The Monday Mythology series is meant to be a discussion about what I have in my head and how to best portray it on paper and in game. If you have any comments or critiques, please feel free to leave them

I originally was going to discuss both the creation myth and the Godswar here, but I was not quite as happy with the creation myth as I originally thought. It took me a while to re-write it because I was unhappy with my original portray of Akos, the female embodiment of chaos. I kept, in my head, revolving around two terrible archetypes for her: The raped victim and the treacherous seductress. Neither were ideas which conveyed what I really wanted to have happen in my world.

Instead, I have created this:

In the beginning, there was a twisted sea of four elements, neither separate from each other nor a single whole. There was only chaos.  Fire was not separate from Earth and Water was no different from Air.
The rolling elements, after a time, gave forth a son and a daughter.
The daughter was named Akos. She was mistress of Chaos, born of the universes primal destruction
The son was called Sae-Oon, and he was the master of Peace, born to sort the universe into its separate components.
Where Sae-Oon walked, the chaos separated and organized.
The Earth formed under his feet so he would have land to tread on. The Air coalesced above and around him so he would have a place to move.
Fire, his sword, to his right, and the water, his shield, to his left.
Akos only brought destruction where she went. The roads that Sae-Oon tread were torn apart, the sky filled with fire and waters sunk away. Akos, seeing all that Sae-Oon was, desired him.
But Sae-Oon treasured his creations, and was enraged at the destruction that Akos caused. When Akos approached him, he rebuked her
“Why do you come, Akos, destroyer of all I create”
“I desire your company, Sae-Oon. I am alone in the universe, without equal, Save for you. I would give all of creation for your company! There is only us! You are my match!
“It cannot be, Akos. You destroy all that I create. You cannot keep yourself in check. I will be alone, and you will be alone. I despise you! ”
Akos, spurned, and dejected, walked back alone into the Maelstrom.
But Sae-Oon soon felt the truth of Akos’ words. He created vast mountain ranges, deep seas, and clear skies. He created too, rivers of fire, flying icebergs and great clouds of ash. Nothing, however, appeased his loneliness. He desired company.
So he created from the primal elements the first Gods, his children. Evalrun, from cold logic of stone
Takkannas, from burning wrath of the fire
Nera, the capricious desires of the cold
a
nd Conadral, the silent expanses of air
These four beings, though, were reverent to him, and though they gave him respect and love, they were not his equals. Whatever they could do, he could also do. He felt no kinship to his creations. The loneliness only amplified itself, compounded by the absence of Akos, who he had started to long himself. On a particularly terrible bout of loneliness, Sae-Oon drank himself into a stupor, though it took precious little of the Godsmead to do it. It was a concoction created by all his children together, and he very much enjoyed it. With ferocious vigor he set into the Maelstrom, calling out for Akos, over and over. His children had never seen him this way.  Akos heard his calls, however, and came out. She took him in, and they lay together. Throughout the night, there was much commotion, and the Gods were terrified. The next day, Sae-Oon woke alone, deep in the wilds of the Maelstrom. When he returned to his children, they would not look him in the eyes. They would not tell him what his night had contained. The months passed, and while Sae-Oon was curious what had happened that night, he did not press his children. Life returned, and while he wondered what had happened to the vanished Akos, he was not disappointed she was gone. His world was orderly and he was happy.
Akos, however, did not stay away forever. One day, she returned, large with child.
“Sae-Oon!, “ she shouted, “look what we have made! A true child of the universe!”
Sae-Oon was wracked with shame, his shame. It bit to the core that he had allowed such a thing to happen, and asked his children if all was true, and as they told him everything, tears rolled down his eyes.
 He fled without a word, deep into the Maelstrom, never looking back. Eventually, alone in the mire of fire and earth, the mix of air and fire, Sae-Oon curled up in shame and slept. The Maelstrom around him  solidified and ordered itself without his conscious direction.
First came fire, his rage, to surround him.
Then, Much later came earth, enclosing his rage in defeat.
Then, shortly after, as he grew to accept it, he became calm and the waters pooled, cooling his defeat.
Finally, he was blanketed in the silence of death, and the air filled the space around him, cushioning the blows what was left of the Chaos. An enormous plane of earth, water, fire and sky now existed where there had once been only chaos. The gods, though, had saved a small bit of their connected element,  infinitely large as they were, to dwell in and on. They set these bits in motion around the  body of Sae-Oon, their father, so they may watch over him.
As all of this happened, Akos was forced to retreat into the world of shadows that was left between the planes. Here, in the darkest recesses of the universe, she gave birth to the greatest evil. Born of lust and failure, of desire and weakness, the Demon Queen ripped herself out of her mother’s womb fully formed. The experience was traumatic in the extreme for Akos, who bleed out her life as her daughter watched unconcerned.
Thus was the world, and its greatest foe, created. 

What I wanted here was a Father earth, created in shame of his part in birthing the great evil on the world, though he never saw it to fruition. His literal body was to be the world, much in the manner of Tiamat of Mesopotamian myth.

Let me know what you think of the creation story, this is the first time I’ve ever shared it with anyone, so I’m eager to see what people think!

 

So, that’s it until after NOVA! I’ll see you again for another Mythology Monday on Sept. 1!

Last week I got my final game in with the cephalyx against a friends Epic Irusk list. It was a brutal slog through the mud, my first timed game with them, and a hell of a good time. He does an extremely good job over on his site of recaping the game, so I won’t do so here. Go over there, read it and come back.

 

Good!

As you know by now, that game didn’t go so well for me, and I think there are a number of factors why, and I think I had control over almost all of them. The Irusk list is good, but I think I could have put up a much better fight had I don several things better. As Keith Christiansen said, If you look at a game and say there is nothing you could have done better, you’re becoming worse at the game. To that extent, here are the issues I had that I could easily have improved

  • Know your Scenario. This is a key part of every game, and can really cramp your style if you’re not careful. I was under the impression I could toss a few models into the scenario zone to keep him honest, but it just didn’t work out that way
  • Be aware of your clock. Going into the tank on turn 2 and turn 3 burned a ton of my time, and its just not something I am used to. With both Cryx and Skorne I am so used to the armies, models, and capabilities that I don’t have to think long. Even after 12+ games with Thexus, that army is still a Rubics Cube. There are a ton of different ways to apply force in that army, and make just a few mistakes, and you can end up hurt.
  • Realize that the terrain is going to be a factor in the game, and plan for it. I should have committed all my Incorporeal models, my overlords and Thexus to that zone to take and hold it forever.
  • Know your opponents feat. In His write-up, the Irusk player feels kinda bad for surprising me with the feat, but it shouldn’t have been a surprise. I’d looked at him on warroom during the game, I’d read his primer article that he wrote on his blog, and I’d read his battle report against Damiano. I should have been prepared, and its my fault I wasn’t

Now, in addition to general errors, there were also play mistakes that could have been done differently, and I think they would have at least leveled the playing field. As I said, the first was model commitment. I should have gone harder for the zone and tried to lock him out. As the Irusk player mentioned in his write up, this is a scenario that really benefits from playing it a time or two first. Second, and one of the most egregious errors I made, was that I clouded up on turn 2. Not only was the tactic nullified by the feat, it wasn’t even strictly necessary. The only shooting I wasn’t going to nullify that turn was the conquest, and as it has been shown, I can survive a conquest laying shells into me. It also jammed up my advance, and made a number of models vulnerable that I otherwise could have kept safe. Finally, I could not have been so stupid with my Wreckers. Both instances, I could have kept them far enough away so that they weren’t killed, and I could have made a greater impact with them. I especially needed the one who was beat to death by Conquest to be alive and put some damage into the giant bastard and give me a fighting change to win. Instead I got greedy and didn’t pay attention to my placement and got smashed. I try not to make the same mistakes in successive games, but making it in the same game is a path to getting crushed.

