The event had scheduled four rounds on the first day and two rounds on the second, but with pair-downs losing at some point during Saturday we were only two undefeated players after round four, and we knew the first (and only) game on Sunday would be the tournament finals.
In the previous tournament about three weeks prior to the Finnish Masters Joonas had traveled over to attend our WHM event up north Sweden. I lost to him in the qualifying rounds but got through to the invitational on X-1, and as I managed to win the Invitational on the Sunday Joonas was the only player who beat me that weekend and I’m quite keen on taking back the initiative. Previously playing CoC he switched to a Retribution Gore4/Garreth2 pairing for this event. We had played Siege on Garreth on Vassal together before, and we both felt Siege was up in that game. As expected, he elected to drop Gore4 into my Siege instead.
Theme: Legions of Dawn 3 / 3 Free Cards 75 / 75 Army Lord Ghyrrshyld, the Forgiven - WJ: +28 - Daemon - PC: 14 (Battlegroup Points Used: 14) - Chimera - PC: 8 (Battlegroup Points Used: 8) - Aspis - PC: 6 (Battlegroup Points Used: 6) Dawnguard Trident - PC: 16 House Shyeel Artificer - PC: 0 Arcanist Mechanik - PC: 2 Dawnguard Sentinel Scyir - PC: 0 Dawnguard Destors - Leader & 4 Grunts: 20 Dawnguard Sentinels - Leader & 9 Grunts: 18 - Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard - Officer & Standard: 4 Dawnguard Invictors - Leader & 9 Grunts: 15 - Dawnguard Invictor Officer & Standard - Officer & Standard: 0
Going with the theme of the weekend I won the starting roll and chose to start. Similarly to the game against Robin; this allows me to push up hard and force Joonas to use defensive tech already turn one to avoid losing too much of his army to my extreme threat ranges. He picks a side with a wall on the left, a lake in the middle and a hill on the right-hand side. My side has a piece of rough terrain and two forests, one in the centre of the board and one to my far right.
My deployment is very standard, with Striders on the sides and the rest in the middle. I’m trying to get the Charges against his Destor cav, so I deploy one on each side. Joonas deploys the Sentinels centre and most shooting elements on my right, with the cavalry taking the left flank.
Cygnar Turn 1
I run up with everything, the right-hand Charger goes into the middle to start closing in on the cavalry and the rest just trying to claim as much table space as possible.
Retribution Turn 1
My aggressive opening move doesn’t leave Joonas much space to advance into. The Sentinels pop their mini feat for +3 ARM and no KD, and with Dauntless and Wall of Steel they reach a respectable ARM 23, Tough, no KD. He clouds up beside the forest and pushes the Sentinels forward while the rest of the army stays further away from my forces.
Cygnar Turn 2
With the mini feat on the Sentinels up I chose not to engage at all, and instead just reposition to save time. I put a few Risen up to block his lanes and clock back to him.
Retribution Turn 2
Bottom of two Joonas starts pushing for scenario, running the Invictors into the right-hand circle zone while scoring his rectangle. The Sentinels push up in the centre and removes some Risen. He is unable to contest my zone though, and we and up 1-2 his favour after the first turn of scoring.
Cygnar Turn 3
Feat popping time. I start focusing on the Sentinels and manage to remove them quite easily; with my Feat and the available buffs they are ARM 14 and Tough but by advancing with the Firefly I only need a 3+ to force a tough check on the leaps from the Striders. The right-hand Strider charges in and deals with the models in the forest, and puts the rest of the shots into the Trident. The left-hand Strider similarly charges in and clears up a lot of sentinels, and proceed to shoot the Daemon with the shots left over. After the turn all the Sentinels are either dead or knocked down due to tough and both his Trident, Daemon, and Chimera are about 2/3 dead.
The positioning of the Striders almost cost me the game at this point. Early in my turn I even said to Joonas; “your cavalry models are way back, they won’t be able to do anything next turn”. Then I proceeded to neatly put my left-hand Strider into charge range of all his cav models. A much more conservative play would have basically closed the game in my favour; I could have killed the Sentinels and then focused down the Heavy and just ignored the Trident, and the game would basically have been over. The Chargers make short work of the Destor cav even outside of feat, and Joonas would quickly start to run low on models. Alas, this is not the case, and with the Striders too far up, I clock to him.
Retribution Turn 3
I immediately get punished for my greed and Joonas takes both the Striders down. The cav makes short work of the left Strider and the Trident takes down the right-hand Strider with help of charging Invictors (who have considerably better output in melee than you’d think!).
Joonas scores two for 2-5, his favour.
Cygnar Turn 4
Revenge is swift and a combination of FFE’d Ground Pounder and boosted POW 12s from the Chargers, Alexia and Jr wipes the Cav, Chimera and last living Sentinels. I leave the Invictors and the Trident alive for another turn and try to turtle up a bit to avoid having Siege killed.
Retribution Turn 4
Joonas pushes forward and clears up my lights and Alexia, while scoring both his own zone with the Aspis and the circular zone on the right with the Invictors. He is unable to contest the left-hand round zone though, and I can score one defensively.
Cygnar Turn 5
I finally have the opportunity to take the last boxes off the Trident and get some great Ground Pounder value on the Invictors. Ace runs to contest the zone (I realise I’ve drawn him a bit too far to the left on the previous picture) and the Squire and left-hand Charger just runs up to block his caster to prevent him from being a hero. (Admittedly, I also tried to Force Hammer Goreshade during this turn for a quick ending of the game, forgetting about Arcane Vortex!).
At this point we are both very low on clock and the turns fly by really fast (and I fail to capture them in pictures). In essence, he is unable to contest the left circular zone and is also unable to get rid of Ace in the right-hand zone. I start scoring two points every turn (my zone and the left circular one), while he occasionally only scores his zone. In the end I end up 15-10 in CP and tournament victory ensues!
Looking back at this game gives me very mixed feelings — happy with the outcome of course but with the native advantage of the matchup and winning the starting roll I should have been able to make this a one-sided massacre. Instead I gave away both my Striders in turn three and the game turned really, really close. Joonas played a lot better than I did, and next time I need to up my game considerably to win. Thanks for an exciting finals game!
All in all the Finnish Masters is a well-run, smoothly run event with very high standards. The only drawback with the venue is that the event is so popular that the room size is the hard limit of the size of the tournament, and the event is sold out weeks in advance.
Thanks to all my opponents & co-nerds for a great weekend, until next time!