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  1. Exhaustion

Makeada

Exhaustion

As I left the tournament Saturday, I was a little agitated. My last game has not gone well, though I’d won, and the entire day was spent tirelessly working towards what I felt was a pedestrian 2-2 showing. Both victories seemed hollow, and both defeats seemed felt self-inflicted. This isn’t to say that the person who won shouldn’t have – they did, but I could defenitly see where I made it much harder on myself than I should have. Above all I felt my main caster throughout the tournament, Zaal 2, was working uphill. I’d spent the last two months playing him, and though it was fun, I’m tired of using a caster that feels like he has one hand tied behind his back.

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Makeada

The Final Preparations

In just a few days, I’ll be going to only the third tournament I have made it to all year. I had much higher aspirations (6) at the start of the year, but life throws its vagaries at us as it chooses, not as we determine. neither tournament was a rousing success, though I managed to peel away with 2 wins in each outing. This weekend looks to be a big one as well, with 16 players signed up currently. We may once again hit the fabled 5th round! What am I taking this weekend? Well, lets take a look!

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Now, I am finally back and into the swing of things again, writing about warmachine on Tuesdays and Miscellaneous topics on Thursdays. This weeks Thursday post is going to be particularly packed, with the bevy of information coming out of E3 this week about a pile of my favorite video games.

Lock and Load

I had such an amazing time at Lock and Load! Every day of the convention was a blast, and I was able to meet up with old friends and get games in with people across the country and around the world. I was also lucky enough to hang out with a number of people that I only get to see at LnL, and it was a blast to catch up with all of them.

Thursday

The PG invitational was Thursday, and true to form, I broke out Rasheth with his Titans. However, I was pretty foolhardy and put him through the ringer: I jumped into a pod of Spelldrafters. Unfortunately, this meant that I had to play the game at 35 points, and I just wan’t prepared for the task.

My 35 point list that I played throughout the Con is as Follows.

Rasheth
-Cannoneer
-Bronzeback
-Bronzeback
-Gladiator
-Paingivers (x6)
-Agonizer
-Farrow Bone Grinders (x4)

This list ended up needing a ton of help in spelldraft, and I just didn’t get it. With animus and spells all going away, I had slow, pathfinderless Titans that were just as quick as Rasheth himself. Unable to lead from the rear, he was instead on the front lines. From there, he was quickly ejected by Abby 2, Severious 1 and Haley 2.

Abby 2 was a simple game of Shrednado, where he launched extremely long threat range Shredder at the Dominar to devour him on the top of turn 2.

Stupid 17″ Threat Shredders!

Severious 1 was a rough game of back and forth with me trying to get a bead on Blessing of Vengeance, and him raining Arcane bolts into Rasheths plentiful head until he dropped of exhaustion

See that forest on the Left. Blessing of Vengeance did…

Haley 2 is a game I really, really enjoyed. While the other two were extremely fun as well, this one gave me a taste of what it is going to be to have to face Haley 3, as I was constantly having to try and get rid of Storm Lances that were being revived. Though Both Bronzebacks survived rounds against the Stormwall, it just wasn’t enough and I ate three charged to the face from Stormlances, and called it a day.

I ended up playing one 50 pointer that day, against Judge Prime, Boots himself. He’d warned me the night before that he had a ton of fun killing Hordes ‘Casters with Thrown Grievous Wounds attacks from Madrak 2. As it turns out, there is no difference with the weapon that Madrak 1 has, and I should have seen it coming. A single Grievous Wounds  toss followed by Crusher, and Mulg was able to drop the Rasheth in a single swing.

For those keeping score, that is 0 wins over the course of the day. Its been a long, long time since that happened.

Friday

I pulled an idiot stunt and somehow managed to sign up to Judge both Masters events Friday, running from 10:00am to 12:00am. It was a brutal slog, though fun, that was extremely exhausting. Me being me, however, I compounded stupid on stupid and decided that yes, I wanted to do the Team Tournament right after the second masters ended. Another 35 point series of games that I really wasn’t prepared to play in, that I teamed up with some random people and decided to give it a go.

I did better in this one than I did in spelldraft, which is good, leading me to believe it was less that 35 points sucks, and more that Rasheth needs his whole toolkit to be good.

I played four games, and the tournament took just over 7 hours. I stuck it out to the bitter end and played Rasheth in all but the one game required of me, Taking games from Goreshade 3, Makeda 2 and Vyros 2, while loosing a giant uphill slog against Asphyxious 3.

I started out against Gorshade 3, who I initially thought was a terrible draw for me. However, my opponent hadn’t ever played him before, so I had the upper hand in what I assumed he would do. The game ended with a Bronzeback surviving a fully loaded Desecrator and 5 attacks from a charging Goreshade. Shaking off the Stationary and healing two points later, I was able to put the Eldritch in the dirt, again, with boxcars.

Goreshade 3 Just couldn’t get it done.

 

My next match was against Cryx, again, and I should have known better. When Asphyxious 3 is in the lineup, don’t go beast heavy. Sadly, I didn’t even think about it, being late as it was, and dropped into one of the worst matchups possible. With almost no feat and little to protect Rasheth from a post-feat Asphyxious, I was unable to stem the tide against an incursion win.

 

Next, I took on Alex Smith, an opponent and all around good man I had played against two years earlier in the Masters. Last time we both had Cryx on the board, this time we both had Skorne. And, much like last time, it was a damned slog. Makeda 2 with Karn isn’t the most comforting thing to see across the table. I tossed down Fist because I thought I could out-grind it, and I was mostly correct. Karn whittled the army down while staying safe and all I could do was push forward. In the end, it wasn’t enough, and with one box left after rolling damage, Karn forced for an extra damage die and took me out…. But! I’d forgotten about the feat! I had 7 hp, not 1! Neither of us had moved models, so we just continued playing, with Alex leading off. He rolled another attack with Karn, instead of boosting, and missed, leaving me with just enough. Somehow, I was able to claw my way back to victory, and beat Makeda to death after dealing with Karn and surviving another assassination run by Makeda herself.

