Saturday, 18 June 2016

Peg Legs & Hook Hands

I appear to be in some form of minor hellhole this week.  We're working on a bathroom in a small coastal town outside Edinburgh, where the Internet is a thing of myth and legend.  I'm sure this would be pleasant if the weather was nice, but it isn't so once we're done working there's not a lot to do but freeze slowly.

During one of the sporadic bursts of active wifi reception, I saw that the starter pack for the Jung Pirates has been unveiled.  I'm really looking forward to getting my withered grasp on them, and hopefully the kohanin and korusea will be released at the same time as I would be much happier with the metal miniatures than the plastic ones I appropriated from Rise of the Kage.

Along with the Jung Pirates starter I saw the rankings for the Masters.  I'm one of the people tied for 3rd but ended up 5th due to strength of schedule.  I'm slightly mystified how the SoS was worked out, I've worked with it before and my results were different.  Bit of a head-scratcher that one, but I'm happy enough to have made to the final table this year, and in all honesty I think Johan was seriously unlucky not to simply win the whole thing this year with his Silvermoon warband.

Bushido as a whole appears to be undergoing rapid expansion in the UK, though I don't have the sales data to prove this, but the social media side of it has certainly exploded.  I expect the UK Masters next year to be packed, and in possible need to additional places.  If it does get packed, I think I'll participate as a Retainer rather than a player.  I did notice that my games lost a lot of time as people were constantly asking me rules queries, and a dedicated rules person would improve a larger tournament.

Monday, 6 June 2016

UK Masters Journal - Part Two: Games!

My miniatures arrived just before 9am, so I was in time for the Bushido tournament.  There was some damage across a good number of miniatures in the top tray of the case - Sojobo seems to have born the brunt of it, with his staff bending and one of his wings needing a fix - but that's a small price to pay for having my miniatures there for the tournament.

Game One: Prefecture of Ryu - the Idols (1-0 victory)
Strangely enough I ended up playing against Robert (Dr Kaos) again, my first opponent last year. He'd changed up his warband a bit since last time: both Hiro and Genji made an appearance along with Matsu the Thunder and Bikou.

I managed to get the early scenario rush but I was quickly suffering attrition.  Bikou simply deleted my Zephyr Guard, and my Kami of the Strong West Wind aren't models that last a long time in close combat.  On the other hand I did manage to pull off a complete hogwash critical strike attack on Hiro to get my game back in the eleventh hour. Eventually dice was called, but I'm absolutely certain that Rob would have turned the game into a 1-1 draw if we'd managed to get to round 6.

Game Two: Temple of Ro-Kan - the Envoy (3-0 victory)
I played against IrishJohn and his non-themed Temple of Ro-Kan.  Unfortunately John's a Bushido newcomer so wasn't prepared for something like my warband.  He made some good decisions with what he had, and I can see him developing into a really good player with more experience.  I'd peg John as a player to watch out for next year.

Game Three: Silvermoon Trade Syndicate (Jade Rose Gumi) - Ryodo (2-0 victory)
My hardest game of the tournament by far.  If I hadn't won this game through sheer grit I'm 100% certain Johan would have won the tournament.  His warband was brutal to play against, it had so many special cards and nine models, so he could get a ludicrously activation advantage.  I realised that I was going to have to burn through all the special cards as quickly as possibly, so just threw all my biggest threats at him as fast as I could so he would spend the cards.  It *sort of* worked in that he spent them, but it was still horrific to have to deal with them regardless.  It's really a case of choosing the biggest frog to eat first.

I managed to get into the middle zone very quickly with the Wind Watchers placement effect and threaten his zone constantly by throwing models at it.  If Johan had been less keen to defend his zone and put pressure on mine, I'm fairly confident I'd have lost the game.  As it was, the Dominate spam from Hokibo kept me in the running so that Hokibo wasn't turned into a pincushion by Wasupu and the Kyoaku-Han Crossbowman.

Game Four: Tengu Decension (White Mesa) - Keii (1-2 loss)
Apparently this was the final table to determine the tournament winner, so I was pretty happy regardless.  I was matched up against James Hasker's White Mesa warband with a higher model count.  After the game against Johan's Silvermoon, I was really mentally out of it.  This wasn't a long game as I simply got out-attritioned early and didn't have the activations spare to get scenario actions done.  My cunning plan to execute Sanjakubo very quickly didn't pan out as he survived a really stupid number of activations in melee against Hokibo, but oh well, these things happen.  I did manage to pull off a sneaky last turn score to get the final victory point just to prevent a 3-0 stomp by James.  With this loss, my tournament ranking takes a tanking (a weakness of the tournament point scoring system) so I'll be interested to see just how much a loss in the final round can effect someone's final placement in the standings.

