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Even with all the Pokemoning, the Valkyria Chronicling, The D&Ding, the Game Developing, and the Painting, the hobby I look forward to the most is playing Warmachine. The Coven being capable again, simply because of a meta change, is glorious, and I will continue to use them for a very long time. Though I’ve not gotten many games in recently, I did manage to get three in over the last few weeks. Two at a Team Tournament, and one on Tuesday. Two with the Coven, and one with a very enjoyable list, I think I’ll talk about the concepts and enjoyment I get out of it next week. The Coven games were very enlightening, and they highlighted a few spaces where I may not have had the best original concepts.

Read on, and we’ll get into both games!

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Makeada

 

The Rage Ghosts

This week I was able to get in a game with an opponent I don’t get to see often. We used to get games in fairly regularly when I lived further south, but its been a while, and I was glad to see Protectorate on the other side of the Table. He brought Durst and Feora 2, While I brought Zaal and Makeda 2. I didn’t know what to take, to start off with, but as we talked and I learned a little more about what a protectorate player wants and doesn’t want to see on the other side of the board, I got a better idea of where I needed to go.

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While I was out at Lock and Load, I was able to pick up a box of Croak Raiders to bolster both my Minions force, and to potentially play with a Skorne caster or two.

These Bad Boys

Acquiring these became even more beneficial when I left the whole of my Skorne army in Seattle, and needed to have it shipped home, something its in the process of as I write this. Without Skorne, which I have been focusing on this year, to purloin my time, I needed something else to play for last weeks game night. With the Croak Raiders in my bag, I pulled them out and hastily assembled them, dojoing lists for them in my head over and over.

They all kept coming back to the same place: Barnabus. He’s got a knockdown feat, and there isn’t anything a ranged unit cavorts gleefully at than a caster who’s got knockdown on tap. Here, though, I run into trouble. The list I built was something like this:

Bloody Barnabus
-Bull Snapper
-Ironback Spitter
Bog Trog Ambushers (min)
Bog Trog Ambushers (min)
Gatorman Posse (max)
Gatorman Posse (max)
Croak Raiders (max)
Croak Hunters (3)
Gatorman Witch Doctor

The Concept here was to have the Gatorman Posse take the brunt of the action until the Trogs come in, have the Trogs overwhelm the edges, and get an assassination via knockdown with the Croak Hunters, and the Raiders. Lurking in the back would be Barnabus and the Spitter, looking to finish out anything causing problems.

I was really confident of the concept when I built the list, and though I thought it has some weaknesses, I was willing to move forward into the testing phase of list design. My first opponent was scheduled to be Cryx, which is fine, as I’ve played them myself for an extremely long period of time. There was a predicament, though, in that I know the guy likes to run Incorporeal models, and the list above has no solution ready for them.

I pondered the issue for a bit before realizing that I might want to try a bit stronger list against Incorp against Cryx, and that list would be steered by none other than our Gator Queen, Jaga-Jaga. I felt like I was teching, though, and that made me sad. In the end, he and I decided that we were going to bring 2 lists from now on, get better at list-selection.

Unfortunately that game was cancelled: I was violently ill and couldn’t make it out to the game store until Thursday, when I met up with some friends of mine at the shop in Bel Air. I was trying very hard to get two games in that day, and I may have pushed my luck a little far, as the first game intruded on the start time of the second much deeper than I would have liked, which made the end of the second game hurry-hurry itself. Next time, I do only one game.

First game of the night was against a the newly minted Cephalyx ‘Caster, Cyphon. I lent him both the models and the list, so it was based on the Cephalyx Army i built over the course of months of testing, just swapping out the caster and adding a Machine Wraith to cover the extra point.

The list was:

Cyphon
-Wrecker
-Wrecker
-Warden
Overlords
Agitator x3
Machine Wraith x3
Pistol Wraith x2
Mind Benders (max)
Mind Slaver (max)
Tactical Arcanist Corps
-Dominator

I knew my second game was going to be against a friend of mine who plays the Protectorate, and has a huge love of both colossals and Feora 2. I knew, almost exactly, what was coming, due to the battle report against him last week.

