run Snapjaw into B2B with the right hand side flag, and run a unit of Gators close to the middle flag. Rask feats and puts up Inhospitable Ground.
Round 2, Turn 2: He backs everything up and contests nothing. I get 2 CPs.
Round 3, Turn 1: I move Rask in B2B with the middle flag, bringing me to 5 CPs.

TO's reaction:

I didn't roll a single die. My opponent was obviously super bummed that he let something like that happen, but that's why they say there's no better place to learn the game than tournaments. The better course of action would have been to run most stuff into my Gators, feat and use dual Agonizer auras to reduce incoming damage significantly. After that it would probably be a dice rolling contest of Furied Gatormans vs Enraged beat-back heavies, since I don't have the guns to remove the Agonizers from the back, making my beasts near useless.

So I won in the douchiest way possible (pro skillz) and got a much desired 1.5 hour break to go walking around the venue and play some Watchmachine.

10 CPs

Game 4 vs PoM (Chris Baker) - Scenario: Supply and Demand

Faction: Protectorate of Menoth
Points: 49/50
High Exemplar Kreoss (*5pts)
* Reckoner (8pts)
Avatar of Menoth (11pts)
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Exemplar Errants (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard Bearer (2pts)
Holy Zealots (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer (2pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Knight Exemplar Seneschal (3pts)
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord (2pts)
The Covenant of Menoth (2pts)
The Wrack (3 wracks) (1pts)
Vassal Mechanik (1pts)
Vassal of Menoth (2pts)
Vassal of Menoth (2pts)

I seem to play Chris once every tournament. He plays a different army every tournament, but always complains about how bad he is, irrelevant of faction, while taking nutbusting lists and getting a winning record. This time he played PoM, and I dropped Rask. There were also two HUGE obstruction pieces to either side of the zone. These factors resulted in a really stupid game played on the middle 16" of the board with very little room for tactics or clever use of game mechanics.

Here is a summary of the game, turn by turn:

My turns - Cast Inhospitable Ground, disrupt Reckoner. Stab Errants.
His turns - No KD on book, Tough on Defender's Warded Errants, blind my Wrastler with Gorman hiding behind three Errants (which I will obviously never kill due to their Self-Sac, thus never getting an attack on Gorman). Stab Gators.

This went on for about 5 rounds or so (he used his feat somewhere in the middle to kill about 6 Gators with Zealot bombs and Errants), until I managed to get a Furied Boundless Charge Swamp Horror onto the Avatar and within reach of Kreoss, who totalled the Avatar and pulled Kreoss in to get charged by Snapjaw. I brought Kreoss down to 3 boxes, and probably would have killed him had I boosted my last damage roll instead of futilely fishing for a crit with my initial tail attack (forgot that no KD was up on the book, somehow).

Things then got serious as stuff started really dying, and I was looking to either lose on attrition or win on deathclock until Kreoss charged forward to kill some Gators, camped 8 like a boss, then got shot in the face with Rask's Disruptor Bolt, getting rid of that focus and rolling some death. Yep, Rask actually killed someone himself.

Oh, I also gave him a CP by destroying my own objective. Apparently that changed from SR2012 to SR2013. Anyway, I got 2 zealot kills out of it. Totally worth it.

10 CPs

So as is common with me, I lose my first game of the day horribly and win the next 3. Typical JS chipmunking. We drive back to Auckland and hear about how bad Retribution is.



All three of my Day Two games were quite close despite the matchups not being in my favour at any point.

Game 5 vs Cryx (Evil Dave) - Scenario: Into the Breach

Faction: Cryx
Points: 50/50
Warwitch Deneghra (*5pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Deathjack (12pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bane Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
Bloodgorgers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Satyxis Raider Sea Witch (2pts)
General Gerlak Slaughterborn (3pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Satyxis Raider Captain (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)

Yay Cryx. Dave is possibly the nicest person one could ever play against and his army looks really stellar so it's tough to hold his choice of faction against him. Tough, but not impossible. There is always a place in my heart for Cryx hate.

