As with the other XCOM articles, this contains my experiences from the game so will contain spoilers
See part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 in my XCOM: Enemy Within Discussion

I literally could not stop cheering. Bradford put the gun to the traitorous soldiers head, and the mission starts.

I’ve two soldiers pinned down in the globe room. They have the assistance of a couple XCOM security Guardsman, but otherwise, they are on their own.

While they are trapped, equipped as they are with the best gear that XCOM can buy, the Security Force holds no such advantage. Body armor, frag grenades and assault rifles will hold nothing to the firepower that the aliens are about to bring.

Warmachine Launches rockets

Warmachine Launches rockets

And bring it they do. Bradford instructs that the two trapped soldiers will have to hold off as best they can until the power generator, cut off in the attacks, can be brought back up online. That could take some time.

Great.

I am fortunate, however. The three soldiers trapped are Jaws, Bullet and Warmachine. With incredible accuracy on Jaws, a strong sniper in Bullet, and a vast array of explosives on Warmachine, I should be able to hold off the few aliens that the game throws at me the first turn. It even gives me a turn to prepare. I got this.
I could not have been more wrong. The game pans out Starts showing aliens dropping into the base just off screen.
A Mechtoid drops into the center of the room.
then a second.
Two Chryssalids.
A Muton Elite, a Muton, a beserker.
A second Muton Elite.
Jesus! Thankfully, Bradford is able to send in the Cavalry, and I get Big Red.

2013-12-22_00116

With the substantial amount of firepower I bring to bear, I am able to take out the first wave, but its not easy. I focus on the heavy hitters first: Mechtoids and Muton Elites. I know that they both can just wreak havoc on my position, as vulnerable as I am. But I’d also assumed something that I didn’t double check until much later in the mission: The aliens in this mission, unlike every other one, don’t drop in on overwatch. You can run all you like across the map to get to good position, and rightly so. The mission was very, very hard for me because I was under the impression that they were following the rules for the rest of the game, when clearly, they are not.

Once the power-crew is removed from the board, I deal with the lone Muton, and am able to reposition the one or two Security defense that have not acted. I pull back from the door that I know has Chryssalids and a Muton Berserker lurking just beyond my field of view, and put who I can on overwatch. That turn, the three aliens advance into the room, into what I thought would be a withering barrage of gunfire that, just, never emerges. However, I am able to remove all three from existence before the start of the next turn. I assume the aliens are going to bring more threats, so I try to take as much cover as possible. Whatever comes through that door, We will stand and fight.

And come through the door they did. Three Cyberdisks, three drones, two heavy floaters and a normal floater.
Whoo boy.

It was only turn four. While I slowly crush through the armor of the Cyberdisks, my forces keep coming through the door, every few turns. Grinder shows up shortly after Big Red, adding, literately, punch to my squad. A few turns later, Breaker shows up, and I learn a sad, sad lesson. My reinforcements come with whatever gear they had loaded last, which in Breakers case was a standard issue sniper rifle and body armor. We’ve come a long way since those times were good times, and he’s not going to live through anything, So I take care with placing him.

Unfortunately, he’s my last reinforcement. I’ve got a few Security guards, but they are quickly being overwhelmed, and I start using them as grenade lobbers, and not much else.

Just as Breakers strides in, Bradford alerts me that I’ve secured the globe room, but that their are more signals coming from the MEC Bay, conveniently located right next door.
Fantastic.
2013-12-22_00242
More Mechtoids, Sectoid Commanders and Sectoids later, I’ve cleared out the MEC Bay.

Now, there is one more wave. I get informed that the back entrance is now full of bad guys, and I’ve got to go clear THAT bay out.

Sectoid Commanders, Mechtoids, Cyberdisks, Drones and a Sectopod.
Have I told you how much I hate Sectopods?

I have a story.
In Enemy Unknown, there is a spot where you find two Sectopods, standing side by side, ready to rain death on your poor, unsuspecting heads. Its a brilliant trap that lost me a solider to its whiles in Classic/Normal. In C/I I was prepared though. Heavy Weapons Trooper with both Mayhem and Heat Ammo did the trick. Because I’d played the game before I knew where they’d be, Used Ghost armor to spot them and Blew the living tar out of them. Poor bastards only had a single HP left after that, and my squadsight sniper took care of that. No Problems.

Now, In Enemy Within, they’ve scaled back heat ammo. That is fine. Oh, and they gave Sectopods 50% damage reduction. Great. Just Great. not only is my best weapon gone, the giant turds are more durable. Just what I wanted. Now, they are difficult to take down in the best of situations.

Right. Back to Base defense.
I get to the final area, and there is a Mechtoid and a Sectoid Commander. The Mechtoids a threat, but the sectoid commander just can’t live. I drop him as soon as I can and drive into the final area. Unfortunately, there is a Sectopod hanging out right around the corner. UGH. So I shoot it with my sniper.
1 damage.
1 Damage.
Seriously!
Well, fine. I’ve got a Heavy Weapon.
1 Damage!
There is no way! None!
And then I realize: I must have damage roulette on. It explains the strange swingyness I’d seen earlier, but wrote off as rebalancing.
There, There… There’s no way. After pulling open the Second Wave options,though, there it is, staring me in the face. Damage Roulette.
*&*(^&$%&^$@#@@~!!!!!

The sectopod, thankfully, is also subject to Damage Roulette, and does 1 damage with his giant pulse cannon to my Sniper. The Mechtoid and the Cyberdisk don’t pose a challenge, but the Mechtoid gets what it had coming.

Finish Him!

Finish Him!


The mission ends, and I get a good rating.
I killed 43 aliens, it tells me. 43. I cannot remember a mission in which I got even close to that. The final mission of my first runthrough was close, I seem to remember, but not 43.

The base defense mission is the highlight of Enemy Within, for me. I don’t even care what comes after this.

I have one more after this: from after the base defense to the endgame. After that, I might do an Ironman runthrough, but it won’t be as detailed as this.

As with the other XCOM articles, this contains my experiences from the game so will contain spoilers
See part 1, part 2 and part 3 in my XCOM: Enemy Within Discussion

While I was busy with Exalt, the aliens were not letting up. Their assaults escalated quickly as the months when by with Secotids and Thin Men gave way to Heavy Floaters and Mutons, who eventually make room for Sectopods and Elite Mutons. The dangers of each mission grow as each enemy gets harder to kill with more HP, higher defenses, and greater consequences for failing to finish them off.

Outside of Exalt, the game progresses as I expect. I put off capturing a live alien as long as I can to get both the Gene Mod lab and the Cybernetics lab online, and while I lost all of Europe early, I lose only Mexico as the game progresses. Research remains slow and I am convinced that I am going to be overwhelmed at any moment by the ravening hordes of aliens come to conquer Earth. Abductions continue to cause panic across the globe, with Exalt continuing to fan the flames. Once I hit lasers, though, I feel I have reached the point of success. Even though the aliens might push me back here and there, I have the technology to take them down. I’m on the warpath.

