Hobbies are a tricky thing. To many of them, and you never seem to get anything done. To few, and you’re stuck to the internet and social sites all day trying to catch up with what the latest stars and Idiots are doing. I blame that on a lack of hobbies, its true. where are the stamp and coin collectors, the birdwatchers, the hikers. Many a hobby has dried up. I seem to have jumped on the wrong end of that miserable see-saw. I can’t even balance Painting-Assembling-Converting-Playing

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This has been an interesting week for warmachine, hasn’t it! I normally do my Warmachine /Hordes posts on Tuesday and something else on Thursday, But I am glad I waited. Tuesday had the cover of the next Warmachine book – Reckoning – come out, and today had complete spoilers of two more entries from that book, joining Dynamo and Moros.

I’ll just go in chronological order here, simply so I hope I remember whats happening.

First, Reckoning.

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Its been a long, long time since I put up something That I’ve painted, and I figured I’d just toss some models up here, talk a little bit about them, and get on my way!

First, and most obviously foremost, is my Donate or Paint Challenge Model. I was challenged by my buddy Faultie to paint up, in 72 hours, a model or donate money to the cause of one gentleman, Marc Harrison.

This models concept was surprisingly simple: This model should be almost completely black. not just black armor, but black everything. In person, even that purple is almost indistinguishable from black, as are the hose and armor. most of what you see are the base, and flames. Oh, and of course the eyes. I has a blast painting this, and look forward to painting another pair, as they are up next.

My second favorite is a Raluk Moorclaw. I loved his sculpt so much after seeing this guy in my hands that I went out and got one, even though I know his rules are a little wonky and that he is unlikely to see use in even the strangest of lists for both Cryx and Minions.

When I paint a model that not for me, I love to toss a bit of orange in there, no matter what their scheme is. I love painting the color, and have found a huge variety of hues and colors that I can get without much effort. Though I won’t keep him for every long, this model will always be one of my favorite to have painted.

Speaking of paint jobs for other people, I also was able to paint a very enjoyable Morvahnna 2. This model just oozes awesome. I followed the paint scheme given, but managed to sneak my orange in their anyway.

Now, onto my models, Which aren’t many but I am fairly proud of them none the less.

The Fat Man himself, Dominar Rasheth, was the first model I’d painted for myself in many months, and the first Skorne model in possibly years, I don’t remember. Getting back into the groove with painting him was a little bit of a trick, but once I was there he was every bit of fun to paint that I had hoped.

The skin is always the hardest part to get right on these models, because I think I’ve forgotten more ways to paint it than I remember. The green and bone is a simple enough color, but the gold is a giant pain. With the PP solid gold coating terribly, and the need for extremely precise targeting with the paint, I’ve had to give up my favorite gold color and move for a more bronze-gold than the pale gold I initially wanted.

Painted alongside Rasheth, for obvious reasons, was my little adorable agonizer. Though he only took bare minutes to paint, he was a guy I use so often that I wanted to make sure he was taken care of. I’d started him probably three years ago, before I’d discovered a little bit more of what I can do with paints and painting. Now, I’m happy with him.

Then, I put my brush to a caster that was primed, because it was winter, and nothing gets primed in the winter. Makeda 2 was a model I wan’t particularly excited for, and once I started my excitement level dipped even lower. Sometimes, when painting a model your unexcited for that is also not coming out right is to change something up. Simply chaning her shirt from bone to black made her work that much better. In the end, I am pleased with how she came out, and am excited to paint up her second epic incarnation and see how she comes out as well.

After I finished her up, I took a venture into my bag and came out with some models that I had started way back when, and wanted to finish. This was before, like the Agonizer, I had learned a few new techniques like blending properly, mixing colors correctly, and a bit of patience. First to come out of the bag was Aptimus Marketh, a model I love in almost every situation. he took a bit of work to bring up to mediocre standards, but I wasn’t about to paint him up again.

Finally, and I just finished these two up on Saturday, were my Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer. Both were frustrating to paint, again coming from a time that made me have to just straight up repaint a number of the models features, but also because they are insanely Skorneish: All that filigree is insanely complicated. I’m not a fan at all. At least the Tyrant Commander has useful rules and a fantastic model. The Standard bearer, while nice in a pinch just isn’t a model I am putting front and center every game. He almost killed my will to paint…

With all of that going on, I had time to do a little stupid Conversion. I love Darragh Wrath, and I love scythes, but the scythe on Darragh just wasn’t impressive enough for me. So, I found a pair of those old GW Zombie weapons and carefully made that weapon look scary as hell. I love it.

Do you know how hard it is not to go back to Cryx right now?

Even with all of that done, I’ve got a loaded painting table. I’ve pledged to have a fully painted tier 2 theme list for Lock and Load, to milk the most out of the Iron Arena Games I play, hoping for a Hydra or other awesome art print. In order to do that, I’ve got a Bronzeback, a Gladiator, a unit of Bonegrinders I don’t even own yet, and a Pain Giver Task Master. Additionally, I’ve decided to paint a caster a month, and up next is Mordikaar. Last, but certinaly not least, I’ve still got two exchange models I am going to paint up. One for Aggyfaces Legion of Ice and Fire, and one for my buddy Mike, who painted me a ginger Caliban!

 

I managed to get a game in against a friend of mine, he had picked up his dwarves again and I was playing my stupid Goreshade list. I can’t seem to get any good matchups.

