On Saturday, Nick, Aaron, and I went to the Game Chamber in London, Ontario, for our first ever actual Steamroller tournament.
For those of you who have listened to Combo Smite for any time whatsoever, you all know this… because for the last couple weeks, it’s all any of us have talked about! Practicing for 7 minute timed turns, and anxiety about competing with strangers… it was all pretty nerve-wracking. Aaron had talked himself out of even going for a few days (Nick and I gently prodded him back into competing).
I’m going to link the audio for the podcast to my report, since I’m not POSITIVE that Nick and Aaron are going to do their own… but I certainly hope they will!
For my own part, I had practiced my Nemo3 list about 4 times and was pretty satisfied that I could get it to perform pretty well… but had only fielded my Siege list once, and my Sloan list once. I had an hour drive into London (my home is in Kitchener, exactly 101.4km, or about 60 miles, from London), during which all the embarrassing, stupid, tactical blunder-filled mistakes I’ve made in the past year decided it would be a perfect moment to remind me how awful I am at this game.
The tournament was a small one, with 9 competitors that showed up, being run by a Pressganger who goes by the nickname “Gingerstein” on the PP Forums and is named Todd in real life. When I arrived, Nick was already there, and I busied myself with writing my lists on a sheet of paper, trying to keep my writing legible through shaking hands. Aaron and Adam (our resident Cryx player who despises timed turns with a passion akin to the sun, and therefore had decided not to compete but to show up for awhile to watch and cheer us on) showed up shortly afterwards, and we all prepared for the coming trials.
Did I mention I was nervous? Oh yes. Very nervous.
A quick view of the tournament: of the 10 people playing (9 plus the PG for the first round) there were:
Also, as we’ve mentioned before, the tournament was a “Why No Love” style, in which you have 3 lists you offer your opponent: they Veto one of them, and then you pick from the remaining 2. Of the most interest to me was the fact that this was *not* a character-limited format… which made my life a LOT easier.
So my three lists were as follows:
Captain Kara Sloan
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages with UA
Trencher Master Gunner
Trencher Master Gunner
Major Markus “Siege” Brisbane
Storm Lances (min)
Artificer General Sebastian Nemo
– Stormchaser Finch
Silver Line Stormguard (min)
Stormsmith Stormcaller x3
The Stormwall is a fantastic warjack, and it streamlines my game SO much for the time-tight 7 minute turns… and it’s pretty self-sufficient (although, obviously, Fail Safe and/or Arcane Shield unquestionably help!). The Siege list is pure ARM-smashing with a smattering of infantry clearing, while the Sloan list is pure anti-Stealth hate… and my Nemo list is sort of a happy middle between the two extremes.
The First Round
My first opponent was a man named “Brent” who was playing Khador. I marveled a little at how similar his lists were in several ways to Aaron’s lists (who I hope I can convince to do a quick write up of his games, even though he didn’t take pictures). He was fielding a pButcher, Harkevich, and Strakhov… I veto’d the Butcher list since I only have limited armour-cracking capabilities, and he veto’d my Siege list (which, not coincidentally, was my best armour-cracking list!). Brent picked his Strakhov list, I took my Nemo, and we were off!
Brent’s list was approximately:
– Beast 09
– War Dog
Iron Fang Pikeman (max) with UA
Iron Fang Kovnik
Man o’ War Drakhun (dragoon)
First scenario was “Balance of Power” (I volunteered my 2 Cygnar light wrecks to sub in for flags, since I obviously wouldn’t need them this game!), and I won initiative and chose to go first.
I ran my stuff forward, putting Arcane Shield on the Silver Line and Failsafe on the Stormwall.
Brent puts Occultation on his Iron Fangs, Superiority on Beast 09, and moved everything up in Shield Wall. The Bears went tearing down the left flank, while the Drakhun went tearing down the right.
