DOGC Opens 2014 with Hard Core Win!

This weekend in Nanuet, NY at Toy Whiz, Anthony Ferraiolo started the year off right for DOGC winning the SR 2014 Hardcore Event. Here is a review of the games played and how the day was won…

It was a great day for a tournament on a snowy Saturday in January! It was my first trip to Toy Whiz and the store is an awesome venue for an event of any size. I encourage everyone to take a trip to Nanuet, NY and check it out. Also want to give a quick shout to Jeff Frederickson, PG extraordinaire who ran the event and did a good job getting us out of there in a reasonable amount of time. Now onto the event at hand!

Whenever I head down for games in the NYC Metro, I know there will be a strong collection of players; this field was no different. Despite being only a dozen players, there was 3 or 4 multi time Masters qualifiers in the mix, so there would be no soft games. I attended with the intent of trying my eMorvahana build in the Hardcore format. I had not played Hardcore in 2013 at all and my last experience in 2012 was with Terminus who is an entirely different ball of wax than eMorvy.

I’m still running the same version of the eMorvahna list I’ve had since GenCon. I see no need to make changes at this point, but again I want to stretch it a bit and see what it can do in different formats. If you need another copy of my list you can find it HERE. The only thing the Morv build shared in common with Terminus list was the mass of infantry models on the table. However, the models in the Terminus build are required to do less work, and the real threat is imposing him upon the opposing force. With my eMovahna list, each model is doing more in each activation, and Morvahna is a true support piece. Her positioning is also much more tricky, especially in Hardcore where time is short. I don’t have the luxury of being able to make a mistake, especially when she is likely be taking damage. I will try to use my strength in numbers and speed to my advantage in hopes of taking control of the zone and scoring Pressure Points on the opposing Lock/Caster. Let’s see how this goes!

ROUND 1: vs Siege

RECAP: This round was vs someone I haven’t seen since before TempleCon last year, and a lot has happened in a year, for sure, but I was happy to be across the table from Dave Serrano. Playing Cygnar with Circle is never a great feeling, and playing Siege is even less fun. Circle is more susceptible to boostable guns than most others. Siege, presents a unique challenge as with the Feat he has an opportunity attrition my Feat out of the game by killing whole units while also posing a hugely credible threat to Morvahna herself. I didn’t like this opening match up at all, but hey, this is what we are here to see.

Dave wins the start roll chooses to go first. I survey the table, and there is a building on one side, and a wall in the zone more on one side of the table than the other, that is also supported by a forest deeper on that side of the table, and I decide that’s my ticket. I figure that if I need to I can take a Pressure Point and hide behind the forest, which Mage Site shouldn’t be able to get around; if all goes right I can push my position to the zone and camp the wall. Siege sets up with Stormwall in the middle of his zone, and puts the Avenger to the R (from my side of the table), then sets the gun mages to the far R with a Stormsmith and Arlen. On the L is Siege with two more Stormsmiths, Junior, Reinholdt, and a Squire. AD out front are the Rangers with Eyriss out the far R. On my side of the table I setup my line w/ Morvahna in the middle, the Wolves of Orboros to my L with Feral just next to Morvahna, the Woldguardian flanking Morvahna ot the R, and the Skinwalkers on the far R. The Ravagers AD out front center flanked by the two Gallows Groves, and stones mixed in the lines with the Ravagers.

On the Cygnar opening turn, the Rangers slunk forward, and Stormwall moved forward dropped a pod. The Gun Mages run into position, and Eyriss ran into position ready to do damage when needed starting next turn. Junior put Arcane Shield on Stormwall, and the Stormsmiths ran to each flank. On my turn, I didn’t waste much time, I knew I had to get up the board. So I pushed my line; the storm pod was close enough to charge with the lead Ravager, and the rest ran to engage what they could, I got a few Rangers stuck as well as an outlying Gun Mage. The pod was easily dispatched. Next I had the Wolves run at the building on the L, reason why I picked that side to deploy them was because they could successfully envelop it and the UA could hide behind it. The Skinwalkers moved freely in the woods on the R to the edge thanks to Pathfinder. I put Fog of War up and dropped and arc node in front of Eyriss. I didn’t have much time to eyeball the distance to see if I could get within Stealth  range and decided to try slinging a Sunder Spirit at her; taking her out first turn saves headaches later. Alas, my opponent positioned her astutely and Morvahna ate the Sunder Spirit and took some damage. Not a stellar way to end the opening turn but my lines were up the board. Finally I moved my beasts forward to flank Morvahna, leaving them far out of Stormwalls gun threat range. My opponent would have 7 quick minutes to respond.