My final Game was against a gentleman playing Vyros 2, who, thanks to two local guys, I am very familiar with. I picked up Rasheth again and was able to put Vyros in awkward positions with Bronzebacks counter-charging feat-move Griffons and other nasty shenanigans. I was able to make some cool moves in one zone to try and clear it with a trample, Slam and Throw, but the Titan Cannoneer missed the boosted slam into Imperatus and called it a day.  In the end, however, I was able to maneuver a Bronzeback into Vyros, because he had to commit to a zone, and punching him down to size.

We didn’t come in last place, and played to the bitter end, so I take that a win. Our team name, Friends, was completely unoriginal, but we were too tired to actually get anything useful. However, our first opponent was “Off Constantly” so I had to report to the judges that “Friends Beat Off Constantly.”

Saturday

After a quick nap from 7:00 – 12:00 I was back up and at it! I was determined to play more 50 pointers, and I got off to a good start. I was discussing the desire to play 50 point games with another PG, and the guy behind me stopped and asked if I wanted to get a game in.

Of course I did! So, we picked a table and threw down! He brought out Ossrum, Earthbreaker and Company, playing a Searforge list, and I dropped… 6 titans. This game was something I thought I would be able to do a good job in, but I somehow forgot that an earthbreaker and just a little support can bring down a bronzeback in a single go. After running two bronzebacks pel-mel at the damned thing, he straight up removed one from the board on the top of turn 2. Seeing what folly it would be if I were to maintain the course, I switched over to scenario and ran my Bronzeback fully across the board to join my army again.

Formation AFTER running stupidly at the Earthbreaker

I was able to slow-grind him out, feeding the Earthbreaker his choice of Titans each turn, but otherwise keeping him occupied. I managed to get a Bronzeback into his Forgeguard, blowing most of them away, and a nicely placed BoC popped about 6 Highshields. Between the two, I was able to turn the game in my favor and forced a Bronzeback onto Ossrum for the MAT 9 Carnivore Kill. Victory #1 of the day!

after the first game, there was someone camping one of the scenario tables, the one from NQ 60 with the water tower and the Cactus Patches. He had a sign up for a game, and I dropped down to play him.

This guy was pumped to play this game!

The Scenario was a defenders-game, and he was on the attackers side. Rasheth and his 6 Titans has to hold the line. If, by the end of the 7th turn he had not assassinated me or made me flee from the Water Tower, I won. I had to survive 7 rounds against whatever he had hidden in his bag. Axis, Tier 4. The waves of Recursion against the wall of Titanflesh! It was an epic battle, with waves of infantry crashing into my lines, killing titans while I retaliated with as much death as possible. I did, however, make judicious attacks whenever possible, fueling only what foundries I was forced to and not making extra attacks just because I could. It was a knifes edge to tread, but I did it well enough and long enough to make the end 7 rounds with only Rasheth and a Bronzeback left when the Skorne Reinforcements showed up and secured my victory!

After those two games and some dinner, I played the final game of the night against a pair of friends from out here in Baltimore that have moved to Seattle. We played a 35 point Team Mosh pit and it was completely insane. His TEP Put a hurting on Her Circle, and I put a hurt on his Convergence. My Titans got beat up by the circle. In the end, being around 3:00am, she finished him off, and I was able to take her out of the zone and win the game. 3-0 for the day wasn’t to shabby!

Sunday

So, Sunday was a lazy day of me getting games in and then heading out to an awesome local PG’s house to crash and head home Monday, the first of which was against a fellow who was trying out Goreshade 3. He plopped down a very dangerous list, with the Kraken, Soulhunters and Blackbanes leading the charge for Goreshade 3. Sadly, at the top of turn 2 in a killbox game, he had to go for it, as he realized that he was never going to be able to push through all of the titans and get to Rasheth safely.

This was the board state when I knew something went wrong.

 

Instead he put it all on the line, and with Goreshade simply inches from a pile of frozen titans, piled it all into Rasheth. He survived the volley of Siphon Bolts only to be dropped in short order by the Krakens Main Gun, the last possible weapon in the army that could fire, with the smaller gun on the Colossal about an inch out. First loss of the day.

 

My second Loss of this tragic day was handed to my by the new Ret Caster, Thyron. With Hyperion and Imperatus, I just had to much beef to chew through, but on his terms. He was faster, more aggressive and had the upper hand with reach weapon masters. I wasn’t able to, after a number of tries with a number of Titans, to take down either Hyperion OR Imperatus, and it was just the end of the game once he got Hyperion to Rasheth.

This is right before I lost three titans: Bronzeback, Sentry and Gladiator

 

The final game of the day, of the weekend, and of the con, for me, was by far my favorite. I had the privilege and honor to have my ass kicked by Michael Plummer using the brand spanking new Haley 3, on the Livestream for all to see. It was Glorious!  However, instead of regaling you with the tales, I can let you go watch yourself. It was a close and fantastic game, and I loved being able to end the convention and the day on such a high note!

I love Lock and Load, and I cannot wait to go back again!

 

 

 

 

 

Makeada

 

Glory of a Dominar, Part 2

When I started writing last week, I was pretty sure that I was going to write down everything I had experienced and everything I knew about Dominar Rasheth. What I had not taken into account was the layered abilities of the list and how they create the depth of synergy that makes the whole list hum. As I was typing away I came to the realization that I wasn’t even going to fully describe the list and what it contains before I published, creating a very real chance that I was going to have to do a second post building on the first in order to fully expound on what Rasheth is capable of, how his list is run, and what to expect from running it. Even beyond that, however, there is the personal experiences I have had with him, casting him into the Fun Stratosphere.

