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NHSD 2010: Rocky Mountain Rumble!

Posted October 17th, 2010 at 12:19 AM by Elginb
Another great tournament! And another 3rd place finish! Yay!

The Colorado contingent has been pretty active since the last time I played a tournament (back in April), so I was really worried that I my lack of match play was going to hurt me-- that's why I decided to break out the big gun: The Silver Surfer.

I've been a big proponent of the Silver Surfer pretty much since he came out. Up until recently, I thought he was borderline broken-- he's one of the units I don't like to play because he dominates so much in my home games. But a lot of recent HS releases seem to have rendered him less effective, so I didn't feel as guilty playing him this time. Plus, no one else ever seemed to bring him to our tournaments-- I figured nobody took him seriously around here, and that could be a big boon for me.

My preparation for the tournament was a little different this time. I wrote up the usual list of armies and units that I was most worried about facing, and then I brainstormed armies that would work best against them (I was set on using the Silver Surfer, but I was almost seduced by the allure of a Braxas, Mogrimm, AxegrindersX3, Darrak build, which was nearly unbeatable in my scrimmages). The big difference this time is that I actually practiced on the maps we'd be using at the tournament (normally I just throw some crap together). I'm not sure how much it helped, but I at least knew which maps were particularly tough for me.

Up until about 3 nights ago, I was planning on using Silver Surfer, Goblin CuttersX3, Eldgrim, Blue Wyrmlings x2 and a Black Wyrmling. This army actually did really well in my testing, but as the tournament got closer, I was worried that there were going to be a lot of Goblins at the tournament, and I don't like facing my own units on the battlefield (as it turned out, I don't think anybody brought Goblins, though there were some Wyrmlings). This was a great army in a lot of ways-- the Goblins have a great defensive special against ranged units, and so long as the Surfer took out any special attackers, they usually managed to pull it out. So, anyway, that army lost favor in my eyes at the last minute, partially because I wanted to get the T-Bomb in the mix-- an earlier version of my army had used Thorgrim and Theracus to good effect, and if I included Eldgrim, I thought that would make the Surfer super scary. So my final tournament army was the following:

Silver Surfer, Thorgrim, Marro Warriors, Theracus, Blade GrutsX2, and Eldgrim.

Game 1 Vs. Vivaldi (Nilfheim, Cyprien, Raelin 1.0, GreenscalesX3) on "A Stone's Throw".

This was a nightmare of a match-up for me. While prepping, this and "Quasatch Playground" caused me heaps of trouble (luckily, I didn't have to play on the latter map). "A Stone's Throw" is a really short board, and the Surfer wants space to be effective. Also, Cyprien and Nilfheim are both good anti-Surfer units.

Anyway, I started by using my T-Bomb to engage Raelin and about four Greenscales. It worked the way it was supposed to-- it slowed down Vivaldi's progress a little big. I also used Eldgrim to block off another side of the board. I was much more scared of Cyprien than Nilfheim, so I was happy when he kept using the Greenscales. Nilfheim kept taking out my squads whle I kept taking pot-shots at the lizards that wandered outside of Raelin's aura. The first turning point in the game took place rather early. I had made an attack with the Surfer and was placing him as far away from Nilfheim as possible-- but I made a counting error. If I had moved one more space, I would've given up the high ground, but I would've been just out of Nilfy's reach. Instead, I landed on a spot that allowed Nilf the opportunity to get me with his normal attack-- I took 4 wounds right there. A couple turns later, I managed to give the Ice Dragon 3 or 4 wounds myself, but it really handicaps the Surfer to get so many wounds that early in the game.

We played a few more rounds, but eventually the Surfer was taken out by the Greenscales. Cyprien never even moved. Vivaldi plays a lot of tournaments in Utah, and it showed. There were a couple times when he made some ballsy disengagements, and that made a big difference, too. It pays not to worry too much about disengagement strikes.

Game 2 Vs. Lafleurhero (Captain America, Sgt. Drake 2.0, 4th MassX3) on "Jagged Causeway"

Lafleurhero had just lost to dok in his opening match-up. When they were playing, there was a lot of joking about how they were playing the championship match first. I was a little irked by that because I had beaten Lafleurhero the last time we played and had played dok close on at least one occasion (of course, Lafleurhero was the only person to beat dok previously in a Colorado tourney). All this is to say I was feeling a bit slighted and had a little more motivation to win this one.

