My usual Arcanist buddy and I got a game in last night. The strategy was Interference with a scheme pool of Murder Protege, Outflank, Breakthrough and Protect Territory, with standard deployment. Terrain was, there was a smattering of houses on the outer edges with not a lot in the center except for some corners of those houses and a wall. There was a house on the far left in the middle of the board that kind of mattered later.
My list was:
Hamelin with Piper and Survivalist, 1 Stolen, Librarian, Nix (with infectious melodies), Obedient Wretch, Sue, And Taelor with 7 stones. The thought process behind this list was that Ramos seemed to be an obvious pick for the scheme pool and with the abundance of constructs in Arcanists PLUS the Piper upgrade, Taelor would rock it out. Sue was there was there for utility and ranged support, of course. Nix, because Nix. I was debating doing Hallow instead, but it was a bit of a mistake to take Infectious Melodies without something to really take advantage of it.
His list (which surprised me):
Rapsy with Cold Nights, Arcane Reservoir, and Shattered Heart, Wendigo, Snow Storm with Sub Zero, Blessed of December with Imbued Energies, Silent One, December Acolyte, and an Ice Gamin. He had been on a Raspy kick as of lately, but I really did not expect him to go with her this list.
He went Protect Territory revealed and Murder Protege, Taelor, unrevealed. I don't know what his thought process on this was, but it ended up working out well for him.
I ended up going with Protect Territory Unrevealed, and Outflank revealed. My thought process behind this was that with the terrain being what it is and knowing I was facing Raspy, I didn't think I was going to be able to get in her face well enough to do breakthrough. I didn't think I had enough fire power to kill the Snowstorm, esp with the upgrade. That left Outflank, which I knew I could do easy enough with the activation control of Hamelin and Protect territory, which I knew I could do as well.
We flip for deployment and I win. I have him go first so I can see where he puts his december acolotye. He places it in a height 4 building on my left in a building closer to his side. From left to right, he had the DA in that building, a Silent One, an Ice Gamin, Raspy with the Snow Storm, Blessed, and Wendigo all grouped up. He was ripe for moving up and parking Raspy behind some ruins that gave Hard Cover. Good play on his part.
My set up had very little on my left except for Hamelin with 1 stolen, Nix in a building with the Obedient Wretch parked close by, Sue was behind some rocks as well as Taelor. The Librarian was centrally located.
TURN 1: I draw a decent hand of crows and win initiative. I have him go first, starting the activation game. I can't remember the order of things, but at one point, I obey his December Acolyte off the building, dealing 4 damage to it and parking Hamelin behind a building. I also stone to get 2 stolen out. He ends up doing some tricks with the Snowstorm to get everything pushed up and arcing some spells through the snow storm to catch 2 of my stolen and a rat in a major blast. Dammit. I also forgot to put rats in play from the dead stolen. Dammit again. I move Nix over to the right and Sue closer to Hamelin. I remembered later that Sue is actually a good person to go with early because of his Neg flip to CA actions, but I am relatively new to Sue. Live and learn. I also plant a scheme marker with Taelor.
TURN 2: I stone for cards and have a decent hand, which ends up being blown this turn. I have him go first. He manages to get some blasts off on Sue out in the open, but I manage to keep him a live to due some poor luck from him. He also takes a shot at Hamelin, hoping to evaporate the remaining stolen over there. I spend a stone to give myself defensive and neg flips to him. He manages to flip low damage. Whomp whomp. I am pretty sure he gets a blast off on the Librarian to hurt it, but I can't remember who did it. I think his last action, he places the ice pillars. I manage to obey his December Acolyte into hitting his silent one, doing a little damage on it and giving it slow. I move Hamelin to the other side of the building and Obey the snowstorm back. This happens pretty much for the rest of the game. It is him spending his 2 actions to move the snowstorm up to arc, and me spending 2 actions moving it back and 1 free action to do whatever. Again, I can't remember the order of things, but essentially, I am in the bottom right corner, just making more rats and doin' the rat king thing (not this turn, but the next turn I will summon it out). Its lots of jockeying for position. He finally commits and pops imbued energies with the blessed and charges Taelor. I blow through 3 stones and keep her relatively safe (3 wounds on her). Taelor swings back and unfortunately doesn't do a whole lot of damage. No biggy. I can just finish him off next turn.
