Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Church League Round 9 & Finals


With EvilFuzzyDoom

These posts document the NEW CHURCH LEAGUE (named after our regular gaming venue, affectionately nicknamed "the Church"). The NCL has eight participants, and will take place over nine two-week, Round Robin rounds with elimination finals for the top four players. Each player picks two casters for the duration of the League. The match-ups, scenarios and any special rules are posted at the outset. Scenarios are from the PP Official Steamroller 2011 Rules. 

My Warlocks for the League are pMadrak & pGrissel.

This post covers Round Nine and the Semi-Final.


Round Nine & Semi-Final of the New Church League

Round Nine took place between 27 February and 11 March.

The Semi-Final Round was played on 10 March, since everyone had played their games by then.

The actual battle reports are going to be pretty much highlights for both of these: partly because I didn't take any notes, partly because it was hard enough to keep track of the game, and partly because it's been a while since the games took place now that I come to writing everything up...

Round Nine
For the ninth round, we are playing Command & Control, two casters, 50 points.

Lists:

Coming into the last round of the League, I'll admit I wasn't feeling too confident. Nonchalance's Cryx are the one opponent in our gaming group whom I haven't beaten even once and by this point I'm starting to wonder if I've got what it takes for big games - since the supplementary game we fought in Round Four, I've suspected that I need to get some serious practice in with larger forces to have a chance. I was a bit more confident putting my list together for Round Nine than in Four, since 25 points less makes for less overwhelming choices...

I end up going with what people might call a "Me list"; it's full of stuff that I'm comfortable with, has served me well so far and isn't utter rubbish to start with. I have a suspicion that the synergy between pGrissel and pMadrak isn't great though; we'll see how that goes.

Faction: Trollbloods 
Casters: 2/2
Points: 50/50
Grissel Bloodsong (*5pts)
* Slag Troll (6pts)
* Earthborn Dire Troll (10pts)
Chief Madrak Ironhide (*6pts)
* Troll Axer (6pts)
* Mulg the Ancient (12pts)
* Trollkin Runebearer (2pts)
Krielstone Bearer and 3 Stone Scribes (3pts)
* Krielstone Stone Scribe Elder (1pts)
Trollkin Fennblades (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer (2pts)
Fell Caller Hero (3pts)
Janissa Stonetide (3pts)
Troll Whelps (2pts)
Trollkin Champion Hero (3pts)

Nonchalance pretty much takes a Trolls-killing list. It's all about the Bile Thralls to thin out tarpits, big jacks to hold me up and little jacks to kill my important dudes. Oh, and Nonchalance has the best feat turn ever between his casters. Sigh.

Faction: Cryx
Casters: 2/2
Points: 50/50
Master Necrotech Mortenebra (*4pts)
* Cankerworm (5pts)
* Scavenger (4pts)
* Stalker (4pts)
* Deathjack (12pts)
* Harrower (10pts)
Lord Exhumator Scaverous (*5pts)
* Ripjaw (5pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bile Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
The Withershadow Combine (5pts)
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall (1pts)
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall (1pts)
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall (1pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)

Battle Report:

Like I said, this is pretty much just a highlight reel. I'm going off phone-camera pictures and hazy memory, but I'll try to give a good overall impression of the game.

Command & Control is a Radial scenario where players have to get their Warthings into contact with an objective to enable their forces to take the central control area. Nonchalance & I basically ignored this, setting up opposite each other across a terrain-free control zone, which we used a handily-sized hill to represent. 

Bile Thralls dominated the centre of Nonchalance's setup, flanked by a Harrower and a house. Mine saw Grissel and Madrak's battlegroups each take either side of a longer house, with Grissel keeping Janissa and the Champion Hero nearby. Madrak sat behind the Fennblades closer to the centre, with my plan to run them into the objective to be the anvil, and Grissel's Battlegroup to play hammer once I could draw in a meaty target or two.

Very nearly all the Fennblades died quickly, with the one survivor being controlled to hit Madrak before I'd really got a chance to make use of them. The Fellcaller did well, tying up a Warwitch, Cankerworm and Stalker on a flank before he went down. Between Cryx's DOUBLE FEAT TURN, Deathjack and a couple of failed Tough rolls, Madrak's entire battlegroup was gone by about turn three. On the other hand, this set up the glorious moment when I got to declare the best starting-my-turn words ever: "Leaching... Okay. Grissel Feats and CHARGES THE MOTHER****ING DEATHJACK. She and the Earthborn got the job done, then reformed to hide behind Janissa's wall in the control zone.

Sadly though, that was the real highlight, since next turn Janissa got taken down. Realising that there was basically no way for me to win with an almost-dead Earthborn and Grissel basically on their own, I decided it was best to retire from the field with my dignity intact.

While Nonchalance's Heavies were both down, all of his support solos were still kicking, a Stalker, Cankerworm and Ripjaw were close to Grissel, and neither of his casters were anywhere near danger. He could have sat back and thrown Void Gates & Excarnates at me until I cracked and went completely mad.

Semi-Final:

For the Semi-Final, we are playing Killbox, two casters, 75 points.

Lists:

So. After I did so well against Nonchalance, I still made it into the finals on the strength of my performance so far in the League. Not holding out a lot of hope though, since I've already seen firsthand that there's not a lot of synergy between pMadrak and pGrissel the way I use them. I know that I can beat Khador here though, since he's using two casters he's less familiar with, and because I've beaten him before. I go for serious beats. The Fennblades stay at home for Cabers, and Champions & Runeshapers go in for fearless damage boxes. Oh, and I pack in six beasts. Between the Earthborn & Mauler I should be able to take out heavies without much trouble, and the Bomber should make short work of troops.

