My wife got me Fallout: New Vegas shortly after it released as a gift, and I played the hell out of that game. I put over 100 hours into it, and that was before any of the DLC’s.

PS: Though its over 2 years old by now, spoilers, right?

Its a glitchy, freezy, buggy game, and if I was any other person, I’d have probably tossed it out the window by now, but I powered through it. Westside is the largest problem, in that it often slows to a crawl, if it doesn’t just outright freeze up. I’ve also encountered animals in rocks, invisible enemies, and infinite gaps in the world. But, for all its flaws, I still love the game.

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I had finished playing Fallout 3 some time before I picked up New Vegas, so I wanted something a little different: I turned on Hardcore mode. This unlocks a specific set of variables that makes the game decidedly different. I won’t go so far as to say that the game is harder: Food and Water is plentiful, sleep is rarely needed, and ammo does not weigh all to much; but the game definitely feels more desperate. There are popups warning about your hunger level, hydration and sleep, as well as the typical HP and Rad awareness. The biggest change, though, is the weight of the ammo. in Fallout 3 there was no need to wonder whether or not you’d use a specific ammo type, and it was light as a feather. Hardcore changes that, especially with the heavier weapons like missiles and grenade launchers.

And my new friend, the Anti-Material Rifle.

From the very beginning I wanted to play a sniper. I grabbed what rifles I could and made a go of it until I found myself an Anti-material rifle. And man does that thing roar. Sadly, I didn’t think I’d need strength as a sniper, but it turns out the the AM rifle is heavy, so for the longest time, I just dealt with a swaying set of cross hairs. It sucked, but it did make me good at timing those head shots!

I spent a ton of time and even beat the game with the sniper build, clearing every location (making sure by taking Explorer), getting very used to the way the game works. I took Boone and ED-E to up the sniper-quotient. Boone Marks out enemies in a red color, and ED-E allows me to see extremely far, upping my perception. Adding gear to increase my perception, and going to visit Dr. Usanagi to increase both Perception and Strength made it so that I was a nightmare to all the walked the wasteland. I could, and did, one-shot Deathclaws with head shots. It was glorious!

I tackled Dead Money and Honest Hearts when the game came out, but the wait I had for Old World Blues and Lonesome Road were to long, and they fell off my radar. However, a friend mentioned playing New Vegas recently, and it kindled my interest again. I picked up the game, and downloaded what I thought was the next DLC: Lonesome Road (I was wrong, and damn it, that makes me angry). I Immediately went north, Rifle in hand, and entered the Divide (I assumed it was the Grand Canyon. Maybe not?)

The divide and all it offers is a blast. I’m not going to do a walk through, though I am tempted by my predilection to do so. Instead, I am going to try to just give impressions and thoughts. Its a very cool place. The environs of a blown out canyon are cool, though they offer little in terms of a different feel. The main enemies are irradiated, trapped and insane Marked Men, who are both former Legion and NCR members. They are tough as nails, and have a pair of very aggravating traits: They tend to wear helmets, making getting head shots much more difficult, and they have the Rad Child perk, regenerating health in a land full of regeneration. If I don’t kill them right out with a head shot, its very likely that they will come and try to cave my brain in with Thermic Lances, Blades of the West and other very gruesome means.

 

Many times you have to explode undetonated nuclear weapons in order to get through to the next place. I’m not really sure how that works, though, as the explosion radius seems not to be to large. Maybe they are just small nukes.

Anyway, the whole time you’re chasing down Ulysses, another Courier, who is using a modified ED-E robot you found in order to communicate with you. He leads you through ruins and tunnels and back out again to where he’s planned to launch a nuke over to the NCR’s lifeline to the Mojave. From there, you can choose who to nuke, once you remove Ulysses as a threat.

Honestly, there isn’t much new, but there is a ton of content. 25 new locations filled with Marked Man and the other new bad guy: Tunnelers. These tunnelers are one of the things that really left me aching to find a secondary weapon to my AM rifle. Tunnelers, well, tunnel, and you can’t target them below the ground. They pop up close to you and do some serious damage, especially for one used to wearing light armor and crouching. Most often they would 2 or 3 shot me and I wouldn’t have time to get more than a single shot out. Add on the fact that they’ll actively swarm you with clusters of 2-3 of them, and you’ve just got a recipe for dead sniper.

