Here in Texas, we have a convention called the Clash for a Cure that hosts the Texas Masters Rumble, a Masters tournament with qualifiers throughout the state. We had one such qualifier at Area 51 Games and Comics. I had been practicing ADR lists, but found out less than a week before that ADR would not be allowed for the tournament. I panicked briefly and settled on these two lists:
Objectives were Fuel Cache for Issyria and Effigy of Valor for Rahn.
Round 1, Issyria vs. Horse's pKreoss on Incoming
I thought he was going to drop Durst, but I figured I would be fine into Kreoss. Horse went first and I took the side with a forest near my friendly zone so Issyria could hide while threatening to dominate if she didn't feel safe. On that right side we had my MHSF facing the Errants and the Battle Engine, all the jacks were central, and the Zealots were lined up against the Halbs on the left. Reckoner, Kreoss, and his light run by Tristen in the middle with the Book right of center.
Kreoss 1, his light moves up and launches some AOEs. The dice go perfect on 2 or 3 of the 4 deviations, and he kills 3 of my MHSF before I get to activate, including the UA. I was pretty annoyed and already figured that my plan to go for attrition first was going to be on the back foot. Having 3 fewer attacks to take out Errants before they can do anything means enough of them might live to actually be effective. Defender's Ward goes on the Errants, everything else moves up.
Issyria 1. IR goes on the Halbs, they Shield Wall forward, Admo goes on the Chimera. MHSF run further to the right and back a little, getting in a spot where if he wants to commit the jacks to kill them, he's going to lose the jacks the next turn. Hype runs up, the MHA flanks hard on the right to get around to the BE.
Kreoss 2. He Purifies off IR and puts Defender's Ward back on the Errants. He makes a few attacks, gets excellent deviations again and damages Issy through her camp for 1 and kills another MHSF. Zealots run and minifeat in his zone.
Issyria 2. I'm annoyed at his deviations rolling 1 on direction and 5 or 6 on distance, but I look at the clock and notice that his turns are taking a very long time and he isn't positioned to start on scenario very well. Horse recently had a kid, and doesn't get to play much, so I decided I was going to do my best to give him every second to play I could and let him run out his clock. Halbs Shield Wall and move backwards outside of bomb throwing range for the Zealots, so they aren't getting a lot out of their minifeat. MHSF and Hyperion shoot Errants, and some of them die, some of them tough. No crits from Hyperion, though. I forget to put IR on Hyperion, but have Issyria in easy spell cancelling range behind the forest and camping.
Kreoss 3. More gun shots, this time damaging Hype mostly. Errants charge Hype, too, and hurt him, but he's still functional enough. MHA gets tangled up by Errants. Zealots run to jam the front Halbs a bit.
Issyria 3 FEAT TURN. Issy feats and uses Ancillary Attack on Hype. I roll 5, 5, 4, drop the 4. Crit! The Ancillary shot consumes 5 Errants and (deliciously) the Book. Now they can be knocked down. Yay! MHSF and Hype clear out the Errants mostly and the Chimera charges the Redeemer, putting on some solid damage thanks to a free charge (objective) and Combo Strike. Electromancers and Halbs put some solid hurt on the Zealots. I end with about half my time left, Horse is down to maybe 10 minutes left.
Kreoss 4 FEAT TURN. Kreoss feats and knocks down a lot of my Halbs. The Zealots kill most of them, and the Redeemer takes out my objective. The BE continues to shoot stuff, though I don't remember what exactly. Hype dies to shots, but my Chimera isn't crippled. He ends dominating his zone and getting 2 points with just 1 minute left on his clock.
Issyria 4. The Chimera Apparitions out of melee, gets 3 focus and uses 1 to stand up. The Halb UA is the only one left able to charge, so he charges the Redeemer with the minifeat and takes out both arms. Electromancers continue to kill Zealots because Electromancers are amazing. Issyria arcs Blinding Light onto Kreoss, and the Chimera charges him, doing 8 points of damage from a Combo Strike and holds the zone. My MHSF spread all over my zone to prevent easy scoring.
