This weekend I was lucky enough not only to get two games in against people I’d never played before, but also to run my first tournament in nearly a year.

I’m running the events at the NOVA open this year, and that includes a first ever Iron Gauntlet (non-qualifying) event. In order to both drum up interest and to get some practice for the tournament, I set up a tournament in a similar style at my local store, Titan Games and Hobbies. I was only able to get about 3 weeks notice on the event, but I still felt that it was worth running.

That morning, 8 gentlemen slowly trickled into the store at 10am to do battle. We had a varying assortment of Factions, with only one being duplicated.

Retribution of Scyrah
Cygnar
Khador
Convergance
Trollbloods
Mercenaries
Protectorate x2

with only 8 players, we decided to go with 2 50 point rounds and a 75 pointer for the finale. This allowed the feelling of a small Iron Gauntlet without having enough players. It was a simple affair, but the guys had a ton of fun.

Round 1
Borka Family Reunion v. High Reclaimer
Constance Blaize v. Feora 2
Stryker 2 v. Father Lucant
Vlad v. Vyros

Trollbloods, Protectorate, Cyngar and Khador advanced

Round 2
McBain v. Kreoss 3
Aurora v. Kaeylssa
Jarl v. Severius
Seige v Irusk 2

Mercenaries, Convergence, Protectorate and Cygnar each registered wins, with a final round pairing of Cygnar v. Protectorate in the works.

The 75 point round was a huge success, and I could really see this type of format continuing. It allows a much greater breadth of models and tactics than is normally available, but it also has a strange warping effect on the casters. As I’ve heard on a number of podcasts, the casters that are good at 50 don’t always transfer over to 75 well.

In the end, the Protectorate player ended up taking down Stryker 2 with a giant, flame-belching Feora 2 list. It was a treat to run the show for these guys, as it always is, and I look forward to seeing many of the same guys down at NOVA at the end of the month.

While all of that was going on, though, I was able to get a quick 35 point game in against my Co-TO. I was using Cephalx, of course, and he brought along trolls. 35 is always hard for me, as I feel that 50 is the most balanced and feels much more rounded. You have answers, and your opponent has answers, and you have, for the most part, to outplay your opponent in order to win. There are some heavy skews, I will admit. For the most part, however, it feels more like a game and less like Rock-Paper-Scissors.

He brought

Grim Angus+6
*Dire Troll Mauler9
*Troll Axer6
*Troll Impaler5
Sluggers (3)5
Champions (3)6
Bushwackers (6)5
Raluk Moorclaw2
*Buccanneer3
41 points

And I made the following.

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
Mind Benders (10)6
Mind Slavers (10)6
Pistol Wraith3
Machine Wraith1
Agitator2
Agitator2
40 points

At 35, I feel really vulnerable. I have to drop out most of my support and it feels really bad. Pistol Wraith, Agitator, TAC, a Machine Wraith and the Overlords mean that I have to rely on my Monstrosities to pull the majority of the workload. While they are good at that, it means I am very much on dimensional and extrememly subject to bad matchups.

Thankfully, I was able to send my wrecker into his mauler on the top of turn 2 and make a giant pile of quivering meat of him. That really enabled me to be able to take the game into my hands and force trades in my favor. It took forever, but I ended up chewing through the extremely dense army until I was able to force a victory. I don’t remember exactly what happened at the end there, but I remember reducing the Troll army down to the Impaler, Grim, and a single Champion. Thexus was able to take away the win, but only just barely.

The next game I played was after the tournament ended. A nice young kid is getting into protectorate and the game, and wanted to play a quick game. I obliged, because hey, teaching new people is fun! He ended up having 26 points of models he was able to toss together, So I just matched the total.

His models: 

Feora II+6
*Vanqisher8
*Crusader6
*Repenter4
*Revenger6
Choir of Menoth (6)3
26 points

and mine: 

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
Mind Slavers (10)6
26 points

I wasn’t extremely confident in my list, but I was very confident that I was gonna club this baby seal. I was intent on teaching him a few things about the game along the way, as well, but I was pretty confident I’d carry home his head.

We started with a simple explanation of the game mechanics, with him taking his first turn to look over his spells, discover Escort, and send his warjacks on their merry way. As we were doing all this we slowly gathered a few players who were also watching and gave helpful hints to him along the way. I knew I was doomed at that point, as playing against committee is just a doomed endeavor.

We took the first two turns to get into position so that we could get a good bead on each other and get to clobberin’ time. He learned about the awesomeness of Telekinesis, the usefulness of judging distances, and the great role that the leader possess in a unit. He got first blood, sending a Battled Repenter into my Slaver drudges, targeting a guy beyond the 8″ reach, and burned a whole set of em. I was able, however, to get the second blow in. I charged with my Drudges into the Crusader and the Repenter, doing a bit of damage, and then Feated. Thexus pulled the Crusader into range of the Subduer,  the Vanquisher and the Revenger were likewise pulled into range of the Wrecker.

Sadly, though, the Subduer, after a netgun and three pow 18 attacks, came up short on the Crusader, leaving it with an Ignited mace and its Cortex as its only remaining boxes (2). The Wrecker, my next best option, managed to roll a pair of snake Eyes while agitated to leave the Vanquisher at pretty decent health. With the Warden in reserve, and the rest of my models ready to be totaled in retaliation, I knew it was going to be an uphill climb. The Crusader easily handled the Subduer, and the Vanquisher dispatched the Wrecker, with a little help from the Revenger.

But I was still in the game! His vanquisher was in line with his caster, and I had a warden. I used Telekinesis on the Warden and the reveneger to get them into place, and set up the slam.  Slamming for free with the Warder is an awesome benefit, and I used it to my advantage. With a fully loaded head of steam, I needed anything but 1 on the distance, due to Grand Slam, and I’d be able to unload on a knocked down Feora.

The dice are rolled, and again they come up snake eyes. All I can do is laugh at this point, as the Vanquisher beats my Warden to death, and then Epic Feora move + fire steps up to catch Thexus in a flamethrower range, setting him on fire and doing 6 damage to him. I then cook for another 5 the next round, leaving me with 4 HP away from death. I Have a last ditch effort, tossing 2 Hex Blasts into her face, boosting the damage, but I leave her at 4 HP and she takes me out the next turn.

It was a good game, and I am sure that a dude playing his second game got a ton of fun out of it. If only I’d have been able to teach the new guy about slams, Follow up, knockdown, and auto hitting attacks.

Ah well!

 

I had some unexpected free time on Sunday, and another stupid model trade turned into an old fashioned rumble.

I brought my Cephalyx (3-2-1) and he brought the Darius list he’ll be bringing down to the ATC in Tennessee next weekend.

I had decided to mess with my list, and it seemed to happen at the right time. While I really enjoy the Subduer, I wanted to try a multiple wrecker 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

He brought

Man, he needs a resculpt!

Captian E. Dominic Darius+5
*Centurion9
*Stormwall19
*Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker2
Storm Strider9
Black 13th4
Lady Aiyanna & Master Hold4
Captain Arlan Strangeways2
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (Epic)3
Journeyman Waracster3
55

We ended up playing Incursion, because neither of us had zones on hand. The table was set up with a hill on my far left flank, on the board edge. There was a building about 4″ to the left and towards me from the center flag. There was a fairly large pond on the other side of the board, on my left flank. The right, on both sides of the board, was a fairly large forest.

I won the roll off and chose to go first. With the amount of shooting and general getting in there in that list, I didn’t want to be stuck on my half, which is a serious concern when everything is speed 5.

Deployment
He chose sides, and pre-deployed his Storm Strider and the Stormwall almost dead center on the side with the lake.

I then tried to not bunch myself up in deployment. I deployed mainly center-left, due to the forest on the right, with the Mind Slavers and Mind Benders stretching across my front line, punctuated by Agitators and Pistol Wraiths on the flanks. Past them, I deployed my wreckers on each flank, with the Warden staying back next to Thexus in the second rank. Capping it all off was the Machine Wraiths to either side. The overlords and a single Agitator took up back line rolls with Thexus.

His deployed Darius next to and slightly behind the Storm Strider. Junior, Sylys and Arlan stayed in the back. The Black 13th took my right, and Aiyanna and Holt took the left with the Centurion.

I deployed my TAC and the Dominator pretty central, and he AD’d Eiryss on the left, in the pond.

