Sunday, 5 February 2012

048 - UK Masters Tournament Report: Part 2

There were two more games in the afternoon, making for a bit of a marathon of a gaming day, and with the calibre of opponent there was no room for relaxation.

Game 3: Shared Reconnoiter

Seamus vs. Dreamer

Opponent: Calmdown

Game Type: Tournament

This was going to be a difficult matchup. I decided to stick with my original plan of using Seamus and attempting to Insignificant-ify his crew when they showed up, but expected Ian to be fielding the Dreamer. If nothing else, I wanted to try and prove to myself that Seamus wouldn't be a pushover for Chompy.

Ian started with a standard Dreamer crew build containing Lelu & Lilitu, 3 Stitched Together and 3 Daydreams. His game plan was obviously to try and remove as many of my models as possible so that I'd have nobody to contest quarters at the end of the game. For my Schemes I chose Frame for Murder (unannounced) on Sybelle, and Exterminate Dolls, intending to take out the Stitched Together. Ian's Schemes were Hold Out and Steal Relic.

Dreamer prepares to launch his Nightmare Friend at Seamus & Co.
Winning the initiative, the Dreamer did his signature slingshot move and Chompy ate one of my Belles before retreating behind a distant building, a place I knew he would continue to hide his master unless I got one of my models behind his lines. I therefore advanced everyone as quickly as possible towards the center of the table, luring forwards the exposed Daydream and taking him out to try and limit Ian's future mobility.

I won the second turn initiative and put Seamus in Defensive Stance, knowing that he would be the next target and he re-raised the Belle from the nearby corpse to keep my model count up. Chompy jumped out again, and this was where I made probably my biggest mistake of the weekend. Seamus had plenty of Soulstones and managed to survive the first Strike, but in the Onslaught that followed and every subsequent attack I forgot to flip extra cards for his defense! These are the worst kind of mistakes, the "what-ifs". Not knowing how the result might have been different, and knowing the potential effect Seamus could have had on the subsequent turns, means you're always kicking yourself that it could have been different. Ian knew the best way to put Seamus down was to go for lots of negative flips and hope for the Red Joker to inevitably come out. Flipping 4 cards on each damage flip meant he quickly hit the card he wanted and Seamus went down. Whoops for Ian here though as in his rush to kill Seamus, he'd forgotten to Steal the Relic!

After my master was dead, Ian felt comfortable dropping his crew to engage my minions, and the game became a protracted fight in the center of the board. I'm struggling to remember the details of exactly who killed who from that point. One Belle almost made it through in an attempt to deny Hold Out, but was killed before she managed to escape. Knowing that it was my only chance to claw back some VPs, Sybelle attacked and wounded Chompy, and was eaten in retaliation, but this only gained me 1VP. Bete Noire appeared from Sybelle's death and managed to kill Lelu with a timely Slit Jugular, but she was unable to get close enough to the Dreamer to pick him off before being Chomped. I think I managed to put down a couple of Stitched Together, but it was around Turn 5 when the last of my models fell to the Neverborn attack and Ian was able to position his survivors to gain 3VPs for the Strategy which along with 2 for Hold Out gave him a 5-1 win.

This was another excellently played game by an expert Dreamer player. Even had Seamus survived that first round of attacks, he would have gone down in Turn 3 or Turn 4 at the very latest, so I'm not confident that the result would have been much different. Defensive Stance isn't something I've used all that much (and I know that's an issue in itself), so when I did need to use it I completely forgot it was still active. Ah well, lesson learned. I still believe Seamus can hold his own against The Dreamer if played a bit better, and with a slightly more optimal crew selection, so I think I'm going to make that a mini-objective for the year.


Game 3: Shared Distract

Pandora vs Colette

Opponent: 13th Warrior

Game Type: Tournament

The final game of the day used a strategy that I’m not at all familiar with – in fact I don’t think I’ve ever played Distract until this point. The majority of the games I’ve played have used the Core Strategies chart and not the Expanded, mainly because that’s what people tend to prefer in my local meta. The Expanded Strategies are more varied (and dare I say it, more fun), but also have an element of imbalance in that they can advantage certain crews more than others, in contrast to the Core strategies which are generally fairer. Another thing for my 2012 objectives list: Play every one of the Expanded strategies at least once.

For Distract, I knew I needed a fast Master, and one that could either kill the enemy Master or really slow them down. I toyed with the idea of using Seamus again to drop Insignificant on the enemy master and stop them getting any VPs, but he wasn’t particularly speedy, and I suspected I’d be facing Colette who’d be a) hard to pin down and b) dropping SS like crazy to stop me hitting her. I plumbed for Pandora, since I’d have to use her at least once over the weekend, and using her in Game 4 would mean I’d have complete freedom of choice in Game 5.

Rob’s crew was the cookie-cutter Colette crew, with Cassandra, the Coryphee duet and one Performer/Mannequin pair. For his schemes he selected Power Ritual and Breakthrough. I chose Kidnap (2 Coryphee and the Performer) and Assassinate. Kidnap would be a little easier on me as the Coryphee would obviously combine and disappear from the table, and I’d only have to take care of the Performer. Assassinate would be a little harder but my main aim Colette and making her run off the table would be just as good as killing her for that Scheme.

In Turn 1, Rob interacted with the two corners in his half of the board, and ran Cassandra alarmingly fast up my left flank to try and capture another corner. The Coryphee joined into a Duet and positioned themselves ready to rush me on Turn 2. I flew the Doppelganger, and the Madness into the ruined tower in the center, and the rest of my crew shuffled forwards slightly.

Turn 2 was where it all kicked off, with Lilitu casting Lure on Cassandra to pull her away from my left corner. Rob decided that his lieutenant was too exposed on her own, and after some fire-breathing and some swapping about she was repositioned safely in his deployment zone. I foolishly moved the Doppelganger out of cover (I can’t even remember what combo I was trying to line up here – it was late in the day and I don’t think I was thinking straight), and Colette pounced on the opportunity, casting Disappearing Act with her trigger and turning my most expensive minion into a Mannequin.

The only positive from this was that it gave Pandora a nearby target for Incite which gained her some extra movement and allowed her to engage the whole of Rob’s crew. A liberal usage of Soulstones on some casting flips, and a high Crow that I’d been saving for the occasion meant that after Pandora’s onslaught, the Performer and Colette herself found themselves on Rob’s board edge and needing to rally. The Duet shot around my right flank, captured the 3rd table corner and hit a few things along the way, but I wasn’t too worried about it.

I was pretty confident at this point that I had Colette trapped and potentially even run off the board. You might even say I was over confident. Colette rallied and recovered in the next couple of turns, and I realised that fate had deserted me when I drew a hand of cards with nothing above a 5. Colette’s retaliation was brutal and effective. Magician’s Duel, Magician’s Duel, Magician’s Duel. Pandora bit the dust and the Showgirls started to close on my deployment zone. With time running out on the round, Rob picked up his tape measure to move Colette her Wk which would bring her into my DZ and score him points for both Distract and Breakthrough. With the tape measure poised, Jo the Tournament Organiser rushed past shouting “Time’s Up! Tape Measure’s Down!” Unlucky for Rob, this denied him 4 VPs, but Cassandra still got to take her free activation at the end of the game and interact with the final board quarter for Power Ritual to give him the game at 4-2.

Sorry it's taking me so long to finish this series of posts - my very helpful place of work has recently decided to ban blogging from work at lunch time, which has meant I'm struggling to fit time in to write these up. Recap of the final game and the results coming soon though.