GAME ONE – John DeMaris (Phatasian – Muse on Minis) – Incursion
It seemed like an age waiting for that first round draw to come out but I know John was pretty excited to get this game and I was glad to face John too. We’d never played a game before and I’d been talking to John a lot already during the event so it was nice to get a game against one of the players that I already knew well. John was bringing pKreoss and eFeora to the table. I felt pretty confident that he wouldn’t pick eFeora because her heavy jack loadout was double Templar and the Avatar – an all melee load out would be easy pickings for pIrusk and Inhospitable Ground so it had to be Kreoss. Also due to the strength of Kreoss’ feat I wouldn’t want to chance the Old Witch here I needed the Steady portion of Irusk’s feat so he was my pick:
- Vessel of Judgement
- 10 Knights Errant & UA
- 10 Zealots & UA
- 4 Choir
- Aiyana & Holt
- Gorman de Wolfe
- Vassal Mechanic
- Vassal Mechanic
John won the roll off and decided to go first setting up his battle group centrally, zealots to my left along with aiyana and holt. I assumed the Errants would be deployed on the right so I faced my Winter Guard there and Assassins & Widowmakers faced off versus the Zealots. Conquest and Great Bears stood in the centre.
TURN ONE – John ran everything up the table and cast Defender’s Ward on the Errants.
I gave two focus to the Conquest. Widowmakers moved up and capped 3 of the Zealots. Winter Guard took a Bob & Weave order and moved up, shooting rockets into the errants killing one. Irusk put Superiority on the Conquest and Iron Flesh on the Assassins. Conquest Moved up and fired his main cannons at an Errant that I thought was stood too close to John’s warjacks. I boosted for the off chance of a Crit but missed completely, scatter hit one errant which I boosted the blast damage to kill. Conquest then placed his Creeping Barrage templates. I was fairly sure that John would Greater Destiny (mini feat) his Zealots next turn anyway but I placed the templates ahead of the Zealots to ensure he would have to use it to advance. It was a big choice in this early stage to not feat, I knew I would have to consider it carefully because if I called it wrong John could rush in and take off 60% of my infantry before I could even engage. The critical factor in this was Kroess’ position, he was sat behind a wall and because of this he would be unable to charge forwards to extend his feat range which combined with the cautious advance my own models did made a turn 2 Feat exceptionally unlikely.
SCENARIO – Critically… the central flag disappeared… with both our heavy battle groups placed centrally this was a huge factor in how the game would now play out
TURN TWO – John allocated a focus point to the Reckoner, 2 to the Redeemer and kept Defender’s Ward. John had a look at his control area and I double checked my distancing when he did – this wouldn’t be a feat turn. The Battle Engine advanced and fire at Conquest for a few points of damage and killing a nearby assassin. The Reckoner retreated slightly to its maximum range (range 12 versus Conquest’s max melee threat range of 11) and fired into Conquest dealing more damage. The Redeemer stepped up and fired towards my Widowmakers getting an excellent scatter to kill 2 which also caused them to flee… The redeemer then fired into the Winter Guard killing 3 with scatters. The Errants advanced and surrounded the right hand flag firing into the Winter Guard also killing 2 more. The Zealots called their Mini Feat and ran forwards forming a picket line in front of the Battle Engine and partially covering the Reckoner as well as surrounding the left hand flag. Aiyana and Holt remained back and called stealth. Kreoss advanced towards the back of his Battle Engine and was covered by Gorman’s smoke cloud again. Both Vassals put enliven down onto John’s jacks. John also killed a Great Bear at some point this turn but I do not remember what with – it may also have been a Redeemer Rocket.