Feora, Protector of the Flame
– Revelator  [Bonded]
– Reckoner
– Hand of Judgment
Choir of Menoth
Holy Zealots
– Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer
Reclaimer
The Wrack
Vassal Mechanik
Vassal of Menoth
Epic Eyriss

If  you’re astute, you’ll have noticed what I noticed when I was thinking about the list I had conceived and how it was going to play out. All week, there was this sense of terror and foreboding as to how I was going to actually win these games using Barnabus:

Skarre + Incorp or Denny + Incorp will wreck everything I have, as the only Magical Weapons carried by the army are Barnabus’ Axe, Flesh Eater the spell, and the Gatorman Witch Doctors sacrificial Strike.

Cyphon Cannot be knocked down, and has both shield guard and sacrificial pawn to help him live through a withering barrage of Flaming Darts, bu I’ll have to be hitting him at his full def. 13 because he cannot be knocked down. Now, its not a stellar defense, but it is enough to make about 45% of the attacks miss, which’ll keep him alive.

Epic Feora is immune to fire, which is extremely good for making sure she survives against the ‘Raiders. Compound that with the Choirs Warding and the Hand of Judgments Immunity to Fire, and I have a caster that I’m not sure I can assassinate. Mostly, though, It was the Revelator, who I was unable to take off the the board without committing Barnabus, I wasn’t really looking forward to eating that one to the face.

though each game ended almost how I would have predicted it, the whole experience gave me a chance to sit down and dissect the army and how it works. Sadly, I don’t really know what that gained me in the end, as I feel that the inability of Barnabus to mitigate armor or wounds really created a situation where I was desperate from start to finish of both games.

There is a lot yet to figure out with the raiders, and I am pretty sure I am going to be taking them for another spin around the block tomorrow. We will see how that all pans out and whether or not Barnabus can fair any better.

 

Makeada

 

Existential Crisis Averted

A few weeks back, I ran a big ol’ Who’s the Boss event, and it was glorious. We had 14 people, and everyone had a blast. Unfortunately, a number of them had to drop, leaving an odd number at the end. That left me. I had brought an army for my friend to play, but he didn’t play, so I had an  army all ready to go.

It was the Cephalyx Army I was so jazzed about over the summer, and man its still good to this day, even without Thexus. I spun up Axis, and my friend played Trollbloods with Asphyxious 1. Unfortunately, in my long and illustrious career in Who’s the Boss, I have played a hot 4 games. Two of them have been Trollbloods ran by Apshyxious 1. Its a combo I do not relish.

Axis was fantastic to run with the Cephalyx, and it started to pull me back into orbit. Its honestly one of the most well built armies that PP has ever put out, and it shows. For a few days there, the gravity was almost to heavy to escape. I’ve just bought Fiona, I have Bart and Shae, I love Magnus and Magnus 2’s Tier Bad Seeds. But I did it.

I have thoroughly escaped the orbit, and am now dedicated, once again, to the Skorne Empire.

The Archdomina’s Retainer

Recently, I’ve played both fairly common builds of the most common incarnations of the Leader of the Skorne Empire: Makeda 1 and Makeda 2.

The first game I detailed before, using Makeda 2. That game showed me a ton about how the army can work against a tough, hard to kill army. This week I used the fairly standard Makeda 1 list against the Harbinger. Not the best matchup.

The lists were something as follows:

Archdomina Makeda 
– Cyclops Raider
– Mammoth
Cataphract Cetrati (6)
Nihilators (10)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)
Ancestral Guardian
Extoler Soulward
Mortitheurge Willbreaker
Saxon Orrik

Harbinger of Menoth
* Devout
* Judicator
Choir of Menoth (4)
Exemplar Bastions (5)
Horgenhold Forge Guard (10)
* Attendant Priest
High Paladin Dartan Vilmon
Knight Exemplar Seneschal
Nicia, Tear of Vengeance
Paladin of the Order of the Wall
Vassal Mechanik

We were playing in the Riven Bonds league, so we each had our League models to cram in. His is a Paladin, and mine the Ancestral Guardian. This caused a little bit of a shakeup in list design, but not all to much.