Capabilities

With the complete rundown of the abilities present on every model last week, the broad picture was painted into how each piece performs, and sometimes its relationships to the others. However, the broad picture does not always present the picture in enough light to demonstrate to others how the list runs, and what to expect. This is especially true when it comes the Chain Gang list.

There are three, very broad, capabilities of any list, and they have been talked to death in many, many situations on both podcasts and the forums: Assassination, Attrition, and Control. Each of these is the foundation of a lists capabilities. Key to understanding and unlocking the capabilities of a given list, and extremely important when dealing with lists that others have written, is understanding which direction a list is going. Additionally, I am going to make two broader observations about the list definitions.

While Attrition, Assassination and Control are each appropriate titles for their respective rolls, I find that two levels of detail can be dug withing each. First, there is whether the list is oriented offensively or defensively, which helps determine the pacing you desire as your game unfolds. Second is whether the job is being done by elite troops of by disposable masses. This gives us the following Matrix.

  • Assassination
    • Offensive
      • Elite – Legion
      • Mass – Cryx
    • Defensive
      • Elite – Minions
      • Mass – Khador
  • Attrition
    • Offensive
      • Elite – Skorne
      • Mass – Mercs
    • Defensive
      • Elite – Tolls
      • Mass – Convergence
  • Control
    • Offensive
      • Elite – Circle
      • Mass – Retribution
    • Defensive
      • Elite – Cygnar
      • Mass – Protectorate

Obviously, this is my first pass, and it may change, but you’ll get the point. Generalizations abound, with plenty of exceptions. Looking to see where the list fits here, and then seeing if it is an outlier for your factions norms is very important. For this list, I would consider it an offensive, Elite Attrition army. You only have a half dozen models pulling weight, and everything else is supporting them. The models that you will be leaning on the heaviest will be unable to take a dedicated assault, and are vulnerable to defensive control tactics, as well as mass assassination.

Defensive Control has very few targets to work with, and will therefor be able to control each to a stronger degree. This will create strain on the army as each individual piece cannot be counted on to pull its weight, and the majority of the list needs to be doing work every turn in order for it to succeed.

Mass assassination will have a veritable mountain of holes that it can swing a model through to try and go for the assassination. Dominar Rasheth isn’t one that can take a sustained beating, and many times will die outright to even a halfhearted attempt to take him out.

Looking at its weaknesses allow you to plan your alternate lists fairly easily – in this case, I’d take specific care to build a list that can take out most Cygnar and Cryx.

That out of the way, I have found that the lists Offensive Elite Attrition style is extremely potent. The sheer amount of damage that can be doled out in a given round is nothing short of astounding. MAT 9 (v. Living) Bronzebacks with Enrage, Blood Mark, and the Feat can put out an astounding 64 damage onto any given target. At P+S 21, they will be flattening anything that has arm 21 and 8 Hit boxes with almost every attack. If you can catch warders unprepared, ie: not under Grissel 2’s feat, you can blow up almost an entire unit. Even under her feat, its only dice -2, and 10’s happen.  Sentries are sitting only one damage less on their reach weapon, and can easily take down 3. This makes the list extremely efficient at blowing apart Fist, Meat Mountain, Gators, and others that mimic that same style. It also makes Colossals shake in their boots, knowing that while they might get the alpha off onto one, or even two titans, that there will be 3-5 more waiting in the wings to blow it apart. Furthermore, any army that relies on such elite models will simply see them outclassed in many cases.

You would think that, given the low model count and limited attacks per turn that a high defense army may be able to whittle through the big boys, and while its probably right, many people forget that Rasheth has breath of corruption. This allows him to project his might weight into the enemy  when they bunch tightly together, but it also allows him to protect his point models from non-reach 1 wound infantry, giving him an element of control over engagements and target priority.

In addition to the list, each model has its own capabilities, and they are generally not the same type of categories that the army has, though they may overlap some.

Bronzeback – This is the workhorse of the list, in my experience. The higher MAT and P+S allows it to tackle a broader range of enemies. With Carnivore pushing its MAT right over the curve, and his P+S augmented by the paingivers Enrage ability, he can go after targets with defense as high as 20. Armor becomes a non-factor when it comes to a Bronzeback with Enrage, and with the help of Blood Mark he can, in every sense of the word, literally kill anything in the game in a single activation. Beatback allows him to make sure that he can work around obstacle models like Tiberion and Colossals while additionally providing a way to ensure that a horde of infantry models steers clear. While he may not be able to smash 8 infantry, due to inevitable misses, his last beat back can be used to place him in a position to have Caustic Mist dropped on him, which is a fairly useful ability for delousing him.

Gladiators – Thankfully, Gladiators are Heavy Warbeasts and can do much of the heavy lifting that the Bronzebacks do when they inevitably die. their P+S and MAT are both one lower, and they loose the chain attack, but they make up for that by directly increasing the threat range on each model. Most often, however, I’ve taken to using these models as Power-Attackers. Slamming for free, even without Enrage, is an amazing ability to have on a model that can self-buff to speed 6. 9.5″ out, followed by at least 3″ of follow up can be extremely aggravating for your opponents. Provided you have the focus to boost the hit, using it to clear out lanes for the Bronzeback to charge through, or even into becomes a very real threat.

*Special Note – Power attacks* – It is worth it to note here that both of the above models have two open fists and a large base, enabling them to perform a variety of special Power attacks. 2h throws, Slams, and Tramples are all extremely useful tools for getting out of jams, removing high defense and clearing zones. There have been many times that I am greateful for the prevalence of both the open fists and the usefulness of power attacks. Often, your opponent will be completely blindsided.

