Much excite in the Dojo last night. Chris and I are committing to branching out into new guilds - he with Engineers and myself with Alchemists - so in a show of good will he brought along paper doll Cogs for be to thrash before he gets a handle on all their sweet rules. Involving new guilds in the rotation really blows the game wide open. I don't even have a decent understanding of Morticians yet, let alone the complications introduced by facing guilds with totally different play styles, abilities and options.
Last night also saw the welcome return of Asian Nick, back from his holiday in Japan and ready to deluge us with wild tales of 200+ MtG players at Hareyuya, buying cards for his Modern deck that have just been banned, and not buying cards for his Modern deck on the assumption that an imminent re-release will lower their market value (only to find that it has in fact doubled their market value). Hopefully next week he won't be so hard on the Aether Revolt hype train that he can't bring his Union or Brewers so that I can sit in the peanut gallery for a change and maybe report on a non-Morticians game just to break things up.
So... Engineers. I feel like I'm 2-3 reports away from the obligatory "fuck those guys" comment so we might as well get it out of the way now.
Fuck those guys.
Seriously though, holy shit they're amazing. Chris took the following 9-man roster (eventual team in bold): Pin Vice, Ballista, Mainspring, Mother, Salvo, Ratchet, Hoist (aka 'Moist'... ew), Colossus, and Velocity.
I went off the deep end more than usual with player selection this time taking: Scalpel, Vileswarm, Casket, Ghast, Graves2, and Minx. It was pretty terrible. 11 influence hurt me every turn, Vileswarm was dire, Graves2 constantly demanded being Graves1 instead, the two big guys generating 1 influence were often more irritating than they were worth, and Minx... Minx was almost consistently fantastic.
Chris won the roll off and elected to receive. Scalpel jogged up nearly half the pitch and punted the ball beautifully just over halfway and in the centre of the Engineers line.
1. In a mere one game previous we had discovered...
... so it should come as no surprise to anyone that Chris set up his influence to retrieve the ball with Mother by doing exactly that :)
This turned his opening moves into a bit of a shambles affair (he would later claim this is where he lost the game) and in the end Colossus sprinted up to snap the ball with his tremendously sexy Long Legs, moving back to the deployment line and successfully kicking to Velocity who was on the flank opposite Scalpel. Velocity took the opportunity to Dodge away from Scalpel and towards the centre of the table.
But not far enough! Scalpel sprinted up and I popped Voodoo Strings once again the Turn One (and once again I would later regret the decision!). The temptation to retrieve the ball before Chris had generated momentum was just too valuable. At this point I started having a serious read of the Engineers cards and this is really the point where I felt the game started to go downhill for me. Close Control negated my first tackle result and second swing after my initial attack gained me all of a momentous Dodge. I tackled successfully on the third attack and missed entirely with the fourth. The fifth and final attack netted a momentous Push/Dodge and a point of damage. I disengaged from Velocity, promptly forgot to play my Heroic Landing Plot Card for an effectively free Unnatural Stamina, spent MP like a chump, and repositioned myself next to a wall on my half of the board. Not for the first time I was left wishing Scalpel had a double-Dodge somewhere on her playbook.
Velocity was well in range to have a go at ball retrieval, using Acrobatic to get the necessary range for a charge. I Defensive Stanced the charge and Chris managed to cheerfully fluff his dice rolls so as to leave me with the ball. Cheers, bro.
Mother put down a Spider Nest next to Scalpel. The rest of the turn was Casket sprinting to lay down Ghostly Visage templates, Ghast hiding in one, players spreading out, and a couple of Blast Earth template coming down on Casket and Graves from Ratchet and Moist respectively.
2. I won the initiative roll and loaded up Scalpel. Referencing the rulebook I confirmed Chris's claim that you cannot end any movement on a marker (in this case the Spider Nest) which put paid to my plan to Dodge out of engagement from Velocity, sprint/charge Colossus, and score a goal. Bugger. Instead I punched Velocity around for Dodges (literally all I could achieve), disengaged and sprinted before using Unnatural Stamina to position Scalpel almost in the very corner of the board in Chris's deployment zone. Much measuring required to account for Alternator increasing the threat ranges of both Velocity or Colossus! This removed the ball from the game (and unfortunately Scalpel herself!) next turn, pushing us towards a punching game instead.
Moist laid down a Blast Earth hitting both Ghast and Graves, triggering Rising Anger but also forcing me to spend MP for Gliding if I wanted to have them contribute to the ensuing scrum. Ghast charged in, knocking down Ratchet and pushing him towards Colossus (blocking his charge into Ghast) with a follow-up attack. Colossus walked around Ratchet, knocked down Ghast and blew through Fear. Graves, like a complete idiot, decided it would be safer to stand next to the imminent nuclear explosion that was about to take place, charging Colossus and knocking him down.
