Hello everyone and thanks for clicking. I’m going to break down my experience of this year’s VTC, how my games were, and a few points on the event in general.
I was a member of “Handforth Parish Council”, a name based on a meme that was out of date before the lists were even launched, but I was really happy to be invited to play with them. It was a team with a great balance of wanting to put up at least some fight, while also having a casual, relaxed and generally fun attitude. We had a Minions player with Rask1 and Helga2, a Trollbloods player with Grissel2 and Horgle2, a Legion player with Bethayne2 and Thagrosh1, and a Circle player with Tanith1 and Kaya1. As you can possibly tell from some of the wild (get out -Ed) ‘casters there, we weren’t going to try and win the whole event, but instead to enjoy ourselves and have a nice weekend with friends.
Before I start with the round rundown I’ll touch on my pair (uwu -Ed). I was running Falcir1 in Forges and Vyros2 also in Forges. I feel Forges is Retribution’s best theme (or at least it was prior to the Warden Executioner release; whether that’s true now remains to be seen), but when I was building the pair I was expecting a lot of Death Archons so infantry were a dubious choice. With that in mind Forges is a natural fit. The full lists can be found over here; I don’t want to dive too deeply into them, or this will be a very long article, but to put it shortly, Falcir is an incredible 'caster with a wide range of match ups she can play, and I really didn’t know what she wouldn’t want to face. My hunch told me heavy gunlines, which is why I brought Vyros2 with Discordia along as my pair. I didn’t take screenshots each turn, but I will post up screen shots of the maps I played on, so that there is at least something to reference along with the final board state as I can go back and find that after the fact.
Round 1 saw us up against “Horribly out of practice but down”, running Skorne, Protectorate, Trolls, Grymkin, and Retribution. None of us had any match ups we were desperately trying to avoid and so we didn’t have a huge strategy going into the selection stage. I ended up on the City map. (Paul changed the map background because he is a coward -Ed)
My opponent was the Protectorate player, a lovely gent running Malekus1 in Creator's Might with two Judicators and Reclaimer1 in Guardians of the Temple with a smattering of different units. I was momentarily spooked by the thought of passage on his Judicators shutting down my Tridents, but then stopped being a coward and dropped Falcir1. He dropped Malekus1 as Tridents are great at hosing down middlingly statted single wound infantry, which his other list had in abundance, and we got going. My opponent won the roll off and opted to go first, a wise choice into Falcir1, so I gave him the top side with slightly more annoying terrain for 2 huge-based models.
The first turn was uneventful. Lots of running and applying buffs. Turn 2 I’d left him a Trident in range of Judicator guns but with Force Barrier up the rockets weren’t likely to do much. As such, I thought that he wouldn’t be able to one round the Tridents, even with Feat, as Malekus had no Revengers or Eye of Truth in this list. My opponent took the bait and marched his Judicators forwards, spraying and rocketing merrily. He didn’t Feat, but was able to take about half the boxes from each one with Fuel for the Flames from Menite Archons and some decent rolls. This, however, set up a game-defining Turn 2. I was able to get a Manticore into a Judicator before activating Falcir1 this turn, so I did so with an Execute token that I applied with Springing the Trap. After it had done its work, I committed Falcir1 and with some very spikey rolls and the Prey Upon Bounty I was able to remove the rest of the Judicator, put a big chunk into Blessing of Vengeance, and kill a Menite Archon – and be completely safe afterwards, thanks to Cyclone and the Bounty tokens. I was able to finish off Blessing of Vengeance, the other Menite Archon, put a handful of damage on the other Judicator, and zap it with the combination of a Gorgon Spray and the Snare Bounty to make it a mighty SPD 1. I applied Confuse to Malekus and this meant my opponent had absolutely no models that could reach Falcir1.
My opponent did what he could in his next turn, removing a Trident, but he couldn’t do enough. Unfortunately, my opponent received an urgent call and had to leave, so he conceded the game to me, but out of curiosity I played the rest of the turn on my own and I left him with his 'caster, Severius0, and some support models. Week 1 was done in a league format and I was the first of my team to play so I was very happy to start the team off on a good foot and give us a nice little morale boost to start things off. The round wound up being very tight, coming down to the final game between Legion and Grymkin, a game which itself came down to a handful of seconds on the clock. So we started off with a tidy 1-0 result.
Round 2 and the start of the weekend proper, and we got drawn up against the Yellow Coats. I ended up on the map ‘New Frontier’.
I got matched up against Legion this time with a pair of Kallus1 in Children of the Dragon and Kryssa1 in Ravens of War. I of course dropped Falcir1 and my opponent went with Kallus1. This time I won the roll off and opted to take first turn, as Falcir1 is exceptional with a turn of unchallenged running. My opponent chose to take the side with the building, as it gave a nice place for Kallus1 to stand. Standard turn 1 of Warmachine, everything runs. I have a Trident on each flank, the Nyss Hunters take the left side with my Battlegroup, and Falcir1 central. My opponent moves up, a Virtue package on each flank with Zuriel and the Blight Archon behind the building and the objective, and the Blightbringer and Legionnaires coming down the centre right. A Blightbringer shot takes a chunk from a Manticore's Force Field and I’m able to keep Kallus1 scared by applying a Bounty token to him when he advances, which forces him to camp more than he’d like. Besides that, nothing of note happens.
