Hacking the Cortex: WTC Post Mortem. (AKA I should probably be dead)

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And we’re back from the WTC!

First and foremost, it was an absolutely spectacular weekend. Amazing fun on every possible level. A thousand thanks to everyone who attended (for being awesome) and especially to the organizing committee for making it all happen. Have no doubt, we will be back next year for Poland 2014.

Seriously. Wow. I had high expectations for the event, and they were firmly shattered by how good it actually was.

After 24 hours of recovery, I feel like I’ll be able to provide some kind of cogent report on how my games went, and what I’d do different next time. While we were there primarily to have fun, I think that most of the others on Team Ireland would agree that we could do better next year, and we’ll be preparing hard to bring our best games to Poland.

Game 1: vs Keith Christianson (USA Red) [Deneghra2 vs Deneghra2]

After a very long and liquid Friday night (turns out that my body is capable of becoming a liquid if enough alcohol is added), we arrived to hear our Round 1 matchup was Team USA Red. Well, you might as well start the day being thrown into the deep end, right?

After the pairings process was complete, I found myself facing Keith Christianson. I’d had a feeling I might have to play a lot of Cryx mirrors this weekend, but Deneghra2/Deneghra2 was not the matchup I wanted to start the day on. Keith won the dice roll and went second. This decision, combined with the speed of double Raiders, allowed him to dictate the pace of the match throughout. And most importantly, the second unit of Raiders let him time his jamming run in such a way that he forced me to feat first – in the mirror, this is often the decider. If I wanted to feat first and still win, then my feat would have to be fairly devastating, but his Raiders were able to dictate the line of engagement to the point where I couldn’t get enough things dead to push myself ahead. When I heard my team was already 3 games down, I decided to have a go at an assassination, but missed with my venoms and a CRA from the Nyss.

Furthermore, I managed to get Deneghra into a vulnerable position, and I totally failed to see it. I hadn’t counted “getting charged by his Deneghra” as a hugely threatening thing when it came to analysing the table, but that’s what happened. One Eclipse hit failed to damage her, and I thought for a brief moment that I might luck my way out of the screw up. One proper Eclipse hit later and Deneghra was standing with her back to three Banes, and that went about as well as could be expected.

One game down, but I was fairly happy with how I’d conducted myself in the game. (I look forward to hearing his thoughts on the game, in which many more mistakes of mine will likely be revealed.)

Game 2: vs Tero Särkijärvi (Finland Blue)

And once again, I find myself in a Deneghra mirror match. This time, however, the list composition is pretty similar to mine (lots of merc guns!) but with Prime Deneghra instead of Epic. I considered taking Skarre only briefly, as I felt pDeneghra’s debuffs would take enough of the sting out of my Bane Knights that I’d get ground down. However, this was a slightly less than ideal matchup for me, as pDeneghra is better than her dead future self when it comes to pure attrition.

We’re playing incursion – a pretty live scenario but one that it’s hard to blitz to a win in thanks to the random flag element. However, my initial thought about pDeneghra’s attrition edge turned out to be the case. I got a decent feat/alpha in, but it wasn’t as devastating as I’d hoped as his Boomhowlers proved irksomely resilient. (Why did I talk myself into taking Bane Thralls over Blood Witches again? I’ve said before it always feels like a bad choice to leave out the Hag, and yet here I am, regretting not following my own advice). His Boomhowlers clearly being the real ones stalled the impact of that alpha, and his having the Mechanithrall factory ticked that advantage over into being overwhelming (another option I’d considered and discard in favour of the Thralls. Bane Thralls were the wrong decision.)

In the end, it was the scenario that ticked over in his favour.

I’ll admit at this point to being pretty irked with my performance, as the Cryx mirror was something I’d had zero problems with in testing… Guess I should have seen the abundance of eDeneghra coming and tested it more! (An important lesson for the future! It’s all about the lessons)

For the third and final round of Day 1, I find myself once again in the Cryx mirror

Round 3: vs Michael Marlier (Belgium Black)

This time, he drops Lich2, and I drop Deneghra2. This puts me right into my comfort zone. I’ve played this match to death, and feel pretty confident in it. The Deneghra2 list was specifically tailored to take on Lich2 (Why did I bring those Bane Thralls again? I’m sure my reason was semi-cogent…) so I went into autopilot, using my superior range and Marked for Death, and Hellmouth to start removing models as quickly as possible. The game went just as others against Lich2 had done, with me being able to clear enough space to press forward to win on scenario.

