Sapphire Joust 2010

Sapphire Joust promised to be interesting.  What with the whole rebuilding my fight, again, in the past three months, I wasn’t actually sure how well it would go off, but was fairly confident I’d be able to do well in the tourney.

I went in with an intentional range disadvantage: I didn’t trust the forty’s accuracy, so opted for the 37″.  Man I want that 45.

Day 1

The tourney setup was a modified points tourney: Fight three passes, every pass you survive gets you a point.  So each round you can come out with three point.  Starting from random seedings, it stratified quickly.

The day itself was hot, but not as bad as the last Sapphire Joust I attended (where I fought my free scholar prize in what must have been 95 degree weather).  We drove up that morning.

Round 1

Round 1’s opponent was a tall, slightly older, armored fighter.  The first two passes went smoothly, I took them 2-0.  The third pass not so smoothly.  It is my personal feeling that I landed 3-4 thrusts and 2-3 draws on my opponent, but he did not concur so I must not have.  We separated after the last exchange, and as he started to set up in his guard I threw a lunge straight to his mask.  It landed, and the fight was done.  Three points.

Round 2

Round 2’s opponent was a decent fencer who brought a two-hander.  To quote Alejandro, “Two-handers are the madu of the rapier field”.  Vortigern, great advocate of the two-hander, notably fought single sword at Sapphire.  I threw a couple shots over my opponent’s lead elbow, but he did a good job of blocking them.  Throwing to the other side opened him up, though, and I took two exchanges.  At one point I parried his shot into my thigh, and a half second later as I went to ground gutted him.  But it’s Sapphire, he may have thought the fight was over, so I went to the ground and fought from there.  I think a class on the ground fight may be useful to Atlantia.  He had a huge advantage of range, and I still survived that pass.  It should not have happened.  Six points.

Round 3

Round 3 I fought a goofy looking son of a bitch with patches on his pants.  He brought a dagger and a 42″.  I stupidly hung out in his range for the first pass and received a shot to the mask.  At the second pass he commented he was surprised I didn’t try to cowboy in on him.  I know better than to do that, but not better than to let him inch in on me, and I received another shot to the mask.  Pass 3 I did cowboy in on him, essentially, going to a hanging guard to catch his sword and putting my dagger into his torso.  We doubled, and I was pretty happy with that pass.  Still six points.

Round 4

Round 4’s opponent brought a stick and longish blade.  I was actually supposed to fight an older lefty who complains about his knees, but Sticky had already fought his scheduled opponent once, so we all traded.  We had some great exchanges, and I am damn proud of my fighting against him.  There were a couple of situations where logic and Giganti said I should have attacked (I had his sword on my dagger), but I’m pretty sure he was expecting it because his arm with the stick was tensed and inching towards closing the gap he was showing me.  He took all three passes, but not with ease.  Still six points.  I think I would have fared better against the lefty.  But this is the luck of the draw.

At the end of round 4, the top 8 points-getters were rolled over to the single-elim playoffs.  I was not in it.

The guy with the stick and the goofy looking son of a bitch ended up facing each other in the finals, so I don’t have any huge ego bruises from my losses to them.

Here’s my one complaint on the whole day: I was fighting better that day than some of those who made it in to the playoffs.  Not better than all of them, but better than some.  I think a few more rounds would have led to more certain stratification.  At four rounds, a fighter like me who went 3, 3, 0, and 0, with the two 0’s against the best two fighters on the field that day, would have an unrepresentive result, whereas a fighter could hung out in the mid-ranks, gone, 1, 2, 2, and 2, and ended up ahead in the points tally.  If you start to get an 8, test the hypothesis before confirming they are the 8.
Next time, more fighting!

Pickups

I fought pickups with Geoffrey, Giacomo, Armand, Thjora, and somebody else.  They were all great fights, but my brain was so toasty by the end of the day I don’t remember much of it at all.

Day 2 – Melees

Day 2 kicked off with the 5-man melee tourney.  We had a mostly-Kappellenfechter team, with Antonio as a permanent addition and others subbing in (Percy did not make it to site until after the tourney).  Yet again I have this thirst to train up a dedicated local unit, if only I could find sufficient other dedicated locals.  Horses, water, etc.

The woods battles were more interesting.  We had roughly 13 on 13.  The first run through I spent more time in the backfield commanding than fighting.  The nominal commander of our side was usually engaged on the right flank, and nobody was pulling traffic cop/reinforcement/spotter duty.  I’d love to train up more people to perform that role, as it would make our army more flexible.

The second run through, we switched sides, and were now fighting from a side with a significant terrain advantage. There was a choke point on the right flank which was easily accessed from our rez point, and could be held by 3-5 fencers.  Beyond the choke point, the terrain opened up, meaning the enemy had to have more than 5 there to contain our side.  This freed us up to stock a numerical advantage on the left flank (we’d suffered from this same phenomenon in the first run through).

When rezzing, I would insure the right flank was secure, then push to our left flank.  Here, one of two things usually happened: I’d run in to Benjamin, trying to get around our flank, and he’d kill me but not before reinforcements filled the gap behind me, or I’d run into Benjamin, kill him, and be in their backfield.  The most substantial time this happened, I rolled into the backfield, walked all the way down to the enemy’s left flank (those 5+ opposite our 3-5), where Connor was fighting and commanding, DFB’d Connor, then three others.  Wymarc turned to face me, but I landed a shot in his stomach.  Then I moved back up to the fencers opposed to our left flank, and proceeded to munch them.  It was as I laid my sword on the last enemy’s shoulder that I felt a sword lay on mine and heard Matteo say “You’re dead my lord.”  I laughed, and called out “Dead, and that’s the line!”  I’d chewed up an entire line, and at that point was unalterably happy about my performance for the day, so got to goof around the rest of it.  I hit the backfield a few more times, and played a few times, and did a bit of shouting.

