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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This year at Lock and Load, I am mostly going to be playing in the Iron Arena, but there was a specific concept that really grabbed me from the get go, and I’ve really decided that tournament is something I’m actually going to be really trying to make work. It’ll be probably the only reason I bring Cryx along with my Motley Gators all the way to Seattle, so I want to make it worthwhile, and its going to eat most of Friday.

What is Spelldraft? Well, In a nutshell you get to pick a list and caster, but don’t get any of their spells, good or bad. You get broken up into groups of 8, in which each person is given a pack of 8 cards, and you draft them one at a time, passing the pack of spells to the next person in line once you’ve got yours.

This, to me, opens up all sorts of cool combinations. Some casters are held back by their sub-par spell list, and could be a monster with the right spells in their arsenal, while others are built around signature spells that make them hum, and may become duds.

There are a pair of questions that I’ve not yet had answered in any really good way about the format that have me both terrified and curious.

1) Are the packs randomized spells, or is there some structure to them. Looking over the rules, no one mentions anywhere anything about randomization. This is an enormous factor. If its random, you can get packs with both Temporal Barrier and Iron Flesh. Arcane Shield and Purification. That means that you’re making some serious decisions about what card you pull and what card you pass on to the next players. It also means, however, that the pack could contain 2 rifts, 3 Influences, Arcane Blast, Dust to Dust and Arcantrix Bolt. While Some people may get more or less use out of all those spells, many will not. If you end up with a dead slot, and someone else has all 8 useable spells, that can be a really tricky setup to overcome. This sets up nicely into number 2.

2) is every spell going to be represented, or will there be multiple of the same spells, or will only certain versions of an effect be used? This is the one that poses the most problems when trying to plan out a list. If I know all the “superpowered” spells, the Bombs, to steal a term from the MTG drafts, are going to be cut I’ve got a pretty solid thought process on what I want. If every pod of players is going to draft the same 64 spells. with some 370+ spells, I can imagine there is a great amount of wiggle room here, That gives us nearly 7 pods of 8 to work with, without any duplication.

There are a lot of really bonkers combinations out there: Harbinger + Temporal Barrier; Terminus + Train Wreck, Reznik, Wrath of Ages + Tow. I don’ think, however, with that many spells and combinations, you can really bank on getting one spell, or even one type of spell. Take the Coven or Scaverous for instance: they both have a method to reduce their spells cost by 1. There are plenty of 2 cost nukes in the game, but even if there are 30, if they use the whole 370, thats only 8% of the field. Divide that 8% over 6 pods, and you’ve got a very slim chance of seeing even one of them. People will, no doubt end up with their favored combinations through luck, chance and skill, but I’m pretty sure I am not going to bank on that.

The list building part is pretty simple, really. Take stuff that is self sufficient, that holds its own, and can do what it needs to do with no spell support from the caster. Thankfully, Cryx has a ton of unit and solo support that works very well together without spells from the caster.
Unfortunately, that leaves our jacks to be kinda shunted to the side. I don’t think Aiakos will be legal then either. My basic list, baring some tweaks after I look into things, is this:

Bane Thralls
-UA
Bile Thralls
Bane Lord Tartarus
Nightwretch
Nightwretch
Leviathan

I have three points left over to spend on something, but its my first pass.
Everything there is just good. Nothing is chaff and there to take up only space. The Leviathan is especially key, because if the draft goes south, I still have a plan. Everything works without spells, Nightwretches could be upgraded to Ripjaws, as well. No frills, but also none of the utility I am so used to. This part seems simple to me.

Finding Points for the Withershadow in 35 Is hard!

Finding Points for the Withershadow in 35 Is hard!

where I see a problem is a clash of strategies when it comes to the draft, and therefore the army building itself. Everyone is going to be fighting to get and hold those good spells, and they aren’t going to be passed unless they have something better in their pack. If you don’t get it in the first or second pull, expect it to be shitty, or something that is undervalued, and I think that a list built on cards that are typically undervalued except by the right casters could be a real winner. Bring a caster and a pile of cheap jacks, and the Withershadow combine. Full Throttle, Superiority and other spells become your friend, and other will probably not have build for them. Bring a caster that focus’ on direct damage spells and try to leverage them through.

Putting all your eggs in one basket is risky though. Betting on a better, all around plan seems to be another way to really get the gears going. Take a caster that is suitable in Melee, that doesn’t rely on any spells to get the job done. Have them have a gun. Make sure they have Battlegroup support build into their card. Have a good feat for 35 points, and build a self sufficient army. Make sure you have at least one arc node. Grab every spell that looks the smallest bit good. This seems a really good way to hedge your bets, but I think it’ll fall to the created skew lists that take advantage of undervalued cards.

I’ve lumped the Cryx casters into several broad categories, though I am willing to entertain dissension of these categories.

Looks Good:
Skarre II: Seems to have all the tools to fill the second, generalist option. Seas of fate, blood trade, her feat , lifetrader and a hand cannon make her a standout.
Asphyxious I: His feat refills his focus, and with some of the fantastic 2 point spells out there, he could really be killer. In addition, anything that boosts his initial threat range of 11″ to something more reasonable could see him with a significant melee threat.
Goreshade I: Free bane thralls as a feat? No rules on the back of the card to make him need specific spells, with no good spells of his own? The only way is up!
Goreshade II: His feat is great, and his weapon is good. Automnatc stationary is like sustained attack, above.
Deneghra: Her feat and stealth combine for some really good synergy without a spell list.
The Witch Coven: I really like that they can make spells cheaper every turn. With the Withershadow, Warwitches, Scarlock and Deathjack, I could turn it into a massive focus factory. They still suffer the same problems here, though, that they do everywhere else, and will die to any sort of attack. Thankfully, there is no killbox, and no reason for the girls to get close.

Looks Bad
Deneghra II: Feat is good on its own, and Dark Banishing is pretty great, but the rest of her oomph is in her spell list.
Mortenebra: Interface and Repair are good, but there is just something here that screams that she needs more from her spells than I would be able to make up.
Asphyxious II: He would be a literal Feat with legs. most of his greatness comes from Hellbound, Parasite, and Caustic Mist. No thanks.
Lich Lord Terminus: Him only being a MAT 17 Pow 16 without Malediction really hurts. Tough is good, as is the 10″ spray and Sac-pawn, but I’ll pass.