On the next turn Siege had the turn to do something, and he started in on the Ravagers. Between the Rangers, Stormwall, and the some Gun Mages, he was able to take out about half of the Ravagers, and some WoO. The damage was not significant at this stage, and with a rather indecisive turn (thanks to a lot of Reach and good board position), I decided to jam his lines aggressively knowing I had to stop the Feat,  that was inevitably coming next turn, from blowing me off the table. The remaining Ravagers ripped through the Rangers thanks to corpse tokens and re-rolls. Morvahna activated and put Carnivore on the Skinwalkers before retreating to the woods near the back of my table side. Skinwalkers activated and charged into Eyriss and the Gun Mages they could reach. The ATGM made the Terror check but failed Command check for the damage they took from losses sustained from all the charges. Eyriss was eaten by two Skinwalkers. The WoO finished the job of clearing the zone on turn 2, putting the first Pressure Point on Siege, doing 5 damage to him. I finished the turn by having the Wold Guardian put Flesh of Clay on himself and the Feral ran to the wall to take a good position. The Stones flanked the heavies ready to port into Stormwall whom I suspected was coming forward next turn.  I was much happier with this turn and turned the dice over to Dave.

Top of 3, I knew Siege was going to Feat this turn and I suspected it would be in an effort to take out the Feral. I was right about the Feat as the Warcaster activated first and used his Ground Pounder attack to clear out the area in front of Stormwall. He had to make room for the Colossal to contest the zone, which also met he wasn’t going to be able to gain the aiming bonus. As such, not willing to risk two missed Defender cannons on 12’s, he opted to have Stormwall kill what he could within melee reach and drop covering fire to cause problems for my units next turn. The Feat had made quick work of the Ravagers, although I was able to keep 1 alive back by the wall next to the Feral. The WoO had taken losses as well thanks to the Storm Smiths and Junior. All said and done, the only thing in the zone was the Stormwall, but he was completely untouched and I was nearly out of Ravagers, but had a Feral and a number of other attacks to put into him. That was the plan this turn, start with the Feral and do as much as I could, then get the WoO in on him with a mini feat, I also knew I could get two maybe three Skinwalkers there on a charge and my last Ravager, then Feat with Morvahana and hopefully jam out of the zone; hopefully not to run out of time! The plan went off very well, the Feral did a ton to the Stormwall who did not have Arcane Shield anymore as it was moved to Siege after he came forward aggressively last turn. The Skinwalkers activated next and they finished off the Colossal with two that reached him, and the others cleared the remainder of the ATGM and Stormsmith. Sweeping the R flank successfully. the WoO activated and charged to clear off the rest of the support in the rear leaving just Siege, Arlen, and a Stormsmith with the Avenger. I then moved Morvahna forward, Feated back all the Ravagers and most of the WoO that had been lost jamming his remaining models as best as could be managed, then Light Calv moved to the wall. I would dominated for another Pressure Point and 7 more damage to Siege.

Turning the dice over to my opponent. Dave surveyed the board, and he indicated there was little hope of what he could do. Siege couldn’t contest the zone, the remaining Stormsmith couldn’t navigate the wall of reach weapons to get to the zone and the Avenger with a Colossal wreck marker in the way and being attached to the ATGM could not move far enough to get to the zone. All that being true, I would dominate the zone again that turn ending the game via Pressure Points assassination.