Turn 1. 
I learned, while muttering about threat ranges, that the Storm Strider can be placed by Darius’ Crane, increasing its threat by just over 5″ on its already impressive 14″, 10″ deploy and 5″ move. He was going to shoot whatever I let him. I started out moving the TAC up their 4″ and leaving the Dominator 9″ behind. They dropped smoke next to the forest, extending its protection out into the middle of the board. The Mind Slavers ran up next, behind the smoke cloud, and spread out a bit, leaving the Slaver 9″ in the back. The Wrecker on the left moved up next to the building, and the Mind Bender ran up behind, filling in the gaps with their warped and twisted bodies. The other Wrecker moved up next to the forest and behind the Slaver Drudges. The Agitators, along with the unit leaders, were terrified of electroleaps, and thus got stuck behind the army once again. They maneuvered up near the Monstrosities, just in case. Each flank had the Pistol Wraith and the Machine Wraith run screaming towards the side flags. Thexus went last, moving up just enough to catch the army in Deceleration, cast it, and camped.

His turn was similar. He started out Craning the Storm Strider up its full distance, casting Fortify on the Centurion, and ran a Halfjack over to the flag. The Storm Strider then moved up and shot at my Wrecker over near the building. Thankfully, he missed his first shot. The Strider is RAT 6, and needs 6’s to hit the Monstrosity under Deceleration. Amazingly, his second attack missed, giving me a bit of hope. The Stormwall advanced and launched a pod, but the Ryan couldn’t get line to it through the forest at the end of the turn. Eiryss ran over near to the flag, just in case. Jr. put Arcane Shield on the Strider, seeing as it was going to be assaulted next turn. Everyone else just moved into position.

He rolled for the flag, with the left one, with Eiryss and the Centurion, going away.

I’ll never leave home without an enslaved trio!

Turn 2
I assessed the situation, and assigned 3 to the wrecker near the house, keeping myself 5. I went into the tank for a few minutes, but came out ready to go. The Machine Wraith, having no greater purpose in life, ran out to engage Eiryss. The Pistol Wraith maneuvered to get cover from the building and dropped 2 shots into the Centurion, with the Chain Attack: Death Chill succeeding. The other Pistol Wraith moved to just inside the flag contesting zone, to either pull the B13th far enough out that I could Tag them or give up the flag. The Machine Wraith on the same side ran way out wide next to the forest to do the same.  The TAC then went, making room for Drudges and the Wrecker. One tossed a Flame Blast into the Strider, doing 2 damage, one popped the Stormpod, activating battle wizard and hurled a Flame Blast into the Black 13, doing 3 damage to Ryan. The final one took out one of the halfjacks.  I activated the Overlords next, moving them over towards the right flank, out of the way. The Mind Bender unit then moved up and dropped Adrenal Flood into three Mind Slaver drudges: Them dying is super convenient sometimes, it allows you to get in your own way, and then remove yourself! I moved the adrenal flooded models up into charge range of the Storm Strider, then activated the unit to charge with them. Sadly I’d only eyeballed one to be within range. 12.5 is actually a hard distance to judge. I should get better at it with Thexus’ control range. I’ve gotten pretty good at 8″ and 10″, but 5″, 6″ and 12″ still elude me after 9 years. Thexus activated and used Telekinesis on the wrecker, and cast Deceleration, again.  He then moved to catch everything he could in the aura, which was the whole army except for the Machine Wraiths. The wrecker and Subduer then moved up, in base to base with each other in front of Thexus to form a sort of screen some 4″ in front of him. Finally, the Wrecker charged, blasting through the Flag and getting just the tiniest portion of his reach onto the Storm Strider. Thanks to Beat Back, I was able to return to within striking range after each attack on the Strider pushing me away, and after all 4 attacks, the Arcane Shielded Storm Strider was a Wreck.

My opponent took a couple of seconds to compose himself, his plans having changed at the last moment with the removal of the Storm Strider. I’ve learned to try and pull off the big moves at the end of a turn, because the opponent has to rethink their turn order once you’ve changed the battlefield so significantly. If they’ve thought out a plan, they now have to rethink it. If they had no plan, they are probably a little surprised by the turn of events. Either way, it’s something worth trying. He started with allocating 2 to the Stormwall, upkeeping fortify, and keeping the rest on Darius. The Black 13th went first, moving so that they could draw LOS outside of the forest. Watts shot at the Machine Wraith, removing it, Ryan dropped a Mage Storm on a Mind Slaver Drudge, killing it and one other, with a Third suffering no damage. Lynch took aim at the one in the cloud and smoked him, but tough let him stay the course. Eiryss ran forward and out of melee with the Machine Wraith who, needing 8’s to hit, connected and his claws rent the Elven Hooker from the world. One halfjack moved up and became a mine almost halfway between the two flags. Holt stood still while Aiyanna went stealth. Holst took a shot, killing an Agitator too far from my Monstrosities, and then took a pot shot at the corporeal Pistol Wraith. Def 20 was too hard to crack, though, behind a building and under Deceleration. The Stormwall took an ill spirit on the Wrecker that had destroyed the Strider, and charged him, getting well within range. He drops a pod and kills a pair of Drudges, and then both initials and a bought attack later, the Wrecker is still standing tall. Darius then moves up and starts Jackhammering, killing the Wrecker but spending a ton of focus to do it. He then shoots off a rocket into the Drudges, killing a pair and making one of the tough. Sylys, Arlan and the Journeyman move up, with the Journeyman putting Arcane shield on Darius, bringing his armor up to 21. The Centurion shuffled over near Darius.

Turn 3
I give 3 focus to my second Wrecker immediately glad I had brought him along, one to the warden, and kept the other 4. The Pistol Wraith stood still and Death Chilled the Centurion again. The Overlords, emboldened by the lack of presence over near the flag, moved towards it, one of them touching. One of them looked to be in range of the Black 13th in the woods, so I took a shot with their Psychic Assault. Sprays are the best. Ignoring Stealth and concealment, I only needed 8’s, and ignoring LOS I was able to tag Lynch behind Ryan. Turns out, as anyone who plays against me regularly knows, 8’s are my average. I kill both Ryan and Lynch with the spray. Dice +1 does that. The Mind Bender then goes, giving the three remaining, non-knocked Drudges Adrenal Flood, and each of them moves into charge position. The Warden then goes, running up into range of Telekinesis range of the Centurion. The TAC get in there as best they can, and tossing Fireballs about. One targets Holt, clipping him and incinerating him, while the other two fly wide of their intended targets. Again, I used killing a Storm Pod to trigger Battle Wizard.  The way now clear, I charge with my Mind Slaver and Drudges, getting three into combat and having to run one. One getting into combat was exceedingly close, having to use a laser and proxy base to figure it out. After all three charges I leave the Stormwall at 23, exactly half. I then realize that I could have moved the Agitator up, and wail and gnash my teeth. I move him up and set to agitating, getting the bonus for the inevitable charging Wrecker. Thexus goes, getting cocky and moving with 10″ of the Stormwall, and once again used Telekinesis: The first on the Centurion, placing him closer to the Machine Wraith, and the second went to the Wrecker, pulling him that much closer to the Stormwall. I moved the Pistol Wraith and the remaining Agitator into what I thought were safe positions. Finally, I launched the Wrecker at the Stormwall, easily in range and charging for free due to the placement of the Stormwall itself. Two initial attacks and two bought attacks later, I was sitting on a focus, looking at a pile of rubble that has once been a proud Stormwall. Finally, I moved the Machine Wraith over near the Centurion over, but was outside of an inch to try and possess it.

CP: Thexus 1/Darius 0

Worth their weight in eights!


This was a do or die turn for Darius. He was down the Stormwall and the Storm Strider, and was missing 2/3 Black 13th. He kept all the focus on Darius, upkeeping Fortify. He went first with Aiyanna, who moved up a touch and cast Kiss of Lyss on the Warden. He then activated Darius, moving up and craning the Centurion over into melee range of the Warden, and proceeded to Jackhammer it into the earth. Strangeways took Aim and sprayed a couple of drudges, killing one. Watts moved up into 4″ of the flag to contest, shooting an Agitator off the planet as well. The journeyman took a Dwarf out of the picture, leaving 2. Finally, Sylys took over and charged into the machine Wraith and missed. He forgot to activate his Centurion, but that wasn’t a big deal. He moved it in front of Darius, blocking LOS in most ways.