No Thanks
Lich Lord Venethrax: With a small feat to begin with, and all of his muscle tied up in some really great spells, he’s just got nothing going for him.
Scaverous: Wile his feat is an amazing spectacle, the Def 14, arm 17 caster on a medium base with no set spell list is a really dicey proposal.
Skarre I: Her feat is gangbusters, but without her Sacrificial Lamb factory and Dark Guidance, I don’t think she can cut it.

I’ve got a lot of choices to make here on out, and I’m not completely sure about any of them!

I’ve decided to do a new type of Irregular article. Instead of showing off the models that I’ve painted and just be “hey, lookie!” I am going to, in addition to showing of the models, kinda breakdown the model, the game system its in, and what role it brings, or does not bring, to the table. Some of these, like the one I am bringing you now, will be deep and thorough because I’ve played the system for so long. Others, like the WWX and Relic Knights, will be more expectation based!

This one is higher on my priority list, because they just performed like a horrid stinking mess in my last game, and I really want to just work out why they are worse, what they do, and why its no good for almost every list I can think of.
However, I’ll try to be both positive and critical, when the needs warrant it.

 

Untitled

so, lets start at the top:
The statline:

SPDSTRMATRATDEFARMCMD
665413127

its a pretty sorry setup, right off the bat. Speed is average, though 6 isn’t anything to be ashamed of, and STR 6 is also pretty average for an infantry model. Their MAT is a significantly below average 5, and their RAT is significantly miserable at 4 to not consider using their guns at all. DEF 13 is solid for a Cryx infantry model, but isn’t anything to be proud of. To compare with other infantry:
Cryx, 8 (66%) ten man units have a 12 or less, 4 (33%) have 13 or higher.
Cygnar:3 (33%) at 12 or less and  6 (66%) have 13 or higher
Khador: 4 (66%) at 12 or less and 2 (33%) have 13 or higher, and
Protectorate: 4 (66%) at 12 or less, and 2 (33%) have 13 or higher. 

Honestly, this is the first time I have run those numbers, so to speak, and it interests me in a couple ways, and makes me think a little higher of def 13 on 10 man units.

ARM 12 is the armor of chumps, and they die to even pow 5 blasts on average dice. The paltry command of 7 makes a few of the rules to come even worse.

Just looking at the stats, everything cries to keep them in the case or the foam, and not on the table, but there are a couple of interesting rules that make your head start tickin’, trying to find a way to use them well.

Weapons:
P+S 9 Cutlas (melee)
Pow 10 Pistol (range 8)

Traits: Undead – This is nothing new to Cryx, and has a few really nice interactions. Immunity to fear and fleeing is the big one that affects both target selection and unit coherency. The ability to ignore terror checks in any manner means that I can commit them harder to any position that a non-fearless troop could, and still expect them to hold ground and not flee at the worst time.

Abilities:
Gang: This ability is the staple conditional MAT increaser. Originally it represented an incoherent mob of rag tag, dubious abilities that got threatening only when they ganged up on targets. Now, it is added to many units to represent team tactics, savage ferocity, or simple to keep points down. Because it Increases MAT while 2 more models of the same unit are attacking the same target, it can be tricky to use, but its generally an always on ability because you can just run a model to get a gang attack at the +2 MAT and + 2 damage that the skill grants.

Point Blank: This allows them to use their irrelevant pistols in combat as melee weapons, making them slightly more relevant. Because they use MAT and are considered melee for the attacks, it pairs up splendidly with gang. 

Deathbound: The signature ability of the Revenat crew is also their greatest hangup. The ability to return to play after being destroyed is magnificent in theory, and can be extremely useful against melee armies.

All of this comes in a 6/9 package. Its an expensive cost in an army that also sports Bane Thralls, Bloodgorgers, Satyxis Raiders and Bile thralls at 5/8, Blackbanes Ghost raiders at 6/9 and Mechanithralls, Satyxis Bloodwitches, and Cephalyx Druges at the bottom tier. The only 10 man unit more expensive is the Bane Knights. They have vengance, higher armor, higher MAT, reach, ghostly, weaponmaster, and speed 5: but reach more than nullifies that advantage. (9.5″ threat on the Pirates, 10″ on the Bane Knights).

Now, I can’t talk about a unit without its Weapon Attachment being mentioned. They are the whole reason I am even talking about this unit in the first place. The Riflemen have the exact same stat line, and the exact same rules set, with two exceptions. The first is CRA – They are allowed to make Combined Ranged Attacks with each other, in order to increase their accuracy and damage. This pulls their measly rat 4 up to 7 if they are all together, and a respectable 8 if they stand still… or just the leader of the CRA. The second difference is their pistols almost double in range to 14″. This allows them to stand in the back and take pot shots at nearby infantry and vulnerable solos. They cost a single point each to a max of three in a unit, taking the unit up all the way to 12. Sadly, the unit wants to be running or charging most turns, either to try and make the best out of Deathbound, or to try and get attacks in before they die. That tends to leave the poor riflemen out in the cold, as they can’t even stand or shoot during those turns.

So, the unit is an expensive unit in the context of Cryx with pretty terrible stats, which is par for the course in the faction. They have the benefit of being undead and having two attacks each in melee, and a small ranged weapon. The human merc pirates are 5/8 with the exact same stat line and abilities, with the exception of Undead and Deathbound. Undead is worth a point, probably, and Deathbound is probably worth something, so I get where the 6/9 cost comes from. It makes no sense in the terms of the factions infantry and their choices they have, but I’ll give them that it seems pretty logical. The Command 7 and the exact wording of Deathbound is what really gives it the nudge into poor territory. You can only be returned to the unit, on the start of the Cryx players next turn, under two conditions. The first is that you were destroyed in formation. Any RFP effects or change in formation strategies will work to stop the reincarnation. The second is that the whichever model was the leader when you were destroyed is still on the board. Every time the leader is destroyed, the models that were going to come back are removed from the game and no longer allowed to return. This gives a big target to the leader model, one that just can’t be ignored. You’d want to keep him safe, but that requires either an Ogrun Bokur to eat the shots, or a cloud model, or some other forms of shenanigans to protect him, which Cryx is in great lack of supply. The recursion, now much harder to get mileage out of that the opponent knows to destroy the quartermaster at the end of every turn (or just constantly shoot the Quartermaster. it removes at least that one model from the game every turn.), is very shaky, and that counts against the unit overall. The second strike is that the unit seems built from the ground up to be an anti mid defense infantry unit. with Gang bringing their MAT up to 7 and having two attacks, they can take out mid-ground, 14 defense units without a problem. The issue with that is that those units rarely see the game. Either the defense is so low, or the armor/wounds so high, that it doesn’t matter, or the defense is so shockingly high that there is nothing the Crew can ever hope to hit. This can be alleviated somewhat by the Veteran Leader ability of Rengrave giving out +2 to attack rolls made when you can see him. Veteran Leader, however, is a very tricky ability to get to work normally, let alone while trying to set up gang attacks.

