Game III – MENOTHS! MUST KILL MENOTHS!
Evidently the Darklords were beginning to conglomerate – or even congeal – around the middle tables at this juncture, as I drew my second clubmate in a row – John Stanford. I had no idea that Mr. Stanford would be running the Protectorate (they’re not even his Menoths!), but I have lots of experience against the Protectorate… shouldn’t be too hard… right?
Since my brain was beginning to feel the pressure at this stage (turning into some foul oozy liquid and leaking out of my ears, evidently), I opted for the Asphyxious list, especially since the scenario involved advancing to capture that round stone dais thing just in front of Stanford’s army. It is a good list. It is perfect for this sort of scenario. It was, however, completely ill-suited to the match-up, as Mr. S. was playing Kreoss.
A strong first turn, I felt, in which I was positioned to sweep over the objective with my forward elements and then occupy it with what followed afterwards – maybe Asphyxious, post-feat – with the Bile Thralls ready to Purge all over anything that went into my scoring stone.
Some shuffling and reorganising and a Reckoner taking a potshot at a Mechanithrall, who went BOOM – as they do.
All going according to plan, right? He might get a potshot at Asphyxious but I doubt he’ll kill him, I pretty much have his objective in the bag, and if he drives for mine I’m ready to Purge and Consuming Blight him into regretting it.
Kreoss snuck around the ‘jack he was hiding behind, feated, and knocked down all the models which do not have an Epic 40K order die next to them.
Then the Cleansers and Vanquisher walked up and did what Cleansers and Vanquishers do all over my Mechanithralls and many of the Banes. Able to advance through the Mechanithralls now that they were knocked down, the Cleanser Sprays claimed most of my infantry, including the Bane Thrall Standard, and the ‘jacks cleaned up what was left, including my Nightwretch. By the end of the turn I had three Bile Thralls, two Banes and an Officer, the Cankerworm and Asphyxious left, and most of that was too far back to accomplish anything. I did spend focus and use Scutter to get the Cankerworm up and into Kreoss, I did try to toss some spells at the Cleansers, but moved too close to the Covenant in so doing and consequently blew any chance I had of salvaging anything from this game. With Asphyxious parked in Stanford’s gunsights and unable to teleport away, that was all she wrote. Since conceding gives the same strength of schedule result as being tabled, which is essentially what would have happened here, I felt there was no point in putting myself through the wringer any further.
You may well disagree with conceding in a tournament environment, or in any environment. I do not. I am not the most mentally healthy person out there and consider my fragile stability to be more important than the outcome of a miniature wargaming event, especially when a concession will have negligible effect on the scores (the case here, since I was about to be tabled or near as damn it, and certainly about to lose). This isn’t to say that I won’t apologise and explain my reasons for wanting to concede before doing so – in this case, it was just quintessential Warmachine. Choice of two lists, I picked the wrong one – I did exactly what my list was meant to do and it was exactly what his list wanted me to do. It happens now and then. Call it an occupational hazard.
I was actually considering dropping out at this stage – again, there was an odd number of players so nobody would be disenfranchised and get the fourth round bye, so it wouldn’t put anybody out – and the only reason I didn’t was because I’d managed to keep a brave face so far and figured I’d try the Deneghra list in the last round and see if I could squeak a second win. Plus, y’know, I’ve had the best game of an event in the last round before. Ya never know.
Game IV – When Good Days Out Go Bad.
Should have jumped ship while I had the chance. Game Four was a farce. I drew Big Bad Pete from Dice and Decks, with his Trollbloods.
I know Pete of old. I helped him build this list. I know how it works and I know you have to spread out and hold back so that he can’t Vengeance his way into your front lines and then Crusher his way through your army.
I did not do this. Failing to get Crippling Grasp on the Fennblades with the Skarlock (should have given him a reroll with Tremulus), I moved Deneghra up to do it instead, but moved her too far – the Fennblades could still reach her. So I moved the Combine up and blasted the closest Fennblades with Dark Fire, triggering Vengeance and guaranteeing that they’d reach her. So I panicked and moved the Mechanithralls up to screen her – all of them. Too far. No chance to spread out so that they couldn’t just woodchip their way through the whole lot. Openly cursing my stupidity, I moved the Bane Thralls up as well… putting them within range for the Fennblades to muller as well. I did everything wrong, against a list that I always struggle against and which I know the mechanics of.
Vengeance claimed the foremost Thralls, then Pete moved Madrak up, used Crusher and Carnage, and that was more or less all she wrote. Seeing the imminent tabling – Deneghra might have survived but bugger all else would – I lost interest at about the time his Fell Caller charged the Skarlock. I hadn’t judged a single threat range correctly, hadn’t arranged a single unit in depth – I had failed to do any of the things that I was supposed to be practicing with this tournament, and I had let my game face crack to reveal the douchebag beneath.
Rest assured, he is there. I have been That Fucking Guy. I exist in constant peril of becoming That Fucking Guy again. That’s why I’m so fussed about etiquette and behaviour and grace at the wargames table – I know I am, or rather that I can sometimes be, the one who ruins it for everyone he contacts, and watch myself like a hawk for emergent behaviours of that ilk (three events out of five have seen me fail to catch myself in time). Maybe I should have dropped out, maybe I should have taken the Asphyxious list instead (Parasite + Breath of Corruption + Corrupting Blight + Breath of Corruption twice makes Fennblades go ‘way), maybe I should have run with two different lists (one metal heavy so that I could play without risking the Units Make Me Play Like A Moose effect). Stanford’s convinced it was mild heatstroke. I don’t know. All I know is that neither my tactics nor attitude were appropriate in this game and I am ashamed of both. Sorry, Pete.