Sentry – This model is extremely effective at being a vanguard for the army. Armor 21 and 30 boxes is going to require some serious dedication in order to pull him off the board (5 or more attacks doing 28 damage each) . His low defense won’t do him any favors, however, and you will need to make sure that he is in a position so that the enemy needs to charge him to get distance: Set Defense pulling his DEF to 13 can be critical, and makes delivering those 28 damage attacks that much harder.  His animus, Locker, can either be a lifesaver or do nothing at all, depending on the opponents setup. Making good use of this ability to lock down and scare opponents jacks and beasts from the field can be the difference between loosing and winning a given match

Cannoneer – This is the piece I am most in love with in the list, and have considered trying to jostle about some points for a second one: Its not meant to be. The Cannoneer exerts pressure with a longer reach than every other model on your side of the board except for the Dominar Himself. This makes him, ostensibly, a back line piece, lobbing out cannon shells when and where he feels most effective. Honestly, however, I cannot see a worse place for him. In almost every game, I have dropped shots into the caster and either boosted blast damage (average 19) or connected and done significant damage (av. 26) to the leader. This leads to a generally defensive, reactionary mindset that plays directly into your hands. You want the game to be controlled by what your titans are doing, not dictating what they can do.

Support – Both Bonegrinders and Paingivers provide different forms of support, but for simplicity sake, I lumped them all together. The Capacity of support in this specific list is twofold – Provide the beasts and Casters with the right tools at the right time to do the right job, from Enrage to Craft Talisman, but also to provide for swift, brutal arcnodes in a pinch. Being able to threaten every angle on the board is something that can end up messing with many an opponents head when they start thinking of your possible Sunder Spirit or Breath of Corruption placement. Being able to swiftly and easily slip between the two will be extremely valuable.

The Man Himself – Most often, Rasheth is going to be playing second fiddle to the glorious and amazing beasts he has brought along in his list. However, aside from being the caster, he is the most vital piece of the puzzle. Enabling both a MAT and an ARM swing is typical, and sometimes he can edge in a P+S enabler if he is able to catch a few living models in his CTRL makes him turn as many Titans as are able to activate into heavy duty workers. But he can very often seal the deal on his own, either through a double boosted Sunder Spirit for the early initial transfer/damage or through a Breath of Corruption that deals massive damage to an enemy casters enabling a later kill. Many casters don’t like to be on the receiving end of POW 23 and 24 damage rolls and some will outright keel over.

Next time, I’ll go into what I do with him on the board. Expect anything and everything with what this list is capable of!

 

Makeada

 

Proprietary Titans

After I played in Philly games con, I was ready for a change in casters. I was preparing to go to Lock and Load , and it seemed that getting some practice in with the caster I was going to take with me was a good idea. So, Starting at the ECR, I have been toting around Rasheths Chain Gang List.

And man, Let me tell you, I have never had more fun playing Warmachine.

The list:

Rasheth
Bronzeback Titan
Bronzeback Titan
Titan Gladiator
Titan Gladiator
Titan Sentry
Titan Cannoneer
Pain Giver Beast Handlers (max)
Farrow Bone Grinders (min)
Pain Giver Taskmaster

Now, this list isn’t in any way optimized to crush my enemies before me, however, it is only a single model off. If I wasn’t reaching for the Tier 2 or Greater army bonus, I would Immediately swap the Pain Giver Taskmaster for an Agonizer.

However, this list, even in its current form, is completely amazing. Its had a fair modicum of success: I am 3-1 piloting it recently, and every game has been different and taught me new things about how to play this list.  What I find most thrilling about it is that it has solutions for almost everything that you can have problems with. There are a few glaringly bad matchups (Butcher 3 being one obvious one), but overall I feel extremely confident playing this against almost everyone.

The Draw

One of the things, if not the very thing, that drew me to Skorne were the titans. Back in Primal MKI  there were only two, and the Gladiator was the undisputed rubbish of the two. The Cannoneer, with his AOE 3, his P+S 16 and his Diminish animus where absolutely fantastic. The Gladiators Subdue animus was very hard to get to work, and didn’t bring anything to the table that the Cannoneer could not.

Then, Evolution came out, and you could hear my scream in joy to the heavens. The Alpha warbeasts were introduced, and the Bronzeback was simply glorious. While his animus was strange (it forced him to slam and granted follow up), he buffed nearby titans and was a powerhouse himself. His model, too, was great, and stands up to this day. Running a titan herd, just with Gladiators, Bronzebacks and Cannoneers was a sight to behold.

Then, when MKII came around, It introduced a new Titan, gave life the the Gladiator via Rush, and made the Bronzeback an unstoppable killing machine. The Cannoneer here got the short end of the stick, but was still a good beast to have around. Running A titan heard was even easier as they introduced the new Warlock, Dominar Rasheth, and this theme list, Chain Gang. In it, you were incentivised to take titans because their cost was reduced. While I was unable to give up the advantages of having Void Spirit arc nodes or Cyclops Shaman guns for a discount on 2 or three Titans, I eventually heard to a list with 6 titans in it that sounded glorious. Trevor Christenson helped me out, and I had a list.

All aboard the Pain Train

I have been consistently amazed by what I can do turn by turn with this list – Its simply astonishing what can be accomplished with the tools that even simply the titans bring.

