This past weekend I played in a Hardcore tourney at The Whiz in Westborough, MA representing Dark Omen; played Cryx and won!!! As such, I wanted to share my battle reports, please enjoy, and feel free to shoot me questions or comments… Special thanks to The Whiz and their Press Ganger, Craig, for allowing a few CT boys to come up, as well as hosting a really nice event, and to the participants who were all a lot of fun.
Tourney: Hardcore – 35 point, 1 list, Death Clock variant, Close Quarters (all rounds)
Satyxis Raiders full w/ UA
Mech Thralls full
A few notes on strategy and list building; originally I was torn, between playing Circle (my main competition faction) and Cryx. I had done some experimenting with eKaya, but as the event drew nearer I could not sort out her bad matchups. I had not prepped anything else in Circle for hardcore, and I turned to Cryx. The list above has been vetted out since I started playing Cryx when their faction book came out in Mark II. However, I needed to spend a few practice sessions leading up to the event becoming used to the time constraint with a list that has 30+ models in it. I was more comfortable playing Big T against unfavorable matchups than anything else I had in my collection. In a Hardcore tourney you want the most straightforward play possible, IMHO, so Big T is as straightforward as it gets.
Using the feat timely is the key to the success of the list, and not overextending Big T, as you may well want to, ensures that his reputation of being durable will in fact hold up. The right blend of aggression and respect is what it takes to work well. The list is pretty standard fare for a Terminus build. I have play tested with a Skarlock instead of Saxon to cast Ravager on Terminus and save him the Focus, and also have used a Saytxis Captatin as well, but in the end Saxon is the right play. Ensures both my units have access to Pathfinder, the rifle comes in handy, as does the anti-hordes ability he has.
The BR’s will follow for each round, and the liists my opponents played are roughly accurate drawn from memory…
Round 1: vs Circle
Druids w/ UA
Synopsis: My opening round opponent some of you may know as a local New England PP play tester, Jared. He plays all factions but Circle is his main, and The Whiz is his LGS (I believe). This was my first time playing him, but based on this experience, to say that he is a good player is a conservative statement at that. The game opened and I won the roll and chose to go first. The table had a trench line across the middle of the board with linear walls on either side of the trench line, so lots of cover.
On my first turn I ran the Satyxis forward up my right flank followed by the Seether, Mech Thralls to the middle just on my side of the trench line, with Terminus center massed, and my support behind the main line. On his turn he opened up with his dice on fire, the Druids going 6 for 6 on needing 7’s to hit on the Raiders, then failing to hit on his first boosted Chain Lightning on the Raiders missed, then the he proceeded to hit with the second unboosted attempt. He then feated to block most of the charge lanes, and put Lightning Tendrils on the Woldguardian, and positioned him w/ in triangle of the Stones.
On the second turn due to pKrueg’s feat I was unable to use mine effectively, so with that decision made I started to take pieces away. The remaining two Satyxis charged and mini-feated to take out a stone, and remove the possibility of the Teleportation. Mech Thralls filled the middle in the trench to garner cover, and clog the way to Terminus. The dice went to my opponent. He took away a AOE from the feat, upkept the Tendrils and moved the Guardian past the Satyxis, to take out the Seether in the trench. He did severely damage it but it was still standing. He activated the Krueger and started the process of removing Mech Thralls was able to clear all but one out between the Gnarlhorn and Terminus, he then moved Tendrils to the Feral so he could clear out the Mech Thralls in his way. He used the Druids to clear more Mech Thralls, and left one in the trench. The only Mech Thrall that made a tough roll was the lone remaining one standing between the Gnarlhorn and Terminus preventing the Slam. As such the Gnarlhorn moved back to protect pKrueg. The Wilder activated and cleared the Fury off the Feral. I note this becasue Krueger had moved far away from Terminus, leaving the Woldguardian out of his CNTL and removed the only remaining Fury on the table from the Feral. Then I took the dice.
Feat time for Terminus, as there was not much to gain, but what was there I was going to grab. Moving Tendrils to the Feral allowed Big T to move away from the Guardian w/o fear of KD. He scrapped the Feral, and the Necro Surgeons added more Mech Thralls and took out more Druids, to pile Soul Tokens onto Big T for Dragon’s Call (aka the Feat). Turn the dice over to Circle. He knew at this point he had made several mistakes last turn, depriving himself of Fury, moving Lightning Tendrils, and failing to eliminate the Mech Thralls. As such he had to try and win the game with just the Gnarlhorn, and he was woefully underpowered to do so. He gave his best effort to take down Big T, but it wasn’t nearly enough. The Guardian finished off the Seether, but was too far away to threaten Terminus in any real way, and pKrueger was inches from Terminus… the concession was his only move left.