I finish the Gene labs first, and start sending my soldiers under the knife as quickly as I can afoard. It takes the soldier out three days per mod, but its worth it. Thankfully, at the same time, I complete my satellite coverage of South America and get the “We Have Ways” perk which makes autopsies instant – relevant because most autopsies give me new gene mods.

I many games, I find I enjoy passive bonuses, and these gene mods are no exception. The ability to natively regenerate heath, get better aim and damage for higher ground, and having super jump are some of the coolest abilities. and not needing new buttons or activities to trigger them? Gorgeous.
The best, however, is Mimetic Skin.
Pulled from the autopsy of the new Seekers, Mimetic Skin allows you to go completely invisible if you end your movement in full cover. The concealment starts when you start your move, so you’ll be completely immune to overwatch shots, and won’t trigger aliens if you move into their view.. This can be a great boon to Assault troopers, who can get close and personal quicker, and to Snipers, who can move to position without getting shot in the head. Once its deactivated though (from shooting while in cover, or moving if aliens can see your position) it won’t reactivate until you’re in a new position. If you manage to get Low Profile, which makes all cover count as full, you can really make some crazy moves.
A close runner up, though, is Second Heart. A simple addition of another heart makes the affected soldier become critically wounded instead of die, removes the permanent Will penalty from becoming critically wounded, and adds two turns to the bleed out timer.
For a vanguard unit like Jaws, Its perfect. She’s been shot in the face so many times I can’t even describe, and now she doesn’t even care.

While I started with the Gene Labs, I was most impressed by the Cybernetics Lab. While my brothers style of play involves a fast-attack plan that involves massive use of Snapfire Snipers, Assault troopers, and combat Support, mine has always been a fire base plan of attack. The MECs fit this plan perfectly. Their guns do massive damage, and all of the upgrades that the MECs gets are useful. I think I have used each upgrade to save my squad one time or another.
Especially the flame thrower.
Oh man.

Big Red Lights 2 Elite Mutons and an Ethereal on fire, Panicking all three

Big Red Lights 2 Elite Mutons and an Ethereal on fire, Panicking all three

If the MEC’s weren’t so expensive, both in the valuable Meld and in actual credits, I’d consider a whole squad of them. They are durable, powerful, and versatile. Its everything I want in my troops.

The MEC troopers are their own class, but you choose who to volunteer for the procedures from your current roster of troops. That trooper will then undergo a few days of cybernetic augmentation in order to be fir to the MEC suits. Each soldiers former class brings along a special ability to the MEC class from their former life, and they keep their stats and level, unlocking the MEC tree to the point they had made in their prior class.
With Hidden Potential and Not Created Equally in play, you can, as I do, have two stunningly accurate MEC troopers.
Which is nothing but a boon. Their guns can do some massive damage, and having them be extremely accurate is just fantastic.

With laser weapons, I feel I catch a breather. I work through the storyline of the game a bit, capturing a live Thinman, and then a live outsider. All the while, managing absurd levels of panic, dealing with Terror Sites and Abductions, and until I take out the Exalt HQ I deal with their shenanigans as well.

Then comes one of my favorite parts of the XCOM franchise: The Base Assault Mission. In the prior version, it could be used as a soft pause button. Until you attacked the base and finished the mission, some of the stronger aliens: Muton Elites, Sectopods, and Ethereals, would not show up. That seems fixed in the expansion, because I encountered Muton Elites well before I was ready to.

I used to wait until I was all tricked out with Titan Armor, and Plasma weaponry before assaulting the base, but with Mutons and Sectopods breathing down my neck, I just can’t wait. I have a few Plasma weapons, and I take advantage of the troopers who can use them, and I put Breaker, Grinder, Big Red, Undercover, Jaws and Mountie into the skyranger.

I seem to remember the base assault being harder than this. The biggest problem alien is the beserker, and thats only because the base twists and turns it hard to gain LOS. But then you just have to plan what order to shoot him in to get good LOS.

I waltz through.
Between the power houses that are Grinder and Big Red, the accuracy of Jaws and Undercover, and the volume of fire that Mountie and Grinder can pour out, the mission just wasn’t a problem. This is one of the few problems with the game. This is a set-piece fight that just doesn’t hold through replays. Now that I’ve been through it three times, it holds nothing on me. You know, maybe that’s the point. Maybe the Base Assault is supposed to be done earlier than I’ve done it. Its a great map, with a good setup. You know what, I’m going in as soon as I can in the Ironman run. New resolution!.

The biggest reward, as it is every time, for taking down the alien base is the Hyperwave Beacon,

The key to the future of the XCOM project

The key to the future of the XCOM project

but I also come home with a huge pile of loot. I’ve got enough alloys, fragments and other pieces to fund research for the rest of the game. Again, this could have been a boon early on – Yet another reason to do this early. I start putting it all to work, starting important research, getting the ball rolling on critical Foundry projects, and building key weapons, armor and facilities for my own base. I am feeling really good about my progress, at this point. Both Alien and Exalt bases are taken care of, and I have all the critical projects ready to move.

But, shortly after the alien base as attacked and destroyed, I get a surprising cut scene

Did we catch you at a bad time?

Did we catch you at a bad time?

I could not stop cheering.

Sometimes, your hands get just a little dirty

Sometimes, your hands get just a little dirty

As each screen ticked by, I knew I was closer and closer to the single coolest part of any XCOM game, and I knew that what happened next would be epic.
I had to defend my base, my home turf, my HOUSE against the aliens.
They were not going to know what hit them.

As with the other XCOM articles, this contains my experiences from the game so will contain spoilers
See part 1 and part 2 in my XCOM: Enemy Within Discussion

While the aliens continued their assault unabated, certain members of humanity have sided with the aliens. They are out to grab all the tech they can and stop XCOM.

This cannot be tolerated.

The current mission is to send one of my soldiers to infiltrate an Exalt cell. I assume that there was a chance everything could go south and the covert operative could be lost if they were not good enough, so I send in my leveled support – Daria “Jaws” Jaworski. Once I send her out, she is gone for 6 days, unavailable to use on missions of any type. Of Course, During those six days I have to deal with a terror mission and a set of abductions, making the choice to send one of my more senior soldiers into the compound very, very troublesome.
2014-01-03_00002

The missions attempted while my point-man and combat veteran are indisposed are a pain, but I make it through them without her. I even level an assault for my troubles.

Then, to my surprise, the mission gets complicated. Exalt is onto Daria, and I need to extract her ass from the compound. Time to load up my best soldiers and bring her home.

