My Games in Lock & Load 2014 Masters
I'm back again for another way overdue report on my games at Privateer Press' annual convention Lock & Load. I went to this con with the intention to play in more competitive events than I had in years past and did just that, participating in the Masters, Hardcore and Blood, Sweat & Tiers tournaments. As with the previous two years, I brought my Trollbloods and this report (with pictures; see below) will cover my games with them in Masters. As usual the event was a three list divide and conquer (meaning each list had to be played at least once) and I brought the following three lists: Grim2 - Bomber - Slag Troll - Impaler - Max. Scattergunners + UA - Max. Burrowers - Min. Krielstone + UA - Fell Caller - Chronicler - Runebearer - Gatorman Witch Doctor - Victor Pendrake - Swamp Gobbers
Calandra - Bomber - Impaler - Max. Burrowers - Min. Krielstone + UA - Max. Warders - Min. Warders - Max. Nyss Hunters - Fell Caller - Gatorman Witch Doctor - Swamp Gobbers
Doomshaper1 (Tier 4 Runes of War) - Mulg the Ancient - Earthborn - Mauler - Axer - Max. Krielstone + UA - Runeshapers - Runeshapers - Runeshapers - Runeshapers - Janissa
Grim2 has been one of my favorite casters since his release thus it was a natural choice for me to bring him, though the list underwent some fairly significant changes from the list I played last year. I dropped the second Bomber, min Bone Grinders and Whelps for not just more support, but also some better utility pieces. The Fell Caller to make the Burrowers MAT 8 or even Scattergunners (hello Quick Work) MAT 9 after Mortality. Pendrake is also new addition. swapped over from a Calandra list. On his best day, he can Beast Lore either the Hunter's Grim, the Burrowers or the Runebearer and on his worst he can simply attempt to knock something down with his bola (so as to easily enable the landing of Mortality) or simply even be a decent piece to contest a scenario zone. I found I like Grim2 against Cryx at times and as such included a Witch Doctor for Zombify, but have also learned the joy of denying even non-Cryx opponents the benefits that come from my models being living (snacking, death toll, ashen veil, awe, blood thirst, etc.) I also swapped the Pyre Troll out for a Slag Troll, as the animus is largely the same, it has better stats and a great ranged attack against anything that's not living. As always, Swamp Gobbers are just a great 1 point filler.
Calandra is another of my favorite casters and this list also went through some big changes. I was torn, as I wanted to field a list with Warders (the hype is to be believed) which would probably mean one of the Grissels, but I've always loved Calandra, so I made a weird hybrid. I kept in all the stuff that normally shines with Calandra (Bomber, Burrowers, Nyss), but also wedged in two units of Warders. Sadly, it wasn't feasible to include two full units so I have one max and one min. Somewhat regrettably the Slag Troll and some solos had to get bumped to fit them, but so be it.
In tournaments past I've played my own variant of the ubiquitous Runes of War list, swapping the Mauler for a Pyre, Whelps and Runebearer. More recently however I've become of the mind that it's better to sacrifice more spell juggling/discounting and frenzy control in order to have the extra heavy on the table, and thus am playing the same list Jason Flanzer popularized 3 years ago. I do miss the Pyre Troll's animus making things like Doomshaper, Janissa and the Krielstone bearer fire immune, but again, you can't have it all.