Faction: Trollblood
Casters: 2/2
Points: 75/75
Grissel Bloodsong (*5pts)
* Slag Troll (6pts)
* Troll Impaler (5pts)
* Dire Troll Bomber (10pts)
Chief Madrak Ironhide (*6pts)
* Dire Troll Mauler (9pts)
* Earthborn Dire Troll (10pts)
* Troll Axer (6pts) 

* Trollkin Runebearer (2pts)
Kriel Warriors (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* 3 Kriel Warrior Caber Thrower (3pts)
* Kriel Warrior Standard Bearer & Piper (2pts)
Trollkin Champions (Leader and 4 Grunts) (10pts)
* Skaldi Bonehammer (3pts)
Trollkin Runeshapers (Leader and 2 Crew) (4pts)
Fell Caller Hero (3pts)
Janissa Stonetide (3pts)
Troll Whelps (2pts)
Troll Whelps (2pts)

In response, Khador takes a Jack Brick. Mortars which can boost pretty much every turn, mechaniks to keep everything alive and a wall of steel up front. Yeah sure. No problems.

Faction: Khador
Casters: 2/2
Points: 75/75
Kommander Harkevich, the Iron Wolf (*5pts)
* Black Ivan (10pts)
* Demolisher (9pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Supreme Kommandant Irusk (*5pts)
* Beast-09 (11pts)
* Behemoth (13pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Alexia Ciannor & the Risen (Alexia and 9 Risen Grunts) (5pts)
Battle Mechaniks (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
* Battle Mechanik Officer (2pts)
Battle Mechaniks (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
* Battle Mechanik Officer (2pts)
Doom Reavers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Greylord Escort (2pts)
Great Bears of Gallowswood (5pts)
Winter Guard Mortar Crew (Leader and Grunt) (3pts)
Winter Guard Mortar Crew (Leader and Grunt) (3pts)
Fenris (5pts)
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich (2pts)

Battle Report:

Khador's Mortars go with Kovnik Joe, Risen & Doom Reavers in front. The Jacks go in a line along the middle, with Mechaniks & casters behind. Great Bears & fenris go on the other flank. On my side, champions & Fell Caller go just on the edge of a forest facing Fenris, Madrak's Battlegroup on the other side of that, with a solid clump of Kriel Warriors holding the centre of the line & Grissel's battlegroup on the other side of them, facing the Mortars. On the first turn, the Kriel Warriors hoof it right up front into the Doom Reavers, while the two Battlegroups converge behind them and brick up behind Janissa's wall.

This fight felt like a sustained effort in futility. Irusk's feat early on prevented me from getting the charge with everything except the Earthborn & Champions. They ran in and laid the smack quite respectably, with the Champions peeling apart the Great bears and locking up Black Ivan for the first few turns. 

The Earthborn, running up the middle, ran straight into Behemoth. I used Beast-09's axe POW to lay some severe hurt on Behemoth, but not quite enough to lay him out. Because I am a moron, this meant that next turn the Earthborn got gangbashed by THREE heavies, which is enough to make even the bravest Trollkin wet his quitari. Also, the half-dozen or so Mechaniks standing behind Behemoth took him back up to almost full capacity, which made me feel pretty dumb.

Mortar fire and Doom Reavers took out most of my Kriel Warriors (who then took out most of the Doom Reavers in turn, hoorah!), and the Risen advanced all stoic and dead.

The Axer and Mauler moved up to take advantage of an out-of-position Beast 09, who'd been exposed while killing the Earthborn. They took him out but couldn't finish off Behemoth as well (who at one point I got down to ONE. FREAKING. HITBOX!) before he got all systems go from the Mechaniks again and started pegging bombard shots into my battlegroup that remained.

The photos and my memory get a little hazy from here since they go from showing two almost-full battlegroups, staring down Behemoth, to Madrak, Janissa and a Slag Troll kinda hanging out on their own.

I can only presume that I stopped taking photos there, and Madrak took some sort of ranged killing blow to the face. I believe I failed his first Tough roll.

Debrief:

Ow. Ow ow ow. Three two-caster games during the league and I got thoroughly trounced in all three. I'm not sure I properly capture it here but looking at the photos I took you can see an ever-shrinking circle of light around my ever-shrinking circle of models on the table. I'll admit that by this point in the League I was getting a bit disheartened, and a bit bored of playing Grissel and Madrak for every game.

In terms of constructive lessons learned, I think I need to get in more practice at two-caster games and larger games as well. I keep "learning" that lists need to specialise in something and have a definite game plan before they hit the table - but not properly applying it. My smaller lists (35 points especially) are getting much tighter, while at higher points levels I keep thinking "so I need to take a unit or two of warrior models to fill things out..." which actually seems to just pad the lists out with chaff. 

Do I actually need to take a tarpit, the way I play? I'm thinking no, at this point. They're basically thrown away to an opponent who stacks his/her list with threats the way Nonchalance & my Khador buddy do - so when they're wiped out to a handful of models by end of turn two, I'm basically playing ten points down from then on in.

More threats!

Also target selection. Gunning for the Behemoth in the Jack Brick was just plain stupid. I'll admit that I couldn't have just sat back and let Khador come to me, but using Irusk's feat turn as an opportunity to reform and either determine his charge targets or prepare for my own would have been a better idea than sending my beasts to smash up against his brick piecemeal. Herp Derp, we live and learn.

With the Semi-Final done, the last match was to be Khador vs the winner of Nonchalance & Beaumains. Next time, I'll briefly cover the result of that battle and talk a bit about the League as a whole.

No comments:

Post a Comment