CP: Thexus 1/Darius 0

Turn 5
I really wanted to kill Darius this turn, but his Centurion posed a huge problem. With Fortify up, he couldn’t be affected my Telekinetic Tide, and neither could Darius. I would have to do this old school. I allocated 3 to the Wrecker and left the rest on Thexus. The Mind benders activated first, putting a pair of Adrenal floods out there, getting one a bit closer to Darius. The overlords took their cue next, moving around to get a pair of sprays onto Watts, not that I needed it as the first one melted the poor fools mind. The last two TAC moved forward and tried Fireballing again. I managed to remove a Halfjack, but the last shot scattered wide. Thexus then went, moving up to get within 8″ of the Centurion and attempting to Telekinesis him out of the way. The first attempt was snake eyes, which screwed up my plan to Hex Blast Arcane Shield off Darius. The Second one worked, though, and he ended up out of the way, finally. My last Agitator move up and started agitating to get the Instigation bonus on both the Drudges and the Wrecker. The Mind Slavers went next, with one charging Darius, and one Arlan. Arlan’s didn’t reach, but Darius took the full brunt of a POW 19 to the face, taking a few damage. With little left to activate, I charged the wrecker, for free due to the proximity of the Centurion, and started wailing on Darius. The Charge was going to be critical, so I boosted it, needing 6’s. I missed. 3 attacks later, Darius is sitting alive on three health, and I have nothing left to threaten him.  My Machine Wraith, left alive by Sylys, advanced next, staying in range of his magic weapon, and took control of the Centurion, removing the last enemy model from within 4″ of the flag in the center.  Both Pistol Wraiths then ran into position, one of them nestling up cozily next to the center flag, and I passed the turn and gained 2 more Control Points.

CP: Thexus 3/Darius 0

Darius was looking ill, but he wasn’t out of it. He set the turn in motion by activating Arlan, Smashing a drudge. The journeyman activated and shot the Agitator off the planet. Darius activated and spent 2 focus to eject the Machine Wraith, craned it over into melee range of the Wrecker, and Jackhammered him into the ground, again. Sylys activated next, charging the Machine Wraith and missing again. Aiyanna then activated and gave the Centurion magic weapons, who then proceeded to move to engage and then eliminate both the Machine and Pistol Wraiths. Out of models, he passed the turn. I took another CP from the far flag, and we knew I would win on my turn with the final one.

CP:Thexus 4/Darius 0

Turn 5
At this point, I asked my opponent if I could play it out. It’s not generally a good or nice thing to do, but I’ve not had enough experience with the army as a whole to be ensured of a win with what’s left. I wanted to engineer a way to do it. He graciously agreed to let me play out my mental exercise, and I started my turn. I moved up with Thexus, within 10″ of Darius, and decided to pop off a Hex Blast to try and make it easier for my army to do work. I hit easily, and figured why not, boost the POW 13 damage at Dice -5. The dice came up in my favor, and I took down Darius.

CP: Thexus 5/Darius 0

Thoughts
Man that was a fun game. I was able to really see the type of work I was missing with but a single Wrecker. I can’t see leaving home without 2 in the future, and that says a lot about the Subduer. The Wrecker is just way too good to leave in the foam.

Chain Lightning and indirect attacks are scary as hell. Turn 1, to try and protect myself from leaps, I had to leave a 5″ gap between the nearest friendly model and my Cephalyx. This held my Agitators way back, and I hoped keep them in play longer. Fortunately he missed with the Storm Strider and I was then able to remove it.

The hit 36 hit boxes are incredibly frustrating. Simple below average dice cause an overly aggravating amount of focus to be spent killing a single Monstrosity, leaving Darius on empty a number of turns.

As I play more and More, I’m able to start to see how the army is supposed to work. It’s an intricate, clockwork missile, very much the inverse of the Convergence. Where they seem to build a durable machine able to withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, the Cephalyx seem to be those exact same slings and arrows, creating through their inner workings an unstoppable missile of outrageous fortune.

I’ve received hours ago the knowledge that my Relic Knights have arrived! Thursday I may very well have a first impressions post, but I am also very eager to write my first MTG Cube experience up!

Follow me on Twitter! @seethingginger!

Another week, another game with Thexus. The Cephalyx are a very, very interesting army that has a ton of twists and bends in it. I’m learning a lot about how these guys run, and its like nothing I’ve ever played before. Thexus has so little personal offense, a slow overall army, and a ton of parasitic effects. His army also has some huge deficiencies, and figuring out how to overcome then and use them to your advantage seems to be the real key to this army. It’ll take a little while, I expect, but it should be well worth it. I cannot wait until their second caster!

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The Cephalyx made another outing last week, this time against Butcher 3. His list was one I was not familiar with, but neither was his ‘Caster.

I’ve been having a rough time getting the Croe’s Cutthroats to work, but I wanted to give them another shot or two before I passed judgement on them and called them Terrible. This game was no better than the others for them, but I don’t think it was a really good matchup for them overall.

The Cephalyx list I’ve been running hasn’t changed, though I have some options on the board that I’ll be subbing in soon. For a refresher, the list is

Exulon Thexus+5
-Subduer7
-Warden6
-Wrecker7
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Croes Cutthroats (10)10
-Cephalyx Dominator1
Bloat Thrall2
Cephalyx Overlords4
55
.

I really like the Concept of the list, so I’ll be leaving the core alone for some time.

 

His Butcher Unleashed list was

Butcher Unleashed+4
-Beast 0911
-Drago8
-War Dog1
Great Bears of Gallowswood5
Man-O-War Shocktroopers (5)9
Man-O-War Shocktroopers (5)9
Widowmakers4
Iron Fang Kovnik2
Manhunter2
Yuri the Axe3
55

The table was almost devoid of terrain. It has a single large building on my right side, and two smaller buildings about 20″ on on both sides left flank. Though got to choose, I stayed on the side with the large building because our armies were already out. It was a bad decision. The scenario was Incursion.

Deployment
He deployed both Shock Troopers to my left-center, with Drago nearly perfect center and the IFP Kovnick behind them both. Butcher 3, the Wardog and Beast 09 held the right.

I deployed the Wrecker to face both shock troops, with the Overlords to worry about that flag. The Warden was deployed to the far right to go after that flag, if needed. Centrally located was the Slavers to the left center and the benders to the right center. Dead center was Thexus and the Subduer. Agitators supported all three beasts.

Advanced Deployment
He deployed his Widowmakers and a Manhunter off to counter the Overlords, and Yuri on the far opposite flank, near my warder.

I deployed the Croes right center to get some shots in on the Shock Troopers under my feat.

The Game: 
Turn 1 on both sides consisted of mostly running and getting into position, though I did move a pair of Mind Bent Drudges off to support the Warden, expecting him to be charged by Yuri, and wanted to make sure he got cleared off. The overlords moved up and tried, all three, to spray the Manhunter who’d made it zipping across the board, but they left him alive. – The Flag on the left vanishes.

Using this for an arc node is stupid.

Using this for an arc node is stupid.

Turn 2 was the meat of the game, as it should be. He moved everything up into position to threaten my eventual central surge. I’d positioned my drudges near the Warden poorly, and Yuri got all three. The Manhunter charges into an Overlord and whiffs both attacks. Butcher 3 repositions more toward the center of the board and makes me super-nervous. I move Thexus up to grab almost all his Shocktroopers and feat, pulling the shieldwall apart. I TK Drago backwards into charge range of three supped up Mind Slaver Drudges. I manage to clog myself up really, really bad. Mind Benders stuck in the back. Subduer way to back to do any good, wrecker needed to run to get TK off, Agitator charges Yurri and on dice -3 manages to do 2 damage, leaving the Subduer engaged. Instead of Taking a free strike and getting the point that turn, I paste Yurri with the Warden. Croes gets some sweet shoots off, but between doing dice -7 on three dice to the Shock Troopers and needing 8’s to hit def 13 great bears, I just don’t get enough work done. I think I killed three Shocktroopers and a Great Bear. All the Agitators are jammed up and can’t get in deep enough to help the Adrenaline Overloaded Drudges kill Drago, and I leave him alive.

