Friday, October 25, 2013

In the Hall of the Mountain King - Tournament Recap

Over the weekend I attended my first ever Warmachine tournament at a local game store called Imaginary Wars. I had a bit of apprehension going into the event just based on what I had heard from other people about how cut throat Warmachine tournaments can be and how if your list doesn't match up well with your opponent then it's basically an "Auto Lose". I decided to go into this event with a different mindset then I normally do. I had spent the months leading up to this practicing a whole bunch of super competitive lists, trying to minimize my weaknesses then at the last second I just said "fuck it" and submitted a list of something I just really wanted to play and see on the field knowing I would be lucky to win even just half my games. This is the list I used:

35pts Troll List
Hoarluk Doomshaper, Rage of Dhunia (+6pts)
Mountain King (20pts)
Earthborn Dire Troll (10pts)
Pyre Troll (5pts)
Janissa Stonetide (3pts)
Min Krielstone Bearer & Scribes (3pts)

As you can see it's a "Beast Brick" style list focusing on very tough models (ARM 22-23 for the main beasts) instead of a large model count. Everything in my list is there to support the Mountain King. The Earthborn gives the MK his animus, the Krielstone Bearers give him their armor buff, Doomshaper casts Wild Aggression on him to greatly boost his close combat ability, etc. I have done fairly well with this list all things considering in my test games amassing a record of 4-2. I know going into the tournament my biggest issue is keeping that frail old Warlock Doomshaper safe as he is the squishiest caster in the entire game. 9 times out of 10 if someone can get to him, its game over baring extreme luck on my part. So, now that the list is submitted it's time to get playing.

*Special Note: As I am still very new to Warmachine/Hordes I won't be able to do complete battle write ups (detailed lists, etc.) so this will be more of a general recap then a full report"

Game 1: Trollbloods vs. Khador
This game was against a super nice fellow named Josh. He had an infantry heavy list featuring an insanely high defense Assassin unit as the focus of his army with a bunch of lesser support units. That didn't bode well for me seeing as how the biggest issue my army has is hitting things with high defense as the highest MAT in my army is 6. Josh also had about 25ish models so he was out numbering me almost 3 to 1. For our scenario we had to grab two flags. You got points for holding your own and double points for holding the opponents. I figured my best chance was to secure my own objective then try to engage his Assassins with my Mountain King as he is terrifying and can potentially make them run away. 

High Points:
- The Mountain King: If you read any forum on this unit they will tell you he is hands down the worst "big guy" in the game. His MAT is too low, doesn't have enough hit boxes, etc. In Round 1 though the Mountain King won this game single handed. He tied up a bunch of Josh's heavy hitters, forced a couple of command checks on his assassins and killed a bunch of solos by YELLING at them. His crowning achievement though was on the final turn Trampling through Joshes light infantry, getting across the table into base to base with his caster's unit attachment, killing him thus activating his special ability called "Kill Shot" (gives him a free ranged attack once he kills a living model in CC) and with that Kill Shot the Mountain King killed his caster. Glorious.

Low Points:
- Odd as it is to say it...none. I mean the only one maybe would be not planning for if my Mountain King and Earthborn Dire Troll couldn't get the win that turn as I left my Caster 100% exposed to most of his army.

Final Result: Victory Through Assassination!  As you can see in the final picture if my Mountain King didnt succeed on that move the game would have been over the following turn lol. Josh was a great guy to play against though and a fantastic first game of the tournament.

Game 2: Trollbloods Vs. Khador

My second game was against...Khador! Again! The one really nice thing about Warmachine though over say something like 40k is that the variation within each faction. Even though I just played the same army, the list is so vastly different from Josh's that it may as well be a different army all together. Curtis' army is based on heavy infantry. So tonnes of heavy hitters (2 units of Demo Corps) and a unit of Man o Wars (super high armor) with a few support units. The mission was to capture 3 flags but with a twist. At the start of the second turn one of them disappears.

High Points:
- The Mountain King for a second game in a row was a complete monster. He held up an entire flank for almost 3 turns killing 2/3rds of Curtis' army in the process happily eating everything that he killed. If not for some outrageous rolling I think he could have actually lived through the entire game.
- Up to this tournament I have mostly been doing caster kills just to get the hang of the game so this was the first game I really started focusing on the objective instead of the caster kill. This WOULD have won me the game until...

Low Points:
- ...I just for some reason STOPPED focusing on the objective and tried to kill more stuff. Basically the way the game was going my Mountain King had tied up his forces on the one side of the board while completely ignoring the objective I had been camping on the other. So instead of running my caster over to my objective and just camping it for the win I positioned my caster dangerously close to the last few heavy hitters in Curtis' army. A major mistake.
- Curtis for most of the game rolled like a man possessed. In the first two rounds of close combat he made roughly 60%-70% of his tough rolls (when you disable a model on a roll of 5 or 6 they aren't dead, just knocked down). He followed that up with an incredibly damaging charge from his one Demo Corps units. His first damage roll against my Mountain King had him rolling 5d6 to see how much damage he would do and he then proceeded to roll a 27 (out of 30) and did almost half the Mountain Kings hit points in one shot. Crazy.
- This is the first time in 8 games that the Mountain King died. A moment of silence was given for the big man as he gave his life valiantly and made the enemy pay dearly before he was finally put down.

