Monday, February 6, 2017

Battle Report: LVO Writeup - One Gopnik's Attempt to Take the Crown

So... The Las Vegas Open (LVO). :)

Having planned to attend months ago, this event was a long time coming. This huge national event was held at Bally's Casino, and people flew in from all over to be here. Fortunately for our little group, we were the locals, and the event was a mere 30 minutes drive away!

As preparation for the event, lists were planned (and changed) weeks before, and I clocked at least 20 games leading up to the event on top of the 2 years of experience playing the game with my little regular group of locals. A few weeks before, I chatted to Kyle (Pride of Rodina) about doing a writeup of the event and planned to take a bunch of photos. Sadly, the merchandise we had planned to give out at the event didn't make it on-time...damn you USPS, seriously... But overall I had an amazing time and got to play a great bunch of people on some amazing tables and win some great prizes!

*In advance, I apologize for the pictures. Not all of them will be understandable to Westerners, and I'm sure some are quite blurry or otherwise unclear, but I will do my best to explain. Events of this scale with 4 rounds means that no matter how many shots you take, you won't be able to capture (or even remember!) every moment, but hopefully you get the idea.

For those of you who didn't know, the Saturday event I registered for was 300 pts ITS, No Spec Ops, on the following missions:

Antenna Field
Comm Center
Engineering Deck
Cold Sleep

I took Vanilla Ariadna, and not only that, but as far as I was aware I was the only Ariadna player the whole weekend.

- Ариадна represent! 

The Lists

A lot of people asked me about the lists that I ran with, and while at first they might raise a few eyebrows, you can believe me that a stupid amount of preparation, trial/error and play-testing went into each of these builds. The first list is mostly familiar to most regular Ariadna players - the Double Spetznaz build I championed a while back, with a couple of modifications. 

I needed this build to handle both Cold Sleep and Antenna Field, which meant that because both of these scenarios involved HOLDING some midfield territory, the Chasseurs were swapped to FO to give me additional scoring options. 

Kyle had also warned me ahead of time that the lone Line Kazak was too obvious of a Lt (in hindsight I need not have worried, she was in no danger either game). 

Playing it safe, I moved the Lt option to one of the Foxtrots with the spare SWC and left the Line Kazak in the list as a decoy, to attract Impersonators, Superior Infiltrators, AD, and the like.

List 2 is a heavy deviation from the Vanilla Ariadna norm. Comm Center in particular punishes you for having sheer numbers of easy killable specialists, and play-testing revealed that Irmadinhos just gave my opponents free points without even trying. This meant that while the usual Ariadna build had 0 problems button pushing, sheer numbers of cheap models died in droves and locked you into an easy 4 vs. 3 OP tie, needing classifieds and Army points to break out.

Instead I trimmed the list down to only 5 specialists. I swapped in much more durable choices, opting for both the Veteran Kazak and some Scouts to do more of the heavy lifting. All of those models also work wonders in Engineering Deck, bringing great mobile weapons to range forward and take enemy objectives and close range templates for the room. Finally, the Marauder HRL swapped in for the Cateran as a time-waster, continuing the templates and durability theme of the list and allowing me to concentrate on more important goals.

Both lists did exactly what I needed them to, and no, even in hindsight I would have not changed a thing.  

The Night Before...

...was probably best explained as a frantic packing effort. Pictures definitely speak louder than words here...

I crashed around 12.30, but actually as I was only attending the Saturday event (most of my competitors played Friday as well), the fact that I didn't sleep much didn't matter when most of us were exhausted come Saturday anyway.


Ugh. I'm not a morning person, as anybody who has ever met me will testify. Unsurprisingly, I looked like this:

I was low on time, so while my wife drove I had breakfast in the car.... a healthy (hah!) pair of Priyanik, with butter of course.

Naturally, the little Slav princess, my husky Zora, came along for the ride.

The Event - Setup

Naturally we got to the tables as quickly as possible, my buddy Lance and I bombing down the freeway, while he smoked cigars, and we planned our strategy for the event. About half of the people were already there by the time we showed, so that gave us plenty of time while we waited for the others to unpack stuff, and explore some of the tables

Pairings were set up very smoothly, and we were away!