Kreoss 5. He has 58 seconds to kill a Chimera, an Arcanist, and like 4 MHSF to go to 4 points. He instead tries to get an assassination onto Issyria, but runs out of time and is unable to kill what he needed to for the Battle Engine to move into position. We measure it anyway, and it wouldn't have been in range to get into the forest to draw line of sight to her.
Horse played a solid game. The AOE deviations were precisely measured and infuriatingly brutal, but they take FOREVER to resolve. If he had played more quickly, it's all too likely he would have won this one.
Game 2, Issyria vs. Joe's Skarre2 on Recon
He wins the roll to go first, I pick the side that had a forest to the left that my MHSF could use to their advantage. He has Bane Riders on the right, I have Halbs face off against them. Hype left of center, DJ opposed. Chicken jack on my left with Satyxis Raiders and Witches central. All 3 tubbies including Mobius are in the back line and in position to threaten everything.
Skarre 1 – He runs everything forward
Issyria 1 – I Blinding Light some Raiders and shoot them. Some die. Hype barely leaves deployment. Admo on the Chimera, camping some for Arcane Vortex. Halbs line up so some will take a charge to the face, but I'll have at least half behind to counter punch.
Skarre 2 – More stuff runs. Raiders kill some MHSF after the Chicken Jack arcs Black Spot onto them. The Tubbies led by Mobius shoot, and hilariously do more harm than good. This was a game highlighted by how dangerous AOEs can be to yourself if your army moves before the AOE throwers. MHA on the left takes some damage, but doesn't die. DJ moves up in a threatening manner, but is too far to do anything without a Perdition. Banes charge, kill some Halbs, and Witches minifeat.
Issyria 2 FEAT TURN – I recognize that he is going to use Perdition to get Deathjack onto my Hyperion, then feat so I can't kill Deathjack that turn, so I'm going to have 2 turns of Deathjack smacking my Hyperion before I can counterpunch. I don't like it, but I know it's going to happen and I wasn't confident I could stop it, but as long as Issyria can Arcane Vortex away debuffs, I figure ARM 21 will just have to be good enough. I feat, Halbs charge the Bane Cave and kill 3 of them with their minifeat. Electromancers, MHSF, and Hyperion kill most of the Witches and I think all of the Raiders. MHA misses. The Electromancers in particular were incredible, doing the lion's share of the work here.
Skarre 3 FEAT TURN – Skarre arcs a Perdition onto something (I forget what) and does damage, so Deathjack gets to move into charging range. He clears a path and charges Hyperion. 5 Focus, charge and 5 attacks, dice -3, you get 5 attacks X 4 DMG each = 20 + one boosted which gets about 8, so 28 first round on average. The lower pow hit he took on a MHSF and missed. He took out all 12 shields and everything on the left side, around I think 38ish damage. Good rolls. Very good. Makes me a little worried. Bane cav and the remaining Witches play with the Halbs. Mobius and his bloated buddies bomb baleful blasts behind blotched batches of borked backup bads. The amount of damage Mobius and friends did to their own guys was pretty funny. Feat is on the 2 Bane cav, Deathjack, Skarre, and the chicken jack. He tries to kill my objective, too, but leaves it on 1. Wamp wamp. He forgot to make some attacks on it from the Witches, too. I offered to let him make them since he had only activated like 1 or 2 other things, but he declined saying it was his mistake he forgot.
Issyria 3 – Well, that hurt. Arcanists both advance and repair Hyperion and Hype uses a focus to heal a point or two in his shields. Back to fully functional and I think a little over half max health. Issyria continues to Blinding Light, Electromancers continue to obliterate everything (shocking (ha ha get it (it's funny because electricity is shocking))) and Halbs continue to jam like bosses while doing damage occasionally.