Saturday Night Socializing:

*Scene Missing*

Game 4: vs Moritz Schwank (Team Switzerland)

For the first round of Game 4, it was decided that I should probably get a non-Cryx matchup this round so I could play pSkarre without locking myself in for the final round. The Captain obliged me and matched me up against Moritz’s Khador – and as expected, he dropped his epic Sorscha list, which contained plenty of solid tools for combating Cryx.

The MVP in this matchup was Tartarus, who was an absolute beast. He generated enough banes to keep my left hand unit (Black robes) fully intact despite heavy attrition, and managed to heroically not die while right up in the mix (pSkarre’s feat does make him very hard to remove at ARM 22) so he could do some of that again. His general monstrousness in the centre of the board allowed me to get the leg up in scenario on the left (after Skarre bravely legged it all the way to the left corner of her zone) while pushing into his zone on the right with the remaining Green Robe Knights and roadblock his jacks and worry his caster with my Helldivers. This bought me the time to win on scenario, and I was back at 2-2.

Round 5: vs Laurents Ronved (Denmark)

Laurents dropped his Terminus list here, which surpised me – I’d felt certain I was going into another Deneghra mirror match!

Of all the games played so far, this was the one where I felt I made a series of bad errors all at once that cost me the game. I went first, and pushed up hard. But on my second turn, I ran my Raider Captain up to his flag. Then, I made my first terrible error – I misjudged Deneghra’s feat wildly, leading to me missing Terminus with it by not a tiny margin. (While trying to score my own flag). Second, I forgot to activate my Satyxis Raiders on the left, thus letting his Feat Turn/ Bile Purge kill a lot more than I had wanted.

What I should have done: feated aggressively on the left with Deneghra, getting my Raiders in to kill/engage the Biles, and making it really hard for Laurents to stop me scoring two points in his turn. I tried to play conservatively, but it actually left me more vulnerable as missing Terminus with the feat left me nowhere to run while he monstered across the table. Also, forgetting to activate a unit until your opponent is two activations into his turn is a bad tactical decision. It was downhill from there as Terminus was able to bully Deneghra into doing very little useful work, while also doing quite a bit of work himself. He was able to kill enough that I couldn’t unjam his flag to steal a scenario win, and Terminus ate Deneghra for dinner.

I had hoped to perform a little better personally, and I’ll be thinking about that a lot over the next few Hacking the Cortex articles – it seems like I’ve a lot more mountain to climb! But that said… It was still an unbelievably fantastic weekend, and Poland 2014 (Congratulations for the win!) can’t come soon enough!

Anthony aka I_Avian



11 thoughts on “Hacking the Cortex: WTC Post Mortem. (AKA I should probably be dead)

  1. The reason I dropped Terminus was basically that my pDeneghra list wouldn’t stand a chance against your pSkarre list, while I feel comfortable enough with Terminus Vs. eDeneghra, especially when she has a bazillion souls in her list and no Lesser Warlock. In our match I had one job, which was to avoid losing on scenario, and the rest would sort itself out in time.

    In a pSkarre Vs. pDeneghra match I would have been rolled completely, as my list simply didn’t have the means to stop 30 Bane Knights backed up by Tartarus and Slaughterborn before you wrecked my lines. In a Terminus Vs. pSkarre match I would have had my Bile Thralls safely stashed behind my lines, and without any ranged capacity you would be forced into my lines, which would give me a shot at winning the attrition war.

    • That makes sense. I went on autopilot a bit and dropped eDenny reflexively against Cryx – I’d had solid success with her in testing against Terminus and thought I’d have a solid chance at scenario vs. Deneghra.

      Hopefully we’ll get a rematch next year!

      • I probably won’t be bringing Terminus next year, as I only brought him this year due to peer pressure (he retired after the ETC 2012). I wanted to bring my eDeneghra list, but that doesn’t work without several of the characters Terminus hogs, so it was not to be. Next year we’ll have Aiakos, Bane Riders, and several other releases to take into consideration, but I still think my time with Terminus has ended for real this time (and 3-1 with him at the WTC wasn’t a bad send-off either).

  2. I can absolutely guarantee that Aiakos will appear in at least one list next year. Cannot wait for that guy.

    I’m similarly excited for Bane Riders (even fairly average Cav stats + Heavy Cav rules will be awesome with Curse of Shadows and several Cryx feats)

    A year is a really long time in Warmachine!

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