For round two, our team drew team Muse on Minis, one of the teams that we had identified as a top tier team. As Bret likes to say "Oh well, gotta play through them to win anyway!", and off we went.
I was paired up against Kurt running a mercs pairing that I was pretty sure he'd drop Thexus out of.
I was also able to choose my table, and here I made a big mistake. You're going to see in the pictures coming up that there's a large building blocking off my flag. I'd glanced at the table, seen a wide open middle for me to shoot in, thought the building was rubble, and chosen that table.
Unfortunately, I was mistaken and this was probably my biggest mistake of the match.
Kurt won the roll off and opted to go second, taking the far superior side of the board with lots of space and hills to play with.
Dread Rots (max)
Dread Rots (max)
Dread Rots (max)
Mind Bender and Drudges (max)
Mind Slaver and Drudges (max)
Mind Slaver and Drudges (min)
Steelhead Halberdiers (max)
- Cephalyx Dominator
Alexia and the Risen
- Cephalyx Dominator
Spoiler Alert: I lose this game, and as with all of my losses, I've spent a lot of time picking apart what I could have done better and what my opponent did very well, so this is going to be a bit longer of a report than usual. Stick with me, I hope it's worth it.
Alright, starting off early here. I think that my deployment was pretty bad. The Witch doesn't need the giant empty space next to the forest to hang out in - she can hang out in the forest all day and be just fine. In fact, this is better for her since there's a big patch of rough terrain in front of it that will make charging at her harder. Additionally, this means that more of my army can sit in the empty space and get up the table faster.
Also, it means that ambushing into the right hand zone is less strong since the only viable target is the quite difficult to kill Warlock and maybe a Frightmare toeing the zone.
I also could have double up my two units on the right if they were staring down an empty field by mixing them in the deployment zone, getting them more compact in there and easier to unpack as well.
If I'd optimized my deployment, it'd probably look more like this:
Kurt's deployment looks pretty spot on. He's got a nice forest for Alexia to hide behind, his Overlords have pathfinder so they can be behind it and then move forward and spray, and he isn't ever scoring my zone with his beasts so they're not wasting their time there.
Grymkin turn 1:
Everything more or less runs. I'm already having problems with my model placement here, as the Hollowmen are forced to run into the forest and the Dread Rots on the right are going to be running around it next turn and then likely ambushed on.
Since Witch is taking up SO much of the open space, I also can't really shove my units through to the important scenario pieces without keeping her too far back to be relevant.
If I'd had both of my Hollowmen units in the middle of the table like they could have been, I can force project out a lot further than I can with the deployment option I chose.
You can see here, my unpacking is really awkward.
Cephalyx turn 1:
Everything surges forward and Thexus puts Deceleration up. I don't have a ton to say about Kurt's placement here except that his heavies are in the perfect spot to make me have to play Witch conservatively. They threaten 14 inches against a single target (the Wreckers do) every turn, 16 against large based and smaller models on Thexus' feat turn, and they're doing a great job keeping the Witch back now.
Grymkin turn 2:
I'm really feeling trapped in here. I can't get to much of his army yet, and what I can get at (the drudges on the far right and the Steelheads) don't really matter much.
I decided to take shots at the Drudges with my Hollowmen and missed most of them. Panicking a bit, I screen them with Dread Rots from the inevitable ambush coming up.
I think it would have been a better idea to simply run everything towards the middle of the table here. I killed something like 2 Drudges and I set Kurt up with a fantastic Ambushing flank.
Another questionable move here is where I put my Trapperkins. As two of my Magical Weapons in the list, they needed to be on Machine Wraith duty, but instead I put them up front thinking to ding up his heavies with them.
Old Witch tossed Curse of Shadows on a Wrecker and I got a couple shots into him after she moved back.
If Witch had deployed correctly, I could have used her to screen my models from the incoming Ambush, and had the Burning Earth on the left to do the same on that side of the table.
Cephalyx turn 2:
The Ambush comes in, predictably, and kills off half a unit of Dread Rots and replaces them with Drudges.
Thexus moves over to avoid the Trapperkin, and the Machine Wraith comes and hangs out in the Burning Earth to contest my flag. On the other side, a Machine Wraith sits on that flag as well, and the Overlords clear out my contesting models.
Kurt also clears out his rectangular zone pretty easily, and he's contesting with a lot of models in the middle and in my zone.
Add to that my inability to clear either Machine Wraith easily and I'm suddenly in a lot of trouble.
Score: 0 - 2
Grymkin turn 3:
Somehow I thought I was pretty safe still, and so I split my attacks up even more than they already were in some ways.
I can't bring all of my guns to bear in the middle of the table since they either block LoS to enemy models by their own numbers or they're too far away in the far zone.
I do identify and kill off the Slavers in each unit of Drudges, so no more will be coming back, and I put some serious effort into killing the Overlords on the right hand flag, but I can't get anything into the other Overlord Unit.
At the end of the turn, I've killed some things, and I'm contesting, but I don't have enough multi wound models in the right places and I haven't scored any more points myself.
Witch is still clogging my middle table, and I can't get my troops through the gap easily.
No points are scored.
Score: 0 - 2
Cephalyx turn 3:
Kurt and I discussed his options here. Clearing his zone and his flag was going to be easy.
Clearing my flag would rely on me not making one of two tough checks after Thexus feated and shoved everything together for it to be sprayed and/or threshered.
Kurt did make one mistake in not moving my Mad Caps with his feat. He could have pushed it away from the flag and not had to kill it, and instead he threw his Wrecker at it. I was able to put the AOE centerpoint from Catostrophic Explosion right on top of his Overlord unit, and without them he can't clear the flag, but it deviated the exact wrong direction and so his Overlords were able to move up and spray down the Dread Rots contesting my flag. I did not make either tough check (one was from the Wrecker thresher), and so Kurt was able to run his Machine Wraith up and control that flag, score three points after clearing his zone and the other flag, and win.
Score: 0 - 5
A loss for the Grymkin
In the immediate aftermath of the game, it was pretty easy to get hung up on the mistaken table choice as the primary reason I lost this game, but looking back at it I'm almost 100% certain it was my poor deployment that was the primary reason.
It took my three whole turns to get my army into a relevant position, and I allowed Kurt to ambush and kill a TON of models when that mostly could have been avoided by putting Old Witch off to the side like I should have.
Kurt was a fantastic opponent, and this was one of the more enjoyable losses I've had. I love watching Thexus do his thing - he's definitely a caster I could see myself playing in the future.
My team ended up losing 1 - 4, so we thought we were on to the fun bracket. (Spoilers: We weren't!)
Look for round three soon, and thanks for reading :)