Wednesday, 28 January 2015

League of Extraordinary Henchman Saturday Recap

First of all I would like to thank Mike Marshall, Lee Batrick and anyone else involved in running this event. I would also like to thank Joe Wood for driving Philippa and I up from London and picking us up from our hotel and taking us to the event each morning. The event was a ton of fun and it wouldn’t have been possible without you guys. 

Last year I played in two 10-person tournaments at Table Top Nation in Essex, but until this weekend hadn’t really tested my mettle on the larger UK tournament scene. It was a great first introduction as having the top 16 players in the country out of the pool due to the Masters gave me some more confidence that I could do ok this weekend. My main goal for the weekend was to come out with a winning record. I went 3-3 in my 6 tournament games in 2014 and wanted to improve upon that. I would need to likely go 3-1 on one of the days to achieve this goal. I was also looking forward to meeting some of the guys I had been chatting with on twitter in person. I also wanted to focus on having fun and not making any major mistakes. I could accept getting outplayed by better players, especially against players with crews I had never seen, but didn’t want to beat myself by forgetting things like Terrifying…

The Friday night after we arrived was spent finishing painting Hooded Rider who was my last model I was planning on using for the tournament that I hadn’t finished. See below for the entire pool of models I had that I could use. Also I borrowed two silurids from a clubmate since I didn’t have time to paint mine (which was a very good call as they seriously pulled weight in certain games…)

The tournament was taking place in a school and was actually quite chilly in the room. This was fantastic in my mind as most tournaments get really hot and grossly sweaty so it was a nice change to get to keep my sweater on. The board all looked great and had a good spread of terrain.

Without any further ado, let us get to the games. I’ve also decided to name a Most Valuable Player for my crew in each game to the model I felt carried the most weight in the game.

Game 1 vs Peter from Yorkfaux.
Turf War (Standard Deployment)
Deliver a Message
Frame for Murder

My List: 
Dreamer with Wings of Darkness, Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly
Teddy with Retribution’s eye
2 Waldgeists
Widow Weaver
4SS Pool

His List: 
Mei Feng (Ten Thunder) with Vapormancy and Seismic Claws
Toshiro with his summoning upgrade
Chiaki with Pull of the Graves
3 Rail Workers
2 Tengu

I declared Deliver a Message and Breakthrough. He declared Breakthrough and took Deliver a Message unannounced.

My plans:
As soon as I announced Deliver a Message and Breakthrough and he only announced Breakthrough, I thought there was a very good chance I could win this game. As long as I didn’t kill his frame for murder (if he took it) target model with my master/henchmen I could hold him to 5 scheme points and score 6 myself. I was going to send off a Silurid to deal with Breakthrough (as well as summoning some models later) and wait for Mei to come to me to score Deliver the Message (I assumed correctly that he would get her stuck in despite knowing that I needed to deliver the message. Her combat ability being too important to not take advantage of). This is basically what happened. We each scored 3 for Turf War (game ended after 4 turns). We also scored all the same scheme points EXCEPT my announcement of deliver a message got me the extra point for a 9-8 win.

This is how the board looked at the end of the game
Post-game thoughts/highlights:
  • A komainu (summoned by Toshiro) managed to score deliver the message on either turn 1 or very start of turn 2 on Dreamer
  • Turn 1-2 Toshiro summoned a Komainu each turn from the scrap from the Emberling. These proved hugely important as one scored him deliver the message and one helped him score turf war every turn.
  • Turn 2 Mei Feng (after Railwalking turn 1) kicked Dreamer to death leaving me master-less
  • I was planning on delivering the message with a waldgeist engaged with Mei but she kicked him and red jokered the damage flip killing him.
  • Luckily, Lelu used his (0) action to push 3” and deliver the message (The rare game where Lelu is the difference maker for me).
  • Lelu constantly getting slow, burning, etc and forcing it onto Lilitu who was trying to tie up tengu on the other side of the board.
  • Teddy killed a rail worker.
  • Mei Feng killed Widow Weaver around this time as well. She put in serious work this game…
  • The second waldgeist stood in the turf war circle the entire gaming (as did Lilitu) ensuring that I got my points for that.
  • A silurid was running around in his backfield placing scheme markers whilst a railworker was following around it removing the markers.
  • Going in to turn 4 (which was clearly going to be the last turn) I realized I needed someone other than the silurid to place a marker to win. Luckily I had the Red Joker in Hand ensuring that coppelius could escape the Emberling and place one. Flip for Df on disengaging strike… Black Joker… uh oh.
  • I thought I had lost the game, but luckily day dream pushed Teddy. Teddy walked and placed a marker to score breakthrough than used his (0) to drag himself to Toshiro getting a free hit from Smell Fear which I used to push Toshiro and pin him against a wall away from the Waldgeist he was threatening. That combo basically won me the game.
  • Rail Workers are awesome, they were huge in this game, slowing down my silurid, tying up Teddy for a while and just generally being a nuisance (the discard for + flips is incredible..).
  • Mei Feng is a crazy beatstick who I barely survived. I had never played against her before but now have a healthy respect for her speed and hitting power.
  • Even though I lost my Master I won because I never let that take my focus away from the game.
  • The more I play this game the more I realize what makes Teddy so good isn’t his damage or his toughness, it’s his ability to auto-push 4 inches. The ability to move enemies out of the way (and go with them) was one of the keys to this victory AND to many others this weekend.
  • MVP: Lelu for delivering the message (if he hadn’t Mei could have spent the rest of the game running away and I would have lost) and surviving to hold the turf war circle for the last couple turns in case a waldgeist or lilitu went down.