I can see their use, I really can. I just don’t think that between their point cost and the role they play that they are generally worth taking to many games, and I’d never take them to a tournament, they’d be smashed off the table with the amount of combined arms that is hanging around in every army these days.

So, enough with the bad! Lets take a look at what support casters can give them to try and maximize their meager abilities. I like to look at units in conjunction with casters. As good as a unit may be, if there is no caster to support it, it won’t matter. So, below is my rating scale for a model/unit, respective to the caster I am talking about.
Scale:
0 – I’d never bring this unit with this warcaster, and the unit has heavy negative synergy
1 – I’d bring this only in a gimicky list centered on this model/units and its ingame ineractions.
2 – I’s consider bringing this model/unit with this warcaster, with the proper support units and as a points filler
3- When taking this caster I  debate bringing this model/unit every time
4- When taking this caster, I find it hard to leave home without this model/unit
5- This model/unit is an Auto-include for this caster.

Asphyxious I – Scything touch and Parasite make a great combo for any melee unit, and hitting at effective P+S 16/17 is no joke. (2)

Asphyxious II – Parasite still exists, and the added clouds make sure that the Revenant Crew can get to combat. However, there exists enormous anti-synergy with his feat, as they remove themselves from play when the Quartermaster is killed. (0)
Asphyxious III – The Return of Scything Touch is welcomed, but the loss of Parasite is not. Carnage Makes them hit at MAT 9, and Ashen Veil bumps their defense up to a very respectable 15. (3)

Deneghra I – What does Deneghra I not make better? Crippling Grasp and her feat makes them MAT 11 and P+S 15/16. It’ll threaten a pile of Cygnar and Ret Jacks, and makes them that much better at removing infantry.Ghost Walk mitigates their lack of pathfinder, enabling them to reach different places than they normally would. (1)

Deneghra II – Bringing along Ghost Walk like Deneghra 1, She also brings Curse of Shadows to allow movement through models and immunity to free strikes, as well as Marked for Death making their pistols an amazing rat 8 if in site of Rengrave. With very little melee assistance, though, this seems to make for a poor match. (2)

Skarre I – Skarre I is another fantastic caster able to prop up even the weakest unit. Her feat and Dark guidance makes every unit hit like gangbusters, and the pirates at MAT 7+3d6 and Pow 16/17 again, you could do a lot worse. (2)

Skarre II – I originally thought Skarre II would support the Revenants, but after a number of games, I was unable to keep the Quartermaster alive through anything, including under her feat. With no way to up damage output, and black spot being much harder to take advantage of than it seems, I was really disappointed (0)

Goreshade I – Goreshade provides less than nothing to the Revenants. No way to debuff arm, and no way to increase accuracy or surviveability, I’d leave them at home every time.   (0)

Gorhshade II – Curse of Shadows is good, and sudden death has decent synergy with their ability to come back from the dead. Occultation could allow them to get to combat safely, but that’s generally on Goreshade for safeties sake. Also, they aren’t banes. So many Strikes! (0)

Goreshade III – Scything Touch makes another appearance here, which is good, as does Occulatation, but there is serious problems with Mockery of Life, as they are once again removed from Play. The feat has some neat interactions ad they’d just come back next round. (3)

Terminus – These used to be the best thing for Terminus next to sliced bread, but the Cabin Boy/Sac Pawn interaction has been culled from the game. While they’d be really nice sac-pawn targets with returning tough, Bane Knights Vengance and better overall application trumps them unless you bring a specific build for them. (1)

The Witch Coven – Both Occulation and their feat are very good for preventing the Quartermaster from dying on the way in. Curse of Shadows is a good armor debuff, and both Veil of Mists and Ghost Walk make terrain and other models not even matter. (2)

Mortenebra – Mortenebra joins the list of casters who bring nothing to the table for the poor Revenants, with some units thats OK. With the Revenants, its not so much (0)

Venethrax – Chalk him up there with Mortenebra, Goreshade and Asphyxious II. He’s just got nothing for them. (0)

Scaverous – While some casters bring nothing, at least scaverous has a def debuff. The Feast of Worms and Icy Grip can make a poor mans Crippling Grasp, but most of the time its just not worth it (1)

Best Caster: Asphyxious III – He’s got a suite of abilities that make them easy to deliver, hard hitting and accurate, and he’s the only one of the bunch that has all three.
Worst Caster: Goreshade I – He has his own set of problems, but the Revenants don’t even try to help here.

Results: I really wish they were better, as they are some of my conceptually favorite models. However, their focus on the leader of the unit in MK II, when there are so many ways to snipe out the leader of a unit, I just don’t find them incredibly compelling, and their mediocre stats are just a sour cherry on top. An easy to remove and counter unit at an elite unit price just drives in the final nail in the coffin. Maybe they can get a Unit Attachment that allows something really, really fun, and on that Day, I’ll review them again.

 

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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I cannot get good pictures of any of my newly painted models land I can’t figure out whats causing me to have this mindshattering issue. Its stalling a couple pages I have in the works. I want to do Unit Spotlights on models as I paint them, instead of just extolling the virtues of my own painting.

Instead, today I’m just gonna continue my thoughts on the game on Saturday. Its had time to percolate through my head, and I am trying to get a grasp on a couple things I may have done, either good or bad.

