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!

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.