All in all, it was a fantastic game that I really enjoyed. Playing deathclock on my new chessclock was enjoyable, though we did futz around with it a bit due to some communication issues. It also reminded me of the pressure that the clock can grant. Good pressure, but pressure none the less. This will very likely be the last Battle Report I give with Thexus. I’ll be playing whatever pickup games I can while running the NOVA next weekend, but other than that, I think I’ve gotten a good run in with him. I bought, played and painted the entire (here is hoping) army before they were even available to purchase. Some days, its cool to be a nerd.

On that same vein, we finally got to see Thexus’ complete Theme list, and its pretty freaking crazy.

Restrictions: Non-Character Mercenary Monstrosities, Mercenary Cephalyx Units, Mercenary Cepahlyx Solos
Tier 1 – Cephalyx Overlords become FA:U. Also, the unit can include one Dominator and its unit.
Tier 2 – One or more Mind Slave Drudge Units – Mind Slaver and Drudge Units gain Ambush
Tier 3 – Army Includes 4+ units – Free Agitator above and beyond FA
Tier 4 – Army Includes 2+ Overlords – FA of Dominators +1, and you can include a second unit with that Dominator.

Honestly, There is a ton going on here, and it creates almost two different armies. You loose access to the Pistol Wraith and the Machine Wraith, and technically the Bloat thrall. That puts a huge element of control out of your hands. You also gain FA:U on the Overlords, which is pretty neat.
The first use of the Tier would be to make a pretty bog-standard list, and get a free agitator, saving 2 points. I have seen multiple lists that are something along this vein, and they would just be getting a free agitator and the ability to ambush, both which can’t be overstated.

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
AgitatorFree
Agitator2
Agitator2
Agitator2
Mind Slavers (10)6
Mind Slavers (10)6
Mind Benders (10)6
Mind Benders (10)6
55

The other, much more amusing list, is the Overlord Spam. You can easily make something like this.

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
Agitator2
Agitator2
Agitator2
Overlords4
Overlords4
Overlords4
Overlords4
Overlords4
Overlords4
Overlords4
55

This may not be effective, but I’m pretty sure that it would catch a ton of people off guard. with 31 MA 7 sprays, three Wreckers and Deceleration, I’m pretty sure that it has a solution to all the problems. Guns are solved with Defense 16/ Arm 15 models with 5 wounds. Melee armies are solved with so many sprays that they can never escape, and Tanky armies are solved with Wreckers. I just love the idea of this list so much. I really wish I knew if they were going to resculpt the Overlords, because I would wait and get this army. Right now it won’t be on the chopping block because the models are so small and out of scale I just don’t want to go about painting them. It might be a fun proxy army, soon. we will see.

Now, with that said, I am going to start concentrating completly on getting ready for NOVA. I’ve got a ton of projects yet to finish up before its ready, and I can’t let everyone down. With that in mind, this’ll be my last standard post until September 4. I will likely get a Bite Size Nerd in on Wednesday, but there is only a slim chance I’ll get a September 2 post in. I will be doing this coming Monday Mythology, but not one on September 1.

I’ll be tweeting tons of games, Pictures, and results from my phone during the convention, so follow me if you’re interested in it!

until then.

 

Gencon is like Nerd Christmas, and boy was it fun this year. Information poured in from every direction about every game I play and it was a glorious Thursday and Friday. Honestly, I am still trying to digest it, and some of the information still will be in its raw form.

Malifuax had the pre-release of its Crossroads book, which has both the Wave 2 models from the edition conversion, and some new models here and there. This is the one I’ve spent the least time Digesting. Gmort on the forum loaded up these daily congregations of pics, which I’ll just link here.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

There is some really cool art in there, and when the book and decks finally release, I look forward to playing some more Malifaux. The Beta wore me out just reading about it, so its nice to have that joy creeping backin.

Infinity, with its coming 3rd edition, had a ton of information to share as well. Almost all of it was revealed in a video Here.

I do like the Japanese dude on a bike, showing off the the new style bikes and the larger 55″ footprint

Yojimbo, I assume?

There is also an awesome pic of Bostria giving out one of the changes:

adding 15% to the retreat threshold for 3rd

We’ve also got some fantastic concept and 3d sculpts, and a ton of pictures of them, that they are working on.

Of course I focused my attention, though, on the Haqqialam, because its my faction, and I have to say: When I first saw the Jannisary model, I cried out that the jannisaries were fine. When I saw the HMG model, I was instantly corrected, that model is freaking great.

This guy!

I look forward to the new Hassassin with a Missile Launcher

One day, I'll play a Hassassin army

One day, I’ll play a Hassassin army

A new Kum Character

to go with the thousand bikes I am going to buy

to go with the thousand bikes I am going to buy

And  a resculpt of the Maghariba Guard

A bad ass machine, here

A bad ass machine, here

 

Finally, there are the Warmachine Gencon pre-releases, which came out like a flood last Thursday, as the store opened and the pre-release cards were unboxed.

Overall, I like them all. They have their own flavor and I really think that they will stand on their own once the Doom Cycle shakes out.

Bradigus is a caster after my own heart. He is a druid that plays well with wolds, which is the only thing I want in a Circle caster. One day, I’ll probably build an army for him.

Absylonia 2 is an intriguing model to me, with a host of strange spells and abilities. Most of the time when that happens its because I just don’t get it, and get suckered on the table. I look forward to facing her.

Helga is crazy-fun. I initially thought that Cyclone was Twister, and was exceedingly unimpressed. Simply changing that one spell makes her 1000% more fun. I approve!

Jaga Jaga is freaking bonkers! I really like both her new spells, Gravewind and Spellpiercer. Her feat, as well, is completely awesome, and I look forward to using it one day here soon.

Xerxis 2, being that I play Skorne, is going to be a blast to play. Mobility is a ton of fun, and his beast bond is exceedingly good. 13/19 with transfers and 19 HP is nothing to scoff at either. Ignite is good, but is nothing extra special, as Skorne has a ton of high end damage buffs. I do look forward to sending Tiberion some 11″ and outside 10″ of Xerxis area during the feat. Who knows, maybe I even use Fate Walker to get him back in his standard control area after the turn ends.

Till Next time!

The new edition of D&D is starting to trickle out, as I mentioned yesterday, and I am really excited. I had held off on any emotion until I saw the actual rules. I’ve been playing D&D now for 20 some years, and I’ve been through it all. I started with my dads AD&D set, and was amazed when I moved down to Maryland and met people who played this mysterious “second edition” game. I played that system with a fervor for 4 years before 3rd edition was announced. We looked over it, and disregarded it. We saw no use in this edition. I finally got picked to play in an adventure with a friend (it was some sort of raffle), and absolutely fell in love with 3rd in early 2003. Later that year D&D 3.5 came out, and we embraced it heartily, playing it for another 5 years until 4th edition was announced. This time, I wasn’t going to be late to the party, I wanted in at the ground floor. I even bought my friend his own PHB! While we played it for some time, it was not what I had bargained for. 4 years later, after a number of tried, 4e just kinda died. We played Gamma World, tried Dark Sun out, and eventually played the Iron Kingdoms RPG, which was a blast. We’d fallen out of love with D&D, it just wasn’t the same. Wizards eventually caved, and in May of 2012 started their 2 year long beta test of the next edition. I was cautiously optimistic, burn me once, shame on me, burn me twice, well… you know the end.

