I have recently played my first Warmachine tournament, after being unable to go to the last couple for various reasons, mostly because they happened to be on the same days as exams I had to run or on the same days as Make War Not Love. But this time, I had nothing else on and aggressively defended that spot on my calendar.
I began preparing about a month and a half ahead of the event, finalising my lists and then playing some more games with them to get the interactions down and seeing where each list’s strengths and weaknesses were. I had decided to run the Vayl, Consul of Everblight theme force list I have used before, for example in the battle report against eHaley you can find on this blog. With the Hex Hunters and Blackfrost Shard, I hoped I would have a good match-up against infantry-heavy builds, as well as some potential to crack heavy armour, should I end up mis-pairing the list or being list-locked in the last round. I paired it with Absylonia, Daughter of Everblight (Abbie2) running two Scytheans, a Ravagore, a Shredder, an Angelius and Zuriel, supported by a Strider Deathstalker, two Shepherds and a Forsaken. This was my main list against high-ARM armies.
Unfortunately, I was not really able to practise in the two weeks prior to the event as I had some family stuff thrust upon me, but I nevertheless felt happy with my lists and my preparation as I had been playing almost nothing but Vayl and Absylonia for some time prior to the event. Arriving on time, I found out that we would only be 5, so there would be a bye (free win) awarded to a player each round as we were an odd number (we were also odd as people, but that is a given for a wargaming tournament).
Round 1: The dreaded mirror match
Of course the two Legion players had to face each other in round 1. He had brought a Vayl 1 tier 4 theme force with two Angelii, a Seraph two minimum units of Hex Hunters, one with a free Bayal, a pot, a Raek and some fury management (I am not too sure about the details), as well as Lylyth2 with double Ravagore, double Angelius, a Naga, a Shredder, double Deathstalker, a Shepherd and a Succubus. I decided that Abbie would not be a good drop against either list as Vayl could outthreaten her with the Seraph and Leash and Lylyth could unload into her battlegroup and weaken it too much to face off against his 4 heavies that were all no slouches in melee despite him using them primarily as gun platforms. So Vayl2 it was, as she had more infantry than his Vayl1 list and more importantly more beasts, as well as having enough fast infantry to tie up the gunbeasts until my own heavies could kill them in melee. He expected me to drop Abbie and chose Lylyth, so I guess that makes me the winner in the list-pairing round.
He took first turn, so I chose the side with the double wall, having something to hide behind. He advanced aggressively to be in aiming position in turn 2 and I thought I would see a turn 2 feat coming from him, so I needed to come up with a plan to prevent that. I decided to stay mostly behind the walls, getting into a position where I could start engaging him next round, but making it difficult for him to really affect my units with shooting. Moreover, I pulled the old Omnus special and spawned a Harrier round 1 with my pot to charge and engage one of his Angelii. I only dealt three damage to it, but it was tied up for the time being and the Harrier would do exactly what it says on the tin, harrying people. Unfortunately, I then had a brain fart and flew an Angelius to a position where it would be 7-8 inches away from the Shredder just in front of Lylyth and well within the Oraculus range of Vayl, so Vayl should be able to drop some Obliterations on Lylyth turn 1, right? Well, there is this spell called Shadow Pack that I have no excuse not remembering as a Legion player which gives Lylyth Stealth, so I could not actually see her with Vayl. Of course, if I had advanced the Angelius the full distance of 18 inches and then advanced Vayl 6 inches, Vayl would have just been able to hit the Angelius with the Oraculus (it having a 2” base), the Angelius would have been just within 5” of the Shredder, so I could have dropped my Obliterations on that model, then hit Lylyth with the blast damage and at ARM 15 without transfers (having put Tenacity on herself and some beasts in addition to casting Shadow Pack), boosted POW8s would have dealt some damage. But as I had forgotten about Stealth, I wasted my feat and then had to fire some blind Obliterations, hoping for a scatter on her. In fact, I was so miffed that I decided to dump my last 4 focus into a third Obliteration (being able to run away with the feat’s free Refuge spell) and that one actually hit her and dealt 4 damage on an 11. Still, I could not do much else, so I hoped to weather his feat turn.
Which did not come as apparently the feat bombardment and the Harrier tying up the Angelius had so shaken him that he threw his plan away and decided to go for another one. A Ravagore shot my Scythean before the engaged Angelius disengaged and charged it, after taking some more damage from a free strike, leaving my Scythean at 5 damage boxes. The Ravagore shot the central Angelius and it died to a charge by his Angelius after that. Lylyth and the Deathstalkers killed some Hex Hunters, but not as many as he could have, while the Naga ran forward to threaten direct shots on Vayl next round. The Shredder had Rabid’ed and engaged the Harrier, but rolled so poorly that it only took 4 damage in total. Lylyth had also cast Pursuit on the Hex Hunters to have an escape plan for her beasts.
All in all, he did very little in his turn 2, so I decided to continue playing like a numpty and forget my own faction’s rules. Because after the Harrier frenzied and damaged the Shredder for 12 (grrr… one box left), I decided to be extra-clever and have the Bloodseer engage the Naga, cast the True Strike animus and then headbutt it to knock it down. Because Serpentine does not exist. So, having wasted two fury for the animus and the power attack, the Nephilim did some damage to the Naga with its last fury, then the Blackfrost Shard also charged it to do some more damage, but nothing really crippling. The Scythean got healed up by a Shepherd to have all aspect left, then whaled on the Angelius to bring it down with a timely charge attack from my own Angelius, so it was one all in terms of dead heavies, but with a Scythean on only 4 boxes as it had been on fire until Vayl purified it off. She had also countered Pursuit with that, so my Hex Hunters were good to go and they charged the left Ravagore and Angelius, doing some amount of damage and more importantly having 5 models in melee range with them in case they wanted to risk free strikes. The last two Hex Hunters charged the Naga for some more damage. The Ravagore missed and landed in the middle of nowhere.
In his third turn, he finally decided to call his feat and Lylyth managed to kill all 5 Hex Hunters engaging her warbeasts, though she had to spend a lot of focus to make sure she could hit them, as they were DEF18 in melee, requiring 10s even from her. The Ravagores lit up, killing my injured Scythean and my second Angelius (I think his second Angelius charged it to finish it off), as well as nearly taking out my Ravagore’s Mind aspect (one box left) and narrowly missing Vayl on a long shot. That hurt. On the positive side, the Naga had lost its Spirit and was thus unable to do much and the Shredder was again unable to do much to the Harrier. Still I was on the ropes with 3 heavies down and only the Ravagore left, as well as most of my infantry having died.
But then I saw it: Lylyth was standing in a forest which my Ravagore could completely ignore and well within 20 inches of it. So it was make or break time and it advanced, cast its animus, boosted to hit, hit and boosted damage to kill Lylyth in one fell swoop. This also meant that I got over 50 kill points, as most of his army was in his battlegroup. Neither of us had scored a single scenario point (it was the one with two flags and an objective within 5” of each flag, Two Fronts?)