As I mentioned in the original afterthoughts, I am convinced that I deployed poorly. If I’d have been able to take advantage of the screening woods on the right flank to try and hide/protect the Quartermaster better, I may have been able to get more work out of both him and the pirates. Having the two units of Mechanithralls on either side of the board made it so that the Necrosurgeons could not reinforce whichever side needed it, and were limited only to their side of the board. Additionally, they couldn’t compound forces and try to sweep a zone with the exponential force that  20 Mechanithralls would bring. Speaking of the Necrosurgeons, I think I really was to giddy to get them adding models that can then charge. Instead, I should have been trying to plop them down and make it just harder to eliminate.

I also has some serious issues with order of activation issues, that started with deployment. I’d deployed my Scarlock behind the Mechanithrall unit I needed to Ghost walk, and had to activate in a strange sequence in order to get the spell where I needed it. At least twice more I was forced to activate units I didn’t want to in order to get units I needed to to work correctly. Ghost Walk, from either arcnodes or the Scarlock, can complicate things a bit, especially when I need it on every model in the army.

To compound the order of activation issues, I had some substantial play errors that could have resulted in some spectacular, and in some cases did, failures. the biggest one was not holding my arc nodes a touch back.I don’t think it would have saved my leftmost arcnode from that drastic scatter – He was in the right place, but it would have made it so that I could have gone towards the center (away from the field gun) in order to get the Demolisher that Nightmare failed to move into correctly.

There is also my personal issue with Bulldoze: I just don’t know anything about how it works. I know how to read the rule, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve just never been able to get my head around how people do the things they do with it. Many times I have just let people do what they want with that rule specifically because I’m not comprehending how they do what they do with it. Its extremely frustrating because, for the most part, I am very good with the rules, the interactions, and I firmly believe that knowing your opponents rules really can push some of the harder matches into manageable territory.  Any army with Bulldoze has an automatic leg up on me because I just can’t understand what to do to minimize it.

 

I also think that the terrain heavily favored the Harkevich list, but I don’t know if either of us really thought about it at the start. With Field Marshal [Pathfinder] the majority of his army was able to pretend the terrain didn’t exist, but I had to go through a lot of finagling in order to work with the terrain on the board. having speed 6 clamjacks that can wander through terrain with impunity is a pretty large boost.

Beyond the 17 points of worthless in my list, I think I made some additional list construction issues. I has always subscribed to the thought that the quartermaster needs an Ogrun Bokur in order to work correctly and that somehow slipped my mind. I also forgot to bring my all time favorite solo, Saxon Orrik, and with the amount of pathfinderless troops in my army, I really needed an additional method to ignore terrain Ghost Walk may be available at all time from Deneghra, but at 3 focus, it better be worth it.

Ok. The elephant in the room time: Pirates.
I can see what they are designed to do, but I don’t think there is any place for them in the faction. as midlevel defense clearers, they have a decent job, but biles do the infantry clearing both better –  auto hitting pow 12’s? yes please! – and cheaper at 5 points for a min unit. The unit also suffers from the Mark I holdover of the unit leader containing a lot of power. Its just so hard to protect specific models from getting busted, and the MK II edition acknowledged that in changing how the unit leader functioned. Still, though, there were a pair of holdovers that really rely on the unit leader staying alive through the game, and they are Cryx’s least enjoyed units – Revenant Crew and Cephalyx. I really hope that there is some day fixed.

A friend and I played a game on Saturday, and I had a blast, both figuratively and literally. We’d both been talking about our factions and casters back and forth for a couple weeks. He’d been trying out a couple Harkevich lists, and I’d just gotten done painting up Deneghra. He has been fiddling both in and out of tier trying to see what he liked the best, and trying to make the Iron Wolf hum: Its no mean feat.

I’d been painting a lot of models lately, and really wanted to use those models in a game. Sadly, this included the Revenant Crew of the Atramentous Riflemen. After  we chatted  for a while about game theory and new games to come, we pulled out our lists to start the rumble.

I brought this list I’d cooked up a few days earlier

The Warwitch!

Warwitch Deneghra+5
Scarlock Thrall2
-Nightmare10
Nightwretch4
Nightwretch4
Mechanithrall(10)5
Necrosurgeon and Stitch Thralls2
Mechanithrall(10)5
Necrosurgeon and Stitch Thralls2
Revenant Crew of the Atramentous (10)9
- Riflemen (3)3
Captian Rengrave2
Revenant Cannon Crew3
Warwitch Siren2
Gorman di Wolfe2

And he dropped this Theme list monster

The Iron Wolf!

Kommander Harkevich, the Iron Wolf+5
Black Ivan9
Demolisher8
Demolisher8
Demolisher8
Demolisher8
Winter Guard Field Gun2
Winter Guard Field Gun2
Winter Guard Infantry6
Winter Guard officer and Standard2
Kovink Jozef Grigorovitch2

I’d been toying with putting all the mechanithralls I could on the board for a while, and with Deneghra upping hitting power, I really felt they could shine bright. The Revenant crew was there simply to provide the riflemen I’d painted, but I also like trying out things that are a little more underused.

My friend has been playing with a pile of different tier and non tier list, and really wanted to try a strange list out that he’d been kicking around, and I’ll be honest: I thought from the start that I’d be paste. the Mechanithrall horde’s worst nightmare is a pile of AOE’s, and man did he bring them. It was no matter, though, I’d faced crazier odds and lost before, and this one would be no different, I assumed.

If you want to skip the battle report, you can go to thoughts here

We rolled up a scenario (Outflank) and he won the initiative roll. Hearing that the scenario had Kill Box (It didn’t), I picked the side with the wall centralized and about 14″ in. To the left and right of center were two forests, with walls centrallish-ly located on each side. There was also a building on my side, and a hill on his, each to our left flanks, respectively. Each Scenario Zone had a goodly portion of forest in it, and I was glad that I’d brought a Ghost Walk ‘caster.

He deployed two Demolishers across from either zone, with Tier-granted wreck markers to stand in. Harkevich is (as far as I know) unique in that the wreck markers he gets are not completely within 20″ of his back table edge, simply within. Its a difference maker. Ivan, Harkevich, the Winterguard and Joe all take the center, with the Field Guns taking post behind the Demolishers.