  • Bronzebacks give you an extra level of fury management even beyond the Paingivers. With his Leadership [Titans] his command of 6, Friendly Titans will not frenzy, and it is an extremely potent ability. Being able to commit to an action while also leaving fury on it boasts very potent planning potential
  • The Bronzebacks Animus, Train Wreck, is one of the best ways to clear infantry in the faction. Being able to use it on itself makes it capable in and of its own, but being able to have it affect gladiators, Sentries and Cannoneers means that infantry have to be extremely wary of how they are placed or they will end up paste.
  • Bronzebacks Have counter-charge, which can be very useful in getting them up the field. Don’t be afraid to take a hit or two from charging models to get into a good spot for either a trample or a train wreck. Using the ability as a threat against heavy targets that want to come into your other titans, especially ones that may have been wounded already. Taking out a system or an aspect can be critical, and with P+S 17 and three dice, its not outside possiblity.
  • Chain Attack: Grab and Smash enables some fantastic “re-arrangements” of the enemy lines, given proper placing. Being able to toss juicy targets to your back lines to finish off is an excellent use, but so is tossing a hearty target into a support piece.
  • Gladiators bring the most valued animus to Skorne, Rush. The Gladiator is one of those iconic pieces that I love seeing on the board in every skorne army because it feels more like a skorne army, in my mind. Even if it is just to bring Rush. +2 speed and pathfinder is no joke and makes the seemingly slow titans much more agile that would seem at first glance.
  • Grand Slam + Follow up is an amazing combo. Gladiators will always slam for free, and they have +2″ on the distance that the target gets tossed, making it a 3-8″ movement. Follow up allowing you to move up to that distance and then buy attacks afterward is glorious. Sometimes, you just need one model out of the way, and another killed. Enter the Gladiator.
  • The Gladiator is extremely valuable as an animus generator, and most often will be in the back of your heard. This, however, is just fine. Most support beasts can’t drop  6 P+S 18 attacks in a given turn, and a second wave of Gladiators can be back breaking.
  • The Cannoneer brings a massive gun, which can do significant damage to most targets. P+S 15+3d6 easily rocks to 26 damage. Combined with the Bronzebacks Coutner-charge, and can easily threaten the first model to commit with becoming completely ineffectual. Additionally, 26 damage is no laughing matter to casters, especially ones that cannot transfer. 6 damage on some casters is all you need to get the upper hand.
  • Diminish is a great animus, and until now I was convinced it was living only. Like, just now. I realized my mistake looking at the card in warroom. -2 STR to all models is very, very good, especially since almost every model will be within its 2″ radius when making melee attacks.
  • The Sentry is an amazing Beast in that it has reach, Arm 21 and Locker. Locker is the primary reason you bring it, that and being an enormous road block. However, with Beat Back it becomes an unstoppable juggernaut from hell. Reach, Beatback and P+S 16 commits most troops to the dirt, and if that won’t, P+S 18 probably will under enrage, and finally if it gets really rough, Rasheth can pop his feat for P+S 22 v. Living. Like Cetratii, Gators, and Warders

I Apologize for Nothing. 

Dominar Rasheth is a strange and bizarre Skorne caster, and one that takes a little getting used to. His 8 Fury is the largest in the faction, but he has no melee, no ranged, and lumbers around at speed 4. He is unique among the faction in a number of ways, and I feel that the drawbacks he has are not nearly as terrible as they look from the outside.

  • His control area of 16 is massive. This allows an application of force easily across both zones, and only leaves about 7″ to either side of the board outside. While the faction has access to Willbreakers to extend the control area of low Fury warlocks, it is not the best option. Its good when you want to toss a beast out there to die, but it is not so great when you want to apply pressure. Additionally, the willbreakers are 13/13 with 5 boxes making them fairly easy to kill. When your relying on that single model to exist to apply force, the enemy will make all concerted efforts to kill them. a 16″ control that you can’t take out of the game is very, very key.
  • Black Arts looks underwhelming, to start off with. Your models take damage, you can only do it once a turn, and you are limited to warriors. Playing with it is a very different prospect. Not only are you not limited to faction models, incorporeal models don’t take damage, the damage dealt is not enough to kill most solos, forcing your opponent to dedicate resources to doing it, and you even get tough if you use Nihlators or Minions under the Taskmaster. The most advantageous part of the whole ability is the capacity for flexability. Simply with two units of Paingers or Paingivers/Bonegrinders you have so many possible arc nodes that your opponent can rarely have safe haven. Its an army of spell martyrs! (Now I want to try recurring them with Shamblers somehow)
  • His ability to be resistant to shooting is not to be underestimated. Though his armor is low, it might as well be 17 v. Shooting, (16 v. melee with diminish, 18 with the feat). Carnivore and his feat allow him to recoup any damage he sustained while going in, as well, allowing him more often than not to just eat the shots from guns and not care.
  • His feat, while conditional, is actually really, really good. Though it only affects living, it has a very limited selection of models that it isn’t good against. Warjacks, for one, and undead models, along with Constructs. Many, Many times, though, there is at least one high-value target that is alive that can be gutted with proper use of the feat. Knowing from the very outset whether or not your going to use your feat offensively or defensively is extremely helpful, as it allows you to advance, screen and set everything up properly. Often against Warmachine armies I will use the feat defensively, blunting the attacks of their living infantry against my Titans. The Sentry and the Cannoneer are arm 23 and 22 that turn, with the Bronzebacks bringing up the rear with a measly 21. Even against Hordes, there isn’t much that the Train can’t bring down and it is often used defensivly.
  • Finally, his spell list is pretty damned amazing, mostly for its utility.
    • Sunder Spirit can be a great game turner by taking out some of the best animus out there, when needed. Peeling Rush, Slipstream or even Wraithbaine change the tides. It also doubles as a direct fire weapon for the Dominar, with range 10 (12 with Farrow) and pow 12 being enough to eliminate many threats and deal significant damage to an enemy caster.
    • Breath of Corruption is a solid spell to clear out infantry when they bunch up, and nothing bunches up more than when they are trying to kill heavies. Additionally, it can make some casters very worried, as he can simply run an arc node within 4″ and just drop a Pow 12 shot of acid on their face. As a final note, it can also be used to protect your Titans from one wound, non-reach models. Due to the size of the template, anything that wants to get within 1/2″ in order to attack it will enter the cloud, then dying if it only has one wound. pretty fun!
    • Blood Mark, like many MKII spells, seems underwhelming. This one, however, makes me chortle, even though I’ve not cast it in some time. Simply putting Blood Mark on a big target and having P+S 20 Gladiators is good. Being able to transfer once to the target is just icing on the never gonna happen cake.
    • Carnivore is an awesome spell that helps the Sentry out a significant bit by putting it over the edge to MAT 7 against living. Thankfully, most unliving models are extremely low defense, and easily hit with his stock standard MAT 5. This also combos with Train Wreck quite well, giving Rasheth a huge pile of HP back if he needs them and having MAT 7 reach attacks with beat back. Eat a whole unit, it will. It also turns the Bronzeback up completely past 11. MAT 9 hits DEF 20 with boosted hits until he triggers Grab and Smash and headbutts or throws them to the ground. Little survives the minimum pow 17’s that follow.
    • Castigate is one of those spells that allow you to have game against some casters and that just isn’t useful in most situations. Being able to shut down Thorn, Goreshade 3’s Arcnode and any insane thing Sevy wants to do is extremely useful, when applicable.

