Tales from the Testing Cycle: The Final Countdown

Cortexbannersmall
This weekend marks the beginning of a long run of highly competitive tournaments. After talking the talk, it’s time to walk the walk. We’ve got a 3 list Masters practice tournament this Sunday, a WTC Team Qualifier tournament the following week, Smogcon the week after that, and then it’s only one weekend off before the Masters itself.

Of course, this is exactly when the self doubt kicks in.


I’ve been working hard on my third list: an out-of-the-box Terminus list that is performing more consistently than I ever expected. And in a strange turn of events, it’s become the list that’s most likely to be seen on the day. List 1 and List 2, however, are constantly shifting and switching in my mind.

Unsurprisingly, my original list 1 plan was Lich Lord Asphyxious. We all know how good he is, how well he covers various matchups, and the power of his toolbox. However, one factoid has emerged recently that has made me doubt my certainty in his position as #1 draft pick.

Just over 1/6 of the field at the Irish Masters will be Cryx. Right behind that are Cygnar, with ~ 1/7th. Combine these two things, and suddenly I began to worry that there will a lot of Cryx hate at the event. Perhaps even moreso than normal. And if that’s going to be the case, the odds are a lot of “Cryx hate” is going to translate directly to “eLich hate.” Odds are there’ll be a lot of eDenny, Cassius, and other RFP packing warlocks with melee denial feats, as well as a whole heap of massed Pow 10 shooting. I’m particularly worried that we might see more pHaley than normal.

That said, I have my Terminus list, which has proved to be a surprisingly good answer to anti-Cryx lists in general, so perhaps I shouldn’t be worried. But I’d rather not be so predictable in that regard. I’m wondering if perhaps a switch to Skarre1 and her 30 Bane Knights might not be better. The theory that she’s slightly better vs. anti-Lich2 lists than Lich himself did seem to bear itself out during the process of testing at the WTC.

I find myself unable to decide, and there’s not much time to make up my mind. I’ll flip a coin to pick one this Sunday and see how it goes.

As for the second list, there’s some debate remaining. But not a whole lot. The body of the list is almost set at:

Defiler (5)
Defiler (5)
Nyss Hunters (10)
Blood Witches + Hag (8)
Min Mcthralls (3)
Necrosurgeon (2)
Necrosurgeon (2)
Dougal MacNaile (2)
Pistol Wraith (3)
Pistol Wraith (3)
Warwitch Siren (2)
Warwitch Siren (2)
(With a floating point or two depending on the answer to the next question)

The main question is who stands at the back debuffing things? Deneghra1 or Deneghra2? This is obviously a list aimed at Cryx matchups, for the most part. Hence the huge number of sprays, the Bile Thralls, and the general shootiness of the whole thing. On the basic level, Deneghra2 is the queen of anti-Cryx in Cryx. But, again based on the WTC, a lot of Cryx players will be leaning in her direction for their anti Cryx choice, and I’d kinda like to next level that. Which leads me to consider Deneghra1. She has the edge in a raw attrition battle against her Dead Future Self, particularly with the McThrall engine built in. She’s also more capable of getting work out of those Mechanithralls in the lategame, post feat. Furthermore, she’s got a legit assassination threat against Deneghra2 if she comes forward to feat, and I feel like Deneghra1 has more ability to hold her feat until later compared to Deneghra2 -or at least, I’m less tempted to blow it early purely for tempo and scenario pressure.

This question is a little easier than the first, in my head – Deneghra1 is edging to the lead. But still… I do really, really, love me some Hellmouths. I’ll let you know next week who came out of the box on Sunday.

These last minute jitters are pretty frustrating. My standard of play and my win-loss record for 2014 has been higher than it’s even been, so given my tendency to self assuredness I’d have expected my confidence to be rock solid. But the good run I’ve had has just made my aspirations to winning the Masters seem so much more possible. I’d really hate to drop the ball and burn out in Game 1 or 2.

Actually.

These last minute jitters are  frustrating. And unhelpful. So I’m done. I’m deciding to stop allowing them any space to operate. Literally right now as I write.

When I feel the cracks begin to form in my resolve, when I feel like taking a step back and not following through on hard work, two things are hardwired into my head to jump to the forefront.

The first is:

“Excuses Are Boring”

So there’ll be none of those. The next six weeks will tell the true story. Writing out my thoughts actually made it much easier to dismiss my doubts. I’ve just made my decision on both those list choices. I’ll tell you next week.

The second thing:

Know yourself, and go in swinging,

I_Avian/Anthony

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