Though I made it a point to keep my tournament sheet, it went missing in the hustle and bustle of the day's end, thus sadly I don't recall my opponents names. Round 1 the scenario was Incursion and my opponent was playing Legion. His lists consisted of beast heavy Thagrosh2, ranged intensive Lylyth2 and a third list I can't recall, but being Legion it still had a significant warbeast loadout. With that in mind I chose Grim2 as, between Mortality and Pendrake, I felt confident I'd be able to handle the heavies and also because, were he fielding Lylyth2, Mage Sight would be at least some counter to Shadow Pack. Additionally, the Slag Troll's animus makes recipients Ravagore-proof. He ended up choosing:
Thagrosh2 - Scythean - Scythean - Angelius - Angelius - Raek - Raek - Shredder - Forsaken - Forsaken - Succubus - Spell Martyr
He won the roll off and chose to go first so I chose the side with the wall, in part for the protection, but more to deny him the cover from my ranged attacks. Turn 1 he ran everything forward and cast Dragon's Blood on the Scythean on the hill. On my turn 1 the Burrowers burrowed, Muggs put out a trap and a Harmoniously Exaltated Grim put a few fury on the Krielstone and cast Mirage on the Scattergunners. The Chronicler gave the SGs Tale of Mist (basically just feign death), the Witch Doc Zombified them, the KSB did Combat Warding and everything else moved up. At the end of round 1 the flag to my left disappeared. On his turn 2 Thagrosh upkept Dragon's Blood, advanced, cast Manifest Destiny and Tenacity on the Raeks. Said Raeks then both advanced and leapt into engage the Scattergunners, killing 3.
The Angelius on my right advanced a fire a boosted shot a Pendrake, but missed due to Duck and the other Angelius (the one that's just a tail on a base) shot something inconsequential. The Dragon Blooded Scythean ran to the edge of the central hill after being Tenacity'd and the other Scythean ran to base the center flag. Forsaken grabbed fury. On my turn 2 the Burrowers popped up and Grim upkept Mirage, allowing the Scattergunners to completely disengage from the Raek's melee range. The Runebearer Harmoniously Exaltated Grim who then advanced, cast a boosted Mortality on the Dragon Blooded Scythean, feated and shot it for a bit of damage. Muggs missed the Scythean with the net gun, Krump put a trap over the black Raek and the unit reformed. The Burrowers got a plethora of buffs (War Cry from the Fell Caller, Hero's Tragedy from the Chronicler, Zombify from the Witch Doctor and Beast Lore from Pendrake) and, with all but one aiming, brought both the Angelius on my right and the Mortality'd Scythean down to just a few boxes left on each. The Burrower that hung back to be the buff recipient also hit the black Raek in melee for a nice chunk of damage. Most of the Scattergunners aimed and blew away the black Raek and did a lot of damage to the one on the hill. The Impaler finished off the beat up Angelius with a boosted spear throw and the Slag put some more damage on the injured Scythean. The Bomber finished the wounded Scythean with it's first bomb and put some decent damage on the other one with it's second. The Swamp Gobbers ran to the side flag to score me 1 control point at the end of the turn.
On his third turn Thagrosh centered himself on the hill and cast Manifest Destiny, healed the Raek and got Tenacity'd by the Shredder. The closer Forsaken advanced towards the Burrowers and blight bombed a couple and the Raek walked and leapt to kill a few more. The remaining Scythean advanced into the Scattergunners, only managing to kill 2 and the Angelius tried to clear the last couple Burrowers that were contesting the center flag, but one toughed and, not wanting to be way over on fury, he stopped buying attacks. The other Forsaken took a fury or two from something and the Spell Martyr ran to contest the right flag.
On my turn 3 Grim upkept Mirage and most of the Scattergunners got placed outside of melee. Impaler frenzied on the Slag troll for a bit of damage. The Fell Caller killed the Spell Martyr with it's spray and gave the Burrowers War Cry. Pendrake Beast Lore'd them (alongside Hero's Tragedy and Zombify) again and they finished off the Raek and put some damage on the last Angelius. Grim missed the Aneglius with a boosted Mortality, but shot it for some damage and Krump laid out another trap. The remaining Scattergunners sprayed, killing the other Forsaken and putting a few points on the Angelius. The Slag regenerated a couple points and the Bomber finished off the last Angelius with two bombs. Lastly, the Swamp Gobber made a cloud and scored me a second control point.
On the top of his turn 4 the Shredder frenzied and ate the Succubus. Wanting to score some control and army destroyed points, Thagrosh cast Manifest Destiny, charged a Burrower (who was promptly turned into a burning ash cloud) and based the center flag, camping two fury. The Scythean advanced and attacked, filling up on fury and killing the Bomber and 3 Scattergunners. At the end of the turn he scored his first control point and I my third.
