EU Masters 2014 recap

Last weekend the EU Masters took place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

84 players took part, which is only 6 less than the number of inscriptions, pretty much everyone made it to the event.

To give you an idea of the origin of the players and the faction spread, these are the graphs provided by the tournament organizers:

The faction spread, may be slightly off, as some players changed their faction between inscription and registration. (I’m one of those since I first chose Cryx and opted to bring Convergence in the end) And there’s a group called “No response”.

I had a great time this weekend, met lots of new people from all over Europe; saw some familiar faces as well. The social aspect of these events is just as fun as the competition.
The event lasted its full 7 rounds, it almost ended at round 6 but there was no clear winner yet, so we got to play it out.

I faced Minions, Trolls, Ret and Khador on Saturday and Khador, Cygnar, Trolls on Sunday.

The first game vs. Minions, he chose Lord Carver and I went with Lucant as I had no experience with Piggies at all. Turns out they pack a huge punch and one shot entire units of Reciprocators while in shield wall. The Scenario was Destruction.

I ended up going second after the roll off. I moved the Lucant brick forward, attrition was going well. The fact that he failed pretty much all of his tough checks was a great help.
When his 3 heavies got in charge range, I had to use the feat the turn after because 3 charging war beasts is never a good thing. Turns out it just postponed the event for a turn.
I was able to drag in one of the war beasts with the Axiom, leaving it on 1 box, and then put an elimination servitor into play in the beasts back arc. The servitor aimed, and did the last point of damage.

1 of the 2 units was wiped out by the Reciprocators, as I said before tough is a nice ability, but the dice favored me and none of them made it.

I made the crucial mistake of not sacrificing Obstructors to keep the objective alive. This costed me dearly because he managed to score a point for the objective and dominated the zone that same turn, leaving us at 3-0 for scenario.

It also didn’t help that it was his feat turn. The first heavy left the Axiom on 3 boxes, the second boxed the axiom and then went on to destroy the entire unit of Reciprocators in one go. I was left with enough models to continue the fight, however with his zone presence and the inability to get something into the zone that wasn’t going to be removed with ease, he won on scenario.

Again, remembering the special properties of the objectives could have won me this game, something to remember for next time.

 

The second game vs. Troll bloods, I went in knowing the faction is a hard match-up for COC in general. Having a really experienced troll player at the LGS is always a good preparation for such match-ups.

The troll player didn’t opt for his Runes of war list, and went with eMadrak instead. That made me happy inside, Runes of war and Meat Mountain are just up-hill battles with no real positive outcome in sight.

We roll off to decide who gets to go first, he wins the roll and decides to go first. I look at the table and the terrain, and realize that there’s a wall placed diagonally on one side. This got me thinking, trolls want to get to my Axiom and they want to get as many models is as possible. He is also fielding burrowers, so he’s able to approach free of opposition.
I choose the side with the wall and on turn one I run the axiom so it’s about half an inch removed from it, making it so that it blocks access to half the axiom’s base.

As it turns out this was a golden move. Turn 2 the Burrowers manage to charge the axiom, only 4 make it (technically 5, one was boxed by triggering Watcher). The first damage rolls were spiking so hard I feared for the axioms life even with the limited exposure. Then the rolls averaged out and Axiom was alive and well.

Next the Fenblades popped their mini feat and charged the Axiom, because of the wall and placement of the Burrowers not a single Fenblade made it in melee range. The Buffalo cav was next, one made it to the Axiom, and it was still alive. He then feated, with minimal effect since those who were in melee were still the same 6 models and they did minor damage.

Now on my turn, the 6 Optifex Directive models made repairs as well as 1 foundry, and Axiom was brand new. In retaliation, the axiom did a sweep attack and boxed 4 burrowers and a Buffalo. He bought 2 attacks boxing another 2 burrowers, after which the unit failed its command check.

The rest of the game the Obstructors kept the Buffalo’s busy; with neither unit gaining ground, the Obstructors kept returning and even with combined attacks they failed to remove more than 1 Buffalo. On the bright side, the Buffalos were occupied and didn’t do anything more use full.

I noticed during the game that my opponent really had a fixation for removing the Axiom so I spent most of my effort in making sure he kept his focus on it and in return my other models were left alone.

