|McKayla is hard to please.|
I was looking forward to the wackiness that would have been the Caster Madness tournament and thought about declining Masters, but since the ultimate goal of the weekend was to qualify for the Big Tournament I couldn't turn down the shot. My preparation was nil, not even a caster lineup, but I put lists together with a quickness and got down to it. I went with what I knew: my Saeryn Hardcore list, pVayl, and eLylyth (which I don't really know like the other two, but I had a list ready to go). The Lylyth list just builds on the shooting theme, while the pVayl list is more or less the nigh-ubiquitous eVayl t4 list with Typhon replacing an Angel and Scythean. I had reinforcements, but they never saw play. Plus I forget exactly what they were.
My first match was against Andrew, who you might recall from round one of the team tournament, who again ran eCaine. For no good reason I took pVayl, despite tagging her as my Hordes list. This game went very much like our first match. Andrew moved his mens up, took some shots, killed some things, but left Caine too close. I took a "why not?" shot at Caine with a Ravagore and connected, doing big damage and setting him on fire. Next turn the fire keeps burning and I've won my first game, albeit with the primary assist going to my dice and the secondary to Andrew for not putting up Blur.
|Just add Trolls. And Nyss.|
After the epic grind, my day went downhill quick. Round three I played Charlie, another NY/J guy, who fielded eHaley with a Stormwall, shooting, and Stormguard. I'd never played against eHaley before and was eager to see how bad she really is after hearing so much about her. I went with eLylyth, mostly to keep my options open for the last round but also with the hope that I could mitigate losing either my movement or my action by having plenty of shooting. The scenario was a big zone in the center with four flags spread around outside it, where your caster had to control a flag while you also controlled the zone. On turn two I had the chance to try and score a point by popping feat to wipe all the infantry out and take the zone, but I held onto the feat and came up a piece or two short. In his next turn Charlie popped feat, then zoomed the Stormwall into my line and Electroleaped my caster to death. This was a good learning experience as I didn't anticipate all the arcing lightning, but also poor instruction in that I didn't get to go through eHaley's feat. I thought that perhaps my non-feat had cost me, but in post game chatter Charlie said it wouldn't have changed much for him. It was unlikely that I would have done any significant damage to the Stormwall, and once my feat was gone it would be doubly hard to take it out. Most of all this game brought home the need for some sort of melee backup for eLylyth. Straight gun line is nice on paper, but doesn't take a whole lot before it folds.
|Artist's rendition of my state on Sunday.|
I watched the final match, or at least the end of it, featuring Lee (Calandra) vs Jake (some flavor of Caine). This was an amazing game on two levels. First was speed. Jake had less than a minute left on the clock and got in at least three turns. Granted he was down to a unit of Gun Mages and Caine, but it was still remarkable. Second was fun. I don't think I've ever seen two people have more fun playing Warmachine before. This also bled over into sportsmanship as Lee had a commanding advantage on the clock, but in the final turns was down to just Calandra and maybe another piece. He was obviously playing for the clock win, but would often flip the clock to himself to deviate Jake's shots, double check distances, any numbers of things to give his opponent the most use out of what little remained of his clock. Jake ended up clocking out, everyone still around went down for the award presentation, then I packed my bag up and called it a weekend.
|There's always something to play for, even if it's as a spoiler.|
* - I got the vacated spot because whoever dropped had qualified in the Team tournament and I was the top non-qualifier from said tournament. This led to a pair of thought-provokers after the Open. First, did the bye get me in by virtue of the "win" it gives? Second, did I get in because I was the least reluctant to collect paperwork? We may never know...