On my turn 4 I dropped Mirage. The cloud Thagrosh made was perfectly blocking LoS from an aiming Muggs' net gun, so Grim cast Mage Sight over it and Muggs knocked him down. Grim then cast Mortality on him, shot him for a few point and reformed away (Krump also put out a trap). The Burrowers got fully buffed again and charged Thagrosh and the Shredder, killing the Shredder and doing more damage to Thagrosh, prompting him to crap out a new Shredder. The Scattergunners did some more damage and at this point he was out of transfers and low enough on health that the Impaler was able to advance and finish him off with a boosted spear throw. At the end of the game I score a fourth control point and 2 point over his total army destroyed points, on account of the extra Shredder.
For the second round the scenario was Close Quarters, my opponent was playing Cryx and his lists consisted of Deneghra2, Terminus and another I can't recall. Historically Calandra has been my go to against Cryx due to Star Crossed hindering their infantry, but I've had a fair amount of success against Cryx with Grim2 and find him to be a generally outstanding caster, thus opted for him. In the off chance he brought Terminus, Mortality is also great for wiping out models with Tough and the addition of the Witch Doctor would deny some amount of soul-taking. As it turned out he fielded:
Terminus - Stalker - Max. Bane Thralls + UA - Min. Bane Thralls - Max. Bane Knights - Min Bile Thralls - Min. Blood Witches + UA - Withershadow Combine - Tartarus - Darragh Wrath - Saxon Orrik - Madelyn Corbeau
As it was Close Quarters I expected Deneghra, though it's hard to go wrong when fielding a bunch of classic Cryx goodies and that his Terminus list certainly did. I'll say up front that, as I was taking A LOT of time to think things out this game, I took less pictures than I usually like to. He won the roll off and I again chose the side with a wall safe from kill box, though this time it wasn't just to deny my opponent the cover, but also to be able to keep Grim and other precious models safe from his non-reach weapon masters. Terminus gave 1 focus to the Stalker and the Knights ran up on my left. The min Thralls got pathfinder from Saxon and ran into the forest in the center of the board and the max Thralls ran up on my right. Terminus cast Malediction and advanced, the Biles ran up behind the big Bane unit, Darragh advanced and Death Rode and everything else ran. During deployment I positioned the Scattergunners and Bomber centrally and the Burrowers opposite the big Bane unit.
Turn 1 with my Grim2 list is usually pretty consistent (especially when going second) and this one was no different: the Burrowers burrowed, Grim Miraged the SGs and put some fury on the Stone and everything else moved up in an appropriately conservative manner. On his second turn everything ran up, with Darragh using Beyond Death and the Blood Witches mini-feating. Terminus stayed at the rear of the central forest.
Turn two is when my Grim2 list usually goes all out and, again, this game was no different. The Burrowers popped up around my flag, Grim upkept Mirage and the Scattergunners Apparitioned; some into better spots to spray from and some just moving up. The Burrowers received War cry from the Fell Caller, Hero's Tragedy from the Chronicler and Zombify from the Witch Doc and the Runebearer Harmoniously Exalted Grim. Grim then advanced from behind the wall (just enough to get within stealth ignoring range of a Bane Thrall from the max unit, but also close enough to the wall that he'd be able to Reform back behind it) along with Muggs & Krump, landed a boosted Mortality on the nearby Thrall, feated and shot that same Thrall. I was pretty confident the nearby Banes would get wiped out so rather than laying a trap Krump also shot a Thrall and Muggs missed something unimportant with the net gun, then all three Hunter's Grim Reformed behind the wall.