Ratchet shook Knock Down, used Fixer to stand Colossus up for free, engaged Ghast, Tooled Up Pin Vice and also used his Heroic Play Overclocked to give her a free charge. Eep!
Casket wandered over to put Velocity in the Foul Odour bubble. She laughed (hard), used Acrobatic to jump out of his aura, and charged Ghast, Push/Dodging him out of engagement with Pin Vice (and therefore allowing her to take her free charge) and taking a measly 1 damage from Ghast's hasty counter-attack. Pin Vice activated and started by putting Deletion on herself. Having now fully formed Voltron, Ghast was officially "in trouble".
She charged in (free), knocking Ghast down and dealing some horrendous damage. Over the course of the next 4 attacks Ghast was quite easily wiped from the face of the table ("double Tooled Up" legit!). Standing all too close and fully regretting his life choice, Graves realised he was going to be next!
3. Engineers unsurprisingly won the initiative and Colossus moved in, looking to replicate the machine-like efficiency of the previous turn. This time is was Graves' turn for some loving attention and he took a Knock Down from the big man. I spent my free point of momentum to stand Graves up and he had a bash at Ratchet who was engaging him, managing a momentous Push result. Then he swung at Colossus. I needed all 5 dice to connect to force a Knock Down so Chris declared a counter-attack. Undaunted, Graves was successful with a non-momentous Knock Down/Blood. He spent his last point of influence to run the hell away but despite not being engaged by any Engineer players it very much looked like the writing was on the wall. Indeed, forced along a little by the intimidating presence of a fully loaded Casket, Pin Vice activated next. Forgoing the pitiful Tooled Up of Ratchet she put Deletion on herself charged up to Graves, and royally cleaned his clock easily getting a second Take Out. With that side of the field starting to calm down, Minx charged into the knocked down Colossus, snaring him, getting a nice Dodge into Velocity, snaring her too and fading away with Back to the Shadows.
After some thinking, instead of opting to use Mother's Spider Nest to deny a landing space for Casket getting in onto Velocity, Ratchet manned up and stood in the way instead. He used Fixer to clear snared off Velocity (curses!) and punched Vileswarm who at this point was also engaged by Velocity (standard middle of the table mess!). Casket came in hard on Ratchet with a Knock Down and some follow-up damage but his final attack was a disaster, failing to get my the momentous Heavy Burden that I hope to tag Velocity with. Gag. Mother put down another nest and lurked nearby with sinister efficiency, engaging Casket. Ghast wandered up, having returned frighteningly close to the action but unable to contribute just yet and Moist meandered over using True Replication to borrow Tooled Up from Ratchet, putting it on Velocity.
Sensing imminent death, Vileswarm activated and repositioned to get within 2" of Colossus. Velocity went next and punched old ratty to death. I don't think Chris had fully read Vileswarm's card...
Vileswarm went up with an enormous ***BANG!*** hitting Colossus, Casket, Ratchet and Velocity. He was a whisker out from catching Hoist and Minx too! A brief chat on the wording of the card caused us to decide that models with Tough Hide would take full damage from Noxious Death (as Tough Hide specifies enemy Plays or playbook damage and Noxious Death is neither). Glorious. A rather embarrassed Velocity wandered away from Casket in a daze to stand behind Colossus.
Last activation of the turn was Scalpel still sitting way off in the distance on 2 influence. She ran into scoring range of the goal (just outside of Tap In range because I'm such a champ), Bonus Timed her shot and scored. The scatter was amazing, sailing just over the knocked down Colossus to land right in Velocity's lap. Scalpel Dodged from the successful goal getting into sprint range of Colossus.
4. I managed to take the initiative roll and set about the well-deserved demise of Colossus who took 5 condition damage from poison and bleed (to be fair, a lot of players to poison damage this turn. Cheers, Vileswarm).
Scalpel spent 6 influence removing the snared/knocked down/poisoned Engineers big guy, finishing her activation by engaging Ratchet.
Velocity really had to go next. She came into Minx, deftly avoiding a counter-attack, put up Nimble and easily put one into the back of the net. I played the Who Are Ya? Plot Card which was quite satisfying as it would handily negate the effects of Nimble if triggered by the right player. She Dodged from the goal (which was a Screamer!) to engage Minx and deny the free charge. The ball went out wide and loose near a newly returned Graves (Vileswarm came back on too - sat in my corner for the rest of the game trying to stay the heck away from everyone else). Casket had to go next and spent down all my momentum on Bonus Timing his attacks into the knocked down Ratchet, popping his Legendary before the last attack and managing to Casket Time him just as planned. Marvellous.