So, here we are, August 2014, 2 years and  just a scant 3 months after the beta test started, and I have finally purchased and looked over the PHB, the only available rulebook.

I think I might be falling in love again.

See, 2e was that first girlfriend you have. You clung on to her a little longer than was good for you, it was your first love, and you only remember the good parts of the relationship. All the negative has slowly faded away. 3e was the one that got away. You caught her at a dance one time, and had an extremely good evening, but it wasn’t meant to be, and she moved away. 3.5, though is the serious one. She reminded you of the one that got away so much. You stuck this one through, and boy was it rewarding. You made plans, you got engaged, everything happened so fast and you were swept up in the romance. Then, she broke your heart. She left you, forever, for someone else and there was no going back. Now, 4e was the rebound girl. She was vaguely fun, and it was enjoyable for the first little while until the novelty wore off, but you kept at it, trying to make it work until finally, you gave up. You realized this wasn’t good for anyone, and you ended it. You float around for a year, maybe two. You flirt with all sorts of girls and have tons of good times. Nothing sticks, though. Nothing matters. Each one has its own flaws. 5e, though. This one might be the one. She’s like your first love, and brings back all those same feelings, but she is also like the serious one. She’s got everything going for her, at first look. But you’re wary. The rebound has you worried that maybe its all just novelty. Maybe it won’t stand the test of time. but you hope it will. You just hope.

 

Huh, I just rode that analogy train right into the crazy station. I’ll let it go, though. Right. Back on track.

the 5e PHB is a hardbound, rock solid thing:316 pages of information related to playing the game, and nearly all of them are for the player. When I opened it up, I immediately went to the fighter class. One of my big problems with 2e/3e was that the fighter was brutally simple. There was little to no room for fancy maneuvers and other sorts of flourish and I really enjoyed that 4e game him a ton of things to do. The Fighter in 5e isn’t initially more versatile, to be honest. Its level progression chart is impressively simple.

Straight from the new book!

Straight from the new book!

There is a glimmer of hope, though, in that they get to choose a fighting style: Archery, Defense (Tank), Dueling, Great Weapon (2h), Protection (bodyguard) and Two Weapon. Each gives a specific bonus to the player while they are wielding the appropriate weaponry. They get a few other semi-active abilities, but at the end of the section they have the Archetypes. They are very similar to prestige classes, but available to the class on reaching 3rd level. Each archetype takes the class in a slightly different direction, with archetype abilities granted at certain levels. For fighters, that is 3rd,7th,10th,15th and 18th. Each Archetype is really intriguing, as well. A Champion is a brutal warrior, the Battle Master is a devotee to the art of war, and the Eldritch Knight is the fighter-mage. What is extra interesting is that the champion is simple, straightforward and brutal, while the Battle Master is full of choices, complexity and options. The class can easily play for both types of players.

I was cautiously optimistic at that point and bought the book, took it home and gave it a quick glance over. I even posted to my facebook that it was a love child of 2e and 3e, which didn’t necessarily garner love, which is fair.  Now, though, I can take my time and try to project my meaning much better, and less in small tidbits while running around.

To me, 2nd was focused on playing the game, and discarded the numbers game, sometimes much to its detriment. there were numbers in the game, don’t get me wrong, but I feel that they were somehow more malleable than the numbers in 3.5 and 4e. The numbers in 2nd edition weren’t there to create balance, they were there to represent, as much as one can, the idea into the game. One of my general commandments of RPGs is that not all things are created equal, and so the game should not be. I don’t think that you need to validate fluffy bits in your rules, but I do think that they shouldn’t directly compete with combat bonuses, and 2nd edition did that well with its weapon and non-weapon proficiencies. It surely wasn’t equal, but it was separate. This edition also didn’t worry about the players breaking the game. Bonus types didn’t exist, and characters were allowed to do what they wanted, within the reason of the DM. Final arbitration of many, if not all, of the elements of the game were left up to the DM. Gygax many times would refer to the DM as the referee who was there to settle disputes during the game because someone had to be there to perform the task in the inevitable times that players disagreed, either with each other or the DM. This meant that the DM many times had to rule against his own pieces, and needed to be someone who was bent more towards story teller than rules lawyer in their position. Magic Items and stat lines also played a much lesser part of the game in 2nd than it did in the 3e generation of games. Your stats could only reach 18, and it was amazing when Dark Sun introduced the player character stat of 20 as something easily attainable, instead of something that only monsters had.

My version saw so much more use

My version saw so much more use

I know that all of that looks like I have rose colored glasses on, but that’s not true. I saw the need, and still do, for 3e to come along. D&D had been around in the same form for just over a decade and had seen a vast shift in both popularity and the way players played the game. It was overburdened by sourcebooks, rules and piles of options that didn’t mean anything in the overall scheme of the game or of roleplaying in general. Handicapping yourself is only useful if its fun, and many of the games options were either so optimal that no other options could exist, or so terrible that taking it wasn’t an option. Towards the end of the games life span characters had gotten so out of control that even the might dragons were not a challenge to many of the characters in the game. Finally, many rules were simply outdated and ignored. I cannot remember a time when we restricted character class, level or HP. We rolled Hit dice until the character stopped gaining levels. Optional rules like Multi-classing and Dual Classing were taken as given rules with no way around it, and characters were often “created” with multiple 18’s using tons of randomly rolled stat blocks because anything less than a 16 in any given stat wasn’t going to do you any good.

3rd, by contrast, is a numbers game. There are plenty of ways to make fun, enigmatic, fluffy characters, but by and large was driven by the numbers. Monsters HP was out of this world. Armor class and to hit bonuses became unlimited. Magic Items became the staple way of making sure that your character kept pace with the monsters of the world. Everything in the book became numbers driven and most choices a character could make were combat numbers. Combat and non-combat skills were combined into a single pool for simplicity sake and non-combat choices were nearly always shunned for the combat choices. What good was it to have +2 on Tumble and Acrobatics checks if you didn’t take that +2 to hit feat and got smurshed by a monster in the first two adventures. The game also had a rule for everything, and plenty of them. This change was the most insidious, as it was the one sunk its tendrils in the deepest and is the hardest to excise. who doesn’t want the game to be fair to all players, across all classes. Who wants to have an argument with the DM about how your character could totally jump that 25 foot chasm. Now, you have a rule for all of it. Everything in its place, and a place for everything. But, as I found out, that is not what happens. Instead, it erodes the DM’s ability to tell a great story. Players become “empowered” to show you the rule book and show you “right here” were the rules say that they can do this. With all the rules in place, and the game build for balance, you start accepting that they players can do whatever they want and you become, instead of a storyteller, and adversary. I tried to build the nastiest encounters and drive my players to the edge every time because that’s how the rules worked. I had become a slave to the rules, and it was terrible. I never had less fun DMing than at the end of 3rd.

one of my favorite editions

one of my favorite editions

I won’t only harp on the downsides of 3rd though they are many and varied. There is also a staggering amount of fantastic groundbreaking work that was done with the 3rd edition system. Player choice, once stifled behind arbitrary limits, was unleashed. Prestige classes and feats were invented to let players advance their character with options beyond their first level, and the games popularity skyrocketed. The monster manual became less a puzzle box and more of a tool box with simple, tweakable encounter creator mechanics and clear challenge ratings for the monsters. Classes such as the Barbarian, the Bard, the Warlock and the Monk became part of the core concept of D&D instead of some shunted away option. It was a glorious time to play the game, but as more stones were added to the mountain, it became harder to feel you were doing the right thing.

