Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Journey of Jeric and his quest for the Dark Crystal

I was lucky enough to participate in the Texas Regional Championships at Quakecon 2015 in Dallas
over the weekend of July 25th. This would be my first regional tournament ever and I was a little nervous to say the least. So I want to thank those folks who stayed up late with me trying to talk me off the ledge as we got closer to the event.

I had been thinking about what I would play for a while and tossed several ideas back and forth. I had been playing a lot of Katar and Friends and Eliatrope Hordes leading up to the event, but both of those teams had issues. Katar is not a huge fan of seeing Malee Buhrum and considering I had seen her during the Thursday warm up event, I didn’t really want to play that game of cat and mouse. The Eliatropes, while being strong, really shine when your opponent over extends and if they don’t it can be a really hard game. So I had to default to the other list I was playing:
The Dark Crystal

Henual, Poochan, Phaeris, Wally Sumwerels, The Black Crow, Moe Lawr (2), and Mike Locke

Named in honor of the Jim Henson Classic, this group of evil bird monsters and gentle wizards plays very much like a tool box with The Black Crow as the centerpiece. It covers all of the elemental types and offers several control options through range, action point, and target manipulation. On the regional map it has a strong economic game starting its second turn with anywhere from 16-19 Kamas depending on if you went first and with a 32 initiative it usually goes first.

The main engine behind the list is the Henual buffing the Crow with devotion allowing the Crow to use three Dark Pikes or two Crobak Nosedives in a turn a single turn.  This gives you the option of either hitting someone for three armor piercing attacks from range or dropping two birds to pull a target into or out of range, then blocking lanes with the Crobaks. Giving the Crow critical means that he has a high chance of taking out many of the level 1 figures and some of the more squishy level 2 ones in a single activation, which triggers 3 uses of prospecting to keep the money flow going. From there it’s all about finding the right tool for the job. Poochan is able to bring anyone into the fight. Did your opponent clump up with a bunch of level 1 Krosmasters? Throw in Mike and make sure they can’t attack next turn! Did they bring up a heavy hitter? Throw in Phaeris for the big guy to play with!

What it lacks in the upfront aggression that a kitty rage or Eliatropes based team can provide, it more than makes up in consistency. It is more of a death by a thousand cuts versus a single target nuclear strike. If you can’t take out a figure in one round, you can spread the damage where they can’t afford to commit all in, because if they don’t manage to kill their target, they will lose too much from the counter attack in return.

So with that saddled up in my travel bag, I made my way over to the event. After learning my lesson Thursday night about how terrible parking was, I secured a ride from my lovely wife to Quakecon and headed inside. It’s a fairly sizeable con with a very strong focus on LAN gaming, it was a lot different than other gaming conventions that I’ve been too. It felt more like a family reunion for people more so than a convention. I got registered up and prepared for battle.

Round 1 vs Ryan

I had play Ryan recently first round at our Season 2/3 kickoff event at Chronicles Games and he was playing a very different list this time. He had moved away from The Black Crow and Darkness Knight to a straight up Merkator buff team. Merkator, Henual, Luk, and Lou were placed down in front of me.

I started the game by collecting all of my usual money and positioned myself to be able to take a few pot shots the next turn. He rolls for tension and chooses to double and proceeds to buff Merkator and move forward. In his movement he leaves Henual right behind Merkator.
I roll tension and get double criticals. I decide to kill the buff squad. I move forward with the Crow and kill Henual with Dark Pike through Merkator while putting 2 points on the big cyborg. I move some pieces around and manage to leave Lou at 1 HP. He gives critical to Merkator and after some buffing from Lou, the dust settles with Wally dead and the Crow hanging on with 2 hp.  I tension out again and buff crow and give him aqua buff and with a throw from Poochan he is able to stab both Luk and Lou ending the game.

Game 2 vs Gabe

Gabe and I have had this “He wins, I win” sort of rivalry going on and going into the match I had recently won, so I was looking forward to the loss. Of all of the matches I played on that day, this one I remember the least because it took a lot of mental horse power dig myself out of an early hole and come back at the end. He was playing his variation on the Old Men team Ghett, Diver, Henual, Moe, and Luk.

I know that I lost Wally early because he didn’t want to wear his armor that day and lead to another Moe dying senselessly to try and recover. I eventually whittle Ghett down and out of the picture and then apply Phaeris to the infected area to pull out the win. It was a close game and there is a reason Gabe was last year’s Champion.

Game 3 vs Mike

I had just played Mike in the finals of the Thursday night warm up event and he was still playing the same list from there. Poochan, Malee, Kivin, Fern, Luk, Ayan.

He’s not really sure how to approach this team as it was very different than Katar and friends that I had played Thursday. He decides to avoid the crow. I get 7 ish points on Malee and back up he brings up Ayan in preparation for a throw turn. I get aqua buff and finish off Malee, leaving Ayan at 1 HP. Ayan kills Wally and picks up a Moe with Kivin. I kill both Ayan and Kivin and end the game. I know there is a lot of paraphrasing here, but Gabe really took it out of me.

Game 4 vs Nick H

Nick is from Houston and brought to the table the winner’s team from Anime Expo, Captain Amakna and 2 Raul Baks.

I go first and get my money and take my normal centrally located position. Nick rolls tension sells it and moves his Rauls’ forward both flanking a tree, looking at my 1 point Krosmasters ready to make sure they do nothing for the rest of the game. I’m already starting to feel the need to go into the tank to figure a way out of this mess because I know Cap can really deter you from going after the Raul duo.

 I roll tension and get double critical. I sigh and we each trade in our GG. We then start to flip over the final set of rewards when stasis crystal pops up.  A purple crystal. Skeksis love dark purple crystals. I look at the positioning and I would be able to apply Phaeris to a Rual and Moe to the other and both could have critical as the crystal would buff the Crow with critical. The problem was that the crow would have to buy the crystal himself due to positioning and initiative order, so that’s two armor piercing attacks at 3 base damage each hitting both Rauls’. I start the plan in motion. Phaeris goes up to the plate and whiffs with Raul armoring out of the damage. At this point I’m tired and I want to just all in. I get the crystal and get into positon. I roll the first attack roll get a single critical and no armors from team Raul. I roll the second attack and double critical and punching my ticket into first place and getting me to Nationals.

After that it was a blur of pictures, a Banh Mi sandwich with a Thai tea from a food truck, and me being crowned the 2015 Texas Krosmaster Regional Champion.

I want to thank everyone for coming out to the event to make it such a success, Randy Navarro for helping run the warm up event and making sure our board states were organized as hell for the main event, Randy Brown for being the Mick to my Rocky during the rounds bringing me things to drink and talking to me after each battle. Rob from Japanime for hosting the event and making it possible and Shaun H for getting me home so my wife didn’t have to stop raiding in Wow and finally Florian "Wendig0" Delarace for bouncing ideas off of and helping with the conception of the team. Looking forward to next year already.  

-Jeric is an established miniatures player who provides tactical insight, event reports and a few odds and ends along the way

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