Thankfully, one of the first Marked Men I killed had a Plasma Defender on him. I love energy weapons, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I’d been working up my Energy weapons, so it seemed a good fit. Thankfully, it did everything I wanted. With the extremely fast rate of fire and the low AP usage in V.A.T.S, I was able to pretty regularly overcome the Tunnelers I did face.

The hardest part of the whole mission, though, was completely optional. You end up sending a nuke to land just outside of Hopeville, the first area. If you go back there, it ends up being overrun with Irradiated Deathclaws that are extremely aware of their surroundings and are overly durable to anything but a AM rifle round to the head. While I enjoyed clearing the area, it was a brutal slogfest that didn’t end up giving me a whole lot more than I’d started out with.

In the specific instance of the Irradiated Deathclaws, being a sniper was a significant disadvantage. However, most often, the habits of wandering around in crouch mode as well as having a sniper rifle at the ready most times made the Marked Men and many of the normal Deathclaws trivial. In one spectacular instance, I exit into the wasteland from the top of a building. Thanks to my perception being so high and ED-E’s help, I can see there are enemies all around. Because I am at the top of the building, I have height advantage on every one of them. Though it took me almost an hour real time, I cleared every one of them out without needing to leave the roof of the building. It was glorious!

Courier

When I get to the end of the DLC, I wanted to see what the discussion would be with Ulysses, even though I was positive I wouldn’t save it. The discussion is interesting, but wasn’t anything I could live without. So the end battle was, as many of my battles, anti-climatic. I reloaded and then shot Ulysses twice in the back of the head from very far away, and then dealt with the many, man Marked Men that come to his aid. It took me a few tries, though. Ulysses is extremely hard to kill if you don’t drop a shell into his Noggin at least once. You a neat weapon from it, Old Glory, an old eagle-headed flagpole, and his duster and mask, which both are pretty good. You also can open up new areas on the map depending on who you nuke, and the legion camp I bombed was pretty neat.

I enjoyed the experience Thoroughly, and I look forward to playing Old World Blues. Makes me happy they are doing Fallout: Boston. At least that’s what the rumors are!

When it comes to Pen and Paper RPG’s there seems to be a sliding scale that is used to describe how a player approaches both their character and the game. On one end of this imaginary scale is the powergamer who is actively pursuing the game to its highest numerical end. They completely disregard of the personality of the character, having only the barest of bones to role play with: generally race, class and sex. On the other end stands the Complete Roleplayer, giving up every numerical advantage they can to have their character as close to the vision of the player as they can.

Neither end can really comprehend the other, as they are as antithetical to one another as the shadow is to light. Many times these two extremes, whether both are in the same group or not, will tear at any player in the center. These centrists represent the backbone of RPGs, the traditional player who wants nothing more than to have both an  effective character in combat and also while having a reasonably developed personality.

As the years have worn on, this central player has more and more disappeared, replaced by the two extremes. I’ve played D&D since I was around 12. I started in AD&D, moved to AD&D 2e, playing that for a very long time. After 3.0 came out, I did eventually grab the game, and grew to love 3.5. With the advent of 4e, I reflected on the fun that 3.0/3.5 had brought, and decided to run with 4e and see where it took us. I’ve also played Vampire, Gamma World, d20 Modern, Silver Age Sentinels, and the IKRPG. I dabbled a little in Savage Worlds and Exalted. Every game I played had its own dynamic, but they invariably contained people further along the spectrum towards either Personalities or Powergamers or both. lately, however, I have seen harder and harder stance towards one or the other, with little thought given to meeting in the middle. During these games, these two sides almost always would clash, causing player tension, which is the death of any game.

freaks-and-geeks-dd-700x466

What really causes the divide is that there is a significant mental difference between the two perspectives starting points in playing the game. Powercentric players seek out and create a powerful character, placing a personality and character attributes around the core of the powerful character like a shell. It can be a very detailed and pretty shell with layers of color and different patterns, but it is still, ultimately, a shell. Personalitycentric players will seek to create a character and then fill out that character with abilities that match it. While its pretty and gorgeous on the outside, with the most fantastic styling, excruciating precise details and deep roots to the center, the core can be very rotten. The rules and abilities that they pick are based on color, not on taste. Its a very basic difference that is hard to describe, and even harder to acknowledge, as they are  simply incomprehensible to the other.

