That first win is a such a huge ego boost in a HardCore tourney. I have to say that winning the first game, no matter how close or how narrow, really gets you going. I was already learning from my mistakes from the previous game, and was thinking about what worked and didn’t work. Using a jack as bait worked really well if Terminus was waiting to counter the threat himself. The cav worked well against infantry, but didn’t have any staying power. Don’t get Darragh killed so early on.

You know, little things like that. Anyways, the win was good, but the VPs were not so good, and so I need a big win if I want to stay in the running for the VP title. Of course, winning is also a priority, so I have to make sure that I don’t get too greedy for VPs.

My Round 2 opponent: Pat Nolan [Falkenberg] with E-Feora.

Pat Nolan [Falkenberg]

Pat Nolan

I’ve played Pat once before. In fact, the last time I played him was also in a HC tourney. I played him at GenCon ’08, on my road to the Executioner medal with my E-Stryker army. He was also the only person who defeated me that day, and so I knew what caliber of opponent I was facing.

His army was very similar to his GenCon list. He added the Fire of Salvation instead of his Crusader, and Aiyana and Holt were in there as well.

Fire of Salvation
Bonded Redeemer
Covenant [Almost cost me the game]
Min Cleansers
Full TFG + UA
Aiyana And Holt

If he had anything else, I’m not remembering it. His army is all about the fire delivery system, and so I need to keep my squishy stuff out of Feora’s control range, or it’ll die to the POW 14 Fire. I set up in a corner in response to his central deployment. I have Darragh on the far left flank. His job is to kill the Choir priest, and the Vassal if possible. If he finishes these off, he’s done his job.

He rushes up the center, as expected. His TFG also pop their Iron Zeal on Turn 1, so that they can run 16″ with the help of the Piper. Eiryss is hiding among their ranks, and Vilmon is lagging to not eat a spelly death. Feora casts Escort, and camps the rest. No AOEs on turn 1, thankfully.

Demonaic on the Soul Hunters, Malediction on the boss. It’s the standard procedure. Darragh advances, Hellfires a Wrack, and then withdraws. The Harrower gets a good deviation, and a boosted damage roll kills Eiryss. I whip my cav, the combine, and terminus to the left, trying to get into a good flanking position so I can gut through the center without having to kill all the infantry. Oh, Nightmare preyed on the Cleansers, because I knew he wanted to use them as a bomb unit to catch me on fire. I figured I could get to them quickly and end that threat.

He advanced, and lobbed his bottle rockets, catching a couple of combine members, the Harrower, and a cav model. His army didn’t do much else, he was positioning for his feat turn. I had to preempt it if possible. One important note was that he did not move his cleansers, so as to not give me a free Death Tracker move. That saved me a lot of trouble.

My fire rolls were low, only keeping the Harrower on fire. He burned for a point, but nothing serious. My turn involved Terminus feating, and rolling up a little. Nightmare killed a few TFG, the Cav ate 2 Cleansers and retreated, and then Darragh charged E-Feora, actually putting 3 points of damage on her! He then rolled away to Hellfire the Choir priest! Excellent, good job Darragh. The rest of the army got into position for my next turn.

On his turn, his Senescal unhorsed Darragh, but didn’t kill him. He tried to Harm Nightmare but missed. Holt killed a Soul Hunter. The TFG caught Nightmare on Fire, and one huge CMA did a few points of damage to him, but not enough to take out a system. Vilmon charged Terminus, and did 10 damage to him [ouch! That was a -6 damage roll, too!] Thankfully, Flying Steel only netted one attack. His Cleansers advanced, offering me free strikes, trying to get to my combine. I took the free strikes, killing 2 of his cleansers and breaking his coherency while only losing one Soul Hunter for my trouble. He was getting desperate, and because his time was low, he didn’t feat, holding 3 focus with Feora with the upkept Escort. His Covenant read the first passage, but I forgot about that. He sacced his now useless Choir, and one of the Cleansers.

I lost another Cav model to fire, and dismounted Darragh dies to fire. but nothing much else burned for anything considerable. Terminus dropped Demonaic, upkept Malediction for free. I had 3 extra souls for focus thanks to the feat, and I had range to Feora, but I couldn’t see her. I could see the Redeemer and Devout next to her… doh, DEVOUT! Ok, Defensive Strike aside, I think I should be able to swing the game on this turn. I’ve got 9 focus. The Skarlock casts Ravager on the Seether, who charges and eats the Fire of Salvation. The Cavalry finish off the cleansers, and roll forwards to be a threat next turn in case something goes wrong for both of us ;). Nightmare reduces the TFG to half unit size, as they are the new prey. All right, big T’s turn. He charges the Redeemer with his Claw arm, and thankfully the Devout MISSES his Defensive Strike. Oh man, what a relief. I hit the Redeemer, and throw it at Feora by spending a focus point. After resolving the roll, I say, “Okay, now that Feora’s knocked down-” “She’s not knocked down,” said Pat.

Z: What?
Pat: Umm, remember the Covenant?
Z: CRAP! I forgot.

Okay, no worries, I’ve got 8 focus, and thanks to Malediction, she’s an effective Def 13 ARM 21. 6s to hit, -5 to damage. So, no boosting attacks, and boosting damage time.
First attack does 3 damage. Down to 7 focus. She’s down to 12 health.
Buy an attack, miss. Down to 6. Feora still at 12.
Buy an attack, hit. Boosted damage does 5. Feora at 7.
Buy an attack, miss. Feora at 7. Only 2 focus left!
Buy an attack. Do I boost the hit or the damage? I only have 1 focus left! ARGH! Okay, okay, no guts, no glory. No boosted hit, and I roll a 6. PHEW! Okay, now I need a 12 on the damage roll. I boost it, and phew, I drop a 12 on the three dice. All right! Feora goes down.

Good game. Post match, we count up VPs, and I’ve picked up a whopping 23 VPs off him. All right, that’s good, that gets me back into it.

HC Results: 2-0, sitting on 37 Vps. A little lower than I’d like, but another decent win should put me in the top few.

Next up: Game 3: vs E-Vlad played by Stu-nami!