I deploy a Mechanithrall and Necrotech to each zone, and the Pirates with Rengrave and the Cannon to the center. Nightmare and the Scarlock flank a touch right with the Warwitch Siren, and Gorman takes center-left A Nightwretch to either side manage to solidify the flanks and get me ready to ghost walk into the core.

Here is where it gets amusing, as we both play the first two turns fairly conservative and tight, but end up slacking off at the end and making some rookie mistakes. He runs into position behind the forests with both his forces, and the Winterguard stay way back. I respond along the same lines, with my forces splitting to either side as expected. His second turn is a cautious advance-and-broadsides that nets him a single dead (and body-snatched) Mechanithrall. However, in trying to take Gorman out, he drifts a shot over onto the left flank Nightwretch and blew out its arc node.

Not a good start for our undead anti-heroes. While a single ressurectable Mechanithrall isn’t that big of a deal, the loss of the left side arc node was a big bite. He was the one I was expecting to get into the center to get at Black Ivan and the Winterguard. Turns out, that wasn’t going to happen.

At the start of my turn I had a conundrum. Nightmare was 8″, give or take, from a Demolisher that seemed pretty much on its own. I could drop a couple of charging Revenants and Mechanithralls to start the process, and then drop him with Nightmare, along with getting him closer to his prey, Black Ivan. I activated the Necrosurgeon, moved the stitch thralls where I thought the Mechanithralls would end up, and dropped the one back into formation through reanimation. The Warwitch powered the Nightwretch, and it went over and toed into Deneghra’s Control Area, just in range of the Demolisher, and she popped Parasite onto it to make it a touch more vulnerable, even with it in a wreck marker. Its not looking well for Nightmare, but I have to go for it: Burn a focus for Ghostly, and meander up to start rending, because he is on the other side of the forest. Turns out, I was off in my measurement by a pencil lead. Things are really not looking good for Nightmare now! the Scarlock wanders up and Ghostwalks the Mechanithralls, and I charge the few I can see at it,  combo-strike it for a bit of damage. Revenants charge in and fail to damage it, but do get one charge in on Ivan, dropping 5 damage into him.  I spend the rest of the turn trying to stymie as much as I can of the offence that is going to pound down on me.

While the next turn didn’t have as much of the offence I expected, it wasn’t pleasant. Harkevich pops his feat, Winterguard advance under Fortune, Bob and Weave, and Joe’s bonus to hit and, as best they can spray off the jam from the ‘jacks. One of the Decimators bulldozes to an poorly placed Necrosurgeon and fists her head straight off, with two more simply advancing to create board position. Ivan wanders forward and launches a shell forward catching a necrosurgeon int he blast and dropping him. The worst part, though, was the Demolisher in front of nightmare moving forward and two-handed throwing Nightmare straight into my poor arc node, knocking it down. The collateral damage, Field Gun slug, and the two gunners shots dropped it forever. With no way of delivering my spells to the enemy, I knew then I was in the vicious jaws of defeat. All I had to do, though, was engineer an insane victory.

The Pet Jack of Deneghra

He’d popped his feat. He had an open Demolisher in one zone, two Demolishers – once closed, one open; and Ivan in the second. The Winterguard were in position to mop up whatever I committed to either zone. The majority of all three units were out, and I had Nightmare on his back. I figured I could at least get one jack into the ground this turn. I had to counter-feat, or else he’d just wreck my army and I’d have nothing left to take advantage of the feat. I fed Nightmare 3 focus, and got ready to pummel the open jack. I needed to nullify either Ivan or the other Demolisher nearby for a turn, so I dropped black oil on the Demolisher with Gorman, and ran the last few Revenants to engage. I charge another segment of Mechanithralls into it, and at dice -2, I take it to the ground without even needing Nightmare. Sighs. there is a bit of maneuvering over in the other zone, including smacking the open Demolisher, leaving it with 9 boxes left, vitally his cortex is still up. Rengrave moves up into the left forest, and pops a ghost shot into the Winteguard leader, sadly failing to kill her.  I pass the turn

Harkevich and the smattering of Winterguard left on the board start to clear the left flank zone. There’s almost half a dozen dead Mechanithralls and two stitch thralls in the ground at the end. The critical game-extender, though, was Ivan deciding to shoot Gorman instead of shooting Rengrave: without Ivan, there was no way to kill him, and therefore no way to score the zone on this turn, despite committing Harkevich to dominate. He wanders the second Demolisher, alone, into the zone, making sure I don’t score as well, but making sure that I have to kill it and can’t move forward. I am down to my last scrape of models, and he has a pile of ‘Jacks I have to do something about.

My turn comes up, and I have to do something about the jack that standing in front of Nightmare, engaged by Mechanithralls. I concoct an insane plan! With Deneghra behind the wall, but within charge range of the Demolisher, I need to get Parasite on him to have a chance of opening up that arm 25 monster. In a wreck marker and combat, I have about a 50% chance of landing a boosted spell. I need a more secure number. The Scarlock wanders over and Ghost walks  Deneghra, the Necrosurgeon runs over to try and tie up Ivan, and I charge the Demolisher. I (and I should have done this in reverse) Parasite before making my charge attack. The charge attack hits and does no damage, but the main goal was shadowbind and parasite. The mechanithralls and Nighmare take their turn here, the Mechanithralls doing nothing, and Nightmare, while putting up a good show, just unable to take an arm off and lower the armor of the monstrosity. Rengrave twiddles about a little, and then drops another ghost shot into the Winterguard Officer, finally killing her.

Now, here comes the pain.
With Ivan tied down, the Demolisher Shadowbound, and the Winterguard on the other side of the board, I feel pretty assured that I am gonna get snuck somehow. Its not what you see that kills you, its what you don’t, and I didn’t see anything that game. I surely didn’t see Winterguard coming up and spraying Ivan to clear off the intervening infantry and free him to charge. Ivan did Harkevich proud, but didn’t take Deneghra off the board. With three hit points, she stood tall. Harkevich makes his single attack getting in near Rengrave, and whiffs it. He does, however, trundle the cortex-busted Demolisher over and bulldoze Rengrave out of the zone, scoring the first points of the game.

