Tuesday, March 10, 2015

ND Open VII - Nick's perspective - Day 2

Day 2 at the ND Open - Nick's Perspective

7am came early on day 2. The boyz and I got up, got ready and were quickly out the door. We made our way to the military base in Valcartier, Quebec where the tournament was hosted and grabbed some breakfast at the mess. Not long after we were facing our opponents for round 5.

Game 5 - Lizards vs Chaos Dwarfs

I walked up the game 5 table and met my next opponent. He was running a Chaos Dwarfs list that seemed pretty standard to me, but, admittedly, I don't have much experience with them, despite Andrew having them as an army. Here's a breakdown, from memory, of the Chaos Dwarf list:

- Sorcerer Prophet - Death - Flying Carpet
- Deamonsmith Sorcerer
- Infernal Castellan - BSB
- Hobgoblin Khan
- 20-25 Infernal Guard - Blunderbuss - Command
- 20ish Hobgoblin archers
- 3 Bull Centaurs
- Magma Cannon
- Deathshrieker Rocket Launcher
- Hellcannon
- K'Dai Destroyer

I must admit that if I had to classify one game as bordering on the non-enjoyable side at the ND open, this would have been the one. This is for a couple of reasons, I'll get to them later.

This is one of the few scenarios which I had some issues with. The deployment zones were separated by a diagonal line from one corner of the table to the other. Approximately 25 inches separated the two different zones. Objectives were placed as shown in the following diagram (image stolen from the ND open VII player's pack) : 

As part of the scenario the player who rolled highest before deployment had to deploy their whole army first, then the other player got to deploy theirs. Prior to the game beginning if the player who deployed rolls a 6 they were able to "steal the initiative". Here's my problem with this scenario. First, deploying the whole army first effectively allows for your opponent to pick and choose the likely match-ups to happen during the game. A player can mitigate the advantage this would offer by planning their deployment appropriately in a cohesive, planned battleline rather than a typical rock-paper-scissors deployment strategy that often happens during a alternate deployment scenario. The problem I have is that the player who was able to optimize their deployment now has a chance, albeit slim, to double-up on their advantage before any unit has even moved yet. Of course, I'm complaining about it, because it happened to me. The die came up a 6. This put the major advantage to my opponent. Of course, there was nothing I could do here to change the outcome so all I had to do was change my plan. Unfortunately, this wasn't the worst part of the game.

The game started pretty standard. I pushed my Temple Guard towards his artillery and his infernal guard guarding them. I kept most of my units within the Slann's 12" bubble given the hell cannon facing across from me. I figured the most I could do was to push towards my opponent and hope to not take too much damage getting there. Despite the disappointing beginning with the stolen turn, I still had some aces up my sleeve. I charged the K'Dai destroyer early in the game, turn 2, with both of my scar-vets because of their flaming ward. I don't know much about Chaos Dwarfs, but I do know that the K'Dai is something that I don't want hitting my units. Of course, poor luck continued and one of the Scar-Vets rolled double 1's on their ward vs the monster. Later, I also charged the Bull Centaurs with my Ripperdactyl Riders. This is where some of the questionable moments began. I asked my opponent the stats of the centaurs and understood S5 T4, but their stats are S4 T5. This would have changed my plan. Of course, it is possible that I misunderstood so I shrugged it off and continued to play the game. 

The interesting points of the game continued. Mid-game, a turn before my temple guard charged his infernal guard, I threw 4 or 5 dice at Flesh to Stone on my remaining Scar-Vet fighting the K'Dai to keep him alive. I miscasted. I threw one die at my throne of vines, a four came up to ignore the result and I continued on... except my opponent has issues with it. My opponent protested and claimed that he had dispelled Throne of Vines the previous turn. I did not recall this at all. I still had the card sitting next to my unit, and I always pull the card when the spell is gone. Not wanting to argue, I rolled the result and 11 Temple Guard were unfortunate victims of this misunderstanding. 

Seeing that I was unlikely to win this game on victory points I began my move towards the objective on my right flank. The objectives were that for each turn you held one or both you scored 1 or 2 points. At the end of the game the difference between this score translated into the objective points. Therefore, my terradons started their way and nabbed the first objective. I declared this to my opponent and scored myself one. At that same time, my opponent then indicated that his Bull Centaurs had been holding the left objective since the beginning of the game. At turn 3-4, this was a surprising revelation. Certainly, if he controlled an objective it was up to him to announce it, make necessary measurements at the time, then score it. Up until this point who was to say if his unit was in range, particularly since some adjustments to units movement were made, and the unit had pursued my fleeing Ripperdactyls. Of course, in the spirit of being a good sport I compromised and agreed that he could score the last two turns. This again came up at the end of the game when my opponent wanted to score objectives during each of our turns, this would have given him the advantage. We called a TO and they ruled in favour of my interpretation. 

Most of the remainder of the game my opponent pondered his few moves far too long in my opinion. Perhaps the near-argumentative nature of the game had stalled it and we had only reached turn 4. This, in turn, meant that when I took the upper hand turn 4 I wasn't able to capitalize on my hard-earned army superiority, having now effectively eliminated most of his warmachines, his BSB and his Infernal Guard unit, and with one wound left to pull off the K'Dai. Alas, it was not to be and we ran out of time. Moreover, given the failed attempt at his Bull Centaurs early in the game, he was able to rack up objective points virtually un-opposed. 

The final straw in the game happened near the very end. Around turn 4 my opponent moved his hobgoblin khan to, what appeared to be, the closest he could to my saurus unit on my left flank to re-direct and prevent their charge into the bull centaurs. No problem, I do the same thing with skinks. The next turn, seeing as I need to rack up points I decided to declare a charge. He elected to flee. I stated that his Hobgoblin looks to be about 1 inch away (since that was the distance he intended) and that should he choose to flee if I roll my dice and add 3 inches (the movement of my saurus minus the distance that separated them) that I would catch his khan. He agreed and rolled. He rolled a 10 and I rolled a 7, and said great my saurus will over-run the khan. Before continuing he brought out the tape measure and protested that, in fact, the khan was more like an 1.25 inches away instead and that I didn't catch him. I was surprised, because we had just agreed in the spirit of the game. A lot happens during a game and units get slightly moved and what-not, and this is where I believe that good opponents agree on distances and LOS for those reasons. Also this speeds up a game so that one player doesn't incessantly nudge his units in the absolute perfect position. To me warhammer is a game of inches and not millimeters. We looked it over and his khan was slightly above an inch away, but we both knew that wasn't his intention and he had already agreed prior to us rolling. The tricky position I'm in at this point is that if I decide to insist on the khan being dead then I risk the opponent meta-penalizing me by knocking my sports score. I figured at this point the Khan's points didn't matter too much so I let it go and we finished the game. 

I won't go out and say that my opponent was deliberately in some of the events that transpired, or was being unsportsman, though sometimes it did feel that way. I must not have been the only one that felt that way since he scored the second lowest on the player voted sports score of the tournament. The game ended and the Lizards scored 12, and the Chaos dwarfs 18. I now had no chance of winning best General, and Logan and Dany were leagues ahead of me. I endeavoured to shrug it off and go into my next game with a clear head and look to have a good time, and I did!

More on that next time! (I know I said this was a two part blog, but I changed my mind since I did a lot of complaining during this one haha! The next one is more cheerful, I promise!)

- Nick

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