Don’t forget the Little Guys

Even though there are only two units, they both bring a suite of abilities that help make the titans, and Rasheth, Shine.

Paingivers allow the amazing stock standard suite of abilities (Condition, Enrage, Medicate) A friend of mine brought something up today that I’d never thought of. Paingivers have Inflict Pain on their whips, and you can easily Enrage a beast with one, and then whip any remaining fury off with other models. I love that, after playing with these models for 8 years, that I am still oblivious to certain tactics that are just… so obvious.

The Bonegrinders offer a suite of abilities that I just adore in the list, and am very happy that I included them. While they were originally only to hit Tier 2, they will be in there forever. Craft talisman, allowing Rasheth to cast spells 2″ further than he normally would is great, but really its the surety of knowing that both my Bronzebacks or Gladiators can go down and I will still have the animus. Combine that with their ability to be arc nodes in the late game and a fairly good magic attack that adds a little pop to the list and for 2 points, I love the diversity they bring over a second unit of paingivers.

Parting Thoughts

In every game, power attacks have been one of, if not the, deciding factors for the game. Having 4 beasts with two open hands really makes a huge difference when you are looking at how to end the game. Sometimes, the dice can be fickle, and you just need to 2h Throw a model out the zone for the last point or two in a game. But there are also plenty of other aplications that don’t seem intuitive at the start. Throwing your own models into other models like wrecking balls. Slamming models with Gladiators to follow up into zones, even if you don’t care if they are dead. The Knockdown in the list is insane, honestly, and that isn’t something that most people are prepared for. Grand slams, Chain Attacks, simple headbutts and two handed throws are all options open to the savvy player who can think laterally. Its an army that rewards a solid knowledge of the rules and a strong, instinct to just go for it!

This one’s been long, and thanks for sticking through it, if you made it this far! Its been a pleasure!

MakeadaFist

Last time, I rounded up my tournament results, as unwell as they were. Going 2-3 in a tournament is not a common experience for me, as I can generally break the .500 mark. Though it left a bitter taste in my mouth the day of, and even a few days after, the farther I get from the event, the more I can see clearly what went wrong, what I didn’t like, and what I want to repeat.

The Good

I feel I played well enough for my second ever tournament with Skorne. The last time I took them out I think I went 2-3 as well, also with Xerxis, but his pairing was Zaal, back at the Gargantuans event. I feel that I had a chance to come out on top in every game, and that there were mistakes that were made that lead to some very serious uphill battles that I didn’t need to fight.

  • I love the way fist works. Its a very strong, backbone army that has a lot of strange plays that can make an opponent regret their decisions.
  • Xerxis can get the job done, though both times he was called upon, he could not. Dice were not with him, but that’s not his fault.
  • Incindiarii are freaking crazy. I was initially pretty reserved about them, but they came through for me every time. Autofire AOE’s are pretty sweet.
  • Cetratii under defenders ward are, to everyone’s’ surprise, incredibly hard to kill. If they died to a single hit, it was often a warbeasts boosted damage.

What went right

A heading that falls under The Good. I think there are a lot of things that I did correctly, and a few major things I did wrong. I feel that I deployed and played quickly enough with an unfamiliar army that I wasn’t going to clock myself. While not a great fear, it is something I worry about with any new army. Though its possible to clock myself, I just tend to take the turn as correctly as I can, worrying as little as possible about the clock. Its not easy, and doing with such an unfamiliar army made me pleased

I was within just a few rolls or a few minutes of winning all the games I lost. These are the points that hurt the most, but are the biggest takeaways to have. While a close game is awesome, It can be extremely draining. The same thing can be said for multiples in a row. Even though I was being put to the grindstone, I managed to maintain a positive disposition, a light banter, and play effectively.

I stuck to my guns and Played fist 4 of 5 times, even when it might not have been the right choice, in order to learn the armies.

I played against a withering barrage of good casters, and have a bunch of takeaways that I can look at for improvement the next time around. I’m not going to just walk out of the stables ready to win all the races, as much as I would like to. Instead, I have to play games, learn, and win, just like anyone else.

The Bad 

I lost. Thats bad. But more than that, I didn’t have a good game plan for The Fist of Halaak other than Be Fist. Now, a lot of that is based on the fact that I didn’t really have a lot of practice, and I was using units I had only used once before (Incindiarii) or only a few times (Arcuarii) This lead to a number of decisions that I would not make again, were I given the chance.

