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Old September 4th, 2014, 12:06 PM
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My not so Triumphant Return (General Wars Report)

I spent the majority of GenCon demoing games for Plaid Hat. It was pretty fun, but the real highlight of the weekend was when I was able to sneak away on Saturday afternoon long enough to play the game that got me back into board games: Heroscape.

I leaned on the goodwill of other Heroscapers, in this case R˙chean. He's a selfless, stand-up guy, and he ended up winning the main event this year, so I'm pretty happy for him, and thankful that he let me borrow:

4x 4th Massachusetts Line
Sgt. Drake Alexander (SotM)

What else did you expect? Well, Mark expected me to go 5-0, so I'm not the only one disappointed with my performance. Even though we're limited to 16 figures, I couldn't think of a better single-general army even though I'd have to sit 1 4th Mass figure. I kicked around the idea of 4x Greenscales and Charos as a "fun" army to try to win Ullar, but I'm glad that I didn't. On to the games!

Game 1
David S. : 3x Wyvern, 3x Fyorlag Spiders, 1x Water Elemental on Vestige

I pointed out to him that I have a brother named David, so it should be easy to remember.

This game was a bit of a back and forth affair, with David making good use of the jungle terrain and the ability of his Wyverns to snag some 4th and pull them back to high ground for a man-sized snack. I gradually started winning, and things really broke open when I ran one or two 4th Mass towards his starting zone at the start of a round, killing his last Spider, and netting him a huge loss of turns. Then my guys cleaned up.

Aside from that one mistake, the game was pretty close and he did the best he could. This was probably the "weakest" army that I faced, and that says a lot, because it isn't all that weak. The people who still care enough to show up to GenCon have high standards when it comes to army construction.

1-0

Game 2
David B. : 3x Axegrinders of the Burning Forge, Migol Ironwill, Morgrimm Forgehammer on Fossil

Another Dave going for Aquilla. He said he had just beaten the 4th Mass, and was doubtful he could do it again.

He opened by sending in some Axegrinders and Morgrimm, which I think was the right call. Tough is great against the 4th, while One Shield Defense is much better used against Sgt. Drake in the endgame. Also, there was a Kelda glyph, which I was really worried about since bonding squads are abnormally good at securing glyphs and he had two tough champions to heal.

This was a tight, back and forth affair. Most of the fighting occurred on the high ground on my side of the big line of sight blocker in the middle. I had some neat choices on when to wait then fire; or when to push for equal height; or move to engage his champion to force multiple leaving engagements, or stop movement altogether. I'm not sure if I made all the right calls, but sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

As the dust started to clear, Morgrimm was down to just 2 life points left, was adjacent to two of my 4th, and decided to take the gamble to run for the Kelda glyph.



Sweet.

I was pretty much out of Mass at that point, so I took Sgt. Drake up to high ground and took a pot shot at the approaching Migol Ironwill.





(I tallied the odds of this occurring after the game. It's 8/648, roughly half as likely as a Ne-Gok-Sa Mindshackle).

Drake then ran up and got another wound on Migol with a normal attack. So David took his chance with a leaving engagement strike yet again, to get to that Kelda glyph.



So yeah, I went 3/3 (12.5% chance) on my critical leaving engagement attacks. Even though I don't think I really deserved this win, it felt pretty good. Good game David, sometimes things just don't fall your way.

2-0

Game 3
George S. : 3x Axegrinders of the Burning Forge, Migol Ironwill, Morgrimm Forgehammer on Stygian Rift

More Aquilla. Woo. This is one of the downsides of the General Wars format. There's generally just a few builds that stand out above the rest unless you're playing Jandar or Utgar.

I don't know if this map is explicitly anti-range, but between the LoS blockers, lava covered, centrally located high ground, and copious shadows, it was not as easy as you'd normally expect this matchup to be. We were trading units at about an even rate, although George led with Migol rather than Morgrimm. There was also a movement glyph on my side, so I spent considerable effort keeping him off of it. I didn't want to face 6-Move Axegrinders and a 7-Move Migol.

In the end, it came down to Sgt. Drake v. Morgrimm and a couple spread out Axegrinders. This is where order marker placement and initiative rolls get really critical, and the game has drawn out long enough that we had a few spectators. I made a mistake I think in moving Sgt. Drake into the middle when I should have gone off in the other direction where only one Axegrinder would get to him at a time. He finished the squaddies off and got Morgrimm down to 3 lives before falling.