Opening Round Final Shot

ROUND 2: vs eButcher3

RECAP: Another player I hadn’t played since before TempleCon last year, Will; who is now running Butcher3… shaking my head just thinking about it. Only 2 players there with Butcher 3 on the docket, and I get one of them in Round 2. Will was coming off a strong showing in round 1 where he top of two assassinated one of the masters players (Charlie Moss) playing his list from TempleCon Hard Core where he finished top 5. Given that result I new Will was well versed in what he was doing with the list. Fortunately, this is a list I want to see more because I need to get comfortable in this matchup as I will see Butcher3 for sure. Looking at the matchup and the board, I decided I wanted to go first. Last time I faced this list in the Invitational I had to go second and realized that taking board position against this list is very important especially with the pressure Butcher can put on you starting turn 2. So I opted for first; my opponent astutely took the side with the wall to deny me the natural protection it offered.

On deployment I decided to go with my WoO on my left as there was a building on the right and it was close enough to the zone that I would have to entirely sweep around it with the larger unit, unlike the last table; so I wanted my smaller more maneuverable unit to navigate that, which means the Skinwalkers to the R. Beast load out in the middle, and Ravagers would AD out front center. Will decided to deploy his Widowmakers and Eyriss directly across from the WoO which was the most sensible place, then took his two units of Black Fang IFP and double stacked them across from the zone with his Juggernaut and Butcher to the center L (as I looked at the board), and Fenris was on the far L flank by himself to avoid the unnecessary abomination checks on his friendly models. Madelyn and Saxon were near Butcher to support the army as needed.

On the opening turn, I took strong position with the Ravagers in the zone to threaten anything that came into the zone, and new I would be getting the alpha, everything else ran forward to support and make a nice battle line about the 20” line or so up the table. I moved Morvahna to my R where I had a hill to toe, and decided to put Carnivore on the Skinwalkers this turn as that is where they where it would be needed most next turn, given the amount of troops on that side. Comfortable with my position I turned the dice over to Will. The lead IFP unit ran into the zone and right into engagement with my Ravagers to set the line of engagement as far up the table as they could, but it cost him Shield Wall on the opening turn. The Widowmakers took position on the L side with Eyriss and fired from the woods to put work into the WoO.

On my next turn, I knew it was going to have to be decisive and with only 7 minutes, I had to go immediately. I could to clear the Ravagers with the Skinwalkers so they could spring into the second line of troops. I upkept with Carnivore on the Skinwalkers and moved into the spaces behind and around the Ravagers with Carnivore to clear most of the IFP that were in the way. I then activated Morvahna and cycled Carnivore onto the WoO, slung a well positioned Death Knell onto a few IFP before moving her into safe position at the edge of the kill box diametrically opposed to Butcher. The WoO activated and charged the Widow Makers, Fenris, and the lone IFP still in the way. Cleared all I encountered thanks to Powerful Charge + Carnviore + CMA. Fenris was dehorsed, and the Ravagers were now primed to charge into the second wave of IFP. I had to move quickly so I did what I could to get through their activations. I was still tied in a bit, but managed to clear the zone of IFP, however, I could not score as I was going 1st. However, I felt good about the position I was in, with ⅔ of the IFP gone. I moved my two beasts into more threatening positions and dropped stones in front of them and Morvahna and my two heavies. Will took the dice and was pretty far down on model count and I still had my Feat, so I was in commanding position. He used the IFP remaining to Mini Feat and move into the zone, and cleared about half the Ravagers. The Juggernaut now moved into the zone to clear a few more models. The Widow Makers were all tied up, but Fenris managed to kill a few models. The Kovnik was able to get a Skinwalker, triggering Relentless Advance and he had managed to stop me from scoring a Pressure Point but this turn it was likely going to get bad next turn.

On my turn, there were a half dozen IFP in the zone w/ a Kovnik, and the Juggernaut. I up kept Carnivore on the WoO, and mini feated to charge them in to clear some IFP, put damage on the Juggernaut, and remove unmounted Fenris. I then activated Morvahna and cycled Carnivore onto the Skinwalkers. I charged them in behind the Ravagers again to poke holes in B2B lines of the IFP under Iron Zeal and Shield Wall, enough to leave them vulnerable to the remaining Skinwalkers. I had a couple of Ravagers charge the Juggernaut and do some additional damage to him. Then the Wold Guardian was dropped in and able to finish the Juggernaut off clearing the zone. I took a Gallows Grove and dropped it in front of the Wold to stop Butcher from pulling him from a safe position; he would have to come forward to deal with him. With that, the zone was clear, and a Pressure Point on Butcher for 5 damage. Will took the dice and knew Butcher would have to get his hands dirty this turn, and it started with him moving forward to clear the models between him and the Wold, with the Argii attacking the Ravagers they were engaged with. Butcher cleared the models in the way, then used impending doom to pull the Wold in. He did enough damage to take out the remaining models around the Wold and took out his Spirit. The feated, back to full Focus, and with the clock running low, decided to stop there, believing he would only make himself more vulnerable next turn with the a lot still in range of him. Before I took the dice, we tabulated that Butcher would take another Pressure Point because he was not contesting the zone; that’s a total of 1o damage on Butcher.

