|Path to improvement or plotting my own downfall?|
As usual I over-thought my lists in the days preceding the tournament and ended up making some changes about 10 minutes before the first round. Three lists were under consideration: pButcher tier 4 for armor-spamming zone-holding goodness, pIrusk for high DEF spam and general attrition grind, and eVlad for crazy assassinations and general entertainment. The pButcher list was very appealing, but in the end I convinced myself I needed to be prepared for Incorporeal/only hurt by magic targets, and having just Lola to deal with those situations wasn't going to cut it. The two lists I ran were:
Kommandant Irusk +6 points
* Black Ivan 10 points
* War Dog 1 point
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution 3 points
Greylord Ternion 4 points
6 Kayazy Assassins 5 points
* Kayazy Underboss 2 points
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich 2 points
Widowmakers 4 points
10 Winter Guard Infantry 6 points
* Winter Guard Officer & Standard 2 points
* 2 Winter Guard Rocketeers 2 points
Reinforcements: Drakhun with dismount, Widowmaker Marksman
Basic high DEF spam here. On the drive in I got to thinking about Bile Thralls and how I didn't really have any tools for them, so I cut Reinholdt and went from max to min Kayazy so I could put in Widowmakers. I'd had some decent success over the past week or so jamming with Iron Fleshed Kayazy, then giving them Battle Lust once they're engaged and cycling IF to the Winter Guard. The Ternion are there for magic attacks and clouds, while eEiryss is there for obvious reasons (upkeep removal). I'm fairly sure I've talked about Black Ivan with Superiority, but if not it's good fun. DEF 14 with Dodge is very entertaining on a Khador heavy.
* Juggernaut 7 points
* War Dog 1 point
Doom Reavers 6 points
* Greylord Escort 2 points
Harlan Versh, Illuminated One 2 points
10 Kayazy Assassins 8 points
* Kayazy Underboss 2 points
Kayazy Eliminators 3 points
Man-O-War Drakhun (+dismount) 5 points
Manhunter 2 points
Saxon Orrik 2 points
Reinforcements: Yuri the Axe, Manhunter, Widowmaker Marksman
Straight-forward here: mobility and weapon masters. Plenty of feat targets to either clear large swathes of stuff (Doomies) or charge through everything straight to their target (Kayazy). Harlan Versh is in to deal with Iron Flesh/Defenders Ward/general upkeep nastiness. Saxon Orrik got added purely to hand out Pathfinder, but I also discovered he can be very effective as a combatant as well. The Drakhun is the crown jewel here. After spending a large portion of Friday assembling it, I was eager to see how it world perform.
|Doing a bad job of taking the zones.|
For round two I drew Michael and Menoth. The first thing I noticed about him was the flask he set down with his models. He said since he'd lost his first game he was in fun mode, which after the thrashing I'd had in the first round sounded like a good idea. I decided then to play Vlad for the rest of the day. (I have the notion the pIrusk is a top-tier caster lodged in my head, and he probably is, but he's never been the fun or sexy choice.) Michael put down a list that I've been considering myself: t4 eKreoss. Lots and lots of Exemplars, which is what I like most about Menoth, backed up by a model I really like. Michael's list was painted very well, which made all the primer on my side (plus the occasional, shameful glint of bare metal) seem even more disappointing to me. We played a reinforcements scenario, which caused me to be immediately jealous of his unit of cavalry (which are a perfect reinforcement). This was another poor showing on my part. Despite already having an idea of what eKreoss does, asking Michael about it, and looking at the card, I still managed to feed most of my army straight into the feat-fueled bout of auto-hitting attacks. Jamming with my Kayazy seemed like a great idea until it dawned on me that their DEF would again not save them and that I had done my opponent's work for him by running the in to engage the Menites. After again seeing most of my army evaporate I made a number of activation and positioning errors which would have lost me the game on scenario at the top of turn three (aka the earliest scenario loss possible.) Michael was nice enough to not only let me reconsider my final Hail Mary attempt to contest a zone after he pointed out that while I could kill an Errant solo with an impact attack he could just kill another Errant off to leave the solo in place, but also to point out the best route to get my Drakhun into the zone to contest. We had a good time trying to engineer a Venger charge on Vlad for a while before noticing that we were the last game going, the clocks had expired already, and that the lunch break was half over. Despite shoving my army into a woodchipper of my own accord, and not getting a picture of the game, this was the most enjoyable game of the day.
|Round three in progress. My box of troops is lonely.|
I drew the bye in round three which was both lame and unfortunate, but someone's number has to come up for it. The silver lining was that I had time to collect my gaming balance after losing ugly in the first two rounds, plus I got to wander around and check out the store and the other armies. While looking at models I was struck by how familiar one of the Menoth armies looked, and how odd it was that I was seeing the High Reclaimer for the second time in three days after having never seen him on the table before. Turns out it Herman who smacked me so hard on Thursday that I had a so-called "level up" experience. Seems he's a traveling gamer walking the path I'm trying to find myself. Considering I didn't expect to see anyone even remotely familiar, this was quite a surprise. As a side note, he ended up taking second after losing in the bottom of turn one to some wacky long-ranged assassination I'd never even heard of before, where the win condition is to move your caster more than 3" out of your deployment zone...which the Kill Box artifice inherent to all games forces you to do. This is something that bears looking out for, though I have no real idea how you avoid/counter it other than taking a caster with a solid stat line or hexing your opponent's dice at the start of the game.
|The rout is well underway.|
In the end it didn't really matter how many points of whatever stripe I accumulated. Going 1-2 meant I was way out of the running, despite the "win" you get from a bye, but I had a good time and learned plenty, which was the whole point of the endeavor. I took my first step outside of my local-local meta in search of the larger DMV meta, which seems to both exist and be fairly healthy. The number of jacks surprised me with most lists running three, and a fair number of jack-intensive lists as well, despite the Internet rumors that jacks are dead and it's all about infantry now. A more pleasant surprise was the complete lack of Cryx along with a strong showing from the Motherland, which had four loyal scions defending her honor. Although I didn't leave with the hardware I wanted, I also didn't leave empty handed. Waiting at each round one table were a pair of objective markers and dice with the Beltway Gamers logo. Plus all the aforementioned learning and entertainment of course. To cap the day off in the best possible fashion the Nats won and the Caps won, scratching my DMV sports itch at the same time as my DMV gaming itch. Now to line up the next event...