Good game.

2-1

Game 4
E.J. A. : 4x Greenscale Warriors, Charos on Stygian Rift

Same shadowy and burny map. At least Charos was too huge to get the shadow defensive bonus. There was a movement glyph on 'my' side again, and again I did my best to protect it, at the cost of spreading my guys out a bit.

I was frequently shooting at 5 defense warriors in the center of the map, unless I was taking out stragglers headed towards the glyph. Despite my range and number of attacks, my attack rolls didn't do a whole lot in the midgame, so I got behind. I eventually drew it to be pretty even, and got a couple wounds on Charos.

It got down to just Drake and Charos. I started popping Drake onto high ground and taking little 3 die shots at Charos, goading him into moving in for a good 7 on 5 hit. He didn't really take the bait, but did eventually bait me by going elsewhere and offering a good 7 on 5 hit.

I took that swing, and I forget the specifics, but I got his wound marker count to 7. He took a swing back, knocking Sgt. Drake down to just one life. There was a lava roll for Charos.



Hmm, okay. We've each got one life left. Time for initiative.

At this point, Matthias Maccabbeus and others are watching. One of the coolest things about Heroscape Tournaments is that the most interesting parts of close games come at the end. Every order marker and initiative roll matters. Turns can be lost. Important figures will die.

Right, so initiative. It basically comes down to this. Who gets this roll probably wins.

Yes! He got a 4. Wait, what's that crooked number on my die? Right. A 3.

He's able to wiggle up to get Charos on high ground. 6 v 4. Game over man.



Whew. I got this.



And 1! Okay, I know this isn't basketball, but I was excited; I dodged a really angry dragon there. My turn, doing my own spin move.



GG, buddy.



One die took a second to come to a complete flat stop.



Oh come on! Wait Then Fire. [No, I didn't have an OM on the Mass].

At least I didn't get counterstruck.

Charos attacks again.



Phew!

Then this was my defense roll. (I wasn't using the blue dice, really).



Sigh. Just thinking about this one makes me a little nervous. One of my favorite plays not just of Heroscape, but any game in awhile.

[As it turns out, Scaper Dude and about 3 other people also played the Greenroller. I left before finding out which of them won Ullar. I was pretty exhausted after a day of demoing and my upcoming fifth game].

2-2

Game 5
Gordon. : 3x 10th Regiment of Foot, Marcus Decimus Gallus, Kaemon Awa on Vestige

I thought about playing this Einar army myself, but I can't bring myself to play the 10th. I have to stand by my principles. Apparently this guy won a General Wars in the past using all 4th Mass and my silly, yet informative flowchart.

Being in the 2-2 game is one of the least fun things about a tournament. You both didn't do as well as you hoped and are a little disappointed. The winner won't get high in the standings unless he squeaks by on strength of schedule, and the other guy, well, he has a losing record for the day. No one wants to be in this spot. If you did worse, you probably played what you felt like, without worrying about winning too much.

This game played out about how you would expect it to. I never moved any of my figures within 7 spaces of Marcus to avoid Wtf + his leadership bonus. We both played around with the jungle and occasionally engaging to remove the bonus from it. The jump from 2 to 3 or 3 to 4 that the Valiant army affords against the 10th is noticeable, and I had 3 more figures than he did. When it came down to fight Kaemon Awa, he rolled pretty poorly on defense, and conceded with Marcus sitting on the low ground.

It was pretty anti-climactic, especially after the game I just had.

3-2

All in all, I had a great time and enjoyed meeing some new scapers. As I said earlier, the overall level of play and army construction seems higher than it did a couple years ago. I see a lot of teenagers and college kids who probably started playing years ago and now know what they're doing. It was cool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fomox View Post
(I've also played many matches with great, fun people who were using Q9. So using Q9 doesn't make you a tool. But being a tool sure seems to make you use Q9.)

Last edited by Jexik; September 4th, 2014 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Done!
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Old September 4th, 2014, 12:11 PM
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Re: My not so Triumphant Return (General Wars Report)

Glad to see you're back, @Jexik ! Glad to see you again in person, as well.

The second David is @Viideosayg , by the way.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 08:59 AM
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Re: My not so Triumphant Return (General Wars Report)

Great Battle report! Well written and it's always nice to read something by someone who knows the game well.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 09:51 AM
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Re: My not so Triumphant Return (General Wars Report)

It was good to see you again, Jexik.