I don’t have any pictures, so I’ll make it short and sweet and then get on to talking about the really cool part: The 2015 beta portion.

He was playing an extremely ranged heavy game, with Ossrum, Dougal, Earthbreaker, Hernne and Jonne, and a unit of Highshields.

General Ossram+5
*Earthbreaker19
*Blaster3
*Driller6
*Sylys Wyshnalyrr, The Seeker2
Hammerfall Highshields8
*Officer and Standard Bearer3
Herne and Jonne3
Dougal McNaille2
Ogrun Bokur3
Rhupert Carvolo2
Taryin Di La Rovissi2
Thor Steinhammer2
55

I brought along my crazy list for playing against hordes with Goreshade I.

Goreshade I+6
*Deathwalker-
*Nightmare10
*Slayer 6
*Slayer6
Bane Knights (10)10
Bane Riders (5)11
Bane Lord Tartarus4
Darragh Wrath4
Warwitch Siren2
Warwitch Siren2
Necrotech + Scrap Thrall1
56

Now, its a bad matchup, in the terms that there are two abilities I can use that are specifically against living models, but overall, its just not that bad. I’ve yet to really feel that I’ve been on the back foot because I have my ‘Jacks, even though in the Sorscha game I had two of them removed almost trivially. That, however, is how Sorscha does warjacks. I have stealth to counteract Earthbreaker, to a point, and I have Dark Shroud in order to counteract his stupidly high armor.

He wins the rolloff, and decided to go first.Letting Cryx get a foothold against his slow, ponderous dwarf army just isn’t going to make for a fun day for him.

We are playing the new 2015 beta for steamroller, which have you bring along your very own objective for each list. I picked up one that reduces spell cost and has a damaging retaliation against melee attacks, and he picked one that makes units fearless and grants cover. The Scenario, too, was a new one. It had a zone centered short-side along  the center-line, with friendly objectives on your side of the table. It also had two flags on the centerline as well, a bit away from the center zone.

He deployed Earthbreaker on my left, highshields on the right, center filled with solos and battlegroup. I knew I had to counter-deploy or get blown off the board, so I put the Riders across from the guns and the Knights across from the Earthbreaker. The guns on that colossal can reach out, but if I can get him to trigger vengeance, I’ve got a cursed threat range of 15″, which is far enough. Its definitely not going to out-threat a sniped Earthbreaker, but it gives it only a single turn of shooting before I get there, if I position well enough. I preyed the Driller, hoping to either keep it out of the game or use it to get a good position on Earthbreaker.

Our first turns are unimpressive as we vie for position on the board, and I move up to take advantage of the objective. I had this dream of casting Mage Blight and Shadowmancer every turn, but after he popped his feat on turn 2, there was never really a reason to. His feat, snipe, and Dougal’s minifeat light me up, blowing out 3 of my Knights and two of my Riders. I had high hopes for my retaliation, but nothing materialized, as my Bane Riders crashed ineffectively into his ARM 21 Highshields and my Bane Knights barely nick up the Earthbreaker. It didn’t help matters that two turns later I remembered my weaponmaster die, but I did so little damage that even 3 additional damage over the 5 models would just have been a tickle.

His turn managed to take down one of my Bane Riders and blow out of the field all my Knights with a single sweep of the Earthbreakers claws. I was loosing models to swiftly, and I just couldn’t keep up. His Driller, thankfully, managed to beat the hell out of a Slayer, but left him with only movement busted in the end. My turn was the back breaker, as I popped my feat, created a unit of 6 Thralls, and charged the Earthbreaker. I was able to put three on Nightmare and two on another Slayer and still cast Shadowmancer thanks to the objective, and I think it enabled me to win the game. That second focus I was able to give to the slayer enabled me to sink enough damage into the driller to kill it, forcing Prey over to Earthbreaker, who I killed with only a single focus to spare on Nightmare. He used that attack to take out the objective, which allowed me to dominate the zone for two points. He then committed to kill Nightmare with Ossrum, knowing it was all over but for the dice, and succeeded in his task, leaving my small, frail army with only one task: Kill Ossrum. This task ended up being nearly to difficult for my poor undead, but in the end, Ossrum was put into the dirt.

I really enjoyed this game, and I really enjoyed the concept of “BYOO” in the steamroller context. I think it will generate a slew of new lists that are designed to take advantage of a number of the objectives powers, including the boosted damage to light artillery one. I’m really excited to try out the new Incursion, as well, as that seems to be getting a lot of buzz. The completely new scenario, which we tried out, was pretty good, though it seemed that the flags on the sides were to far out of the way to be worth going for, when you can just score the center.

I enjoy the iterations of steamroller every year, because it seems that they are trying to both shake up the basic stagnation a game will always have, and that they are trying to constantly create a set of scenarios that are a ton of fun, balanced and are both simple enough to understand and complex enough to create player interaction. The public test period of 2015 is extremely short, so if you have the chance, go to a tournament this weekend and try it out!

 

 

I’ve made my way through Exulon Thexus and am psyched to be moving back to Cryx for a bit before jumping ship to Skorne. However, I figured I’d give final grades and general thoughts on the Cepahlyx contract before moving on.