Such a pity that you can't Casket Time the ball!
Surely one of the plays of the game now. Moist moved up towards Mother, borrowed Burrow, and popped out to engage Minx! He pulled her away from Velocity and in her activation she spent her only influence in a futile attempt to disengage. Sadness - I got two hits with my one attack. Got the momentum and a Dodge but Tough Hide denied the damage and therefore also denied Back to the Shadows. Classy play from the Engineers there.
Mother went next and I had that sinking feeling when I realised I should have activated Graves first to snap the loose ball. She put down a Spider Nest and used Webbing to capture the ball, unsnapping it so that Pin Vice would surely sprint over and pick it up and Velocity was nicely unengaged ready for the Snap Shot! Disaster! Ghast time! Sitting on one influence and seemingly out of range to do any real work I played my last Plot Card, the awesome Wing Back. And Ghast didn't disappoint this time, his charge into Pin Vice getting the crucial momentous Knock Down. Suddenly Chris's plans were up in smoke!
Pin Vice shook and advanced away from the ball, tagging a forest. She spent her influence punching through Fear but being careful not to do any actual damage to Ghast so that Chris could build some momentum. Graves and Vileswarm durdled and we ended the turn with Chris ahead on momentum by one.
10-9, Morticians. Close game is close!
5. Absolutely massive roll and I nailed it, handily stealing initiative for the turn. Chris was ready to throw in the towel but he'd forgotten a major change for Season Three. Scalpel loaded up, sprinted to grab the ball and base Mother and started punching. She Push/Dodged him away from Pin Vice and eventually got the Take Out. Chris went to shake hands... Bro, Mascots only give up 1VP. But Scalpel had the ball now so the Engineers would need two Take Outs to win the game! Unnatural Stamina put her in melee with Colossus (on reflection a BIG mistake on my part). Removing Mother also removed the three influence she was carrying from the game and we started the momentum race for next turn, which ended with Velocity on 3HP, snared, poisoned and engaged by Casket, Ghast closing in, Moist continuing to be a total pain in the arse, and Pin Vice continually stymied by Ghast's Knock Down.
6. Long game. Minx's time to shine - freed up from her work last turn (and having used the Vengeance token to inflict maximum pain after getting the full book with an earlier charge) she crashed into Velocity and blasted through Reanimate. The dice were kind and with her second bought attack, Velocity's last hit point was removed and Morticians clinched the game!
12-9, Morticians win!
What a massive game. It was so great to be able to play yet another new team and this was a totally different experience. I feel I was really up against it when you consider:
- 3/6 Engineers had Reanimate (and two of those players are also DEF5+)
- 2/6 Engineers had Tough Hide
- 3/6 Engineers also had Close Control!
And seriously why the hell does Hoist have Sturdy?! It's mental!
It was so cool to see Pin Vice wreck both Ghast and Graves in short order - she's awesome. I had grind away at Velocity all game for the eventual Take Out and the win - she's nails! Ratchet was always contributing either with his Character Traits directly or by allowing Hoist to borrow them.
True Replication is incredible!
Pretty much everything on Colossus's card had an impact. He used Long Legs to nab the ball top of Turn One. He resisted a Push from Graves with Stoic. Momentous Knock Down or Knock Down/Push was order of the day. His other abilities only add to the hype - Unexpected Arrival and Singled Out (both of which can of course be used by Hoist! Hoist! Moist!)
I was happy with all of the Morticians barring two. Graves2 and Vileswarm.
Graves2. Hmm... Ok he put a Knock Down and bleed into Colossus which definitely helped Scalpel take him out. Why am I struggling to like him? His death at the hands of Pin Vice was definitely more my fault than his. Chris had some fire dice that seriously dented the worth of having two points of armour. I can't figure out why I'm not feeling him.
Vileswarm. Ugh. Ok, maybe not the best team to drop him into (half the Engineers team this time not being targets for potential Vindictive charges). He died in an excellent position to cause reasonable carnage by I can't help feel that wasn't so much my brilliance as it was opponent error. 4/0 and 7 boxes is miserable. I guess I could have kept him off the table instead of returning, run Graves to a better position when he came back on, and used Graves' Creation to bring Vileswarm back helping to Crowd Out Velocity or Hoist. I wish his damage buff from Graves was passive instead of an Heroic Play - spending 1MP to get +1 damage and still have the 4" tie-in is situational at the very best. I'll keep mucking around with him on and off.
Maybe both Graves2 and Vileswarm would be better in an Obulus team?
Kicking off again I declined the option to take Bonesaw so he's still standing in the wings and waiting patiently for his time to shine (or his time to go back on the shelf for the entire season).