The Burrowers charged in next, destroying all the remaining Bane Thralls from the Mortalitied unit (short of the non-officer leader), a Thrall from the min unit and failed to damage Darragh. In hindsight I realized I should have activated the Bomber first and thrown at Darragh, as not only could it have stayed outside Beyond Death range, but the 4" AOEs would have been perfect for clearing several of the Bile Thralls surrounding him. In this list I've gotten (too?) used to the Bomber being a late activating model to finish off/clean up whatever looks most problematic/intact after the units do their thing on the feat turn. Next the Kriel Stone activated Spirit Chaser and ran as close to the Blood Witches as possible and the Impaler did a good chunk of damage to the now destealthed Stalker. All the Witches were in Spirit Chaser range, save the Blood Hag (who was the shortest of hairs out!), so the Scattergunners went next, some moving and some aiming, and destroyed the following: the Stalker, all the Blood Witches (except the Hag!), 4 Knights, 2 Biles Thralls and 2 Thralls from the central unit. I can't recall what the Bomber threw at, but I do recall it was relatively inconsequential. The Slag troll hung back and the Gobbers put a cloud blocking LoS to Grim.
On his turn 3 the Knights Vengeance'd to kill a couple Scattergunners, Terminus upkept Malediction for free and moved up via Madelyn. Terminus went first, feated and charged into the Scattergunners to grab a few souls and the Knights killed a few more. As expected, most of the Burrowers died from a couple Bile Thrall Purges, but Zombify at least prevented more soul harvesting. Darragh continued to use Beyond Death and everything pretty much just moved up a bit. On my turn 3 Terminus' ARM was in the low 30's from all the soul and focus and things looked bleak. Terminus couldn't be in two places at once though, so my only hope was to clear enough of his army that I could start scoring at one of the flags. The three or so remaining Burrowers reburrowed by my flag, in the hopes of better killing opportunities next turn. Though it came as no surprise, Darragh was being quite a thorn in my side, so Muggs knocked him down, a Harmoniously Exalted Grim Mortalitied him and shot him for a chunk of damage, while Krump put down a trap. The Fell Caller yelled a couple Knights to death and the remaining SG's and the KSB unit killed all but 1 of the remainder. The Bomber threw at Darragh and did enough damage to dismount him, as well as kill Maelovus with some crazy blast damage rolls. The Slag moved up to try to finish Darragh, but failed due to Beyond Death canceling out the ARM debuff from Mortality.
The action slowed from here, as both our armies were dwindling, but he of course had the upper hand with Terminus being able to kill my caster and the reverse not being the case (as he wisely kept camping focus). As there were no great targets for the Bomber to shoot at, he was able to stall Terminus a couple turns by double-handed throwing him away from my flag/caster as I tried to wipe out the rest of his army. The last of both units of Bane Thralls and the last Bane Knight were wiped out, along with Madelyn. I kept sacrificing my beasts to give myself more time to score, but both Darragh and Saxon wouldn't die (despite being hit repeatedly!). The below picture is very near the end of the game, in which ultimately I timed out. No points were scored, as my Witch Doctor was still contesting my flag and Saxon & Darragh his.
Even though I killed 30 models on turn two, I felt as though I could've handled the turn better. I think I got too greedy and over extended the Scattergunners, ultimately yielding more souls than necessary. Additionally, that turn I'd eyeballed if the it looked like the 7" KSB aura could encompass all the Blood Witches and even though it looked like it would have, I could have added another fury to the Stone to play it safe. While Terminus still would've gotten a good amount of souls, the Hag being able to deny tough statistically gave him 3-4 more than I cared for, plus she survived the entire game, running around with that ridiculous aura. All in all, a good, bloody game none the less.
The scenario for round 3 was Fire Support and my opponent was playing Circle, his casters (iirc) were Krueger2, Kromac and Morvhana2. Though Stealth wouldn't be the end of the world, I still didn't relish the thought of playing Grim2 against Krueger2 on account of Storm Wall. Neither was I eager to have Transmute and Banishing Ward purified and Doomshaper1 killed by Morvhana's spells, so, as none of his lists were particularly high ARM, I went with Calandra. He brought:
Morvhana2 - Stalker - Stalker - Gorax - Max. Skinwalkers + UA - Max. Bloodtrackers + UA - Shifting Stones + UA - Shifting Stones - Gallows Grove x 2 - Witch Doctor
He won the roll off and opted to go first, choosing the Nyss as his Prey target. Morvhana cast Fog of War and Carnivore on the Skinwalkers, the Blood Trackers got Zombified and everything ran forward. On my turn 1 the Nyss didn't advance their full distance, not just to avoid them getting shot by their predators, but also to deny his Trackers the bonus movement to allow them to be more of a pain. The Warder's ran up, Calandra cast Star Crossed, put some fury on the KSB and moved up and the KSB advanced and aura'd. The Impaler Far Struck the Bomber, who advanced killed a Blood Tracker with deviations and my Witch Doc Zombified the Nyss. On his turn he upkept spells and things just moved up a bit, except for the Trackers were Zombified again and then ran to somewhat jam the Warders.