Warcaster: Exulon Thexus

The Cephalyx army is lead, as of writing this article, by a single warcaster – Exulon Thexus. His atrophied self has given him great magical powers, but at the cost of his physical prowess.
Thexus is not going to be getting into many personal melees during his games, and his stat line makes sure you think twice before allowing him to mix it up. DEF 14 and ARM 14 with 15 hit boxes is extremely vulnerable. Two charging P+S 11’s will kill him, on average dice. His Combat stats are no better, with MAT 5 and P+S 9 making it so that every additional attack costs him three focus, which incidentally, is how much Hexblast costs. His melee weapon is very important, though, in getting him to use his hex blast as a finisher on the enemy. Speed 6 pathfinder can give him a threat range of 19″ from where he is standing from which he can toss two Hexblasts with two boosts. Or two Hexblasts and a TK.
Spells 

His spell list is great, as I’ve gone over before. Over the course of my games, though, I’ve not managed to find a single time where I’ve cast Influence. I’ve also been unable to cast Rampager as well, mostly to playing against Warmachine, and one of the times I played hordes was a character beast. Deceleration gets popped out most games, Simply to protect my army on the way in, and TK is always invaluable. Psycho Surgery I’ve not really found a great use for, as my Monstrosities tend to form my second wave, and attack themselves in waves, so I’ve either had only one wounded, or none wounded and the rest are dead. The spells, thankfully, run themselves. If there is worrisome shooting on the board, toss up Deceleration and wait it out. If there isn’t, start TKing models into or out of position.

Feat

I’ve found the feat to be extremely powerful, but also extremely tricky to use. Even with Thexus in the back of the army, with his speed and Control Area, it is exceedingly simple to reach out and feat people before you can really get good use out of it. This means that judging threat ranges will be a necessity to getting a good feat off. Unsuspecting opponents will sometimes walk into the feat, and that can be exceedingly nasty for them, but most of the time the opponent is adding 2″-4″ extra to your threat range until your feat is popped. I’ve also used it, rather unnecessarily, for disrupting shieldwalled troopers. Most of the time, though, these troopers are then attacked by a wrecker, who would have worried about that not at all. It is extremely useful in disrupting things like defensive line and take up, though, so keep that in mind.

Abilities

Spell driver is great, and I use it every game. I could not imagine Thexus being even remotely useful without it. That said, make sure to pay attention and to draw LOS and range from Thexus if its at all possible. None of his spells are longer range than his CTRL, so you can always premeasure to the target.This can save up to 4 damage on a Monstrosity, which can be a legitimate lifesaver. That’s an extra attack! Sac Pawn almost never comes up in actuality, but almost always comes up pre-game, when they are judging how to kill Thexus. Its extremely hard to kill him with ranged damage, as the warden is ARM 20 against ranged attacks with both Shield Guard and Sac Pawn. Finally, don’t forget Aggressive Reaction. This allows Monstrosities to not only charge for free, but also to run for free if an enemy model is within 10″ of him. This can be extremely easy to achieve with it being such a long range, and with his access to TK and his Feat.

General Gameplan

Put a Wrench in the Gears
With the Build that I use, the game plan of the Cephalyx is first and foremost attrition. Everything they have is dourable and tough, both in the in game sense and in the rules sense. Lead with the Drudges, they are cheap and expendable. I’ve never really managed to do anything exceedingly great with them, but simply eating attacks and slowing down the army is good enough. Almost every game they gum up the works long enough for the wreckers to get in their and do their job. The Overlords and the Mind Benders really do a good job cleaning up the infantry that gets jammed on the drudges, as well, allowing you to continue to roll forward. One of the traditional downsides to a tarpit unit is that its static. In the Cehaplyx build, they are not. Sprays clear off the front line, and the front line either advances up or runs in to engage. Without the sprays of the Overlords, I just don’t think I’d get far enough in clearing the troops off in order to keep pushing forward. With the speed of the main line troops being 5, though, your going to want to keep pushing deep into the enemy. You don’t really have the luxury of repositioning mid battle, especially without pathfinder.

Rolling Thunder
Behind the front line of Drudges of both types, you want to have a bunker of TAC, behind which are generally hidden a Wrecker, a Pistol Wraith or two, and a machine wraith. way beyond that, but still positioned behind the cloud to make LOS difficult, is Thexus. As the waves of Drudges are overrun, you’ll be exposing the hammer of the army: Wreckers. They will be the ones that move in to take out key heavies on the feat turn and afterwards. You know you’re going to be trading a wrecker for a key piece of the enemy army, but you want to make it hard on them to do it, if you can. The Pistol Wraiths, Machine Wraiths and TAC are here for that. Death Chilling heavies, threatening the possession of a warjack or blocking charge lanes with Machine Wraiths, and putting up clouds to block LOS with TAC really can set up the exact two-for-ones you need to move the game in your favor. Overlords can even chip in here, assuring that any infantry that clumps up to remove your newly exposed heavy gets removed from the board.