D&D has always been the poster child for the powercentric because it enables a massive selection of choices that inevitably devolve into combat choices. Even the most character driven player becomes wary of the danger and finality of combat, and combat effectiveness becomes the focus of almost every character. When the figurative life of the character you have built through your mental power, given breath through your force of personality, and become attached to through shared experience is in jeopardy, players almost always start crunching numbers to make sure their emotional investment sticks around, because numbers are the only defense you have against death in that game.

But there are, inevitably, people for whom the puzzle of creating a powerful character is the original draw, for whom the the death of the enemy is not enough, and nothing but their total numerical annihilation will suffice. These are the people who strove to hear M. Bison yell “Perfect!” at the end of a match. They hunt down every complex interaction and every written rule that they can glean an edge from. They hunt down every +1 and each additional die that they can add to their characters sheet. They are little more than the complex number generators of a video game wrapped in paper.  I find that there is no joy, no fun, in those characters. There is only the hollow victory before you need to get the next level, the next feat or ability that will allow you to do more numbers. When all your game decisions are made for you because they are factually the best  its much harder to create a character that is believable, especially after the first. When every character you play has the same basic core, there is nothing new about it, no matter the color of the shell.

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As another extreme, if you take a personality player and have them make a character who has a fully fleshed out life, has a family, a job, and a solid roof above his head. What reason does this character have to be in the game? what reason could possibly make him leave his comfortable life? each of his four children are painstakingly detailed, as well as his boss and his family tree. The layout of the house he lives in includes rooms for the kids, the stables and the cook. Maybe the character is a loner, someone who just likes it better on their own, without the interference of people of lesser skill. He’s been a hardened veteran of countless countless battles, and has no trust of the world. Neither of these characters is part of the world, they are either above it or contained by it. They could have the strongest rules set to back them or none at all, but they are as useful as a heap of used diapers.

I try to stay in the center, as Building my character to be powerful gives me a sense of accomplishment, but that accomplishment means nothing if I stare at my belly button between combats. I’ve taken a character’s bare bones idea and fleshed it out to be the best that concept can be. My most personally powerful character was a complete accident, one that a friend of mine had to unfortunately suffer through DMing as he was an unstoppable force of Magic. Now, I do have to say that I only played in an Epic Level 3.5 game once, and man was it insane, but I tend to stay between 1 and 15, so my power curve is a little shorter than most. Endrus “Hammer” Tolsien was a Human Mage (enchanter) that didn’t have a single offensive damage spell. What he had was Spell focus and a build created to make his enchantments extremely robust. Hold, Charm person, Charm Monster, Mass Hold, Slow, Haste, the list goes on and on. What really made him bonkers was that he was super-effective against anything alive and enchantable, but was also extremely good at buffing the party to take on things that were not. Oh, and he used a Maul, in combat if necessary, and I took feats and abilities to make it so he was good at it, because it was in his story and background I had written for it. No other game would allow me the freedom to create a character so detailed and rich and full of story that I have ever played. And that is the beauty of RPG’s: They are small scale acting studios with a game behind them. 

None of it all matters, though, when the understanding of the core of the game flies out the window. When the Personality player creates something that is so detrimental to the group that it is divisive, when the Power player creates a character who’s very essence nullifies the rest of the groups existence, or when the middle creates a character that wants to stay home and do nothing. Everyone can be equally guilty at making the game  no fun for anyone other than themselves. 

What really is at the heart is that the game is a group game, set up between more than a single person. While you want to create the character that fits you the most, always keep in mind that there are other people at the table as well, including the GM, that are there to have fun. If your character, by their simple existence, is making someone else not have fun, you’re doing it wrong. You can build a powerful character that is the bane of the strongest monster without nullifying the DM, and you can create a dark character without having him be forced to come along for the ride. When creating a character you have to keep in mind that the whole game is based around going on adventures, and that the personality you create, bare or obese, needs to be able to go out on these adventures with others, and that these others need to have as equal a spotlight as you. I’m as guilty as anyone else is about breaking these rules, but I try hard to keep these in mind, letting other speak, kill monsters, and take the spotlight.