Round 1 - Vs. Steel Phalanx (Antenna Field)

This was probably the most balanced board of the day, with a good range of terrain types, scatter, vertical height and spacing. My opponent also had an absolutely gorgeous army (kudos man!) and ran double Myrmidon links, one with Ajax and one with Machaon. A Zayin HMG took the balcony position (left), while an Agema Missile took the tower (right).

He won the roll-off and elected to go first, which was an interesting choice given how scoring happens at the end of each second player's turn. I drew Sabotage for my objective (I don't know what he got, he didn't accomplish it), so I had Uxia try to infiltrate up close to the TR bot in the building (safe from everything else) to be able to threaten it and hopefully blow the charges as well. 

Unfortunately she failed the roll, and was stuck back on my deployment edge. Boo hiss.

My turn and the Irmadinhos moved up and smoked pretty inconsequentially. The Sniper continued shooting, knocking down the Zayin with a -6 mod. My first Spetz re-positioned on the left flank and had a go at shooting Ajax, dealing him a wound but Ajax moved up closer. The Dogs then seized their chance, with Ajax out in the open now they leapt down to melee him. While they lucked out a little bit and tore him to shreds (he dropped one obviously), I knew that it wouldn't matter too much whether he died or not, I just needed to tie him up in melee.

His turn was mostly just positioning, getting both links further up the field and in particular moving the Ajax link up right to outside my deployment zone on the left flank. Along the way they ran into a Chasseur, who was more than happy to delay her ARO (Sixth Sense).  They got rid of her in the end, but not before taking a ton of orders and one of the Myrmidons with her first. Meanwhile he gave the Zayin Marksmanship, and tried to jump a Dactyl specialist over the wall to his nearest objective. My Cateran spotted the Dactyl and shot him in mid-air (Enemy at the Gates style...) leaving him with no points for the round.

But with Ajax out of the way, the first Spetznaz on the left flank went into Suppressing (with some other backfield defenders) and the one on the right flank moved up. Spraying another Myrmidon in the back, he dropped it handily, re-camo'd, and rounded the corner to pick off the Agema. The rest of my turn was largely positioning based, with Uxia motoring up and sitting on my homefield objective for a cool 2 points.

His turn begins and he's down a few orders. He repaired the Zayin (damn) and gave it Marksmanship again, before Machaons link moved up to take his side objective. Very carefully, one of the Myrmidons smoked and moved around the corner (hoping to avoid ARO's from the Sniper, Foxtrot and anything else around there) into melee with the Spetznaz. We were both pretty solid in CC, but eventually of course the Myrmidon won out, but he was left out of orders in the open. 

My 2nd turn and the Irmadinho on the right flank runs a little too far out, catching a hail of bullets from the Zayin. My left flank Spetz abandons suppressing and moves up to hammer at Machaon's link, slicing the pie and killing each of the Myrmidons one by one and eventually Machaon himself till there was only one left (left). 

The Sniper, continuing his shooting gallery, plinked the Zayin again and knocked it unconscious. With the way now clear, Uxia runs up the left flank to close on the ruined rubble wall (her chosen Sabotage objective) leaving the 112 in her place, and I move up the other Chasseur to sit on the left objective. She runs out of orders but manages to place the charge, but the second Chasseur has just enough to round the corner and take out a Samekh before returning to score. 2 points again, and the charge is ready for Sabotage.

It's his last turn and there's not much left to do. He moved up the last Myrm on that flank and killed the 112 (right), but he can't do anything to deal with both Uxia and the other Chasseur, and he knows he can't score. 
My final turn, and I blow the charges for Sabotage, before smoking the Zayin's view. I re-camo'd the Chasseur just in case, and ran Uxia and him to sit on his objective and the central one as well. 

Win - 10-0

Round 2 - Vs. Shasvastii (Comm Center)

Round two rolls around and it's time for a quick break. Despite my early performance, not only am I a little nervous (every tourney I've ever been in, I lost round 2...) but Comm Center is the scenario that I struggled the most with in training for this event. Time for some Slav Strength!

- Semechki n Kvass. What more could you need. I dined on this stuff all day. 
  Also Vodka (not pictured).