Final Result: Loss Through Assassination! As I mentioned in the "Low Points" that mistake of leaving my caster in the thick of combat (literally the worst place for him) instead of just making a break for the objective cost me this game. Curtis played really well though and made me pay for my mistakes and drew me into the match ups that he wanted which was just as big of reason I lost as much as me forgetting about the objective.

Game 3: Trollbloods vs. Convergence of Cyriss

I bet you all thought it was going to be Khador again didn't you? Think again! I have never actually seen anything for this army in real life, models or rules, so I figured this would be really interesting match up. The mission was two zones of control (one for each player). You got double scenario points for controlling the enemies zone then your own and there were also two supply markers which got you bonus points if you killed them. His army was a whole slew of these ultra fast 3 person winged units with super high defense and low armor. They all had guns too which doesnt bode well for Doomshaper as he gets shot up like a bastard. He had a few jacks, nothing really heavy hitting. The plan was to get my Mountain King right in his face to try to tie up as much as possible while going for the other objective.

High Points:
- Not a lot lol! Almost nothing went well for me this game. Everything from my lack of knowledge about my opponents army to how I actually played the game. Pretty much all I did for the entire game was just kill one of his jacks while leaving my Mountain King totally un-supported. His list was a really hard counter to mine though as it was just too many small targets, all really hard to hit. I needed "8s" on 2d6 just to hit his regular units with my Earthborn Dire Troll who has the highest MAT in my army.
- The MK killed a heavy jack and a solo lol! Bam! High Points!

Low Points:
- Like I mentioned above the overall lack of understanding of what his army did really hurt me this game in addition to playing really poorly. Jacob played well though and capitalized on my mistakes.

Final Result: Loss Through Assassination: I am starting to see a trend here lol. Basically Doomshapers frailty led to an assassination with about 2 mins left in the game. THIS close to being a tie lol. After this game I really started to think it was time to start using a more durable caster like my good buddy pMardrak or Borka Kegslayer as I have solos that are harder to kill then Doomshaper.

Game 4: Trollbloods .vs Khador

Annnnd there it is...Khador...again! What I said at the start of the write up for Round 2 though really holds up for this game. My first round was light infantry based with lots of support, my second round was against a giant sea of ultra heavy infantry and my last opponents list was like a mechanical version of my own...nothing but Heavy Jacks and a bit of support with a total model count of 9 models. To be honest I knew this army was in the tournament and it was the one I wanted to play the most as it's my single most favorable match up. I am harder hitting, faster and more durable then he is. I literally do everything his list does...but better...or so I

High Points: 
Mountain King! In all my test games everyone just ignored this guy. I guess they figured they couldn't hurt him so why bother? This tournament though EVERYONE took a shot at him at some point, Ben was no different. After pulling off some...well...weird tactics with one of his spells Ben used his feat and cast some buffs on his Jacks. By doing that he was able to get his heavy hitter in to base to base with my Mountain King. The big issue though was Ben burned through ALL his focus with buffs and movement shinanigans that ended up leaving none on his heavy hitter to kill my Mountain King. So instead of rushing in and cleaving a swath through my army he ended up crashing upon the rocks that was my Gargantuan. After that the MK threw his one mounted solo 11" away which totally freed up a charge lane to his caster for the Earthborn Dire Troll. He then killed another solo which activated kill shot which allowed him to kill his Warcasters Unit Attachment and damage his Warcaster, Kerchev.
- The Earthborn Dire Troll FINALLY woke the fuck up. After 3 games of doing sweet fuck all my cruise missile finally made an impact. Doomshaper cast Wild Aggression on him which gives him auto boosted attacks and allows him to charge for free so I was able to charge Kerchev's back arc with 5 available fury plus his two initials totally 7 attacks. Once the Earthborn stole the POW of Kerchevs mighty weapon (that is the Earthborn's special ability to steal the enemies weapon's power) he ended with a POW of 21 against his ARM of 19, which resulted in the Earthborn just super murdering his caster. Good times

Low Points:
- Played this one super passively. I was 100% in reaction mode instead of dictating the flow of the game. I mean, obviously it worked out in the end but only because Ben made a string of massive mistakes (ie being the exact opposite of me and being WAY too aggressive with no support once he got there).

Final Result: Victory Through Assassination! Well, this was a super fast game but really what can you expect when we each only had 9 models? Basically I moved, he moved, I bricked up (ie got into the zones and stacked all my defenses), he charged, I counter charged, game over. Whole thing took about 25-30mins with lots of gabbing in the middle. It was a really fun game though and it was great seeing that many big things on the table just punching each others faces in. Ben and I even said before the game that "Whoever go the first meaningful charge will win this game" and that is exactly what happened since when he charged me he only got 1 of his 3 Warjacks into combat.

Final Tournament Result: 7th out of 16! Not bad if I do say so myself considering the list I took. I managed to complete my goal of going 2-2 so I was really happy about that. There were a few things I could have done differently on some of my games but that is the way it always goes.

Overall Thoughts: I found that this tournament pretty much disproved everything I had heard about Warmachine Tournaments. There was literally not a single argument the entire day. That is something I haven't seen in YEARS of doing 40k tournaments. Things just moved a long at a brisk pace and because of the styles of rules and how solid they mostly are rules questions get answered super fast. All my opponents were great and the event moved along nicely. Looking forward to do doing more in the future!

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