The game resulted in a win for me by Death clock. The list simply put itself in place and stayed there winning on attrition. The simple activations (shield wall order, move attack rinse repeat) make the list easy to handle time wise. The recursion means the other player has to face the same models over and over. Repair makes the match-up look like a hordes one, as with beasts, a jack left alive, is a jack that’s fully operational the next turn.

 

The 3rd match on Saturday, I faced a Ret player, and since he had Ossyan as one of his 3 list options, I knew what he would choose from the start. Once Again I was fielding Lucant.
I was really happy when I didn’t see the mage hunter strike force in his list, that unit would have been a serious problem under the feat, and would have been a guarantee for Axiom’s demise.

Turn 2 he provides his halberdiers with desperate pace and Quicken, they charge my Reciprocators, do minimal damage, and they will end up being slowly eaten away by the unit of recips over the course of the game. The recips were already touching the zone so I did not mind them staying exactly where they were.
On the other end the obstructors also had a foothold in the zone and the axiom was in as well.
Deceleration as usual was a money maker vs. a ranged list. With Stormfall archers, missing their to hit rolls and then doing no damage on the scatter due to high armor values with shield wall.

Eiryss was removed trough an 8 man combined melee attack from the Obstructors. Later on Ayana shared the same fate. (Ofc this was after she kissed the Axiom good night.)
I had the pleasure of charging in the corollary with positive charge on it and using a slam attack to knock down the Banshee.
When the ranged models on his side met up in melee with the obstructors they were removed one by one. The opponent ended up death clocking himself, another win for Lucant.

 

The 4th and final game of the day I had to face Khador (I really have a dislike for this match-up, doesn’t even matter which caster / list, Khador just isn’t fun to play against)
He opted for Irusk and I decided it was time for Mother to enter the ring.
Obviously I ended up losing; winning against Khador would have been a serious feat, unless the Khador player was clueless, which he was far from.
Fun moments were one-shotting an Ulan with the Monitor and Modulator shenanigans. The rest of the game involved not being able to do much at all and ending up with a loss on scenario.

I had high hopes of this being my final Khador match-up so I stood a chance in getting to at least 3 wins. Then we got the pairings for the first round of day 2 and I got Khador again.

 

Day2, first game, Khador, Butcher3… I played Synth, because all lists had to be played once and it was going to be a loss by default. It was a normal aggressive Butcher 3 game, he ran turn 1, he ran turn2, he won con caster kill turn 3.

The second game was a very possible win, facing Cygnar (eStryker) with Lucant, but I made a big mistake from the start. I won the start off roll and decided to go first, leaving the other player the choice of side. This meant he put me on the side with the house in the middle of the table, forcing me to split up and go around it.
Normally the Recips can hold their own and don’t have much to fear, Rebuke changes that. I managed to put stuff in contest range for a few turns, but lost on scenario in the end.

 

The 7th and final round I got another Troll match-up, and I had to face the famous Meat Mountain, it went horrible, needing shield wall and a feat to match the armor values on the other end and Mulg munching Colossal with ease, the attrition game was impossible to maintain. Another scenario loss.

 

So end result: 2/5, 3 losses due to horrible odds, 1 due to not knowing the opposing faction and 1 due to horrible starting choice.

I had a few bars set for the event:
-Win at least one game.
-Don’t end up on the last spot
-Don’t end up last of the LGS group present at the event.

I won 2 games so the first goal was met, I ended on the 70th place so while not a spectacular performance, and I’m more than ok with this. I was 4th out of the 5 players from my LGS, and since I’m the newest player I’m happy with that.
I have been playing this faction seriously for about 2 months now, so the result is pretty nice in perspective.

While there are clear limitations to COC as a faction, and the bar is set pretty high in order to play them on a decent level, they provide me with the most joy while playing out of all warmachine factions I have tried.

I can honestly say I have found my main Warmachine faction.

Now the challenge is to have a hordes faction I enjoy playing so I can get a better understanding of the workings of the Fury system and so I can play something other than COC from time to time, as a small faction with limited model count, becomes rather boring after a while. More on that later.

 

Expect painting / playing experiences on both COC and Skorne soon.