As I start the mission, I get some curious instructions from Bradford: turns out that Daria isn’t quite yet finished her task. I have to cover for her while she gets the deed done, and she is lightly armed and completely vulnerable, aaaand on the other side of the map. She was almost done hacking a set of communication consoles, and the last two that she needs to hack are here, on this map.

These enemies in this mission are different. Instead of aliens human soldiers are attacking. They are snappy dressers, though: slacks, button-up shirts, suspenders, wielding standard ballistic weaponry, and working together. They have decent HP but are only slightly tougher than my soldiers, which is alright. I manage to beat them back, and though they take some shots at the Jaws, She lives. Linking up with the group makes the rest of the mission easy as I cover for her. She hacks both the Com towers, and then runs to the extraction point, at which point Bradford give me an option: Clean up the Exalt, or roll out. I see my Soldiers as my most valuable resource, so I bail, feeling victorious

The after-combat report, as always, lists how well you did. It tells me I did “poor” because I didn’t kill enough Exalt.
What!
I thought the whole point was a hit and run mission, an extraction. I thought that being prudent would be the better mode. Turns out, that its just better to murder all the Exalt. Who’da thought. I’ll know better next time.

So My first encounter with Exalt was a good one. I got in, struck hard and got out. The mission was also a little different than what I’d been used to, which was refreshing. I Look forward to tangling with them in the future. A worthy foe.

Exalt continues to cause serious problems for me over the course of the next few months. I always play with a very delicate panic balance, trying not to loose my countries and trying to keep those that exist calm. Exalt throws an enormous wrench into that formula, causing extra panic to accumulate in their active country. That extra panic does, however, give me a way to see where Exalt exists. I was never sabotaged, though the Tip Screen warned me that it could be devastating. The only thing exalt ever did was push panic higher and higher in whichever country they exist in. While you can wait, every time a cell would show up, I’d send in a covert operative, they’d muck up, and I’d send in an extraction crew.

Exalt composes their forces much like XCOM, and they have Heavies, Medics and Snipers. They seem to work as a semi-unified team, but they seem to enjoy reloading, throwing smoke and tossing frag grenades, none which are extremely threatening tactics. I keep loosing operatives on the first try of a map because I don’t understand the layout.
Exalt_standard
Once XCOM locates a cell, they ask you to send an operative, and each time it goes the same: 6 days later, they get interrupted, and you have to go on an extraction mission to save them and the vital information they hold.

There are two types of extraction missions: King of the Hill and Communication Disruption. These seem to have their own unique maps, as I didn’t encounter them anywhere else throughout the play through. I enjoyed the King of the hill missions much more. Its a simple, if challenging, setup in which you have to race to the designated area and then prevent the Exalt forces from holding it. If they hold it for 3 turns, then you have to fall back on a second designated area and hold that area. If they force you back from there, you loose the mission. You win the mission when they give up on sending soldiers in, and you kill the last wave. The the first time it gave me fits because I had no idea what was going on. I did, however, bring two heavies, both with rockets galore as I’d realized that the Exalt forces don’t have weapon fragments, so I didn’t need to worry about abusing explosives and loosing access to research materials, so I was able to post up in the first area and just shell everything that came close. Originally, I thought that you had to hold the designated area for a specific amount of time, and that was not the case. It got a number of my men killed, and I reloaded because the explanation was rather bare. Once I understand the mission parameters, though, it was a mission I looked forward to every extraction. It definitely changes the pace, positing you as an aggressive defender. You’ve got a ton of waves to fight through, but you have very little leeway in positioning. If you are too aggressive, you’ll get flanked and overrun, but if your too slow, Exalt will jump into the Zone (which counts as turn 1) and then you only have one turn to push them out or you have to fall back. I never suffered that particular humility, but came close.

The second mission is Communication Disruption. This is the one I did first, with two objectives on the field that the operative needs to get in contact with, and then hack to acquire data about Exalts HQ location. Once the Information is acquired, you then need to extract the operative through the landing zone. Most of the time your covert operative starts on the far side of the map, with fog of war between them, and the squad. Sometimes they’ll be near one of the two comm towers but its not a given. Oftentimes, moving your squad forward is going to triger enemies between your operative and the squad, and perhaps even the objectives. If your operative does not have mimetic skin, it can be a real problem getting your operative through the enemies alive. Most times, I try to link my operative up with the rest of my squad, and then have them escort her to each objective, and then back to the extraction point. These ones were the most straightforward missions, and once you know the maps they get much easier. I even tended to bring enough heavy weapons that was very little left of the Exalt forces once I extract the operative, having only to eliminate one or two to end the mission. This mission specifically seems like its going to be a big challenge in Ironman.

Eventually,after a few missions, Exalt ups their game. Their soliders get more HP, access to some gene mods, and improving their accuracy while also arming themselves with laser weapons.

Exalt_upgrade

The laser weapons are lethal to unarmored soldiers, I learn that one quickly, and leave a trail of poor covert operatives dead in their wake. Until I reload to figure out whats going on.

Each mission brings me closer to my ultimate goal: The end of Exalt. With each successful extraction I squeeze out just a little more information on where the base is, slowly homing in on the harboring country. These little morsels tend to be eliminitory: They don’t tell you where the HQ is, they let you know where it is not.
* Exalt HQ is not located in a country that is within the Arctic Circle
* Exalt HQ is not located in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Ect, ect.

Thankfully, the game put simple icons on the countries that you have eliminated from harboring Exalt on the map in the situation room. If your bad at geography, you won’t have to worry about decoding the clues correctly. Eventually enough covert operatives finish the mission and gather the information on Exalt, and you find out where the HQ is. After three missions you can guess and just go all in, but be careful if you decide to guess. If you choose wrong, the country leaves the council!

Now, with the HQ exposed and all other countries eliminated from contention, its time to tear down Exalt! I for one waited and made sure there was no chance of losing a country. I know where the HQ is, no guessing. I kit my squad out for maximum Carnage, I’m not looking to be accurate, just looking to burn it to the ground. Exalts lowish health and their tendency to hide even more than aliens makes me pack heat: Two heavies, a MEC, an assault with deep pockets, Jaws, and Bullet, my main Sniper. I pack everyone full of alien grenades and send them out.

Exalt Basejpg

The HQ is on the top of an office building in the middle of a city, but it seems that XCOM just doesn’t care anymore. We land the skyranger on the roof, my squad disembarks and I charge the base. Exalt forces respond, but I’m ready for them. Each group of Exalt is met with a fusillade of missiles, grenades and accurate sniper-fire. Anything left standing is swept up by ‘Mountie.” As I scorch their Headquarters room by room, the sirens blare around me. There is not nearly as much resistance ad I had feared, and though they had laser weapons and missiles and alien grenades, I was able to shrug off what they tossed at me. The flamethrower on the MEC was invaluable, as twice I was unable to kill everyone I could see, and both times I was able to light them on fire and make them panic. Controlling the flow of the battle really matters. After an intense, if both short and one sided, firefight, I sauntered back to the skyranger and flew off into the darkness, leaving only a smoldering ruin in my wake.