On my turn two the Burrowers popped up. Calandra cast Star Crossed, used her feat, put a fury on the Stone and camped a few for rerolls. Burrowers got Zombifed (so as to not care about Terrifying Skinwalkers and to counter Carnivore) and War Cried and got the run charge order, though most didn't go over 3". They made sure to kill a Stone from each Shifting Stone unit and, between them and the Warders, killed all but 3 Blood Trackers and two Skinwalkers, badly wounding two others. Though it undoubtedly threw bombs somewhere, I can't recall what the Bomber did and the Nyss shot some arrows around semi-ineffectually.
On his turn 3 his Carnivore'd Skinwalkers swung feebly against Star Crossed, Zombified Burrowers. He was able to clear out the Nyss near my objective/flag, have a Stalker charge and kill my Objective and move Morvhana up to dominate the flag, scoring himself 3 points. He also feated back the 2 dead Skinwalkers and I believe some Trackers, but left Morvhana with easy LoS of my Bomber. Sadly, on my turn 3 I made the bone head move, in the heat of the moment, of forgetting that my Bomber could engage Shifting Stones. I moved him up, declared I was going to shoot and was silently aghast for about 30 seconds when I realized my error. My Bomber then despondently punched the Shifting Stone in front of him to dust... :(
At any rate, after that I had the Nyss CRA her through the forest, but rolled crap for damage and then everything else charged/ran to surround the offending flag. I killed the Gallows Groves to play it safe and, as with every turn of the game, Calandra cast Star Crossed.
On his turn he went all out trying to clear the guys I'd put around his flag, but he was doing A LOT of thinking each turn and his clock was getting low. ARM 21, Star Crossed and Tough were all doing their job of making the Warders a significant hassle for him to try to remove, but Morvhana's rerolls got him farther than the same models with almost any other caster could have. The pic below is when he'd exhausted the Skinwalkers, both Stalkers, the Stone Warden's Rock Hammer and all of Morvhana's fury to leave one knocked down Warder still contesting the flag. He was pondering a path to weave the remaining 2 Blood Trackers to throw at said Warder when his time expired.
The scenario for the final round of prelims was Destruction and I can't recall which two other casters my Retribution opponent brought, but I DO recall thinking at the time that Calandra was the obvious choice. He brought the following:
Rahn - Banshee - Phoenix - Chimera - Max. Sentinels + UA + Soulless Escort - Battle Mages + Soulless Escort - Battle Mages - Arcanist x 2 - Eiryss2 - Wishnailer
IIRC, I chose to go first. I don't generally like burrowing Burrowers turn 1 when going first. Also I was concerned about getting my squishy stuff Chain Blasted on his first turn. In a partial counter to this, I ran my single-wound units up in clusters and put Bomb Shelter on the center model, so at least he'd have to work for it. Gobbers made a small cloud to dissuade him from attempting to target Calandra, the Stone got some fury and everything else ran up, with all Nyss but Celena in the forest. Don't recall who got Zombified this turn.
On his turn 1 Rahn kept all his focus. An Arcanist advanced and Power Boosted a focus onto the Chimera that used it to run up. Rahn then was told Arcane Secrets by Wishnailer and arced a Force Hammer into the Nyss directly in front of the Bomb Sheltered one and killed it and the three Nyss base-to-base and behind it. He then arced a Chain Blast, but missed and deviated to nothing. Everything else ran up.