This board was surprisingly open, a bit of a "bowl" with high ground all around the open center where the objectives were. Despite winning the roll I opted to go second - I knew I needed the second turn again on this scenario (even if it meant giving him table side, deploy second AND go first!) and Uxia had no hope of infiltrating and murdering cheerleaders vs. Shasvastii where most of them are camo or links anyway.

Between that and expecting a potential Speculo, this left me with an ultra conservative first turn. He slowly moves up the link, using the HRL to attempt to discover two of my camo markers on the rooftops. I felt a little bad that he failed no less than 5 discover rolls between those 2 and the Scouts/Uxia on the ground level (his view was better than I expected after deployment) but 3 of those rolls were at least in bad range and the two on the rooftops were only a Mine and Fake anyway. His Cadmus drops in my face with a mine (yuck) and he drops some backfield models into suppressing.

My turn, and my Antipodes started off by Sensoring and jumping down, one of them eating a Mine to the face from the Cadmus on the way in but at least revealing him and tying him up in melee.

Meanwhile in the midfield I had a real task ahead of me. The damn TR bot has such a strong view that I have to spend a lot of very careful smoking up the midfield to even do anything.  

My opponent (one of the nicest guys I met the whole day :) ) was a saint for his patience as we had to very carefully check LOS repeatedly, leaning over those tall buildings and checking vision through doors. I moved up the Spetznaz, both Scouts and the Chasseur through the smoke into the midfield. 

Eventually my Spetz came up through the smoke and dropped a Boarding Shotgun Gwailos Link member, before rounding the corner and taking out the HRL. His next move was attempting to take out Corax Hasht, but she managed to pass a few ARM rolls and I ran out of orders in that pool. With the last order in Uxia's pool I positioned to take one of my objectives and hid over by the second, hoping to survive the turn.

His turn and he reforms the link, before Hasht creeps up and over and drops the Spetznaz. His other specialist Gwailos pushes the top left button over by him, and then moves up further with Corax to the get the middle-left one as well. Again, most of my guys are hidden pretty well, so while he contemplated going after some of my backfield models, the Marauder HRL hitting Corax outside her good range (and inside his) and potentially having to fight him in the open meant that he sensible decided to play it safe, and pulled her back to defend the central room. Instead a TO Noctifier Missile decided to materialize, fighting my HRL Marauder but thankfully I survived and ducked further back to safety.

My turn rolls around and I'm out of long range options, so neither the Missile Launcher nor HMG have an easy solution. 

I do attempt to push up with a Scout on the right flank, but an untimely Discover in the open means my plans of -12ing the TR bot (-3 range, cover, camo and surprise shot) up close get scuppered and I'm stuck revealed in the open where the Missile is. Knowing he's pretty screwed regardless now, the Scout takes out Doctor Worm but eats the Missile and HMG (unsurprisingly). 

Still, I'm ahead on specialists, and a Chasseur Minelayer creeps into the room to flame a few of the link, taking them out all but one of them with some help from Uxia but dying in turn. 

I push my lower right console and move the E/Mauler scout into the room, hoping to defend it. 

His last turn and a camo marker on his side pushes the top middle objective (he has 3 to 2 now) and moves into the room, the Shrouded hoping for another objective. 

We dance around for a lot, but eventually I time it right and drop him (putting me ahead on specialists, 3 to 1) but not before he extreme prejudices my Chasseur out of existence. 

He's out of orders, so my turn comes and Uxia smokes to clear the gap, moves up to his left central objective, smokes it, and takes it from him. I contemplate going for the EVO kill for further points, but as the Scout in the room couldn't do it safely, we call the game there, another victory. 

Win - 10-2

Round 3 - Vs. Vanilla Yu Jing (Engineering Deck)

Whew that was a crazy game. Still with two solid victories and my hardest scenario out of the way, I was feeling okay going into round 3. My opponent was an excellent Yu Jing player who I had heard only wonderful things about from the games the night before though, so I knew I had another tough fight ahead of me...

This table was not quite so obviously "open" as the last one, but the extreme firelanes all over meant that it was incredibly difficult to hide anything for long. In short, no matter what, the active player was going to kill stuff and there was little you could do about it.

