DOGC’s Anthony Ferraiolo Wins GenCon Masters!!!

This past August, in by far DOGC’s most significant accomplishment to date, Anthony ran the table at GenCon in Indianapolis, one of the largest gaming conventions in the world, to win the Warmachine Masters title. Here is a recount of the games in his own words…

What an amazing weekend at GenCon! It’s hard to explain the deep sense of pride and humility I experienced; this was, and is, as rewarding a moment for a hobbyist and gamer as I could imagine. I do love this game, like I’m sure many of you, so to live this dream is just that, a moment you don’t know will come nor can you ever expect it. To do it at only my third major con is just… crazy. Nonetheless, I will take you through the two events and seven games as best I can remember, tho I promise the details will be sorted as it was a bit of a whirlwind, especially as the rounds and games mounted.

The place to start is with my lists, which I received many, many questions about…

pBaldur

Woldwrath

Ghetorix

Stalker

Bloodtrackers (full)

Shifting Stones w/ UA

Witch Doctor

Swamp Gobbers

Kromac

Stalker x 2

Pureblood

Gorax

Wilder

Woldstalers x 2

Shifting Stones w/ UA

Galows Grove

Lord of the Feast

Swamp Gobbers

—-

eMorvahna

Feral

Woldguardian

Ravagers (full) w/ UA and WA

Skinwalkers (full) w/ UA

Wolves of Orboros (full) w/ UA

Shifting Stones w/ UA

Gallows Grove x 2

So yes, no Megalith, no Nuala, no second unit of Stones (in any list), and yes, I did play a Pureblood, Ravagers, Feral, and Lord of the Feast; Baldur was not in Tier, and I did use a Woldwrath. Guilty as charged. After it was all said and done, it was somehow good enough to win GenCon Masters :D. Honestly, it could not have worked out any better, and every list performed as I had prepared it to. The pBaldur list, as I have said in other BRs, was built around the Woldwrath and what I think takes advantage of what it does best. Ultimately it’s an attrition list that swaps heavies until an unkillable Gargantuan is the only thing left and overall the list is really really strong in scenario play; it does struggle with massed infantry however. The eMorvahna list construction has generated the second most questions. In my opinion her list wants to be in melee; Reeves and Bloodtrackers just didn’t do it for me. I did not have a great experience with them and found that the Ravagers really ‘deliver’ the list well, are great in melee, and 8 box infantry are tremendous on her feat turn. The list also handles guns lines fairly well, as it engages everything quickly and Morvahna herself is fairly hard to kill at ranged given the protection built into the list. It’s in general a good all comers drop, while being a strong counter to a lot. Lastly Kromac is built in not a completely atypical way, I have a few twists that brought some different things to the table. The entire list brings magical weapons, and the Lord of the Feast brings a different dynamic than most opponents expect from a Kromac list, as does the Pureblood. That said the list does struggle with scenario but is excellent at taking opposing pieces off the board in any order I choose (most of the time).

GenCon runs a two day masters with two qualifying heats, three list Divide and Conquer [1] (each qualifier and the final) which means you have to play each lists one time (in each event). The opening heats were only slated for three rounds which means you would essentially be locking yourself out of a list each time you played a list, and by the last round you would be completely locked in. I really wanted to qualify in the first heat to give myself as much mental rest as possible as well as giving myself an extra half day to enjoy the con.

Masters Qaulifier – Heat 1

Round 1 – vs Menoth

Scenario – Outflank

Recap – I don’t remember my opponents three lists, but I do recall he was playing three non Purification Casters which is what struck me. Purification is the bane of most Warlocks/Warcasters in the game, but feels much worse for me as a Circle player than it does for anything else I play, so not having to deal with that set me at ease early. The selection of the first list was actually the hardest choice of the event because essentially you are forfeiting whatever list you choose for the rest of the day. That said, I was not entirely sure what he was going to drop, but suspected eKreoss2 Tier as the auto hit and extra attack on Feat turn are bad news for high DEF Circle; given that after considering all things I decided to go with pBaldur. I know dropping difficult terrain is an issue for a lot of Menoth; the Feat can really allow me to get ahead on attrition, and it’s the list that I expected my opponents to be ‘least’ familiar with. Plus if I have to live without it the rest of the day I feel my other two lists can handle what the Baldur list is normally good at.

Sure enough my opponent dropped eKreoss2; good news is that I have two local players that have run this list quite a bit so I’m very well versed in facing it. My opponent won the die roll and opted to have me go first, which I thought meant that he wanted to move from the side of the board with the impassable terrain; however he chose to stay where he was. So I’m happy to take the opening turn and take board position. In this scenario, it’s a bit tougher because I have somewhat limited resources to protect two distinct zones, so what I like to do is have Woldwrath hold up one zone, and use the rest of my battle group in the other, and the BTs to support either, creating a barrier between my opponent and Baldur. There was no comfortable wall in my area so I had to rely on this barrier and blocking LOS with Gobbers and Rapid Growth. After deployment I had the Prey put on the Daughters that had deployed to the far R side of the board, looking to flank.

As such the opening turn I ran the Woldwrath forward toward the Left zone, with Ghetorix in the middle, and Stalker to R, with the BTs out front and the Shifting Stones in a strong position toward the R center with Ghetorix, Stalker, and Baldur within. I put Stone Skin on the BTs, and Solid Ground up. My opponent took his turn and did not move as aggressively forward as I had expected; ot seemed that he was somewhat unsure of my threats, and wanted to keep out of obvious threat. He pushed most of his forces to the zone where the Woldwrath was, moving the Daughters and the Fire of Salvation to the edge of the other zone, towing in, then turned the dice over to me.

On my turn 2, I knew I was in strong position to feat, he did not have much in the R zone at all, and just a few daughters and the jack. on the right he had clouded 3 units of Knights Exemplars on the edge of the zone, and the Exemplar Errants in the middle also protecting the zone. So I started with Woldwrath who put a shot into the lead unit of KEs dropping two 3” AOEs in the front of his massed infantry, killing two, and keeping Woldwrath far outside of their 8” threat. I moved the BTs up, and had them open fire on their Prey (the Daughters) and needing 7’s helped quite a bit as they were cleared from the zone, and the remaining Daughters failed their command. I also was able to kill a few KEE’s. Then I activated Baldur, Feated, and cycled Stone Skin onto the Stalker. Stones activated and dropped the Stalker in front of the Fire of Salvation that was the only Protectorate model remaining in the right zone. He dispatched of him w a few Fury to spare, successfully clearing the zone. Witch Doctor toughed the BTs, and I turned dice over. My opponent was officially fully locked up in Baldur’s Feat, he couldn’t get anything over to the zone I currently owned, as the effects of the feat were limiting his movement, and he knew it. So he decided to do what he could to flood the left zone, as he started to run through the two AOE’s he lost the first two models that ran though, and decided that was not the best choice, and started to run around it really limiting his movement further. The KEEs opened fire on the BTs and really couldn’t hit any as DEF 18 on the feat was too much to ask, the couldn’t aim due to Stealth (he needed to move to get in range), and they didn’t have range to charge. So after doing no damage on his turn, he turned the dice over, allowing me to score the zone on the right for the first point.