Game 2 vs Mark
Headhunter (Corner)
Protect Territory
Cursed Object

My List: 
Dreamer with Aether Connection, Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly
2 Daydreams
Insidious Madness
2 Waldgeists
Teddy with Retribution’s Eye
5SS Pool

His List: 
Lady J with Last Stand
Francisco with Wade In
Sidir with Promises
2 Hunters
The Judge with Unrelenting Leader
Scales of Justice

I took LITS declared and Protect Territory Declared. He took Protect Territory declared and Cursed Object.

My plans: I saw that he had taken more of a Reckoning crew. My plan was to use my outactivation to my advantage. Play to max out my schemes, try and deny his and make sure I left no models isolated on their own. I would play defensively using (summoned) Lilitu to draw in and isolate his models which I would kill AFTER all his models has activated. It pretty much went exactly to plan. Silurid managed to get all the LITS markers down himself and we both scored max points on protect territory. He got no points on Cursed Object as we were both too cagey to get stuck in (I thought for sure he had taken assassinate). I managed to outscore him 2-1 on head markers which left it at 8-4 after turn 5.
My Deployment
Post-game thoughts/highlights:
  • Insidious Madness had the most influential game ever for a model that did nothing but take walk actions. Sending it down one flank alone (hidden behind houses) cause him to divert a hunter and later the Judge away from the main fight. When this happened I just ran it back to my deployment zone and to my crew so it would be safe. A 5 point model distracting an 8 point model for the whole game and a henchman for a turn or two was definitely worth it
  • Reckoning crews don’t work in Headhunter because activation control is so important. I managed to outactivate him my almost double in the later game which really made it an uphill battle for him
  • Companion is amazing. Lady J killed a Waldgeist and I thought I would have time to stop him from picking up the head but I had forgotten that Francisco had Companion. Score one head marker for him.
  • Empty Nights is severely underrated on Dreamer. I used it to push teddy 3 times for 3 free melee strikes on Lady J. Then I activated Teddy (Accomplice on Dreamer) and had him flurry her, killing Lady J before he could activate and do anything about it. That was where I basically iced the game. Teddy put in some serious work there (again)
  • LITS is not as bad as I though, especially in Corner. I didn’t like the scheme pool so I decided that I would try LITS and it definitely paid off. I had too many activations for him to stop me from getting it by the end of the game
  • The first kill of the game happened turn 2 or 3 when my Stitched Togethers killed his Hunter which he had sent down a flank to stop my silurid. I managed to grab its head and immediately this put pressure on him to be more aggressive as I could now sit still and take the win.
  • Dreamer showed off his flexibility in this game. He spent turns 1-2 summoning, turn 3 pushing teddy around to take out Lady J and turn 4-5 picking up a head marker and placing another protect territory marker.
  • Sidir is a beast. His inability to be moved by my actions took away my plan of luring him into my crew to his death. He also kept damaging and giving slow to multiple of my models a turn before I finally brought him down near the end of the game. Definitely his most influential model on the game.
  • Hunters are probably great for this mission but he really should have kept them together so as not to make them obvious head marker targets.
  • Waldgeists continued their pattern of their first game where one was killed by the opponents Master and the other stood in the center of action all game without dying (and in this case protecting some LITS/Protect Territory markers).
  • MVP: Unlike the previous game where he died early, Dreamer carried the team in this game and was definitely my MVP.
End of the Game. Not seen: Judge and Hunter hidden behind buildings scoring him protect territory