Round 2: vs Menoth
Errants w/ UA
Synopsis: In the second round faced a familiar foe from the last time I travelled out of state for a tourney. You may have seen Eric at Warmachine Weekend as he is originally from St. Louis, and one of their host/organizers. I do put in a lot of work versus Harby in my local meta, so I was familiar with her workings. He won the roll and chose to go second. The terrain was less obnoxious in this game, as there was an obstacle (house) just outside my deployment zone to my R, and a large two tier hill covering two feet along the length of the board between my opponent and I on the extreme R edge of the board (as it faced me) and on the left of my edge off my deployment was a small forest as well as one diagonally opposite on my opponent’s side of the board. For my deployment I chose to use the house to guard my R flank and setup using an extreme L flank setup, with the Seether next to the house, Terminus center massed as always, and the Mech Thralls L of him and Satyxis AD on the far L. Harbinger was setup in the middle as well, with the Exemplars batting cleanup behind the KEE that were AD out front setup across from the Raiders.
The opening turn I moved the Raiders out to just behind the small forest, moved the Seether around the house to the large hill, and the Mech Thralls to the middle in front of Terminus, I expected the feat right away so I didn’t move out that far, to limit the exposure to damage on the ensuing turn. Menoth took the dice and as suspected Harby did feat right away. The Errants moved up to shoot some Raiders to little avail, and the Exemplars ran up the board, along with the two Jacks, and Harby, who Purified to remove Malediction.
Second turn with the feat up amounted to me doing little. He was still pretty far back, and I had no reason to move forward, so I ran the Seether back into game, along the same path he originally went, around the back of the house to rear R flank of my force, and chose to not recast Malediction this turn, in case he was able to clear my sac pawn targets and pluck Big T w/ a Reckoner shot, then braced for impact. The KEE charged the Raiders, and were somewhat limited by LOS due to the forest terrain, and were not able to maximize model frontage. Their high DEF and reach severely limited the impact of the charge. the Exemplars were not close enough to get all their models engaged in melee, but still did some damage. The jacks moved up in a threatening position behind their line, and protecting Harby from any possible threat from Terminus, making sure to put Enliven on the Avatar.
I took the dice very pleased with how well I survived the feat turn. I then looked at the board and decided to make an aggressive play, with Big T, feat and charge into the Reckoner to kill him (standing next to the Avatar). My gamble was that moving Terminus’ big base out of the way would allow the units to really engage maximum models and hopefully maximize souls for Dragon’s Call (the feat). It took all 6 of my focus for Big T to scrap the Reckoner, and now it was time for my units to bail me out. The Exemplar’s and KEE took the full brunt of everything I had. Harby did everything she could to deny me souls and took so much damage from Maryrdom that she only had 2 boxes left when the dust settled. In the end, her efforts were futile as Terminus had collected 10 souls and was sitting at ARM 28. Menoth took the dice, with few models left, namely the Avatar and Harby. Avatar tried to beat on Terminus after the Choir buff, but only did a few damage leaving the heavy lifting to Harbinger. Despite her POW 20 Cataclysm, the math was slanted heavily that she would not be able to get it done… until she rolled triple box car for damage on the first dmg roll!!!! Oh dear… leaving Terminus with only 1 hit box left. On the next and final Cataclysm he did enough to do one more dmg and cause the tough roll… which Terminus MADE!!!!! My opponent had no more activations and was starring at Terminus who would have 16 Focus next turn, and only two hit boxes left on Harby, so he decided leave it where it was and shake on a super fun game.
Such an awesome end, and was all the sweeter after a loss to Eric in the team tourney by round time in the last event we played in against each other. Upon further review from one of my DOGC teammates who was watching over my shoulder; he advised me that my Eric and I did the math wrong during that final sequence due to the frantic play, and Terminus did not actually need to take the tough roll; however, the story is much more fun the way it played out on the table!