We both score on the strat. 1 - 1
TURN 3: I discard the rest of my cards and draw a fresh 6. My high card is a 9, with a few aces and 5s. Well, no bigs. We flip for initiative. I flip a 1 and he flips a 6. As I REALLY need to go first, I spend my last stone and re-flip to get a 3. I am starting to go on tilt a little but manage to keep it under wraps for now. He, of course goes with Blessed and proceeds to flip stupidly hot while I continue to flip low. After flipping 2 lower than 6 cards, he kills Taelor (and forgets his heal trigger that I didn't know he had) and getting 2 points for Murder Protege. Ok, cool. I can handle this. The december has 4 blight stacked up and 4 hp left. I should be able to kill it no problem. I go with my now summoned Rat King to try to kill him and manage to do min damage and black joker the other attack.............and I go on tilt for about 5 minutes. Not happy about it, but I am happy I got it under control. It was a series of stupidly bad flips all in a row, and that, in general irks me. I know it is part of the game, but dang, this bugged me. I manage to cool off and focus. He manages to paralyze my King. He also does some healing from the Silent One, I think and moves the Snowstorm up, again and I, again, obey it back as well as obeying the Rat King to split into a catcher and a rat. I also summon out a stolen. Nix, tries to kill the Blessed and fails as well. I think I finally kill it with the Obedient Wretch's Disease attack. Sheesh. That took forever.
We both score the strat again, making the total 2 to 4, him.
TURN 4: After last turns streak of bad luck, I know I have to do something. We do the snowstorm, Hamelin dance, as he won't move much up and is planting scheme markers and I am doing the same. He ice pillars down, tries to get some pot shots off and fails due to some cover. Not a lot happened, but the end of the turn is what mattered. I gave one of my newly made rats from the Wretch fast. I move my one rat into melee with his decemeber acolyte that made her way over to that side of the board and use the rat catcher to give one of the new rats reactivate. That rat activates and moves 5 and then reactivates and moves 10 into b2b with Raspy. This denies him the strat point, bringing the score to 3 to 4, him. My plan was to force him to deal with the rats and not deny me outflank. I also moved the librarian over into the house on the far left, making it impossible for him to stop outlflank on that end next turn.
TURN 5: My hand was so so, but it didn't really matter. He ate one of the rats engaging raspy with his Wendigo, giving Rapsy fast. He did his best to blast things, but didn't have the firepower to really kill much, as my Rat catcher was in a good position on the right for Outflank as was my librarian on the left. He knew I was getting 3 from that. I had 2 scoring scheme markers down for Protect Territory and managed to plant a third along the way. At that point, he conceded with dignity.
Final score was 10 to 8, me. I got 3 from outflank, and 3 from Protect Territory. I had a total of 3 scheme markers down.
End game thoughts: I was sure he was bringing Ramos. It is a favorite of his. Again, I apologized profusely for my behavior (I had a terrible day at work and that just set it off), but luckily it wasn't a long and I got my head back in the game. My opponent really is getting the hang of Raspy and I am glad. Overall, there wasn't a TON of action in terms of killing. I lost a bunch of rats and was happy that he was spending AP to kill them. I screwed myself out of 3 rats throughout the game, forgetting about the Catcher and Hamelin's bubble. IF I had to do that match up again, I would have definitely not brought infectious melodies as it didn't do anything for me. I need to remember some of my defensive tricks a bit better as Hamelin could have been a bit more aggressive.
My opponent's decision to go Murder Protege unrevealed was interesting as it was risking that he could stop my schemes and outflank. I personally think it was a bold move, but ultimately not the right move. The terrain was VERY open for arcing spells and I think he could have went revealed and just blasted Taelor apart.