If you can’t you should probably go find a video game to play, because playing by yourself will be just as satisfying. I’ve heard Neverwinter Nights and Baldurs Gate are very, very good.

Well, Yellows, Actually.

I’ve been trying, with limited success, to photograph some of my miniatures that I’ve  recently finished painting, and I have not been having much success. I want the background to be a static bacdrop, and I’ve really been wanting to not have my disasterous painting table in the background. This has been resulting in some pretty frustrating times and desperate measures. I gone through two different Milk Jug Lightboxes, and both are really failing at what I wanted to accomplish: Simple, good and quick pictures. I have been taking vast mountains of pictures and burning hours trying to figure out how to get picture of my models that isn’t either bright yellow, washed out, or covered in shadows.

I’ve been trying different apps on my phone, and even dug out my wifes camera. nothing seems to help get the yellow out of the picture without also darkening the deep shadows and colors to disgusting blobs. While I’ve figured out that its the white balance, I’ve yet to take a good picture that dosen’t need manual touchups, and that really bothers me. I want to have the skill to do this right, and having to rely on GIMP to make my pictures even usable is a real drag. However, I’ve gotten some good pictures out of it through GIMP. Remember those shitty, yellow pictures from the Revenant Crew Article? 

Now?

Much better. I’m still trying different techniques to try and get the photos right without touch up, but I’m just not seeing it.

But, I can now get on with my Deneghra and Slayer Unit spotlights. Oh! and the bane Spartans are nearing completion.

WWX still hasn’t gotten me my repair parts that will enable me to start caring about painting their models. Its sad and a little lame at this point. They keep touting that they are dropping some 120 models in some sort of Record time, and that its a lot of work.
I know. Shut up, I just don’t care. I hate to sound like that guy, but its just a pile of excuses and denial at this point.

The Drake II kickstarter, has come and past, and while I am a little sad that the game isn’t what I would have liked, I did save some 100+ bucks on it. The Shi army ascetic is amazing. Its not at all something I’d have pegged to be my style, but man that would have been cool to paint. Its downfall: Linear Dice. I just can’t get behind a miniatures game rules that has linear progression anymore, without having some sort of compensating huge draw. Games with cards have a good, if aggravating, way around it by thinning the pool of numbers as your turn wears on.  This game was based on a single die roll, and I only had three hours. No go for me.

I’ve picked up Fallout: New Vegas again, and I’m really enjoying my AM rifle sniper. Its just awesome to be able to reach out and touch someone from that far away. Its buggy as hell, and its murder sometimes to fight trios of Deathclaws, but I love this game so very much, despite its shabby self.

I am trudging away on my Bane Spartans. I’m really happy at how they are coming along, and though its a 10 man unit, its not wearing me down like many have before. Could be because I am going much slower now with writing twice a week, a baby, and a thousand other projects.

I did a segment with my buddy Bill from Gamers Lounge a couple Fridays back, inspired by my WWX gripe and whine session on their forums. I really enjoyed it, and had a lot of fun blathering about what I like and don’t like. I wasn’t used to skype at the start, and eventually calmed down and stopped interrupting him like a dumb ass.

I’m hoping to line up a Warmachine playdate here for late march. Going to see if I can break out Deneghra’s current list (maybe bane Knights, this time, if they are finished) and see what I can chop through. I’ve not really played her a ton since the MKI battlebox, and its nice to get a really powerful spellslinger on the board.

I bought my tickets and am stoked about going to Lock and Load at the start of June. I get to spend my moms birthday back home again, which matters a lot to me. Lock and Load is great, but If it kept falling on that weekend, I was gonna go bonkers.

I am considering going through each and every one of the casters that is coming up for Vengance here and doing a solid look at them, and how I see them from the Skorne and Cryx angles. it’d be a lot of work, but worth it, I’d think. I’ll also probably hit the Cryx releases when the time comes. That’ll keep me busy for a while, right?

I’ve also got my first commission minis on board, and I am really looking forward to painting a set of models I’m not normally going to get to paint.

I’m also have a great desire to take pictures of all my painted stuff. Johnwebb on the PP forums has started a retrospective of his cryx painting, and I kinda want to wander down the same path. We’ll see.

