Friday, 15 February 2019

Cancon 2019 Aftermath - Part 6

This is the final part of my report of Cancon 2019. You can find the previous part here. You can find the start here.

Game 6 - Control
Matt Curtis - Elves
  • Horde of Kindred Archers with Heart-seeking Chant
  • Horde of Therennian Sea Guard
  • Regiment of Palace Guard
  • Horde of Forest Shamblers
  • Horde of Drakon Riders
  • Horde of Drakon Riders
  • Dragon Kindred Lord
  • Mage with Bane Chant
  • Army Standard Bearer with Lute of Insatiable Darkness
  • Noble War Chariot
  • Noble War Chariot
So I had made it to the final round, and I was perilously close to mid-field after my dramatic improvement on Day 2. I had actually been musing with someone prior to this game that I really hadn't run into any shooting all tournament. I would normally have been pleased about that (I really don't like gun lines), but it occurred to me that my list would probably cause a gun line nightmares. Matt's army was certainly not a gun line, however it had significantly more firepower than any of my other opponents. I guess this was my chance to see how my list held up against someone that actually shot at me a bit.

 A Dragon on the flank, with the Forest Shamblers shooting forward with their vanguard move so they could stand in the forest and pretend to be trees.

 There was a hill right in front of the Sea Guard, which was going to limit their lines of fire unless they advanced. Drakons lurked behind, ready to pounce on anything that got too close.
The Archers found a nice wall to hide behind, whilst the other Drakons took the flank. It was a pretty classic army and setup. Enough shooting to make them come at you, then the quick elements waiting to pounce when they get too close.
Was I going to get too close? Yes I was.I set the pathfinding unit up with the intention of advancing straight through the forest to get to those missile units. Elmo set up to try to help the Exemplar Forsaker keep the Drakons honest on the flank.
 I decided to essentially concede the right flank. I couldn't fight effectively through 2 forests and decided I was better off trying to concentrate and rush the shooters.
 All set for the last game of the tournament.
I got the first turn, and decided that it was time to advance. This was my most aggressive opening of any game in the event. This was basically the "you get one shot" approach.
Out of the arc of Forest Shamblers. I did hang back out of charge range of the Palace Guard. That was about the only thing stopping me from going flat out across the table. Couldn't let him concentrate his charges too effectively.
Once again, I decided it would be good to pin down the Drakons. How to do that? I decided that they would be unable to turn down a flank charge on one of my hordes, even if it was hindered. How much would it cost me? Well, it was hindered... Hopefully that would be enough.
The Order of the Abyssal Hunt were feeling a little left out, hanging behind the front lines.
Matt elected to charge the knights on my right flank with both the Dragon and Drakons from the centre. The Forest Shamblers lurked ominously in the forest.
What nonsense is this? One of the Noble Chariots put itself side-on to block 2 of my hordes. That's a disgraceful parking job.
The Drakons did indeed accept the flank charge on my knights. So that part of the plan worked. Now I just had to hope he didn't roll like a fiend.
Slightly disappointingly, the knight horde on my right was unable to stand up to the Dragon and Drakons. Well, I guess that opens things up.
The knights on my left survived, however they sustained 15 wounds. Seems like a lot for a hindered charge. The main thing was that they were still there and still available for use.
In the centre my troops set about seeking revenge for the loss of their comrades. The Order of the Abyssal Hunt managed to get into the flank of the Drakons. The horde wheeled about into the Chariot, which made for things facing in some interesting directions. The Exemplar Forsaker flew into the front of the Sea Guard to prevent them shooting. Cookie Monster decided to flank the Dragon, although he did so without any great expectations of success. This was mainly to ground it for a turn. I'm not sure if this was worth it, given it wouldn't be able to see anything for a charge in the next turn anyway.
Turn 2 and already all my stuff has changed direction and is travelling sideways.
On the left I set about trying to remove the Drakons that I had lured into combat. I counter-charged with the horde, given the Chariot had blocked any better options. The Order of Redemption joined them, whilst Elmo took the opportunity to charge their flank. The Exemplar Forsaker charged the Archers to silence them. They had knocked a number of wounds off him the previous turn and were too dangerous to be ignored.
The Drakons folded to the flank charge, which was really the most dicey of the combats. Cookie Monster and my Exemplar Forsaker both did their jobs by doing modest damage and disordering their targets. The horde smashed up the Chariot and did a 180 degree reform. Things were too congested for anything other than facing straight left or right along the field. 
The Drakons on the forest were overwhelmed by what I threw at them, so both Drakon hordes were out of the fight. That was encouraging. I was also able to reform the crippled knight horde safe in the knowledge that the Archers and Sea Guard would be unable to shoot.
Over on the right, Cookie Monster was making friends. Dragon to the front, Forest Shamblers to the rear. Poor guy. :(
Matt charged the Order of the Abyssal Hunt with his remaining Noble Chariot and the Palace Guard. 
This was more significant, however. By the time the Exemplar Forsaker had bounced back an inch, he was about level with the flank of the knight horde. Guess which unit the Sea Guard decided to charge. That's a lot of attacks, and I believe they got Bane Chanted...
Things were up and down. Cookie Monster crumbled as you would expect. The Abyssal Hunt held up remarkably well as the Palace Guard largely whiffed their attacks. The same could not be said for my horde, however. The flank charge was too much for them. I think Matt got them to about 18 wounds and then managed to avoid botching the middling nerve roll.
