31 January 2014

Cancon: Iron Gauntlet

So the past weekend was Cancon a large gaming convention held in Canberra, Australia every year during the Australia Day long weekend. It is probably the biggest convention we have down under and this was my second year going. This year Warmachine was quite a large event spanning 3 day and multiple tournaments, including Australia's only Iron Gauntlet competition. It had two qualifiers one on the Saturday the other on Sunday, the top 8's of each were allowed to participate in the final event on Monday. I played on the Sunday, which went for 4 rounds and played two factions, Trolls and Retribution.

My lists were as follows:

Storm Troll
Pyre Troll
Krielstone + UA
Champions + Skaldi

Champion Hero

Houseguard Thane
Houseguard Riflemen + UA
Magehunter Strike  force + UA
Magehunter Infiltrators + Eiryss 3
Aiyanna & Holt



The reason I chose this combo and not just going double trolls is that if you have the chance and the models, why not go double faction? The are logistical problems in carrying two factions over long distances, but I managed to fit my Ravyn list and 3 troll lists for Masters into one large roller Battlefoam bag and a custom box to carry the huge bases.

I went with Retribution over other factions because I owned some Ret and it doesn't get to see much play. I originally planned to take Kaelyssa, but after some play testing she felt like the kind of caster that would take a lot of time to master and get down properly for competitive play. I believe she can be really good, but I feel that there is a lot of nuance to her that I didn't have time to practice, so I looked to Ravyn who could provide me with similar match up fixers. The list is mostly designed to drop against a Cryx match up, of course it never came up. The infiltrators were meant to be used to meet a jam unit and counter jam as well as provide two P&S 11 attacks with gang to help put attrition in my favour. This would let my two ranged units target solos and other priority targets. The Hyperion had two jobs, one help clear infantry in late game with its starburst cannon, and two deal with any heavy armour. I felt that there was enough infantry in the list to keep the Hyperion from getting swarmed. Out of the four games I played I only used this list once.

Game 1

This game was against David "Pottsy" Potts whom brought Skorne to the table. He played his Xerxes list and I dropped my pGrissel list. The scenario was Balance of Power, a 6' by 12' zone and two flags.  My first big mistake was not ever placing the Burrowers on the board. That's right, I put myself at a 6 point disadvantage from the get go, because I'm a good player and forget to deploy entire units. We stopped to ask a judge, he declared that since I had already started my first turn that it was too late. Fair enough. This game was simply put a grind, I believe his list was the theme force, so there was a lot of weapon masters and high armour on the table. When our lines collided he got the alpha, but this game my tough dice were on fire and I don't think he actually killed a single model during that first strike. Over the course of the game attrition seemed to favour him and less and less of the table was taken up by my army. However looking at the clock he was using a lot of time to invest in surpassing my armour and putting more attacks into toughed models. With thirty seconds left on his clock he managed to force me out of the zone long enough to score his fifth control point. I should have had Grissel on the flag dominating to stop him from scoring as much, but I left it too late and when I made an attempt the attrition had already gone to far in his favour and he put men near the play to stop me from dominating. The Krielstone was very handy in countering his Incindiarii, which made them almost useless. The game was very close, but had I not forgotten to deploy the burrowers I don't think he would have survived on death clock.

Game 2

Round two I played against David Bray and his Cygnar, it was going to be either pHaley or eStryker. In hind sight I should have dropped Ravyn, but I felt Grissel would still be a good match up either way and I am more comfortable with her. He dropped eStryker who lead an army of Strangeways, Rowdy, two Storm Clads Jack Marshalled to a unit of Sword Knights, and a unit of storm knights. There may have been more to the list, but my memory fails me. Going in I thought I knew what I was getting into, but truly I didn't. I've seen Stryker on the table before, but the rest of the list was mostly a mystery and I really didn't expect the two Jack Marshalled Storm Clads to eat my Storm Troll Champions and Burrowers over the course of two turns, leaving me open to Rowdy strutting forward and nailing Grissel with his Hammer over and over until she lay face down in the dirt twitching intermittently. I did not respect eStryker going into that match up, and thought I got lucky dodging Haley. My Grissel list really doesn't like armour crackers, and those Stormclads were more then up to it, and I didn't see it coming. I could say that I didn't think a Jack Marshalled Jack could be such a threat, but that doesn't make it any less of a mistake.