I wanted to dump a main cannon shot onto John’s jacks badly but I couldn’t risk not rolling a Critical and allowing them to enliven towards me. Still, I allocated 3 to conquest and up kept Superiority for free. My Winter Guard had taken a beating but were in range, my assassins could reach deep into the Zealots so this would be my feat turn. I pondered what to do with Conquest regarding those Enliven moves. I also needed to shift his position to a flank to get towards one of those flags, I was really torn. I activated the Assassins who ran to engage as many zealots as I could and surround the left flag. Irusk placed Ironflesh back onto the Assassins and Feated. I advanced the Winter Guard and fired into the Errants killing a good amount of them and leaving only 5 stood around the flag (the banner was also hiding in the nearby forest). I moved conquest up and to the right – staying out of the Reckoner’s charge range. I had decided to focus my efforts on the Errants and fired into them, I hit but no critical and killed 2 more of them. I placed my Creeping templates on top of the now engaged Zealots and Assassins to further hamper any movement next turn. With only 3 Errants remaining I was happy with my efforts but Conquest was still too far away from the flags. I was at risk of gifting John scenario points in my next turn… always that centre flag… On hindsight there were two plays I could have made here with the Conquest to force the game more aggressively. Firstly walk directly at the Reckoner but being careful to not go within 6 inches of it (its maximum threat range while under Inhospitable Ground) … and then put up IHG. I could also have fired my cannons into the Redeemer meaning that I would have had a severely reduced chance of triggering Enliven on the Reckoner with just blast damage while still giving myself a chance at the Critical Devastation. I realised this after I had activated Irusk and by then I could not have used IHG making the plan irrelevant.
TURN THREE – John turned his attention to the scenario zones and spent a lot of time looking at my Assassins. He knew he couldn’t use his Feat this turn because my entire army was granted Steady by my own Feat (models/units abilities for the win). I was actually more worried about the other flag because to me it looked like only one Winter Guard was contesting it! John allocated 1 to the Reckoner and 2 to the Redeemer again as well at upkeeping. The Battle Engine activated first and advanced closer to the Zealots & my Assassins and used its repulsion Miracle to push 2 Assassins back and set them on fire. It then fired at one of the Zealots killing it but only rolling 1 extra bounce to an Assassin and I believe I passed the Tough roll to boot. Again Aiyana and Holt just hung around behind the Zealots and used Stealth. The Zealots then advanced a little and attacked my Assassins, two Zealots passed through my Creeping Barrage AOEs and died. Due to a combination of extremely high DEF versus their melee attacks and a few passed Tough rolls John only managed to kill one or two more. Kreoss advanced behind the Battle Engine with Gorman clouding to prevent a Kayazy charge and he placed Defender’s Ward on himself. John turned his attention to the right hand side and the Errants aimed at my Winter Guard and in combination with fire from the Redeemer they managed to bring the unit down to 4 models with no Officer. However John had so far failed to kill the one model that was contesting the flag. The Reckoner moved a bit and fired at him – I passed my Tough roll. A vassal moved up and Enlivened the Reckoner (this surprised me a little as I thought this Vassal would be the model who would run up to score the point). The second Vassal then forced the Reckoner to shoot me again and it hit again thanks to its Flair ability and this time killed the Winter Guardsman. A Vassal Mechanic tried to run for the flag but thanks to being only SPD 5 he was over an inch short. If John had waited to Enliven the Reckoner until after its Ancillary attack and instead ran it to the Flag he would have been a CP up on me at this point. I had dodged a bullet.