I assume That there would be more to the Exalt story line, but as I kept playing, it seems that I have accomplished exactly what was advertised. I sought Exalt out in their den, cut the head off the snake, and killed the beast once and for all.

Now, about these Aliens causing havoc in my world…

Read Game 1 Here!

After I got done getting the snot pounded out of me in the first game of the day, I got ready to throw down again.

I brought the same list to the Khador players table. He dropped this on my head:


The Butcher of Khardov (*6pts)
* Conquest (19pts)
* Juggernaut (7pts)
Battle Mechaniks (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
Doom Reavers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
Kayazy Assassins (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Kayazy Assassin Underboss (2pts)
Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (4pts)
Manhunter (2pts)
Widowmaker Marksman (2pts)
Yuri the Axe (3pts)

This time, He takes first turn, and trundles up the board. His conquest was dead center supported by Kayazy and battle mechanics, with Doomreavers on my left and Widowmakers supported by Yuri and a Manhunter. I dropped the Banes front and center with the Kraken behind them, put the arcnodes wide to each flank with a Warwitch Siren to support them, and the Scarlock and Withershadow to the rear.
I ran everything into position across from him, trying to get good leverage on his units. I shot at the Kayazy with the Kraken, scattered onto only the Underboss, boosted damage, and he toughed it out.
I could tell it was going to be that type of game.
Turn 2 was more of the same. He toes Conquest into the zone, drops the Butcher behind him, and runs the Doomreavers nearly into my deployment zone. The Widowmakers run in to engage the arc node over on their flank, with Yuri and the Manhunter moving into position to threaten the Coven.
killbox is a nasty, nasty game.
This next turn I go all in. I Veil of Mists over the screening Kayazy, enabling a charge for the nearly full unit of bane knights into the Conquest. I activate the arc node, Ghost Walk it and run it over within 8″ of the Conquest to allow me to arc Curse of Shadows. I Activate the second Coven member, and toss curse out, easily hitting.
Charge in the banes!
I grab the first one and measure out the charge. The one closest to Conquest is only just in. The rest run and charge, but I only get four to actually get attacks on Conquest. I fan out and try to engage as much as possible of the Kayazy unit, but its a loosing prospect. I don’t hit a single Kayazy, and I do some significant damage to Conquest, but its not going to come off the table yet. I’m worried, but not that worried. I have a Kraken with Infernal Machine right behind the banes. With a full boat of focus, 5 attacks, I should be able to wreck the Conquest.I would even be able to sweep and catch some Kayazy!


Except, when I moved up, I was too short of being able to sweep. I managed to catch the Conquest in my 4″ reach, but that 2″ sweep would deny me two full attacks on Conquest, instead of just one. I was not going to kill Conquest this turn. . I kill a bunch of Kayazy, including the Underbooss on the sweep, and the three attacks from the Kraken into the Conquest left it with three boxes, but my 10 Bane Knights and a Kraken were just fed it to the center of the Butchers army. I move Tartarus out to my left, swinging at two Doomreavers to turn them into banes to pad my ranks.
except I am, again, 1/4″ short of one of them. Thats gonna bite me in the ass.
I move Gorman forward to drop an acid bomb on Yuri’s head. I only need a 7+ to kill.
And, 4 pips come up on two dice.
Sighs.
Anyway! I activate the last Coven member, pop my feat, and call it a day.
The turn passes over to Butcher, and I am about to GET it. He heals the Conquest a bit from his Mechanics, moves the Butcher up, Casts Full Throttle, and pops feat. He then moves conquest forward. With his cortex crippled he’s only got two attacks, but its enough. Between Fury and Butchers feat, I was going down. Again, my opponents rolls low, and I get away clean: Conquest only breaks the entire left side at 3d6+6. The Juggernaut, however, finishes the job, in addition taking out the arc node. I’d done some poor positioning. The Doomreavers move in again and threaten the Coven from the left, while Yuri Comes at me from the right.
I have one shot at this. After vengeance (which fails to kill Conquest) I toss Ghostwalk on the last remaining arc node, and send it loping off to find the butcher. I’ve got just enough to cause him a little bit of problems. I hope its enough to stop him in his tracks. I shoot a pair of Stygian Abyss‘s at him, and leave him with 12 HP. I move forward the Scarlock and try again. I hit Butcher, and do another 6 damage to him. He’s got 6 left, but its more than enough. My last Bane charges the Conquest and finally takes him down. Its a shallow victory, but I’ll take it.

The end of the game is here, though. Yuri charges into a pair of witches, threshing them both and doing massive damage. The Manhunter who’d been left alive also charges one of the witches who is miraculously alive, and cuts her down to size, leaving me with two. The Kayazy, who have pretty much just run amok through my army, charge the Egregore and kill the last of the Coven.

Killbox is a hellofathing.

At the end of the day, my opponent played a great game, keeping Butcher back and safe, driving Kayazy with Iron Flesh on them into my throat, and encircling me with Doomreavers and Manhunters. While I was rusty at judging distances and placement of models, I don’t think the list I brought would have cut it. I need, in hindsight, more models to cover the advance of the arcnodes and deliver the Kraken. I think, in my haste to play with my new Bane Knights, I didn’t really give enough consideration to the rest of the army.

I think I want to pull out the Banes and Tartarus, and replace with 2 full Mechanithrall units and 2 Necrosurgeons. With the feat and Occultation, I could really get them stuck in there.

What do you think?

On Saturday the 28th, I had a bunch of friends over to play Warmachine/Hordes. This is a semi-regular event that a couple friends and I have had for maybe 5 years now. We rotate between half of us going northward to play at one of those houses, and half of them venturing southward to play at one of the houses down here closer to the city. The group is fairly diverse, and we cover almost every faction among the 5 of us. We try to set up a few tables, get breakfast at a local spot, and then get to gaming. We brought in a 6th this time around, just to make sure we were all up to evens.

My Gator buddy pairs up against one of my Khador friends, The Rhulic and Protectorate player square off, and I sit down across the table from my friend playing Retribution. Its his first time out with his fully painted 50 point force, expanded from the battlebox, and its my fourth full game in three weeks. I normally like to stick with one caster, but after the pounding at Critical Hits I figured I’d Switch it up. I have this spreadsheet I keep about all my fights, and its got a ton of information on it. I figured it was time I took the casters on the bottom and tried to get more games in with them. Who was on the bottom of this list? Witch Coven.

