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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Austin Tourney 9/10/16 and some MERCS!

Hello internetters!

So last Saturday the Houston group came out in droves for the Austin Malifaux tournament. There was a whopping 19 participants, the biggest turnout I've had the pleasure of partaking in! Almost the whole Houston group came to represent and grow the community at Dragon's Lair and were 10 of the players for the tournament.

This was also the first tournament I played post-nerf for Leve and was curious to see how he was affected. I had only two practice games with him with his new limitations so I was kind of rusty on his playing, which can be blamed entirely on Parker Barrows. I anticipated seeing a lot of the new masters in this gathering, so my expectations on my games began slightly lower as I knew I'd face a lot of stuff I hadn't seen before - which is never a good thing in my experience. In fact all three games I played were against Wave 4 masters!

My first game was against an Austin native Patrick. He declared Ressers so I went with Leve out of comfort. I knew my other lists would have problems against summoning, especially my less-than-successful Parker crew (even with new changes I've been thinking of).

He used Reva, the new Resser master, and the entirety of her starter box, along with a Carrion Emissary. I used the same Leve list with the Mechanical Rider and Ashes & Dust. 

From what I recall it was Corner Deployment and Guard the Stash. Convict Labor, Covert Breakthrough, and others (man, I've really got to learn to bring my notes with me when I blog!) were the scheme pool. Obviously I chose Convict Labor and Covert Breakthrough.

The Mech Rider playing it safe...

So I learned a lot about Reva from this game. First off he had an upgrade that put a Corpse Candle 8" away from me, that alarmed me to say the least. She has an 18" range and can apparently fire from Candles so that was a big no-no in my head. I immediately kill it with Ashes & Dust and made an Abomination in its place for good measure. He slowly moved all his models toward the marker in front of him on my left while advancing his henchman Vincent St. Clair toward the other side with a Crooligan, both of whom had From the Shadows.

A little too close for comfort at the bottom...

Although not pictured I leapt my Necropunk on the other side of the building opposite of the Crooligan/Vincent. Either he was going to bite the bait or leave him alone, which also works for him placing schemes. I had one Flesh Construct walk behind Ashes while the other one and the Mech Rider went slowly up the middle, towing along two Waifs. Leve then used his (0) to teleport and kill Ashes to get a shot off on the closest Shieldbearer. I reduced him to zero wounds and didn't know that when they die they come back to full health as a spirit or something. Luckily my trigger that creates an Abomination wasn't wasted, as all it needs is to reduce the target to 0 health for it to work. So while he came back from the dead he was right next to an A-Bomb, who didn't allow for a corpse marker to come out either - which is a huge deal for Reva as she can shoot from them as well. This nifty little side effect turned out to be a huge factor in this game as it was denying his mechanic tremendously, as well as annoying him with free A-Bombs that stop (0) actions and deny suits to Ca actions.

Ashes getting ready to receive a lot of attention

I don't exactly remember the play by play so I'll sum it up as best as possible. The Carrion Emissary was doing a good job blocking off LOS and choke points with its markers. I completely forgot that it raises a Mindless Zombie at the end of the turn from the markers, and due to that miscalculation I didn't score from Convict Labor on turn 2. 

He spent a lot of resources killing Ashes and Dust only to see it resurface. It was the first time he'd seen either Leve or Ashes so it was quite a shock. Eventually he was able to kill it.

On turn two Leve was able to evaporate the Carrion Emissary in one activation. The right side saw the Necropunk running toward the enemy side unopposed while the Mech Rider, Flesh Construct and various summoned models kept Vincent busy. I was a bit worried about that side as Vincent was able to ignore damage reduction, which could end the Mech Rider, but overall he wasn't able to do much. Over the course of the game I think I summoned at least 6 Abominations and had an opportunity to merge them into a Desolation Engine, which up until that point I didn't believe would ever happen! Because I'd never done it before I completely forgot that I could. Those little buggers are such excellent speed bumps. 