Turn 3 is the tipping point, with Beast 09 getting into the central fray, and the majority of the Shocktroopers still alive making it into my lines. The Widowmakers continue to harry my troops, picking off models exactly where they are needed. I can’t seem to make any tough rolls, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Croes gets whittled down, an overlord drops, and Drago manages to get cleared out and charge the Wrecker, mortally wounding it, but not killing it. I manage to make a strong reprisal, but its not good enough. I kill all of the Widowmakers and start driving into the Shocktroopers. The Wrecker kills Drago and then 3 more Shocktroopers, missing an attack at Mat 7. Whatever. I send three Adrenal Flooded Drudges into Beast, but I barely scratch the paint, even with the Agitator. I manage to take out the IFP Kovnik, and drop some shots into the Great Bears, but it seems not to matter, as they can’t die. I get my Agitator over to the right flag, with the warden back a bit to counter-charge whatever decided to get points.

Turn 4 is when the game ended, more or less. Butcher 3 charges the Agitator on the flag, casts impending doom on the too-close Warden, and ends them both after popping his feat, dominating the flag. The Great Bears charge the Wrecker and leave it in a pile of quivering chunks. Beast 09 sits in position and continues to give 0 shits about whatever is near him. A nearly complete unit of Shocktroopers sits near the center flag, refusing to die. I run the Bloat Thrall over to futilely contest and try and maybe kill some Argus with its death blast. The Subduer finally gets into position, and charges a damaged Beast 09 with two focus. Under the effects of the Agitator, with three attacks, one a charge, I feel fairly confident I can wreck it. Snake eyes on the charge and on the second bought attack put that plan to its miserable end, and with it any hope of winning. Butcher sits put, killing everything I can throw at him for 2 more turns and eventually wins on scenario.

Thoughts

I made that game a much harder fight than it needed to be. I don’t really have an answer to Butcher 3 that outhreats him, but man it would have been a better game if I didn’t have my head stuck so far into my anal crevice.

Error: I’m used to Cryx. When I point at a unit, any unit, it conveniently removes itself from the board. That is not how Cephalyx are going to work. I need to use the right tools to get the right jobs done. The right tool to take out Shocktroopers is definitely not POW 12 sprays. This error is especially grievous as it wasn’t even a unit I needed to worry about, as there was no flag nearby.

These guys don't kill Shocktroopers

These guys don’t kill Shocktroopers

Error: I bunched all three of my units into a 10″ area. This created over-burdened order of activation problems that I shouldn’t have needed to worry about. My Mind Bender Drudges were stuck behind the Mind Slavers, unable to participate except to give out Adrenal Flood. Let me tell you, its not worth it. I also clogged up two of my three Monstrosities, allowing his ‘jacks and Shocktroppers to choose the engagement.

Error: I ran the wrecker to get an unnecessary TK off. If I had held put and not gotten greedy, I could have been a lot more threatening late game. Drago would not have made it so that the wrecker took trivial amounts of work to kill.

Error: Popping feat turn 2. I had hopped to whittle down the Shocktroopers, but even Poison crossbow bolts don’t really worry ARM 17 8 wound troopers. I could have waited another turn to get more charges, sprays, and other damage in without much of a sacrifice.

Error: the warden was in Impending Doom range, and that was completely avoidable. I could have kept him way, way back.

I don’t want to take away from the game, though. My opponent played clean and without mistakes, and He capitalized on mine. It was a fantastic learning experience with my Cephalyx. Next time, I’ll try not to get all my stuff murdered and remember positioning.

Final thoughts.
The Cephalyx are a blast to play, but I need a ton more practice with them before I become a master. Heavy Arcnodes are not something you force, but something that you take advantage of, and getting greedy with it can make you pretty sad if you use your big beat stick. Croes, also, feel pretty bad. Soon here I am going to go with the double Pistol Wraith/TAC load out and see what I can do with that. I do have a strange desire to run Aiyanna and Holt instead, because Harm in that army will be off the chain. I have to worry about the Dominator being snipped out, but I have a Warden for that.

Till tomorrow!

When I took off from Baltimore on Wednesday, I was more excited for Lock and Load than I’d been last two years. That doesn’t mean a whole lot because I’m not one to get terribly excited in general. The excitement came from a number of related factors:  I was going to see my friends Sarah and Jonathan who I’d not seen in almost a year, I was going to attend the invitational and then Lock and Load itself,  I was going to hang with John DeMaris, a stellar fellow I met three years ago, I was going to  get games in with Aeryn Rudel, Lyle Lowrey, and Doug Hamilton, and, I discovered at the last minute, meet another set of friends I’d not seen in quite some time. I was also rooming with a bunch of Canadians, only one of which I’d ever met.

Not everything turned out as I expected, both for good and Ill, but it was a splendid time all around. What did I do you say?

Flying in Wednesday, I managed to have dinner with my friends from Maryland, now Seattle, and it was awesome just seeing them again. They gave me a room to crash in – The only bed I’d sleep in all weekend, good food and good company. Sadly, it was cut short by my stupid east coast brain. I took the train in super-early to get over to the Seattle Westin on Thursday to check in before the Invitational, and from there, met John for breakfast with the Canadians. Check in for the Invitational was super swift, and we got Lock and Load dice, too! Well, the ones I got were “miss printed” with a dark purple on black, but I love ’em, with the color scheme of the Ravens and my Cryx being the same. They are Q workshop dice, but I think they are much easier to read than the standard ones. I’m pleased.

Zaal's Immortal Host v. Barnabus

Zaal’s Immortal Host v. Barnabus

My first opponent of the day is Aeryn, who I’d played last year, but he’d been given the wrong warlock by Will Schick, so it wasn’t really a fair game. This year, however, he brought a tier 4 Immortal Host list painted by Charles Foster III, and it was a beautiful army. I was Playing my Exchange Gators, and had finally gotten my Swamptopus from Devilsquid and my Wrong Eye from Endgame. I put down my typical Barnabus list, and we set off on a caster kill. I don’t remember much from this game, other than realizing that the Witch Doc Croc can control the Kovass, and never making the roll. I’m sure the game ended with Zaal in the dirt, and I’m fairly sure it was my Maryland Terrapin that did him in, but hell if I could validate any of that. 1-0 on the weekend so far!

Barnabus V. Kreoss 3

Barnabus V. Kreoss 3

The next game was against Kreoss III, who brought along an Indictor, which I’d not seen proxied before. He used the avatar, and that made me very pleased, because who doesn’t want the Avatar to not be the Avatar! I ended up changing the list up (and for the rest of the con, really) by swapping out the Ironback for the Swamptopus. It was a fantastic move that made for some really cool games later on. This one, specifically, I managed to drag Fires of Salvation from engaging two Gators, allowing them to break out and take down some Exemplar Vengers. The Swamptopus, though, Nearly cleaned out fires all by himself, which was pretty epic, getting a 4 point Critical Catastrophic Damage off, making the total 15 points of damage! in the end, Kreoss took three turns of beatings by a Blackhide Wrastler before being put in the ground, but it was finished! 2-0 baby!

During the invitational, there was a raffle of sorts, and I was lucky enough to win all the Standard Sculpt Juniors and Lessers, which is a pretty big deal to me. I Have Cygnar, Mercs, Skorne and Cryx, which is just shy of half of them. But now I have to find out reasons to make a Trollblood, Ret, Khador, Protectorate and Circle lists that have them in it. Like I needed more factions.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to get in any more games during the invitational, but it was a blast playing Aeryn, which I am going to make a tradition, and my Kreoss Opponent was a great guy. I passed out early, knowing that I had Spelldraft the next day.

Well, I Spelldrafted Friday, Which I’ve already wrote about, so I won’t go over it again, but suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I also got to see the keynote/Staff Panel, which was pretty OK. I like the information on Level 7 and Warmachine: Tactics, and the Monsternomicon stuff was just off the hook, I just couldn’t help but be disappointed in the lack of Warmachine and Tactics stuff. There were four slides:

starting off with a non-character Beserker Chassis Jack called the Mad Dog, ripped straight from High Command:

Khadoran Mad Dog

Then, a picture of some unknown Protectorate jack, with a mace, flamethrower, and what seems to be an arc node.

Protectorate Jack

Next, Concept art for a Ret Character Warjack. They mentioned if you want to see who’s character jack it is, pay attention to the weapons – looks like Garryth to me.

Garreth JackAnd finally, they showed this still, which could be either Pirates or Cryx.