Game 3 vs Ben Halford
Squatters (Standard)
Make Them Suffer
Plant Evidence

My List: 
Dreamer with Aether Connection, Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly
Hooded Rider with Retribution’s Eye
2 Silurids
2 Waldgeists
4SS Pool

His List: 
Molly with summoning Horrors upgrade
Two crooligans
Philip and the Nanny
Rotten Belle
2 Dead Doxies
Dead Rider

I declared Plant Evidence and Breakthrough
He declared Plant evidence and took Breakthrough (unannounced)

My plans: So I had never faced Molly but what I have read about her left me terrified about this matchup. That being said it was a great pool for me as I absolutely love plant evidence and breakthrough and thought I should be able to score max scheme points for the 3rd game in a row. The silurids were on duty to get those scheme points whilst the Waldgeists and Dreamer focused on getting Squatters Rights points. The Hooded Rider was there to take out his objective runners when they crossed into my side of the board and take out the Dead Rider if need be as with Retribution’s Eye (which can be discarded to ignore DF triggers) he had a huge advantage in that matchup as the game went on.

End of Game. Silurid is hidden behind the giant building in the top right.
Post-game thoughts/highlights:

  • I underestimated the hitting power or dead doxies and rotten belles. Between the dead doxy push and the belle’s lure I was constantly getting slapped with pounce for 1-2 damage. A dead doxie and belle teamed up to push around (and kill) a waldgeist by doing 1 damage per pounce and then later a Silurid. They really pulled weight.
  • Philippa and the Nanny were a great card draw mechanic but since that is all he used it for, considering it was at the back of the board the whole game, I’m not sure it was worth the heavy investment in stones and AP cost (other models to place the markers as well as PnN’s activation).
  • Neither the Hooded Rider nor the Dead Rider ever used an attack action in this game… very weird… I guess they were both too scared of getting into it with each other. Or some weird Riders’ code.
  • My silurid that was not tied up by the belle/dead doxie managed to escape down the right flank and place 3 markers for breakthrough/plant evidence.
  • Dreamer attempted to hold the right flank via summoning but ended up in a very bad place surrounded by 3-4 punk zombies summoned by Molly. I was very worried that he would die and give up 3 points for assassinate so I spent an extensive amount of resources (both stones and cards) keeping him alive. Coppelius (summoned) managed to help attacking the necrotic machine (summoned) to get an eyeball and then using that eyeball to heal dreamer from 2 wounds back up to 6. Thank you Coppelius.  Also used Dreamers df trigger to pass off damage to a lot of daydreams. In the end it wasn’t as big a deal as I thought that he survived as it turned out that Ben had taken Breakthrough unannounced rather than assassinate. Didn’t see that one coming.
  • Dreamer in general was not a huge factor in this game. He spent the whole game summoning and then passing damage off to the summoned models who died. However on the last turn he did manage to kill 2 punk zombies by himself to ensure he survived.
  • The waldgeist on the right flank managed to hold onto the two right-most markers throughout the game.
  • On his right flank (my left) a crooligan and the dead rider controlled his 2 squatters markers the whole game.
  • Molly is incredible. Her summoning of punk zombies completely tied down dreamer and took out all his summons. She also reactivated a minion each turn which just further turned the hurt on. Didn’t do much with her slow/paralyse attack this game but all in all I was very impressed with Molly. If the game had gone on I am fairly convinced she would have taken out Dreamer and cleaned up this game.
  • Basically the game came down to the fact that my hooded rider managed to tie up his second crooligan for a turn (stopping him from getting a second marker down for breakthrough) and then on the last turn tying up Molly so she couldn’t remove my scheme marker for plant evidence or the middle squatter marker (which I had claimed after she had removed one of the one’s on my right flank)
  • In the end I scored full points for schemes and 2 for the strat and he scored 3 for plant evidence 1 for breakthrough and two for the strat. Due to extensive summoning and likely too much slow playing (and lack of killing) by both of us the game ended after turn 3 (likely to my benefit as he had killed much more of my stuff than I had his).
  • MVP: The silurid on my right flank which placed 3 of the 4 markers I needed to score my max scheme points. Got away from Molly at the start of turn 2 before she could activate and was too far away from anything to be threatened as he went to town on schemes. Honorable mention to Hooded Rider who stopped his crooligan from being able to score him max scheme points and stop Molly from denying me a strategy point on turn 3. Ended 8-6 after turn 3.

