Brent's Journey to Disney - Quick SITE reports.

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Brent's Journey to Disney - Quick SITE reports.

Postby BrentS » Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:13 pm

I've got so much to say but I've had very little time since I've gotten back (just last night).

I definitely had a very disappointing showing at the tournament - my worst finish ever if I recall correctly and the first time since my very first Adepticon that I didn't get some sort of award (not even a third place so and so award). I've had a great run with a lot more fortunate luck than bad luck so I was probably due for a weekend like that.

For the record, I played 5 singles games and finished with one of each of the victory (or defeat conditions) - Major Win, Minor Win, Draw, Minor Loss, and Major Loss. How often do you see that?? While my overall record was 2-2-1, I certainly don't feel like I played poorly. I had some intriguing games the whole weekend but I just never could get the stars to line up correctly for me.

Game 1 I played against a newcomer - Matt Leclaire. Matt is a WHF veteran and by all accounts one of the best. I got him on his 2nd ever LOTR game and after only getting about 3 hours sleep (if that). We played Storm the Camp and he didn't read the victory conditions correctly and ultimately let me march a Khandish Mercenary into his undefended camp. Back on the battlefield my evil alliance was pounding his dwarves. I have no doubt that I would have won even if he had left hte camp defended as his body count was rising and I'd barely lost any models. So after a quick Major Victory, I thought I was well on my way!!

Game 2 - "Messengers" against Frank Brown. In all the years of GW circuit play, I've only been matched up against Frank once - we played to a draw in the Chicago GD tournament in 2008. We got the joy of playing on Dave Ward's latest sculpted gaming table - Moria! Despite my insistence that the rules clearly stated that the Fell Beast could not be used in Scenarios that took place underground (its in the rules!!!!), the tournament organizers said he could use it. Bah I say!! (I hope the sarcasm comes through there. While I did fight this, it was all tongue in cheek a good source of laughs for the second round). Frank and I played a great game - the scenario is a very difficult one to win. He made a smart use of his Nazgul's magic and commanded one of my models out of position allowing him to gank one of my messengers. Despite holding out for a turn or two, he had the upperhand with a clear path off the board. Losing a couple priority rolls allowed him to get the fellbeast into position that prevented me from blocking the messengers escape!!! On the opposite side of the table, my Mahud and Half-Troll were man handling his Black Guard Captain and Black Guard. I was creating a path that would allow my own Messenger to get off that opposite edge. We utlimately ran out of time but and Frank had a Minor win with 1 messenger off the board. Another 15 minutes and I'm confident I could have muscled my messenger off as well. Neither of us were close to being broken and with the ending conditions 25% left of your army we could probably have played another hour! I would have loved to play that game out all the way. It was a classic for sure. So even after a minor loss, I felt okay going into Round 3. Most people were drawing at best so I knew I'd be near the top of the leaders.

Game 3 - To Kill a King. In this game, I drew John Adams (orcishthug). He's already recounted our game to some extent. His army was archery heavy - 13 Citadel Guards on horse (and Beregond on horse) and he used is far superior mobility and archery to outmaneuver and slowly kill me at range. I tried to charge my my infantry mob but by the time our lines finally closed, I'd already lost 18 models to archery (against 0 in return). After a couple of turns of hand to hand combat, I was making a dent in his lines but the damage was done and I eventually broke. Skully, my Morannon Orc Captain (and King for this scenario) promptly failed his first courage test and fled the board. Game Over and Major Loss for me. John's strategy was perfect and I made a couple errors in trying to close the lines together sooner. It was a thoroughly frustrating game to play but again I can't fault John's strategy. He played the scenario perfectly and flat out beat me. Certainly not the way I was hoping Day 1 would end for me!

As I reflected on my first day, I was reminded of the 2008 Las Vegas GT which coincidently was the last time I used a Mahud/Mordor alliance. I finished with the same Day 1 record and then came back on Day 2 to get Major Victories in Domination and To the Death to finish in 2nd place (buoyed by good painting scores). I figured being the "bottom half" of the draw should give me "softer" opponents for my Day 2 climb up the leaderboard!

Game 4 - Domination. In this game, I drew John Hess (Yakthor). As most of you know, John is still relatively new to LOTR but he's definitely soaking in the knowledge quickly. He was bringing a Easternling/Dol Guldor horde that we helped him assembler here at AWC. We deployed and both spread our lines out. I knew that when the lines crashed, I would be able to decimate his Easterlings. That's one army that just isn't as strong as it should be. So I played a very patient game trying to get myself into position to secure the objectives prior to breaking him. The problem was, that John also brought a horde and it made getting into position more difficult than I planned for. It took me much longer to turn one flank than I thought it would and his wild wargs were enough of a nuisance that I didn't charge the third objective quickly enough. John and I both played a bit too deliberately I think. Neither of us were stalling, I think we were just both trying to get into the right position. On the second to last turn, I spent most of what turned out to be the second to last turn shielding (even though I was winning ever fight) because I was too worried about breaking him too early. It became apparent that we were going to run out of time before the game would truly end. In the end, I made the classic mistake of trying to prepare for a Major Vicotry before I had the minor victory in hand. I only secured one "neutral" objective on the last turn and I was to far out of position to get enough models on the third. I don't know if John would agree with me, but I'm sure had we played another 15 minutes I would have secured a Major Victory. Instead, because of some slow play (by both of us, certainly not blaming John) and a few minor strategic errors on my part, I had settled for a Draw. So, I knew my tournament was essentially over, I wanted to go into the last game and just have fun with it.