I move my Silver Line forward protectively to the edge of the zone, hoping they’re out of Walk-Attack range of the Iron Fangs (speedy little bastards with the Kovnik!). One of my Stormcallers peeled off to the left, hoping to loop behind the Great Bears and triangulate onto all of them (sure, POW10s PROBABLY aren’t going to kill them… but the flip side is that if my 1 point model can tie them up for a turn, then it was 1 point well spent!).
My Stormwall continued its inexorable march down the middle of the table, firing one shot at the Iron Fangs (which auto-misses because I forgot about Occultation… oops) and the second shot hammering Beast 09 for some serious damage (14 points… cranked the damage roll). It drops Covering Fire to protect the Silver Line.
Nemo moves into the kill box, and I choose to abandon the flank with the Drakhun, deciding that my B13 would be better matched to the Iron Fangs than trying to kill an ARM19 mounted warrior with Brutal Shots.
Brent marches his Iron Fangs closer, also edging into the zone in Shield Wall. He moves up the Spriggan and uses its grenades to try and kill a Silver Line that’s in range… both shots hit, but fail to kill the Arcane Shielded warriors. The Drakhun continued its extreme flanking maneuver. Beast moves up to threaten my Stormwall (a very respectable threat, I assure you!), and Strakhov moves up behind it protectively. The Great Bears ran up behind the building to my left, ready to pounce.
Brent’s army has closed in, and I’m about to be in a pretty bad way… I’m pretty sure I can kill off many (although certainly not ALL) of the Iron Fangs with my Silver Line, but the trade off is that he outnumbers me, and moving them up will leave my Stormwall woefully exposed… and the B13 are awesome, but of limited utility to the amount of beef he’s brought to the table. So I figure I had better try to kill Strakhov.
Nemo spends 3 Focus to extend his CTRL range. The Silver Line walk up and smack the Iron Fangs a bunch, killing 1 or 2 but that’s it. However, they HIT, which means I get the range extension on that 5″ AoE shot of theirs, which I obligingly pump into Beast 09… it hits him, Strakhov, and the War Dog.
I activate the Stormwall and drop a Lightning Pod behind Strakhov (who is camping a few Focus), boosting damage and inflicting 4 on him and a few on the Beast (and already forgetting about the +2 from the AoE… but thankfully this REMINDS me, so I remember for my next activation!). He fires 1 big gun at Beast (misses on snake eyes) and 1 into the Spriggan, which inflicts moderate damage.
Nemo walks up to get Strakhov into CTRL range and pops his Feat. First shot goes into Beast 09, arcs into Strakhov, and inflicts 8 points of damage on the warcaster, and then kills his dog (who fails his Tough roll). Second shot hits Beast again, arcs into Strakhov, and I crank the damage roll and end the game.
So, 1 win under my belt! I was so nervous at the end my hands were shaking… and it wasn’t a very “clean” win. It was an “Ah-Ha!” kill… but for my first tournament, that was okay!
The Second Round
As luck and fate would have it, Aaron, myself, and Nick all won our first rounds! Which was awesome… except that because it was a 3 round tournament, it meant that the three of us and 1 other guy were the only people to continue to the next round. And that meant that 2 of us would have to face each other. And as the fates would have it, I got shackled with Nick…
I mean… yay! I got to play Nick! Seriously though, this was a bit concerning… Nick knew my tech WAY better than I knew his (he had switched up his Rahn list that I actually had practiced against for a new Ravyn list, and I’ve never played against his eVyros list), and he has a very respectable win rate against me in our “regular” season.
The Scenario we were playing was Incursion (three central flags, one of the flank flags disappears), Nick won initiative (of course)
Still… one of us would need to stand victorious from this fight. Might as well be me. I veto’d his eVyros list (too much beef for anyone but Siege to deal with, and if he veto’d Siege, I’d be screwed), and he veto’d my Nemo3 list (knowing it was the list I was most comfortable with and most capable of wiping out his infantry). He then took his Ossyan list while I elected to put Siege on the table.