Casters Played
Number of Games%
Epic Haley239.70%
Naaresh198.02%
Xerxis198.02%
Epic Asphyxious187.59%
Epic Skarre166.75%
Barnabus156.33%
Epic Goreshade156.33%
Asphyxious 3125.06%
Scaverous125.06%
Skarre114.64%
Epic Hexeris104.22%
Terminus104.22%
Epic Magnus83.38%
Rasheth72.95%
Mortenebra62.53%
Magnus62.53%
Venethrax52.11%
Hexeris41.69%
Mordikaar41.69%
Asphyxious31.27%
Haley31.27%
Maelok20.84%
Bart10.42%
Epic Deneghra10.42%
Zaal10.42%
Morghul10.42%
Epic Morghul10.42%
Fiona10.42%

So I spun up a Quick list:
The Witch Coven of Garlghast (*5pts)
* Nightwretch (4pts)
* Nightwretch (4pts)
* Kraken (19pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bane Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
The Withershadow Combine (5pts)
Bane Lord Tartarus (4pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall (1pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)

The concept is simple:
I wanted to use the Kraken, my newly converted Bane Knights, and my brand new Gorman. I also though that making the coven as focus efficient as possible would be a blast. That is about as far as the list construction went, and It was really obvious as the day went on. My opponent, as I had mentioned, decided to take his now fully painted Retribution army for a spin.

Kaelyssa, Night’s Whisper (*7pts)
* Chimera (6pts)
* Banshee (10pts)
* Manticore (8pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Dawnguard Sentinels (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
* Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard (2pts)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts)
Mage Hunter Strikeforce (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Mage Hunter Commander (2pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)
Mage Hunter Assassin (2pts)

I end up going first, and rolling the whole board forward. The Coven stay back a bit, Infernal Machine went on the Kraken, Granting him MAT 8 and Speed 7, and occultation went on the Bane Knights.
Turned out, He was just going to shell the Kraken with Backlash. He moved his Chimera up, tossed backlash on my Kraken, dropped harm in for good measure with A&H, and went to town with the mage hunters. He took out a decent chunk of the Kraken, enough to total any other Cryx jack, and landed 8 on the Coven through backlash. He rolled a bit on the low side. He popped his feat to protect his army, maneuvered his ‘jacks into position and called it a turn.
I upkeep infernal machine, and drove the Kraken into his guts, hoping to get at least someone to fail the check. Mage hunters, Sentinels, and A&H, however, defy my plan and all pass. The Kraken strikes out, killing Aiyana and a number of magehunters from both his claws and his Killshot. I sent the banes running pell-mell into the sentinels hoping to buy some time with Tartarus as backup in a safe position towards the center of the board. Both my arc nodes flanked out wide to provide threats for the next turn. With stealth on the Mage hunters and Banishing Ward on the Sentinels, I wasn’t getting a lot done that turn. I’d done some damage, but all of the Sentinels were still alive, as was the entire battlegroup and more. I popped my feat to hopefully mitigating some of the damage, and spent 6 focus to heal and prevent a backlash kill, if possible.

The Banshee, which I had failed to have any impact on, walked up to the Kraken and finished it off in three quick hits. Backlash had, thankfully, been left to expire. The mage hunters on the left flank piled in around Gorman and an arcnode, though unable to drop any real damage into them. The sentinels went, and killed the majority of my bane knights. I was confident that I’d reap back rewards with Tartarus. Then, using Kaelyssa, the manticore, and Holt, he cleared a couple more bane Knights to make an unexpected lane for the Mage Hunter Assassin to get a charge on Tartarus.
He causes terror. (rolls 8, passes)
He is Defense 13 (rolls 8, needing 8, passes)
Arm 17 w/ 8 wounds. (rolls 21 damage, needing exactly 21 to kill him)
Down went Tartarus, my only hope of salvaging the game, as a set of Sentinels had run to engage the other arc node when they’d charged the bane knights. He pushed the turn over to me.
Right. This one gets tricky.
Warwitch siren with puppet strings rolled over to spray the 5 mage hunters engaging Gorman and the Arc node. Managed to hit and kill all, without re-rolls. Amazing. That frees the arc node to then run (he had a broken cortex from the mage hunters, which we both forgot about. I would have had the Necrotech go fix him, but still) down the side of the army, with Ghost walk, in range of a Stygian Abyss to Kaelyssa. My friend reminded me of witch hound, but what am I to do at this point? I’m all in. His Banshee is in walking range, and Kaelyssa will just walk out of range if I spell her and don’t crit. So, I send in the banes to try and break the Banshee and fail, though I leave him with three wounds and its just as good. its good enough at this point. I activate my third coven member, and tossed Stygian abyss. boosted 9’s needed a 7 to hit, and prayed for a crit. The hit shows up, but the crit does not. I roll and do some damage, leaving her with 7. She moves up to engage me, negating my arcnode.
With little left but maneuvering and placing a Veil of Mists in to block charges from the Sentinels, I pass turn.
He Continued to take apart my army, killing one arcnode. He leaves the other with only movement and arcnode, and we remember the cortex this time. Everything but the Coven, one arcnode, and two of three Withershadow. Butt its all I got. Veil of mists, Ghost walk, boosted Stygian Abyss with a puppet strings into Kaelyssa. I need an 11 to hit her, but with the boost, I’m not afraid. Hit, but no crit. I need to roll a 9 at dice -2 for damage, to make her dead. Boost damage, and toss dice.
8.
4/3/1
A groan and a sigh of relief at the same time arose.
But! Puppet strings, I cried!
I will reroll the one, I declare!
I toss the die into the air, it lands with a clatter on the tabletop.
There is only one result that it ever could have been.

He starts his turn, and charges/walks his sentinels into combat with the poor Egregore.
5 weaponmasters.
And three fail, one at a time. The other two wail on the Egregore, but the damage is only enough to leave each witch with a HP or two left over. The rest of his army kills everything else I have. Now, at the end of their days, the coven is left to fight the Dawnguard Sentinels with only their knives.
And they are terrible at it.

It was a great game. Dice spiked and floored all over the place. There was more than enough craziness on both sides to make both opponents really enjoy themselves. In Hindsight, Kaelyssa might not be the best match up for the Coven, with Witch Hound, Banishing Ward, and Arcane Reckoning all in her arsenal. I’d try it again with a different list, same caster, I think. I’ll have to mull on it.

Read my second Battle Report Tomorrow!

Saturday before last I took a trip to the local store and played in a little three round tournament. I am the normal PG for the store, but as I’d recently had a baby, I hadn’t had a lot of time to play Warmachine, so I was determined to play.

It had been a while since I’d played, and I thought that the I’d built some decent lists. I was going in without Epic Asphyxious because I was sure people would be teching against him, and I thought my chances without him were greater than with him.