5th grabs the best of both of those philosophies and consolidates them into a system that, at first read through, embraces the best of both worlds. Gone are the bonus types of third edition, and there is no mention of how bonuses work together: they just do. The corollary to that, though, is that most of the bonuses to hit are gone as well, replaced with either advantage (roll two, take the better) or extra HP. Damage seems to have taken a few steps back, as well, with most bonus damages reigned in. Gone is the insane complexities that come from having negative HP, replaced with the death saves. Saving throws have undergone change again and are based on the action causing them, not static, or even deterministic stats. Options abound, with each class having between 2-9 archetypes to choose from to customize their class. Oh, and there are 12 classes: Fighter, Monk, Rogue, Wizard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard, Druid, Cleric, Barbarian, Paladin, and Ranger! Stats are a big part of the game, determining many of your actions, but are capped off at 20. Armor class has become more reasonable than 3rd, and more understandable than 2nd. Magic Items have finally taken a back seat to the character class itself, and from the complete absence of their mention I assume they are not as necessary.  Measurements are made in feet, and the game makes no mentions of the figures and models, making the game more accessible and easier to adjudicate for those on the fly fights. The game is definitely worth picking up and giving a read through, though the $50.00 price tag is a touch steep. I look forward to giving the game a few spins, and may even talk more about the classes as I go along discovering what I can and cannot do with he game.

Though I am excited to play the game, I do have to say I am still wary of what it could turn into. I was all gung-ho for 4th, and I feel burned from the game. Its not a terrible game, when taken in a vacuum, but it is most assuredly not a RPG. I really hope my enjoyment of 5e isn’t misplaced. If it is, I probably won’t play another Wizards RPG  ever again.

 

 

The fifth edition of D&D has released the first of the three core books, the Players Handbook,  to WPN retailers and the Gencon audience, with a full release to come tomorrow, 8/19. Picking this book up on Friday has really rekindled my interest in filling out my world, and I think putting it out here for suggestions and comments will be extremely helpful.

Continue reading

This weeks Battle report is brought to you by No Pictures. Because I completely forgot, so bear with me. It is also really long, but that’s because the game was long.

As I do most Thursday evenings, I took a trip to a friends house and got a game of Warmachine in. A few of us have recently decided to turn the dial up a bit, and I got to run against a pretty nasty Stryker II force.

Stryker II+5
*Ol' Rowdy9
*Lancer
6
*Squire2
Storm Tower2
Journeyman Warcaster3
Stormcaller1
Archduke Alain Runewood3
*Cyclone9
Horgenhold Forgeguard (10)8
*Jonas Murdoch2
Storm Lances (5)11
56

I brought my typical Thexus List

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephaly Overlords4
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Tactical Arcanist Corps4
*Cephalyx Dominator1
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Machine Wraith1
Machine Wraith1
55

I was concerned because he had the Storm Lances in the list, and they can kill around 5 infantry models a model a turn, given perfect circumstances, and I just wasn’t ready to have that happen to me. Ol’ Rowdy’s Guard Dog ability made me worry about hitting Stryker with my Wreckers, as Def 18 is no slouch. The Stormtower will always give me fits, as anything that chains damage into my Cephalyx models causes me no end of fits. Stryker himself is also a problem as he has 17″ of threat, but I have a 16″ control area to make sure I keep him at arms length. The final problem comes from the Cyclone, a model that tends to give me no end of grief, as its 7″ of area denial is pretty massive.

The table is set up with a building on the far left center-line,  a rocky forest on the far right center-line, walls to the center-left of each players board, with a hill on my center right inches from my deployment zone, and a forest dead center and about an inch out of his. We rolled up Two Fronts as our scenario, and I won the dice off, choosing first turn.

I really think that first turn is crucial to the Cephalyx Army, and I will give up slightly advantageous board position to get it. All of the models that will need to do work have trouble with Terrain and have been given a gentleman’s speed 5. To me, this means that I need to get out and into the board as quickly as possible in order to even threaten scenario. Seeing as Thexus is a pretty miserable scenario caster (more on that later) First turn, to me, is a huge boon.

He keeps the side he is sitting at, and we get moving.

Deployment:
Cephalyx
I go for the strong center, because its my default setup. I’ve become pretty solid at deploying my forces to take and hold the center while scaring off any jack-based flanking forces. Thexus to the center, with the Mind bender to my left, and the mind slaver to the right. I then interweave the drudges from both units in ranks two deep, alternating units. The fourth spot in each front line is dedicated to Agitators. At the edge of each line, terrain permitting, is a Wrecker, and beyond that I have the Pistol and Machine Wraiths. This deployment is mirrored, so both sides have the same threats. In the center behind Thexus is the Warden and another Agitator. The overlords take up positions behind Thexus and one in the center, behind each wing.

Cygnar
He goes for a strong central presences, as both the scenario zones are between pieces of terrain that make the zones hard to flank. Stryker, Ol’ Rowdy, Squire, Runewood, Journeyman and the Cyclone are in the center. To each flank is a full unit, with the Cavalry taking the left, and Jonas and his Horgenhold the right with the lone Stormsmith.

 

Advanced Deployment
With no AD for the Swans, Thexus tossed the Dominator and the TAC in the center, as was his desire. A first turn run, followed by smoke on the second turn tend to be my opening moves.

This guy was comin' for me!

This guy was comin’ for me!

Turn 1
The first turn is simple, with each of us running forward and jockeying for position on the scenario zones. Both my Wreckers angle center-ward, as his big models seemed clustered there, with my agitators following behind. The Drudges ran forward to screen the monstrosities from the worst of it. I tried to keep my Cephalyx from being to close to anything, but its extremely hard with 30+ models. Both Wraith pairs flanked wide.His entire army rolled forward, and the Cav were going to get into the game soon, what with running 16″. Strykery was a bit cautious and ended his turn behind a wall, but the rest of the moved inwards, looking to create a place where Stryker would be safe and still threaten Thexus due to velocity.

Turn 2. 
Cephalyx
I got into the tank, and I am not ashamed of it. Stryker’s feat is coming next turn, and I am going to have to eat it on the chin. Figuring out who get smashed is a big conundrum, and it takes me a few to sort it out in my head. Eventually, I settle into an acceptance, and start to move forward. The first to move are the TAC. There was once a time I thought that using them to protect the shooting elements of my army would be valuable, after a few games of trying to figure it out in my head, its just  not. I do, however, gladly pay their price for a single turn of clouds followed by bonus whatever happens next. The TAC drop clouds and brace for impact. I know that they are going to be charged by the Storm Lances, and that its going to hurt, a lot. I want to make sure I feed as few enemy models to the initial charge as I can, while also trying to deny him a deep-push feat. I can’t give him the 6″ between my troops that I would like for them to play safe, but I also can’t just hand him a complete target selection. I decide to layer my Mind Slaver drudges to eat as many of the electroleaps, feat attacks and other ancillary garbage as I can, leaving many of my models a touch farther behind. The Wrecker on my left, sensing no threats, touches into the zone with the Machine Wraith and the Pistol wraith, wary of Jr and Runewoods threat range. The Mind Bender drudges move up and take central positions with Agitators and overlords, with the second Pistol Wraith taking shots at the lancer, missing his first and failing to death chill. The machine wraith worked his way around to try and threaten the Lancer next turn from advancing for fear of being possessed. The wrecker, fearing a charge from anything in the world and needing to clean up if necessary, shuffled just a few inches and maintained presence threat on the zone. With my feat and TK, I could threaten to the other end of the zone and more.