My turn 3, I dropped Stone Skin from the Stalker as it was no longer needed there, I then used the Stalker to kill the two remaining Daughters, allowing me to move Prey to the KEEs. The Bloodtrackers then went to town killing nearly 2/3rds of the KEE unit, leaving them with only 3 and all of the them on the far left side of the board. I activated Woldwrath, had him go forward into the Knights Exemplars that had run into proximity, and Power Sweep killing 3, then killing two more on buys, and KDing two more that were out of Reach but in the 4” AOE. Then Baldur activated, moved Stone Skin to Ghetorix, put Rapid Growth in front of the Woldwrath (not to block LOS but to create difficult terrain), and then moved into the zone for an easy Dominate. The Stones then dropped Ghetorix onto the unsuspecting Reckoner, who was subsequently scrapped by the character beast. Firmly in control at this point, I turned the dice over at 3 CPs. My opponent was feeling the pressure, had no jacks, Gravis, Kreoss, and a unit and half of KEs left and a few KEEs left. So he decided to Feat this turn, and go for what he could. He started with the unit of KEs nearest Woldwrath and declared a run/charge, only able to get two on WW, he did minimal damage. The rest were blocked out by the Rapid Growth. The Errants moved forward to try to deal with BTs, but thanks to Tough and no KD, were not able to do anything meaningful. With a hole cleared to Ghetorix, and seeing that the game was likely out of hand, he activated Kreoss feated and charged G-Rex. Then activated Gravis to do the same. After all had settled G-Rex was still alive, and I had scored 2 more CPs on my opponents turn winning via scenario on the bottom of 3. Onto the next round!

Round 2 – Cygnar

Scenario – Into the Breach

Recap – Cygnar is one of the matchups where I like to have pBaldur available, and of course he’s off the table already. Honestly in this matchup there was really no choice for me but to play eMorvahna. Admittedly I really wanted to save her for the third round as she is my most well rounded list, and Kromac is susceptible to match up issues especially versus the boostable guns of the swans. Knowing I have to win this round to worry about the next, I resolved myself to drop eMorv regardless of which caster my opponent is playing. My opponent was one of the solid Canadian contingent named Matt, and he had eCaine left along with another (eHaley maybe?). However I expected eCaine, and I was right. It was the ever popular Mercnar list, with eCaine at the helm; right down to the Forgeguard, Alexia, and Boomhowler. Luckily, I have faced eCaine enough to know how to manage this matchup.

I did win the roll to go first, which I had incorrect on the RFP podcast interview (apologies Matt and Omnus), and took the opportunity to do so (now that I can recall the details correctly and look at the photos :D). Obviously I did not want to give eCaine’s infantry heavy list a chance to unpack, so I had my Ravagers deployed out front across from the scoring zone on my R so they could engage quickly, with my battlegroup and Skinwalkers backing them up. There was a piece of impassable terrain in the middle of my half of the board, and I put the Wolves of Orboros on the L side of my deployment, to the far side of this piece of terrain; they would work to keep the flag contested if need be, and close on the flank long term. My opponent established his whole line directly across from the main scoring zone, all three units, layered with Boomhowlers first, Alexia second and Forgeguard last, with Ol’ Rowdy on my L nearer to the flag with eEyriss. My opponent, Matt, looked at me and said, “this one is going to go on for a while,” I knew he was definitely going to be right.

On the opening turn I moved to the zone, putting half of my Ravager unit at the 29” line, across half way, knowing he was going to have to move into threat range, and did not have an easy way to bring Caine out to start firing early, as he was buried behind all three units. I had Fog of War up early, Carnivore on the Wolves of Orboros, and pushed my line to the center of the board. On my opponents turn he did the best he could to move out, and ran directly out to get some Boomhowlers into the zone, and pushed Alexia up to my R to free up the Forgeguard to get into a backup spot behind the Boomhowlers. Eyriss took position on a hill and on the far L and I knew she would stay to help the Rangers shoot down the WoO as they came across the board.

On my turn two I sprung the Ravagers into action and crashed home with all four Tharn in the front, and another shot from the Shaman plus and electro leap. With that I had officially set the line of engagement way up the board, and pushed up with the Skinwalkers, and sent the WoO into the Ranger lines to take most of them off the table. Rowdy did counter charge and squish one. On my opponents turn, he fought back with the Boomhowlers to get back into the zone, and pushed Alexia to the hill on the R side near the scoring zone, in a good spot to dictate to the zone. Then Ol’ Rowdy pushed closer to the zone and killed a few more WoO that were threatening Eyriss, and she shot another. On my turn 3 I surveyed the board; I had lost some Ravagers, but to good purpose as his line was beginning to dwindle and Alexia was unexpectedly exposed. I decided to send the Skinwalkers forward thru the gaps left in the Ravager lines, and clear out the models that were in front of Alexia, so I could spring a Ravager onto her. The Skinwalkers did well to make room, and thanks to a Powerful Charge, Brutal Charge, and a re-roll, Alexia had taken enough damage from the Ravager that it could not be absorbed by Death Magic. She was now gone, as such I was able to be a bit more aggressive with Morvahna. I had a nicely positioned forest just off the zone on my side of the table that I could safely keep her in and around. The remaining Ravagers were able to get into the second level of models and start doing work on the Forgeguard. The WoO crashed into the flank to clear remaining Boomhowlers, and  were now threatening the rear lines of his Caine’s support. I was happy with my position; had Fog of War up, Flesh of Clay on Morvahna, and three transfers available. I was in the forest at the edge of the zone, and confident I was out of Caine’s threat. I turned the dice over.

My opponents turn 3, and he was basically out of Boomhowlers and Rangers, Alexia was dead, and he was left with Rowdy and the Forge Guard; but still had his Feat. At this point Caine now as able to get LOS to some of my stuff to help his army clear models. He started to do his work, and allowed the Forgeguard to get into the Ravagers and Skinwalkers. They did quite a number, killing a half dozen models, plus a few WoO. Rowdy continued to dwindle the WoO as well and moved closer to the zone charging the UA and Standard to eliminate them. When I got the dice back on top of turn 4 it was evident it was my turn to Feat, and I planned bring nearly everything back; I alsoI had a good chance to kill Rowdy this turn as well as long as I could remove the Arcane Shield upkept by Jr. (which I didn’t want to have to use Purification to manage). This was a critical turn, so I was methodical. I started with the Ravagers and Skinwalkers, and wanted to use their activates to clear as much as possible, with their mulitple attack mechanics, before bolstering their ranks with the Feat. I was able to clear the last of the Boomhowlers, and Risen as well as reduce the Forguard to less than half. I activated Morvahna, brought back the UA for the WoO and all the Skinwalkers and Ravagers I had lost, then put Flesh of Clay on Morvahna again and light calv moved back to the woods, but this time staying on the edge of the zone, as it was now clear to be dominated. I sent the WoO to work using their minifeat to kill Jr, Reinholdt, and the Squire along with some more of the Forgeguard, and even ding up Rowdy (getting the buckler!). Now with Arcane Shield off of Rowdy, I activated the Guardian who charged a damaged Rowdy to finish him off with four swings and a little help from Scales of Fate. I moved the Stones to get the Feral and Woldguardian within the triangle of terror and I was able to successfully dominate for the first two points of the game; nearly the entirety army was back on the table versus only about 8 or 9 Cygnar models on the table.

