Demolished!

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!