Nick’s Ossyan list was (as far as I remember!)
Halberdiers (max) with UA
Riflemen (max) with UA
Aiyana and Holt
Nick cast Quicken on the Halberdiers, Admonition on the Banshee, and something else I forget. The Houseguard Thane gives Desperate Pace to the Halberdiers, who then run 18″ (EIGHTEEN INCHES!) down the table, spreading out.
Everything else moves up a bit (although nowhere near as impressively!).
Wow. That’s a lot of Halberdiers almost in my face on my 1st turn… damn. Okay, well, I can deal with this. My Rangers move up to try and control the flag on their side of the table, opening fire on Halberdiers and killing a few.
The Stormwall moves up, throws out a Lightning Pod next to the central flag (gotta make it hard for Nick to control and/or dominate), and picks two Halberdiers off with big gun shots, and drops Covering Fire to protect itself and my Storm Lances.
The Lances Assault forward, but I intentionally truncate the charge in order to keep them out of Charge range. I toss Arcane Shield on them, and then run Katherine from the left side of the table over to the right (noticing that the flag over there has none of Nick’s army devoted to it… so if it disappears, Katherine hasn’t moved much out of formation, but if it stays… I can start scoring pretty damn quick, which is good because I am very unconvinced about my ability to survive Nick’s Feat turn!
Lastly, Siege moves up and drops a Ground Pounder shot on 3 Halberdiers and then shoots another directly (with Reinholdt’s help), killing him too.
We roll for the flag, and the one near my Rangers disappears… which at first I’m a little annoyed at (it does have more of my army by it, after all), but I change my tune pretty quick.
Nick is unimpressed with how many Halberdiers have died, but what can ya do? Cygnar is accurate.
The Houseguard Thane gives the Riflemen “F-U Stealth”. The Riflemen move up and fire at the Rangers, killing 2. The Halberdiers go next, charging and popping their mini-Feat, killing a Storm Lance and 3 more Rangers (they pass CMD). The Stormfall Archers move up, the Banshee shoots something and misses, Ossyan moves up a bit, and Aiyana and Holt run over to the forest close to the remaining flag… but not THAT close to the flag.
My turn and I start by running Katherine into B2B with the left flag to Control it. That done, I know I’ll have at least a point this turn… if I can clear out the middle I may even get 2!
My Storm Lances go next, moping up several of the Halberdiers. This clears a path for my 2 remaining Rangers to head towards the middle flag (they run)… they get a bunch of the Riflemen in “Mark Target” range, which Siege then uses to obliterate them with another Ground Pounder attack (4 at once!), and kills a 5th with his second shot. I then drop a Foxhole over him to protect him a little from Ossyan’s ranged attacks.
The Stormwall moves up and I realize that because of where my Rangers and Lightning Pod are, I won’t actually be able to control the central flag with his massive base… I console myself by shooting at the Banshee (out of range) and then killing the Riflemen officer. I open fire with the Metal Storms, getting only 2 attacks total, but at least kill 2 more Riflemen.
I score my first CP, bringing the score to 1-0.
Nick decides that this is Feat Turn. He moves Ossyan up, pops his Feat, and pings the Stormwall, causing the -2 DEF and a few points of damage. The Banshee, Riflemen, and Stormfalls all shoot at my mighty warjack… who stands battered and bruised, but unbroken!
I score another point on Nick’s Turn, bringing it to 2-0
Things are going okay… but I know that if Nick’s rolls start spiking even a little they will go south FAST… so I need to end this sooner than later. And I can see a way to do that…
Katherine runs from her flag to the center flag. The Stormwall and Rangers wipe out the few models within 4″ of it, so I’m going to score 1 more point for that… and then Siege runs over to the flag Katherine just abandoned! I can dominate it for 2, getting me 3CPs this turn and the win!…
Except that Siege is less than 0.5″ too slow to get to the flag! And since he ran, I can’t cast Foxhole to protect him… he’s camping 3 Focus, but ARM20 probably won’t protect him from the combined force of all of Nick’s guns! Gah!