Game 5 - Meeting Engagement. After 3 days of threatening it, I finally got a chance to face off against Dave Ward. What a hysterical match-up I was given. Most people would agree the army I brought was designed for Meeting Engagement. I can eat just about any army for lunch against with this one, right? I outnumbered him almost 3-1. He's got 18 models and I've got 57. The problem? My entire army is Courage 2 (or less) and he's got 17 Morgul Knights, 1 Black Numenorian Marshall, a Ringwraith on dark steed, AND, the Witch King on a Dark Steed. So with all the Harbinger of evil, all of my warriors are now courage 1. How exactly am I supposed to charge into that?? Tom Keegan, John Petrelli, Dave and I all had a good laugh about that one. Oh yea, forgot to mention, this was the only game my Khandish Mercenary Captain decided to turn sell-sword and not play. So I was down to 2 heroes - Skully (Courage 3) and Mahud Tribesmaster (Courage 2). So I promptly set up a wall and let Dave charge into me. When we got close enough, Dave, ahem, failed his player check as Tom would say. He commanded the Mahud Tribesmaster into two Morgal Knights. After this was done, I said "Dave, you know that now I can use the Warrior Pride rule and all my Mahud and Half-Trolls are fearless?!?! Let's just say, he forgot that. I promptly counter charged and utlimately killed three Morgal Knights. After two or three turns of the greatest courage rolls of all time - I rolled a 10 on a heroic move charge to get the Tribesmaster into combat again. I was able to actually get several fights over and slowly wear him down. Dave used all his magic to slowly take its tolls on my heroes. He killed both Skully and the Tribesmaster with a combination of Black Darts and transfixing them. I was really missing that third hero. In the end, I had enough courage to continue to charge. Dave was left with 3 models - the Witch King (1 will left), the Wraith (1 will left) and a Morgal Knight. I wasn't broken but had lost all of my heroes and left with a Minor Victory. The last game was great fun indeed. I probably could have parked Skully on some terrain and laid him down so that he could never been seen and targetted with spells to secure the Major Victory, but really, that wasn't what this game was about!

So there you have it. An overall record of 2-2-1. Other than getting my butt handed to me by John, I played really well all weekend. I was a bit rusty pushing 57 models around the table and certainly didn't do myself any favors with timing. I guess playing an army of 15 all year made me a bit too deliberate in the moving phase of the game :). I could have made some small tactical adjustments and probably finished with 4 wins and 1 loss. I ended up with excellent painting marks but just missed out on the top 3 painting awards. I the overall rankings, I finished 10th. I know it will sound like complaining, but I certainly felt like I could have done a lot better. However, little things just prevented me for climbing up to the top.

From a tournament perspective, I thought this ranked up there with the best I've seen. The terrain was top notch - not as much variety as we see in Phoenix but the tables were all very well balanced. There were several sculpted boards (Realm of Battle tables). Those look great and can be fun to play on but do often make it difficult to place models upright sometimes. However, I still love the look of a sculpted battlefield. Tom and John did a great job organizing the event. Everything ran smooth. The food that disney provided was great and having access to a bar right through the door was perfect. I'm very happy to have had the chance to meet some new people, play some more games, and get a Disney Vacation as well!! Woohoo!
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Postby Smeagol » Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:40 pm

Yeah hordes require you to think a turn in advance. I speed up my turns my placing my critical models first (usually) and then filling in the gaps with the supporting models. Against John Adam's force there isn't much you can do unless you have mounted archers or a good set of cavalry of your own. Mounted citadel archers hit hard and are far too manueverable to trap easily. I have several of my own converted up and with my recent Galadhrim experience I can honestly say they are some of the hardest archers to deal with. Strength 3 bows and the inability to close with them is painful as an opponent. I should probably loan mine out to my opponents so I can get some practice playing against them.

My games at the UKGT were very much like what you described and yet I would go again. Good games and not the final standings are what the LOTR gaming scene should be about. Yes, it's a tournament and therefore we should all go and try to be competetive, but I've enjoyed the cheap seat games more than my competitive top table games on many an occassion.
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Postby Gartl » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:02 pm

Sounds like you had a good tim Brent. Wish I could have attended :-(
It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. - Boromir FOTR
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Postby ChrisLS » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:18 pm

Skully! Ah, I did like those guys, even if they did manhandle me in the practice game we played.

Sounds like a terrific event (again) - I want to be there next year!
In my fantasy world, we have pie.

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. - Mark Twain
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Postby BostonNazgul » Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:14 am

i think you just got spoiled with your first couple years traveling to stuff, put expectations too high going into anything then. we always count alot ahead of time, but need to try and just take it game to game i have found.
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Postby BrentS » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:25 am

BostonNazgul wrote:i think you just got spoiled with your first couple years traveling to stuff, put expectations too high going into anything then. we always count alot ahead of time, but need to try and just take it game to game i have found.

I definitely got spoiled with some really good luck. I always set out high expectations for myself. I really expected to go into SITE and win all five of my games, and win them pretty easily. That was the toughest army I've built to date. After several days of reflection, I can now enjoy the games for what they were.

However, if you are totally honest and I listed both my armies for this year and told you I finished in 3rd place with one and 10th place with another once. No one in their right mind would have said that I'd outperfom with the Unexpected Party. It kind of just goes to show the "randomness" and "chaos" that cannot be controlled at tournaments.
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