I felt like I had a good matchup here, thinking I had a lot of power 6 units and some good toughness / courage to let it get used. But hot dice and bad play were my ruin.
The Imperial Cav never really bothered me as a unit in this game. I had them matched up against Dwarf Spears, and figured that matchup was good enough for me. Even when I switched over to have the spears engage the dragon and brought the crossbows in to fight the cav, it was not really a concern. They really didn't live up to their points in this particular game - in my opinion anyway.
In hindsight, I made two major tactical mistakes in this game. One, during setup: I foolishly thought I had predicted where his dragon was going to come and was completely hosed when he chose the other side. So... yeah. Forgot how bad it sucks to guess with Dwarf units on setup and be wrong.
Second, Mike sent the Horse Archers way out ahead to sit in my flank and plink at me. I thought I might be able to make him pay for such a maneuver by sliding the Battleaxemen a bit to the right and then catch him unawares. Um... yeah. Dwarf infantry does not catch Horse Archers well. Duh.
So I had a unit of Miners on the one flank way out of position to do anything, and sent them towards the rocket battery to at least soak up some shots. They certainly did and died horrifically and quickly. I also had Battleaxes engaging all by themselves way the heck and gone from the rest of their help and primed to get pinched. Blowing the fear check = not helpful. I was hoping to at least drive the dragon down out of the Green between the spears and battleaxes. Nope. 1 damage box marked on that guy the whole game.
I'd totally forgotten about Mike's ability to boost defense. Though I think he played better by not using it - his Salvaged were just there to tie me down while his big guys (dragon + cav + rockets) chewed me up. They did that job perfectly.
I wouldn't say that the Ballista didn't earn their points. I mean, I got beat hard so I probably could have done something differently. As Mike pointed out, I should have run out and engaged the targets, allowing the parts of my line that never really fought to hit the weak salvaged while the expensive artillery focused on badder targets. Might have been worth it to actually shoot the big guy in this battle. But I did do a lot of damage to those advancing constructs... it's not their fault I wasn't taking advantage of it.
The most depressing part was Mike's perfect use of the re-roll to go from no wounds to five wounds. Pretty much sealed the deal right there. Luckily there was red red wine. (Stay close to meeeeee...)
Gosh Mike has nailed me twice in a row. This cannot continue! I will need to improve the skillz before we meet again.