My opponent took the dice, and still had his Feat, he contemplated a lot. Morvahna was on four transfers, she was at about half life after Carnivore healed her a bit, and had Flesh of Clay on her as well. She was in concealment from the forest and Caine was pinned in behind a wall of Ravagers and Skinwalkers. So he would have to Gatecrasher to the zone, kill a model in melee and use the remaining shots to try for the game. He did just that, but instead of going for Morvahna he opted to try and gun down the Feral. He did not upkeep anything, as he was only a Focus 6 caster at this point, he spent three to Gate Crasher to the Ravager; Feated and went to town. It took him an extra attack to kill the Ravager than he planned, then started in on the Feral, but was unable to kill him. With Caine being the only model in the zone, I was able to dominate again with Morvahna, and now be at four points. The game was already over, as I could auto dominate again, but seeing as Caine was there for the taking, I activated Morvahna, put Carnivore on the Woldguardian, healed him for one, and put a fully boosted Sunder Spirit into Caine, which took him to a third of his life. The Guardian was teleported to Caine, boost to hit, KD on the first swing and killed him on the first damage roll. The game ended and I was able to dominate one more time for max CP and nearly max points destroyed. The game stat line appeared more lopsided than it really was, Matt played a strong game, but it’s even harder to attrition out my particular eMorvahna list (more so than it already usually is), and she is well suited to stand up to his Feat with transfers and Flesh of Clay. With that game behind me, I was now one win away from qualifying for the Masters final on Saturday!

Round 3 – vs Skorne

Scenario – Close Quarters

Recap – My third round opponent was Skorne with eMakeda. It was not a particularly good matchup for Kromac, but not a bad one either; it was going to be a game, and I was happy to have a punchers chance to qualify for Masters with a win in this contest. Both of us were Beast heavy, but his list had the unusual position of out threatening my Kromac list and had the goods to hit me reliably with the eMakeda feat. I won the roll to go first, looked at the board, and decided I wanted the opening turn to get myself into position to threaten everything he had on turn two. I had an objective that was impassable just outside of my deployment area, center massed, that was in a good spot for me to keep Kromac just behind to be in the kill box but completely walled off from my opponent. My opponent had five heavies including three Archidons, Molik Karn, and a Gladiator. They were all deployed in the middle of the board, and the Nihilators were deployed on my L side of the board, with support scattered as needed behind his lines.

On the opening turn, I moved both units of Woldshirmp up the flanks to firing position, put Wild Aggression on the Stalker to my L nearest the unit of Nihilators, Lord of the Feast had Inviolable Resolve, and Warpath on Kromac. I had Kromac behind the obstruction I noted earlier and the Pureblood and other Stalker on the R side of the the impassable terrain. My opponent came out in response being super aggressive with his beasts. Putting one Archidon in my face, ran the Nihilators far forward as possible, and had Molik Karn threatening just behind them, and then the remaining three heavies batting clean up with the rest of the support. As I took the dice back for my turn 2, I saw that Molik Karn was well within threat of my Wild Aggressioned Stalker so long as I could remove a Nihilator or two. So I activated the Woldshrimp on that side and took out the requisite Nihilators, Warpath moved the Stalker, had the Wilder put Lightning Strike on him and then activated him, warped ST and charged the Molik Karn (for free thanks to Wild Aggression). Intuition wasn’t going to save him, and he was dispatched of with Fury to spare, I then LS back to relative safety. The Lord of the Feast went next charged the Archidon and took up a spot next to a wall the Archidon was hugging in the middle of the table. I then activated Kromac, cycled Wild Aggression to the other Stalker which subsequently ported over the obstruction to the Archidon that was most forward to kill him easily after the LOTF had taken a chunk out of him already. The rest of the battle line took up position to threaten the line nearest my own flag. I figured I was safe in my line of battle (within striking distance of my opponents flag), unless Makeda wanted to get super aggressive and come forward to Feat.

As it turns out, he did indeed want to be super aggressive; needing redemption for losing two heavies, he pushed Makeda forward to his own flag to get her CNTL area to my include my heavies and dominate, and sent his remaining Archidons in to take both of my Stalkers off the table; he also got LOTF in the process. It was a surprisingly aggressive move, but I could see why, as he was now up 3 heavies to my 1, but Makeda was exposed with only 2 Fury (after upkeeping Leash and casting Road to War). So I look at the board, and I see that I can get a Primaled Wild Aggressioned Pureblood to her. His only transfer target is a fully healthy Gladiator, the other two beats were full on Fury. I was going to have to do something about the Gladiator. I started by plopping the Gallows Grove out into the middle of the board toward Makeda where the Pureblood would be. I used the Stones to port the Pureblood onto the far side of the Archidon protecting Makeda, just past it’s melee arc. I activate Kromac, who upkept Warpath, cast Wild Aggression and Primal onto the Pureblood through the arc node tree, then Feated, gains back all his Fury, switches form, moves and jumps into melee with the Gladiator. Now in Beast mode he goes to town with 4 boosted damage rolls on the the warbeast bringing him down to near dead. The Woldshirmp kill a remaining Nihilator to trigger Warpath on the Pureblood, allowing him to walk into melee with the opposing Warlock. The Pureblood is now MAT 8 POW 18 under Wild Aggression, with four Fury to push. Makeda was able to transfer one attack to the Gladiator before suffering splash damage, and she died on the third attack from the Pureblood.

That game was fast and furious (phew)! My opponent was aggressive and pushed me to play that way in response. Taking Molik Karn so early was critical from my perspective, but my opponent told me afterward that he hadn’t needed Karn in most of his games, so he was a bit of a decoy. However, he admitted that he underestimated the Pureblood and didn’t see all the pieces of the assassination with him which is why he got so aggressive with Makeda. I was extremely happy to be advancing to the Masters Finals on Saturday in the opening heat and now I could enjoy the next day and a half of the con!

Masters Finals

Round 1 – vs Retribution played by Bob Grant

Scenario – Process of Elimination

Recap – So here we are, opening the Masters, and I had been this far before, but I definitely wanted to improve upon my showing at TempleCon. Assessing the field, I felt good about my three Warlocks; but drawing the only Ret player in the field was a bit of first round bad luck. I normally would want to drop eMorvahna against infantry spam ranged lists ala Cygnar and Ret. However, it was too early to put her on the table, which left me with Kromac and Baldur; of the two, Baldur is far better against ranged lists, with a huge transfer target, LOS block, and a cover granting Feat. That said, of the three lists Bob was sporting he had Ravyn with Snipe Feat Go, eVyros Griffon spam, and Kaelyssa. Of the three, Kaelyssa presents far and away the most problems for Warlocks, so I fully expected to have that one dropped on me. I was right. So Baldur v Kaelyssa it was.