UK Masters Journal - Part One: Disaster!

The trip down south did not start off well.  Being an idiot I managed to leave my miniatures case up in Glasgow and only found out when we unpacked Jim's pickup at the hotel in Birmingham.  There's a slight story around this, though it's 100% my own bloody fault.  Initially my lift was going to pick me up at 1:30pm, so at 1:30 I moved everything I was bringing down to the UK Games Expo outside my flat.  At 2:30 my lift hadn't arrived.  Phone calls and text messages were unanswered, I was initially concerned that Jim had died on us and I'd have to find alternative transport (i.e. drive down myself).  Eventually I get a message back saying "leaving now" just before 3pm.  It takes a minimum of 40 minutes between my house and Jim's, so his ETA was right in the middle of the school rush.

Being the incredibly smart person that I am, and it was stupendously hot outside, I decided that I would move everything back indoors and do something more productive with my time, so I played some Total War: Warhammer.  For the next part, it is important to know that I live in a one way street and that the entire staff of Scottish Hydroelectric use it to go home.  When Jim turned up and pulled up outside my flat, there was a *lot* of traffic looking irate behind him, so it was a case of throwing my stuff at him, chucking it into the flat bed of the truck and speeding off into distance.  This is how the miniatures case ended up being forgotten.

Luckily I have an awesome sister who lives not far from me and she has my spare keys, so she went to my flat on Friday morning, let me know I needed to clean it, and then posted my miniatures case by courier.  As of right now, it hasn't arrived but it should do shortly.  I have been manically spamming the refresh button on the package tracking website to follow my miniatures as they travel south.  It's currently sitting at the delivery office about 5 mins drive away, so the urge to simply go there and pick it up is overwhelming, but I know as soon as I do that, it will arrive at the hotel while I'm away.  That's just how the universe works.

UK Masters Wind Watchers Rundown

Bushido UK Masters Warband:

Hokibo - 14 rice
Kotenbo - 9 rice
Tarobo - 7 rice
Zephyr Guard - 5 rice
Zephyr Guard - 5 rice
Kami of the Strong Western Wind - 4 rice
Kami of the Strong Western Wind - 4 rice

Special Cards:
Wind Watchers (theme)
Deflection (event) - 1 rice
Spiritual Harmony (event) - 1 rice

This is the warband I'm taking with me to the Bushido UK Masters tournament at the UK Games Expo. I've previously written a little about it in a previous blog post but I did leave a few things out as I'd like to surprise a few people at the tournament.

How It Works
The warband completely revolves around Hokibo and the use of the "Dominate" Ki feat.

I use Dominate to dictate my opponent's activation order so that I can accomplish my objectives unimpeded. Normally Hokibo could only use Dominate once a turn - twice on turn two - but with Spiritual Harmony I can flood him with Ki on turn two from the Zephyr Guards.  This, in turn, gives me enough Ki to use Dominate four times on turn two if I feel I need to use it that much. Imagine your four worst models having Impetuous, that's what it feels like.

The main scenarios that give me pause are zone scenarios that use models that are either faster or tougher than mine to seizure the zones early, which is why nearly every model in the warband brings a Push special.

Another defining trait of the warband is the sheer number of placement effects it brings.  Both Zephyr Guards have their own, the Kami of the Strong Western Wind both have ranged attack placements, and the Wind Watchers theme brings an incredible 2" placement effect.  I can effectively move a Zephyr Guard about 17" every turn if I wanted to. These placement effects really come into their own during VIM scenarios as I can often just zip across the board to score near the end of a turn.

Overall, basic scenario play is covered but there are vulnerable points in the warband. If Hokibo dies, the warband falls to pieces in a hurry. Certain special cards can disrupt me for a turn or two, as can profiles with large distances on Disturb Flow.  I'm also concerned about how the warband performs against a warband with no specific points of weakness. Righteous Warriors warbands from the Temple of Ro-kan gives me pause, and it is certainly an incredibly popular theme.  We'll just have to see what I end up against on the day.