Saturday, February 11, 2012

This Week in the Gnarls League, Part 1

Not these Gnarls.
The Gnarls League started this week and despite some scheduling difficulties (read: hockey on Thursday night) I managed to get my three games in for the week.  These seasonal leagues have intrigued me since I first heard about them.  The idea that some models are taken out and replaced with variations on them is a novel one.  This year's leagues take the novelty a step further by allying two factions (Legion pairs up with Mercs for the Gnarls)  and allowing them to field each others' seasonal model.  The Merc's model (grape shot cannon) doesn't do much for me, and a lot of the pairings are odd, but it's a good way to add in some variety without actually adding new pieces to the game which astute readers will remember is a plus for me.  Looks like I've finally encased my first picture in text, so on to the mini battle reports.

Actually a brief  aside first.  I like my veil of internet psuedo-anonymity, though it's a little less thorough as I merge the online and real life worlds at the FLGS.  I imagine others might enjoy the veil like I do, so if I've outed you below and you'd like me to swap out an online identity for your real one I'll be happy to do so.

Aby takes it in the face.
My first game was against Rusty and his angry elves.  I've played him once before as part of a team game, which was my only game against Ret up to that point, so I both knew a little bit of what to expect and also had plenty left to learn.  I played an Absylonia tier 4 list that hasn't featured in a battle report here yet (it's in the queue), so here's a mini version: two Carniveans, a Seraph, and pair of Forsaken, a Shepherd, and Shredders to fill.  Rusty played Vyros with two Manticores, Sylyas, an Arcanist per jack, min Invictors and Halberdiers (both with UA), eEiryss, Nayl, and Lanyssa Ryssyl.  We played the scenario with three flags where one disappears at the end of turn one.

I lost this one by overlooking a buff and (once again) not fully reading and comprehending an ability.  You can see a Carni in the picture to the right.  In the last turn it charged and killed a Manticore, which was standing close by the Manticore still visible.  I think I had range on both of them but went after the closer one.  Turns out the other had an Admonition-like upkeep (Hallowed Avenger? something like that) which allowed it to charge when a friendly model was destroyed under certain circumstances.  I had placed the Shredder just above Aby to avoid a Slam taking down both models, which allowed the Manticore to get a charge off on Aby.  By itself this wasn't so bad, but when Vyros came in during Rusty's half of the turn it got worse.  Turns out Flank is a +2 on the attack and an additional die on damage (when engaging a model already engaged by a warjack, or something similar), and not a +2 on damage.  Thanks to a combination of Reach and my anti-Slam Shredder placement, Vyros also had a charge lane and took Aby down without much effort.  In addition to learning about those two abilities, I also learned that you can't Reave from a beast you kill by transferring damage.

Not a man's land, but a woman's.  Sort of.
Game two was against Charlie and his Pigs.  I played Charlie a couple weeks ago when he fielded pCaine and shot me up real good.  Pigs are a faction I've been intrigued by so I was curious to see how they'd do in person.  I went with the same Aby list while Charlie ran Carver, three Warhogs (!), min Bone Grinders, max Brigands, a pair of the Ret seasonal models (Mage Hunter solos), and Alten Ashley.  His list was a point short but he said he didn't have anything to fill it with.  Charlie handicapped himself a bit by having one of his beasts outside his control area for a turn or two, which allowed me to take out the other two while losing a single Carni.  Carver's feat is supposed to be monstrous, and it certainly read that way, but I think I had chewed down enough infantry to make it less effective.  I won this game by scenario thanks in large part to an optimistic charge by one of the Mage Hunters from the left edge of the board which fell short of the intended target, but brought the elf within range of my white Shredder who promptly ate the elf.  This is relevant because the Mage Hunter was holding the zone (we were playing No Man's Land) and was far enough away that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach it.  After the elf was down the Carni took out a Warhog that was the only other piece in the zone, giving me the victory.  Best part of this game was Alten Ashley pumping two shots into the Shredder on the far right and failing to kill it.

Kreoss noms are yummy.
Both of those games were on Thursday morning/afternoon before the Caps gave up a two goal lead in the last two minutes that night.  When I had the opportunity to get in a third game tonight, filling my weekly quota, I jumped right at it.  This time I played Jeff, who I had played a couple months back in what was (I think) one of his first games.  He was playing pKreoss then, so I took pSorscha for the similarity in feats and also because I'm not too good with her and didn't want to give a new player all the dirty business.  It didn't take long for me to learn that pKreoss' feat is more effective than pSorscha's and that it can take you from fine to dead in short order.  Fast forward to now and Jeff is fresh off of Templecon, so I'm curious to see how he's progressed.  Aby was my girl/thing again, and Jeff fielded pKreoss with the Avatar, a Reckoner, a Vassal, min Choir, max Errants, Exemplars, Rhupert, and Gorman.  This game was also No Man's Land.  With Jeff going first I was able to respond to his deployment, which featured the Errants and Exemplars on opposite flanks, with my old favorite: the refused flank.  I managed to keep his Errants completely out of the fight as a result, and the Avatar didn't do too much either as it was also on that side of the board.  After chewing through the Errants and dinging the Reckoner good with a spray, Slam, and some bites while it was down, I lost a Carnivean but found an assassination lane as a result.  A couple models needed to be removed, notably the Reckoner which Aby finished off personally, but in the end I got a charging Carnivean into Kreoss with predictable results. 

After this first week of the league I'm at 2-1, which should put me at the sharp end thus far.  There may be one person who went 3-0, but I think everyone else was 2-1 at best.  Next week is better schedule-wise so hopefully I can get in a team game or two while I have a good opportunity (one of the patches for the league is for getting in at least two team games).  If I can get in a pair of team games then I should finish off two of the three league patches (two team games and play against five different factions) which would leave just painting three objective markers to finish off the group.  I have an idea for what I want to do with the markers (from scratch with a Khador theme, though I may get the PP ones at some point) and want to do three flag markers while I'm at it.  Then it's all down to winning games and going for the overall lead.  Since the league favors large and/or group games I don't know that I'll be in the running for the win, but I'm certain to have a good time trying.

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