Pre Game Amble
So last week at KRAGS, Mr Neverborn sidled over and asked me for a game vs his new crew. It could only be Jacob, since Mr Neverborn, like me, is a creature of habit. At the time we were seeing off some of our longest serving members and friends, and I was playing in an epic 8 way robo rally game (a great board game modelled on the tv series Robot Wars). We postponed a week, but here it finally is.
I've never won a game against Mr Neverborn and despite a weeks notice I hadn't had time to prepare (to much work ATM) so I dreamt up an all-comers list, which has a bit of everything, to see how various minions and traits do.
Strategies and Schemes
30ss core encounter
Stake a Claim
We both decided on identical schemes just to keep it simple whilst we brokn in this new crew.
Seamus and Avatar
2 x Illuminated
2 x Depleted
2 x Beckoners
Pre Game Theory
My pre game theory was going to be light. I knew nothing about Jacob or how he played, so I focused instead on my all comers list.
I'll drop a dog for a dead doxy or a belle as required.
I'll play face of death on Seamus in turns 1&2 to meet his manifest requirements and assess whether to avatar as the game develops.
I'll try out both the drowned and crooked man ranged spells to work out what is more effective, and try to get the drowned in close to see how effective his slow to die schinanigans can be against this particular crew.
The belle will sit in the backfield for some lure and I'll probably keep Sybelle linked with the spirit near Seamus on bodyguard detail.
I had heard I could expect some card management schinanigans, so I thought I'd keep my soul stone cache high, in case I need to offset a diminished control hand.
Jon won initiative and over three activations doubled walked up two Illuminated and Beckoner to the centre of the board. The Beckoner managed to give my Belle brilliance but it dissipated at the end of the turn. The rest of his crew took a circular route, with a depleted on each flank and Jacob sitting in back field trying some card management.
I just generally shuffled forward, linked Seamus to the spirit and maybe over reached Sybelle in her eagerness to get into a punch up with the illuminated. She was 2 inches in front of the rest of the minions but I figured I could launch her into combat next turn or see how well she stood up against the illuminated if they tried to charge her terrifying.
I kept Seamus in the backfield casting face of death and double walking. For good measure, I also put out trail of fear to extend his terrifying affects.
I wanted first turn but when I flipped a 2 and Jon flipped an 11, I saw no point trying to reflip. Using the Beckoner accompanying the Illuminated, Jon double lured in Madame Sybelle (12") and gave her brilliance. Not liking how this was going, I tried to call a belle for some reinforcement but failed, so instead I flurried Sybelle against the nearest illuminated. Well against defence 8, suffice it to say I only did 3 wounds and no triggers. Sybelle was looking very exposed.
Jon activated the two illuminated over the next two activations and before I knew it Sybelle was dead. In hindsight, maybe I should have gone defensive stance and focus called a belle, to put up a wall. I also forgot her terrifying ability, a stupid mistake. Sybelle only really went down because I had really poor cards and Jon had given her brilliance.
You can see at this point Jacob has just sat in the backfield cycling his cards and generally denying me mine.
Turn 3 and once again Jon wins the activation. The Beckoner this time turned her attention to my canine remains and despite some pretty good resist values that pooch was off and running towards her. He didn't get into range of her brilliance, which was something, but then Jon moved in his depleted in his second activation to stroke that pooch into an early grave. A disturbing scene...
In return my crooked man moved and placed a shafted marker, my belle then lured an illuminated on to it for 3 damage.
My drowned used a small thicket of trees for cover and hit the depleted on the other flank but couldn't damage him.
Seamus finally moved up and shoots the other illuminated for 4 damage. He then summons a belle into the melee range of a freshly moved up Lynch and goes avatar. I figured at the time I'd hold lynch in combat for a turn with the belle, long enough for Seamus to kill the illuminated and then go avatar on Jacob. It was a reasonable sound plan that almost worked...