Bad news in this matchup is that Kaelyssa at any point can assassinate Baldur and just needs range thanks to Energy Siphon and Phantom Seeker. That means she ignores most of what Baldur can do to protect himself. The other issue in this matchup is that he had lots of infantry, three full units: Sentinels, MHSF, and MHI. Baldur is really not great versus infantry so I would have to get the most out of my Feat to have a chance. My opponent had first turn, and on deployment he had set his Sentinels on the L zone and the MHI on the R, MHSF in the center, with the jacks accessible. On my side of the board I had the Woldwrath on the L zone, which is likely why the Sentinels set up across from the zone with my battle group on the R side of Baldur and the Bloodtrackers in the middle; I put Prey on the MHSF, which proved to be a visionary decision. On the opening turn he MHI ran full blast out ahead, toward the R side of my area, the MHSF moved to the center of the board, and the Sentinels moved into the zone on the L. He tucked Kaelyssa in the rearguard of the army, behind a nice obstruction where she could dictate to the board. The jacks moved to the middle of the table behind the line of infantry. On my turn I decided that I would have to Feat opening turn to not be jammed out of scenario and allow me some time to take board position; this list was very far up the field.

On the second turn, my opponent had a bit of a conundrum with a lot of infantry and losing pathfinder. He took his two Mage Hunter units on moved them them out of the way of the jacks and sentinels to the R side of the board, and the Sentinels moved more forward into the L zone. The jacks ended up in the middle of the table. Kaelyssa Feated in response to my Feat to limit my guns, and prevent me from getting my beasts up the table. At the end of my opponents turn, I had him check his own Kill Box, turns out Kaelyssa due Baldur’s Feat really mitigating all the opposing infantry movement, was not able to get into the Kill Box, awarding me two quick CPs. This changed a lot for me. At that moment, I resolved myself to going full bore on the scenario. The plan was to put my beasts on the R side of the table take the objective for the third point, and put my BTs Tough and Undead with no KD in between the L zone and the rest of his infantry. I started by using the BTs to kill some Sentinels that were closest to the Stalker. I put Stone Skin on the Stalker and used the stones to port him into the Phoenix, and due to some bad rolls the Phoenix was still alive and operational. However, he was still on the R side of the table.Then with the way clear of BTs that had moved L, Ghetorix was able to get to the objective on the right side of the table and make quick work of it. I moved the Woldwrath forward to shoot at the Sentinels, however missed due to Kaelyssa’s Feat. up 3-0 I turned the dice over to my opponent to see how he responded.

My opponent assessed the situation and as I suspected the prospect of killing two heavies this turn was too much for him to pass up. He used his Sentinels with their Vengeance move and charge to get to the Stalker and take him off the table; then used the two heavies to take out Ghetorix, and was sure to move Kaelyssa into the Kill Box to not auto lose the game. At that point, he realized that he had very little in the zone on the L. The only thing remaing was the MHSF what was more in the R center of the table. So they just ran as far L as they could, able to get three of them in the zone. On my turn, the game, at a glance looked bleak as I was down two of my heavies, and his models owning the R side of the table. However, the devil is in the details, me up on CPs within a turn of winning. I had to clear the zone on the side to win the game. I could reach the objective easily and had enough movement to get the BTs in plenty of range to the the MHSF, whom I was happy to have Prey on at this point, and I had enough attacks to clear the rest of the Sentinels. I started with Woldwrath and tried to shoot to the two Sentinels in the zone with his gun, and missed. Bad start to the turn, but I had plenty left. Before WW was done I put his animus up, which was circumstantially brilliant at this moment. Baldur was next, charging the objective, destroying it and dropping an Earth Spikes on the Sentinels removing them. Now it was just the MHSF. I activated the BTs who had enhanced speed being so close to their Prey and they succeeded in getting into range of the remaining culprits in the zone I was able to clear all but but one MHSF. I still had two good attacks left, however only needed the Witch Doc. I moved the Gobbers up into position to be a sweet Sac Strike target, and was able to move forward with the Witch Doc and finish the game successfully clearing the zone. I still had the Stone Keeper with a boost attack on his POW 14 magic missile as a fail safe; however the Witch Doc finish was stylish :). It was a good opening round W, handing the sheet in at 5 CPs and zero points destroyed was a little silly, but I was happy to won a game against a good opponent with a great list and be on to the second round!

Round 2: vs Dan Smilek playing Khador

Scenario: Into the Breach

Recap: After finishing round 1 in relative short order, it allowed me some time to relax before my round 2 game. Shortly after the matchups dropped, Mattie K (from endgamegaming) gave me the tap to notify me that I would be put on film for my round 2 match vs Dan… cuz their wasn’t enough to worry about with my competition across the table :). That said, I truly didn’t mind and was a little excited to be on my first endgamegaming video cast. What I didn’t know is that I would be at that table the rest of the event.

As we swapped lists, my opponent had two vlad lists, one of which was all the horses Vlad3 tier which he used in the opening round, he still had his Butcher 2 Doom Reaver spam list, and a eVlad2 list. Given that the Vlad3 list was dropped in the opening round I fully expected that I was getting Doom Reaver spam; and I was correct. Baldur having been dropped in round 1 really wasn’t an option. I torn between Kromac and eMorvahna in this one, seeing as I expected the Doom Reaver list, I thought both lists had a good game against it. However, I don’t like Kromac in the scenario as much as eMorvahna. Kromac wants to keep distance from the opponent and stop retaliation, which can lead to being a bit gimped in scenario play. I knew the Butcher list can really push and I was worried that I would not be able to attrition in the manner I would prefer and have to start sacrificing my position to stay in the scenario, so I decided to drop eMorvahna. In retrospect I still feel I made the right choice.

I won first turn and set up my line with the Skinwalkers directly across from the zone, as I feel they are the best at contesting an area in the long game, and the Wolves of Orboros across from the flag as they are quick enough can get to the flag to ensure no early points are scored, as well as threaten a Caster that may go near the point and are harder to hold out of the area as they are a large 12 man unit. I finished my deployment by putting my Ravagers out in the L center nearer to the in front of the Skin Walkers. My opponent responded by setting up four of his units to the R side (as I look at the table) of his deployment area, with two units to the L across from the zone, supported by the two jacks, Man Hunters, and Yuri. Butcher and Fenris were center massed IIRC. To me his deployment indicated that that he was going for the flag on the R, and throwing waves of Doom Reavers at the zone to win a long attrition game on scenario. I thought this was an astute response to me gaining first turn. I felt good about where I was to start and was ready to take the center of the board on the opening turn.

