In Knights of Vapnartak Part 1 I talked about my Cadre for the Knights of Vapnartak Relic Knights Tournament and my first game in the tournament, a loss to Black Diamond’s One Shot.
The lunch break seemed to fly by; a chat with the other players and a quick walk round the stands, and it was time for Game 2.
Game 2 vs. Princess Malya (Cerci Speed Circuit)
The scenarios drawn for Game 2 were Grand Conjunction (Essence Primary) and Defence of Life (Creation Secondary), so this was going to be a very different game than the previous one.
I set up centrally on the board in order to make Defence of Life easier. Keeping your objectives off to one side doesn’t really help when you’re going up against Cerci. The Cerci cadre mainly set up to one side, with their primary objective near that board edge. Rin Farrah and Captain Harker, both relatively slow units, were assigned the Life tokens. In fact, we both forgot about dropping tokens when injured for most of the game, but even so neither of us were able to get the carrying unit to the board edge – despite me having made it easy for myself and difficult for my opponent in deployment.
This game was going to be about getting the primary condition done quickly, so I had Iron Chef starting as close as possible to the Cerci primary objective, with the Rustbucket providing cover for my own. My opponent positioned Rin Farrah similarly close to the Cerci primary. There, she had cover from a rocky outcrop that made her very difficult to injure with ranged attacks. And of course my opponent had Princess Malya and the Belles to do all the objective running. The Belles I thought I could stop, while Malya would likely fly around however she liked.
I was also up against Cordelia Clean. I had some nasty run-ins with her at Vapnartak 2016 under a different player’s control and learned to fear her. Back then, with the 1.0 rules, I had taken the mature approach of trying to ignore her and hoping she wouldn’t hurt me too much. With a year more of experience and less powerful redirects I knew I could hurt her, but wasn’t sure if it would be worthwhile to try or a distraction.
The Chaos Begins
For my opponent in Game 2, this was his first tournament and first games of Relic Knights. So as well as getting to know his cadre like I was, he was still getting used to the game. That was lucky for me, because I got away with a fairly disorganised start. The Hells Belles stayed mostly out of the way. My Corsairs therefore took up a defensive position near my primary objective, but Cordelia sucked them out of position and into a rock wall. Harker was free to start putting infuse tokens on my primary objective, while Caesar sent some held esper to the Chef as he ran for the Cerci primary.
Princess Malya was flying around all over the place and easily Infused my primary objective. The Rustbucket was fairly effective with his sprays of automatic fire as Malya didn’t have the right esper to dodge. Too late I moved my Corsairs to surround my primary, but she had already infused the objective.
As we both got close to completing our primaries, the Tournament Organiser clarified that you could spend an action to remove infuse tokens, but it removed all of them, including your own. I was closest to achieving Grand Conjunction, and once I had it, I was able to cleanse all infuse tokens off my primary. The Corsairs then closed around it, making it difficult for Malya to re-infuse without a fight that left her exposed. As we were running close to the end of our 90 minute time limit, that was effectively the end. It was a win, but a lucky one with plenty of mistakes made along the way.
Game 3 vs. Leopold Magnus (Black Diamond)
Like Game 1, Game 3 was against Black Diamond and a return to the same table. The scenarios drawn were the opposite of that game – a Chaos primary (Heist) and Entropy secondary (Carnage). I didn’t get any pictures of this game I’m afraid, but with the same table and opposing faction, if you squint while looking at the picture of Game 1 that should be about right.
It initially felt like I lost this game before we started, when my opponent put his primary objective on the top level of the huge building. I had chosen to be Villain so I could make the primary condition more difficult for my opponent by placing my objective in the centre of the board; I had however completely ignored the possibility of putting an objective up high. Some rules were hammered out with assistance from the tournament organiser for getting up there without flight. Despite that, my primary seemed unachievable, and I started looking for other ways to win.
I placed my Corsairs centrally to protect my primary objective as best I could. I poised Harker to perform a Booty Raid on my opponent’s nearest objective. The Rustbucket started in a corner to draw a better line of fire against the Black Diamond minion squads. I positioned Iron Chef to try and pull my opponent’s primary objective down, but I got confused about his abilities; those were melee abilities, so they weren’t going to be much use from down on the ground.
The Bloodbath Begins
With no particular plan other than trying to get my faction condition as soon as possible, I expected this to be over quickly. Having suffered due to Black Diamond firepower in Game 1, I didn’t expect to fare much better now. In fact, my Corsair’s damage prevention meant they resisted the attacks well– a definite improvement in V1.5.
The mistake I made was not focusing my fire as much as possible across the open courtyard. The Rustbucket shot at Magnus, who healed up thanks to placeholder cards. Meanwhile, the Diamond Corps and Black Dragons took some hits from the Corsairs and Harker but not enough to take them quickly out.
With destroying enemy units being the criteria for completing the secondary condition, that was a more serious mistake. The Iron Chef didn’t know whether he was coming or going due to my misreading of his card; he was gunned down first. The Corsairs then started taking casualties from Sophia and her Black Dragons. Harker started to look a bit more impressive as he got into melee with the Dragons, but it was too little, too late. The Corsairs were finished off next; their destruction, and the resulting secondary condition achieved, was another win for Black Diamond.
Looking back, that final game had some valuable lessons to be learned. Ignoring the obvious – always take at least one flying unit – that is. Firstly, I blindly followed my standard thought process for that victory condition (i.e. Heist as primary condition means a central position for the primary objective is good); I didn’t really look at the table and consider the possibilities. I’m not going to be too hard on myself for that, because I don’t have the most tactical mind and might easily have missed that anyway. However, I then allowed that to throw my entire focus out the window. Neither of us achieved our primary condition, so it didn’t really matter that mine was pretty impossible. Had I focused better on the secondary condition and causing some casualties, the result might have been different. Or less one-sided, at least.
I was quite happy to come third out of four, given the cadre I took and the mistakes I made. If there’s one thing I love about Relic Knights tournaments, it’s that the last place typically gets the most valuable prize – a battle box – whereas winners tend to get first pick of available blister packs. Everyone gets some sort of miniature, as well as a patch. Winning isn’t as important as taking part, after all. I was happy that Shiny Games could support the tournament by providing some of the prizes, and we threw in Candy and Cola play mats for everyone too.
So, that was Knights of Vapnartak for another year. I hope that we’re back for 2018 and it would be great to see more players, both new and veteran, in attendance.