  • The Fist of Halaak is not as auto-pilot as some players, on both sides, seem to think. There are a hundred different things to go wrong, and a million little placement issues.
  • I am way, way to bloodthirsty with Xerxis. He moved out to kill models the rest of his army could have dealt with, and almost ever time it ended in some kind of tragedy.
  • a 10″ Control area is way, way smaller than I thought. Though I have a medium base and the Warbeasts have larges, I found it very simple to just run out of my own control area.
  • I deployed the same no matter the scenario, no matter whether I went first or not. Having 2 units of Arcuarii and Incindiarii means that I could very easily adapt to my opponents deployment and the scenario.

What I Wouldn’t do Again. 

Both Fist and Chain Gang are grindy, meaty armies that are going to just weather through the storm of the opponents storm. They both have high armor, high wounds and move slowly. Neither will get the alpha strike on the opponent, but neither really cares

  • Having two grindy armies can be hell on you, mentally. With no real method of finishing off a game quickly, you get really stuck in there and just burn through your opponents willpower, models, and clock.
  • I want an army with a more active playstyle. I feel that I have a much better grasp on a playstyle that does more in each of its turns. Fist is a perfectly good list, but I can’t rely on my opponents just grinding themselves out on the army every time.

Conclusions

After running through the lists and the plays and the way the armies worked, I really want to drop one of the lists, and pick up something more agile. This likely means dropping Chain Gang, as Fist, and Xerxis, feel the most fun to play, but I also want to run Chain Gang more because I have less practice with it. I’ve pretty much made up my mind that its going to be Fist, though, that I keep.

That means that I’m going to have to pull an agile, active army, and I think that Skorne has the tools to do it. I’ve been talking with a number of people, and this list is what I’ve come up with.

Supreme Acrhdomina Makeda+5
-Archidon7
-Molik Karn11
-Titan Gladiator8
Incindiarii (6)9
Praetorian Swordsmen (10)6
-Swordsmen Officer and Standard2
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)2
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)2
Tyrant Commander and Standard3
Gatorman Witch Doctor3
Mortitheurge Willbreaker2
55

I Think is a very fun, interesting, and cool list. It originally had 11 points of Venator Reivers in there, but they just don’t synch well with the feat, and with what I feel I need to drop this against. I’m going to take my fist list, and drop it into any slogs I think will come up: Bradigus, MMM, Gators, and the Fist Mirror. Its going to be a list that is specifically there to pull into those gross grinds. This leaves a list here that has to deal with both high defense and high model count lists, able to counteract with a number of different strategies that will enable the list to start that more active game that I want.

To that end, I had someone suggest the Molik Missle as an option. Its active, its scary as hell, and its effective. In this instance, I can take, under perfect circumstances, Molik Karn from 22″ downtown into a caster. Where I once was concerned about running out of her Control Area, I now have a Mortitheurge Willbreaker. This means that as long as I have a living Karn, they have to play very cautious. Add to that the Archidon, a model with Flight and a solid P+S 17 bite, but a lousy MAT 6. On Makeda’s feat turn, this little sucker can fly an impressive 17″, overtop models and without fear of free strikes during the movement. This gives me a secondary assassination option if Karn Goes down.

Swordsmen are the backbone here, and I have done everything I can to get them into, and keep them in, the game. Road to War and press forward means that this unit can simply walk 10″ forward and make attacks, meaning that they don’t have to give up positioning and facing to make attacks. With sidestep, they can dig in up to 14.5″ and kill things sitting behind the Front Lines. Stay death makes sure that my officer stays alive to grant precision strike and sidestep, even if they fail the tough granted by the Gatorman Witch Doctor. Finally, Makeda’s Elite Cadre grants the unit vengeance, giving them an impressive 13″ walk or 14″ charge, with the Tyrant Commander there to give out reveille  when needed. Under Makeda’s feat, they can get into wherever they need, and with boosted to-hit rolls, their attacks will connect with all but the highest defense models.

The most recent addition are the Incindiarii, and I don’t know why I’d not thought of them earlier. I was worried about high defense, as Fist weathers that only a little better than I want, and I reached for a second unit of Swordsmen. A friend of mine, however, corrected me into taking a unit of Incindiarii instead. Their shots cause fire, so drifting can even be dangerous to the opposing caster, and with the Tyrant Commander and Road to War they can threat out up to 19″ away in any given turn. I think, at the very least, its a solid addition to any army, and with Mak around to get them out of dodge if they get tied up, its just a match made in heaven.

I know there are lots of permuations of this list already out there, but I am really excited to run this one here shortly. While it won’t be until the end of March at the earliest, Its gonna be a damn fun time when It gets there!

Any thoughts or ideas on the lists, and I’d love to hear them! either dig me up on Twitter or leave a comment!

 

 

Makeada

 

Last week, between Thursday and Sunday, I managed to get six games in with my Skorne. Totaled up, that is more games that I’ve had of any Privateer Press system in that short of window in a long time. Five of those were at a tournament on Sunday which ran extremely long, which I’ll get to on Thursday, but to prepare, I was able to get a game in on Thursday, which allowed me at least a single practice game in before I attempted to take on a cutthroat tournament.

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  1. Jank Tank

Makeada

 

Jank Tank

This stupid place is where I spend most of my time lately, and part of this is because of the Bradigus Problem. I’ve decided that I am going to take Fist of Halaak Xerxis to he local tournament here on the 15th, but I’ve not really decided what I am going to do with him. There are some strange variations of both him and Rasheths Chain Gang, or non-gang, that I think I can work with in order to do some moderately different things.

First, the two starting points. These are, to me, the basic Fist and Chain Gang list. The fist list curbs my own terror at running into something like Irusk 1 or Rask, while the chain gang is cribbed completely from Trevor Christensen because it looks like a hell of a lot of fun to run.

