Dienstag, 8. April 2014

Khador 2014 Part 04 - ClogCon lists review

Last weekend, ClogCon took place, and in this post, I'll write to you about my experiences there - which will include a very surprising twist. So enjoy!

   We left town at about 6.30 o'clock Friday morning and safely (and uneventfully) arrived in Rotterdam, at the Savoy Hotel, around 10.00 o'clock. "We" being Arides, Fiona, our little daughter pVicky, and me. Due to me having spoken to the hotel beforehand, Fiona, pVicky and me were able to check in right away (go Savoy!). Arides was staying with other Germans at a youth hostel.
   We arrived at the convention's location right in time to register for the opening tournaments, and I played in the 35 pt Steamroller. I won't bother you with my lists right here, because they... will be there again later on. Also, two important things happened while packing: I took Vlad2 with me because I anticipated casual gaming on Saturday, but left Orin at home even though I had him in my hand.

35 point Steamroller:
Round 1 - Supply and Demand v. Georg B.
   It was Harkevich's theme force v. Vlad3's theme force, and a very grindy battle - and I punted my one chance at winning by spending the one focus left on Harkevich for the wrong thing (I boosted damage instead of casting Jump Start). ARGH! Very nice opponent, though!

Round 2 - Balance of Power v. Harm K.
   This one was Harkevich (again) against Bart/Galleon. Turns out: On three focus, with Escort, under feat, Harkevich CAN face-tank a Galleon. Also, Bart is one of the two WM Caster that still have though - he rolled it when Harkevich kept calm and cast razor wind. ;)

Round 3 - Incursion (I think) v. Jeroen
   He brought Cryx, so I opted for Zerkova and her anti-Cryx list (which actually had been built to beat Janus S.). He's still a learning player, which showed, and it ended with Deneghra skewered on a Spriggan Warlance (rolled 6, 6, 6, on the charge attack damage, and she had no focus... so 22 damage?)

That was a... pretty underwhelming start. Sure, the first two games were close, but I am still waiting to win with Harkevich the first time ever, while Zerkova remains my "comfort zone".

   I had a Bushido demo which made me really like the system (better than Anima:Tactics, at least). I also got a game in against Rob K., which pitted Harkevich's theme force against Calaban's theme force. And IMO, Calaban is way underrated. It gave me a chance to field a 50pt Harkevich list I both saw on the forums once AND had the models for for the first time. We didn't get to finish it, because I chose to enlist for the Thunderdome competition last minute.
   And that, lads and ladies, was where things started to go crazy.
You may not know the Thunderdome rules, so here's the basic gist: Eight players, taking nothing but three 'Casters each, fight on a table for the most skulls. You get those by ending a 'Caster's activation in the central zone, and by killing enemy 'Casters. You cannot attack your direct neighbours before they have killed a 'Caster.
   So, I had to bring three 'Casters - thank God I packed Vlad2. There was more Synergy to the pairing of Vlad2, Hark' and Lady Z than meets the eye, but it still was not the best group for Khador. The table I ended up on - there were four of them with only four players each - had me neighbouring Marc d.R. with Rahn, Kaelyssa and Garryth, and facing off against Jeroen with Venethrax, Gaspy3 and Denny1 as well as Arides with Siege, Sloan, and Caine 2. That's four(!) denial 'Casters, and Lamentation.
   The second game round really went into a slog - I got Vlad shot to death early, and then double feated, camped and charged into the zone. Then Garryth feated, and Venny moved up, Denny feated... it seriously didn't really go anywhere. My two guys ran more to Marc's corner of the zone (because the players had been hesitant in killing others, he could attack me), and next time it was my turn, Caine was dead, Gaspy was dead, Rahn was dead, Garryth was dead. Venny and Denny were low on health, so Hark charged Venny and took him out. Zerkova charged Sloan and, in passing, razorwind'ed Denny to death. Kaelyssa charges Zerkova, doesn't kill me. Siege ground pounders/rifts and hurts Zerkova, Sloan stabs Zerkova dead  with her sword, leaves Kaelyssa alive, though. Harkevich charges Siege and kills him in two swings. Kaelyssa and Sloan fail to kill each other. Harkevich charges sloan in the back, dead, beat backs in Kaelyssa, dead. I end up on as many skulls as Mark, but: I'm the one left standing, and therefor win.
   The finals table is made up out of, Micheal G (Bart, Damiano, Ashlynn), Janus S (Gaspy1, Skarre2, Terminus), Robin M (Thagrosh1, Kallus, Rhyas), and me. Vlad takes down Gaspy (style!), Zerkova accidentially razorwinds Thagrosh dead (missed bart who was in melee with him). I end up second player on this table... but since all the other had already qualified, I had just stumbled into the Master's event! As Alphaville once sang, "things will happen while they can", I guess...