That being said, it didn't look like a great match-up for me. The Surfer has a lot of trouble with the 4th Mass if he can't hide from them and there was a lot of road on this map, not to mention the Move Glyph. On my first turn, I took the Move Glyph with Eldgrim, and Captain America somehow failed to take him out in one turn-- Lafleurhero thought that might have been the turning point in the game, because he had to expend a couple more turn markers getting the glyph. My second good move was flying the T-Bomb out to the road near the Move glyph. Theracus went down pretty quickly, but Thorgrim managed to last long enough to deny the 4th Mass easy access to the road.

In the mean time, I had the Surfer bopping around the edges of the map taking out stray 4th Mass. Lafleurhero focused on taking out my Marro Warriors and Blade Gruts. He then brought Drake out, who is a pretty good anti-Surfer unit, but I didn't want to engage him mostly because I didn't want to wound him in a spot where he could easily use the Healing glyph on the other side of the map. It was slow going, but I eventually managed to pick off the 4th Mass enough that they were basically useless and was free to concentrate on Cap and Drake. Once they were off the Move glyph and chasing the Surfer, I was able to get a little more bold with his Special Attack, knowing that I could take the healing glyph anytime.

Game 3 vs. dok (Kurrok, Raelin, DeathreaversX2, Fire ElementalsX9) on "Vesuvian"

I had mentioned in a post on the Rocky Mountain Rumble thread that, of the lava maps, I liked Violation but had a lot of trouble on Vesuvian. Vesuvian is tough for the Surfer because the high ground isn't that high, and because it's in the middle, the Surfer's Hyper-Speed doesn't really allow him to fly away-- it's more like he's running away after attacking and other units on the high ground can catch him easier-- there's just not a lot of places to hide. What's more, dok has the home-battlefield advantage, having designed the damn thing... and the lava doesn't hurt the fire elementals one bit. That being said, I had designed my army with the Firestorm in mind, and had scrimmaged well against it, so I figured I still had a good chance... except for the whole dok-never-losing thing.

Anyway, I started by sending Eldgrim out to the Attack +1 glyph. Then I sent out the T-Bomb to build a wall for me on the high ground and spread out the Blade Gruts on the low ground-- since there was no place to hide, I needed to create an interference pattern with my own units. From there I went about with my usual methodical hit-and-run tactics. The Firestorm took out Thorgrim and Theracus a little quicker than I would've liked, and soon dok had both the attack and defense glyphs.

I believe it was in an attempt to take out the FE on the attack glyph, but I made the rookie mistake of treating the FEs like a normal 3-figure squad-- I hid behind an orc and I thought it would limit dok to engaging me with one FE, but of course he simply killed the orc and managed to attack me with 2 or 3 FEs-- but the Surfer had his first lucky brush with death as he surfed away unscathed.

At this point, dok's FEs were just about where I wanted them-- they had pushed forward enough that, if I could get the Surfer into the back of dok's start zone, I could get a whole boat-load of easy shots on Raelin and Kurrok and not face any searing intensity. Of course, I nearly blew it again-- for some reason, I put the 1, 3 and X markers an the Surfer and the 2 marker on the Grut Orcs, then I forgot about it. In order to get where I wanted to go, I needed to pretty much go straight through dok's army. If I had put the 2 order marker on the Surfer, it would've gone off without a hitch-- I had placed the Surfer in a good enough spot to limit FE engagements for one turn. Then I flipped the 2 marker and saw it was for the orcs and nearly had a heart attack. I did the best I could with them-- I took out the FE on the defense glyph, and managed to control that part of the map the rest of the game. Anyway, my mistake allowed dok to engage me with 3 FEs for the second time in the game, and once again, I managed to walk away mostly unscathed (maybe 2 or 3 wounds). From there, I zipped to the back of dok's start zone and took out Raelin and put a few wounds on Kurrok. Kurrok was forced to start moving, and when he's moving, the FEs aren't. Without too much delay, I managed to take out Kurrok and dok conceded. Truth be told, I made a couple huge mistakes in this game and it was only because dok's 20D rolling was as bad as it was that I managed to pull this out at all. Herscape can be a swingy game sometimes.


Game 4 Vs. Troy (Kurrok, Brunak, Ornak, Fire Elementals x6, Air Elementals x2) on "Riposte"

Troy and I had talked about his army before the tourney and I had told him about how tough the Firestorm army was supposed to be. Troy didn't have 9 FEs, so he borrowed some of mine which brought him up to six. Having just faced the bigger version of the Firestorm, I felt ready to go. There was a Move glyph on this map, and Troy didn't realize how important it was, otherwise, he would've snagged it from me on the first turn. Instead, I managed to steal it with the T-Bomb. What was nice about this game was that, since Troy didn't have any ranged units and since there was some great high ground on the edges, I was able to rest the Surfer a bit and let my Marro Warriors do their thing. With the move glyph, they managed to take that high ground and then take out most of Troys elementals really quickly. Brunak had gotten engaged with Thorgrim and couldn't seem to break away, and that clogged the middle of the map. Once the Surfer got out and about, there wasn't much left of Troy's army to clean-up. Troy, don't take my army building advice again.