Final Countdown
After the game has progressed through the screening drudges, and the hammer has been applied to the army, you’re generally running on borrowed time. Hopefully, you’ve jammed their infantry long enough to remove them, and then stalled out and piece traded with a wrecker or two. Your Drudges are long dead, as are most of your TAC. You’ve lost an agitator or two in getting the Monstrosities to their targets, as well. Your final Monstrosity, in my case the Warden, is likely sitting beside Thexus and waiting further instructions. Its finally time to take the game out. It is unlikely that you’ve scored many control points, as the slow, durable army here has just stuck it out and been chewed on. You may have gotten a few, though, from sheer exhaustion of your enemies forces. This is when your game plan is decided. From here, both options to win can be achieved. If you’ve built 2+ control points, try and go for the scenario win. This works doubly well if you have no wreckers. Move, run if needed, Thexus barely into a zone as far away from as many enemy models as you can, and get the warden into the game to make sure you keep the enemy busy and not attacking Thexus. They are likely to get desperate here, so make sure that whatever remaining Natural Cepahlyx (Overlords, Agitators, Dominator) are either ready to pick off those running contesting models, or are ready to run and contest themselves.

However, if the game is going your way, its time to put your foot on their throat. The Warden is here to jump into the action, most likely with a free run from Aggressive Reaction. If a Warden got to the caster and failed earlier, which is not entirely impossible, you just need to be able to dump a Hexblast or two into them. Pow 13 spells are legit game ending shots, and there isn’t a lot they have out there to save them, as upkeeps are knocked off on hit. A double boosted Hexblast does 24 damage, which is nothing to scoff at. If you’ve not gotten a Wrecker to the caster, now is the time to do it. Running the Warden over to within range of a TK + Hexblast is never a fond proposition for the ‘caster, and ending it with a Wrecker to the face is even less entertaining. In this mode, your remaining Cephalyx models are there to provide you the clear lanes you need to finish off the army. Make sure to double or even triple up key enemy models when possible, as hinging a game on a single die roll is never a good concept.

Always remember, though, that Thexus has a 19″ threat range with Hexblast himself. If the game is on the line, feel free to make the daring move, charge something and drop those nukes on the enemies head.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths
  • Model Durability: Almost all models have either high ARM, high DEF, or a pile of wounds
  • Quantity: Everything in this list is a bargain for its price. Outside of Thexus, everything can be sacrificed for the win
  • Versatility: Almost every model has ways to deal with more than one situation, use what is needed at the given time
  • Quality: Outside of the Drudges, everything is very good at what it does.
Weaknesses
  • Speed: Very little in this list can react swiftly, you’ll need to deploy well and make sure you stick to pushing forward despite losses
  • Difficult Terrain: This cost me at least one game, and you need to be able to either play around it or deploy to mitigate it.
  • Magic Denial: So many of the best plays the Cephalyx have are Magic Abilities that its hard to plan your turn if there is a lot of Spell Denial
  • Officers: The Mind Bender, Mind Slaver and Overlord units all have extremely vulnerable leaders to Magic Attacks and Spells that its hard to keep them safe under bad circumstances.

Model Ratings

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 gimmicky list centered on this model/units and its in game interactions.
2 – I consider bringing this model/unit with this warcaster, with the proper support units and/or 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.

Monstrosities
Wrecker -5: I currently never leave home without 2, and I itch for a third
Warden -4: This model is a 6 point Arc Node with a great suite of defensive tech
Subduer -3: This model has its place, but I feel it does the same job as a Wrecker, but not as good

Solos
Agitator-5: I bring all three, every time. In addition to bringing Instigate, they have a great offensive spell.
Dominator -4: While I currently love the TAC with Thexus, I could see leaving home without them on a future occasion
Pistol Wraith -4: I run two, every time, and they lock down models really well. I could get rid of them, but I’d really just rather not.
Bloat Thrall-1: I just don’t have the heart or desire to try and make this guy fit in every list. Its just not working
Machine Wraith-3: While I’ve got a ton of use out of them, I do play against a lot more Warmachine than hordes. It could be that I just have the right group of players.

Units
Overlords -4: These models do so much work on their own I couldn’t possibly make it through a game without them. I hate playing 35 points because they are that good to me.
Mind Bender and Drudges -5: The stone cold base models in the army. Their ability to clear troops and buff Slaver drudges earns them a spot every time.
Mind Slaver and Drudges -5: The foot troops of the army are required material for war. Don’t leave home without them. I’d not take more than a single unit, though, as they’ve never proven to be more than a nasty tarpit to my opponent.

Well, that’s it! now, on to Cryx!

 

 

I got in another Thursday game, and more practice with Thexus as well.

A buddy of mine stopped in to my local game store, and he was bringing a list I’d not seen before. I’d played against Reznik II twice before, and thought that I had seen what the list could put out. I was wrong.

This is the list he brought.

Reznik, Wrath of Ages+4
*Devout5
*Hierophant2
Avatar11
Choir (4)2
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord2
The Covenant of Menoth2
Vassal of Menoth2
Daughters of the Flame (6)5
Exemplar Vengers (3)7
Holy Zelots (10)6
*Monolith Bearer2
Temple Flameguard (10)6
*Officer and Standard2
54

When I looked at it, I didn’t think it looked like anything nasty, but when we got started, ho boy!

I brought the same list I’ve brought the last few fights, and I’ve still found no real reason to change other than order of operations issues.

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephaly Overlords4
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Tactical Arcanist Corps4
*Cephalyx Dominator1
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Machine Wraith1
Machine Wraith1
55

We were playing Fire support, and I won the roll off. I took first turn, and he decided to take the table edge with a hill to make me squeeze my army between a forest and a house. It worked pretty well.

Deployment:

IMG_20140731_193508_075

Sorry for the Blur, I had yet to eat dinner.