Pirate Unit

While this slide was up, they mentioned that they were doing characters in Reckoning like they had done before in Apotheosis, supposedly to that type of power level. Its only fair, seeing as Imperatus just released, to keep Ret one step behind! They’d also mentioned that we were going to see some character units, if I remember correctly, and that’s something I’d really love to see. While the Withershadow Combine are freaking amazing, I think Cryx needs another bite at the Black 13th apple!

I was exhausted Friday, but I wanted to get my Cephalyx assembled, so I got up fairly early and started on them after a brief breakfast. I took some shots as I was assembling them:

monstrosity bits

monstrosity bits

Pre-Magnetized Monstrosities

Pre-Magnetized Monstrosities

Dominator

Cephalyx Dominator

Cephalyx Agitators

Cephalyx Agitators

Mind bender

Mind Bender and Drudges Unit


Sadly, the only model I didn’t get a picture of as I was doing all this was the enormous Thexus himself.

But lets get to that now!

Thexus v. Borka 2

Thexus v. Borka 2

The first game of the day was against Borka II, who had been assembled at the same table while I was assembling my Cephalyx. He is not a nice man. We were both, however, playing the caster for the first time, and neither of us really knew what to expect. I managed to win on scenario, but mostly because I could spray everything of his off the board. Overlords, Agitators, Mind Benders and Mind Slavers all have spray attacks that are extremely good. What I couldn’t spray, I could TK, and the feat was just Icing on top. I will say, someones going to figure out something insane with Borka II, and I’m just not gonna like it. 8-1 (yes, I am counting Spelldraft games!)

Thexus v. Goreshade III

Thexus v. Goreshade III

The second game was against Goreshade III, playing a massive, very cool, Tier list. He’d also decided to go for Cephalyx, and wanted to see how they play out on the tabletop. He’d played his Goreshade III list some 60+ times, and man, did it show. While I gave him a run for his money, I just didn’t know my list as well as he did his. The Wrecker, though, did his job and walked through 6 or 7 bane riders in a single activation, momentarily swinging the game. He had, however, picked off both my Dominator and my Mind Bender with magic attacks, and Croe’s never rallied. Playing 11 points down just wasn’t going to help my cause. I could have tied up or even killed the arc node had they been around, but it just wasn’t in the cards. It takes a total of two Siphon bolts onto Thexus and the game ends. 8-2

Me and Doug v. Martin and Max

Me and Doug v. Martin and Max

The third game I played was a team game with Doug Hamilton against Team France. They brought Skorne and Cryx, with Doug and I bringing Cephalyx and Convergence. It was a brutal game, and I rolled my fair share of hard 8’s to bring down most of the Satyxis with the Mind benders. The Drudge unit didn’t last long to the reprisal, and the Warden, when given a chance on Skarre failed to complete the job. Thankfully, He did it on a free strike that saved Thexus’ bacon, allowing us to call the game there up one caster to 0. I even got to use Doug’s Hulk Monstrosities because mine were.. well.. criticized for not being recognizable. I will say, though, that using the feat to clump up all the Venetor Slingers into a nice 5″ aoe bubble and then having the stupid Bloat Thrall miss his shot and sail 6″ right was a real bummer. 9-2!

Thexus 4

Cygnar and Cephlyx v. Cryx and Trolls

The last game of the day was again a team game against a couple of friends who were standing behind me in line reporting games. It was starting to get late, and I was getting loopy, and the scenario table didn’t help. We played Hold the Gates, with 25 points each of Thexus  and Cygnar v. 50 points each of Cryx and Trolls. It was BRUTAL. We held the gates, with Stormwall taking down Deathjack, and a million tough rolls on both Boomhowler and the Mind Bender Drudges holding down the fort long enough to eek out a win. 10-2

Barnabus v. Grissel 2

Barnabus v. Grissel 2

Sunday was not so kind to me. I got up early, and grabbed my first opponent about 7am after just about 4 hours of sleep. He slapped down the Mini Meat Mountain – 35 points of Pure Pain. I was playing gators, so I had no idea were this was going. Turns out, It went about as good as it could. Toward the end of the game, the Swamptopus got over to Grissel II and flailed about at her right good, but even with 8 attacks he couldn’t put the finishing touch on her. One of my Gatormen, eager to finish the fight, took a free strike from a warder, survived, and smacked the knocked down Warlock in the face. I needed High rolls, at ARM 19, but dice -3 isn’t terrible. But, as they always do, my dice pulled the law of averages on my face and rolled snake eyes, sealing the game, as Barnabas was beat to a pulp, just barely, by Mulg. 10-3

Barnabus v. Harbinger

Barnabus v. Harbinger

My next game was not something I was thrilled about once I saw what Frka had dropped on the table. Harbinger. I wasn’t sure what I’d do about it, but it wasn’t going to be OK. I lost my feat due to the book, and was really struggling from then on out. I made a decent play for it, with Barnabus forcing Harbinger to Martyr down to 4 hp, but in the end, I couldn’t clear the flag, and ended up loosing on control points. I probably sacrificed my Two big beasts a touch early, but I didn’t think it could be helped. Submerge being purified off is just rotten. 10-4

Sadly, my last game of the day I didn’t get a picture of, though it would have been epic. A friend I’ve known for a while but never got a game in against was also at Lock and Load, so we threw down. In the vein of all my Sunday Matchups, he tosses out a legit caster – Saeryn, with a pretty brutal list including a Scythian and two Angels. Standard fare, I’ve been told. Barnabus is good, But I don’t think he’s good enough to tangle with the big boys. Thankfully, I’m able to weather the storm, and make it through the feat turn by blocking LOS to Barnabus with big models in a swamp pit. I’m finally able to pop my feat, use Croak Hunter thrown spears to trigger Warpath, and get the Swamptopus on Searyn. Turns out, no girl likes being stuffed into the mouth of Pink Octopus. 11-4!

I really enjoyed getting a ton of games in. I couldn’t think of a better way to do it. The food was good, the people were awesome, and the staff was a blast to play against.

But there’s more!

In addition to the games, there was also a Privateer hobby area where the Concept artist, Digital and Traditional Sculptors, Painters and Terrain builders were all hanging out. They had concept art of the Sacral Vault and the actual model for Helga, which I tragically didn’t get pictures for. But they did also have Trollkin bandits

Painting Bandits Trollkin Bandits

and also the model, albeit primed, for Jaga Jaga.

Jaga Jaga

Finally, they also had someone sculpting the Swamp Gobber River pirates, with concept art there as well:

River Pirates

 

I had a blast at Lock and Load, and look forward to making the trip out next year. Maybe this time, I can somehow magic my way into an Iron Gauntlet and get beat by the best int he business!

 

Man, what a format! Spelldraft lived up to my lofty expectations, and I really enjoyed the whole 63 man tournament. I will say that I liked the format better than Who’s the Boss, specifically because I don’t have to be terrified of breaking someone else’s models.

Every opponent I had was a top-notch guy, and I’d play any of them again in a standard tournament, though I’d likely not do as well.

I ended up playing against,  in order:

Rhan with Ashes to ashes
Kromack with Rage, Fury, and Defenders Ward
Epic Skarre with Savagery and Iron Flesh
Epic Haley with Signs and Portents
Epic Morvanna with Arcane Bolt
Epic Skarre with Ashes to Ashes

The format is not balanced against the rest of Warmachine, but it is internally balanced with itself. It has a pre-selected set of 64 cards, organized into  8 pre-sorted card pools that are all crafted to create choice within the packs. In the pack I opened there were both Signs and Portents and Boneshaker. It was a tough choice to make, but I went with Bone Shaker.  I didn’t think that the capacity to remove up to 18 models in a turn was going to come around again, and I could spam it more than Signs and Portents. I also  didn’t know what was in the rest of the packs, and was hoping for another global buff. In the end, I don’t think I did so bad, though I didn’t end up with a single CTRL buff.

Spell draft Cards

I had focused on making the most out of the random spells, but some players went with straight up high focus casters, some had no-frills casters who worked without spells, and other still focused on the feat with spells to enable it. While there was a huge variety, I was legitimately surprised at the lack of Harbingers and Kreoss 3’s, maybe that is just me. My biggest fear, though, was assuaged when they defaulted to Deathclock. I was a very happy camper seeing the chess clocks on the tables instead of timers. I was convinced that if we used timed turns, they would be the death of me.

