WWW goes to Pennsic – the 5-Man Tourney   6 comments

Wednesday was the greatest day of the year for small unit melee.  Four years ago, the Atlantian 5-Man Tourney was the first thing I fought in after I authorized schlager, and it left a long and abiding impression on me.  This year, Windmasters Hill took a team to the lists made up of Sir Johann, Giovan, Letia, Miguel, and me.  As in years past, we carried the name of the Pissed Kitties.  Tradition must be obeyed.

During the marshal’s briefing, a few things happened.  First, they demonstrated proper DFB form.  This totally failed to prevent a number of DF-besides, DF-myswordaroundyourthroat, and so on.  Also, stupid questions were asked.  Goddamn stupid questions.  Thus was the question “Knee-walk to gain engagement?” answered “No.”  And, also, thus was the question “Are we fighting with Atlantian calibration?” answered with eight marshals simultaneously twitching, before Giacomo (GIACOMO!) explained that Atlantians don’t have a different calibration, we will still take a light clean touch, but we aren’t going to whine if you hit like you’re, you know, trying to hit us or something.

Our first opponent was Clustered Flock.  Following Aedan’s teaching of one of the Dragoon 5-man team tricks, we set up in mid-field.  CF obliged by setting up along the hay bales.  This would happen in every fight.  At one point, one team set up on the same side of the field we were on, technically behind us, so we turned and faced them, and they acknowledged that we had them backed against the hay bales.  We took three steps back (still, pretty much in mid-field), and they didn’t move off the hay bales.  One team, against us and against all other opponents, immediately BACKED UP to the hay bales.  The theory was they didn’t want to get DFB’d.  They lost all but one fight, with nowhere to go, and nothing to do but get picked apart.  More on this team later.

The general plan was the same for almost every fight: Giovan, Letia, and Miguel formed a three man line, Johann and I acted as flankers and skirmishers, either together or separately.  Johann proposed a useful innovation, that instead of lining up five across and showing our hand, he and I hung back behind the triplet.  This also allowed last minute orders to be given (“Line, press right, Johann, we’re going left”) right before Lay On without any need to huddle.  Only for our last bout of the day did we change anything up.

At Lay On, we flanked both sides of CF and annihilated them, only losing one fighter.  Jean-Claude, marshalling, complemented the “professional brutality” of our team.  That made me happy.

We then sat back to watch the rest of the first round.  One team stood out as a major threat: a team called “Event Horizon”, a name for which I would have slapped them around if it hadn’t been composed of Blade, Tora, and three others who could best be referred to as the Torettes.  Another team, with Ogedai and another Eastern don, also promised trouble, but the rest seemed to lack initiative and aggression.  Over and over in that first round, one team would stand meekly and get overrun by the other, or both teams would close tentatively and have a cripple fight.  It was just sad.

The second round we crushed our opponent just about as brutally as the first.  This was the same team that would back up against the hay bales for the rest of the tourney.  They moved slow, treated “stick together” as the sum total of their battle plan, and fought poorly.  One fighter, who wore a white scarf, was embarrassingly bad, and turned her back on Miguel as he lunged, then complained about getting stabbed in the back.  She would complain about shots throughout the fighting, too.

We were noticing a couple of other things, now: Event Horizon didn’t so much bother with flanking as just set up on one side of the field and move across in a line.  Tora and Blade were their flanks, and just did not need to run to be a threat.  Ogedai’s unit flanked with its dons, but didn’t move too quickly.  And there were a handful of others we expected to be able to overrun easily.

Round three was not against one of those.  The enemy unit had a don or two, I think Aethelmercians, and we fought them to a four-on-two (one the don, the other the probably-a-don), but with me legged.  At that point, we should’ve jumped one-on-one and two-on-one, and let me sit back and enjoy the sun, but I opted to keep the group close together and lined up on me.  They picked off Miguel, and then rushed, dropping the rest of us.  Lesson learned.

Round four was against Ogedai’s group, and I think this is the one where they wisely jumped Johann straight out, then rolled the rest of us.

We crushed another team, lost another one, and had a 3-3 record when they announced they were cutting the round robin short by one round, so we’d only have one more fight instead of two.  Of the two teams we hadn’t fought, one was easily pushed around and would drop like a fly.  The other was “Event Horizon” (seriously, if anybody out there knows Blade, tell him “Crazy” thinks that name was goofy and will fight him next Pennsic to prove the point!  Or at least a point, possibly just that Wistric is willing to endure pain and humiliation for a principle).  We, to prove our luck, pulled Event Horizon.

EH had, throughout the fight, set up the same way and done the same thing.  We set up our same way but this time had a different plan.  There was no way in hell Johann and I could takeout Blade and Tora and the line could crush the Torettes.  So at Lay On, Letia and Miguel jumped into Blade’s and Tora’s way to slow them down, while the three gold scarves rushed the Torettes.  A gap formed between Blade and the nearest fighter, I went for the gap at speed, got piked, and retired off the field.  It ended quickly, as all desperate charges tend to do so, but then the fun started.

Apparently, they don’t learn Atlantian charging wherever that fighter was from (Aethelmarc, I believe).  He lost his shit all over me, using the word “fuck” more times in sixty seconds than I use it in any given WWW post (which, I’ll confess, is a whole fucking lot).  His thoughts were, roughly, that I was dangerous to him, to myself, and to his weapons.  My thoughts were “Hmmm… he looks like he’s about to stroke out.  I wonder how long before he takes a breath.”  Eventually, Johann (wearing his gold chain, white belt, and serene mastery of life) said “How about you go take a breath and get some water?  We’re all friends here.”  Blade came over a bit later and asked what had happened, and I explained, and he made an “it’s all good” noise.  Antonio describes Blade as “An Atlantian who just doesn’t know it.”  Still, I was kinda… thrown off by the guy’s reaction, so I checked with His Former Earl Marshalness Sir Provost Roland, who had watched the whole thing.  Roland’s response boiled down to “Er… you’re an Atlantian, right?  It’s what we do.”  Still… a dark spot on the day.  I saw Blade later that day at Walter’s shop, and he greeted me with “Hey, Crazy!”  I’m all for carrying that nickname through the world, so long as it’s really earned (and, so long as Provost Crazy is a viable option).

Event Horizon ended up in the finals with one of the two Dragoon teams (Connor, Dom, Armand, Kenji, and Benjamin).  The Dragoon team was their fast skirmishers, but EH had size and range on them, and played tightly enough that they overwhelmed the Dragoons pretty thoroughly and took the championship.

Posted August 11, 2009 by wistric in Events, Melee, Wistric's Weekly Warfare

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