Big head and Little Arms

The problem with being a multifaceted nerd is that sometimes, your nerdings can outstrip your ability to write about them. Since Wednesday, this has been the case. I’ve progressed, played more Dark Souls II, I’ve finished assembling my Star Nebula Corsair Models and played a bit of my first Relic Knights game,  I’ve learned of the move of the Infinity Forums, and I’ve gotten two games in with the Cephalyx. I even Painted Thexus in a single sitting.

I’m really happy with these guys. You’ve probably seen this picture already.

The games with the Cephalyx were easily my favorite, though. Every time I play them, I learn something new and important to how the army functions, as each model has multiple functions and abilities, with making the right choice a difficult task.

The first game I played against a buddy of mine running Harkevich. I was terrified that this list was going to do all sort of bad things to me. He brought the following:

Kommander Harkevich, the Iron Wolf+5
*Conquest19
*Juggernaut7
*Juggernaut7
Battle Mechanics3
Kayazy Eliminators3
Kayazy Eliminators3
Greygore Boomhowler (10)9
Harlan Versh2
Koldun Lord2
55

It lacked the guns I expected from a Harkevich list, and instead added the blasting power and movement shenanigans of the Conquest. I knew I could take down a colossal, given certain circumstances, but I figured that he’d never give me the chance. My army was going to get shelled all day, and if I ever needed to get real work out of any or multiple of my Monstrosities, I was done for. Tossing out Deceleration every turn is great for letting my army survive, but isn’t so great when it comes to getting work out of either my caster or my Monstrosities.

I brought the list I’ve been using the last few games.

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

Its a very solid list that, with just minor tweaking, might be where Thexus stands.

Battle Report!
Scenario: Incoming!
First turn: Khador
Choice of Table Edge: Cephalyx for the Wall

Deployment and Terrain Setup:

Brown only is rocks, Brown and Green is forest, tan and Green is a hill. Walls are walls.

 

I got to coutner-deploy, but it didn’t seem to matter. Thexus in the center with Mind Slaver and Support to the right, Mind Benders and support to the left.

I’ve noticed that I tend to adopt a very symmetrical deployment, and I can’t really justify it: Drudge unit, Machine Wraith, Agitator, Pistol Wraith and Wrecker to either flank. Thexus, Warden, Agitator and (most times) overlords to the center. The Forest got in my way this game, and I fortuitisly deployed my Overlords across from the forest.

I constantly griped about my army not having access to pathfinder as a huge problem. I’ve learned that that is not completely true. I have 14 models that ignore terrain during their movement, and its no small benefit. Overlords, Agitators, Mind Slaver and Mind Bender, Thexus, Pistol Wraiths and Machine Wraiths all get to wander in and around most terrain.

Turn 1
Khador
Everything runs, with Harlan taking a slot in the woods, one Kayazy on a hill, and the other behind the ever-tarpit of Boomhowler. Conquest toed into the friendly Khador zone and make to stick around.

Cephalyx
Everything runs but the overlords, who simply shuffle their way forwards a bit. I’m a touch aggressive with my Incorporeal models, as they are threatened only by Harlen, the Koldun Lord, and Razor Wind from Harkevich. This is compounded by me having a small, durable smoke wall that I am able to hid them behind in the TAC.

End of Round 1

 

Turn 2
Khador
Conquest stays still and crits a shot, taking out a drudge and damaging a monstrosity, Its about this time, followed by the broadsides shot, that I realize how much Deceleration is helping me. By pushing up my armor to 17, and 19 on the drudges, its making the blast damage trivial, and even throws aren’t killing me. He positions the Kayazy, Boomhowlers and Juggernauts to counter attack if I try and dig to deep. I now have a 4+ tough unit in my zone, and no hope of ever removing them.

Cephalyx
Have I ever mentioned that I have good luck? Nothing proves it more than this single turn. Though it takes two Pistol Wraiths to do it thanks to an early snake eyes, I Death Chill the conquest, preventing any counter-charge. I move up and in with the Slavers to try and threaten the conquest next turn, disregarding the Creeping Barrage that was put down last turn, loosing no one, even with Deceleration not working to my advantage. The Thrown Wrecker moves into threatening range of Conquest, and the other Wrecker makes a go at some of the Boomhowlers, killing a few. The Overlords move up around the wall and one of them takes a pot shot with his Psychic Assault at the Kayazy on the hill. Def. 17 makes them exceedingly hard to hit, but I roll the hard 10 and her mind melts, removing her. I then activate the Mind Benders, move them into position and spray down a few more, leaving the unit at 6. With one of the Sprays, I manage to catch a member of the second Eliminator team. Though the Eliminator here is not on a hill, I am on less Magic Ability, but it doesn’t matter, I roll the hard 9 and take her down. Essentially taking out the threat of the combostriking, ganged Eliminators was extremely key to me living through the game. With straight dice on my caster, a single pair could take me out. I moved the TAC up, and for the first time created a smoke bunker past the second turn, trying to safeguard both my Machine Wraiths and Pistol Wraiths from Harm.

End of Round 2. There is a Kayazy off the left side of the board.

Round Three
Khador
Conquest shoots and gets his second critical tossing a Wrecker, a couple drudges and an Agitator around, killing only drudges.The Boomhowlers move deep into the zone, taking out, along with Harlan Versh, a ton of the Mind Benders drudges. The rightmost Kayazy charges the Mind Slaver unit leader and fails to kill. The left side runs into position to threaten Thexus. The Juggernauts each take down a Kayazy and a TAC member, leaving my center decidedly open. Harvevich takes out a Mind Slaver Drudge or two, and the turn passes over.