 

 

I know that there are some large number of people out there who are getting disappointed or aggravated with Soda Pop and Relic Knights. The story has been one of unending problems and repeated broken deadlines. They are trying, now, to get our hearts back by offering a free model to all backers: Candy Heart. They are currently running a poll for which of the two versions of the model you’d like to see go into production. They will then give all backers $15, and they can buy Candy, or whatever they like.

But I’m here to look at the rule book today. The small, digital download that’s available to anyone, right here. Now a days, this is one of my “must haves” for a miniatures game. If I wasn’t involved in Malifaux and Warmachine, I probably wouldn’t get involved today. The ability to judge a game before you buy it is crucial. This is especially true in a genre that generally has $50+ rule books, and $100+ starter boxes. You want to know what your getting into before you get bit in the ass.
I learned from WWX, boys and girls.

Now:
Relic Knights: Darkspace Calamity
The first, and core, book in the series of expansions doubtful to come in the Relic Knights franchise. With over a year of kickstarter blues, it had better be good. Thankfully, like other online books, its fairly to the point. Its simply the rules, and not a whole lot more. its 32 pages of reference, rules, and scenarios. All the pictures are reference images, and there isn’t a single fluff image. Its good to keep down the documents overall image count, as people inevitably print the book out.

It jumps right into the game, as it should, starting with the definitions, and its all standard stuff here: Models, units, cards and their associated descriptions, the Deck, Terrain and measuring tape. Where this diverges though is the Dashboard and the Objects. the game gives a rules point for objects, and lists them as anything on the playing board: Terrain, markers, models… everything. Its something that I’m surprised games hadn’t come to define yet, honestly. The Dashboard is where some of the most intriguing parts of Relic Knights shine, making a kind of mobile initiative order I really dig how this works, and it goes right into the Key Concepts, including the dashboard.

 

They include a diagram of the dashboard, because its a complicated concept.

Dashboard

From left to right: The Active slot is the card of the model you’re activating next. The Ready que is your intended order of activation after this model, provided your opponent or you do nothing to mess with it. Then you have your Idle Section, where all models that aren’t either active or ready lie. The dead, discard, and Draw piles are fairly self explanatory. The linked slot is a model that’s been dragged from the Idle pool to here because of its connection to the currently active model.  Only models with the Linked rule can do this, which is not how we play tested this. we had all Cyphers linked, and that was really, really powerful.

I really like this system because it creates an interesting dynamic in the game. The game, instead of focusing everywhere all at once, tends to focus on single “battleground” areas as each player tries to activate only relevant models. There is no benefit in this game to having units that are not immediately important activate. I really think that a lot of the dynamic of the game is going to come in when one person is applying pressure and taking the initiative, and the other person trying to resist the pressure and take the initiative back. Its chancy to let the opponent activate two models, uncontested, in a row that are trying to achieve his goals while you try and activate something across the board.

The Rule book then covers movement, and its really appropriate. One of two unique movement rules of the game is that no model, token or marker of any type may be assisted in standing. If the model can’t fit, it does not commit! The game is going to focus a heavy amount on movement and maneuvering. with unlimited ranges, and no random-chance attacks, if your vulnerable, you are definitely going to get smashed.

Oh, what, you didn’t know about the attacks? Let me help! Later on they go more in depth, but here is the low down:
there are no random factors in the game, outside from your drawn hand. I feel that this is much better execution of a card mechanic than Malifaux: Malifaux rewards card counting in order to make sure you have your opponent on a bad foot. Relic Knights does not.

this is a sample attack, pulled from the rule book:

Weapon Example

You’ll see that there is simply a cost, and then effect. You must pay 2 blue and one green Esper from your hand, and the action succeeded. Notice, as well, that there isn’t a range. All ranges in this game are based completely on LOS, so make sure you move to the right spots. You’ll also notice that there are additional costs, called presses. if you pay 2 more blue (in addition to the two you started with, not an easy feat) you get +2 damage. If you Pay 2 more green, you increase the charge by +2. All of this adds up to a game where if you can see a model, and you have the right cards in your hand, your ability just works. To alleviate that, there are defensive abilities with the same structure, so if your opponent has the ability to defend against something, its just going to be defended.