The Numbers

Because the win condition was to resurrect fewer times than the opponents, the marshals were tracking the number of resurrections.  Because this is also part of the win condition at War of the Wings, I was very interested in those numbers.

So here they are:

Fight 1 – 10 minutes
Team A – 13 fighters, 85 resurrections.  Rezzes per fighter per 10 minutes: 6.5
Team B – 13 fighters, 68 resurrections.  Rezzes per fighter per 10 minutes: 5.2

Fight 2 – 20 minutes
Team A – 12 fighters, 83 resurrections.  R/f/10min: 3.4
Team B – 12 fighters, 82 resurrections.  R/f/10min: 3.4

Total: 30 min, 25 fighters, 318 resurrections.  R/f/10min: 4.2

However, given the vast difference between the R/f/10min for the 10 minute fight and the 20 minute fight, I’m not sure how predictive these will be of the 60 min. of fighting planned for War of the Wings.  If the teams work out to 30 on a side as has roughly been the case in previous years, resurrections could account for up to 1200 points, or 600 points.  Any skill disparity will make all the other point-gainers (flags, commander kills, rez points, etc) pretty moot.

I may have to do some of the same tracking at Drums of War and Assessment.

Getting in the Backfield

Connor requested I teach others how I go about getting into the backfield, so I’ll put my thoughts on here later, and then may seek out Dom, Benjamin, et al. for their thoughts and put something together, if there’s interest.

Gosh, ground fighting, backfield exploitation, field command, so many many things to teach.

13 comments to Sapphire Joust 2010

  • Dante di Pietro

    “I went in with an intentional range disadvantage: I didn’t trust the forty’s accuracy, so opted for the 37″. Man I want that 45.”

    Blame the tool some more. Look at the language you choose: the 40″ is inaccurate, not you using the 40″. Own it, fix it.

    “To quote Alejandro, “Two-handers are the madu of the rapier field”.”

    Then don’t. That comparison is so wildly off base it’s on par with his repeated assertion that Spanish rapier is too dangerous to practice.

    Longswords are a valid and effective historical style of weapon that has advantages and disadvantages like any other blade; if fencing has a madu-equivalent it would be weapons that aren’t made to authentic specifications and thereby provide an advantage.

    “Round 4’s opponent brought a stick and longish blade.”

    You looked really good against Dominyk. Even he said so, and neither of us compliment easily. Keep it up.

    I fully expect the scores at WoW to be negative, but the larger field will slow it down a LOT. SJ has a very short field, and not much reason to be exhausted outside of the weather.

    • Blame the tool some more. Look at the language you choose: the 40″ is inaccurate, not you using the 40″. Own it, fix it.

      The 40 I have is light and whippy. It fundamentally by nature of the steel of the blade doesn’t stand up to parries as well as my 37″ and its point control has a larger margin of error. Could I refine my fight and make it work? Yes, but not in the few months leading up to Sapphire.

    • Then don’t. That comparison is so wildly off base it’s on par with his repeated assertion that Spanish rapier is too dangerous to practice.

      Longswords are a valid and effective historical style of weapon that has advantages and disadvantages like any other blade; if fencing has a madu-equivalent it would be weapons that aren’t made to authentic specifications and thereby provide an advantage.

      The longsword is a valid and effective historical style when the rules permit blows to be struck. Sure, in C&T it’s a great form, but not in thrust-and-draw. Add to that that the vast majority of two-handers on the field are the Alchem blades which are not of a period weight or stiffness and they stop performing like period weapons (the second most common, the Hanwei federschwert, is a reproduction of a training blade, not a fighting blade). The vast majority of fencers who bring two-handers on the rapier field resort to a one-handed, no power thrust, treating the two-hander like a long rapier with a long pommel just to grab some extra range. I have never seen that move in Talhoffer, Fiore, Marozzo, or Mair.

  • Dante di Pietro

    “I went in with an intentional range disadvantage: I didn’t trust the forty’s accuracy, so opted for the 37″. Man I want that 45.”

    The context of the sentence made me think you complaining about the characteristics of the blade rather than the quality.

    However, comparing a non-Medieval weapon that grants enormous benefits, some the actual weapon would not possess, because of our rules to a Medieval weapon that, as you say, suffers under our rules is invalid.

    • Do you know of instances where longsword was fought against rapier in a historic duel? I think I recall that in the prizes for the London Masters of Defence they had to match forms.

      • Dante di Pietro

        No, but I haven’t exactly looked at all either.

      • Dante di Pietro

        Oh, I forgot to mention this: while no, I don’t have records of duels per se (having never researched particular duels), Thibault’s L’Academie d’Espee devotes a whole section specifically to rapier versus greatsword. That’s 1630, well after Meyer wrote about both weapons separately in the same book.

  • Dominyk

    You did very well in our fight together. It was much more like a fencing bout than a sword race.

    However you might have to deal with the consequences of calling me “Sticky”. WTF?

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>