   I made up my lists during the night and breakfast. Which meant that I totally forgot about the Manhunters, Yuri, and the Drakhun that I brought just in case I'd field Vlad in a casual game. In the end, these were my finals iterations (even though hardly anything had been put into the equation).

List 1 - The Wolf Pack (Tier 4)
Izak Harkevich, the Iron Wolf -5
- Black Ivan                   9
- Spriggan                     9
- Destroyer                    8
- Juggernaut                   7
- Juggernaut                   7
Battle Mechaniks (min) w/UA    4
Winterguard Mortar Crew        3
Winterguard Fieldgun Crew      2
MoW Drakhun (w/o Dismount)     4
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich       2

I had seen this list on the PP forums, and since it perfectly fit my model pool, just had to go ahead and field it. It's basically an attrition/scenario list (because, seriously, that is Harkevich's game), but three arcing fire weapons with boosting options (focus and For the Motherland!) give you an assassination option. The Juggernauts may not benefit from the point reduction, but I don't care about that - they're there for P&S 19 axes. My 35 pts version includes Rifle Corps, but eh... I'd be better off with regular WGI the way I had to play them. This list obviously leads with the 'Jacks, uses the feat to tilt attrition in our favour, and uses wrecks (preferably placed close to/in zones or on hills) to provide bunkers. Because DEF 14 'Jacks and DEF 16 WG are no joke.

List 2 - The Antidote Corp.
Koldun Kommander Alexandra Zerkova -6
- Spriggan                         10
- Juggernaut                        7
Assault Kommandos (min) w/ Flamers  8
Doom Reavers w/ Greylord Escort     7
Greylord Outriders (min)            6
Kayazy Eliminators                  3
Pressgangers (max)                  6
Winterguard Riflecorps (min)        5
Gorman di Wulfe                     2
Sylys Wyshnallyr                    2

As I figured in an earlier post, Pressgangers are crazy for a 4/6 unit. This list was basically designed to fight Cryx - AKs with immunities (and MAT/RAT just enough for Undead), Doomies with Spell Ward, Press Gangers with rfp, Riflecorps for covering fire, Outriders for sprays, then Zerkova herself, as well as her best bud Sylys. The inclusion of Orin Midwinter would've made this list a good drop against Butcher3, too (spoileriffic!). Icy Grip is my second most favoured spell on her list right now, and it really makes this list work harder.

List 3 - Knives in the Dark Inc.
Vladimir Tzepesci, the Dark Champion -5
- Spriggan                           10
Assault Kommandos (min) w/ Flamers    8
Doom Reavers w/ Greylord Escort       7
Kayazy Assassins (max) w/ Underboss  10
Kayazy Eliminators                    3
Kayazy Eliminators                    3
Pressgangers (max)                    6
Widowmakers                           4
War Dog                               1
Widowmaker Marksman                   2

There obviously is a lot of model overlap between lists 2 and 3 - but I've got to work with what I brought. This is the classic Kayazy boat assassination threat list, and it would go pretty horrible against any decent shooting. Still, I know how to run it (well, mostly... I do have a pretty good record with Vlad2), and that might help... I'm kind of an innocent bystander in that Masters event anyway (even though it feels as if I'm part of a "Cool Kids" club now...)

Round 1 - Destruction v. Tommy G
List Chicken: He brought Haley2 (Double Stormwall), Caine2 (Yes we Caine), and Haley1 (Stuff). Thinking about it, I thought he'd bring certainly bring Haley1. Caine2 apparently is the strongest list, which may be overkill against me. There are two strong Cryx players qualified, and thusly he might want to keep Haley1. Also, Haley2 may run into hard matchups more easily, so it'd be best to get it out of the way. I pick Harkevich (because Arcing Fire keeps her tense, and five heavies are a match for two Stormwalls).
Result: I was correct in my prediction!
   In the game itself, I make the three crucial mistakes, from least to worst: 1) I forgot to place my Drakhun. He could've seriously tied up those gun mages. 2) I feat before he does, forgetting that Haley2's feat turn is mostly NOT the turn she does damage. 3) I got to choose table sides... and was so focused on getting a hill for the artillery that I gave Haley2 a wall to hide behind just outside the zone. Go me! I do get a CP for destroying the objective, because Tommy chose not to do the ultimate sacrifice (destroy a Stormwall to safe the objective), though I don't blame him. ;) I lose via scenario.