Whilst the Army Standard Bearer had been busy giving Bane Chant to the Sea Guard by strumming away on his cosmic guitar (or Lute of Insatiable Darkness), the Mage was producing a spell that, if it does a wound, disorders the target. This spell has a name, but I don't remember it. It's newfangled from one of the Clash of Kings books. Obviously this spell was aimed at my remaining knight horde, and the wound inflicted managed to waver them as well as disorder them. The Archers counter-charged my Exemplar Forsaker over the wall, but did very little damage.
In my turn, I was now having to pay attention to the threat posed by the Dragon. My Exemplar Forsaker focused his efforts on getting out of its arc. The Order of the Abyssal Hunt didn't have that option, so settled instead for hitting back at the Noble Chariot. There was the possibility of routing that, whereas the Palace Guard had too much nerve.
My knights had wavered, but they had Headstrong! Fortunately I passed the 3+ roll and was free to charge the flank of the Sea Guard. The Order of Redemption joined my Exemplar Forsaker in his efforts to deal with the Archers.
The flank charge proved too much for the Sea Guard, with sheer weight of attacks from the knights overcoming their lack of Thunderous Charge. They turned to face the forces coming in from the right. The combined efforts of the Order of Redemption and birdie were insufficient to even waver the Archers. I admit, I had hoped I would at least waver them. The hindered charges were taking a toll.
The Dragon streaked through the air like a blurry bolt of wobbliness...
...into the front of the crippled knight horde. Elmo watched on grimly (but still giggling, obviously).
The Chariot and Palace guard went into the Abyssal Hunt again, as the Forest Shamblers worked their way across the field. 
This time the damage proved too much, which meant the Palace Guard were free to turn and face the Exemplar Forsaker who had been looking for a nice target.
Damaged as they were, the knights in the horde were unable to take the punishment dealt out by the Dragon. The Archers charged again into my Exemplar Forsaker, and I think this time they had Bane Chant. Things were getting a bit nasty there, and I wavered.
This time Headstrong didn't help me, but I had other tools at my disposal. The Order of Redemption charged again into the stubborn Archers. Elmo went in to pin the Dragon in place as the other birdie closed in on his rear. It would all be fine so long as Elmo did a wound with his hindered charge...
The Archers folded and Elmo did his job, inflicting a couple of wounds. Well done, Elmo.
The whole battle was compressing down into a small area on the field now. Matt had no charge targets for his reinforcements, so had to settle for closing the gap. The Dragon counter-charged Elmo because without his flying, he didn't really have any better options.
Elmo took some damage, but survived. He then charged in again with the magical disappearing Exemplar Forsaker arriving in the rear. The Order of Redemption charged the Noble Chariot. I needed to knock off as many units as I could. It's worth remembering that Matt's Mage and Army Standard Bearer were still floating around, threatening to interfere as well. Having said all this, I would be leaving myself open to charges in Matt's turn. I decided the knights were actually the most resilient thing I had left, so they were the best bet given someone would likely be wearing a combo-charge.
The Dragon and Chariot both collapsed, but now it was my turn to receive the charge.
Both the Palace Guard and Forest Shamblers charged the Order of Redemption, and I think both of them might have had Bane Chant. The Palace Guard were also done rolling like potatoes now. They decided that missing attacks and failing to wound was for chumps. I had thought my knights were a chance to hold (admittedly not really factoring in Bane Chant). Instead they got smashed.
So. What to do? I think I sent Elmo in to try to hold up the Forest Shamblers, whilst both Exemplar Forsakers tried to clean up the Palace Guard. Unfortunately this plan failed abysmally. I didn't do enough damage to even waver the Palace Guard, and then I think somehow Elmo's efforts were not enough to stop the Forest Shamblers going for the nearest birdie (since they had all bounced back an inch). Fighting on the hill was not helping things line up cleanly.
The Palace Guard counter-charged and routed one Exemplar Forsaker, whilst the other one wavered from the Forest Shamblers. He then failed to shake that off with Headstrong, which put paid to my chances or hitting the Palace Guard again (which I desperately needed to do). At this point we were at the end of Turn 6, and I really needed the game to end. With the birdie out of the picture I only stood to lose from more time. But the game continued...
I wound up backing up with the Exemplar Forsaker and charging the Forest Shamblers again with Elmo, since they were all he could see. Nothing much was achieved. But then somehow Matt also failed to remove my units. My memory is fuzzy of what happened here, and it seems I didn't update my wound markers. But my units survived (presumably due to a very low nerve roll on the Exemplar Forsaker), and the game ended.

We were meant to be spreading to control the various segments of the field, but in the end every surviving model was jammed into one place. So in some ways, we had both failed. But Matt's unit strength was superior, so he controlled the zone. That made it a marginal victory for him.

Result: 7-14 Loss

So in the end I wound up with 2 wins and 4 losses, which put me in 36th out of the 51 people who finished the event (several died along the way, as is right and proper for any serious event). I can't say that I felt like I performed especially well, yet somehow I probably achieved my rough goals in terms of results. Maybe for my next event I'll give my list some more thought and give myself a better chance. 

And take fewer knight hordes.

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