It was time to put the pain into John’s armour. I really needed Conquest to sit on a flag but two things swayed my choice to attack. Firstly John had no CPs as yet so I was in no danger of losing the game in the next turn and if I did not at least kill the Reckoner John would still have the potential power on the board to kill Conquest in one turn with combined shooting/melee from the Engine, Redeemer, Reckoner and a Harm from Aiyana. I think only one of my assassins died to Fire from the Engine. I allocated 3 to the Conquest and up kept only Superiority. The Assassins took a charge order and used their Acrobatic Mini Feat. I sent one assassin into Aiyana and Holt and most others into the Zealots. I also ran one Assassin into base contact with the Reckoner on its right hand side. The Assassin I charged Aiyana with I realised I really really should have charged Gorman with because now I had no way to stop him Blinding Conquest next turn – big mistake on my part. I killed most of the Zealots. The Winter Guard took boosted attack rolls and a charge order! Most went into the Errants to contest the flag but one ran into base contact with the Reckoner on its Left side. I killed the Vassal Mechanic and one more Errant. Conquest now activated and Charged the Reckoner. He moved into base contact at the front so in combination with the Assassin and the Winter Guardsman I formed a triangle around the Reckoner preventing it from Enliven moving away. Conquest did a HUGE amount of damage on his charge attack meaning I could kill the Reckoner in 3 hits. I then bought one attack onto the Battle Engine taking off a large chunk of health from that also. The Great Bears Charged into the Battle Engine and scrapped it. I pondered at Irusk’s position. He was behind a wall but easily within Feat range of Kreoss. If John wanted to he could knock Irusk down and throw a full rack of redeemer rockets into him and this worried me even on a respectable ARM of 19. I ran Irusk 12 inch to the left placing the Conquest directly between Irusk and the Redeemer and at that range he would be unable to walk around the Conquest to fire without entering my Colossal’s melee range.
(I forgot to take any more pictures… sorry! I was out of practice at this…)
TURN FOUR – John allocated 3 to the Redeemer and up kept Defender’s Ward. Kreoss moved slightly to my right and Feated catching pretty much my entire remaining army except some of my Solos and the Widowmakers. Kreoss killed the assassin that had been blocking the Reckoner in. Aiyana and Holt charged forwards and Holt killed my Underboss and 2 more Assassins. The Remaining Zealots killed all but two of the assassins and one more Widowmaker causing the last one to flee again… The Errants killed the remaining Winter Guard and the Redeemer ran onto the Flag (I assume he allocated 3 to make darn sure that he had enough attacks to clear both flags of my models). The remaining Vassal Mechanic ran to the left flag. Gorman blinded my Conquest. It was at this point John realised my Great Bears were still standing because Kolsk (who grants Steady) was still alive. John had no more attacks to throw at them so the Choir ran to form a picket line in front of Kreoss who was stood only 7-8 inches from the Bears. John scored 2 points and the pressure was now on.
I could not hold both Flags. I looked at the board for quite a few minutes and I could move conquest to one quite happily but I had nothing left to secure the second that would then be able to withstand a turn of attacks from John’s remaining models. Plan B – clear a path for the Great Bears. I up kept Superiority for free and Conquest walked over to the right hand flag to contest. Sylys Wyshnalyyr used Arcane Secrets on Irusk (additional die for one spell’s attack & damage rolls discarding the lowest). The remaining two assassins stood up and moved to contest the left flag (this was all academic because if I failed to kill Kreoss two assassins would not be able to hold that flag for a whole turn. Irusk stepped up and Cast Battle Lust onto the Great Bears and used Airburst on the Choir catching all 3 and Gorman, I boosted the attack roll with my last focus point and thanks to Arcane Secrets all the Choir were killed and Gorman was alive on a single health point. I knew the odds of the Greats Bears succeeding were a total coin toss – Kreoss was on DEF 16 and ARM 20 thanks to Defender’s Ward so I needed 8s to hit… I had no choice, go hard or go home. The Great Bears charged in and critically I hit with the first charge attack dealing about 11 points of damage to Kreoss. That Bear’s second attack missed but thankfully the second Bear’s charge attack also hit and killed Kreoss ending the game.
(again no picture – I apologise)
John was certainly very capable of winning this game and had the Bears failed to kill Kreoss he almost certainly would have in the next turn. And let’s be honest about this the odds on those Great Bears was less than 50% to succeed – I rode my luck in this game. At the same time however the central flag disappearing changed the game entirely for both of us, we both expected to be throwing our heavy armour down on that centre flag and had that been the case this game would have played out in a completely different way. Both me and John had made a few mistakes but overall this game was played at a decent competitive level and John was a great and very sporting opponent.