Round 2 - Close Quarters v. Micheal G.
List Chicken: He had Damiano (stuff), Bart (Galleon), Magnus (Most Wanted IV), and already played Damiano. I thought it safe to assume he wouldn't pick Damiano so he wouldn't lock himself in. That left Bart and Magnus. I knew that whoever would win was still in contention for 3rd or possibly 2nd place, so I expected him to pick Magnus - Bart would be the stronger list to have open in case he won. I picked Vlad2 - because Close Quarters is a scenario beneficial for melee armies, and that I had!
Result: I was again correct in my prediction!
   This game was one of the most fun ever played in a tournament! His Croe's make me take off buckets of Pressgangers, the Galleons Ship Cannons wreck additional Havoc - in turn, the Halberdiers fail their CMD when charging the Doom Reavers. I charge/jam Croes with the PGs, AK's flamer away the engaging Steelhead, then Vlad feats and I jam feated Doom Reavers into him - and his Cavalry fail CMD. Magnus retreats onto the other side of Galleon (away from the gibbering madmen!), were he is then reached by a pair of Eliminators. While they can't finish him, I've tucked him in far enough back that Vlad can safely dominate his own flag to victory. Also notable: One renegade with Iron Aggression got to make eight attacks straight against the Spriggan - and only dealt about six points of Damage. ;)

Round 3 - Incursion v. Christophe D.
List Chicken: He brought Butcher2 (Mad Dogs of War IV), Butcher3 (Stuff) and... I don't exactly remember, but it might have been Vlad1. Which doesn't really matter... the only list he hasn't played yet is Butcher3, and with me only having Zerkova open, now was a good time as any, I thought. And I never played Butcher3. I played Butcher2 way back when, and thought I could hold out against the Doom Reavers, and that should also work against Butcher3.
Result: I was predicting correctly. Ouch.
   The game went to his turn two. I barrel down the table, he shoots stuff. My right flag disappears, I plan to go for scenario. I then run Doomies into his face, but the Widowmakers don't break. PGs jam his Nyss, Riflecorps puts down Covering fire to block off Nyss, Greylords spray a few models, then fall back to the left flag. Zerkova charges a well-placed AK, feats, lands Icy Grip on the Black Dragons. Those guys would've been Outrider fodder, since the UA was caught in the feat. Gorman moves, hides her with a Cloud. He then takes the Madelyn move, runs a WM to well-placed point, and charges him with the Butcher, then Energizer for 3", Impending Dooms, and kills Zerkova. That's what I get for leaving Orin at home! He says that I played very well (Thanks!), but that the match-up was bad. I agree, kinda. With Orin, I would've gotten another turn at least. All I'd have to do would be to keep Butcher as far away as long as possible while Zerkova heads to the left flag, but eh, that'll be done another time.

Round 4 - Outflank v. Dirk P.
List Chicken: He had Morvahna2 (Stuff), Baldur2 (more Stuff), Krueger1 (classics). He had played all lists, as did I. It was a hard choice for me, but in the end, I went with Harkevich again - just because of Krueger shredding the other two lists with fricking ease. I expected him to go for Baldur or Morvahna, but then, I did have two infantry heavy lists, and he had won with the Krueger list, but in my opinion, it was a 30-30-40 at best.
Result: He chose Krueger - because I had two infantry heavy lists. I certainly did not predict that, but man, if I ever won list chicken, it was this time!
   The game was very tense - for me, at least. For my opponent, it probably was frustrating since I got some very good rolls at key times during my feat turn (for example Ivan's feat shot blasting the LotF to shreds that had been flare'd), to the point were he checked my dice for being weighted (but declined my offer to swap to a different set), and his measures in response weren't really effective. That's not to say I just lucked out, I probably did enough things right to tilt chances that direction, and he was slightly hesitant with committing his Stalker, which gave me enough of a breather that I could swing two heavies around to the other zone and kill the Feral first and later the Woldwarden there two dominate twice after an early control, and win on scenario. My first win with Harkevich, WOOO! :D

I will definitely play this list more, just to see how it goes and how to play it. I may have a new favourite. WG are nice, but playing those 'Jacks and not feeling bad about it was great. It's not for all comers games, but in the Masters list situation, it can be brought to bear, if you solve the riddle of list chicken - which happened to go particularly well this time around.

Overall I ended up 10/16 - which is good for sb that qualified kinda accidentally/unintentionally. ClogCon was blast, and this time I brought my Warmachine Book and had the people I knew/played sign it, which I forgot last year. All guys were really cool (besides those times when we all can lose it, and those were really few), but the location was kinda noisy (as in: it's acoustics did not go well with many people talking), though preferably spaced and easy to reach.
Hopefully, I'll be back next year... and I hope I get to play a little more often before then. Right now, I felt like an old rockstar that merely checks whether he stills knows all the riffs instead of preparing properly.

But until next time - farewell!