  • Game 4 against Graham.
    Interference (Flank)
    Spring the Trap
    Murder Protégé

    My List: 
    Dreamer with Aether Connection, Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly
    3 Daydreams
    Hooded Rider with Retribution’s Eye
    2 Silurids
    6SS Pool

    His List:
    Ramos with Bleeding Edge Tech, Arcane Reservoir, Electric Summoning
    Joss with Imbued Energies
    Howard Langston with Imbued Energies
    Metal Gamin
    Electrical Creation
    December Acolyte

    Declared LITS and Murder Protégé (Howard)
    He declared Murder Protégé (Hooded Rider) and took Assasinate

    My Plans: Went into this game with an outside shot of winning the tournament on table 2 as one of 3 players at 3-0. However, it did not go as planned. I knew going into this game this was going to be a tough battle. Ramos is ace at Reconitter and I assumed that Interference would be similar. I thought I could score LITS by keeping the majority of the marker on buildings which he would have trouble reaching. The key to the game would be whether I could get the drop on Howard with Hooded Rider before he got the drop on me with Howard. I was hoping if I could do that I would be able to win on schemes and just try to keep the strategy close. … Sadly that is not how it worked out. It was the worst loss I’ve ever had. It went the full 5 turns leaving me with just a silurid left on the board. 10-1 loss (1 point for LITS bonus point for announcing and getting 2 markers down). Dropped me all the way to the bottom of the 3-1 finishes as I ended the day with a -2vp diff. Ended up in 7th. Still really happy with the day. Got badly outplayed by a better player in the final game but went 3-1 completing one of my goals for the weekend. Would only need to go 2-2 on day two to complete my other goal of ending the weekend with more wins than losses.

    No Photos from this game, sorry.

    Post-game thoughts/highlights:

    • The worst loss of my malifaux career…. man where to start.
    • Turn 1 Ramos summoned 2 spiders who ran to contest my quarter and the acolyte killed both of my summoned stitched togethers before they could activate. I was definitely too aggressive in my placement of them/Dreamer and it likely cost me any chance of making this a game.
    • The only thing that went well was my two silurids hopping all over the map, including on buildings to place scheme markers for LITS. Unluckily he was outnumbering me so badly by the end that he was able to remove all of them except the ones on the top of buildings. Sadly there were only 3 of these which left me scoring a paltry 1 point.
    • Howard got the jump on Hooded Rider turn 2 by burning Oathkeeper, Nimbling and walking around the corner to charge Hooded Rider who I thought was hidden from him. Howard killed him in two strikes… and that was when I knew the game was lost.
    • Howard also killed a silurid and a waldgeist. He was a beast in this game. Howard and the acolyte just tore up my crew while Ramos summoned far more spiders than I could deal with.
    • Turn 2 he scored for Interference by summoning more spiders and continuing to wipe out all my summons with the acolyte and magnetism by the gamin.
    • Dreamer ended up going down turn 4 to ramos/spiders. If I had remembered Assasinate was in the pool I may have ran him away and hid him on a building to at least try to keep him alive and give myself a slightly better loss. Oh well.
    • Joss didn’t actually do much this game. He chased after a silurid but the silurid leapt away onto a building to place some scheme markers. This silurid was the only thing that survived the game
    • In the end I was severely outplayed by a great opponent. Losing 10-1 is never fun but I honestly enjoyed the game despite that as it was interesting to try to recover from a couple early blows. All in all this game just evidences that I am not a top tier player yet and still a long way off competing for a tournament champion position. Learned not to be so aggressive placing dreamer in Interference/Reconniter as his summons are just too weak and too important to be getting targeted the turn they are summoned.
    • MVP: I guess the silurid that survived as it placed two markers on a building which scored my only point for the game. A very hollow MVP award though.

    Saturday Post Tournament

    So after the final game they announced the podium finishers, best painted and gave out the best in faction awards for 2014. Chris Hay won best painted and Josh Fletcher won the day with Graham using his decisive victory over me to jump to second and Ben Harris game in third. I also thought it was funny that 3 of the top 6 players were named Ben… After tidying up a bit we were off to the pub for dinner. Joe drove myself, Philippa, Ben Sime and Aaron. We decided to go straight there despite the fact that it was quite early, so the five of us ended up having a couple pints (of Rekorderlig Winter Cider… Philippa was the only one who got a beer). I think everyone else at least swung by their rooms but we were joined shortly by the Joel Henry. It was great spending some time getting to know these guys and when everyone else showed up it was nice to talk to a different group of people. Being at a group of small tables was kind of disappointing as it limited the social nature a little bit, although it was great to chat with Winton family. I really hope when I eventually have kids that they will be into gaming as well. The food was pretty decent and I really did enjoy the cider, even if it was a bit pricier than I expected. I think we left around midnight (and 4 pints deep for me). Report of Day two and a summary of my closing thoughts on the tournament/my experience more generally will be up on Friday.

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