Sunday, March 4, 2012

This Week in the Gnarls League, Part 4

As you close readers will no doubt remember, I entered the last week of the Gnarls league tied for the lead.  Close readers that you are, you will also remember that when I'm involved in a game I often forget to take pictures.  Thus the obvious reason for the total lack of photos for this past week is that I was focused on rolling dice and pushing models around instead of taking pictures.  You'll have to use your imaginations.

My first game of the week was a mirror match against Mason.  I've played him a few times before and he's always managed to beat me, so this time around I was looking to even the ledger.  I took the same 50 point Aby list that I ran throughout the league (Aby, Typhon, Carni, Angelius, Seraph, Raek, 4 Shredders, Shepherd, 3 Forsakens).  Mason ran pVayl (his first time using her) with a Carni, full Raptors, Anyssa, Totem Hunter, the league Strider unit, a pair of Deathstalkers, and possibly Typhon and/or a Forsaken if he had room.  (I've played a lot of games since then so details are fuzzy, plus I didn't take notes or get pictures.  I'm fairly sure he had two heavies.)  We played King of the Hill, which played a role in making it a quickish game.  As usual Typhon took a number of blows to the chin and crumpled quickly.  I forgot about Rampager entirely and was reminded in a rude fashion when Mason ran my Carni into my Seraph (or perhaps Typhon), then popped feat to set up another alpha (beta?) strike in the next turn.  Fortunately for me that next strike never came.  Vayl has to play further up the field than she would otherwise to make use of her various spells and effects, which makes it very easy to hang her out to dry.  My Carnivean was close enough to get her into melee and the rest was history.  While pVayl is a wonderful toolbox, the options are a bit overwhelming and I have yet to come to grips with her, which looked to be the case with Mason as well.  The only way to learn is to get experience though.  Seeing your caster get eaten is never fun, but it's a lesson you're not likely to forget.

 Game number two was my second team game of the league.  I teamed up with Brendon (my recently-found PG) against Charlie (playing Pigs, who I played in the first week) and Chris (Retribution, who I had not yet played against).  With lots of folks trying to cram in their team games time was at a premium, so we played at 15 points.  Making a 15 point list is quite a change from a 50 pointer, but I pulled it off.  The idea was that we play Mangled Metal, so I went with Aby, an Angelius, and a Carnivean.  Brendon ran pLylyth with a Ravagore and Proteus.  Apparently the Mangled Metal message didn't make it across the table as we were facing Rahn with (I think) a Griffon, Phoenix, an Arcanist, and another jack that I don't remember, plus Carver, two War Hogs, and min Brigands.  This game had a brutal start as Lylyth was pulped via a magical slam that shot her into the back of the Ravagore and Aby was brought down to a single box.  On the top of turn two.  Somehow I survived the Pig turn and feated to bring Aby back to full life, then proceeded to send her in against Carver for revenge (not sure what sort of revenge she needed, but it was a powerful need) and, after a turn or three of maneuvering, taking out Rahn with the Carnivean.  This was easily the wackiest game I've ever played with Rahn and his arc node army running around and slamming things all over the place, having two wild warbeasts roam the board for most of the game, and even an in-game dice trade.  Very entertaining and when the game was over I had finished my league requirements, patch-wise, and all I had left was to try and get in another big game to go for the overall win.

I got what I was after for the final game of the week, a 50 pointer against Thel (who I played in the tournament in December and also in Uncharted Seas way back when).  Through the first couple weeks, three players had distanced themselves from the pack: me, Danny, and Thel.  I wanted to get in games against both of them and managed that with Danny last week, but had yet to face off against Thel.  Though he had fallen off a bit in week three (life happens and doesn't always allow for gaming), there was still a showdown sort of feel as it was the last game of the last week for both of us.  I took the usual Aby list, complete with a half-dozen bonds on various beasts after getting on quite a roll with her.  Thel brought out pBaldur with a whole mess of Wolds of all shapes and sizes, some Shifting Stones, some Sentry Stones, a Druid Wilder, and a Blackclad Wayfarer.  When I played Thel in the tournament, I told him I was underwhelmed by the trickery of Circle.  He must have taken it to heart as he reminded me of it as we were setting up, and then proceeded to demonstrate many of their tricks.  In no particular order I learned that:
  • Sentry Stones will steal your carefully placed Fury
  • One of the various Wolds has an animus that makes you roll one less die on ranged attacks
  • Megalith can take what you think is an unassailable DEF and take it down to Khador heavy levels
  • Baldur can do that same trick, plus he can teleport around to pull that trick on your caster's face
This was actually a really close game despite my particular learning style of taking blows to the face to find out how nasty they are.  I took a number of potshots at Baldur with the Angelius and Seraph and did some very respectable damage, especially considering that he had the one less ranged die animus up.  If the Angelius had managed to hit (I rolled a crit miss) and set Baldur on fire I think I would have won.  Instead Megalith took out the Seraph, then one of the Mannikins ran up next to Aby and turned itself into a forest, which let Baldur teleport to that forest and take Aby from a respectable DEF 16 to a paltry DEF 11 and then apply sword to face repeatedly.

While I lost my last game, I finished up feeling good about the league as a whole.  I went into it playing a faction that I had played maybe half a dozen games with, using a caster that I had played once or twice, faced off against many factions (not to mention casters) for the first time, and came out the other end with a 9-3 record.  I feel I now have a good grasp on what Legion does, how they do it, and an especially firm grip on how to use Absylonia (at various points levels no less).

By now I'm sure you're wondering "How did the league finish?  Who came out on top?"  For that you'll have to wait until next time (insert groans here).  As the spoonful of sugar for that bitter medicine, that next time (which may or may not be the actual next post) will be about the league finale tournament.  Normally I'd encourage you to hold your breath, but it will probably be a day or two before I get the post up and I'd hate to lose readers to asphyxiation.