Cygnar
My opponent when into the tank for a few minutes, but came out quicker than I did, and started moving on his plan. The Lancer, unhindered by last turns flub on the part of the Pistol Wraith. The Forgeguard, with Runewoods aid, charged the Pistol Wraith as well as a set of drudges, clearing them all from the board. The Storm Lances went in next, blowing up all three of the TAC as well as a number of Drudges behind them. The Cyclone moved up and dropped covering fire near the Lances to protect them from the infantry to my right.The Storm Tower was out of range, and the Stormsmith didn’t roll enough damage to kill. Ol’ Rowdy positioned himself slightly off center of the battle lines. Strkyer moved forward and dropped Rebuke on the Mind Benders through the Lancer. I thought it was much more devastating than it was, as both the Concussion Pulse and the Adrenal Flood are * actions, not * attacks. He then popped his feat. Once everything was finished, he started on his feat actions. He moved a pair of the Storm Lances forward, killing more drudges with both the melee attacks and the Electroleaps. Some Forgeguard moved forward to attack hapless drudges while the rest maneuvered into position for the next turn.

Thexus!

Thexus!

Turn 3
Cephalyx
I had taken it on the chin, and I’d lost a bit more of the drudges than I wanted, but I felt I was doing ok. It was feat time, and I was rearing to go. After a minute of thought, I dropped three focus on to the leftmost wrecker and kept the rest for myself. Thexus lead the charge himself, moving to get the most models into his control area while also maintaining no closer than 15″ from Stryker. I then activated my feat, and started going to town. He’d moved the Storm Smith in my way the last turn, and I moved him backwards, enabling me to move the Lancer to the left towards my Machine Wraith, now positively within 8″. I drug the majority of the forgeguard forward and out of defensive line, making them easier to kill, and the Storm Lances were clumped together, one of them even taking damage from a covering fire template I moved him through. Everyone else just moved around to make it a bit more difficult for my opponent next turn. My feat finished, I TK‘d myself outside of Strykers threat range, and TK‘d the left Wrecker within charge range of the closest Storm Lance. I activated the left most Agitator to give the mind bender drudges the Incite buff, and then those very same drudges went to town, leaving not a single frontline Forgeguard alive and using a single Adrenal Flood on the final Mind Slaver Drudge. There was going to be retaliation from the 5 in the rear, but I could deal with that. The Adrenal Flooded Drudge moved in for an attack, dealing 4 to the unfortunate Cavalry model. The Wrecker, all cleared and ready to go, charged in for free due to aggressive reaction. I made my first attack roll and cringed, I’d forgotten to activate the Agitator first. Sticking with it, I kept going. Thankfully, attack after attack hit and killed, leaving only a single, undamaged Storm Lance left. Needing 7’s to hit and 8’s to kill, it was a lucky streak. With most of his front line dead, I moved my support pieces into place so that I could continue pressuring him next turn, with the pistol wraith aggressively moving into the backfield, and the Machine Wraith gunning for Runewoods cyclone on the left flank, and taking over the Lancer on the right. The right flank wrecker and subduer moved forward into more threatening and active positions.

Cygnar
The turn started off pulling one from the Squire and keeping the 7 for himself. Stryker was going to need to get his hands dirty. With the left flank wrecker within easy charge range of Stryker, and already damaged from channeling TK, it wasn’t going to be easy, but it needed to be done. Stryker overcharged for a single die, gaining +4 STR, while also taking 2 damage: a fantastic exchange. He then charged the Wrecker. Needing 3’s to hit and doing straight dice damage, the Wrecker was in the dirt after 5 attacks, leaving 3 focus on Stryker. Ol’ Rowdy ran over to Stryker to give him +2 DEF to melee attacks, and the Cyclone moved in to cover Stryker as well, moving down the last Mind Bender Drudge. Taking that mat 11 pow 19 attack off the board was vital for Stryker’s survival. Jr moved over and cast Arcane Shield on the Forgeguard, who then charged forward, eliminating the entire line of Mind Bender Drudges that had killed their compatriots the turn before, as well as slamming an Overlord, though the attack failed to kill him. The final Storm lance, now free, charges into an overlord, the Mind Slaver Leader and a Mind Bender Drudge, leaving only the drudge alive.  Runewood move forward, and the Storm tower fired into the drudges,killing another pair. The Stormsmith summoned lighting to blow away an Agitator, while the rest of the army consolidated.

This Models Kill Count: Butcher 3, Reznik 2.

This Models Kill Count: Butcher 3, Reznik 2.

Turn 4
Cephalyx
I could smell blood, but it wasn’t going to be easy. Along my path to victory were 4 Forgeguard, and I had to to still kill Stryker at the end of it all, no easy task at def 18 arm 19. I allocated 1 to the Subduer, 3 to the Wrecker, and kept 4 for Thexus. I started the turn running the Subduer, wary that I only had 2″ of play between counter charge from Ol’ Rowdy and the range of TK, to within TK range of Stryker, ending up .5″ out of counter charge range.I use the Lancer to go tie up the Storm Tower, hoping to hit but failing.  I then activate Thexus and go to TK Stryker, picking up my 2″ mover before I am reminded that I need to hit. I am at a crossroads here. If I boost to hit, I cannot TK my Wrecker, who I think needs the distance to get the charge off. If I can hit unboosted, I get the charge on Stryker, and I can probably win. Without it, its a lot harder, but Stryker will definitely be TK‘d. I boost, hit and TK him, backwards, in front of the Wrecker, while also making the mistake to keep him in base with Ol’ Rowdy. Sitting on my final focus, I also forget to move backwards, keeping me about 15″ from Stryker. I move the Machine Wraith up and take over the Cyclone, and I use the Pistol Wraith to kill Jr, and then use his soul to kill Runewood, Stripping of Arcane Shield from the Forgeguard. In order to clear the lane, I grab my overlords and start spraying down the line of Forgeguard, and manage to take all but one out on the first spray, needing 8’s to kill. The second overlord, who’d wanted to spray off the squire, has to turn his attention to the remaining dwarf, and melts his brain, killing him and clearing the path for the Wrecker. I move an Agitator up, trying to keep myself out of a counter charge lane, and start instigating. The Wrecker takes up his chains, and prepares to finish off the enemy ‘Caster, but judging the distance turns out to be finicky, and I don’t think its 10″ between the two models. Instead, I charge the Squire, for free again thanks to Aggressive Reaction. With a MAT of 7, I need 7’s to kill it and move on to Stryker, who was just out of 10″. I miss. My second bought attack hits, killing it, and I move up, engaging Stryker and Ol’ Rowdy. My first attack connects, after a boosted to hit, and I beat him out of base with Rowdy, lowering his defense to 14 and also doing 4 damage. The final attack also connects and the dice come up 6, leaving Stryker on 5. As a final last ditch effort, my final Agitator sprays Stryker, but leaves him alive.