Fist of Halaak

Tyrant Xerxis+5
-Tiberion11
Cataphract Cetrati (6) 11
-Tyrant Vorkesh3
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)5
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)5
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)5
Cataphract Incindiarii(4)5
Cataphract Incindiarii(4)5
Tyrant Commander and Standard3
Tyrant Commander and Standard3

Chain Gang

Rasheth+5
*Bronzeback Titan9
*Bronzeback Titan9
*Gladiator7
*Gladiator7
Titan Sentry8
Titan Cannonner8
Agonizer2
Agonizer2
Paingiver Beast Hanlders (6)3

However, there are a number of Circle players in our area, and most of them run Bradigus, causing a ton of consternation on my part. At the end of the day, though, He’s much easier for Skorne to deal with than other factions, so I am really pleased. However, I didn’t think that Fist and Chain Gang were the best options. So I started mulling over lists to try and find a way to either have the list break on me, or break it, which lead me all over the world.

One of the first lists I wanted to create was something that was just jam packed with as many Cetratii as I could stomach. They are my favorite troops, and if I could just pack them in there, I’d be thrilled. This was the List I came up with

Tyrant Xerxis+5
-Tiberion11
Cataphract Cetrati (6) 10
Cataphract Cetrati (6) 10
Cataphract Cetratii7
Cataphract Incindiarii(4)5
Cataphract Incindiarii(4)5
Tyrant Commander and Standard3
Tyrant Commander and Standard3

The thought was simple: Replace the 2 units of Arcuarii and Vorkesh with Cetratii. One, likely the smaller unit, would trail a bit and act as bodyguard for Xerxis. One large unit would get Defenders Ward and come up the center, with the other large unit getting fury, stacked either behind the Defenders Ward or to their flank. The Incindiarii would be the flanks and jamming units if needed, with Tiberion and Xerxis bringing up the rest of the army. I thought to myself if 6 models with arm 20 are a pain in the ass, I wonder what 16 would be like. I don’t dislike this list, but I don’t think a 5 person tournament is the crucible this should be tested out in.

That forced me into a non-fist thought process, and what I came up with was this:

Tyrant Xerxis+5
-Tiberion11
Cataphract Cetrati (6) 11
Aptimus Marketh3
Cataphract Arcuarii6
Cataphract Arcuarii6
Cataphract Incindiarii(4)6
Cataphract Incindiarii(4)6
Tyrant Commander and Standard3
Tyrant Commander and Standard3

I remember playing Xerxis with Marketh and freaking loving it. With him in the list, I was able to cycle Fury onto three units in a turn and get miles and miles of work done, even when I wasn’t feated or charging. Its a simple list with a simple plan: Punch the enemy good and hard and make them pay for whatever they decided to do. This is definitely a list I want to try out as well, but once again I think its something that takes a bit fo getting used to to get to work right. Oh, and a friend had convinced me to look at a second beast, because Tiberion with rush is freakin’ bonkers.Which got me here.

Tyrant Xerxis+5
-Tiberion11
Gladiator8
Cataphract Cetratii (6)10
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)5
Cataphract Arcuarii (4)5
Cataphract Incindiarii(4)5
Cataphract Incindiarii(4)5
Tyrant Commander and Standard3
Pain Giver Beast Handlers (6)3

The Two Beast Fist. This is The list that I have seen a ton of places, that I have talked to a friend or two about, and that I think can do a ton of work. It has all the right components of durability, aggression, fire and beasts, and I think that I can really get this list to hum if I play it a few times. Once I get this “tried and tested” list to work for me, I can see why or why not I want to embrace some of the other list concepts I thought of first. One of the casualties of the lack of game time I’ve had due to a child is that lists I think are neat don’t get to see the table anymore. They have to be lists I think mean a damn.

So, now we come to chain gang, a list I’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time. Titan herds and cyclops herds are something I’ve been longing for since time immemorial, and now I get to play one. However, Bradigus.

Enter, Rasheth Unchained.

Rasheth+5
*Molik Karn11
*Bronzeback Titan10
*Gladiator8
*Gladiator8
*Titan Sentry9
Extoller Soulward2
Extoller Soulward2
Feralgiest
Paingiver Beast Hanlders (4)2
Paingiver Beast Hanlders (4)2

This list is almost certain what is coming with me, and it has a very, super, ultra specific function. Oh, and its also a bunch of titans. One of the big problems that comes with Bradigus, unsurprisingly, is Kreuger2. This titan of scenario play is something that I’m not sure I am ready to take on. While Fist is going to be my default drop against Bradigus due to the massive amount of boxes and wounds he brings to the board, Kreuger 2 has a very specific situation which makes him highly likely to drop. Any sort of central scenario is going to bring him out, and I don’t so much as like Fists odds there. It will be very easy to move around and TK my models out of position for a scenario win and just not fight the fist list at all. The Titan Train, however, can lock arms and stand in there with the best of em, virtually invincible against the push. TK can get around it, of course, but that is going to be extra focus intensive. The big problem with that scenario, though, is that there are two situations that I can see in which Rasheth could be squaring off against Bradigus. The first is that if the circle player doesn’t know that it is a Kreuger 2 situation, I could be way ahead of the game, and need to fight against Bradigus. The Second is that if the Circle player knows what I know, and is trying to bait the list. This is why I had to break tier. In dropping the Cannoneer, I am seceding the ranged come completely, but I am gaining the ability to toss Molik Karn out there and take down a stone or two before I get completely massacred. Stripping the double or triple port is highly critical in that situation, and I think a rushed, Eyeless sighted, enraged Karn can reach out and touch someone some 13+ inches away, and could be fantastic in being an equalizer.

 

I think we will see, on the 15th, how I do. 29 people are registered for the tournament at the moment, and we can hold up to 32. This’ll be a tournament unlike any I’ve attended! Feel free to leave me comments on my armies, your experience with/against them and anything else you think could help!