Cephalyx
I am able to capitalize on the armies small size by overrunning it, using the Wrecker, Mind Bender Drudges, and an Agitator to eliminate Boomhowler and his friends, taking the zone. I take over both Juggernauts with Machien Wraiths, and my last TAC member is able to pop the Koldun Lord. The Overlords manage to miraculusly take down the final right Eliminator in melee, rolling a hard 11 in order to remove her, making a new Mind Slaver Drudge. Those Drudges then flood the enemy zone, ready to assist the wrecker in taking out Conquest. I move Thexus into the friendly zone in order to Dominate and score a point, and move the Warden in to take shots against the Agitators, Thexus, and anything else that feels like being saved.

Round 4
Khador
Conquest shoots, again, critting, again (#3!), tossing two agitators and a Warden into Thexus and the Mind Bender. An Eliminator then charges out, and after a trip-ones fails to kill the knocked down mind bender. The Harkevich Ejects one Machine Wraith, while failing on the other. Harlan takes a swing at the newly ejected Machine wraith and misses. Faced with two possessed Juggernaughts, and Conquest Facing down an entire unit of Drudges, an Agitator and a Wrecker, the game ends.

The end of the game.

Though my list is solid, I really want to make a single change, but cannot find the points to do it. The Mind Benders, in almost every game, seem to be divided among giving out buffs to the Mind Slavers, or tossing out spells to assist with attrition. I really want to drop the max unit and take two minimum units. one to toss out attrition spells, and the other to buff the Mind Slavers, running behind them so as not to get outpaced. I’ve yet to figure out how to do it, though, and leave the army in tact enough that it actually works. It would involve either dropping the Overlords, with their fantastic spray attack, or a Pistol Wraith + Machine Wraith, loosing the efficiency of duplicates.

This game was really rough for my opponent, and in hindsight I can see why. The Pistol Wraiths, Machine Wraiths, and TAC all form a very nice control bunker from which the Cephalyx army could emerge. I was unable to extend a piece of Terrain, which seems to be the normal use of the TAC, but I was able to keep everything I needed safe long enough to get a ton of great use out of it.

The second game I played was a bit different, though it was against Khador again. My friend brought along his Butcher III list, which I’d not fought against yet.

The Butcher Unleashed+4
*Juggernaut7
Andrei Makakov3
*Beast 0911
Iron Fang Pikemen (10)8
*Black Dragon UA2
Greylord Ternion4
Widowmakers4
Drakhun4
Iron Fang Kovnik2
Greylord Outriders9
54

I brought the same list as above.

I’ll not be doing a play by play of this one, as I don’t remember it as clearly. We ended up playing Fire Support, which was interesting, but the scenario didn’t end up playing a huge part in the game. Instead, I was funneled around a stand of trees until I could find a way to get to Butcher with a Wrecker, which promptly killed him and won the game.

End of my Turn, the Turn before Assassination

Board State After Assassination

Butcher III Has me terrified, and both the board and this list didn’t help. I ended up going second – I wanted the side of the board with a wall hopefully just outside of 14″ of the board edge because the game has killbox – and running everything like I normally do. It was an epic mistake, as I had forgotten that Greylord Outriders have pathfinder. Everything from Thexus to the leftmost flag was packed with models, and I lost 9 of them the first turn, including a pistol Wraith. Thankfully, I was able to follow that up with a Wrecker leaving him with only one Outrider. A Pistol Wraith was able to get a bead on Malakov’s Beast and forced it to chill out for a turn.  His turn 3 I was really worried about, as he pushed the Butcher deep into scenario presences. I was able, however, on my feat turn, to completely collapse my right flank. I used my feat to pull Ironfangs out of Shieldwall, to maneuver his dogs into position, and to get Beast 09 and Malavok into vulnerable positions. I put a concerted effort into killing the dogs, but was unable to kill either. Thankfully, he didn’t get Vengeance. I did, however, manage to sneak Malakov. I tossed two TAC Fire blasts and two Psychic Sprays at him, one from an Agitator and one from an Overlord, and finally took him out. Taking Beast from the fight at the same time was just money. With a collapsed flank, Butcher had no choice but to go get some work done himself. Between energizer, his base movement and Impending Doom, he was able to get one of my two Wreckers and chop it to bits. He also got a Machine Wraith for his efforts!

The final turn I was able to pour everything I had into getting the Butcher into the threat range of my second Wrecker. I had to use the two TAC, all three Overlords, and an Agitator to remove all the models, but in the end the Subduer moved forward and was within 8″ of Butcher. A boosted TK both turned him around and placed him in the woods, and a second TK put the Wrecker hopefully within charge range. After Measuring for sight through the forest, I determined the Wrecker could, just, see Butcher, and got a free charge off for the nearby Outrider. I forgot about two crucial rules here, as Monstrosities have Eyeless sight, and the Agitators need to act first to give the Agitation bonus. Regardless, I was able to get into him, and it took me down to my last focus, but the Wrecker was able to get the job done.

With this list, I think Khador is a really good matchup for me. I have enough oomph to take out armor and I have enough bodies to block the initial flood. Before these games, I’d never really used the TAC smoke bunker the way I think others do, and its truly amazing. While Trenchers can do the same for Cygnar, they are 6 points and extremely vulnerable. With arm 16, five wounds, and immunity to fire for 2 less points, you get a ton of utility for a tiny investment. I’d also completely forgotten about eyeless sight, which would have made the Butchers placement less worrisome. Reach is completely amazing when it comes to difficult terrain, because its never reduced. Trees and rocky landscapes matter not to a Spear or Flail, it seems.

Both games were extremely enjoyable and against friendly opponents. The Cephalyx will soon be in their third month, and after that I’ll be playing the fist of Halaak.  If you’re making it to the NOVA open August 28-31, be sure to look me up and have a chat. I’ll be running Warmachines all day! oh, and follow me on twitter, where I sometimes share the aggregate information of Nerddom