Every games, as I mentioned, was a blast, so let me run down the highlights, for those of you who weren’t on my twitter.

Game 1: Austin brings a fairly standard Rhan list, with two units of Battle Mages, Sentinels, and a Phoenix. Thankfully, I got lucky Chain lighting rolls and erased his Battle Mages on the top of turn 2 before I could get engaged. Rhan ends up Spirit Fanged to death Turn 3.

Game 2: James Brings a brutal list of Kromack, twin stalkers, Ghetorix, and double shifting stones. Thankfully, last Masters I saw this terrible thing, and ended up nullifying one set of stones early on. I’d also dropped a ton of damage, but not enough to kill, into Kromack on turn 2, forcing him to play cautious. Though I hate to win this way, he ran out of time while making attacks on the Egregore with Ghetorix. He’d have won, no doubt, given infinite time.

Game 3: A very exuberant cryx player, who I forget the poor dudes name, brings an Epic Skarre list, with Satyxis, Bane Knights, Deathjack and Tartarus. He starts out debasing himself and how terrible he is, but I jovially call him out on his tactic, and we get along for the rest of the game. He forgets to feat at the only time he needed it, and I Spirit Fang Skarre off the board, again getting me out of the game on luck.

Not all those Banes make it.

Not all those Banes make it.

Game 4 was against a terrifying Epic Haley list run by Adam with a Stormwall and Blazers. Thanks to Quagmire, the Satyxis were able to tie up the Blazers for the majority of the game, making them less relevant, but still potent. What really swung the game, though, was my 5 Primed Bane Thralls miraculously dropping the Stormwall, freeing me to go for scenario.

Game 5 was an epic debacle against Colin Hill, and his Epic Morvanna list. He ended up killing his own Gallows Grove, Feating for it, and dropping it next to the Coven. Two shots and a re-roll later, he’s killed two of the coven and a focus 3 caster just can’t get it done.If I’d have been better prepared for it, I had crevasse, and could have forced a longer game, though I did get to see the Staff Panel, so it wasn’t all bad.

Game 6 was against Craig, another Epic Skarre player who had full units of Thralls and Knights, along with Tartarus and Deathjack. I took Tartarus off the board with Bone Shakered Bane Knights, and then I was able to get the terrible Bone Shaker train to go off. I took almost the entire Bane Knight unit off at once. . At the end of the day, Spirit Fang shots into Skarre ended the match, after I survived her feat.

Ultimately, I think it was both spell selection and the list that made the Army hum. I was familiar with the Scenario, I had practiced using the caster, and though I had fiddled with the list a bit, I kept the basic parts strong and enabled my arcnodes to get into place to deliver the tons of POW 12’s to the casters face.

Arm 14 – 45 damage.
Arm 15 – 36 damage
Arm 16 – 27 damage
Arm 17 – 18 damage
Arm 18 – 9 Damage ( 17  if boosting damage)

The three arc nodes, though I’d been cautioned against it,  meant I could easily sacrifice one to take out all his troops, one to drop damage into the caster, and have a third ready to finish the game.  Biles kept troops and casters out of zones, with MAT 8/pow 13 Bane Thralls keeping heavies in check.

It was an amazing, insane tournament that lasted for almost 12 hours, and I look forward to the PDF and rules coming out post-gencon. While the Static set of 64 spells could possibly get old, I spoke with both D.C. and Hungerford, who both mentioned that there are plans to change up the lists every year. I think that’ll do wonders to keeping the format fresh, though I can’t see the staples being replaced anytime soon, but thats the same with every format, Masters and Iron Gauntlet Included. There has also been talk of limiting or banning casters, and I can see why. The top four were: Witch Coven, Witch Coven, Epic Skarre, and Morvanna 2. Seems like there might be a bit of an unbalance there, With the Witch Coven represented well, Cryx represented well, and only the eventual winner with Epic Morvanna to break up the monotony. I look forward to it next year!

Last Wednesday, I was invited over to a friends garage for a game against a mutual friends Epic Morvahna list. Their group is practicing for a local team tournament at the end of June, and they wanted to see how the Circle players list stacked up against Cryx. Since the Circle player was also their Cryx player, they had to bring in a ringer. Thats where I came in. Always happy to help, and most importantly, needing to drop a commission model off to get paid for it, I cheerfully agreed to pit my current theories against this current scourge of the game. Its been almost a week, so  I may not get all of the exact details right, but the gist of the game is correct. I’m sure my opponent will make sure to amend anything out of place. A special thanks, as well, to JoeyB for all the pictures!

both of our lists were interestingly designed, and I definitely wouldn’t call them the standard cookie cutter tournament variety. I was eager, but still held a little  trepidation, to bring my Coven Jam Theory list against one of the more powerful casters in the game. I had gone through a few evolution’s from prior games,  and I’d learned that you needed to back up your Jam with some Punch. I introduced Bane Thralls into the list to try and break any armor I’d encountered, while I’d pulled out the Soulhunters. As much as I love them, they are just to expensive to throw away in this list, and I thought that the Satyxis and the Blackbanes would be good enough. I’d also discovered that two arc nodes just haven’t cut it.  My opponents were wary of the Covens prowess, and dedicated plenty of energy to make sure the arc node required on each flank to get my army delivered was crushed. The third Arc node in the middle, to wait for the perfect time to deliver the final blow, really made the list satly.  After all the tweaking, the list looked like this:

Jam Theory Advanced
The Witch Coven of Gharlghast+5
-Egregore0
-Scarlock2
-Nightwretch4
-Nightwretch4
-Deathripper4
Bane Lord Tartarus4
War Witch Siren2
War Witch Siren2
Satyxis Raiders (10)8
-Satyxis Sea Witch2
Bane Thralls (10)8
-Officer and Standard3
Blackbanes Ghost Raiders (6)6
Bile Thralls (6)5
-Scarlock Commander1

and his list was:

Circle Opposition
Morvahna the Dawnshadow+5
-Gorax4
-Woldwrath20
Gallows Grove1
Gallows Grove1
Reeve Hunter2
Tharn Whitemane3
Warwolf1
Warwolf1
Warwolf1
Warpborn Skinwalkers (5)8
-Warpborn Alpha3
Reeves of Orboros (10)10

I arrived a little late and suggested we play Outflank – Still practicing as best I can for spelldraft, and the scenario is easy to set up. He was amenable, and we set it up. The terrain was a little sparse (afterward, they mentioned that it looked like two walls got plucked off accidentally, would have made the board less sparse), with a forest on the edge of each scenario zone the left forest close to my opponents deployment, the right forest close to mine, and a fairly large statue between my left zone and deployment.

He won the roll, and here I think made his biggest mistake, before we even put models to the table – He choose to go second. One of the biggest problems I think my list will have is going second. With the Jam List needing to be on the opponents side of the board to give the coven room to breathe and play scenario, it becomes much trickier going second. He also had a gargantuan, which he had to pre-deploy. Again, here going second assisted me greatly, as I was able to set up my Bane Thralls counter to his big mamma jamma.

Deployment
He pre-deployed the Woldwrath fairly center, a touch towards my left zone.

I deployed the coven slightly right-center. I didn’t want to be zorted by the Woldwraths AOE, and needed some room. I deployed Blackbane to the right, a Nightwretch and Warwitch Siren over there to assist. The Bile Thralls and Scarlock Commander surrounded the Coven, and I put the massive Bane Thrall unit centrally with Tartarus closer to the coven, able to react to both zones if necessary. The banes could also be pointed right at the Woldwrath, hoping to bite axes deep into stone and wood. A touch behind the coven was the Deathripper, hoping to sit pretty until the time came to deliver the game. the other Nightwretch and Siren took the far edge of my deployment, next to the Banes and staring into the left zone with the Scarlock. Ghostly might be needed on the Banes if I decided to run to the left.

He deployed the Skinwalkers to my right, across from Blackbane and the scenario Zone. The Whitemane also took to this side of the board with Morvahna and a Warwolf. To the other side he put the Reeves, behind the forest. . they’d have no problems shooting into my army from that position. He gave them two Warwolves to assist, and the Hunter solo. The Gorax took its proper position behind the Woldwrath, next to Morvanna.

I advance deployed my Satyxis across from this Reeves: Between Stealth and Def 16 v. Shooting, I was pretty much guaranteed to get the drop on his Reeves. I really needed to get a point or two from that zone before the Woldwrath got there.