This is a time-honored format, but it suffers from, as you observe, a lot of repetition of builds. That's why I was TD-ing and not playing.

Thanks for writing up such a good tourney report. These ones where the results were not so great are the hardest to write, in my humble opinion.

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Old September 5th, 2014, 10:44 AM
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Jexik Jexik is offline
Et tu, Jaxet?
 
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Re: My not so Triumphant Return (General Wars Report)

As an aside, I'm not sure if things are necessarily more competitive now. Looking back at an earlier year, I ran 5x Mass and Drake for 520 point general wars a few years ago, and I went 2-3! My only two wins were mirror matches.

If anything, aside from my own play mistakes, I think that putting Matthias Maccabbeus on the BoV has really shifted the balance between melee and ranged units in tournament play. 4th Mass were better on old maps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fomox View Post
(I've also played many matches with great, fun people who were using Q9. So using Q9 doesn't make you a tool. But being a tool sure seems to make you use Q9.)
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Old September 5th, 2014, 11:26 AM
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Re: My not so Triumphant Return (General Wars Report)

Games 3, 4, and 5 there are against orcelfarmyone's dad (Dragonruler?), Unseenshadowz, and Deroche.

Like D_S, I tend to steer clear of General Wars. I've played it twice in 5 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jexik View Post
As an aside, I'm not sure if things are necessarily more competitive now. Looking back at an earlier year, I ran 5x Mass and Drake for 520 point general wars a few years ago, and I went 2-3! My only two wins were mirror matches.
The biggest metagame change is the 16 figure limit. It really shifted the builds. I don't know that people are necessarily more or less competitive now, although there are definitely fewer total newbie builds floating around than there used to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jexik View Post
If anything, aside from my own play mistakes, I think that putting Matthias Maccabbeus on the BoV has really shifted the balance between melee and ranged units in tournament play. 4th Mass were better on old maps.
I don't know if I would put it on MM, but there has been a gradual shift. That said, there is plenty of variation and there were absolutely some range-friendly maps in the pool.

You lost twice on probably the least Mass-friendly map in the pool (Stygian Rift), and the map probably made the difference in those games, although winning those two games on Song of the Walrus would have been comparably challenging. You also won twice on the most Mass-friendly map in the pool (Vestige), although you probably could have won those two games on any map. You just happened to get the good map draws when you didn't really need them.

Last edited by dok; September 5th, 2014 at 11:54 AM.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 12:01 PM
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Re: My not so Triumphant Return (General Wars Report)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dok View Post
Like D_S, I tend to steer clear of General Wars. I've played it twice in 5 years.
Yeah, I would have liked to do the main event but I heard it was going to be hard to make it in with generics. I didn't know my schedule until July, and I didn't get hit with pangs of nostalgia until around then either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dok View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jexik View Post
If anything, aside from my own play mistakes, I think that putting Matthias Maccabbeus on the BoV has really shifted the balance between melee and ranged units in tournament play. 4th Mass were better on old maps.
I don't know if I would put it on MM, but there has been a gradual shift. That said, there is plenty of variation and there were absolutely some range-friendly maps in the pool.
I think he started a trend, and it was seen even three or four years ago. When you compare his tenure and beyond to the likes of Marr Highway or Ember Canyon, there's a difference. The release of Ticalla Jungle helped a lot too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fomox View Post
(I've also played many matches with great, fun people who were using Q9. So using Q9 doesn't make you a tool. But being a tool sure seems to make you use Q9.)
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Old September 5th, 2014, 12:04 PM
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Re: My not so Triumphant Return (General Wars Report)

For sure. It's funny to look at, say, Fossil now. At the time R˙chean made it I think it was thought of as fairly melee friendly - MM nominated it for BoV, after all. But now it's in the middle of the range/melee friendliness spectrum among commonly-played maps, if that.
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Old September 7th, 2014, 11:21 PM
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Re: My not so Triumphant Return (General Wars Report)

Really enjoying the battle report, and all the meta-map commentary.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 12:32 AM
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Re: My not so Triumphant Return (General Wars Report)

Thanks for posting this, @Jexik . I had fun playing against you at GenCon five or six years ago (I can't remember which year it was). Great battle report and good to see you posting.

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