As the game opened I moved the Ravagers from Left Center to hard Left and was careful to stay out of the Doom Reavers charge range, and essentially put as much pressure on the zone as I could on the opening turn. I had some decent terrain on the R side of the board including a piece of impassable on his side of the board, and some forest on my side. So he would have to navigate all that on the way to me. I took the WoO up in an around the forest to use that piece as a flank protector. I had the position I wanted so turned the dice over to my opponent. In an interesting twist, he took Butcher and his two jacks and rammed them forward max distance, and set a line of engagement with the Doom Reavers that was going to allow me to charge him next turn, starting the piece trade in the zone. On the R side of the board they began flooding up the board, in and around terrain. Nothing exciting, but we were prepped to engage on the next turn.

On turn two, I sent the Ravagers into battle, charging them forward, and taking out nearly a whole unit of Doom Reavers on the L side of the board, with about 3 of my Ravagers including the Shaman and his assault shot. On the R side of the board I had a wave of about 4 WoO charge forward and set a line of reach models for the bulk of the Doom Reavers coming my way, flanked by the forest for further protection. Morvahna had taken up residence behind a nice wall on my side of the table about 18 inches from my board edge, flanked by my warbeasts. Giving the dice back to Dan I had started the piece trade and felt good about what I had taken and what he was going to take back. The Doom Reaver responded in kind sending the second wave on the L side of the board into my advance Ravager models, taking them all off the board. On the R side, the Doom Reavers pressed forward hard, flooding around up the far R flank and wiping the front four WoO, with Fenris now near the 24” mark of the board backing up that side of the Khador line, with Yuri and the Man Hunters spread evenly across their lines. What was the most interesting part of the turn, when had expected Butcher to go towards the flag, he did not; instead he cast Boundless Charged pm both jacks and charged Butcher straight forward with the Jacks putting one in the Zone.

I took the dice, and pondered my opponents decision, and it was clear Butcher was coming my way, and he was not interested in scenario play at this point. So I measured where I was, and decided to start moving my line into the Zone, and wanted to start putting damage on the Jacks to be in position to make a move next turn. I used another three Ravagers to take out the second Doom Reaver unit on the L side, and a Man Hunter thanks to Corpse Tokens and re-rolls, as well as get a great charge attack on the nearest jack doing double digit damage to it. I then moved forward with the Skin Walkers setting my second line comfortably. On the R side, I pushed further into the Doom Reavers with the WoO, however the line of engagement on that side was pushed pretty far forward. I then sacrificed another two WoO on the far side of the tree to hold the line at bay from the extreme flanking maneuver they were attempting. I made sure to keep my flag safe so I had my re-roll on leadership checks available. I also made sure to tuck one WoO to the L, in with the my other infantry pieces to make it hard to clear that unit off the table, incase I needed to Feat them all back to hold my opponent off on the R side of the table. Next the beasts moved farther L and Morvahna held the wall with no real threat to her coming on this turn. Dan had successfully closed the gap between his lines and mine as he took the dice. He decided this would be the feat turn. He used both jacks to clear the Ravager that was in Butchers way, then decided to get Butcher going popping his Feat. Butcher cast Boundless Charge on himself and got range to my WoO lines, charging into the them and starting to pac-man his way up the board. He ate through more a half dozen models and ended up with 6-8 inches of Morvahna. He gave rage tokens to a few select models to start to dig out my key pieces in the back lines. He made a hard push to clear all the WoO off the table and was able to get somebody into a Stone to make sure I wouldn’t be teleporting anyone. Then he needed to secure Butchers position as he was very close to my Battlegroup so he flooded the area around Butcher with the nearest unit of Doom Reavers from the R, and pushed the other two units up behind them. Having done quite a bit of damage he handed the dice back to me.

At this stage, I was not feeling terrible about my spot, and realized that I had a relatively reliable assassination available to me on Butcher. He was not camping much focus (one I believe), and all that stood in the way of him and my Beasts was Doom Reavers. So I looked at my resources and went to work. I decided to drop one of my remaining Stones in the middle of the Doom Reaver unit protecting Butcher. I activated Morvhana dropped a nice fat Death Knell on the Stone, and IIRC had 5 models in the AOE, I was able to clear all the Doom Reavers that were in the way, and boosted damage on the Stone to make sure it was gone. Then I moved Carnivore to the Woldguardian. With the path to Butcher now clear. I charged the Guardian into Butcher, boost to hit and KD him, allowing me to take three swings at dice minus a few to take Butcher down to a few hit points. The Feral was able to activate and walk forward to seal the deal.

All of a sudden I was heading to the semi-finals of GenCon!

Round 3: vs Lou Coduti playing Cryx

Scenario: Incursion

Recap: Before the round started I had noted that there was Legion, Menoth, and Cryx players as possible opponents in the semi final round. Having used both Baldur and Morvahna in my first two rounds, I really wanted to be able to get Kromac on the table this round; as such I never wanted to draw Cryx so badly. If I drew Legion or Menoth I was going to have to go a different direction if was pushed into a matchup with one of them likely being forced into Kromac in the last round. However, when the pairings went up, I couldn’t contain the smile that crept across my face, Cryx it was! At this moment it was the first time at any point where I felt like I had a real chance to win the whole thing; though I wasn’t going to dwell on that though too long, as I had a very formidable opponent in front of me. Lou, my brother from another italian mother, was my Masters semi final opposition. He was showing eGorshade, eDenny, and eGaspy3 who was also the only warcaster he had not played to this point. We listed off, and I really didn’t give any thought to not playing Kromac; Lou dropped legendary Gaspy as I had suspected he would given the factors in play. Oddly enough I happen to think this incarnation of Liche has a lot of game versus Circle; good news for me is I’m also a Cryx player so I’m very comfortable in this matchup.

This game went so very long, the details are definitely the fuzziest out of all the games I played that weekend. If I recall correctly Lou won the roll and opted to go first, and I chose the side with the comfy wall right outside my deployment zone. After a quick exchange it appeared that Lou’s list was built more on incorporeal than he realized and too his dismay literally every attack in my list was magic based, or could be. On deployment he had Raiders AD to my L, with Mechanithralls behind them, Wraith Engine center massed with Blood Witches to the R, and all the support laid in behind the lines on either side of Liche (as he had every notable merc solo available in the list!). For me, my deployment is pretty standard with two units of Woldstalkers on either side of my deployment the two Stalkers in the middle with the Pureblood on the R of Kromac and Gorax on the L. Wilder and Arc Node were on the R of Kromac I believe.

On the opening turn, the Raiders moved to a strong flanking position spreading themselves out in three separate lines. The Blood Witches ran forward and the rest of his line moved forward with the Wraith Engine pressed forward to the middle line of the board thanks to Apparition and running. Liche put Ashen Veil on the Raiders, and took up a good spot in the middle of the board. On my opening turn, I put Wild Aggression on the L Stalker so he could deal with the incoming Raiders, Inviolable Resolve went on Lord of the Feast and Warpath up on Kromac. I then had the Wilder put Lightening Strike on the Stalker and charged him out to the nearby Raiders that had come very far across the board. Killed what was there, then took the opportunity to move back behind the wall that was in the middle of my side of the table. I then teleported the LOTF forward with the stones, then during his activation using the Raven on a Blood Witch to get right next to a Warwitch Siren and Hag. The Blood Witches promptly failed their leadership check at the hands of my Terror causing LOTF; which had a pretty big impact on Lou’s psyche, more than it probably should have. Better news was the I was able to get both the Hag and and Siren dead, as well as a Blood Witch or two with his Blood Reaper attack. Having successfully locked up that side of the board, I moved up the Woldstalker unit to support the LOTF and really whittle down the Blood Witches more. With buffs up and feeling good about my position board wide, I decided to end my turn and give the dice back to my opponent. At the end of my turn the flag on the far L side of the board had disappeared, which was beneficial to me as the Raiders were all over that area of the board and that would have been the hardest for me to get to.

