The first game of the actual event being committed to record was between Avery Alder of The Highly Irregulars, and Christoph Scholl of The Muchahideen! Both players were kind enough to let me write up their game, so I followed along :) The map selected for the game was Turn Up The Heat, which you can see below, along with the lists selected.
Avery took the first turn, with Christoph taking the top side. The objectives selected were Dugout and Treasure Chest respectively. Deployment proceeds apace - Avery clusters her battlegroup slightly to the right, correctly assessing that the left circular zone isn't going to be a particularly rewarding pursuit for her, and wanting to buy as much board space with running and Slipstream as possible. Meanwhile, Christoph sets up his Well of Orboros to be able to shoot the entire right circular zone, and otherwise push hard on both sides where needed, though with a slight leftward bias.
Avery starts her turn by respecting the threat range of the Well and Scythe. Cloak of Ash goes on Zuriel and Tactical Supremacy on the Blight Archon, and the ever-so-exciting Virtue Host cloud wall is put down. Zuriel, being slightly cautious about unknown threats (Avery mentioned at the start of the game that she hadn't seen much Krueger2), chooses to cast Elusive and Trample, and the other Heavies are similarly reticent to move up, hiding behind the clouds. Not a lot of board space taken here - a hard rightward push might have been rewarding, but I can understand caginess in the face of an unknown opponent.
Christoph responds with a slightly surprising opening, by immediately launching into a Feat. The Well puts out a Blackclad Wayfarer, and scatters a shot, catching nothing. Everything else pounds up the board, with a Death Archon putting up Mortal Fear (I keep wanting to say Beyond Death; showing my age a bit). Said Wayfarer takes an aggressive position, trusting to Sacrificial Pawn to keep him alive. The Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew runs into the left zone, where they will presumably make themselves a nice burrow (or whatever their kind live in) and stay for the rest of the game. No, I do not want to hear about Gobber nesting habits in the comments.
Clocks end Turn 1 at Avery on 65:38, Christoph on 61:26.
Avery opens Turn 2a looking to see what's going to go in. A lot of her own stuff has been hit by Virtue Host clouds so some clock is burned early on resolving all of that. She seems to be under the impression that the Bellows Crew will be leaving their new home, which I have to restrain myself from correcting. They are comfortable, and have presumably got a fire going at this point. While Avery deliberates, I check to see how many spectators the game has, and am once again reminded of how grateful I am that this server can support a small army of players.
Meanwhile, the Virtue Hosts have been working out some shooting options. Kogan the Exile seems to be their primary target, though it's a bit of a long shot. Instead, some Scathers are deviated, and Ignite goes on a Virtue Host that wasn't affected by the Feat, who go and put some chip damage on the Wells. Otherwise, stuff just contests, the key pieces take *very* cautious stances (though still threatening a long way, to be fair, so it's not like they're out of the game) and the turn is passed. It's been a very long one, and while the battlegroup is safe, I'm worried that there's not going to be enough time for an attrition fight in subsequent turns.
Clocks end Turn 2a at Avery on 40:38, Christoph on 61:26.
Christoph burns his Treasure Chest on his Blackclad Wayfarer this turn, and also gives it Puppet Master with Chuck Dogwood. Overkill? Nah, he misses the first Hunter's Mark rolls, landing the third on the Angelius. This means that a Death Archon can go in, which it does, followed by the second one, and between them, some absolute blending occurs. Avery basically loses the centre of her list outright, with the Neraph, Angelius, and Mekanoshredder going down, and suddenly the aforementioned caution doesn't seem cautious enough. The left side is now massively compromised, and with Krueger2 in a safe position, it's looking very favoured for Christoph right now. He ends the turn and scores 1 CP.
Clocks end Turn 2b at Avery on 40:05, Christoph on 41:18.
Avery begins recovery efforts, starting by putting more damage into the Well. Kryssa Feats to charge a Death Archon, which she kills. There's a desperation play to be made with the Blight Archon here, using Impending Doom to pick up a Woldwarden, but I stress desperation - this would purely be to keep Kryssa from summarily dying next turn. Zuriel takes a couple of sprays at said Woldwarden, baiting a Hyper Aggressive move, but Christoph decides not to take it after thinking through the implications, so ninja-beastie is left sat in front of an angry battlegroup really *really* hoping to get to use Elusive. Kogan is removed by a Blight Archon spray, and the clock is passed for a big retaliation with very little time left for Legion.
Clocks end Turn 3a at Avery on 15:15, Christoph on 41:18.
From here, it's kind of just mopping up, albeit made somewhat more difficult by Zuriel having all its Elusive-related dreams coming true, and some comedically bad dice elsewhere. A Woldwarden eventually finishes the job, and the others go toddling off around the board to help pile on the scenario pressure, taking a Countercharge from a plucky Raek. Malvin and Mayhem go Blight Archon hunting, but only succeed in putting some damage on the Seraph through a transfer. The objective doesn't die, which feels like a slipup, but not an impactful one. The impactful error, though, is leaving Krueger2 potentially without transfer targets if Impending Doom is used correctly.
Clocks end Turn 3b at Avery on 13:40, Christoph on 20:36.
The reason I mentioned the transfer situation is because Avery immediately notices it, and correctly assesses that it's her best shot - however, I'm not sure if she can drag the Hermit out of Mad Visions range, and even if she does, this still isn't the most likely run in the world. Sadly, she doesn't spot it, or doesn't think she can get it, so the odds drop dramatically. Due to a free strike being transferred, Slipstream is taken off the table, which eliminates the run entirely, so the game becomes about racking up tiebreakers. Woldwarden #3 is thus punched a bunch, but not enough to make it a killable target for the Raek, which instead goes to beat up Malvin and Mayhem. The turn is passed, and the inevitable begins.
Clocks end Turn 4a at Avery on 01:20, Christoph on 20:14.
The inevitable turns out to be not horrifically bad, actually, but it's enough to seal the result. The Blight Archon gets lamped, control points tick up, and I think Christoph is just waiting the clock out here.
Clocks end Turn 4b at Avery on 01:20, Christoph on 08:31.
Avery goes down swinging and takes off Malvin and Mayhem, but clocks out midway through the rest. GG!