Hardcore is a lot like riding a bicycle; you never forget how to fall off.
At least that’s how I felt preparing for Privateer Weekend 2 and my second Hardcore. I knew what to expect from the time clock and how to handle the short turns, but the competition at Hardcore is a notch above your standard Steamroller event. So I needed a secret weapon…
According to the box Epic Thagrosh comes in, apparently blighted lightning is purple. Who knew? At the game store we jokingly called this Blightning thinking we were clever until JBFlanz, a local Warmachine player who also plays Magic, showed us this:
Thus my Hardcore list was named. Flanz had an extra copy of the card which he graciously donated to me. I kept it with my stat cards, adding to Epic Thagrosh’s spell list. Unfortunately with no way to generate red or black mana he wasn’t able to cast it. Even a dragon’s athanc has its limitations.
With the last bit of list building complete I was ready for Hardcore. I realized going into the event that I wasn’t suffering from the same nervousness that I did the year before. Maybe it was the prior year’s experience, but on top of that I knew once I arrived at the venue there was absolutely nothing I could do about my chances to win Master Craftsman. All the work was already done, so it just meant waiting to see the judges’ opinions at the end of the day. Without having to worry about each win or loss I could sit back and just have fun.
To the right you’ll find my hardcore list I discussed in my previous post. For each round I tried to recreate my opponents’ lists to the best of my memory. I can’t guarantee they’re 100% accurate but they should give a good idea of what I faced from round to round.
Round 1: vs. Pat’s Protectorate (eFeora)
My first round I got paired up with Pat, a skilled player from Columbia, MO that I’ve met at events before. He’s a nice guy and a great player, so I knew it was going to be a good game. As a Protectorate player myself, I could see what was coming but I didn’t really have the list to counter it as effectively as I would have liked.
I started the game by deploying the Deathstalkers out to my right flank across from both of Pat’s Flameguard units. I tried to swing them out wide to start picking off unit leaders and slow up the Flameguard’s advance but suicidal exploding Cleansers took them out before they could do too much damage.
Unfortunately the mass of Protectorate infantry had me vastly outnumbered. I tried to use the Warmongers to hold them back but with Blazing Aura on the Temple Flameguard making many attacks or free strikes was a losing proposition. In addition Pat kept most of his warjacks close to Feora screening her under the benefit of the Choir’s Safe Passage and preventing a clear shot for my Seraph.
When Pat sent the Fire of Salvation forward to hit a couple Warmongers I had to try to take it out. My Carnivean was busy helping to keep the Temple Flameguard away from Thagrosh, so I sent The Messiah in to try to do the dead himself. Unfortunately a few bad damage rolls and a shotgun-like approach to rolling the column for damage meant the Fire had only lost its movement when Thagrosh was done. I used my feat to try to get the my beasts into the backfield but they had a negligible effect and I lost Thagrosh to the Fire the following turn.
Pat played a great game, systematically pressing in to Thagrosh and forcing my hand. I think against most other Protectorate casters I might have been able to do a better job of holding him back but Blazing Aura was a fantastic tool to use against my army.
Round 2: vs. Greg’s Khador (Old Witch)
Even though the Old Witch can be a pretty nasty warcaster to face, I felt this list was a better match up for me than my first round. It was a small-model count force lead by a warcaster whose biggest defense was her Defense. Between Eyeless Sight and Glory of Everblight, if I could get to her I felt confident I could finish her off.
My first turn I was able to use my Deathstalkers to halve the Doom Reavers unit. The Deathstalkers then served as a speed bump, holding the Doom Reavers (which couldn’t hit them) up until the Warmongers arrived to finish them (and my Deathstalkers… oops!) off. Fenris counter-charged on his next turn but the Warmongers were able to unhorse him as well.
The game tipped pretty strongly in my favor when under Glory the Nephilim slammed Beast-09 into the Behemoth, keeping them out of the fight for a turn and allowing me to feat to get my beasts up field. The Carnivean killed three of the Shocktroopers to secure their flank as well. The next turn the Warmongers that survived the Drakhun’s counterattack killed the feated-on Scrapjack to allow the Seraph to move behind the Khador line and finish off the Old Witch.
My Warmongers performed extremely well this game. Their lower MAT is usually a problem but Khador’s lower DEF meant that was a non-issue. I was able to get the Warchief into position to grant them the +2 to hit when they needed to take care of the Scrapjack and they didn’t dissapoint me.
I think things would have been tougher if Greg had deployed the Behemoth and Beast-09 on opposite flanks. As it was, I was able to stay away and slam them when they got close, limiting their impact as much as possible. My speed was useful in getting the matchups I wanted on the table and I think that made all the difference.
Winning is always nice but I was satisfied being one-and-one after the first two rounds. I had two good games against two friendly opponents and that’s nothing to complain about.
Next up, the final rounds.