In frustration, my Storm Lances kill a few more Halberdiers… there are now 1 Halberdier and the Standard Bearer.
I score 1 more point, bringing the score to 3-0.
Nick starts his turn by shooting at the Stormwall… I inwardly smile. Every shot directed at my colossus is 1 shot NOT directed at Siege, and that is a VERY good thing.
The Banshee charges the Stormwall and inflicts heavy damage.
Everything else shoots at the Stormwall… it’s dropped to 3 hitboxes (the right arm only), but stands still!
Nick runs Aiyana and Holt to the center flag (forgetting that my Stormwall is still standing!), and ends his turn.
The Third Round
So I’ve made it to the finals, and I’m every bit as nervous and panicked as I was at the beginning of the tournament. My opponent will be the man who beat Aaron last round, a gentleman named John who is apparently a consistent tournament winner at the Game Chamber who is playing Circle.
His three lists are an eKaya, pMorvahna, and eMorvahna. I debate for a few minutes whether to axe the eMorvahna list (fewer models, less threats, easier to deal with… but eMorvahna herself is incredible) or the pMorvahna list (full of WAY more models and threats, but pMorvahna is nowhere near as powerful as her epic counterpart). I end up deciding to go with my gut and axe the eMorvahna list, and he takes out my Sloan list (a wise choice).
John ends up taking his pMorvahna list (which he had run for each round up to this one), and I took my Nemo3 list.
John’s list, as I recall it, was as follows:
Morvahna the Autumnblade
– Feral Warpwolf
Bloodtrackers (max) with Nuala UA
Tharn Ravager White Mane
Shifting Stones with UA
The final scenario was Process of Elimination… which is sort of a stroke of luck, because (as you may know by reading and/or listening to my battle reports) I’ve actually PLAYED Process of Elimination about 4-5 times in the last few weeks by sheer luck! So I knew this scenario, and felt a little better as a result.
The Black 13th were the prey of the Blood Trackers.
Also, I want to send a huge “Thank You” to Todd, the tournament PG, who was refereeing our game and volunteered to take pictures so I could focus on getting my butt kicked, rather than panic-forgetting the pictures every turn! A scholar and a gentleman, that one.
As last time, the Silver Line got Arcane Shield and ran forward, the Stormwall got Failsafe and ran up, the Black 13th ran up behind fences, and my Stormcallers ran and spread out. The Lightning Tower moved up onto a nearby hill.
John ran the Blood Trackers up into the middle of the table, who then received Tough (from the Witch Doctor) and Regrowth from Morvahna. The White Mane and Blood Weavers ducked into the forest, and the warbeasts shuffled forward a little into the forest as well.
Oh, and he teleports the Stones around Morvahna near the middle of his side of the table (and safely inside the kill box).
That is what we like to call “a target rich environment”. I start off my turn by upkeeping my spells for FORGETTING TO ALLOCATE FOCUS… gods, I’m an idiot and have no right to be in the finals of a tournament… anyway…
The Silver Line walk up and smack a few of the Blood Trackers, killing 2 or 3 (a few passed Tough only to be killed by other Silver Line). I fire the 5″ AoE at Morvhana, but am still an inch short and it scatters onto John’s warbeasts (basically uselessly).
The Stormwall activates, moves up, and drops its pod in the middle of the Blood Tracker formation, killing 1 outright. The big guns fire at the warpwolf, but without Focus, misses twice. I drop Covering Fire on a few of the Blood Trackers and to try and discourage the Feral from charging in willy-nilly.
Nemo activates and fires at the lightning pod… and THEN I realize I forgot to activate Reinholdt first! GODS! Anyway, it hits and leaps 3 times, but 2 of the Trackers Tough.
The Lightning Tower also shoots the Pod, and rolls snake eyes and misses (awesome).