He deployed his Gallows Groves my right side to combat both the tough of the Banes and, unbeknownst to me, drop Death Knell into Incorporeal models.

With that, we shook hands and got to business.

Turn 1

Turn 1

Tactics – Jam was in full effect! I allocated one point to the Deathripper behind the Coven, and started the turn running almost everything. Blackbanes ran into the rightmost zone, covered by the Bile Thralls.The Banes glided to the center, with Tartarus leading the way – I knew that there was very little that could even reach Tartarus, much less kill him, in this list, and with his RFP preventing feat shenanigans and creating more banes to boot, I was willing to risk any surprise retaliation.  The Scarlock moved up and put Occultation on the Satyxis, who ran into the left most zone and beyond, making a bee line for the Reeves. the Nightwretch and Siren pairs both power-boosted and ran behind my lines in order to be ready to deliver spells to whatever portion of the board needed assistance or a crushing blow. The Coven themselves advanced a bit, but not to much, up the board. They dropped a Veil of Mists on a trio of Satyxis to protect them from the Woldwraths gun a bit, and cast Infernal Machine on the Deathripper.

His turn was a little subdued and he made, I think, the second mistake of the game. We talked about it afterward and agreed that he should have played his Reeves more aggressive in order to contest the left zone. Instead, he drew up a firing line behind the forest with them. a Warwolf ran up into position in the forest to try and bite a Raider but failed. Woldwrath ran to threaten both zones, getting into position right outside the left zone. The Skinwalkers ran up and  into the right-center of the board, gearing for a clash with Tartarus and the Bane Thralls. The Whitemane followed slightly behind. The Reeve hunter moved up between the Woldwrath and the Reeves to provide support. The first Gallows Grove, much to my chagrin, teleported itself within 8″ of my lead Ghost Raider. The other simply slipped up a small amount. Morvahna then moved up, catching the Gallows Grove in her control area, and channeled a Death Knell into the Blackbanes. She managed to catch Blackbane himself due to terrible positioning, along with two standard grunts. She promptly detonated all three. I’d placed them very poorly and was not going to suffer because one of my jam units was more of a jam trio. The Gorax was the last to move, sauntering behind the Woldwrath. The Morvanna had left herself with a single fury after cutting to destroy a Ghost Raider and healing it back. She’d also taken three damage for rerolls, though I don’t remember what from. It didn’t matter, she would heal all three my next turn.

Turn 2

Turn 2

Looking at the board, I knew I had a shot at Morvahna. It wasn’t good, though, and hinged on whether or not the Warwitch Siren was 8″ from a Nightwretch, through the woods. I didn’t gamble, and even though it meant only two boosted Stygian Abyss‘ into her, I figured I’d take the chance and just allocate to the node.  Much less risky than failing because I can’t judge distance. I moved the Nightwretch over next to the Gallows grove and tossed Curse of Shadows on the Skinwalkers to even the score once engaged. Tartarus charged into the leftmost Skinwalkers, trying to get two, but only reached one. He did, however, catch a Warwolf. With a single thresher, he brought a pair of Bane Thralls, and denied two feat targets. He’d also cleared the lane for the Arc node to wander up and get within range of Morvahna. She’d only advanced up a touch, but on turn 2, the Coven can get an arcnode to threaten Abyss up to (7+14+14+10) 49 Inches into the board. I drove the remaining three Blackbanes into the Skinwalkers to threaten Free Strikes. Pow 10 Mat 6 isn’t terribly impressive, but Auto-fire free strikes aren’t anything to be trifled with. I moved the Biles into the right hand zone to make sure I’d hold it forever as  even Skinwalkers aren’t fans of bile thralls, especially suffering from Curse of Shadows. I sent the Satyxis running and charging into both the Warwolves and the Reeves. I managed to pick a few off, but I also tried very hard to mix up the area in front of the Woldwrath so it couldn’t trample – If he got into the zone I was going to be hard pressed to remove him. At this point, I had cleared all the order of activation issues and the path to Morvahna. I moved the Arc node into range, staying out of melee range of the Whitemane, the Woldwrath and everything else around. I easily had range and dropped a boosted to hit stygian abyss into her, getting a critical hit int he process. Morvahna, unless she found some strange magics, was pinned in place. even purification can’t get rid of that! to top it off, I boosted damage, having already hit and pinned her in place, dealing 7. She transfered to the Gorax, and I bottomed out my focus, and did another 7 damage to her unboosted. Satisfied, I ran the bane thralls up to further prevent tramples and charge into one of the Skinwalkers and a Gallows Grove. I succeeded in taking them both out, but they could come back with the feat. Pinned in place, with only two feat targets, I wasn’t terribly frightened yet. For my last few activations I moved the one coven member out of the way and let the Egregore run into nearly the center of the board. I popped my feat, after some careful measuring from the Egregore to the Woldwrath, felt pretty confident. I controlled both zones, but he had to go before I could score points.

He had his eye on Tartarys, and charged in with the Skinwalkers, who were either out of the feat or within 5″ of Tartarus, heedless of the fire-causing back strikes. I killed one, but managed to leave the other perfectly alive. My free strikes made me corporeal, so the alpha and back line Skinwalker were able to finish off the Ghost Raiders unit, even at DEF 15 under the feat. Tartarus fared better, taking a few damage but surviving due to his newly minted DEF 15. He teleported his final Gallows Grove over to deny tough to the Banes nearby and get into range for channeling a Death Knell near Tartarus. Woldwrath, unable to clearly determine if his trample path was clear, declared and failed. He bought attacks against the poor Satyxis he was engaged with, though the feat prevented even a single Raiders death. The Reeves ran and charged into the Satyxis, trying to take as many of them down as they could before begin whipped to death, and proceeded to do fairly well, killing a pair. The remaining wolf and the Reeve Hunter followed suit, though they, too, failed to connect.  The Whitemane moved up and smacked at the arc node that had shot Morvahna, but I’ve heard that DEF 17 is pretty hard to hit unboosted. Morvahna took her turn, lobbing her promised Death Knell at her own models and catching Tartarus in the blast, but failed to kill him even with re-rolls. She’d done a good job of cutting her self to try and get ahead, and left herself with 9. She couldn’t afford to pop her feat, and didn’t have many targets had she wanted to.
At the end of the turn, he was unable to get anyone into the right hand zone, and I scored a Control Point.

Turn 3

Turn 3

I’m not gong to lie, I was feeling pretty confident at this point. I had an unconteseted 3 points, and felt like I was going to clear the right side of the board. Woldwrath bothered me, but I felt that if I could bring enough Bane Thralls to bear on it, it’d only be a problem for a turn or two.
The raiders quickly cleared out the two models that were contesting their zone, the Warwolf and the Reeve Hunter, and moved to allow as many Banes into Woldwrath as was possible. Tartarus cleaved a skinwalker down, making another bane, and I sent the Banes Crashing into the construct, but really failed to do as much damage as I’d wanted. I’m, used to banes swinging the ARM of a target by four, but due to spell ward they had to work it on their own and just couldn’t cut it. The Siren on the right side gave out a focus to the closest arc node, who proceeded to run around the edge of the combat, drawing bead on Morvahna again. I ran one of the Coven, staying in Perfect Conjunction formation, to toe into the uncontested right zone. I followed up by pulling  the Egregore back into formation to get Perfect Conjunction once again. with 8 focus, I lobbed a trio of Stygian Abysses at her, with a critical again on the second shot. She had but a single transfer again, and this time I dropped her to 3. The Bile Thralls held put, and I passed the turn, getting three more points.

With a shake of his head and an extended hand, the game ended on scenario there. With Morvahna pinned in place and with so little health that she couldn’t pop her feat for a scenario play, it was all over except for the drinking.

Thoughts.

the Dawnshadow is a nasty ‘caster!

While there were mistakes on both sides, I feel I played my game this time. The dice didn;t completely fail my friend, though that was partially due to me pushing the numbers so high. Satyxis get Def 16, and possibly up to 18 against shooting. Blackbanes become def 15 Incorporeal, and even the lowly Bane Thralls and Tartarus become difficult to hit.