I lose the rolloff and he elects to go first, perhaps understandable given the table sides. I didn't like the difficulty of hiding guys on my side, but the really easy to defend right objective appealed to me immensely so I braced for the worst. 

Right away, the monks and Kuang Shi move up and smoke inconsequentially ,rushing up as quickly as possible while I hid all of my overwatch from that deadly Rui-Shi. The Su Jian came crashing down the left flank, happily dropping a Volunteer and a Mul. Continuing the trimming of my order pool, the Su Jian scrambles up the side of the building and spying a Line Kazak on the roof.

This time he is not so lucky, and thankfully only one of the shots hits (He's in mobility form, and I believe we were JUST in bad range, in cover and I did pass the dodge roll but with a low #) and she survives the armor roll. 

What he didn't know was - that was my Lt (Yes I should have deployed her a bit safer, but it was an obscure angle and I was only jusssst in LOS). Mistakes were made, and holy hell that nearly cost me the game. 

The Su Jian tried to kill the other Mul wayyyy across the board but it lived, and after it moved up further, went after my Chasseur who revealed to burn a monk. The Chasseur lucked out and ducked behind cover, so he finished the turn suppressing on the roof, confident in the high ARM + cover to at the very least take a lot of effort to shift. 

My turn and I was really sweating at this point, but I think I have a plan. Uxia, directly beneath the Su Jian smoked up his feet and pushed my left side button. With the way blocked, I positioned my Scout and Chasseur out of "SJ Death Valley" to cover the right flank, and my Scout FO pushed the button on that flank as well. Just to cement my hold on that side,  I laid a mine and retreated the Scout to safety, the Veteran Kazak went onto suppressing just in case, and the Marauder on the left side stood up to cement defensive positions.

Now it was time to deal with that Su-Jian. With the smoke blocking it's view I had 6 orders (+one irregular), so the Antipodes then bounded towards it at high speed. 

One accidentally got discovered by a monk along the way, but Uxia smoked that little gap and the dogs continued. 

We played the "awnings" as flat (models COULD stand there easily, but the slippery surface was the issue) and the Dogs Super-Jump up to him easily, approaching the Su-Jian from all sides. 

One of them burns to death from the flamer, but the other two make it into melee, tearing the robot tiger to pieces. 

With the Su-Jian dead, the Spetz dropped a Kuang Shi on the right side and then I re-camo'd everybody with my second coordinated order. With the last couple of orders in that pool, I repaired the Remote (for Test Run) and the dogs used Extreme Prejudice before jumping down to his side by the well, hoping to waste a couple of orders.

His turn and impetuous orders began, with the dogs quickly dodging any templates or pistol shots and ducking for cover behind the well. On the right flank the Monk blows up on the mine, but not before knocking a wound off my Suppressing Veteran first. The Rui Shi then took over where the Su Jian left off, blasting a Dog and moving up before taking out the Marauder. Sadly Uxia wasn't long for this world either, as she tried to Boarding Shotgun the deadly remote but the hail of fire won out and she vanished in a red blur. Still, without any of the objectives yet, my opponent left it on suppressing and turned his attention to the backfield. He repositioned a Zhanshi and took his top right objective in the bushes despite my E/Mauler Scout's attempt to snipe him running down the ladder.  

My turn and I move the E/Mauler scout around, picking off the Warbands one by one on the left side along with help from the Spetznaz. I re-camo'ed the Scout and he creeps behind the Rui-Shi in Suppressing, dropping it when he elects to Discover (it was that or be shot in the back anyway). I'm not taking any chances and the Scout finishes it off as he retreats, leaving an E/Mauler on the way and watching his left side of the table for the remaining Warbands to appear. On the right side I push up the Veteran a bit more, Suppressing further up with nothing left to do.

His final turn and the Scout and Spetz between them pick off all the remaining warbands, the Scout deciding to dodge one that got too close (behind the building) and leaving the Spetz behind. A HacTao HMG appeared and wasted the Spetz in the open, before his other cheerleaders moved up, pushed his objective and tied us on the consoles. Finally that camo marker in the well appeared, the Guilang FO opening the doors for the central room. Taking the central console, it, the Hac Tao, a line trooper and a surviving monk all rushed inside, suppressing to their hearts content. He held the room and was ahead on points, and it didn't look good.