I brought the Following lists:

Faction: Cryx Faction: Cryx
Tier 3Tier 0
Goreshade the Cursed +5Pirate Queen Skarre +6
* Kraken19Leviathan9
Bane Thralls (Leader and 9 Grunts) 8Skarlock Thrall 2
* Bane Thrall Officer & Standard0Bane Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts) 10
Bane Thralls (Leader and 9 Grunts)8Bane Thralls (Leader and 9 Grunts)8
* Bane Thrall Officer & Standard3* Bane Thrall Officer & Standard 3
The Withershadow Combine 5Blackbane's Ghost Raiders (Leader and 9 Grunts) 9
Bane Lord Tartarus4Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls 2
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall1Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 5 Grunts) 5
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall1* Satyxis Raider Sea Witch2
Pistol Wraith 3Pistol Wraith3
3 Scrap Thrall1Pistol Wraith3
3 Scrap Thrall1
3 Scrap Thrall1

I’d been 11-1 with Epic Goreshade, and Skarre was bringing along Incorporeal to make peoples lives miserable.  The goal was to jam scenarios and flood the field with bodies, making making every choice of the opponent a painful one. Goreshade brought the Kraken for extra phantom hunter goodness, and I was ready to rock and roll.

The field was a tough crowd. There was only 9 of us, but we were all good. Locals Chris, Anthony and Phil had all won tournaments both locally and at nearby conventions. I’d tangled with Jason, Andy and Ryan both before and neither of them were pushovers. I knew that Curtis was a newcomer to the Area, but he’d been playing since the days of yore. The only person that I’d not played against or knew was a fellow I just referred to as Beard.

The Field was thus:
Phil and Me: Cryx
Anthony: Cygnar
Ryan: Mercs
Chris: Protectorate of Menoth
Andy, Curtis, Jason and Beard: Khador.

I knew it was going to be a long day. I’d been fighting Khador a long time, and its not my favorite fight.

I get paired up against Khador in the first round (surprise!) and Its Beard! Turns out his name is Paul. This is cool to me because I like playing against different people, as they tend to have different theories and ways of playing the game. I was stoked, and he had only one list. I figured I’d take Epic Goreshade on his first tour, as I was familiar and confident. Sadly, I’d just picked poorly, as he was playing Vlad. This allowed him to wind wall away my only shooting threat and make me one dimensional, as I’d forgotten to pack an arc node into the list. He also got to choose sides, and due to table setup one of these was in the way of the center of my deployment zone:

Gale Force 9 Badlands Plateau

It was massive, and blocked my everything, but, I felt it was part of the deal with playing the game, so I worked around it. I ended up loosing in part because of it, in part because I forgot how the game worked, and in part because I hate Khador. I did have him kill some 40 Bane thralls, but at the end of the day, the Greylord Outriders he had were more than up for the task. both the Kraken and Goreshade ended up not committing until very late, and that caused me to not gain points nearly fast enough. we were scoring at the same rate until he was able to stop me from scoring on his turn, and he won the game, fare and square.

I entered the losers bracket, and was ok with that. I was fighting for second with about 3 other people. I had take out 47 Army points, and scored 5 control points in the last game so my tiebreakers were awesome.

Instead, Jason crushed my soul at the top of turn 2. I got one turn in and BAM, Sorcha’d.

See, Sorcha ran turn 1 into a defensive position, and I had moved Scarre prematurely up 7 inches from her deployment zone. Turns out, one wind rush + charge + feat later, Skarre was Frozen in place. Eiryss followed, doing what she does, and stripped my 5 FOC camp, and did a damage or two. Winterguard Rocketeers then slid up, bobbing and weaving, and did their job, lobbing rocket into a frozen Skarre until she was little more than quivering flesh chunks. It was significantly disappointing, as I’d not only gotten rolled, I didn’t kill a single model on his side.

I started doing the math about who was playing who, and I realize that unless Curtis loses his match, I was going to get the bye with the worst record in the tournament. So guess what happens? Curtis Wins. I get the bye, and Don’t even end up with the worst record and get my tournament fee back so I can play a later tournament (a bye counts as a win! Yay!)

At the end of the day, I enjoyed getting out and seeing some good friends. I didn’t put up a good show, but I expected that. I have to knock the rust off of 6+ months of not playing competitive Warmachine. Fortunatly, I had friends coming over on the 28th.

Sadly, as you’ll soon read, that didn’t end well for me either!

The thing about XCOM that I love so much is that you should expect to lose.
Lose Games.
Lose Soldiers
Lose Countries.

These are consequences to your actions, and they can be drastic and dire at times. Your Resources are scarce and you can only respond to one event at a time. Every mission is a chance to loose your most veteran soldiers or your newest and most promising rookies. The aliens, unlike most other games, are here to end your game. They are here to make you start over from the beginning, and their efforts can easily set you so far behind that its impossible to catch up. But; sometimes, through all the losses, all the pain, and all the struggles, you can claw your way to the top of the game, and see the valley below. And nothing is as sweet as seeing that imminent victory having climbed that mountain.

I’m still Climbing.

I picked Asia, as I always do. It turns out this is not a common choice. With $80 less per month starting the game, which can be a back breaker, most people choose North America. I do like the Asian continent Bonus though: Having a 50% discount on both the Foundry and the Officer Training School is a very big bonus. I drop into the intro mission, ready to kill some aliens, this time, without the Oops!

I make it through the intro mission fairly easily. Its just sectoids, and I’ve fought them time and again in both games.

This time, though, I learned from my other failures with Ironman, and I take it slow. Not slow enough to risk loosing the meld, but slow enough not to get murdered. Assault rifles and pistols are enough to get it done, and we fly home.

After loosing 8 games in a row, I have much less attachment to these soldiers than I have previous games. While some make it through, others die as the missions progress and I feel little of the remorse from prior games. They have not developed personalities to me, and that’s a bit of a disappointment. I do not grow attached. Casualties mount and my memorial grows, but none of them are people, yet.

Meld, the new resource, is tricky. I have a “cheat” though, that helps me focus on getting the precious little nanobots.

When you go into a map, hold down the G key, and you’ll zoom out as far as you can. From here you’ll look for two specific things: Outlines of Ships (crash or landing sites) and spinning Meld containers. As Meld containers have a very iconic, spinning profile, you can easily spot one in many circumstances. Ships have the unique curving lines that are also easily recognizable, making it so that you know how far away and which direction you need to go. Both of these have helped me gather more Meld and make sure I approach ships with warranted caution.