This guy was almost the death of me!

This guy was almost the death of me!

Cygnar
Now, the blood is in my opponents nose. He activates Rowdy, moves forward and uses Tremor to free up Stryker from the Wrecker, who is now knocked down. Only a single model stands between Stryker and Thexus now, and Murdoch is happy to oblige his officer by shooting the Cephalyx in the face, killing it. Stryker then uses 3 points on a velocity to get the charge angle and charges Thexus. He has three focus, four attacks, and is doing straight dice damage. I have resigned myself to my fate, as the floating atrophied body can’t take a whole lot of punishment and has no real way to protect itself. 14/14 with 15 wounds just isn’t the way I need to be. Strykers charge attack misses. Undaunted, he swings again, connecting for 7, and again, connecting for 5, leaving Thexus with three. The final swing comes down, and misses, leaving Stryker out of focus in front of Thexus, but Thexus only has three HP. The last Storm Lance eats a free strike on his way to try and finish Thexus off, but the Mind Bender Drudges free strike manages to kill the Cavalry model by 1 extra point, saving Thexus from certain death.

Turn 5
Cephalyx
I am staring down a madman with a sword, and my worthless atrophied ass can’t do a damned thing about it. Stryker is Def 16, ARM 16 innately, and I have MAT 5 POW 9 weapons. Even with 8 focus, its just not realistic to expect 5 damage. After my first attack, it would take 3 focus to do 4 damage, with a huge possibility of failure. I mull it over for a few seconds before my buddy mentions Hex Blast as I reach for Warroom. Its an AOE, so I have to move back, but its a POW 13 with MA 8, a sight higher chance of killing. I mull over the choices and decide that I’ll just flat out boost it all around, and it works. Stryker, after a long, awesome game, is in the dirt, and Thexus gets to float away, barely, to live another day.

Warmachine Tactics had an update today, and I have mixed emotions due to it. One on hand, all of the backers will be getting a beta key very soon, but on the other hand the release of the single player missions will be delayed until at least November.

I get to play Tactics now, and I am excited! I get to play against people all over the place, and might even be able to set up some games with people I know. I am also looking forward to making suggestions and changes to the game.when I wastTalking with Jay at Lock and Load, he made me realize they are looking for every stupid suggestion and every idea and thought. Everything is taken seriously, even to the point that he took notes while we were just having a friendly conversation.

That joy is tempered by the fact that we will miss the target launch date, and not by a small amount of time. Originally set for an ambitious August release, I had backed the game specifically for the single player content, and was not very interested in the multiplayer aspect of the game, as I have a largely established and consistent real life playgroup.  The announcement that they will be delaying the release of No Mans Land and the subsequent Fire and Ice and Dark Seduction first player missions is disappointing, but not something unexpected, honestly, and I am going to keep confidence that they’ll put out missions that are fun, balanced, and engaging with only minor bugs. That confidence will only last so long, and though this is only the first delay, If the product keeps getting pushed back until there isn’t anything resembling the time frame they expected, I’ll be more than a little upset. But kickstarter isn’t something I expect to even be close to on time, really. I can’t think of a scenario in our modern times where you hear about a product being on time and under budget, and kickstarter is no different.

I am looking forward to trying out Cryx in multiplayer. I want to see the differences in play style and feel, but I also want to see how long the games take. I have limited interruption-free time, and I would love to visit the digital realm of Warmachine,  even if it is a beta of a game that’s not really like Warmachine in a way that I can really get better at it.

And, remember, this is a true beta. I’ve heard horror stories about how its not ready for release, and its very slow, unoptimized and buggy. I think thats the point, really. This is the first beta in a long time that really goes for its name, and that is OK with me. The more people that they can get looking at the game and trying to break it wide open, the more likely they are to find a bunch of problems and fix them before the game hits the virtual shelves.

I’ll be standing by, checking my spam and inboxes for my beta key, and I’m going to look to get a few games in here and there. Look me up when you get a chance!

Feel free to subscribe via Email at the top of the page, and follow me on twitter, where I ramble about games!

Every year during con season, and especially before Gencon, there is a  storm of information around  each company, and what they are going to release. With Gencon right around the corner, we are starting to become overloaded with cool things coming out.

I’ll start with a game that I don’t follow at all, but I have heard has a huge following, some game called X-wing. They are releasing an Epic Scale, if you will, game called Armada, and it looks potentially really cool. I like the concept of spaceship naval and dogfighting, and I would really like a game that enables me to play out that type of fleet action. The starter box is pretty cool, I’m not going to lie, with three capital ships, one of which is a Star Destroyer, and a quartet of fighter squadrons, but if the game really doesn’t get past that size, I’ll loose interest exceedingly fast. I want something big, massive, and fun. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one!

Next, Malifaux has released its list of box sets, Nightmare model, and Miss-model that it will be releasing this year.

Lookit alla that!

Lookit alla that!

Wyrd has been converting its entire product line over to plastic since the introduction of M2E, and this is yet another step along the way, with new, plastic, sculpts and crew boxes for Lucius, Zorida, Kirai, Von Schill, the Dreamer, and Ophelia. Also, for each Gencon, they produce a nightmare model that is a huge, alternate sculpt of one of their current models. This year they’ve decided to go with the Whiskey Golem, and I can’t really blame them! It is huge, awesome, and completely insane. Finally, as a treat for all the people picking up these models as pre-releases, every year they have a Miss-model – something you get free at a certian threshold of dollars spent. This year, they have a fantastic looking Alt. Teddy, Miss Ery.

BadTeddyRender If I played anyone who could use Teddy, I’d be all over that. Instead, there is nothing that really grabs me this year, so I’ll just wait for neat things to come out for my limited palette of models.

Infinity, too, is releasing a convention model, though I don’t know whether or not its their first time. Its gaining a lot of talk about its appropriateness, which I don’t care one way or the other about, but the model is at least passable. I don’t think the model looks particularly like the model. I also don’t play a faction that can field her, so her view on my radar is small.

Infinity Cosplay Model

Infinity Cosplay Model

 

In addition to this model, they will also have a Penthesilea Bootleg for prerelease. The bootleg line of models are supposed to be a botique style model that is made in the sculptors spare time, with an eye towards fun and beauty. The new Kum bike on her is pretty awesome, but again its not a model I can use, so it sits in the realm of neat, but not to interested

PenthesileaBootleg

Bootleg model for Gencon

Not to be left out, Relic Knights, in conjunction with Secret Weapon Miniatures, is releasing a line of colored Esper crystals. While I think they are cool, and people will definitely find a use for them, I just can’t.

Espers!

Espers!

Honestly, I think they are really, really cool, I just won’t ever use ’em

Finally, we come to the game I’ve been concentrating on for the greater part of a year now, Warmachine and Hordes. They have a trend of having big releases at Gencon, and this year the rumor mill is churning that the new Hordes book, Exigence, will be available for the purchasing, and there are tons of whispers about what it will contain. As the event comes closer and closer, we get more and more information about the next work, and even have a few tidbits from the mouth of PP itself, and with PP abandoning its long-used concurrent release concept for a more asymmetric style anything is possible.  We’ve already been privy to a pile of rules: Lesser Warlocks Zaadesh, Una, and Horgle; the Moonhound Argus and Rotterhorn Griffon, Dozer and Smigg, Borka, Vengeance of the Rimeshaws, and Fyanna the Lash. We’ve seen a combination of model, art, and concept sketch on Bradigus Thorle, A Character Satyr, Xerxis on a Rhino, a Strange Skorne Bug, Beetle Warbeast Pack, Epic Absylonia, Zuriel, Wasp Warbeast Pack, Jagga Jagga, Maximus, Meat Grinder, Sacral Vault, Swamp Gobber River Pirates,  Helga the Conquerer,  Brightblades, Neraph, and unpainted models of Troll Bandits.