We did roll up a completely absurd scenario, however. The scenario is called The Traitors Trap.

Traitors Trap

It has a player-driven minefield, a 12″ circular zone in the center of the board, and 10″ deployment for both sides. Thankfully, neither of us were running Jam armies.

We both ran forward first turn, trying to get in the best position in order to try and capitalize on turn 2. I however, should have known better. Harbinger can be a raging pain in the ass if you’ve never played against her, and I have a bunch, so while it wasn’t a surprise that he popped his feat on turn 2, like all the harbinger players do, I wasn’t ready for it. I had jammed myself up behind my lines massively, having not played Makeda 1, so I was way, way back there, probably within 8″ of the board edge bottom of turn 2. The Mammoth got savagery, and I had to put myself into danger range of the feat in order to get Defenders ward on the Cetratii, who were going to be eating pow 14’s on the way in. The mammoth sauntered over 9″ to get deep into the unfortunate business of the Horgenhold, shrugging off the feat on the way in. He blew apart a number of dwarves between his initials and his 5 fury, but they proved to be insanely dodgy and I didn’t get as many as I’d have liked. However, as I said to my opponent the next round as they all charged: you know whats worse than 5 charging Forgeguard? 10. The Cetratii charged as well. They were clearly in threat range of the Judicator and the Bastions, so I couldn’t just hold tight. They were going to go out in a blaze of glory. Most of them took significant damage on the way in, but Defenders Ward came up clutch, reducing all of it by 2. I slammed a ton of damage into the Judicator, and did a large lump of damage to the Bastions as well. I was pleased with the last stand of this cetratii unit. the Nihilators , seeing what was going to happen to them had they closed the gap with the harbinger, simply took a few steps back and made ready for next turn.

This was when we were able to detonate the mines. I had placed one behind the wall that I knew Harbinger would stand behind, and he had placed one in the center of the path I had to take to the game. He won the roll, and blew up a couple Nihilators .

His retaliation was swift and brutal. Charging Horgenhold whacked off 40% of the Mammoths health, Judicator swept and killed all 4 Cetratii engaging her, and the bastions took down their two. The losses I took were significant, but I had stalled the other army out. I was now looking at eliminating all of the forge Guard and possibly Judicator. I had hope of taking out Bastions, but I should have known better.

My next turn was a dozy. It was make or break and I knew it. The mammoth took a sidestep-turn and she, too, swept, killing the rest of the forgeguard and a bastion. The Nihilators charged, getting in the way of Judicator, and the Bastions.
Then, I popped feat and did this:

 

If you can’t see it, that’s Makeda, just a few inches from the center of the board, full camped, standing in front of Judicator, 4 Bastions, and the Seneschal with only 7 Nihlitors to protect her. My balls were in the wind, but it was time to sink or swim.

It looked bad for the home-team, though, as the turn progressed. The Paladin Hero kills one. The Bastions and the Seneschal kill one, though its the one closer to the Mammoth. an ancillary attack from the Vassal kills to more. Even the Harbinger gets in on the action, moving forward and detonating a cataclysm on the one engaging the Judicator, annihilating it. Now, the road is free for the Judicator to charge, and man, he gets there. He boosts the charge attack, needing 7’s and sinks it right into Makeda. Boosted damage at dice +6 is extremely painful, and he drops 19 damage fist that I transfer to the Raider. The next attack to connect is his first bought attack, and he wails me again for some 15 damage, that I transfer over to the Mammoth. both beasts are alive, but just barely. Judicators out of focus, and I have a single Nihlitor, knocked down, standing almost dead center of the table.

My feat triggers, I bring back 6 Nihilators, and surround Harbinger. Makeda Goes first, pops Carnage, and charges the wounded Judicator. My combo strike does significant damage, but fails to kill it Judy. The AG follows up and finishes the job. Now, I let the Nihilators go, expecting to leave harbinger alive.

out of 6 attacks against harbinger, only the second missed. Dice -2 on 3 hits take her down.

That was one of the most fun games I’ve had in warmachine in a while. I rarely get to play against this specific friend, and it was refreshing to hang out and have a good time.

