Battle Report 136 - Mox Invitational Round 4: The Heretic (Bump in the Night) vs. Zaal 1

Prologue:

For my other list and thoughts about my pairing, check this post first

I've said it before, I'll say it again - Skorne is a strong faction with a deep pool of stuff. 

My opponent for the finals is a gentleman named Zack, who I had the pleasure to play against a few months ago at a team event. Then he had Zaal 2 into my Wurmwood, and this time he had a Zaal 1 dude spam list and a Mordikaar slightly less dude-spam list since one of the units was Ferox. 

Either way, I'm playing the Heretic since:

- Hollowmen remove Zaal 1's feat from the game
- RFP everywhere is something neither of those casters wants to see
- I have Mad Caps in my side board specifically for these kinds of matchups. 

With that in mind, it was an easy Heretic drop. My opponent picked Zaal 1, with the only shooting being his Cannoneer, Shaman, and Zaal himself. 

I dropped a unit of Dread Rots for two units of Mad Caps and a Glimmer Imp, and then I chose the Ruin and Labyrinth Arcana. Ruin is super potent into this matchup since Zaal has several upkeep spells he wants out AND I can play it when his Cannoneer goes up to Far Strike after Zaal has activated, cancel the Far Strike to keep my dudes safe, AND get rid of his upkeep spells. 

Labyrinth just helps me get the Alpha. 

The Heretic
- Rattler
- Gorehound
- Gorehound
- Crabbits x2

Lord Longfellow
Witchwood
Witchwood
Glimmer Imp

Dread Rots
Dread Rots
Mad Caps
Mad Caps
Hollowmen
- CA
Hollowmen
- CA
Twilight Sisters

Zaal 1
- Cannoneer
- Shaman

Hakaar
Ancestral Guardian
Ancestral Guardian
Ancestral Guardian
Soulward
Soulward

Swordsmen
- CA
Immortals
- CA
Karax

 

I sadly lost the roll off, and decided to take the table edge with the least amount of obstructed table space so that he would have to contend with all sorts of terrain. 

It also was the side with the screening cloud, which I could abuse with my eyeless sight Hollowmen and hide a Mad Cap behind to send endless waves of Cask Imps into his poor Melee Infantry. 

(Cue made laughter, Mad Caps do that to me)

 
 

The other nice thing about going second was putting my Hollowmen opposite his living infantry. They cannot RFP Immortals, so I wanted them fighting the things they prey on.

 
 

Skorne turn 1:

My opponent screams up the table with everything! The puddle is a bit of a problem for his Immortals, but not too bad. 

Inviolable Resolve goes out for real this game onto the Karax. Zaal casts his soul distribution spell and gives all the Guardians a soul. 

 
 

Grymkin turn 1:

In return, my stuff largely runs too...except the trees...which cannot. 

Fury goes on the Rattler so he can chew his way through even Shield Walled Karax, and I put a Wall of Fire down right in front of his Swordsmen. 

Side note: this spell is very undervalued on the Heretic, it always does work for me. 

I make four Cask Imps this turn, and I position them so that if my opponent Shield Walls the Karax he cannot attack them BUT he could charge them if he wishes. 

The Rots run up to the right hand zone. They have one job - make sure nothing comes to play over there. They don't outthreat anything, but if they can sit at the back of the zone and prevent him from committing to it, that's fine. 

 

Ladies and gents, infantrymachine is back!

 

Skorne turn 2:

My opponent takes the Cask Imp bait and charges his Karax up. The Swordsmen run around the forest, a move I was not expecting, and the Immortals take their place in the middle. 

He contests my zone with one Swordsman so I cannot score, but doesn't have enough beasts to put into the left one. 

His Shaman and Cannoneer each Far Strike and shoot at the non-prowled Witchwood, boosting damage and killing it. 

Zaal goes onto the hill and casts his soul distribution spell, but does not drop any extra fury. 

 
 

Grymkin turn 2:

I upkeep Fury on my Rattler and start things off with the Witchwood. She moves over, kills the Swordsman in the zone, and makes another one turn around and try to kill the CA. 

The Gorehound moves up, kills a pair of Swordsmen, and Sprints into the middle of the rest of them. 

My other Gorehound moves into the zone to take it. 

The Middle Mad Cap unit moves up and lobs fire bombs, lighting Karax, Immortals, and Hakaar on fire and making some Cask Imps. 

The Heretic walks up to a Karax, bashes him to remove Inviolable Resolve, casts another Wall of Fire, and then Lightning Strikes out of there. 

Hollowmen kill a LOT of Karax, removing them from play. The other Mad Cap unit lobs fire into the two that remain and make a few more Cask Imps. 

I get a point and call it a turn. 

 
 

Score: 1 - 0
Advantage Grymkin

Skorne turn 3:

Fire rolls do work and he loses four models right off the bat. His Cannoneer frenzies into his Ancestral Guardian, but doesn't kill it. 

His Vengeancing Immortals ding up the Gorehound a bit. 

He chooses Incorporeal for his Immortals and they all charge in, one of them killing Longfellow. 

His Ancestral Guardian on the right charges and kills the Gorehound, and so his Swordsmen move up at me. 

His Shaman takes a shot at my Mad Cap but misses, and his Souward on the left shoots the other one, but I Shield Guard it to the Crabbit. 

Zaal walks up, casts Far Strike on himself, and shoots the Mad Cap to death. 

I think about it for a second, and then trigger The Reckoning on him. 

My opponent passes the turn after flinging as many models in my way as he can get. 

 
 

Score: 1 - 0
Advantage Grymkin

Grymkin turn 3:

I clear out some infantry, and then I lob a ton of fire at Hakaar who refuses to take damage. 

I think about it for a minute, and then run my Glimmer Imp up to end in melee with Hakaar and within five inches of Zaal who can see him thanks to the elevation on the hill. 

I ask my opponent if he'd like to take a defensive strike, which he declines because he sees my Rattler poised to move in and overtake up to Zaal. 

My first Hollowmen unit get five aiming guys, so that's five two-man CRAs at effective rat 5 base, 2 from aiming, 2 more from the Glimmer Imp, and 2 more from Reckoning so RAT 11, and POW 11 base, up to 13 with CRA and up to 15 with the Reckoning. 

The five shots take out his Cannoneer through transfers, and the remaining unit moves up to put two 4-man CRA's into Zaal, which turns him into a Hollowman and he never makes it to being Zaal 2. 

 
 

Victory for the Grymkin!

Post-Game Thoughts:

This was a pretty terrible matchup for my opponent. He can't effectively deal with the Mad Caps fast enough, and the Cask Imps both did a fair amount of work and also forced him to warp his entire game plan around them. 

Hollowmen were champs in this matchup, doing way more work than they had any right to and ultimately winning me the game. 

Wall of Fire and Dispel on the Heretic were both important as well, and it was nice to put some of the theory crafting I've been doing into practice with his little yo-yo trick. 

Overall I was very happy with how I played this game, and quite excited to take first! I guess I have to paint my Heretic now....

Thanks for reading :)