Game 3

My third game was against a the very gracious Terry Mason of South Australia, who brought his Butcher3 and Carver lists. The scenario was destruction and was eventually won by Terry using his Carver list. It contained 2 War Hogs, Brigands, Rorche and Brine, and 3 or 4 units of Slaughterhousers.  I took pGrissel with her double Warders, it wasn't a bad choice, but the Slaughterhousers were very effective against the Warders. Again the game was very back and forth and we both had very little at the end of the game, however he was able to grasp scenario early and eventually clear everything, but Grissel from the zone. I feel Ravyn would have been an equally good drop, as she would have had little trouble clearing all the light infantry he brought along. Either way I felt confidant, and overall was happy with how I played.

Game 4

Russell Harmon was my opponent for round 4 and he brought Trolls to the field. I finally dropped Ravyn, because I thought I had another round and needed to get her played. Turned out that this would be my last round as the tournament was able to finish earlier then anticipated. If I had known that I probably would have dropped pGrissel again. However circumstances weren't as such, so I dropped Ravyn. I remember his list quite well, probably because I am more familiar with his faction of choice, there is a point floating around somewhere, but I can't remember what it is exactly:

Max Krielstone + UA
Max Fenns + UA
Max Burrowers
Max Long Riders

The matchup wasn't too bad for me, but there were a few things that I did wrong and a lucky deviation that really screwed me. He took turn one and ran forward. I was then able to hide my Strike Force behind a forest and shoot at his army with a good degree of safety. I was able to pick off 4 or 5 Fennblades, had I feated this turn though it could have been a lot more. I jammed my infiltrators into his Long Riders to stop them from getting a good charge on Hyperion. His turn came and his Burrowers and Fenns jammed into my Riflemen. Madrak feated and cleared away my jamming Infiltrators and was able to get into combat with the Hyperion, but do very little damage. One Fennblade in the forest engaging my Strike Force became a target for his Bomber, but on his second failed to hit it deviated to the one and completely eradicated my unit of Strike Force. Unfortunately to benefit from the forest the Strike Force were very clumped up. It had been a bit of a gamble, and lady luck was against them. His next turn some of his stuff killed some of mine, and his Long Riders with Blood Fury failed to do much to Hyperion again, without the charge they weren't very effective. Hyperion was eventually able to clear them away, but I failed to stop an assassination on Ravyn on the following turns from a charging Fellcaller. It wasn't a bad game, but there were things I could have done to mitigate losses and help prevent the downward spiral that became the attrition game.

Overall I'm not completely satisfied with my own performance. I made some really dumb mistakes could have been avoided, for example, I will never forget to deploy Burrowers again, or any unit for that matter. I did however have heaps of fun and look forward to Cancon 2015, and this 2014's version of Iron Gauntlet. I hope those reading this will learn something from my mistakes and maybe a laugh at my expense, and I wish those aiming for the Iron Gauntlet throne the best of luck.

If you guys have any questions, comments, or suggestions throw me an email here, drop a comment below or pm on the forums, otherwise have a good week and may all your dice roll tough.


  1. Nice work, regardless of the losses and mistakes. I'll be taking part in the Iron Gauntlet at Smogcon in a month's time and will almost certainly go double troll.

    Do you think the double faction was abused? Were people just going for eHaley/eGaspy style combos?

    If you did go double troll, what would you have taken alongside pGrissel?

    1. There were not a lot of players using double factions. I believe part of the reason is that many found the travelling with two factions to be troublesome. Also I think there was one cryx/cygnar player, but the finals actually came down to eVlad/Vlad3 against eIrusk/eSorscha.

      If I had gone double troll I probably would have ended up taking eMadrak as he the caster I have been playing regularly the longest. I feel comfortable with him and find he can be very flexible to different kinds of problems. Though at some point or another I have considered each of the others as a possible pairing.