I really enjoyed the Ancestral Guardian, actually, as his defensive strike is an amazingly potent deterrent. Arm 18 and 10 wounds caps that off, making people fear simply being near him. The Mammoth, too, was a freaking blast! Rolling in deep with Savagery makes all of the difference, with his threat range being equal to speed 6 Reach troops.

I did mess up massively, though. Deploying Makeda 1, just like Makeda 2, behind my troops was a real punishing start to the game. I was behind that red house on turn 2, because I needed to have Defenders Ward and Savagery out there to pull purification focus off her. Yes, its only 3, but that brings her down to a normal focus 7 Caster. Shooting on turn 1 with the Mammoth was also a mistake, as I thought range 14 was a lot longer than it was. I also think that Range 10 is a lot shorter than it is, so I kept sniping models when I didn’t need to in both directions.

These last two games have done wonders for my love of Skorne, and their ability to do things other than just grind down with The Fist. I know why, however, there could be problems playing into these extremely powerful matchups. I felt like I was loosing that whole damned game, and until I managed to magic it up at the end, I just didn’t think I’d come up with it.
I also now know why the Cannoneer is in the Rasheth List. I;d love to tag Harbinger with that gun!

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.

 

 

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’ve gotten a number of games in recently, and I really feel the reust shaking itself loose. It only taken 13 games.

Starting up with Deneghra probably helped a ton. She’s one of the better casters in Cryx, with a crippling suite of spells and a killer feat. With Deneghra, the solution has always been her feat and/or Crippling Grasp to enable a big swing play. Jumping over to the Witch Coven twice over the weekend, though, each with a different list, and I really struggled sometime to figure out how to deal with problems.

I’m putting down Deneghra for a little bit, and I think I’ve gotten the Mechanithrall boat kind under my thumb. There are some other combinations I want to try, but they have to wait until I get more Brute Thralls and my Scarlock Commanders. I did get two games in, however, before the hiatus. Both these games and the games with Witch Coven was with the Outflank scenario, as I am trying to get used to it for spelldraft.

The first game was against a the Rhulic caster that I have seen the most of, General Ossrum. The list contained Steelheads, Forgeguard, Alexia and the Earthbreaker, among others. I was able to stonewall him out of both zones. The Mechanithralls swarmed over the right zone supported by the Necrosurgeons and jammed up his Steelheads right outside of the zone. I sent my Bane Knights lurking to the edge of the Left zone, threatening both the slower Forgeguard and Risen with spears through the chest. Though he targeted both the Necrosurgeons and stitch thralls early on, reducing their efficiancy, they managed to stick around long enough to ensure the victory through weight of bodies.

I will say that the Earthbreaker, both times I fought it, was scary as hell. Had I not had a caster with stealth, I would have soiled my shorts. Casters like Asphyxious, Scaverous and Venethrax are just walking gun bait with their medium bases. While I generally despise camping as a casters main strategy, I can’t see any other way to live through the land-torpedoes and the bullets of that army and that colossal.

Reznik, wrath of ages

the final game with Deneghra was against Reznik 2, who I’d not even read his rules since he was spoiled back in February. The list was not your typical Protectorate list, having  Flamebringers, Daughters of the Flame, Judicator, Temple Flame Guard and some support staff.  I modified the list above,  with two full units of Mechanithralls and Necrosurgeons, Nightmare, and a few support solos and arc nodes. I’d  also just got Aiakos built and has started painting him, so I figured I’d toss him in the list as well. I burdend him with three ‘Jacks: two Stalkers and the Cankerworm. The game was back and forth for the first two turns, but really hinged on a pair of failed rolls my opponent made that lead to both my Necrosurgeons alive, creating new Mechanithralls, and tossing them into Judicator, softening it up so that when Nightmare got in there, he could finish him off. With Nightmare  now 5″ from the Wrath of Ages, under Deneghras feat, we called it and packed up for the night.