Thats a TON of models with no rules or even hints, and I think that’s really, really cool. There were a ton of models that we knew everything about before the book even came out for Vengeance, and a lot of people were upset, almost as many as were exceedingly happy! Leading up to Gencon, as I said, we have some spoilers as well that have appeared. Some are substantiated, and others, well, believe for yourself

  • New Skorne Unit, Praetorian Keltarii, hinted at buy the Exigence Cover, and revealed in a Picture

    New Skorne Unit!

    New Skorne Unit!

  • Bradigus Thorle has Synergy and Wold-only Battlegroup
  • an enormous pastebin of crazy rules
  • Helga the Conqueror has Dash and Defenders Ward

Even Privateer, though, can’t resist releasing limited edition miniatures for Gencon, and just a few days ago revealed that they will have their pinup model this year as well. The Blighted Bather, a blighted Nyss bathing in a Spawning vessel. I do have to say the Shredder duckie is awesomely cute!

Blood Bath!

Blood Bath!

We’ll see what else comes out at Gencon, and whats proved unfounded. I look forward to it, and all the insanity it brings!

A while back I mentioned that Infinity was going to have a new version of their game come out this year, and over the last few weeks, their has been a flurry of activity around what these changes will bring.

Infinity is sticking to the time tested version of edition change, and has already done all the work. Unlike Warmachine, Malifaux, D&D and numerous Kickstarters, there will be no public beta test of this edition. I think this is a bold move, in the modern age of minis games, but not one without its perks. The game is built buy a Spanish language company, but a large portion of its community are decidedly not. While this includes the USA, it has a broad appeal across Europe. This has created problems with translation to other languages, including English, obscuring the original intent of rules. The decision not to let the community test the product signals confidence in the product that they have,  it also signals that they don’t feel they need the community input to make a balanced, enjoyable game. It also shows that they feel they have achieved a very solid translation, and I hope that they have achieved that goal. I think one of the defining traits of a good minis game is the tightness of the rules set, and Infinity, while good, has a ton of growing room in the clarity department. I don’t like arguing over obscure or strangely interpreted rules in any system. I have high hopes for N3, something I try to keep myself from doing.

These are the changes I have found and/or been exposed to:

  • Combat Camo – What used to be an unopposed shot will now be an opposed shot, but the target suffers a -3 penalty on their return fire. Almost all the math shows that this is a nearly lateral change. Before, you could only shoot back, with no penalty, if the sniper completely missed, you now get a chance to defend yourself, but with a penalty. While it is a lateral change, it does make the game easier to explain and more enjoyable to the defender due to rolling v. not rolling.
  • Capped Modifiers: Supposedly, all modifiers are being capped at +12 and -12. I don’t think this is incredibly common, but in a game that can stock mods, making shots impossible is something to try and avoid.
  • Ranges are being changed, and though I don’t get the particulars and nuances of the numbers, many people smarter than me are extremely enthused. Changes of note
    • Double effective range of grenades, from 0-4″ to 0-8″
    • Double the bonus of the shotgun at short range (+6) which is the only gun to achieve the +6
    • HMG’s have reduced good ranges, making other guns stronger chouces.
    • Sniper Rifles are stronger at long range than they are now, and also the penatly maxes at -3, which X-Visors ignore.
  • Climbing: Climbing is now a long skill that does not require a roll, no longer being betrayed by the dice and plummeting to your death.
  • Discover gets a minor range buff, now being +0 at 8-36″
  • Measurement: Ranges are now measured from Edge to Edge, instead of Center to Edge.
  • Silhouette LOS – When determining LOS from/to a model, you may use a pre-determined silhouette instead of true LOS.
  • Inaction: A rule that allows you to activate a trooper/model but they don’t do anything. It just forces an opponent to declare ARO’s
  • MSV1:  reduces combat camo and TO camo by -3
  • Kinematika is a new skill, that adds 1 inch further with every ARO Dodge, and has levels
  • BTS: is now a positive stat, like all the rest.
  • Smoke: A model touching smoke is considered part of the smoke cloud its touching. I assume that it simply means that he is completely concealed, not that his base can conceal others.
  • And, my favorite change:
  • Loss of Lieutenant – The loss of your LT will no longer cripple your order pool and loose you a turn. Instead, each model becomes Irregular, only able to spend orders on themselves. Using the LT order will now also reveal the LT. You also get an auto-promote of a new LT
  • The dispersion template has been changed in N3 too, it now has ten scatter directions instead of eight – the 9/10 and 2/3 results have been ungrouped.
  • Finally, there are some significant changes to models points and stats here, but they are of factions that I don’t really understand the significance.

I got in another Thursday game, and more practice with Thexus as well.

A buddy of mine stopped in to my local game store, and he was bringing a list I’d not seen before. I’d played against Reznik II twice before, and thought that I had seen what the list could put out. I was wrong.

This is the list he brought.

Reznik, Wrath of Ages+4
*Devout5
*Hierophant2
Avatar11
Choir (4)2
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord2
The Covenant of Menoth2
Vassal of Menoth2
Daughters of the Flame (6)5
Exemplar Vengers (3)7
Holy Zelots (10)6
*Monolith Bearer2
Temple Flameguard (10)6
*Officer and Standard2
54

When I looked at it, I didn’t think it looked like anything nasty, but when we got started, ho boy!

I brought the same list I’ve brought the last few fights, and I’ve still found no real reason to change other than order of operations issues.

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephaly Overlords4
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Tactical Arcanist Corps4
*Cephalyx Dominator1
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Machine Wraith1
Machine Wraith1
55

We were playing Fire support, and I won the roll off. I took first turn, and he decided to take the table edge with a hill to make me squeeze my army between a forest and a house. It worked pretty well.

Deployment:

IMG_20140731_193508_075

Sorry for the Blur, I had yet to eat dinner.

I took the initiative and ran almost everything forward in an attempt to get past the house and woods and as far into the scenario as I could to contest what I could. I didn’t think I’d be taking the scenario anytime soon, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to be surprised and fall down in points early on. Both Scenario areas where in terrible areas, in forests, and I knew I wasn’t going to be easily contesting them for long.

He, however, took the bull by the horns and rammed it down my throat. Zealots popped Greater Destiny and ran forward, the Temple Flameguard popped Iron Zeal and ran forward, gaining tough from the book. The Daughters of the Flame, who he’d started to deploy towards the center, but rethought and put them further on the flank, opened up and ran down the flank. The Vengers shored up the flank of the Temple Flameguard, and Reznik moved forward to the hill, claiming the only defense bonus he can. He then casts Deathmarch on the Temple Flamguard, after which the Avatar runs forward, and the Devout moves up and places Spell Barrier on Reznik. The Piper toughs the Flameguard, and the Covenant moved forward and placed no-knockdown in place.