Skarre 4 – Deathjack gets fully fueled up again and smacks the crap out of Hyperion, but rolls low on damage this time. The rest of the turn was everything shooting Hyperion as much as possible (still at ARM 21). Skarre ends on I think 2 or 3 focus and still hurting from her feat and upkeeping spells and after boosting a last ditch handcannon shot onto Hyperion. Hyperion survives with... 1 box left. In Movement. Whoa. My objective dies, he dominates up to 3 points.
Issyria 4 – Hyperion lives! HOORAY!!! Cortex is out, so no Focus. Now, let me take a second and talk about Elara. She's bad. Easily the worst of the journeyman warcasters. When I show people this list, one of the first suggestions I get every time is "why not Hyperion on Issyria and get rid of Elara?" Originally, it was just so Issyria could actually have focus to use all of her abilities while Hype has 3 focus every turn. This still holds. Being able to upkeep 2 spells, use Blinding Light, AND have focus for Arcane Vortex is a huge deal. Or casting Crusader's call and getting to Velocity away after needing to be in a weird spot for an Ancillary attack. It's a really big deal. But Elara herself? Kind of useless.
...Or is she?
...Mostly yes, she is.
BUT THIS, MY FRIENDS, IS A SITUATION WHERE SHE IS NOT.
Arcanist moves up and repairs 2 boxes in Hyperion, Cortex and Generator. Now he can get focus and use the Starburst Cannon! Arcanist 2 moves up and gives him a focus. Halberdiers know what's happening and I give a single very confused Blood Witch 3 freestrikes, and she kills 3 dudes. Elara, with all 4 focus, walks up, and boosts a Convection at her. Nails it.
Hyperion gets a focus.
Elara is bad. But sometimes, she's bad in the most perfect way.
Issyria, Blinding Light Skarre, Hype black hole gun, double boost, dead Skarre.
Really solid game and well played. It all came down to Deathjack getting 2 turns to kill Hyperion. If I can prevent that from happening and I can prevent losing on scenario, I think this favors Issyria. However, those are big ifs. Also, it turns out Cryx can have a really hard time killing stuff when they can't use debuff spells.
Game 3, Issyria vs. Terminus by Jon on Destruction
He wins the roll to go first (I lost all 4 today...) and goes first. I take the side I was on because I had a chair on that side and he did not.
Terminus 1 – Double Bane Thralls (one with UA on my left) double McThralls, double Surgeons, double Pistol Wraiths, single Withershadow Combine and Tartarus. Everything runs at me. Grr. Oh, and a chicken jack out in front and a Warwitch Siren somewhere.
Issyria 1 – Halbs on left, MHSF on right, Hype middle, Chimera left of center, Electromancers again spread out behind because CMD 9 is great for that on a 3 man unit. MHSF move and shoot, hit and spike damage on the chicken jack and take out its arc node and I think cortex (GHOST DICE!!!!) Everything else runs.
Termins 2 – The running continues. Pistol Wraith shoots Hype and makes him Stationary, which means he only gets 2 focus to use on his turn. I'm okay with this. EDIT: I forgot you can't make a colossal Stationary. So don't let no Pistol Wraiths do that to you.
Issyria 2 FEAT TURN – He is now in range. I measure and double check a few times, and I'm confident BLT is in range of at least 2 Halbs under Crusader's Call. I need Tartarus dead, but there are guys in the way. Feat, Ancillary, Crusader's Call, camp a bit. Hype and Electromancers clear the way for the Halbs. Halbs charge with a minifeat and indeed kill Tartarus. and all but I think 3 Banes on the left, including the UA leader (but not the flag). On the right, Electromancers kill some, and MHSF kill about half of the other unit of Banes. The ones that don't die only survive because of Tough, but are knocked down. Without a UA, they are not a threat. Electromancer kills this turn - 10
Terminus 3 FEAT TURN – Terminus has lost about a third of his army, and he's not going to get many attacks. He focuses primarily on the Halbs, and all but I think 4 die, but most aren't in command of the new leader, who is jamming still. I am okay with this. I think a few MHSF die. Maybe none. Terminus has at least 5 souls, positions to charge Hyperion next turn.
