Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lack of Forward Progress

In direct contrast to conventional wisdom, hobby progress has ground to a halt in this last week or two before this Saturday's tournament.  Judging by every hobby blog ever, I should be knee deep in painting as I race to finish my list in time to get it to the table.  Instead I haven't done any painting since finishing Irusk and the Winter Guard attachments last week.  I've settled on options to paint if the mood strikes today or tomorrow (Destroyer, Bombardiers), but the real problem here is that the stuff I want to paint (Greylords, War Dog, Juggernaut) are all likely to find spots in my tournament lists, and I'm not going to put all that time and effort in to a model only to rub it off over the course of a day.  It's a bit of a Mexican stand-off.  The good news is I'll be able to dig in to these options next week.  The bad news is I won't be getting at them when I'd like to (now) because I can't finish them by Saturday, and thus I'll be fielding a less than fully painted force.  While I'm used to putting down a bunch of grey primered minis, it was something I had hoped to avoid, or at least minimize.  Perhaps for next time.

Having yet to fully settle on lists doesn't help either.  I've narrowed it down to a few casters and general themes, but the details are in constant flux.  Working up lists the night before, or morning of, is looking like a safe bet.  Two potentials saw the table against EV over the last week and a half, one the very infantry heavy pIrusk list and the other a specialist heavy eSorscha list.  The latter game will get a battle report, though of lesser quality than usual, when I work up the momentum for it.  The former game won't be getting a full treatment, so here's a small recap.

I was fielding full units of Kayazy and WGI along with Black Ivan, some Greylords, and Reinholdt.  We rolled up the scenario (Steamroller) where you start with three objectives and one disappears on turn two.  The two infantry blocks went on the flanks for the outside objectives, while the battle group and Greylords went for the center.  The Winter Guard got stranded on a flank when their objective disappeared, and the swamp that stood between them and the rest of the battle meant they were effectively out of the game.  I thought I saw a chance for a ranged assassination against pGaspy (EV's standard list), but turns out I didn't have everything set up and had Irusk hanging in the wind.  I tried to gum up LoS with some hard sprinting Winter Guard, but all they did was bunch up good for Bile Thralls.  A handful of Hellfires later and the game was done.  This was my first time playing with a clock and it was quite the experience.  I don't think I made any big mistakes because of the clock, aside from the end where I didn't get my assassination lined up right and then didn't notice the Bile Thralls waiting to kill all my dudes.  The added time element added a pleasant sense of urgency and obviously kept the game moving at a good clip.  All the infantry was a bit much to handle though, and I probably would have lost on time if I'd been able to get into the attrition grindfest I was looking for.

The result of that game caused me to change my approach to list building by cutting down on the infantry.  Looking over the Steamroller scenarios makes me think I'll want two jacks for all the "carry objective from here to there" possibilities, plus I think the FLGS meta is far more jack heavy than what I've grown used to playing EV.  Trying to make a dual jack list has proven to be somewhat challenging though, far more so than I'd anticipated.  I've gone on about how much I want to like jacks and run multiples of them, why that doesn't work, and my resulting interest in Hordes previously, so now trying to get a pair of jacks and the infantry that will be doing the hard offensive work together in a single list, plus all the extra bits the internet says I should have, is like trying to make a tossed salad out of rocks and sheet metal.  With all this in mind I've been going back to my roots in a way, building lists out of things that I'm familiar with instead of what I think should (in theory) work well together.  I don't know how they'll fare in a competitive setting against players I've never faced before, but hopefully this way I'll only be unfamiliar with my opponent's troops and not my own as well.

There is a bright spot on the painting front.  I've finally decided that I shouldn't glue the wreck markers to their bases, and having cleaned them earlier today they're currently primered and in the bathroom drying booth.  I think I have a shot at getting these painted up from scratch tomorrow and having them varnished for Saturday.  If not, I'm not so worried about rubbing paint off of them.  That's one item off my tournament prep list, but I think most of the others are going to fall by the wayside.  I had wanted to get in a bunch of timed games with my potential lists, but that hasn't happened any more than getting a list fully painted has worked out.  I wanted to study up on all the factions, plus re-read the rule book again, but no dice there either.  Instead I'm looking at taking unfamiliar lists into an unfamiliar setting against unfamiliar opponents.  Not a recipe for success.

Less of this...
The silver lining here is that my approach to my first tournament has changed.  Instead of being frustrated, bottled-up, where-the-hell-is-the-net Ovie (on your right), I'm looking to be care-free, having-a-good-time Ovie (down and left).  I'll still be playing to win of course, but I hope to be thinking less about overall standings and success on the table and more about having a good time and getting to play new opponents.  Am I likely to walk straight into a not-so-cunning trap that a more experienced player would sniff out in a heartbeat?  For sure.  Can I expect my opponents to see a Blood of Kings-ed pVlad charge coming before I see it myself?  Very likely.  These things happen though, and it will do no one any good if I set my expectations far past reality.  I see lots of Khador players at the FLGS on a given night, so instead of working out scenarios where I can nab a faction coin (or equivalent honors since I think this is a coin-free event) I'll be looking to enjoy my first mirror match if I get paired with a fellow scion of the Motherland.  Perhaps I'll cast Razor Wind simply because I can.  May be that I take units I enjoy playing (Doomies, Shock Troopers) that aren't the most efficient uses of their points.  Odds are good that I'll be passing over the sexy, fits-in-all-lists pieces like Gormann for familiar workman ones like the Widowmaker Marksman.  Less effective?  Perhaps.  More fun?  That's the idea.

...and more of this.

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