I took the initiative and ran almost everything forward in an attempt to get past the house and woods and as far into the scenario as I could to contest what I could. I didn’t think I’d be taking the scenario anytime soon, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to be surprised and fall down in points early on. Both Scenario areas where in terrible areas, in forests, and I knew I wasn’t going to be easily contesting them for long.

He, however, took the bull by the horns and rammed it down my throat. Zealots popped Greater Destiny and ran forward, the Temple Flameguard popped Iron Zeal and ran forward, gaining tough from the book. The Daughters of the Flame, who he’d started to deploy towards the center, but rethought and put them further on the flank, opened up and ran down the flank. The Vengers shored up the flank of the Temple Flameguard, and Reznik moved forward to the hill, claiming the only defense bonus he can. He then casts Deathmarch on the Temple Flamguard, after which the Avatar runs forward, and the Devout moves up and places Spell Barrier on Reznik. The Piper toughs the Flameguard, and the Covenant moved forward and placed no-knockdown in place.

Turn two starts up and I go into the tank. There is only about a foot of playable space between the two forests, and Reznik’s feat is coming up next turn, so I have to be careful. The Cephalyx have a ton of linchpin solos and unit leaders, and I just can’t risk them getting exploded, as they inevitably will, from the feat. I mull over trying to get some kills in, but I just don’t think it is going to work. In the end, I commit as best I can, and hope that my army doesn’t get obliterated. Both Drudge units move in and spread out the best they can, and the Agitators move up and in, trying to stay away from other models. The TAC and the Dominator move forward and cloud up, extending the cover against his zealots as best I can from my left forest. One Machine Wraith runs to engage a Venger, and the Pistol Wraith falls back on the right flank, while on the left, the Pistol Wraith and Machine Wraith advance to hold the forest. I hold back the monstrosities, feeling I need them for the inevitable counter-strike I am going to have to commit to after my drudges are blown off the field. I even Hex Blasted Deathmarch off of the Temple Flameguard for good measure. I felt that there was nothing but holding my breath, seeing how much of his army he could eliminate that turn.

IMG_20140731_202639_627

Game State, Mid turn 2 for Reznik

After my turn, however, he had to go into the tank himself. My clouds made it hard to draw LOS to my army, and the TAC are immune to fire, meaning that his feat could not damage them. Reznik was also a bit bottled up by the two units he had, so he couldn’t get deep enough with the feat to get the juicy parts. Unexpected Luck on my part. Thankfully, the Zealots have Firebombs that the TAC are immune to as well, which blocked out a key part of their plan, and allowed a large portion of my army to be safe from the bombs. His Temple Flameguard Charged into the Cephlyx upfront and managed to miss everything that wasn’t a drudge, though feat explosions followed and killed a few more drudges. His Vengers Followed in and also, somehow, managed to fail to kill every one of their targets, including those under the feat. He did do a pile of damage to the objective, though that’s no consolation. His Daughters charged into the right flank and killed everything they touched. Def 11 arm 15 is no defense against Mat 6 and Anatomical Precision. The Avatar and the Devout took up position to counter-attack, as well as putting up Spell Barrier. I’d lost almost an entire unit to the feat, and that was a bad feat for him. I am not a fan.

His feat was done, and he’d eliminated my entire front line that wasn’t the TAC. My Incorporeal remained, including the Wraith that had done 4 damage to a Venger. I was ready to go onto the counter offensive. I moved a few pieces here and there that had no bearing on Thexus or freed up room for him and moved in, popping my feat on nearly every model. I used the Telekinetic tide to set up clumps of models ready for fireballs, charging TAC and sprays. I then TK‘d the grey (not purple) Wrecker forward and the purple wrecker out of the woods, sitting on 1 focus after having allocated the grey hulk 3. Using the overlords, I sprayed down the tough Temple Flameguard and the Vengers. My opponent didn’t pass a single tough check, amazingly, but two of his Vengers survived the onslaught, one with 1 hp and one untouched.Using the Pistol Wraith, I took down a flameguard with his inital, and using the soul, boosted damage on the one wound Venger to kill him.  I then Charged the TAC into the bunched up Zealots, hitting, flamebursting, and fireballing almost all of them to death. The Pistol Wraith took aim at the Avatar and managed to Death Chill him, something I am notoriously unreliable for. The remaining drudges moved forward and attacked what they could, though my center had, outside of the TAC, completely collapsed. I moved the Agitator behind my army to try and get rid of the pesky Daughters that had come onto my flank. Through the agitator and some extra sprays, I was able to eliminate half the unit, but the other half was ready to strike into my guts. I dropped the gray Wrecker off, and through a series of bounces and beatbacks, was finally able to get to Reznik. Without an Agitator, I was unlikely to hit, but eventually connected on the last attack and did five damage.

His counterattack was swift and brutal, smiting the right flank Pistol Wraith, using creators Wrath to crush the Wrecker in front of him, and sending two Daughters into Thexus. See, the thing about Thexus is that he’s not so good in combat. Two boosted POW 11’s to him will remove his face. Fortunately, only one was boosted, though it did 8 damage. The second needed an 11 or 12 to kill, and thankfully came up short, but I knew that I had to take Reznik out next turn if I was to live. My opponent had mentioned, though, that if the daughters killed me, it would be the shittiest way to end a game. I Disagree. Running those Daughters down that flank, where I was unable to toss good spells at them or really do anything about them was an excellent move that I legitimately had no answer for. If he would have won at that moment he would have deserved every ounce of credit.  He then pushed the Devout forward because of the Machine Wraith, but forward was actually do my detriment. The Covenent sang his spell of no songs, and he passed the turn over to me.