Thankfully he targeted the Nyss rather than the Burrowers, so the full unit of Pygs burrowed. The Nyss got Zombifed and charged; 1 killed a Battle Mage and 3 utterly smashed the Chimera, with 2 hanging back behind cover. Calandra advanced to be just out of the kill box, cast Star Crossed and put a fury on the Stone. Respecting Rahn's ability to magically reach out and move my models, I kept the Calandra, the Bomber and the Fell Caller fairly well hidden by the Swamp Gobber cloud. The Warders ran up in a somewhat staggered formation, followed by the KSB.
An Arcanist Power Boosted the Phoenix, which then ran into the forest a ways. I can't recall precisely, but I believe Wishnailer told Rahn more Secrets and Rahn then used his feat and slammed some Warders into one another/out of the zone fairly ineffectually (1 died?). The Battle Mages partially engaged by the Nyss threw a lot of punches at them and killed 2. The other unit of Battle Mages(to my left) simply advanced and Force Bolted the Warders mostly out of the zone (knocking almost all of them down with crits, but doing relatively little damage) and killed some KSB members. A couple Nyss were killed somehow and the Sentinels advanced into the zone and everything else advanced.
On my turn the Burrowers popped up in various places surrounding the Sentinels. Swamp Gobbers made another gaseous fortress for Calandra, who then used her feat and cast Star Crossed. The Burrowers got War Cried + Zombified, advanced slightly (many already had back strike on Sentinels from where they unburrowed) and killed 2 Battle Mages from the left unit and 8 Sentinels. The Warders stood up, dusted themselves off and waded back into the zone. The Bomber got Far Strike and easily wrecked the enemy objective with only two fury and, needing 1 more for next turn, it also put Bomb Shelter on Calandra. The remaining Nyss charged to join their fellows in melee with the Battle Mages, killing 2 more. The KSB stood and aura'd. Sadly the Sentinels didn't fail a CMD check and the one still toeing the zone prevented me scoring there, now that the enemy objective was toast.
On his following turn(s?) he does as best he can to handle the Burrowers, killing a decent chunk, but Star Crossed takes it's toll and the heavies don't roll as well as he would've liked. He continues whittling away at the KSB with Battle Mages, killing all but the Stone Bearer himself, who toughs. With the Banshee preventing the Warders from charging, Calandra forgoes casting Star Crossed in order to cast a boosted Befuddle at the Banshee in the hopes of moving it out of combat and allow the Bomber to put a healthy chunk of damage on it. In melee it was 16 DEF, but sadly Calandra can't roll a 9 or better on 3d6, even with a Fate Blessed reroll... Well, the Warders have to make due with advancing and putting some damage on the heavies and the Bomber gets Far Struck, aims and, with boosted bombs, puts some more damage on the Phoenix. Nyss kill all but 1 of the Battle Mages they've been toying with for 3 turns, the Swamp Gobbers get Zombified (due to a lack of targets) and they then make a cloud.
With a turn of no Star Crossed, hitting Trollblood models reverts to being as easy as it usually is. Over the next couple turns, some Warders bite the dust and another boosted, rerollable Befuddle can't seem to find it's mark, but I finish off both units of Battle Mages, the Sentinels and the Phoenix. On what I believe is 5 I'm able to clear what little chaff is in the zone and Calandra finally lands her first Befuddle of the game. She advances the Banshee out of the zone and advances herself into the zone to dominate. Clearing out the zone and dominating.
All he has left to contest the zone is the Banshee, Eiryss and a Arcanist, which he uses to do so. I have less than 60 seconds remaining, so not wanting to waste time with damage, Calandra does another boosted Befuddle to move the Banshee back out, the Impaler aims and skewers the Arcanist and the Bomber walks within Stealth range and obliterates Eiryss to score another 2 CPs for the win.
All in all great set of games against a solid set of opponents. Out of the 128 players Masters, I scored 19th. Considering my one, relatively early loss I can't complain, but I was slightly dismayed that the top Trollblood player was just above me at 18th place! Gotta get those CPs sorted...
Anyway, as always Lock & Load was a blast and I eagerly look forward to giving it another go next year and perhaps even making it into day 2.