Turn two starts up and I go into the tank. There is only about a foot of playable space between the two forests, and Reznik’s feat is coming up next turn, so I have to be careful. The Cephalyx have a ton of linchpin solos and unit leaders, and I just can’t risk them getting exploded, as they inevitably will, from the feat. I mull over trying to get some kills in, but I just don’t think it is going to work. In the end, I commit as best I can, and hope that my army doesn’t get obliterated. Both Drudge units move in and spread out the best they can, and the Agitators move up and in, trying to stay away from other models. The TAC and the Dominator move forward and cloud up, extending the cover against his zealots as best I can from my left forest. One Machine Wraith runs to engage a Venger, and the Pistol Wraith falls back on the right flank, while on the left, the Pistol Wraith and Machine Wraith advance to hold the forest. I hold back the monstrosities, feeling I need them for the inevitable counter-strike I am going to have to commit to after my drudges are blown off the field. I even Hex Blasted Deathmarch off of the Temple Flameguard for good measure. I felt that there was nothing but holding my breath, seeing how much of his army he could eliminate that turn.

IMG_20140731_202639_627

Game State, Mid turn 2 for Reznik

After my turn, however, he had to go into the tank himself. My clouds made it hard to draw LOS to my army, and the TAC are immune to fire, meaning that his feat could not damage them. Reznik was also a bit bottled up by the two units he had, so he couldn’t get deep enough with the feat to get the juicy parts. Unexpected Luck on my part. Thankfully, the Zealots have Firebombs that the TAC are immune to as well, which blocked out a key part of their plan, and allowed a large portion of my army to be safe from the bombs. His Temple Flameguard Charged into the Cephlyx upfront and managed to miss everything that wasn’t a drudge, though feat explosions followed and killed a few more drudges. His Vengers Followed in and also, somehow, managed to fail to kill every one of their targets, including those under the feat. He did do a pile of damage to the objective, though that’s no consolation. His Daughters charged into the right flank and killed everything they touched. Def 11 arm 15 is no defense against Mat 6 and Anatomical Precision. The Avatar and the Devout took up position to counter-attack, as well as putting up Spell Barrier. I’d lost almost an entire unit to the feat, and that was a bad feat for him. I am not a fan.

His feat was done, and he’d eliminated my entire front line that wasn’t the TAC. My Incorporeal remained, including the Wraith that had done 4 damage to a Venger. I was ready to go onto the counter offensive. I moved a few pieces here and there that had no bearing on Thexus or freed up room for him and moved in, popping my feat on nearly every model. I used the Telekinetic tide to set up clumps of models ready for fireballs, charging TAC and sprays. I then TK‘d the grey (not purple) Wrecker forward and the purple wrecker out of the woods, sitting on 1 focus after having allocated the grey hulk 3. Using the overlords, I sprayed down the tough Temple Flameguard and the Vengers. My opponent didn’t pass a single tough check, amazingly, but two of his Vengers survived the onslaught, one with 1 hp and one untouched.Using the Pistol Wraith, I took down a flameguard with his inital, and using the soul, boosted damage on the one wound Venger to kill him.  I then Charged the TAC into the bunched up Zealots, hitting, flamebursting, and fireballing almost all of them to death. The Pistol Wraith took aim at the Avatar and managed to Death Chill him, something I am notoriously unreliable for. The remaining drudges moved forward and attacked what they could, though my center had, outside of the TAC, completely collapsed. I moved the Agitator behind my army to try and get rid of the pesky Daughters that had come onto my flank. Through the agitator and some extra sprays, I was able to eliminate half the unit, but the other half was ready to strike into my guts. I dropped the gray Wrecker off, and through a series of bounces and beatbacks, was finally able to get to Reznik. Without an Agitator, I was unlikely to hit, but eventually connected on the last attack and did five damage.

His counterattack was swift and brutal, smiting the right flank Pistol Wraith, using creators Wrath to crush the Wrecker in front of him, and sending two Daughters into Thexus. See, the thing about Thexus is that he’s not so good in combat. Two boosted POW 11’s to him will remove his face. Fortunately, only one was boosted, though it did 8 damage. The second needed an 11 or 12 to kill, and thankfully came up short, but I knew that I had to take Reznik out next turn if I was to live. My opponent had mentioned, though, that if the daughters killed me, it would be the shittiest way to end a game. I Disagree. Running those Daughters down that flank, where I was unable to toss good spells at them or really do anything about them was an excellent move that I legitimately had no answer for. If he would have won at that moment he would have deserved every ounce of credit.  He then pushed the Devout forward because of the Machine Wraith, but forward was actually do my detriment. The Covenent sang his spell of no songs, and he passed the turn over to me.

Before my final turn

Things look bleak for Thexus,  but they looked up for the Cephalyx as a whole. There was no good way for him to rid himself of the Daughters and win the game at the same time. While that’s fine for gameplay, I am sure that somewhere, Thexus is deeply appreciative of that fact. The big scrum in the plan was the Covenant. It was prohibiting half of my army from doing its job, and I wasn’t taking kindly to that. The Pistol Wraith moved up and tagged it once, missing the other attack. Two Drudges moved forward, both through the power of Mind Benders and their own volition, and took an attack apiece, both connecting. I it was at this time that I realized that I didn’t need the damned thing dead, I had a different path I could take. Instead of using the Agitator in the center of the board, and needing to kill the Covenant to instigate, I could use the agitator slightly right to get into range of the wrecker that would eventually end up on Reznik. I activated the TAC and took down the three center models, moving them and my self out of the way of the wrecker.Thanks to Battle Wizard, I was pretty free to determine the edge of the 10″ bubble from the Covenant, and moved the Agitator up and, hopefully, out of the no spell area. I was out, and Instigated away. I moved the Warden up to be within range of Arcing TK onto the Agitator, and took Thexus’ turn. I TK‘d the Wrecker, and TK‘d the Agitator into both 5″ of Reznik to be sure, and within the 10″ of the Covenant: Thankfully, it does not suppress spells already cast. The Wrecker then charged in, whiffing on the charge attack, and thus removing the chain attack, but hitting on the next two attacks, taking him down.

Thexus Wins via Assassination!

Thoughts

I am just going to say that if it wasn’t for the TAC, I would have lost this game hands down. Being Immune to both the feat and the Zealot bombs was huge, and them living to get both their flame burst and battle wizard off onto the enemy make an enormous difference in what my army was able to counter with. If I had played this game with something else (like Croe), all they would have done was die. I would have had my entire front line, and even deeper, removed from the board, with nothing to effectively counter him from doing a similar move on his next turn. Also, all of the abilities of the TAC revolve around the enemy being clustered, and I don’t think there is anyone who can force that like Thexus.  I cannot overstate the value that the TAC has on the army and its ability to withstand the early game punishment that it will inevitably take by eliminating avenues of sight. Similarly, if I had not had two wreckers, the game ends because he has enough durable models that I can’t keep up. The Avatar and the Vengers are hard to kill with my army without some doing, if I discount the Wreckers, who I almost always need for an assassination.

Maybe it is just me, but I really am unable to make the Mind Bender/Mind Slaver combo work, and its starting to get me down. I really think I need two units, but I don’t know where to dig up those extra two points. I could remove both the Pistol and Machine Wraith for a whole new min unit, but I feel that’s overkill. I am really enjoying Thexus, though, and his play style is crazy as hell. It is going to take me a dozen more games before I really feel comfortable with him, and there are still things I am learning about the army ever time I play. I look forward to my next game, and my next report.