In the end we only finished Turn 3 and I won 3-2. I completely spaced when I saw Covert Breakthrough and for some reason played it exactly like Leave Your Mark, so I ended up not scoring from CB at all. I've got to make sure that when I play I reread my schemes and make sure I'm working toward that goal the entire game. I have been doing better in my head when it comes to that, though. Almost every plan or action I take I make sure to ask myself, "Is this going to help me score?" and make sure that it does. It's actually a good thing to repeat to yourself before spending every AP.

My second game had me paired up against Clay. He's a buddy from Houston I play every so often, he's always a fun opponent since he puts up with my trash talk and shenanigans. He surprised me when he declared Guild as I had only seen his Outcasts out recently and even used Nelly the whole tournament (I think). This was yet another new master for me, so I kept using Leve.

It was standard deployment with Turf War as the Strategy. The pool had Convict Labor, Leave Your Mark, A Quick Murder and others. I actually changed up my list for this pool, since the previous week I kept thinking about schemes like Hunting Party and AQM being weak points for my Leve crew as I give up a lot of VP with it. I changed out Ashes and Dust for Sue and another Necropunk. I hadn't ever considered actually fielding Sue with Leve, only in theory. Sue could prove useful in Turf War against Nelly as I knew she had the ability to cheat in your damage flips so Burning was welcome. It was risky as I hadn't tested them together, but AQM with Ashes on the table may as well just be 3 free VP for my opponent.

I ended up taking AQM and LYM, as I hadn't had much luck with Convict Labor in Austin due to not finishing the game all the time. He had Gracie on his side, which from my experience tends to be very squishy against Leve. He also tends to go very far into the enemy board so I anticipated being in range with him fast.

After deploying my Necropunks on both table edges they moved up, while the center of my board also advanced. I actually put the Mech Rider a bit ahead to bait out some models, hopefully Gracie who was right in front of her, and made sure to save my good cards for her defense. He took the bait and lowered her wounds down to 5 but lived. Leve then shot into the combat and hit Gracie twice, lowering him down to one wound. The last hit randomized onto the Mech Rider, and with his trigger allowed her to make a melee attack to finish Gracie off. I scored 3 VP in turn one and got off to a good start.

In the end I won 10-7 and learned a ton about Nelly - mostly that she's annoying when coupled with Burt Jebson. The Henchman she comes with is actually pretty good, but luckily I was able to force him into using her as a scheme runner as I either tied up or killed his other scheme runners.

My last game was against Nick, who usually runs Jack Daw. He actually played Parker Barrows for the entire tournament, so I was glad I actually got to play against something I was very familiar with. He used the box and added Envy (ugh, he always uses this guy and he always gives me headaches) and Johan. At least Envy isn't as bad ass as he is with Jack Daw.

We had Flank Deployment with Reckoning as the strategy, so I used my first Leve list as he does pretty well in Reckoning - Viks get the first point extremely well, not so much afterward as there may not be much left :). The pool had Detonate the Charges, Convict Labor, Inspection, Leave Your Mark and Show of Force.

I honestly thought he chose Show of Force because he had upgrades on everything that could hold them!

I took Leave Your Mark and Detonate the Charges, I felt especially bold to not pick Convict Labor again. I wish I did though, it would have been much easier than I thought.

The Gang gets ready

So I figured he had taken Show of Force based on his list and most likely Detonate the Charges since he was using Parker. Being that I had the Mechanical Rider coupled with knowing how Parker tends to drop several of my own markers for me I took Detonate the Charges instead of Convict Labor. I felt that if I took CL all he'd have to do is hit me once to negate my scheme from range and didn't want to risk it, not to mention if he's close enough he can eat my markers.

Right after deployment

I knew he was going to rely on Envy a lot as he really loves that guy (I've yet to see him run a list without him) so I made sure to concentrate on using models that could take him out fast. I deployed Ashes as close to him as possible with Leve right behind, followed by a backup Flesh Construct, then put everyone else toward the other end. He used his Scout the Field move on his Bandidos and Mad Dog to spread out on the flanks, especially on my right. This made me hold back my Mech Rider significantly as I needed to make sure to have a solid Anchor in case I needed to swap sides for Leve.