Before my final turn

Things look bleak for Thexus,  but they looked up for the Cephalyx as a whole. There was no good way for him to rid himself of the Daughters and win the game at the same time. While that’s fine for gameplay, I am sure that somewhere, Thexus is deeply appreciative of that fact. The big scrum in the plan was the Covenant. It was prohibiting half of my army from doing its job, and I wasn’t taking kindly to that. The Pistol Wraith moved up and tagged it once, missing the other attack. Two Drudges moved forward, both through the power of Mind Benders and their own volition, and took an attack apiece, both connecting. I it was at this time that I realized that I didn’t need the damned thing dead, I had a different path I could take. Instead of using the Agitator in the center of the board, and needing to kill the Covenant to instigate, I could use the agitator slightly right to get into range of the wrecker that would eventually end up on Reznik. I activated the TAC and took down the three center models, moving them and my self out of the way of the wrecker.Thanks to Battle Wizard, I was pretty free to determine the edge of the 10″ bubble from the Covenant, and moved the Agitator up and, hopefully, out of the no spell area. I was out, and Instigated away. I moved the Warden up to be within range of Arcing TK onto the Agitator, and took Thexus’ turn. I TK‘d the Wrecker, and TK‘d the Agitator into both 5″ of Reznik to be sure, and within the 10″ of the Covenant: Thankfully, it does not suppress spells already cast. The Wrecker then charged in, whiffing on the charge attack, and thus removing the chain attack, but hitting on the next two attacks, taking him down.

Thexus Wins via Assassination!

Thoughts

I am just going to say that if it wasn’t for the TAC, I would have lost this game hands down. Being Immune to both the feat and the Zealot bombs was huge, and them living to get both their flame burst and battle wizard off onto the enemy make an enormous difference in what my army was able to counter with. If I had played this game with something else (like Croe), all they would have done was die. I would have had my entire front line, and even deeper, removed from the board, with nothing to effectively counter him from doing a similar move on his next turn. Also, all of the abilities of the TAC revolve around the enemy being clustered, and I don’t think there is anyone who can force that like Thexus.  I cannot overstate the value that the TAC has on the army and its ability to withstand the early game punishment that it will inevitably take by eliminating avenues of sight. Similarly, if I had not had two wreckers, the game ends because he has enough durable models that I can’t keep up. The Avatar and the Vengers are hard to kill with my army without some doing, if I discount the Wreckers, who I almost always need for an assassination.

Maybe it is just me, but I really am unable to make the Mind Bender/Mind Slaver combo work, and its starting to get me down. I really think I need two units, but I don’t know where to dig up those extra two points. I could remove both the Pistol and Machine Wraith for a whole new min unit, but I feel that’s overkill. I am really enjoying Thexus, though, and his play style is crazy as hell. It is going to take me a dozen more games before I really feel comfortable with him, and there are still things I am learning about the army ever time I play. I look forward to my next game, and my next report.

 

 

The problem with being a multifaceted nerd is that sometimes, your nerdings can outstrip your ability to write about them. Since Wednesday, this has been the case. I’ve progressed, played more Dark Souls II, I’ve finished assembling my Star Nebula Corsair Models and played a bit of my first Relic Knights game,  I’ve learned of the move of the Infinity Forums, and I’ve gotten two games in with the Cephalyx. I even Painted Thexus in a single sitting.

I’m really happy with these guys. You’ve probably seen this picture already.

The games with the Cephalyx were easily my favorite, though. Every time I play them, I learn something new and important to how the army functions, as each model has multiple functions and abilities, with making the right choice a difficult task.

The first game I played against a buddy of mine running Harkevich. I was terrified that this list was going to do all sort of bad things to me. He brought the following:

Kommander Harkevich, the Iron Wolf+5
*Conquest19
*Juggernaut7
*Juggernaut7
Battle Mechanics3
Kayazy Eliminators3
Kayazy Eliminators3
Greygore Boomhowler (10)9
Harlan Versh2
Koldun Lord2
55

It lacked the guns I expected from a Harkevich list, and instead added the blasting power and movement shenanigans of the Conquest. I knew I could take down a colossal, given certain circumstances, but I figured that he’d never give me the chance. My army was going to get shelled all day, and if I ever needed to get real work out of any or multiple of my Monstrosities, I was done for. Tossing out Deceleration every turn is great for letting my army survive, but isn’t so great when it comes to getting work out of either my caster or my Monstrosities.

I brought the list I’ve been using the last few games.

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephaly Overlords4
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Tactical Arcanist Corps4
*Cephalyx Dominator1
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Machine Wraith1
Machine Wraith1
55

Its a very solid list that, with just minor tweaking, might be where Thexus stands.

Battle Report!
Scenario: Incoming!
First turn: Khador
Choice of Table Edge: Cephalyx for the Wall

Deployment and Terrain Setup:

Brown only is rocks, Brown and Green is forest, tan and Green is a hill. Walls are walls.