Turn 4 and once again Jon got first activation. I was beginning to wonder if Lynch was manipulating my deck shuffling between rounds.
Activating Lynch first and then the depleted on the right flank, my summoned belle went down to a brilliance related slaughter. Her slow to die action lured the drowned in nearer to Lynch, a tactic I now realise I shouldn't have been able to do with the drowned special rules.
Avatar Seamus finished off the illuminated and decided that was the point to go after Jacob. I backed him into a corner, pulled out gargantuan growth and smacked him around a bit. I think I did 4 wounds and Jon had no soulstones left.
My night terror really should have taken off for my claim jump at this point but instead I charged a Beckoner hoping I could blind her and stop some of this lure madness that was going on. He got into contact but her defensive trigger put pay to my attacks and it began to look like this girl had a thing for animals, after first luring the dog in and now playing with the birdie.
The original belle and the crooked man went after the Beckoner and Illuminated Jon had sent towards his claim jump. I could see them slipping behind me so I tried to undress the illuminated to make the crooked mans job easier. It didn't work and my crooked man got a couple of lumps on the Illuminated but not enough to stop him getting into contact with his claim jump.
The drowned tried for rip tide twice on lynch and failed.
Jon moved up one of his depleted to occupy my belle, meaning I had only my crooked man free to move.
In the last turn of the night (it was getting on for 1am), lynch made his escape and treble walked clear into my deployment zone. His illuminated in contact with the claim jump moved round the building, putting some mortar between him and the crooked man.
I moved Seamus into contact with my claim jump, figuring at this point it would be a 6-4 loss to me.
In his two activations however Jon progressively lured Seamus away from the claim jump and then out of his half of the table using his Beckoners.
above:Seamus lured away by the pretty girls
Below: epic run by Jacob clear into my deployment zone and the illuminated hunkering down to avoid my crooked man.
Sum up & lessons learnt
8-0 loss to me, damn you Avatar Seamus for going after those pretty Beckoners! It seemed like a fitting end for him though, he does have a thing for the ladies....
What a game, there is nothing like going up against a new master! It's really challenging to go up against a crew you've never seen in action before. The result belies how tight the game was, it was only some last turn movement schnanigans by Jacob, an illuminated and a Beckoner that dropped the result from a 6-4 loss to me, to a straight 8-0, a painful lesson in turn 5 tactics. We didn't make it the full six turns, which makes me wonder what Seamus would have done with those gals.
I can't believe I lost every activation to straight flips. I missed two good opportunities to put some pain down on Lynch because I just couldn't get first turn. Then when I did get him in Avatar Seamus's melee range he skipped out of the big boys grasp like a bar of soap in the bath. He's certainly a slippery critter and there was me thinking I had him with Seamus's wicked ability. I'm wondering now if staying in normal form and using his No Escape ability would have stopped Jacob skipping out, I must find out if that ability applies to pushes.
On the whole I'm reasonably happy with the performance of my crew, but loosing Sybelle in turn 2 was a blow.
I won't be taking a single night terror again and particularly against this crew, it just didn't serve me well.
Next time I'd be tempted to try the canine remains Bette Noir combo on this crew, given its heavy reliance on luring and brilliancing things for the kill, having Bette pop up and knife whoever in the back might help combat things.
I'm not sure taking avatar Seamus was a good move, his lower willpower really didn't help the situation and those two soulstones saved could have helped with some resist duels. Nor was focusing so intently on Jacob, that guy knows how to duck and weave!
The drowned did well, his slow to die action literally doing 2 damage on 4 of Jons crew when he died and the anti lure that they would bring to the crew means those Beckoners can shake their booty but they wouldn't come a running.
Where I continue to struggle however is in summoning replacement belles. The lures kept me from dropping the dog and my control hand rarely included the high crow I needed to raise. As usual when I throw a stone at the rise, I failed, which just adds insult to injury.
Oh well, you live and learn - or not if you're a Resser.....