The Jack with a Beard

I am now in a terrible position. As if I wasn’t before. Deneghra is in the mix with a pair of Khadoran Jacks, and I only had a single model even close to contesting the other zone. I needed to clear my zone, and now. I drop three focus into Nightmare, and keep the other four on Deneghra. She moves back out of Ivan’s reach, and I contemplate. His DEF 12 and dodge is scary here, as I have only MAT 5, and I need him to not get to me. I take the chance, and shoot Crippling Grasp out and hitting him, needing fives. I then, needing 5’s against the now DEF 10 ‘jack. Smack him with my spear and shadowbind him into place. whew. I move Nightmare over a touch to get Ivan, my prey, into my reach. It then takes me all three focus to drop the bastard, right about what averages tell us. It has me worried with the two early 5’s I dropped, but the 5 damage from the early Revenant charge made it happen. My Warwitch Siren Charged the Demolisher that Nightmare had now Prey’d right next to him, dropping his defense and locking him in place. The Mechanithralls then went to down, dropping him to 4 boxes. I had two options left. The Revenant Cannot Crew, and Rengrave. Rengrave stoically turned and fired Misery into combat against the jack, using ghost shot to ignore the cover of the wreck he was standing in, and my own true fashion, totaled the ‘Jack while preventing scoring of the zone. The Revenant Cannon then lined up a RAT 8 shot, ignoring cover and concealment, at Harkevich, and easily hit, doing some 5 damage to the bastard. It wasn’t much, but it was damage!

Sadly, that was the last thing I would actively do, as the remaining Winterguard ran down and sprayed Deneghra to death, sealing the game for me.


Afterthoughts

This game was a hell of a game. I thought I was out from the start facing a giant armor wall and a ton of AOE’s, but despite my lack of recent games, and some dumb moves on both our parts, I was able to stick in it to the end. I immediately started to think how I could play this game differently next time. I really liked the Mechanithrall boat, but I think I deployed it poorly, and should have had them next to each other in order to maximize the Necrosurgeon recurrence possibilities. I also really liked Rengrave as a solid, shooting solo for two points, and may consider trying to utilize him outside of a Revenant list. I really wasn’t able to get a whole lot of traction with the Revenants, but I really, really hate them. I’ve just been unable to get real mileage out of them any time I’ve taken them, as their terrible stats just don’t play to the job they need to have of reoccurring roadblock. CMD 7 makes it even worse. Honestly, for the 17 points I had invested in Revenants, I could have had Bane Thralls, UA, Tartarus and Saxon Orrik. I could have had Gerlak, Bloodgorgers, Saxon, and a Deathripper. I could have had Bane Knights, Tartarus, Rengrave and a Necrosurgeon. Its just too much points to invest into something that is just can’t cut it in almost every situation.

That Harkevich list is scary as shit. 5 Khadoran heavies backed by their best infantry shooting unit in the faction just makes for a solid counter to most things. While most lists are able to handle colossals, I don’t think that they’d be ready to break two and a half that are on the board in Khadoran Armor and HP. Its a supremely durable list and I respect the hell out of it.

But I also want a second shot at it. I want a second shot at everything!

Thanks for sticking with this very long post! My longest is no longer WWX, but WARMACHINE!

its been a few days since Templecon ended, and there have both been continued spoilers of the upcoming Vengeance releases, and some clarifications. Through a number of channels, the PP staffers have continued to tease us with the tidbits that are coming in Vengeance, and in the case of Cephalyx, the book after. I find it moderatly strange that there is so little for Mercs here in Vengance. from everything I have gathered its only the Tactical Arcanist Corps and the Earthbreaker. I figured they’d have more than that.

Exulon 1

First, to temper my enthusiasm a little bit about the Cephalyx, Lost Hemisphere had an interview with Will Schik right after Templecon. It clarified a ton about the Cephalyx, both how they will function, and how they will be released. The part that stick in my mind the most, to my disappointment, is that there will only be one caster at release. Exulon Thexus is it.  Now, he’s part of the Mercs, and I can’t really fault them for having only one ‘caster, but I was all ready to jump into the Cephalyx contract: I was going to pick up everything. Now, I’ll still do the same, but It’ll just be less than I Initially thought. I have Drudges and Overlords, thankfully, and they are even painted. I just need monstrosities, the US, solos, and the new unit, and everything spoiled will be mine! I don’t really get a ton of chances to play Mercs, but now I have something to pair alongside my Epic Magnus list to really give people problems: with the long range assassination potential of Magnus, and Wills heavily touted control aspect, I think it’ll be something worth shooting for.

Along with the statement that there will only be a single ‘Caster came the small surprise that there will not be a stand alone, Pirates of the Broken Coast-like, book. Instead, there will be a NQ dedicated to them, which I expect to be May or July, just in time for Lock and Load and a digital rulebook. I like real books, so I am not thrilled, but my Relic Knights is fully digital, so I’m not completely against it. Overall, I am still very, very psyched about the Cephalyx but I have tempered the desire to run them as a minifaction. I expect them to be treated much more like Rhul, which has slowly grown over time to be a complete subset of mercs, than the Pirates.

That bit about the Cephalyx cleared the air a little, and I expect that there will be a fair bit of sadness directed towards it. Today, though, they had three further pieces that came out related to Vengeance.

Reznik was spoiled completely, but Matt Wilson.

ReznikThe picture of Page 42 was tweeted out and Matt was pretty stoked that he got to spoil something, but Will, who told him what to spoil, set him up. Turns out that the Protectorate forums had someone reveal everything about Reznik about a week ago. In responce to realizing he wasn’t giving the world anything new he then tweeted a clip of Imperatus, the Apotheosis level character warjack for Retribution. With just this little bit, he looks like a bad character.

Imperatus

Reznik looks fairly legit. I don’t think he’s going to break the world open, but he has some really good spells. Iron aggression allows at least one jack to keep up with him every turn, and Lamentation is always a good spell. Deathmarch joins the Protectorates rather small bevy of MAT increasing spells and abilities, and I can really see it being useful with Flamebringers: while MAT 6 sidesteping 3 attacks is good, MAT 8 makes them serious business. If its Rezniks Feat turn then they have effective MAT 10 and everyone explodes every time they get stabbed. Flamebringers Indeed. Creators Wrath gives me the heebey jeebeies. Blessed weapons and additional dice on both attack and damage rolls makes him a serious melee contender. with speed 7, a huge base and low def/arm, I don’t expect him to get there often, but when he does its going to be a massacre. I expect a devout or two will be around him at all points in time to save him from Eiryss and Gorman as he is a very juicy target.

