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Monday, March 31, 2014

3/22/14 Steamroller Tournament

On 3/22 I participated in Fat Ogre's 50 Point Steamroller tournament. I used to go to this excellent store years ago when I lived in Huntsville. They've since relocated to an even better and bigger store. I highly recommend going there if you ever get the chance.

I only took one picture of my first game against a Protectorate of Menoth player. I made a few mistakes in this game, including bringing my Madrak brick list which operates as one unit to a 2 zone scenario. After realizing my mistake I felt extreme pressure to pull off the assassination vector being that he had eEiryss in one zone uncontested just racking up points while I got nothing from the other. I basically cleared a path to his caster via Double Hand Throws and Janissa's Tectonic Shift and ran (yes, ran) Madrak with full fury into B2B with his caster. I've done this before and succeeded, but then again I also knew the casters I did this to. Hard lesson of the day number one: read the caster card, especially to casters you've never faced or read about before. This caster was Resnik. And if you know Resnik then you know how much of an idiot I felt like when I did this. Needless to say instead of having 4 Fury for damage transfers (1 was used for upkeeping Surefoot) and Madrak's scroll mitigate any damage that got through Defense 16 Armor 18 immunity to Knockdown along with an almost entirely blocked off flank I ended up with just the scroll and my tough rolls. It, of course, was not enough.


Kids: Know your opponent!

No need to call me an idiot, I already call myself one for doing that move. At least the game ending early denied more control points! Not too many though...

The second game was much better. I got to play against a BEAUTIFULLY painted Retribution army. I was enamored with its airbrush job and took millions of pictures while profusely complimenting the owner on the army (although it was commissioned it was no less impressive to own). I even mentioned earlier that I will consider the tournament a success if I got to play against it.

It was a single zone scenario with 2 flags that cause points denial (a scenario I feel is terribly conceived and encourages camping), so the brick army was actually a viable list. I know Retribution extremely well being that it's my alternate army so I wasn't going to get surprised by anything on his side. He had an eVyros list that's all the rage right now spamming Griffons (7 in all) that I was curious to see as well as a shooting Ravyn list. I felt confident in the brick list considering that against his Ravyn list they'd excel and the eVyros list would outmaneuver my beast list (as fast as they are anyway) so I chose Madrak. He ended up using Ravyn which is a great matchup for me.

I hardly lost any models throughout the game, being that I had high Def high Arm models with multiple wounds against shooting units such as the Mage Hunter Strike Force and the Archers. It also didn't hurt I had made around 15-18 tough rolls, 6 of which were in a row! However due to the scenario he was denying any points I had made in the zone by simply keeping Ravyn on his own flag (annoying). All in all he probably denied me 5 points. I've heard horror stories about this scenario, with one case coming from my friend who scored 15 points overall that were denied!

Being that I was almost out of Deathclock time with no control points I felt the need to run the assassination vector. I used Madrak's Feat to pinball himself through 2 units and within melee of Ravyn with 5 Fury (I didn't upkeep Surefoot for the extra Fury) and made 4 missed attacks with him! The one that went through got Ravyn down to 4 health, but it wasn't enough. I then had to use a very desperate backup plan: I charged the caster with my Axer, who already had 1 fury on him from the previous turn and was locked in combat with MHSF and had only 2 points left in Spirit, potentially disabling the charge. I let him take three free strikes which actually managed to damage me significantly but didn't cripple anything! But before I had moved my base we had to carefully use a proxy base to determine whether the charge would fail. The thing was that there was a Mage Hunter in the way of my charge lane, and I'd have had to go at an angle that seemed like I'd be too far to hit Ravyn even with reach. In the end we had about 12 onlookers and the judge weighing in (we were the last game) and watching every moment of this final extremely tense moment. With the help of a laser, proxy base, melee template and me asking the judge to recheck twice he determined that I was in reach by a sliver of an inch! To me it was obvious, but all that matters is how a judge rules.

After that exchange which took about 10 minutes my opponent realized that he wasn't too worried, considering that Ravyn already has a high Defense and that I was attacking through a wall. I had one fury to start with, one to charge and was using one to boost which maxed out my beast. I needed to roll an 11 on 3 dice. With everyone watching I screamed and walked away when I rolled the 11.

Needless to say Ravyn died. She's got paper thin armor.



I ended up buying that laser pointer at the store. It saved my life.

It was also the prettiest game I've ever played by far.







After that I played against my friend Nick who played Circle. The brick stopped all his shenanigans, plus I know his army list pretty well and ended up getting quite a few CPs from him. I didn't take any pictures because I was pressed on time and ended up winning my Assassination with a minute and a half to spare!

Lastly I played my other friend Rueben, who plays Khador. We play very often and he's gotten very good within the last year. He played his pButcher list and I was locked into my pDoomy list. I had told him before that I had almost no experience with the list, and I thought it was definitely the weaker of the list. In fact the only experience I've had with it was playtesting against him! He stomped me by Scenario, but mostly because I - like an idiot - forgot that he scores CPs during my turn as well and he got 7 CPs off me. I gravely misunderstood how one of my units work which definitely explained why I couldn't figure out how to use them properly, which I'll explain in a bit.

Overall I got 7th of 13, which I shouldn't have been surprised by considering that almost every tournament I go to I break even exactly. In paintball we'd be in the middle with 2 wins 2 losses and a tie almost every time. In Warhammer I'd either W1L1D1 or W2L2D1 like clockwork if I didn't outright win. Last Steamroller I got 3rd with 1W1L1Bye. This time I got 2W2L and placed middle.

Rueben won 2nd due to jumping up in CPs from our game (Congrats!) and our ride Zach got 1st. He's an extremely well versed and challenging player. In the one game I played him he just murdered my trolls.

On the way home I mentioned how I just couldn't understand what I was doing wrong with my 2nd list. It consists of eDoomy with Mulg, an Axer/Mauler/Bouncer (of which I know exactly how to run with success) and Long Riders with Horthol, who I keep using with no understanding of how to use properly. When I run them it seems like they should be doing more and are easily tarpitted by the first thing they hit, especially infantry. Zach then explained to me that I've seriously misunderstood cavalry rules in regards to impact attacks. This whole time I was under the impression that they are essentially a mount attack at the target when they are in fact during movement, which is a very distinct difference. Due to large bases and the Tall in the Saddle rule I can declare charges to a far away target and hit every model in between during my movement. As long as they die I will get to finish my move and end in B2B with the target, making my melee attack.

I couldn't believe how I've been doing it wrong! Once I had been told this the possibilities ran rampant in my head! It went from a unit that seemed powerful but only due to its slams to one of the best units I field! Horthol gives them all an added die to Impacts. With POW 14 that will just outright ruin most single wound infantry and would have had a drastic effect on my last game with Rueben!

I understood how their slams worked and its ability to get to targets in the back, but it seemed like a situational ability better suited for large models shielding casters, not for swarms of infantry. But now I see all their abilities and see how they can take on any threat in their way be it small infantry or jacks!

Well, the best lessons are learned the hard way. I definitely learned the most from my losses that day. Understand scenario, know your opponent's caster and learn cavalry rules.

Every tournament teaches me valuable lessons, and I learn the most when I play in them. Casual games only teach me so much, and I don't get nearly as much exposure to competitive lists as I do in these Steamrollers. I'm excited about the next one and will update you guys when I have a chance. All that's left is to decide whether to take Trolls or try my luck with Highborn Covenant!

Here are more pics of that Retribution army. It was phenomenal!