He dropped pDenny, I dropped Barnabas. I decided to push for the zone, he pushed for the flag. I feel that he delayed his feat too long (used it Turn 3), which allowed me to feat first and kill basically his entire army, except for some Satyxis, all Bloodgorgers (who both have No Sleeping on the Job because they are Cryx) and Deathjack who was miles away and terrified of the Swamp Pits. That satisfaction you get when you kill a full unit of Bane Knights in one turn.... oh yeah. There were 2 Satyxis in the zone I wasn't able to clear, so I didn't get any CPs at this time.
He then feated and killed some stuff and we went back and forth on points as stuff died. Eventually I lost out in the end as I didn't leave a model in my zone again (see game 2), therefore allowing him to score a point there by toeing in and win 5 to 4. If I had left a model in there, I would have had to kill a now-fully healed Deathjack with Barnabas and maybe a Wrastler... not the greatest proposition. Probably the best game of the tournament, where I made 2-3 tiny positioning mistakes that lost me CPs and the game. If only Barnabas didn't hit like a wet noodle....

14 CPs

Game 6 vs Circle (Luke Brimblecombe) Scenario: Fire Support

Faction: Circle Orboros
Points: 50/50
Morvahna the Dawnshadow (*5pts)
* Gorax (4pts)
* Warpwolf Stalker (10pts)
* Warpwolf Stalker (10pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
* Stone keeper (1pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
Tharn Bloodtrackers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Nuala the Huntress (2pts)
Warpborn Skinwalkers (Leader and 4 Grunts) (8pts)
* Warpborn Alpha (3pts)
Gallows Grove (1pts)
Gallows Grove (1pts)

Gatorman Witch Doctor (3pts)

Luke was the only undefeated player at this point so in my opinion should have won, but alas this is a 2 day NZ format that rewinds grinding your face against the wall until you bleed. He got matched up against me despite my pretty average record due to some unusual pairing system and was pretty confident in the matchup given that eMorvahna is an OP grinding monster.

Anyway, he ran tough undead Bloodtrackers in my face and slowly killed Gators with hit/damage rerolls, traded one Stalker for my Wrastler. I then proceeded to move Barnabas up to the halfway mark, feat, and kill all but one Skinwalker (who was in melee with Barnabas, so I should really have killed him), most of the Bloodtrackers, and the Gallows Groves. He responded by feating and bringing back EVERY SINGLE MODEL I HAD KILLED then running back behind an obstacle right on the edge of the kill box. Demoralizing to an extreme, but at least I can comfort myself with the fact that unlike eHaley and Deneghra's feats, I could have done something about it (wipe out units to the man). Alas, the Croaks failed me. There's a reason I'm not generally thrilled with Croak Hunters.

Seeing how screwed I was with most of my Gatormans dead and only a dead Stalker in his casualties pile, I decided to try and execute a plan the likes of which I have not executed since the release of Rask and Gargossals, both of which have dumbed down the game for me to a large extent and made me the mediocre player I am today. The moment where I was concocting this convoluted and low-probability assassination run was probably the most exciting minute of Warmachine for the last 10 months of my life, which I guess is an indication of the state of the game these days. Either that, or I'm getting old:

Morvahna has approx. 5 boxes left after the feat and a crapload of fury. She has two transfer targets - a half dead Gorax and a Stalker about 13" away from her since she had moved so far back. I managed to kill the Gorax with the last 2 members of my blue Posse (who were now surrounded by Skinwalkers), triggering Warpath so my Spitter can walk up and throw the Stalker outside her control area. A Croak Hunter and Snapper then killed a model each to try and give Barnabas a wider charge lane (which proved futile in the end as Morvahna still gained the cover bonus from the obstacle so their activations were redundant), which Barnabas used to charge into a Gallow Grove to get a free Blood Boon Flesh Eater on Morvahna, needing 13s and rolled 6,5,2 to hit and killed her with boosted damage.

Barnabas - clutch as fuck.