I briefly considered going for a 'caster kill, as I only needed to clear one Legionnaire to get a line to Kallus1 with a Trident and Falcir1. But at a 4 camp with Hermit, it felt like a bad idea, so instead I went for attrition. I popped feat and lead with an Arcane Secrets’d Force Hammer into Zuriel which slammed him over the Mekanoshredder and Kallus1 and into the Blight Archon. Boosting damage netted me a good 10 or so damage into Zuriel, and I also picked up a handful of damage on the other models involved in the collateral. Next my left Trident moved up and cleared Zuriel, and my Nyss Hunters finished off the rest of a Virtue unit. On the right a Gorgon sprayed killing 4 Legionnaires including Farilor, and then the other Trident pew pew’d the rest leaving him with just 1 Legionnaire and the flag man. My opponents crack back was limited by my control tokens, but he put a few chips into a Manticore, removed a Dawnguard Trident on the left with his other Virtue Host and the Virtue Champion, and popped his Feat. Falcir1 got stuck in on the Virtue Host and cleared most of them plus their Incubi, with a Manticore under Full Throttle coming to clean up the rest. A few other bits die but Falcir1 is on 0. I’m fairly confident that I’m okay and ship the clock.
My opponent’s only out is assassination, even if it is low odds. His Blightbringer is SPD 1 so can’t walk far enough to get a line to shoot her, so instead he runs a model to use as a blast damage beacon as Falcir1 didn’t have Force Barrier on her at this point (since the Artificer had gone in to do work the turn before). It’s still dice off 9 though so only does a couple of points. His only other two attacks are an Assault spray and a single fully boosted arced Eruption from Kallus1 who is suffering Confuse so Is at -2 to hit. He hits the Blight Archon spray and it doesn’t kill me in one, so my Hermit is able to Mad Visions the Eruption and that was game. After that I just cleaned up everything that was contesting and scored 5 clear. Unfortunately, my team wasn’t so fortunate, and we lost this round 1-4. They were a very good team though, both from a sporting and skill aspect, so losing to them didn’t feel too bad at all.
Round 3 and we got the absolutely lovely gentlemen from South Africa Tokoloshe who had plenty of memes on standby based on their name. I ended up facing a pair of Vlad2 and Vlad3 on the map ‘Sacrificial Altars’.
This round my opponent won the roll off, but opted to go 2nd and take the top, in order to avoid the sheer quantity of rough terrain on the bottom with his list’s limited Pathfinder list. A sound decision on the face of it, but I don’t think you can afford to give Falcir1 the first turn. In any case, I ran up as aggressively as I could and made use of the godly central building to stand Falcir1 behind. My opponent moved up in response but avoided my spookiest threat ranges. I didn’t want to trigger the Menite Archons, so I instead opted to debuff the Judicator and try to dismount the two Champions, then wait him out. I succeeded on the left, but the right Trident shits the bed. My opponent decides to go in and unleashes Fenris who goes fucking aggro and rolls 6665. Ouch.
The Champion comes in too and the Menite Archon runs up behind them, using the house to try and keep itself safe but relevant for next turn. The Judicator does piss all as it’s SPD 1, and the left flank just wiggles around a bit.
With vengeance in my heart I blow Feat (uwu -Ed) and unleash Falcir1. She walks through the building with Ghost Walk and kills Fenris, the Menite Archon, and Vilmon, before Cyclone moving back. Then, a Manticore clears out the Champion. On the left, I continue to upset the Judicator and a Nyss Hunter runs to contest. My opponent shifts his Judicator which now has Snare, Kinetic Grip, and Confuse, and flails around with it achieving nothing due to its sad stats. The Menite Archon clears out the contesting Nyss Hunter, and a Champion and his Dervish combine to clear out a Gorgon. In my next turn I manage to remove the Judicator with a Manticore in melee along with the Dervish, dismounted Champion, and a fairly large collection of support. My opponent knows that he can’t really come back so tries to get some army points and have some fun with Vlad3, he goes in and clears out about 7 Nyss Hunters and a Trident. With that many blood tokens I don’t actually want to try and assassinate, so I instead just clear all the remaining contesting models to score 5 ahead.
The team managed to get through the round 3 – 2, which put us at 2 wins for 1 loss.
Round 4 saw us up against a team much closer to home, Pysgod Wibbly Wobblies. (AKA-The Welsh) I’ve had several games against Luke, their Legion player and he’s managed to assassinate Falcir1 twice, so I expected them to orchestrate the pairing process to try and get him into me. As expected, they did just that. I believed, however, that with more cautious and considered play, and decent terrain, it was a game I could win. Luke was playing Anamag in Primal Terrors and Bethayne2 in Ravens of War with two Archangels. I knew Bethayne2 would be his drop and as always, I dropped Falcir1.