Round 3: vs Cygnar
Stormblades with UA and Gunners
Gun Mages w UA
Synopsis: My teammate from DOGC Wyatt, was my third round opponent, once again meeting him in a tourney while both of us are undefeated. This time it was the semi-finals for a chance at the final table. We were playing back at the board w/ the long trench line, and linear obstacles. IMHO this really was a very poor match for eCaine. The sac pawn, coupled with the cover readily available all over the board, completely neutered his force. The good news for Wyatt is that he’s faced this Terminus list probably more times than anyone so there was nothing he wasn’t familiar with. For deployment I setup my Mech Thralls to the L of Terminus, and AD the Satyxis in the middle, with the Seether and support out to the R of Terminus. Cygnar lined up their ATGM and B13 on either flank with the Hunters AD to my R, and the Stormblades center massed and Storm Smiths spread out.
Wyatt won the roll and chose to have me go first, so I took the dice first, and utilized the terrain differently this time, running the Satyxis into the center trench and the Mech Thralls in just behind them (instead of trying to have them both occupy a trench). I put Terminus in a strong center position, with plenty of sac pawn options available, and put Malediction up. Cygnar activated, eCaine moved to a camped position behind a linear obstacle, and had his ranged infantry start to fire on the Raiders, but with Force Barrier and cover, it was a very futile effort. He braced for impact on turn two.
On my turn, I decided not to feat, as I had a chance to put some nickel and dime dmg on Caine by charging his Hunters and taking advantage of feedback. Plus charging out to the R would clear the trench for the Mech Thralls and set them up for next turn, and I spread the Raiders out to tie up a lot of shooting, and put Terminus in a trench next to the Mech Thralls. On Cygnar turn, the first order of business was to take advantage of a noob mistake, eCaine put Magic Bullet on Darragh Wrathe and quickly Madelyn Corbeau was dispatched for hanging out to close to her living friend. The Stormblades did their level best to wipe the Raiders, and even took some help from the B13, but they left a few standing, and the ATGM went after the Mech Thralls, but 4 tough rolls later, they left nearly the whole unit intact.
Honestly, taking the dice this turn, I was very confident the game was well in hand. The previous turn by my opponent burned a ton of his clock, and I was in a very commanding position. It was feat time, I used Terminus to scrap a Hunter and thanks to Ravager, bezerked into a handful of models. I crashed home with the Mech Thralls, and when it was said and done Dragon’s Call reaped me an ARM of 30, and both Hunters were gone. along with most of the Stormbaldes. Cygnar took the dice, and being short on time, eCaine began to run, Gatecrashing out of threat distance, and putting his gun mages into the mix of the trench and shooting down some Mech Thralls.
The game had turned into Caine running for his life, but their model count was dwindling rapidly and so was their clock.I turned to the center of the board, and instead of camping the scenario I took the pile of Focus and ran right into combat with eCaine. I mopped up nearly all of the remaining models Cygnar had, and handed the dice back to Cygnar. Wyatt saved his feat in order to bleed me out of souls to gather, in hopes that then he would be able to feat and win; however, the clock would not allow him the opportunity, with about 2 minutes left on his clock, he stopped running, stayed in combat, feated, and fell very far short of the goal. With his clock all but gone along with all of his Focus, Wyatt decide to shake on the game and with that Terminus was ushered to the Final Table.
Round 4: vs Circle
Shifting Stones w/ UA
Bloodtrackers min w/ Nuala
Lord of the Feast
Synopsis: My championship table opponent was Nick, who is an honorary Dark Omen team member, after having played as a partner to our own Berger and winning the Team Tourney at Temple Games in Rhode Island earlier this year. However for this tournament he went to his Hordes bag and played Circle. So both of us were playing our “other” faction, and we play the same two factions (using the opposite as our mains), so it setup to be a very interesting final match.
The terrain for this game was fairly benign. There was a small trench in the middle and few evenly spaced pieces of forestry on either side of the table. I won the roll and for the first time all day I had the chance to go second. Circle setup their beasts center massed in front of Kromac, then AD the Bloodtrackers out front to my L, LOTF to my far L, and the Stones in a center position, finally putting prey on Terminus for the Trackers. I set the Mech Thralls again out to Terminus L, and AD the Raiders directly across from the Trackers and the Seether across from the beasts.
On turn one, Bloodtrackers trickled forward but stayed out of charge range, the Stones repositioned out front of their deployment zone, and the Stalker and Ghetorix moved into the triangle prepared for next turn. Kromac cast Warpath and put Inviolable Resolve on Ghetorix. I took the dice, and pushed the Raiders partially into the trench and ran to engage nearly all the Trackers. I put the Mech Thralls in behind the line of Raiders, and put Terminus behind them out of teleportation range of the stones, after putting up Malediction. Darrage brought up the rear and put up Beyond Death.