On the next turn, my opponent was pretty flustered with LOTF in his lines, and not wanting to walk into duel Stalkers, but he had no choice. The Raiders took position in front of my Stalkers who were protected by the wall, and moved the Wraith Engine behind them, with the Cankerworm supporting the battle engine in hopes that he could trade for a heavy next turn. The Blood Witches rallied but it didn’t matter much this turn. He was able to get Gorman over to blind LOTF that turn, which was the only good news at this point for Lou. The Mechanithralls were now moving in behind the Raiders, and it was apparent that was where the Cryx push was going to come from. I took the dice back, and surveyed the board briefly before continuing to sandpaper his army down. I used LOTF to walk over to Gorman and engage him, unable to do much else. Then the Woldstalkers on the R side opened fire on the Blood Witches who were standing there waiting to be shot to pieces. On the L side, I used the Gorax and some boosted attack rolls to clear the Raiders that were jamming my Stalker that was under Wild Aggression, then used Warpath to get out of the way. The Wild Aggression Stalker mowed through a few more Raiders before using Lightning Strike to retreat to the wall again; not before triggering Warpath on the other Stalker. Kromac activated moved Wild Aggression  to the other Stalker along with Warpath, then took up a position a little closer to the game within 1” of the Wall getting the DEF bonus, if it should come up. Then the other Stalker moved out to take out more of the Raiders, and Lightning Strike back to the wall. Lastly the Pureblood moved to get his spray on more Raiders who were down to just a couple models left in the unit thankfully having not done anything to this point. With two of the three infantry units down to really very few models, and no chance for my opponent take over scenario yet, I decided that I was still confident with my position, having lost very little if anything at this point.

Third turn and Cryx was not looking good, so Lou knew he was going to have to pull it together if he was going to get back into the game. He started advising the Wraith Engine was going Incorporeal, then activating Liche to get Carnage up, and pops his Feat preparing for my retaliation. He then activates his Wraith Engine that had Apportioned forward declaring he wants to charge my Stalker over the wall. After some careful measurements with the help of a nearby Judge it was determined that the charge failed. As such, Lou’s frustration with the game mounted further; but he kept composure and attempted to rally. Charging the remaining Raiders into my lines through his incorporeal battle engine, he was able to pop their mini-feat and do some meaningful damage to my Pureblood. Then Cankerworm and Gerlak converged on the Pureblood, and when it was said and done the Pureblood was still alive. Gorman then opted to take a free strike from LOTF, which was whiffed (wtf??!!!) and subsequently was able to blind the character solo again. The remaining Blood Witches charged the Woldstalkers on the R side of the board near the flag, and were able to kill one, holding up immediate scoring next turn. The dice then came back to me, and I surveyed the board again carefully. The potential for me to go after Liche was there. Having the Stalker in Carnage meant that Liche was w/in 14” and possible threat of assassination. However, his Feat was up, and he was camping 4, which means ARM 21, healing with every Fury spent, and he had a few straggling Raiders with Ashen Veil nearby which could make things very interesting for placement and hitting thanks to their Reach weapons. With all that going on, I felt that I was in good control of the game and decided to not go for the assassination right then not willing to risk bad dice; and instead I would continue to attrition him out. The Wild Aggression Stalker was first to activate to kill the Cankerworm, then Gerlak, which allowed the Pureblood Warpath so I had a path where I could move past the remaining Raider and not have to navigate the wall. Kromac activated, moved Wild Aggression to the other Stalker and put Lightening Strike onto him as well. Then Kromac Feated so he could put Beastial up to counter Liche’s Feat next turn (with the pile of Souls he was gathering); he also healed the Pureblood and took position behind the wall again. The Wilder then put Wraith Bane onto the PB so he could actually damage the Wraith Engine who was still incorporeal thanks to his failed charged last turn. The Pureblood was able to scrap the Cryxian battle enginge, allowing the another Warpath on the Gorax. He moved up and killed some more Raiders that were holding in the Stalker again. Having freed up the Stalker that was now under Wild Aggression, he was able charged into the oncoming wave of Mechanithralls, using Warpath after Berserking through a number of models, (it seems like a dozen at the time); however he was not able to Lightning Strike back to the wall, so he was out in front. On the R side, LOTF moved to engage Gorman again, and the remaining Woldshrimp cleared off the flag allowing me to score my first point of the game.

My opponent took the dice, and realized that despite Kromac being accessible, he couldn’t use spells, and didn’t have charge range even if he had a Madelyn move. So he opted instead to try and take the Stalker off the board. He decided to have Gorman take another free strike from LOTF and again I whiffed (fml!!!) this time allowing Gorman to blind the Stalker closest to Liche. That done, Liche was able to come forward and camp the flag with less fear. Then the Necrosurgeon made more Thralls, bolstering their numbers before they charged. On the charge they were able to kill the Stalker, and when it was said and done Liche had scored 2 CP dominating the center flag. All of a sudden a game I had controlled so well, was not in such good position. That said, I had scored on my opponents turn as he did not get anything near the R flag so I was able to grab another point; we were tied at 2-2. On my turn I knew my goal was to put my foot on his throat in scenario play and Gorman had to die. So I moved the Pureblood up to spray Gorman, boosted to hit and killed him, then used the Warpath move to get the PB into base with the flag on the R. Then I used the remaining Woldshrimp to shoot at Madelyn, but was unsuccessful. I put Wild Aggression on the remaining Stalker, and moved Kromac away from Liche and towards the obstruction on the R side of the board on my side of the table. Moved the Gobbers in front of him and dropped a big cloud so he couldn’t see. I had a couple transfers, and was getting cover on Kromac. The Stalker then went to town on the remaining McThralls and Necrosurgeon, before Lightening Striking back to the wall. The Gorax was now free to run to contest the flag stopping Liche from dominating again. As I turned the dice over, I had scored on the flag on my R again, now leading 3-2.