Still I wasn't about to try and kill ~100 odd points of stuff to take that room, but I figured the right objective might be possible. 

A Chasseur came in and flamed, pushing the HacTao out of suppressing but failing to kill it. I tried to bring up the Scout FO but he got discovered by a Warband along the way (which I then killed) so there was no crossing that gap. 

Instead I moved up the Antipode controller, failing the first smoke roll but passing the second, and then the Veteran ran up to his objective, critting the roll with a 14. At that point I had 0 orders left in pool 2 and I didn't know if the Scout was close enough to try himself, so there was a bit of luck there too, but 70% odds of passing aren't bad. 

Finally, my E/Mauler scout re-camo'd and entered the room. He could discover but obviously couldn't kill it, so the room was contested and I won.

Win - 7-0? (I don't recall if my opponent got any Classified Objectives this game, but it's entirely possible)

Round 4 - Vs. Vanilla Aleph (Cold Sleep)

Understandably at this point, I was positively shaking. I had scored well enough all day that I might even pull this off, and 6 hours sleep, no lunch and the boiling convention room were taking their toll. But if I was worried beforehand, imagine my shock and horror when I discovered that THIS was to be my final top table.

- Oh, and they were only going to film most of it (!) so no pressure and all that heh... (I'm not a camera person either!)

My opponent played Vanilla Aleph, which for once was probably a good thing because they are the faction I thankfully have most experience against (being the faction 2 of my local opponents play each week). Still, my list for this scenario was optimized for longer ranged combat, and while I seriously contemplated changing for the shorter ranged/more durable list 2, the sheer number of specialists and orders from my old standby list 1 felt like the better call overall.

Thankfully, my opponent's list was ALSO optimized for long range combat, with no less than 2 Dakini HMGs, a Proxy Mk4 HRL and an LRL Thorakitai perched up inside the spaceship. He won the rolloff and elected to go first, so naturally I deployed in mostly defensive positions in the back corridor to see what he would do. Both of us drew HVT Innoculation, but neither of us cared as we both opted for Intelcom (always sensible in Cold Sleep and especially on the top table where the extra OP doesn't matter). His reserve model was of course the Asura, so I stripped 2 orders from her pool and we were away.  

On the left hand side he starts off with the Thorakitai, turning his attention to a camo marker in the midfield. He opted to Discover it and I revealed the Cateran, forcing him to split his decision.

The marker was revealed to be a mine and the Cateran won the F2F roll, sending the cyborg into outer space (lol).

Over on the other side the Myrmidon moved up, laying smoke for the Asura Hacker in front of the right side console. He pushed both of his Tech Coffins (I believe one of the rolls failed?) and brought the Dakinis up into better defensive positions. Next the Asura moved up, spying a pair of camo markers over by the right side console, although one was completely hidden on the balcony. Naturally I delayed using the Chasseur's Sixth Sense (and the fact that she was in smoke), so he elected to Discover and I did nothing, as Discover doesn't count as a BS attack (sad). Next order and she shoots the Chasseur and I burn her in turn, me somehow surviving the combi rifle and actually dealing a wound in turn. Very nice. He's low on orders and decided to retreat, I assumed not wanting to chance leaving her to the dogs and dropped her and all of the Dakinis on suppressing fire.

My turn and the Irmadinhos move up, smoking inconsequentially as nothing can really see. I need time to think so I use a few of the Irregular orders first, bringing the Cateran up that I know I won't need to cover some of a diagonal lane, and using the Irmadinhos to try for my Coffins (left one passes, right one fails). I need Uxia to do something about those Dakinis, so she moves out of her position prone behind the canisters, and eventually prompts the lead Dakini to discover her when she tries to move behind it. Still, he's out of Suppressing, so the 1st group Spetznaz HMG on my balcony moves a bit further back and easily kills the Paramedic bot out in the open. 

Uxia set about going after the next bot, but sadly he beat her in a decent F2F roll (I wasn't the only one with good dice) and so that was that. I then had the second Spetznaz push up and the Dakini HMG is out of Suppressing Range, so naturally my superior band + Surprise shot take him down. I didn't finish the job as perhaps I should have, but pressure and all that.