Second turn was Circle’s chance to do damage, starting with the Trackers they rolled fairly well on their melee attacks, but couldn’t do a lot of dmg on the quick work attacks, and then reformed to engage more Raiders. The LOTF then moved up, and shot the Raven into Darragh Wrathe, promptly killing Madelyn Corbeau, but failing to damage Darrage. Then the Stones teleported the Stalker into the middle of my lines and cleared a handful of Mech Thralls then Lightening Striked forward into Terminus. The Gorax came up and took out a couple of Raiders. I took the dice and new that this was the feat turn. I started with Terminus, feated, moved to get both LOTF and the Stalker in melee range of Big T. I went to town on the Stalker, and the dispatched the LOTF. The good news for my opponent was that Terminus was successfully pinned back. I then activated the Seether who took the fight to the Gorax, and put him in the dirt w/o needing the free focus. This sprung the nearby Raiders, who did their mini feat, to ensure I took out a Stone, and wiped all but Nuala from the blood trackers. Dragon’s Call (the feat) netted me an ARM of 31, and I was relatively far from the fight, but Circle was very low on models.
Circle took the dice and Ghetorix promptly charged the Seether, however failed to take him out with poor dice on attack rolls, and decided to not fill him up on Fury so he could be transferred dmg. Kromac activated, moved Inviolable Resolve to himself, then threw a Rift at the Mech Thralls, then feated back up to full and charged the Seether to finish him off. He had four Fury remaining when it was done. My turn I activated the remaining Raiders to finish the Stones and their UA. Then charged Darragh Wrathe into Kromac, and then brought Admonia up to Unbind the two upkeeps on him for another 5 dmg.. He had only a few hit boxes left, and still had three transfers. I activated Terminus, and after careful measuring of my control area, Nick and I agreed that I would not be able to charge Kromac, based on positioning, as such I consented to charge Ghetorix and put him into the dirt with a remaining ARM of 25. I did get a charge on Kromac with Saxon Orrik, but was unable to kill him, but it was a rather funny afterthought moment, remember I could send him in there, as I surveyed the board before turning the dice back to my opponent.
Circle’s turn started with nearly no clock left, however all he had was Kromac to activate.. He was -11 on damage rolls, needing 6’s t hit, and still managed to hit 6 times doing about 8 damage. A lot more than he we both expected. However, there was not much left to do, the first attack from Terminus ended the tournament…
What a great day for a tournament. was a rainy cloud Saturday so it was good spring day to spend inside playing the event. SR 2012 has started off really great for Dark Omen, as this win represented the 4th event win a row for DOGC, and was second of the year for me personally. A few observations from the Hardcore prep and tourney:
1. Beyond Death is a lot better than Death Ride for Darragh Wrathe, especially for a strict time format such as a Hardcore. A lot of extra moving wasn’t really necessary in most of the games I played, but the -2 to damage rolls mean models survived, didn’t take damage, or cost and extra focus/fury to deal with. Was a much bigger advantage than I originally thought when I embarked.
2. It’s almost always better to attrition down than take a calculated risk to kill a caster/lock. In my early games with Terminus, I always over extended him and put him into a position he didn’t need to be, just because I wanted him to win games in 2 or 3 turns. It wasn’t necessary, and he really began to click when I learned just a bit of patience..
3. Saxon Orrik is the coolest solo in the game, bar none. 😀
4. When choosing a Hardcore list, pick something you’re comfortable playing even in a bad matchup. I know that is limiting from the beginning, but it’s a starting point for building a Hardcore list, if you don’t’ have experience in the format, that is what I fell back to, and it worked.
5. In Hardcore things go quickly. Stats blend, and so do dice rolls. Hardcore is more a feel than anything else. Those that spent too much time thinking, or being too deliberate on their turns saw their clock dwindle and by turn three they were nearly clocked. I never got down to less than 5 minutes, and I typically had more models on the board than any of my opponents. Pay attention to the dice rolls, stop everything if you lose track or think something may have been wrong. If you lose control of the game, winning becomes much more difficult.
Hardcore is a very different format than regular SR play, and initially I did not like it, but it grew on me over time, and by the end, I really enjoy the no nonsense of it. I’m very proud of my win, and please post your questions or thoughts!