I stole this game so bad, I expected police to be waiting outside to question me.
So I ruined Luke's tournament that he probably should have won by taking him out of the finals and turning him off eMorvahna. Good job, JS. Kingslaying like a boss.

14 CPs

Game 7 vs Trolls (Luke Harvey) - Scenario: Rallypoint

Faction: Hoarluk - Runes of War
Points: 50/50
Tiers: 4
Hoarluk Doomshaper (*7pts)
* Troll Axer (6pts)
* Dire Troll Mauler (9pts)
* Earthborn Dire Troll (10pts)
* Mulg the Ancient (12pts)
Krielstone Bearer and 5 Stone Scribes (4pts)
* Krielstone Stone Scribe Elder (1pts)
Trollkin Runeshapers (Leader and 2 Crew) (3pts)
Trollkin Runeshapers (Leader and 2 Crew) (3pts)
Trollkin Runeshapers (Leader and 2 Crew) (3pts)

Trollkin Runeshapers (Leader and 2 Crew) (3pts)
Janissa Stonetide (3pts)

Dat list.....

I was paired up to play against Chris Baker again for whatever reason, but managed to haggle with the TO to play someone I hadn't played that tournament since rankings were not at stake in either match-up. Fortunately for me, this person was Luke Harvey, a Troll player of legend with a very manly beard. He has yet to beat me in a tournament game, including a loss in a Who's the Boss event where I had Wrong Eye as my warlock, but this time he came prepared with this ridiculous pDoomshaper Runes of War tier.

Here is a summary of the design meeting for this tier list:

Privateer Employee A: "Hey, Troll players think Doomshaper sucks."
Privateer Employee B: "Purification, Goad, Rampager, Fortune, that feat... what were we thinking designing this piece of crap? He does absolutely nothing against half the game!"
A: "Totally. I think we should take a highly underrated unit with a crapload of rules and damage boxes and make a list that includes like... an unlimited number of them, but also reduce their cost by 25%."
B: "Mmmm... that seems kinda OP. We should make it difficult to achieve by adding some rough tier requirements like 'must include Janyssa, two Dire Trolls and two units of Runeshapers'."
A: "What? That is way too harsh! You better give them sweet bonuses like extra 2" deployment and some walls just in case they get shot. That Doomshaper is surely going to die even at DEF 17 ARM 17 with transfers and troll animi."
B: "And Mulg too I guess. For lolz."
A: "Mega lolz."

FU A and B. You guys are assholes.

Anyway, this list is pretty good. You can either lead with the Runeshapers or the beasts depending on who you want to take the hit. He led with the walls, because having 3 walls is fair. Usually I have zero problems with Trolls, but a swarm of cheap steady pathfinder guys with POW 14 crit KD AoEs and damage boxes is really problematic. To put Runeshapers in context, they basically get to cast a 3 cost magical AoE (more or less Baldur's Earth Spikes), along with good survivability, Tremor and Force Lock for 1 pt. That is really, really strong, and makes Gorgons look like absolute horse shit. It's almost enough to make me respect Trolls. Almost.

I traded Mulg for my Wrastler bottom of 2 (Rask shooting off animi + Fury + Boundless Charge +  feat => dead Mulg and safe army), then jumped up to 3 CPs next turn through dominating his zone and mine (with the Effigy objective). I didn't any get more points after that as he just grinded into my Gators with POW 14 AoEs and made more toughs than I did, basically out-listing me. In the end I had lost every single model but Rask, and went for a list ditch assassination on Doomshaper which need like a 14 on 3 dice for damage, but failed.

Looking back I think I may have made one mistake, which was to use Wrong Eye to clear the enemy zone giving me 2CPs on turn 3, where I probably should have just kept him back and left those CPs on the table, since trading heavies is pretty much where the game is won/lost in this matchup. Especially since Doomshaper's feat was up and that put 12 or so damage on Wrong Eye in the end. If I can take out his heavies while keeping mine, then he will just deathclock himself since Luke is the NZ deathclock master. Next time.....