Caitlyn moves up, hits the pod, and gets 3 leaps, killing 3 Trackers (all fail their Tough).
The Black 13th activate. Watts fires a Black Penny shot, forgetting that he can’t ignore Stealth (seriously, what am I even DOING here?!), and killing the Silver Line the Blood Tracker was engaged with. Lynch kills that Blood Tracker, and Ryan tries to get a lucky scatter with her Magestorm at the Blood Weavers… but does not.
John has Morvahna regrow 5 of the Blood Trackers, which he places up near my B13. He also has to cut for 1 Fury since he miss-counted last turn (I feel better about my moronic mistakes… but not much!)
The Blood Trackers try to kill my engaged and Arcane Shielded Silver Line with little success (they kill 1), but the Blood Weavers do successfully kill both Lynch and Ryan (basically the “useful” parts of the B13!). 2 of them die to Covering Fire.
He shifts his warbeasts forward a bit, preparing to rip my Stormwall to pieces on his next turn.
Okay, so I can probably (PROBABLY) carry this game by attrition with only a little luck… if I can kill his Warpwolf, his ability to deal with my Stormwall plummets.
“Hey John… how much Fury does Morvahna have on her?”
“None. I spent it all.”
“Does she have Stealth?”
Huh. Okay then. Assassination it is. Nemo extends his CTRL range by 2″, allocates 2 to the Stormwall (which becomes 3), and we’re off.
By sheer luck, the Silver Line leader is not currently engaged. I move him directly towards Morvahna, while the rest move towards Blood Trackers… I hit and kill 3, extending the range of my AoE shot by 3″, which gets it to Morvhana… it scatters, but thankfully still tags her and the stones behind her.
Reinholdt activates and gives Nemo a 2nd shot. Not forgetting THAT again.
Nemo moves up to the edge of the hill he’s on directly towards Morvahna, easily getting her in his CTRL range.
He shoots Morvahna, hitting! She uses “Sacrificial Pawn” to send the shot over to the closest Blood Tracker (basically her Khador Arc Node for the unit), which kills the Blood Tracker and leaps 3 times… and it’s at THIS point that I realize I forgot to pop Nemo’s Feat! GAH!
Anyway, I boost the damage on Morvahna, and inflict 6 points.
Nemo pops his Feat! He shoots at her again, boosting to hit and connecting! She Sacrificial Pawns the shoot off onto a Shifting Stone… it hits and inflicts light damage, but more importantly the lightning arcs twice… first one goes into Morvahna. I boost damage, rolling 4d6 at dice -3… and inflict 20+ points of damage, killing the Circle warlock and landing me the tournament victory!
VICTORY TO CYGNAR!
I’m pretty sure I didn’t deserve that win… a smarter player probably would’ve worked on getting the scenario win instead, destroying the objective and dominating it this turn (putting me at 3CPs) and then just killing whatever John ran into the zone… but even if Nemo’s 2nd shot didn’t kill her, I would activate the Stormwall, Trample towards Morvahna, drop a Lightning Pod behind her and boost the Feat-damage shot on her (autohitting POW12 with the +2 from the Silver Line)… and then used the little guns and big guns to polish her off if by some miracle she was still standing. And then, WORSE come to worse, I still had the Lightning Tower and Caitlyn’s Electroleaps if absolutely necessary.
Still, I made a lot of mistakes… I attribute my win more to my opponent’s being unfamiliar with Nemo3 than anything I do particularly clever.
But I am proud that I was able to perform okay, that I was able to do the podcast proud, and that we overall did pretty well (Nick came in 5th overall, and Aaron came in 6th). And I had a tonne of fun.
So once more, thanks to Todd for running such an awesome event, to the Game Chamber for the prize support and hosting (and a shout out for the INCREDIBLE paint job that the store owner, Tim, did on his Cygnar, Khador, and Skorne… seriously, it’s STUNNING), and to my co-hosts for agreeing to come along!