After your first alien encounter, you also have some research to do, but while there are a number of projects, you really only have two options: Weapons or Armor. Either you feel you need to kill aliens faster, or you need to survive their bullets. both are valid paths unless you are using damage roulette, in which case your guns are not guaranteed to kill anything, and armor is significantly better. Both lead to the best early-stage project: tactical rigging. This allows two item slots for all troopers. This allows significantly more safety when it comes to troopers. Explosives have set damage, and make sure that low-HP enemies will die. Early-game accuracy is extremely low, so having these auto-damage weapons at your disposal is a huge boon. Its one of the key ways of leveling rookies/Squadies without getting your whole squad murdered from a failed 30% shot:When the last alien is alive and at low HP, have everyone take a shot at it except the one in grenade range. If they manage to hit and kill it, great! Bonus weapon fragments! If they don’t hit, drop that bastard like a sack of rocks. Having only one grenade means you only get 4 chances at it. More slots means that Support can take medkits, assault get Chitin plating/nan-fiber Vest/Respirator implants, and Heavies and snipers get scopes, all the while having grenades at their disposal. Its supremely handy. Its the first thing I go after.

I go down the weapon path most games, and this is no exception. Sending scientists on the path to beam Weaponry, I set my engineers to building satellites, in order to control inevitable creep that comes from the abduction missions. I try to get a satellite uplink as soon as I can, but it requires a ton of engineers, extra power, and more money. More money is not what one has at the start of the game. Because I have limited resources, and I don’t follow the satellite rush strategies, I use satellites and council missions as my sole methods of Panic Reduction.

The first three months are brutal. The aliens have a vendetta, and they keep killing all my leveled up soldiers, and I need a Soldier at level 4 before I can get the Officer Training School! The aliens seem to have this cruel, prognostic ability to find ranked officers and mercilessly gun them down. Locked out of squad slots 4 and 5, I’ve got to get better weaponry, and have to forgo the ability to protect my soldiers. This made the game extremely lethal on both sides, creating a vicious cycle that only stopped once I saved scummed a mission which I knew the soldier had been promoted, therefore getting the Officer Training School unlocked once I got back to base.

with all my soldiers dying, the research slowly crawling along with beam weapons, meld research, satellites building and the foundry up and running, I have to hire plenty of soldiers to keep up. I discovered, however,that the Not Created Equally option has a hidden cost. the potential for good soldiers exists, but many, many more start with terrible stats. This means that in this game I’ve Spent more money hiring and dismissing troops for dismal stats than I ever have before. Getting the kill is the only way to get XP, and having someone with a 15% chance to hit just isn’t going to cut it when the aliens are breathing down your neck. Yes, you can use the explosives in the hope that they level well through Hidden Potential, but I don’t think its worth it. If you have a 65 or lower Aim stat, you get the boot. I ask for nothing but the worlds finest soldiers! This costs a lot more money, but enables me to have only the finest soldiers. 100+ aim Support and assault troopers are possibly my favorite things.

My Main Squad Deep into Month 3

My Main Squad Deep into Month 3

After three grueling, desperate months, after a mission I save-scummed a hundred times that had my favorite assault trooper blown to pieces behind cover(bonus defense) in Dense (bonus defense) Smoke (bonus defense) on the top of a building (bonus defense) by a freaking lucky (Critical) shot from a Thin Man, Thomas Taylor, Heavy, was promoted to Sergeant. This allowed me to build the officer training school I mentioned earlier and buy the 5th squad member. Around the same time, Beam weapons finished their eternity-long research and were available to build and arm soldiers with. The sun was starting to peak out from behind the giant mothership. I was starting to see the light. The toll was high, however. I’d lost a number of soldiers. Germany, France and the UK had abandoned the project, with Russia in full panic mode. I had yet to genetically modify a soldier, and I didn’t even have a cybernetics lab. The alien capture hadn’t even been initiated, and I was as broke as I could get. Each months funds being spent the day I was paid and selling corpses on the side to fuel my research and foundry binges. I was behind the aliens. They were winning. Thin men, secotids, mechtoids, mutons and seekers all had shown up, with chryssalids in terror missions as well. They had taken Europe, and panic was spreading across the globe. they were even starting to outclass my interceptors in the sky. But I’d hit the point I felt that I was able to fight back. Carapace armor was being researched. Laser Weapons enabled me to fight back. Maybe, just maybe, I could save the world.

councilman
Then, the councilman appears, suddenly.

No announcement that they want to see me. I am just thrust into a debriefing where I am informed that a bunch of no good bastards are trying to steal my alien artifacts. Exalt, they call themselves. And the councilman wants me to put them down with extreme prejudice.

Sounds good to me.

And then, Mexico goes all into a berserk panic. Turns out that Exalt likes to make countries freak out. Now I have to send in a covert oprative, and loose that trooper for 6 dsays!

Just what I needed!

The other night I had a couple friends and my brother slide over to my place to play some card games, as its the only way I can really get any gaming in, as I’ve mentioned. So, the night started with multiple baby interruptions, but they faded away as the evening went on.

The first game that we decided to play was the decidedly fun Smash-UP. The game plays smooth with a simple design but seems to have a lot of replayability.

Smash up, the base set, starts with 8 decks of cards with different themes and abilities: Robots, Wizards, Tricksters (Fey Creatures), Aliens, Zombies, Pirates, Dinosaurs and Ninjas. Each deck contains two types of cards: Minions and Actions.Both are clearly labeled on every card, which makes mistakes pretty unlikely.
Every minion that I saw had an ability and a power score.

Every action has an easily understood mechanic.

Each person is dealt two decks at random, which they then shuffle together to build their deck of cards. Then, locations are dealt out that will be the focal point of the game. They have a target number for total minion power at the location. When that is met, it scores the printed victory points for first, second and third most powerful players on the location, as decided by total power. You want to stack as much power as you can onto each location to try and get the first place victory points, in order to score the 15 to win.

The game is a simple two action game: Play one minion card, play one action card. Both are clearly labeled on every card, which makes mistakes pretty unlikely. Drawing 5 cards as your starting hand, your not allowed more than 10 total. Each location has some rules on it, affecting either minion play or giving an effect when scoring. Some places are better for certain faction, and others are just straight up great. Each location, once completed, is scored and replaced with a new one.


The basics are simple, as I said, but like many good games has a significant amount of depth to it. With 28 different decks, there is some serious replayability, though getting that Final Deck achievement might be harder than it seems. I ended up with Wizard Robots, which was really cool: Tons of card draw and card filter, with robots providing a serious minion advantage. I didn’t even come close to winning, but it was really fun.

Here is where it gets cool: Expansions are already being built, and only offer greater replayability and zaniness. The first expansion is The Obligatory Cthulu Expansion and it delivers on its time honored promise: Beings from Beyond, Cultists, Researchers and townsfolk. This second game we used the Expansion with one Chthulu deck, and one Standard deck. I got the Zombie Townsfolk, which seemed pretty cool. Zombies are discard pile (graveyard) focused, and townsfolk are focused on getting more townsfolk out by skimming through the deck. It works together pretty well.

except that one of the locations allowed anyone to move cards from my discard to the bottom of my library, significantly decreasing my ability to use my discard pile. This lead to an aggravating start of the game and an impossibility of winning, but it was an enjoyable experience I would definitely try again. I look forward to it, even.