Game 5 Vs. Ross (Mogrimm, Sharwin, Heirloom, Erevan, AxegrindersX2, Brave Arrow, Isamu) on a custom map done by Lafleurhero.

I had talked to Ross prior to the tournament about his army and, unlike Troy, he didn't take any of my suggestions. This map was particularly friendly to my team, and also, Ross had told me his strategy for using it a couple days before. The strategy was to bring out all his heroes in waves, then clean-up with his dwarves. I was okay with this strategy because the Surfer likes smacking down heroes. I took the high ground with the T-Bomb then did my usual hit-and-run thing with the Surfer. Heirloom was tough to take out, and once the Axegrinders got going, I was a little worried, but there were really too many places for the Surfer to escape to. It was slow-going, but I was in control the whole game.

Game 6 Vs. Kpcublk (Captain America, Airborne Elite, Marcus, LegionnairesX3, Marcu) on "Hard Eight"

This was a tough one. The Airborne Elite dropped on the first turn. I had placed the Surfer at the very back of my start zone and next to Thorgrim afraid of the this very start. I got lucky with Initiative and move forward some blade gruts-- the idea was simply to make it so he couldn't get close enough to shoot the Surfer without engaging the blue ones. I actually lucked out in that Chris didn't place more than one order marker on the Airborne Elite in the first round-- that allowed the Surfer to run out and take out two of the Paratroopers and also grab the Attack+1 Treasure Glyph. Chris advanced Marcus and the Legionnaires toward the Defense +1 Treasure Glyph on the other side of the map. I had intentionally not killed his 4th Paratrooper since he was on the Treasure glyph-- I figured it would take him extra order markers to clear it so that Marcus or Cap could take it.

This was still a really tough map. The road goes just about everywhere, and he was activating 5 figures per turn. I had to be very cagey about my Surfer placement, because there was never a guarantee that an initiative flip wouldn't kill me. Frankly, I think I would've lost this game had Chris been just a little more aggressive with his figure placements on the last turn of the round. Part of the problem with this game was that I failed to push Thorgrim and Eldgrim forward early in the game, and when I did move them out, they weren't in optimal blocking positions. The Airborne Elite completely change my opening strategy-- even though they went down quickly, the ramifications loomed over the entire game. There were a couple times when Chris caught up to the Surfer but failed to put any wounds on him-- it was a bit like my game with dok; with just a little more luck, Chris could've easily taken it.

So, even though I didn't bump myself up the standings, I was pretty happy with this tournament. I got to beat the Gen-con champ and also show everybody what a dangerous unit the Silver Surfer is-- that's good enough. Still, I want to win one of these tournaments to get my pride issues out of the way-- then I can start playing some really wild, crazy armies. Anyway, it was all a blast and it was great to see everybody again. Thanks, guys!
Total Comments 18


dok's Avatar
Ah, if only you had taken that Dwarf/Braxas build... the firestorm owns that pretty hard.

What hurt me almost as much as me whiffing on attacks and searing intensity was you going 6 for your first 8 shots killing elementals with the surfer. If I had had a few more, I would have been able to afford to sit one in the back there, and you wouldn't have been able to get attacks in at Raelin (and kill her in two freakin' attacks!) without facing return fire.

I actually got three rounds of fire elemental attacks in against the Surfer in that game. I did the math, and you had a .5% chance of avoiding wounds the way you did. Still, you had only about a 50% chance of actually dying. It was crazy that you didn't take a wound, but not crazy that you were still alive.

Really, though, I'm grousing a lot here, which is hardly sporting of me. The long and short of it is that the Surfer is fairly nasty when he's got room to roam and you don't have anything with a threat range of 8 or more. If you play it right, it's just awfully tough for me to chase you down.