The more I think about it, the more I become convinced that I don’t need Tartarus in this list. Yes, he was invaluable here, but many times the banes are playing mop up. They don’t need the extra speed because of either the feat or the enemy being tangled in engagements. With the Bile thralls and CRA Satyxis, I have enough to deal with most high defense targets, so they won’t be attacking many infantries. Instead, I am going to be using them to remove armor from the board, and they do that just fine without Tartarus.

with that, I’m considering replacing the Blackbanes, Tartarus and the Scarlock Commander  with Bane Riders. With the same speed, 5 wounds,ghostly and ARM 18 they can get to the same places that Blackbanes can, however, they have a much higher MAT due to curse being integral to the unit. MAT 8, 10 on the Charge is very good, with a pile of impact attacks, and even Curse of Shadows to stop them from being tied up.  We’ll see what happens here in the next few days, but I think its going to be good!

I’ve gotten a number of games in recently, and I really feel the reust shaking itself loose. It only taken 13 games.

Starting up with Deneghra probably helped a ton. She’s one of the better casters in Cryx, with a crippling suite of spells and a killer feat. With Deneghra, the solution has always been her feat and/or Crippling Grasp to enable a big swing play. Jumping over to the Witch Coven twice over the weekend, though, each with a different list, and I really struggled sometime to figure out how to deal with problems.

I’m putting down Deneghra for a little bit, and I think I’ve gotten the Mechanithrall boat kind under my thumb. There are some other combinations I want to try, but they have to wait until I get more Brute Thralls and my Scarlock Commanders. I did get two games in, however, before the hiatus. Both these games and the games with Witch Coven was with the Outflank scenario, as I am trying to get used to it for spelldraft.

The first game was against a the Rhulic caster that I have seen the most of, General Ossrum. The list contained Steelheads, Forgeguard, Alexia and the Earthbreaker, among others. I was able to stonewall him out of both zones. The Mechanithralls swarmed over the right zone supported by the Necrosurgeons and jammed up his Steelheads right outside of the zone. I sent my Bane Knights lurking to the edge of the Left zone, threatening both the slower Forgeguard and Risen with spears through the chest. Though he targeted both the Necrosurgeons and stitch thralls early on, reducing their efficiancy, they managed to stick around long enough to ensure the victory through weight of bodies.

I will say that the Earthbreaker, both times I fought it, was scary as hell. Had I not had a caster with stealth, I would have soiled my shorts. Casters like Asphyxious, Scaverous and Venethrax are just walking gun bait with their medium bases. While I generally despise camping as a casters main strategy, I can’t see any other way to live through the land-torpedoes and the bullets of that army and that colossal.

Reznik, wrath of ages

the final game with Deneghra was against Reznik 2, who I’d not even read his rules since he was spoiled back in February. The list was not your typical Protectorate list, having  Flamebringers, Daughters of the Flame, Judicator, Temple Flame Guard and some support staff.  I modified the list above,  with two full units of Mechanithralls and Necrosurgeons, Nightmare, and a few support solos and arc nodes. I’d  also just got Aiakos built and has started painting him, so I figured I’d toss him in the list as well. I burdend him with three ‘Jacks: two Stalkers and the Cankerworm. The game was back and forth for the first two turns, but really hinged on a pair of failed rolls my opponent made that lead to both my Necrosurgeons alive, creating new Mechanithralls, and tossing them into Judicator, softening it up so that when Nightmare got in there, he could finish him off. With Nightmare  now 5″ from the Wrath of Ages, under Deneghras feat, we called it and packed up for the night.

That was my first time breaking out Aiakos (turns out, pronounced ay-Ah-kos), and I make a rookie mistake with him, loading him up with jacks that are all hungry for focus. The Stalker and the Cankerworm both have two initial attacks with low P+S and good speed, begging for charges and boosts. With only FOC 4, he’s just not able to fuel them efficiently. It also could be the targets I ended up taking on as well, trying to attack Daughters of the Flame and Nicia. While MAT 7 is pretty good for a Warjack,  needing 8’s and 9’s to hit was brutal, even boosted. I’ll need to try and get better match ups if I want to get back to even running all three jacks. I also really messed up my theory of Stalkers with him. I ‘d assumed that he’d be able to scare casters with two of them, but as I discovered above, he can’t properly fuel two Warjacks. There may be some merit in rocketing one off into a caster,getting Grievous wound to trigger and then repeating with the second the following turn, but I’d have to give it more testing. I wasn’t even good at getting the Escort bonus, and that was the whole reason I brought along Cankerworm. I’m pretty sure that this grouping is just going to go into the idea box for later testing, maybe with just the stalkers.

I then broke out the Coven on Saturday. I figured it was time to start practicing with the caster I was going to bring to spelldraft. Even though its impossible to practice drafting and using the spells, I want to get used to setting them up right, getting them into position, and utilizing the scenario. I figured the army didn’t actually matter all too much, so I’d grab Aiakos and build a list based off of the Coven Tier I’d talked about a few days ago. I’d been thinking about what to give Aiakos after the last debacle, and the Harrower really stood out.  He could make great use of both Escort and Deathbringers. Under escort, he’d be SPD 7, MAT 6, P+S 16, with reach, thresher, soul taker, pathfinder and steady. behind the army, giving ranged support, he’d be SPD 7, RNG 10, RAT 5, AOE 3, POW 14, with ghost shot and pathfinder.  Aiakos’ ability to give  up to three focus a turn, and potentially give the Perisher Grievous Wounds, its seemed a match made in heaven. I decided because I wanted to play him, I’d have to go outside of Tier.

iron-mother

The  game I got in with the list was against Iron Mother Directrix. It was the first time I saw Convergence across the board and I was pretty excited about figuring them out. The list contained a slew of servitors, Prime Axiom, Reciprocators, an Assimiltor and some general support and utility model. I packed the Jam: Satyxis, Soulhunters, and Blackbanes, backed up by a pair of arc nodes, some light support staff, and Aiakos with the Harrower. I won the game on scenario, but only because my opponent failed a set of die rolls on the critical push turn. I’d managed to pull ahead on scenario the turn earlier dominating one zone and controling the other. I only needed to clear and dominate one zone, and I was able  to do that by capitalizing on him being unable to kill even a single model on his turn and get enough models into the zone that I couldn’t just kill them and  and dominate with the Coven.

The Harrower and Aiakos were the stars of the show. I was able to dig the Harrower into the center of the Reciprocators and,  loaded with focus and souls, clean them out over two turns. Being able to boost to damage was a godsend, allowing me to gather more souls for attacks.  I was really impressed with what a speed 7 Harrower with 3 focus was able to do, and I really look forward to getting that combo more playtime on the table. The rest of the army will be subject to much scrutiny, and suffice it to say here, I’m not keeping the same list.

The second fight that day was against a completely different Reznik, Wrath of Ages list that I’d played with Deneghra. This time the list has Forgeguard, a Devout and Redeemer on Tristan, Flameguard, the Avatar and a Reckoner.  I pulled out the Kraken Auguries of War tier list mentioned earlier. Much like the game played just over a week earlier, he missed critical attacks on the turn he needed to not fail. Two pairs of daughters at MAT 10 were unable to kill or even hit a set of Soulhunter, and I was able to take down Servath Reznik. He insists that I could have had scenario, had I chosen to take it, but I’m not as confident as he is. His left flank boasted an Avatar, Reckoner, Tristian, and a Redeemer, and I has a Kraken and the Coven. While I could hide the Coven for a short time, eventually Gaze would trap me in and I’d loose at least one member, and that would start the downhill slide. I’m also very convinced that the avatar would have split the Kraken right open.

I’m extraordinarily excited to be playing Warmachine again, and I’ll be getting a game in again tonight. I’ve yet to figure out who I am going to play, but I’m positive its gonna be a cryx caster. I’m even fairly sure its either Sturgis or Coven, too.

 

I hope I can punch this out in a timely manner, Battle reports seem to take a lot longer than I’d like.

Over the past two weeks I’ve managed to play two separate games of Warmachine, One against Circle, and the other Against Protectorate. I used the same list both times, Run by my good friend Deneghra

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Last Thursday I had a friend come over and we decided to throw down some Warmachine, which was awesome. I’ve not been able to do that often, as I’ve probably said a hundred times now, and I was really hankering for a new match up with a better list than the Deneghra 1 list I had on Saturday. He’d just got an Earthbreaker and really wanted to send it for another spin. We pulled out our lists and got ready to roll.

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