 

I got to coutner-deploy, but it didn’t seem to matter. Thexus in the center with Mind Slaver and Support to the right, Mind Benders and support to the left.

I’ve noticed that I tend to adopt a very symmetrical deployment, and I can’t really justify it: Drudge unit, Machine Wraith, Agitator, Pistol Wraith and Wrecker to either flank. Thexus, Warden, Agitator and (most times) overlords to the center. The Forest got in my way this game, and I fortuitisly deployed my Overlords across from the forest.

I constantly griped about my army not having access to pathfinder as a huge problem. I’ve learned that that is not completely true. I have 14 models that ignore terrain during their movement, and its no small benefit. Overlords, Agitators, Mind Slaver and Mind Bender, Thexus, Pistol Wraiths and Machine Wraiths all get to wander in and around most terrain.

Turn 1
Khador
Everything runs, with Harlan taking a slot in the woods, one Kayazy on a hill, and the other behind the ever-tarpit of Boomhowler. Conquest toed into the friendly Khador zone and make to stick around.

Cephalyx
Everything runs but the overlords, who simply shuffle their way forwards a bit. I’m a touch aggressive with my Incorporeal models, as they are threatened only by Harlen, the Koldun Lord, and Razor Wind from Harkevich. This is compounded by me having a small, durable smoke wall that I am able to hid them behind in the TAC.

End of Round 1

 

Turn 2
Khador
Conquest stays still and crits a shot, taking out a drudge and damaging a monstrosity, Its about this time, followed by the broadsides shot, that I realize how much Deceleration is helping me. By pushing up my armor to 17, and 19 on the drudges, its making the blast damage trivial, and even throws aren’t killing me. He positions the Kayazy, Boomhowlers and Juggernauts to counter attack if I try and dig to deep. I now have a 4+ tough unit in my zone, and no hope of ever removing them.

Cephalyx
Have I ever mentioned that I have good luck? Nothing proves it more than this single turn. Though it takes two Pistol Wraiths to do it thanks to an early snake eyes, I Death Chill the conquest, preventing any counter-charge. I move up and in with the Slavers to try and threaten the conquest next turn, disregarding the Creeping Barrage that was put down last turn, loosing no one, even with Deceleration not working to my advantage. The Thrown Wrecker moves into threatening range of Conquest, and the other Wrecker makes a go at some of the Boomhowlers, killing a few. The Overlords move up around the wall and one of them takes a pot shot with his Psychic Assault at the Kayazy on the hill. Def. 17 makes them exceedingly hard to hit, but I roll the hard 10 and her mind melts, removing her. I then activate the Mind Benders, move them into position and spray down a few more, leaving the unit at 6. With one of the Sprays, I manage to catch a member of the second Eliminator team. Though the Eliminator here is not on a hill, I am on less Magic Ability, but it doesn’t matter, I roll the hard 9 and take her down. Essentially taking out the threat of the combostriking, ganged Eliminators was extremely key to me living through the game. With straight dice on my caster, a single pair could take me out. I moved the TAC up, and for the first time created a smoke bunker past the second turn, trying to safeguard both my Machine Wraiths and Pistol Wraiths from Harm.

End of Round 2. There is a Kayazy off the left side of the board.

Round Three
Khador
Conquest shoots and gets his second critical tossing a Wrecker, a couple drudges and an Agitator around, killing only drudges.The Boomhowlers move deep into the zone, taking out, along with Harlan Versh, a ton of the Mind Benders drudges. The rightmost Kayazy charges the Mind Slaver unit leader and fails to kill. The left side runs into position to threaten Thexus. The Juggernauts each take down a Kayazy and a TAC member, leaving my center decidedly open. Harvevich takes out a Mind Slaver Drudge or two, and the turn passes over.

Cephalyx
I am able to capitalize on the armies small size by overrunning it, using the Wrecker, Mind Bender Drudges, and an Agitator to eliminate Boomhowler and his friends, taking the zone. I take over both Juggernauts with Machien Wraiths, and my last TAC member is able to pop the Koldun Lord. The Overlords manage to miraculusly take down the final right Eliminator in melee, rolling a hard 11 in order to remove her, making a new Mind Slaver Drudge. Those Drudges then flood the enemy zone, ready to assist the wrecker in taking out Conquest. I move Thexus into the friendly zone in order to Dominate and score a point, and move the Warden in to take shots against the Agitators, Thexus, and anything else that feels like being saved.

Round 4
Khador
Conquest shoots, again, critting, again (#3!), tossing two agitators and a Warden into Thexus and the Mind Bender. An Eliminator then charges out, and after a trip-ones fails to kill the knocked down mind bender. The Harkevich Ejects one Machine Wraith, while failing on the other. Harlan takes a swing at the newly ejected Machine wraith and misses. Faced with two possessed Juggernaughts, and Conquest Facing down an entire unit of Drudges, an Agitator and a Wrecker, the game ends.

The end of the game.

Though my list is solid, I really want to make a single change, but cannot find the points to do it. The Mind Benders, in almost every game, seem to be divided among giving out buffs to the Mind Slavers, or tossing out spells to assist with attrition. I really want to drop the max unit and take two minimum units. one to toss out attrition spells, and the other to buff the Mind Slavers, running behind them so as not to get outpaced. I’ve yet to figure out how to do it, though, and leave the army in tact enough that it actually works. It would involve either dropping the Overlords, with their fantastic spray attack, or a Pistol Wraith + Machine Wraith, loosing the efficiency of duplicates.