Issyria 4 – Terminus has an 11" threat range. Issyria checks threat, moves into a trench, and camps a few. Hyperion moves within 3" of Issyria and out of 11" of Terminus, then shoots stuff again. He crits on the objective and RFP's like 5 dudes. Halbs jam, but don't kill much. MHSF kill all of the Banes on the right and some McThralls. Chimera gets some help in killing the 2 Pistol Wraiths, one of which toughed about 6 times. Electromancer kills this turn – I think 9?
Terminus 4 – Jon recognizes he doesn't have much of an army left and has a very low chance of winning, especially since I have plenty of MHSF and a MHA for charging if he wants to be anywhere fun, not to mention a colossal (and Electromancers, who it turns out can be terrifying – more on that later). He charges and kills my objective and some other stuff, ends up camping 1. Halbs. Continue. To jam. Def 13!
Issyria 5 – Chimera is still alive and Apparitions out of melee and into Terminus' back arc. Issyria Blinding Lights into Terminus' back. Electromancers use Pulse Fire on Terminus and kills more guys. One of them gets 3 damage rolls on Terminus and spikes like crazy on 2 of them for 8 damage. Chimera Combo Strikes for more damage. Something else finishes him off, but I can't remember what. I think the MHA so not even a tough check. I still had a fully fueled Hyperion waiting to attack. Poor guy didn't get to contribute to this one.
Okay, so Electromancers are absurd! They all told killed around 20-25 guys and did 8 points of damage to the warcaster. For 4 points.
I've had 3 very long games with Issyria, but I've done well in all of them. The best parts of my play in each of these were basically correctly identifying my win condition and playing very hard into them – time and speed; surviving an alpha and a second strike on my colossal; killing everything with Electromancers and friends. In every game, there's been about 20 – 30 minutes combined left on the clocks from the 120 we start with, and I've had very little downtime. So I was incredibly relieved to hear that my last opponent would be Bret. Not because he's an easy win (he's not), let alone when I'm list locked, but because I knew he wasn't going to Clash for the Cure, so I 100% got the qualifier spot. Hooray! Stress gone!
Game 4, Rahn vs. Bret's Cassius on Close Quarters
This game was weird. I spread out like mad, he spread out like mad. I threw AOEs at him like crazy, he killed stuff with dancing stones and Hellmouth. I feated to kill the Killing Spree girls and their little friends and 2 of the 3 Death Wolves, then he did a janky double Hellmouth assassination to kill Rahn. The game was a lot more interesting than I'm making it out to be, but I'm still not certain what I think of the matchup or how I played it. Or how he played it, for that matter. It was a weird game of us standing as far back as Killbox would let us while we chucked magic and bombs at each other until one was exposed enough to be assassinated. Really interesting to play, boring to write. I need to try it again to get a better feel for it.
I ended second, but got the qualifier spot since Bret can't make it to Clash. Hooray! I played the Issyria list 3 times and I really love it. MHSF are great as always, Halberdiers basically trump any melee army, a fully fueled Hyperion on Elara is really great in the list when Issyria can protect it and make it better, the Chimera is a scrappy little jack with a shocking amount of utility, and Electromancers are simple amazing. That 4 point unit killed something to the tune of 50 models over 3 games. What other 4 points in the game does that? They definitely need to be protected and saved for turn 3 or 4, and Issyria's feat and Blinding Light make them much more reliable, but they're incredible when they get turned on.
I didn't really get much new data for my Rahn list. I still love the list, but I've been playing it a long time. I'm itching to change it up a bit, but I can never quite decide how. It plays well into so many things, and any change would specialize it better. That's a good thing, but it's hard to decide how I want to specialize it. Taking it today was mostly for a comfort pick since I couldn't use ADR.
Regardless, great tournament, and I'm very happy I went! I'm pleased with the results, and I got 4 really great games. I was exhausted by the end, but it sure was fun.