That was my first time breaking out Aiakos (turns out, pronounced ay-Ah-kos), and I make a rookie mistake with him, loading him up with jacks that are all hungry for focus. The Stalker and the Cankerworm both have two initial attacks with low P+S and good speed, begging for charges and boosts. With only FOC 4, he’s just not able to fuel them efficiently. It also could be the targets I ended up taking on as well, trying to attack Daughters of the Flame and Nicia. While MAT 7 is pretty good for a Warjack,  needing 8’s and 9’s to hit was brutal, even boosted. I’ll need to try and get better match ups if I want to get back to even running all three jacks. I also really messed up my theory of Stalkers with him. I ‘d assumed that he’d be able to scare casters with two of them, but as I discovered above, he can’t properly fuel two Warjacks. There may be some merit in rocketing one off into a caster,getting Grievous wound to trigger and then repeating with the second the following turn, but I’d have to give it more testing. I wasn’t even good at getting the Escort bonus, and that was the whole reason I brought along Cankerworm. I’m pretty sure that this grouping is just going to go into the idea box for later testing, maybe with just the stalkers.

I then broke out the Coven on Saturday. I figured it was time to start practicing with the caster I was going to bring to spelldraft. Even though its impossible to practice drafting and using the spells, I want to get used to setting them up right, getting them into position, and utilizing the scenario. I figured the army didn’t actually matter all too much, so I’d grab Aiakos and build a list based off of the Coven Tier I’d talked about a few days ago. I’d been thinking about what to give Aiakos after the last debacle, and the Harrower really stood out.  He could make great use of both Escort and Deathbringers. Under escort, he’d be SPD 7, MAT 6, P+S 16, with reach, thresher, soul taker, pathfinder and steady. behind the army, giving ranged support, he’d be SPD 7, RNG 10, RAT 5, AOE 3, POW 14, with ghost shot and pathfinder.  Aiakos’ ability to give  up to three focus a turn, and potentially give the Perisher Grievous Wounds, its seemed a match made in heaven. I decided because I wanted to play him, I’d have to go outside of Tier.

iron-mother

The  game I got in with the list was against Iron Mother Directrix. It was the first time I saw Convergence across the board and I was pretty excited about figuring them out. The list contained a slew of servitors, Prime Axiom, Reciprocators, an Assimiltor and some general support and utility model. I packed the Jam: Satyxis, Soulhunters, and Blackbanes, backed up by a pair of arc nodes, some light support staff, and Aiakos with the Harrower. I won the game on scenario, but only because my opponent failed a set of die rolls on the critical push turn. I’d managed to pull ahead on scenario the turn earlier dominating one zone and controling the other. I only needed to clear and dominate one zone, and I was able  to do that by capitalizing on him being unable to kill even a single model on his turn and get enough models into the zone that I couldn’t just kill them and  and dominate with the Coven.

The Harrower and Aiakos were the stars of the show. I was able to dig the Harrower into the center of the Reciprocators and,  loaded with focus and souls, clean them out over two turns. Being able to boost to damage was a godsend, allowing me to gather more souls for attacks.  I was really impressed with what a speed 7 Harrower with 3 focus was able to do, and I really look forward to getting that combo more playtime on the table. The rest of the army will be subject to much scrutiny, and suffice it to say here, I’m not keeping the same list.

The second fight that day was against a completely different Reznik, Wrath of Ages list that I’d played with Deneghra. This time the list has Forgeguard, a Devout and Redeemer on Tristan, Flameguard, the Avatar and a Reckoner.  I pulled out the Kraken Auguries of War tier list mentioned earlier. Much like the game played just over a week earlier, he missed critical attacks on the turn he needed to not fail. Two pairs of daughters at MAT 10 were unable to kill or even hit a set of Soulhunter, and I was able to take down Servath Reznik. He insists that I could have had scenario, had I chosen to take it, but I’m not as confident as he is. His left flank boasted an Avatar, Reckoner, Tristian, and a Redeemer, and I has a Kraken and the Coven. While I could hide the Coven for a short time, eventually Gaze would trap me in and I’d loose at least one member, and that would start the downhill slide. I’m also very convinced that the avatar would have split the Kraken right open.

I’m extraordinarily excited to be playing Warmachine again, and I’ll be getting a game in again tonight. I’ve yet to figure out who I am going to play, but I’m positive its gonna be a cryx caster. I’m even fairly sure its either Sturgis or Coven, too.