Unfortunately, this was also where I made my biggest mistake quite possibly of the whole tournament. I coordinated pool 1 when to my horror I realized that after clearing up the tokens from the mine in the last turn, I had inadvertently grabbed one of my Chasseurs as well. Without any way to work out where she was, I chalked her up as a casualty, a frustrating turn given the lack of order or a useful flamer on that side.

On the right side then I moved up the dogs a little closer, and my other Irmadinho eventually pushed the button. I decided to get rid of that other Dakini, so he rounded the corner and both of us died in the exchange. 

My Chasseur crept forward now that nobody was watching and pusher the console before re-camoing again, and that was my turn.

It's his second turn and he's taken some casualties, but there's plenty still to do. A Posthuman 2 appears by the Cateran and predictably killed it (oh how nice it would have been to have my Chasseur about now...) but oh well, it wasn't exactly important on this board. The Sophotect at the back ran around and healed the back Dakini HMG, positioning the Yudbot by the Paramedic on the right to pick it up again if he had the orders. That Dakini then got revenge on my Spetznaz, but his 4 dice needing 8's to hit were no good when my 1 dice needing 12 rolled high enough with an 8 myself.  He cursed his luck, repaired the bot and tried again, but the same thing happened and I dropped the bot again. He heals it one last time and passes turn. (I checked afterwards in case anybody is curious, and despite the high burst advantage it's a closer fight than you'd think for the Spetz- 32% Dakini does a wound, 41% nothing happens, 27% I do a wound)  

It's my turn and the ferocious HMG exchange continues, but now with the active turn advantage I drop the Dakini. I can't see the Sophotect through the Dakini's carcass, and it actually takes me I think 3-4 orders to chew through it as my opponents luck returns with a vengeance and he keeps passing ARM rolls and I keep missing 2 shots each time despite being unopposed. Eventually though it goes, and while my opponents Sophotect is facing the other way, my Spetz shoots her dead.

It was in the heat of that moment that I had forgotten the Irmadinho's impetuous on that side, but as he couldn't actually cross the gap between the pillar and the console, he didn't draw any ARO's heading the other way anyway. I spent his Irregular order though heading up the now empty corridor, drawing a bead on the Posthuman Mk2 and each of us taking a wound (him surviving on NWI). On the other flank, I think about using the Chasseur Flamer to clear out some orders but remember about Intelcom meaning I'll need TWO specialists to score that console, so  I try the safer route with the other Spetznaz instead. He moves up, clears out a Chain Rifle Thorakitai in the corner, and turns on the Proxy Mk4 behind him. I deal a wound, but the Proxy fails guts and hides behind the corner.

Again, playing it safe and confident with my board control, I return that Spetz to safety with a coordinate order, go into suppressing, and basically dump ALL my remaining orders to run the Dozer to the other side of the table, replacing that sorely needed Chasseur as a potential specialist in the last turn just in case.

It's his last turn, and it's all down to that Asura now to try and contest my console. It should be noted by the way that while he still had some 7 orders, they were split between pools, and he needs to ensure enough for grabbing both consoles while making safe moves where possible to max out points on the final round. So he smokes up with the Myrmidon and basically makes a run for it, the Posthuman mk 2 actually needing a couple of attempts to WIP his Console and leaving the Asura with only enough to mov-mov to my button under smoke. This was probably better than worrying about fighting the Chasseur, as another Flamer wound would have potentially made her much easier to kill. Even if the she had killed the Chasseur, I already had the doctor nearby in case I needed him to run up and take his with the mostly useless group 2 orders.

So it's all up to the dogs. They bound up and eventually two of them make it to the Asura (the left on the Myrmidon), but sadly the left and middle one take a Chain Rifle on the way in and the middle dies. Two hits, one wound, she's on NWI. Damn. The last remaining Antipode faces off with her and she wins the fight, dropping it unconscious. My opponent opts to stay engaged, but the Spetz rushes up. I have decent odds of hitting my dogs but who cares now I guess? The Spetz shoots her in the open and finishes her off. The Chasseur hops over to one side of the console, and Foxtrot FO climbs down the ladder to touch it from the other side and the console is mine.