This game was really rough for my opponent, and in hindsight I can see why. The Pistol Wraiths, Machine Wraiths, and TAC all form a very nice control bunker from which the Cephalyx army could emerge. I was unable to extend a piece of Terrain, which seems to be the normal use of the TAC, but I was able to keep everything I needed safe long enough to get a ton of great use out of it.

The second game I played was a bit different, though it was against Khador again. My friend brought along his Butcher III list, which I’d not fought against yet.

The Butcher Unleashed+4
*Juggernaut7
Andrei Makakov3
*Beast 0911
Iron Fang Pikemen (10)8
*Black Dragon UA2
Greylord Ternion4
Widowmakers4
Drakhun4
Iron Fang Kovnik2
Greylord Outriders9
54

I brought the same list as above.

I’ll not be doing a play by play of this one, as I don’t remember it as clearly. We ended up playing Fire Support, which was interesting, but the scenario didn’t end up playing a huge part in the game. Instead, I was funneled around a stand of trees until I could find a way to get to Butcher with a Wrecker, which promptly killed him and won the game.

End of my Turn, the Turn before Assassination

Board State After Assassination

Butcher III Has me terrified, and both the board and this list didn’t help. I ended up going second – I wanted the side of the board with a wall hopefully just outside of 14″ of the board edge because the game has killbox – and running everything like I normally do. It was an epic mistake, as I had forgotten that Greylord Outriders have pathfinder. Everything from Thexus to the leftmost flag was packed with models, and I lost 9 of them the first turn, including a pistol Wraith. Thankfully, I was able to follow that up with a Wrecker leaving him with only one Outrider. A Pistol Wraith was able to get a bead on Malakov’s Beast and forced it to chill out for a turn.  His turn 3 I was really worried about, as he pushed the Butcher deep into scenario presences. I was able, however, on my feat turn, to completely collapse my right flank. I used my feat to pull Ironfangs out of Shieldwall, to maneuver his dogs into position, and to get Beast 09 and Malavok into vulnerable positions. I put a concerted effort into killing the dogs, but was unable to kill either. Thankfully, he didn’t get Vengeance. I did, however, manage to sneak Malakov. I tossed two TAC Fire blasts and two Psychic Sprays at him, one from an Agitator and one from an Overlord, and finally took him out. Taking Beast from the fight at the same time was just money. With a collapsed flank, Butcher had no choice but to go get some work done himself. Between energizer, his base movement and Impending Doom, he was able to get one of my two Wreckers and chop it to bits. He also got a Machine Wraith for his efforts!

The final turn I was able to pour everything I had into getting the Butcher into the threat range of my second Wrecker. I had to use the two TAC, all three Overlords, and an Agitator to remove all the models, but in the end the Subduer moved forward and was within 8″ of Butcher. A boosted TK both turned him around and placed him in the woods, and a second TK put the Wrecker hopefully within charge range. After Measuring for sight through the forest, I determined the Wrecker could, just, see Butcher, and got a free charge off for the nearby Outrider. I forgot about two crucial rules here, as Monstrosities have Eyeless sight, and the Agitators need to act first to give the Agitation bonus. Regardless, I was able to get into him, and it took me down to my last focus, but the Wrecker was able to get the job done.

With this list, I think Khador is a really good matchup for me. I have enough oomph to take out armor and I have enough bodies to block the initial flood. Before these games, I’d never really used the TAC smoke bunker the way I think others do, and its truly amazing. While Trenchers can do the same for Cygnar, they are 6 points and extremely vulnerable. With arm 16, five wounds, and immunity to fire for 2 less points, you get a ton of utility for a tiny investment. I’d also completely forgotten about eyeless sight, which would have made the Butchers placement less worrisome. Reach is completely amazing when it comes to difficult terrain, because its never reduced. Trees and rocky landscapes matter not to a Spear or Flail, it seems.

Both games were extremely enjoyable and against friendly opponents. The Cephalyx will soon be in their third month, and after that I’ll be playing the fist of Halaak.  If you’re making it to the NOVA open August 28-31, be sure to look me up and have a chat. I’ll be running Warmachines all day! oh, and follow me on twitter, where I sometimes share the aggregate information of Nerddom

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

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

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

Retribution of Scyrah
Cygnar
Khador
Convergance
Trollbloods
Mercenaries
Protectorate x2

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

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

Trollbloods, Protectorate, Cyngar and Khador advanced

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

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

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

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

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

He brought

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

And I made the following.

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

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

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

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

His models: 

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

and mine: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah well!

 

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

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

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

Exulon Thexus+5
*Wrecker7
*Wrecker7
*Warden6
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephaly Overlords4
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Tactical Arcanist Corps4
*Cephalyx Dominator1
Pistol Wraith3
Pistol Wraith3
Machine Wraith1
Machine Wraith1
55

He brought

Man, he needs a resculpt!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll never leave home without an enslaved trio!

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

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

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

CP: Thexus 1/Darius 0

Worth their weight in eights!


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

CP: Thexus 1/Darius 0

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

CP: Thexus 3/Darius 0

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

CP:Thexus 4/Darius 0

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

CP: Thexus 5/Darius 0

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

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

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

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

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

Follow me on Twitter! @seethingginger!

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

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