At this point, I noticed the crowd around the game had really grown quiet a bit as we were the only game this round that was still going; Lou and I took the opportunity to have some fun banter with the on lookers. My opponent, feeling like he had a reasonably good assassination run at this moment with little recourse in the game, decided to charge the Swamp Gobbers with Asphyxious (to get into the cloud) and cast a Hex Blast at Kromac (who was on half health thanks to the Feat). However, given the cover, even a boost was not enough, and he missed. He then tried it again, couldn’t boost, and missed again. He moved up Corbeau to contest the flag on the R. On my turn I had a few choices, perhaps go into Beast form and try to kill Liche, or just clear the scenario. I opted for scenario, I moved the PB to get Madelyn into melee, killed her and Warpath backwards to the flag. Before I could finish my turn, Lou gave me his concession with a high five on a well contested semi final match… meaning…I just advanced to the GenCon Masters Final!!!!

Round 4: vs Legion played by Chuck Elswick

Scenario: Close Quarters

Recap: So here we are, GenCon Masters Final. At this point, whatever happens in this game is just excess. To have gotten this far in one of the largest tabletop conventions in the world is an accomplishment unto itself. I didn’t have time to really let sink in what had happened thus far, by the time my semi-final game had ended, they pretty much had us ready to start the final. I have to say all the opponents I played all weekend were great, especially my masters opponents, Bob, Dan, and Lou; all were great players and gentleman across the table. However, I have to tip my hat one more time to Chuck; he is the best opponent you could wish for at a Masters final table. Not only is he a great player, he’s a great competitor and great ambassador for the game. He set the tone before the game even started as pulled me aside before the dice rolled. Recognizing the moment and setting the tone so we can have an awesome game, that was relaxed, while still being a top shelf competitive game. The spotlight was new to me, but not to him, and the fact that he took a minute to acknowledge that and set me at ease over it really resonated with me. Now to the dice rolls…

Chuck, as is well documented at this point, had list suicided into Absylonia in the final match. I had been fortunate enough to play each of my Warlocks in the first three rounds, so I had my druthers over whom I would play. I had the pBaldur card in my hand, and was really REALLY close to playing him in this matchup; he was my Legion drop, tried and true over the past few months. However, I was fixated on Purification and the upkeeps available to Abby, and selfishly I knew I was really wanting the headline of the game to be Woldwrath vs Archangel. After a brief consult in my own mind, I decided that I could not pass on what appeared to be the stronger play with Purification and eMorvy. Looking back, I have to stress, despite the outcome of the game, given what I know now, I made the wrong decision and should have played Baldur. I think I would have been able to force my agenda more, and not have to allow Chuck to dictate the game like he was able to. What I didn’t recognize about the Absylonia list was the insane amount of RFP that was available. In my list, I really built it to take full advantage of the Feat. When you have five (yes five!) ways to RFP models each turn, it really can add up. I definitely underestimated the full capability of the list I was facing, and this game was as tough as it appears when read, and hopefully see on endgame.

Chuck deployed Archangel center cut on the board with Absylonia behind him, the Ravagore was on the L as I look at the board, and the Scythean on the R. The Pot was in the rear of the lines, with the Afflictor near by. The Shredder pair were split on the board, and the Harrier was near the Pot, all of it were in range of the Pot, so he could mint more. The Foresaken were on each end of his deployment. For my setup, I had the Ravagers AD across from the Ravagore, to get to him quickly, and I made a small adjustment to have the Wolves of Orboros behind them for quick follow up. I wanted the Skinwalkers nearest my Flag to make scoring on my flag that much more difficult. I had the Feral and Woldguardian on either side of Morvahna in the middle of the table.

On the opening turn, Chuck moved his Ravagore forward to good firing position, the Scythean ran to the wall on my R on his side of the board, directly opposite of my flag. his Afflictor moved to the edge of the forest moved up and lessors moved into the woods behind. The Archangel took a position in the middle of the board, blocking LOS to the Absylonia. Abby put up Forced Evo on the Archangel, and turned the dice over to me. On my turn I ran the Ravagers into strong position, in two waves in the middle of the board, the WoO up into the gaps behind them. I advance the Skinwalkers up towards the Flag on the R side, and moved Morvahna up to wall out in front of my deployment area, with Flesh of Clay on her, and Carnivore on the Wolves. I moved the Feral up next to her on the L and the Woldguardian w/ Flesh of Clay on him, Trampled into b2b with Morvahna so as to prevent blast damage from the Ravagore.

Turn two, Legion took the dice and the Ravagore opened fire on the closest Ravager killing him. Then the Afflictor came forward charged a Ravager, killed him, and created an incubui who would get into the second rank and kill another Ravager. The Archangel ride by attacked and dropped a few shots into the Ravagers, missing most due to range at that point, but getting a scattered damage. The Foresaken took the opportunity to fill up on Fury. On my turn, I took the opportunity to crash home with the Ravagers. I was only able to get one Ravager into the Ravagore, but was able to do decent damage. I was not able to kill the Afflictor with two non charging Ravagers, but was able to get the Incubi. I also moved the Skinwalkers farther forward, to the midline of the board, having two out front, and 4 in the rear, attempting to bait the Scythean out from behind the wall. The WoO moved forward, and filled in the space left behind by the Ravagers. I had not had a great turn, and could see that Chuck’s model positioning was extremely sharp and he was well practiced in being outnumbered in model count. I turned the dice over anxious to see what Chuck was going to do in response.

Again the Archangel used Ride by attack to shoot more Ravagers, and this time killing one, down to only a couple. The Afflictor activated to kill another Ravager, and spawn another Incubi, who in turn took the opportunity to charge into the rear of the Ravager engaging the Ravagore, killing him. The lessors came forward and killed another Ravagers as well. The now freed up Ravagore was able to fire into a small clump of WoO staring to whittle them down. The Pot then activated and killed a number of it’s own models to fill up and create a new Lesser. The Scythean opted not to come forward that turn, and wait me out. On my turn, I was now unable to Feat back the Ravagers as most had been RFP from the Incubi and snacking from the Shredder. So I decided not to Feat, charged the remaining Ravager into the Archangel and begin doing damage to him. I charged the forward most Skinwalkers into the Archangel and the Scythean who wisely opted not to come forward. One into each, and ran another to block the Scythean at the wall. I was able to do some additional damage to the Archangel and some damage to the Scythean. I had three Skinwalkers forward, and another line of three near the flag. The plan there was to get the Scythean out from behind the wall after the AA cleared the way to the Skinwalkers, or have the second wave of Skinwalkers hit the Archangel and possibly kill it before Abby could Feat. The Wolves of Orboros were able to kill the Lessors, and finish off the Afflictor as well as the Incubi. However all that in the way meant I was not able to get to the Ravagore to engage him with WoO. I had heavies still on either side of Morvahna to respond to threats to his heavies.