It was definitely a revelation for me. Going into the tournament, the only thing I was afraid of was a ton of cheap ranged commons, or maybe vipers, but you showed me that there's at least one ranged hero who can keep the elementals off his hide. Thanks for the education! (Maybe the surfer really is too much for classic scape. )
Posted October 17th, 2010 at 01:57 AM by dok dok is offline
Filthy the Clown's Avatar
Excellent read, and congrats on your wins! Did you do the jig after beating Dok?
Posted October 18th, 2010 at 12:45 PM by Filthy the Clown Filthy the Clown is offline
Well, you used that central wall really well-- it was tough for me to get an optimal shot against your FEs up there and still run away. I feel like I was way too reckless during our game-- in 2 or 3 of my games, I don't think the Silver Surfer was ever engaged by my opponents' figures.

It takes a lot of patience to play the Silver Surfer in a high percentage manner-- you really have to float around the edges and wait for the right opportunity to strike key figures. I think a lot of folks would've gone straight for Kurrok and gambled that the Surfer would survive long enough to take him and Raelin out-- but that's that's a better Thanos tactic, when you can afford to lose your biggie temporarily. Also, I think your rats would've killed all my Orcs and Marro Warriors if I lost the Surfer, even if I took out Kurrok early.
Posted October 18th, 2010 at 12:57 PM by Elginb Elginb is offline
I did a mental jig after beating dok. I still haven't beaten Raelin/Q9, though-- when I do that, I'll do a strip-tease on a table top...
Posted October 18th, 2010 at 12:58 PM by Elginb Elginb is offline
rym's Avatar
Here's to hoping you never beat that combo.

Posted October 18th, 2010 at 01:57 PM by rym rym is offline
dok's Avatar
yeah, that's reason enough to put Rae/Q9 on the shelf for a while...

You might be right that you were a bit too aggressive with the Surfer in our match, but it's a marginal thing. I engaged you three times in the match. One was a placement error on your part, one was an initiative switch, and one was where you forgot you had an OM on the orcs. Only the second of those two can really be chalked up to agressiveness.

As I said in my battle report, I'm much more philosophical about the loss now that I have a little bit of distance from it. The Silver Surfer is a terrible matchup for the all-melee firestorm, and I just didn't know that until I played it out. On the other hand, you had actually tested your army against a firestorm build in anticipation of me bringing it. You were better prepared than I was and earned the win for it.
Posted October 18th, 2010 at 03:57 PM by dok dok is offline
Updated October 18th, 2010 at 04:09 PM by dok
Thanks, man. My preparation was a lot different this time.

As I mentioned above, I tried to practice on the pre-approved maps (though, as it turns out, A Stone's Throw and Vesuvian were the only two I practiced on that I played on-- I was hoping for Runner's Choice and Violation).

I also didn't get the opportunity to practice against any real people (scheduling issues)-- I only practiced against myself. The disadvantage is that it's hard to surprise yourself, like your real opponent is liable to do. The advantage is that, well, sometimes real live opponents don't employ the best strategies, and you can correct for that by yourself (at least as well as you can play those strategies).

The third difference was that I tried to anticipate what army you were going to play. I practiced against several Raelin/Q9 combos, Captain America + 5x4th Mass, and, of course, the Firestorm: Kurrok + 11xFE's + Deathreavers (there were some other armies I practiced against, but not ones I was expecting you to bring). I scrimmaged against the Firestorm on Quasatch Playground, which was generally awful for me because of the wound glyph, but somehow managed to pull it out versus Kurock and the gang. I was actually hoping you'd bring Raelin/Q9-- I wanted that notch on my bedpost.

That being said, it's a bugger playing you, because you don't make big mistakes. I made some howlers and got away with them because you rolled poorly. I made a similar placement mistake against Vivaldi, but he rolled 6 skulls with Nilfheim. I guess I just got my bad luck out of the way early...
Posted October 18th, 2010 at 06:06 PM by Elginb Elginb is offline
dok's Avatar
In retrospect, the two lava maps were probably not the best maps for my army, at least against yours. Quasatch playground is nice for the wound glyph and jungle cover, and "stone's throw" is good for its postage-stamp size (nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide). I think I probably beat you on those maps. Violation would be close/interesting. On every other map, you've got the advantage.

As for "I don't make any big mistakes", ask Roninvalentina about my order marker placement in our semifinal game. Ugh. If I had lost that game I would still be kicking myself. I try to minimize big errors, but I'm no spider_poison (I only know by reputation, but the book on him is that he just doesn't make mistakes).
Posted October 18th, 2010 at 06:31 PM by dok dok is offline
I think Vesuvian was a good map for your army-- like I mentioned before, the way the high ground is set-up is more difficult than choppier terrain. Also, I didn't want to end a round with the Surfer on lava for fear of taking a wound (or on the stone adjacent to the lava for fear of giving up adjacent high ground), so my avenues were more limited. Violation would've been good for me precisely because of the choppy terrain.