It's about to get real...

He moved Envy to the corner of the closest building to get ready to blow stuff up. He had Parker, Mad Dog and Doc to his left and a single Bandido to his right. 

I see what you're doing there

In response I rushed Ashes up the left and the Flesh Construct in the middle. Leve then used his (0) to telepoort to Ashes after out-activating his crew and only managed to get Envy down to 2 wounds left - hard cover is Leveticus' bane and really makes me think about using Mad Dog as an anchor. I may just swap out the Mech Rider if the table is littered with cover now.

On the right I had the Mech Rider popping occasional shots to lay down markers and a Flesh Construct creeping up. The Necropunk acted as a speed bump until Johan started peeking his head out and he started to run away before dying. Even with the Mech Rider it's still hard to set up Detonate the Charges, I don't like having to leave models alive to perform my Schemes, and I think I may have mentioned that exact thing the LAST time I took this scheme, ugh.

Ashes reformed and killed Envy, then immediately afterward Leve used his (0) again to sacrifice Ashes for a teleport to kill Doc - I know how important that totem's healing is to the crew and wanted to get rid of it fast while contributing to Reckoning. Nick tried using Mad Dog's "Blow it to Hell" to negate Leve's cover but flipped a Black Joker, if that didn't happen I'm sure Leve would have been one Waif short for the rest of the game. Eventually Ashes reforms.

My Mech Rider and Waif (Left) about to make a huge mistake

On the other side I started to crumble. He moved Bandidos to the opposite corners for Inspection, something I didn't think about because I was so bent on him taking Show of Force. I couldn't quite get my marker placement right to get 3 VP from them alone so I had to wait a turn before scoring that. The Flesh Construct was taking a beating from Johan.

In the last turn I out-activated his crew by plenty and had Leve place a marker right next to Parker and Mad Dog, so I was finally in a position to get 3 VP from Detonate the Charges. I had been scoring Leave Your Mark so I wasn't worried about those markers. For some TERRIBLE REASON I decided to just move the rest of my models (by terrible, I mean NO GOOD). Because of this LITERALLY LAST SECOND decision I ended up arbitrarily moving my Mech Rider and Waif within range of one of his scheme markers. He then calls out Detonate the Charges. I then want to slap myself hard.

Because of that terrible, arbitrary last second decision I went from winning 6-5 to LOSING 6-7 because I gave up 2 VP. I couldn't believe myself. I gained nothing from those last move actions. I would have been fine staying where I was and not doing anything at all. I definitely let go of reminding myself, "Will this help score VP?" during those moves.

Needless to say I was very salty. Mind you, not at Nick, because he was a stellar player who did exactly what you should expect a tournament player to do and not correct my mistakes for me. I was very mad at myself, it's definitely one of those losses that will haunt me for a while.

So what started out as a pretty good day of good decisions and plays ended with one of the most amateur moves ever. It's okay, though, because in the end I know that these are the games that teach me the most and force me to always recognize situations like this and avoid them in the future.

I definitely need to work on my game time. I need to assess how much decision making I do and if I can trim down the time, because I definitely start to make bad decisions when I'm aware of the time in a game. It's the reason why I start of games strong and finish weak, probably.

A glimmer of hope in a bleak weekend

In other news my MERCS 2.0 book and cards came in! I've been waiting for a while for this and can't wait to dive in. I've read my cards for the faction changes and can say overall they're positive, it's definitely a change for the FCC House 9. The book is simply gorgeous. I've always loved the art style, and the layout is impressive. The updated fluff is very unique and engaging, plus the cover is spectacular. It may not be very busy but it sure does make me go ooooooooooooooooo ahhhhhhhhhh.

Anyway, that's it for now! Hopefully soon I'll do some more hobby related entries like painting, I've had a few ideas I've wanted to get on a model. Happy gaming!