On turn 4, neither of us had Feated to this point. Chuck had a chance to clear the Ravagers off the board, and possibly get all the Skinwalkers as well. So he went to it, starting with the Archangel, he was able to kill both the Ravager and Skinwalker he was engaged to. Then a Harrier was spawned and charged the Skinwalker nearest to him from across the board to kill the Skinwalker. Then a remaining Shredder had come forward to kill another nearly kill another Skinwalker blocking the way for the Scythean. The Foresaken came forward and popped his Blight Bomb to kill finish off the Skinwalker. That mean the Scythean was free to go get the second layer of Skinwalkers. He charged, put Slaugtherhouse on himself and destroyed the rest of the Skinwalker unit. The Ravagore then fired his shot into the UA for the WoO and took out the officer. Now the game was clearly in Legion’s favor, as I was out of my two 8 box infantry unable to bring them back, Legion still had all of it’s heavies on the board, and nearly untouched. I took the dice and saw the I had the opportunity to swing the game back in my favor. Now that the Scythean had come forward, I had a chance to kill both the Ravagore and Scythean this turn, which would force his AA forward to deal with one of my heavies. So I started with Morvahna, Feated the UA back into play for the WoO giving me their mini-feat back, and then put Carnivore on the Woldguardian. I activated the WoO who mini-feated and charged the Ravagore, killing it, with attacks the spare and clearing out the remainder of the Pot crew. I probably didn’t need the mini feat to do it, but I wanted to be sure and not rely on a bunch of re-rolls to get it done. Then I used the stones to port the Woldguardian into melee with the Scythean. He made quick work of the Scythean was now in threat range of the Archangel. With the turn gone exactly as I wanted, I turned the dice back over to Chuck, with tide officially turning!

Turn 5, Chuck acted quickly deciding to take out the Guardian in range. He began by moving the Foresaken forward that still had Fury on it, to Blight Bomb the Wold, rolled silly to take a third of it’s life away. Then activating the Gargantuan choosing to ride by attack the Archangel still under Forced Evolution, was able to finish off the heavy Construct, before moving back in front of Absylonia. Abby then activated and feated the AA back to fully healthy before turning the dice over to me. At this stage, the last turn and half had progressed exactly has I had anticipated, I was able to trade the Skinwalkers for access to the Scythean, and able to use the WoO to get the Ravagore. In response the AA came forward to take the Wold and that left the Gargantuan in range of a teleport from the Feral. I looked at the board, and was able to get the remaining WoO into the Archangel with charges and re-roll taking him down about ten damage or so to the AA. Then Morvahna activated, I contemplated using Purification, but decided to put Carnivore on the Feral before teleporting him in to as it was more Fury efficient. I dropped the Feral in on the AA and he was able to rip him apart, leaving nothing but an empty space where the Gargantuan was between the Feral and Absylonia. With that, the game that I had been behind nearly the entire time, had now swung fully in my favor. I turned the dice back to Chuck.

With no choice Abby had to kill the Feral to have a chance of surviving. She used a Fury to force herself to gain ST, then charged the Feral. Did some damage and took it down to about ¼ of it’s life. Then created a Stinger from the Pot, who was not able to charge, and got in on the Feral but was unable to kill him. Then in a last ditch effort the Foresaken in range charged to try and bring the Warpwolf down. When it was all said and done, the Feral was sitting on one box in front of Abby. On my turn, I did not debate long, I started with the WoO who promplty failed their Abomination check by getting near Abby. Tough break, but I would not be deterred. Morvahna charged the Forsaken, hit with the Goat attack, and rammed her back an inch before killing her to get within Reach of Abby. Having kept Carnivore up on the Feral, I had 6 Fury left. I had three attacks on her, all extra die of damage, one fully boosted. I burned Abby’s last transfer, and killed the Stinger w/ the damage. The Feral only needed one swing to kill the Warlock.

GENCON MASTERS CHAMP!!!!

After I shook hands with Chuck, I pulled my hat down over my eyes to absorb the moment just for a few seconds, then turned to my friends who were all front and center watching at the edge of the table where I had just played. My teammate Shane was the first to grab me for the most epic sweaty man hug of my life! What an awesome awesome moment, not just for me, but for all the Dark Omen guys who help me practice and make me better, and the Northeast meta where I play. I could not have been prouder to accomplish this in all their names.

I’ve had a long time now to reflect on the games and the accomplishment, and it still is surreal to think of myself winning. I’m very grateful for the experience, and humbled by the accomplishment. There are so many take aways from the weekend that I want to share, but will narrow it down to three:

The first of which is to tell any of you reading this that want to compete but feel they aren’t good enough, that you simply have to put yourselves into the arena and play. You don’t really know how good you are or how much success you can have until you put yourself out there. You win zero percent of the events you don’t play in, guaranteed. Compete because you enjoy it, not because you want to win; if you enjoy competing, you are guaranteed to have success no matter what the outcome of your games.

Secondarily, luck is when practice meets opportunity. I’m sure you have heard how luck always plays a part in qualifying for a Masters, and certainly winning one. While that is true, I think clarifying what luck means is important. If I had not had the preparation to take advantage of being paired against Cryx in the semi-finals match playing Kromac, luck would not have mattered. While being lucky may well give you the opportunity, you still have to have the skill to take advantage of it. That is true in any endeavor and certainly this game. Yes, there are going to be times when you need to ‘get lucky’, but what you do when that happens defines your ability to be successful… that’s call seizing the moment. When it comes to that, there is no amount of luck that can do it for you. You do, or do not, as they say; there is no try.

Lastly, the lessons of being a high level competitor and how we manage ourselves and our opponents are probably my biggest takeaways. This is probably the most underrated skill that many, if not all, of the top level players have. You are going to run into situations that have to be navigated with your opponent and if you want to compete, you have to learn how to handle those situations, and handle them well. Etiquette of the game is an oft debated topic amongst players as I’m sure you know. While there is a clear rule set, and even some additional aids such as the judges and players guide; there is a an unwritten social contract to this game. One that cannot be scribed into a document; it can never really be expressed, only understood. Playing with Chuck, and other great players of the game, I can assure you that how you win, is more important than simply winning. Unfortunately not everyone subscribes to this notion (whether intentionally or unintentionally). While we all want to play by the rules of the game, and make sure our opponents do the same; we should also strive to bring the best out in our opponents, winning or losing, while playing our best game in response. That means you don’t look for points of inadequate advantage over your opponents, instead look to make them better by not allowing that to happen. Play with a level of integrity where the spirit of sportsmanship is upheld, not dishonored. Just because you can take advantage, doesn’t mean you should, regardless of whether the rules as scripted allow for it or not. Win because your best moves were better than your opponents best moves, not because you caught them in a clear misunderstanding of an application. All easier said than done, of course; and we all fear being taken advantage of in that manner. I watched as many great players did uphold this standard, repeatedly refusing to let their opponents walk into unknowing free strikes or be taken advantage of by mistaking an in-game effect… and still managed to win the right way. I know competition can get the best of all of us, me included. That doesn’t mean we should give an opponent the right to run all over us, but it means we should give them all the chance to be treated the way we want to be treated. This past weekend, I saw and played with many a gracious opponent, and I will strive to continue hold myself to that standard going forward in hopes that my opponent will hold me in the same regard despite any success I might have. It was awesome to see and experience first hand, as I travel nationally to play and I encourage everyone to do the same in their LGS and local meta.

What a weekend, what a tournament, and what an experience; one that I will truly never forget. With GenCon a fond, fond memory, I will now embark on my next Warmahordes journey… to St. Louis and the Warmachine Weekend Invitational :).

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