Fortunately, I was able to win the roll off despite his re roll, and I opted to go first. Luke chose the top side as he ignores the bottom cloud anyway, so could reduce the amount of relevant terrain available to me. I run up and position as aggressively as I can. My intimidation ploy works and Luke feels compelled to pop Bethayne2 Feat while hosing off a few Nyss Hunters with random Archangel scatters. Luke doesn’t feat on his Hellmouth Maws, which I believe was a mistake, and so I spend my turn attempting to remove them without committing too much. A Trident and a boosted Arcane Secrets Force Hammer is able to clear the right one, but the central one behind the forest has Dragon's Blood and so lives on 4 boxes. Falcir1 retreats into the rubble, camping 4 with Force Barrier and Hermit, and everything else makes sure it can’t be charged by the Archangels. This turn Luke can’t achieve a vast amount, so he opts for a bit of a scenario push. He kills the objective, drags in a Gorgon with a Hellmouth and kills it, puts some damage into some other random things and scores 3 – 0. I know this is a big turn so I pop Feat, Prey Upon goes on both Archangels and the Hellmouth, and Bethayne2 and the Blight Archon both get Confuse to try and limit its output the next turn. I expected to kill one Archangel and leave the other severely crippled and engage by several things. As it is I managed to kill them both with some slightly above average dice, although not insanely so. This meant that Luke had no option but to attempt a caster kill. Falcir1 was in the far left of the left hand zone with 4 camp, a Shield Guard, and Mad Visions in range, and Luke had a Blight Archon spray, Bethayne2's gun, the Naga Nightlurker's gun and 1, possibly 2 Breath of Corruptions. Luke made a nice play of putting Full Steam on his Blight Archon and charging a nearby Trident, which let him use Impending Doom to pull the Shield Guard out of range and buy enough attacks with them all hitting to remove Mad Visions. This left him with the Naga shot and 2 Breath of Corruptions to kill Falcir1 from full health. It was an extremely long odds run but it was all Luke had and he did his best to increase the odds as much as possible. It didn’t go off however and next turn I was able to clean up and score ahead on scenario.
We were able to win this round 4-1, and this filled us with hope of a very respectable 4-1 finish for the event, but we still had one more round to get through, and what a final round it was. We ended up being drawn against Canada Goose, a team full of excellent players that we knew would be an uphill struggle. I ended up being drawn against Circle, and we landed on a Falcir1 vs Krueger2 Secret Masters game on ‘Shady Sands’
I wasn’t so lucky this time; my opponent won the roll off and opted for first turn. I decided to take the bottom side as it looked a little less annoying to manoeuvre Tridents around, and the forests allowed me the ability to set up invisible contesting models.
Krueger2 and his army came screaming up the board and put out a long ass threat range, and I think I made a large error here by being too spooked. I should have come up more aggressively myself and let him crash into me, as his output is limited and I likely wouldn’t have lost so much that it would be untenable. Instead, I was a little baby and hung back a little too far. Next turn my opponent set up on the centre line with a Solo on all 3 flags to force me up the board, and then Feated to make contesting much harder than it otherwise would be. I knew I had to get models in to contest as much as I could, but equally I had to do plenty of attrition work. I popped Feat and my Tridents and the Nyss Hunters were able to remove both Death Archons and a Woldwarden. I had an Arcanist Mechanik and Trident contesting the right, 2 Gorgons in the middle and 2 Nyss Hunters on the left. I couldn’t get to his zone due to the Feat, so we both scored 1. My opponent then set up to score 5 clear. His plan was to score the left flag, which was fairly easy, Telekinesis the Gorgons out of contesting the middle, send Malvin and Mayhem to kill my Objective, my Artificer and Hermit (who had been softened up by Scythe) and then Telekinesis both Manticores out to score my back rectangle too. However, he made a slight error and didn’t notice that there was a member of the House Shyeel Arcanists also in the zone. By the time he realised, the only model that could remove it was Krueger2 himself who had spent down to 1 which meant he had to hit a 9 with a re roll. The catch was, he couldn’t boost, as I had a Shield Guard still in range, which meant he needed to hit a hard 9 twice in a row with one re-roll available. This failed to go off and he conceded the game as there was an entire army staring at 0 camp Krueger2.
There is no doubt that I got lucky to win this one as I definitely misplayed my first turn. However, identifying your mistakes and learning how you can approach it better next time is part of how we grow as players so I’m glad I was able to see it. Unfortunately the team weren’t able to achieve the victory this round and we went 2-3. We came 12th out of 28 which I was very happy with and my individual stats put me at 7th which I am absolutely thrilled with. Falcir1 is definitely, definitely not a bad ‘caster. On the contrary she is Retributions most powerful option and is easily in the top 10 in the game. I highly advise you to try her, especially now while there isn’t a set “best” list meaning there is a huge amount of experimentation going on with her which is a super exciting time to be playing something.
To wrap up I’d like to give a shout out to the VTC Organisers, Judges and Players. The entire weekend was exceptionally fun, efficient, and well managed and if you haven’t played in it before I urge you to put together a team of friends and dive in. Don’t worry about how good you are at the game, there are no expectations and no restrictions. It’s all about having fun with friends and coming together during what can only be described as a pretty shit time in history. Thanks very much for reading and if you have any further questions, shout out in the comments!