Monday, April 8, 2013

Dust Regionals, Huzzah Style

Not quite what I expected from a GIS for "gamer butts."
Round one of the Dust Regional Qualifiers was this weekend at one of my local stores Huzzah Hobbies.  They expanded at Huzzah last week and this was my first time there when the expansion was officially open.  The floor space doubled, in part to accommodate more and larger events, and it was just in time.  There was a Malifaux tournament going at the same time...and in the same room.  Things were close but there was still room for everyone.  To be fair we had one table in the expansion room, but it was an extra and didn't see use past the first round.  I don't think I mentioned my concerns on turnout previously, but it didn't matter as we had all the regulars including the folks that haven't been around for a while (but without EV, who is inaccessible on weekends).  Despite my nitpicking things went smooth and I never bumped butts with anyone behind me which is the highest praise I can give.

Theme incoming!
Leaving talk of gamer butts behind, on to the list.  I didn't stray too far from my usual builds,
excepting the inclusion of the Horten.  The list is thus:

---  Sturmgrenadiere Platoon (189)
Command Section: Kommandotrupp (25)
1st Section: Battle Grenadiers (17)
2nd Section: Battle Grenadiers (17)
3rd Section: Recon Grenadiers (17)
    + Rat Fighters (1)
Support: MPW III-A "Wotan" (50)
    + Wotan Upgrade to Vehicle 6 (5)
Support: Horten HO-347.IV "Fledermaus IV" (45)
Support: Beobachter Team (12)
    + Pinpoint Observation (4)

---  Schwer Platoon (111)
Command Section: Heavy Kommandotrupp (35)
1st Section: Heavy Flak Grenadiers (26)
2nd Section: Heavy Flak Grenadiers (26)
Support: Sniper Grenadier Team (12)
Support: Sniper Grenadier Team (12)
Pretty standard stuff, if a touch lighter on infantry than I usually run.  Normally I'd debate between doubling up on snipers or spotters but with just the one (applicable) vehicle it wasn't really a problem.  Of course I've considered running two sets of spotters to try and ensure success with at least one per turn, but not this time.  Rat fighters is, as usual, a point filler.

Nothing more American than pork butt.
My first match up was against Karl who I've been playing on Wednesdays for the last month or so.  This was an unfortunate pairing for Karl as I think I've been his opponent for 75% or more of his games.  He ran a S3 heavy Allied list with a Cobra and a Rattler, which is the exact list I've played against for a week or three in a row.  We had the four corners deployment with the "get stuff to the center" objective and no conditions.  I thought I had a strong approach to this match when I put the Horten off by itself in one corner, angled to fly off on its first move, and the rest of my forces in the other corner.  My idea was that I'd be able to divide and conquer, eating Karl's two split forces individually while the snipers and plane kept the other half busy.  That didn't quite work out as the Allied S3 units are fast enough to redeploy without much fuss, which is what took up the first couple turns.  The lines were redrawn by the beginning of turn four, with a number of Allied units littering the battlefield, and then...dice down.  Karl's pair of heroes were the difference, giving him a point or three edge in the final reckoning.  While I didn't have the game in the bag when time was up I felt I was in a strong position and was looking forward to actually getting to grips with the Allied menace instead of plinking away at units with snipers.  The Wotan did pop the Cobra early on though, so it wasn't all bad.  While I wasn't happy with the loss I was the least happy with not getting to finish the game.  It did take the edge off the rest of the day though.

Insert butt eating joke here.
Round two was against Anthony, which meant I faced two of the three folks I expect to show up on Wednesdays.  As the third is EV the end result was that I played the two people I'm likely to play any given week.  Not the best result, but again pairings are what they are.  Anthony departed from his usual horde of infantry/heavy tanks by fielding a Striker, a transport chopper, the ubiquitous Matrioshka (but no spotters), the flamer KV47, and Red Guard as the rest.  The Striker is, perhaps, the strongest single unit in Dust at the moment, and facing off against one is always a tricky proposition.  We had the "standard" long edge deployment along with kill points and no conditions.  This one was a bloody match where both sides saw massive casualties in the first few turns.  I started strong by one-shotting the Matrioshka (in hard cover no less) on the first turn, but took a pounding from the Striker in return.  It ate all my S3 units and the Recon grenadiers as well before the Horten could finish it off.  After the initial slaughter the Russians bunkered up behind any handy obstacles (with the KV47 in particular hiding from the Wotan, not that I can really blame it) while I puttered around with the Horten as I didn't have the manpower to dig the SSU out of their positions.  This one went to time as well, though in the first half of turn five this time.  The game wasn't a blowout, but my margin of victory wasn't razor thin either.  This one was more satisfying than the first round.  I want to say it's because there was significant engagement between the two sides and a game type that allowed for a running tally instead of a mystery finish, but it's very possible that I felt better in this one simply because I won.  I don't think the final turn would have had much impact on the outcome but one can never know for sure.

Love that Philosoraptor.
The final round matched me up with James (blog here) who is a PG at Huzzah.  We've had a Warmahordes match and when I saw him at the store I figured he was there for Malifaux as I didn't know he played Dust.  Obviously this was not the case.  He's a competition painter first and a fun opponent who was out to have a good time.  This was shown in his list, which was mostly zombies.  A Blutkruez platoon and a Totenmeister platoon amount of zombies, which is about a zombierific as it gets.  He also had a Ludwig and a transport (for the zombies of course) plus the S3 units from the core set.  We had the short edge deployment, no conditions, and (I think) kill points.  With so much of his force being short ranged I was happy with the big starting gap even though I deployed as far up as possible and was advancing throughout.  The Wotan hit another home run, showing the Ludwig how AT is really done, and ate a remarkably stationary transport for dessert.  The Horten flew off in the first turn as with every match, then returned to wreak havoc in the backfield.  This game was over early on and was never pretty for James, but he deserves much credit for staying upbeat while his forces disappeared.  He also had the best looking army which I think counts more to him than game results.  Our hobby has room for many interpretations.

Hey, maybe  Too easy.
At the end of the day I came in second which secured me a medal but not a slot in the "world
championship."  Considering this is in Minnesota, which is well beyond my usual travel limits, and in November, which is not a great time to be driving around Minnesota, this isn't horrible as chances are good I wouldn't go even if I did qualify.  If there was travel or lodging as an incentive then I'd be concerned, but as it is there's another qualifier at (the newly relocated) Games and Stuff on Sunday that I plan to be at, plus another in West Virginia that's a reasonable drive.  There are a couple more in PA/NJ/NY that will bear looking into as well.  I had hoped to see some new faces at Huzzah and still hope to delve into a different meta next weekend though I'm a little worried about the turnout there as well.  Regardless of metas, attendance, or results, the main goal is to have a good time.  I accomplished that goal this past weekend and hope to again this coming Sunday.

You knew it was coming.
In other news, I finally got the clamp arm from the Luther to come apart like I thought it should.  This allowed me to turn a righty into a lefty, which means I can field a Loth without resorting to magnets or other trickery.  I was very happy about this and took lots of pictures to document my breakthrough as I hadn't seen this method put forward yet.  Just to be sure I was breaking new ground I poked at google to see if I was reinventing the wheel and turned up this BoLS video that shows the same technique only better.  It's also from June of last year.  So much for my scoop.

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