As my turn started, I still had my Feat, but wouldn’t need it, because I only need to cause three damage to Butcher and dominate the zone by moving Morvahna in to cause another 7 points of damage from the final Pressure Point to end the game. I activated Morvahna first, moved Carnivore to the Feral and used my remaining Fury to sling a boosted Sunder Spirit into Butcher doing some additional damage. I activated the Wold Guardian relying on two chances at a re-rollable 8 to KD Butcher, and I had Feral with Carnivore as a fail safe. The first swing from the Wold was successful and Butcher was on the ground. No damage, but he was prone. Feral was teleported in on the first swing he did the requisite three damage to ensure that that he was done at the turns end. The remaining attacks from the Feral and finished Butcher without needing the final Pressure Point. This was a solid victory against a tough list and opponent. Was happy to be moving onto the next round.

semi final final table shot

ROUND 3: vs eButcher3 (again)

RECAP: After the end of my last round I learned the pair down from the previous round had lost, meaning I would be playing on top table in the next round. This round would be against Jeff, a player whom I’ve not faced since he was playing Skorne a year earlier at the Dragon’s Den. Now he has moved onto Butcher 3, and I would have to overcome him again if I was going to win. The difference in this match was the list had two Devestators, making my ability to gain pressure points that much harder. I again won the roll for first turn, and took it, and my opponent again put me on the side of the table (we were on the same table I had just played on). My deployment had worked out well last time, so I opted to do the same thing this time. Jeff only had only one unit of IFP (which he stated later was to save time and prevent scenario Pressure Points) and put it in the same place as my previous opponent, and everything else was mostly the same.

On my first turn, opened up just as last time, with my Ravagers going strong to the center of the board, the WoO and the Skinwalkers moving way up the board, with Carnivore on the Skinwalkers and Fog of War up. My opponent had a different opening turn in this game, however, using the Kovnik to Shield March the IFP who Shield Walled, and used their Mini Feat, allowing them to touch the outside of the zone. The Widowmakers took the same position at the edge of the woods with Eyriss and opened fire on the WoO. Fenris ran around the flank full bore to try and force an Abomination check but was unable to get there.

My second turn I would have to charge the Ravagers across the zone, luckily the POW 15 from Brutal Charge would help break up the IFP under Iron Zeal. I did just that, and was able to get about 5 IFP off the board. Then I dropped the right Gallows Grove up the table and was able to get it in the back arc of the Kovnik, despite him having cover from the building. I was able to get him off the table with a Sunder Spirit from Morvahna. Then used the Mini Feat from WoO to dehorse Fenris on the L, and piled the Skinwalkers and remaining WoO into the zone behind the Ravagers. The Beasts moved into the zone and the stones dropped in front of them to protect from Impending Doom and be sure they could threaten the whole zone. Butcher took the dice and moved the remaining IFP into action by starting to clear the front line of the unit, and get into the zone. The Jacks moved forward as much as they could but did not want to open. Widowmakers were able to get another round of shooting due to how effective they were last round I wasn’t able to get them engaged. Eyriss then moved forward again and the WoO were down to less than half, and the Ravagers were down a few models. Saxon also was on fire this game plucking his second model in as many turns. The dogs were able to help at this point and so was Butcher. Ravagers were down below half as were the WoO. Zone was contested, and the two jacks were going to be able to get in next turn.