Then, We got down to playing some Commander.

After my last commander session, I sat down and did a hard look at my decks, trying to figure out how to do more, not bigger. After the game, I think I got it right. While I didn’t dominate the game in any way, I did find a way to win. Mostly off the the game plan I’d built the whole Riku of Two Reflections deck to accomplish: whatever the opponent is doing I do to. Forks, clones, and deflections litter the deck in order to utilize the opponents cards. I also have a splash of big fatty creatures and some solid ramp. Combined with Riku’s static abilities, I was able to stave off danger as long as possible, cloning Sylvan and Luminate primordials to stabilize my board after others got them out faster than I did, and then dropping a double butcher orgg once the board had cleared again. It was a long, fun game, and though I won, I didn’t feel that I’d dominated the game. I was simply the least dangerous player on the board, until I won. The other decks were Sharuum The Hegemon, Jolrael, Empress of Beasts, and Reaper king. Everyone kept blowing up Sharuums artifacts, I blew up Reaper Kings red mana to keep that vindicate machine from working, and Sharuum kept on blowing up Jolrael to prevent her from killing us all. That cycle worked itself out in my favor as everyone kept beating each other up, letting me gather all the land known to man and casting all sorts of big bombs to end the game.

It was very good times with fun guys, and I look forward to more Smash-up and EDH in the future.

Having an infant requires most of my time investment, so I haven’t had much time to do a lot of non-sedentary nerding, so i was really pleased to played my first game of Warmachine in months Wednesday before last. I felt rusty and hazzy but it was a very close, very enjoyable game. Having a buddy who also has children come over for the game was a bonus, because he knows the routine. He showed up a bit after 6, and we chatted for a bit about all sorts of topics. I was starved for non-family contact! We set up the table and pulled out the armies to get things rolling.

I hemmed and hawed all week about what I was going to play. It’d been so long I didn’t want to try anything super-complicated. None of my coven lists made me excited to play, and I really was going to make sure my bane knights made it into the list as well. Eventually, a different friend and I hashed out a list that seemed pretty interesting. I didn’t have all the solutions like a tournament level list might, but it had enough.

Iron Lich Asphyxious
-Nightwretch
-Nightmare
-Cankerworm
-Scarlock
Bane Knights (10)
Soulhunters (5)
Withershadow Combine
Tartarus
Darragh Wrathe
Warwitch Siren
Necrotech and Scrap Thrall

Soulhunters are generally derided, but I always enjoy putting them on the table. They fill a similar slot as Satyxis and Blackbanes, running interference until the rest of the army arrives. With the POW on guns being around 10, it takes more than pot shots to drop the arm 15 5 wounds models, but not much more.

This army doesn’t really have a general plan. Its got answers to almost everything, though, so it can almost take all comers. High Def is taken out with Nightmare. Asphyxious and the Cankerworm deal with high armor, Tartarus and Bane Knights deal with Terrain and other uncomfortable positions. Scything Touch and Parasite will swing almost any non-def based combat in my favor. Arc nodes, Darragh, Withershadow and Warwitch Siren providing support just rounds it all out. I figured I’d just react to his game plan, and see what comes up.

He brought out his Rhulic force. Solid, hard, and full of pain.

Gorten Grundback
-Driller
-Grundback Blaster
-Ogrun Bokur
Thor
-Grundback Gunner
-Basher
Brun
-Lug
Hernne and Jon
Rockbottom
Highshield (10)
-UA
Forgeguard (10)

I knew I wasn’t going to get to the juicy center of that rock hard nugget, so I decided to play the scenario game. We rolled up one of the new 2014 scenarios. Into the Breach – It had a single zone, two effigy objectives, and a flag. Dominating the flag gave a single point, the zone was a pair for dominating and a single point for controlling, and if I took out his objective, I’d get a point: 5 to win. I didn’t really know how the game’d play out, but his deployment was a wall of arm 18+ on the flank with the zone, and enough deployed to the flag to keep me honest. I deployed with the soulhunters to the zone flank, the bane knights ready to wander through a building on the flag flank, and the bulk of my forces front and center. Its my general deployment: A central deployment will allow me to adapt to whatever the opponent does. He tries to force one side or the other, and I’ll slide off to the opposite and play cagey. If he goes center, I’ll try and envelop: I almost always have superior numbers as cryx just does infantry well, so envelopment is always a potential.

He took first turn and trundled his dwarves up the field. I find their speed 4 allows me to do more than I’d expect with some of my units, but their having ranged models makes up for it with significant threat projection. I’m worried that he’ll gun down important models, so I’m playing a little cagey. After turn one, I abandon the flag. I’d originally sent Asphyxious that way, but He sent Brun and Lug over, and I don’t think that I really want to commit enough to take them out. The center of the board, however, turns out just as perilous for him, as I was probably within 1/4″ of being slammed by a Basher and into the stand of trees. With no focus. He chose not to go for it, so we will never know, but It was really, really close. After realizing that, I reached out and blew the damned thing off the planet: Parasite + 3 banes will do most models in for the count. I softened it up a little with other models first, but it was off the board. Slamming into the front line with the Soulhuntersat the top of turn two cleared the Zone, and I camped firmly inside it, scoring with Asphyxious who had teleported over to get his toes into the zone, now safe from a removed Basher.

I was up 2-0, but he wasn’t going to make it easy on me. Gorten popped his feat, and slid half half the zones worth of models either out of the zone or into a position that they were easily dispatched. Thankfully, I had Asphyxious safely in the back, because everything else was murdered. He moved about 3″ deep into the zone with enough models to make scoring very difficult. With the turn passed over to me, I had to rely on everything I had to score 3 point by killing the effigy and dominating the zone. I shot the damaged effigy with the Withershadow Combine, did damage to it, but not enough to take it down. That complicated matters as there was an undamaged Gunner and some very frustratingly placed Rhulfolk in the zone to take care of. The way it was all situated, there was a single dwarf behind a solid line of models that I could not easily get to. Tartarus was in range, but thresher would end with that single dwarf, in combat, still contesting, with only ranged/magic attacks to get to him. I had to use Asphyxious to trash the gunner, because no one else was available. He succeeded and used the rest to clear some dwarves, teleport back and lob a hellfire at the Objective, killing it. One point, two to go. Darragh used some strange charge angles and the power of his horse, cleared the angle for Tartarus to charge in and sweep the last few dwarves out of the zone, netting me two points.

It ended the game, but it was nothing representing easy. A lot of rolls had to go my way towards the end there in order to pull it out. and after that, If it all failed, I was going to face an unhurt Gorten, a nearly full unit of Horgenhold, and a driller to the face of Asphyxious. Things were not going to be pretty. It was a fun game, though. My buddy is a great opponent. The rust is starting to come loose, and hopefully I’ll be able to play again, and more often, soon.