Then, we have Imperatus, about half a pages worth, but enough to have me worried that he’s going to be a pain. DEF 13/ARM 18 is going to be legitimate. He only has 22 or so boxes, if the configuration is consistent with other jacks, but I expect him to have at least 10, if not 15 boxes of Force Field. Compound this with the Phoenix Protocol rule, and I expect to have a hell of a time putting it down for good. 32 boxes + 16 when it regens is pretty impressive. Thinking about it, 15 forcefield might be just a little to much. 48, as it stands, puts it in the range of some Gargantuans. I don’t know whether that speaks to the hardiness of Imperatus, or the vulnerability of Gargantuans. The Halation Cannon seems pretty standard, with pow 14 ROF 1. I am sure it has some insane special rules, but they won’t be listed here. The main standout, though, is the P+S 19 Sidestepping melee weapons.I expect them to be the same Thermal Blade as the Phoenix: Reach, Magic Weapon, and Continuous fire. Sidestep your way into a ‘Caster and light them on fire. That’ll make everyone happy!

The last tidbit that got shared (with me) was Goreshade’s theme list. Will made mention of it in the Interview, but I was to glued to cephalyx information to really pay attention. Here it is, fleshed out in all its glory:

goreshade theme

I expect to get to at least tier 2 just to have the charge of the Banes on the table, but I don’t expect to go farther than that. The Desecrator is a decent ‘jack, I guess, but I’d just rather as not take him, and adding the Kraken on top of that is a giant points sink. I mean, were talking 57 points to take full advantage of everything in the Theme. If you ignore the Tier 1 benefit, you end up with 10 points to spend. This will incidentally upgrade all three Mechanithrall units to full and still have room for Tartarus. I’ll probably tinker around with a Tier 2 list and see what I can come up with. Arcnodes everywhere, with Bane Thralls, Knights, Riders and Tartarus seem like it could be pretty cool.

I’m thinking some sort of terrible concept like this:

Goreshade, Lord of Ruin+5
-Nightwretch4
-Nightwretch4
Bane Riders11
Bane Riders11
Bane Knights10
Tartarus 4
Bane Thralls8
Bane Thrall UA3

 

Thoughts?

All the things that PP released from Templecon this weekend have me immensely excited to be playing their games, all of them. Even Level 7: Invasion has me really stoked to pick up a copy and defend the world.

There have been spoilers coming in from a thousand different directions, and I’m going to try and consolidate as many of them here as I can. If I’ve missed something, let me know.

Vengeance:
The very first thing that came out, Wednesday, was the Warmachine: Tactics Backer update. In it we got two Images:
Vengance Novice Warcasters

The first, above, is the painted sculpts of all the novice Warcasters, coming in Vengeance, along with Sturgis in both his epic and original incarnations. Sturgis is a separate release, but you know, I’ll accept that.

The second, below, is the cover of the short story compilation of all the novice Warcasters. If you look close enough, though, you’ll notice that the Khadoran ‘jack is wandering about in a distinctly different weapon load out. This lead to Kiko commenting on it and Matt Wilson replying with:

Indicating he knew about it, which is fantastic. Later on, Sunday evening, rumours started to surface that the gun on the hidden are of that monstrosity was a beast: ROF 5 and Double strike. Crazy, I say, but most things I’ve seen that are crazy come to light from a grain of truth.

Vengance new Khador Jack

Thursday morning, the store opened, and there were a number of early releases available, as their always is at these events. Among them was Rollin’ Bones Goreshade – a con exclusive sculpt of a soon to be released alt sculpt. Plarzoid got some unboxing pictures, and he looks really cool. He is not my style, but I can definitely see where he could appeal to a lot of people. s. Its a fantastic sculpt, and I look forward to the standard one.

About 10am. Chain attack got the scoop on Stryker 3, and man is this guys good!

Stryker 3 Compiled

I spoke with Lyle, who’d been running his Theme list all weekend:

Lord General Coleman Stryker,+5+5
-Stormwall19
-Ol' Rowdy9
Storm Lances 10
Storm Lances 10
Major Laddermore5
Stormblade Captian2

As you can see, the Theme List does at least two things.
-Point Cost reduction on Storm Lances
-FA Increase on Storm Lances

Lyle also mentioned that there were two other benefits: Armywide Pathfinder on turn 1, and +2 speed for ‘Jacks on turn 1. None of that is wasted space. The speed combined with Escort will rocket the battlegroup across the table. Pathfinder will make sure the army gets in position regardless of deployment, and cost reduction is two free points in the army, enough to grab a Stormblade Captain, say. I do not look forward to the beatings I expect to receive the first few times I fight him.

The next peak was late Thursday night, when Will Schick had his Goresshade III photograhped and put into the Cryx forums. I am really looking forward to grabbing him and putting him on the table.
Goreshade 3
Goreshade 3a

The final drop on Thursday was Will, again, sending a simple tweet out.

Turns out everyones favorite executioner got a bump in focus. With the known spoilers so far giving him a debuff feat that also makes enemies explode into fiery bonfires, and the Wracks immunity to non-magical shooting, the extra focus is going to be a stellar addition. with that 14″ control area and the Huge 4.75″ base, he can really reach a large portion of the battlefield with any control area effects he has, including his feat!

and this was all before the keynote Presentation Friday morning!

The keynote was all sorts of insane, too. While I was disappointed at the keynote of L&L last year, nothing of the sort can be said of this years Templecon. Dear God, did they set the stage. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch all five parts here

Lets dive in one piece at a time!

First came the Warmachine Tactics preview, where they showed all sorts of Sexy model preview and level designs. While I appreciate the preview, I’m still stoked from Kickstarter. I didn’t need anything to raise my level of excitement. It was really cool to see the Protectorate ‘jacks, along with Sorcha and Strakov. I Hadn’t know that they were going to have Strakov, though, and that’s cool to know.