On my turn, I decided I would Feat back what I lost and score a Pressure Point this turn to get damage on Butcher and perhaps make it difficult for the ‘jacks to get in the zone. I activated the remaining Ravagers first and got a few IFP, then activated the WoO who were finally able to engage Eyriss and the Widow makers as well as Saxon. I up kept Carnivore on the IFP and then Feated 10 of the models I lost back onto the table. Then had Morvahna use a Gallows Grove to get a well placed Death Knell on the IFP Flag, Corbeau, Ayianna and an Argus. I was able to kill all but the Argus. I then retreated to the rear of the zone, and let the Skinwalkers kill the remaining IFP to heal Morvahna about half of the damage she had taken. The Stones moved farther forward, and the beats were now pressed further forward in the zone. I had successfully cleared the zone, and dominated putting 7 damage on Butcher. Jeff knew that the game was tilting in the wrong direction and had to get into the zone, and be aggressive with Butcher. He started with the first Devstator, moved forward and popped open, clearing most of the models around. This allowed the second Devestator to move into the zone, pop, and clear more infantry, he hot rolled a lot of damage on the 8 box models. The space available now cleared room for Butcher to get into the zone and start to really cleanup. He cleared the models around him, impending doom feated, and cleared some more, and ended the turn with 4 focus on him.

Butcher was in the zone, close to Morvahna, who had now been healed back to to full thanks to Imperishable Conviction. The two jacks had opened up, which allowed me the opportunity to possibly take them out. However, Butcher was in the zone only on ARM 22 and down ⅓ of his HP. So I decided to go for him. I did not upkeep Carnivore. I activated Morvahna first, put Carnivore on the Wold Guardian, and threw a Sunder Spirit into Butcher, with a re-roll had Butcher down to half life. I activated the Stones and dropped the Wold Guardian behind the Butcher, and activated the Wold, who went to town able to KD the Warcaster on the first swing. Then using Ram started pushing Butcher toward the Feral so I could walk into Melee with the second heavy. However, on the final swing with the Wold, Butcher was finished. Tourney over!

Final Table Shot

This event was a great exercise for me. I was fortunate to win, given the matches I had. As I said at the onset I wanted to see how the Morvahna list worked in the format and I think it has real potential. The jam tactic does have a lot of viability because it puts direct damage onto the opposing ‘Lock or ‘Caster if I can use it to score Pressure Points. Additionally once damaged, her assassination becomes that much more live. Also, when the opposing Caster/Lock is bleeding my infantry becomes that much more likely to finish the job with charges and re-rolls. The trouble is having to activate everything and move quickly. Unlike the Cryx lists I have run in the past, I cannot rely on my Feat to keep me in the game alone, and to support my tactic of trying to take over the zone, I have to get the most out of my activations, which creates the leverage in the attrition. Additionally I saw that I don’t need to Feat to win with the list in this format. While I obviously would prefer to do but, with time constraints that I have it doesn’t need to happen. Seeing that go successfully in round 2 gives me confidence that it’s a viable thought going forward (when applicable and I need to save time). I believe it’s a list that can be played in the Hard Core format, as long as I get through my progressions efficiently, and don’t waste unnecessary time.

Another take away from the event now getting a better look at Butcher3, I realized the value of having the immobile models; being able to prevent the Impending Doom from pulling everything in is huge. That means placement on Stones and Gallows Groves can save your battlegroup from certain death. That doesn’t mean they can tank the opposing army, just means you can use them to buy time, or even catch an unsuspecting Butcher 3 player from failing to realize the interaction. Killing the Kovniks slows the army down, but unless you can get them early, it doesn’t make enough of a difference to waste a high priority magic missile on them.

The last point of note was that the Butcher3 lists were nearly identical to what I saw at the Invitational, with some combination of IFP, Widowmakers, Eyriss, Corbeau, and Kovniks. The additional points expenditure on Fenris or A&H, or whatever are subtle details, to what the list wants to do. You have to manage his threat range and make him burn focus to clear the jam between your caster and him. The heavy jack in his list is only a trade piece, and while it’s a problem, it’s important not to take the bait and give a heavy to make it happen, only to have Butcher mop it up in retaliation. Recognize that and not wasting the effort to kill the heavy, when those pieces are really need to kill Butcher.

I’m overall happy with the table time from the event, and got some pretty sweet games in, bonus was being able to take home the W! Toy Whiz is a great venue and thanks to Jeff Frederickson for running the tourney.

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