The reason why Runner's Choice was a great map for me was because of the size of it and the treasure glyphs. That attack +1 glyph was HUGE for me-- it gave the Surfer a 6 attack from height, which he was able to use most of the time. The reason why I was knocking off your FEs so quickly at the beginning of our match was because Eldgrim was on the Attack Glyph and I was on height-- imagine that same dynamic, but for the entire game. Also, those water-ways are nice natural blockers, particularly against the FEs. We wouldn't know unless we played it out, but I like my chances on Runner's Choice.

As for Quasatch Playground, well, that wound glyph is my big concern. Otherwise, I like the choppy terrain and the higher high ground for the Surfer. In my scrimmage, the Firestorm was able to take the high ground eventually, but it was the same as with Vesuvian-- in order to get there, Kurrock and Raelin became exposed in the rear. But you used Raelin and my Firestorm had 2 extra FEs, so I don't know how that would've played out. Anyway, the wound glyph is the biggie on that map for me.

I guess we won't know unless we play it. Whatever the case, I know I won't have the element of surprise next time...
Posted October 19th, 2010 at 11:47 AM by Elginb Elginb is offline
Argh! The problem with blog comments is that you can't go back and edit them. Anyway, you know what I'm saying, even if I'm being imprecise...
Posted October 19th, 2010 at 11:50 AM by Elginb Elginb is offline
kpucblek's Avatar
Hey Elginb. Thanks for the challenge. I think this was the first time I'd ever played against the Surfer in a non-Marvel army. (Usually we don't mix Marvelscape and Heroscape too much.)

You're right, I totally blew it by not using the AE when I had them in the first round. Originally I had wanted to use them for the start zone grenade lob, but didn't realize how valuable they were since they were pretty much my only range units (besides Cap). I think that was my first huge mistake. If I could have even put a few wounds on him in the first two rounds, Cap would've had a better chance at finishing him off.

I'm not sure, but it seemed to me that the rest of your army was just a distraction while the SS was all you needed. If I could have just put him down, I thought I had a really good chance at winning. My dice just weren't rolling for me. (Kinda sounds like dok).

The match was definitely the most challenging one of the day. And pretty intense. Very enjoyable. (And the first time we'd ever battled as well.)

Posted October 20th, 2010 at 01:12 AM by kpucblek kpucblek is offline
kpucblek's Avatar
PS... I'll be sure to NEVER bring a Q9/Raelin army to play against you.
Posted October 20th, 2010 at 01:14 AM by kpucblek kpucblek is offline
Yes! I'll never have to face Q9/Raelin again!

Kpucblek, it was a great battle! I really feel lucky to have pulled it out-- those roads were a killer. Both yours and lafleurhero's armies were ones that could've easily brought me down, and I feel lucky to have gotten away scott free. I look forward to playing both of you again.

You know, I've still never played your son...
Posted October 20th, 2010 at 10:46 AM by Elginb Elginb is offline
You and Lafleurhero suggested that the rest of my army was just a distraction. I hadn't really seen it that way. Thorgrim and Eldgrim were essential to boost the Surfer-- in most of my games, they both died, giving the Surfer 7 Move and 8 Defense. Theracus was important for both moving Thorgrim and for acting as a large blocker to either engage opposing forces or to simply give the Surfer a wall to fly beyond.

The Marro Warriors and Blad Gruts weren't supposed to be window dressing-- they were supposed to be either clean-up or a first strike team to thin out the herd-- but they only got used once as a first strike team (against Troy as a first strike team). They also could be used as weak blockers or to soak up wounds from the wound glyph (as could Thorgrim and Eldgrim) if I ended up on Quasatch Playground.

Considering how little I used the Blade Gruts, maybe I should've used Kelda-- for a while I was trying to fit her in, but it was tough to justify her. Probably the best use of those 80 points would've been Deathreavers, but I can't bring myself to use them-- I want to beat the Deathreavers (and Q9 and Raelin), not join them.
Posted October 20th, 2010 at 04:50 PM by Elginb Elginb is offline
dok's Avatar
Other possibilities for that 80 include Finn, for roughly the same reason as Thorgrim/Eldgrim. Or you could have dropped the Gruts, Marro, and Theracus for a couple squads of Knights and filler.

If we had played on Quasatch playground, the only thing you would be targeting from the high ground would be the rats you had just moved into adjacency with.
Posted October 20th, 2010 at 05:24 PM by dok dok is offline
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