The next Portion moved into something near and dear to my heart: IKRPG! They seem to have done the same thing with the IK as they did with Warmachine and Hordes. Its two separate, compatible games. IKRPG: Unleashed gives us a whole pile of new player character races: Tharn, Gatormen, Bog Trogs, and Pygs. You can also take Human, Trollkin and Nyss, though they are available in the IKRPG:FMF. They have Bonegrinder, Monster Hunter, Tharn Ravager and Bokur as classes for the taking. They also specifically call out each race as having vastly different Warlocks, which will create some really cool characters. Oh, and over a hundred pages of monsters! A hundred! That is just overwhelming. I can’t wait to get back to playing the IKRPG! Screenshots:

Unleashed 1

Unleashed 2

Unleashed 3

Now, now we get to the meat of the matter, the huge pulsating heart of the keynote.
Hordes: Exigence
Now, here is where we get all sorts of screenshots and Details. I’ll just link the pictures to a gallery. If you want to see what something looks like, click the link!

Hordes Exigence:
Female Gator (Juga Juga) and Farrow Casters (Helga the Conqueror)
The female gator has an undead snake, and behind her is an undead Tatzelwurm
Xerxes 2, mounted on a Rhino, on what looks to be a Huge Base. He’s also mentioned as having the most badass wheelchair, so its plausible his legs are broken.
Legion gets Epic Absylonia, who is said to have Conferred Rage, stolen from Butcher 2
Gator and Farrow Battle Engines: The gator one is a mobile sacrificial alter, and the Farrow one is a meatgriner/flamethrower.
New Character Warbeasts, including a Heavy Nephalim for Saryn/Rheays That has two different affinities
Satyr Warbeast that looks blind. Has a spear/staff for circle. Mentioned at the same time as more character warbeasts, but who knows.
Lesser warlocks for each faction with no set battlegroup but affinities for certain beasts
Troll: Pyre/slag
Circle -Falconer w/ Griffons
-Legion Lesser warlock mentioned, but no picture.
Three of the four (five?) factions will get Warbast “packs” of four smaller warbeasts. Is a combination of both unit (separate damage tracks like a Medium based unit, no spiral) and a warbeast (all the fury rules apply)
The Skorne look like little monster diggers
The Legion ones look like giant wasps
Rules:



There was also a brief moment that a trollkin unit with pistols showed up

Then, there is a short stint about a Risk-like game for Level 7: Invasion. I’ve very much enjoyed [escape] so I’m pretty sure I’ll pick this one up.

And, they saved the best for last, IMO. The new Mercs that are coming out at Lock and Load 2014: Cephalyx! Its been 6 years in the making, but it looks glorious!

Cephalyx will be a merc contract like Talion
– They will have living monstrosities, That are Living giant “not warjacks” with low arm but 36 boxes. – No cortex, do not count as warjacks, and are super cheap: No more than 7 points.

Cephalyx have Merc Attachments for any small or medium based merc unit, with Boomhowler, Alexia and Forge Guard called out. The UA will make them better, but if he dies, the unit starts to run.
A solo, a unit and a caster were spoiled:
Exulon Thexus


The solo is supposed to act like Choir, giving Cephalyx models +2 to hit and damage, a welcome addition to the monstrosities stats:
Cephalyx 1

The Unit is a Cephalyx and some special drudges that it can use as arc nodes, hopefully for some good effects. Thankfully, most of the Cephalyx have some sort of sacrificial pawn ability, enabling them to stay alive longer than would normally be the case. Except for Blast: that’ll kill ’em every time.

The final Spoilers I’ve managed to collect are on the Cygnar Reliants Gun. Supposedly, it shoots thunderstorms: AOE clouds that do lightning damage.

All in all, I am very pleased. Definitely picking up Cephalyx at L&L in June. Epic Xerxis looks awesome, as does the Skorne Beast pack. I am kinda upset I didn’t get to see the Skorne Lesser Warlock, but I can wait what with all the other Insane crap coming out!
Oh lord! I am going to have to get someone to paint my Sacrificial Alter for the Gator Exchange…

Till next time!

Early this week Matt Wilson,CCO of Privateer, Tweeted that he was going to be going to the Main office in Seattle, and would try to send out some spoiler pics. He sent three over the course of two days (and may even send more today.) Typical of Wilson and Privateer, they are all half obscured, upside down, or some other form of difficult.

 

The first pic was this one:

Stryker

It originally comes upside down and backwards, but that’s OK. Its obviously Stryker 3, mounted Cyngar Warcaster. The connection point for this super awkward model is fortunately huge wall. You can see other bits on the table underneath, including the horses head, Strykers head, and either a cloak or cape. This could be a really cool model, and with my small Cygnar army, if the rules are right I could definitely see adding him. Oh the awesome!

The next Picture came the following day:

Cephalyx

This hulking monstrosity has a few details that have been noticed by a couple forum goers. The first was that the back models base is un-slotted. Currently, the PP line only has 50mm unslotted models. that means that this model is on a large base unless PP has some kind of in-house unslotted smaller bases. The other part is that the plastic (perhaps?) models have different heads and joins in the army. The current theory is that they are a Large-based Plastic Warbeast kit.

If the cephalyx are an army of their own, I’m going to be selling my Merc army for them. I really enjoy the style and feel of the models, and would be thrilled to field a whole army of them!

Goreshade

 

Shortly thereafter, Came this picture. Its at a strange angle, but I’m pretty sure, from the Deathwalker in the back, the long, black hair, and the Spike-rack smokestacks that that is an Alt. Goreshade.
Nothing has made me want to play Goreshade the Bastard. Until I saw this. If the second half of the model is 1/3 as good as what I can see here, I’m going to have to use him. He seems to capture the power of a stationary model, and the malice of a moving one.

Reznik

 

and then, Thursday, he posts this puppy. Resin horses, the body of Reznik, Wrath of Ages, his spear and other assorted bits. this model is going to be enormous and insane, and I know a friend who really enjoys dropping Reznik on the table, so I hope his rules are solid enough to get the job done.

 

I think Matt’s splurge of Pics is done for now, he is heading home before going to templecon next week, where I am sure we will see all sorts of goodies. I hope its more revealing than last years L&L Keynote. I’ll be in person at L&L again this year, so we will see how that goes!

 

Edit: Simply moments before posting this, Chain Attack‘s facebook page posted a full stryker three!!