Right, back to movement!
Another key aspect of movement is that larger bases can move through smaller bases and smaller object as if they do not exists, though they cannot stop atop them. This is a very cool aspect of the game that, while not necessary, is pretty interesting for the 80mm Relic Knights. The rule book goes on to define the different types of movement types, and then starts to cover LOS. Relic Knights uses a concept I’ve not seen before, and that is the LOS window.

LOS window

Its a simple concept covering the whole of the area between the models edges, as seen above. all of the cover and to hit modifiers are based on this window. Most games use this, in practice, but don’t cover it in the rules as explicitly. They then have two pages of terrain examples, which wile confusing to read, make sense in the context of the rules and the diagrams.

page 10, about a third of the way through, introduces us to the Esper Affinity and the Esper deck. Outside of two rather cryptic messages, this is our first look.Each faction is tied to an Esper color, called affinity, and they don’t all make perfect sense. I do like that I get to play the chaos Faction, this time around. I so very often play the Lawful types.  The deck contains cards of every color pairing, as long with dead cards (void) and All cards (wild) these are what you draw, 5 at a time, to determine your hand, and if you can activate your abilities or not.

Esper Affinities

The next section is on model abilities and Esper actions. While the abilities work pretty much as you’d expect, the held Esper is essentially “double wildcard” Esper, allowing you to spend it as any two Esper you desire, but only on the model holding it. You attain held Esper by sacrificing your action earlier, so while it can be a real boon, its not perfect.

It then goes into Markers, Tokens, and AOE’s, all of which are vastly different from other games I’ve played.

Markers are boosts and objectives, and are counted as models for almost all purposes.

Tokens are flat notations of where an Zone, Item or important location is. Its not considered a model.

AOE’s are persistent effects that extend from the edge of the base in all directions. When placed, the Token for an AOE must be within the LOS of the model creating it, is considered part of the AOE, and covers 3″ from every edge of the token.

Thats the last of the basic rules, and then the book jumps, after 13 pages, to playing the game. it goes over setting the battlefield, the cards and the ready que, and also touches on deployment.

The dashboard is used to control the turn, with the ready que model moving to active, and that models turn resolving.

Models get an initial move, an action, and a follow up move (I told you this game would focus on moving!) Both moves are defined on the front of the card, and the actions are self explanatory.  A player also has the option to refocus, which takes place of the models whole turn, but allows the active player to draw five cards, and the model gains a held Esper. Once the models turn is complete, it moves to the idle pile. The player then moves the ready que over, and can choose a card to fill the newly opened rightmost spot. This means that you can keep activating the same 4 dudes over and over again, and I really see this as the main means of applying pressure.

the rule book then goes into describing what action types and troop types their are, but its all fairly typical nothing that really stands out. Formation is a strange beast, and one that I am well used to abusing from MKI Warmachine, but that is what it is.

Applying damage to squads deserves a special mention here, because its not how I am used to resolving these effects. When a unit is targeted, every model in LOS and within 6″ of the targeted model can be killed by spillover damage. I think that is going to make keeping units alive a real chore.

the final area of interest today is Terrain. I don’t see anything completely out of the ordinary here, with difficult terrain, Cover, and open ground and it vagaries pretty clearly delineated. They did decide to go with assigning an amount of armor bonus to the terrain, with dense woods granting 1 armor, all the way up to bunkers granting 4.

The book then ends on the victory conditions, scenarios, and abilities list. I’ll hit scenarios later this month, but I wanted to make it through the book here today.

Overall, I really like how the game shapes up. Its different – with tons of movement and with very little to measure outside of the movement of a model. I really can’t impress enough upon anyone that I find that this is the best way to use cards as a resource in a miniatures game. Drawing them is hard enough, having the right model to use the right ability at the right time is downright blasted hard, and THEN having to hit some number, either a defense or an activation number even if you have the required numbers is a pain. This system of having your powers simple activate if you pay for them is refreshing and interesting. The ability to move through other models and objects on the field is another really interesting aspect of the game. I don’t think it will have a ton of affect on the game, but it will indeed have enough that I’ll enjoy the rule.

While its taken them forever and a Tuesday to get these models out the door, and we are not even there yet, I’d really encourage those of you who have backed the kickstarter not to give up. Its an interesting enough concept that I think it’ll really grab hold in many places. It might not rival Privateer or GW, but It might give some of the other fringe games a run for their money!

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.

Continue reading

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?