Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Vengeance is mine

The 35 Soul Stone Crew

My List:

Kirai  (Absorb Spirit, Immediate Vengeance, Swirling Aether)
Datsue Ba (Spirit Whispers)
Izamu the Armor (Aura of Decay)
Grave Spirit

7 in the cache

Jeff's Guild list (approx)
Lady J (Vendetta?)
2 Death Marshalls
3 Guild Rifleman

My opponent for the evening was Jeff Schmaley. He and I had agreed to a 35ss fight, but we decided at the last minute to go for 50ss. It wasn't a problem for me, as all I needed to do was add in Izamu with Aura of Decay and promote two Gaki to Onryo. We ended up playing Turf War with a standard six inch deployment. I took a revealed Breakthrough and Vendetta on a Death Marshall with one of the Onryo being the bearer of the Vendetta. Jeff revealed Kill Protege and concealed his breakthrough, IIRC

The board was filled with terrain, with an acropolis at the center breaking up line of sight quite well, making his guild riflemen less than useful. 

I ceded choice of sides to Jeff, allowing me to set up second. For a while I was afraid that we would put his riflemen in an elevated position, allowing him to pick me off, but he kept them on ground level, a mistake in my opinion. They weren't much of a factor in the game. Jeff kept his crew to my left, and I chose to respond by advancing right center behind a building. I won initiative, and again ceded first activation to Jeff. As with most first turns, this was less than exciting, as it was mostly maneuver. Jeff advanced straight into the acropolis with his guild rifles, and his melee moved behind it out of sight. I moved straight ahead, bulling a few movement/summoning shenanigans with Datsue Ba and Kirai, enough to get me a Gaki right on the guild master in the first turn. Of course, as Lady J had a full hand and with Gaki only having a ML of 4, that Gaki went nowhere fast, and ended up dying quite quickly (mainly because I forgot Hard to Kill).

The second turn had me in a good position to advance to the center, and start claiming Turf War points. Not a lot happened this turn. I got my one of my spirits in position to drop a scheme marker for Breakthrough, and moved to block Schmaley's advance into midfield. He seemed hesitant to commit, allowing me to claim an unanswered point for the strategy. He did shoot Izamu with a guild rifleman, and ended up flipping the red joker for damage. I had put the grave spirit in base with Izamu the activation prior, however, and so seven damage became three. 

The third round was when it all seemed to come apart for me. I foolishly charged Izamu into Lady J, only to have her easily survive the assault due to a better hand/soulstone use. Her ripose hit Izamu hard, but allowed for me to summon Ikiryo since an undead model had been damaged (Izamu). Lady J activated and took Izamu down, fulfilling the Protege scheme. He then advanced the exorcist, and let me tell you how awful that was. The exorcist shuts down all spirit and undead triggers, so my gaki had no access to feeding frenzy on the Judge or Lady J. I did get off a cast of Sundering on a Death Marshall, with the double crow trigger making him a potential Gaki. I also fulfilled the first part of my vendetta scheme. At this point, the Guild forces were close enough to start gaining turf war points, and so the score was now Guild 4, Ressers 3

From then on it was a scrum in the center, with the Guild slowly gaining the upper hand. That was until I was able to kill the marked Death Marshall with Datsue Ba's Weigh Sins, gaining me two models  for the price of one. It almost made up for the Exorcist paralyzing half of my crew the last two turns with Turn Undead. The problem for Jeff was that he couldn't kill anything I had. Spirit made me too resilient. He kept attempting to kill Kirai, but due to her being living, the Exorcist's Damning Oratory didn't apply to her triggers. Thus Kirai was able to shunt off Lady J's damage to spirits close to her. Somewhere in all this, I was able to drop off a second scheme marker for breakthrough.

As it was, the game ended on turn five, with Jeff only having one point for break through, three points for Kill Protege, and three for Turf War. That left me gaining three points for my announced breakthrough, one point for Vendetta, and 4 points for the Turf War, allowing me to squeak by with a one point win.

Final Score:
Kirai: 8
Guild: 7

An exhausting victory: those glass stones mark the models paralyzed by the Exorcist in the last round.

What won me the game: aggressive movement towards the center in turn two, and focusing on getting whatever scheme points I could. Listening to a few recent Malifools podcasts reminded me that I'm no longer playing 40k. Killing things are secondary to gaining points. I think I was stuck in the mindset of "if you're not killing, you're not winning." The Malifool's advice was simple: most of your points are tied into schemes, and since schemes are relatively unknown or unknowable until they're revealed, denying your opponent their strategy point for a turn is likely the most controllable, obvious way of winning the game. It's
simple advice, but it really saved my bacon in the last two games.

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