Luke also gave me his best sports vote (out of guilt, because I am actually a terrible person to play against since I question everything). I gave mine to Chris Baker on the futile hope that he will one day win best sports instead of best painted. I gave my best painted vote to Nikola, since I like the colour black. Everywhere. Some may call it primer, I call it grim minimalist art.
17 CPs

Tournament Total: 4 wins, 3 losses, 17 CPs
with 2 very close losses and 2 very close wins. Also managed to beat the top 2 ranked players in the country :P
I placed in the upper half of tournament so I am happy with my play and placing despite the numbers, except for the first game of course.

The tournament final was Cryx on Cryx (both players named Dave), and was won by a Cryx player (coincidentally also named Dave, who is my blog's biggest fan) for the second year in a row. The shock, the horror, the surprise. OP faction whining aside, they are both top blokes who usually rank well and play really strong lists so congrats to them (for choosing the right faction, Cryx, which is OP, especially when your name is Dave).

Thanks to Dan Conlon for organizing and being super chill the whole time despite our whining about pairings and terrain and such. What a guy.

Thoughts + mini-rant zone

  • Still not a fan of Divide and Conquer but I can live with it over a long tournament. It's potentially a dealbreaker for factions with less depth like Mercs/Minions and barely relevant for Cryx, Legion and PoM. It worked out alright for me this time with the right matchups happening at the right time. The only time I would rather have dropped something else was in game 2, where I would rather play Rask vs Ret than Barnabas (and it turns out, I could have).
  • I have a bit more respect for the Maelok + 3 Posse list. Not so much because I think Maelok is necessarily stronger than Barnabas overall, but because Undead is a really strong buff. I was reminded over the weekend how many abilities trigger off living only. It's a bit ridiculous at times. Bring more Witch Doctors.
  • Rask with 3 Posse is stronger against Trolls I feel, but Rask with WE + Snapjaw is stronger against PoM, Skorne, Cygnar, Khador...
  • F*ck Cryx, that faction is so stupid. Nobody even defends this anymore, and instead of fixing the many broken things, PP just go passive aggressive and stop releasing Cryx models for a year and a half. That'll teach them!
  • Broken 2pt merc solos need some serious balance work. Gorman, Piper and Witch Doc Croc were my bane this time around, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. OP Merc stuff is a large contributing factor to lists getting stale as options just get sidelined and make balancing the game a lot more difficult. Remember how bad Cygnar was pre-Stormwall when they actually used Cygnar models?
  • Whoever came up with spam tier lists (the ones that combine FA:U on already good units with point discounts) is either a dumbass who has made a grievous error, or a clever businessman who understands pewtercrack addiction at a fundamental level.
  • eMorvahna - demoralizing to play against. It's not so much the feat or all the healing - while it is an insanely powerful timewalk feat like eHaley's or Deneghra's, it's that she does all that while rerolling everything and being miles away. Fits the OP formula of 'why does X Cryx model have Y ability'.
  • I really dislike Rally Point as a scenario. I am guessing it was included here purely for the name. Movable or cutesy objective-based scenarios become a distraction rather than an addition to the game most of the time. The purpose of a scenario is to force engagement. That is it. I like most of the Masters scenarios (with the exception of Destruction because that one is just a huge clusterfuck).


  1. Well you legitimately out-played me and Chris, I think you ought to be happy with your performance over the weekend. Even CB said you were playing really well. The draw pairings were mis-handled in my opinion but it is what it is - the players that won the games that were designated as the ones that counted took home the results. I'm okay with it.

  2. It's just like that old and wise saying, "You can't spell Cryx without JS having a massive bitch and whine about Minions being terrible and therefore everything else being broken".

    Great report, loved every venomously cynical word. Always entertaining. Three and a half stars.

    Your #1 fan - Not Evil Dave.

    1. Cheers Dave, 3 and a half stars is pretty high on the TV3 news movie scale.

      Although I must retort that Gatormans are great and very much able to win games. I only regularly have epic bitch fests about Pigmans being the worse thing of all time, broken merc solos I see everywhere (except Ret of course), and of course - CRYx.