I tried to kill the Posthuman on the other side anyway, but the Spetz failed with his pistol and the Dozer lacked orders to get there and WIP it anyway. Still, with each of us tied on Tech Coffins and me having a console, the game ends with a narrow victory.  

Win - 6-2


And with a bit of luck, a lot of stress and probably a bucket of sweat, I had actually done it! 1st place at LVO, and a lovely new Icestorm set to round out my Pano collection, as well as the cool Scarface model from the ITS pack. Better still, our event organizer Joel told me the surprise was that the winner of the event would get a ticket to the Warsenal Invitational at Gencon in August, so hell yes I'll be going!

- Prizes!

The painted prize went to a beautiful Tohaa army, and even though competition was pretty stiff on that front, the award was well deserved. Thank you to all of the wonderful players I met there, and especially my opponents who were all kind, gracious and very respectful players that gave me an insane run for my money.  Thanks to my wonderful wife, Kyle, and all of my locals for listening to my endless theory and playtesting for these builds, as well as supporting me with rides and company on the day. Most important of all, thank you to Joel and all the organizers for putting this event together, as well as the various people who brought terrain for the event and gave us such lovely boards to play on. :)

Anyway I know that was quite a lengthy write-up, but if you have any follow up questions or would like to see more pictures, please let us know in the comment section below.

Otherwise, until next time, and I'm off to build new shinies!


  1. Awesome write ups. I usually play Caledonia but do have most of the stuff from your lists. I have never used the mules or irmandinhos. Are they needed? I can see the cheap irmans being good with the cheap smoke. Thanks again and congrats!

  2. Muls actually played a big role. Not only are they 5 point order generators (and crucially, gave me Test Run Classified in Game 3 as the ONLY way to do that), but the baggage really adds up. Over a 4 round event (with only one of them dying) those little robots contributed a massive 175 surviving army points, which is amazing insurance incase you end up tied on objective/tournament points. In CHA some won't take them because you get AVA Total Volunteers (who can link) but while not mandatory, I'd still take them for the reasons above.

    Irmadinhos are excellent. Highlanders with less melee ability but they gain the option to score, which was really useful. Game 1 they didn't do a lot (one killed a Myrm, one died to a TR bot), but being able to push the coffins Game 4 with only spending one real order was really nice, and they still mostly managed to do a bit of damage. They're some of my favorite tools (outside of Comm Center!) so I'd say you couldn't go wrong with purchasing some if you ever want to play Vanilla or TAK :D

  3. Good having you there George. Expect a challenge Round 1 next year.

  4. Great write up and very well played sir.

    As someone who lost games after making mistakes, it makes me feel better to see that mistakes were made even by the winning players in the tournament. Fortunately... you were able to recover from that missing chasseur.

    I felt sorry for the Yu Jing player stacking the engineering deck objective room. I honestly can't figure out a way to win that room as the player with first turn. Camo can just walk in and only force a discover roll, as can anything in smoke etc. Mines help, but will leave 2 wound models intact. And yet, as player 1 you still have to stack the room, otherwise your opponent can probably murder what's in there and win easy VP.

    1. Thank you!

      In terms of defending that room, he did have better options. The Guilang, instead of suppressing, should have laid a mine. I might have been able to sacrifice play a model to detonate the mine and THEN put the Scout in, but it's certainly more orders that way.

      Perhaps more importantly, it's definitely your task as the first player to spend the effort hunting down the relevant models that even COULD contest the room, or else cement your hold of the consoles. So for example, I actually only had 5 specialists in that list (because it was also my build for Comm Center) and hunting them down to hold the majority of the consoles while simultaneously completing his classifieds would have netted him a 7-2 victory, going up to 10-2 if I couldn't get a model in the room safely.

      While he pushed hard on the left flank, my right was left virtually intact, which made pushing up that flank a lot easier than going for the room. The Hac Tao for instance could have definitely done more before T3, even if literally all it was doing was standing around in a marker state to provide the extra order. Going after those two wound models then is the priority if you worry that Mines won't get work done, and killing enough specialists means that the room won't matter if they can't get enough consoles anyway. :)

      I hope that helps to generate some ideas?